May already, a third the way through the year! April seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye, it’s been so busy and I really cannot wait to go on holiday in a weeks time to The Netherlands but more on that when I get back – Im sure I’ll be sharing pictures on Instagram!
Looking back over my Instagram photos for April I certainly managed to cram a lot in but I am also really pleased that my photography seems to be improving, in particular I am trying really hard to improve my product photography as the Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium website will be relaunching very soon.
Cake Pin Cushions / New soap bars / Packaging up orders
Girls Birthday Card / Craftea Workshops / Cuppa Cards
Accessories / Mini Brooch Pins / Hair Clips
The weather in April has been really lovely, most of the time, and so I took the opportunity to get out on Betty the Bike to run some errands and also enjoy the lovely sights in St Ives.
Betty still has L plates / Quayside / 1950s Houses
This past month has also seen a lot of baking. I love to bake and I find it so much cheaper than buying from the shops and its better to know what’s in what I eat. I’ve also been making use of the Suki teapot Paul got for Christmas, I don’t drink tea but it makes a great photo prop with my vintage china!
Late night baking / Payapa and Cranberry & Almond Cupcakes
My favourite Oat, Raisin & Chocolate Cookies / Fruit Loaf
Finally, I hope I have been improving my blog posts and getting into a posting routine. I have lots of ideas ready for the next few months and I hope to share sneaky peaks over on Instagram.
Customising Filofax / Renegade 2015
DIY Bird Seed Cookies / Pillowcase Dress Challenge
I have had my Personal Filofax for a few years now, it was a gift for when I first opened Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium but to be honest, I have never really used it much beyond noting down appointments. I think the reason was I found it a bit boring…until now!
Having seen on Pinterest many ideas for customising planners and how useful they can be I decided that now was the time to try and get to grips with using my Filofax.
I didn’t really find that the inserts included really worked for the sections I would want to utilise so I went about making some of my own, and they are much prettier than dull cream.
The first thing I did was select some really pretty paper from my craft supplies, it is about a 120gsm weight so not too thin, but a think card would work well too. Then I took out the current inserts and with a pencil drew around them. Next I cut them out and using a single hole punch, punched replacement holes in the inserts. As I used a paper for my inserts, I wanted to reinforce the holes so I found some excellent hole reinforcers on Amazon which really helped. You can find them HERE.
In the Filofax there is an acetate layer on the very top and I wanted to replace that too as it had become rather grubby over the years. I have patterned acetate in my craft supplies and so I picked out this pretty one with flowers embossed into it and then cut that down to size too, it makes the Filofax look pretty now when I first open it.
So what do you think? The before is on the left and after on the right. Do you customise your planner? I would love to hear how in the comments.
*The two links here to Amazon are affiliate links and if you click and make a purchase I receive a few pennies*
On Sunday Paul and I took the train into London to catch up with friends but also for me to visit the Renegade Craft Fair for the first time, excited didn’t even come close!
There has been such a buzz around Twitter and Instagram about the fair with sellers sharing images of their prep and also how it went on Saturday. So by the time Sunday came I was so looking forward to visiting and meeting a couple of people I interact with online.
Renegade is special because sellers have to apply to have a stall and so the fair was a curated selection of the finest handmade and independent makers in the land! For me, it wasn’t just about the shopping, but also a fantastic fair to research at for ideas about stall displays and how to interact with customers for when I do my next fair in June.
But on to the shopping…..I didn’t go mad with shopping but I was so happy with my purchases!
The lovely glass bottle is from Ladybird Likes, a new product that has been added to her already great range. It was lovely to meet Zoe at the weekend (she is hiding behind the peg board) as she is someone I follow on Instagram and love to see how she is being so successful with her business.
The greetings card is from the fabulous Rachel of Oh No Rachio who I interact with on both Twitter and Instagram, Rachel is a fantastic illustrator and also a big succulent advocate and her stall was very busy and looked amazing.
Finally, Oh Squirrel. I was SO excited to meet Katie as she always seems like the loveliest person on social media, has a beautiful Instagram feed and she is just the most enthusiastic person about what she does and humble in its success. Her stall looked beautiful and I picked up a great tip from her – she was promoting herself on Instagram and if you made a purchase and said you follow on Instagram they you got a lovely little bonus with your purchase.
I loved Renegade, I would definitely go again as a visitor and I can see it being a great place to go to for their Christmas dates to pick up lovely handmade or one of a kind Christmas gifts. I also found it inspiration to visit and maybe one day I will be there with a stall for Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium!
