The 'Original' Creative Crafting Magazine written by Crafters, for Crafters

Creative Crafting magazine began in August/September 2009, when a group of crafting friends on the Creative Connections network decided that it would be a good idea to raise awareness of the crafting community. From this point they started work and the first issue of Creative Crafting was published in October 2009 and are still publishing today.

Friday, 31 May 2013

All aboard for the Creative Crafting Blog Tours!







This Summer we will be boarding our Crafty Bus and taking our readers on a magical mystery tour of everything creative!
What does this have to do with me I hear you say! Well …

A bus tour needs stops! And we don’t just have bus stops, we have BLOG STOPS!
Join us as a stop for this event and lay on something special for your guests when they arrive. You will know which day we are all coming so don’t worry we won’t turn up and catch you in your pj’s! If you are super keen you can even schedule your post ready to welcome everyone without you even having to be there.
It is up to you what you do,
  • A giveaway
  • A competition
  • A project
  • An interesting feature
  • A funny story
Don’t forget that the more interesting your item is, the more likely the visitors are to return to your blog over and over again.
So have a think and look out for more information on how to grab your stop spot!

If you would like your blog to be one of our stops email us at thecrystallady@creative-crafting.com  
Please put BLOG TOURS in the subject box so that we can spot it easily.
Your email MUST include a link to your blog so that we can check content. It would also be useful if you could give us an idea of ideas you have for your visitors when they stop by one the day.
We will review your blog and then send you further instructions for taking part.
See you soon! 


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Labradorite Cufflinks Tutorial

Labradorite Cufflinks Tutorial
Published in Issue 23, June 2013
Written by Samantha from One Of A Kind Creations


What you will need: 

4mm and 6mm plain round Labradorite beads
Silver plated Chain links
Silver plated ball head pins
A basic tool kit; including wire cutters, round
nose pliers and two pairs of flat nose pliers.



What to do:


Step 1. Start by picking out two larger and two smaller beads; one by one thread onto a ball head pin and make a wrapped loop.





Step 2. Once you have finished making the wrapped loops for each bead, unfasten two links from a length of chain.

Step 3. Thread a large bead onto one link and close securely (always open and close links back to front like opening a door so as not to weaken the link); open the opposite link and add the smaller bead, close this securely. Copy the process with the second set of beads and your cufflinks are finished.

Mini Tutorial for Wrapped Loops

Step 1. Begin with a headpin and a drilled bead.

Step 2. Insert headpin into the bead and hold firmly close to the top of the bead with round nose pliers.




Step 3. Bend the headpin to a 45◦ angle.

Step 4. Move the pliers so that one half is below the angle and the other above.



Step 5. Carefully bend the headpin around the top part of the pliers, forming the first part of the loop.

Step 6. Move the pliers again so that the top of the loop is sandwiched between the top and bottom parts of the pliers and continue to wrap the headpin until it completes the loop.


Step 7. Holding the loop with the round nose pliers, use a pair of flat nose pliers to hold the end of the head pin and slowly wrap around the neck of the headpin directly under the loop; continue until the headpin meets the bead and there is no longer a gap. Snip off excess with wire cutters and using the flat nose pliers gently squeeze to conceal the end of the headpin.

Step 8. The finished wrapped loops ready for use. 


Tutorial written by Samantha Tookey from One Of  A Kind Creations




Kit or Miss?

Kit or Miss
Published in Issue 23, June 2013
Reviewed and Written by Jangill Designs 

Amethyst Stained Glass Batik Wall Hanging KIT

This kit is supplied by Perfect Patchwork (www.perfectpatchwork.co.uk) who have both and a presence on WowThankYou (www.wowthankyou.co.uk).

First Impressions.
Amethyst Stained Glass Batik Wall Hanging KIT
I saw this kit advertised at Craftfest (www.craftfest-events.com) and must admit to falling in love with it  straight away. It’s just the colours I love and I have a soft spot for stained glass, which I thought this replicated really well.
I ordered on a Thursday lunch time, hoping to have it with me at the weekend. Sadly, it  wasn't posted out till Monday and arrived the following day.
On opening, I was impressed with the quality of the fabrics, neatly cut to size. Backing fabric, wadding and binding were all provided, as well as embroidery thread, beads and charms for embellishing. 
I was not quite so convinced with the instructions which had poor photography and were printed single sided on a sheaf of A4 paper. 

