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GiftFrippery

DIY Gift tags with air dry clay

Sometimes, with the best will in the world, there’s not time to put in that extra special effort required. There’s plenty of things life throws at you which get in the way! So , like other people might bake in batches and put some in the freezer to impress on another day…… I sometime create in batches so I then have a stash. So, heres how to make a stash of gift tags, to put that hand crafted touch to the simplest gift wrapping.

1. Gather the bits you need. Sharp knife, wooden cutting board, nonstick baking sheet, white air dry clay. Cut off a slice of clay and leave this rest in an air tight bag.

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2 Roll out the clay to roughly the thickness of a £1 coin. You can use a rolling pin or a glass bottle to do this. At this stage you can print into the clay. I had big ideas about printing into it with wool but my attempt was a bit of a craft fail. Perhaps I’d try again with some knitting done in a cotton yarn which might be firmer.

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3 I hadn’t imagined laying vintage lace on the clay and rolling over it would work as well as it did. I was thrilled with the result. It looked pretty on the heart shapes I made. I also tried printing with rubber stamps….this worked. And then I tried with some fir leaves from the garden , that was easy and successful. Yay!

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4 After printing, cut the required shape. I used cookie cutters for mine. I tried flower shapes but didn’t like them, they always seemed a bit hefty! Leaves and hearts were gorgeous! While the clay is still fresh make a hole where you want your ribbon to go later.

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5. Move your shapes carefully to your nonstick sheet, and dry over 48 hours, tuning each night and morning so they dry evenly. When completely dry you can gently sand the fuzzy edges.

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6. Thread with ribbon . I chose white. I now have a batch of hand made gift tags which will go with any colour wrapping I do.

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I tried two types of clay but my favourite was ,by far, Das.

Piñata Frill

This is fun for an Easter table runner.

You need about four layers of tissue paper, slightly different widths. The narrower widths on top. Cut straight down the centre lengthwise and move paper slightly, so as you gradually lay your Duck Tape along the length it sticks to each layer. Make the runner a suitable length for your Easter display or Easter dining table. Give the sides lots of tiny snips all the way down the length and include each layer. These should be fluffed up a bit!

 

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Quick Easter Table Centre

So, you’ve only got two seconds and you’re guests are arriving!

You like things looking pretty but you have no time!

Here’s a cute table centre. A few fluffy chicks running around miniature fairy eggcups (made from Duck Tape) with little chocolate eggs in.

No instructions necessary!

 

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Easter Wrapping with Duck Tape

So,  you’ve bought a few Easter eggs to sprinkle around but on Easter Sunday when the family are around you’d like it to look as though you’d gone the extra mile and put your creative head on!

1.Fair enough! I’m here to save the day. I’ve been playing with Duck Tape. More specifically, the Ducklings range. Preppy Plaid, Pink, Chrome, High Impact, MOD Dot, Green and Cool Cheetah.

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It was stickier than I ever thought possible! And my first thought had been to weave with it. A flash of inspiration made this possible. I’d recently been to my local pound shop and bought a few of those non- stick baking sheets and they worked like a dream.

2 I started by laying the chosen design (how very Missoni) side by side onto the baking sheet.

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3 Gradually, by pulling up every other strip I was able to sly a bright green strip across. Lay the strips back down and pull the others up etc. this would have been completely impossible without the baking sheet, such is the strength of Duck Tape.

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4 Eventually, with the weave completed, I lifted the whole taped area up and laid it on a sheet of paper.

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5 I rolled this into a cone shape and filled it with shredded paper and coloured Easter eggs. It’s a funky look and great for those who have really grown out of Easter eggs but still love them (18-99 year olds!)

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Not More Pom-poms!!

I decided I just had to make a few more pom-poms! I like a few ready to stick on to last minute gifts that I may not want to decorate with bows.

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The quickest and easiest method is to wrap wool around your hand. As you can see I used two different shades of lovely thick wool.

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Slip the wool carefully from your hand and knot it around the centre. Once secure, you can start snipping the loops at each side. Then even up the pompom if needed.

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Then get some crazy colours and start all over again!!!

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Petal Power & Mother’s Day

Summer  is on the way, as are birthdays and Mothers’ Day. So plenty of gorgeous wrapping to be getting on with! I’ve been experimenting with fabric flowers lately and they lend themselves well to embellishing gifts.

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I already had this beautiful, sheer fabric. It was one of those purchases where I had no clue what to do with it at first (2 years!) I ironed on some adhesive backing paper, bought from a local haberdashery shop. I went a bit mad and did loads but then spent a happy evening snipping them out, in front of the television. I store them in an envelope to keep them flat until ready for use.

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At a recent workshop, we all made cones shapes from wallpaper and embellished them with the flowers. What I liked about this was the ‘artistic license’ and they all turned  out slightly differently. Look!

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I also decorated a couple of presents,later, for my Mum. I think she’ll love them!

 

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What to make with leftover wallpaper.

It occurred to me that I may not be the only person in the world with bits of leftover wallpaper hoarded away. Maybe it’s a back up in case of an emergency fix in a newly decorated room, or perhaps it’s from your sample selection before you made your final choice.

I decided to dig out some of mine and craft a few things. I was also sent some from ‘Off The Wall’ (more of them later.)

You could also look back to previous blog posts’ DIY paper bags’ on this site or indeed the ‘Make and Do Envelopes with Gift Frippery’ on the Laura Ashley blog.

I made a zig zag book!

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I know a lot of other crafters who do these. It’s fairly obvious how to and very simple to do. Tou can choose how many pages you want to include and that will probably depend on what you’re going to use it for. They would be perfect for photographs, sketches, recipes etc. Don’t feel you have to have each cover matching either. As you can see I used two patterns from ‘Off the Wall.’ It’s a wallpaper boutique! Yes, (shriek!!) a BOUTIQUE! They only sell paper from independent UK designers and we love supporting those type of businesses ,right? They sell this paper BY THE METRE!! Yes, I know I’m shouting at you but I don’t want you to miss that bit, it’s really good for crafters and upcycling projects. I’ve certainly never heard of this before but it’s great if you love unusual ,good quality paper but don’t want a whole roll.

 

I made wallpaper bunting!

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I’m in a temporary kitchen as my Twitter followers know. I was thinking about my lighting options when my thoughts went off at a tangent. I drew some old style lampshades, cut them out and made them double sided. You’ll see lots of different brands of wallpaper in this mixture.

I made  Wallpaper Cones.

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Roll  some wallpaper into a cone shape and voila! you have a receptacle for a gift. I turned the top down to close it and sealed it with a fabric butterfly. This wallpaper is from ‘Off the Wall’ once again. They have such gorgeous subtle shades. Instructions for making a cone are in the video which I’ve made on the home page. Ideas for decorating cones are coming soon.

I’ve made teeny tiny  envelopes!

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Last, but not least, I made tiny envelope shapes but left the top piece flat. The other three corners fold into a central point. These three points should then have a hole punched in each of them. Thread some ribbon through them and tie in a bow and decorate with artificial flowers and leaves. Simple ,but perfect on a card or as a present topper.

Off The Wall have a challenge for crafters running through March and April. Follow them on Twitter (and me) and tag your teets with #OneMetreChallenge. The details are HERE

They call it a celebration of creativity…..so why not join in the fun?

 

Great Interior Design Show winner…. Martin Holland!

The Great Interior Design Show 2014

three interior designers are given a budget of £1000 to renovate rooms in one house. The winner of each heat progresses to the next round.

