Homecrafts Competition

My recent I Love Post blog post featured a top secret box of yarn which I was kindly sent to me by the craft supplies company Homecrafts Direct. I promised I’d reveal all and show you my makes, so here goes!

Homecrafts Yarn on claireabellemakes

I am one of 10 bloggers who have been sent a stash to make anything we like as part of a Homecrafts competition. I didn’t realise how competitive I was until I started….

My self selected theme for the competition was yarn covered. I started with this Sari yarn as it was so interesting and the texture like nothing I had ever used before.

Sari Yarn on claireabellemakes

I wound the yarn around an old bangle and watched the sari colours change as I wrapped. I love how it turned out and it was a great upcycle to a boring bangle I didn’t really wear.Wrapped Bangle by claireabellemakes

I confess to having a jar collecting obsession for no apparent reason, so my next item to upcycle was a jam jar. The cream coloured yarn was more like twine, so I tightly wrapped around the jar and glued the end in place. My trusty glue gun helped fix the button and lace ribbon decorations. A really simple project!

Yarn Wrapped Jar by claireabellemakes

The last two items I covered were with DK yarn in dark colours, so I decided to crochet. This mug warmer (quite wintery in both purpose and colour!) was made with a simple strip of double crochet.

Mug warmer by claireabellemakes

The final item I covered was a coat hanger. I love these, as padded coat hangers that are shop bought can often be expensive. For a very padded effect, I crocheted this with two strands making a thin strip of treble crochet for the length of the hanger. I slipped it over the hook and then double crocheted to join at the bottom.

Crochet Coat Hanger by claireabellemakes

Receiving a box of supplies as part of the competition really ignited my creativity. I can’t wait to see what everyone else makes!

What do you think of my yarn covered creations? I really enjoyed making them!

claireabelle x

I Love Post

Postcard blanks - set of 50 - 4x6 soft white

 

These past two weeks have been epic for post. It’s no secret that I love receiving a parcel or letter and I’ve recently learnt that I’m not alone in this love of post. I’m not quite sure why, but ever since I received my Canadian penpal in Brownies 22 years ago, it’s become a bit of an obsession. I’ve even gone so far as to change all my bills to e-billing, so I only ever receive awesome post. My penpal and I still write to this day (and skype too!) and she is now my oldest friend. I was even maid of honour at her wedding 🙂 It’s amazing what a 7 year old’s letter and some coins from your home country taped to a card can lead to.

Anyway, I digress. The whole point of this post is to share with you my great week of post. I appreciate this might not be as exciting for some of you, but stick with me if you’re a craft fan or just nosey!

This stationery set comes from one of my favourite stationery sellers Fawn & Flora (why are all the best things Canadian?!). It’s perfect for me as it has both sewing machines & bicycles on. Of course I had to order washi tapes too.

Fawn & Flora Stationery

Next came Everything Oz. I can’t tell you how much I love this whimsical craft/baking book. I may have to do a separate post on it. Thanks to Alison from Art of Crafts for selecting me in the giveaway! I never win anything (unsuccessful at every bingo game I’ve ever played) so this was an amazing post item.

Everything Oz

Then mid-week my postman obeyed my secret-hiding-place-for-parcels note and I excitedly opened my Crafty Creatives Box 1! I blogged about it here – it was a fantastic surprise box of crafty delights.

Crafty Creatives Box 1

Some of you will know I am preparing for the opening of my Etsy shop and boy have I had fun exploring packaging options! These two stamps from Norajane on Etsy are going to feature I’m sure. Thanks to Suki from The Owl Club for recommending them!

Bicycle & Button Stamps

Later in the week I won another giveaway (yay) for this great card from Leanne at Ello Designs. I was already a regular customer, so was dead chuffed to receive it. I know exactly who I am going to send it to.

Ello Design Card

Then, this big stash of yarn was left in my secret-parcel-hiding-place, but I can’t tell you what it is for just yet. Let’s just say it’s for a fun project featuring 10 other bloggers and I’m working on it this weekend. More to follow!!

Home Crafts Yarn

After a crappy day on Friday, I came home to a marvellous package from fellow blogger Caroline. I’d recently sent her a test of my Etsy products and some crafty treats and she kindly returned the favour with this fab collection of fabric squares, ribbon, soap and beads. How cute is the card? Thanks Caroline!

Please do have a look at Caroline’s blog here. She has some fab DIY projects and fashion posts and was recently the guest blogger for Look Magazine.

Burkatron Gifts

I also received supplies for my Etsy shop items (eee!) and a mint green H&M skirt which I ordered ages ago and completed forgot about. The sun has finally arrived here in Cambridge, so I may twirl about in it this weekend if my milk bottle legs are up to it.

I Love Post.

What have you received in the post lately? Do share!

claireabelle x

Craft Wars – UK vs USA

In my opinion, the UK has a serious lack of craft television shows. Apart from the jewellery making channel which shows repeats of beading techniques and kits to buy, there is not much else out there. And I’m a telly addict, so I know these things.

Since starting this blogging journey, I’ve investigated the differences and similarities between the US and UK craft worlds. I’ve received fantastic support from both my home and overseas readers.

