A Chat With Pinterest UK Part 2: Using Pinterest as a Blogger

In part two of our Pinterest series, Lizzie Sibley, Pinterest’s UK Marketing Manager, shares her advice on using Pinterest as a blogger. You can read part one here.

 

Pinterest UK's Marketing Manager, Lizzie, is back to share more tips
Pinterest UK’s Marketing Manager, Lizzie, is back to share more tips

 

 

  1. Hi again Lizzie! As a blogger, how important is it to like and comment on other people’s pins?

  Authenticity is key to Pinterest. You can comment on Pins or @mention fellow Pinners to give them a heads up when you find something great. There’s also a space on every Pin where you can ask questions and get answers from your fellow Pinners.

  2. What size do you recommend bloggers make their original images?

  You can upload JPG, PNG and GIF image files to Pinterest and you can even Pin videos from YouTube. You can Pin images that are at least 100px in one dimension (height or width) and at least 200px in the other (if you’re using the Pin
It button on your website images must be at least 120px by 120px to show the hover Pin It button).

  3. Is it important to pin regularly to make sure I keep getting noticed, or is it the quality of the images themselves that matter most?

  The half-life of a Pin is thousands of times longer than a tweet or Facebook post. What I’d recommend is that you get the Pin It button on your blog, encourage your readers to do the Pinning for you. Regular Pinning keeps you up to date with what people are interested in.

  4. Do you have any tips for creating great, pinnable images for my blog?

  Take a look at Pinterest; what do you want to Pin? A clear image that inspires you to do something is what you want.

  5. How important is it that I add a description to my pins?

  Pinterest search works on organic text. If you list a Pin as a blue, ombré sweater – it will turn up in searches for each of these words. Again the key to Pinterest is authenticity, helping people to discover more.

  6. In the world of the internet, with so many great ideas flying around, plagiarism and inadvertent copying can be a real problem. How do you recommend bloggers strike the balance between using and enjoying Pinterest for inspiration, and keeping their own ideas original?

  You can find out more about Copyright and Trademark use in the Pinterest support centre.

Great tips, thanks Lizzie! We’ll be back with part 3 - getting more out of Pinterest for small businesses - next week.

A Common Thread

Tell us about youselves? We are Angel Ashcroft and Lula Tobitt from A Common Thread: Coalition of Craft two friends from North London who have worked on a number of creative projects throughout our 30 year friendship from Riot Grrrl fanzines and DIY punk music in our teens to fine art and Craftivism in our 20’s, now in our 30’s we design and produce limited collections and run a craft school in Archway that opened in December 2014.

How did you get started? Opening our own craft studio was a natural progression from our DIY teen roots, political Craftivism merged our intense love of making with our ideology that actions and art can change the world we live in. Having spent years teaching as a sideline alongside working the obligatory ‘day job’ we decided to ditch the wages and leap straight into self employment in the midst of one of the worst recessions since the second world war. 

We heard you have a lovely new studio, tell us all about next? We have a lovely little studio in Archway North London, it is part of a converted Victorian building that houses a number of Designers, Architects, Holistic Practitioners, Writers and Therapists. Our studio is where we design and make our limited collections, house our ethical yarns and teach a number of workshops to small groups of no more than 4 people. The building has a fantastic rooftop view of London where we plan to host some Stitch n’ Pimms parties in the summer.

Tell us more about A Common Thread? We run a number of workshops teaching knitting, crochet, machine and hand sewing, needle felting and embroidery. We have beginners and intermediate classes for one-to-one workshops or small groups. We also design and make a limited collection of items using ethical materials and hand crafted techniques, these include furnishings, household goods and garments. Our collections are produced twice a year for spring/summer and autumn/winter. We stock ethical yarns and handmade items by independent designer/makers.

There's a big ethical theme to A Common Thread, why is ethical important to you? As people who love to constantly make items and try new materials but also love animals and care for our environment we believe that crafts should be beautiful from beginning to end, which means not using materials that come from animal cruelty such as those recently exposed in the wool industry, not using sweatshop labour or products that cause detrimental damage to the environment such as harsh dyes and chemicals. We are not perfect but are constantly trying to find ways to make our work have less impact on our planet, the world of design constantly throws up new and exciting ideas that allow us to move over to better fabrics and processes all the time.

What’s new and exciting for 2015? We will be showcasing our first limited collection at Selvedge Spring Fair in April along with a selection of gorgeous plant-dyed vegan yarns. In May we’ll be running an upcycled necklace workshop and a stall at the Summer Bust Craftacular in East London. We are about to launch a Knit & Stitch night where we will combine our love of  cocktails and making in a relaxed social setting, where people can share discuss and share their current projects.  We are working on some exciting new workshops for later this year and showcasing other makers through our growing social media outlets and blog/website.

Thank you  for taking the time to pass by the Craft Candy blog.

To find out more about A Common Thread or to book onto one of their classes, check out their website http://www.acommonthread.co.uk and follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CommonThreadCoalition 

Rag Rug Kit Giveaway With Ragged Life

Last week Craft Candy’s very own Zoe tried her hand at rag rug making in London with Ragged Life, the brainchild of Elspeth, who has been sharing her passion for making new from old using rags for the past two years. Rag rug making in particular is making a huge comeback, with more and more people seeking to learn to make sustainable items from recycled materials.

Craft Candy's Zoe in full rag rug-making swing!
Craft Candy’s Zoe in full rag rug-making swing! source
source

Ragged Life have very kindly offered us one rag rug tool kit to give away!

We have one Rugged Life Rag Rug Tool Kit to give away!
We have one Rugged Life Rag Rug Tool Kit to give away!

  The kit contains:

- Rag Rug Latch hook

- Hemmed Rug Hessian (100 x 60cm)

- Wooden Rag Rug Fabric Cutting Gauge

- Instructional CD (including How To Videos)

- Instructional Booklet (With easy to follow step by step instructions & photos)

- Pen

Ragged Life's Elspeth with the Rag Rug Tool Kit
Ragged Life’s Elspeth with the Rag Rug Tool Kit

  To be in with a chance of winning this kit and be mastering your new craft hobby by Christmas, simply pop a quick comment on this post below, telling us about the best creative class or workshop you’ve ever been to, and why. We’ll also need your name and email address. The giveaway closes on Friday 21st November.

  And be sure to check our Ragged Life’s upcoming classes (and we’ve been lusting over the rugs on their Pinterest too, here.)

  Good luck!

This giveaway has now closed and the winner is… Laura Cockitt! Congratulations!

A Chat With Pinterest UK’s Lizzie Sibley

It’s no secret that here at Craft Candy we are in love with Pinterest. In the first of a three-part series, we introduce Lizzie Sibley, UK Marketing Manager for Pinterest, who is here to tell you how you can get the most out of our favourite social media site, whether you’re pinning for fun, as a blogger or as a small business.

  In part one, we get to know Lizzie, our Pinterest expert, a little better.

 

 

Lizzie and Craft Candy's Zoe about to go onstage at Kirstie Allsopp's The Handmade Fair
Lizzie and Craft Candy’s Zoe about to go onstage at Kirstie Allsopp’s The Handmade Fair

 
1. Hi Lizzie! What sort of topics are you obsessed with collecting on Pinterest?

  I’d like to describe my Pinterest tastes in the same way I do my music, it’s eclectic! I’m a huge planner so anything from what we’re going to do on our next holiday to new embroidery stitches I’m going to learn. I’m a really picky Pinner though, I can spend hours browsing before I commit a Pin to
a board, you don’t even want to know how many Secret Boards I have with Pins that haven’t quite made the cut!

  2. What do you use Pinterest for?

  Currently my biggest project is the house I’m restoring and Pinterest is such a useful tool for this. It’s a not-so-beautiful 1930s terrace house that has not had a lot of love over recent years, so I’m always pinning DIY home fixes or dream furniture for each and every room. I use a lot of collaborative boards to work together with my husband on Pinterest.

  3. If you could recreate one project you’ve spotted on Pinterest, what would it be?

  Any of my gardening Pins. I love upcycling in the garden and anything crafty for outdoors is wonderful. I love these DIY brick books I spotted on Pinterest, and would love to make these to have in piles around my garden.

  4. What’s your favourite sort of cake?

  I’ve never met a cake I haven’t liked! A current cake I’m crushing on is Lily Vanilli’s Madeira cake, infused with rose and decorated with edible flowers, fruit and buttercream. We recently held a Pinterest Community event with Lily and she showed
us all how to make them. As a result, we now have lots of this cake in our house!

  5. Do you have a favourite animal?

  My spirit animal is a squirrel but I do have a lot of love for one particular corgi called Luna.

  6. Which five people, alive or dead, would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?

  I recently met Kirstie Allsopp, who is a crafting dream. I’d love to have her at the table and as much as I like to cook, I’d request Jamie Oliver to prepare a slap up meal.

  Thank you Lizzie! Join us next Monday when we’ll be asking Lizzie’s advice on using Pinterest as a blogger. You can check out Craft Candy’s Pinterest here.

Debbie Bliss Releases Her New Book: Woolly Woofers

Renowned knitwear designer Debbie Bliss has published twenty original knitted designs for pooches in the form of Woolly Woofers, which came out on Thursday. We at Craft Candy were keen to get our paws on a copy, and as I (Anna) have a canine friend of my own, Beatrix, we curled up and took a look at it together.

  The book assumes you have a dog who likes to look dapper and stylish in the first place, and while my dog isn’t one for dressing up per sé, we liked that it doesn’t take this trend into the realms of, well, the silly. Beatrix is rather fond of a nice woolly jumper in the cooler months, and here she is spoiled for choice, with patterns ranging from a debonair ‘Sherlock Bones’ number to a woolly parka for poochy city slickers.

  Our favourite was the aran sweater; simple, classic and goes with everything.

  We all know that humans come in lots of different shapes and sizes, but that’s nothing compared to dogs, so I was impressed by the handy information on sizing for each pattern. The instructions are easy to follow and the book has a very fresh, clean feel - not a whiff of twee in sight.

  Best of all, every one of Debbie Bliss’ designs serves the true purpose of clothing for any dog - to keep them warm. I know Beatrix will be more than happy to sport one or two of these woolly numbers this winter.

  Woolly Woofers is published by Quadrille and retails at £14.99

Book photography by Richard Burns

Craft Candy Interviews Wool and the Gang

  This week we’re really excited to interview Jade and Aurelie from Wool and the Gang. A community of makers all working together to take the knitted fashion world by storm, the brand continues to go from strength to strength. We had a chat with them to find out the story behind The Gang.

  CC: So – tell us all! Just who are Wool and the Gang?

  W&G: A Gang needs to be big if it wants to conquer the world. So, The Gang is ourselves, Jade and Aurelie, Gang founders and Creative Directors. The Gang is also a super team of 15 people who work from our warehouse-studio in East London pulling all the right strings for our brand to expand and thrive. And above all, The Gang is powered by tight community of makers who work on their own time and from their own place and sell via woolandthegang.com.

  CC: How did it start?

 
W&G: We met while studying Textile Design at Central Saint Martins in London. After school we gained experience together at Alexander McQueen and Balmain in Paris. That’s when we met former model, world traveller and yarn lover Lisa Sabrier. Together we founded Wool and the Gang and we took our yarn paraphernalia from New York to East London.

  CC: What’s the vision behind the brand?

 
W&G: We believe in fashion disruption - in fashion made differently. Fashion should (and can) be #madeunique with love. No nasties, no mass-produced clothing, just quality fashion produced in a sustainable way. We’ve all done it, purchased low quality, cheap fashion made in factories abroad and wondered ‘how do they make it so cheap?’ The reality is not good. There has to be a better way to produce, one that allows us to to wear with pride and sleep soundly. So Wool and the Gang was born - pioneering fashion production that’s made in a sustainable way, bringing back knitting as a viable means of production for generations to come.

