Craft Crush: Cacti!

After a week with no wifi (what did people do before internet?!?!?) I’m back with a new craft crush.

I noticed a while back that cacti are very ‘on trend’ this year. But to be honest I wasn’t really on board with this trend. I had two little cacti when I was younger and never really liked the spiky little things. That was until I started seeing this trend being translated into craft!

Handmade cacti made from all sorts of materials have been popping up on pinterest and in etsy newsletters for the past few weeks and I think they are just adorable. You have the chic look without the actual prickles.

So here are a few of my favourites:

These stained glass cacti by MooncalfGlass are adorable. I love them lined up by the window, bringing in colour without blocking the light. There is also a hanging version.

Pet Plant Knitting Kit, Succulent Kit, Christmas Gift, UK Shop, Scotland. Plant craft kit. Plant felt kit. Christmas Stocking Filler

If you want to have a go at making a cactus yourself try out mybaboo‘s Mini Knit Kit! This looks more like aloe vera to me but you can find lots more knitted cacti on etsy. I particularly like this luxury wool pin cushion.

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I love this project by Veronika Richterova featured on Colossal made from recycled PET plastic. It is visually stunning and has an inspiring message. Her website a tribute to PET bottles is really informative and in the gallery of her work you can see many more examples of her sculptures made from PET plastic. Time to start collecting bottles and having a go myself I think.

Here’s another simple cactus craft kit, this time made from felt. Probably easy enough to be a nice craft project for kids. The great thing about this one is that it is in flower all year round 🙂

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I’ve seen an awful lot of variations of stones painted to be cacti. They are cute and fun and is an easy craft project for kids. Here (above) you can see some by Salt and Pepper Moms.

Kim Sielbeck

I just love these colouful and quirky paper cacti by illustrator Kim Sielbeck featured on Brown Paper Bag.

And finally, what is life without some concrete? These concrete cacti could make a great paperweight or bookend.

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Natural Dyes and Eco Printing

I’ve recently become quite fascinated with natural dyes and eco printing. It is amazing what you can use to dye fabric or yarn… food remains like onion skins and avocado pits or flowers and leaves create a variety of colours and sometimes pattern too. There are several different methods which can give different results depending on what look you are going for. But I will cover the different techniques individually in more detail in later posts.

As with most of my new obsessions, it started with something I saw on Pinterest. I have now made a board on the topic, so if you are looking for more inspiration check out my ‘Natural Dyes and Eco Printing’ board. My next step is usually to look on etsy to see what other people are making. I found this amazing project by ImmySmithArt which uses plant dye to make ‘chromoscapes‘ in order to “create a visual chemical memory of the places plants were collected”. How awesome is that?!

 

You can buy a chromoscape here

You can also find a whole range of different items of clothing that have been eco printed on etsy. I have picked this shawl to showcase as I think it shows the real potential of eco printing. It is well designed, has vivid colours and crisp lines.

Find the shawl here

So having been inspired and done a little research, I decided to have a go myself. I was lucky enough to be at my parents house where I could plunder the garden for the materials I needed. I more or less followed the instructions from Frankie, using rose petals, a variety of leaves and some rusty nails.

I pinched some apple cider vinegar from my mum and soaked the plain white cotton fabric in it. Laying the fabric out flat, I then placed on it the petals and leaves before wrapping them around the nails. I tightly tied the bundle up with string and put it in a steamer for just under two hours. The results were mixed, but not bad for the first time. In some places you can see the rose petals coming through and the outline of some leaves.

I think it could have done with a little more time in the steamer to really let to the colour of the rose petals show through. I then made part of the fabric into a little drawstring bag:

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For a first attempt I was quite pleased with the result and it is definitely something I will be trying again in the near future. Keep an eye on the blog for more about natural dyes and eco printing.

For more information there are several resources out there on this topic including Angela Daymond’s Dyeing from Natures Store Cupboard.

 

 

 

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Craft Crush: Hungarian Embroidery

This week I’ve been obsessed with traditional Hungarian embroidery. This style is known for its bright colours and nature inspired patterns. There are a few regional variations such as Matyo or Kalocsa, with multi coloured motifs of flowers and fruit, but my favourites are the simple red or blue patterns that make great table runners.

I also love this vintage pink variation:

Available here

One of the reasons I love it so much is that I know I will never have the skill or patience to make something like this myself so I am in awe of those who have. Maybe I will just have to console myself by buying one of these cute pendants with a typical flower motif:

Available here

For more Hungarian Embroidery see my Pinterest board here.

Travel Inspired Gifts

Looking for a gift for the travelholic in your life? Want to inspire their wanderlust? Want to celebrate a big occasion as any jet-setter should – with style!

I have collected together my favourite travel inspired gifts from Etsy. I am always on the hunt for original, creative and handmade gifts and as a bit of a travelholic myself, I am always eager to share my passion.

