If you follow me on Instagram or have read my blog recently you will know that I love stationery and have started to use a planner more and more lately to help keep life organised. I have even set up a dedicated planning and stationery Instagram account – ButterflyPlans. I thought I would share a few of my favourite planning supplies shops.
Erin Condren – Ok so postage might cost quite a lot from the USA and then there is the possibility of customs charges but, I love my Life Planner. I opted for the vertical layout to start in 2017 (I’m working in a personal Filofax at the moment) but I am SO excited to start it. Aside from a Life Planner, Erin Condren also has beautiful notebooks which (along with the Life Planner) you can switch the covers on to suit your mood, you can also pick up sticker books and all sorts of planning and stationery lovliness. If you’ve not ordered before, my referral link will get you $10 off, click here and it will take you to a sign up page, once signed up you will be emailed a $10 off voucher code. You can read previous blogs about my Erin Condren February Haul and April Hauls to see more of my purchases.
Basil & Mint – An Australian based sticker shop but oh so worth it for the stickers! I absolutely love the quotes and sayings sticker sheets, the print quality is great but they are not too thick to bulk out your planner.
Stickers Washi & More – One of the first sticker shops I tried out on Etsy I love the itty bitty stickers to mark out functional things like laundry, writing blog posts, pay day etc. The stick sheets are around A6 in size so easy to tuck inside my current Filofax and plan on the go.
Pretty Crafty Stickers – a sticker shop based in Ireland and the stickers are super pretty. I love the decorative kits and the sticker sheets are a really good size so they feel like great value for money. Again the stickers are not too thick which means the pages of your planner won’t bulk up too much.
Kikki K – I discovered Kikki K when we were in Australia on our honeymoon (see my honeymoon haul here) so I was super pleased when the first store opened in the UK but also online shopping was made more affordable postage wise. Kikki K is a lifestyle brand with beautiful stationery to help you stay organised, create a beautiful desk space and be the best that you can be. I have various planning accessories, stationery and a gorgeous tea pot!
Fred & Bell – a new sticker shop based in the UK, Fred & Bell is just starting out with functional and decorative stickers but the quality is super thick making the stickers feel like a luxury. I’m excited to see what Leanne has in store for her new shop.
Have you found the world of planning and stickers yet? How do you keep yourself organised? I would love for you to share your favourite planner and stationery shops with me, leave a comment below or come and share with me on Twitter or Instagram.
Whenever I make up a batch of these oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip cookies they never last long in our house. Milk and a biscuit before bedtime is a big childhood memory of mine. Ok, I still have a mug of milk and a biscuit before bed now, but often it’s something I’ve made myself and I feel happier eating one of these cookies as they are a bit healthier with the oatmeal.
The cookies are so easy to make, basically just combine all the dry ingredients and then add the egg and butter, make into balls and bake. They taste delicious a few minutes out of the oven once they have cooled slightly but also make a great treat in a lunch box for children at school….or in our house, husbands for work.
You’ll get around 20 Oatmeal, Raisin and Chocolate Chip cookies from this mixture depending on what size you want to make.
You are going to need:
1 1/3 cups of plain flour (all purpose flour)
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1cup of porridge oats
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup flaked almonds (if you want nut free cookies, substitute the almonds with sultanas)
1tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup slightly melted butter
This is what you need to do…
- Preheat your oven to 180C (Gas 4), grease and line a couple of baking trays. If you only have one tray then you will need to bake in two batches.
- In a big bowl, measure out and combine all of the dry ingredients. Basically everything in the list above down to almonds. I just use a big metal spoon as find it easier to mix well than using an electric mixer.
- In a cup lightly whisk the egg, then add it to the mixture and give a good stir.
- Add in the vanilla essence and slightly melted butter and stir well to make the dough, it will take a bit of work.
- Divide the dough into balls around 5cm and place on the baking tray, don’t have them too close or they will merge into one giant cookie when baking.
- Pop in the oven and bake for around 12mins until golden, then place on a cooking rack and cover until cool – how long can you resit tasting one?
I think July 2016 needs to be regarded as the month of cake! Life lately has been hectic to say the least, we are progressing with our house renovation but now my parents are moving closer to us (SO excited!) and I have had to put creating new things for Butterfly Crafts on pause for a little while. With life being a bit busy I think I have consciously tried to be a bit kinder to myself this month and take time out.
Paul and I went for a delicious afternoon tea at The Old Barn in Wadenhoe. It was the July envelope for his first anniversary gift and we really enjoyed an afternoon out. We would both recommend afternoon tea at The Old Barn, so many sandwiches and cakes to eat in really pretty surroundings.
My love of stationery has been progressing this month too. I ‘won’ a bumper jiffy bag of washi tapes in a giveaway, bought some gorgeous stickers for my planner and discovered some super pretty stationery in Sainburys and blogged about my haul. If you love planners and stickers come and say hello over on my stationery Instagram account Butterfly Plans.