  CC: Where are your makers based?

 
W&G: Our Gang makers spread all over the world leading the maker revolution from London to France, US, Peru and Australia.

  CC: How does being a Gang Member work?

  W&G: Our Gang Makers knit up our designs using Wool and the Gang yarns. Once the finished pieces have passed through Quality Check and received the WATG stamp of approval they’re uploaded to our website. After they sell, the maker receives the sale price minus our commission.

  CC: What’s the best woolly garment you have ever owned? (Mine was a fluffy woolly gilet. It was so bad, it was amazing!)

  Jade: A handknitted tunic from my Nan, which has been attacked by moths but I love it so much that I just can’t throw it out.

  Aurelie: A WATG beanie. wink

  Thanks guys! You can find out everything you need to know about buying from Wool and the Gang and becoming a member on their very cool website.

Etsy Craft Party 2014

  June 6th sees the return of the Etsy Craft Party; their fourth global celebration of meeting and making! The parties, organised by enthusiastic members of local communities all over the world, aim to bring creative types together to craft and chat, and this year’s theme is Recapture: Bring new meaning to your photographs.

 

  Local parties, such as this one in Berylune, Leamington Spa have started to appear on the Craft Candy website, and you can either find your local event or organise one of your own.We’re big fans of Etsy here at Craft Candy, and love that the Global Etsy Party brings together our two favourite things; crafting and local!

Have you ever fancied joining Etsy and opening your own shop? If you’re feeling inspired to take your own crafting to the next level, we are able to offer you your first twenty listings free when you use this link and enter the code craftcandy.

Hawthorne and Heaney Interview

We’re delighted to bring you an interview with Natasha Searls-Punter of Hawthorne and Heaney, the UK’s premier hand embroidery supplier. Read on for a fascinating glimpse into the world of bespoke embroidery design, The London Embroidery School and Natasha’s thoughts on the future for this re-popularised craft.

 

 

  Tell us a little about Hawthorne and Heaney and The London Embroidery School.

  We are a central London based bespoke embroidery company where we offer design, consultation, management and production services. We work on couture fashion embroidery, costume,monogramming, embroidery for interiors and art projects as well as our specialty, which is military and ceremonial gold work.

  We also run the London Embroidery School where we teach some of the techniques we use weekly. Classes range from our traditional technique classes, tambour beading and gold work, to seasonal classes such as silk flower and lace jewellery making. We believe in teaching the art of hand embroidery and it is our mission to impart these skills and supply professional equipment to anyone who has the will and the patience to learn. Our skilled tutors are all professionally trained, so you can learn at the highest level. All the equipment we use, we sell on the LES website too so you can continue to practice at home.

 

  Embroidery is one of the oldest crafts, just think of all those amazing, huge tapestries in castles and country houses! Why is embroidery such an enduring art form?

  With embroidery you can’t really short cut the process and naturally these processes take time, so when people appreciate a piece of embroidery, they appreciate it not only for the finished piece but the skill, effort and time it has taken to create it. There is always something very luxurious about embroidery that people seem to respond to no matter how old it is. When you see a fine piece of embroidery you always want to reach out and touch it, perhaps just to be sure that it is made of stitches because it looks too perfect or because it is likely to be soft (although I wouldn’t advise that of the old pieces in castles and museums as I’m sure the owners won’t appreciate it).

 

 

  Embroidery is enjoying quite a renaissance at the moment, and it’s taking on new and exciting forms - we’re thinking of the work of Jamie Chalmers, aka Mr X. Stitch, Karen Grenfell, aka MimiLove Forever, and movements such as that of the Craftivist Collective. Why do you think it’s so popular again at the moment?

  I think in the past embroidery used to be passed down within families so although the effects were widely appreciated, the knowledge was quite exclusive. This meant that the uses of embroidery were very specific and restricted, always using the same type of embroidery for the same type of piece. However with the rise of blogging and social media over the last few years, we are communicating more and so we are all more aware of what interests other people and might interest us. Creative people all over will
learn a plethora of skills and then delight in mixing them together to make an unexpected effect, like Mimi Loves forever and Carne Griffiths for whom, we have recently been embroidering into a series of his works.

this image as belonging to Carne Griffiths with this trackable link: http://bit.ly/1kYyOu8
this image as belonging to Carne Griffiths with this trackable link: http://bit.ly/1kYyOu8

  Has there been a project you have particularly loved being involved with?

 

  Being a bespoke company we never know what we are going to be working on next. This keeps it all very exciting and incredibly varied so putting a name to just one is difficult. With the school its always fun when we get to take the teaching on the road to a new audience like the Somerset House Valentino roses class and Gold work course at the Bowes Museum

 

  Is there a demand for fine detail in embroidery in costume design now that more of us are watching film and tv in high definition?

  Absolutely! With the way that cameras have developed, there has been a much greater call for fine detail and in turn, a much greater appreciation of costume. The public is becoming more aware of the processes that go on behind the screen and appreciating the subtleties.

 

 
Where do you think the future lies for embroidery?

  I can confidently say I think there will always be a place for embroidery. It’s such an old art and has continually developed in so many ways that I think it will always survive so long as people have the interest, which currently is growing. As for the future of embroidery, the more interest that is created around embroidery the better as Made in England products and services are ever increasing in popularity.

 

  Natasha Searls-Punter @ Hawthorne and Heaney

Taxidermy Class in Shoreditch

  Being a creative workshop and classes platform it would be wrong if not one person in our team had tried and learned more about the classes listed on our site, so I took one for the team this month and signed up to a taxidermy class.

  When you think of taxidermy what springs to mind? Dead animals? Never in a million years? Or, “Wow I hadn’t realised that there are classes in taxidermy”? Well for me it was none of the above; it was simply, “oohhh something new to try”. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

  It turned out to be an insightful four hour class. Taxidermy isn’t a quick craft. You can’t just stuff an animal before you go to bed! Our teacher {insert name} talked us through lots of the processes involved, and given that a mouse takes four hours you won’t see me mounting a bear’s head on my wall anytime soon!

Before you proceed and scroll down to see our wonderful images, please be aware that there are two or three images which aren’t for the squirmy so you might not want to see them whilst you are eating, but other than that you can see how my mouse turned into Donna the mouse… yes I named her - I’d spent 4 hours getting acquainted, how could she not have a name?

Notice:

Not to be tried at home No mice were hurt whilst making this blog post

Recommendation: Yes of course I would recommend the class to others, here’s the link to the site I booked the class through and I’ve grown attached to Donna. Doing a course like this, where I got to learn a traditional craft was an eye opener and I have a new respect for taxidermy. The only thing I’d change about my class was the venue. It took place at a venue in London called Box Park and the place is amazing for shopping, socialising and eating but not taxidermy, we were situated next to a Thai canteen… which seemed just plain wrong!

Wood Block Printing in Blackheath

  I last printed two years ago at a screen printing class and since then my printing repertoire has been limited to say the least! But that was all about to change with the Block Printing class I had recently signed up to. What do I know about block printing? Short answer – nothing, and I didn’t do any research beforehand. I was hoping to be amazed and wowed by my teacher (I know, I know, having high expectations is never a good thing).

  The class took place at The Conservatoire an art centre in Blackheath, south London (where the London Marathon starts) and as far as arts centres go it is pretty swanky; mod cons surrounded by beautiful vintage printing equipment perfectly restored for beginners like me to get my grubby paws on!

  Follow my story of images to find out what I got up to throughout the day…

  Recommendation: This was an amazing class, the equipment and tools were exceptional but for me there’s nothing better than learning a craft from someone who is passionate about their craft. Our tutor lives and breathes block printing, he talked us through different techniques, exhibitions and artists’ names throughout the day, it was a pleasure it be taught by out tutor. If you are interested in any type of printing check out the rest of the classes at up Citylit

Q&A with Cornwall School of Art, Craft & Jewellery

 

Could you tell us how the Cornwall School of Art, Craft and Jewellery came to be?

  I’ve been teaching craft and jewellery classes alongside my full time career for quite a few years. I took early retirement in 2010 and I’ve been teaching at various places around the UK since then. My business partner Marion

  also gave up the corporate world to focus on her own craft based business sometime ago. We’ve known each other for a few years and always got on well. When the chance to buy an established business in Cornwall came up, I asked Marion if she’d like to partner with me in buying it. We spent lots of time talking about how we’d run a business together and found that we saw eye-to-eye on many aspects so we decided to go for it. The sale fell through but we’d made so many plans that we decided to set up our own business with a much broader remit than
the business we were going to buy. We’re so glad we did!

 

What is it that your customers love about learning with you?

  They tell us various things. First, they love the environment. We looked at quite a few places when we were searching for somewhere to set up the school but the moment we saw the courtyard and surroundings of Coldrenick Farm, we fell in love! It’s quiet and peaceful but also really close to the A30 so easy to find. Students tell us that they find the environment calm, peaceful and highly conducive to immersing themselves in crafty pursuits. Next they tell us they love the welcome they get. We are open for business every day and we encourage people to pop in if they are passing. We often have people come in to see what we’re up to before booking a course and they always get a cup of tea and a tour!

  Mainly, they love the quality of the teaching they get. Marion and I are both experienced tutors, well used to teaching both complete beginners and more experienced students. We take the student experience very seriously and always aim to give students more than they expect. We maintain our own level of knowledge by taking training ourselves and are great experimenters. We’ve always got something new on the go!

Jewellery-making is an ancient art, and silver clay in particular seems to be enjoying a wave of popularity at the moment. Why do you think this is?

  Silver clay is a new medium compared to the long tradition of jewellery making which dates back to the time when people used shells and seeds to adorn themselves. This medium is so accessible for beginners and requires simple tools which many people already have. The way we teach silver clay shows people that they can make pieces of jewellery they can be proud of at their kitchen table with the minimum of expense and this approach brings people back for more again and again.

  We also have lots of more advanced metal clay work on display in the school which Marion and I have made. This shows people the huge potential of metal clay as a serious artistic medium and gives them something to work towards as they build their skills with us.

 

Your school caters for a wide variety of crafts. Why do you believe handmade is so important?

  There is something incredibly satisfying about making things by hand. In our modern society, so many things are machine made or imported with no idea how, or where, they’ve been produced. Making something from raw materials to your own design and with your own hands, and then using or wearing it produces a great sense of achievement.

  One common thing we hear people say when they are new to crafts is that they are not very creative. We aim to change that perception when they take classes with us. People book on our classes for a variety of reasons. Some come to learn new skills or to develop their existing skills. Others just want to spend a few hours away from the normal stresses and strains of life and do something new and fun. We cater for all levels of skill and we help people to make things they can be proud of; that’s our ethos when we’re putting new classes together. It’s so lovely to see people walk out wearing the jewellery they’ve made, seeing them realise they are creative after all. It boosts self-esteem and builds confidence, no matter what the age of the student.

 

 

How does the beautiful Cornwall setting influence the pieces your customers create on your courses?

  Our customers tell us that the setting produces a relaxed feeling from the start and that was part of the reason we chose this particular location. Marion and I are both relaxed and calm teachers and this helps to ensure our classes are fun and relaxing for our students. We often use leaves and plants from outside the studio in classes; these are good to use with porcelain, silver clay or polymer clay and make great textures.

 

  We are currently developing some new classes for the tourist season which allow people to use shells, stones and beach finds in craft projects. This means they can take home a little piece of Cornwall in something they’ve
made themselves.

We love the idea of using natural, found items in crafts! Thank you Julia for sharing your story.

Fun Fabric Mother’s Day Card By Laura Strutt

Mother’s Day is just around the corner – what better way to show you care than with a contemporary stitched card? Have a rummage through your stash and pick out your favourite prints for a modern and striking design.

