Tuesday, 31 March 2015

And the winner is....

Thank you to everyone who has entered the #CraftBlogClub giveaway to win a copy of Fiona Pullen's Book, Craft a Creative Business. 

All the entries have been put into the List Randomiser on Random.org and the winner is.....

(drum roll)

....Victoria Maus!

Congratulations Victoria!

Please email me your details via craftblogclub@gmail.com and I will pass on your address to the publisher who will send you this great book.  I'd love to know what you think of it.

Thank you to everyone who entered. Sorry if you haven't won but don't worry, you can find Fiona's book here.

Before you go....

My #CraftBlogClub co-host Katie launched another challenge during tonight's chat. It is a Spring Clean Craft Swap, so if you have a crafty stash you want to use up and like receiving happy mail, why not join in?  All the details can be found on Katie's blog here.

fizzi~jayne x

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

"Craft a Creative Business" Book Giveaway....

Did you catch the #CraftBlogClub chat tonight? It was awesome, we had Fiona Pullen, author of Craft a Creative Business guest hosting.  She was answering our questions on starting or growing a creative business and inspired all of us with her great advice. You can catch up on the chat by searching the hashtag  #CraftBlogClub on Twitter.

Fiona and her publishers have kindly given us a copy of her book to give away!  It is a book I highly recommend and you can read my review here.

There are a number of ways you can enter this Craft a Creative Business giveaway and the best part is each one will  be counted as 1 entry, so do all three and you will be entered three times!

1. Please leave a comment below about why you would love to win this book or if you enjoyed the chat then which tip was your favourite
2. Share this post on Twitter, tagging @craftblogclub and using the hashtag #CBCgiveaway
3. Give the #CraftBlogClub page a like, and leave a comment on why you'd love to win, or like one of the other comments.

Deadline for entries is 31st March at 5:30pm (GMT)

The winner will be picked at random using random.org and will be announced during the Twitter chat on 31st March at 7pm (GMT) as well as on this blog and on Facebook.

Good Luck!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Back at The Little Fox Market....

On Saturday I kicked off the craft fair season of 2015! I went back to The Little Fox Market in Rickmansworth.

We have a new organiser who has taken on the reigns, Katherine from Glowbeads. She did an amazing job for her first fair.

It was nice to catch up with some of the regular stall holders and see some new ones.  The Little Fox always has a good mix of craft, vintage and food stalls. 

I added a new feature to my display for my wall hangings....

I bought a garden trellis that I painted with Annie Sloane chalk paint, et voilà!

I use 'S' hooks to hang my products from the trellis which gives me flexibility with my display. 

I was opposite The Maverick Kitchen again, look at these beautiful cupcakes....

After a days work I couldn't leave without treating myself to one of their cupcakes that have been looking at me all day!

This was sooooo yummy! 

You can see all the craft fairs I have booked for this year, including the Little Fox at Rickmansworth in my Craft Fairs tab.  I've booked dates right through to Christmas! How organised am I?!

fizzi~jayne x

Friday, 20 March 2015

Guest Post ~ What is Blocking? by Sally Strawberry....

I have another guest for you to celebrate National Craft Month and this time it is Sally Strawberry! (Strawberry is her blog surname but it would be really cool if it was her real one!).

I follow Sally's blog which is full of crochet scrumptiousness (is that a real word? If not it should be) and has given me helpful tips whilst I learnt to crochet.  Sally's patterns have also been included in "Inside Crochet" magazine which is pretty cool! 

So I am really pleased that she is sharing her expertise on my blog, over to Sally....

Hi, I'm Sally and I have just a little obsession with crochet. I love the flexibility of crochet, the way that with just a few stitches you can create something beautiful.

I began with knitting but my real passion is crochet. I believe that crochet should no longer be seen as an activity purely for the older generations but should be used as an expression of creativity and to show off the multitude of fabulous yarns we are privileged to have available to us (the brighter the colours the better!). 

I'm a scientist by trade and work full-time but snatch as much time as possible to crochet, blog and immerse myself in the fabulous world of craft. 

What is blocking? 

Blocking is one of the most important steps in any knitting or crochet project to take your work to the next level, to make them look as brilliant as they do in the magazines.
Blocking comes in many guises, but essentially has the same effect. 

Joanne of Not So Granny writes about wet blocking by giving your item a good soaking. This is the most suitable method for those beautiful garments you have lovingly crocheted in sumptuous wool yarns.  

