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!
This pretty origami butterfly doesn’t have many steps to it, but it can be quite tricky to get right first time. This picture tutorial will guide you through the process.
First of all, you’ll be creasing some guideline folds. Start with the square of paper sat so it looks like a diamond.
Fold in half top to bottom (point to point), crease and unfold; then do the same in the other direction, folding one side point to the other then opening up.
Turn the paper over and position it so it’s square in front of you.
You’ll be folding the paper in half again, top to bottom then side to side, creasing and opening back up each time.
With the creases you’ve made, the square should collapse down into a triangle. Pick the paper up.
You can see that the horizontal crease is going down, while the diagonal ones are popping up; just encourage this to happen! The centre should come up in a point while the sides fold in on themselves
Lay this triangle down so the long edge is at the top and go over the creases.
Working with the top layer only, take each of the top corner points and fold the down to meet the bottom point in the middle. Crease these folds well, then turn the model over.
See that point at the bottom? The top layer? You need to bring that up towards the middle of the top edge, so it overlaps a bit.
The two flaps underneath will pull round a bit; that’s fine, just let them come along. It’ll probably be easier if you pick the model up now. So, take that bottom point up past the top edge a little and fold it over, turning the whole thing over again at the end and firmly crease the fold so it stays in place. (You may find you need a spot of glue to keep that last fold in place.)
All that’s left to do is fold the wings up. You’ll sort of be folding it in half, which may feel a little odd, but once you’ve got going you should see how it’ll bring the wings up to stand out. Push down in the middle with one finger and bring the wings up on either side, pressing that middle bit together.
That’s it! The more you fold this butterfly, the easier it will become.
Happy 2018! I hope you all had a fantastic festive season. I certainly did; despite being thwarted by the weather a couple of times, we managed to get all the family visits in.
For the past week I’ve been getting The Craft Fantastic HQ sorted for the year ahead, plus writing lots of lovely lists and plans. So, what will I be up to? Well, this year, along with maintaining my etsy shop, I’ll be focusing on weddings.
I’ve got 3 wedding fairs lined up for all you brides and grooms looking for something a bit different for your wedding flowers:
Abington Park Museum (NN1 5LW), Sunday March 4th, 11:00 – 14:00. This beautiful building has only quite recently been licensed for marriages, so it’s the perfect opportunity to take a look.
Grendon Lakes (NN7 1JW), Sunday April 15th, 11:00 – 14:00. A fabulous marquee wedding fair in a gorgeous setting.
Rock Your Wedding Fair, Old White Hart (NN4 8BS), Sunday May 20th, 11:00 – 15:00. Northampton’s first alternative wedding fair! I cannot WAIT for this one.
If you’re looking to book wedding flowers for this year, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m happy to go through options and prices; I know how expensive weddings can be and try to offer something to suit every budget. Email me at email@example.com or use the form on the contact page.
Alongside weddings, I’ll be doing some craft workshops. This is something I’ve been planning for a while and have done a couple of test runs on small groups to see what works and what doesn’t. I can offer simple, mess-free paper folding or something more full-on involving pots of glue!
I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be running a papercraft and origami workshop at the lovely Bay Tree Cottage in Towcester, Northamptonshire. This will be a full-on evening, where you’ll get to try your hand at a few different things, including gift tags, coasters and flowers. This is an evening class and includes a light supper. It will be held on Wednesday May 2nd – find all the details you need to book here.
If you’d like to book me for a workshop at your event space, please email me for details – firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 😀
I love a handmade wedding, I really do – and I know I’m not alone! So many people are now realising that they can contribute to their own weddings to make them unique and personal. The great thing is you can do as much or as little as you can; it’s still just as satisfying.
I’ve created a Pinterest board (how I wish it was around when I was planning my wedding!) full of wedding inspiration, ideas, tutorials, and, let’s be honest, stuff I just love the look of. I’ve also included some of my wedding items which you can find in my Etsy store, along with other great handmade items you can buy.
Here are a few of my faves from the board so far:
Wildflower confetti – make cones out of a sheet of paper and fill with pretty petals.
Looking for musical inspiration? This book contains some great song suggestions, plus a few hints and tips on the big day. Includes a foreword from Rock ‘n’ Roll Bride’s very own Kat!
Try your hand at making these gorgeous wedding favour lollies – get the tutorial here.
If you’re looking for something simple to make with inexpensive materials, I’ve got a tutorial here for you – origami heart cards. They’re very quick to fold once you get the hang of them, and can be used in various way. Hover over the pics in the gallery below for step-by-step instructions:
These would make nice simple (and cheap to post!) save the date memos:
You could use these to decorate the tops of your favour boxes (simply glue together if you don’t want to use as a card):
Or, use them for a place setting – or a place setting/box topper combined. You could even write a personal message on the inside:
The nice thing about these is you don’t need to get special origami paper – you can even cut down bog standard printer paper into squares. This is great for getting the exact size you want – just experiment!
I’ve been busy making Coptic-bound notebooks lately – and they’re all up for sale in my Etsy store. All hand stitched, I’ve done an A6 one and a couple of A5 books; use them for what you will – notebooks, sketchbooks, guestbooks, journals – they’re all very versatile! Here’s a peek at the newbies:
As well as stock, I’ve been playing with my new origami paper – making these gorgeous gingham elephants!
I’m thinking they’ll make lovely greetings cards – what do you reckon? What other things do you think I could use them for?
Last but not least – I’ve booked a summer fete for later in the year. It’s a local affair for a good cause; my stall fee went straight to the hosts Just Giving page for SWAN – syndromes without a name, supporting undiagnosed children. It’s on July 24th at The Elgar Centre in Northampton, more details on their Facebook page.