What to do when you're not working | paperandpin.com

Freelance Savvy: What to do when you’re not working

What to do when you're not working | paperandpin.com
It’s been a while since I posted a ‘Freelance Friday‘ update. But luckily, in all that time I’ve been freelancing my bum off so I’ve gathered up heaps of tips and tricks along the way! And I’ve decided that, while alliteration is fun, Friday isn’t really a great day to be thinking about business – we should be winding down for the weekend! So now ‘Freelance Friday’ will be known as ‘Freelance Savvy’ and you’ll find it on a Tuesday! Hooray!

The reality of freelancing is that you’re going to have large chunks of downtime, which can be kind of awesome! When I first started freelancing, I’d felt like I’d been handed a giant holiday. I slept in, took long-lunches and generally chilled out. But then reality of no longer receiving a regular pay-check settled in and I realised I had to start doing some work!

By work, I don’t necessarily mean paid and contracted jobs. A huge part of freelancing is maintaining your business – I’m talking things like invoicing, training and general admin. These are the kind of tasks you tackle between jobs so that you’re always ready for the next project.

And keeping busy not only helps build your business, it also is a great way to keep the freelance-anxiety and out-of-work blues at bay. Plus, working during your downtime is a great to maintain a regular schedule. So instead of re-watching Game of Thrones, here are my go-to tasks to tackle while not working!

Spruce up your CV
We’ve all been guilty of the CV-update mad dash – you know, that manic scramble to add a years worth of projects to your CV in the time it takes to reply to a ‘can you send me your CV?’ email. Or is that just me? Either way, this one’s a no brainer! (more…)

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!


DIY Washi-lined Envelopes!

I’ve got to admit, I don’t send many letters. I’m definitely more of a text-message kind of gal (who wouldn’t be with all the endless emoji possibilities!?). But when I do send a letter, I like to make it extra special. I’m talking hand-made cards, scented pens and an envelope full of sequins! I like the idea of opening up a regular looking envelope and being greeted with an fab surprise, which is where these DIY washi-lined envelopes come in! With just a little bit of careful cutting and a few lines of washi, you can spruice up any piece of snail mail!

Like craft and DIYs? Check out my project gallery!

To begin, you’ll need:
– A regular envelope
– All your favourite washi tapes
– Scissors
(yep, that’s all you need!)

Start by carefully cutting the envelope so it lies flat. A few gentle snips down the join of the bottom flaps should do the trick! (more…)

DIY Hama Bead Bunting

DIY Hama Bead Bunting

DIY Hama Bead Bunting

So recently I shared my love of Hama beads (or fab off-brand IKEA ‘Pyssla’ beads) but lately, my obsession has grown to new heights with this colourful and oh-so-cute DIY Hama bead bunting! Now, fair warning, arranging the beads into these cute chevron stripes does take some time but there’s definitely something cathartic about it and the final product is worth the time!

So, to begin, you’ll need:
– Hama beads (or IKEA ‘Pyssla’ beads will definitely do the trick!)
– A large square pegboard
– An iron
– Baking/greaseproof paper
– Baker’s twine
– A darning needle (more…)


Kid’s craft – Easter Egg Bunny Hugs!


I really love buying Easter eggs. Almost more than I love eating them (but not quite!). I love making up little hampers and gifting them to friends and family. I think I got this from my mum, who always went all out for Easter. She’d make my sisters and I gorgeous baskets and packages complete with handwritten notes from ‘the Easter Bunny’ (so sneaky!) which we’d find at the end of our beds on Easter morning. I even remember one epic Easter egg hunt she and my aunt organised at my cousins farm – think ‘The Famous Five’ mixed with a Cabury’s ad. It was just the best!

So when the lovely ladies over at Bloesom blog asked me to whip up some Easter craft, I knew it had to be chocolate egg related. And what better gift-wrapping for an choccy egg than a hug? And so these DIY Easter Egg Bunny Hugs were born! These little fellows are super easy to whip up so once the school hols set in, round up the kiddos and get a production line happening! (more…)

Make Together – Paper Flowers

For the next installment of ‘Make Together’ (a regular feature here on Paper & Pin focused on craft projects that you can and the kid’s can practice side by side) I’m looking at paper flowers! So let’s hop to it and make together!

