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Taking a (long!) break.

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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!

Happy making xx

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DIY Christmas Treat Pocket Banner!

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Christmas is well and truly here guys and that means I officially have permission to combine two of my favourite things – festive decoration and treats! Hooray!

Originally this DIY started as an idea for an advent calendar but then I thought ‘wait a minute! I want treats all the time!’. And so it transformed into DIY Christmas Treat Pocket Banner! Every letter is a little hiding place of delicious Christmas sweets and, better yet, it’s made from wrapping paper which (if you’re anything like me!) you’ve probably got a ton of left over from last year! I like the think this is the perfect banner for a Christmas party because as soon as there’s a lull in the conversation or a classic Christmas party awkward moment you can easily distract yourself with a treat and make everything better! Also, it makes for the easiest and most satisfying scavenger hunt ever!

To get started, you’ll need:
– Wrapping paper
– White card
– Scissors
– Baker’s twine (white and festive red!)
– Tape
– This template
– A sewing machine + thread
– All your fave Christmas treats (best to get things that are thin, like candy canes and choc Santas, so you can be certain they’ll fit!)

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Start by printing out this template onto A4 sheets of white card then just roughly cut around each letter, leaving a 1cm or so margin.

DIY-Christmas-Treat-Pocket-Banner-step2The cut a corresponding piece of wrapping paper for each letter. Again, don’t worry about cutting carefully, everything will get a nice trim later!

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Once you’ve got all your pieces cut out, it’s time to stitch them up!

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When you’re stitching, you want the right sides of each piece of paper to face out. So the pattern of the wrapping paper and the printed side of card should both be on the outside! Then stitch just inside the printed black line. Make sure to only stitch around the sides and bottom, leaving the top open for your treats.

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Trim each shape along the printed line then attach a loop of red baker’s twine to the back of each letter. Once you’ve strung the letters onto a long piece of baker’s twine you’re ready to pop a treat in each letter. Then simply attach the banner to a wall and you’re ready to enjoy some seriously delicious festive cheer!

If you give this DIY a crack, don’t forget to share with #madewithpaperandpin so I can follow along! Love seeing your crafty goodness!

 

Hoop Art Gift cards!

Make to Give launch + KITS!

Hoop Art Gift cards!

Hey dears! Guess what! It’s all happening! Make to Give is coming out this week!

Well, actually technically it’s coming out next week on Monday the 21st. But whatever! And so if you’ve noticed a bit of radio silence over here at Paper & Pin it’s because I’m in the midst of the final push to get everything finished and looking FAB!

And to celebrate the launch of Make to Give, I’ve put together an extremely limited edition collection (there’s only 25!) of Hoop Art Give Card kits! These cute mini hoops fit perfectly into a envelope and are perfect when you want to send something a little more special than just a regular ol’ card! In the book, I provide some adorable custom designs and take you through each step so even if you’ve never picked up a needle or thread I promise you’ll ACE IT!

The kits are only an extra $6.00 (plus postage!) so for $19.95 you get 40+ pages of craft fun AND everything you need to get started on your handmade gift giving adventure! Head over to the Paper & Pins shop to secure your copy + kit because they’re going to fly!

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Head + Heart – June 2015

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Yikes, is it Friday already? What a week! It’s been a little bit manic here at Paper and Pin HQ and I can’t believe this is the first chance I’ve gotten to whack together a blog post! And because we’re enjoying the first few days of July, I thought I’d write a ‘Head and Heart’ post. Head and Heart was started by the wonderful Helen of Lime Tree Bower and is aimed at helping bloggers stop and reflect, something I definitely need right now! So, here goes Head + Heart for June!

What I’ve been grateful for –

Yowza, June was a really big month! So big, I’m having to flick back through my diary to remember all the things that happened! I had a couple of fabulous ‘firsts’, including my first event styling (the wonderful Knit Picnic for my sister Caitlin’s knitware label Raglan St Wears) and my first blogging award nomination (Voices of 2015!).  I’m also grateful for all the new friendships and connections I’ve made over the past month. I’m lucky enough to have joined up with some super cool gals for a regular debreif/accountability meeting. Every week (or so!) Agi of From the Table Top, Jo of Busy Babes and Betty Brooch, Caitlin and and I meet and swap our trials and tribulations over a coffee. It can be a struggle carving out the time but boy oh boy it’s worth it!

