London Christmas Maker Markets 2018

Tis the season to buy presents – tra-la-la-la-la, la la la la. More and more each year I’ve enjoyed buying brilliantly unique Christmas presents from independent makers at a host of festive maker markets. There’s something about ‘shopping small’, and buying from real people, that puts a great big smile on my (and their) face. I’d really recommend getting yourself down to an indie maker market if you can.

Here’s my round-up of five of my favourite London maker markets that you can’t miss this winter.


Etsy Made Local Christmas Market – Saturday 1st December

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Where: London Tooting Tram & Social Pub in Tooting Broadway

Featuring over 30 talented independent designer-makers curated by the London Local Etsy Team, spend the day shopping for gorgeous handmade wares whilst sipping mulled wine and taking in the festive tunes. If London is too far for you to trek, you might find a local Etsy event closer to home as they take place across the country – check out the full list here, and you can follow this event on Facebook here.

For a flavour, check out what I’ve bought from previous Etsy Made Local markets here.


Renegade Craft Fair – Saturday 9th – Sunday 10th December

Renegade Christmas Market 2018

Where: Old Truman Brewery, near London Liverpool Street Station

Join Renegade in a festive celebration of contemporary handmade craft. Shop emerging and established makers whilst enjoying DJ mixes, food trucks and a craft cocktail. Tucked in the heart of Shoreditch in London’s Brick Lane, it’s the perfect place for London’s creative community to come together.

Find my top picks from a previous Renegade Craft Fair here.


Turning Earth Hoxton Winter Market – two winter dates

Turning Earth Winter Market 2018

Where:

  • Saturday 24th – Sunday 25th November: Turning Earth Hoxton E2
  • Saturday 8 – Sunday 9th December: Argall Avenue, Leyton, E10

This Christmas, after a year’s hiatus, Turning Earth‘s popular East London ceramics studio are once again opening their doors to the public with two Winter Market events. With a line-up of over 150 of London’s emerging ceramics artists, you should plan to come to both events if you want to see the full breadth of ceramic work on sale. Of course it wouldn’t be a Winter Market without mulled wine, minced pies, live music, coffee and street food. I first came across a Turning Earth market at MAKEMORE Festival where I was in my element perusing all of the carefully handcrafted ceramics, so I’m excited for this!


Crafty Fox Market – throughout DecemberCrafty Fox Market Christmas 2018Where:

  • Saturday 1st – Sunday 2nd December – Mercato Metropolitano, Elephant & Castle
  • Friday 7th – Sunday 9th December – Canopy Market, King’s Cross
  • Saturday 15th – Sunday 16th December – The Department Store, Brixton

Crafty Fox Market promise a bumper line-up of talented traders each day at their three festive maker markets across London. Escape the high street and enjoy perusing an array of handmade gifts while you soak up the festive vibes and get a drink from the bar. You can also take part in free drop-in crafty workshops, such as sparkly Christmas decoration making with PupTart. Shopping with soul!


Urban Makers East Christmas Market – Saturday 8th – Sunday 9th December

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Where: Ecology Pavilion, Mile End Park, E3

Overlooking the reed beds of Mile End Park, the Urban Makers East Christmas Market showcases over 50 different designer-makers each day. Shop for original, well-made handmade goods from jewellery to stationery to homeware. Urban Makers Feast will be on hand with warming dishes, artisan coffee and cakes, as well as winter cocktails. Check out Saturday’s line up & Sunday’s line up for a sneak peak.


Do you know of any markets that I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments below!

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DIY Halloween Paper Quilled Pumpkins

Over the summer I shared my first sponsored Bostik blog tutorial showing how to make a DIY Bug Hotel. Well, my next Bostik blog is a little crafty something for Autumn, featuring cute paper quilled pumpkins and Bostik Micro Dots – perfect for Halloween decorations, and suitable for beginners!

