craft ideas for the casual crafter

2021, crafting

Hello!

Let me set the scene: you love crafting – you get lost in all the how-to videos on Facebook and TikTok, you have a Pinterest full of ideas saved for ‘one day’ and you could quite easily blow your entire pay check in one go completely by accident in Hobbycraft because of all these brilliant ideas you’re going to do ‘on a rainy day’ but never get round to.

Hi there, you feel exactly how I feel!

It’s almost like I love the idea of crafting more than actually doing it, because however much I want to spend time doing all these brilliant things, the precious time I have between work, exercise and occasional socialising I’m not spending on crafting – I’m spending it watching Grey’s Anatomy or getting another ‘early night’ in the vague hope I won’t be tired anymore.

(always live in hope)

But us closet-crafters do sometimes get time so I thought I’d collate a list of my top 3 easy crafts that don’t require too much commitment, skill or dedication, because if you’re anything like me, I don’t have the energy to spend time honing a talent – I just want to make things that aren’t going to look rubbish!

1 – Cross Stitch Kits

I feel like I talk about cross stitch all the time but I love the little kits – whether they’re from Hobbycraft, the Range or even a charity shop (I have bought kids at all three!), the patterns are often really cute, because of the nature of the aida material, it’s really easy to make the final product look exactly like the picture on the front and it’s a nice one to either dip in and out of or sit for a couple of hours and finish in an afternoon.

If you want to step it up, you can buy your own cloth and threads and find patterns either online or on Etsy, or even design something yourself! But there are so many kits and patterns out there, it’s an easy craft to keep low maintenance.

2 – Journalling / Scrapbooking

I’ve had a bullet journal since 2017 and with each passing week and month that I use it, I still find ways to adapt my scheduling and design to better serve me, whether that’s aesthetically or functionally.

Whilst my weekly spreads are more function than craft, set up with a few coloured pens and some drawn boxes, I like to break each month with a header page where I like to print pictures, glue paper patterns, decorate with stickers and note key dates and my monthly goals.

What I love about bullet journalling is that it’s totally adaptable – it can be as creative or as simple as the user wants, but whether it’s a bullet journal, a craft journal or a scrapbook of memories, papercraft can be so much fun.

3 – Knitting

Okay, this one depends heavily on what you’re working on but I have two suggestions that aren’t so intimidating or complicated (because trust me; I’m not good at knitting at all).

  • I call it ‘knitting a scarf’, but if you just want something repetitive to do with your hands while you’re watching TV that doesn’t take as much thinking (or counting) as cross stitch, a ball of wool and two knitting needles are all you need to do a standard stitch up and down for as long as you like. Will it make a scarf one day? Maybe! But even if it’s a hobby that cuts down your screen time, that’s all that matters right?
  • Make ear savers – everyone with a sewing machine was making face masks last year in the height of the pandemic (not that it’s over now) but something my Mum told me about was making ear savers – little strips of knitting with buttons on the end to hook the mask straps onto to protect the wearers ears a little bit! Especially for healthcare workers and those who do really long shifts and have to wear them at all times. I found the pattern here and I learned all the stitches from YouTube videos! If I can do it, you definitely can.

Even just writing this has made me feel creative! I want to work on my cross stitch and peacefully knit whilst binge watching more medical shows on any streaming service (just found out The Good Doctor is on Amazon Prime!).

With Christmas right around the corner, there’s loads of fun Christmas crafts that are easy and cute and suitable for children (if you have some to entertain) and I wrote a post with some ideas last year if you’re interested!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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my craft projects!

2020, crafting, creativity

Hello!

Since finishing my masters degree, my to do lists have been a lot shorter – I am applying for jobs, but in a pandemic there’s not a whole lot going on, so rather than beating myself up about it, I’ve started making my to do lists in a slightly different way (I’m going to write a post about it next week!) and it helps me keep a sense of structure and purpose in my day without being overwhelming.

A bit part of this has been making time for crafts – in the first lockdown, I fell in love with cross stitching and learning more about knitting and sewing and I’ve found that doing these offline crafts have been really therapeutic for me and have helped me slow down out of that ‘productivity mindset’ in a way I never have before.

So I thought today I’d talk you through some of the projects I’ve got going on at the moment! Obviously there’s a few I’m not going to mention with Christmas coming up but between kits from Hobbycraft, a Disney cross stitch magazine and personal projects, I’m doing something different every few days and I love it.

