Trying to be Organised – Filofax Pen Holder

Filofax Pen Holder Header

I have been trying to work out a tutorial for a pen holder to fit on the front of the personal sized Filofax that is my planner for this year.

Inspired by Pinterest (as usual!) I am trying to colour code things and that means carrying several colours of pens, plus a pencil and a Sharpie (so I can write on top of washi tape).

Final Seat Cover-1

As you can see I have produced something that works and I am trying it out for a while to see that it is robust enough to survive my handbag (aka the “black hole”) and also trying to iron out a couple of the not so pretty aspects that I am not happy with.

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Hopefully it is something that will interest you guys and you will check back in to see the full tutorial?

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Crocheted Office Seat Cover

This project has been a long time in the making! You may have seen it feature in my post on Travel Crafting or featured fairly often on my Instagram account (usually with my cat sitting on it so that I am unable to work on it!)

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Anyway, it is a Granny Square, crocheted seat cover for my office chair.  I found the pattern for the initial Granny square online (if I can ever find the link I will update this post to share it!) and then I worked the rest out as I went along.

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It has been unpicked and re-done more times than any other project I have attempted and I have to say I am pleased with the result.  I know it is not quite a perfect fit but it is comfortable, fun and happy.  I am happy to call that a result.

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Happy New Year, Happy New Office – IKEA Tupplur Blind Hack

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As of this week I am officially self employed (picture me dancing around the house like an extra from “Mamma Mia”!) and my home office is gradually being transformed into an inspiring and happy place.

As the office will occasionally need to be a spare bedroom for little visitors we decided on a TUPPLUR black out blind  from IKEA (it works and it’s reasonably priced).  However it looks VERY dull. I was inspired by some block printed bedding featured in the book “Happy Handmade Home” by those amazing girls from A Beautiful Mess.  The point of this post is not so much to tell you step by step, there are loads of posts out there that do that (for example this one, again by ABM), but to share a few cheats (and lessons) that may make your experiences of block printing stress free!

What kit did I use?

Block Printed Blind Kit

  • 3 x A4 craft foam sheets (if I did this again I would double this to 6, I will explain why later).
  • An old cardboard box (heavy brown cardboard)
  • Double sided tape
  • Scissors
  • Craft knife, metal cutting edge and cutting mat
  • Acrylic Craft Paints (I used 7 different colours)
  • A Sharpie or other pen that will write on the foam without rubbing off.
  • Paintbrushes (one of each colour paint you are using)
  • Paper Plates
Tip #1

I would use a double layer of craft foam for each shape next time.  As I was nervous about the cardboard edges dipping into the paint and smudging the outline of the shape (because of this I used paintbrushes to apply the paint to the stamp, rather than dipping it in!)

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Tip #2

I used double sided tape to secure the foam to the cardboard.  It did the job really well and and I did not have to wait for it to dry!

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Tip #3

If you are doing a repeat pattern (as I did) and things need to line up make sure that the border of cardboard around your foam is the same width on at least one side.  I didn’t and made my own life much harder!

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Tip #4

Make the foam shape approx 1/2 a centimetre smaller than you want the finished size of the print to be.

I didn’t.  I just worked out that 7 triangles fitted into the width of the blind and cut them accordingly.  This meant that by the time I had printed and lined up my prints I ended up with the last triangle spilling off the edge of the blind.  Not what I was going for!

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Tip #5

I achieved the quite random arrangement of the colours by starting each new row with the middle colour of the row before.  I meant that I didn’t end up with diagonal rows of one colour that looked too orderly.

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Tip #6

Print on a flat surface! I discovered that once these blinds are up you cannot take them down without breaking them. Printing with them in situ did not get the best finish and was a bit tricky!

Tip #7

Use paper plates to put the paint on.  Less washing up!

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Whilst there are parts that I would do differently and improve on I am really please with the result and enjoy the fact that it cheers up my day whilst I am working.

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Remembrance Poppies

I have loads of things on the go at the moment and nothing finished.  It is getting frustrating!  I was badly in need of a quick win when a work colleague admired the beautiful crocheted Poppy that Boffin had bought me.  As they had to be pre-ordered I knew of no way to get her one in time for the 11th November.