Martin Holland decided to test his abilities to the limit when he got involved with the show. He transformed everything from a fisherman’s cottage in Brixham, houseboats in Hampton Court, 1960s housing, tenements and……..a stately home!

i was thrilled when Martin, who is just as friendly and helpful as he appeared on the show, agreed to be interviewed. Enjoy reading it…..he’s special!

 

1. Tea or coffee?

Coffee every time. I struggle to function without that first cup of the day. Just a plain Americano always does the job for me.

2. Which week on the programme was the most difficult for you?

Hmmmmm that’s a tough one. The whole experience was such a rollercoaster of emotions. There were incredible highs and then times when I really struggled due to tiredness and trying to juggle my day job and life at home with doing the show whilst always wanting to do my best and push myself even further. I think for me, the most difficult and yet the most rewarding was the final at the Calendar House in Cumbria. I was exhausted by that point in the competition but having got that far I was so desperate to win I knew I had to pull out all the stops. I think that’s what kept me going!

3. What were your dreams as a child?

As a child I always dreamed of doing something creative like acting or being a designer. I loved being on stage throughout most of my school life and even considered going to a performing arts school but was always put off by the uncertainty of the industry. You really have to be the best of the best of the best to succeed in that world and make a name for yourself. I’m the sort of person who plans everything and goes for the safe option which offers security so doing the competition really pushed me outside of my comfort zone and that’s never a bad thing! I always want to be the best at whatever I do and give it my all which is something that’s followed me throughout my life and I think that came across on the show.

4. I think you’d enjoy the work of artists www. mcgilvarywhite.com . Do you keep a contact book of all your favourite/ most useful go-to people?

What fantastic artists! I particularly like the Lego self-portraits! I tend not to keep a contact book as such as I find social media, such as Twitter, a brilliant resource for making contact with people and keeping up to date with what they’re doing. I’ve met some fantastic people through Twitter. All of my key contacts are stored on my phone so there only ever a call, text or email away. 

5. Do you find it difficult to switch off? Is your brain constantly buzzing with ideas?

Life is so busy at the moment that I’m finding I have to really plan my time and schedule everything down to the last hour otherwise things start to get on top of me. I’m still doing a full time job whilst our new Interior Design business is taking off. And on top of that I also run a Scenery and Costume hire business with my partner Mark. We’re also about to move house which is no easy thing in itself so there’s lots happening! Finding time to unwind and relax is a MUST at the moment.

6. If I came to your house what would I find in your fridge?

I love to cook but surprisingly my fridge is often lacking in food. I tend to buy as I need so things are always fresh. However, there are two things that will always be found in my fridge. The first is cheese. We absolutely love cheese of any kind but I tend to save it for weekends as a treat. The other thing that can always be found in there is a bottle of gin, lemons and tonic water (another weekend treat, although they do occasionally slip into mid-week evenings!) 

7. Your tweet , after winning, said that your head hurt a bit but you were on top of the world and excited. How did you celebrate?

On the night of the final we organised a gathering at a local venue in Nottingham and had food and drinks whilst watching the show with friends, family and work colleagues. I was so nice to have everyone I love and care about there to share the experience with me. I didn’t particularly drink a lot that evening, until we got home and then we cracked open a bottle of champagne and sat on the sofa to take it all in!

8. What’s in store so far for 2015?

2015 has been incredibly busy so far! We’ve been inundated with interest on our website and have a host of potential clients wanting to work with us. It’s now a case of working through these, meeting each person and turning these into actual projects. We’re potentially working at a homes and gardens show in the spring which we’re both very excited about and we’re currently working with sofa.com offering design consultations to their customers which has proven to be very popular and great fun for us!

9. I believe you’ve recently moved. Are you redesigning the whole house?????

We’ve been packing our house up and moving things out for a while now but the big day isn’t for another couple of weeks. Our new home is, to quote Daniel Hopwood a ‘design disaster’. It’s a 1930’s style property but has an interior that’s a relic from the 1970’s. Cork tiled walls, swirly carpets and a 200ft garden that’s been covered from top to bottom in concrete slabs! So we’ve definitely got our work cut out but we’re both really looking forward to it!

10. You were such a pleasure to watch on GIDC, I Loved your work. Please share your links. Thank you!

It’s been such a brilliant experience. If people would like to follow us or get in contact then please do. We love to hear what people thought about the show and all of those interior design dilemmas out there!

www.martinmarkdesign.com

Twitter – @MartinMarkDsgn   

 

I’ve also included the link to our scenery and costume hire business for those that are interested.

 

www.glitterpantomimes.com

Make Your Own Butter

I have no kitchen at the moment. We’re knocking down walls, ceilings and taking up floors to make a wonderful new space. In time, it will perfect to hold small workshops in. I’m so excited! In the meantime, I can’t cook. I have created a temporary kitchen in a room which has a sink. All I have is a kettle, a slow cooker and a microwave. I didn’t appreciate the fact that some days I’m completely without electricity!

Its been a bit of an education as I hate microwaves. I’ve never spent anytime in the ready meal aisle of my supermarket. I really had no idea that you could buy rice ,in a pouch, that you can ‘ping’ for a few seconds and it’s done. Who knew? Certainly not me!

I imagine all this non-cooking is perhaps what brought butter making to mind. It’s so easy, you should try it!

As a gift (oh yes, there’s obviously a link to gift wrapping) it’s been incredibly well received. Probably more well received than the wine we’ve also taken to friends. Everyone is intrigued and wants to know how to do it, so I’m going to share the details with you.

 

1. Buy any tubs of double cream.Use a bowl that is MUCH bigger than the quantity of cream.

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2. I used a hand held electric whisk but some of you may have flashier appliances. Whisk until it becomes stiff.

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3. Continue whisking. Whilst it is in fact damp and creamy, it appears like dry scrambled egg! Suddenly ‘water’ starts splattering out of it. This is actually the whey/ buttermilk . I shielded the wall from the splattering with a clean tea towel.

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4. Tip the contents of the bowl onto a sieve lined in muslin. Most of the liquid will run out. Then rinse your butter under the cold water tap until the water runs clear and this means all the whey has rinsed off. By rinsing it means your butter will last up to a week instead of 24 hours. Gather the ends of the muslin together and squeeze…….more water will come out and the butter will form a lump.

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5.Hey presto! You have butter. Shape it however you like. I rolled mine into a sausage and cut thick slices. Each slice was wrapped very simply in grease proof paper and tied with bakers twine. I think it would also be lovely to tuck a piece of Rosemary under the twine.

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i have since been experimenting with flavours. Herbs, chilli etc. Once wrapped, this butter freezes reall well. So I popped it all in the freezer and just take it out to give people as and when.

i honestly urge you to give this a go. Everyone thinks it’s such an unusual gift and they really appreciate it.

What do you make? Have you got a very simple gift idea that has been very well received?

Lauren Laverne learns to gift wrap!

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I know it seems highly unlikely that Lauren Laverne and I would ever meet. But amazingly, that is exactly what happened before Christmas.

For those of you who don’t know her, here it is in a nutshell. She is a radio DJ, a television presenter, an author, a singer …..

Shes very beautiful, young, intelligent and has a lovely sense of humour. By this alone, she made both my sons think I was the coolest mum EVER! (For a short period of time)

American Express had commissionened a PR company,in London, to create short videos of the ten most interesting activities to do before Christmas. I was delighted they had asked me to be one of those activities. The videos were then pitched to a number of broadsheets. Friends told me they’ve since seen it in the Guardian and the Independent newspapers.

