Denyse Schmidt


I’ve just bought a new motorhome and the curtains in it are horrid so I just have to change them.  I’m not very handy with a sewing machine but a lovely haberdashers shop close to my house sells some beautiful fabrics and I got inspired.  The fabric I have chosen is designed by Denyse Schmidt, an American graphic designer and quilt maker.

Some of her amazing designs are also featured on a range of stationery published by Chronicle Books.


Dottier & Jottier Mix and Match Stationery Set


Hope Valley Sticky Notes & To-do’s


What a Bunch of Squares Notecards


Dots & Jots Journal

If you fancy getting creative why not take a look at this Quilt-It Kit



And finally.  Here’s my curtain fabric that I bought from a fabulous shop here in Bristol called Flo-Jo Boutique





Renegade Craft Fair – London


If you’re in London over the weekend of 9th and 10th November, you should make sure you get along to The Old Truman Brewery in East London for the annual Renegade Craft Fair.

I first went to a Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco back in 2009.  It was on one of the piers overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge on a crisp December day.  From that first visit I’ve been hooked.  In the UK a craft fair can sometimes conjure up images of something your Nan might have made, but Renegade curate a talented bunch of crafters and artists at each of their shows.

I always come away from a Fair with lots of goodies.  My favourite is a screen print of a theatre poster, now hanging on my wall at home, that I manged to get 6000 miles home without creasing.


There’ll be entertainment from the Renegade Gang and a free photo booth from LookLook as well as tea and cakes.

The Old Truman Brewery is in the heart of the East End on Brick Lane so once you’ve toured the Fair there’s plenty more to see and do in this fantastic, vibrant, diverse and exciting part of the city.

Renegade Craft Fair is on from 11am – 6pm on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November 2013 at The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QL

Cavallini Gift Wrap Picture

Cavallini Gift Wrap Pictures

Cavallini Gift Wrap Picture

I’ve recently moved house and have lots of wall space to fill.  I’d brought some pictures from my old place but I felt like a change.  The frames were fine so I just had to find some new pictures to put in them.  Anyway, while I was busy un-packing boxes I came across a roll of Cavallini gift wraps that I’d forgotten I had.  They would do perfectly.  I chose a couple of designs that would suit being cut down as the gift wrap sheets were too big for the frames.

Cavallini Gift Wrap Picture papernationunionjack

The frames came from Ikea and so it is easy to remove the back of the frame and put in a new picture.   I took out the frame mount and put it on the paper to see which section of the design I wanted and then laid the paper in the frame and cut to size.  The back of the frame went back on easily and I now have two new pictures which are hanging on my kitchen wall.  I chose not to have the extra expense of buying mounting board and spray mount adhesive so my pictures may go a bit crinkly over time but I’ll probably be ready for a change by then too.

Cavallini Gift Wrap Picture

Cavallini produce some amazing wraps and they have about 100 different designs to chose from, each is printed on thick laid paper 20″ x 28″ (51cm x 71cm).

There’s a design to suit any wall in your house – maps, animals, vegetables, cakes, birds, alphabets, the list goes on.

I used their Union Jack (Cavallini reference:  Wrap/UJK) and their New York Transit Guide map (Cavallini reference:  Wrap/MAPNYCNEW).  Photo of my lovely cat George is not available in their range!

You can find the wrap in selected high street stores or online at Amazon.

Cavallini Gift Wrap Picture





I know that this is not stationery but I couldn’t resist sharing a photo of our lovely velvet greyhound which arrived through the post as a housewarming gift.  Isn’t she adorable?  We’ve named her Daphne.  I’m not sure why but I think it suits her.

Daphne is handmade and comes from a wonderful shop in Highgate, north London called Souvenir Gallery.  They are champions of Great British design and have selected their range well to ensure it’s exciting, well priced and with plenty of the “I must have that” factor.

You can’t buy online at the moment but you should visit their website here just to look at their fabulous Top 10.

If your in Highgate why not pop in a take a look – Souvenir Gallery, 249 Archway Road, Highgate, London N6 5BS.

Maps - great craft material

Five Craft Ideas Using Maps

Maps - great craft material

Maps are one of my favourite things, both for poring over with romantic holiday ideas, and for using as a cool base material for craft projects. There’s something about a map, no matter where it is of, that makes you want to peer at the details, read the place names, think whether you’ve been there. So with a map in the middle, your craft creation is going to be visually appealing, no matter what! The other fab thing about maps is that they’re cheap and easy to come by. Most people have some lying around forgotten in a drawer, brought back from long-ago holidays. If not, maps can be found lurking in dusty corners of most charity shops. I’ve got some Polish maps at home, waiting to be turned into something funky one day!

So, what kind of things might you make with maps? Here are a few ideas for inspiration:

Map Gift Tags

Map Gift Tags

Maps make great DIY gift tags. All you need is a pack of luggage labels, a hole punch and some coloured hole reinforcers. WHSmiths should have all of these. Oh, you’ll also need a map of course.

Unstring a luggage labe and use it as a template, to cut out a label shape from your map. Lay the label on top of your map cutout, and mark through the hole with a pencil. Then hole-punch the map cutout. Glue the map onto the luggage label, and leave it to dry. Once all your labels have dried, re-string them, and you’re done.

Photo: Bison Australia

Wall Art Using Maps

Maps as framed art

I love this project from Sara McCarty at Running From The Law. Sara had a giant wall in her house and needed to make it fun and interesting. So she got creative with maps, cheap frames and spray paint. Sara bought all of her maps in etsy, to gather a collection of bright, quirky maps that were of special relevance to her and her family. I reckon the project would work just as well with recycled maps.

