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.
– 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.
Spring is the time of year for new growth and new life- so it’s the perfect time for a new craft idea! This seasonal papercraft project will brighten up your home.
Tassel and Feather Garland
These are simple and cheap to make, and look great using pastel shades or bright colours. You could even use old magazines for the feathers.
What you’ll need:
Tissue paper or thin paper
Thick paper or thin card
Medium-thick string or twine
For the tassels:
The tassels are made from the tissue or thin paper. Cut a rectangular length, twice the height you’d like your finished tassel to be, and fold in half from top to bottom. Take your scissors and fringe the bottom, snipping even strips upwards towards the fold, making sure you stop 2 or 3 cms before you reach it. Unfold, roll up and twist the uncut middle section. Then just fold and twist to make a loop, securing with a bit of glue.
For the feathers:
Use thicker paper or thin card for these. Practice drawing some feather shapes on some scrap paper, till you find one you’re happy with. Use the shapes below as guides or make your own up! Make sure the ‘stem’ of the feather is quite long.
Once you’ve cut your feathers out, fold over the long stem to create a loop (make sure it’s big enough to pass your string through) and dab a spot of glue on the end to secure.
Have a think where you’d like your garland to go and measure the string length accordingly, making sure you leave enough at each end to fasten it onto something.
Now all you need to do it thread your tassels and feathers onto the string and you’ve got yourself a garland! Make as many tassels and feathers to fill it as you’d like; experiment with a spaced out, even look so you can see each individual shape, or try grouping tassels and feathers together in bunches for a fuller feel.
Did you have a go at this? I’d love to know how it turned out!
Is 2019 the year you want to try something new and be more creative? There are so many different crafts with so many different books on each one, that picking a place to start can feel overwhelming; and so you just never get round to doing anything. Sound familiar? Well hopefully this list will help! I’ve scoured this here tinternet and found various craft books that I think are fantastic for starting out, but perhaps more importantly, keeping you motivated. There’s nothing worse than being put off something you’re trying to learn because you’re just not inspired. So, here you go, 8 books to get your creative mojo going. Some are craft-specific, some are all-rounders, all of them are designed to spark your imagination and keep that creative flame lit!
1. The Craft Companion
A good all-rounder, this one has some extras to keep you inspired! Along with a range of different skills to learn, the book includes a brief history on each craft, projects to try, plus it shows you inspirational makes from talented artisans. Even the titles of the different sections make you want to dive right in: fibre – stitch – surface – form. Go on, talk crafty to me.
Motivation value: 9/10 – background, ideas and projects all in one place.
2. Homemade (101 Beautiful and Useful Craft Projects)
Filled to the brim with creative ideas from and for around the home. There’s a lot about reusing and re-purposing in here, which I’m a big fan of. I nearly always start projects by going through everything I’ve already got in the house and seeing what I can use. It’s a great way to reduce waste and make use of things that you don’t use in their current form. The book is seasonal, so it’ll keep you going all year. As well as a variety of projects, it offers advice for practical and basic crafts, such as sewing and knitting.
Motivation value: 8/10 – it’ll get you looking at everyday objects in a new light.
3. Paper Craft Home
Papercraft has got to be one of the most accessible crafts around. There is so much you can do with a blank piece of paper! It’s versatile, affordable and simple to pick up. This book contains a range of papercrafting techniques for you to try out, before moving on to various projects. There are even some templates in the back to help you get started on some of the trickier projects, so no need to feel overwhelmed.
Motivation value: 7/10 – it’s a fun book for if you just want to get stuck in to something quickly.
4. Craft: Techniques and Projects
Fairly traditional in terms of layout, pictures and projects, this book is another good all-round source for those who don’t know which craft will suit them. There’s a mix of projects from simple to in-depth, with good clear pictures alongside the explanations.
Motivation value: 8/10 – there really should be plenty in here that you want to have a go at.
5. Everything Oz: The Wizard Book of Makes and Bakes
Whether you’re a fan of The Wizard of Oz or not, this book is an absolute joy. It’s filled with a wide variety of projects, both in terms of different crafts and skill level. Most are practical, some are just plain fun; I mean, I don’t know when I’d ever need giant paper poppies but this book makes me want to make them. Along with baking, sewing and papercraft projects, there’s a ‘beauty’ section which contains recipes for making a simple body scrub and skin tonic. Yes please.
Motivation value: 7/10 – a good ‘coffee table’ book, you’ll want to keep looking through this one.
6. Conscious Creativity: Look, Connect, Create
A ‘marmite’ book, I think, and you’ll know whether it’s for you if the title appeals! If you feel you simply want to bring more creativity into your life on a basic level, this book is for you. It will get you looking at your everyday world and really seeing it; colours, shapes, light, shade, texture. Your brain will open up and you’ll start noticing these things for yourself. Think ‘Amélie’ as she dips her hand into a sack of grain to see what it feels like… only it’s a book…
Motivation value: 8/10 – though it is more motivation and inspirational creativity than making.