Supplies

Card blank

Backing fabric – remnant

Contrast print cotton – remnant

Bondaweb

Fabric Scissors

Pinking sheers

Embroidery cotton

Embroidery Needle

Pen

Iron

Scrapbook Stitch Hole Maker (optional)

Step 1

Using the pinking sheers trim the backing fabric to create a panel 2cm smaller than the front of the card. On to the Bondaweb draw out the word MUM – working with bold block capitals will make it easier to cut and give a neater finish.

Step 2

Cut the  work from the fabric and Bondaweb and use an iron to secure to the front of the backing fabric using the iron and following the manufacturers instructions.

Step 3

Using the Scrapbook Stitch Hole Maker make a line of stitching holes along the front of the card, this will be positioned 2cm inside the pinked edge of the backing fabric. If you don’t have a Scrapbook Stitch Hole Maker, simply work with a sharp needle or pin, with the card placed on a folded towel to make small and neat needle holes through which to stich.  

Step 4


Using an iron and a piece of Bondaweb position and secure the embellished MUM fabric panel to the front of the card. Thread the needle with the embroidery cotton and, using the neat holes as a guide ass a line of neat running stitches across the front. Secure the threads neatly on the inside to finish.   

Laura Strutt is the author of The Sewing Manual (Haynes 2013) and The DIY Wedding Manual (Haynes 2014) she shares daily projects, how-to guides and handmade style and inspiration daily on her creative lifestyle journal www.madepeachy.com

You can also find her on;

Twitter @madepeachy

Instagram @madepeachy

Pinterest.com/madepeachy

Facebook.com/madepeachy

Craft Candy Birthday Bunting Quick Make By Laura Strutt

Bunting is a great addition to any special occasion, but this super quick make bunting can be personalized to give it a really unique feel! Plus, it is made with only a couple of supplies, so you can whip up a few lengths at a moments notice!

Supplies

Length of ribbon 20cm longer than desired bunting length

  Pack of coloured paper doilies

  Paper glue stick

  Coloured pens

  Scissors (optional)

  Step 1


Lay out your desired number of paper doilies for the sentiment that you want to share on the paper bunting. Begin folding the upper section of the paper bunting section over by 2-3cm.

  Step 2


Arrange the paper doilies into your prefereed colour order and begin writing your sentiment across them. Add one letter to each doilie and work in italic or block capitals, whichever you prefer.

  Step 3


Leaving 10cm of ribbon for hanging the bunting, and place the folded bunting over the ribbon. Secure in place with a dab of paper glue.

  Step 4


Continue securing the folded doilies onto the ribbon with paper glue, leaving 1-2cm between each one, until the sentiment is secure on the ribbon. Leave 10cm at the end for hanging the bunting.

  Step 5



  Why not customize the design and trim away some of the outer frills of the bunting to accommodate larger words?

  Once your bunting is complete, hang and enjoy – because this is made form light-weight paper doilies, you’ll be able to hand it easily with just a blog of Blu Tack or a thumb tack.

  Laura Strutt is the author of The Sewing Manual (Haynes 2013) and The DIY Wedding Manual (Haynes 2014) she shares daily projects, how-to guides and handmade style and inspiration daily on her creative lifestyle journal www.madepeachy.com

  You can also find her
on;

  Twitter @madepeachy

  Instagram @madepeachy

  Pinterest.com/madepeachy

  Facebook.com/madepeachy

The Makery Book Review

Makery: Over 30 Projects for the Home, to Wear and to Give by Kate Smith

 

 

  Published in September 2013, Makery is the product of multi-crafter and owner of The Makery workshop and shop, Kate Smith. From this base in Bath, Kate delivers classes in everything from sewing to printmaking, upholstery to knitting. Her book shares some of her favourite projects, presented across three sections: Fashion, Gifts and Home.

  The Projects

  My impression on flicking through the pages of Makery is that at first glance there appears to be far more than thirty projects in this book. It’s quite a thick volume, with quite a lot of page space given to each make. I liked this, as I could tell it would be a book I’d dip into when seeking inspiration for my next project.

  The range of projects is vast, covering everything from a clasp purse to a fabric deer head. My criticism of the projects themselves is that I have seen a fair few of them before. The tape measure brooch I have seen in Junk Genius by Juliette Goggin and Stacy Sirk, and many other projects have appeared as well-worn yet more generic design ideas in other craft books and magazines; decorated gift tags, mug cosies and machine-embroidered cushions, to name a few. It’s impossible to say where an idea for a craft how-to originates – and it’s entirely possible that several people at any one time are having the same great idea, especially when they are designing to fit in with popular trends, such as vintage, or upcycling. Its also only fair to note that some of the makes I’ve seen in craft magazines may have been directly donated from this very book by Kate Smith herself, as a way of promoting Makery. On the plus side, it’s not always a bad thing seeing somewhat familiar project ideas all presented together in one book, as let’s face it, I’m never going to get round to cutting them all out of the magazines and carefully filing them away for future use.

  My favourite projects are the fabric deer head, which I am seriously considering adapting into a moose to display proudly in my workspace, and a patchwork pouffe, because it’s something I would consider an awkward and difficult make for a novice sewer such as myself, yet Kate presents it in sucha way that makes me add it confidently to my to-make list.

  The Instructions

  A big thumbs up for the instructions in this book – they are as clear as day and easy to follow. Kate hasn’t scrimped on the detail, which is handy because I often find that methods aren’t tailored to those who have never dipped their toe into that particular craft before. Kate writes as if she is there in the room with you while you make, so it’s as close as you can get to being in The Makery in Bath experiencing one of her workshops in person.

 

  Presentation

  The photography throughout the book gives it a real light and fresh feel, like sitting in a workshop on bright day, working with the sunlight on your back. The makes aren’t presented as being twee or shabby chicin any way, but in being shown in their simplest form allow lots of room for personalisation to fit the maker’s own style. I love how-tos that allow for imagination and flair on the part of the maker. Mostly, Kate has allowed her images to sell her makes, so it’s easy to flick through and glean ideas and inspiration.

  The Text

  The sections for the materials are separate and clear, and there are hints on how much time it should take to construct each project. The fonts used are informal yet easy to read… and somehow friendly and comforting to the eye.

  The Verdict

  The downside of this book is that I wonder if it really offers anything drastically different to the hundreds of other craft books out there. That said, it serves as a handy compendium for the serious crafter, containing lots of ideas for projects that can be adapted and personalised, and as a reference for, say, looking up how to slip stitch or how to use a sewing pattern (there’s a section for techniques and tips at the back). For the novice crafter, it’s a real treasure trove, and I believe it would serve well to help build confidence in different crafting techniques, as well as a guiding, hand. As the book is designed to be a direct reflection of the workshops requested by those attending The Makery, there must be an eager audience out there for whom this book fulfils demand.

As an experienced crafter myself, I was still able to find plenty to keep me happy, as there is always the craft I haven’t tried yet, or the technique I’m yet to master. But there was an element of ‘yep, seen that before’ that left me wondering whether there might one day be a sequel for the more intermediate crafter.

  Makery is beautifully presented, making a fresh, modern craft book for my collection. If you’re quite new to crafting and fancy diving in head first, with the helping hand of experience to guide you, I’d recommend adding this title to your kit.

  I give it a Craft Candy rating of 7/10

The Great British Sewing Bee Book Review 2014

By Claire Mackaness of Beautiful Things BeautifulThings

  As the owner of a craft and sewing workshop The Great British Sewing Bee is an annual television event that brings us no end of new business. It’s extremely important that we are on top of all the latest news, so as soon as the current book was released ‘Sew Your Own Wardrobe’ I got straight onto Amazon Prime next day delivery and ordered myself a copy, paying £21 for it and then finding out two days later that they were in fact on SALE ‘already’ in WH Smith for a teeny tiny £12.99!!

  Pounds and pennies aside, on first impressions I was pleasantly surprised to find a separate folder included with my book consisting of 5 pull out pattern sheets, containing full sized patterns for all the garments featured in the book. No links to print and stick PDFs in sight and nice, easy to trace and well marked pieces. As far as the opening pages of the book go, they offer clear and concise information on different types of fabric and why you would choose them, techniques for cutting and piecing and lots of handy guides to hand stitching and creating button holes, inserting zips etc.

  As you move onto the patterns themselves you might be a little un-impressed at first, certainly if you’re a novice sewer you will be feeling a bit scared at this point as some of the first patterns you find are an anorak and a prom dress! I’m sure as the show continues on BBC 2 on Tuesday evenings we will start to see why such items have been included in the book as we have been hinted at by Patrick and May that all of the patterns in the new book are featured at some point in the show. For instance last week’s box pleated skirt is in there and I will be very interested to see the show when the dress I have tried to make is featured, doubtless in a few weeks’ time. (At the time of writing this review I was not aware of the content of Tuesday 4th March’s show but if we are really lucky, who knows it may have been on!)

  Even though the first few patterns look slightly scary, I could see from this point that there were clear images and step by step instructions so I assumed (perhaps somewhat naively) that the items would be easy enough to attempt.After having a good look through I decided the best way to see how the book read was to actually try a pattern. At first I was tempted by the shift dress on page 124, but putting my sensible head on I realised my somewhat curvy figure would not squeeze into such figure hugging lines and turned over to the next project, the ‘Full Skirted Dress’.

  I was pleased to read that the pattern required you to make the bodice as per the shift dress so I could still try my hand at those lovely darts and a princess-sided bodice. What the pattern didn’t say was that if you were making the full skirted version there was no need to cut all the arm facings on the pattern, meaning I wasted quite a bit of time, effort and fabric in cutting additional pieces. Having made two dresses in the past I had tackled a lay plan before and was fortunate enough to realise that two of the pieces had been incorrectly labelled. I’ve now made a note in the book itself for future reference but for those with the book: (page 124shift dress lay plan – front side bodice should read, front BACK bodice and back bodice cut 2, should read FRONT bodice).

  So I set to assembling my bodice and was pleasantly surprised with how clear the instructions were. I managed to make a nice fitting top half, although I have to admit it was very, very snug. I am a size 14 and had decided to
make a 16 to allow for the garment to be taken in if needed. I always like to err on the side of caution and I am very glad I did, as the patterns are far from generous!

  Once I’d finished the bodice, although I was not moving on to adding a skirt to it as per the shift dress instructions, I did notice that a vital part of the instructions was missing! The skirt shows darts on the waistband but nowhere does it instruct you to sew them in!

  Moving onto the full skirt pattern and following the instructions for the attaching of the bodice I worked my way smoothly through, inserting my zip and then trying it on for fit. It’s at this point we made my little flipbook vid and you can see that the dress falls nicely but the bodice is really too high under the bust line and is pulling at the seams.

  I took the dress out slightly to allow for the pull, but the bodice issue could only be solved by lengthening the pattern pieces and re-making. Not something a novice could do, so be warned if you try this pattern out, you will end up with an empire line frock!

  Last but not least came the sleeves, again good clear instructions and although fiddly with lots of hand stitching we got there in the end. Although once again there is an error in the book! (For those who have it, on page 134 the image of the facings has simply been edited from the shift dress and you do not need to cut arm facings as you will have used binding).

  So all in all, what do I think?

A nice book, clear instructions and well put together, but sadly not tested or proofread accurately. If a novice was to pick up this book they would instantly get stuck and give it up as a bad job.

  There is no excuse for badly written patterns in a sewing book, but if you read through the thanks and acknowledgments in the back it sounds like the writing team was working to pulled in deadlines from the publishing house.

  It’s a shame as the show is wonderful and gets so many people itching to start sewing. Naturally they are going to reach for a book that accompanies the show, but will find themselves up against a brick wall very quickly.

