If you’ve found yourself doing more craft things during lockdown, you might be on the lookout for some new equipment. But why go for bog-standard when there are things like this available? These Miffy scissors might not be up to much hardcore cutting, but they’re great for simple paper and card tasks and darn it, they are cute.
I am a massive Studio Ghibli fan. Their films are fantastically animated, moving and just downright magical. Creator Hayao Miyazaki has a penchant for strong female leads: “…brave, self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe with all their heart. They’ll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a saviour.” Here are a few favourite inspirational quotes:
“Just follow your heart, and keep smiling” ~ Kiki’s Delivery Service
“Always believe in yourself. Do this and no matter where you are, you will have nothing to fear” ~ The Cat Returns
“You cannot alter your fate. However, you can rise to meet it” ~ Princess Mononoke
Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Whether you’re after something big, small, a keepsake or something edible, Modern Guy has you covered! This fabulous gift guide showcases 34 small businesses for you to support.
Do you find your creative clutter soon gets out of hand? Being a maker myself, I have lots of different tools and materials and I need them all within reach; which quickly leads to having stuff everywhere. I have found a few things that help, though, so I thought I’d share them with you.
Recycling or rubbish? I’ve got a bin for both. I end up with lots of scraps of paper and keep them all together to recycle, or for turning into handmade paper (a constant future project).
Upcycle and repurpose. Got an old chipped mug? Use it to keep your pens and pencils in. If you’re like me and have LOTS, you can keep a particular collection in each mug; felt pens in one, fine liners in another etc. You know those little glass pots you get delicious desserts in? They are GREAT for keeping small bits and pieces in.
Make the most of desk tidies. A purpose-built desk tidy has plenty of room for larger items and can happily accommodate your bulkier stationery. These wooden houses are the perfect home for big brushes, scissors and chunky pens.
Store your bits & bobs. A shallow tray or dish is the perfect place for anything that you need to hand, but that’s too small for a tall holder. Use them so you’ve got easy access to things like pencil sharpers and rubbers, or any small bits of string/wool/beads that may usually accumulate on your desk.
Stash your stationery. If there are things you need tidied away, the classic pencil case is the way to go. They’ll keep all your creative tools tucked away until you need them.
Hope these hints and tips have helped to get you a bit more organised! What are your top tips for staying on top of creative clutter?
Find my full range of handmade stationery in my Etsy shop.
Ahoy there! If you’ve not already signed up to my newsletter (and why not? It’s THRILLING! Check out the handy pop-up and stick your email address in there!) then this is for you to peruse. A little of this, a little of that, just some stationery, fun and creativity. Enjoy!
Like a dress with pockets and a wallet with enough slots for your cards, having a desk tidy with ample spaces for all your different stationery essentials is a much searched for item. But is there such thing as the perfect one? I think this one comes pretty close. Plenty of places for pens and pencils, plus a couple of drawers to hide all those bits you’re not quite sure where to put.
Creativity is great when it’s running free, but how do you motivate yourself when your mojo is running low? Here are a few hints and tips for you to try out:
Brainstorm your ideas – just go with it and write down everything that pops into your head.
Carry a notebook with you, to capture all those on-the-go random thoughts.
Take a break from social media! It can be a great source of inspiration, but try and mix up your input.
Try something new – break out of your comfort zone.
Listen to music – how about something completely different to usual?
It’s been proven that craft can be great for your mental health, and I think everyone could do with a little boost at the moment! Why not take a break and try something simple? Pinterest is a goldmine of ideas for fun crafts to try, often using just a few items you can find around the home. You can find a few over on my ‘Craft Tutorials & DIY‘ board. Go get your make on!
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 email@example.com or via the contact page.
Intrigued about life aboard The Craft Fantastic? Fancy a peek inside the captain’s quarters? Here’s a behind the scenes look at craft HQ!
Where do I work?
