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New Year, New Skills – Why learning a new skill is so good for you.

New Year, New Skills

It’s the beginning of a brand new year and many of us will be setting goals for 2019.  Things like no more chocolate until next Christmas,  20-minutes only on devices a day and go for a 10-mile hike a day. Like everyone else, I’ve set myself these sort of goals each year and then felt dispirited or that I’ve have failed as they are unreasonable challenges and impossible to fulfil. So this year I’m trying a different type of goal to achieve.

My goal this year is to try new things and start learning some new skills! This type of goal isn’t about denying myself of feeling a failure if I don’t do amazingly on my first try. It is about stretching myself, trying things I’ve always wanted to have a go at and knowing that not getting it right only means I am practising to succeed later. I’ve also decided to plan my day to make sure I have time to just enjoy the little things in life such as enjoying a walk and setting aside a little time in the day to just do something creative that isn’t to do with work.

Therefore my New Year Goals list looks a little different to previous years:

  • Finally learn to crochet! I would love to be able to make one of the gorgeous Toft animals we have so this is the year.
  • Learn a few chords on the Ukelele so I can start to join in with one of the wonderful pub and play Ukelele sessions around where I live.
  • Set aside a time each day where I get to just be creative and experiment with techniques or materials without any pressure for it to be for anyone but me to enjoy.
  • Start to practice Yoga, I must be the only one left who isn’t enjoying some form of Yoga but I am a bit terrified as I am seriously unflexible and worry about getting stuck in a pose!

 

 

These New Year goals feel pretty good to me – there is no pressure, just a chance to do some fun stretching of the mind (and body) and the results should be pretty exciting, no matter if it takes me the rest of 2019 to manage some of them, I will still have started something I have never done before and be on my way to achieving a new skill.

The benefits of learning a new skill are pretty impressive:

I’m actually really looking forward to reaping all these benefits and having some fun in the process. It also feels a much more positive way to start planning a year than denying yourself or trying to make a new “you” out of a “you” that has travelled through good and bad stuff in 2018 and has proved a pretty good companion.

So let’s make 2019 a year to discover new skills we love and fill it with all our favourite things, both old and new!

 

If you too are looking to learn a new crafty skill in 2019 then these kits are perfect for beginners, from cross stitch to quilling.

Cross stitch – Cross stitch is the perfect new skill to relax with on the sofa! These counted cross stitch kits made by Mouseloft are perfect for beginner stitchers as they are very small and have simple but very cute designs.

 

Needle Felting – This is such a relaxing craft form to try and these gorgeous kits by Alula’s Garden are perfect for beginners. There are 6 kits in this range from penguins to rabbits.

 

 

Paper quilling –  This Complete Beginners Workbox by Past Times Quilling is designed for beginners and it contains everything you need to start, including a book with full instructions.

Wooden Automata Kits – If you want to start to learn how to make wooden moving models then why not start with this beginner level kit by Timberkits. It contains everything you need to make your model – a flying butterfly and a wriggling caterpillar.

 

If you enjoyed reading this article then you might like our article on how crafting makes our life better. Or to read more of our blog posts click here.

Cre8kits Magical Christmas Gift Guide!

Whether you love shopping for Christmas presents or want it to be as fast and painless as possible, we have made this Cre8kits gift guide to help you spread a little creative Christmas magic.


Brilliant stocking fillers – Creative ideas for Santa’s sack all costing £5 or under.

  1. Mister Maker Mini Makes – These little kits are perfect for children from the age of 3+ to about 8 years old. They contain everything you need to make the kits and create very little mess. £1.99 each. You can choose from a range of different themes from pony puppets to giraffe models. 2. Mouseloft Mini Cross Stitch Kits

These gorgeous mini kits are perfect for children and adults both (8years+). Made in Cheshire by family company Mouseloft, their cute designs and quick stitching time make them perfect for stocking fillers. Between £1.44-£2.39 each.

 

3. Sass and Belle Notepads

These sweet little A6 notepads are lovely as stocking fillers for little dreamers. They all feature one of three different positive messages on the front. £2 each.