  • wooden cross stitch

I bought a small wooden cross stitch stand from Hobbycraft with a voucher I got for my birthday. Granted, I did think it was a proper kit that would come with the thread and a needle and it didn’t, but it did have a beautiful pattern for a mountain sunset and I’ve nearly finished it! It’s a little more challenging than I thought to get the needle through all the little holes (I’ve actually broken a needle doing this!) but I think it’s going to look so cute and it’s quite small so it’s a nice little project.

  • face mask kit 

I love a kit that comes with all the materials and equipment – it’s probably why I’m super tempted by Hello Fresh and those other expensive food services! But I bought this mask kit, again from Hobbycraft, a few months ago and I was initially intimidated by the fact the pattern had pleats in it and I thought there was no way I could sew it by hand. It took probably 5x as long because I don’t have a sewing machine but it was actually surprisingly simple! I’ve done one of the three materials that came in the kit so I’ve got two more and I can use the pattern on any other material I have lying around too! I’m going to have to set up an Etsy store or something at this rate!

  • knitting ear savers

This is something I did a lot of at the beginning of lockdown – ear savers are little pieces of fabric with buttons that can hook face masks on to, so it takes the pressure off the back off the ears. A lot of volunteer groups were knitting them for medical staff and key workers that have to wear masks for extended periods of time – my fiancé loves his so much that he’s stretched it out, but he works broadcasting live sport so he’s wearing his mask for 12-13 hours a day and says it’s really helpful. Another item for my potential Etsy store!

  • learning to crochet

I’m yet to actually make anything, because I’m still learning the basics, but I picked up some reasonably priced crochet hooks in Wilko, back in the days when we could go to shops, and I’m trying to teach myself crochet. I’m not very good at learning new things because if I’m not good at it straight away I get cross, but I’m trying to be patient with myself and give myself permission to be bad at something, regardless of how melodramatic that sounds!

  • cardboard crafts

At the beginning of the first lockdown, I started saving every cardboard box that we had because I was sending parcels to my family and they were useful containers. But now I have a pile of cardboard in the corner of my kitchen with no use and I feel like a craft project is calling to me, I just haven’t figured out what yet! I recently picked up a Christmas themed paper pad from Hobbycraft (my new favourite shop, apparently) so I think I’m going to make some festive decorations – things I can stick in our window, maybe some decorations for the tree! I need to have a proper browse on Pinterest and see if I can find any inspiration.

  • 3D cross stitch kit

Really random but my fiancé found it on offer in a Lidl I think while he was away on work – it’s a little beach hut that you cross stitch the design onto and then sew it together and stuff it. I think that might be a project for that weird week between Christmas and New Year where no one knows what day it is and there’s loads of comfort TV on.

  • t-shirt blanket sewing

I feel like I’ve mentioned this approximately three billion times, but when I was a teenager I had an extensive t-shirt collection and because I’m sentimental af but became very aware that I was wasting all of these clothes, I decide to cut out the design feature and sew them all onto a blanket. I finished the first side earlier this year but decided to use fabric glue in the end because the blanket is quite big and my house is quite small so I don’t actually have anywhere I can lay it out flat but my intentions are that one day when I have a sewing machine I’m going to go over all the designs and make sure they’re properly secure before I continue sewing the other side but the remaining t-shirts I have I am sewing to each other so there’s still progress on the project. I don’t know if I’ve described this very well, but it’s a big ongoing project that will make more progress when I live in a space I can lay the blanket out flat!

  • adapting/fixing my own clothes

I did a moderate clear out of my wardrobe in September, being brutal about the clothes I don’t wear, the clothes I don’t like, any that might be adaptable to enjoy wearing again and I have a little pile of clothes I want to try and work on – a high neck jumper I want to try and take the high neck off of, a shirt with massively wide shoulders that I want to try and take up and a denim jacket that is too big for me but I want to experiment with acrylic painting on clothes (as inspired by @lucid.seams.shop on instagram). I’m also going to try and use some of my clothes as material for other projects, so maybe I’ll learn more about sewing!

I know not everyone finds crafting relaxing or fulfilling, but I think having an activity that can pull you away from your screens for a bit is so good for mental health. My fiancé and I had an afternoon building a Lego Hedwig kit recently and we spent two hours on something we really enjoyed! Whether it’s going for a walk in some fresh air, colouring, doing a jigsaw or making something crafty, spending time offline doing something for no reason other than enjoyment is important to prioritise. I’m still learning how to.

My mum also sent me a festive colouring book so I think a movie night and some colouring is on the cards! I’m thinking a Harry Potter or a Marvel movie marathon!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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