I absolutely love flowers and try to have a vase of them when ever I can. I particularly love carnations but am drawn to most flowers that are purple or lilac in colour. I really love these lisianthus too. I’m working on an online flower arranging course at the moment to help improve my arranging skills, I’ll share more photos at the end.
I took an afternoon out to learn all about iPhoneography at a workshop run by Shutter Hub and Me & Orla. It was great to spend a couple of hours with fellow creatives in Cambridge and pick up some tips. I blogged about the workshop and shared some of the iPhoneography tips learned.
I did find room for a little crafting as there have been birthdays for a few family and friends in July. I was so happy with how this card turned out and the recipient really liked it. If you want to see some more peaks behind the scenes at what I’m crafting some and say hello on my Butterfly Crafts Instagram.
So that was July 2016. It doesn’t feel like much here, but it’s been a very busy month away from Butterfly Crafts which I think has been good for my soul! August us set to be super busy too. Maybe I need another cookie….
Being a creative blogger can mostly be a lot of fun, we get to craft a lot and have fun making. But, it also has its own challenges, especially during those times when you’re not feeling particularly creative, or when all inspiration has dried up. It’s the same for any blogger really, and so when the lovely Holly from A Branch of Holly asked for submissions for guest posts on her fantastic blog, I jumped at the chance to write some top tips for bloggers when ideas run out. Click on this link below and it will take you directly to the post on A Branch of Holly….
Seven Tips for Bloggers When Ideas Run Out
I’d love to hear what you do if your inspiration dries up, have you any more tips you can share with me? Let me know in the comments.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Holly for letting me guest over on her blog whilst she enjoys a well deserved week off. If you’re not familiar with A Branch of Holly then get yourself there quick sharp, there is a whole heap of information and advice for bloggers and small business tips.
The 18th June almost seems like a lifetime ago now. Blogtacular, the conference for creatives and bloggers, a happy memory. I have already written about how to prepare for an event such a Blogtacular when you deal with anxiety like I do, but I have wanted to write about what I learned for a while I just haven’t been able to process it all in my already crowded brain. It’s not that I felt I didn’t learn anything, far from it. It was more I had a bit of reverse FOMO in that I felt I didn’t fully absorb everything or immerse myself in the day, and it is only now reading back over my notes I thought I would share what I learned from Blogtacular 2016 so here are my seven top tips for bloggers and creatives.
It’s ok to be scared
You can guarantee that you will not be the only one terrified in a room of bloggers. Scared that you don’t really belong because maybe you think you’re not a “real” blogger, or you’re not good enough. Being scared of the few hundred people I shared a room with on that Saturday in June is linked to my anxiety and feeling inferior to everyone, scared that my blog readership is barely a dot on a graph, yet there was nothing to be scared of. Every single person I met was delightful and many also said they felt scared and nervous, even the amazing speakers said they felt nervous which I felt was refreshingly honest. I did feel very uncomfortable trying to introduce myself to others due to lack of confidence but that’s more on my part that anything else. Next year I will do better!
I am enough
Being someone with acute anxiety (sorry, this is not meant to be a post about anxiety!) I often worry that I am not good enough or haven’t done a task good enough and at first, going to Blogtacular made me feel it even more. But in walked Lisa Congdon. Lisa was the opening keynote speaker and I have never felt so virtually hugged as I did when she spoke, I felt captivated. Here was a woman who came to her career late in life by means of a chance encounter, but who spoke with such authenticity and inspiration that the tone for the day was set. Lisa said that we measure our successes by how hard we work or how busy we are and it never feels enough. But we are enough and we must accept that.
Being on the Internet every day is hard work
In her keynote speech Lisa talked about how hard it can be to put yourself out there on the internet every day, showing up but not knowing who will respond. Facing competition and jealousy, we see our imperfections and differences are far more important than successes we have. But rather than measuring your success by how many likes you receive on Instagram, or a retweet on Twitter, focus on being real and showing other people what makes you real.
It’s ok to be a bit shit
Kirsty Smith’s workshop on Developing Content Ideas was both funny and inspiring and hearing someone tell you that it is ok to be a bit shit to start off with was rather reassuring. Kirsty continued to say that it is so important to write down all the ideas you have, even the dreadful ones, because you never know where they will take you (why hello there excuse to buy more pretty stationery for a list making session).
Give yourself time to think
Another nugget of inspiration from Kirsty was that you have to make time to think. Make an appointment with yourself to have an ideas meeting, and yes it’s totally fine if that ideas meeting happens at your local tea room with a big slice of cheesecake and a cold drink – just me? Once you have a big list of ideas pick one and take it with you for a while, take that idea into the garden, or out on a run with you, you might just turn that shit idea into a brilliant diamond. By giving an idea a thought process you are ready to write with enthusiasm which will come across to your reader, rather than forced writing. You have to love an idea before you can hit publish on a blog post.