Number 1 son insisted on driving me to the appointed hotel and number 2 met us there to assist with bags (allegedly). Lauren gave them her time and chatted freely, she’s very natural and ordinary. The boys were quietly thrilled! Although it was winter time, the PR company had dressed the room to look like Christmas. It was a smallish room in a Dickensian hotel and we had a roaring fire. On top of this we had lots of lighting, a camera crew, the PR girls, Lauren and myself. It was BOILING in there!

At first I simply had packed what I’d been told to pack. Then the last minute information started getting emailed to me. No logos on anything etc, no branding on show. So, I repacked. Then I had 48 hours to mull it over. I packed what the PR people had requested and a lot of other stuff that I thought would look bright, colourful and fun on the footage. More than anything I wanted to tempt Lauren to be genuinely intrigued by something I’d brought along. I’m so glad I went with my instinct because that’s what we went with on the day too!

The crew filmed a relaxed chat between Lauren and I, whilst she was learning to make a felt bow. I say really natural, but we had been asked not to use the word ‘Christmas’ and we were having to pepper our conversation with all the alternatives, which of course is not quite so natural when Christmas is part of your culture and it did make me laugh a few times.

I feel really lucky to have had the experience and hopefully that won’t be the last one!

Watch The Video Here

 

 

#craftblogclub secret santa

Back in November 2014, at our usual Twitter meeting of #craftblogclub on a Tuesday evening, someone suggested doing a secret Santa gift as we had done the previous year. I’m sure we all signed up immediately! We are all creators and makers. Many of us don’t sell anything we just enjoy creating. I have to say the original ethos of #craftblogclub was not to advertise your business. It’s evolved into a really sociable, mature-minded, caring environment. I’m not able to ‘attend’ every week and some weeks are much quieter than others but it never matters. They’re a lovely bunch of ladies….. Yes so far, I believe, there’s no men.

So, I don’t really knit or sew or illustrate so I got to work hand printing some wrapping paper for the lovely @kay_o

I think she loved it ,her write up over on kaygetscrafty.wordpress.com. Is wonderful.

i was really delighted to receive my #secret Santa gift from @IcySedgewick. You can read about the details on her blog (Dec 30) www.icysedgwick.com I was really excited to receive a gift from her because I’m always seeing pictures of her knitting on Twitter. She’s one clever lady! I can’t knit, so to have someone knit me a gift was very special indeed. Those of you who know me will also see that the colours are amongst my favourites too.

When did I open it? I lasted all the way to Christmas Eve and then treated myself. Have I worn them yet? You betcha!,,,

 

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NEDay crafts chat with Gift Frippery

The lovely Vicky, from NEDay Crafts, was the friendliest and most supportive tweeter I came across when I started out on Twitter , about 18 months ago. So, it’s only right she should feature in my occasional interview series. Vicky has a wealth of experience to share and her great message is to encourage children away from computers and steer them into having fun with creativity instead. Essentially, Vicky and I are both Blue Peter style mums!

 

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1.Tea or coffee?

Both as it happens – I love to start and finish the day with a lovely mug of tea, but cant live without my coffee during the day

 

2.What do you like to do to relax at the end of a busy day?

A lovely relaxing bath, cuddles with my two children and maybe an odd glass of red wine

 

3.You use social media for your business. Which ones do you prefer?

I am huge Twitter and Pinterest fan – Both equally good for my business and fun too

 

4.Never work with children and animals we hear. Yet you and your lovely daughter do sometimes …tell us about it.

Haha yes – Although we never work with animals, we do work with lots of children. Ellie and myself love encouraging creativity through workshops and activities and the children love it so much.

 

5.If you work from home for a whole day how do you keep on track? Do you timetable yourself?

It has taken me several years to get into a proper routine – Lots of discipline is needed when working from home so that you are not drawn too much into social media conversations or emails. Working from home is so beneficial to my business so much prefer it to a “stuffy office space” but I do have to keep a strict timetable. I have a hand painted chalk board on my wall in my craft studio which has my work schedule listed and update it regularly to keep me on track

 

6.You used to work as a nurse. How do you think creativity would help in a hospital setting?

Creativity is really important in hospitals, although  the NHS cuts have affected this massively over recent years.  Two years ago I was asked to donate some craft supplies to Royal London Hospital as they loved my business , but didn’t have the budgets to buy them. I kindly donated a few crafty things for the childrens ward as I knew it was much needed for the hospital and they were so grateful for that.  Its such a shame that creative resources or needed, but many hospitals have not budgets to pay for them

 

7. You’re obviously a great fan of creativity in schools, but what about children in their own home.  It seems to me you miss out as a child if you’re parents don’t consider themselves creative.

I am a firm believer that being creative should happen at home as well as school. It doesn’t have to be messy or cost alot of money either. Simple paper making crafts , paper cutting and even colouring  pages  are great for children’s fingers and helps their dexterity

 

8.Marmite! Love it or hate it?

Yuck I really hate it  (sorry)

 

 9.What lovely project are you working on at the moment?

Well after a busy summer of activities and workshops, I am currently working on a few children craft designs for clients ,  as well as planning for new craft workshops (Halloween and of course Christmas) . I am already getting bookings for next year too, so things are pretty busy at the minute.

I have also just launched a creative children campaign so hoping to encourage more children to get creative both here in the UK and overseas

 

10.Share your  links (instagram website etc etc)

 

Website : www.nedaycrafts.com

Twitter :  @nedaycrafts

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/pages/NEDay-Crafts-Events-Limited

Pinterest :   http://www.pinterest.com/nedaycrafts

Instagram : http://instagram.com/nedaycrafts

Embroidery on hoops

1. Over the past few years when driving through France I’ve been aware that their huge electricity pylons which march across the land resemble either cats or dogs! Have you ever noticed it? You will do now. Each year I’ve tried to take a few photographs with varying degrees of success.

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2. As followers will know , my lovely bestie, Anne, and I always have a holiday project. So, this year we embroidered the pylons onto hoops. It was a bit of a wacky idea. I used 100 year old French linen sheets. Luckily I had the www.macgilvarywhite.com artists visiting this year so they kindly drew the images for me. Do visit their website and be ahead of the game…these artists WILL make it I’m sure.

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3. The actual stitching was simple enough, we just followed the lines, making long or short stitches where we saw fit. Although Anne and I probably were stitching and enjoying the local wine at the same time, all seems to have turned out well!

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4.I still need to trim them, but they will remain in their hoops. It seems an obvious frame. My plan is to hang them together in a large group on a wall in my little French village house (currently a renovation project) Follow me on pinterest or instagram to see what will probably be our slow progress!

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Perri Lewis chats with Gift Frippery!

Perri is a bit of a legend in my world. Her crafting and handmade love is a lifestyle choice rather than just a hobby. She’s written a book (on my Christmas list!) ‘Material World’. She’s a very busy bee though, a sometimes journalist, author, editor and currently creative director of Mastered. Mastered is an on-demand fashion education programme.

I’m feel very honoured to chat with Perri .

 

1 Tea or coffee?

Always tea. Usually peppermint. I don’t like coffee, which it lucky because everyone I know is always trying to drink less. 

 

2 You love everything creative, do you belong to a cool WI or any craft groups?

I don’t! I’ve never had enough time to do something like that. I was always too busy writing about the craft movement than actually enjoying it. 

