Crafty Creatives… Feeling the Mosaic Love

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I absolutely love Crafty Creatives. A subscription box for craft lovers, in which you get sent a mystery craft project each month to complete. Everything you need is included and each project has clear instructions, so that everyone can complete it no matter what skill level they are at. The best part of it is you get to try a new craft every month, so you can find out if you want to carry on with it, without having to spend loads of money on equipment only to find out it’s not for you.

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The July Crafty Creatives kit was my favourite so far. I have always wanted to try my hand at mosaic work, so you can imagine how excited I was when I opened the box and found this mosaic hearts kit waiting for me. It contained 2 wooden hearts, various mosaic tiles and pieces of crockery and glass pebbles, glue, grout, disposable glove, spreader and ribbon to hang the finished hearts. There was a sheet of very clear and easy to follow instructions, and I was so excited to get started!

The first part was to glue my chosen pieces of tile and crockery on to the hearts. My 9 year old son was keen to try too, so he chose to work on the smaller heart and I used the larger one. It sounded very easy… stick the pieces on leaving a small gap between each piece so that the grout can fill in the spaces to hold it all in place. Easy, right? I think I can honestly say this part took the longest time. It was like doing a jigsaw, trying to find the right sized pieces to fit. After my son and I had covered the 2 hearts that came with the kit, we had a lot of pieces left over so we used them to cover some smaller wooden hearts that I already had in my craft stores.

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We left them overnight to make sure the glue had completely dried. The next day I mixed up the grout following the instructions given, and used the spreader to spread the grout over the whole heart and along the edges. After it had been drying for a while, I used a few pieces of kitchen roll to clean the grout off the pretty pieces. It was very easy to just wipe it off. They were then left to fully dry. We were over the moon with the finished hearts. We used the ribbon to hang the two original ones.

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I will definitely be doing more mosaic work. I found it so relaxing and enjoyable, and I had a huge sense of achievement when I saw what we had created. It was a wonderful activity to do with my son too. Quality time spent crafting. My idea of heaven.

The August box will soon be landing on my doorstep and I can’t wait to see what craft will be inside!

(EDIT 12/09/2018: Unfortunately Crafty Creatives has just closed their subscription box)

 

DISCLOSURE: I pay for my subscription and receive no compensation for my review. All views expressed are my own honest unbiased opinions. 

Crafty Creatives May Subscription Box…. Hama Time!

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I am a massive fan of subscription boxes. I find every aspect of them exciting: the email saying they have been dispatched, the anticipation waiting for them to arrive, wondering what could be inside this time, and then the wonderful surprise when you open them and can finally reveal what treats you have.

Crafty Creatives is the perfect subscription box for craft lovers of all abilities and skill levels. You can find out more about them in last month’s review HERE.

I was very excited when I opened the May box to discover a kit to make coasters using Hama beads. I have seen these beads in toy shops and Hobbycraft but had never used them before. My son had never wanted them as all the kits for children looked quite childish and he just didn’t want to make those. Neither of us had realised that Hama beads actually come in 3 sizes: maxi beads are 10mm in size and recommended for pre-school children, midi beads are the best sellers at 5mm in size and suitable for children and adults, and mini beads are a tiny 2.5mm in size and best for very detailed intricate designs.

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This Crafty Creatives kit came with 3,500 midi beads of various colours, 3 pegboards, instructions, ironing paper and 14 designs for you to try. I copied one of the designs (the round one in the picture at the start of this post) but changed the colours used, and then did a couple of my own designs too. Unfortunately for me, my son saw them and saw how easy they were to make and was desperate to try them for himself. That was the last I saw of the beads. He sat at the table making one design after another and absolutely loved them. I’m all for encouraging creativity in children so, as sad as I was that my Hama fun was over, I was thrilled to see him so engaged in making things with them. Here are a few of his designs…

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I’ve had to buy more beads for him but I will be making sure I get to use them too. In case you don’t know what they are, they are small cylindrical beads which you position on a pegboard, and when you are happy with the design you have made, you lay a sheet of ironing paper on top and gently iron for a few seconds. This causes the beads to melt slightly and fuse together, so you can remove the design from the pegboard and you are left with one complete product. If you iron them too much, as I did in the bottom right one in the above picture, the beads melt slightly too much. Oops! They still look good though.

The aim of Crafty Creatives is to help you discover new crafts you might not have tried before, without having to spend lots of money buying all the equipment. This is a craft I will definitely be continuing with. Everyone used to say colouring in was just for children, but now adults have discovered its therapeutic calming effects and there is a huge craze for adult colouring books. I honestly think Hama bead craft is another such activity. I felt so relaxed making my designs, and so peaceful in myself. I would highly recommend them to everyone, young and old. I am going to buy some big pegboards so I can make some beautiful pictures using them, as well as small designs. When I was copying the design for the circle board, it reminded me so much of another craft I love. I adore cross stitch and have some stunning charts to use for that. Each little symbol square on a cross stitch chart represents a colour, and it dawned on me that it would be so easy to use such a chart and copy the design using beads on pegboards. Now, if Hama can make kits like cross stitch kits but the Hama bead version with all beads included and a beautiful chart to work from, I will be one even happier crafter!!!