Create an inspiring workspace
Whether you are a full time blogger or not, you need to feel inspired when you write and this came across from both Lisa and Kirsty. Kirsty in particular talked about the importance of an inspiring workspace and how you must work where you feel comfortable. For her it is the kitchen table, for others it might be the sofa, the bed, a dedicated office, the cupboard under the stairs or out of the house at a coffee shop. No matter where your inspiring place is, find what works for you and use it.
You don’t have to chase all. the. things.
The closing keynote speaker was Enid Hwang, Community Manager at Pinterest who was the sixth employee, and first woman to work at Pinterest when it first started in 2010. I did not really know the story behind Pinterest, but to hear Enid talk about how the first office was a tiny apartment and her desk was right next to the toilet (fun when working with five men) and thinking of the global success now was inspiring. Success stemmed from the determination and focus of the initial small team. In it’s infancy, Pinterest was shunned by investors who could not see the long term vision, but the team stayed true to their focus and vision and well, look at it now. Although by the end of the day I was feeling rather frazzled, hearing Enid talk about how it’s important to have a clearly defined goal and to stay focused on your vision, to make decisions based on that vision, and to be aware that jumping on a band wagon or chasing that shiny new thing is only wise if it’s true to your goals, reminded me that I perhaps need to refocus and clearly set out in my mind what I want for Butterfly Crafts.
So there you have it, my top seven things I learned from Blogtacular this year. The day overall was amazing, Kat and her team of assistants and helpers did a fantastic job. I have a background in events planning myself so I know what organising this kind of event involves but they pulled it off fantastically. The atmosphere was electric, the venue was perfect (even having an introvert area for when anxiety strikes), the catering was brilliant (oh my that flapjack!) and the community feeling was something I have never felt before. And then came the goodie bag, but this deserves a blog post all of it’s own so watch this space.
If you are a blogger and want to spend a day with a likeminded community, then I highly recommend keeping an eye out for Blogtacular 2017. If you want to read more about this year and what happened, check out more blog posts on the Blogtacular 2016 Pinterest Board, but if you do come along next year, be sure to find me and say hello, I promise to be less scared next year.
*All images (except The Girl Power Manifesto) are Courtesy of Mollie Makes © Will Ireland*
On a gorgeous sunny day in Cambridge last week I joined a bunch of other creatives at a Shutter Hub Workshop with Sara Tasker all about iPhoneography. I’ve always wanted to get more out of using my iPhone and it’s camera because its really handy to have in my pocket so I thought a workshop on iPhoneography would be perfect.
So what is iPhoneography I hear you ask? Well, as Sara explained, it’s a new movement of photography taking and processing pictures on your phone rather than a dslr or other camera. It’s much quicker and easier to take photos in this way when a job or family life can get in the way and take up more time.
To some, taking photos with your iPhone might seem amateur but even professionals use it and now there is even the annual iPhone Photography Awards
Sara spent the first part of the workshop talking to us about why iPhoneography has become so popular.
- Simplicity – there are limited settings and little learning needed meaning the emphasis is on the subject rather than technical specifications.
- Accessibility – Most people (especially me) always have their phone with them making it super quick to capture a moment as it happens, this then makes photos more relatable.
- Style – iPhoneography definitely seems to have taken more of a retro style but is also more forgiving as it doesn’t capture quite as much detail as a dslr photo might.
- Community – The rise of networks such as Instagram amongst a young and diverse audience.
- Shareability – The quick processing and relatable subjects mean its easy to share instantly on social media rather than put photos on a pc, edit them and then share.
After getting us all to take a photo as a baseline before we learn anything, Sara shared a few basics about using your iPhone camera such as you can swipe up from the lock screen and the camera is there, tap the screen to focus or hold it down and it will lock the focus, hold down the shutter button and it will take a burst of ten photos, always use the grid lines and finally that you can use the volume buttons on the side of the phone, or on headphones as a shutter button.
After taking photos of our hands or feet (including part of ourselves puts us, and our audience, in the moment we are experiencing) Sara shared some tips on getting the best from our photos.
- Composition – this is something that you can’t fake or fix at a later late and follow the rule of thirds, using the grid on your phone helps with this
- Angle – A top down photo, or ‘flat lay’ puts your audience in the moment with you, or get down to your subjects eye level, but always keep straight lines straight.
- Balance – Think about negative space and what backgrounds you use so they are not too distracting from your subject
- Texture – Showing texture can make a photo tactile or sensory, it also shows how life can get messy
Our final challenge of the session was to take a ‘selfie’ as putting ourselves in the picture helps add to the story you want to tell and even just a part of you is enough to convey your message. The top tip Sara gave for this is to NEVER us the front facing camera but find something to rest your iPhone on, and get familiar with the self timer.
With a few photos now taken we had a quick practice at editing on our phones and what apps are good to use. There are so many options out there but Sara recommended VSCO and has a beginners guide on her blog (I didn’t find this particularly intuitive to use) and A Colour Story (good for bright and colourful photos) I also use PicTapGo which I find really simple to use.
