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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

 

8 Embroidery Instagram Accounts We Adore

Embroidery on Instagram

Instagram is a powerful tool to find artists and makers who inspire you. In fact, this is one of the main reasons I love Instagram, I use it to “bookmark” people whose work I want to learn more about. It also makes it a perfect place to find beautiful art you love and see what is happening at the cutting edge of makery.

You could call embroidery an evergreen craft, it has been consistently popular and likely always will. However, this doesn’t mean that the styles stay the same (although you can be sure that everything goes around, even 90’s double denim)! Even the way we display or use embroidery is different to 30 years ago. Now we tend to display embroidery in hoops – a ready made super quick frame that happens to look amazing on the wall. Another use is to embroider our clothes, which is a much more traditional use, but we use modern designs.

Embroidery is thriving among all ages and is something you can start relatively cheaply; learn as you go and can easily take anywhere to do.  Therefore there is no reason we can possibly think of not to start!

These accounts on Instagram are brilliant places to explore and get the bug or find the type of embroidery that suits you! Some like @petronella.art and @_charleshenry_ also lead online embroidery courses if you love their style and want to learn more about their process.


So here are the 8 embroidery accounts on Instagram we adore:

@petronella.art

Who is she: Originally from Falsterbo in Sweden, Elin Petronella now lives mostly in France and embroiders buildings, landscapes and landmarks that she sees on her everyday travels. She hand draws out an intricate sketch and then converts that drawing into an embroidery pattern to stitch. She travels with her fiance, another embroidery artist called Charles Henry and together they have a website called Le Kadre. From Le Kadre you can buy finished pieces, patterns and online courses; they also have a joint Instagram account as well, @thetravellingartists.

Embroidery Style: Architectural embroidery of street scenes, landscapes and landmarks. She uses vibrant colours and a strong outline with particular attention often paid to objects like bikes or vegetation which add to the structure of the scene. Her pieces are almost always created and displayed in wooden hoops and are designed with a circle viewpoint in mind. 

Instagram Style: Expect beautiful photos of her travels with both urban and coastal landscapes; gorgeous progress photos of embroidered pieces being made and videos of her process. You will also be treated to amazingly envy making photos of places she sits to relax and embroider such as sun-drenched beaches or in front of stunning landmarks. You won’t just find embroidery though as she also knits and makes her own clothes and bags.  She also regularly posts about her life with Charles Henry (see below) as they work and travel together. 

Why should you follow her: If you love architectural style embroidery and beautiful photos of France and the Continent then this is your sort of account. Her account has a very happy vibe and is a perfect place to learn more about architectural embroidery.

 

Links

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/petronella.art/?hl=en

Instagram for The Travelling Artists: https://www.instagram.com/thetravellingartists/?hl=en

Facebook page for Le Kadre: https://www.facebook.com/lekadre/

Le Kadre website: https://lekadre.com/

 

@_charleshenry_

Who is he: He is a Paris born embroidery and illustration artist who like his fiance, @petronella.art, embroiders landmarks and street scenes, he also stitches portraits. As the other half of Le Kadre, they lead workshops, create patterns and sell their work all over Europe and beyond. He hand draws out the pattern first and these sketches are usually just as brilliant as the finished embroidered piece. 

Embroidery Style: His pieces switch between black/blue line stitched outline embroidery with no other colour apart from vivid multicolour skies or seas. His other embroidery style being architectural where he uses many colours and lots of texture. Like @petronella.art he uses hoops to display his pieces but sometimes he also converts stitched pieces into prints.

Instagram Style: Similar in style to @petronella.art in that you can expect lots of beautiful embroidery pieces in progress interspersed with photos of him stitching in front of beaches or famous landmarks. He also shows what life as half of a travelling artist couple is like with regular photos of the two of them. Both of their feeds show a deep appreciation that we should all try to love the little things in life and he often posts positive messages or something to make you think.

Why should you follow him: You will be seeing real-life scenes and people being literally sewn in front of your eyes though progress shots and videos. It is also really good that both he and @petronella.art show the location or scene they are stitching as well as the finished piece as it gives you a real insight into the finished likeness. and can get a really good feel of what architectural embroidery consists of. You will also love (and suffer huge jealousy pangs for) the shots of him stitching in front of gorgeous locations.

