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Gifts Inspiration

The Craft Fantastic Handmade Christmas Gift Guide

Makers are a bit like elves, really. Hard at work creating handmade products perfect for gifting. So many people these days are starting to look past the big companies, trying instead to purchase from small businesses, creatives, and support their local economy. Which is AWESOME! And if you’ve stumbled across this blog post for that very reason, thank you.

If you don’t already know, I essentially make products from paper and rescued leather*; journals, notebooks, bookmarks, origami animals to name a few items. My products are perfect for avid readers and lovers of all things cute. I sell online, mainly on Etsy but also Folksy too. Plus, if you’re based in the Northamptonshire area, you can head over to The Emporium at Nene Court in Wellingborough to browse my handcrafted products (as well as a whole host of amazing locally made awesomeness). So, what have I got to offer all you lovely people this year? Let’s take a look!

Gifts for book lovers & readers

These soft leather bookmarks have been hand stamped with slogans – READERS GONNA READ and ONE MORE CHAPTER. They’re £6.50 each and you can find them in my Etsy store and The Emporium.

One way I use up the off-cuts of paper and leather from my big journals is to make these mini books, which I then turn into necklaces. I have a few different styles available, which you can look at online from Etsy or Folksy, plus I have a selection over at The Emporium.

Presents for notebook & journal addicts

Soft, leather-wrap notebooks & journals with blank insides, ready for you thoughts, drawing, lists and more! While they are often quite similar, because they’re made from rescued leather, each one is unique.

Kawaii origami necklaces

Currently only available online are these super cute origami animal necklaces. Folded from small squares of origami paper and then set in resin; choose from a crane, fox or butterfly.

Hope you like what you see! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have a question about any of these items.

Happy browsing!

– The Captain

*When I use the term ‘rescued leather’, I mean leather in different forms which is being discarded for one reason or another. I use leather from bags and coats, off-cuts and samples, and waste from the shoe industry.

Categories
Craft Gifts Notebooks Origami Stationery

News Of The New, Find Me On Folksy, Origami Necklaces Ahoy!

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 ahoythere@thecraftfantastic.co.uk or via the contact page.

See you next time,

The Captain

 

Categories
Craft Craft fairs Gifts Notebooks Stationery

Off-cuts of off-cuts: Scrap leather makes (plus a brief catch up!)

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:

  • Running Coffee.Cake.Create.

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!

Nene Court Emporium

  • Guesting on the Bonfire Banter podcast.

You can listen here: https://player.fm/series/bonfire-banter – Episode 11 features yours truly, talking bookbinding and more with hosts Matt and Dene.

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.

Categories
Books Gifts Lunchtime Lusting Stationery

Lunchtime Lusting: Stationery that isn’t stationery

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.

Hope you enjoyed this post, stationery fans!

Categories
Craft Craft fairs Gifts Notebooks Origami Paper Weddings

christmas Christmas CHRISTMAS! The run-down to the run-up.

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.

Right now I’m winding things down a bit. My Etsy shop is fully stocked with a wide array of notebooks & journals, book necklaces, and handmade Christmas decorations so it’s time to wind down a bit, look back over the past year and sort things out in readiness for the year ahead.

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!

Categories
Craft Craft fairs Gifts Notebooks Origami Paper Stationery

Autumn aboard The Craft Fantastic – new Etsy additions & upcoming fairs

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!

You can find these minis and more in The Craft Fantastic Etsy shop.

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.

 

 

Categories
Craft Gifts Inspiration Weddings

Wedding lookbook – autumn/winter

Spring/summer may be billed as the main wedding season, but what about all those autumn and winter brides? They’ll be busy planning away right about now, so I thought I’d share some ideas. Colour schemes, accessories, finishing touches, here are just a few images to inspire along with some stunning handmade products.

When it comes to colour schemes, autumn is my favourite! All those different shades of oranges and yellows are beautiful. Opt to incorporate subtle hints of seasonal colour, or go for something a bit bolder like in this bouquet and matching buttonholes. The bright oranges have been mixed with sheet music paper to create stunning effect:

This rustic wedding cake topper from The Button Jar is just the thing for an autumnal colour scheme:

And for the finishing touch to your tables, these copper hearts are perfect and can be used as wedding favours as well as decorative napkin rings:

 

It may be cold in winter but it can be so beautiful. Take some inspiration from frosty whites and cool blues. This large bouquet is made from white paper, with pearly beads dotted around – perfect for a cold winter’s day:

And if you wanted to inject some colour, this pompomblossom silk ribbon bundle would look gorgeous:

What about the weather? What about the weather! While it can rain at any time of the year, it is more likely to be wet in the winter months. So you just need to be prepared; and as it’s your wedding you need to do it in style – these heart shaped umbrellas from Simcha Central’s Etsy shop are so delightful, you’ll want to use them all the time:

As for bridal head wear, this beaded crown from VBMillinery is perfect for winter ice queens:

There are so many beautiful colours perfect for autumn/winter weddings, below are just a few more examples of my favourites. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like more info on origami flowers for your big day – spaces still available for autumn/winter 2017.

 

Want more? Check out these Etsy shops:

Categories
Craft Gifts Notebooks Origami Paper Stationery

Wanderlust: make an adventure to remember

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:

Ready for an adventure – A5 – £14
Ready for an adventure – A6 – £9
Off we go – A5 – £14

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 😀

*First wedding anniversary = paper! These items make great gift ideas. For more inspiration, take a look at this article from The Wedding Secret.*

Categories
Craft Gifts Lunchtime Lusting Origami Paper

Lunchtime Lusting – Valentine’s Day: To give and to get

Because it’s ok to hint, right? With Valentine’s Day drawing near, I’ve put together a little list of some of my favourite unique, handmade and alternative gifts – to give and to get!

‘Chocolate bar library’ from Fortnum & Mason, £5.50 each. What more would anyone want? Well, how about:

It’s £3 from the Literary Emporium. In fact, you could just point your other half to their site. All of it, please.

  • Are you told old to get soft toys? Are you, though? Really? What about… Robot plushies:

Well I’m in love. This little guy is from an American Etsy store, but they do ship to the UK. Hurrah!

This versatile little dish could be used for so many things: jewellery, keys, food… it’s microwave and dishwasher safe and £10 from Present Indicative.

  • Roses? Sure. But be original and get some that can be a keepsake, like these origami roses from yours truly:

These are £10 from The Craft Fantastic Etsy store – vase included! They’re also available in ‘pretty pastel hues.

 

Remember to leave enough time for your handmade gifts to arrive! The cut off date for The Craft Fantastic is midnight, Thursday 9th Feb for guaranteed delivery.

 

Categories
Craft Craft fairs Gifts Origami Paper

New year, new events

from-the-craft-fantasticA slightly belated Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fabulous festive season. Craft Fantastic HQ is all go for 2017, with new products and new fairs. Here are just a few things in store for this year:

mkhandmadeandvintage

 

This will be my first time exhibiting at one of these events. They’re hugely popular and always full of fantastic handmade goodies and vintage finds. I can’t wait!

For the second year running, The Craft Fantastic will be at Castle Ashby. Crossing my fingers the weather will be as good as last year.

Brand new for 2017 are more origami gifts. I’ve framed ‘Lover’s Knots’ – perfect for a Valentine’s Day or 1st anniversary gift. Alongside the frame is a small, simple paper flower arrangement.

Handmade origami gift

I’m in the process of adding them to The Craft Fantastic Etsy store. These are available in different colours, and I can do custom orders – email me for details.