Wedding Craftacular

It seems best to start this little ode to wedding craft, and one wedding in particular, with a special mention of Drink, Shop & Do. This is lovely gem of a place and just the type of place I’d love to spend all my time – drinking tea and then cocktails, making, crafting and being joyfully rubbish at board games. I should mention a certain bias – they are now stocking my cards, gift boxes and bookmarks. Even if they weren’t, I would be fondly singing its praises and pinpointing it as the beginning of the wedding craftacular. (Beware blatant plug) – If you do want a lovely handmade vintage card, box or bookmark within two minutes of King’s Cross though, you now know where to go – ignore bland station stationers! (Blantant plug over).

As part of Big Sis’s  Hen Party, we spent the afternoon feverishly sewing bunting. While other hen parties around London pranced about in fancy dress latex and main-lined sambuca, this lovely group of ladies sat completely absorbed in making bunting, concentration coming off us in waves. The gorgeous fabics and technical support were provided by Make Do Mend, who were lovely and also wrote a blog about it.

On and off for the following weeks, sometimes at markets, I made a few more bunting triangles, which were then added to at a big fat crafting weekend a few weeks ago – apparently a couple of very rich people got married that weekend and it was on telly a bit. Missed the coverage myself I’m afraid.

I have never got along with sewing machines. They dislike me and I them. I think they can smell my fear. They let me slowly gain in confidence, speed up, become complacent, and then jam or stop for inexplicable reasons. Or reasons that are inexplicable to me – that’s probably the key. Luckily I was able to negotiate a truce for just long enough to sew another twenty-five bunting triangles together.  By happy accident, the resulting bunting was just the right length to go around the circular tent. What a lovely tent, don’t you think? Particularly enjoyed the sheepskin bench covers.

Other wedding craft tasks included a few signs – the lovely lunch menu, the order of the day and a sign for the road, to entice the lovely guests in.

Do you like my painting outfit? I could tell you were admiring it.  They are in fact pyjamas – a present all the way from Colombia. As with garment presents, it was necessary to put them on immediately, even mid-paint, to take full advantage.

We were going to use traditional chalk boards for the menu, and then we were going to paint some board with blackboard paint. There was also the suggestion of a chalk board style poster. But on an expedition to Atlantis we got our hands on some black foam board, and that was decided. Light and easy to paint, a range of sizes and all the appearance of a chalk board. Who could ask for more? Plus the special bonus of watching people move them – expecting something very heavy and solid, and moving something extremely light; a surprised look classic.

They are less solid than real board though, so a bit of glue and string therapy was needed to secure them in place.

During the big fat crafting weekend, we also painted letters and pegs for a special ‘Make Your Own Message’ line.

I was hoping for increasingly rude or bizarre messages during the day, evening and night, depending on the rate of alcohol consumption, but a bit of wind, a bit of rain and the excellent tunes of The Syndics kept most people inside.

Before the trip from London, this box was in a bit better shape, but it held up. The little letters are on lovely green ribbon, used in lots of other things, including and bride’s hair and the box is decorated with paper flowers. Just behind it you can spy one of windmills, made from patterned origami paper. I wore some paper flowers, in my hair and as a corsage.

I’m also going to be developing some more wedding wear – paper flower bouquets, corsage and button holes, very soon, so keep an eye out for that. I’ll blog and tell you all about it.

A lovely time was had by all – perched up in a house on a hill in the Welsh Boarders with lovely views.

Plus I had the pleasure of a couple of exciting orders and returning home to some mail art from the lovely Katie Whittington aka As Petals Fall. I’ll tell you all about both of those happenings as soon as I have a mo.  I’m very excited about compiling mail art to post back, but I can’t tell you all my plans until Katie has received her envelope – surprises need to be kept secret, until the big glorious moment of reveal.


Femmes d’Aujourd’hui – Vintage Inspiration

It’s probably a bit of a wobbly business model, to make things out of materials that can prove to be elusive. You go to one market, one second hand book shop, one car boot sale just once, and find a stack of 1950’s magazines; enough to make you squeal out loud a little too loudly. This somewhat dampens the effacy of your ‘I could walk away at any moment’ haggling stance, but is exciting nonetheless. But you go back, relying on the stall in the corner that always has them, or just the sheer size and capacity of the book stacks, only to find there are none. No 1950’s Hobbies magazine with pull-out instructions, no 1920’s classic The Looker-On. Even more disappointingly, some of the loveliest sales or shops disappear, like the excellently named Wills Moddy Jumble Sale at St Aloysius Social Club  which will be sadly missed.

