Monday, 31 March 2014

Inspirational trip and top tips....

Last week was my mother-in-law's 60th birthday and to celebrate we spent a few days in North Norfolk and then the rest of the family joined us for a big family meal. 

For the Birthday Girl

I used my time away from the Craft Den to enjoy time with my family but also as an opportunity to relax and be inspired, as well as have lots of scrummy food!

Oh, OK then!!


I also had a chance to catch up on some reading

The topic of the last #craftblogclub chat I hosted was "how do you find inspiration for your crafty projects (and/or blogs) when you get a mental block?".  I found this trip helped me recharge and I have a notebook fully of crafty ideas and tons of photos to inspire me when I loose my crafty mojo.

A day at the Zoo!

Castle Acre

I saw these people in beautiful bright orange clothing who were in complete contrast against the natural background

Beach Huts

Crashing Waves

A random picture that my 3 year old nephew told me to take a photo of and there is something about it I like. Sometimes its fun to see the world from a child's perspective

We all lose our mojo sometimes, it's a sign we need to stop for 5 minutes. Here are my top tips plus some tips from fellow #craftblogclub members on finding inspiration:
  • I like to get out and about, take photos and get some fresh air to clear the mind.
  • I enjoy visiting museums and galleries. A lot of them are free which is always a bonus!
  • I love Pinterest, it is great for inspiration, but addictive!
  •  @i_heart_home goes through her craft stash to find ideas.
  • Visiting shops is great to look at current trends, @CherishedTerace added she thinks it is cool to go to a shop and think "I can make that so much cheaper", I agree!
  • A trip to a coffee shop with a book, focusing on something else can spark ideas
  • @Kay_O mentioned real life is inspiring and this is everywhere!
  • @nappycakes1511 likes flicking through magazines.
  • I like to flick through my craft books.
  • Myself and @daintyandivory always carry a notebook for when inspiration strikes
  • @giftfrippery visits markets at home and on holiday where they are lovely, vibrant, colourful places
Hopefully you are feeling inspired!

Do you have any tips you would like to share on finding inspiration?

fizzi~jayne  x 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Learning to Crochet....

Not only is it National Craft Month but it is also National Crochet Month!
For 2014 I wanted to learn a new craft and I fancied having a go at Crochet. 
My mum taught me to knit when I was young but I never took to it and focused on sewing, art and other crafts instead.  

Learning crochet has ignited a passion for yarn and yep I am now officially hooked (excuse the pun)!!

It was frustrating at first and I thought I would never get my head around it.  It is a different way to craft for me as it is following a pattern whereas I like to experiment and play, more freestyle crafting.  However, this makes it the perfect hobby because I am focusing my mind on something different but it is still creative.  am pleased to say I am now thoroughly enjoying it and I am finding it relaxing, until I lose count!

My first completed project using Afghan Stitch, was a cover for my iPad. I even worked out the pattern myself!

I used 2 colours, this side is Pink with a Lilac stitch across the top and along 2 sides when stitching together.

The other side is Lilac with Pink stitching around 2 edges when sewing the 2 sides together
It's not perfect but I am proud of my first attempt and I am using it, it keeps my iPad nice and cosy and safe from key scratches in my handbag.

It isn't helping me be a savvy crafter as I am not only buying yarn but also books and magazines but if you read my last post you will know this now has to stop!  I'm loving Simply Crochet right now, as it has great patterns and newbie techniques. I will buy one as a treat every now and then but I will make more use of the wealth of FREE info on the web. I have been adding free patterns and tutorials to my Pinterest board.

I am pleased I bought the Crochet Compendium as it is a great reference book and has helped me to understand patterns as well as basic techniques.

The patterns for this flower and leaf were found on Pinterest and are now saved on my Learning to Crochet board....

Now I have yarn in my life I have also started to make Pom Poms! I had forgotten the childhood joy of making Pom Poms until reading Anthea's fab blog post about Crafty Obsessions. So I am now in the process of making Easter chicks
fizzi~jayne  x

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Savvy crafting 2014 update....

I started the year with plans for 2014 and I knew being a savvy crafter would be the most challenging!

To recap, the rules were....

 I will not be buying any new....
  • Card
  • Stamps
  • Ribbon
  • Buttons
The exceptions are....
  • If I need something for a specific order
  • If I run out of the basics, i.e. white card, glue etc. The essentials I can’t craft without
  • I worked on a project for one of my favourite craft suppliers, Handy Hippo which required supplies and I am working on another one....

So, how have I done so far?...

Card - I hadn't bought any new card that wasn't required for the Handy Hippo project, yeah! Until I saw some great offers last week :-( which I couldn't possibly ignore!

Stamps - I forgot about this rule oops! I may have bought some small ones *hanging my head in shame*

Ribbon - I am pleased to say I have kept to my rules and I haven't bought any *high five*

Buttons - I nearly caved in, I saw these really cute buttons and I picked them up but I put them back on the shelf!  However I have bought a mould to make my own buttons....

I am finding other crafty supplies that are not in the rules slipping into my shopping basket to feed my addiction, especially as I have started to learn crochet.  So I am not breaking the rules, instead I have found loop holes in my own rules! Not so savvy!
I have kept a track of all my costs which has been useful to see where my money has gone and because of that I am upping the ante!  I can't buy ANYTHING! (The exceptions will remain the same.)
The thought of not buying anything is making me feel sad and queasy, but needs must! I will have to comfort myself with some chocolate instead!
Are you still on track with your New Year resolutions?
 fizzi~jayne  x

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

#craftblogclub Challenge ~ Re-Loved....