Remembrance Poppy FInal

I turned to the internet and found this lovely pattern.  Some scraps of wool and an hour later I had made her a Poppy.  I was thrilled because something was finished, she was thrilled because she had a lovely hand made Poppy to wear! She is going to make a donation to the Poppy appeal for this one.

Spooky Sweeties for Halloween

We’re not much for celebrating Halloween in our house.  We no longer have small children and my husband and I never “Trick or Treated” as kids (him because he lived in the middle of nowhere and me because I lived in a big city where the process turned VERY nasty).

We now live in a medium /large village where “Trick or Treating” is done beautifully. Parents accompany their kids, it is about sweets and treat (not money) and they never call at a house unless you have a carved Pumpkin outside your front door.  Because to this I wanted to get more in the spirit this year.

I saw a tutorial on “A Beautiful Mess” a couple of weeks ago for Lollipops made to look like ghosties that was really sweet (If you haven’t had a roam around “ABM” take a look, it is my all time favourite blog, completely inspiring and very beautiful!)

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I  decided  to tweak the idea a bit for some cute things to give to our little visitors on the 31st .  Using fabric felt a bit wasteful as it would be discarded by the little cherubs in thirty seconds flat and little hands would struggle with undoing knots.

Underneath are lollipops.  I used tissues, half a pipe cleaner wrapped around and bent into reaching “arms” and a felt tip pen for the faces.

Can’t wait for Halloween to give them out!

Home Made Planner Dividers – Getting Organised Step One

Home Made Planner Dividers

I’ve been slowly chipping away at getting organised. and one of the things I am doing is putting together my own diary for next year.  I have purchased a “Dodo PersonalPOD” folder that is the same size as a personal filofax.

Home Made Planner Dividers

I am in the process of working out what sections I want the planner to have but I have settled a few things already;

  • Separate sections for each month with a monthly planner in.
  • More detailed pages for each month that can be put in and removed so that there are no more than three months in there in detail.
  • Bright, cheerful and inspiring.
  • Hard-wearing.

Home Made Planner Dividers

“Molly Makes” issue number 45 had some really lovely free papers in it and I had seen to pictures of American planners that had a lot of inspirational quotes in them (I’m a sucker for a prettily presented inspiring quote) and I wanted to copy that.

I decided to make my own monthly dividers with pretty backgrounds that I would find cheerful and inspiring.  I found some inspirational quotes on Pinterest and printed them out onto photo paper.

I used a computer graphics programme to draw out simple divider shapes and I used a font that I liked to write in the name of the months.  I then cut the papers to fit my printer and printed straight onto them.

Home Made Planner Dividers

Gluing the quotes onto the front, cutting the dividers out, laminating them and hole punching them gave me tough and cheerful dividers.  The whole process took about three hours and I now have a computer file for the dividers that I can use to make dividers for other areas of the planner.

A win/win in my book ;-)  Mollie Makes #46 is out now with more free papers.  Time to get my thinking cap on!

The 10 Best Things About The Handmade Fair 2014

As regular readers will know I spent last weekend as a volunteer at the first ever “Handmade Fair”.  The idea was to offer a huge crafty “get together” for crafters and non-crafters alike to learn from each other, share ideas and embrace the amazing feeling that crafting gives you.

What were the best things about this amazing event? It is very hard to even know where to start. In no particular order…

(Please excuse the photo quality but the iPhone was the most practical thing to carry with me as I dashed around!)

#One – The People

There were the most amazing people in attendance.  I was manning the information point inside the front gate for most of the weekend and people were (almost without exception) lovely.  Easy to talk to, friendly and interested.  The staff from the events company (Brand Events), the exhibitors and teachers, everyone.

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The queue eagerly waiting to get in on the final morning.

As for my fellow volunteers… words fail me.  They were an AMAZING bunch.  Hugely talented, great fun and we were all united by the sisterhood of the Pink Hi-Vis Vest!

The prestigious Hi-Vis Vest!

The prestigious Hi-Vis Vest!

 #Two – All Crafts Were Embraced

There were workshops on cake decorating, sewing, needle felting, furniture upcycling, crochet, origami, printing, jewellery making, calligraphy, decoupage, knitting, embroidery, making bath salts, gift wrapping, the list goes on… (No wonder Il Magpie loved it!)