My research led me to discover the most enthusiastic craft reality show which recently started on American TV network TLC.  Craft Wars is hosted by Tori Spelling (she’s no Martha), and sees contestants battle it out in teams to create popular craft items in one hour. Dramatic! Watch below and then join me again afterwards for my thoughts.

Contestants use surprise materials from ‘Michael’s Craft Closet’ – which looks like a crafter’s dream. A panel of judges will assess their efforts and eliminate the worst contestant. The final two will compete in ‘The Master Craft’ creating a playhouse out of school supplies for a prize of $10,000.

The contestants are what you would expect for reality TV – over the top craft obsessives. There is a heavy emphasis on DIY and building and no project is complete without some shouting and a glue gun. (I’m not complaining, I’m a craft glue addict). I only wish I had TLC so I didn’t have to rely on summary clips online each week.

The reviews for this show have been highly amusing (just Google Craft Wars and you will see the divided view of Americans) and I noticed that (my favourite website) Craft Fail have picked up on the episodes. Here’s a link to the thoughts of one viewer:

http://jenstrendspot.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/craft-wars-review.html

Then we turn to the UK and the most recent of craft TV shows, Kirstie’s Handmade Britain. A quintessentially English presenter, exploring new crafts, embracing UK makers and entering country shows.

There are no glue guns held like a weapon and shouts of ‘GLITTER EMERGENCY!!’ here. Nice, calm, English crafting and machine embroidery lessons…..couldn’t be more of a contrast!

I can’t help but love both. We all love Kirstie. Her posh, approachable persona allowed us to enjoy her craft journey and perhaps inspired us to try new crafts along the wayIt was screened at a moment when the general public also cottoned on to the fact that craft is actually awesome. Good timing.

Some of my my UK readers may know that the BBC were scouting the crafting world for contestants for a new show called Paul Martin’s Handmade Revolution. I can’t imagine the competition including British people shouting for pipe cleaners or being quite as theatrical as the US competitor. We will do it in our very British manner a la Great British Bake Off.

I’m not sure these shows represent the general craft population of each country. Perhaps they do so in the most stereotypical way possible. I’ll leave that to you to decide. All I know is that Craft Wars makes me want to do a supermarket sweep style trolley dash in Hobbycraft and cover my sewing supply boxes in glitter spray.

Now where’s my glue gun?!

Claire x

Happy International Yarn Bombing Day

I recently discovered that June 9th is International Yarn Bombing Day. The origins of yarn bombing (or knit graffiti) are often debated, but it is said to have begun in Texas, USA in 2005. Colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn are displayed in public places, often by anonymous crafters.

It got me thinking about whether I would ever have the confidence or skills to participate in a yarn bombing. What motivates people? Is it just a fun way to express creativity, or are there statements to be made? Whatever the idea behind a yarn bomb, it sure is a fun way to decorate a street or item, and it’s bound to make people stop and smile.

My yarn bombing research led me to rediscover all the recent knit graffiti I had seen online and in the national and local news.

Some of you may have seen the recent press about guerrilla knitwear artist Olek’s crocheted outfits for Anthony Gormley sculptures on Crosby Beach, Merseyside. Although the sculptures have been on the beach since 2005, Olek wanted to transform the sculptures into something new. She says “By covering them and giving them a new skin, I made them more alive”. Would this be the same for a tree? Or a railing? I know if I discovered a branch covered in a multicoloured plethora of yarn, it would certainly make me notice the tree when I would have otherwise walked on by.

Source

It’s said to be technically illegal to yarn bomb (considered a form of graffiti), but many local knitting groups are embracing the trend and I even discovered a recent yarn bomb in the nearby city of Norfolk.

The Norfolk Ninja Knitters spruced up lamposts and sculptures outside the City Hall, but sadly the council removed the yarn bombs 🙁

Source

These yarn bombs I found on Pinterest are really inspiring….

I love this London phone box, with Big Ben as the backdrop!

Source: www.knitthecity.com / Image © Knit the City

This one would really make people think twice about dodging parking fees…..

Source

I wonder how long this tree yarn bomb took?

Source

Have you spotted a great yarn bomb in your area? Have you ever yarn bombed?

Claire x

 

 

My Week In Pictures

Although I had intended to share makes and bakes this week, it has been busy, eventful and celebratory over the last few days, with not much time for creating. So I thought I’d share a snapshot of the memories I created, via Instagram.

You can follow me on Instagram here.

*Be warned: there may be many pictures of a persian cat named Tammy, who should really have her own fan club.

(1) Looking at old photos of Grandad on a recent visit (2) Peppermint Teapigs delivery

(3) New Cath Kidston bike seat cover (4) Finding a parking spot at the station bike racks!

(5) Masters Graduation! (6) Amazing Camomile Tea at Laduree

(7) & (8) Graduation Macaron treats at Laduree

(9) & (10) Lovely handmade card & crochet flowers from crafty friend

(11) & (12) Vintage button shopping

(13) Herman the German friendship cake

(14) Blossom on a rare sunny day in Cambridge

Finally, I couldn’t post without also sharing the most gorgeous box of macarons I treated myself to at Laduree. I couldn’t resist the sweet little Hello Kitty box . Needless to say, they didn’t last long!

Claire x