It was really good to spend a couple of hours thinking about photography and getting some tips using a camera I carry around with me all of the time. I am trying really hard with my social media sharing lately, in particular Instagram, and so I will be trying to put into practice some of the tips I picked up.
If you want to find out more about Sara then you can follow her over on Twitter, Instagram or take a read of her Me and Orla blog. Shutter Hub is a collective and resource, created and maintained by photographers in the UK. One of the aims of Shutter Hub is to provide information and advice for photographers (or budding photographers) and the workshop is just one of the ways they do this.
If you’ve followed me for a while, especially on Instagram, you will know that I LOVE stationery, always have and always will, and so I jump at the chance to treat myself to something new. Enter Sainsbury’s range of “Impressionist” stationery new for the Summer. I happened to be in store recently looking for something else and noticed the beautiful stationery and I decided a treat was needed.
These notebooks are A6 in size and come as a pack of three, they are all lined. I think they are super cute for their size and will be great to tuck into the pack of my Erin Condren Life Planner to keep a small notebook to hand.
I’ve been searching for an A5 clipboard for quite a while as I thought it would be nice to have a sign up form for my e-newsletter at Craft Fairs so seeing this one was a definite purchase. I love that it comes with a ‘Things to do’ notepad. I love a notepad and I always have a to do list on the go.
I have been using sticky notes a lot recently, they are great as page flags in books I have been reading and want to refer back to, but also for adding things into my planner that are happening at a future date – I then write it in at the start of the week once confirmed. So I love a pretty set of sticky notes and these ones come contained in a tin which is great for storage. And washi tape! The coordinating washi tape in this range is lovely, the glitter will add great sparkle to the back of envelopes which is one of the ways I love to use washi tape. For more washi tape ideas take a look at my How To Craft With Washi Tape Pinterest Board.
A supermarket might not be the first place you think of for buying stationery but take a look next time you are in one – pretty stationery and usually at very reasonable prices. I can’t wait to use these in keeping organised and with my planner.
**I have not been paid or asked to write this post, I just wanted to share some stationery I loved**
On Instagram I often share snippets of what happens behind the scenes at Butterfly Crafts and that includes snapshots of my craft room. I thought I would take a bit of time today and share my craft room set up in more detail – be prepared for a lot of photos!
When we moved into our house back in April 2014 we decided that the second reception room downstairs would be perfect for my craft room, it overlooks the garden and has great natural light. You can see the original room in the “Craft Room – In The Beginning‘ blog post from April 2015 – it was painted grey with awful carpet. The room is painted lilac and I have tried to maximise as much storage space as possible, primarily using Ikea units and various storage boxes.
In the corner of the craft room are my old wardrobes which I’ve renamed my Crafterobe. They have sliding doors, one side is mainly shelves and the other is shelves and drawers which are really great for fabric storage as fabric is best stored flat and away from sunlight.
I have a small TV which is great for watching DVDs or listening to the radio whilst I craft. Above the TV I have a couple of shelves housing the TiVo box but also my bucket filled with packaging supplies, a mini version of my wedding bouquet and other pretty things.
On the back of the door I have baskets which are great for holding ribbons and rolls of ricrac. On the side of the ‘crafterobe’ I also have a pin board with loads of happy inspiration. We are thinking of changing the doors in our hallway soon meaning this door will change to one with glass which will be great for added light.
My final element of storage is an Ikea Billy Bookcase with a glass door. I use the top shelves for button and thread storage and my sewing kit and the bottom shelves are for my craft books, both technique and small business books.
The table I use in the craft room is our old dining room table, at one end I have a small 2×2 Expedit unit with storage boxes. The table is covered with oilcloth making it great for crafting as its easy to clean. I love the view from this space and the large sliding doors which I can open in warm weather and listen to the birds chirp. Behind the table is a blank wall space and I have a few ideas in mind for decorating it – watch this space!
I do love working in my craft room, its my place of calm and creativity, where I can spend hours just looking at fabric and pretty things or sit and watch the birds outside whilst I create. I hope you enjoy seeing where the magic happens for Butterfly Crafts, if there is anything you’d like to know about or see up close just let me know!
The end of term is fast approaching with most schools breaking up in a couple of weeks time, maybe you’re all organised and already have your teacher thank you gifts sorted but if not here are a few suggestions of what the teachers in your life might like to receive as an end of term thank you gift.
Super Cute Felt Owls by Butterfly Crafts
A6 Notebook Trio by OhNoRachio
Natural Handmade Soap Bars by Butterfly Crafts
Hand Stamped Personalised Key Chain by LaurieBale
Fabric Bow Handmade Brooch Pin by Butterfly Crafts
Cuppa Cards make perfect Teacher Thank You Cards by Butterfly Crafts
I hope these will help with a little inspiration for what to gift a teacher at the end of a busy term – or even buy ahead ready for Christmas!
