Sunday, 21 September 2014

Kawaii Craft Swap: September

I've been absent from the #dicraftswap for the last two months, so I was very excited to discover that September's theme is Kawaii! Regular readers will know all about my love for all things Japanese, and the bright, cute trend of Kawaii is no exception. When exploring this theme on Etsy and Pinterest, I found that the possibilities stretched far beyond what I already knew about, and I am now slightly obsessed by adding a face to everything! 

My recipient was Jenny, who writes the lovely blog Pretty Column and runs an Etsy shop under the same name. I wanted to go all out with the Kawaii theme, so I thought, why not make the receptacle Kawaii too? Jenny said that she loves Studio Ghibli, and especially My Neighbour Totoro... so here is my Totoro shoebox!
Kawaii shoebox- Totoro
When signing up to the #DICraftSwap, Hannah asked us all what the word Kawaii meant to us. Jenny said that Kawaii to her meant cute things, so I set on a mission to create a box of cute Japanese treats for her. She mentioned that making a non-cute item into something cute appealed to her, so I crafted this little watermelon pincushion from felt. I also made a happy toadstool brooch from felt. 
Adorable watermelon pincushion
Happy toadstool brooch
One of the first things I thought of was a little set of greetings cards, with Kawaii figures made from pretty wrapping paper. As a blogger, Jenny obviously enjoys writing! Oversized heads, tiny bodies and stylised "Kawaii" faces led to this little collection: 
Set of 4 Kawaii greetings cards
Jenny writes about her love for crafting and geekery, so I wanted to include some useful items in the box for her, which would tie into these passions. I chose bright, cheerful buttons and made her a peg set- I thought they would help her display or keep together ideas for her next crochet and knitting projects.  For similar reasons, I made her a bookmark featuring a very cute Japanese girl charm. I put together a collection of Kawaii beads and buttons for her (who can have enough beads and buttons?!) and added some cute Matryoshka post-its. 
Cute bright button pegs
Cute bookmark

A kawaii collection of beads and buttons for future crafts
Awww! Matryoshka post-its
I spotted these earrings in my collection of things I had already made to sell at craft fairs, under my crafty name of Pink Robot. The bright orange bubble-style beads fitted right in with the Kawaii theme, so into the box they went. 
Kawaii orange bubble beaded earrings
One thing that comes across very clearly from Jenny's tweets and the content of her Etsy shop is that she is head over heels in love with amigurumi! Well, after scouring the Internet looking at the crocheted cuties, so am I! Unfortunately, my craft skills do not yet extend to crochet, so for my "bought" gift, I chose this little dragon, by My Little Beasties! I really wanted to keep him for myself... isn't he adorable?
My "bought" gift... dragon amigurumi!
I was very excited to receive my Kawaii parcel from Rhiannon, who writes her blog, The Sparkly Panda. She sent me these very cute little crocheted stars, which I can sew backs on to and make into anything! In my package, I also got some sparkly kawaii stickers, post it notes and a "to do list" pad. All very kawaii indeed!! 
My lovely kawaii package

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Craft room/ guest room transformation!

A few months ago, I wrote about a "junk room" in my house which I hoped to transform into a craft room/ guest room. I'm delighted to say that it's now almost finished, and what a difference! 
Before... eeeeek!
The room was completely unloved- broken, squeaky floorboards, badly-fitted and damaged
skirting, holes in the walls and ceiling. No wonder we ended up filling it with all our junk, and making it "the box room". However, I was desperate for a proper space to create things in. Somewhere I could keep my sewing machine out and functional, and store all my crafty bits and pieces neatly and logically. With a new baby, we also needed a guest room- and somewhere to escape to without waking our daughter if our new addition was rather noisy in the middle of the night! 

So here it is! Getting the floorboards fixed, walls plastered and skirting replaced used up almost all our budget... so the rest of the transformation was well and truly frugally done. 
Presenting my functional guest/ craft room
I chose this striking colour scheme in contrast to the darker hues in the study next door. It's a very small room, and I feel that the yellow combined with the light carpet really brighten the space and make it feel bigger. The sofa bed folds out to make it a functional guest room, but looks pretty as a comfy sofa in the meantime. The room is full of bargains and thrifty finds. The bedside tables were old pine ones we had in storage, painted to tie in with grey chalk paint. I found the tripod lamps in an Argos clearance sale for only £5.99 each. I have admired almost identical lamps from other retailers for upwards of £20, and I think these could certainly pass for more expensive. 
Well, I do love tea!
The pictures I chose are from various places. I want all my wall d├ęcor to be original, and not just the generic, mass-produced art which adorns many walls. I love this quote from J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan, and I bought it from a graphic designer called Abbie Imagine, on Etsy. The sewing machine print was free, printed at home (read about my favourite printable websites here) and I found the typewriter advert a couple of years ago at an antique fair for only £2. 
A great philosophy!
This cute little antique plate was upcycled by Heart Vintage, and I bought it from her Etsy store. I love the wartime "Make Do and Mend" philosophy, and it's one I do try to stick to. Where better to display this than next to my sewing machine? I thought this antique advert for Tootal sheets was totally appropriate in my guest room, and I found it on eBay for a couple of pounds. There are loads of vintage and antique adverts to be snapped up for next to nothing on eBay, if you know what theme you are looking for.  
Antique Tootal advert
Of course, I still have work to do! Here is my work station at the moment. The old pine desk needs painted to tie in with the rest of the room, although I did re-upholster the seat using a scrap of fabric from my stash. Shelves need to go up to house my growing vintage fabric collection, and I still have a few pieces of art ready for the wall. Nevertheless, I love my room, and already I've spent far too many wonderful hours crafting away in it. 
Still a bit of work to be done!