Wow, there’s bit a lot of radio silence over here for the past few months! And that’s because I decided to take a step back and stop blogging here at Paper & Pin.
It was a decision I’d been thinking about for a while but it took a couple of ‘signs’ (my website breaking for one and a few other backend issues) to convince me that it really was time to step back and take stock. And I realised that while blogging for the past few years had been so rewarding, I’d come to a point where I’d achieved all the goals I set when starting Paper & Pin. I’d gotten everything I wanted from blogging and now it was starting to feel like work.
So I took a few months off and I can safely say that I’m all the better for it. Not having to worry about Instagram algorithms, Pinterest followers and all the other junk that comes with blogging has given me time to work on my own projects and get back to the love of craft and making that inspired this blog in the first place!
And while I miss sharing crafty ideas with all you wonderful people, it’s been such a pleasure to craft just for me without the pressure of making everything ‘blog worthy’.
So thank you all so much for your support and understanding. I’ll be leaving the blog and all my craft projects up so please continue to have a look around and get inspired. And you can still purchase copies of my book too!
Ok – picture this! You’ve got a big date or maybe a job interview and need an extra special addition to your perfect outfit. Well, why not whip up an adorbs DIY hama bead collar necklace? It’s quick and easy to put together and is the perfect way to create that perfect pop of colour! Hama bead jewellery for grown ups? Don’t mind if I do!
So grab your stash (or your kid’s stash!) of hama beads and get ready for a DIY jewellery sesh!
To make this beauty, you’ll need:
– Hama beads
– A circular hama bead template
– Baking paper
– Coloured twine
– Silver jump rings (more…)
How great are pin boards? I’m a huge fan! I love pinning up photos and bits and pieces that inspire me. So when I went to buy one at the beginning of the year, I was a little disappointed. They were all a bit too office-y and just… ugly! So, of course, I decided to whip up my own and add a little something special! With a coat of black board paint, I had an awesome DIY chalkboard pin board, perfect for to-do lists and doodling!
And guess what – you can make one too! It’s so easy! To get started, you’ll need:
– A cute frame (mine was roughly A3 size)
– Cork sheets (you can usually get them from the craft shop in A4 size)
– PVA glue
– Gesso primer (or white paint)
– Chalkboard paint
– Cute coloured paint
– Washi tape
Start by pulling your frame apart and removing the glass (we actually don’t need it anymore so you can stow it away for another project or carefully recycle it).
Now use your PVA glue to attach the cork sheets to the frame backing.
Once the glue is dry, hit the cork board with a coat of gesso primer – this will seal up the cork and make a smother surface for your chalk paint.
Once the gesso is dry, hit it with a few coats of chalkboard paint, making sure each coat is nice and dry before applying another.
While waiting for your paint to dry, you can add a little snazzy paint to your frame! Use your washi tape to mask off a design (I just did a simple diagonal line) and paint on some cute colour.
Once all the paint is dry, pop your frame back together. Now you’re ready to pin, sketch and list-write to your heart’s content!
My favourite kind of cards has always been pop-up (or even better, those pop up ones that play music!) but they’re always super expensive! $14 for a card? I don’t think so!
Instead, I thought I’d take my own advice and make a pop-up but realised that Valentine’s Day is literally just around the corner. Yikes, no time for that! So fter a quick stint back at the drawing board, I came up with this concertina heart card! Quick to whip up and with it’s nifty concertina unfolding, it’s bound to blow the socks off your squeeze!
To get started, you’ll need:
Watercolour paper + paints
First up, we’re going to get painty! Just grab a brush and go to town with your watercolours. The key is to be liberal with the water and load your brush up with heaps of paint, blending the colours together as you go to avoid hard edges.
While you’re waiting for the paint to dry, draw and cut out heart on some card (cereal boxes are great for this!) to use as a template. Then trace around this on the back of your painted sheet and cut out the hearts.
Once you’ve cut out all your hearts (I use 6 in total and also added some plain pink, but that’s completely up to you!), it’s time to use the split pins to attach them together! Stack the hearts on top of each other and join each one to the heart below it. As you go, the position of the split pin will swap from one side of the heart, creating a kind of heart accordion.
Once you’ve joined all the hearts together, you’re ready to add some twine.
Simply tie a knot in the end of a piece of twine and pop it on the back of the split pin on the open side of the front and back hearts.
It’s really as simple as that! Before you give the card away, wrap the twine around it and tie a cute little bow. And if you want to be super creative, make a huge string of heart that could double as bunting!
I’m totally an advocate for taking your craft out and about. It’s a great way to pass the time plus get inspired by your surroundings! I’ve been known to take knitting to the beach, stitching on the train and even crochet to the pub! But my fave would have to be crafting on holiday. Whenever I travel, I’m never without my journal and a project to work.
Over the years, I’ve even developed a few holiday craft rituals. A trip to Melbourne is never without a visit to Morris & Sons to pick up a ball of yarn for a new scarf. And car rides interstate are all about Triple J and crochet.