 

3 ’The Modern Craft Bible’ was incredibly well received , do you have plans for other books?

Thank you! There’s no books planned just yet, but if I get the right idea I’d love to do another one. Especially a novel. I’ve never understood why people would rather write fiction than non-fiction – there’s so much awesome stuff going on in real life, why make it up? But as my job gets more stressful, I can certainly see the benefits of escaping in to a world you’ve created.

 

4 There seems to be far fewer male crafters than women. Why do you think this might be?

It’s such a traditionally female activity and the memories of that don’t go away easily. Fortunately there are some incredible male crafters using this to great effect, playing on stereotypes and tradition – think Mr X Stitch, Ben Venom etc etc.

5 Did you craft as a child? What was the first thing you remember making? (I knitted a lime green and coral pot holder for Brownies!!)

I did. I remember making a cross stitched thank you card from a kit my Nana had bought me. The next time I saw her she brought it back and showed me where I could improve it. I learnt a hell of a lot about making from both my Gran and my Nana.

 

6 You have rubbed shoulders or at least virtually with the good and the great of the art/ craft world. Who do you rate?

I’ve been incredibly lucky to do so! Being a journalists means you can invite people for coffee under the guise of wanting to interview them (even if really you’re just hoping they’ll be your friend). There are so many people doing amazing things, but I definitely rate Sian of Crafty Fox for creating a really great series of markets, as well as a series of talks to help the designers who sell at her fairs. I also admire the drive of Lisa Comfort of Sew Over It (she’s just opened a new space in Islington), the ideas of the Mollie Makes team and Sam Wingate’s ability to bridge the artist/designer-maker gap so well. 

 

7 Do you do your own crafting in front of the television? What kind of programmes do you like?

I do a little embroidery in front of the TV, but nothing too complicated as I get too distracted. I’m a sucker for US cop shows. NCIS, Law and Order, CSI – I love them all. 

 

8 Marmite! Love it or hate it?

Hate it. Except on Twiglets. I can handle it in that very minute form.

 

9You’ve recently been married. Congratulations! Did you actually make or craft anything for your own wedding?

Thank you! When we got engaged I’d just finished the book and I swore there was no way I’d make anything for the wedding. Fast forward 14 months and I was making origami cranes (we had about a 1000), paper flowers (we had hundreds), gold leaves and much, much more. It was a lot of effort, but totally worth it in the end.

 

10 Share your links (website etc)

There’s more about what I do in Real Life a perrilewis.co.uk. I (very occasionally) blog at MakeAndDoWithPerri.wordpress.com, I tweet at @perrilewis, and share pictures I love at Instagram.com/perriclarelewis and Pinterest.com/perrilewis

DIY paper bags

1 In order to make your own paper bags you can print the whole sheet of paper first or create the bag and then stamp your design onto it.

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2.I used the whole width of the roll of paper but if you want a smaller bag you can cut it down. Put the paper proper side down and fold the lengths of the edges towards the centre but the need to overlap slightly. Run glue stick down the centre back and secure the bottom likewise. Once glued, fold the base up and stick into position.

 

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3. I neatened the top with pinking shears just for added interest, The top can then be folded towards the front or back as you like. Once you have made the fold punch either one or two holes in it. You can then embellish it by threading ribbon through. Which bags do you like best?
I also really like them made with plain kraft paper.

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Sarah Moore talks to Gift Frippery

It was a huge honour that Sarah squeezed a moment into her busy schedule to have a chat. We’ve all seen her on the television and many of us have read her gorgeous books but I wanted to find out a little bit more about her. Sarah is the first of a mini series of interviews. Here we go!

 

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1 Tea or coffee?

One big bucket of organic coffee made with about a pint of frothy organic milk. Caroline Zoob beautiful large cup. Anything else and I get a bit stress!

2 You were crowned winner of  BBC2’s The Great Interior Design Challenge. In the challenges, you were pushed quite far from your vintage comfort zone. Were you surprised at your own ability?

I used to design kit and service equipment for a big London Event company. Lovely glossy stuff made out of perspex or spray painted sheets of metal. Big white banquettes topped with funky cushions. Hanging installations and galvanised ducting:  so floral and old fashioned was not always my style. What was really surprising was how much easier it was to do stuff when you didn’t have to run a house, look after three children, do the school pick ups and everything else that comes with running your own business. The whole process was really inspiring and it was great to dig deep and find out that i had ideas and solutions to cope with most things. 

3 What did you do when you first left school?

I trained as a chef and set up my own business in London, cooking for companies and in peoples homes. I then did ten very busy years running a big team of chefs cooking in London’s leading venues and big party places. Lots of fun, great team work. 16 hour shifts day after day and night after night. It really helped me when I was filming back to back for five weeks doing the GIDC. I was used to being on location, used to running a team and not tired out be a long days work. I didn’t really want to win, but I didn’t want to go home before the series ended filming.  

4 You’ve just moved house! I love every picture I’ve seen of your new place. Do you intend to hold more workshops now you have all that space?

Lots of potential projects: I just can’t decide what to do first: We have space for workshops and masterclasses. I love the idea of having a winter market with a stall in every stable. First priorities are making it safe and sound as it is a bit of a wreck and there are holes in the roof in a couple of places and it just needs about a weeks worth of dusting just to remove all of the cobwebs from the barns. 

5 Fabric is clearly a real favourite with you. What’s the story? When did this love affair with fabric start?

It has been such a gradual process and it stills comes as quite a surprise that I have quite so many folded up little pieces of floral fabric. My first purchase was a lot in the local auction where I grew up. I was about 20 and bought a country houses’s linen collection. We still use the tablecloths and sheets and i have cut up the doilies for projects and pieces over the years. The big blowsy floral stuff is like an addiction. I like lots of colour and lots of pattern and more always seems better. I am a third generation hoarder along with my late grandmother and uncle; We like the things we like and we like to have LOTS of them. 

 

6 Be honest! What does your table/ desk look like? Are you in the messy camp or the tidy camp?

Super tidy please: I can put off really working for a whole day or week if the studio needs to be tidy. Nothing pleases me more than pots of scissors, boxes of ready made stock and piles of very neatly colour matched fabric. 

7 Marmite! Love it or hate it?

Big love for marmite. The children ask for a normal amount of marmite so they don’t get a thick brown slick on their toast.

8 What’s is the first thing you ever remember sewing as a child?

I made my teddies some clothes and I had lots of binka that I used to make into bookmarks and tiny purses for presents for my family. They were not sophisticated and my mother still laughs at my self taught methods.

9 You’re a busy lady. What’s your favourite way to unwind at the end of a busy day? Mojito?

I love a cocktail, but rarely drink if i have a tomorrow that involves children, work or having to do anything. I have only two speeds: full on or asleep. I love a quick nap though, and often get sent to bed at the weekend for half an hour if i am looking like I won’t make it through the night if we are going out late. I still really love cooking so having friends over is a great way to unwind. And as I used to cook professionally i feel that there is no pressure to cook impressively. I can cook dinner for several thousand if I need to, but people tend to get the best Bolognese I can make or a really good chicken casserole unless it is a special occasion. I have a few TV programs that I really like too: Mad Men, salvage Hunters, Grand designs and a few others and one chilled beer end most days.

 

10 Please share your links (website etc)

www.sarahmoorehome.co.uk or you can find us on twitter @SMvintage or instagram sarahmoorevintage or Facebook at Sarah Moore Vintage.

