Archive for May, 2011

A crafty retreat at home

My latest Indie Fixx post is up about creating your own retreat. I’ve been on a couple of retreats with some Etsy friends and had a brilliant time – we took over a whole art department at a beautiful boarding school in York. Can you imagine the inspiration we all got from our surroundings and each other? We had crocheters, printers, artists and all round crafty-geniuses in one place for a whole weekend. In my column I talk about how to recreate some of that gorgeousness at home. Pop over and have a read, I hope you enjoy it.


{week 49} shrink plastic

Did you ever put empty crisp packets in the oven and watch them shrink down to perfect miniature versions of themselves? Well shrink plastic is just like that – but without the fat.

Shrink plastic

I got my shrink plastic from Homecrafts. You just use a permanent marker to draw the design, add colour with pencils, cut out the shapes, punch holes if you want them and bung in the oven according to the packet instructions. Easy!

Something I didn’t take into consideration was the amount of shrinkage. I should have remembered those crisps of days gone by and the teeny tiny packets they became.

Shrinking plastic

On the right is the button shape before shrinkage

I love the buttons, it would be a fun way to customise a project and make truly individual buttons just for you. No one else will have anything like it.

Shrink plastic buttons

Have you experimented with shrink plastic? What else could we make with it?

Not long now until I launch 52 crafts in 52 weeks year 2. I’d love it if you could join in.

And finally, the eagle-eyed amongst you would have noticed I failed to blog every day in May. I forgot on Friday and then on Saturday and Sunday I was really busy (and exhausted after walking 18 miles) and frankly by Monday I just wasn’t in the mood. This is where a proper editorial calendar and some pre-written posts would have come in handy. Oh well, maybe next year!

Fabric porn and crafty crushes

I love Anna Maria Horner and her amazing fabric-design prowess. She is fabulous *sigh*.

The dress I made last summer was made entirely of voile designed by lovely Anna Maria (Little Folks collection).

I have an enormous crafty-crush on her, can you tell?

And I really want some of this new eye-candy. Don’t you? I can’t wait to get some to make another summer dress – voile is so lovely to sew with and perfect for dresses to wear in the sunshine.



Who is your crafty-crush?

Walking for charity

I interrupt our regular crafty viewing to talk about a cause close to my heart. In June I’m taking part in a charity walk in aid of breast cancer charities called the Moonwalk. It’s in Edinburgh (that means hills, I live in East Anglia where it’s flat, I’m worried). Oh and it’s 26.2 miles.

If you can spare any pounds to sponsor me I’d really appreciate it. And there is a bit of a crafty element to this as I’ll be decorating the bra I’ll be walking in on the night. Photos of that soon – the theme is Moulin Rouge so think feathers and sequins.

Moonwalk training

I’ll keep you posted on the training – 18 miles this weekend! How will I find time for crafting?

The survey says…

So far the survey says:

94% of you would like to join in with 52 crafts in 52 weeks


53% would like a set theme but any craft and 47% would like a set craft each week.

It’s not too late to add your views and please do – I really want to know what you think.

Thank you to Chris & Wendy for your comments too:

I’d be all for 12 crafts over the year, one per month. Like, maybe one month’s theme would be sewing crafts — i.e. quilting, cross stitching, embroidery… I’d so get in on something like that.
I’d love to see a list of the 52 crafts you want/intend to do over the year all in one list at the start of it. Or maybe that would be too much, but a good list for at least 2-3 months. I don’t know if you did that for this past year or not, or if you just flew by the seat of your pants.

I like Chris’s suggestion of 12 crafts over 12 months. I’d love to join in but I don’t know if I can manage a new craft every single month!
… I don’t want to see you disappear, so NO, don’t leave it at 52 crafts in 52 weeks, we want year 2!

How does that idea sound to people? 12 crafts over 12 months with the scope to do one a week if you can? And I will need to be a whole load more organised than I have this year. Yes Chris I have been flying by the seat of my pants!

On that note, I’d better start thinking about this week’s craft. Any requests?


