Sunday, 6 April 2014

Decorate with flowers

Published by Jacqui SmallDecorate With Flowers offers advice on choosing, combining and arranging flowers to best complement home decor plus a few hints and tips which will turn anyone into a flower arranging god or goddess!
The author Holly Becker has teamed up with stylist Leslie Shewring to offer practical know-how and colourful ideas for decorating with gorgeous blooms.


We're taken on a stimulating journey through an an easy to follow guide of basic flower arranging to then progress on to decorating ideas for a range of styles with some crafty DIY flower container projects thrown in to scratch that craft making itch!
The project illustrations are pretty, modern, friendly and easy to understand too. The book is divided into 8 chapters which makes it easy to navigate. Plus I really love the bold colours, patterns, illustrations and use of fonts throughout. It really does give it a welcoming and engaging element to the book.



Until now I really didn't think I was going to be seduced by this kind of book but alas I can confirm that after many years of not considering myself as a girlie girl  it turns out that I am after all a very girlie girl who loves blousy blooms!
My love for beautiful design is unchanged though and this is one book I find very pleasing to my designer eye. Not only are the projects tastefully done the overall look -from furniture, wall paint choices to cover art!- is one I find pleasing and can absolutely identify with. It's modern, fun and doesn't take itself too serious. It's a type of book that aspires to make us all love our surrounding a bit more, where ever we may live... and enjoy them too without making you feel like you're an outsider looking into a intangible lifestyle. 




Overall there's a relaxed approach to floral design and these two amazing stylists open their box of tricks including ways to experiment with colour, texture and how to get playful with foliage to create amazing arrangements that are neither complicated or expensive but a doddle to recreate successfully. They manage to create this sense of ease without compromising on style so a very big thumbs up from me. Being on a budget doesn't mean you have to compromise... cheaply doesn't have to mean "naff"!



So will I be revisiting this book? Well yes, this book is filled with inspiring suggestions for creating pretty and modern floral designs which work on an everyday level by simply adding a fresh touch to the home to more lavish events like hen parties or cocktails with girlfriends! OK I'm not a big cocktail party host, though I do like a cocktail or two, but it does show me just how easy it is to create an impact with flowers and just how simple it is to add an element of style to my little flat! It's a book which I will use as inspiration and reference when I feel the house needs a little extra "oompf".
I know that I've thrown around the word inspiration a few times here but that's exactly what it does...


Whether you want to make the most of freshly picked blooms from the garden, or rearrange that cheap petrol station bouquet into a more palatable bunch, Decorate with Flowers removes the fear from flower arranging -now you really don't need a course in Forestry for this, hooray, but the result is just as good!- leaving you ready and able to work more freely with flowers.

It's definitely a book which opens up the spirit of creativity and experimentation. I for one have re- purposed my stash of vintage tins which are perfect for adding a bit more style to my place... now all I need to do is wait for the weekend and go down to Columbia Road Flower Market* to pick up some blooms. No doubt I shall be casting my eyes onto bright, luscious peonies, mimosas and dahlia's. I know, I know... they're a very feminine choice right, and who'd of guessed it?!

*Psssst: and one of my own top tips: If you visit Columbia Road after 3pm you'll find all the deals! As they prepare to pack up and go the majority of stall holders will sell their remaining fresh flowers at knock down prices! Absolute bargains to be had, but don't leave it too late as by 4.30pm it's pretty much all over!

Craft Guerrilla reader offer: 
To order Decorate with Flowers at the discounted price of £16.00 including p&p* (RRP: £20.00), telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk and quote the offer code APG109. 

*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

New season, new accesories!!!

We love a good project and this has to be by far one of the most enjoyable ones we've done so far! Our friends at Heal's put forward the chance for us to use some of their amazing fabrics for us to come up with a few new ways of using them! You might have seen the previous pin cushion tutorial using the Zandra Rhodes fabric from Heal's and we do hope your birdie is by your side ready for action!

Because of the arrival of spring we thought it would amazing to post a few simple tutorials for some sweet accessories. Sometimes that's all you need to transform your outfit and your mood... a nice and simple easy to make craft project!

And don't you agree that these fabrics are quite amazing?  *Swoon* I can't quite make up my mind as to which is my favourite but they're all lush! I think I may have to go to Heal's to pick up some more to make a circle skirt...or two!

So here are a few ideas, we hope you like them.

Hair bow.... 

It's Spring -a- go- go so wrap it up with a bow!



*Note: we added an Alice Band instead of a hair clip as this is one big bow so needs to stay put on your head!

For the tutorial take a peep here... BOW TUTORIALPRINT OUT 


We used the amazing "Lady Jane" fabric by Petra Borner which you can find in Heal's...