 Map Envelopes

Map Envelopes

Maps make a cool material for homemade envelopes too. You can either make a template by unfolding a proper envelope, or use a plastic envelope template. A plain white sticker on the front for the address area and these are good to go.

Map Magnets

Map MagnetsThese gorgeous DIY map magnets are the cutest I’ve found on the internet. Bailey, from Let Birds Fly blog, used little half marbles, Mod Podge and mini magnets to make these little gems. She has an easy to follow tutorial on her blog with step-by-step instructions.

Map Coasters

Map Coasters


Coasters are another great DIY idea for map projects. These ones are simply glued onto cheap card coasters from the pound shop, then Mod Podged on top to give them a shiny finish. Doesn’t get simpler than that! Check out the tutorial at AlmostNeverClever.

Mod Podge

What Is Mod Podge?

Mod PodgeFor some reason, Mod Podge isn’t nearly so well-known here in the UK as it is in the States. I guess crafting in general is less developed here than in the US, so maybe that’s why. But Mod Podge is such a great thing, it should be in your arsenal whether you’re a hardcore crafter or an occasional DIYer.

So what exactly is Mod Podge? It’s basically a craft glue with magic properties. It glues, but it also seals and varnishes to provide a permanent, tough finish to your crafting projects. You can use it for decoupage type projects, or for anything where you want a finished coat to protect a paper-based item. Coasters, magnets, knobs and hooks…all of these will last longer and look more professional with a coat or two (or ten) of Mod Podge on the top.

Mod Podge comes in several different flavours – matt finish, gloss finish, hard coat…there’s even an outdoor weatherproof version. Armed with some Mod Podge, the world is your oyster (more or less).

If you’re lucky enough to have a decent craft shop near you, ask them if they stock Mod Podge. If not, you can buy Mod Podge in the UK, from Fred Aldous. And if you need some creative inspiration for what you can achieve with Mod Podge, head over to the Mod Podge Rocks blog, or buy the Mod Podge Rocks book.

Got any project pictures you’d like to share with us? Email them to us, and we’ll include them on our site!

Spray Paint

Spray Paint 101

Liquitex Spray Paint

Have you ever browsed an interiors article in a magazine or the Sunday supplements, and seen an amazing brightly coloured picture frame, chair or desk, with the home owner casually saying ‘Oh, it was a flea market find that I just spray-painted one day…’?  Enthused by the thought of making over that old chest or picture frame, you charge off to B&Q to get the paint, and start spraying away to your heart’s content. Trouble is, your efforts don’t always look as great as the ones featured in those magazines.  I blame the paint. The selection of spray paints available in most DIY shops just aren’t right for this kind of makeover project. Typically, if you’re lucky, you’ll find 2-3 different colours of Plasti-Kote spray and that’s it.  What you really need is something a little more…specialist.

Liquitex spray paints come in more than a hundred different colours so you definitely won’t have to settle for something that’s not quite what you wanted, like you might at the DIY shop. Liquitex spray paint is a professional spray paint, aimed squarely at the artist’s market, not the domestic DIY market. You’ll get better colours, better lightfastedness (is that a word) and a better finish. Liquitex also does spray varnishes too, if you want to give your project a toughened finish.

Have a peep at this Liquitex video to see the spray paints in action…

You can buy Liquitex paint online from Fred Aldous.

Mtn 94 Spray PaintMTN 94 is the spray paint of choice for graffiti artists everywhere. There isn’t really a better recommendation than that, is there? Again, there’s more than a hundred different colours to choose from. If you’re a pro artist, you might need extra nozzles to control the spray, but for spray painting furniture, you’ll be fine with the standard nozzle that comes on the can.

MTN 94 is available from Fred Aldous, or from Graff City.

And now for the serious bit:

  • if you’re doing some spray painting, try to do it outside if at all possible.
  • if you have to spray paint indoors, make sure you have plenty of ventilation
  • always wear a face mask
  • cover the floor area and a big area around that, so that you don’t spray paint more than you intended
  • make sure the cat, dog, kids  etc. are securely shut somewhere else for the entire project
  • spray a big item in stages, waiting for each stage to thoroughly dry. This will avoid getting your floor coverings stuck to the piece you’re spraying
Plundered Pages

Etsy Pick: Julie Kirk’s Plundered Pages

Plundered PagesDeep down I think I should feel guilty about torn paper ephemera. I can still hear the raging voice of Miss Brocklebank, my old German teacher from years ago, yelling at what a heathen I was for having merely turned down the corner of a page in the book we were reading. She’d be spinning if she saw these gorgeous, but very definitely torn out of a book Plundered Pages, by Julie Kirk.

I love the way Julie has put together themed packs for different occasions and styles. These paper packs would be great for card-making, scrap-booking, art journalling or just messing about with. I’d use some bits as quirky bookmarks, I think.  I love the Christmas paper packs, and I just adore the pack called ‘Wolves, Bears and Howling At The Moon’…how Julie decided to put together a pack on that theme is quite intriguing.

As well as the Plundered Pages kits, Julie also offers Fabricky Bits, Interesting Bits and Art Journalling Bits. They’re all put together carefully to ensure the theme is tight and it all goes together nicely. I love the branding of the packs too – I wouldn’t be surprised to see Julie’s packs popping up in discerning gift shops some time soon – in fact Liberty’s should call Julie right now…her packs would be perfect for them…

See Julie Kirk’s Plundered Pages on Etsy.