I can’t wait to see what June’s Crafty Creatives box will contain! Whatever it will be, I know it will be a new exciting crafty adventure.

DISCLAIMER: I pay for my Crafty Creatives subscription, and this review is my honest opinion of it. I receive no endorsement of any kind for writing these reviews. I just like to share wonderful discoveries with you all 🙂

Crafty Creatives…. Surprise Craft Subscription Boxes

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As well as baking and cooking, I absolutely love all things crafty. Not sly crafty, I mean creative crafty. The trouble is there are so many amazing crafts I want to try, but buying new tools and equipment needed to try them can work out expensive, especially if you then decide that particular craft isn’t for you after all.

I was going through my Twitter feed a while ago and saw mention of Crafty Creatives. It is a fantastic subscription box run by the lovely Claire, who must really be Superwoman as she’s a busy mum with another baby on the way! While looking after her bundles of joy, she still manages to organise and send out boxes of joy every month to subscribers.

There are 3 boxes to choose from, or you can have all three!

Paperhaul is a box for stationery addicts. Every month you will receive a surprise box of high quality paper goods, including cards, stickers, notebooks, washi tape (and who doesn’t love washi tape!!!), notecards, envelopes etc etc. Each month features a different illustrator and all the items in the box will be co-ordinated. This box is £10 a month, plus £2 postage if in the UK. EU postage is £5, and the rest of the world is £6.

Beadhaul is a box for jewellery makers. This one is sent out every 2 months. Each box is themed, with beads, charms, and pendants for all skill levels. There are online tutorials to correspond with each box so you can have fun completing beautiful projects. Tools aren’t included in the box but you can buy those from the Crafty Creatives online shop if you don’t already have them. This box is £12.50 every 2 months, plus UK postage at £2.50, EU at £5.50, or rest of the world at £6.50.

Crafty Creatives is a box for general crafters. This is the box that started it all, and the box that I have subscribed to. This one is sent each month and includes everything you need to complete a whole craft project. (Occasionally you might need to provide your own basic items such as scissors and glue). It is a perfect way to discover new crafts, which is the main reason I chose it. You don’t know what craft will be in the box so it is a lovely surprise to open it and discover what you can make that month. They are suitable for all skill levels, so no need to worry if you’ve never tried the particular craft before. This box is £15 per month, plus £2.95 UK postage, and £5.95 EU postage. This one does not ship to the rest of the world.

The April Crafty Creatives box scared me when I first opened it, if I’m honest. It was a kit to make a fascinator headband from Hats on Heads and the picture looked so stunning I thought there was no way I’d be able to make it out of the things I could see in the pack!

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I finally plucked up the courage to try it yesterday. After all, this is what I wanted to do…. to try new crafts!

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It came with everything I needed to make the fascinator except for a needle and thread. I had both of those already so that wasn’t a problem. I had a great time making it, even though I made a very basic but big mistake! I didn’t read the very clear instructions properly. Completely my fault. It made me realise I’m a visual learner. I was meant to use the black sinamay fabric to cover the actual headband, but the instructions had photos in which they used the cream, so that’s what I did. That meant I had the wrong length of fabric left to make the bow loops so I had to improvise and use what was leftover from covering the headband too. My own silly mistake, but I think it still worked out well and looked beautiful when it was finished.

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The kit included pearls, feathers and veiling to use if you wanted to, but it said that was optional. I decided to use the pearls but not the feathers or veiling. I’ve kept those in my craft supplies box 🙂

I never in a million years would have ever imagined I would have made a fascinator, but I did thanks to Crafty Creatives, and even though I did it wrong, I am incredibly proud of it. Hopefully one day I will go to an event suitable for me to wear it. I can’t wait to see what is in this month’s box!! All I know is it will be a completely different craft to try, and that is an exciting thought for me!

If you want to try any of the 3 Crafty Creatives boxes click HERE to go to their website. Happy crafting!! 🙂

(EDIT 12/09/2018: Unfortunately Crafty Creatives has just closed their subscription box)

DISCLAIMER: I pay for my subscription to Crafty Creatives and have not been asked to write a review and receive no endorsement for doing so. I just love it so much I wanted to tell you all about it. All opinions and views expressed are entirely my own.

Easy Easter Crafts for Children…. Eggs and Nests

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The school half-term holidays are upon us already and in a few weeks it will be Easter. Where is this year going?? If you have children who are always complaining they are bored, or if the weather is miserable and you’re all stuck indoors, how about having some sticky crafty fun? These eggs and nests make beautiful Easter decorations and are a lovely unique way to give little chocolate treats as gifts. They are messy to make but that’s half of the fun isn’t it!? The only mess though is glue, and that is easy to clean up. Your child will have a great time peeling off the dried PVA glue from their hands too. My son Luke loves this part just as much as he loves the actual activity!!

