Monday, 25 November 2013

Renegade Craft Fair 2013 - What I bought!

Business card hoarding!
 So the other week I did a post about my trip to Renegade Craft Fair in London. You can read how heavenly it was here and all of the lovely stalls and people who I came across! Now, as promised, I'm going to show you all of the lovely things that these lovely people make and what I bought on the day (I will try to stop saying lovely so much but I can't promise anything at this stage!)

 Ella Masters

Like I said in the previous post I was a fan of Ella's work anyway and had already mentally planned what I wanted to buy from her stall. My friend Becca is also a fan of her work but couldn't attend the fair so I bought a tattooed man card (wish I'd bought more!) and stickers for her. I then bought myself the little mirror which I didn't plan on buying but couldn't help myself as it had a handrawn teacup on so naturally I had to have it. She is currently having a break from her Etsy shop at the moment and she is soon to be closing it all together (sob) so for now check out her blog and when her shop is open again go and buy to your hearts content as it may be your last chance to own one of her tattooed men.

Oh Squirrel

Oh Squirrel! How I love thee! Katie's stall was near the entrance so it was the first stall I properly stopped at and bought something from! Again I had seen her shop online and her blog etc but couldn't believe how pretty everything was on her stall and how lovely (oops, sorry!) Katie was. I firstly spotted the big tags and although I had no idea what I wanted them for at that moment I just gravitated towards them. I found the 'You are bloody brilliant' one and thought of Becca and all the hard work she has done on my blog header so that was purchased straight away! Then I saw the 'Don't fret, it'll be 'raight" which made me laugh out loud so I also had to have that. I am a terrible worrier and that phrase, combined with my Yorkshire roots is something I have not only said but need to be reminded of every now and again.

Oh and the last picture is in fact the bag that she gave me to put my little tags in which she made and her business car complete with gold coin. You can buy the giftbags now on her Etsy shop which you must check out. Chocolate and nice goodies? Well go on then.

 Hello Paper Moon

I had seen snippets of HelloPaperMoon's cards and prints before so I recognised them when I came to the stall. Again, on my mission to collect little presents for my friend I spotted these two postcards which I thought were really cute. The Storm in the Tea Cup reflects how we feel about our current situations at the moment so I thought it was a nice little reminder of trying not to get worked up about things. I know that she has actually framed this postcard and put it on her desk so I'm glad she liked it as much as me!

 And Smile

I saw the And Smile banner from a mile away and was so excited to finally meet Viktorija and buy some of her lovely jewellery! My choices are simple, I love Panda's and I love tea! I was tempted by the teapot brooch but I wear earrings a lot and the card is to send to my penpal when it's my turn to write next. If I had been a man who wears shirts though, the croissant and coffee 'breakfast' cufflinks would have been mine! She has lots of lovely festive things in her Etsy shop too so go and get some nice Christmas presents or just treat yourself!

Blank Inside Designs

I had heard of Blank Inside Designs but had never seen these notebooks before (I obviously haven't been looking hard enough!) so for the bargain price of £3.50 or 2 for £5 which me and my friend did I now have a lovely Ice-Cream notebook that's handmade and brilliant for writing blog notes and ideas. After coming home and looking up her Big Cartel Site I now have a wish list for the Chameleon and Goldfish notebooks as well as the typewriter bag. Maybe Santa will read this?

Kayleigh O'Mara

Last but not least is my biscuit brooch from Kayleigh O'Mara's stall! Firstly, I love biscuits and you can't go wrong with a classic like a custard cream and secondly, it was only £4! I couldn't believe it! Such a bargain for such a cute little brooch that's handrawn. There were lots of brooches and earrings to pick from but this stood out to me; I think there might be a theme running through these purchases of tea and biscuits now! If you like quirky jewellery then check out her Etsy shop for more designs.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

5 Craft Materials Under £5

I did a post with this exact title a while ago and figured I would make it a (sort of) regular thing. As I tend to buy little bits often I will be posting posts with this sort of budget theme now and again so if there's any price bracket you want me to post about or items you want me to source let me know!

So on with my latest bargain finds...


Tickets are a great way of adding personal or themes touches to cards, scrapbook pages or invitations and although I have my own stash of tickets from various events and modes of transport, I bought these from Ebay seller tilly*mint. Like a lot of Ebay sellers she doesn't always have the same stock over and over but at the minute she does have carnival tickets and other 'vintage' style tickets to buy. I love her shop and would buy everything if I was having a party or wedding so definitely check out out.

Lace Tape

Ok I admit, it's not really lace but that's what it's meant to look like. I spotted these 3 in Poundland (for the mighty price of £1) and I only really liked the thin one which is the nearest in the photo. The other two are a little bit too tribal for me and remind me of the bad 90s tattoos I used to want around the top of my arm as a kid. Saying that, I have found a use for them by cutting out the flower and butterfly shapes and using them as stickers. 