So here is my top 10 travel inspired gifts:

1. The obligatory travel journal

Any good traveller must have a travel journal for all those notes, observations, sketches and of course for copying down bus timetables 😉 Keeping a diary while travelling is a must so give a budding traveller a journal when they set off. I loved these notebooks by TangleCraft which use upcycled postage stamp to create a colourful cover. There is a whole range to pick from but I like these Scandinavian stamps to feed my current Scandi addiction.

2. The travellers tote

Handy for hitting the local farmers market (or craft market), for when you’ve overloaded with souvenirs or just out and about sightseeing. This practical ‘ready for takeoff’ tote is perfect for popping in your hand luggage.

3. Shibori passport holder

Etive&co have created a stunning range of handmade purses, passport holders and e-reader cases. They are handmade, eco-freindly and 100% cotton – what could be better!

4. Mountain earrings

A great present for an adventurous lady! I love these little mountain earrings by MelissaMorganDesigns. They are simple, little wooden studs and great for casual traveller style. Gotta love this explorer jewelry trend!

5. Wanderlust confetti

Celebrating a special occasion? Whether its a wedding, baby shower, leaving party or themed party DicrellaDesigns have you covered. As well as confetti you can find banners and decorations. Personally I like these little paper planes made from old atlases.

6. Map bottle stop

What a perfect gift for a housewarming! These personalised map bottle stops are just adorable!

7. The travel loom

If, like me, you love to travel but you also love to get crafty, I have the solution. The ultimate travel loom is portable and includes everything you need to get started, even yarn. I can just imagine myself sitting on a balcony in Greece/ Slovenia/ Portugal/ anywhere really with a great view and whiling away the hours weaving. Also great for kids – will keep them busy and quiet!

8. Personalised leather luggage tags

Leather travel accessories are a must in my book. These personalised leather travel tags will ensure you are travelling in style AND you will never lose your bags again.

9. Vintage travel washi tape set

For more DIY crafts with a travel theme this set of vintage travel themed washi tape are perfect. The set of 5 tapes comes in a handy little tin so makes a nice present for anyone crafty or equally great for wrapping any of the above mentioned gifts too!

10. Atlas envelopes

And finally… to go with any of these gifts you might want to send a card or note. But forget the boring white envelope, use these vintage map envelopes. I would also be very happy receiving a set of these as a gift (hint, hint) because I know I would get a thrill from sending them.

 

 

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Top 10 Etsy Buys for Rustic French Style Interiors

hereIf you are looking for that oh so charming, paired back, rustic French style here is some inspiration for you.

First up: I just love the simplicity of old French linens, they really give that rustic charm. This large tea towel with a perfect red stripe is an easy first step to achieving the rustic French kitchen.

Check out this vintage mannequin, dated 1900-09 here.

Or for something ultra chic and elegant to grace your walls this deco advertisement will do the trick.

Spruce up an old chest of drawers with these decoupaged draw knobs.

Fancy some DIY craft home decor? This cross stitch kit will give your home that je ne sais quoi. (Translation: Always the same sh*t)

Brighten up a kitchen or dining room with this set of rustic yellow pitchers.

A little something for the garden here. This vintage planter screams French chateau.

If pastoral scenes are more your thing these antique plates are for you. Simple yet charming.

A simple galvanised water pitcher can make a big statement in the right setting.

And finally: Looking for a gift for the man in your life? Or just have inclination towards the industrial look? Either way this rustic alarm clock is for you.

 

 

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Handmade in Slovenia – A day in Ljubljana, Part 3: Baby Shoes

Now, baby shoes may not be something that would usually interest me, but in Ljubljana they seemed to be in many of the design and craft shops. Alongside the ceramics and jewellery, the baby shoes were so lovingly made and of such high quality I couldn’t help but snap a photo (or two or three).

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I don’t have much information about these super cute shoes apart from the fact they were all found in shops in Ciril-Metodov trg, Mestni trg and Stari trg, which is the area between the river and the castle. I do know that I found the amazing lace shoes (below) at the Idrija Lace Gallery, where I also saw a great necklace and lots of other great lace.

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Don’t you think they would be perfect for a christening?

Find it at Mestni Trg 17 and www.idrija-lace.com.

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And finally, I saw this little display in a shop window. I like the use of a cake stand to show off the tiny little shoes, and they definitely look good enough to eat!

Handmade in Slovenia – A day in Ljubljana, part 2: Jewellery

In one day in Ljubljana I discovered so many amazing handmade items I couldn’t possibly fit them all into one blog post! So here is part 2 of Handmade in Slovenia:

Jewellery

Jewellery is always something that catches my eye as it not only showcases fantastic hand craft skills, but it is also the biggest temptation to buy something. I don’t have a house to buy ceramics for, but earrings…you can never have too many earrings!