Lucy of Attic 24 has posted about 'steam blocking' whereby small items, such as bunting, are blocked by hovering a steam iron over your work which is firstly pinned into position. My method is a mix of the two, and I will go through it now.....

In this tutorial I will only be talking about blocking small items such as bunting, as although I do now blog about my larger crochet and knitted pieces, I'm by no means an expert (I’ll leave that to Joanne).  

Now although I’d never claim to be an expert in anything, I have made a lot of bunting over the years. A lot! Bunting really benefits from blocking, as it looks miles better hanging and is less likely to curl up at the corners. Bunting also benefits from being a bit sturdy, so hereby I introduce the secret ingredient- spray starch!

Right, here goes…..

See these triangles of crochet fabulousness here.....sorry....I mean strange shapes all curled up at the corners.....these are my bunting triangle pre-blocking....

The kit....

  • Damp tea towel (I put it under the tap and wring it out well)
  • An iron (any old iron- mine doesn't even steam anymore)
  • Pins
  • and the magic ingredient- SPRAY STARCH (only a quid in the laundry aisle of any supermarket)
The process....

1. Place item front side down onto ironing board
2. Spray liberally with spray starch
3. Make sure it is flat and cover with damp tea towel
4. With iron on a LOW SETTING (very important!) press firmly onto work through the tea towel

It is very important that you don't hold the iron down very long, 5 seconds at a time max, otherwise you risk squashing/melting your work, especially if you are using acrylic. 

Keep on pressing until your work stays flat when you remove the tea towel, but please please please not long enough to burn it.

5. Turn work over so that the right side is facing up
6. Spray the front liberally with starch
7. Pin into place stretching out the corners. I just do this straight into the ironing board foam.

8. Leave to dry overnight
9. Voilà! Lovely flat, slightly stiffened, triangles ready to be strung into bunting!

See the difference yes? 

The advantages of blocking are really obvious.....so no excuses eh!

P.S. When I am blocking component parts of a stuffed toy for example I just iron lightly on reverse through a damp tea towel.  Starch wouldn't be appropriate in this case. The pieces are then OK to be used straight away!

Thank you Sally for taking the time to share this tutorial with us, this is really useful. I haven't really known what I was doing with blocking so I am grateful for the tips!

Check out Sally's blog for more crochet tips, patterns and tutorials here
Sally is also on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

I hope you have enjoyed my guest bloggers for National Craft Month. I don't just have guests in March, I'm always happy to work with other crafters and bloggers so if you have an idea or craft tutorial you would like to share, please get in touch.

fizzi~jayne x

Have you missed the other guest posts this month? Click on the links below....

Rachel Saka - Decoupage Techniques

Spiral Earrings Techniques

Monday, 16 March 2015

#CraftBlogClub Challenge Reveal....

It's time for another #CraftBlogClub challenge reveal! Full details of this challenge can be found here but to summarise the theme was a "New Craft for the New Year!"

There were suggestions on how this could be interpreted in the launch post and although there are a lot of new crafts I want to try as well as learn new techniques within the crafts I already enjoy, I chose to get to grips with a new craft machine I got for Christmas. Let me introduce you to Camilla.....

I am a very lucky girl to get this machine, isn't she a beauty?!

Camilla is my Silhouette Cameo.  For those who have not come across this machine before, it is a digital cutting machine which can cut a variety of materials, including, but not exclusive to, cardstock, fabric, adhesive vinyl and heat transfer material.

By using the software you can create your own designs or purchase designs from their store. I am so excited about my new toy as it will unlock so many ideas I have, I even have the potential to make my own stamps!

Cutting is not the only thing it can do, by replacing the blade with pens it can draw designs instead.

I have a lot to learn and so many ideas to try but the past few weeks have been mainly getting to know Camilla and her software, and cutting lots of random shapes in different thicknesses of card. 

I love fonts and started playing around with them and used this one for an order for a birthday card....

The MUM tag was created on the Silhouette and the "waste" from the tag was used for this Mother's Day card....

Once I started to feel more comfortable with the software I created my own design, it's a simple one using shapes to create a sun stencil.  I'm loving stencils at the moment to create backgrounds and I couldn't wait to get my hands on Silhouette's Stencil Material to make my own....

Once the stencil was cut out, I used distress inks in bright sunny colours over the stencil.

I mounted the background on to orange card

Using Camilla, I cut out the word "sunshine" in black card, which was part of a design that came free with the Silhouette.

I stamped "You Are My" in black ink and added floral buttons to embellish.

I'm obsessed with Wink of Stella pens and used the clear to add some sparkle to the letters.