©ladyjane



Passing Clouds lace collar... 

Girlie and sweet, we love this!





For the pattern take a peep here... COLLAR PATTERN PRINT OUT
We used "Cloud Study" a stunning fabric by Emily Patrick available at Heal's. Plus we added a piece of vintage lace from granny's cupboard and some fine neutral linen as the lining.

©cloudstudy


How to:
For this you'll need to print out the pattern and cut it out-see the link above.
Pin over the three layers (if you are using all three...but we love how the clouds just come through the lace... kind of like an English spring!)
and cut out!
Pin the ribbon -we used cotton ribbon- between the two fabric layers.
Make sure to pin the fabric together so all layers hold in place. Zig zag the edges together so you have a nice raw looking edge. You can sew them together so it's a neater finish but we quite like the zig-zag detail.
Add a couple of buttons and hey presto... it's ready to wear!

You can see the lovely clouds under the soft lace... nice hey?
 

Art Deco Zip Clutch/Make Up bag...

For a nice bit of Spring time Great Gatsby chic!




For the tutorial take a peep here... thegirlinspired.com
*Note: We used this handy tutorial from ©girlinspired and added a large bow, a vintage shell buckle and a large pearly button to make it our own!

We've used the beautiful fabric "Trees" by Cressida Bell. Available at Heal's...

©trees

Add your own twist... just use your imagination and make it your own!!!

©all patterns -with the exception of the basic zip clutch - are property of Craft Guerrilla and though we welcome makers to make for their own purpose we do not give permission for these to be used commercially.  

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Knit an Ice Cream for Bag Books!

We all love knitting, charity projects and ice cream so this is the perfect project which encompasses all of the above and more as it's also a quick make!
We're asking people to make these beauties for multi sensory stories for use by a charity called Bag Books. To find out more about them please visit their website: www.bagbooks.org

I absolutely love using craft in a therapeutic way and how it can provide comfort, joy and happiness not only to the recepients but also to the people making them.
I really hope this is something you might enjoy making and heck... I'm even going to sit down and try to conquer my fear of knitting patterns...though I may have to ask someone to wipe my brow hold my hand while I learn to decipher the code!

Plus as it's not real ice cream that means ZERO calories so no worrying about the hips but it will in fact provide a warm fussy feeling and that goes straight to the heart!



©ilikelemons





You can find the pattern via:

i-like-lemons.blogspot.co.uk

Please send your makes to: Bag Books 1 Stewart's Court, 218-220 Stewart's Road, London SW8 4UB

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Spring is in the air!

Sometimes we get to do some fun projects and this is one of them! When our beautiful friends at Heal's offered to kindly donated a few samples of their new fabrics to showcase through our own projects we jumped for joy!
The brief was to use the fabric samples to create things which we liked and where the fabric wasn't to be used rigidly for its original purpose.

You see...we're often told that certain fabrics are for specific projects but we've ignored all that! Besides who's to say that you can't use an upholstery fabric to create a skirt, a nice piece of head wear, jewellery or even a pin cushion?!




By now you'll know that we're not sticklers at following the rules so we decided to think outside the box by coming up with four Spring flavoured crafty projects you can easily make with not much experience though if you are a dab hand at sewing you'll glide through it!
So here's the first of the projects we made to show just how versatile Heal's fabrics can be and also to get you inspired to stitch yourself silly into the new season!

For project "numero uno" we went for something which is both practical and equally decorative which you can keep by your side when you move on to the next tutorials.
Also I quite love pincushions especially ones which aren't your stereotypical shape... so a birdie one is just right for me! Plus I seem to have accumulated quite a few as I have at least 3 of them in my studio, a few in my sewing box and a couple more dotted around the house. A girl can never have too many shoes pin cushions!

For this project we used the "Top Brass 2" Fabric by Zandra Rhodes and some natural linen to create a lovely two toned sewing accessory which will look great in any seamstresses sewing room!

This fabric is a heavy cotton canvas normally used for cushions and upholstery so it is quite nice and durable but pretty easy to sew though which is a bonus. However I did add some fusible interface fabric to keep it from fraying as this is a small object and because it was hand sewn was handled quite a bit.

This is what you'll need:
Iron & ironing board
Fusible interface
Scissors
Sewing needle and thread
fabric -we used two patterns but you could do a solid/plain coloured one using just one fabric
Poly-fill stuffing
2 beads (for the eyes)
Felt (beak)
Paper to make the pattern

To make this little bird follow the pattern bellow and see the on line tutorial via: www.lovethispic.com




By the way we used the tiniest piece of fabric so you could in fact initially make a cushion, reupholster a chair and so on and from the scraps make something else... like this!
Yeah, we really don't like throwing anything away and this little birdie will be most helpful when you get started on your other projects plus he'll remind you that all the other real birdies are grateful for a little less stuff in landfill!!!


