A few weeks back I received an exciting mystery package from the Etsy Made Local London Team. To celebrate their upcoming Christmas market in South London, the team sent me a box of specially curated goodies from selected Etsy sellers who’ll be showcasing their handmade wares in December.
I went to my first Etsy Made Local Xmas market in 2015, and I loved it. I went looking for Christmas presents for friends and family but went home with lots of lovely goodies for me! Back then I bought a set of tiny concrete diamond ‘baubles’ from PASiNGA, whose stall I loved, and they come out every year.
I was so excited to receive my package – the team told me that they’d tailored the contents to suit my style and audience, and I don’t think I could have picked better for myself if I tried. The first item I saw was this gorgeous hand-formed blue and white mini rope bowl by Zuzana of Rope Works. The bowls are naturally dyed with Indigo and make perfect trinket bowls for jewellery by your bedside.
Next up I spotted a brown leather key chain from Suede & Co who make handmade leather and suede accessories from coin purses to laptop sleeves. My second leather goody came in the form of a leather cord holder / cable organiser from By Law London. These are perfect for keeping your headphones together in your bag. Janet sells sets of two for £9, alongside other leather accessories.
A few months back I was invited to a festive gift-wrapping workshop with IKEA in London. It was far too early to really think about Christmas back then (I think it was June!), but the event also offered a sneak peak at IKEA’s Autumn / Winter collection (in-store now), which I couldn’t refuse!
You might remember that last year IKEA put on a Christmas tablescaping workshop for a few crafty bloggers, where I obsessed over a gorgeous black bear ornament. This time we were treated to a gift-wrapping workshop with the lovely Janine, who has a completely different creative job by day, but is a widely acknowledged ‘awesome gift wrapper’ on the side – nice to be multi-talented!
It was lovely to see some friendly faces in the form of Gabrielle from Design Curator and Anna from The Smell of Roses (not to be confused with The Only Smell is Roses, which I nearly wrote – too much TOWIE), and to meet some new faces too – namely Lou from Little Green Shed, Jess from The Only Girl in the House and Georgia from Flowers in the Window. As well as making some gorgeous gift-wraps, Georgia also patiently put up with a mega coughing fit from me on the train back to Essex – sorry!
Last weekend the kind people at BUST Craftacular invited me along to their summer shindig at York Hall, Bethnal Green. I’m a huge fan of Craftacular (dubbed ‘London’s coolest craft fair’), which brings together over 70 unique designer-makers, DIY workshops, tea and cake, and fun-loving DJs.
Photo credit: Shelley Makes®. Maker: Kinska
If you’re looking for quirky handmade gifts, or just presents for yourself, Craftacular is the place to go. Last year I bought a gorgeous white trinket dish with a tiny leaf imprint from madebymememe (a humble #ceramicsmum), and the time before I bought a moon pin-cushion from Oh No Rachio (onr).
Photo credit: Shelley Makes®. Maker: Tea Party at the Zoo
This year, my sister bought some beautiful trinket dishes stamped with gold bees from potter Elizabeth of Limehouse Ceramics (who was also super friendly and chatty). Another favourite stall was Sparkle Child, who made fun sparkly crowns, garlands and wands for children – perfect for play-time.
Photo credit: Shelley Makes®. Maker: Sparkle Child
With less than a week until Valentine’s Day, here’s my round-up of this year’s Valentine’s craft inspiration, including everything from DIY cards, to DIY gift wrap, boxes and planters. Hope you love it! ❤
For previous year’s inspiration, check out here and here, or find one of my DIY tutorials here.
For full DIY tutorials, check out these blogs:
1. Paper & Stitch, DIY Candy Boxes | 2. Paper & Stitch, DIY Watercolour Stationery | 3. Sugar & Cloth, DIY XO Gift Wrap | 4. Oh Happy Day, ‘I’d Pick You’ Flower Valentine | 5. Oh Happy Day, Heart Balloon Valentine | 6. A Bubbly Life, DIY Valentine Flower Bouquet | 7. Paper & Stitch, ‘Life Would Succ Without You’ Planter | 8. The House That Lars Built, Hand Holding Hearts Pop Up Valentine | 9. Studio DIY, 3D Heart Gift Wrap
Last week, I went along to Drink, Shop & Do near King’s Cross in London to preview Hobbycraft’s new Spring and Easter craft collections. Ever since I started blogging, it’s been an aim of mine to attend a Hobbycraft event, as I do buy a lot of my supplies from there, so I was thrilled to get an invitation.
I tagged along after work and was greeted at the door by the Hobbycraft team. They’d split the Drink, Shop & Do floor into various stations so that you could try your hand at different crafts, and learn more about their upcoming range expansions, from sewing supplies, knit craft, Easter craft, and baking.