4. Little Bird Brooch

This sweet little brooch is a lovely little gift or stocking filler for both older children and adults. £2.50 each.

5. Wooden model kits

These wooden kits slot together without needing glue to form 3d models of anything from animals to vehicles. They are brilliant value starting from £2.99 each.

6. Plasticine Modelling Kits

These brilliant mini plasticine modelling kits are perfect for quick creations before Christmas Dinner or stocking fillers. Each kit contains all the plasticine you need, usually three different colours of plasticine, a box to keep everything contained and instructions to help you make your animal/character.

 

7. Positive Pencils

These lovely pencils are perfect for motivating you on to greatness, whether in an essay or while writing ideas down!

Made by Sass and Belle. The pencils are available either individually or as a pack of 6. The pencils are in three gorgeous pastel colours depending on the message with Go Girl on a pink pencil, Dream Big on a lilac pencil and Follow Your Heart on a yellow pencil.

 

8. Kawaii Cat Pencils – These super cute pencils have erasers shaped like kawaii cats and are sure to encourage children and adults alike to put pencil to paper.

9. Black Cats are always Lucky Enamel Pin – for black cat lovers – £6.50

This British made enamel pin was hand-drawn in Shropshire by Daffodowndilly and is perfect for cat lovers.

 

 

Christmas Cards – From ready-made cards to ones you make yourself.

  1. Daffodowndilly Christmas Cards – Designed in Shropshire and printed in the UK on a lovely silk card complete with white envelope. £2 each

2. Mouseloft Cross Stitch Christmas Cards

These little cards are so cute and are a joy both to make and to send. Made by family company Mouseloft in Cheshire; everything you need to make them is included inside the kit, including a specially fitting card and envelope so all you need to do is start stitching! £2.89 each

 

3. Quilled Christmas Cards – Paper rolled delights

These lovely Christmas card kits are a work of art in themselves when made. Made in Lancashire by family company Past Times Quilling, these cards are as lovely to make as to receive. £5.95 each

Decorating the Tree

  1. Felt Angels

This super sweet sewing kit is made in Cornwall by Clara Create and makes two felt angels to hang on your tree. Perfect for children and adults alike and a definite family favourite. £10.95

 

2. Merrydown Robin

One of our favourite Christmas Kits and always popular with both adults and children. This lovely robin sewing kit is created in Cornwall by Clara Create and is perfect for perching on the tree or just cuddling by the fire! Age 8+

£12.95

3. Christmas Felt Decorations

This lovely felt sewing kit is also by Clara Create and makes three Christmassy decorations for the tree. Perfect for new sewers as a first project. Age 8+

£10.95

Gifts For Creative Children

  1. Needle Felting Kits

These gorgeous beginner kits are a perfect introduction to needle felting for older children and teens. Everything is included and each kit makes two of the design. Kit designs are rabbits, hens, toadstools, penguins, snowmen & songbirds.  Age 10+ – £16

2. Clara Create Sewing Kits

These beautiful kits are made in Cornwall by Clara Create using wonderfully soft felts and fabrics and are a perfect present for beginner/younger sewers. There is a range of designs from dogs to pigeons, all are hugely cute and make lovely gifts.

Age 8+ – From £12.95 to £14.99

3. Mister Maker Kits

This is the larger range of the brilliant children’s Mister Maker kits from the popular children’s CBeebies TV
programme. There’s a  variety of different themes ranging from hand puppets to cardmaking and all the kits are low mess, perfect for playing with before Christmas Dinner!