So far I have only used Camilla for paper craft but I have vinyl to experiment with next and ideas for home décor, so watch this space....

Have you joined in with the challenge? What did you make?

If you have a blog post please add the link to the linky below so everyone can have a look, this is the fun bit of the challenge, seeing what you have all made.

fizzi~jayne x

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Book Review ~ Craft A Creative Business by Fiona Pullen....

I have to share with you a must read if you are thinking of starting a creative business or want to grow your business.  

The author, Fiona Pullen, is the genius behind the Sewing Directory and in the book she shares her vast experience and knowledge of running a Creative Business.

The book is split into six easy to read sections covering a wide range of aspects of a business in great depth. It is in a logical order helping you every step of the way from concept and launch, through to reviewing your progress once established.  It includes all the important subjects you expect including the legal and tax aspects of running a business as well as covering branding, photography, social media and selling. Each chapter is colour coded and it is easy to dip in and out without having to read it cover to cover, although I am sure you will want to.

Writing a business book to appeal to a creative person can't be easy, having read a few business and marketing books in my time they aren't always easy going, we'd rather be making things right?! However, Fiona has managed to present a lot of detail in a digestible manner.  It is clearly laid out in bite sized chunks so you don’t feel overwhelmed and it is jargon free!

There are a number of check lists and activities to help you apply what you have read to your business.  There are areas for making notes and each chapter includes further reading and useful websites to check out. I would also recommend having sticky notes and a notebook on hand because I am sure you will be making lots of notes like me!

It's not just for start ups, this book has helped me reassess and focus my goals for 2015 as well as help me design and build a new website for my business (fizzijaynemakes.com).

I know I will refer to this book again and again and yes, I know I have said this before about business books but that was before I read this one and I will definitely turn to this book first. 

I rate this book so highly I have given it 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon

This is an absolute must for any creative business owner and a great book if you want to start a craft business.

Want to find out more about Fiona?...
Visit her website craftacreativebusiness.co.uk
Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest

Disclaimer: The Amazon links in this post are affiliated.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Guest Post ~ Spiral Earrings Tutorial....

When I was looking for guest craft bloggers for my National Craft Month celebrations Sykes Cottages contacted me.  They had created a craft guide featuring a series of easy to follow craft tutorials and were happy for me to feature one of them.

Over to Leanne from Sykes Cottages to tell you more....

Hi, Crafting is one of the world’s most rewarding pastimes; it’s creative, engaging and artistic. Sykes wanted to offer simple handmade craft guides for beginners as a stress-free introduction to the world of craft. After teaming up with six UK-based craft bloggers, we created Simple Handmade Crafts: A Guide for Beginners, to encourage those who’d never tried craft to take up scissors and thread and have a go. All of the tutorials in the guide were designed to be easy to make, giving novices the chance to create something special in just a few simple steps.

One of the tutorials in the guide was contributed by Erin; a UK craft blogger who creates wonderful handmade jewellery and other incredible crafts on her blog, e-eliseETC. Her tutorial for a pair of wire work Spiral Earrings are inexpensive to make and easily-transportable, making it perfect for beginners who’d like to try their hand at basic wire work techniques.

If you’d like to have a go at making these gorgeously simple earrings you can read how below....

You will need:

  • Sterling silver wire (0.6mm-0.8mm), 
  • Six beads (this tutorial uses Jade rondelle beads 4x6mm), 
  • Wire cutters, round and flat nose pliers, 
  • A pen 
  • A small file.
Step 1:
To begin, cut approximately 2 inches of wire. Using flat-nose pliers, bend one end to form the centre of the earring’s spiral.

Step 2:
Holding the centre loop firmly with the flat-nose pliers, carefully wrap the wire around the centre bend. When you've done this a couple of times, your spiral should begin to take shape.

Step 3:
Once you’re happy with your spiral, use pliers to make a 90-degree bend in the wire in the opposite direction.

You’re now ready to add the beads.

Step 4:
To complete the charm, make a 90-degree bend above the three beads. Then, use pliers to make a small loop which will be used to attach the charm to the earring wire. Repeat the above steps to create a second charm, before setting both aside.

Step 5:  
For the earring wire: cut a 2” length of wire and create a small loop at one end using round nose pliers, this will allow you to attach the charm.

Step 6:
Using a small round object like a pen, make a curved bend in the wire. Then, use round nose pliers to bend the other end of the wire outwards to give the wire its earring shape. Be sure to check if the end of the wire is sharp; if it is, you may like to smooth it down with a file. 