But don’t get me wrong, crafting on holiday can be perilous and a little planning in necessary because not every craft matches every situation. Here’s my fave craft projects to take on a trip!
Crochet – best for plane trips and beach holidays
Whenever I know I’m going to be sitting for a while, be it on a plane or on the beach, I always make sure to pack a crochet project. They’re great because they don’t demand too much of your attention (especially if your working on something familiar like granny squares) so you can still keep up a conversation or enjoy what’s happening around you. And all you need is some yarn and a hook, which fits perfectly in your hand luggage or beach bag! And don’t worry, I’ve travelled with crochet hooks heaps of times and haven’t ever had them confiscated at security. But if you are concerned, use a bamboo or plastic hook.
When choosing your project, remember that you don’t want to be lugging around a ton of yarn so a crochet kit like this one is just perfect! That way you know you’ve got just the right amount of materials and won’t have to madly dash to the craft shop when you’d rather be relaxing!
Knitting – best for winter getaways
Knitting can be a little more complex, especially if you’re working with a pattern that requires increasing/decreasing. So knit projects are best for chilled out holidays spent by a crackling fireside with a mug of hot chocolate. And as you stitch away, your ever-growing knit project also doubles as a toasty makeshift blanket! Hooray!
As I’m not a super skilled knitter, I definitely like to work from a pattern and kit when I travel, incase I find myself stuck without WIFI and can’t google myself out of a fix! Loving this snood kit from What Jane Knits!
Embroidery – best for long car/train rides and relaxing getaways
Embroidery is great because there’s so much variety! You’ve got different stitches, threads and colours wrapped up in one cute design, perfect for when you want to really buckle down and get into the detail of the design. I love taking some embroidery on car or train trips where I can spread out with all my threads or when I’m just taking a break and want to be distracted by some beautiful crafting! Such a wonderful, rewarding way to pass the time.
Journalling and scrapbooking – best for overseas travel
In my family, you simply don’t travel without a journal. It just doesn’t happen. When I’ve been overseas with my family, almost every evening is spent updating our journals with sketches, tickets, pictures and borchures from the day we’ve just had. And when I’m travelling along, I take my journal with me everywhere so I can whip it out at cafes and galleries when I’m feeling inspired. Once you get home, it’s so lovely to have a book full of memories you can flip through anytime you want to relive your trip!
Because I like to fill them with cut-outs and illustrations, my favourite journals are ring binders with good, thick paper (like this one!).
Do you love to craft on holiday? What’s your fave portable project?
But for reals, I am SO excited about these DIY crochet conversation hearts! Overall, I’m not really in to Valentine’s Day EXCEPT for all the kitschy nifty-gifties! I love the red velvety roses, those little plush bears holding hearts and heart shaped boxes of chocolates. It’s like for one day of the year we all forget what good taste is and live out a 1950s romantics dream. It’s too much fun!
But I think my favourite Val-Day kitschyness would definitely have to be conversation hearts, although weirdly I’ve never actually seen them in the flesh (I don’t think we have them in Australia?)! I love the pastel colours and daggy loved-up messages so of course I couldn’t let the 14th of Feb pass by without at least one conversation heart inspired DIY!
These plush little hearts are so easy to whip up (only two crochet stitches needed!) and are just so cute! Create a collection for that special someone, pop them on a keyring as a gift for your gal pals or just make one for yourself! To get started, you’ll need: (more…)
Today I’m super excited to be sharing a new wee e-course I’ve been working on! As you may already know, last year I put the finishing touches on my ebook ‘Make to Give’ (which you can see more of here!). This book is alllllll about handamde gift giving, a topic I’m quite passionate about!
See, the aim behind Paper & Pin and my craft practise in general is to get people making. Craft has had such a HUGE positive impact on my life and everyday I benefit from the relaxation, calm and pure joy it brings me. So rather than just sit at home and hoard all this crafty loveliness to myself, I try my best to spread the love with DIY projects, tips and inspiration!
And so with that in mind I’m so excited to be launching ‘Giving Handmade’ – a free 7 day e-course made to help you start your handmade gift giving journey!
But why handmade gifts? Well, from my chats with newbies I’ve noticed that a lot of people start crafting because they want to make something to mark an event. Like a crochet blanket for their new grandchild. Or a clothes for their kid’s birthdays. Or handmade jewellery for their friend. And I think that’s AWESOME because it totally goes along with my mantra of ‘share more craft!’ plus means that some people out there are receiving some really special gifts!
But I also realise that making gifts is kind of scary. What if it doesn’t work? Or I run out of time?! Don’t worry, I totally get it and I’ve been there! I realise it’s these fears that can often stop you from even starting a project, which is why I’ve decided to share all the tips, tricks and strategies I’ve developed over the years to make sure handmade gift giving is as easy and stress-free as it can be!
I see this e-course as kind of a companion piece to ‘Make to Give’, taking some of the best tips and tid bits from the book and delivering then to your inbox each day for a week! So, If you’re interested, all you have to do is sign up to my list here! If you’re already signed up (thanks for that!) but want to do the course as well, sign up here!