7. The Wood Carver’s Dozen
Beautifully presented. Suitable for absolute beginners, it goes through tools, materials and techniques. The projects are for making everyday items that will look beautiful in your home. Everything is made using hand tools, so there’s no fear of having to invest in expensive equipment.
Motivation value: 7/10 – this craft is hard work but well worth the effort.
8. Mollie Makes: How to Crochet
Crochet doesn’t seem to be dwindling in popularity, probably due to the fact that you don’t need much in the way of materials and tools and it doesn’t take up too much space (yet. Wait till you get hooked. Pun intended.) This book is simple and clear, with great pictures and tutorials, making it easy to follow for the absolute beginner. There are a few simple projects and some trickier ones, so it should keep you going a while.
Motivation value: 7/10 – the colourful pictures and examples of what you can do with crochet will keep you coming back.
Heads up, Northamptonshire! There’s a brand new craft experience in town. Every Thursday (10:30-15:00), the mezzanine floor of The Emporium at Nene Court is the home to Coffee.Cake.Create.
So, what’s it all about? Basically, it’s a regular event where you can turn up, make something and enjoy a delicious cake and a hot drink. There’s a menu for the crafts, with 4 to choose from and a variety of skill levels and project times. You’ll get everything you need to make your chosen project, use of tools and a handy set of instructions; but never fear, the resident craft captain (that’s me, by the way) will be on hand to help if you need it.
If you’ve never been to The Emprium, here’s the deal: it’s the home of handmade in Northamptonshire. Situated within Nene Court, the shop houses 30+ makers, artists and crafters in the downstairs area, while upstairs is a space where various workshops are held, as well as Coffee.Cake.Create.
Next door to the shop is the Garden Deli, a marvellous little cafe that has an outdoor space as well as a new expanded seating area right in The Emporium. This is where the delicious cakes and hot drinks come from for Coffee.Cake.Create; the price you pay for a project includes a drink (up to the value of £3) plus any piece of cake. So, once you’ve chosen and paid for your project at The Emporium, it’s just a few steps through to the Deli where you can order your items – they’ll then be brought up to you so you can sit back, relax and do your project in your own time.
It’s a great thing to do with a couple of friends, for some time out from your day, or to learn a new skill. You could even hold a Coffee.Cake.Create. party, hen do or event – it doesn’t have to be in the day time! Contact me for more info, or follow the link below. The menu is set for September (see below), with new crafts, specials and festive-themed makes coming later in the year. Hope to see you there one Thursday!
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.
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:
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.
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll notice my handle is @Guiwenneth – in fact, I’ve used it quite a bit for various things. So where did it come from and what does it have to do with The Craft Fantastic?
The name Guiwenneth comes from a book – of course it does! It’s taken from the ‘Mythago Wood’ series by Robert Holdstock. It’s all fantasy and forests and mythology and I’m not saying anything else; you’ll just have to read the books! Anyway, when I was thinking about my business, coming up with a brand, doodling logos, I named the mermaid I designed Guiwenneth. You should be able to see her, bobbing about at the top of my site. I guess you could say she’s my co-captain, as she was designed alongside my main logo of the little ship:
The Craft Fantastic – and intentional pun on the word craft. I loved the thought of my business being a new enterprise, setting off on an adventure into uncharted waters, so the name seemed to fit well. I’ve since designed a simpler anchor logo that works much better for my Etsy store, but I can’t ever get rid of the original boat – or indeed Guiwenneth, which is a good job as she’s tattooed on my ankle!
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!
Crafters around the world have been busy working on their Christmas stock for quite some time already – but hold up! We have Halloween to go first!
If you have enough time on your hands, it’s really easy to put together these simple ideas for a seasonally spooky home. I’ve been scouring the web for ideas and I think this list shows a great range of different styles to suit any house this Halloween:
Loads of ideas here for a frighteningly good Halloween party for any age group! Pumpkin ice buckets, orange jack-o-lanterns and more. How about these ribs?
I hope these sites have given you some inspiration. Don’t forget to check out my seasonal page over on The Craft Fantastic etsy shop, featuring my handmade Halloween garlands and spooky fang charm notebooks.
Father’s Day is Sunday 19th June – that’s THIS SUNDAY people – and if you haven’t got anything yet, there’s not much time left!
If you’re thinking of ordering something handmade made from Etsy or Folky, I’d say you’ve got until Wednesday 15th to guarantee delivery in time. And if you’re not sure what to get, never fear! The internet is here to help!
Any online store will have a search facility, and of course that’s the ideal place to start; but head on over to Esty and they have a Treasury section. This is where lovely Etsy members have done the hard work for you and hand picked a selection of relevant goodies. For example:
Last of all, what kind of craft business woman would I be if I didn’t plug my own shop a wee bit? I’ve got a range of compact hand-bound notebooks in my Etsy store, perfect for the back pocket of your dad’s jeans. My favourite is this one here which fastens using a pencil – so you’ve always got something to write with to hand:
I hope that’s given you last-minuters some good ideas! And if you really leave it too late, take him out for ice cream 😀