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What I’ve been thinking about –

Oh man, so much! That’s the thing about working for yourself and being a killer biz lady – there’s no one to tell you what to do! And it’s not like ‘craft blogger/maker/designer/stylist/workshop host/general DIY-er’ is an established progression. So I’m really just making it up as I go along and that can lead to a whooooole lot of second guessing and confusion. This month, I’ve been occupied by thoughts of how best to grow not only my blog but myself as a designer and maker. Should I focus on making a product base? Am a blogging to much? Or not enough? Do I need to ‘niche down’? Is my personal brand and style clear? + all the usual blog-envy and general ‘should I just throw it all in and get a ‘real’ job?’ feelings. Urgh, it’s tiring to say the least so I’m just trying to focus on following my gut and doing what feels right at the time.

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What I’m excited for –

Today I’m actually very excited because two of the projects I’ve been working on all year are finally up and running! The first is Craft on Delivery, which had it’s inaugural edition this month (C.O.D is a subscription box of craft fun delivered to your door, incase you don’t know!) and I’ve got to say, I did have the BEST time packing up all those lil’ crafty boxes! The next instalment for July is all about crochet (one of my most fave past times!) and is already set to be super cute. I even made an unboxing video! Check it out! :) (and head here to learn more about C.O.D!)

And I’m also over excited because my first Wool School workshop with Caitlin of Raglan St Wears is TOMORROW! I’m actually putting the finishing touches on my crochet kits as we speak and can’t wait to get my craft on! Don’t worry, I’ll share a TON of pics!

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What I’ve been doing –

Since taking up blogging full time, craft has definitely transitioned from a hobby to a job. And don’t get me wrong, I still love it but I can’t remember the last time I made something that wasn’t for a blog post. Which is why I’m so happy to be working on a crochet and knit blanket for Wrap with Love! Once finished, this blanket will be sent to cold climates and given to those in need. It’s so nice to be working on something that doesn’t have a deadline and doesn’t have to look ‘blog ready’. And I’ve been having fun experimenting with different stitches and techniques.

What I’ve been reading –

A dear friend gave me Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall for my birthday and I’ve been reading it ever since. I really am thankful because this broke what had been a pretty serious book drought. I just spend way too much time reading blogs these days!

Well, that’s June! Now here’s to July!

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Paper & Pin reader survey!

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Hello wonderful people! Today I’m asking a little favour – would you fill out this survey? See, I’ve got so so many ideas about how I want to grow Paper & Pin but I’d love to know what you think so I can make sure I’m moving in the right direction. And I’d just love to get to know you a little better so I can make sure the content I post is rocking your socks!

PLUS by entering, you go into the draw to win one of my handmade crochet watermelon coin purses!

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I promise it’s a super quick survey,only 16 questions and mainly multi-choice! You can find the survey below (just scroll through and hit submit!) or here. Thanks so much!

 

5 top ways to get kids crafting

5 top ways to get kids crafting!

5 top ways to get kids crafting
Is it just me, or did this round of school holidays roll by super quick (a resounding ‘hell yea!’ from all the parents in the room? Or were they not short enough?!)? I know I’m a little old to be caring about the length of hols but for me, they mean one pretty special thing: school holiday craft workshops!

Oh boy, I just LOVE teaching kid’s craft! It’s always so bright and colourful and way more fun than grown-up craft. As a kid, I was a little craft obsessed (a fact that was definitely encouraged by my super-crafty mum!) and these days, I still love painting, cutting and gluing as much as your average 6 year old.

Need some kid’s craft ideas? Check these out?

Apart from being a total blast, craft has some pretty great benefits. It helps build fine motor skills (all that drawing and snipping!), encourages creativity and imaginative thinking and gets the kiddos away from those pesky screens! But unfortunately, not all kids are as enthusiastic about makin’ things as I was (and still am!). Luckily, in my time as a kid’s craft teacher, I’ve picked up some pretty great tricks – so here’s my 5 top ways to get kids crafting!

1. Link craft activities to favourite shows/movies/games – If you struggle to get kids out from in front of the TV/computer, consider activities based around their favourite shows and games. A couple of easy examples include pixel-style Minecraft portraits (just cut out small squares of coloured paper and let the kids go crazy!), felt tiaras a-la Frozen and Lego still-lifes (create an awesome Lego scene then draw it!).

2. Make a toy! We all love the idea of making something for ourselves and kids are no different. So why not have some fun with felt and make some cute toys to play with? When kids know they’re making something they get to keep and play with, it’s amazing to see how much more care and consideration they’ll put in.

3. Make it messy! Kids love making a mess. And lets be honest, so do adults! So get a little messy with your craft – splat some paint (or maybe even finger paint!), break out the tie-dye or get creative with some glue and fun sticky things!

4. If you can’t beat them, join them. A lot of the complaints I hear from parents is their children’s obsession with their ipad. Well, instead of trying to get kids off the screens, why not combine them with craft? For instance, my felt ipad DIY is aimed at getting kids to imaginatively create their own version of an ipad! Or why not consider making some awesome cardboard computers or constructing a real-life ‘Minecraft’ paper craft landscape. This way, the kids will still feel like they’re playing with their favourite tech gadget while building craft skills at the same time – sneaky, right?

