On the whole March was good. I had 2 weeks without migraine. Then 2 weeks with severe attacks. I finally tidied the studio. I got lots of work done and made tons. I had coffee dates with G. I took lots of photos. Here’s a round up of March via my Instagram feed. Oh and I just hit 3000 followers over there!
Playing with Project Life Journalling cards
Sharing What’s in my bag / Crochet projects / Business books
April is looking set to be another creative one and I’m relieved to have a week off the day job so I can see my family and start to Spring clean at home. If the weather is nice we will get out on our new roller skates I think. Wish me luck!
March has been full of nice things. G got me some lovely bright daffodils and Spring arrived. Here’s a bumper blog post of what else I’ve been enjoying throughout the month.
We usually have a coffee date at the weekends and often go to our local Starbucks. For maybe 10 years now, I have collected Starbucks mugs from around the world. I started when I left my job at the Leicester Square London store and my colleagues gave me one as a gift.
Now friends grab me one when they travel and G even got me one from Tokyo a few years back. Of course, that is the one I broke – it’s from farthest away. If you ever happen to go to Tokyo, please grab me one and I will pay you!
Anyway, despite Cambridge being a tourist city, Starbucks mugs weren’t available. Apparently there is some rule where you have to have 5 stores in a place before you qualify as ‘mugworthy’. Cambridge ignored that and FINALLY started selling mugs. I was pretty excited about this, let me tell you. I don’t even drink from mugs. I just keep them all in a cupboard as we don’t even have anywhere to display them.
But at least I have one for my home city now! Plus I’m not even the craziest person to get excited about the mug – the barista told me that one woman ordered 130!!
I promise this whole post isn’t just about mugs I never drink from…(but it’s GOT A BICYCLE ON IT).
Staying with the local theme, G and I also ventured out for brunch one weekend at a new cafe called Espresso Library. It is themed for cyclists with bike racks on the walls and lycra gear to purchase. Terribly hipster in decor, but relaxed in atmosphere.
The brunch speaks for itself. I opted for mashed avo and eggs on sourdough toast with a green juice, whilst G had a chunk of carrot cake and a latte. Obviously I couldn’t pass up a macaron staring me in the face at the counter too. Definitely going back as it was super reasonable – £4.50 for the avo toast!
I’m also loving raspberries at the moment. They are the perfect snack for when I’m working in the studio (sneaky crepe optional).
My beauty favourite of the month is Lush (surprise surprise!). What keeps me going there is the amazing service in the Cambridge store and also the seasonal products. The bunny bath bomb had popping candy in it! The Million Dollar Moisturiser was a freebie from #CambMeetUp and is a full size product. It’s a thick luscious cream which takes a while to sink into my skin, but it leaves it feeling super soft and hydrated for a couple of days afterwards.
Moving onto stationery faves – the Lucky Dip Club box is a winner again! A recent box included personalised pencils and this amazing glitter lips pin.
Each box now comes with a zine which has some great paper/wall art possibilities when folded.
I haven’t neglected pens though. As you may know, I am practising hand lettering (when I have time) and have found a couple of pens that I love! The Pentel Brush Pen is great for trying out different strokes and the Paper Mate Flair Pen is my go to for day-to-day list writing.
Last year I tried out digital magazine subscriptions to try and save some shelf space. I’ve gone back to a paper sub for Mollie Makes Magazine as I prefer it. The Comic Relief Crafternoon Magazine special was just brilliant. So many great projects.
I also came across two new magazines this month – Simply Sewing which is a sister magazine of Mollie Makes, and #Crochet which I only found out about as somebody told me I was in it! What a great surprise that was. Both are fantastic magazines and I am hoping I will soon find some time to craft for myself.
Here’s my little feature in the middle column!
I subscribed to Simply Sewing at the Knitting and Stitching Show and received this free tote. I have so many cotton tote bags, but this one is super thick. I really want to up my sewing game this year, so I hope the magazine will give me some inspiration.
