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These are uncertain and difficult times, which is why it’s more important than ever to spread joy and lift spirits where we can. It’s been wonderful, and so heartening, to see how people are turning to art for comfort and to send love and support to others.

Recently, it was reported that families have been painting rainbows to put in their windows, to cheer up their neighbours.

If you’ve been doing this, or anything similar, we would love to see your efforts – post your pictures on social media and tag us: @thecraftshows on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

With schools being closed, it can be a challenge to think of ways to keep the kids entertained and happy. We are going to be curating some ideas for craft projects that can help to keep boredom at bay for little ones. 

At ICHF Events, we’ve been thinking a lot about the importance of community, and how we can use this time to connect with people in new and creative ways. We’ve started the hashtag #CoCrafters, for anyone to add to their tweets should they wish to connect with other craft lovers. We’re on Twitter throughout the day, asking to see your latest craft projects and just generally checking in.

Last night, Helen from Mindful Crafts did a very special Facebook Live takeover (go back and watch here), where she taught us how to crochet a beautiful rose. We plan to keep hosting these weekly demos on Tuesday evenings at 7pm. It’s a great way to learn a new skill, while connecting with others.

We’ve also created a Facebook group, where we will be encouraging the sharing of interesting crafty content. You can join here!  

The group is in its early days but will be a great place to meet and chat to fellow crafters and get inspiration for new projects.

We are passionate about getting the nation crafting and, in times like these, having a creative hobby that promotes mindfulness and stress relief is so valuable.

If you have any suggestions for how we can best serve you, the crafting community, we would love to hear them. Perhaps you have a burning craft question or need help with a project. Get in touch with us on social media, or in the group – just think of us as your craft agony aunt!

Stay well and keep crafting. We’re all in this together.

Julie from Sum of their Stories has very kindly hopped on the blog this week, to show us how to make these fun, lightweight tassel earrings by upcycling scraps of denim.

To make your own Blue Jeans Tassel Earrings you will need:

  • 2 pieces of dark blue denim 4″ x 3″ (10cm x 7.5cm)
  • 2 pieces of light blue denim ¾” x 3” (2cm x 7.5cm)
  • 2 earring wires
  • Sewing thread and a sharp needle

You need to cut the pieces of dark denim so the white threads are going horizontal and the blue threads are vertical. You are going to pull the white threads out to leave a blue tassel.

Using a needle, fray the dark denim pieces by removing the horizontal white thread, its easiest to remove just a few threads at a time. This is easy to do but quite time consuming. I recommend doing this on a tray on your lap as you watch tv!

Stop when you have approx. 1” (2.5cm) of fabric remaining.

Using doubled up sewing thread sew an earring wire to the top corner of your frayed denim piece.

Roll the fabric as tightly as you can and then stitch it to secure the tassel.

Take a small piece of light denim and wrap it around the top of the tassel and then secure with a few more stitches.

That’s it, your Blue Jean Tassel Earrings are finished.

They are super light for their size and perfect for summer.

This is the second time that I’ve made tassel earring using scraps of denim, you can find the other version on my blog.

Hi, I’m Julie from Sum of their Stories and I’m so happy to be here today to show you how easy and fun it is to make mini notebooks. They are great for popping in your pocket or handbag for jotting down ideas, they’d make fun stocking fillers or would be fun to pop into party bags. They would be a fun craft activity for a children’s party and young teens could make these easily for all their friends.

For these little books I used scrap book paper from one of those stacks of co-ordinating colours and patterns. The paper is actually more like a light card which makes it perfect for making notebooks.

If you use A4 printer paper to make the pages as I have then your mini notebook will end up 7.5cm x 11cm.

What you need:
• Scrapbook paper
• A4 Printer paper
• Embroidery thread
• Beads
• A guillotine
• A ruler
• A sharp needle with a large eye
• A lump of Blu Tack
• Clothes pegs

 

First make a stack of pages. Take 2 sheets of printer paper, lay them on the table landscape and fold in half. Just press the halfway point at the top with your finger to mark it. Cut in half using the guillotine, use the little pressed fold mark to find the centre. Stack up the pieces and repeat. You’ll have 8 pieces of paper, all ¼ A4.