Need more big and little craft projects? See previous installments of ‘Make Together’ here!

I love paper flowers, there’s something so gorgeous about replicating nature in the bold, graphic medium of paper. And this paper peony from The Elli Blog is no exception! This flower is a little complicated but The Elli Blog’s tutorial features a ton of photos and is super easy to follow so definitely give it a go. The final product would look gorgeous as part of a paper flower bouquet, as a statement decor on gift wrapping or even just on it’s own!

And while you’re crafting up a storm with your peony, you can get the kids started on this gorgeous tissue paper wisteria garland by Honest to Nod!  The delicate flowers are easily made with a little bit if cutting, twisting and thread and the little ones will enjoy seeing them grow into a stunning garland.

For more kid’s craft ideas, check out my pinterest board!



DIY 15 Minute Colour Block Necklace

DIY 15 Minute Colour Block Necklace

Hello and Happy DIY day (otherwise known to non-crafty people as Wednesday…)! This week, I’m bringing you something quick and easy to add a lil’ colour to your wardrobe with my DIY 15 minute colour block necklace!

The whole geomtric-trend that’s happening at the moment is definitely one of my faves. I just can’t get enough of triangles and right-angles, they just look so lovely and clean! So when I saw these square wooden pieces, I just knew I had to make a necklace! And what better way to decorate wooden beads than with a lil’ colour blocking! This DIY involves some very, very simple drilling and painting but should take no time at all and you’ll be rocking your new necklace in no time at all!

Check out more fun craft projects in my project gallery!

Time: 15 minutes (excluding drying time)

– Pre-cut wooden squares (you can find these at more hardware stores or you could just buy some dowl and cut your own!)
– Acrylic paint and brushes
– Washi tape (or just regular masking tape!)
– Waxed cotton cord
– Dremel or drill




How to finish craft projects


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 Paper Fruit Straws | paperandpin.com

DIY Paper Fruit Straws

DIY Paper Fruit-Straws | Paper & Pin

Do you ever find your drink a little under-dressed? I certainly do, especially if I’m drinking a cocktail. A cocktail should LOOK like a cocktail, you know? Like how you always imagined them when you were a kid – about 20 centimeters tall, covered in mini umbrellas and graduating shades of orange and red. YUM! I remember the first time I actually bought a cocktail I was kind of disappointed – no mini umbrella and no change from $20. What is this?!

Want more party craft? Check these out!

With that in mind, today’s DIY paper fruit straws are all about adding that extra little bit of kitsch that every drink just needs. Perfect for cocktails, mocktails or maybe just your morning OJ? I popped one in an iced tea today and felt very special! So mix yourself something nice, pump some Beach Boys and let’s do this! (more…)

Make Together! – Weaving projects for parents and kids

Today is definitely a happy Friday because I’m launching my latest feature ‘Make Together’, which is all about projects and techniques that adults and kids can practice side by side.

When I was growing up, my sisters and I always wanted to join in with my mum’s craft projects so she would give us simplified versions of what she was making. If mum was quilting, we’d work on a little doll’s quilt. Or if mum was painting some folk-art (oh man, remember folk art? How great were the 90s?), we’d paint up some of those mini papier-mache boxes. This way, we were kept busy (and out of mum’s hair!) while learning some new skills. Better than plonking us in front of the TV, right?

weaving projects for parents and kids
So, to start us off, I’ve gathered some weaving projects for parents and kids. I’m absolutely crazy about handmade woven rugs at the moment – I can’t wait to have a spare moment so I can start one! Which is why I love My Poppet’s braided t-shirt rug because it’s got that woven look but is a simpler, quicker braided variation. You won’t need to too much time or have to make up a loom but you will need a sewing machine.

And while you’re making your rug, you can set the kids up with some cardboard loom weaving from Art Bar Blog! This project is great for building fine motor skills and when they’re done, you’ll have some adorable kid-made wall hangings!