So there you have it, lots of crafty favourites this month. I’m off to Espresso Library again tomorrow for a business brunch date with my friend Kate. I may have to have another macaron! Have a great weekend.
*Some pages on this site may contain links to outside sites, including paid affiliates. Read more about my disclosure policy here.
Yesterday I took the train to London to meet my sister and Mum for the 2013 London Renegade Craft Fair. This is totally my shopping highlight of the year, so we set off early knowing that Brick Lane would be busy with people visiting the food and vintage markets too.
Not only was I excited about shopping, but I was also looking forward to saying hi to some familiar faces.
Getting to meet Vicky and David in person was awesome. I’m a total Vivid Please fangirl. They had travelled down from Edinburgh for the market.
Also representing the Scottish makers was Claire from The Bellwether with her tongue in cheek cross stitch designs. So nice to meet her in person and have a natter about how busy the fair had been.
Claire kindly gave me a cross stitch pin which I’ll share in my haul post on Wednesday.
Having read their Renegade prep blog posts, I was super looking forward to seeing Rachel and Harriet from Ohnorachio and Hello Harriet. I met these guys back in March for the Cam Blog Meet and we’ve stayed in touch ever since.
Their Pinterest worthy stall was full of illustrated stationery, ceramics, pouches, wrapping paper, succulent plants and more.
Kim from Finest Imaginary was there with her laser cut jewellery, coasters and stationery range. Even her price signs were made from laser cut wood – a really nice touch.
The guys from Oh My Clumsy Heart were there with their range of delicate jewellery. Spot the cute succulents on their stylish, minimalist stall.
The Pygmy Cloud booth really caught my eye with their homewear, toys and print ranges. The toys had such cute expressions I couldn’t bear to leave this stall without a purchase.
I had a nice chat with Sam from Polka Dot Dreams who has worked with Mollie Makes on some of the kits to make her crochet jewellery and felt fox brooches. Sam’s polka dot cork board display was so sweet.
A new find for me was Oh Squirrel stationery. These fabric tags were selling like hot cakes! The rest of the range includes vintage inspired cards, hen party accessories and wedding stationery with a cheeky edge. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
Collins and Brown were there promoting Mollie Makes books and magazine subscriptions. I loved the crocheted animals they had dotted around the stall.
Louise Dawson was selling upcycled textile jewellery including these gorgeous harris tweed and knitted button bookmarks. My sister thought her creations were very “Downton Abbey”.
Zoe Jade of Ladybird Likes had a super busy stall featuring laser cut jewellery and quirky accessories. We had a chat about the fair itself and how worthwhile she thought it had been. Turns out very. Renegade London has a high footfall and is a competitive fair to be a vendor at.
Designosaur had some uber cute designs (look at that googley eyed pineapple pin!).
Laser cut acrylic jewellery was definitely popular this year and Bonnie Bling didn’t disappoint. Their designs have been worn by celebs such as Rita Ora and even Boris Johnson. Hilarious.
My sister and I spent some time chatting to Ian from Dandii Fluff who was a total sweetie. Renegade was Ian’s first fair and his unique hand printed goods were a perfect fit.
Ian said he hadn’t realised he needed to bring a table cloth, so he improvised with brown paper and wrote his prices on it – we thought it was intentional and told him it really caught out attention because it wasn’t the usual tablecloth!
I am sure we will see Ian’s designs cropping up in magazines soon – he is one talented lad.
I was wondering if I might actually be the soul mate of this squirrel from Jimbobart…..
I was pleased to see the bicycle trend well represented and these bicycle spoke bracelets didn’t disappoint. The vendors MakeShift Accessories had travelled from the US and it was their first time in London.
This fab guy sold prints and wore a Grape Soda pin badge. He happily posed for a photo and chatted about his creations.
I did have my eye on this bicycle print from his store.
Although these weren’t at Renegade, I spotted these neon brogues in a store in Spitalfields and had to take a photo. WANT!!