 

 

 

 

 

Fold these sheets in half. The edge will be a bit uneven, just straighten that up on the guillotine.

Cut a piece of scrapbook paper just a fraction bigger than your stack of pages then fold it in half.

Place the stack of pages inside the cover, lining up the centre fold and then hold it in place with clothes pegs.

Place the ruler along the fold line and using the needle mark little holes at 1cm, 4cm, 7cm and 10cm.

Place the lump of Blu Tack under the papers and poke the needle right through where you’ve marked, making sure it goes right into the Blu Tack. The Blu Tack will stop the card and paper from creasing. It’s a trick I use a lot when papercrafting, you can see more about it here.

Take a 50cm length of embroidery thread and sew the book pages together in the order shown in the photographs. Start at the top, going in from the outside and leaving a long tail end. Once you have stitched the spine you can remove the pegs.

Tie the ends together right up against the top hole, thread 2 or 3 beads onto both threads and then tie a double knot to secure them. Trim the ends and using the needle comb out the embroidery thread strands to make a bit of a tassel.

That’s it, your mini notebook is finished. It’s a lot easier to make these than it sounds. Once you have made one you’ll want to make lots more.

The countdown to Christmas is well underway so why not get creative and glam up your presents this year? Follow Craft Invader’s simple steps below to create the most fabulous recycled gift bow.

  1. Save colourful paper offcuts and magazines to recycle into colourful gift bows.
  2. Cut the paper you have selected into strips 2cms wide.
  3. For each gift bow you will need 3 strips of paper at their full length to make the outer rosette. 2 or 3 more pieces 2cm shorter than the first for the inner rosette, plus a short length for the centre.
  4. Staple each strip into a loop, then glue the loops together to make a rosette.
  5. Finally, roll a tube of paper and stick it in the middle of the bow to finish, and that’s it!

Recycled Gift Bow

 

Where does your love of creating come from?

I think it certainly comes from my family. My father was a painter and worked with wood, my mother was a dressmaker, embroiderer and exceptional knitter, in her spare time. I have pieces made by my grandfather too, who was also a talented woodworker, and an amazing model ship made by a great grandfather. So I was lucky to grow up in a creative atmosphere where drawing, painting and making things was quite the norm, and happened every day. However I can’t knit and have no talent for accurate woodwork!

 

You were a ceramicist for 20 years – how and why did you move to mixed media and textiles?

I went to art college to do my Foundation course when I was 24, after a few ‘proper’ jobs, none of which I liked in any way! I had intended to do a degree in textiles, but became involved in ceramics instead. I made ceramics at home and from a studio in a busy craft centre for 20 years, and have taught ceramics for longer, but through those years I still loved textiles and made as many stitched pieces as I could. I was a member of the Embroiderers’ Guild and an avid reader of textile magazines and books.

When I left the craft centre studio to work from home again I decided to take a break for a week or two, as the years at the craft centre had been fairly intense. During that time I started to stitch appliqued pictures and that was that; I didn’t go back to producing ceramics professionally, but switched my practice to textiles. I didn’t make a definite decision, it just happened. I still can’t explain it to myself or anyone else, I imagine the time was just right, but it was the start of one of the best periods in my life. That was in 2003.

 

If you had to make do with just 5 crafting materials what would you choose?

Calico, acrylic paints, acrylic inks, threads and beads.

 

What are your influences?

My influences are landscape, museums, particularly natural history collections, observation of the natural world, science, architecture, interior design, painting and ancient and contemporary artefacts.

 

What makers inspire you?

Four favourite inspirational potters are Lucie Rie, Elizabeth Fritsch, Ron Nagle and Fiona Salazar.

Some of the textile artists I admire are Eleri Mills, Marta Rogoyska, Michael Brennand-Wood, Matthew Harris, Karen Nicol and Inge Hueber.