Each instalment covers a different part of the process, from planning to prep and actually starting a project! Don’t worry, there’s no long winded emails or homework, just crafty food for thought!
In honour of Australia Day, I’m reposting these cuties (first published in 2014). No matter how you feel about it, Aus Day is a day to spend with friends and family and enjoy some food and fun in the sun (and maybe a little craft as well!).
Ok, confession time – I love cake. All cake, any cake and at all times of day! Breakfast cake is a personal favourite, as is ‘pocket cake’ (that’s birthday cake wrapped in a napkin, stowed in a pocket and eaten on the way home from a party!). I obviously don’t have a specific favourite (it would be like asking me to pick a favourite child!) but I am especially partial to lamingtons! For any non-Australians reading, lamington’s are a piece of sponge dipped in chocolate icing and coated in dessicated coconut. Named after Lord Lamington, Governor of Queensland from 1896 – 1901, lamingtons are a delicious morning tea or afternoon snack and best served with a layer of fresh cream and jam in the middle. Too yum! So, in honour of this most delicious Australian delicacy, I decided to create a pair of adorable felt DIY lamington pincushions!
Yikes, Val-Day is almost upon us and I’m not sure how I feel about it… I mean, a day to get all loved up and give handmade cards? Awesome! But I’m not sure I’m a fan of all the pomp and frippery that comes with it. Overpriced roses? Weird set menus ‘for two’ at restauants? That’s not really my jam.
Generally, V-Day is an occasion to make a card for my boyfriend, maybe eat a whole box of chocolates and that’s generally it. I guess I’m more into the Galentine’s Day approach of showering your lady friends with love. So when I was thinking up Val-Day craft DIYs I wanted to make something that would be perfect for your bf/gf and bff and I think these felt love pennants really take the cake!
Made with felt and lines of stitching, these love pennants are the perfect nifty-gifty for your loved ones. Pop them on a stick or just pin them up around the place and feel the love!
To get started, we’ll need:
– Felt (A4 sized sheets are best)
– Embroidery thread (6 strand) + needle
– Water soluble marker or chalk pencil
– Wooden dowel
Start by cutting out your felt triangles. I made the top of mine 10cm wide and used the short edge of the felt as a guide for the length.
Then mark out your design using a chalk pencil or water-soluble marker. I LOVE water-soluble markers, I use them whenever I’m marking out an embroidery design. They stay nice and bright while you’re stitching and then come off easily with a spritz of water!
Now to start stitch your design! Thread up your needle with 3 strands of embroidery thread and make a knot in the end. You can outline in backstitch or my favourite, chain stitch. To start chain stitch, bring your needle up from the back.
Then reinsert the needle from the front next to the exiting thread and make a stitch, passing the thread under the point of the needle as it comes through. Passing the thread under the needle is what makes the loop of the chain so do’t forget!
Then pull the thread nice and tight and you’ve got a lovely little chain!
To continue, reinsert the needle from the front just outside the chain you just made, make a stitch and pass the thread under the needle point before you pull through. Then keep stitching away until your whole design is covered!
If you want to pop your pennant on a stick, just cut two strips of felt, fold them over to make tabs and secure with a few quick stitches.
Ah so much cuteness! Your pennant is now ready to give to whoever your heart desires!
Welcome to the first DIY of 2016! Woooo! And for my first installments, I bring you these folk art inspired chalkboard coasters! Remember folk art? My mum was a HUGE fan back in the 90s and to this day there’s still folk art painted mirrors and furniture in my family home. For a while it seemed kinda daggy but I don’t know, I think it might be getting a revival. After all, everything 90s is new again!
Covered with chalkboard paint, these coasters will not only protect your table from icky watermarks but can also have messages written on them! So you can use them as place cards at a dinner party or just to write little love notes to friends and family over breaky. Cute, quick and easy – let’s get cracking!
To get started, you’ll need:
– MDF coaster rounds
– Chalkboard paint
– White-base acrylic paint (I’ll explain why below)
– Paintbrushes (fat and thin)
To start, cover your coasters with a coat of chalkboard paint. They’re all a little different, so make sure to follow the directions on your tin. And some varieties are oil-based so if yours is remember you’ll need mineral turpentine to clean your brushes!
Once you’ve applied a few coats and your coasters are fully dry, it’s time to crack out the folk art! I went for super simply options (I am a novice after all!) and just used a thin brush to make different strokes. Hearts are easy – just make two brush strokes coming towards each other in a triangle. And for the flowers (are they flowers? Let’s call them abstract…) I just combined brush strokes in pink and added some green to give the effect of leaves.
As I mentioned above, you’ll want to use paint with a white base to ensure it shows up on the black, otherwise you’ll have to do a bunch of coasts. So pastels are perfect for this project!
And that’s it! You’re done! Now you just have to bust out the chalk and pop some words on these cuties!