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Before this project I had never quilled before, but after finding lots of inspiration and a few tutorial videos online (showing how to create basic shapes), I decided to give it a go. I found all of the necessary supplies at Hobbycraft, and was kindly gifted my micro glue dots by Bostik.

For this DIY, you will need the following:

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Instructions:

The quilling pen / needle is a really simple tool to use. You simply put the end of your strip of quilling paper through the slot, and then, using your thumb to guide the paper, turn the pen in your other hand so that the paper rolls round the end into a tight coil. The tighter you wind, the tighter your coil will be.

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Once the paper is fully wound, carefully remove it from the end of your quilling pen and set it down on the side so that it can ‘relax and unwind’. I bought a quilling template board to help me get to grips with how to turn the coils into different shapes. If you’re aiming for uniform shapes and sizes I’d definitely recommend getting one. It can help you create circles, ovals, hearts, tear drops, squares, triangles…

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Once your circle is the size you want glue the end down to secure it. You can then begin pinching and coercing it into the shape you want. I went for simple oval orange pumpkins, and then made some vines using shorter lengths of green quilling paper, rotating the ends in different directions to create opposite flicks. For the stalks, I made tight green coils, and then squidged them into an ‘eye’ shape.

I wanted my picture to have a black background so I cut a square to size to act as my backdrop. Before I started gluing anything in place, I had a play around with where I wanted each pumpkin to sit, so I could be sure I was happy with their positions. Once you’ve got a design in mind, the sticking can commence.

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Micro Dots are great for sticking small, delicate or irregular shapes, ribbon, or embellishments as there’s no drying time required. The tiny dots act like a sticker transfer so you simply stick your object onto the sheet, rub down, and lift off – the glue dots will have transferred to your object, making it ready to stick.

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As the paper quills are very thin, I thought the micro glue dots would be great for making each tiny surface sticky whilst remaining hidden / see-through from the front. It also means you won’t get wet glue on your fingers – just be careful you don’t put anything down on the transparent sheet if it’s facing up!

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Once your shapes are glued in place it’s time to pop it into your frame, and voila! You’re ready for Halloween. The shapes I’ve used here are really simple to make, but if you fancy doing something more adventurous then there are loads of printable templates available online. Do check out Pinterest.

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You can go as big and bold as you like. I’d love to see what you come up with!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bostik as part of the HIBS100 #BostikBlogger series. I was sent a box of Bostik glue goodies to create this post. I hope you like this DIY series.

MAKEMORE Festival 2018

This August Bank Holiday weekend I was excited to go to the inaugural MAKEMORE festival 2018, held in the wonderfully leafy Victoria Park, London. MAKEMORE is a festival for makers and doers, or in other words, a ‘festival for the hands’. Held over five days, the festival featured a line-up of drop-in craft workshops, demos, maker markets, talks, live music, stand-up comedy, and street food.

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One of the highlights of the festival for me were the two beautifully curated makers markets – the first from Urban Makers, featuring everything from plant pots to jewellery, and the second from Turning Earth, featuring a host of beautifully handcrafted ceramics. I fell in love with the 3D printed plant pots from Nilli, the cement planters from heimdesign, and bought a vase from Puya Ceramics.

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I had read on the website that the ticket price included a whole host of creative experiences, making sessions and open workshops, with no need to fork out for extra add-ons once inside, but the reality is that you’ll most likely want to book onto some of the additional ‘specialist’ workshops in advance, as these make up most of the hands-on experiences available at the festival, and looked great fun!

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There were some free workshops and demos happening throughout the day, such as at the Obby UK tent, but many were either over-subscribed (with people being turned away), or a tad infrequent, and not all tents were proactive about inviting you in and getting you involved. We popped into The Bread Station tent, for example, to find that we’d missed their only bread-making demo of the day. “Dough!”

