Thursday, 31 October 2013

5 Craft Materials Under £5

Part of the reason I started doing this blog was because I wanted to share with people how to make things that were cheap and easy to do. I love a good bargain and all of my friends and family know that I will shop around or know where to go to save myself some money. My thrifty ways started as student but now I'm still not in a high earning job and I don't see the point of spending lots of money on materials and things when you can get it for half the price if you know where to look

So here are 5 items I have in my craft box that cost under £5 and where you can get them from.

Bakers Twine

Bakers Twine is really popular at the minute which means its cheap and easy to get hold of in tons of colours. I got this little set on Ebay for £1.99 + 95p P&P  and there's a lot of each spool. I basically couldn't decide which colour so I got a mixed set but if you just want one particular colour, people sell lengths that they cut of their large spool which is also cheap.

I couldn't find the original one because I bought it a while ago but this one is the same brand just different colours. Type in 'Bakers Twine' into Ebay and you will see all of your options.

Electrical Tape

Yes, this is exactly what you think it is - Electrical Tape! Ever since I saw Jim Lambie's amazing art work made entirely of electrical tape, I have never underrated how useful it is since. This set is from Poundland so the clue is in the question here, it was only a £1 for all 6 rolls. There isn't tons on each roll (a classic Poundland problem whereby they made the cardboard tube bigger so it looks the same size as normal. But hey, for £1 I do not complain) but its come in handy for wrapping presents. Looks particularly good with bright kids wrapping paper!

Craft Tags

These are essential to every craft box! I don't know what I did without them, there are so many uses! I think this is a pack of 20 and they were 99p from The Works. If you don't live in the UK then I'm sorry you won't have this shop but you will be able to find them on Ebay no problem! They are great for present tags and easy to customise (See how I decorate mine in this post I did a few weeks ago) and I even used them to label up my university work when I was submitting is for assessment. Easy labelling!

Wooden Numbers

Ok. So this isn't an essential but since finding them in The Works a while ago for the bargain price of 99p I have loved using them to embellish scrapbooks and add something a little different to pages. I left mine unpainted but you could paint them, cover them in washi tape or craft paper and they work really get for embellishing pages with dates and significant numbers. They also do letters now which I am still trying to find in my local shop!

 Sticker Set

I found this little gem on Ebay when looking for washi tape and I thought it was a really good idea to have lots of little sheets containing round and rectangle stickers that could be passed as washi tape. They come in a little tin which is really cute and you can get a few designs as well as refills. If you are lucky you can get these sets in damaged tins which are cheaper but the tin has been a little bit bashed but everything inside is perfectly fine. Seller Dragonchant has lots of lovely bits in her shop including stamps, stationary and washi tape but I would recommend these if you're into scrapbooking or just need some nice stickers to put on envelopes!

I hope you found this useful! If you are in the UK then you are lucky as some of the shops I have mentioned are UK based only. However I know if America Target is a good place to shop for crafts and Ebay is your best friend when it comes to discounted craft materials. This at least gives you the idea as to whats out there so you can find your own in your own country.

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Sally Makes Art Gets a New Look!

So I've been a bit secretive lately about a mystery project, only showing sneak peeks like this but now I'm happy to reveal that I have been working with a close friend and drawing genius Becca Kelly on creating a new style for my blog!

As you can see I have a lovely new blog header, custom drawn by Becca. I mentioned that I wanted to give my blog a makeover and she offered to help me as my skills only go so far when it comes to design so we began working together a few weeks ago sending ideas and designs back and forth. I knew how I wanted it to look so I sent her some basic drawings of what I had in mind with some style ideas and themes and she took the basics and came back to me with an incredible design.

To me a good designer and illustrator can listen to what you want, take your initial ideas and then come up with something that is even better than you ever imagined. That is what Becca does. She is a recent graduate from Sheffield Hallam with a MDes in Graphic Design specialising in Illustration and has one of the most detailed and effortless styles I have ever seen. Honestly, I'm not being biased, check it out for yourself on her website and her Tumblr . I know you will agree in saying her work is well styled, witty and full of detail.

Initial sketches and ideas based on my initial instruction of a circular 'wreath' design
I had seen a lot of other blogs and designs by people which featured this floral wreath type design which I loved. I'm not the only one who thinks things in circles looks far cooler than any other shape right? But like Becca and I discussed flowers didn't really link to what Sally Makes Art is all about so I wanted to work in crafty elements as well.

Becca came up with the concept of a crafty coat of arms so, which in definition is a unique design identifying the wearer and owner dating back to medieval design. I loved the concept of having a unique design that would represent me and everything about my blog. The initial design I got back was beyond my expectation and I made no changes to it.

So now Becca had the task of working out the colours. My previous banner, and subsequently my blog 'theme' was pastel colours so I didn't want to change everything. I also didn't want Becca to spoil her lovely drawings with loads of block colour but at the same time I like colour and felt to completely represent me and I blog I needed some hints in there.