Repeat step five and six for the second earring wire.

Step 7:
To complete your earrings: use pliers to open the small loop on the earring wire and attach the charm. Then, secure the charm in place by closing the loop with the pliers. 

Repeat this step for the second earring and hey presto, you've created a wonderful pair of earrings!

Thank you Leanne for sharing this tutorial. These earrings are so pretty and I can't wait to try making them for myself.  

If you are new to jewellery making and you would like to know more about the basic techniques I would recommend visiting the tutorials here by Beads Direct.  They are free and helped me when I first tried making jewellery.

To find out more about Erin, the blogger behind this tutorial, you can find her over on...
Her blog 

You can find the other tutorials featured on Sykes Cottages' blog here.

Sykes Cottages kindly provided this tutorial for free and have NOT sponsored me or this blog to use it. You can find out more about Sykes Cottages and their 5,000 self-catering cottages to rent across the UK and Ireland on their website.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

You can find me in Homemaker magazine....

I'm giddy with excitement! One of my crochet top tips has been featured in Homemaker magazine! It's not a full article but its pretty awesome to see my name in print!

Issue 29 of Homemaker is out now in the UK.

You can find more of my crochet tips in my post here

fizzi~jayne x

Monday, 2 March 2015

Guest Blogger ~ Rachel Saka ~ Decoupage Techniques....

March is National Craft Month and I couldn't let it go by without doing something.  So to celebrate I have a some guests taking over my blog to share their favourite crafty tutorials/techniques.

First up is Rachel, this is her first ever blog post so I am happy she has decided to share her tutorial with us. Over to Rachel....

Hello! My name is Rachel, and I live in Leeds with my husband and our three children. Crafting has always been a passion of mine, but with three young children, time was always a constraint! However, my youngest child started primary school in September, and I can now grab some extra hours to try to turn my hobby into a success! I specialise in home decor, and this tutorial will help with the techniques used to make a wall hanging, ideal for a bedroom.

One of the big crazes at the moment is based around superheroes, and which budding little hero wouldn't want his very own personalised initial for his room?! 

To make a bold statement, I usually use a 25cm high and 12mm wide solid letter. 

Scraps of paper can be used to create the collage effect, but I prefer the thickness of a sample of wallpaper, which can be easily obtained from the local DIY store, or even online. 

For this project, you will also need scissors, Mod Podge and a good chunky paintbrush. I prefer the children's brushes which are more robust and help with the spreading of the Mod Podge.

First of all, I take the width of the letter and measure on the paper, then cut long strips that will be used to cover the outer edge. Some crafters prefer to just fold the scraps of paper over the edge, but I feel doing it this way means its less fiddly and less prone to peeling. 

Then taking the rest of the paper, go crazy with the scissors and cut out different sized pieces- there is no right or wrong here! I like to make sure I have some of the charcters' faces, but as it is a collage effect, there are no set rules.

Squirt a generous amount of Mod Podge onto your letter, but stick to one small area at a time to prevent drying. 

Place your first scrap of paper as you wish and brush over, adding more Mod Podge if needed. 
Whilst PVA glue has the same effect, and is of course cheaper, Mod Podge is stronger and less likely to peel. It will also leave a lovely finish once complete. 

Repeat the process by brushing Mod Podge into a small area and stick the pieces until covered. Make sure to use your brush in one direction as there may be small brush lines that show up in the light. 

Some crafters like to use a sponge, but I feel that a brush gives more control. Just complete one side at this stage. Make sure you check for any bubbles and these can be smoothed out with the brush. Set aside and leave it to dry for 20 minutes. The Mod Podge dries clear, so dont worry if the surface still looks white at this stage

Brush some Mod Podge around the edge of the letter, again, bit by bit, and take the long, thin strip that was cut originally and cover, smoothing out as you go.

Remember to brush over the paper as you go to ensure a good fixing. Leave to dry again for 20 minutes, and repeat the process for the reverse of the letter. 

Once dry, the letter can be sprayed with a clear sealant to leave a glossy finish, however Mod Podge is available in many finishes, so you may feel this isn't necessary.

Ta-da! Project complete! The finished letter can be displayed on a shelf if prefered, but I normally use a small picture screw ring, and hang to add some awesome super power to a bedroom wall! 

Thank you Rachel for the tips, I think this looks awesome for big kids as well as young heroes!

You can find Rachel and follow her over here....

fizzi~jayne x

Psst.... If you would like to share your craft tutorials/techniques on my blog I'd love to hear from you. Email me here with your ideas.