....I Re-Love You!

Every Tuesday at 7pm #craftbloclub brings together craft bloggers, lovers of craft blogs and craft.  Emma, the founder of #craftbloclub, sets us monthly challenges to get our crafty teeth into.  You have to check out her blog and her beautiful Re-Loved project here .

February's #craftblogclub challenge is all about upcycling and bringing new life to something for the home. 

I have done something small and simple but something I wanted to do.  Everyday I sit at my desk and see this....

My pen pot is a Cheese Football tin! I don't even like them, they are my hubby's Christmas snack of choice.  It is practical but ugly.  So I turned it into this....

Much prettier!

I did this using the technique best known as Decoupage.  I've only done this once before on Christmas decorations and I loved the effect. 

I used....
Deco Mache paper
Washi tape
White Gesso paint
White Acrylic Paint
Tacky PVA Glue

How did I do it....

1. First of all I wanted to reduce the height so I could see what I have in the tin, so I measured 12cm around except for at the front where it is 11cm to give it a nice shape.

When using the Stanley knife I scored before cutting to ensure accuracy and so I was less likely to slip!  I also cut on a non slip mat, (I used my embossing mat) which meant it was easier to control and my fingers and wrists were still intact.  I sanded down any rough bits.

2. I primed the pot with white gesso paint and then painted a couple of coats of white acrylic paint to ensure the Cheesy Footballs could not be seen. If I was using thicker paper I would not necessarily need to use the acrylic paint but as Deco Mache paper is thin I needed to do this.

All prepped and ready to go

3. I used 2 different papers and cut them into random squares and rectangles.  For a different look you can just tear.

Now I am ready to Decoupage!

4. Using a brush I spread PVA glue on to the pot. I used the same brush to pick up and position each piece of paper onto the surface at random.  Each time I added more glue on top of the paper to fix it in position.

and then it looks like this....

5. Now, I could have stopped there, but that's not me I decided to get a dry brush and painted strokes of white gesso paint over the paper in random areas of the pot....

The paint gives it a distress look

I used Gesso instead of acrylic paint which is thicker and more opaque so the papers can still be seen. The trick is also not to over load the brush.

6. I could have also stopped here but then I found some Washi tape that would go perfectly with the papers so added strips and covered in PVA glue over the top to give it the same gloss finish as the rest of the pot.

7. I did varnish with Decopatch Aquapro Professional Varnish to make it water resistant and to give the colours longevity.

8. Now I really didn't need to do anymore but I love buttons so added a few small ones. So the final product looks like this....

What do you think?

I love the colours, they bring a bit of spring into my craft den and the aqua chevron is very on trend!

This is an easy and a relaxing technique, I don't know why I haven't done more of it before.  It is ideal for using up scraps of paper or fabric.

It is also addictive, I couldn't stop, I even decoupaged a draw from my craft den....

I did exactly the same except I skipped the white acrylic paint and I also used my distress inks. I inked around the edge with Mustard Yellow and Vintage Photo colours.

This drawer belongs to a set from Ikea I got a few years ago and I have been meaning to decorate them, the question is do I decorate all the draws the same or all differently??

What do you think, all the same or mix it up?

I now have the upcycling bug and looking around the house for a project, I think it will be our bedside tables next....

I will be hosting #craftblogclub on 11th March at 7pm, I hope you can pop along for a chat

fizzi~jayne  x

Saturday, 1 March 2014

It's March already?!?!....

It only feels like yesterday I was planning my new year resolutions.  February picked up for me with orders and I am busy developing new ideas, some will go into production some will be a learning curve! 

Mother's Day Work In Progress

I found time to leave my craft den for a day and went to my first trade show at the NEC in Birmingham, back to my homeland! I am from the Midlands originally, not Brum itself but a town outside. I moved down south for work but it is always nice to be in the area and hear my midlands twang creep back.

I had a badge, proof I am a professional!!

It was interesting to go to this event and see what it was all about, I saw some small businesses who were happy to speak to little ole me but a lot of stalls for paper craft were retailer focused.  If you use fabric this is a must go as there are loads of stalls, you just have to be aware of minimum order quantities which can be based on price and/or metres.  It was useful to see the latest and up & coming trends.  It is a free event so I will go to the Autumn Craft, Hobby & Stitch International at the ExCeL, with more focus of what I want to get out of the event.

Also in Feb, I have signed up for Basic Accounts, an online course to get my head around the numbers part of the business.  This was a Groupon offer for £19 so it seemed silly not to do it.  Hopefully a day will come when I can afford an accountant! 

I feel like a proper entrepreneur now with visiting trade shows and doing accounts! I need to manage my time better to fit in more product development,maybe I should read my own post about time management!!

Before I go, did you know that March is National Craft Month?! To celebrate I will be teaching my husband paper craft and helping him to make his Mother's Day card! He has often said he isn't creative and couldn't do what I do.  He is more scientific and mathematical (which will come in use when I need help with my accounts!) but I believe that anyone can enjoy craft!

Will you do anything to celebrate National Craft Month?

fizzi~jayne  x