Just like May, June has flown by in a blink of an eye, but oh my what an exciting month it has been, there has been fun, travel lots in between.
I knew that June was going to be a super busy month and so I wanted to start off on the right foot with the husband and we went off to Norwich for the day for a treasure hunt, I just loved these colourful market stalls! This was part of our first wedding anniversary gifts which you can read about here.
The month also ended on a travel theme with an amazing trip to Iceland. It was bloomin cold not getting much higher than 10c but the scenery was astounding, waterfalls, volcanos, mountains and lupins. Oh the lupins. I got to practice my photo jumping!
The days off continued with a great visit to Gardeners World Live with Mum, it was my first time at the show, have you been? I would definitely recommend it if you have a garden, or even just a window box. Just look at that pink tool shed.
Image Courtesy of Mollie Makes © Will Ireland
Where do I start talking about Blogtacular? Aside from Iceland, I think Blogtacular would be the highlight of June. I am still processing the day in my head, the people I met, the inspiring talks I got to listen to and the ideas that came from it all. I wrote my first post, 5 Tips To Help Prepare For A Conference If You’re Anxious, and there will be a couple more to come later this month.
In preparation for Blogtacular I got busy in the Craft Room and made up some very special tags to give out with my business cards. I just love this Kitchen Aid inspired stamp and I have plans for it in the future, watch this space.
Badges and pins are having a huge rise in popularity, I remember they were when I was at school as I covered my bag in them! I’ve started my collection with these from (L-r) Sew Crafty, JillyJilly and OhNoRachio. Have you started to collect pins? I’d love to see what they are.
June also saw me feed my stationery addiction with a few new purchases. Heading into London for Blogtacular meant we just HAD to visit KikkiK and I picked up a box of adorable quote cards and a set of pens. My love of Erin Condren has also expanded with a new sticker book and just look at the pretty hearts on my new planner – this one is for 2017 so I have to wait a little while to use it. Sob.
How was June for you? Did you discover any new indie stores or go on any adventures? I look forward to telling you all about July and then it’s my birthday!
Image Courtesy of Mollie Makes © Will Ireland
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending my first blogging conference – Blogtacular – the conference to go to if you are a blogger in the creative field. It has taken me quite a while to even begin to process all that I learnt and everyone who I met on the day. Not to mention a good rummage in the goodie bag afterwards! I plan on writing a few posts about Blogtacular – what I learnt, my actions afterwards and of course the goodie bag reveal. However I wanted to start with a short post on preparing for attending an event such as Blogtacular if like me, you suffer from acute anxiety and you get nervous in these sort of situations. So here goes with my five top tips for preparing for a conference:
Network beforehand – One of the fantastic things with Blogtacular is the weekly #blogtacular chats on Twitter (9pm every Wednesday) and also the Facebook group. I was anxious about meeting people on the day but by interacting with them during the Twitter chats and commenting on posts in the Facebook group meant I already had some idea of who people were, what they blog about and to my relief….many were nervous to. A big conference often has a # for social media so why not put a post out on Twitter asking who else is attending your event?
Arrange to meet someone on the day – If you have been able to network in advance or you know someone else going to the conference, arrange to meet them on the day, either in the lobby area of the venue or if you don’t think that’s possible then at the first break time you have. If you are super anxious, it can be helpful knowing that you are going to meet a friendly face and be able to talk with someone during the networking sessions rather than hide away in the loo or a corner of the room on your phone.
Plan your sessions – often with conferences, as with Blogtacular, the schedule of speakers is shared before the day. This is great as it gives you time to think about what sessions you would like to attend, perhaps think about questions you might like to ask and also do a little background research on the speakers so you are familiar with what they do. One tip is not to be too fixed on what sessions you want to attend just incase there isn’t space in the room on the day.
Give yourself time to travel – Because I was busy earlier in the week I was unable to join the Blogtacular Craft Party at West Elm the night before, meaning I would be getting up much earlier than I liked and travelling into London the morning of the conference. I was a bit anxious about getting there on time and walking into a room filled with people [hello imposter syndrome!]. If this is something that makes you anxious either plan to stay close by the night before if your budget allows, or, make sure your allow plenty of time for travel and potential delays. If in London, it’s always handy to have an alternative tube route in case there is engineering works on the line you need.
Pack your bag in advance – you don’t want to be rushing around the minute you are supposed to be leaving on the day trying to find your favourite pen or a notebook. Have a think about what you might need on the day and pack your bag in advance. Do you need a cardi if the air-con is likely to be cold, do you need to take a packed lunch (I always do, I have food anxiety), what about a pen and notebook – ALWAYS an excuse for stationery shopping!! And don’t forget your business cards.
Anxiety can be horrible, especially in a situation such as a conference and so by taking a few steps to prepare beforehand you will hopefully reduce the level of anxiety on the day. But one final tip to bear in mind, with a conference about a specialised subject, such as creative blogging, everyone is attending for the same reason and so you will always have something in common with everyone there!