Skill Level.
If you are happy using a sewing machine, then as a first quilting/patchwork project this would be a beginner level. As a general sewing project, it requires some knowledge and is therefore intermediate.

Getting Started
The main panel of the project is made up in a quick and easy method with no need to sew the pieces together. The shapes are traced off the provided pattern onto bondaweb which is then ironed onto the provided fabrics.  The fabric provided was just enough, so care needs to be taken to make sure you complete this stage correctly. The pattern pieces are ironed on to a calico panel, then bias binding used to cover the joins and giving the stained glass appearance. Again, there was just enough binding. 
The next stage is to baste the panel to the wadding and embellish. For me, this was the scary bit, because the only instruction was embellish as desired. The photographs were to poor to see any examples. However, once I got over the “fear factor”, I rather enjoyed doing exactly what I wanted. 



Making Up
The next stage was to add borders, first a black one then a wider toning fabric. Both these stages were very straight forward. To finish a calico backing is added and the quilt bound at the edges with black fabric. This was the only time I had cause for concern with the fabric provided, as the pre cut pieces varied in width along the length, sometimes to less than the 2” required. A piece of calico was added while binding to provide for hanging. 

InstructionsAlthough I managed to complete the piece, I found the instructions a disappointment. A set of numbered stages would have been helpful as I found it easy to lose where I was up to, especially as the pictures were in pairs and not numbered for easy reference.  The quality of the pictures means that you can’t see the detail which would have helped to clarify the instructions. For instance when sewing on the bias binding, should one row down the middle be enough, or should it be stitched close to both edges?

Skills Learned
As I have never made a quilt before, or done any patchwork, this was always going to provide some learning opportunities. I was hoping to do some sewn together patchwork but this project uses a simpler method with the bondaweb. This is quite a common method for decorative items and saves a lot of time. The project does, however, introduce you to putting a quilt project together, including binding. The methods used are not the most advanced (no mitred corners for instance) which makes this a great beginner project. This is slightly at odds with the lack of instructions or examples for embellishing. 

Value for Money
This kit cost £14.95 plus postage. 
I was impressed with the quality of the contents and considering how well the finished item turns out, this is great value for money. You could obviously get all the components together yourself for less, but care has been taken here to provide beautifully compatible colours and designs of fabric. You also get the design and instructions. 

Finished Item
I am quietly pleased with my first quilting attempt and I’m eager to do more, especially with some proper patchwork. The hanging looks great on my wall. Because the components were of good quality, the piece looks eyecatching and bears up under inspection. 

Time to complete
Complete in a weekend without too much trouble.

Conclusion
Good points: Great quality components, good value for money.
Bad Points: Not informed that would not be posted for 3 days, instructions

Overall I really enjoyed this project and am keen to do more. If you don’t fancy having a go yourself, Perfect Patchwork sell completed hangings for a very reasonable sum. 


We have heard back from Perfect Patchworks Flick who says..
“Constructive feedback is not only welcome, but invaluable as an opportunity for improvement, so thank you. I have taken on board your comments with regard the instructions (imagery has already been dealt with) but I will explore other improvements. The delay in posting the kit is due to the fact that all kits are cut to order, so apologies if this is not clear at the point of sale. I am delighted that you were pleased with the quality and value for money. Kind regards Flick (Perfect Patchwork)”

Helpful Hits - Tax and Tax Returns


Helpful Hits - Tax and Tax Returns
Published in Issue 23, June 2013
Written by Jane from Jane Cameron





Yes, it’s the annual horror, those sleepless nights coming up to 31st January when your Tax Return is due! How can you make it easier? How do you know you’ve got it right? What resources are out there to help you?

How often should you do your accounts?  
Well, the HMRC require you to do your self employed return once a year. Normally your return is due in January for the year which ended the previous April, so you have about 9 months to get it done.

However, it’s a really good idea to do your sums every month (set aside some time on the first Monday of the month, or something similar) as that way you know how your business is doing.

What information do I need?

What you’ve earned (income), and what you’ve spent (expenditure).
Having all your information in one place is a wonderful thing.
Get yourself something to keep your receipts in (even if it’s a bucket!).
Set up a folder in your emails where you can keep all your online shopping receipts, and another one for your sales.
Keep a little notebook in the car (or write your mileage in your diary).

Helpful hints:

Don’t try and do it all at once!
Some credit cards only keep the information online for three months, so download your statement every month (the .csv file format is good for reading in Excel or other spreadsheet programmes).