Age 3+ – £4.99 each

4. Textile Heritage Cross Stitch Bookmarks

These Stunning bookmark kits are perfect for creative children who love to read, it’s up to whether you want to make it to give to them or give them the kit to make as an added bonus. There is a huge range of designs from lighthouses to birds to knights. Age 8+ – £7.95

5. Wooden Model Kits by Quay

These wooden kits slot together without needing glue to form 3d models of anything from animals to vehicles. They are brilliant value starting from £2.99 up to the massive XL kits which range from £14.99 to £22.95 each. Age 3+

Perfect Gifts for Friends and Family

  1. Stitching Shed Cross Stitch kits

These beautifully designed kits are perfect for friends and family who love cross stitch. Designed in Lancashire by Jayne Schofield, these kits make stunning pictures to frame when stitched. Designs range from new baby to love blooms in my garden and welcome to my home and many others. Age 8+ Range of prices from £16 t0 £26.50.

2. Textile Heritage Cross Stitch Bookmarks

These Stunning bookmark kits, made in Scotland, are perfect to either give to make or make to give, to book lovers. There is a huge range of designs from lighthouses to birds to stain glass windows.  Everything comes with the kit except scissors for ease of making. Age 8+ – £7.95

3. Felted Wristwarmer Kits 

These lovely felting kits are designed in Somerset by Andrea Coleman and each kit makes two pairs of gorgeous wristwarmers. There are two colour styles available – blue and red (separate pairs) or dark blue and grey (separate pairs) Both pairs are reversible. Age 8+ £15.95 a kit (makes two pairs)

4. Deirdre the Owl Scissor Keep Kit

This is definitely the cutest scissor keep and needle case ever and comes with its own pair of pretty embroidery scissors. Designed by CharlieDuckDesigns and with lovely plumage colours this kit, once made, will help keep your essential sewing equipment together. The kit contains all the felt, buttons and thread you need to make the kit. Age 8+ £13.95

5. Felt Corsage Flower Kits

These mini corsage flower kits are adorable and made of a beautiful soft felt in 4 different colour schemes – greens, blues, pinks and burgundy. Made by The Button Company in the UK. Age 8+ £7.95

 

6. Redhound For Dogs  – Dog Jumper Knitting Kits

These wonderfully designed soft warm knitting kits are perfect for friends with dogs that feel the cold. There are 3 main types of body shape catered for – Dachsund, Terrier and Whippet, with each shape available in either pinks/purples or blues. There is also a Christmas jumper option for Dogs who like to look extra snazzy on the 25th.

Age 8+ Range of prices from £24.99 – £32.99

7. Crochet Bags by Hoooked

The effortlessly stylish Hoooked Zpagetti range of crochet bag kits use yarns made from textile remnants from the fashion industry which means that these kits are sustainable with recycled fabric and packaging. There are three designs to choose from and many of the designs come in different colour schemes for maximum versatility. Prices from £20 to £30.

8. Toft Crochet Kits

Made from luxury and incredibly soft DK weight 100% wool yarn from The Toft Alpaca Shop, the wool used in these kits are made from the finest British fleeces and spun in Yorkshire. Designed by Kerry Lord as part of her Edward’s Menagerie collection or their wearables collection, these gorgeous kits make a perfect gift for both adults and children and it is almost impossible to stop at making one, they are addictive! Choose from animals, dinosaurs, wristwarmers or scarves.

A range of prices starting from £22.95.

 

Gifts for Model Makers

  1. Vintage Model Company Planes

The Vintage Model Company is a small manufacturer of laser-cut, model kits based in Bakewell, Derbyshire. This new range of Magnificent Flying Machines features accurately drawn building plans, precise laser-cut parts and all basic materials required to build a rubber-powered model aircraft that really flies. These kits contain accurately printed plans, laser-cut parts, tissue, rubber motor, decal sheet, detailed instructions, propellers and PVA wood glue. The model has a real airframe, built up from laser-cut balsa sheet and strip parts, covered with lightweight model aircraft tissue to ensure the best possible flying performance. Age 8+ Range of prices from £24.99

2. Timberkits Wooden Automata Kits

Timberkits is a wonderful family firm created in 1993 and based in Mid Wales. Their wooden automata kits are hugely popular, coveted by adults and children alike and make the perfect gift for model makers – both beginner and experienced. There is a huge range of designs and types to choose from including a Ballista, a Stephenson’s Rocket or a ocean scene so have a browse through to find your perfect gift.