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That being said, if you were organised enough to get a seat on the workshops, they looked really well run, and the teachers were clearly very passionate. If I could do my time again, I’d definitely try to get hands-on with the Turning Earth pottery wheel sessions, the spoon carving with Barn the Spoon, and the terrarium making with The Botanical Boys. The family cooking sessions also looked to be popular.

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The tent where we had the warmest welcome was Jealous Gallery & Print Studio, where two friendly staff invited us to master the squeegee with screen-printing. We picked our colours, and they showed us how to drag the squeegee over a screen to print a tiny bird illustration onto a postcard. As the heavens had opened, we were fortunate to be joined in the tent by the Stamfold Hill Billies Street Band!

For those with children in tow, there were some kid-friendly maker workshops from Little Angle Theatre and Polka Theatre, as well as face-painting and a fun fair. You could also hang out with The Exploration Society and their giant fire to learn about bush-craft activities from carving to fire-lighting.

Elsewhere at the festival we came across artist in residence, Adébayo Bolaji, where you could sit and watch him work. There were also Paint Jam drop-ins and poster-making sessions for all ages, although the weather put an abrupt end to the latter unfortunately. Weather-wise, the woman in the yellow rain coat eating an ice-cream perfectly summed it up… and I think more marquees were summoned!

All in all, we had a fun day and enjoyed the relaxed vibe of the MAKEMORE Festival. Considering this was its first year, I can’t wait to see what the festival will bring next year. If I were to suggest one improvement, it would be MORE free workshops (+ clarity on timings of those workshops), plus the option to book your space on the ‘free’ sessions in advance (a bit like The Handmade Fair), so you don’t miss out.

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We explored the festival by day, but I’d love to hear from anyone who stayed on to enjoy the festival by night? Did you enjoy the comedy acts? Thank you to MAKEMORE Festival for inviting me to check-out the inaugural festival. Bring on MAKEMORE fest 2019!

DIY Bug Hotel / Insect House with Bostik

As you all know, I love any excuse to make things, so I was delighted to be invited by HIBS100 to become a DIY Bostik blogger for six months. My mission, which I’ve chosen to accept, is to create a DIY tutorial on a set theme each month, and share it with you. The first theme, to my delight, was Garden Decor!

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Now, Bostik make some great products for crafters – in fact, you’ll have seen some of their products in my DIYs before. The glue dots and foam pads are excellent for card-making, so I was excited to try out some of the other products in the range. To get me started, Bostik sent me a box of glue-based goodies to experiment with, including leather adhesive, all-purpose glue, white glu, blu stick (a glue stick that starts blue and dries white), fast tak spray glue, glu dots, micro dots, foam pads and glitter pens!

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This summer I’ve been loving spending more time outdoors, watching the comings and goings of nature’s pollinators, so I thought I’d have a go at making my own insect house for our allotment. We have a bug hotel / insect house in our back garden, and there has been no room in the inn (as it were), since the first day it went up! As it’s so popular with flying folk, I used this design for inspiration.

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Paperchase Christmas in July Showcase

Now, I know that Christmas is still a little way off (OK… a long way off), but as you may know, many of our favourite bigger brands / retailers (like Paperchase) like to reveal their Christmas showcase to media slap bang in the middle of summer, so that we get an early peak at the upcoming festive trends.

When I stepped into the Paperchase ‘Christmas in July’ event last week (at the appropriately named ‘ICETANK’), I found myself genuinely wishing for snow to relief us of the heatwave in London! As I was the first person through the door (I think you call it a ‘keen bean’), I was fortunate to be taken round by Paperchase’s very own Marketing Manager for a whistle-stop tour of the Christmas range.

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At the entrance we were urged to ‘unlock our creative spirit this Christmas’, and inside we were presented with a myriad of gift and craft ideas. Highlights for me were the DIY cracker chandelier, which would look great suspended over a dinner table, as well as the mega suspended card wreath (though I would need to make a lot more friends to fill it), both of which you could recreate at home.