Since I’ve been making more and more cards, I’ve learnt to grab onto a stack of magazines when I find them. This was why my trip to the Spitalfield’s Antiques Market on Thursday was so very exciting. I love the Thursday market, and recommend it entirely. There are always piles of crockery, furniture, tins and objects that I spend my time, fruitlessly, trying to justify buying.  There are also reliable stalls; the stack of pages and maps pulled from books; the postcards and photographs long disregarded, that I use to make flowers and cards. I haven’t ever been able to find a good stack of magazines, until last week. I found a stall piled high with French antiques, including policemen’s hats, glassware, and, almost under the table, a pile of 1950’s Femmes d’Aujourd’hui magazines. After so long looking at English women’s magazines of the era, I don’t even need to be able to read French (which is lucky, as I can’t) to work out what the articles are about.

They are exactly the same – what to feed your children; how to entertain your husband’s boss and his wife; how to set your hair and epilate your legs; how to cinch in your waist and make your food go further. Sounds familiar, eh Good Housekeeping?

I have spent the day making cards with some of the images.  I just brought them downstairs and out to the garden to take some photos. How do you like our table cloth? As it has all day, rain felt imminent, so the photos aren’t very considered, but can you see how lovely the images are.

I also bought a cowboy annual, ready to make Father’s Day cards – don’t panic, it’s a few weeks away yet. I will have a special Father’s Day selection ready though – ready for selling and sending.

Designers Makers Mark II

At about 9.30am on Saturday morning, I had a profound, if obvious realisation, that all my products are made from paper. Half way to the bus stop, carrying bags of boxes, cards and other papery items, the heavens opened. It had been building for a couple of days. It was big, fat summer rain of relief, and in any other circumstances I would have been running about in it. That’s not a romantic imagining either, it has been done; once around the university campus before realising I was wearing a nighty that was rapidly becoming transparent.

Nothing quite focuses your mind on the fragility of paper contained in not-quite-water-proof-enough bags, as much as pouring rain. The other worry was of course that I was about to spend my market day watching rain fall, while potential customers stayed at home where it was warm and dry. Luckily I had a big bunch of plastic bags, which I tucked around everything I could, and used my extra market clothing to plug the other gaps. By the time we got off the bus at the other end, the sky was clear. If we hadn’t been rather sodden, it would have almost been as if we had imagined it.

This market was extra exciting. I spent last week developing some new products and I really wanted to see the reaction to them. It’s difficult, when you’re squirreled away in a room, cutting up paper and ill-advisally waving glue guns around, to tell if people are going to like the things you make.

I originally developed my range of gift boxes to make use of the fantastic vintage images that were too big for cards. Some of the larger boxes are covered by magazine covers or double page spreads. I’m so glad I can use them, because they’re beautiful, and sometimes hilarious. Similarly there are some images that are too small for card, and at the suggestion of  lovely Mr Moll, I used these to make some book marks.

The other thing I’ve been making this week (nearly a Fast Show reference there), is paper roses. I went to the the Book and Comic Exchange in Notting Hill on the hunt for some magazines. It’s a treasure trove and rifling through the stacks of magazines and books is an excellent way to use up time. I found some very familiar comics – some Dandys from the late 80s and early 90s – about the time I would have been walking to the local shop. My sister would get The Beano (she was born first, so she got to choose), and a Twister or maybe a Funny Feet ice cream and I would get The Dandy and a Secret chocolate bar. I bought a few of those, and some other, older art periodicals, and used them to make some paper roses.

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From these, I made some garlands of flowers, and some hair pieces. I think they turned out really well. In fact, I’m going to work on the hairpieces to wear to a special wedding in a week and a half. You’ll hear a lot more about that in the near future. I’ve made a lot of things for it, and can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Also, excitingly, I have had the first enquiry into my offer for free bespoke, handmade invitations. I’m working on developing those at the moment. Remember, if you, or anyone you know, has a special event coming up, let me know, and I’ll design some storybook -style invitations for you – completely free!