Hands up if you love stationery. Me too. So let’s not waste any more time with this section and get right to it!
Do you use washi tape? I absolutely LOVE it. So versatile, so pretty and so practical – you can use it for journaling, wrapping, decorating notebook covers… plus it’s made from natural fibres, so can be recycled. Winner! Joanne Hawker has just added her own designs of washi tape on her website and, like the rest of her range, it is just delightful.
Have you heard of bullet journaling? Is it still a thing? What even is it? Well, it’s primarily a type of diary-journal-planner, most often done on dotted paper or something that helps create sections, bullet points, trackers etc. The more ambitious use plain paper journals and create their own grids & patterns. People use them for well-being, tracking habits, or just general planning. Personally I think half the fun is customising and decorating the pages! Here are some ideas for if you’re just starting out, and some more adventurous ones.
Did you catch my last blog? Take a look through these 5 signs you’re a stationery addict. From hoarding notebooks to not using pencils because they’re too nice; how many of these do you identify with?
Bring on the trumpets, my Folksy shop is open once again! You can find my range of hand bound leather journals and mini book necklaces there, plus… something completely new for me. Origami jewellery is something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time, but couldn’t really think how to get the results I wanted. Paper is so delicate and needs reinforcing or coating if you want to make it durable enough to wear repeatedly. After going through a few different options, I finally hit upon the answer – setting the origami in resin is the perfect way to preserve it!
I’m so pleased with the results. To start with, I’m doing 3 animals, just to see how they do. I’ve chosen a crane, a butterfly and a fox. Which is your favourite? Are there any other animals you’d like to see?
You can find these in the jewellery section of my Folky shop and they’re also on Etsy, too.
Next up something not quite new, just a little improved: ‘Once Upon A Time’ book necklaces.
These are made, as always, from upcycled leather – the section used for the cover was rescued from a shoe factory. For the insides, I’ve used ivory paper; I think it just goes with the whole feel of the mini books. I’ve also added an extra stamp at the bottom, a kind of swirly flower – and of course there’s a little key charm.
Well that’s about it for news. Let me know what you think: anything new you’d like to see? A particular origami piece or a certain style of journal? Let me know! As always you can get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the contact page.
Hands up if you can’t believe it’s nearly December! I’ve given myself a slap on the wrist for not posting since September; I’ve been juggling lots of new things and my brain has been full. Here’s a brief run down of what’s been going on aboard The Craft Fantastic:
It’s been going since the end of August, running every Thursday at The Emporium at Nene Court. Everyone who’s been has had an amazing time, which is great! From next year, though, I’ll be scaling it down and changing it up, running it the last Thursday of every month, the odd weekend dates (to be announced!), plus adding the option to have your very own Coffee.Cake.Create party or event – starting with Christmas parties!
Helping out at The Emporium.
You can find me there every Monday, being shop girl! If you’ve never been, The Emporium is a marvellous shop just outside Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, that’s stocked with locally made, hand crafted products from over 40 different sellers. There’s also a licensed Harry Potter nook in the back!
Along side all this I’ve been working on what is the main subject of the post: finding ways to use up even more of the leather scraps and off-cuts left over from making books. As you may know, the leather I use for my notebooks and journals is either upcycled from old jackets and bags, or unwanted off-cuts. My most current batch of off-cuts came from a shoe factory, who were throwing out a LOAD of different leather scraps, some of them quite big! I do hate waste, and I already use some of my scraps to make mini books…
… and I’ve recently added bookmarks, which I love:
My latest acquisition of leather got me thinking what else I could make – I’ve got some bigger bits and now some scrappy little bits not big enough for the bookmark tabs. So I’ve got a bit off-piste and experimented making personalised keyrings and valet trays (The Internet tells me that’s the official name for them; I call them leather bowl-type things).
What do you think? For the trinket bowls, I’m doing ones that say ‘KEYS’ and ones that say ‘THINGAMABOBS’ – any other suggestions? What would you keep in them?
I’m hoping to showcase all this lovely new leather stuff at a local Christmas market, part of a series of ‘Moonlit Market’ events being held in a lovely sheltered courtyard off the Guildhall Road in Northampton town centre. More info here.