Age 8+ Range in price from £14.99 to £39.95

 


As well as using the links embedded in this post, many of these kits and cards can be found on our website in the Christmas section on the front page but if you would rather order by email or have any questions about any of the products or about Cre8kits then you can also send across your order or questions to: customerservice@cre8kits.co.uk

We hope you like this year’s guide and all that’s left to do is to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with creativity!
The Cre8kits Team x

 

5 Reasons We Love Kits

Some of the very first things I made (after the obligatory and beloved wiggly eye and pom-pom monster) were made using a kit. They were a cross stitch unicorn and a cartoon drawing set. The unicorn turned out with huge hooves and a very wonky horn and the less said about my attempts at  cartoons the better but they set me on a journey I am still travelling and enjoying today – the ability to make and create.
The use of a collected set of materials boxed together to make something specific is hardly new with model planes and cars regularly being made as kits but the proliferation of kits today means that you can find a kit in almost any craft form you want. This choice vibrancy is one of the reasons I love kits, you can make anything from a sock elephant to a pair of knickers! In case you are still un-convinced here are 5 more reasons!

 

  1. They are perfect as an introduction to a craft form.

    Kits usually come complete with instructions and everything you need to make your project. This means you can just focus on learning the techniques and enjoying the process. Once you have mastered the basics you can then go on to create your own projects or move on to a more challenging kit.

  2. They save you time.

    Rather than having to collect all the materials together and formulating the best method and then finding you have run out of time, you can just start! Everything is included so all you have to do is open the box and begin.

  3. You have a much better chance of it turning out how you intended.

    Someone will have carefully worked out how best to put the project together, worked out just how much wool you need and can tell you just when you might need that essential dab of glue. This means you are left with a thing of beauty rather than a nightmare creation! Again this is a perfect base from which to progress in a craft form.

  4. They span generations.

    You can get kits perfect for any age so however old you are you can find something to make. They are also lovely as activities to get everyone together by having a making session with children creating with their parents and grandparents.

  5. You can take them anywhere.

    Compact and portable, kits are perfect for taking with you to do some on the hoof creating! Long train/car journeys are perfect times to make or design something as your mind is free to design and build and you are given an enforced break from having to rush somewhere.

So whatever your favourite reason for using a kit we are sure you will agree they are pretty brilliant.

You can read our other blog posts on wellbeing, creativity and crafting here 

Or have a browse through our kits here

6 Crafty Ways To Help Your Garden Birds This Winter

With the snow and icy temperatures predicted to last well into March, our garden birds are really going to need feeding up to survive, as well as to prepare for nesting time.

Creating things for your garden birds can also be a brilliant time to teach children how to care for garden wildlife and to recognise different birds and animals. This can lead a child to a lifelong love for wildlife and also a future career choice so it’s well worth taking the time to explain and show children the wonders of a British garden or park.

Helping the birds needn’t be expensive or time consuming but it can be creative and a lot of fun. Here are 6 crafty ways you can help your garden birds this winter:

 

Fat Bird Cakes –

Make an easy hanging fat cake bird feeder. This activity by Catherine from the Growing Family blog shows you how to make a seed cake mix that you mould into a yoghurt pot then peel out to create a hanging feeder. This sort of a feeder is brilliant for Blackbirds, Robins, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Starlings, House Sparrows, Long Tailed Tits and Blackcaps. On our bird feeders we have noticed that any fat balls or cakes are beacons for flocks of Long Tailed Tits and Blue Tits so if you have seen any of these birds in your garden then fat balls are perfect to make and put out. Growing Family – Homemade Bird Fat Cake Feeders 

Bottle Bird Feeder –

This idea comes from the RSPB and shows you how to recycle a plastic bottle and make it into a feeder to hold loose bird seed. This sort of feeder is perfect for many types of birds and you can easily make a new one as the old one gets grubby or broken. Remember not to put whole nuts in the feeder as baby or weaker birds can choke on these. Birds attracted to this sort of feeder will depend on the type of seed you put out so experiment with different seed mixes to find the one that goes down best in your garden. RSPB – Making Bird Feeders