Acorns! Autumn! Winter!

That title made it sound like I was keen for autumn/winter to arrive….let’s put that straight…I’M NOT!
I love spring when everything is bursting forth and I love summer, my favourite season. Usually I get quite depressed when autumn rears it’s head, but this year the leaves are turning colour as the United Kingdom is basking in temperatures of 25 degrees C and the skies are blue. So I’ve been out enjoying the sun , walking and collecting acorn cups but resisting conkers for the children to discover.

1. I collected some acorn cups in France this year and then more recently some in England. They do seem quite different….the French ones are smoother…what can I say??
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2. My favourites are the ones where there are a few on a tiny branch. They are very sweet. I found quite a few of these in Bristol after a night of high winds. I stripped the leaves off very carefully and left them spread out to dry on a sunny window sill.

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3. Using my glue gun, I stuck a very small amount of natural sheep’s wool to the inside of the acorn cup. You don’t need much at all. I used shades of red and orange. Then I needle-felted it in. This takes a while but is really, really simple. I watched a U tube video. Needle it gradually into an acorn shape.
I’m a COMPLETE beginner and if I can do this ….you can!

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4.I found this was a great sit-in-front-of-the-television activity to do. As fast as I’ve made them, I’ve been adorning gifts with them!
Collect them now and they’ll be ready for autumn/winter gifts.

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Christmas sssshhhh!

I know! I know! I apologise, but Gift Frippery HQ Christmas is arriving! There are articles for magazines being created and photographed. There are workshops being booked in lovely places like the botanic gardens and National Trust properties the ever faithful adult education service plus some new venues this year. One such place is Prema, a community arts establishment on the outskirts of Bristol. Have a browse at all the lovely things they’ve got on offer www.prema.org.uk

I’m also going to be offering a few dates for small workshops (4 people) at my  home.

A new idea I have brewing, is to offer pop-up crafternoons in work places, cafes etc. If you know of anyone who might be interested please let me know. It’s all about spreading the word.

On that note, There is the most wonderful magazine called Pretty Nostalgic. Everything about it and the people who run it is wholesome and  ethical. I was therefore thrilled when they asked me to contribute to their Christmas issue! Everything I will be doing is on their them of making do and not needing to buy everything new. If you’ve ever attended a Gift Frippery workshop you’ll already know that this is a bit of a running theme anyway.

And another new venture is working alongside Relish Events. Michaela attended one of my workshops in early summer and has now asked me to help with the decorative side of two event coming up pre Christmas! Without giving anything away I think I can say one is the Mary Howard sale at Hullavington  and the other is an evening event at Bristol Grammar School.

I LOVE doing what I do but it always great when new opportunities come along too.

What about you? How early do you start preparing for your own Christmas? I bet some of you have already got a few presents tucked away……

Coffee Filter Paper Flowers

I’d often heard /seen pictures of the finished article but had never tried to make flowers from coffee filter papers before. But hey, you know me! This is a quick and easy tutorial in how I did it…….there may be a better way, but this worked for me.

 

1. Take one filter paper (FP) and draw a floral, petal shape onto it. The petal, as you can see, doesn’t have to be a particular shape and feel free to experiment.

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2. Cut the shape out. Repeat a few times.

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3.Open up the FP and gradually roll it around the pointy end of a knitting needle, pleating it as you go. I secured it with Scotch tape.

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4.Mix up some dye. I used food colouring. You can water it down or mix colours together to get the desired shade. Be aware though most coffee filter papers are slightly brown when you start which alters the shade.

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5Dip your flower into the colour turning it carefully until the dye has travelled up to the top. Don’t worry if your flower gets a little squashed as it’ll look a bit more natural when it’s dried.

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6. I let my flowers drip dry. The best place to do this would be outside. Failing that, please make sure you use an old tray to protect the surface under them, as they dry.

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7. Tadaa!!! So pleased with the end result. Holding the base of the flower, gently and slowly ease the flower off the knitting needle. Scotch tape holds very securely.

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8. Once you start you won’t want to stop!!!!!

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Thinking Outside the Box

I kept seeing beautiful photos on Twitter from a company called @blossomsugarart. They were pictures of the most beautiful cakes, big show-off cakes! It became apparent that they didn’t make the cakes but supplied all the necessary equipment.

Now a quick aside before you start thinking I’m going to start a new business……don’t be ridiculous! Have you tried my cooking?

1.Blossom Sugar Art make ingenious little moulds for making the roses etc for the cakes. I asked them if they thought it might work with paper and they sent me some moulds to try my idea out. I was beyond excited about this experiment and I tell you folks, IT DOES WORK!

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2. I made a mixture of PVE glue and water.I cut up tissue paper so the pieces were larger than the mould itself. I always started with a dry piece of tissue then worked it into the mould with a small paintbrush dipped in the glue mix. I then added another piece, same again. When I’d done three layers I put a final piece of tissue on but didn’t work it with the brush. You want this top layer to be dry too.

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3 &4 Press the lid of the mould down slowly and carefully. Apply firmish pressure. Gently ease the mould out. I found if I was careful enough I could do this without waiting for it to dry fully. Leave it to dry completely and then trim around the flower shape.

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5. I was wrapping a present for my sister-in-law so I wrapped in brown paper and folded the final flap so it looked a bit like a clutch bag.

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6. Then, my favourite bit, all the embellishing! I used my glue gun to stick the flowers on.

 

So, thank you, Blossom Sugar Art for letting me try this idea out. The moulds are even packed to take on holiday in case of crafting time. They should really come with a warning……incredibly addictive!!

Gift wrapping with fabric

As you know I love paper. I REALLY love paper!

However, at my workshops, I’m often asked about wrapping with fabric. Sometimes I do wrap in fabric but I wrap with instinct rather than a system. I then embellish, of course. Around Christmas, gifts can look pretty amazing in a three-wise-men sort of way. Wrapped in fabric and adorned with ornaments.

Wrapping gifts in fabric probably started in Japan. The Japanese love the ceremony and the giving and receiving of gifts. For them, there are rules which apply for different items. So, the wrapping of money, for instance, would be different to the wrapping of a kimono or incense. The style of wrapping would vary according to the occasion as well. What is more, the relationship between giver and receiver and the season must all be taken into consideration.

They say, just as you would help a friend into their coat carefully so a gift should be wrapped tenderly. How lovely is that?

If all that sounds complicated there are companies nowadays who make wrapping in fabric a whole lot easier, for example Wrag Wrap, who are based in Devon.

They discovered that an astonishing 8000 tonnes of Christmas wrapping paper is thrown away each year. So they created a wrapping  system, which I was very interested to see. It can be used over and over again, and their fabric is modern and fresh. So if you don’t feel like sewing the edges on a mountain of fabrics this could be your answer…

1.Wrag Wrap’s Crackle Wrap works like paper and sounds like it too!

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2. The Stretch Wrap is very cleverly designed for odd and difficult shapes.

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3. There are also gift bags and bottle bags.

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Do look on their website www.wragwrap.com to read about Festi-Wraps. I love the idea of these as they have been re-purposed from discarded tents left behind after the summer 2013 music festivals of Glastonbury and Latitude……..how cool is that?

Cellophane or True cellophane?

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I use cellophane. By the mile!

It features in every workshop I teach, every demonstration I give and it is a wonderfully flexible wrapping material. It twinkles, catches the light and looks pretty……..what’s not to love?