Like the look of the mini books and the bookmarks? You can find them in my Etsy shop. They make excellent gifts for book lovers. I’ll hopefully be adding the keyrings soon, but for now the leather bowl-type things will only be available at the Christmas market.
It seems that there’s a ‘National Day’ or ‘National Week’ for EVERYTHING these days. But when it’s stationery I can get on board! National Stationery Week is, of course, all about stationery; from things to write with to things to write on and alongside this the #writingmatters campaign. This year it runs from April 23rd – 29th. You can find out all about it here. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #natstatweek and #writingmatters.
Being a stationery addict myself, I’m all for promoting the importance of writing by hand. Check out some of the reasons why in this article; it’s targeted at students but can be applied to everyone: “The act of writing itself can reduce stress”, it says, and I wholeheartedly agree. It’s a great way to switch off from what’s going on around you and focus on yourself.
I’ve recently added a new product to my Etsy shop that makes for a fun way to get back into writing – this hand bound ‘Luxe lists’ book! It’s full of hand written prompts for different lists, plus blank lined paper at the back so you can come up with your own lists. It’s great for focusing your attention and getting your brain going.
Well, that’s it for another year in terms of fairs. I’ve now attended the last of the craft and wedding events for 2017. However, I’ve already got things in the pipeline for 2018, including alternative wedding fairs and papercraft workshops – watch this blog for details! You can also follow me on Facebook for up to date info on future events.
I count 2017 as my first full year of business aboard The Craft Fantastic. While I set up properly at the start of 2016, that year was spent getting things off the ground. I’ve been really pleased with how the year has gone, taking bookings for an awesome range of weddings, producing custom orders, developing new product ideas and taking part in local craft and wedding fairs. Phew! I’m so grateful to everyone who’s supported me this year and for every single purchase, no matter how small.
During the run up to Christmas I am of course still taking orders via Etsy but you can also contact me here for queries on wedding flowers and custom orders. My last UK posting date is December 18th; if you order after this date, your order will still be processed, but it might not make it before Christmas.
To finish off, here are a few of my favourite makes from 2017!
As the year rolls into autumn, I thought it was about time to talk about the latest happenings here at HQ.
I’ve been busy working on some new ideas (sometimes this involved sitting in my craft room staring at piles of paper and scraps of material). A while back I got a set for stamping letters into leather, so I’ve been using that to create some mini books. This is my favourite – with ‘OFF WE GO’ stamped on the cover and the inside pages made from an old French road map. It’s one-of-a-kind!
I’ve also got a few blank mini covers, so personalised book necklaces are up for grabs. Had to make myself one to practise, of course!
Now, onto upcoming fairs. It is getting towards the end of the year and my next craft fair will be a *whispers* Christmas stall. I’m very pleased to announce that I’ll be exhibiting at the wonderful MK Handmade & Vintage Fair, which is held in the middle of Milton Keynes shopping centre. It’s always full of amazing stalls, so if you’re looking for something a bit different then this is the place to do your festive shopping.
As well as my usual stock of notebooks, book necklaces and other papercraft items, I’ll be making up some origami flower sets for Christmas displays and centrepieces, plus there’ll be a selection of origami and paper tree decorations. Here’s a sneak peek!
Hope to see you there! Don’t forget, you can shop for all my products on Etsy or you can email me if you’d like to talk about a custom order.
If you’re in the Northampton area, I also have a stall on December 2nd in Great Brington. It’s a lovely intamate affair with a good selection of quality local makers – and there’ll be cake! More info here.
When it comes to making notebooks and journals, I’m a huge fan of using upcycled materials for a number of reasons, which I’ll share below.
Take this map-cover book, for example. The cover paper is taken from an old map of Brussels. The map made a couple of A5 notebooks and there’s some left over to make smaller books; and every book is different. Sure, I could get specific maps of places of interest/print maps off and get consistent covers, making bigger batches of each book. But I don’t want that. I love that every single one of my map books is different- one of the reasons I love handmade is that you’re getting something unique!