Scrapbook paper

I shouldn't need to introduce Amy Tangerine but if I do let me tell you she is the crafting goddess that brings us beautiful paper craft kits and materials, like this one above. It's hard to get her stuff here in the UK without paying a fortune for international shipping so I was so excited to find her paper pads in TK Maxx. Like everything in TK Maxx, because it's a discounted retailed you aren't guaranteed that anything will be there. Sometimes they have 20 paper pads, other times they will have none. This one is a cute smaller size and has lots of bright coloured paper which I have used in a lot of scrapbooks. I'm sure it was either £3.99 or £4.99, I can't quite remember but either way it was a bargain.

Library Cards

Does anyone else miss the library cards they used to have in pockets at the front of the books which you got stamped? Now everything is digital you don't find them much now but tilly*mint also sells sets of blank library cards! Why do I want these so much? Who knows. But I love them! They make great tags for any book lovers, novel writing cards for scrapbook pages or I can imagine they would be really good as invitations or table settings. They also provide a little bit of nostalgia for those of us who lived in libraries as children.

They cost £2.95 + £1.00 P&P for 25 cards and you can find them here.

Washi Tape

You didn't think I would leave washi tape out would you? Since discovering the huge world of crafts, washi tape has been one of the things I have become slightly obsessed with. Who knew that little roles of patterned tape could bring so much joy? You can get rolls starting at £1.00 ranging up to £10 so I head to Ebay first to see what I can find. Seller Annabella044 sells a lot of different designs and you only pay postage for the first one you order, the rest are free! If you can wait a while for it, there are some sellers in China and Japan which are really cheap but the wait is usually about 3 weeks. Just buy a roll and see if you can stop yourself buying more.

Hope you enjoyed this post of bargain craft materials!

Happy Crafting!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A Year After Graduating

 Endings never end everything, so they seem to count as nothing compared to what continues.

This isn't my usual sort of post but felt it was something that I wanted to share as I know a few friends have graduated this year and it is such a significant day. This time last year was my Graduation day. It's weird to think that it was a whole year ago and how much has changed since then.

  Unlike other Uni's, we had to hang on until November to Graduate so between moving home and finishing the degree show and graduation I didn't really know what to do with myself. I felt like I was in a strange limbo, working the same summer job I had the year before, living with parents and constantly applying (and getting rejected!) from jobs with it not quite sinking in that this is it.

For me the day was about seeing my uni friends again, wearing the gown and hat, celebrating our success  together and marking the end of that chapter in our lives. I made some friends for life at university and grew into a person who I never thought I would become. It really was the best 4 years of my life.

So what next? After being on such a high from the day it took me a while to come back to reality and realise that I needed to get on with everything (by everything I mean find a job, car and somewhere to live). I had a looming deadline to get a job or I would have to move away with my parents and that meant leaving everyone behind again.

Like many others I know, finding a job wasn't easy. Finding a job we were qualified to do and wanted to do was even harder. Needless to say, a year on, none of us are where we expected to be career wise. In spite of this we have moved in with boyfriends, got mortgages or got engaged! Life may not be what we had planned in some ways but perhaps this is just how the next chapter in our lives is meant to be.

For those of you who have just graduated or are having a hard time accepting that your dream job hasn't come your way yet, try to think about all of the good things that have happened instead. If you find yourself saying  'but everyone else has their dream job/car/gone travelling/getting married etc etc and I don't' then stop, and look what what you actually have. It's easy to feel lost, disheartened and to be honest pretty rubbish at times when all you seem to get it rejection! But soon enough someone will say yes and things will start to click. Remember earning a Degree was a huge achivement in itself, the rest will come in time.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Scrapbook Paper

I know that in recent years Scrapbooking has become a really big thing, especially in America with Amy Tangerine and Becky Higgins (Creator of Project Life) leading the way. So as I'm only just arriving at this party, I've found it hard to find reasonably priced scrapbook paper in the UK that is as a nice as the American equivalents. So I'm going to tell you about 2 places where I get my paper here in the UK and to make it even better they're both really reasonable prices! 

Sister Collection
Save the Date

If you've read my blog before you may remember me doing a blog post about KewCraft back in July which is a craft supply company set up by my cousin! She supplies everything from the scrapbook paper that you see above, stamps, personalised stationary and wooden signs as well as DIY Stationary parties for those of you who want to make your own invites and stationary but need a little bit of help. 

I got my hands on the Echo Park 'Sisters' Kit which contains 6 12 x 12 doubles sided papers ( 2 each of 3 designs so don't worry if you want to use every design!) and a sticker sheet. The paper is such good quality and I was really impressed with the designs. Although it is aimed towards crafts for sisters it really can be used for any female or girly project. Follow the link at the beginning of this paragraph for the product page!