Apple Bird Feeder –

Apples are a great food source to birds like blackbirds and thrushes and can either be cut into quarters and left on the top of a bird table or you can make this ingenious apple bird feeder from the RSPB. RSPB – Make an apple bird feeder

Birdbath Making –

Birdbaths are important for two reasons and both will attract birds to your garden. One is that birds need clean fresh water to drink so a well-kept and regularly cleaned (without chemicals, just with a hose and a scrubbing brush) water source is a valuable resource to them. The other reason is to allow birds to clean their feathers and keep them in good shape for flying. By having your birdbath slightly off the floor it will mean the birds are less vulnerable to predators on the ground. Place your bird bath somewhere sheltered and not out in an open part of your garden, this will mean there is less chance of a Sparrowhawk swooping in and grabbing a bird. This is a very easy and quick birdbath idea from the children’s part of the Wildlife Trusts – Wildlife Watch.

Nesting Boxes –

Make your birds a safe nesting box ready for when Spring actually decides to finally appear! Decide which birds you would like to tailor it for by making the correct size bird hole from the measurements given on this brilliant practical poster by Wildlife Watch.

Make a Wild Area –

Make your garden as natural as you possibly can by avoiding weed killers or slug/snail pellets as these can kill both hedgehogs and birds. Plant bushes and small trees that have berries in Winter or early Spring for birds to eat and leave an area to grow wild so that insects have somewhere safe to live. The increase in butterflies, bees and other insects will mean more birds will also visit your garden. This lovely poster is again from Wildlife Watch.

Making Leaf Sail Boats!

(First posted in September 2017)

Opportunities for crafting in Autumn are amazing and varied so I am going to have a lot of fun sharing the autumnal crafting love. This first Autumn post is all about making those “evergreen” seasonal favourites…Leaf sail boats!

Making Leaf Sail Boats

This is perfect for those still beautiful days that you get in Autumn and you find yourself by a pond or lake with children or even a group of friends (it’s surprising how competitive people can get over a tiny leaf boat!) Make your boats as complex or as simple as you can find materials for. You will always have an abundance of natural materials to choose the right mast or sail for the job.

Although this is all about the fun of building and sailing your boats; there are also a massive amount of positive learning opportunities for children in this activity such as:

  • Experimentation with materials to see what floats and what doesn’t.
  • Design – obviously important if you don’t want a sinking boat.
  • The experience of actually getting your hands right in there and getting muddy or wet. Although this sounds a strange one some of my fondest childhood memories involve me getting muddy, covered in leaves or on one or two memorable occasions totally soaked from head to foot. However when close to water children should always be under supervision from a suitable adult as edges can be slippery and children overly absorbed in the fun.
  • The social benefits of both working together and also individually. Some children thrive on working by themselves and others in a group situation so it’s always good to swap round. This gives a chance to learn that they can work either way and it’s not scary.
  • It is also a good opportunity to teach children some of the names of insects, birds or plants they come across and get a bit of early nature love starting. Who knows, you may inspire a future career!
Boat Design

The boats themselves are really just up to your imagination and experimentation. The boats that sink are just as important in the process as the ones that float.

You basically need a “boat” base bit – either a leaf, nut shell, raft or piece of bark. Leaves with defined edges work best for this as they don’t easily let water over the edges. We found a couple of walnut shell husks enjoyed by a squirrel and these worked brilliantly. You do however have to balance your mast and leaf quite carefully so that it doesn’t tip over. We found wedging a small twig from top to bottom of the shell worked well but just experiment. Then you need a mast – twig, hollow grass stem or leaf stem. And finally a sail – leaf or flower petal.

 

If you are attempting a raft then you may need a piece of twine to hold it all together. However please take it back away with you and leave nothing but your footprints behind.

Hope you have an amazingly productive boat building session full of mud, pond skaters and most importantly fun!