Even if I’ve got more of a certain material, I still like to work in small batches, making a couple of each different book. I get inspired by the materials on hand, and having just a little of a lot of different materials really gets my creative brain going. The spine of the above book is has been upcycled from an old leather jacket; using it for just the spine allows the material to go further and enables me to use all those thinner, smaller sections of materials. Sure, I could buy new leather in bulk and make bigger batches of notebooks that were all the same; but the way I work means you really are getting something pretty unique!
Also, I like to use as many of the little scraps as I can. The above pocket book was made from an off-cut of soft grey leather; it had small slits all down the sides, but because I made small A7 books from it, it works fine for me! See the thin leather strap? That’s an off-cut from the same leather jacket used for the spine of the key print book. If I’ve got scraps left, I try and think how I can use them. Mostly they make my mini books:
I’ve put together a short video on this subject and you can find it over on The Craft Fantastic YouTube channel, or watch below. I’m still getting used to doing videos and this is less than perfect; but perfection’s overrated, right? Listen out for me getting my words the wrong way round towards the end 😀
To see my selection of hand bound notebooks, bullet journals, travel journals and more head over to my etsy store.
Recently, I’ve been trying out a few different things. It’s generally quieter over the summer months, so once I’d got all my wedding orders out of the way it was time to play! I think trying new ideas and learning new was of doing things is very important; you’ve got to keep moving and keep doing things to keep your brain working.
These new notebooks have hard covers and a firm but flexible spine – my own take on a hollow back binding. It was definitely a learning process for me but I’ve loved making them. My first attempt was the silver swirls book on the right; it’s less than perfect but is still beautiful:
Now I think I’ve got the hang of it. I’ve got more papers which I’ve not used yet, so look out for those! Plus I’m planning a new YouTube video on reusing and recycling, and will also be sharing with you my first attempts at book restoration and rebinding. Stay tuned! x
Summertime is upon us and the world is calling. Whether you’re taking off for far off places or exploring closer to home, why not chronicle your adventure in a handy handmade travel journal? Blank books are fantastic for planning your holiday, making check lists for what to take and where to go, plus you can take as much space as needed to write about your travels. I love looking back over my old holidays and the check list I write helps me remember what I need to take on the next trip 😀
Over at The Craft Fantastic’s Etsy store you’ll find a wide variety of hand bound blank notebooks for all your journaling needs. Here are some map cover books to help inspire your wanderlust:
There’s also a range of miniature books– they’re set on chains to wear as a necklace, so you can easily take it with you on your travels. All the pages are blank, too, so it can be used for jotting down a few things while you’re on the go. Small writing required 😀
If there’s such thing as a natural bullet journaler, I am one. Long have I been a lover of lists; a maker of orginised notes; an extravagant underliner; a margin doodler.
What is a bullet journal? Well, it’s pretty much whatever you want to make it. Start with a notebook, something to write with, and get creative. A completely blank notebook is my personal favourite, as it’s the most versatile; however some people prefer gridded or lined paper.
Though it may have started that way, it’s actually not just lists of bullet points. There’s a trend for people using notebooks to create a personal space for them to write and draw and catalogue. Layouts and doodles. Headers, banners and frames. The best thing to do is to try a few things out – just get going and you’ll soon get a feel for how you want to go and what you’ll use your journal for. A few bullet-pointed lists and a few doodles to go with them. Take inspiration, but have a go at making your own systems so that they work for you. What to put in it? Lists, logs, plans, charts, dreams, goals… I actually started with a list of the lists I wanted to make.
Leaving enough space for bigger projects is essential, so think about what you need in advance. A new one for me this year is a garden plan; I’ve laid it out so that I’ve got space for each month, and within that month space for a list of jobs that need doing and things that need planting. I’ve a small garden, so I didn’t need a huge amount of space:
What else is there? Pens? There are so many! Sharpies are good for bold, solid lives. Stabilo fineliners are my favourites for a wide choice of colours and a slim line. And the Uniball Eye in black is the best I’ve found for your everyday black pen.
As for blank notebooks, head on over to my etsy store to browse handmade notebooks, sketchbooks or journals in a selection of covers and sizes – there’s bound to be something to fit your bullet journal needs, and if not, email me for a custom order!