  I will try a few more of the patterns in the book and see how I go with them, bearing in mind need to be watchful for errors and make the biggest sizes going! (Up to an 18).

  As a general sewing book there are useful pages on zip insertion and handstitching etc., but as a whole I would give this book a 6/10.

  I’m expecting quite a few calls to our studio in the near future for help with some of these projects!

Love Claire’s blog post, find out more and follow Claire on Twitter

Trip to The Button Tin in Sheffield

For me the ideal Sunday would be whiled away crafting, an endless supply of tea and cake on one side, sewing materials by the bucketload on the other, and some soothing music playing gently in the background, all against a backdrop of vintage inspiration and nostalgia. Sigh…

  This was the scene on one such Sunday recently, when I spent a winter’s day cosied up inside The Button Tin in Rotherham,

South

Yorkshire, the crafty home and studio space of textile artist Gemma Nemer, where I attended one of her now-famous sewing workshops.

 

  The Button Tin is no ordinary studio, however. Based inside an old market hall, to step inside this not-so-unlike-a-tardis-like structure is to journey back to a time when life seemed more simple. The space is Gemma’s very own work of art, packed with wondrous treasures from years gone by, as well as a scrumptious collection of vintage fabrics, lace, doilies, threads, vintage sewing machines and, of course, lots and lots of buttons.

“the button tin is a little altar to all things nostalgic and sentimental. it re-ignites memories and stories for all its lovely visitors. those memories of playing in grandma’s quality street button tin as a child : tipping the buttons out and sorting them into colours, the smell of the rusty old tin, happy times.”

  I had seen photos of the inside of The Button Tin in magazines and online, so I had a vague idea of what to expect, but I still gasped as Gemma unlocked the door and invited her latest workshop attendees inside, and it’s one of those wonderful scenes you just can’t take in all in one go; each time I looked up from my work during the session I spotted something else to make me smile.

 
Gemma gave myself and my four companions a choice of three projects to make; and thinking – now quite shamefully - of my own blank workspace at home, I opted to sew a sampler to brighten it up a bit. I also wanted any excuse to have a go on one of the vintage sewing machines…

  And so passed a happy few hours, all too quickly. Tea was poured into beautiful vintage teacups and saucers and cake provided for us to help ourselves. We chose our fabrics and snipped and ironed and stitched. I rediscovered the therapeutic benefits of hand embroidery and entered that relaxed stupor that only a crafter knows to the dulcet tones of Doris Day. We admired one another’s creations and got to grips with sewing machines, and at the end of it all I had a beautiful sampler to call my own.

Using The Button Tin as her studio in which to work on her many art projects and commissions during the week, at Gemma opens it up at various weekends throughout the year to her workshops, and they are very well-attended by others wishing to spent some day away from hectic modern life learning new skills, or rediscovering old ones.

For more information on The Button Tin you can visit Gemma’s blog, or follow her on Facebook.

  Thank you Gemma, I’ve often dreamt of journeying back in time, but understood that the rule is that you can never bring anything back with you!

  All photos owned by Gemma Nemer of The Button Tin, please do not use without express permission.

The Great British Sewing Bee 2014

Source

It’s back! The Great British Sewing Bee returns for a second series this week, and if it’s anything like last year we’re gearing up for being bitten by the sewing bug all over again.

  The stitching version of Bake Off turned out to be a surprise hit in 2013, as a nation of sewing whizzes and wannabees were captivated by the combination of gentle tutorials and the at times tense competition for the fabric crown.

  Like last year the 2014 line up promises a good mix of ages, genders and skill levels, proving that learning to sew really is for all.

  If the series has the same effect on you as it does on us and has you planning your dream fabric stash and musing on whether you ever could master driving that sewing machine gathering dust in your spareroom, check out the sewing workshops listed on Craft Candy.

  The Great British Sewing Bee starts tonight at 8pm on BBC2.

Vlog Book Review - Girls Night In

​Welcome to Sy our guest Vlogger from HappyAccident Studios Each month Sy is reviewing a product for our blog and this month we’ve visited an old favorite with a new pair of eyes; GirlsNight In craft book by Hannah Read-Baldrey. Way too much fun can be had with this book, see what Sy thought of it in her review….

Book published by Quadrille Craft: http://www.quadrillecraft.com/book_girls-night-in

Valentine’s Crochet Project Laura Strutt madepeachy.com

Crochet Valentines Hanging Heart Show your love this Valentine’s Day with a handmade crochet love heart

This cute and valentines themed crochet

project is quick and easy to make – it’s a great little handmade gift or you can use it to decorate your home and get into the Valentine’s spirit!

Supplies

Chunky red yarn

5mm Crochet hook

Toy stuffing

Tapestry or Yarn needle

Small length of ribbon

Hand sewing needle and thread

Note: this pattern uses standard UK crochet

abbreviations

Step 1

With the chunky yarn, create a slip knot and skide it on to the crochet hook and ch2.

Step 2

Inserting the hook into the second ch st, work 3dc

Step 3

Ch1. This will become the turning chain.

Step 4

Work 1dc into the next 3sts. 3sts.

Step 5

Ch1, for the turning chain

Step 6

Work 2dc in the first st, 1dc, 2dc in the last st. 5sts.

Step 7

Ch1 , for the turning chain, work 1dc in each st. 5sts.

Step 8

Ch1, for the turning chain, work 2dc in first st, 1 dc in next 3 sts, 2dc in

last st. 7sts.

Step 9

Ch1, for the turning chain, work 1dc in each stitch. 7sts.

Step 10

Ch1, for the turning chain, 2dc in first st, idc in next 5 sts, 2dc in last stitch. 9sts.

Step 11

Work 1dc in each st. 9sts.

Step 12

Ch1, for the turning chain, 2dc in first st, 1dc in next 7 sts, 2dc in last st. 11sts.

Step 13

Ch1, for the turning chain, 2dc in first st, 1dc in next 9 sts, 2dc in last st. 13sts

Step 14

Ch1, for the turning chain, 2dc in first st, 1dc in next 11 sts, 2dc in last

st. 15sts.

Step 15

Ch1, for the turning chain, 1dc in next 7 sts – work back on forth on these 7 sts only.

Step 16

Ch1, for the turning chain, dc2tog, 1dc in next 3 sts, dc2tog. 5sts.

Step 17

Ch1, for the turning chain, work 1dc in st. 5sts.

Step 18

Ch1, for the turning chain, dc2tog, 1dc, dc2tog. 3sts

Step 19

Ch1, for the turning chain, dc2tog, 1dc, fasten off.

Step 20

Rejoin yarn to the second half of the heart., work 1dc in next 7sts, leave the centre st unworked, and work back and forth on these 7sts.

Step 21

Ch1, for the turning chain, dc2tog, 1dc in next 3 sts, dc2tog, 5sts.

Step 22

Ch1, for the turning chain, work 1dc in each st. 5sts.

Step 23

Ch1, for the turning chain, dc2tog, 1dc, dc2tog. 3sts.

Step 24

Ch1, for the turning chain, dc2tog, 1dc, fasten off. Using the tapestry needle weave in all loose ends.

Step 25

Make a second crochet heart in the same way, and weave in all the loose ends with a tapestry needle.

Step 26

Place the two hearts with the wrong sides together, using the crochet hook join in the yarn and begin joining the two pieces with 1dc in each stitch around the sides.

Step 27

Once three quarters of the seam is worked, begin stuffing the heart shape firmly with the toy stuffing.

Step 28

Continue working the seam and adding in more stuffing until the heart if fully padded and the seam is complete. Fasten off and weave in the loose ends. Position a small loop of ribbon at the upper section of the heart and secure in place with a few neat hand stitches.

Laura Strutt is the author of The Sewing Manual (Haynes 2013) and The DIY Wedding Manual (Haynes 2014) she shares daily projects, how-to guides and handmade style and inspiration daily on her creative lifestyle journal www.madepeachy.com

You can also find her on;       

Twitter @madepeachy

Instagram @madepeachy

Pinterest.com/madepeachy

Facebook.com/madepeachy

Q&A with Mastered

Craft Candy’s mission is to help people learn new creative skills, so we’re pretty excited about the idea of Mastered! Can you tell us about it?

  Mastered is a place for designer-makers who want to learn the creative and business skills to make a real living doing what they love. We bring students the best in creative education (like embroiderers to Louis Vuitton and the Queen, Hand & Lock or tailors to the world, Savile Row Academy) and then create online courses full of HD videos and exercises. Students learn from the best, when it suits them. They can then upload pictures of their work to get feedback from the teachers, their peers and the industry experts that we invite into the classroom.

  We don’t leave it there. All students have access to a personal coach to help them with their business/career ideas and so we really make it our mission to give everyone a seamless experience between creative skills and business know-how.

What’s the story behind the business idea?

  Mastered comes from the same team who worked on The Amazings (online craft courses taught by elders). As much as we loved the idea of The Amazings, we realised that there were lots of hobby craft courses available for people, but not much for people who wanted to take their craft to a more professional level. Degree or art foundation courses are fantastic, but not everyone is able to take the time or the money to commit to one. We wanted to re-imagine creative education and give students access to the best teachers and business support in a convenient and interactive way that suits them.

How are the classes taught?

  Our courses are all taught online. However unlike a lot of free online tuition, we’ve created a classroom designed for the best possible learning experience. Students watch HD video tutorials and have additional written support and exercises. All of the videos are shot with 3 cameras so you get a variety of angles. Students often say that we get closer to the teacher and the technique than you sometimes get in an in-person class.

  We encourage students to upload pictures of their work in progress so that the teachers and other coursemates can give support and feedback. They can also ask questions at any time. We work hard to bring industry experts into the classrooms to give feedback too. We’ve had editors of magazines, pro-Etsy sellers and guest teachers all looking at students work. Alongside this, students have access to a personal coach to discuss all things business and careers. We’ve had some fantastic feedback from students and we’re excited to see what they go on to achieve.

Who are the teachers?

  Our teachers range depending on the discipline; but the one thing that unites them is that they are all experts in their fields. The people you’d love to learn from, if only you had access.

  For our creative embroidery course we have Diana Springall, described as “one of the UK’s leading embroiderers” by Bloomsbury Publishing. Our tambour beading course is taught by Hand & Lock who do embroidery for top fashion houses and the Royal Family. Our jewellery courses are taught by Holts Academy, the leading jewellery educators in the heart of the Hatton Garden jewellery quarter. We’re the only company to offer online training with The Savile Row Academy so students can learn the exclusive Savile Row tailoring techniques. Jacqueline Bisset teachers our fashion illustration course and she’s worked with everyone from Givenchy to Kurt Geiger. It goes on and on.

  We do the legwork in finding the best teachers and bringing them to our students, saving them the overwhelm of trying to find the best person to learn from. We love to work with people who understand not only the creative skills, but how to turn those creative skills into something sellable.

It’s an exciting time for designer-makers. How do you see opportunities developing for them in the future?

  It certainly is an exciting time! I see opportunities developing as people respect that being a designer-maker is a wholly legitimate career path and it isn’t just something that people do on the side. We’re seeing such beautiful and original products at designer-maker fairs and online, it’s making everyone raise their game. I love that designer-makers are really getting their work out there and there are more opportunities to do so. Here at Mastered, we’re really excited to be part of that movement.

What do you love most about handmade?

  I love that handmade items have a story in a way that mass-produced products don’t. They’re entirely unique and incredibly special. It’s a privilege to own something that has been crafted with the passion and inspiration of a designer-maker. Nothing beats getting a compliment about an item and being able to share the providence of it. The more handmade items we mix into our lives, the richer our style and our experience becomes.