A few years ago I was asked to deliver an eco-friendly gift wrapping workshop. I already use brown kraft paper and recyclable brown boxes so I started researching cellophane. It comes from the word ‘cellulose’ which is from plants and therefore organic and eco-friendly I hoped. Of course ,nothing so pretty is as simple as that! I found the information rather confusing and, in the end, just avoided using it altogether in that workshop.

Recently, I started thinking about it again and continued my research. I feel the eco message is growing (Bristol is hot on it!) especially in the craft world.

Here’s what I learned.

It seems the majority of ordinary cellophane (BOPP)comes in huge quantities from China, USA, Turkey and Italy. It has a low manufacturing cost and is essentially a plastic. It is actually biodegradable when exposed to heat or UV radiation from sunlight, eventually.

Now, let me introduce you to the new cello on the block!! TRUE cellophane (cellulose/ natural) is made from wood pulp and cotton. It’s 100% biodegradable and is more eco-friendly. Frankly, this is what I feel I should be striving to use.

I’ve been speaking with an incredibly helpful company called ‘Film Products Ltd.’ (No, not in the Brad Pitt way!!) I’ve been checking the prices and ,yes, it is a bit more expensive but all their woodpulp is from the UK. They have a great environmental policy statement which really reassures you they are a company with ‘heart’.

So, is there any difference when I use it in wrapping? I put it to the test.

1. The texture is a dream. It feels very slightly thicker which I love.

2.The colours seem to have a depth to them.

3.It’s breathable, which would be good if I was wrapping  eg.  plants.

4.It has an amazing ability to fold. When you fold ordinary BOPP cellophane it springs apart. When you fold true cellophane it has a dead fold characteristic. This also makes for neater wrapping.

5.It has to be said that BOPP cello has  more (plasticky) shine and true cello has what I would call subtle gloss.

Can I just say this?

If BOPP is lemonade then true cellophane is champagne!

I want to thank Film Products Ltd because without them I wouldn’t have understood the difference. They’ve been very patient with all my questions. They have a sister company called Orchid Krafts which I’m now interested in because of the brown kraft paper but that might be a whole new post.

 

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Have you missed me?

Blog experts say that you should never apologise on your blog…..but I’m going to ignore their advice and do it anyway!

As you know already I was helping my daughter in Australia while her first baby , Milly , was born. What a treat that was. I arrived home and earlier this week my mother had a stroke and was rushed into hospital. Whilst we’re concerned for her she seems to be progressing well but I’ve had to juggle visiting her and caring for my stepdad (91), and of course, running my own home.

You’ll therefore forgive me when I say blogging has had to take a back seat…and yet I have so many exciting projects to share. I’ve also been sent some lovely crafty things to review. Obviously it will all take time and will gradually unroll as time permits.

Bear with me, it will be worth the wait!!!

Message from Australia Part2

I just googled which day Julie Andrews was born and it’s October 1st 1935………..AND IT’S A TUESDAY!!!!!! We’re all Tuesday girls!

Message from Australia

I’ve been in Perth, Australia, for 6 weeks. Not a holiday as such….I’ve been playing Mary Poppins in my daughter’s life! She has just had her first baby, Milly Rose. So I had a supportive ‘job’ to do. I am being called ‘Poppins’ instead of Granny, so I had to live up to my name.

I swept in (Poppins always sweeps in I feel) to their lives, supporting them, attending the birth (what an honour), cooking, cleaning, shopping, sewing and the best part….entertaining Milly. Babies don’t just sleep and feed, they need bobbing. I’ve always been an expert bobber of babies. Perhaps I should have been called Bobbins! No, that wouldn’t do because my skills are far more diverse as children get older.

For example I can make Play dough, so instead of a measly little pot you can have a mountain. I can tap dance, which is amazing entertainment at tea time (especially if you don’t love the food). I’m word perfect in all the songs from Mary Poppins (goes without saying really).When I make sandwiches for children I do them in fun shapes. And the list goes on…….

Now, I don’t remember Mary Poppins doing sewing but I did plenty…made frilly curtains, cot covers, highchair cushions, play mats etc. I do enjoy making things as long as they’re fun and I don’t have to follow a pattern. Some of the smaller crafts may even appear on this blog at some point.

Monday’s child is fair of face

Tuesday’s child is full of grace

Wednesday’s child is full of woe

Thursday’s child has far to go

Friday’s child is loving and giving

Saturday’s child works hard for a living

But the child that is born on the Sabbath day is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

Do you remember that rhyme, and which one are you? Is it true?

I was born on a Tuesday, so was my daughter Hayley, and so was Milly. Now I’m wondering if Julie Andrews was too, might have to google it!

Swatch Buddies

My most useful new craft tool. Let’s hear it for……..Swatch Buddies!

 

1.       I’m having a new kitchen fitted this summer. My existing one is now 17 years old and fading  fast. When I say fading….I  mean falling apart. When the swanky new kitchen is installed I won’t be able to leave all my crafting bits and bobs lying around. I will , however, just need a few bits to hand. I decided to upcycle this old Lloyd Loom baby basket my mum used 50 years ago for my brother! Where it used to contain cotton wool, cream, talc etc it will be featuring sticky tape, glue, ribbons and scissors in it’s new life.

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2.       I used some lovely French blue chalk style emulsion paint from Craig and Rose at B&Q to paint the outside, two coats. When it had dried for 24 hours, I rubbed Annie Sloan soft wax into all the painted areas.  I didn’t want to paint the inside, I wanted to use some sort of paper.

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3.       Off I went to the shops armed with my Swatch Buddies so I could match paint to paper etc. The girls serving me in Hobbycraft LOVED them!

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4.       I cut my chosen paper , from Hobbycraft, to fit the base and lids and glued it with PVA. When it was dry I also used a watered down PVA as a seal on the paper. I then set about gently buffing the waxed outside which results in a soft sheen.

 

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Swatch Buddies are reusable plastic pieces that fan out. They arrive with stickers on which you can stick material, paper etc. They are small and neat to pop in your bag when shopping. I can see a million applications for Swatch Buddies for anyone who loves crafts, arts, sewing, interiors etc. When I’m using them for gift wrapping purchases there’s plenty of space for ribbons too! I love the fact that you can remove the traces of past projects when you’re  finished.

These Swatch Buddies haven’t hit the shops yet, you heard about them here first!!

Hantex will soon have the list of stockists on the website   www.hantex.co.uk

Gift Frippery Filming…Continued

Filming Gift Frippery

 

I promised to share a clip of the filming with you so here it is. If you remember, in an earlier post ,I explained that two students from  the University of the West of England were in their final year of a journalism degree. They asked if they could film Gift Frippery as part of a final project.

Here’s the link: Click Here To Watch

I’ve been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

I’ve been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

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Emma from Frugally Peachy nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blog Award. Obviously it was a  wonderful surprise and I’m feeling chuffed! I always aim to inspire others to have a little go at a crafty  project . As regular readers know it could be gift wrapping but I dabble in lots of other crafts too.

So here are the rules.

1.       You thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

2.       Nominate other bloggers and let them know. Provide a link in your post.

3.       Write 7 facts about yourself.

4.       Display the Very Inspiring Blog Badge on your blog AND on this post.

So, let’s  get started on the facts!

1.I was born in Hong Kong

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2.When I arrived at college to study art, I switched and studied Contemporary Dance for three years. I actually have a pair of Darcy Bussell’s ballet shoes, framed and on the wall.

