Category: Crafty

A Crafty Chai at The Handmade Fair

Just over a week ago, I hotfooted it down to London to explore the first Handmade Fair. I was really interested to see what it was like, but also I wanted to see Kirsty Allsopp & Cath Kidston! I bought my ticket a while ago to take advantage of the Early Bird deal and to make sure I got a seat for the Kirsty/Cath chat.

It was raining when I left home, so I made sure I dressed appropriately, only to be greeted with glorious sunshine in London! It was boiling and so was I! Plus, I’d taken the train and had no idea how far Hampton Court Palace was from Paddington. The answer? It’s far. If I go again next year, I’m totally driving. Anyway, Hampton Court Palace is a great place for this event. It’s got such beautiful grounds that it’s worth making time to take a tour around them while visiting.

There was loads to see, do and buy, without it being overwhelming. When I booked my ticket, there were only a few of the skills classes available but I would’ve liked to go to a few different ones. I attended the Pom Pom making class (and yes, I did have to buy some Pom Pom makers afterwards!) and was supposed to go to the Papercutting class, but my train was late. I had a lovely day and am definitely thinking about going back next year. Lots of the stall holders had offers on and the food offerings were great too! Take a look.

Hampton Court PalaceMasterclassesPom Pom Making      Pom Pom Stitch Story Paper Tassles Chamby & CorWashi Tape Vintage Bloomers Lush Flowers Giant Knitting Spinach and chickpea curry Shopping Rowan TentKirstie AllsoppCath and Kirstie

I’ve been a Cath Kidston fan for many, many years now so it was lovely to finally see and listen to the person who has been so inspirational and whose products I’ve bought and cherished for many years.

Did you go to the Handmade Fair? What did you think? Have you got a pom pom maker?!

A Handmade Wedding with Cricut Explore

Recently, some friends of mine asked me to help out with their wedding decorations. I was in charge of the place cards and the seating chart. They wanted them handwritten – No pressure then!

Making the place cards couldn’t have been easier with the (c/o) Cricut Explore. All I had to do was set the size of the place cards in the Design Room and go. I was using A4 card that matched the colour scheme of the wedding. The Design Room makes it easy, as you can add as many shapes as you can fit on the paper. I was able to fit five on a page and I used the Scoring stylus so the cards were easy to bend. Super simple – my kind of craft!

Then I used Scrabble tiles as the first initial for the place card and then hand wrote the name. I also used the Cricut Explore to for the seating chart so that everything was cut to perfection. I was so pleased with how it all turned out and along with the amazing decorations at the wedding venue, everything looked great. Take a look!

Table Setting Handmade Place Cards Wedding Venue Wedding BalloonsHandmade Seating chart Wedding StreamersWedding Just Married Handmade WeddingThe Happy CoupleIt was such an honour to be a part of such a beautiful day. Everything was lovely, the food was great, the speeches were hilarious and the grooms were very handsome! Congratulations Mark & Ashley!

Disclosure: I was sent the Cricut Explore to review, but as usual, all opinions are my own.


Craft Fails

I don’t know about you, but I like to try my hand at most crafts. There are some I’m good at, some I’m not so good at, but most are a work in progress, as there’s always something new to learn. One thing I’d really like to be better at is sewing. Or using my sewing machine, to be more accurate. I’ve watched the Great British Sewing Bee and while I don’t ever imagine I’ll make a dress, a shirt or a jacket, I would like to be able to sit down at my machine, feel confident and not get exasperated within 30 seconds. *insert sigh here* However, this is how I usually feel when I sit down at my machine. Completely and utterly exasperated. Very rarely does something go right. On Saturday, I’d planned to make a small and simple curtain. I’d ordered some lovely fabric, which just needed hemming and needed a loop at the top. Got the fabric out – too small. I didn’t realise when ordering it that the longer measurement would be the width not the length and it couldn’t be turned the other way because of the pattern. Great. Attempt 1: Fail.