Here are a few more ideas you can make from this pattern:
• Make a few to create a baby mobile on a twig frame.
• Or enlarge the pattern and make a handy door stop. Just fill with sand and it'll keep your door open for letting in the bird song!


Whatever you decide to make from this tutorial we hope that you've at least been inspired to make something! It's really easy so no excuses...


The little bird pin cushion was based on an on line tutorial for a bird toy available via amigurumik.com
The original designer retains the copyright of the design/pattern but we have adapted the use for our own project. 


Below is the step by step tutorial which has been modified by Craft Guerrilla.





So here's the tutorial...

Step 1: Print out or draw your pattern. Cut out the shapes...
 ©amigurumik.com
Step 2: At this point we ironed on some Fusible interface to the fabric...then pinned the paper pattern on and cut out the shapes.
 ©amigurumik.com
Step 3: Hand sew your birdie using a running stitch or a back stitch. (Please note though differing slightly from the photo as we did use smaller stitches quite closer to each other for a stronger/neater finish...you can still see how to build your shape!)
 ©amigurumik.com
Step 4: Leave a small opening and stuff with your poly-fill.  Close off with a ladder stitch. Make sure your birdie is nice and plump!!!
 ©amigurumik.com
Step 5: You can stuff your wings when making a larger birdie -as pictured- though for our pin cushion we just zig-zaged the edges then tack stitched it onto the body. Add the eyes and the felt beak...
 ©amigurumik.com

And...
Tah dah, that's your pin cushion done!!!




Monday, 17 March 2014

Boy Craft!

As a craft-loving mum of two children, a boy and a girl, I'm always on the look out for child friendly project ideas. They both enjoy creating various things but have such a big sense of achievement when they don't have any assistance from me. The market seems to be swamped with books for girls so I was delighted when I came across "Boy Craft". 



I left the book out in the living room and waited for my son to discover it. It didn't take long. He was very quickly immersed whist reading all about the different projects. He thought the book was 'cool' because he didn't have to 'share with any of the girls'! 





The first project he chose to make was the water bomb! We just used plain paper to practise but he agrees with me that using pages from an old comic is a great idea. The method is clear and easy to follow. I personally liked that the written instructions were accompanied with simple diagrams for each step. My son hadn't realised how we were going to get from a flat folded piece of paper to a 3D object. He was so surprised when he blew into it, "It's like magic!" I suspect he'll be making quite a few of these as water bombs when the weather warms up and he can play outside!

He then flicked through the book again and decided he wanted to make a bat! I didn't have any old fashioned pegs but a local friend came to my rescue. He really enjoyed making this but needed some help with the overall shape of the wings because he had trouble enlarging the template from the back of the book. It's a shame it couldn't be full sized but it was an obstacle easily overcome with a bit of my help.  Once he made his bat, he decided that the idea would work well as a butterfly. He is planning on making a seagull next and hanging them all on a mobile in his bedroom! 






From a mum's point of view, I think the projects are great. There are some quick and easy ones to make, but also some that are a bit more fiddly. I like that it isn't full of stereotypical things for boys. Yes there is a section on 'Creepy Craft' but this is accompanied by 'Stitch Craft' and 'Wool Craft'. Some of the projects need some advance planning with a few tools and materials but I reckon most of them can be made with supplies that can be recycled from the average household. As the name of the book suggests, this is primarily full of projects that would appeal more to boys but my daughter is keen to try out a few of them! 





When buying books like this, I'm always a bit dubious if they will be worth the money. With this one, if you take into consideration the number of hours of entertainment it contains, i am certain it is worth every penny!

All in all, this gets a big thumbs up from the whole family!
Nicola 


And here's the special offer for our lovely readers...
To order Boycraft by Sara Duchars and Sarah Marks for £10 including UK P&P, telephone 01903 828503 or email mailorders@lbsltd.co.uk, quoting the offer code APG99 and the book ISBN 9780711234895.


Thursday, 13 March 2014

Phone Case Knitting Tutorial

Alas, now the weather is warming up, the need for cosy knits is fading faster than you can say "where's the suntan lotion?"
Here's something you can make at any time of year to protect your precious phone from bumps and scratches (but not from being dropped down the toilet), using a devilishly simple way of knitting in the round on ordinary needles.


Read on for our fully-illustrated instructions, or click here to download the no-nonsense 1 sheet pdf version.

Pattern by No Idle Han. Many thanks to Penny Vickers for her astute pattern testing and Sayed Hasan for his photographic expertise.

Difficulty level: average
Sizing: One size fits most smart phones (approx. 14cm circumference)


..and you're done!