 

Start browsing online courses now & receive 25% off with the discount code CRAFTCANDY on the Mastered Website

(Discount available until the end of February)

Book Review: A Little Book of Craftivism

 

The Craftivist Collective is a group of people across the world reflecting on and challenging social injustices through the medium of craft. With their small, hand-stitched projects and public installations, these craftivists tackle issues of human rights, global poverty and social inequality in a provocative and thoughtful way, quietly encouraging people to engage with the issues on their own terms.”

 

Being a person who likes to keep her finger on the pulse of all things craft, I have come across the work and voice of The Craftivist Collective quite a number of times over the past year. I took part in their TheJigsaw Project, in which crafters stitched messages against world hunger onto fabric jigsaw pieces, sending one to their local MP and one to a fabric art installation – quite literally a giant jigsaw – in London. I read Craftivism founder Sarah Corbett’s column every month in Craft Magazine, and have seen features in almost every other craft magazine I’ve picked up. It’s not surprising that we’ve seen so much of the collective, after all they’re very good at getting their voice out there on the world’s most serious issues – and in a quiet, peaceful way, using craft.

 


So I was pretty enthusiastic about getting my hands of a paper incarnation of the craftivist message in the form of A Little Book of Craftivism. I’m a lover of books, so fighting social inequality, using craft, and reading all about it in a book, is somewhere near to perfect for this crafter.

 


A neat little volume at just sixty-three pages long, it begins with the story of Sarah Corbett’s past as a passionate activist, campaigning against injustice in whatever way she could. But having ‘burnt out’ as she puts it, and lost faith in the methods by which she was trying to change the world, she decided to combine her love for activism with a new-found love for cross stitch… and Craftivism was born.

 

What follows is a powerful punch of inspiration for implementing your own Craftivism acts, from mini protest masks to banners and messages stitched onto jam jar lids. The book even shows you how to do the stitches you’ll need.

 

The tone of this book is true to the message they spread: small acts, carried out peacefully and mindfully with kindness and intention, can make a huge impact on the communities we live in. It doesn’t preach and there isn’t a scrap of arrogance about its approach, it’s just a book full of bright little ideas for making the world a better place for us all.

I have one friend who works to fight human rights issues in her spare time, and another who is a supremely talented crafter, so I have bought two extra copies to gift to them, believing this book may just do the trick in helping both turn their respective passions into craftivism. I like the fact that the book in itself is a statement, something tangible to pass between friends and discuss together. After all, as The Craftivist Collective say, ‘a spoonful of craft helps the activism go down.’

 

 

A Little Book of Craftivism is published by Cicada and is available to buy here

Meet our new Chief Writer - Anna Burnell

When we decided to bring the writing and communication of Craft Candy in-house, Sheffield-based 

blogger Anna was the perfect person for the job. Anna is now our Chief Writer and 

responsible for newsletters, blog posts and giving her stamp of approval to all 

outgoing communication. Here the writer gives us an insight into her world of 

creativity and words.

Can you tell us a bit about your personal blog?

I write a craft blog called Miss Beatrix, which is named after my pooch and partner in crime, Bea… who in turn is named after my literary heroine, Beatrix Potter. I write about creativity in all its varied forms, the craft projects I’m working on, and my larger than life penpal project, #PostCircle.

How long have you been writing?  What do you love about it?

I’ve always loved writing. Writing stories, writing letters and writing to put across a message in a unique way. These days we build entire thriving communities around the internet so the written word is a super-charged power tool, and writing one of our oldest and most versatile crafts.

Describe yourself in three words.

Crafty, bookish…and curious.

Who are your writing influences?

I’ve always been heavily influenced by children’s writers because I admire their ability to captivate young brains and use language in wonderful ways. Roald Dahl springs immediately to mind. I admire the fearless

sense of humour of writers such as Caitlin Moran, and am inspired by the wealth of writing talent in the blogosphere. I often think quality of writing comes second to content in many blogs, but there are also a great many bloggers writing so eloquently about their chosen subject; it makes them a pleasure to read.

What’s your earliest writing/ reading memory?

I remember visiting my local library with my mum when I was around five or six, and wondering how the nice librarian managed to make the books ‘beep’ when she issued them to me! I’d be so excited to bring a pile of fresh books home every fortnight, and would get stuck straight in… but I could never get them to make that beeping noise!

Why Craft Candy?

I am avid multi-crafter and always on the lookout for new crafts and techniques to try. That’s why I thought Craft Candy was such a great idea for helping me fulfil that need as a user of the site, and I’ve seen how

excited others are about it too. To now bring writing and making together into one role is my idea of the perfect job!

How does social media help you work? 

I love great communication and I love people, so social media is a really important part of my job. It allows me to chinwag with the Craft Candy community and ensure I’m writing about the things they want to read

about. It’s one of the reasons that our workshops are now expanding beyond craft and into other creative pursuits – that instant feedback we get from our users is handy stuff!

How have you been inspired since working for Craft Candy?

I’m one of those people who’s always looking to learn something new, sometimes I have to stop myself taking on too much! Craft Candy provides so many ideas for new things to try, and because creative social events can be listed on there too there’s the potential to meet new people through Craft Candy, as well as learning new skills.

Anna’s five tips for writing a great blog post

1.       Only write about what you love. It’s amazing how passion shines through words, and if you don’t love your subject matter, why would anyone else want to take the time to read it?

2.       Think about your audience, and keep your paragraphs short and punchy. There are always more blogs than there is time to read them all, so don’t give your reader a reason to amble off elsewhere.

3.       Come up with a super slick title for your post. This will make it more appealing to curious readers, and will help your search engine ratings too.

4.       When you speak, you tell the listener a great deal about your personality through your accent, the words you use and your voice. The blogs that make me want to scroll through their archives and read every post use this unique voice in their writing too. Whether it’s the quirky words you use or your cheery tone, think about your written voice and help your readers get to know you.

5.       Proofread! I can’t tell you how important this is. It’s all very well spending an hour writing the perfect, engaging post, but spelling mistakes tell your reader you couldn’t be bothered to add the final finish. It’s like crocheting a beautiful blanket and then not threading in your ends! Check, check, and check again. I always schedule my posts in advance so I can have some breathing space before a final read through and publishing.

 

Art Glass: A new kinda sexy.

Forget images of grannies knitting oversized jumpers next to a collection of 1970s glass paperweights. Forget the dull single colour vases made by uninspiring factories. Art glass has found its feet and has come back with a vengeance.

 

Some really exciting glass designers have arrived on the scene, both in Europe and across the pond in America and they are taking no prisoners. In America, the top glass artists are already household names, whereas we still have a way to go in England before names Like Peter Layton roll off the tongue.

Where did it all go so wrong? Britain was starting to take on the Venetian glass makers a few hundred years ago and then things slowly slipped into the doldrums.

 

 

 

In the nineteenth century things began looking up when Nailsea Glass workers, who had been making beer bottles all day, spent a bit of time producing Nailsea art glass at the end of the day before heading to the adjacent pub to sup from a few of their creations.

The beginning of the 20th century was a bit of a flaccid time in UK glassmaking and many safe and tame designs were foisted upon the general public for a few decades. It wasn’t until the 1970s that art glass began to get its mojo back with the work of Michael Harris when he returned from Malta to set up his Isle of Wight Glass studio.

 

Somehow, things didn’t take off in a big way and people were still filling their houses with ceramics and pictures of a woman with a green face. Like our culinary palettes, our taste in home décor was still a long way off. The sixties had started something cool, the seventies tried to carry the torch, but by the end of the seventies people were sick to the seat of their bellbottoms and the eighties started with a whimper, rather than a bang.

Art glass spent the eighties and nineties somewhat out in the wilderness in the UK, it was a subculture that struggled to get recognised as an art form and the closest people came to having art glass in their home was usually by buying some fine crystal decanters or cut glass bowls.

 

The new millennium seemed to really catapult art glass forward and by the end of the first decade it had become uber popular again with fine art glass being sold in boutiques and galleries across the land. The art glass bowls and ornaments were making it into the royal households and then everyone from the Cotswolds right up to Worcester and across the home counties suddenly had an art glass collection that they had been “building up for yeeharrs”.

 

 

Now the art glass is pretty affordable and many pieces sell for a few hundred pounds. The really famous artists like David Patchen still sell for thousands, so most of us will never be able to own such wondrous things.

The important thing now is glass art is hot to trot and available to everyone in a dizzying array of colours and styles. Not only will it make your house look hot, it will rise in value year on year and give you a far better return than any bank will. So get out there and choose some cute crystal or sexy sculpture.

 

 

Barnaby runs Boha Glass, an online art glass shop selling glass ornaments, sculptures, vases and bowls.

Book Review: 55 Christmas Balls to Knit: Colourful Festive Ornaments by Arne & Carlos

When 55 Christmas Balls to Knit appeared on my doormat ready to review I will admit to being more than a little bemused. From its title to the cover image of Arne & Carlos, unsmiling – Arne looking a little cross, even – everything about this book screams ‘quirky’ – and without a hint of irony. Nonetheless I was intrigued to learn about all fifty-five ways of knitting a Christmas ball…

The Projects

Each of the balls is a variation on one basic method. I was a little dubious about this approach at first, thinking it a quick and easy copout method of producing a book’s worth of ‘fresh ideas’, but as I flicked through I quickly realised that this is where this book’s value lies. You learn to make one ball, then the design opportunities are endless. Arne and Carlos provide various methods for customising the decorations, using embroidery, crochet and knitting stitches, but also make it clear that their designs are merely starting points for variations of your own imagining.

The Instructions

I’m no expert knitter; my skills in that particular field never straying beyond a never-ending stream of scarves, but I read through the methods for the makes and found them clear and simple to understand, and liked the use of drawn diagrams with colour to highlight individual stitches. 

I also showed the book to a knitting whizz friend of mine, who assured me that the instructions were indeed perfectly easy to follow. I’m not sure how easy I would find it to create the projects as a beginner, but I was sold on the idea of giving it a bash over the Christmas hols.

Presentation

For all its bizarre ironic humour, this is one beautifully presented book. The images depict cosy festive scenes with a heavily Scandi vibe, and the decorations themselves are displayed in well-thought out settings. It doesn’t look like a craft book whose images will quickly date and look twee and old fashioned. 

Arne and Carlos even went as far as furnishing a doll’s house to use as a prop for the book’s images – a detail that certainly helped boost its appeal in my eyes. 

The Text

The authors clearly have a love of folklore and storytelling, and they weave this into their crafts and this book. They take the reader through the projects, building up the skill level gently, and talk inclusively about their audience so that I felt I could almost be there with them, knitting along in the presence of two supportive teachers. It all added to the book’s cosy appeal.

The Verdict

Don’t be taken in by the slightly unnerving cover of this book – inside lies a wonderland of Nordic Christmas charm and crafting possibilities. It’s well presented, timeless and has one of the qualities I like most in a good craft book – the potential to take the ideas it provides beyond the book itself and as far as your imagination will allow. My only two criticisms are its accessibility to knitting novices… and that unfathomably eccentric cover image.

I give it a Craft Candy rating of 8/10

London Renegade Craft Fair



Unless you’ve been hiding under a quirkily painted rock you’ll know that last weekend was one of the main highlights in the craft and design world’s calendar; The Renegade Craft Fair. It’s the one you read about in craft magazines for weeks before, then weeks after, and this year the buzz on social media seemed to be more…well, buzzy, than ever before.

 

And so it was that I was pretty excited to journey down to London last Saturday, camera in hand, to sample this now-famous celebration of all things craft for myself.

 

Now in its third year in LondonRenegade was the brainchild of two crafters in the US looking to sell their handmade goods in a marketplace setting. At that time, in 2003, the craft and indie craze was just starting to gather pace. Their first fair was an instant success.

 

A decade on and Renegade seems to be a concentrated version of a global passion for handmade, and from what I hear on the crafting grapevine, more this year than last. The venue - Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane – was vast and industrial, a pleasingly ironic blank canvas for the industry and colourful branding on display within.