Then I moved on to an iPad case. This took me ages. Why? It’s a simple little thing right? Well, I wanted to make one with a zip. I bought a zip the other day and found a lovely little tutorial on line. Put the zip against the iPad and the bloomin’ zip is too small. Attempt 2: Fail.

Fine, I thought. I’ll make a test one, without a zip. (I was determined to use the sewing machine if it killed me/it). I had this lovely fabric in my stash and thought it would make a lovely case. What do you think? Cute huh?

iPad Mini caseI thought so. After what felt like an age of measuring out, cutting out, pressing and sewing, the final product was completed. (Though the inside is a complete mess, but I’m not showing you that!) Here’s how it turned out:

iPad case fail

Too bloody small! I couldn’t believe it – it nearly cried at this point. I always fall down with measuring (numbers are not my friend), though I am pretty pleased at how straight my stitches are! Attempt 3: Fail.

Plus, not only does my iPad stick out the top, the machine kept ‘jumping’ and it caused the stitches to look like this…

sewing machine fail craft failI have no idea why. When I reduced the tension, it barely sewed the fabric together. I thought the bobbin had wound quite nicely, which it doesn’t always, but I’m so annoyed. Attempt 4: Fail.

I don’t want to make my own clothing line. Nor do I want to make difficult and fiddly quilts. I just want to buy small pieces of pretty fabric and make a few bits and bobs for me and my home. That is not going to happen! Should I just sell my sewing machine and give up on the idea of making my own blind? I don’t know. I’m not sure if it’s me, the machine, the fabric, the cotton. Either way, something’s not right. It really knocked my confidence too, as I’ve got a net curtain that needs shortening, but now I’m just worried that I’ll ruin it. Maybe I should just stick to knitting – when that goes wrong, you can just unpick it and start again.

Have you got tips for me?! Any suggestions/advice on where I’m going wrong? Have you had any craft fails? Please share them so I don’t feel like such a failure :/



Personalising my iPad with Cricut Explore

I have a long list of things I want to do, make and create, but making time for them is tough. So, while we were in between guests last weekend, my OH popped out to the garden centre and I sat down with my (c/o) Cricut Explore, in a bid to personalise my iPad a bit. I had no excuses – the house was clean, the washing was done, food was in, Poppy was walked. I had an idea about what I wanted, well, a few actually. As time was of the essence, I went with the quick and easy option of using some of the images from the Cricut Design Room. I knew I wanted to cover the edge a bit and have some kind of repeating pattern on the back. Plus, I’d never cut the vinyl before, so it was a little bit of a test all round. I settled on a basic border and a rain cloud.

Rain Cloud ipad vinylIn the design room, you can set your canvas, but unfortunately, they don’t have the iPad Mini, which meant I had to set my own measurements (always a risk!) So the border isn’t perfect. What I’d really like is a border set in the design room, which includes the buttons and camera and cuts them out to. Mine didn’t and I didn’t have time to figure it out (so if you know how, please let me know!) so I just went with this. I love the cloud shape and raindrops – it’s very simple, which is fine for a first attempt. And the beauty of the vinyl is that it can be removed very easily and changed for something else when you fancy a change.

ipad vinyl with cricut exploreUsing the vinyl was surprisingly easy. As I didn’t have a lot of time before our guests arrived, I used the same colour throughout but there are a number of colours available. Now I actually have something on my iPad, giving it a bit of protection, I want to work on something a bit more personal, maybe even designed by me!

Another thing I had on my list, was making some wall art, in the way of a slogan to go in my my office. I’ve been wracking my brains, trying to think of a quote or a slogan that isn’t too cheesy or too long, that will inspire me when I’m lacking in confidence. I’ve yet to find one! However, I did just want to have something small and quick on my computer – after all, I face it every day. This is what I went with:

Cricut Explore SloganHey, I never said I was Shakespeare! (And yes, I realise it’s not straight!) But sometimes I just need a reminder not to give up, no matter how frustrated I am or lacking in self-confidence. It’ll do for now. If you’ve got any suggestions of quotes, phrases or slogans, then let me know!

Disclosure: I was sent the Cricut Explore to review, but as usual, all opinions are my own.