My favourite from the Save the Date sheets

Close up of one of the Save the Date sheets
The other paper pack I got from KewCraft was a Kaisercraft pack of 8 12x12 double sided sheets called Save the Date. Ideal for parties and celebrations or documenting those moments in scrapbooks this pack is lots of bright coloured paper and as you can see above in the close up, one of the sheets is glittery! One of my favourite thing about Scrapbook paper packs is the 'card' sheet as I call them; the sheet where you have lots of different images in one and can cut them out to embellish scrapbook pages with sentiments. The sheet in this pack had a lot of date cards which is a fun way of inserting important dates into scrapbook pages but my favourite is in the close-up above and it gives you space to write down the details of the exact moment of the photos you have taken.

Head over to the KewCraft website and you can get all of the sheets (like I have) for only £4.00! Bargain!

TK Maxx

Next up is TK Maxx, the designer discount store. They kind of sell everything from clothes, to toys to home things and depending on how big the store is they have a good selection of stationary and craft materials. You'll find this sort of stuff near the books and it's never guaranteed as to what will be there. Sometimes there are tons of these scrapbook paper sets, other times you'll be lucky to get a roll of ribbon. So you have to keep popping in when you can and grab something if you like it as usually there is only one and I guarantee it will be gone when you get back!

If you were to buy these Amy Tangerine packs from the US and get them shipped over you're looking at at least £20. Here though the big 12x12 ones are only £7.99 and the smaller ones are £3.99/£4.99. So you can't go wrong. You just have to persevere and you will find some gems! Below you  can see some of the designs in the ones above which I think you'll agree are just lovely!

Where do you get your scrapbook paper here in the UK? I would love to know!

Samples from Neapolitan
Samples from Sketchbook

Friday, 15 November 2013

Renegade Craft Fair 2013

The Renegade Craft Fair (of RCF for short) is a curated indie-craft fair showcasing the brightest talents in contemporary craft and design. The American based fair started back in 2003 when the founders wanted to take their crafting hobbies to the next level but couldn't find an event that they felt represented their work properly. 10 years later and we have an international craft fair with carefully selected makers and this year I was able to visit it in London's Brick Lane. How exciting!

Busy Sunday Stalls!

Bought some goodies from the lovely Ella Masters and tried not to have a complete fan girl moment but I managed to tell her how much of a fan I was of her blog and work, hopefully without sounding too weird! I will be showing what I bought from everyones stalls in another post but I Ella's stall was so well put together and I can't believe how much stuff she had on sale!

I was so glad to come across Paper Moon's stall as I had seen her stuff online and her recent website launch where you can buy all of her lovely illustrations and printed goodies! Perfect homewear and some lovely cards - bought a couple of postcards to send to a friend!

The lovely Katie behind her stall!

Oh Squirrel's stall was near the beginning and it instantly became one of my favourites (Maybe the  favourite?) I loved her displays and her products! Again, I had followed her work online for a little bit anyway so I recognised it straight away and was enjoying the casual use of 'bloody' in most oh her phrases. Katie, who is the founder and maker of Oh Squirrel (who you can see in the top picture) was so lovely and picked up on my accent straight away. We bonded over where I got my coat and being from Yorkshire, as we said, there's some sort of gravity that must just draw us together when outside of our county. I got two lovely treats which I'm excited to show in my next post!

Cue another fan girl moment. Well I managed to keep it under wraps (I think) but I was super excited when I spotted And Smile's stall. I have admired her jewellery for so long but I wanted to wait to buy a piece from her stall. I got some tea inspired jewellery and some panda themed post which pretty much sums me up! Her work is so detailed and presented so beautifully I urge anyone who loves jewellery and illustration with a side of novelty to check out her shop. You will be stuck for choice.

Blank Inside Designs

Kayleigh O'Mara
 My final two mentions are both stalls I bought things from and have also been fans of online for a while too. Blank Inside Designs is run by northern designer and illustrator Liz who makes lovely cards, notebooks and home wear. I got myself a notebook at the bargain price of £2.50 (Originally £3 but me and my friend bough 2 for £5!) and now I have my eye on her antique notelets which you can see in her shop.

Last but not least is Kayleigh O'Mara, London based Illustrator and Jewellery maker. As you can see from the picture above the choice of her designs was pretty crazy and I had a hard time picking. I narrowed it down to about 5 and then I had to go with my heart (or maybe my stomach?) and pick a custard cream brooch. I'm sure it was only £4 as well, I couldn't contain my excitement for my new biscuit accessory. You can buy a lot of her designs in her online shop  so go check it out!

As you can tell I was in absolute heaven here! I would have gone round twice and broke the bank if I had the chance but it's probably best I had to dash somewhere else in the afternoon. All of the people I have mentioned above were really nice and their stalls were amazing. I urge you to click the links, type their names into search engines and get following on the old social media. You will not regret being bombarded by pretty pictures of their products on a daily basis!

