Friday, 21 November 2014

Psst: It's Renegade this Weekend!

It's almost time for one of my very favourite events: The Renegade Craft Fair.

I was very sad to miss the first London fair back in 2011, but have been for the past couple of years and can report that Renegade is a big room full of AWESOME.

Over 200 fabulously talented designers, artists and makers will be selling their wonderful wares... and there will be crafty workshops running, too. If you're in or near London this weekend and want to kick off your Christmas shopping or just treat yourself to some handmade loveliness, I highly recommend it!

You can read about my visit to last year's fair HERE and find all the info about this year's fair HERE.

P.S. If you spot me at the fair, spending aaaaall my money, please do say hi :)

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Busy Busy

You know you are busy when your To Do list is actually a To Do chart!

The chart on the left was for deadline #1 (met on Friday), the chart on the right is for deadline #2 (today).

I have a To Do list, too, but I love using charts like this to break down all the different steps I need to complete when working on freelance projects. Ticking off each step one by one is very satisfying and gives you an easy at-a-glance overview of how a big project is progressing and what tasks you need to do next.

After hitting the "publish" button on this post I'll be finishing up the last few bits for deadline #2, drawing templates and making prototypes for deadline #3, then ordering some supplies for deadline #4. It's nice to be busy but there's lots to do!

All this work behind the scenes sadly makes for boring blogging as I can't show you what I'm making, and I've been so busy that the only non-deadline-related creative stuff I've been doing lately is a bit of colouring in to unwind and relax at the end of a hectic day. Please bear with me! :)

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Meet My Sponsors: November

Time to meet my current blog sponsors!

Blooming Felt sells 100% wool felt sheets, colourful fairtrade felt craft supplies like felt flowers and felt purses, plus other crafty goodness including buttons, ribbons, flat pad findings, glue, embroidery floss, craft books and fabric:

At Story Box you can create personalised gifts by filling a 3D frame with mini objects to represent a friend or loved one, or to celebrate a special occasion:

Big Fish sells lots of colourful buttons and felt balls, as well as other craft supplies like pins, ribbons and mini embroidery hoops:

At It's Organised you'll find printable gift boxes for sale, plus lots of free crafty ideas and tutorials:

AnnyMay Craft Supplies specialise in eco friendly, natural and colourful supplies, and all their orders are shipped in eco friendly packaging. You can get 10% off your order from AnnyMay's Etsy shop or website with the coupon code BUGSANDFISHES (ends 1st December).

Asking for Trouble sells illustrated stationery, accessories and gifts featuring cute characters inspired by Japanese kawaii:

Cloud Craft sell 100% wool felt and modern needlework supplies like buttons, thread, wooden stitching shapes, trims, and stitching kits:

At Joe's Toes you'll find thick wool felt, punched felt shapes, kits and supplies for making things like wool felt & leather slippers, iPad cases and luggage tags... plus colourful socks made from recycled cotton:

Illustrator and printmaker Debbie Greenaway creates cards, notebooks and jewellery featuring her drawings:

And at Marc's Treasure Basket you'll find loads of ideas for creative, crafty projects to do with your kids, plus lots of fun kids fashion finds:

P.S. Interested in promoting your shop, company or blog? Ad spaces on my blog start from just $5 for 30 days (that's currently about £3.20!) and I offer a 25% discount if you buy 3 consecutive months (90 days) of ad space at once. Your site will feature in a sponsor post like this one and I also give new sponsors a shout out over on my Facebook page.

Click here for more info re: rates and my blog's traffic, and to buy an ad.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Review: The 1000 Dot-to-Dot Book: Masterpieces

You guys know how much I love colouring books... well, I was delighted to be sent something similarly fun to review: a fancy dot-to-dot book!


The 1000 Dot-to-Dot Book: Masterpieces by Thomas Pavitte contains dot-to-dot pictures just like the ones you used to have fun doing when you were a kid... except each picture is much more detailed, containing 1000 numbered dots to join up.

The 20 pictures in this book are exactly what you'd expect from the title - dot-to-dot versions of famous works of art like Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring and Van Gogh's Sunflowers. Books featuring portraits, animals and cityscapes are also available in the same series.


This is a big, poster-sized book - I've included a pen in the photo below to give you an idea of the scale - and with such detailed pictures it has to be.

The numbering for each dot is kept small, and are printed in different colours to help you more easily find the numbers you're looking for (e.g. 1-199 might be in black, then 200-300 in green). The first dot is marked with a star to help you find it, then you just follow along from 1-1000, joining each dot one by one until the picture appears.

A test page is helpfully included so you can test out your pen before starting one of the pictures...

... and there's a guide at the back of the book showing which pattern of dots forms which picture, so you know which artwork you're drawing.


The pages are perforated, so you can tear them out when you've finished... but actually I found it easiest to tear out the page I was working on so I had a totally flat surface to draw on. The tear-out pages would also make this book an easy thing to share among your family or friends for a group dot-to-dot drawing session.

I drew Frida Kahlo's self portrait, because Frida is awesome.

Because of the size of these pictures, you can't do them on your lap while sitting on the sofa which is where I like to curl up with a stack of colouring books. You also need good light to see the small numbers!

I am apparently quite slow at doing dot-to-dot pictures as according to the book each picture takes about half an hour to do but mine took me well over an hour (though, to be fair, I was watching a film at the same time). Here's how the finished picture turned out:

I did get a bit of a crick in my neck from leaning over the large paper to see the numbers (perhaps I need my eyes testing, but I found them quite hard to see) so I'd recommend making sure you sit up and stretch when working on these. 

Apart from that though, I found this a very enjoyable way to while away an hour or so. Just like colouring in, completing these pictures is an absorbing and relaxing process and it's a lot of fun watching the picture gradually emerge from the pattern of dots. I'm looking forward to working my way through the rest of the pictures in the book... and maybe even colouring them in afterwards!

The 1000 Dot to Dot Book: Masterpieces is published by The Ilex Press. RRP £9.99. It's available from Amazon UK, Amazon USA and many other bookshops.

Please note: the publisher sent me a free review copy of this book. The Amazon links in this post are affiliate links. 


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