Keep an eye out for future posts about Blogtacular, I have a few planned for the next couple of weeks. Were you there? I’d love to hear from anyone who was, or share a tip about how you prepared for the event.
I love a good craft magazine and Mollie Makes is no different so I was super excited to find that the people behind the monthly magazine had released a few special editions. Photography is something I am working hard to improve, I’ve already written about attending a Makelight Workshop, but it’s good to have something to refer back to and so I picked up a copy when it came out (ok so it was published in 2014) and have finally had a chance to sit and read it cover to cover.
Now that I’ve treat myself to a new camera (Olympus PEN E-PL7) and also have a dslr camera I would like to learn more of the technical aspects of photography, rather than just ‘point and shoot’, but I find it rather daunting. The magazine includes loads of tips about the technical parts of photography in a factual way but also with practical examples, such as the ‘Find Your Light’ spread above.
I love that the magazine makes you think about your photography style and how to develop and change the way you take photos beyond your usual angles. The ‘Location, Location, Location’ piece in particular was interesting in challenging you to go on location for a week, change your perspective and not to get wrapped up in the small details. I hope to take myself on a photo walk of my town as a way to practice.
There are SO many ‘apps’ out there now to help edit your photos or create special effects, especially if you use the camera you keep in your back pocket. But it can be confusing which ones to use, paid or free, and so the ’12 of the best apps’ feature was really interesting. I love my iPhone for taking photos, the camera on it is great and it’s fab for updating social media quickly with a quick edit in an app. I use PicTapGo and Live Collage at the moment.
I wasn’t expecting to see craft tutorials in a magazine special about photography, but I loved the craft elements of the magazine. I never would have thought to take an old camera and turn it into a lamp base, and the felt camera bag tutorial was beyond cute. I also found it inspiring to read the various interviews and snippets with people who make a career out of photography, who share prolifically on social media, or who just have excellent photography styling and see what tips they had to share.
I am not sure if you can still pick up a copy of the magazine as it was published a little while ago now, but, if you do happen to see one I would say grab it! Have you read the Mollie Makes Photography special? I’d love to hear what you thought of it, or if you have any other photography tips please do share, it’s something I am always striving to improve.
Lately there has been a resurgence in the sending of happy mail – think PostCircle, Ladywriters and other similar groups. I think it’s always handy to have a supply of blank greetings cards in your stationery supply to use for happy mail but also incase you need to send a belated birthday card, wish someone get well wishes, say thank you or just a note to say hello. Enter Cuppa Cards.
Cuppa Cards are a card I designed a few years ago now to send a friend a cup of tea just to say hello as I missed catching up with her, you know how life gets, and I thought they would be a great addition to the online shop.
A6 in size they are great to send a note and all designs are blank on the inside making them suitable for any occasion you need. The teacup is hand coloured to compliment the background paper and include either an individually wrapped teabag or two coffee sachets.
The tea Cuppa Cards have a little greeting – “Have a cup of tea while you think of me, I will have one too while I think of you” and the coffee Cuppa Cards say “A little something I can share to let you know I really care”
Cuppa Cards are in stock now and cost £3 each – why not get one and send a friend a cup of tea! You can see the full range in the Cuppa Card category online.
Fathers Day is fast approaching and so if you haven’t already, it’s time to think about a gift and a card for your Dad. I thought it would be fun to share a few gift ideas that I have found for your Dad or the Father figure in your life.
If your Dad is the DIY kind then how lovely is this Personalised screwdriver set from Auntiemims on Etsy.
How adorable Personalised Cufflink Dish from DianaParkhouse on Etsy
I love the quirkyness of the parenting T-shirts from Parent Apparel
Perfect gift for a biscuit lover Dad – Biscuit cushions from Nikki McWilliams
And don’t forget about a Father’s Day card either. A handmade card is a personal touch for your Dad, I have card designs for gardeners, car enthusiasts, a good fry up and more. Take a look in the Fathers Day Card category in the online shop.
If you get really short of time, or you have children and need ideas for something for them to give their Dad, why not get crafting? This Fathers Day board on Pinterest has lots of ideas to try out too, take a look.
Monthly subscription boxes are really popular at the moment, you can get stationery boxes, lucky dip boxes, craft boxes – so much choice. When Sarah from Pocket and Pin launched the monthly Habdash box I knew that it was the box for me.
Each month a lovely little box arrives on your doorstep filled with crafty goodness, there are no instructions or ideas of what to make so you can use your own imagination, or if you’re like me, spend ages just looking at the pretty felt bundle!
The boxes are themed each month and contents do vary slightly from month to month but on a general basis you will receive a bundle of six felt pieces all in complimentary colours, buttons, a wooden bobbin wound with embroidery thread, ribbon and a fat quarter. The contents are wrapped in tissue and the box is tied with twine which I reuse for packing up my orders.