 

There were over one hundred stalls in all, and as I ambled round it was wonderful to see so many well-known names and faces. The makers behind many popular blogs and magazine articles were chatting away to sellers, and some stalls were so busy I had to carry on past and loop back later on. It goes to show how well some of these small business owners manage their own branding, as stalls such as that of Oh NO Rachio, Finest Imaginery and Ella Masters Illustration were instantly recognisable for their designs (and in Oh NO Rachio’s case her penchant for succulents, which were very much in evidence!)

 

 

Also present were Folksy – a welcome sight after I attended their Folksy Summer School back in August – and craft demonstrations were in full swing, delivered by The Amazings, Mollie Makes and A Alicia.

 

 

And the handmade goodies for sale? Although it’s true that there are recurring themes across the handmade market, current ones including birds, foxes, moustaches and clouds – oh and dinosaurs! – I was very pleasantly surprised at diverse interpretations on these motifs, and the humongous range of crafts and materials featured across the stalls. Everything from ceramics to

papercraft, jewellery to wood carving was represented. The stalls looked fresh and individual, with some innovative ideas for displays. ‘Twee’ and ‘Folky’ were notorious by their absence.

 

Sauntering round, taking in the atmosphere and adding to my collection of business cards, I felt a swell of pride in the UK handmade movement, and a real confidence that it’s here to stay. Even more reassuring is that Renegade is no niche market, by crafters, for crafters. Oh no. Buying handmade is quickly becoming the norm, to the point where the high street has been attempting to mimic designer/makers for some time now, so it was great to see such a wide demographic of customers buying at this event too.

  

 

It’s been another successful year for crafts, and I have a feeling the UK Renegade team will have been raising a hand-etched glass to their best fair to date. Here at Craft Candy we love to champion great creative events, so Renegade, we salute you!

 

The knitting nurse whipping up treats for her patients

Debbie Ventham has worked as a Marie Curie Nurse since 2003, looking after terminally ill people in their own homes, and delighting patients with her cakes. But these cakes aren’t just any treats – they are knitted and look good enough to eat!

“I started knitting about six years ago, when my son and his wife were expecting twins. I knit cupcakes, Bakewell tarts, Swiss rolls, chocolates, sweets, toys, tea cosies, blankets and, of course, clothes for my grandchildren. I find knitting relaxing and therapeutic, and its something quiet you can do while looking after a patient. You can put it down and come back to it. I’ve even been given wool by patients who have said that they won’t be able to use it themselves.

One Christmas, I was looking after a family

whose mother was at the end of life. I was knitting cupcakes and the patient’s daughter asked me if I was knitting a Christmas pudding because her mother had been watching me knit. In the end I created a giant Christmas pudding just for her with brown yarn, and white for the icing. I even knitted some holly to go on top. The mother had lost her appetite, as most people do when they’re at that stage, and so she kept my knitted pudding beside her bed.

It makes me so proud to be a Marie Curie Nurse, providing support and care to terminally ill people. And I also get to take part in some lovely fundraising events. The Blooming Great Tea Party is just one of them. It’s a great reason to get together, have a cuppa, and for me to get knitting. Go on - try some of my patterns and see what treats you can knit.”

 

Why not sign up to hold your own Blooming

Great Tea Party? 

Visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/teaparty (Click

here to find out more today!)

 

 

 

 

‘A Girls’ Night In’ Competition

                                                            Win a copy of ultra girly book ‘Girls’ Night In’ by author Hannah Read-Baldrey 

                                                                                                 We have 2 copies to give away!

Admittedly when I heard about the a book called Girls’ Night In I didn’t really know what to expect from it, so I toddled off to the launch party at the author’s house, yes you guested it she had a ‘girls’ night in’ themed book launch at her house, Genius! and I was excited to see how Hannah was going to set the scene.

 

Cake, Cocktails, Music, Nibbles, Nails, Chatter and a late night.

Ouch! the day after the night before, I woke up with a very sore head and in my book (get the pun), that amounts to an Awesome night. Whilst I was lying on the sofa recovering, I took a better look over the book and in my humble opinion the title girls night in doesn’t do it justice, no really it doesn’t, when you have a book, which offers a recipes for the perfect nibbles, a perfectly selected cocktail recipes, How to, To Dos, pampering, DIY and my personal favourite a playlist of party tracks, the book should be called ‘The Girls Night in Bible’ and this is why you need to get your hand on a copy!

 

Don’t take my word for it, here are a couple of other blog posts reviewing the party or the book - CoutureCraft and CosI Like Making Stuff

To Win A Copy

Put your purse away, we have 2 copies of A Girls Night In to give away, all you need to do is tell us in 140 characters (we’ll be counting) about the best night in you have had, doesn’t have to be girly, could be unexpected, a total surprise or planned, but we want to hear your stories. 

You can tell us by leaving a message on this page, tweet your answer to us or post your answer onto our facebook page.

Deadline

Midday Monday 10th June.

Terms
one entry perperson
Entries will not be accepted after the closing date & time.
All entries will be allocated a random number and a number will be selected on the website random.com 

Marie Curie Care’s Blooming Great Tea Party!

Hello!

My name is Suzy Pelta and I am the Official Blogger for Marie Curie Cancer Care’s Blooming Great Tea Party Campaign!

 Last year I won ITV1’s Lorraine Cake Club Competition with my Chocolate and Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Frosting.

 

Since then, I have launched my baking blog suzypeltabakes.com and two ranges of gourmet baking kits - ‘Bake With Suzy’ & ‘Keep Calm And Carry On Baking Kits’ which are sold all around the world! I absolutely love to bake - especially with my three children, and I really love to create fun and interesting recipes. 

 

I will be baking lots of delicious things for my Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party. This fantastic campaign invites people to host a tea party between June and July and raise money for their fabulous nurses. The charity provides free hands-on care to people with a terminal illnesses in their own homes. Hosting a tea party is a great excuse to get together and do something good.

I will be hosting my Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party in June and planning is already well underway. I have asked a number of local ladies who run their own cake businesses to help me out by baking for the party. They are all incredibly skilled in sugarcraft and I am very excited to see their work!

I have come up with a recipe for a special Lemon Custard Cream Cake.  It’s yellow and blue – the colours fit in perfectly with Marie Curie and like all of my recipes, it is very easy to make, and really yummy!

 

DownloadCake Recipes

 

I will be making bunting from the Blooming Great Tea Party pack and I will also be making my own cake signs. I cut coloured card with shaped scissors and stick a toothpick to the back. I write the name of the baked goods on the front in nice writing and either stick the toothpick to the plate or into the cake/cookie/muffin itself!

 

I will be having a few games at my party, including ‘guess the number of sweets in a jar’ - with the winner, winning the jar! I will be selling my baking kits and a local lady will be selling clothes. A great way to fundraise is to have a raffle, and I am very lucky that lots of businesses near me have been generous and have donated fantastic prizes, like a £25 voucher for my local butcher, a facial & a bespoke handbag!

 

Hosting a Blooming Great Tea Party is so worthwhile and if you enjoy craft and baking, it is a great opportunity to showcase your skills.

Sign  your Tea Party up Today!

for your free fundraising pack. I received recipe cards,bunting to cut and make, invites and posters. The best thing about the Blooming Great Tea Party is that is doesn’t have to be some lavish affair, it can simply be a chance to get together with a few friends enjoy a cuppa and a natter - whilst raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

 

Suzy

www.suzypeltabakes.com

www.bakewithsuzy.com

Follow me on twitter - @SuzyPelta

Find me on Facebook - www.facebook.com/suzypeltabakes

 

Bookbinding Tutorial

By Alex Founder of Be Good Stay Good

It’s time to learn how to bind books. Bookbinding is a craft that goes back hundreds of years - and this is your chance to get an idea of some of the things that are involved.

The materials you will need are; 

String and needle: go for thick string. If you happen to have waxed string at home and have been wondering what to do with it - now is your time to use it!

Paper 

scalpel  

Ruler, pen and scissors 

Paper that is cut to double the size of the final book. You’ll be folding it in half later on. 

Paper for your cover: for this particular book I recommend 300gsm paper, but don’t go anywhere over 500gsm as this is where folding starts to become a little annoying. Go creative with the pattern. You could make it yourself, use old newspaper stretched over cardboard or old pictures that are big enough.

Bodkin: that’s the thing that looks like a long needle with a round piece of wood attached. It is used for pressing holes into layers of paper to make threading the needle through it a lot easier.

Boneruler: that’s the thing above the cover. It’s used to score the paper, making folding it a lot more precise.

I also like having a couple of bulldog clips nearby.

Now we’re ready to get started!

Clear your work area and get the boneruler, your cover and the inside sheets ready.

 

Gently fold the paper in half without pressing down. Use the bone ruler to slide over the paper in an angled motion. This make sure that the paper is folded neatly. Run it up and down the fold a couple of times. Repeat this action with all the sheets. You will end up with something like this:

Shuffle the sheets and the cover paper into each other. You’ll probably notice that they won’t quite line up. Don’t worry about that part yet, we’ll take care of that later!

Align your papers along one side and one bottom line so that the folds are meeting each other. Measure out the middle of the cover as well as 2cm from the top and bottom of the book. Mark out those spots very lightly along the fold with a pencil.

You can kind of see the marks in the picture, especially on the top one where I messed up a little bit and made two marks by accident. 

Using the bodkin press through the three markings you made and punch little holes into the paper. Repeat this for all three markings on the spine.
Now the fun part begins: You get to sew!

Get your needle and string ready. You want your string to be about

three times as long as the spine of the book.

 Feed the string through the middle hole from the outside.

Pull the string through until you have about 3-4 inches left at the

end. It is important that you leave some string out there because you will need to tie a knot with it at the end. 

From the inside of the book thread the needle through the top hole, making sure the end of the thread doesn’t pull further in.

From here you go back outside along the spine to the bottom hole.

You should now be on the inside of the book again. It’s time to back to the middle. Notice from the picture how the end part of the string is clearly on one side of the thread that runs down the spine? This is very very important. Pull the end bit over to the left


and hold it there, while you thread the needle through the middle hole again, 

making sure the new thread comes out on the right side of the spine.  

Now tie a knot with the two ends, making sure the thread along the spine is still in between them. This ensures that nothing can wiggle around and your  book will stay together.
You can cut the end of very close to the hole or leave the thread hanging. I’m a minimalist kind of girl and like things looking clean, but I could see a cute little bow being really nice here too. 

Fold your book together. You’re nearly done!

Get your paper scalpel and a ruler. Line it up along the cover edge and cut down through the paper. You might have to do that a couple of times to really get all the paper. Repeat the same on the top of the book. 

And you’re done.

 You’ve just made your first book!

Be Good Stay Good is a cute Etsy Shop & Blog check them out, or get in touch with Alex via Twitter or  Facebook

Knitting

The difference between continental and British style

By Anna Prasad (www.annatestadoro.com)

 

As knitting seems to have become more popular, with avid knitters taking their projects on ‘trains, planes and automobiles’ it’s also becoming apparent that there are two distinct knitting styles: Continental (or German) knitting and English knitting.  

Continental Knitting © http://craftsmumship.com/

Continental Knitting © http://craftsmumship.com/

English Knitting © http://craftsmumship.com/

I was taught continental knitting by my aunt and in school when growing up in Germany. Only when I came to England in 1996 did I notice the English knitting style, which immediately struck me as being much more complicated and taking longer to complete projects. I always believed that the way I knit (continental) was much faster and much more time efficient. And in fact, it actually is. Not only according to Wikipedia which states that: “Continental knitting can be done at a greater rate than English knitting, as the stitches are formed closer to the needle points and the yarn has a shorter travel.” But also according to STV Scotland which interviewed Hazel Tindall, who won an international knitting competition to become the World’s Fastest Knitter. She completed 262 stitches in 3 minutes!

