Contributing to the We Make Collective!

If you haven’t yet heard of it, the We Make Collective is founded by the incredibly talented Fran from Fall for DIY. After hearing far too many people ‘poo-poo’ their own creativity (my words, Fran’s ethos), Fran decided to create a monthly craft kit for subscribers, with a fantastic twist.

We Make Collective

Rather than sending out materials and instructions to help you make the same thing as everyone else, the Collective give you the tools, know-how and inspiration to exercise your own creativity, and make something unique to you – so you’re free to make whatever you want!

We Make Collective calligraphy kit

If you become a subscriber, each month you’ll receive a special box full of supplies which will give you everything you need to learn a new craft, and create any number of finished pieces. Each kit focusses on a different skill – November’s was weaving, and December’s was brush lettering & calligraphy.

As well as receiving the physical materials, you’ll be granted access to a private member’s area on the website where you can read expert tutorials, and learn all the skills you need to get started.

When I first heard about these kits, I thought they were such a great idea, and the finished DIYs from the inaugural weaving kit looked fantastic (check out #wemakecollective on Instagram). As a result, I was thrilled when Fran invited me to contribute a brush lettering tutorial for the December kit.

Joy orange gift pouch

I decided to make a trio of quick and easy brush-lettered gift-wrap ideas, suitable for beginners. You can read the full tutorial here with all my hints and tips, but I wanted to share a sneak-peak with you.

Brush lettering is really therapeutic once you get the hang of it, and the end result looked a million times better than my normal hand-writing. Result! Have you tried it before?

My biggest hint if you’re a brush-letter ‘newb’ is to write on tags or stickers in the beginning while you master the skill, as then, if you make a mistake, you can simply replace the tag – easy!

The other secret is simply to practice – practice, practice, practice, and enjoy =)

Inspiration: DIY Christmas Advent Calendar

Last year I shared my Christmas advent calendar inspiration, but this year I felt I needed all new ideas. As you can see, this time I appear to be favouring the minimalist approach:

Five DIY Christmas Advent Calendars

Are you counting down ’til Christmas? What does your advent calendar look like this year?

For DIY tutorials, visit:

1) Unknown, Minimalist Advent Calendar | 2) Tell, Love and Party, DIY Christmas Tree Advent Calendar | 3) La Maison de Lou Lou, Tree Box Advent Calendar | 4) Hither & Thither, Hanging Bag Advent Calendar | 5) Third Floor Design Studio, Paper Bag Advent Calendar

#CraftBlogClub Secret Santa 2015

#CraftBlogClub is a Twitter chat which runs every Tuesday between 7 – 8.30pm for craft bloggers and lovers alike. It’s the brainchild of founders @KatieGetsCrafty, @Fizzijayne and @LivePeachy.

CraftBlogClub

Last week I was really excited to learn about an awesome festive initiative they run called the #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa which is open to everyone, and now in its third year!

You can find details on how to sign up here, but make sure you do so before 8pm on Thursday 5th November. You’ll then be matched at random to another crafty secret santa. Cool, huh?

Inspiration from past #CraftBlogClub swaps: 

#CraftBlogClub Secret Santa Presents

Once you’ve emailed to take part, you’ll be emailed back by Tuesday 10th November with the name and address of the person you’re making a gift for, and the making begins!

There are no rules when it comes to gifting – you can make anything you like from any craft – past examples include mittens, baubles, Christmas stockings, and personalised Xmas bunting.

So that everyone can receive their gift by Christmas, they ask that gifts are sent (with a note, revealing your identity) by 21st December, and then the excitement of receiving and blogging begins!

I can’t wait to take part in this awesome initiative. There’s nothing nicer than a homemade gift, and what better way to spread the joy at Christmas than by sharing it with fellow craft-bods!

The makers of these Secret Santa presents are:

1. Handwarmers by Icy Sedgwick | 2. Owl Pllow by Zoflo | 3. by Fizzi Jayne Makes | 4. Christmas stocking and bunting by Katie Gets Crafty | 5. Red Stocking by Kay Gets Crafty | 6. Homemade Soap by The Little Soap Kitchen | 7. Crochet mug warmer with coasters by LoveTwoCraft

DIY Air Dry Clay Christmas Stars

This Christmas (I gave you my heart) – ahem, I decided to take my first foray into air dry clay. To follow is a series of posts to document the things I’ve made – the first is DIY festive tree stars!

Reindeer star

You will need: Pack of DAS air dry clay, rolling pin, star cookie cutter, a straw, set of festive stamps (mine were from Hobbycrafts), string (for hanging on your tree).

In the absence of a rolling pin (I know, I know, #Amateur), I used the closest thing to hand – a pint glass, and used a Grana Padano cheese knife instead of ‘professional’ clay cutting tools.

How to Make Tree Stars:

Start by opening your pack of clay and rolling out a small blob to about 5mm thickness. Once rolled, lay your cookie cutter over the top and press to indent. Remove the excess clay from the outside.

Next, you’ll want to make a small hole so that you can hang your decoration up. I used a drinking straw, pressing it in and twisting it on the spot until the dot of clay lifted and could be removed.

Star

Next comes the exciting bit – providing you’ve found yourself an array of festive shapes and stamps, you can start creating your unique army of decorations by simply pressing them onto your star.

Try to use uniform pressure to make your shape stand out consistently on all sides. To smooth any edges, wet your finger (I licked mine), and gently run over the edges – et voila!

Don’t worry about the colour of the clay when you get it out of the pack – it will start a sludge grey whilst malleable, but dry to a nice bright white – this may take up to 48 hours.

Robin star

As my boyfriend and I are due to move house next week (just before Christmas!), I also made a trio of stars for him to unwrap on Christmas day – one of which I stamped to say ‘Home’.

Whilst half of the stars are for decorating the tree, I decided to give some away as gifts, tieing them on to A5 cards (much like my Orange Thank You cards) to create Christmas card-present combos.

These tree decorations are really easy to make and quite therapeutic too. They’re also very easy to personalise, perfect if you like things to be ‘just so’ or want to give them away as gifts.

Easy and fun for adults and children alike, I can’t wait to decorate!

Christmas Inspiration: DIY Advent Calendars

Can you believe that it’s nearly December? As I write, it is just 26 days until Christmas! I haven’t got round to making a Christmas advent calendar yet, but here’s my DIY inspiration round-up.

It seems I have a thing for boxes dangling from festive branches. All of these designs are stylish and suitable for any grown-up home. From giving 25 mini gift boxes, to writing 25 personalised messages, there is something here for everyone, and all are quick and easy to make.

DIY Advent Calendar

 For full DIYS, follow these blogs:

1. The Merry Thought, DIY Advent Calendar | 2. Hank and Hunt, Hanging Chalkboard Advent Calendar | 3. Oh Happy Day, Mini Tree Advent Calendar | 4. The Lovely Drawer, DIY Printable Advent Calendar | 5. The Marion House Book, DIY Advent Calendar | 6. Love From Ginger, DIY Forest Advent Calendar

Roll on Monday, and let the Christmas countdown begin!