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3.I read A LOT. My favourite  authors are Amy Tan and Lisa See. I’m always drawn to their books because of their frequent connection to China.

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4.Every time I see something good at the theatre I come away wishing I’d been in it!

5.I’ve lived in and visited lots of countries but still in pride of place ,at the top of my wish list ,is India.

6.I would love to be a television presenter. I have had one programme made about me and my crafting and for a couple of years I did a weekly guest spot on the local radio station. I really loved it!

7.I absolutely can’t bear snakes and worms and THAT is why I will not eat spaghetti!

 And now for the really important bit…..a few bloggers who I nominate:

Icy from icysedgewick.com

Vicky from nedaycrafts.com

Jo from slummysinglemummy.com

Faye from fayedicker.com

Katie from katiegetscrafty.com

Do try reading their blogs. They aren’t all crafts……you’ve got an interesting selection there. Enjoy!

Ski Trip To Meribel

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Mistletoe, mistletoe, nothing but mistletoe all through the journey to the Alps. The French always seem to kiss a lot…saying hello…saying goodbye…any excuse really it might seem. Clearly, they are natural kissers and don’t require mistletoe to encourage it!

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As we arrived snow was falling ,all around us…..just like in the song! It carried on snowing all day , all night and all the next day, resulting in fresh perfect snow. The rest of the week featured blue skies and sunshine.

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Before we left Bristol, I’d been reading about pine tea. As those of you who regularly read this blog know, I love foraging. So I went off on a beautiful walk and picked three different types of pine. I made three different teas and sampled them. I definitely preferred it with a tiny bit of honey added and the fine needled pine tasted better in my opinion. if I’m really really honest though, I probably won’t make it again! I might experiment with an invigorating pine bath/ shower though. Watch this space.

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The next day I hired my skis. It was established a long time ago that I really don’t  ‘do’ height or speed. So downhill skiing is no longer a sensible option. I do cross country or ,as they say in France, ski du fond. The skis are about half the width or normal skis and you ski in narrow tracks which are machine-made. In Austria, where I first learned to cross country ski ,they are really hot on the etiquette. In France ,in general, I’ve found people quite unfussy about small children rolling around and skipping about ON THE TRACKS. And don’t get me started on dogs. They run around the tracks whenever they please. This does make it difficult for the skiers, because the compacted snow collapses and the track no longer exists. On the plus side, it’s a full body workout like no other, and the route will usually take you through woodland and into areas with stunning views. I highly recommend it!

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It became so sunny and warm by the end of our week that icicles were dropping from the roof into the snow.

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I’m sure you’re wondering if I did any crafting? Of course I did.  (Some I can’t reveal yet.) I took my new  pompom makers with me and perfected the art.

 

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Easter Cake Box

1.       People are always asking me where I get my inspiration from. In this instance I was waiting to pay at the supermarket checkout! My eyes happened upon a picture of a chocolate cake! When I got back home ,this is what happened next…….

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2.       I used an old Turkish Delight box, left over from Christmas. You could paint it, but I just covered it in dark cardboard to cover the writing.

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3.       Wielding my glue gun, I began ruching /gluing with brown ribbon around the outer edge of the lid. As I worked my way to the centre, I tried looping the ribbon more randomly which gave the inner section a bit more height. (if I were to do this project again ,I would use a mixture of sheer and satin ribbon on the top)

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4.       Around the side of the lower box, I put brown ribbon and overlayed it with a lighter one. Luckily, I happened to have some which had  ‘chocolat’ printed on it, which was perfect.

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5.       I filled the box with wood shavings and popped foil covered eggs in it.

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6.       Voila! Here’s the finished gift for my Mum at Easter. Ironically it was my Mum who gave me the empty box in the first place saying ‘ I’m sure you’ll think of something to do with this’. Wonder if she’ll recognise it! You could use camembert boxes etc

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Easter Nest

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1. I used one of my many small Chinese bowls as my mould for this project, covering it in cling wrap before I started. This protects the bowl and makes it easier to remove.

2. Using slightly watered down PVA glue, I started the distinctly messy attempt of putting MDF shavings onto the bowl and left it overnight to dry.

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3. I gradually built up the layers. It’s wise to raise the bowl up so that it doesn’t stick to the newspaper.

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4. When it’s feeling pretty dry to the touch, gently remove the bowl. Mine took a bit of encouragement! Leave cling and wrap in place for a bit longer though until the bowl has almost dried out on the inside.

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5. Finally, I removed all the cling wrap and popped a mini doily in the nest , trailing a few pieces of vintage style lace in it and filled it up with foil covered mini chocolate eggs. I’m spending Easter weekend with my best friend ,Anne, and thought this would be a sweet surprise for her on Easter Sunday. You might be wondering where to get MDF shavings. I was actually having new wardrobes built and rescued some before the carpenter cleared up. This might be an expensive way to get MDF shavings so you could use shredded paper or card instead.

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A natural looking gift wrapping.

A. I needed to wrap a gift for a friend. Because it came boxed makes the wrapping easy but therefore, it’s all the more reason to go to town!

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B.I wrapped the box in some gorgeous handmade paper I picked up in Kyoto. I trimmed it in personalised ribbon from The Little Soap Kitchen. They are such a helpful company and their ribbon is lovely quality (and you know I’m quite fussy about my ribbon!).

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C.I positioned a piece of driftwood. It was a lovely shape and had been worn smooth by the waves and bleached by the sun…..and collected by me, in a cove in Pembrokeshire.

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D. My friends at Blooming Felt had inspired this gift wrapping by sending me these felt pebbles. They are in gorgeous shades and really tactile. I wanted to create a natural and organic look…….and here it is.

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Filming Gift Frippery!

Well, it had to happen (only joking of course) but I was needed for filming!

At one of my Christmas workshops I met a lovely young lady called Claire. She had caught two buses across town in order to get to the workshop on spectacularly cold and wintry day.
Claire is in her final year at the University of the West of England, studying Journalism.
Recently she asked me if a Gift Frippery workshop could feature in her final project. Claire and her friend Rachel have joined forces to produce a ‘news story’. In this instance with an angle towards half term and Easter activities. They will cover TV and online. The different activities may cater for children or adults, might be new hobbies or courses etc.
I’m part of their TV section. They’re presenting three activities , one is Gift Frippery, because it’s different and can be done in any weather. It’s also good for lots of ages and is very visual and therefore should make for interesting TV.

I hope our afternoon filming has given the girls plenty to edit and work on. We did two wraps, one was vintage looking and the other had a spring theme.
Just wanted to share this with you first and of course, watch out for the little film when I get it, it will go straight on the blog.

#post circle

Aaagh!!! I told you all about this recently and today guess what dropped through my door! Yes exactly, now I’m feeling the pressure, I MUST get myself organised and send something off!

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Gift Frippery interview with Freelance Bristol Mum

I’m feeling pretty important because I’ve been interviewed by the lovely Faye Dicker of Bristol Freelance Mum for one of her podcasts.
Faye and I met at Women outside the Box Business Club, where we are both members. It was one of those lucky meetings where we happened to choose seats next to each other.
Faye spent many years with BBC Radio before she branched out on her own. I used to be a part time radio presenter for Star radio in Bristol, so I was more than up for the challenge! Initially, we planned to record the podcast after our networking meeting, then thought, weather permitting we’d amble around St. Nicholas market with all the sights, sounds and smells (lunch!)
I knew there were haberdashery and ribbon shops there…..and, let’s face it, that’s all I need.
Faye is a brilliant interviewer. I just felt like I was having a chat with a friend. I think the end result reflects this. You can go to my Press page and listen to the podcast. I would love you to leave your comments when you’ve listened.