Continental knitting/German knitting or picking as it’s sometimes also called is mostly used in Northern and Eastern Europe. The yarn is held in the left hand and a movement of the left index finger (or other fingers) helps the needle to pick up the yarn and form a new stitch. Important to remember with this style of knitting is the position of the yarn, it always needs to end up behind the needles after any stitch has been completed. The yarn is held over the forefinger of the left hand, achieving tension of the yarn in many different ways. Either by wrapping the yarn around the little finger, wrapping it around the forefinger or holding the yarn against the left hand needle with the middle finger to keep it as taut as needed.

© Wikipedia

People that have previously crochet find learning the continental style of knitting easier as the yarn is held in a similar way, in the left hand, and the right hand motion is pretty much the same for both knitting and crocheting. English knitting, which is also sometimes referred to as American knitting or throwing, is mostly used in England and America, according to About.com Knitting. It involves holding the yarn in your right hand and ‘throwing’ it over the needle to form a stitch. 

Making a knit stitch the right needle is inserted into the left side of the first loop on the left needle. The yarn is then wrapped counter-clockwise around the right needle, and this new loop is pulled with the right needle through the old one.

 © Wikipedia

Both types of knitting look pretty similar when a project is completed, although in continental knitting the stitches are often closer together. Either style of knitting is relative easy to learn, either in a knitting group/class or even on YouTube. 

Check out more of Anna’s work on her blog: http://www.annatestadoro.com/

The Craft Inn, craftinn(g) social creativity in South West London.

In June 2012 feeling fairly board in my full time job and looking to turn my crafty talents to something I spoke to the Land Lady at my local pub, The Lamb in Surbiton and asked if   could run a monthly craft social event. She very kindly agreed and so I set about designing a lot of easy to follow craft packs. I hand illustrate all of them and make sure they fit – with all of the materials – into an A6 cellophane envelope.  The first event was such a success, and I had caught the craft event bug! 
 

Since June The Craft Inn has gone from strength to strength getting involved in loads of community projects taking place throughout 2013. Collaborating with fellow local crafters, making new friends and visiting schools to run sewing and knitting workshops. I love teaching craft skills to kids, they get so excited about making something with their hands and always tell me that they want to teach their friends and families. Kids to me are a great way of getting people making again!

 Speaking about getting the local community creative, the projects I have created to celebrate the Surbiton Food Festival have been the biggest! Producing a Yarn Bomb that has taken centre stage in our own (situated right in front of the very busy commuter station).  

For the Yarn Bomb I joined forces with blogger and local Yarn Bomber CrocheTime, we received pieces of crocheted fruit and veg from all over the world, this gave me an idea. If people were so up for making a piece of fruit for a Yarn Bomb would they be interested in sending small sewn items for what I am calling a Craft Bomb?

After some thought about what it was I wanted the Craft Bomb to look like have asked people to make small stuffed fruit and veg for me to place in trees and up lamp posts all around the town.  

                                                                          (For those that didn’t feel comfortable enough to design their own patterns I made some illustrated instructions.)

 

Each vegetable Craft Bomb will have is going to have little bits of information about where different foods come from and how they grow for the local kids to find. I also decided to make a community patchwork picnic blanket. Asking people to craft about their love of food or their foodie memories onto a 20x20 piece of fabric. The idea of the blanket is that it will be added to and keep growing (like any healthy community should). Like the Yarn Bomb, I don’t want to exclude the crafting community when I talk about ‘our community’ so I am inviting all of you to get involved and make something wonderful!

                                                       (Here is an example of a work in progress piece for the community picnic blanket drawn by 3 year old Millie and hand embroidered by her mum.)

If you would like to contribute to the Craft Bomb, please do. You can either make some yummy looking stuffed veg or add to the picnic blanket with a foodie memory. Throughout this post I have scattered images of the craft pieces for the bomb, you can take inspiration for these or make something completely different – so long as it fits along the theme!

 

Thanks to Craft Candy for giving me the opportunity to write about this project and thanks to all of you for getting involved!

 

You can find me on Facebook/TheCraftInnWithBobi 

Project Vintage Style Fascinator

Designer: SamanthaSchofield

This DIY vintage inspired fascinator is perfect for a Summer Wedding or a Garden Party. It’s personal, unique and no-one else will be wearing it! It will take about one hour to make. Once you get the basics you

can add your own personal touches to your next fascinator projects. I started making fascinators about four years ago when I wanted a few fancy headpieces for hen parties. They started as DIY projects and so many people complimented me that I kept on discovering new ideas and techniques. 

Here is how you can also get the retro look with items you will have in your sewing stash.

You Will Need

15cm x 15cm linen fabric

15cm x 15cm red felt

40cm x cream double satin bias binding

1m x cream organza ribbon

1 x expresso cup for a template or a disc with a 10cm

diameter

15 x 15cm piece of paper

15 x 15cm tracing paper / greaseproof paper

3 x faux white roses (most haberdashery stores sell these)

1 x mineral bottle

1 x satin covered alice band

1 pen

1 tapestry needle

1 embroidery needle

1 spool of self coloured thread

Sewing pins

Optional

25 x 25cm cream net

 Let’s Create! 

Cut out your fascinator and cover Trace around the expresso cup and cut out a template. Use the paper template to trace onto the plastic bottle using the curve to make a pre-formed fascinator base!

Cut out the linen fabric with a 1cm seam allowance. Using the tapestry needle, stretch the fabric over the plastic. Stitch through the plastic so it is secure.

Give a professional finish with bias and felt

Slip stitch the bias onto the inside of the linen fabric. Stitch the Alice band to the bias at each side. Adjust to make sure the curve fits the head. Mine tipped up at the front. It’s personal taste.

Cut out the felt 1cm smaller than the template and stitch inside the fascinator.

Now take your paper pattern and divide up your decoration into three equal portions. 

materials

Your now ready to decorate!

This is the fun bit, if you are using net, gather using a gathering stitch and attach as per your paper pattern and the picture.

Take your flowers and pull the silk petals from any plastic greenery and leaves. Throw about the plastic bits. Following one direction (like a bouquet) pinch together the middle of the petals and stitch onto the linen fabric. Continue until all the petals are used, then add the silk leaves.

With your ribbon, double up and tie into a bow. Stitch to the fascinator as per the pattern. With the bow loops, stitch these to the fascinator equally so it looks balanced. With the bow tails, use these  to tie a bow, adding height and interest.

Your project is now finished and ready for your occasion.

mfgrfvkf

For my vintage inspired crafting inspiration, workshop information and to contact me visit www.samanthaschofield.co.uk

Twitter: @CreateItSam

Craft Candy Launch Party

Planning a launch party was the last thing on my mind when I was creating a website and App, but after nearly 11 months in the making, when it came near to the end I could see all of my hard work coming together and I felt an overwhelming need to celebrate and how better than with like minded people. Eleven months in the making and every bit of Craft Candy had been scrutinised, from the logo, font and layout to the functions within the App. As a crafter myself I kept thinking, ‘what would I want from a craft finding App?’ and each time, map and directions to events came up tops, so I incorporated it and with the techno whiz of GPS, the App can now pinpoint where you are anywhere in the UK and tell you want is going on around you. 

Anyway, back onto the launch party!

With the App having the potential of being such a big resource to crafters wanting to find and promote their events, I wanted a ‘crafty launch to remember and as you can see from the images, I think I managed to pull it off!

The Venue
Thank you to the venue WallaceSpace in Covent Garden  

Sponsors
Thank you to our local sponsors: The Teas Knees  Maidof Gingerbread Jensen BermondseyGin Stars N Scars & Spinning Yarns DJs

Goody Bags & #CCLaunch

Goodie Bag Sponsors:  DMC Creative Threads The Crafty Pint Tooting Urban Cross Stitch &  EmmaCowlam

Making Table
Making Table
Making Table
Making Table
Party People
Party People
Downloading the App
Social Media Crazy… Tweeting, Instagraming - #CCLaunch!
Normally it would be rude to start using your phone at a party, this it was we wanted. It was awesome to see people tweeting, instagraming images and of course

downloading the App 

Head dress for the occassion
Head dress for the occassion

Thank you to the Awesome UK craft bloggers for featuring competitions on their blogs in collaboration with Craft Candy to celebrate the launch of the App:

TheCrafty Ms De Vil  LoveLemon  Georgina Giles   Lotsand Lots  ClaireAbelleMakes  BristolCrafts & Danni& Charlie

I’ll leave you with an image of a knitter and the App – Great image to sum up Craft Candy.

X

I

The Happiness of Crafting

by Crafty Creatives, the subscription box for crafters

 

Did


you know that the origin of the word “craft” comes from the notion of “strength”? 

This is particularly appropriate in many ways to the modern sense of “crafting”.  During the current economic turmoil, many are turning to handmade to strengthen their lives – some to make a little money, some to make a lot of money, and some just to inject a little calm and joy into their world.

Here in the UK, the trend for crafting is growing at a healthy pace.  Hobbycraft reported a 200% increase in sales of creative decorations over Christmas 2012, and opened many new stores across the country last year.  The demand for all things handmade can clearly be seen in the popularity of English designer Cath Kidston’s vintage inspired creations, and her cousin Kirstie Allsop’s craft books and TV series’ Kirstie’s Homemade Home and Kirstie’s Handmade Britain.  And look out for The Great British Sewing Bee - a new TV series beginning in March 2013 - made by the creators of runaway success The Great British Bake Off.  Online too - sites such as Folksy and Etsy are booming, and Pinterest is a hub for creative crafty types (taking lead from the US).

This isn’t the first love affair that the British have had with the humble needle and thread though.  The second world war brought about a true “make do and mend” culture which, with the introduction of fast fashion and throw away material goods, many fear we have lost touch with.

So why do we love to craft?  Why bother spending hours… days… weeks… on creating something that we could easily buy off the shelf?  It’s not always the case that it’s cheaper; stocking up on craft supplies can be expensive (especially in the UK – the USA are way ahead of us) and is our time not better spent? Well, it would appear not, as many health benefits have been attributed

to crafting.  Take a look at Kathryn Vercillo’s website: www.crochetsavedmylife.com.  Kathryn struggled with depression and has found crochet to be her saving grace. She started blogging about her story, and was soon contacted by many others with similar stories.  Research was recently done here in the UK about the benefits of quilting.  The research by Glasgow University in 2011

suggests that many hobbies ranging from reading to train-spotting should be considered for their health benefits – both physical and mental.   Quilting in particular, with its bright colours and mathematical challenges, proves to help cognitive creativity amongst older people.  Not to mention increased confidence and taking part in social meetings too! 

It makes sense that crafting can aid mental health – creative types will recognise that feeling of “where did my afternoon go?” as they “lose themselves” in their work.  It takes the mind to a different place.  It soothes and relaxes.  Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, noted for his studies on happiness and creativity, invented the notion of “Flow”.  As the diagram below demonstrates, we enter “Flow” when we are placed in a state of high challenge and skill levels. Too much challenge without the required skills and we become worried then anxious; not enough challenge with a good skill level and we become bored.

Wikipedia’s definition of flow states: “Flow is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.”  Sound familiar?

We asked our Twitter followers (@CraftyCreatives) about whether they use crafting as a means to relax and de-stress, and here are some tweets we got back: 

There is satisfaction too, to be taken from creating your own handmade goodies. Whether it’s a fluffy scarf to compliment a cosy winter outfit, or a comedic sock bunny to give to your new nephew, it’s a real achievement to complete a creative project.  Handmade gifts are becoming more popular too – it really is the thought that counts.  We no longer want to buy mass-produced plastic tack that will end up in landfill.  Why not bake some cookies for your Auntie?  Or string together a necklace using beads in your sister’s favourite colours? Your recipients will thank you for it!

