Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Crafty Creatives - September Craft Box Review

I've officially been hit by the 'monthly box subscriptions' bug. My favourite of all the boxes so far (and the only one I'm still subscribing to) is the monthly craft box from Crafty Creatives

My third box from them arrived this morning and it's another gorgeous box of crafty supplies and projects. Each box has a theme, and for September it's a Far East, or 'Oriental' theme. 

I'm so in love with the contents that I thought I'd share - prepare for some pic spam!

As this is my first post about this box I'll start at the beginning. It arrives in a neat little brown box:

And the items are always wrapped in some really pretty paper (which is being re-used as wrapping paper!):

The first item you hit is the art card, which has a gorgeous print on the front and information about the box on the reverse. This art card features Koi fish painted by Italian artist Davide:

Then you get to the goodies...

So far I'm always really impressed by the amount of crafty items that are in each box - definitely enough for several projects! This month's box includes:

  • 3 Chinese Coins - I already have a few of these scattered around the house as symbols of luck but I can see a jewellery project in the future for these!
  • Chinese symbol sheet and some black ink - time to get practising at my Chinese character brushwork!
  • Sheet of peel-off stickers
  • Wooden kokeshi doll - I'm especially looking forward to trying to decorate this
  • 3 sheets of origami paper
  • 1 fat quarter of Chinese brocade fabric
  • 3 pages from a Chinese new year fortune book
  • 4 metres of red cord
  • Fortune cookie (not crafty but tasty!)
My favourite item is this cinnabar bead, which I predict will be a necklace by the end of the day:

The last item in the box is a craft kit which includes everything you need to learn the art of Asian book binding through making a cute little notepad:

I love, love, love getting this box each month - it never fails to bring a smile to my face. To find out more about the box and subscriptions you can check out their website Crafty Creatives

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Stitch and Tell - Simple Embroidered Hankies

Christmas things are starting to appear in the shops already (noooo!), which must mean I don't have that long to make Christmas presents.

Anyone else ever spent Christmas Eve frantically sewing with awesomely cheesy Christmas tunes playing in the background?

Anyway, here's a little project that was really quick to sew that might help with last minute Christmas crafty panic!

These embroidered hankies only took about three hours to stitch in total. The bird pattern and the initial came from a pattern book by Jenny Hart of Sublime Stitching. I love Jenny's patterns, they're incredibly easy to iron onto fabric and make the whole process a joy. I chose different shades of blue to stitch them in and really love how they turned out.

If it wasn't for the fact that the idea of using fabric hankies kinda grosses me out these days (although I still have a little stash of my childhood hankies stored safely in a drawer), I'd be very tempted to stitch some with my initial too!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Stop, Nail Time!

Ugh, I'm actually making myself cringe with the title of this post, but sor some reason can't resist using it. My brain went something along the lines of ....hmm, a title for a nail varnish post, what links to nails
....well you use a hammer on nails
....hammer time (and now that song will undoubtedly reside in my head for the next 24 hours)

 and you get the rest!

Anyway, lame post titles aside I've started playing around with nail art a lot more recently. Most of my attempts are a little bit failed (I swear it's harder than it looks), but this week a little parcel of potential nail based fun arrived. I bought a selection of 50 fimo cane rods for a very reasonable price from

If you haven't seen these rods before, they are little tiny sticks of fimo, approx 5cm in length which you can finely slice with a sharpe blade to make teeny tiny little shapes to stick on your nails. I've seen these used before and haven't always been too fond of the effects - I like quite simple nails, so the trend to sticks lots and lots of fimo shapes on one nail, although pretty, is just not me.

The result of my first play with these canes was this:

I'm actually really happy with how they turned out, and it was a lot of fun to do - like a mini craft project on my nails! Read on if you would like to have a go at these nails yourself...

What I'm listening to

I love the feeling when I discover some new music that sends a tingle down my spine. Of Monsters and Men certainly had that effect, and then some.

Their album 'My Head is and Animal' was recently released (and happily a signed edition arrived on my doormat on the day of release), and it's such a joy to listen to.

My favourite track is 'Little Talks'. You can see the video for it below, and I think it might win an award for being one of the most magical videos of all time, it's a thing of beauty!

On another musical note - not long now until Mumford & Sons new album 'Babel' is released. Excited much?! Here's their new video for 'I Will Wait'...cue the tingles...

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Stitch and Tell - Felt Tree Mobile Case

It was my Dad's birthday a little while ago, and his only request was a case for his new mobile phone. I've knitted him gadget cases in the past, but decided that it was time for a felt project (I think felt might be my absolute favourite crafty medium at the moment).

I knew I wanted it to have a nature theme, and this is what I came up with:

I unfortunately didn't make a pattern but the steps involved were:

  • Take the measurements of the phone, and cut one piece of felt to the height of the phone, adding 4cm width to allow for the depth of the phone 
  • Cut another piece of felt, again adding 4cm to the width, and this time adding half of the height again to make the flap
  • Cut the tree shape out of a piece of green felt, using the final size of the 'flap' (suddenly that word seems very wrong) as a guide
  • Attach the green felt tree shape to the longer piece of brown felt using fabric glue, making sure it sligtly overlaps the top edge
  • Embroider the tree trunk onto the smaller piece of brown felt
  • Stitch the two pieces of brown felt together along three edges to form a pouch

  • I tried a few different closure methods - a popper proved too difficult to open. I could imagine my dad missing every call while he desperatley tried to get his phone out of the case! In the end velcro strips proved to be the easiest closure method (although not as attractive sadly!)

  • I then cut out and embroidered a little bird, which was attached using fabric glue

  • The final step was to attach a button by sewing through both levels of felt
Dad loved it and it hasn't fallen apart after a couple of months worth of use (bonus!). If you have a go at making your own tree cover I'd love to see pictures! 

Life PGR!

Photo by The Gingham Owl on Etsy

My life is now officially split into two time periods - pre and post gallbladder removal. I had my operation to remove the pesky little organ that has been making me feel so ill on the 31st August and am healing well. I'm not going to go into any details hear (so do not fear!) but think I might try and find an appropriate place to talk about it online. My experience has, on the whole, been a positive one and I hope that by sharing this I might be able to counter-balance some of the horror stories that are floating around the web which left me with a sense of impending doom.

Life post gallbladder removal (PGR) is actually already looking very different in a good kind of way. Some of the changes are:

1. I've completely changed my diet. My diet now involves hardly any processed foods - all good, healthy ingredients and fresh food. It's still very low fat, although I'm starting to slowly introduce some health fats in the form of avocado and coconut oil (yum!). I've started to experiment with food a lot more, and am getting to grips with cooking with tofu. I'm definitely planning on sharing some of my experiments here, as well as some of the blogs that have inspired my new diet.

2. Life has gained a little bit of perspective. Maybe it's from spending some time in hospital and seeing what people are going through every day, or maybe it's because I had to put the brakes on for a little while. Either way I feel much calmer about the things in life that used to stress me out. A giant chill pill has definitely been swallowed.

3. I've officially got my crafty mojo back. I'm so happy that I'm starting to feel creative again. Now I have approximately 1001 crafty projects to catch up with

4. I'm all kinds of obsessed with make-up and nail varnish. Playing around with nail varnish and trying out new make up has been a really lovely distraction from everything that has been going on for the past couple of months. I have a feeling that it's an obsession which isn't going away any time soon!

In general, life PGR is a happier place to be and I'm looking forward to the new adventures around the corner.