There are a few options for purchasing boxes, you can give a one of box a try for £15 including postage (international is £21), or you can buy a three, six or twelve month subscriptions which include a bit of a discount. If you have a crafty friend then you can buy a gift subscription too.
All the pictures so far have been from the April box, but here are some more from previous themed months, just indulge me at sharing pretty felt and fabric!
What I love about the Habdash box is that it includes felt, buttons and fabric. Enough said? But aside from that, you are completely left to make up whatever you like with the contents, be it patchwork with the fabric, embroidery, or fun animals with the felt. You can search the #habdash hashtag on Instagram for seeing what other people make with their goodies. If you love sewing and felt or fabric crafts then why not give it a try, I’d love to see what you make.
**I was not asked or paid for this review, I did win a three month subscription but have purchased other boxes**
May seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye. Paul and I have recently been on holiday to France and I always find when there is a holiday in a month the time goes so fast as in the run up to the holiday you are all focused on that and what you need to pack, or get done before you can relax.
The month started with the Spring Gift and Craft Fair at Burgess Hall in St Ives, it was a busy fair and I am looking forward to the Christmas one – November 27th!
Before the holiday I filled up two categories in the online card shop – Fathers Day cards and the ever-popular Cuppa Cards – send a handmade card to a loved one and they will remember it, it shows care and attention and may just include a cuppa tea!
If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I am working on my 115 pillowcase dress challenge – sewing up one pillowcase dress for every person invited to our wedding and donating them to Dress A Girl Around the World. I made up five more dresses in May, but then my beloved Janome decided to throw a hissy fit and so it now needs repairing.
I treat myself to a beautiful new camera too, I have been pining over the Olympus PEN E-PL7 for quite a while but there has been a stock shortage in the UK recently. I managed to locate one in white and snapped it up. Isn’t it pretty!
It was lovely to have a super sunny weekend to get outside and tackle some of the garden. We have a *big* garden, its 50ft x 100ft just from the back of the house. Im definitely what you would call a beginner gardener and I do find it most overwhelming at times, but with the sun shining, it was great to get out there for a few hours weeding and cutting things back before our first BBQ of the year.
It was so good to get away to France, we were both starting to feel really burnt out in the run up to our trip what with working, house renovations and various life things! In France we stayed at Les Alicourts, close to Pierrefitte-sur-Sauldre, we didn’t do too much to be honest, lots of walks around the lake, visited Chateau Chambord and the Zoo du Beauval. Lots of magazines were read, blogs planned and quite a few West Wing episodes watched (how am I only now just watching West Wing!)
How was your May? I hope like me you are looking forward to the summer months ahead.
It’s really important in papercrafting, in particular card making, to get clean crisp folds in your card, it makes your projects look more professional and finished. If you’re making your own card blanks you need to score card well before folding it so the cards stand well.
There are a couple of ways to best score card and create really crisp folds but no matter which method you choose, use a bonefolder and hold it at a shallow angle to achieve a crisp fold and press firmly, scoring against the grain.
The simplest method for scoring is to use a craft mat and a ruler. Hold the ruler firmly with one hand and run the bone folder along the edge firmly with the other hand.
The best tip I can give for getting really good scores and folds however is to invest in a scoring board which has pre-measured lines to score accurately. My go to board is the Ultimate Pro from Crafters Companion. The score board has lines in inches on one side and centimetres on the other side and when you’re not using the score board it stores neatly away in the Ultimate Pro.
The reason I prefer to use a scoring board such as the Ultimate Pro is because the scoring tool that it comes with stays perfectly within the grooves giving a perfect score whereas a bone folder and a ruler has a higher risk of slipping and creating a wonky score, I also like the time saving element that the measurements have already been worked out!
If you’re a beginner and just learning about cardmaking and papercraft I hope this has been useful to show you what I think is the best way for scoring and folding card for cardmaking and how to get a perfect fold every time.
Like many crafters I like to treat myself and buy craft magazines. Over the past few years I have tried lots of different titles, some only purchased once or others I’ve had subscriptions too. I thought it might be interesting to review the odd craft magazine and today it’s the turn of Cardmaking and Papercraft Magazine (Issue 156, May 2016).
What I particularly liked about Cardmaking and Papercraft is that it’s not just for a cardmaker, there are lots of different papercraft projects for different skill levels and all of the projects have clear step-by-step instructions with pictures. This quilling project is just beautiful and could be made into a picture frame to hang on the wall.
For cardmakers there are more complicated projects such as these layered cascade cards that look amazing. I have never tried to create anything like this but will certainly be having a go. Then there is a section on quick makes that are more simplistic and ideal for a beginner papercrafter.
I also found it great that there was a masterclass section with a “celebrity” crafter, Barbara Gray, who creates the most beautiful pieces of artwork with stamps and inks, this project uses Groovi Plates, a product that is totally new to me but seems to create the effect of pergamano.