My first stop was the sewing machine station where a helpful seamstress named Amy sat me down at a sewing machine for the first time, and showed me how to do some basic stitches. Some of you might recall that I was bought a sewing machine for Christmas a few years back, and am ashamedly yet to use it, as I wasn’t really sure where to begin, so I was really excited about this opportunity.
This year I was delighted to take part once again in the #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa. In case you haven’t heard of it, #CraftBlogClub is a weekly Twitter chat which takes place between 7 – 8pm every Tuesday, hosted by the lovely Katie (@katiegetscrafty) and Fiona (@fizzijayne), with occasional guest hosts.
As well as chatting all things craft, throughout the year, Katie and Fiona love to set us seasonal crafty challenges from spring-cleaning (stash swapping) to upcycling, but my favourite has to be the annual Secret Santa where everyone is paired off to create homemade presents for each other.
You might remember that last year I made a DIY felt cupcake needle-book and cupcake pin-cushion ring for ZoFlo, and was lucky to receive an awesome crochet stash from Kate at Albert & Me.
This year I was paired with @knitknatlaura and decided to try my hand at homemade soaps for the first time. A while ago, I found this pin on Pinterest, and decided to give this ten minute DIY a go. The tutorial is by Heidi at Happiness is Homemade – it’s super easy, and the results do look really great.
A few years ago my boyfriend and I made homemade jam (with DIY jar labels) as Christmas presents for friends and family. A lot of people kindly returned their empty jars to us (no doubt hoping for more jam), but last Christmas we decided to do something a little different with them – homemade jar candles!
You will need:
This DIY is incredibly simple, and doesn’t take long at all. Start by melting your wax over a saucepan on the hob, in much the same way as you would melt chocolate. The wax should never be over direct heat, so lay your saucepan of pellets (or old candle wax) into a bigger saucepan with boiling water in the bottom.
It’s best not to leave the wax unattended, and not to let it get too hot, so keep an eye on it at all times, stirring occasionally. While your wax is heating up, prepare your jars – make sure they are clean and dry. Add your weighted wick so that it stands up in the centre of your jar, cutting it to the desired height.
Once all wax lumps have melted on the hob, remove the pan from the heat. If you are adding a colour or fragrance, now is the time to do so, but mine were just plain, resulting in a white wax. Whilst molten, pour your wax into your jars to the depth desired. Once poured, leave to cool and set on a flat surface.
Can you believe that it’s just six more Sundays until Christmas? I don’t know about you, but for me it feels like the months fly by quicker and quicker every year! Still, at least it’s nearly the holidays!
Earlier this year I was invited to an IKEA tablescaping event with some fellow bloggers to preview IKEA’s Autumn / Winter range, as well as take a sneak-peak at some of IKEA’s scandi-inspired Christmas goodies. I’m a big fan of IKEA, and always try and fit in a visit before Christmas.
The event was held at 19 Greek Street – a modern white event space in Central London. I was thrilled to join some blogger friends – namely Hannah from Crafternoon Cabaret Club, Tasha from Graphique Fantastique, Rosie and Hannah from The New Craft House, and Emma from Emma Jane Palin.
After an introduction from the IKEA bods who talked us through the four new autumn / winter trends, we were invited to have a leisurely peruse, and get hands-on with our own DIY tablescapes. A credit to the IKEA wares, we soon felt at home, and were all prepared to move in within minutes.
One of things I love most about winter is the arrival of brand new seasonal maker markets. With Christmas around the corner, it’s the perfect time to buy presents before the panic sets in. Below you’ll find two of my favourite seasonal maker markets in London – pop the dates in your diaries!
BUST London Christmas Craftacular
When: Sunday 27 November, 11am-5pm
Where: York Hall, 5 Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green E2 9PJ
Why: The BUST London Craftacular is back, featuring talented, crafty vendors, pop-up cafes, DJs, and DIY workshops. Entrance is £3, and the first 100 shoppers get a goody bag.
I went to the BUST Summer Craftacular last year with my sister and loved it. As well as browsing the wares from independent makers, you can also take part in fun workshops – last year we did a weaving workshop with Peas & Needles – one of my all-time favourite craft workshops.
Christmas Crafty Fox Market
When: 3-4 December, 11am – 5pm
Where: Dogstar, 389 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London, SW9 8LQ
If you know of any more maker markets not to be missed this winter, please pop them in the comments below. Personally, I can’t wait to start my festive shopping!
In May of last year I made my Grandma a DIY wordsearch card to combine a few of her favourite things – puzzles, and gardening. Well, a while ago, for some reason, I decided that this DIY wasn’t good enough for the blog, and I deleted it, and now – over a year later – I’ve changed my mind.
This is one of the simplest DIY cards you could possibly hope for. There are tonnes of free wordsearch generators available online that allow you to personalise your puzzles. I used one called www.puzzle-maker.com, where you can choose between making a custom wordsearch or a custom crossword.