Do I need fancy technology?

It’s a good idea to have some sort of spreadsheet to add everything up. Basically it can have “In / Out / Date / Who to or from / What for” and that will cover most of it.
If you’re scared of spreadsheets, go on a course or look at some online tutorials. There’s Excel by Microsoft (as part of the “Office” suite), and also OpenOffice’s spreadsheet program, called Calc, which is good and free!
If you want to be fancy you can get programs like Quickbooks, which you can add all your information to and it will calculate your tax. However, these aren’t necessary at first.


What can I claim for? Can I claim a proportion of my household bills? 

Equipment and supplies you use for making your lovely items (if the equipment is expensive then you may need to claim back the cost of it over several years)
Courses you go on to maintain (not improve) your standard – e.g. an annual refresher is fine but going to learn a new skill (which would subsequently increase your income) is not.
You may be able to claim a proportion of your household bills if you work from home
Here’s a link to what you can claim for: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/bimmanual/bim47820.htm
You can’t claim for food unless associated with an overnight stay, nor can you claim for clothes unless they are really specific to your job (e.g. Kevlar gloves)

Do I need an accountant?

Not necessarily. When you’re just starting out with a small craft business your tax return should be fairly straightforward.
If you do want an accountant, shop around. Some places accountants do a monthly payment (which can be good as you know where you stand).

Online tax return

Yes, you are expected to do your tax return online. When you register for the first time your username / password may take some time to come through, so please register early enough that it will be with you in time. Keep your password somewhere safe.

Might I get money back?

If your business is making a loss and you are also working (employed) then you may get a rebate.

Can I be employed and self employed?

Yes you can. If you are doing a lot of self employed work you may have a duty to tell your employer.

I need help!

You can ring the HMRC and ask them questions. Be prepared to be on hold for a while as they can be quite busy. A useful telephone number for them is 01355 359022.
The HMRC have webinars and e-learning packages to help you, and also run courses on how to get started and fill in your tax return

Jane Cameron.

Please note: This introduction is no substitute for specialist advice.

Crafting on a Budget - Part Two

Crafting on a Budget - Part Two
Published in Issue 23, June 2013
Written by Leanne from Small Surprise Boutique


 orchidflowers.wordpress.com
So, last time I discussed the art of upcycling as a way of reducing your craft expenditure, but there are only
so many times you can raid your loft or garden shed when on the hunt for supplies. We will revisit recycling more throughout this series, but for now there is something else I would like to consider.

Upcycling is an everlasting adventure, but it is useful to have a set stock rather than relying on uncovering recycled materials. I’m sure most of us have battled with the thought “I have so many ideas in my head, but where can I get my hands on cheap materials to bring my creations to life?” I know I have.

Obviously my own personal experiences come into play a lot here, but perhaps some of you out there have had similar encounters. When I took my first steps into my local craft superstore I was amazed by what was right in front of me. I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to venture inside, but once I did I didn’t want to leave. 

After a few visits I started to realise I was on a strict budget, a budget that wouldn’t match the store, and although there were many things I needed in order to progress forward in my craft work, I would spend more time wandering back and forth through the isles and whittling down my decisions to fit in with my budget than actually crafting. 

I soon started to research the world of crafting, and after being amazed by the sheer magnitude of this new world I had embarked upon, I found cheaper alternatives for what I needed. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to visit my local craft superstores, I would live there if I could, and I recommend you keep them on your shopping route. I have learnt the importance of buyer’s research and it is something I would encourage you to do. 

www.freeimageslive.co.uk
Quite often we get lucky when our favourite stores have sales, but sales don’t last forever. In order to protect my bank balance I have taken on a new way of craft shopping. With notebook in hand a trip to my local craft superstore soon gives me my next shopping list, to see if I can find cheaper alternatives elsewhere. We’re all familiar with shopping around to find the best price, and I have found it to be just as useful when shopping for craft supplies. 




