Claireabellemakes on Etsy

The time has come! My Etsy shop is finally open. Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram will have seen a couple of sneak peeks over the last week or so, but now it is time to finally reveal claireabellemakes on Etsy!

claireabellemakes on Etsy

All my products are hand crafted and combine my love of jewellery, accessories, fabric, shabby chic, kitsch and vintage. I’m so excited to share my first product lines with you and would welcome feedback, good or bad! Here goes…..

Fabric covered button rings feature in all different patterns & colours.

Blue Floral Ring by claireabellemakes

A selection of vintage button rings and hair slides, I love these big shiny brown buttons!

Brown Vintage Button Ring by claireabellemakes

The shop also features Personalised wooden Scrabble tile rings. There were quite a few pre-orders of these so I think they will be popular. Thank you to Eve and Suzie who were my first orders! I wear C of course, which is worth 3 points 😉

Scrabble Ring by claireabellemakes

Cabachon flower hairslide sets and rings, simple and pretty.

Flower Hairslides by claireabellemakes

A selection of fabric covered button hair slides – I never have a bag without hair slides in!

claireabellemakes on Etsy

Future lines will include coin purses and BOWS! I absolutely love bows, so will be working on some product lines in the near future for claireabellemakes.

My Etsy shop button will now be a permanent feature in the right hand column. The blog will occasionally introduce new lines, but will not be a forum for sales.

Please get in touch if you’d like a custom product or have feedback! I hope you have enjoyed this little introduction and will pay my shop a visit. It’s been hard work, but so worthwhile for those moments when other people value something you have made.

I now declare claireabellemakes open! *ribbon cut*

claireabelle x

Adventures in Crochet

I never really understood when people said they were ‘addicted’ to crochet. I’ve knitted for a while now, but haven’t really progressed further than basic patterns. After a lengthy knitted bear project and a couple of cushions, I felt as though I wanted a break from knitting to explore different crafts. DPNs and knitting in the round could wait, but yarn couldn’t – so I discovered crochet.

Ever since my first crochet class, I haven’t been able to go a day without picking up a hook and practising stitches or creating a granny square. I get it now.

It’s official. I’ve well and truly caught the crochet bug.

There’s something so satisfying about how crochet grows. In my mind, it makes more sense than knitting and is way more flexible and forgiving. Of course I am still a beginner and have plenty more to learn. Even if you are not handy with a hook, I hope you will enjoy my recent creations and finds below.

Granny Squares by claireabellemakes

I have been working on these blue coloured granny squares for a small lap blanket for my sewing room. I love being able to make a quick granny square each day and this has totally broken my ‘don’t have an ongoing project/WIP’ habit. I’m sure I will share it once complete. The yarn is Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino, lovely and silky and fabulous to work with.

This crochet basket certainly has its imperfections, but was a really fun project – my first with t-shirt yarn. I’m not sure what to keep in it yet.

Crochet Basket in progress

Crochet Basket by claireabellemakes

I discovered Hooplayarn last year and fell in love with it, as it fully embraces the upcycling trend. Hooplayarn is a selvedge from the textile industry and is made from offcuts of clothing. Usually 100% cotton or a cotton/stretch mix, it is really versatile and can be worked into some fantastic projects. Check out this pinterest board of free patterns.

There are many free patterns on this great Dutch crochet blog (posts in English too!) and the writer is more than happy to be contacted with any pattern/general crochet queries. She hosts a great link up party once a week too – great for inspiration!

This week I also discovered another crochet blog, Fiddly Fingers. Alison explores ‘extreme crochet’ and made this amazing crochet cat named Chester! Do pop over and check out the blog post, it’s really fun. Just click on Chester below.

Finished Chester

It was thanks to Rachael from Sew Ray Me that I discovered Chester above. Rachael is super lovely & a hugely talented crafter. When I spotted her crochet hook rolls on twitter this week, I knew I had to treat myself to one.

Crochet Hook Roll

Rachael’s service is fantastic, with customers voting on her selected fabric choices via Instagram pictures. It was great fun and many people chimed in and helped out with my choice above. To be honest, it was a pretty difficult decision as she has such a good eye for fabric combos and her stash is amazing! It is beautifully stitched and organises my hooks perfectly. An utter bargain at £10 including P&P, thanks Rachael.

Do you enjoy crochet?

claireabelle x

Sew Chatty

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