5. Cajole, cajole, cajole! Kids, like all humans really, will always want to take the easy way out. If I had a dollar for every time a kid asked me ‘can’t you just do it for me?’… But don’t give in! Just keep suggesting, encouraging and yes, cajoling. My favourite reply is ‘you try first and then I’ll help if you need it’. This way, they give it a go, totally succeed and forget they ever wanted help in the first place!

Do you have any great tips for getting crafty with kids? I’d love to know your tips for my next workshop!

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How to finish craft projects

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Ok, so I’m kind of an expert at not finishing projects but I know I’m not alone here! Unfortunately, it’s just one of those thing that comes with the territory; as soon as you start a craft project, you’ll be cruising pinterest and something cuter will catch your eye. Or the season will change and suddenly that crochet dress you were making gets packed away in favour of a crochet scarf. We’ve all been there and we all know the guilt that comes with unfinished projects. Well, no more! Here are a few simple tricks that I’m trying to incorporate into my craft practice in order to finish what I start!

1. Make things for other people

I find having a deadline plus making a commitment to someone else really gives me a kick in the pants when it comes to finishing projects. So, if you’re making simply for the joy of the craft process, find someone to gift the finished product to. And if you tell them you’re making them something, you’ll feel accountable to getting it to them in a timely manner. Plus, they might even give you a few handy reminders every so often! (more…)

DIY Washi Tape Word Garland | paperandpin.com

DIY Washi Tape Word Garland!

DIY Washi Tape Word Garland | paperandpin.com

Over Christmas, I shared my super cute ‘Merry Christmas’ washi-tape garland with you lovely people. Well, truth be told, I only recently took it down (I had it hanging over my desk!). It was just too cute, I wanted to leave it up all year round! And so rather than have a big empty garland-sized gap, I decided to create a new DIY Washi Tape Word Garland. This way, I (and you!) will be able to create cute banners for every occasion! These little guys look adorable as cake toppers or just as a part of party decor – check this post out for some inspiration!

Like DIYs? Check out my project gallery!

Materials:
– Lots of cute washi tape (this project is a great way to use up your stash!)
My washi-alphabet garland template (click here to download)
– Twine (I used awesome fluro brick-layer’s twine!)
– Scissors
– Glue (a glue stick or craft glue works well)

DIY Washi Tape Word Garland | paperandpin.com

To make the garland, simply print out the template and cover the letters you need in washi tape. Get creative and experiment with creating different patterns and combinations – I love the diagonal look! (more…)

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Hello and welcome to Paper and Pin!

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Well, that’s what they say at least! And for me, a change was definitely in order!

Since early 2013, I’ve been sharing my craft and DIY projects over at lauraimurray.com. Recently, what started out as just a fun hobby has turned into something more and some issues have arisen. Sharing my blog alongside my portfolio and design showreel just wasn’t really working; it felt clunky and squished, like I was trying to get too much out of my poor little website!

So I decided 2015 was the year to take the plunge and rebrand my craft blog as Paper and Pin! I’ve been madly tinkering away, trying to get this new site up and running and there’s definitely a few creases still to iron out (if you find any, chuck me a comment so I can fix ’em!). But I’m so excited to be able to create this lil’ online nook solely dedicated to empowering my creative-minded readers (that’s you!) to get out there and get creating! And I can’t wait to start sharing projects and DIYs with you all once again!

All my previous content now lives here and my mailing list, facebook, pinterest and twitter are all remaining the same. However, I do have a new instagram so check that out for blog updates and crafty cuteness!

Much love and happy makin’!
Talk soon,
Laura.

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Make it! DIY Felt Pom Pom and Crochet Garland!

DIY Felt Pom Pom and Crochet GarlandI was recently gifted a large supply of wool roving (I know, so exciting!) and the first thing that sprung to mind was felted balls. I just LOVE all the different sized felt balls you can buy at craft shops (Lucello in Melbourne has an exceptional selection) and had always wanted to give making them a go. And then, of course, I had to figure out what to do with them. Enter this DIY felt pom-pom and crochet garland! Crocheting the baker’s twine gives this garland a little something extra, plus it keeps the pom-poms perfectly spaced. And don’t worry, it’s super simple, even for beginners!

Like this DIY? Find more here!

materialsMaterials:
– Wool roving
– Baker’s twine
– Film canister or similar small container
– Warm, soapy water
– 3mm crochet hook
– Large doll marking needle (or any needle with a very large eye)
– Scissors (more…)