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DIY Easter Egg Inspiration 2018

I love the arrival of Easter as for me it signifies the start of spring – what can be more cheery than sunny yellow daffodils and baby chicks? Over the years I’ve shared some Easter craft inspiration (such as decorated eggs here & amazing Easter cakes here), and even some DIY Easter tutorials (check out my DIY origami Easter bunniesDIY origami Easter bunny baskets, and DIY Easter bunny cards), so this year I wanted to share some fresh DIY Easter egg inspiration – featuring paint, concrete, and dyes!

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For full DIY tutorials, check out these blogs:

1. Paper & Stitch, Pink Crescent Moon Easter Eggs | 2. Idle Hands Awake, DIY Modern Brushstroke Easter Eggs | 3. Flax & Twine, DIY Wood Grain Folk Art Flower Easter Eggs | 4. Mottes Blog, DIY Crowned Bunny Easter Eggs | 5. Look What I Made, DIY Concrete & Copper Easter Bunnies | 6. We Are Scout, Easter Bunny Mini Eggshell Vase | 7. Sugar & Charm, Mosaic Easter Eggs | 8. Paper & Stitch, DIY Black Galaxy Natural Easter Eggs | 9. Say Yes, Natural Tea Dyed Easter Eggs Continue reading

London Contemporary Art Fairs 2018

I don’t know if it’s something to do with having a home that is still fairly bare in the wall department (or empty in the frame department), or just generally because I have a love for art and colour, but I’ve been really excited to get tickets to some of this year’s contemporary Art Fairs in London.

One that I’ve been to for probably the last three years or so is the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea Park. But this year I’m branching out even further! As I was researching for myself anyway, I thought I’d share some of London’s most popular upcoming Art Fairs of 2018, so you can pop them in your diary!


Affordable Art Fair, Battersea Park, 8-11 March 2018

I feel like I talk about this one a lot, but I can’t emphasise enough what a fun day out this is. I bumped into an old colleague of mine there once (who was many rungs above me on the career ladder!). He sweetly asked if I had made any purchases, obviously oblivious to my wage packet at the time. But I do so aspire to one day buy my own piece of original art, and the choice at the Affordable Art Fair is fabulous.

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I genuinely believe this makes a great day out, whether you’re looking to purchase art or just peruse it. There’s always a good variety of styles, and a welcoming prosecco bar in the middle – bliss!


The Other Art Fair, Victoria House, 22-25 March 2018

I came across this one recently via a Habitat email; as the official partner of The Other Art Fair, Habitat were offering customers the chance to nab one of 300 pairs of tickets for free! It’s first come first served, so check out their blog here to see if you can secure some in time. I’m excited to go later this month.

According to their website, The Other Art Fair, which is presented by Saatachi Art, gives you the opportunity to discover and buy art direct from 120 of the best emerging and undiscovered artists, who have been handpicked by a committee of art industry experts – let’s hope they know a thing or two! It’s a bi-annual event, and offers fun immersive art installations, interactive theatre performances, art tours led by Saatchi Art curators, live music from Soho Radio DJs, plus good food and a bar – bingo!


London Original Print Fair, Royal Academy of Arts, 3-6 May 2018

You know those times when you wonder where you’ve been all these years? Well, the London Original Print Fair is apparently London’s longest-running art fair. This year is the 33rd edition, and it’s held at the RA. I only needed to glance at the fair’s Instagram page to know that it’s for me. You can visit the fair to get your hands on a rare old master, or snap up contemporary prints that have only just launched.


Affordable Art Fair, Hampstead Heath, 11-14 May 2018

Don’t worry, it’s not deja vu! If you can’t make the Affordable Art Fair at Battersea in March, try and head to the Affordable Art Fair at Hampstead Heath in May. I’ve not been to this one (yet), but it promises thousands of original, contemporary artworks from UK and international galleries. Sweet!

Affordable Art Fair

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