Thursday, 29 September 2016

Creative Crafters For Christmas: Willow Moon Dreamers

With Christmas just around the corner I thought it would be great to interview a number of creative crafters that can offer something unique at this time of year. I first came across Sarah through her blog Kippers and Curtains and was delighted to discover that she is a creative as well as being a lover of the great outdoors.

Hi Sarah for those who don't know you could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Sarah, I am a mum of three and I live in Surrey in the South East, England. I love being outdoors, exploring and upcycling anything I can get my hands on!

Colourful Dreamcatcher

What sort of creative business do you run?

I have just started up my own Etsy shop selling dreamcatchers which I make from a variety of materials. I wanted to make some that you can't find in the shops, so I use recycled sari fabric, natural hemp cord, crystals and feathers. Some are traditional; some are more of a bohemian style. I also blog at Kippers and Curtains  I have some creative tutorials on there as well as family days out and adventures.

White Dreamcatcher

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a go themselves?

I'd say just go for it. People have been telling me for a couple of years that I should open an Etsy shop - but I never thought I'd do it. The push came in June this year when I got made redundant from a job I'd done for 16 years. I love making things and people were really interested in the signs and decorations which I'd made for our wedding last year. I decided to make a few dreamcatchers and tested the water on Facebook, within minutes a few friends had requested that they'd like some - so I just went for it and set up the Etsy shop.

Brightly coloured Dreamcatcher with tag

How do you juggle creative work/life?

My youngest child started school a couple of weeks ago, so I now have time during the week to make any orders and work on my blog too. The kids seem to like trying to help, so if I need to make some at the weekend I just leave my box of materials out and let them join in!

Pink and White Dreamcatcher

Where can we find you?

My Etsy shop is called Willowmoon Dreamers. I am gradually stocking it with a few different designs and I am working on a custom order today for a girl's birthday present.

Thank you, Sarah for taking time out of your busy schedule to be interviewed.  If you are a creative crafter and would like to be interviewed on a future post in this series please get in contact. 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Our Autumnal Amble Around Kingsclere

As the autumnal months get decidedly cooler, we've been making use of what sunny weather there is left and exploring the Great British countryside.

Footpath surrounded by foliage

One of the places we visited recently was Kingsclere. we parked up and were soon working out coordinates from a grave that led us to a nearby stream. There we were met by a cocophony of ducks that had decided it was feeding time and they would happily tuck into any bread we had about our person. Sadly for them we had none this time.   

Mummy with baby in close caboo carrier

As we left the ducks behind to chase each other on the water, we happened across another geocache. Usually the geocaches have a coordinating GC code but this one had none that we could locate on it and a look at the map once we got home didn't reveal any clues as to which one it may have been. Perhaps it was one that had been archived on the map but abandoned in situ.

Hands full of conkers

We discovered lots of conkers strewn across the path too. I overheard one mother call out for her daughter to stop picking them up and look for acorns instead. I looked for some myself on the way round the series we did but there were very few. Perhaps the squirrels have made good progress on their winter store cupboards this year and that’s why I couldn't see very many.

Eldest in carrier on Daddy's back

On our walk we also encountered blackberry bushes. My eldest daughter on discovering that she liked this delicacy decided that she’d eat all the ones she could find including the ones near stinging nettles! Fortunately, doc leaves are great for remedying the situation as are wet wipes apparently. So I'm afraid there’s not many left till the red ones turn black. She is also partial to the fruit that’s been growing in our garden and hasn't left us one single berry!

Red and Black Blackberries on Bush

As for the youngest she slept through the majority of the walk, even when we were walking down a footpath with racing traffic passing us by. She also very nearly got licked by a dog whose owner called out to us that the dog was trying to protect her.  I think my hubby’s suggestion of the dog clearly just being nosy makes more sense.

Where have your feet taken you recently?

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

30 Halloween Crafts for Kids Book Review

As a child I grew up with a love of crafts, inspired by my adopted grandparents no doubt. Together we spent hours creating clay models and drawing faces and other things around the house. I recall one particular Halloween when they even dressed up for our amusement and used tomato puree as fake blood.