I’m inspired too by painters; particularly Peter Doig, Ivon Hitchens, Patrick Heron, Eric Ravilious, John Piper, and David Hockney. I saw the Robert Rauschenberg exhibition at Tate Modern recently and that has been wonderfully inspiring.

 

 

 

   

Give a lacklustre table a new lease of life using decoupage. This technique requires minimum supplies and spend yet affords beautiful results – prepare to get addicted! You can decoupage any wooden item, so feel free to apply this tutorial to that tired looking standard lamp or junk shop jewellery box find.

You will need:

Old rags (for cleaning)

Fine sandpaper (only needed if your table/item isn’t smooth)

Decoupage papers – ours were from www.decopatchme.co.uk

Scissors

Decoupage glue varnish – our was from www.decopatchme.co.uk

Decoupage brush (a clean paintbrush works too)

 

 

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If you love to cook and bake with the kids why not make them an apron of their own? A cheap and easy project that you’ll complete in less than half an hour…

You will nee

A tea towel (cotton or linen is best)

2 meters of  ribbon

Needle and thread / Sewing machine

Sewing pins

Scissors

Tape measure

Iron & Ironing board

 

Instructions

1) Cut off any labels from the tea towel and iron. Fold the tea towel in half, length ways and so the inside is facing out. Fold to make a crease.

 

2) Measure 4 inches from the top of both tea towel edges. Fold the edge over from the half way crease and iron the crease in on both sides.

 

3) Trim the excess fabric, leaving a seam allowance of 1/2 inch and pin.

 

4) Cut two pieces of ribbon measuring 21 inches and one measuring 24 inches.

 

5) Insert your two longer pieces of ribbon into the seams at the bottom of your fold. Pin and then sew the seam, incorporating the ribbon.

 

6) Pin the remaining piece of ribbon at the neck of the apron, leaving two inches of ribbon running down the far sides for strength. Sew into place.

 

Now you’re ready to gift the apron and show your apprentice a thing or two in the kitchen!

 

We asked Terri Highnett – part of the Creative Craft team at ICHF for her top tips!

 

Hi Terri! How would you recommend someone should be ready to visit a craft show?

Preparation is key!  You need to make sure you plan your day – so you don’t miss any demos, workshops or speakers. It’s really easy to get lost in the aisles and spend hours looking over new tools  or kits – so get a Show Guide when you arrive or see if you can access information online before you get there and make a plan of attack for your day!

Also make sure you can carry everything you buy – see if your craft show has a shop and drop area or purchase a shopper or very large bag before you arrive. It’s also a great tip to make sure you have cash with you – as some smaller stands may not be able to take cards!

 

How should they navigate their way around?

Save your biggest or heaviest purchases to last if you can – so you aren’t carrying them around all day. Take time so have a look at the layout of the event and perhaps do a quick sweep first and not down any stand numbers that catch your eye – then you can work your way back round. Remember craft shows often offer lots more than just shopping, so check the maps and see where display and workshop areas are to make sure you don’t miss out.

 

Is there help available for people should they need help finding a particular stand?

Absolutely! Show Guides will contain maps or you can ask show organisers or venue staff – they will always be happy to help! ICHF shows always have an Organiser’s Office you can check in with if you have any problems – from lost property to transport queries.

 

What are your key tips for making the most of a craft show?

  1. Be open to anything! You may discover a brand new hobby or obsession by trying something new.
  2. Plan your day! Craft events can be huge and you don’t want to find yourself at the wrong end of a hall 5 minutes before your next workshop starts.
  3. Bring your friends! A craft show is a great day out and it’s always good to have someone to offer advice on your next purchase.
  4. Eat a big breakfast, bring a packed lunch or be prepared for queues for food and seats at busy meal times.
  5.  Make new friends! Guilds and clubs will often be looking for new members plus you’ll be meeting like-minded people who love the same things you do!

Thanks Terri!

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