I live in Northampton and work from home, in a studio/workshop/creative space that I set up in my teeny box bedroom. Like all good craft rooms, it’s full to bursting with supplies, materials, tools and projects on the go, which cover most available space – including the desk.
Despite the lack of space, I love working in this room. It looks out onto the back garden, so I can always see the birds flitting around in the hawthorns.
What kind of setup do I have?
Very little of my desk is actually used for making. I like to have everything to hand for whatever it is I’m working on, so there’ll always be tools, templates and materials lying about.
As what I do is very hands on, though, I find myself picking things up and moving them around while I’m working, sometimes holding things between my knees to get the right angle!
Tools live on my desk, with rolls and rolls of paper above. Everything else is generally packed in my handy IKEA shelf unit, or shoehorned onto an old set of shelves. There’s a lot of furniture in there for such a small room.
How do I work?
One of the most time-consuming things is turning ideas into a finished, polished product. As I use a lot of upcycled materials, I usually go through what I have and that’s often the first point of inspiration for me; certain papers and leathers will be crying out to be used together.
I have a brainstorming session, sketching and writing out ideas in a big blank book. Then I go over them, making a list of the materials I’d need and figuring out how to make them; really getting an idea of how feasible they are! I usually make my own templates, so I need to check and double check all the measurements and figure out what order I need to do things in; this is generally what takes the longest.
After I’ve gathered the materials and sorted the process and templates, it’s time to get to work. Here are some finished products from the past few months. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading!
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.
Oh, I do love stationery. In fact I find myself drawn to anything that looks like stationery even if, like this lovely lot, it’s not actually stationery. It’s just one of those inexplicably joyful things. Here are my favourite not-stationery stationery items.
Crayola make up. Available from ASOS. I want it all, not so much to use, just to make a display with and admire. How pretty would a shelf full look?
Library card socks. If you’re a book lover then you need to check out The Literary Gift Company – all your future presents will now come from here. You’re welcome.
Pencil pin badges. There are too many to choose from and they’re all fabulous. Find your own favourite on Etsy; I myself am quite partial to this one, from the rainbow-loving IpDipDesign:
Bookcase wallpaper. There’s a lot of book shelf wall paper & murals about at the moment, but I think this natural one from Wall Sauce is my favourite. Also, the company is called Wall Sauce. They do a good range, including ‘secret bookcase door’ and ‘bookcase & candles’.
Book lunch box. Even though I work from home, I want this lunch box from black + blum. It has a partition. It’s ACE.
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.
Hey stationery fans! Thinking about spring-cleaning your desk/hoard? Then you’ll need some shiny new products. I’ve been searching the internet for the best new stationery for the new season.
High Street Finds
Over the past few years, high street shops have upped their game in the fun stationery stakes. Unicorns everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Which is fine, because who doesn’t love a unicorn? I’m starting off in Paperchase with the all important storage.
Look at all those compartments ?? For £10 you get a pretty home for sooooo many pens and pencils. If you don’t have desk space for something this size, you’re going to need an epic pencil case. WHSmith has the answer.
Squee! Bit too ott for you? They have plenty of subtler options to suit.
Ok, time for the filling!
£12 for a set of 12 coloured pencils (Paperchase), with a different mood or emotion stamped on the bottom, associated with that particular colour. You even get a little booklet on the psychology of colour.
For perfectly pretty pastel pens, head to John Lewis and check out the kikki.K range.
Marvellous, if you simple HAVE TO peruse your stationery in real life; but this brand has a pretty awesome website – trust me, you’ll love it. And with that, let’s head online for the…
Best of the Web (OK, Etsy)
As always, I began my search over on Etsy, and to be honest after much searching elsewhere, I headed back and stayed there. Being a maker and seller myself, I know how much hard work people put into their creations and love to buy handmade. If you weren’t aware, you can now purchase as a guest, so you don’t have to sign up for an account. Huzzah! You’ll have to click the links to see these beauties.
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.