Halloween Hat Bunting

Now that I have my own children I have been inspired by Kate from Crafts on Sea and similar creative people to impart my love of arts and crafts on to my children. Kate’s first book 30 Halloween Crafts for Kids is the perfect ticket for celebrating this occasion. She has two children who love to create alongside her and years of experience so I find her reliable and reassuring.

I decided to try recreating the 'Lego Printed Witches Hats' with my eldest and found this to be very simple even though she needed a bit of encouragement to get started.

Eldest using blocks to print black paint on white paper

Little ones are prone to getting messy especially if paint is involved so make sure that you have a surface that you don't mind getting messy. We used the kitchen floor but a newspapered area or place with an inexpensive party table cover  provide the ideal setting for messy activities.

While old clothes and an old bib (or back to front shirt) that covers the little one's arms work wonderfully well for keeping them from getting completely covered in paint. It's only right that we too as parents/guardians of the child get in on the fun too so make sure you aren't in your best outfit either.

Then show the child how to do the activity. In this case we applied paint to a Mega Block as we don't have Duplo and printed on the white card. When this was finished we left the card to dry on the washing line. Once the card was dry I cut out the witches hats and put holes through the ends and threaded them together with string to create bunting. Here is our finished product.

Kate’s first book 30 Halloween Crafts for Kids is available to buy on Amazon.

How are you planning on celebrating Halloween this year?

Disclosure: We were kindly given a pdf copy of just some of the activities featured in the book. All words and pictures included in this post are my own. 

Living Arrows: My Little Treasure

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth”
by Kahlil Gibran

Monday, 26 September 2016

Five Autumnal Activities

I've noticed a number of people sharing their Autumn Bucket List and thought it was high time that I shared with you all mine.

My hands full of conkers

Here are five things I plan on doing this Autumn. 

  • Read the autumnal books with the girls
  • Sort out my autumn/winter wardrobe
  • Do arts and crafts inspired by the season
  • Go on some geocaching walks
  • Attend some events in keeping with the season

What will you get up to this autumn?

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Creative Crafters For Christmas: Laura's Pixie Patch

With Christmas just around the corner I thought it would be great to interview a number of creative crafters that can offer something unique at this time of year. So to kick us off I'm delighted to interview the delightful Laura Gillard of Laura's Pixie Patch.

Laura's Pixie Patch Logo

Hi Laura for those who don't know you could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm Laura Gillard, 32 year old mum of two, Brownie leader and avid crafter

Laura's Creations Crochet and Sewn

What sort of creative business do you run?
I founded Laura's Pixie Patch in May 2012 though didn't truly find my feet until August 2015. I set my business up as a way of earning an income while staying at home to look after my children. I learnt to sew to make my youngest clothes for her dolls, but sewing then started to take over my life.
In 2014 I learnt to crochet and that too became a massive obsession. I started using both my sewing and crochet skills to make toys as presents and for my daughters.
I started receiving orders for toys in August 2015 I got to grips with CE testing to make sure my toys were safe. In that Autumn I started to make crocheted versions of people's guinea pigs. Now crocheted pet portraits of a wide range of animals is a big part of my business. This led to writing a crochet pattern for a ferret. I've now written and published several crochet patterns and a sewing pattern. I love making my own designs.

A real guinea pig meets it's crochet match

What advice would you give to someone who wants to have a go themselves?
Most people can learn to sew or crochet but it takes time and patience. If you would like to try then I recommend looking at YouTube where you will find a wealth of tutorials

Colourful stripy crocheted socks with crocheted flowers

How do you juggle creative work/life?
 As for creative work with life, basically my crochet comes with me everywhere so I can crochet while the girls have swimming lessons or volleyball practice. I work from home, for me crochet and sewing is a job rather than a hobby so I treat it as such. Once the children are at school I get to work. In the evenings after clubs and dinner I crochet whilst we have quieter family time together watching TV or just chatting. I save projects that don't require as many materials, such as blankets, for the evenings. During holidays I fit in orders wherever I can, making sure there is still time for family trips and spending time with my girls

Hands holding a little crocheted grey mouse

Where can we find you?
You can find me on Facebook and Etsy

Thank you, Laura for taking time out of your busy schedule to be interviewed.  If you are a creative crafter and would like to be interviewed on a future post in this series please get in contact.