The next chapter

So there comes a point in any relationship, especially one that has lasted almost a year, when you ask where is this going?

In just four weeks I will have reached my goal for this particular relationship: 52 crafts in 52 weeks. So what next? Do I continue the relationship into week 53 or decide we’ve reached the natural conclusion and move on to pastures new? I need your help.

If I decide to carry on the project into year 2, would you like to join in too and try a new craft every week for a year as well?

And if you’d like to join in, would you prefer me to set a different craft every week that we all do together? Or would it be better if I came up with a theme and you choose the craft yourself? Alternatively we could keep it completely open and you do whatever you like each week with no set craft or theme.

If we decide to carry on together I’ll set up a flickr group so everyone can share their work and ideas and keep motivated.

I really need your help, so vote now!

{week 48} patchwork quilt

I had a sudden thought in bed last night – is it actually week 47? Have I deceived everyone? I resisted the urge to check there and then – iPhone use at 2am is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. But it’s okay, last week was definitely 47 so this is 48. And I only have 4 weeks to go. Wow.

Anyway, as I teased yesterday, this week’s craft is patchwork quilting. I can’t show a photo of the finished quilt as it’s a secret. But I made a cushion too with the left over fabric and batting.

Patchwork cushion

The fabric is from the Central Park range by Moda. And the cotton wadding is Quilters Dream. I really love the fabric so I think I might get some more – a pack of fat quarters just doesn’t go far when you’re making a quilt. I’m also thinking a quilt made with the Cut Out and Keep collection by Heather Moore would also be gorgeous:

There is too much amazing fabric in the world and not enough storage in my craft room. Sigh. Do you have a favourite fabric range or designer at the moment that you’d stock up on if space (and money) was no object? And have you made a quilt? I’d love to see your photos.

Crafty planning {week 48}

I’m writing this while watching Eurovision – my Twitter and Facebook streams are awash with hilarious observations about each act as we all watch along together. So far I’m loving Moldova – they had pointy hats and a unicycle. Bonkers.

Anyway, on with the craft.

This week it’s all about patchwork and quilting. But I won’t be able to show you one of the projects as it’s a present for a little someone who isn’t even born yet and I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise for the mummy-to-be. Here’s a little sneaky peek at the planning for it though.

I’ve tried to choose non-gender specific colours but I think it is a bit biased towards a girl. The last baby quilt (and also the only baby quilt) I made was supposed to be neutral but ended up very blue. And guess what? It was a boy. Maybe I’m a psychic quilt-maker? We’ll find out in August.

So I just need to finish the quilt and make a patchwork cushion with the same fabrics. I’ll show you the cushion tomorrow.

Happy crafting x

Support UK Handmade

UK Handmade is an online magazine published every 3 months. It takes an absolute tonne of work by the dedicated team to make it happen so they’re asking for a little help to take UK Handmade to the next step: print.
As someone who has been involved with the magazine in some capacity since the very beginning (as a writer and an interviewee) it’s very dear to my heart. And I’d love to be able to buy a print version. Wouldn’t that be amazing? So support UK Handmade today and help the print-dream come true.

UK Handmade
The latest magazine features an interview with me talking about 52 crafts in 52 weeks. So it’s got to be worth having a little look don’t you think?

Crafty round-up

When I’m not making pretties and writing about them I’m devouring craft blogs, books and magazines. So today here’s a little roundup of what has caught my crafty eye lately.

Rolling pin stamps by Alisa Burke

The new craft magazine MollieMakes is out in the UK today – I haven’t got my mitts on a copy yet but Twitter says it’s good. So it must be true. Plus the cover is gorgeous so I have very high hopes.

Babies are popping out (or are about to) all around me at the moment so this roundup of baby crafts is very handy for all the baby showers, birthdays and general new-life merriment.

And finally, it’s free pattern month on Grosgrain. So many lovely projects have been posted already – I might have to get Nina the Bernina out this weekend and whip up one of the skirts or the sunny resort blouse.

Have you seen any crafty fabulousness recently? Let me know in the comments, a girl can never have too many bookmarks or pins.

Happy crafting x


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