In many craft magazines there is always the usual Q&A pages and Cardmaking and Papercraft is no different, I always find these sections really interesting as people might ask a question that you’ve been wondering about, or something you’ve never thought about but can now understand.
And then there were the free gifts…..
Most card making magazines always include free papers which are attached into the magazine. The ones this month are very pretty in pastel colours. My only negative, and this is with most free papers in any magazine, is they are so thin it can be hard to do much with them, and to get more included they are always printed double sided which can be a real shame. The main free gift with Cardmaking and Papercraft this month were the Stained Glass Collection of stamps by Kate Knight, these are really very pretty and there are ideas for inspiration in the magazine. I purchased this copy from Tesco and there was a bumper free gift – the Colour Therapy Colouring Stack and stamps. Colouring is a huge craze right now but not something I’ve really had a go at so it was nice to have a bonus gift. That is one tip I will give, sometimes its good to check out the supermarkets for craft magazines as often they get to include extra gifts.
Overall I would say I like Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine, it’s not necessarily something I would purchase every month, but I never stick to one magazine too long anyway. The projects, inspiration and ideas included are great for beginners but also established crafters and its always nice to get a free gift. Have you read this magazine title? I’d love to hear what you think about it, let me know….
Yes I know, it’s already ten days into May and I am only just updating on how April was. But, the latter part of April has been super busy so bear with me! I thought I would spend a little time today sharing how April was so here is my latest ‘Life Lately’ post.
Yes I had to start the month with delicious cake! I took Mum away for a weekend to Norfolk to have a bit of a break and do some crafting, it was so nice to have a weekend away. On our return we popped into Harriets in Bury St Edmunds for lunch and delicious cheesecake treats. I highly recommend.
April saw a lot of creating and crafting in preparation for a craft fair in May. My Cuppa Cards are always really popular and I needed to get a lot made. I love making these cards and colouring in is always relaxing! I have also been adding to my stock of handmade greetings cards to stock up a shop I supply with handmade cards.
I have added to my washi tape collection with these gorgeous rolls from Mrs Brimbles. I love the pink chevron pattern but just look at that glitter!
I’ve added to my collection of Distress Inks by Tim Holtz for Ranger. These are the ink pads I turn to for a lot of stamping and also colouring in images with a water brush. See how I created a Distress Inks colour chart in this blog post.
I travelled all the way to Birmingham to meet the lovely Allison Sadler for a business mentoring session. I have followed Allison on Instagram for a while now and it was lovely to have the chance to meet her (and MrC!) at People shop and spend a good session talking all things creative business and look at how pretty her studio space is!
Following the session with Allison, one of the first things I did was order a new stamp from The English Stamp Company. I have always stamped the reverse of my cards with a branded stamp but it never truly matched my business branding. I have been recommended The English Stamp Company and was so impressed with the turn around time and accuracy of the design I created.
How was April for you? Did you treat yourself to any lovely new craft products or did you get to create something lovely? I’d love to hear about it.
If like me you love stationery and using a planner then you have probably heard of Erin Condren, I wrote my first blog on discovering the brand back in February (Discovering Erin Condren). I was really impressed with the quality of the stationery products and so was easily tempted to make a further purchase this month.
Erin Condren recently had a “For Crafters” bundle and it included a fab bunch of products, this bundle is no longer available but individual products are. The bundle arrived all contained within the designer vinyl clutch which is made of sturdy clear vinyl, I plan on using the clutch to store all of my planning stickers in for my Sunday evening planning sessions.
I love stickers and was excited to see that the bundle included two separate packs of the designer sticker sheets booklets. The booklets included were Gemstone (above) and Nature. The sticker sheets can be used in so many ways, they are 6.35″ x 5.25″ in size and full sheets than can be cut or punched out however you like. I think they would be great cut in strips and used as borders or dividers on planner pages. There are two sheets of each design so plenty to use. How beautiful are the succulent pages from the nature book?
Alongside some sticky dots the craft bundle included two gorgeous rolls of washi tape. The designs are the classic Erin Condren design of braided hues along with metallic asterisks. I can’t wait to use them in my planner.
As well as treating myself to the bundle, I also picked out a dashboard to use in my notebook I previously bought. The dashboard is clip in which is great so I can move it as needed, I picked the productivity dashboard to use for a to do list. I just need to pick up a fine dry wipe pen to use with it.
Finally I added the chalkboard compliment cards to my basket which I thought would be great to pin on my pin board in the craft room or by my desk space but also to pop in envelopes with my happymail and Postcircle.
I’ve been really impressed by the quality of the products I’ve purchased from Erin Condren, postage from the USA is pretty quick and everything is packaged really well. I am already making a mental wishlist for my next purchase. If you would like to try Erin Condren for yourself this link will take $10 off of your first order – discount code is emailed to you.
$10 off your first order with Erin Condren
*I purchased all products reviewed in this blog post, none were given as gifts. Link to $10 off Erin Condren is an affiliate link*