I left Renegade London feeling totally inspired and grateful that we have such a rich and exciting collection of makers in the UK. Absolutely everyone we spoke to was thrilled to be a vendor (despite exhaustion!) and gave their all to each and every customer.
Brick Lane is the perfect location and the craft fair is free, so we were able to nip out for lunch in a cafe recommended by the door man. Who by the way was awesome and so cheery all day. We nabbed him a lolly from one of the stalls and he was so chuffed he gave us all a hug.
The only criticism I would have, is that there were tons of stalls selling acrylic laser cut jewellery – it would have been nice to see more of a variety, although there were some beautiful silver jewellers too. I guess it depends what you are into. Tatty Devine fans would have been in their element.
I got some Christmas presents and a few bits and bobs for myself (mostly brooch pins!) which I will share on Wednesday in a Renegade London haul. Some items I wont be able to share as they are Christmas presents for people who read this blog!
The day was pretty tiring as travelling often triggers migraine attacks for me, but I’m glad I pushed through and if I have to feel awful for the rest of the week, it was totally worth it!
It’s been a great couple of months for press for Claireabellemakes. I’m so grateful to all the publications that get in touch – it’s still so exciting to see my work in print!
This month I was featured in Handmade Magazine which is one of Australia’s most popular craft titles. Yay! Oh and my face was on the front cover eek!
It wasn’t until I received my copy last week that I realised I had a two page spread all about Claireabellemakes. The team at Handmade were so lovely and asked me lots about my inspirations and creative journey.
One of the pictures they used in the feature is a little hint about an upcoming blog post….let’s just say Cambridge is in bloom!
Thanks for letting me share today! I also wanted to update with you guys on new products. Despite my intention to release something every month this year, May has been crazy busy with a lot of behind the scenes freelance work and it hasn’t quite happened. BUUUUT, I have restocked some wall art pieces and June has some exciting new releases to come. Watch this space!
I’ts been a little while since I did a craft book review, but I’m particularly excited about today’s one! Furniture Hacks is a new title by Hester Van Overbeek from Hester’s Handmade Home.
Full of upcycled home ideas and clever furniture hacks, Hester brings a range of crafts to customise your home. It’s a great book if you have very little or tons of DIY experience as the projects are really varied.
I met Hester at Blogtacular this year where we chatted about the excitement for her first book. I loved Hester’s business cards – totally nailed my dilema of what to call oneself. Why not everything?!!
The book is split into sections to show DIYs for each area of your home. The styling of each project is spot on with some gorgeous shots of Hester’s nautical style beach home.
There are no end of clever ideas for creating upcycled pieces that are functional too. This kitchen island is genuis! Each tutorial is laid out really clearly with a step by step guide with reference to the tools and techniques used (there’s a comprehensive guide at the back of the book).
Crafters who are less confident with power tools, can try simpler projects such as the geometric chest of drawers decorated with washi tape.
One of my favourite projects from the book is this Expedit style shelving for the living room. Eat your heart out IKEA!
There are pillow cover DIYs, patchwork rugs and side tables made from magazine stacks.
Hester’s cute dog Kermit has his moment on the cover too. Adorable!
I am so pleased that craft books are still thriving in this digital age of blogs and Pinterest! As much as I love being online, I also love looking through craft and cook books for inspiration.
I’m really proud of Hester and can’t wait to see what everyone else thinks of the book! Join the bloggers listed below for the rest of the book tour.
My verdict: a great book for renters and homeowners who love to get stuck in with craft and DIY projects. Be prepared to learn how to make something from scratch and to find creations that require you to learn a new skill or two. A perfect book for getting off Pinterest and staying inspired.
You can also find an interview I did with Hester back in 2014 for my Creative Inspiration series here. I’d love to know what you think it you have purchased the book! You can also see my vlog from the book launch party below where we tried out the clock making project.
*Some pages on this site may contain links to outside sites, including paid affiliates. Read more about my disclosure policy here.