Spring has certainly arrived and have you noticed all the birds chirping away? We have a big garden, it’s98ft long and almost 50ft wide, we have a few trees and well established hedges and shrubs along the boundaries so we see many birds. A great way to help the birds is with bird seed cookies and here is a really simple DIY tutorial to show you how to make the bird seed cookies, they are so simple and a great activity to do with children to help encourage them to look out for birds in your garden.
To make the cookies you are going to need:
- 3/4 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 packet of unflavoured gelatin
- 3tbsp golden syrup or corn syrup
- 4 cups bird seed
- Vegetable Oil
- Baking parchment (greaseproof paper)
- Wooden Spoon
- Ribbon or string
- Drinking straws or skewers
- Cookie Cutter
In a small bowl, mix the warm water with the gelatin and set it aside for later. In another bowl mix together the bird seed, flour and the syrup. It will get quite stiff to mix together but keep going! Pour over the gelatin mixture and give it another stir.
Line a baking tray or two with the baking parchment and lightly grease with the vegetable oil, also rub some oil around the inside of the cookie cutter as this will help release the bird seed cookies easier.
Place the cookie cutter on the baking tray and pack it tightly with the bird seed mixture. Use a short piece of drinking straw to make a hole and pack more mixture around the straw until the cookie cutter is full.
Leaving the straw in the bird seed cookie, carefully remove the cookie cutter and repeat until you have used up all of your mixture. The bird seed cookies now need to be left to harden and dry, this will take a few hours but if you can, leave overnight.
Once dry, remove the drinking straws and tie string or ribbon through the hole ready to have the cookies in your garden.
I found that round cookie cutters worked best. I tried making Christmas trees at Christmas and the narrow part at the top broke off!
These bird seed cookies are a great sensory activity to do with children as they can get their hands messy and feel the textures of the bird seeds, they also make a great rainy day activity and can encourage them to keep an eye out for what birds they see in your garden.
Why not have a go? I would love to see what shapes you make or what birds you see nibbling away!
When Paul and I were planning our wedding last year it was really important to me to include a charitable element. Weddings, even budget and handmade ones, can still cost a lot of money and so I really wanted to make sure we gave something back.
I love to wear dresses and as a bride I knew I was going to wear the most beautiful dress in the world. I think every girl, no matter their colour, background, religion or circumstance should be able to own a pretty dress and so I knew Dress A Girl Around the World was a perfect fit for what I wanted to do.
Having previously made dresses for the charity with a former WI, I knew what I had to do, the general idea is making a pillowcase into a pretty dress, simple. There are quite a few standards that have to be met, no white dresses or anything too sheer but a little girl having a pretty dress shows they are being cared for and are dignified so are less likely to be approached by predators or be abused.
The plan was to challenge myself to make one dress for every guest invited to the wedding, whether they could attend or not I would make a dress, that meant I had to make 115 dresses. ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTEEN!!! Paul was on board with my idea and so we asked guests to each bring a pillowcase and we had a basket and a sign at the wedding to collect them.
We were really pleased that on the wedding day we received 42 pillowcases and have received more subsequently as some guests wanted to donate extra. I have also trawled charity shops and bought some myself, family have raided their linen closets and I have even received contributions from both Cath Kidston and Hobbycraft for ribbons, elastic and embellishments (but hey, if you have any spare pillowcases or duvets and you want a good home for them, let me know and I’ll take them off your hands!)
I haven’t started making the dresses just yet as I have been collecting all of the materials I need but am going to make a start at emptying these boxes soon and will update on here with my progress! I wonder how long it will take me.
A huge part of my 2014 was getting married and I will blog about that soon but following our handmade wedding we had a luxurious seven week honeymoon in Australia and then Dubai. I thought I would be a little indulgent and write about our honeymoon and share some photos but also tips of places we went to incase you ever find yourself out in Australia!
Flying business class with Emirates was AMAZING! A seat mix up on the first leg of the flight meant Paul got to swap seats with the former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen – who was very charming – and then we had seven hours to kill in the lounge in Dubai. We eventually got to Sydney extremely late almost 48hrs after leaving home but the adventure began!
We stayed in two hotels in the first portion of time in Sydney, the Mariott overlooking the Harbour Bridge and then the Ibis around in Darling Harbour. I’ve always wanted to see the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge so these were top of my list to visit.
