5 Crafty Twitter Chats for #Creatives

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to join more crafty Twitter chats, and since then, I’ve noticed a lot of other people looking to do the same. As a result, I wanted to share details of some of the weekly chats that I join, so you can add them to your crafty calendar – I have diary alerts to remind me!

Twitter Chats Instagram


1. #CraftBlogClub – Tuesdays, 7pm – 8.30pm

#CraftBlogClub is a weekly chat for craft lovers and bloggers alike, devoted to all things crafty and creative. The brainchild of founders @KatieGetsCrafty and @Fizzijayne, it’s an extremely friendly and supportive community for crafters of all skill sets. As well as weekly chats, they host regular crafty challenges, such as the annual #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa. I started joining the chat late last year, and I genuinely enjoy joining in every week – they’re a lovely bunch!

To join the chat follow @CraftBlogClub and use the hashtag #CraftBlogClub.


2. #CraftHour – Sundays, 7pm – 8pm

#CraftHour hold a weekly Twitter chat dedicated to connecting crafters with customers. Hosted every Sunday at 7pm GMT, they also host daily ‘events’ from 8am, dedicated to promoting crafty makers, including #TreasuryTuesday, and even a 15 minute #CraftFlash – be quick!

To join the chat, follow @Craft_Hour and use hashtag #CraftHour.

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Jewellery Making at The Turpentine, Brixton

On Wednesday night I was lucky enough to attend an intimate jewellery-making workshop for bloggers at the Turpentine in Brixton, a brand new creative hub on Coldharbour Lane.

Turpentine

Launched by three friends (Amber Rogers, Alice Waters and Jude de Berker), the Turpentine sells gorgeous hand-crafted wares from independent aritsts, designers and makers, as well as offering a range of evening workshops from jewellery making, life-drawing and Christmas wreath making.

DIY Geometric necklace

Our class was led by qualified art teacher and Central St Martins Alumnus, Jude de Berker, who showed us how to cut, shape and finish our own necklace pendant from silver. I’ve only ever strung beads together to make a necklace in the past, so I was excited to learn how to cut my own.

Equipment: You will need – a piercing saw with spare blades, bench peg, drill, metal file, sheet of silver or brass, necklace chain, jump rings, nail and hammer, pliers and sandpaper (400 / 600 grit).

How to make your own necklace pendant:

Our first task was to sketch out potential pendant designs. With pencil and paper, we sought inspiration by doodling and Googling, until we settled on the shape that we wanted. This took a little longer than anticipated, as we were all distracted by the beautiful wares around us!

Whilst at first I was embarrased by my lack of drawing skills (being in the presence of graphic designers and all), I decided to stick to a simple yet striking geometric design. Once we were happy with our shapes, we cut them out and stuck them onto our sheet of silver / brass with tape.

Whilst jewellery designers usually try out a new design in brass, and then move to silver once they’re happy (as it’s cheaper), I really liked the colour of the brass, so I stuck to this. Apparently I just have to be careful that it doesn’t rest against bare skin, as otherwise I might turn a bit green.

Once taped on, Jude showed us how to thread and use our piercing saw to cut around the template on the bench press. The secret was to make sure the blade was nice and tight, and to use an upright sawing motion, trying not to apply too much pressure (so as not to break the blade).

To change sawing direction, Jude showed us how to maintain the sawing action whilst slowly turning the saw to create a small ‘hole’, so that you can continue in a new direction without getting stuck.

Once cut, we used metal files to neaten and straighten the edges, keeping the file at an angle, so that it travelled up the whole length of the edge (so as not to create unwanted indents).

Once smooth, we were shown how to drill holes, so that we could connect our pendant to our necklace chain. We used a nail and hammer to make a small indent where we wanted our holes to be. This was a tricky business, as the jump rings were quite small, so we had to stay close to the edge.

Making jewellery

For the finish, we had two choices – either we could use sandpaper to create a brushed finish, or we could leave our pendant for a few hours in the polishing machine to give it a high shine. I decided to go for a brushed finish; Jude showed us how to drag our pendant along the sandpaper using either a straight or ‘figure of eight’ method, transforming it instantly.

Next, we grabbed our pliers, and split our jump rings so that we could connect them to our pendant. As my design was quite long, I used a jump ring at each end, and connected these to a gold chain.

Although it is a simple design, I am chuffed with my necklace, and amazed that I have made it myself. As well having my necklace to take away with me, it was also a wonderful evening in itself. I loved the mood lighting and Christmas songs, and Jude was a fantastic teacher.

Jewellery Making

Given that Turpentine is just 7 months old, I can’t wait to see where Jude, Alice and Amber take it. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time, and would definitely go again.