Since launching Crafty Creatives in July 2012, we have been struck by another feel-food factor of crafting, and that is the online communities made up of crafters from all over the world.  Despite having the ability to be quite a solitary hobby, crafting has such a wonderful tight-knit (pardon the pun!) group of wonderfully friendly and positive people.  It is surely testament that crafting DOES

promote happiness, health and wellbeing. Without a doubt, this community has helped our business grow over the past six months – crafters love to talk, to share, to help each other.  Word is spreading about our boxes full of crafty goodies, and not only through words – with thanks to social media we are able to see and share all the wonderful creations that our members make.  We place a label on our boxes that says “Get… Make… Share” and it’s wonderful to see so many doing just that.

 We hope that our craft boxes are helping to bring the joy of craft into many people’s homes.  Each month we carefully plan and select an array of crafty products that fit into a surprise theme, to help provide maximum inspiration.  So far our themes have been Floral, Nautical, Oriental, Gothic, Nostalgia, Icy and, most recently, Woodland. We recently conducted a member survey, and we asked our members “What’s your favourite thing about Crafty Creatives?” 

 If you are new to crafting, or more experienced, then why not give our boxes a try.  It costs only £10/month plus £2.95 p&p, and there is no contract – you can stop and start at anytime.

Is it time to inject a little crafting happiness into your life?

Sources and Further reading:

  

http://craftbusiness.com/site/index.php/content/news/shoppers_want_a_handmade_christmas/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2002862/Why-quilting-uniquely-good-us.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2238715/Christmas-2012-Make-mend-trend-sees-sales-hobby-store-TRIPLE-Brits-shun-shop-bought-decorations.html

http://www.womansday.com/life/the-editors-corner-crafts-reborn-84303

http://www.crochetconcupiscence.com/2012/08/top-10-reasons-crochet-can-help-you-heal/

http://www.crochetsavedmylife.com

http://ukhandmade.co.uk/content/health-beauty-crafting-health

http://sewnso.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/health-benefits-of-sewing.html

http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/why-sewing-is-so-good-for-us/

http://craftbusiness.com/site/index.php/content/news/craft_takes_the_lead/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology

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Recluse Colony blog

Hey, My name is Lauren de Lacey (@RaWrLolly) and I run an art collective called Recluse Colony (@RecluseColony). I started up this artistic group about a year ago to provide myself and other young, talented previously unknown designers with a stepping stone into the art industry. What sets us aside from most of the other creative brands out there is also what what makes us so special - we use recycled and upcycled resources where possible to make a stand against unnecessary mass production and waste - Plus, the materials we use are so popular as they’re unique! 

I take pride in being quirky and using items that people wouldn’t automatically have associated with jewellery making. 

Among my favourite materials to use are Scrabble tiles, Lego blocks, domino pieces, used drink cans, cassette tapes, buttons and old floppy disks

I am primarily an edgy jewellery designer but have recently branched out into more bespoke pieces and customised jackets. I think the decision to go into clothing was almost accidental for me – I couldn’t find a jacket in any high street store that really reflected my personality and so I started making my own. I think in contemporary society it’s on trend to be wearing garments made by ‘underground’ brands so my co-operative has been slowly increasing in momentum.

I take great satisfaction in taking an old, unloved jacket and making it look like it’s just been out partying at London Fashion Week, with a twist! How I make a jacket mainly depends on the individual client’s tastes and desires – they will either give me a specific colour/theme palette they would like me to run with, or will give me freedom to go wild (which is always more fun!) and I will fill out a design brief on what colours, bands and patterns they like in order to get a feel for who they are. Then I incorporate those factors with my personal aesthetic to provide a unique item of clothing!

I like to unstitch the entire garment when I receive it and replace certain panels with custom fabrics, then slowly reshape it while adding different coloured stitching and buttons to give it a fresher, more vibrant design-led look. Next I refer back to the brief and ascertain which band patches and quirkily shaped textile areas to attach and where, and I often like to stud and/or safety pin and badge up the lapels, cuffs and pockets. Although leather is one of the more durable materials I work with and therefore hardest to manipulate, it’s also one of my favourites. Acrylic paints really contrast and work well on its surface, so it’s easy to do more intricate paintwork work and lyrics, band names and so on.

 

As for what’s next for Recluse Colony – the plans in the pipeline are endless! I would love to recruit more members and showcase our talents by doing a tour of the University campuses around the country – it is our goal to host events in every city, where we put up indoor market stalls with independent designers exhibiting their wares, plus local, unsigned bands laying the event, with profits going to a charity. To raise interest and awareness for an organisation that I believe in would be incredible!

In the past I have suffered with crippling depression and lots of personal and professional problems were brought on as a direct result of this. I’d love to become a role model for young people suffering in similar ways. To help a deserving mental health charity raise their profile, become a positive spokesperson for a cause so close to my heart and really educate the general public that people with mental illnesses aren’t freaks, or crazy, and they can overcome anything and be anything they want to be in life, would be so fulfilling.

I was selected to be on an RSA Trust funded business mentoring and support course called the Inspiring Women’s Programme in Enfield so with any luck you’ll see me and the rest of my team at Recluse Colony invading a city near you very soon! 

Contact or find lots more of Recluse Colony’s work online:

Tumblr (blog): RecluseColony 

Instagram: http://instagram.com/reclusecolony

Twitter: @RecluseColony & @RawrLolly 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RecluseColony?fref=ts 

To buy one of pieces or enquire about custom work, contact Recluse Colony directly: reclusecolony@live.co.uk

 

Trip to Craft Central - By Guest Blogger Heather Thomas

Before Christmas I attended Craft Central in London for their ‘Craft It Yourself: Printing using Japanese PrintGocco machines’.  I have been to one of their workshops before and so was really looking forward to it.  The course is so popular that the last one sold out within hours and so I was determined to get a look-in this time So we started out by meeting our workshop leader Xtina Lamb who is from Printed Wonders and she showed us the screens and the items that we could print on. We had cards, fabric and notebooks to print on using the screens and designs that Xtina has done already. These smaller screens make really quick and easy ways to print cards or smaller items.

The screens are made using a Japanese Gocco machine, which I believe have stopped being made now and are really difficult to find, EBay and scouring all auction sites are probably your best bet! They were built in the 80’s for children in Japan to use them for card making as they are so simple to use. Apparently you put an image, either a photocopy or drawing and some screen printing mesh into the machine and a big light flashes to imprint the image onto the mesh, you can then make the screen by attaching it to a card frame. It is a shame they have stopped making them, but I guess traditional screen-printing and stamping has taken over and so maybe they just were not selling enough. Another cool thing that gets lost in history, just like the Polaroid! 

So we each chose a screen to start with and used the screen-printing paints and a piece of plastic as a squeegee, we proceeded to place our item – lets say card down on the table (over a cloth of course), place the screen over the top and place the paint at the top of the screen and then dragged it over the screen – just the same as you would in screen-printing, but without the pressure – there is no need to be heavy handed with it. You can then pick up the screen and voila your item has been printed! It is so very simple, although these were made for children to use, so you really would hope so! 

I started getting a bit of a production line going along with some others at the workshop with using different screens and items to print on, I went for printing straight onto cards, printing onto fabric so that I can turn them into decorations or cut them out to put on cards and I also did a few notebooks! This was actually a really productive evening (it was a 2 hour session) and I got so many done that I think all my Christmas cards are done for this year and I may even have enough for next year! An extra bonus.

So all in all, although I would have liked to have done my own screen I still had fun and Xtina talked about the machine a lot and the screens and so I think I will definitely be looking for one. Plus Xtina mentioned a company called Thermofax which I believe makes up screens for you, either there own designs or you can design your own, so that may well be another option.

Don’t leave yet, check out more of Heather’s work at her co-written blog Live it Love it Make it

and follow Heather’s favourite images on Pinterest

Festive French Knot Heart Tutorial

This simple felt heart is easy to make and is a great addition to your stash of festive decorations. The densely sewn French knots take a little time to do, 

depending in the size of your heart, but give a lovely wooly texture when completed.  Although this was designed with Christmas in mind it would be a 

suitable gift or decoration for any time of the year.

You will need:

An embroidery hoop

Embroidery thread

Felt fabric

A needle suitable to sew embroidery thread

Scissors

A pencil 

Stuffing 

Garden twine for the hanging loop

Cut your fabric to size and draw on the heart motif to your required dimensions, once you have done this place the fabric in the embroidery hoop.  

Gently pull the edges of the fabric to ensure it is taught, you will know its taught enough if it sounds like a dull drum when tapped.

Insert the needle at the point of your heart coming up through the fabric. To do a French knot you need to wrap the thread around the needle twice. 

Insert the needle back in the felt close to where it originally emerged. Pull the wrapped thread towards the bottom of the needle to create the start of your French knot.

Push the needle down through the fabric and pull the thread through to secure the knot in place.

Once you have pulled all the thread through your French knot will appear, give the thread a gentle tug to ensure the knot is snug against the fabric and repeat. 

Continue the French knot stitches until you have filled your heart motif. 

You can sew the knots almost on top of each other to create a wooly effect, if you prefer you can scatter the knots for a more minimal design.

Once you have completed the knots take your fabric out of the hoop and trim the excess fabric leaving enough seam allowance to enable 
you to sew and stuff your heart. Cut out another felt heart for the back of your decoration ensuring that both hearts are the same size. 
Place one heart on top of the other and secure with pins if required. 
Using the same embroidery thread sew around the heart using a basic stab stitch. You will need to leave a small gap to allow you to insert the stuffing into your heart.
  
Once you have stuffed the heart continue to sew around it for a second time to create a continuous solid line of stitching.
If required use pinking shears to trim the edges to create a crinkled edge.  You then need to thread through the garden twine
to make the hanging loop. Knot the garden twine and you have your completed wooly felt heart.
Make a few to go on the Christmas tree or make lots and sew together for a great garland to decorate your mantle piece, 
alternatively make them as a thoughtful Christmas gift.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Love Lou xxx
Check out more of Lou’s Make Do and Sew work
Blog URL - Read more from Made Do Sew on their blog
Twitter name - Follow Make Do Sew on Twitter

Pinterest - Check out Make Do Sew Pins on Pinterest

Bauble Bauble Revamp tutorial

Hello and welcome to a Craft Candy Christmas Tutorial in Revamping Christmas Baubles. A few years ago I decided to make my family members personalised Christmas baubles to hang on their trees, this year I’m also revamping some old baubles to give them a little added sparkle.

For this task you will need

  • crafting glue such as a multi purpose PVA
  • glitter in assorted colours
  • single coloured baubles
  • cotton buds
  • a clean and dry art paint brush
  • also an egg cup holder
  • a tray to catch the glitter.

Most of these items can be founds in The Pound Shop or 99p store, crafting glue you can find in Art or crafting shops.

 

Place the bauble in the egg cup holder and apply the pattern or name or your choice in glue. Wipe away any mistakes with a cotton bud.

 

Place the egg cup holder and bauble in the tray and gentle sprinkle glitter over the bauble making sure all the glue areas are covered.

Once the glue has completely dry (I usually leave to dry overnight) you can brush away the excess glitter with the paint brush and then you have your revamped and personalised baubles.

 

You can create as many different designs as you like and instead or using glitter you can use acrylic gems to create your designs.

And that is a very quick and easy way to turn some old baubles into a personal Christmas gift or just revamp them to your own personal taste for your tree.

hope you enjoyed this tutorial and of behalf of The Crafty Ms De Vil and Craft Candy, 

Happy Crafting and Happy Christmas.

 

Natasha De Vil

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