Chalk Paint Workshop with Annie Sloane

Chalk Paint Workshop with Annie Sloane

#Three- The Food

There were loads of amazing food vendors to suit almost every taste.  French, Indian, Gluten Free, Mexican, I could go on and on!  There were amazing mobile bars with clever mixologists and to put the icing on the cake they all seemed to have the most amazingly cute transport!

Cake bar anyone?!

Cake bar anyone?!

A touch of Gallic charm.

A touch of Gallic charm.

#Four – The Venue

Where else can you come to work in the morning and be greeted by two bewigged gentleman taking the morning air, or make a new avian friend on the way home?  Hampton Court was a truly beautiful and inspiring.

Hampton Court in all it's glory.

Hampton Court in all it’s glory.

A morning constitutional!

A morning constitutional!

My new friend.

My new friend.

#Five – The Decor

There was bunting galore,

Custom made, beautiful bunting.

Custom made, beautiful bunting.

There was washi tape,

Washi tape cutting table

Washi tape cutting table

And there was origami!

Origami door curtain.

Origami door curtain.

They even thought about how to divide up work stations and protect the surfaces (brown paper and butcher’s twine anyone?!)

One of the "Grand Make" tents ready for action.

One of the “Grand Make” tents ready for action.

#Six – Kirstie Allsopp

The amazing Ms Allsopp was around all weekend.  She was warm, funny, friendly and inspirational.  She always had enough time for people (much to her assistant’s dismay at times!) and may have the world record for the most number of “selfies” taken with her in one weekend.

She hosted the “Super Theatre” all weekend in conversation with many famous crafters (Annie Sloane, Cath Kidston and Kaffe Fassett amongst others) and  refereeing “mash ups” where different crafts competed for supremacy.

Despite this busy schedule she still managed pop up everywhere and even ran a surprise workshop (which I happened to be taking as one of my “perks” for volunteering!)

Kirstie's Surprise Glitter Bauble Workshop.

Kirstie’s Surprise Glitter Bauble Workshop.

Me getting in on the act, photo by Sheree Green - Molloy

Me getting in on the act, photo by Sheree Green – Molloy

#Seven – The Exhibitors and Shopping

There were the most amazing range of exhibitors in the “Shopping Villages”.  Etsy were there and even ran some craft entrepreneur workshops.  There were craft supplies of almost every type and a huge range of very talented crafter selling amazing works that took your breath away.

The thing that impressed me most for a show with the motto “Everyone has a craft they can do”, there were lots of crafters who had made up kits of their designs for those just starting out to buy and follow instructions until they got comfortable with their own crafting “skin”.

#Eight – The “Annual”

As I was selling show guides (or “Annuals”) I was really relieved that they were a publication I could really endorse.

They were half show guide, half “Molly Makes” magazine.  There were the usual maps but I really liked the alphabetical list of exhibitors (with their contact details) which meant I could put a star by the ones I wanted to get Christmas presents from and not have to carry lots of things!

The cutest "Annuals" ever!

The cutest “Annuals” ever!

Not only was there that but there were some very stylish “makes” in there.  A knitting pattern, a cross stitch chart, a paper craft mobile and other items.  There was something worth taking away and keeping to remember the day by.

#Nine – The Experts

Almost all my heroes were there; Annie Sloane, Zeena Shah, Mr X Stitch, Kaffe Fassett, Jane Means.  I even got to meet some of them they were generous with their time and expertise, many of them even ran workshops to let you into some of their secrets!

Experts pitching in and sharing their secrets.

Experts pitching in and sharing their secrets.

#Ten – World Pomination!

The event saw a world record attempt for the most woolly Pom Poms strung together in a continuous row.

They were everywhere all weekend and you couldn’t help but smile as you saw them.  It was even fun being part of the the team sewing them all into one long string.

Sewing up the Pom Poms, does that make me the Pominator?

Sewing up the Pom Poms, does that make me the Pominator?

I was one of a two person team counting them with another amazing volunteer because we were “independent” (i.e. not employed by the organisers) and we counted THOUSANDS of them!

Ready for count off!

Ready for count off!

One, Two, Three...

One, Two, Three…

and because I cannot resist…

#Eleven – The Atmosphere

The whole weekend was so inspirational, positive and buzzing! I made crafty friends I hope to keep for life. I got to experience many new things, see how a large show like this works behind the scenes.  I had more fun than I have had in ages and even better I got to craft!

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