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My will power was tested by this selection of wood and acrylic jewellery by SUI. I was really tempted to buy some of these earrings, but unfortunately they didn’t have the colours I was looking for.

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This photo doesn’t do justice to these fantastic necklaces by MATEiKA.

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On Mestni Trg I discovered a fantastic lace shop. Amongst the traditional white lace there were a few more unusual items that drew my attention, one of which was this necklace. The Idrija Lace Gallery is really a treasure trove, so whether you like traditional lace or something more unusual, you should definitely check it out.

Find it at Mestni Trg 17 and www.idrija-lace.com

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These brooches (above and top picture) from Lesema are super. I particularly like this gold one.

Find at www.lesema.si

 

 

Handmade in Slovenia – A day in Ljubljana, Part 1: Ceramics

Ljubljana is home to an amazing selection of places to find crafts handmade in Slovenia. In just one morning, as I explored the city centre, I discovered everything from traditional lace to contemporary ceramics. The area between the triple bridge and the castle (particularly Ciril-Metodov trg and Stari trg) is a treasure trove of design shops, galleries as well as souvenir shops. It is clear that Slovenians are proud of their country and their traditional crafts from the number of signs and labels exclaiming ‘HANDMADE IN SLOVENIA’. Real craftsmanship is clearly alive and kicking in Slovenia!

Here, in the first part of my day in Ljubljana, I want to share with you the wonderful variety of ceramics available:

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Featuring the classic combination of blue and white these lovely designs are the work of Marte and Karl Pavlinc. The vibrant, eye-catching plates were the stars of the show in ika.

Available at ika: Ciril Metodov trg 5 or www.trgovinaika.si

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Porcelain Catbriyur shop and workshop definitely catches the eye as you walk down the street. With golden window dressings and a lavish interior, you can’t help but stop and look. Katja and Jure Bricman’s fine porcelain has received international attention and critical acclaim.

Find them at Ciril-Metodov trg 19 and www.catbriyur.net

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For more traditional styles head to DOM souvenirs where you will find a variety of styles of Slovenian ceramics including this lovely set.

DOM souvenirs: Ciril-Metodov trg 5

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And finally, I love these dishes by Dasa Kogoj.

www.facebook.com/dasaspottery

Eggs, Eggs, Eggs at Christmas in Salzburg

It might be May, but today felt like Christmas when I discovered this amazing shop n Salzburg. Christmas in Salzburg is stocked with a vast array of decorative eggs for Christmas, Easter, Halloween and year round decoration. Decorating eggs for Easter is a popular tradition in many parts of Europe. However, this shop extends this tradition and takes it to the extreme.

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These colourful creations are all made from real eggs that have been hollowed and hand decorated. They use chicken, goose, duck and even ostrich eggs. You can even buy a plain egg shell to take home and try decorating yourself.

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The decoration varies in style and price, with many extravagant, colourful designs. Aside from the hand painted eggs, you can also find a range of eggs decorated with cross stitch and lace.

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An American tourist in the shop at the same time as me couldn’t quite believe that they were all made from real eggs and were so delicate and breakable. She decided against buying one as a souvenir because she wasn’t sure she could get it home in one piece. Although they are safely packed up in egg boxes.

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I took the risk and bought an egg decorated in a style more typical of Slavic countries. These eggs are first dyed and then a pattern or image is drawn onto the surface with a needle. The shop assistant was keen to emphasise the time and care that goes into decorating an egg in this style.

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Find Christmas in Salzburg at Judengasse 13, Salzburg and feast your eyes on these:

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Gent, Belgium – Handmade Heaven

Gent, a lively city in Belgium, is home to many makers and walking around the city I discovered several shops selling quality handmade items. Here’s a round up of my favourites:

Woven Stories

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A shop entirely dedicated to woven crafts, Woven Stories doesn’t just sell textiles – it sells stories. Bringing together woven textiles from all over the world (and some made right there in the shop), each also tells the story of its maker, the technique used or its inspiration. This shop contains not only a wealth of textiles but also a wealth of knowledge on all things woven.

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Discover Woven Stories at Baudelostraat 11 or find out more at: www.wovenstories.be

Mayenne.Shop

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Mayenne.shop is run by accessory designer Mayenne Nelen and features her own unique collection of leather goods (braces, handbags, wallets) and her selection of jewellery and objects by Belgian and Dutch design talent. I spotted this wonderful crockery set (above).

Discover Mayenne.shop at Sluizeken 28 ( Oudburg ) or find out more at: www.mayennenelen.bigcartel.com

Marlies Davans

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Unfortunately Marlies Davans little atelier/shop was closed when I passed by but the window display alone caught my attention. Marlies creates wonderful leather goods including phone & ipad cases, wallets and coasters.

Discover Marlies Davans leather goods at Oudburg 53 or find out more at: www.leather.marliesdavans.be