One of our favourite attractions in Sydney was the Chinese Garden of Friendship near to Darling harbour. The weather was beautiful and it was a wonderful place to spend a couple of hours getting over our jet lag.
We spent a couple of days getting over our jet lag just walking around and seeing the sights of Sydney, we popped to Bondi Beach, the botanical gardens, took the ferry and walked around The Rocks, an area we really liked very much.
After a week in Sydney Paul had booked us a few days in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains and so we took the train and off we went. The Blue Mountains were just beautiful, they get their name from the coloured ‘gas’ emitted from the eucalyptus trees deep in the valley. We had tickets for the hop on/off bus for a couple of days which was a great way to get around and see lots of the attractions. Whilst we were there, there was a dreadful bush fire and sadly some residents lost their properties, our motel was about a mile from the fire site and we spent one night wondering if we should pack ready to leave but thankfully our motel was not harmed.
It was lovely to spend a few days here, a total contrast to the hustle and bustle of Sydney. The scenery in the Blue Mountains was just stunning. Aside from just admiring the shear beauty, we also visited the Everglades Gardens (bottom three photos) and Scenic World which is an attraction park combining the steepest inclined railway in the world created for mining, a rainforest walk way, cable car and sky car rides.
Our next stop was Uluru, but I’m going to save that for another blog post as there are just too many amazing photos!!
A quick “Happy Easter” and who doesn’t like seeing cute bunnies sitting with Easter eggs…..
I can’t quite believe we are a quarter way through the year already, time really does fly past lately and March has been no different. I seem to have crammed a lot into 31 days including completing the Instagram challenge #MakeItMarch which I will blog about separately.
Taking a walk around the garden it’s clear that Spring is well and truly here with bulbs popping up, the daffodils making an appearance and the grass getting long! It’s been a month of thinking about Butterfly Crafts Handmade Emporium and changes I would like to make, new crafts to try and of course stocking up on supplies! It’s also been a good month of blogging for me, something I am really trying to get better at.
Here is my Instalife for March 2015, if you like what you see then do come and say hello over on Instagram.
The Summer House / Hellebores / Daffodils /
Walking to the bottom of the garden
Sewing Brooch Backs / Completing a Custom Order / Making new bows
Trying out Waterfall cards / Paper folding / Family birthdays
Buying new craft supplies!
My first sketch challenge / Muffin Recipes / Making colour swatches
I wonder what April will bring! Check back next month to see what I’ve been getting up to.
As a papercrafter, it can sometimes be a challenge to think of good card layouts or how to use toppers or images that you really like, and this is where card sketch ideas come in handy.
One brand of craft supplies I really like is Hunkydory Crafts Limited. Every couple of months Hunkydory publish their Crafting with Hunkydory magazine, its a great magazine full of craft ideas and no adverts which is refreshing!
Each issue of the magazine includes a card sketch challenge and I thought for the first time I would have a go, not only to see if I win a prize but also to have a go with new layouts.
This card is made using the Mr Fox card set and adorable scorable card stock, I really love the bright colours in this card.
To see more card sketch ideas take a look at my Card Sketch Pinterest Board
Like many papercrafters, I love my Tim Holtz Distress Inks and use them a lot in my craft projects, they are great to use for stamping and also colouring in by using a water brush. I have collected the entire range and have a drawer full in my craft room with the various distress ink pad colours.
The only problem however is I fee you do not get a true representation of the ink colour from the label on the distress ink pad lid. To rectify this I decided it would be useful to make a colour swatch chart with all of the colours to keep with my ink pads so I can match them up to other elements of projects I’m working on, or just to gauge the correct colour – or just to look at as they are so pretty all together!
If you want to make a Distress Ink Colour Swatch you will need:
- Distress Inks
- Distress Inks Blending Tool
- Blending Mat
- White card
- Small Rubber Stamp
- Shaped punch or dies and cutting machine
- Hole Punch
And this is how you do it:
- Punch or die cut the white stamping card into the desired shape you need and have enough for all of the ink pads you have,
- Using the blending tool and blending mat ink the card shapes making it darker around the edges and lighter towards the centre showing the range of shade from one distress ink pad,
- Using the small rubber stamp, stamp the image in the centre of the colour swatch so you would see what the ink looks like stamped,
- Write the name of each ink pad on the edge of the swatch,
- Repeat stages 2-4 for every ink pad,
- Hole punch one corner of the swatches and stack up in the order you want them to be in and tie together with a ribbon – I use ribbon as its pretty but also easy to undo if you need to add more swatches