Let’s start with the eggs. All you need is:

wool in whatever colour takes your fancy,

a water balloon,

PVA glue,

scissors,

a small container to put the glue in (an old clean takeaway container is perfect)

a small pot to dry the egg on (an empty yoghurt pot or even an egg cup is ideal)

small foil-wrapped chocolate eggs (we used Dairy Milk ones)

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  • Cover the bottom of the container with PVA glue, then add an equal amount of water. Mix well to thin the glue down. Cut some long strands of wool and put them into the glue. Press down until the wool is completely covered. Children love this messy bit! Leave to soak for a bit.

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  • Stretch the opening of the water balloon open as wide as you can and ask your child to push a chocolate egg into it. Push it down as much as you can and repeat with one more egg. When both eggs are inside, blow up the balloon. You might find it easier to use a balloon pump if you have one. Tie a knot in the filled balloon.

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  • Take a piece of the wool out of the glue, run it between thumb and forefinger to remove most of the glue, then wrap it around the balloon in all directions. Repeat until you have no big gaps left. You don’t want the eggs falling out when the balloon is popped! You can use more than one colour to make a really pretty effect. When it is covered as much as you want it to be, put it on to the small pot or egg cup to dry. You need to leave it overnight so the wool dries hard.
  • When it is completely dry, gently pop the balloon and use the scissors to ease the popped bits off the chocolate. And there you have a beautiful Easter egg decoration and a lovely gift for someone. This would make a cute table gift if you are having people round for Easter too. You can gently push aside a line of wool to remove the eggs inside.

 

To make the nests, blow up a water balloon and tie a knot in it. Use the same method then to cover just half of the balloon with wool. This time you want to put a lot more on to make it look more like a well-made nest. Leave it to dry on a small pot or cup overnight.

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When it is dry, pop the balloon and remove from the nest.

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Fill these with tissue paper and chocolate eggs and treats. They don’t need to be foil-wrapped for these nests.

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You could wrap these prettily in cellophane and give as Easter gifts to teachers. This is what Luke will be doing with his 🙂

I love encouraging creativity in children. So much better than them sitting in front of a screen, be it TV, tablet or computer. They are so proud when they have an end result of something beautiful that they have created themselves and even more so when they then give them as gifts.

Have a creative half-term! 🙂

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Children’s Craft Idea… A Colourful Paper Bowl

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Half-term is upon us already so here is a perfect craft activity to keep your children occupied for a while. They’ll love the finished bowl too, and it can be used for so many things. Halloween is round the corner so this would make an ideal container for all the yummy treats and sweets. You could make it with just orange paper and make it look like a pumpkin. Or how about a gift for a teacher at Christmas? I used to work in the Reception class of a local primary school, and had so many gifts at Christmas and end of the school year. The handmade ones were always my favourites. They were more personal and unique, and I still have them now all these years later. Your child could make a small version of this bowl and put a few chocolates inside. The possibilities are (almost) endless. My son made the one in the picture and uses it to hold some of the play food in his play kitchen. It is very messy to make, but that makes it extra fun! Just put lots of newspaper or a mat on your table to protect it from dripping glue!

To make it, blow up a balloon to the required size. Luke wanted a big one so we inflated the balloon to its maximum size. Cut up lots and lots of paper into small pieces. You can use any paper you want, but we cheated and used quilling paper from The Works. It is ready cut into strips so it is a lot quicker to cut into pieces. (I was going to put the link up for it but I can’t find it on their website now. I’m sure other places sell it too, or just cut up sheets of paper).

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Use a paintbrush to cover your balloon with PVA glue to the height you want the bowl. Hold it by the knot to do this and cover the other end with glue. Stick pieces of paper on until all the glue is covered, and rest it on a cup or container to dry. This will take a couple of hours. Luke had fun peeling the glue off his hands at this point. Remember doing that when you were at school? Ah, happy memories….

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When it is dry, cover all the pieces with another layer of glue, and stick more paper on top. Repeat this process of drying and adding more until your bowl is nice and sturdy (at least 3 layers of paper pieces). Cover it all with glue again and leave to dry. The final layer of glue will protect it and make it stronger. It will dry see-through and will make the bowl rigid.

When it is dry, pop the balloon gently and peel away from the bowl. You’ll now have a very rough shaped bowl.

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This is the trickiest part so best for older children or adults to help with… carefully cut around the edge to make it a nice tidy bowl.

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And there’s your finished bowl! Well, this is Luke’s but you know what I mean. Your children will have had lots of fun, and you’ll have a snowstorm of paper bits to hoover up but it will have been worth it 🙂

I’d love to see your finished bowls if you make them with your children. Happy crafting!