Turpentine

If you’re heading to this weekend’s Crafty Fox Market at The Dogstar in Brixton (6-7 December), do pop in to the Turpentine which is just a few doors down. You can also check out the Turpentine’s upcoming workshops here, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Well done!

I also had the privilege of meeting four other creative bloggers whose brilliant write-ups you can read here: Emilia Buggins (Graphic designer / illustrator) made a brilliant dog pendant. Shoshana of Shoshy Caboodle made a fancy bow-tie style pendant. Watch her YouTube video of the experience here.

All in all a fantastic evening, with fantastic company! See you next time, Turpentine. Thanks to StreetHub for organising the event. Check out their website to find more independent boutiques.

Inspiration: Creative Business Cards

This year I’ve gone to loads of craft fairs, and I love picking up business cards from cool craft sellers. Since I launched my blog, I’ve wanted to make my own Shelley Makes business cards.

I’ve always been a big fan of branding, so I love the idea of making my cards match the style of my blog. As it’s a craft blog, I also feel that the cards need to be suitable ‘crafty’, so no Vistaprint for me!

Before I got started, I browsed Pinterest to find some unique DIY inspiration. From stamping, sewing, painting and cutting, here are my favourite creative business card tutorials:

Business Card Inspiration

What do you think? Do you have a fave? I’d love to hear what you did to make your own business cards, or what you plan to do? Keep an eye out for my business card blog very soon!

For full tutorials, visit these sites:

1. Oh Hello Friend, DIY Business Cards | 2. Andrea Romani, Ecological Business Card | 3. Persia Lou, DIY double-sided custom-shaped business card | 4. Akula Kreative, DIY stamped business card confetti filled coin envelope | 5. Akula Kreative, DIY stamped watercolour business cards | 6. Life of Popeye, DIY Business cards for Hive | 7. At Home in Love, DIY Stamped Business Cards | 8. Francesca Pasini, Textile Business Cards | 9. While The Sun Shines, Watercolour cards

MakeGood Festival 2014

In May I told you about my upcoming adventure to the MakeGood Festival – a festival of culture, creativity and entreprenuership, which was held in London. The Festival is run by the School for Creative Startups – a business school whose motto is ‘Do what you love, love what you do.’

Makegood

The festival was held at The Old Selfridges Hotel, an awesomely rugged building, perfect for a bunch of creatives to make their own. The first thing I noticed was the friendly and excitable chatter of the exhibitors. Here are my learnings from the day, as well as my favourite start-up companies!

makegood

The festival featured panel discussions from business entreprenuers, who talked about the secrets to success, the trials and tribulations, and their tips to fellow start-ups. They all talked about perserverance, of finding a niche, and investing in good packaging. Many of the food start-ups praised Waitrose for their support, and all speakers recommended finding an experienced mentor.

Aside from the talks, I explored a myriad of stalls from start-up businesses, all brimming with ideas and possibilities. There were some cracking concepts, as well as some hugely talented craftspeople.

My three favourite startups:

1) Ink Bandit – Ink Bandit designs ‘bold & quirky homewares, prints and stationery filled with adventure, fun and mischief’. I was immediately drawn in by the modern designs, and also impressed to learn that the designer, Claudette Tinsley, had built her own stand display featuring a very cool triangular shelf unit. I love the colours and sense of fun!

2) Pomp pomp  – we love to party

The lovely co-owner of pomp pomp showed me her gorgeous party kits, designed for ‘hip grown-ups and cool kids’. These kits include adorably designed paper plates, table mats, paper cups, napkins, balloons and party hats, as well as matching party bags, invitations and thank you cards.

PompPomp_LetsGoWild_kit_2

They currently have two main themes – Let’s Go Wild – featuring flamingos, giraffes, and gorillas, and Ship Ahoy – complete with fish, anchors, waves, and boats. As well as loving the designs of the kits, and the idea generally, I was completely sold when I was offered a branded cupcake and take-away postcard kit, complete with branded cut-out ‘Pomp Pomp’ balloons. Cute!

3) Betty Etiquette – stationery for storytellers

Betty engaged visitors to her stand instantly by inviting them to make a pledge: “I pledge to put Pen to Paper to relish in moments of inky expression, to leave marks on the world that only my hand can make. I believe the pen is mightier than the screen, that magic is made in the act of giving and receiving, and each word should be written with honestly and etiquette. Signed………” This awesome pledge, combined with some exceptionally quirky stationery, makes Betty Etiquette a winner!

Betty Etiquette

If you like any of these designers, do check out their websites and show them your support! Thanks to the Creative School for Startups for a fun and inspiring day at the MakeGood Festival!

If you went – let me know if you had different favourites?