I went for the last one (bottom right) which is a symmetrical version of number 3 (second in from the right on the top line) and then it took me a while to get it uploaded with the headers and all linked up but now it's done I love it!

For the extra observant of you out there, you might have noticed there is a new category in my header...Shop! This is the project I have been talking about in the last month now; opening my very own online shop via Etsy. I've been busy making handmade products such as cards, notebooks, pencils and other crafty bits and hopefully very soon I will be able to open my shop officially!

Now the secrets out I will be posting little updates of what you can expect in the shop. It will be open in plenty of time for Christmas too so hopefully you will all like to spend some pennies there!

I hope you like my new layout as much as I do. I can't thank Becca enough for all her hard work, she really in a superstar and such a lovely friend. If you haven't already check out her website and Tumblr or contact her via twitter @BeccaKellyDraws, she would love to hear from my readers about my new makeover!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Going Postal: My New Crafty Correspondence

When you first start blogging, you are looking at so many established and amazing bloggers, following intently wondering how these people have more creativity in their little finger than the average joe does in their whole body! One of these people is Julie Kirk, creator and crafter of Notes on Paper. 

If you know her blog or don't, for the last month she has been running a series of themed blog posts called 'Going Postal'. Expect postal themed crafts from card making, stationary and stamps galore and there's so many ideas I want to try out in my own way (need to put my large stash of stamps to good use!).

It got me thinking about everything postal and I have always thought that everyone should write more letters. Who doesn't love a good hand written letter in their postbox? I saw on Instagram that a well known 'penpaller', sort of speak, was looking for some new people to write to so I jotted down my details and to my surprise got an email asking for my address.

I received my first letter a few days ago (check out the blog post on my letter from Rehanu here) and now I thought I would blog about what I was going to send back. I hope that through letters we can get to know each other and share our love for everything made from paper!

So as you can see there is a theme....I love a good theme! I was rooting through my stationary box and I found some Japanese inspired paper (Rehana lives in Japan) and then picked everything else in a pastel and quite girly theme. There's a collection of little bits including stickers, post its, notecards and the letter. This is my first time writing a letter to a stranger in a long time. The last time I did it I was only little and found my penpal Lauren through a British magazine called Girl Talk!

I am excited to send my letter and I hope my recipient likes it and it arrives safely. I think this will be the start of a new friendship and that's the great thing about letters. I encourage everyone to find a penpal (or even just a friend who doesn't live near you) and grab some stationary and start writing. In a world where everything is instant and everyone is connected via the Internet, it's refreshing to go back to a traditional method of correspondence and get excited about receiving mail. 

Check out Julie Kirk's website Notes on Paper and her Pinterest page Going Postal.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Sheffield International Artist's Book Prize 2013

A few weeks ago I went up to Sheffield to see this years Artists Book Prize competition at Bank Street Arts. When I volunteered at Bank Street Arts in my Final year I spent a lot of time with their collection of books from the previous prizes they had; cataloguing and organising the books and helping to create an accessible collection for the public.

This year I entered one of my books for the student prize that I made during my final year. I'm not going to go into my entry too much because I want to focus on the exhibition and my favourites from it but if you want to see what I entered with a bit more detail, take a look at the post I did a few months ago. I loved seeing my work in the exhibition along side some amazing entries and was proud of my little book sitting on the shelf.

My entry in Situ!
Close up of my book
A collection of some of the smallest books in the exhibition

Becca has found her favourite! Beyond the Wire by Alys Jones
Leeds and Bradford by Elizabeth Shorrock
 I was in heaven in the exhibition! I spent a long time looking at the books but with 450 it was hard to give every one my attention. I always find it interesting seeing which books people gravitate towards. There were some which didn't interest me at all but others that both me and my friend went to look at. They were so different and ranged from conceptual books, to story books and picture books.

The exhibition is on until 30th November so if you like artist books or are in Sheffield and curious, it's well worth the visit! Me and my friend Becca spent so long there trying to make our decision on who to vote for for the public prize but eventually we narrowed it down.

 I will be doing another post soon on some of my favourite books in a bit more detail but for now I hope you get to to take a look and maybe this has sparked your interest in artist books!

Check out Bank Street Arts website and their official Book Prize website

Good Mail Day: A New Penpal

So a few weeks ago I saw that one of my favourite people on Instagram that I follow, Rehanu wanted a few more penpals to write to. As a fellow stationary addict and wannabe penpal I jotted down my details and lucky for me a lovely email landed in my box asking for my address! Then just the other day this beautiful little letter arrived in my post box and it really made my day!

I thought the outside was nice but then I opened it and there was the cutest little parcel full of quotes, stationary, stickers and a letter. I was quite amazed at how much everything in there seemed to be just me, perhaps Rehana just has the nack for getting it right?!

I feel very lucky that someone so sweet wanted to be penpals and am already planning and compiling  a letter in return!

She also has a blog so check it out here!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Sneak Peek: Something is changing soon...