Fortunately, living in Leeds I am blessed with a spectacular market, filled with a wide variety of stalls and
www.northleedslifegroup.com
goodies. My needle craft seems to benefit most from my trips to the market, with material, wool, ribbons and buttons on offer in abundance. Buttons are always a useful addition to any craft box, and the market is a good place to start your collection. Also, I have discovered once you become ‘a regular’ customer there is often the opportunity to collect some enviable bargains. Just recently, for example, I was able to pick up a large amount of lovely material, which was discounted thanks to being familiar with the seller. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Building a network specific to your craft work is also a good way of keeping your craft budget to a limit. The more you network with others in the industry, the more likely you are to find out about the best places to stock up your craft cupboard. As your network develops, so will your knowledge, and in turn you can help others. I have found this particular method very useful, especially in recent weeks. I have signed up for my first craft fair, due to take part in July, and I am constantly extending my ‘what I need’ list. By networking with experts in this area I am gradually finding everything I need, such as packaging materials, and they come at reasonable price. 

There are many ways to protect our bank balances whilst still producing high quality creations, and shopping around for the best options is very beneficial, but it doesn’t have to be time consuming. My first port of call now is often my local market, and I recommend anyone in need of supplies has a wander around their local market too; it is surprising what you will find. And if you can’t find exactly what you are looking for, have a chat with the stallholders, they’ll often advise you on the best place to go. 

Bracelets made using equipment from a trip to the market – ribbon, elastic etc.  











A selection of my bargain material from a market shop, soon to be used towards many upcoming projects. 












Father's Day Memo Board

Father's Day Memo Board
Published in Issue 23, June 2013
Written by Katie from Oldskoolretro Kitsch Boutique


What you need:

Canvas, any size (I use 30cm by 40cm)
Fabric of your choice
Wadding (I use Medium)
Ribbon at least four metres for this size
Staple Gun
Staples
Scissors









Step 1. First take the canvas that you want to use and lay it face down on the wadding, cut the wadding with at least three inches extra all the way round.






Step 2. Choose one side of the canvas, fold the wadding over and staple it down, leaving the corners till last, then do the same on the opposite side, then do the same for both remaining sides. Fold the corners of the wadding flat and secure them in place.


Step 3 & 4. Next, lay the fabric out and place the canvas with the wadding on face down on top and cut the fabric out with at least three inches extra all the way round. Staple down in the same way that you have done with the wadding.


Step 5. Once the fabric is secured, then we need to tidy up the edges at the back, so fold the fabric over the wooden frame of the canvas and tuck it behind all the way around. Then staple just on the inside of the frame, all the way around to tidy it.




Step 6. Now is the time to add the ribbons, staple the first edge of the ribbon on the back, then put across the board in a diagonal direction and staple down at the back. Continue till you have finished putting them in the one direction.


Now do the same with the ribbons from the opposite direction making sure you weave the ribbon over and under the one that is already secured.

You now need to staple down some ribbon on the back in order for you to hang it; I always use five staples on each end of the ribbon to secure it.

You are now finished, hang it up and decorate as you wish!








Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Cheesecake

Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Cheesecake
Published in Issue 23, June 2013

Written by Claire from Elderberry Arts



This is a very forgiving, quick and easy recipe for a creamy chocolate cheesecake free from gluten and dairy products. 

Step 1. Put biscuits into a food processor and blend into fine crumbs.

Step 2. Add 2 tablespoons of the coco powder and mix briefly to combine.






Step 3.  Melt the spread and mix it into the biscuit crumbs using a spoon until it is beginning to stick together.
Step 4. Pour the biscuit mix into a container and press down firmly to form the cheesecake base.












Step 5.  Wipe out the food processor bowl. Put all the cheese into the bowl the remaining coco powder and sugar. Mix well to combine. You can add more sugar or coco to taste if you wish.









Step 6. Spoon the chocolate filling on top of the base and spread with the back of a spoon to cover the biscuit base. Cover and chill for several hours or preferably overnight. 
The cheesecake can also be placed in the freezer for a few hours to speed up setting. 








Gluten and dairy free biscuits can be bought in Tesco, Sainsbury’s and many health food stores. Any biscuit will work so you could try chocolate chip cookies for the base (Sainsbury’s sell dairy free chocolate chip cookie) or if you are only avoiding gluten, chocolate digestives. 

The base can be made with a combination of biscuits and nuts.  Process the nuts before adding the biscuits as they will take longer to break up. 
Tesco sell several varieties of dairy and gluten free cheese. The original creamy version is perfect for this recipe. Other varieties can also be bought in health and alternative food shops or online. Sheese is another often seen brand. 

A plain cheesecake can be created by leaving out the coco powder. This can be eaten plain or topped with a fruit sauce, fruit pieces, dairy free chocolate buttons or shavings or even chopped gluten and dairy free brownie pieces. The possibilities are endless.