I have a post coming soon on all of the wonderful things I bought so check back for that!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Week in Pictures

1. Lots of Stamping going on lately
2. Favourite season is at it's end
3. Crafternoon
4. Good Mail Day: Lovely letter from Rehanu
5. Ready for my trip to Manchester
6. I love Manchester
7. My new favourite thing: Rob Ryan washi tape

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Sheffield International Artist Book Prize 2013 - My Favourites!

I did a post a couple of weeks ago about my visit to Sheffield's International Artist Book Prize exhibition at Bank Street Arts in Sheffield (find it here) but because there was so much I wanted to say and so many photos I decided to split it into two parts and in this post I want to show you some of my favourites from the exhibition. (Not an easy decision to narrow it down I assure you but there were stand out favs!)

Taking Stock by Radha Pandey

This little book was right near mine when you walk into the exhibition so I instantly spotted it and made a mental note of it on my list of favourites. Made by Radha Pandey, a bookbinding and paper enthusiast studying an MFA in Book Arts at the University of Iowa, the black book illustrates all of her possessions that she has in Iowa with her categorised by the material they are made of. The book reminded me of a winner from the 2011 book prize were the winning student artists listed everything she owned in her house. However, Pandey's book is a lot smaller scale (I love anything miniature) and the drawings were just so detailed that I thought it was a really cute book with an original idea. Her blog Rice Paper Tree shows her work and how she makes her books so if you like book art and book binding head over and have a look at it! She also has a post about how she made Taking Stock which you can see here.

Almanac: The Circus by Coffee Club Collective

This book was in a room with a huge selection of books and I instantly spotted  it because of the colourful, handrawn cover. The perfect bound, 48 page book contains illustrations by 6 incredibly talented illustrators, Tris Tolliday, Katie Bennett, Jasmine Hortop, Joe Taylor Lucy Kenny and Chloe Cook. 
Each of them bring their own unique style to the book which is all about the Circus (Who doesn't love the Circus!?) After coming home from the exhibition and looking up my favourite books and the people that made them, the thing that I really liked about the Coffee Club Collective is that they all met at university in Birmingham, UK and formed the Coffee Club while in their final year, meeting up every Friday for critique and feedback sessions. Now they exhibit together, give talks and workshops and sell lots of their lovely items in their shop (Where you can buy a copy of this book!) I look forward to seeing their work continue and will be buying my own copy of this book very soon!

Reves d'enfant by Luca Dubret

I can't find anything about this book or the artists online so I can't link back or provide much information! When I did try to look up the title is actually a french song but there is no formal translation. Despite all that, the reason I liked this book so much was because it was such a simple idea and made me feel really nostalgic. It was a book that had no words and was simply made up of squares of old fashioned wallpaper, the kind of stuff you can't buy anymore! There were some pages that took me back to my childhood and relatives wallpaper and that's why I think I like it so much.

The Worry Book by Jade Laura

I LOVED this book! This book almost got my vote, in fact I asked the gallery assistant if I could vote twice and he said no. Boo! I looked up the maker of the the book Jade Laura and it turns out I happen to love all of her work! She is a Illustrator, paper cutter and print maker from Lancashire in the UK who features woodland creatures and people in her work often focusing on things that other people may overlook, like peoples worries. I loved that the book was monochrome and simple and that her style of illustration really came through in the paper cuts. The book is handmade too which is always a plus point for me and I laughed out loud as I read the pages. I have done similar projects myself whereby I ask people for a variety of answers on a certain topics so maybe that is why I related to the theme so much. But overall, I loved it and I spent a long time looking at it. Check out Jade Laura's blog featuring her other work and where she sometimes asks for contributions to projects like these!

 Your Silence Today by Sarah-Joy Ford

Last but not least, my favourite from the exhibition and the one that got my vote was this set of 5 books by Leeds based artist Sarah-Joy Ford. I can't find much about her online but I do know that she is a textiles artist that is part of an artist-led initiative in Leeds called Sieze which organises temporary exhibitions and projects in vacant sites. These books are part of a larger library of objects exploring aesthetics and ideology of the notion of femininity. I would love to see the whole collection because the small selection I did see were so well made and detailed that I couldn't not vote for them. They really stood out because they were the only thing like it in the whole exhibition. For an artist book to stand out among 450 others like that meant there was something special about it. I like the craftsmanship, the detail and the aesthetics of the piece and I hope that my vote goes towards making Sarah-Joy Ford's piece a contender for one of the prizes because I would love to see what she would do with the exhibition space if she won.

I hope you have enjoyed seeing my favourites from the exhibition. It's on until the 30th of November in Sheffield so I urge you to go!

Check out Bank Street Arts website for more details about the exhibition.