Just a tiny post on this dreary Sunday evening with a sneak peek of something that it happening on my blog very soon! This snippet is courtesy of Becca Kelly Draws, Illustrator, fellow creative and a very good friend of mine. We have been working together on this part of my new project for a couple of weeks now and I can't wait to reveal it properly to everyone soon!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Moonko and Amy Lawrence Designs

So a few weeks ago I entered a competition on a whim hosted by the lovely Moonko, a website and soon to be shop based in Sheffield that showcases emerging designers and crafters.  So you can imagine how excited I was to find out that I actually won! 

To enter all I had to do was pick the item that I wanted the most from Moonko's website and voila...this little parcel arrives in my post box with my item of choice in.

I picked this lovely hand knitted Amy Lawrence necklace and it's even more beautiful in real life than on the pictures (didn't think that was possible!) I picked a colour scheme that would go with everything so I knew I would be able to wear it with loads of my clothes. However much I adore all of her designs, I am not very good at putting jewellery with outfits so I play it quite safe with what I know works.

How beautiful is it?! I never win anything so I was so excited to win this and now I own my very own Amy Lawrence Design. Check out her website for her other designs and check out Moonko's website  who stocks a number of her designs plus lots of other accessories and home wear. 

Thank you ladies, I am in love!

Week in Pictures

1. New Stationary for my new project
2. New favourite pyjamas
3. Sheffield Love
4. Visiting the Bank Street Arts International Book Prize Exhibition
5. Mural In Sheffield by Faunagraphic
6. My competition win arrived from the lovely Moonko! (Post to follow soon!)
6. My competition prize! Knitted necklace by Amy Lawrence

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Good Mail Day: A Parcel from Paige Joanna

The other week I was scrolling through my instagram feed and I saw that illustrator and fashion blogger Paige Joanna was giving away lots of her lovely work to a good home. Being a fan of her blog and having followed it for a while now I snapped up the opportunity and snapped up the offer.

I was so excited not to mention surprised when I received a full parcel of goodies with everything from her Buttercup Zine to a set of postcards. Even the business cards from Stephanie Dreams and Mod Dolly were the cutest things ever! So I just wanted to show my goodies in a bit more detail...Who doesn't love a package full of illustrated goodies?!
Set of 6 handrawn postcards

Zine - A Girl Can Dream

Dress up dolly kit

Zine - Buttercup

Loved this page on how to make your own perfume. Reminds me so much of childhood!

So thank you Paige for your kindness and sharing your talent! If you havn't already visited her blog go and check it out because it's lovely!

Monday, 7 October 2013

My New Project...Sneak Peek!


So this is what the next few weeks of my life look like, well as far as my new project goes. I'm not going to say exactly what it is yet as it's still in the early stages but lets just say I'm really excited and I hope eventually you all will be too!

If you've read my About page then you will know that I work an average, uncreative job and started this blog as a creative outlet from that. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to have my job and I've met some great people through it but at the end of the day it's not creative and it's not the dream. 

So my new project, as I will continue to call it for now is an extension of my blog. Inspired by some of my favourite bloggers and the online community I had a 'I could do that too' kind of moment and here I am...on my way to starting something new.

So I will keep you posted on here with other little Sneak Peeks as I get closer to revealing what it is I'm up to!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Week in Pictures

1. Brussels feels like a long time ago now
2. Sorry Mr Postman
3. Special Delivery from a special person
4. The contents of my amazing parcel from Becca
5. New Favourite Washi tape
6. Cat Dress!
7. Parcel of goodies from Paige Joanna

Thursday, 3 October 2013

DIY Tutorial: Simple Blog Organiser

So now I'm a couple of months in to blogging I have so many ideas I decided I needed somewhere to write them all down and keep track of them all. Via the Wonder Forest Bloggers Conenct community I cam across a DIY tutorial by Vanilla Craft Blog on how she made her blog planner. It's a really good tutorial so I decided to make my own from thing I had around my house and show it on my blog too.

Please take a look at the original post here by Vanilla Craft Blog. Her idea has really helped me to organise my thoughts and not miss any ideas out!

Things you will need:
1. An A5 or A4 notebook of your choice
2. Prit Stick
3. Post-its
4. Pens, Pencil and Rubber
5. Craft Scissors

Decide how many sections you want and then work out the size of each 'tab' so you know you will be able to fit them all in. I drew this one by hand in a traditional tab shape but you could use a template or just a square shape. I didn't want t cut all of the pages otherwise you wouldn't have much space left for ideas so I just cut each tab for each section and it will still be easy enough to find when you flick through.

I used a coloured post-its for each section so I could easily see each section. Stick one of your post-its on the tab.
Fold the corners around and cut the excess of the post-it on.
All the tabs are coloured coded now
Think about the headers that your ideas come under - Mine include, Crafts, Reviews and Products, Lifestyle and Other. It's always good to have an 'other' section because there's some posts that I think of that don't fit into any of my usual categories.
This is my organiser in use! I now can write an idea on a post-it, stick it in my book and I won't forget. Simple!

How do you organise your blogging? Do you plan your posts and time or do you post as and when? I would love to know!