I’d love to see your creations so please send them in with your first name and county to customerservice@cre8kits.co.uk and I will post them all up on here.

To read more of our blog posts click here

7 unexpected but brilliant ways crafting can make your life better

We all love making things, whether a gorgeous bracelet as a Birthday present for your sister, a model plane to take to the skies or a tiny knitted pair of bootees for your newborn but did you also know about the amazing benefits you are receiving just from stitching, knitting or painting something? From helping with depression and providing pain relief to making you happier, crafting has some seriously unexpected benefits.

  1.  It melts stress and helps alleviate depression

You probably already know this if you’re a crafter but doing any type of craft activity can help you unwind and relax. A sponsored study by Robert Reiner of the New York University psychiatry department found that when his patients took part in sewing activities their heart rate showed they relaxed. Other studies on depression reported that crafting releases dopamine – the hormone that helps you feel good. Professor Kelly Lambert, a former President of the International Behavioural Neuroscience Society, said that partaking in arts and crafts activities “bathes the brain in feel good chemicals” and can in some situations, be just as effective as taking prescription medication.

  1. It makes you happier and more positive

An online study published by the British Journal of Occupational Therapy found that after knitting, a huge 81% of people said they felt happier. Another study found that even just doing one creative thing a day can make you more positive. If you needed any more convincing, researchers at the University of Otago also found that when their test subjects did something creative daily there was a lasting positive trend of wellbeing and creativity in contrast to those who didn’t do anything creative.

  1. Reduces your chances of developing mild cognitive impairment by as much as 50%

Yes you read that right! One study found that creative activities such as craft reduce your chances of suffering from mild cognitive impairment by up to 50%. Another study from France also found that older people who did creative activities such as knitting are less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. It can help you cope with pain

Crafting along with music has been found to be very effective at distracting from pain or nausea. This is because the mind is so focused on the pleasurable activity that it temporarily distracts from the pain.

  1. Social benefits

Loneliness is becoming an epidemic in our societies with 10% of older people saying they feel lonely some or most of the time, young people in their teens and twenties are also suffering from loneliness more than ever and an ONS report even found Britain to be the loneliest country in Europe! Craft offers a chance to connect with people over shared interests, whether in a weekly group or sharing knitting mishap stories over a cup of tea with a friend. It is something that everyone can take part in and often doesn’t cost very much to do.

  1. Stops you worrying about your mortality

Yes, if you often worry about your own death then crafting can help. A study found that those people who did more creative activities regularly felt less apprehensive about their own death than those who didn’t.

  1. In the flow – it can transport you into a zen like state

Last but not least – both Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book “Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention” and the psychologist Claudia Hammond say that when people are in the “Flow” of creativity, this state of flow helps time pass by without you noticing meaning your cares and woes are easily forgotten for that period of time and you are focused purely on your task.

So the next time you sew, stitch, felt or knit, you can bask in the knowledge that you are also benefiting from some pretty amazing side-effects.  

By Becky Woolley

Some links to the studies and other articles of interest if you would like to read more:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21677242

http://www.marthastewart.com/1083369/knit-day-keeps-doctor-away-health-benefits-crafting

https://www.cgu.edu/people/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi/

http://www.claudiahammond.com/

http://www.countryliving.com/life/a4926/brain-crafting-benefits/

http://serenityyou.com/2013/01/the-surprising-health-benefits-of-arts-and-crafts-activities-guest-post.html

http://www.craftyarncouncil.com/health-therapeutic

http://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org/loneliness-research/

http://www.thesewingdirectory.co.uk/why-sewing-is-so-good-for-us/

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=85&ContentID=p07184

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/arts-and-health/201612/creativity-and-emotional-well-being-recent-research

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jocb.171/full

 

A bit about Cre8kits

Cre8kits is an independent online shop providing craft kits for easy, time saving and gorgeous creations. For all ages, both individuals and groups.

You can keep in touch with Cre8kits and our blog posts by signing up to our newsletter on our website http://www.cre8kits.co.uk or via Facebook, twitter and Pinterest.

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