 
Listen To The Podcast Here

Making a toy box

1. WBC are a company who specialise in Gift and Hamper packaging. They have an amazing selection over at wbc.co.uk

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2.They sent me two hampers. The larger of the two I decided to transform into a toy box. I was trying to think of something out of the ordinary because they are often used for food or toiletries.

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3. I had some gorgeous fabric by Zoffany already in my stash. It features vintage style alphabet pictures and is called ‘Battledoor’. I chose trimming that I felt would blend and lift the colours in the fabric.

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4. First step was to cover the leather look straps with grosgrain deep red ribbon, carefully avoiding the Velcro closings. I then topped it with yellow ric rac securing a bell at one end.

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5.As I stuck the ric rac on I left enough room for the bell to hang freely ,so it would tinkle each time the toy box would open. The yellow bells I had were huge ones but you would of course have to make sure the child was a suitable age. An alternative would be a pompom.

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6.I sewed a bag to go into the box and line it. It fitted loosely and I glued it at the top just below the brown edge of the hamper. I put a little pouch of the fabric, featuring Punch ,the jester, to brighten things up and give a clue to what might be inside. Punch also features bells which links to the fastenings on the box.

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Here’s the toy box in all it’s glory! Full of lovely colourful toys. It has huge appeal, even for adults, as it’s practical, fun and tasteful!

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#PostCircle

I recently heard about #PostCircle on Twitter. I was intrigued enough to want to find out a bit more. It has been set up by Anna, http://miss-beatrix.blogspot.co.uk/p/post-circle.html
It is basically a group of people who value snail mail in these fast and furious times. Let’s face it, it’s rare to get a lovely handwritten note or letter these days. So this is for people who love to send and receive lovely post…..just because!
You are placed randomly into a group of around six people. These people might have similar interests but not necessarily and they could be all different ages . The idea is every time you receive post you send out some post. This keeps the whole project moving. You can post to whoever you want within your own group.
Your post can be pretty much anything eg. a full blown letter, some crafty bits, a post card, a photograph, a cuddly toy. The thought is in the giving not the cost.
So, I’ve just been given my group, so am quite excited. First things first though, what shall I send in the post???????
I would love you all to make some suggestions please.

Wrap a box with Blooming Felt!

1.Blooming Felt are a fun company. I discovered them on Twitter and now know they should be one of your first stops for all wool felt and craft supplies ,as well as ribbons and buttons.They sent me all sorts of things to play with but this first project is done with one huge button!

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2.They sent this oversized lime green button and I decided to use it to trim a gift.

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I wrapped the box in some lilac photo copy paper I had and secured it with some silk pleated grape coloured ribbon. I threaded it through the button before tying it in a knot. The ribbon is wide and it wasn’t necessary to tie a bow.

3. Tadaaaa!!!! So simple yet so effective!

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Hampers

Hampers usually look really appealing. I packed 12 myself for a company before Christmas. They were food hampers and the biggest challenge was sitting the products in snugly but making them balance. You can’t have all the heavy stuff on one side, for example. It is relatively easy to make them look terrific, though at Christmas.
And that’s my point! Everybody associates hampers with Christmas. Just like they associate hampers with food and more occasionally, toiletries.
Why? Who knows! To be honest I wouldn’t have thought to explore this theme further if the lovely Bobby from WBC hadn’t sent two, to me. Their website is a dream of all things to do with packaging and well worth a browse, wbc.co.uk

1.The cleverest thing about these hampers is they fold flat. Completely! Which means if you decide to bulk buy or stock them they don’t take up much space, like a traditional hamper would. I wanted to decorate them So, the first one I did had a ballet theme. Here we go!

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2.I put some pink (of course) netting inside. Not too neatly ….so there was plenty of gathers and enough length to spill right over and down the front and sides, like a skirt. I glued it in place at the top, inside edge.

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3.I pleated a length of plain white ribbon and stitched it .This was glued on the brown faux leather straps on the top of the hamper.

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4. Check the length of the ‘ skirt’ of netting and trim where needed. I then wrapped 4 lengths of narrow white ribbon around the entire hamper, over the skirt, and finished with a bow at the front.

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5. Where the pleated ribbon finished ,I glued a butterflies to the straps of the hamper as a finishing touch.

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6. Now all I needed was a ballerina!
All ballerinas have a treasure trove of goodies to store and Nia is no exception. She is 9 years old but has been dancing since she was three. She instantly likes the netting and the butterflies, then takes great delight in arranging all her things inside the hamper.
When I tell Nia she can keep the hamper she goes off with a hop, skip and a pirouette!!!

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Gift wrap with love xxxxxx

A very sweet and simple idea.

I created a pouch/envelope by folding some white  A4 paper . It would be great for popping a voucher in.

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I cut out two red hearts and a length of red twisted paper twine.

Using a glue gun I stuck one end of the twine under a heart.

Next I stuck the hearts in position but was careful only to put a spot of glue in the centre of the heart and not near the edges.

The twine can then be wound around the hearts to seal your envelope (with love!!!)

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Print your own Valentine wrapping paper

Sometimes it’s nice to add a touch of creativity to your gifts. This is a very cheap and cheerful way to do so!

Take a cork and draw a heart onto the smooth end.

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Carefully cut away any of the cork which is not the heart motif, so it stands proud.

Mix some paint up and start printing.

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Cork is a natural material so your hearts will not all be the same and will not be perfect. Do not, therefore, try to make anything other than a random pattern as this will lend to it’s charm.

Guest blog for NEDay Crafts.com

I was delighted to be asked to do this guest blog for Vicky at NEDay Crafts. A lovely lady, who actually waited about 6 weeks until I was free to do it because we originally discussed in that run up to Christmas when I’m very busy.
If you’d like to read the article and ‘how to’ hop straight over to her amazing site.
http://nedaycrafts.com/gift-wrapping-tastic-time

Procrastination

I am guilty of this, as many of you will be.
If I have a big project and a deadline, It would be done the day before the deadline not the month or week before. That’s not to say there was no thought going on, or ideas evolving in my mind.
I’m not a LAZY person, far from it. However, I do think if your business is a creative one, you need time for ideas to come to fruition and you need to feed your creative brain. That might take place on a walk (nature is great for this) or an art gallery, or meeting a fellow freelancer to bounce ideas around. People approach work in a different way.
I can have a big project looming and still be on Twitter! BUT that’s not particularly social for me, it’s more gentle networking. I reckon that’s true for most of the Twitterati.
Once all my ideas/methods are gathered, I can really concentrate and knock out the projects. Yesterday, three projects got finished and sent. It’s because I had a self imposed deadline. I had my son with a couple of free hours to take my photographs….so I had to be ready…..and I was!
Now, off to meet friends for lunch. #feedingmycreativebrainliterally!

Ribbon Roses

If you are wrapping a Valentine or Mother’s Day gift try embellishing with some of these roses.

You need about 50 cm of wired ribbon in your chosen colour.

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Thread A bead onto a length of wire (I used paper covered wire. This will become your stem.

Start carefully gathering the ribbon into the centre of it’s wire, working along one side only.

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Starting at one end start wrapping your gathered ribbon around the bead. Keep going until you have formed a rose of your liking. The final length of wire gets wrapped around the stem.\

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Embellish yourgift.

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