? The embroidery is finished !☄?❤ It's not easy to finish a piece, I always had this problem in art school or even in my old job, I was never satisfied with my work. After 1 month and a half to embroider on this piece, I'm happy but there are always details that can bother me. With the experience I learned to hold my choices and to know how to say stop, the piece is finished. This piece was a memory of Paris, my hometown, which I was happy to leave for new adventures, it will always remain a city of my heart, and we will come there from time to time because my mother lives there. Each city has its own state of mind, that's how it is, that's why we often have preconception about the people who live there. I have tried it but I never really had the spirit of #Paris. Nature, the ocean, the small communities is more my kind of spirit. But without Paris maybe Elin and I would not be here at the moment of today making our passion a lifestyle. This #embroidery is located at Quai des Orfèvres not far from the Pont-Neuf, it is a place known for this large anti-criminal police station, and also known for its history and its majestic architecture. I now feel ready for the next piece, full of ideas in mind, I hope you'll be there! If you are interested in purchasing "Quai des Orfèvres" please email : hello@lekadre.com ? . . . #lekadre #broderie #bordado #handembroidery #handmade #needlework #needlepainting #diy #closeup #manbroidery #artistofinstagram #artstudio #artforsale #embroideryartist #seineriver #sky #paintingoftheday #artoftoday #contemporaryartist #needleart #patienceiskey #dmcembroidery #vangogh #tribute #menstyle #detailedart #finearts #fineartist

A post shared by CHARLES HENRY (@_charleshenry_) on

 

Links

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_charleshenry_/?hl=en

Instagram for The Travelling Artists: https://www.instagram.com/thetravellingartists/?hl=en

Facebook page for Le Kadre: https://www.facebook.com/lekadre/

Le Kadre website: https://lekadre.com/

 

@kirikipress

Who is she: Kiriki Press started when Michelle Galletta, actually a printmaking graduate from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Canada; wanted to make an embroidered doll for her niece. She couldn’t find a pattern gorgeous enough, with existing ones being either too simplistic or too old-fashioned. After learning how to embroider she then designed and made a trio of embroidered owls. She has featured in a whole host of craft blogs, magazines and books and continues to create new designs featuring embroidered animals, characters and samplers.

Embroidery Style: She uses a myriad of different stitches to create the looks she wants for each character with colours suited to whichever character she is currently embroidering, each of the animals is very realistic and very cute. The simplest creations may only feature a few different stitches while advanced pieces may almost completely cover the fabric to create a fully textured piece.

Instagram Style: As you would imagine it mostly shows her creations in various states of creation and with lovely backgrounds. It also features characters made by people who have followed her patterns to create their own pieces. It is brilliant to see when she shows the original sketches for some of the designs as it is always really interesting to see how people design their work and how it differs or is similar to other artists.

Why should you follow her: If you love cute embroidery and sumptuous backdrops then this is perfect for you. 

 

 

 Links

Website – https://www.kirikipress.com/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/kirikipress/?hl=en

Facebook – facebook.com/kirikipress

Twitter – twitter.com/KirikiPress

Pinterest – pinterest.com/kirikipress

 

@brynnandcoshop

Who is she: Amanda Bryde is Canadian by birth but now lives in Queensland, Australia. She runs her business, Brynn & Co, alongside having a young family and working full time. Having always been creative with photography, writing, crochet and sewing; she then fell in love with embroidery and started her business. Her dream is to be able to support her family by selling patterns and kits of her designs alongside sewing aids.

Embroidery Style: Positive words left as blank fabric then beautifully surrounded with embroidered flowers and plants. She also uses occasionally uses black outline stitches with a pop of colour to show off a feature.

Instagram Style: Think clean, beautifully lit and posed photos of her work, both finished and in progress. New ideas for her projects and collaborations with other artists.

Why should you follow her: If you like gorgeous embroidery flatlays and innovative ways to use embroidery in everyday life then this account is perfect.

 

Links

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/brynnandcoshop/?hl=en

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com.au/amandalbryde/

 

@timesnewromance

I can’t find very much information about this artist but her work is fabulous so enjoy!

Embroidery Style: Brilliant innovative black outline portrait embroidery with hair features added beautifully using threads. Faces are spot on and I just love the texture that the threads give to the hair on the portraits. Some pieces she creates are huge and almost life-sized while others are tiny.

Instagram Style: Pared down images of in-progress and finished work always against simple backgrounds. Occasional shots of her stitching and her inspirations.

Why should you follow her:  So creative and innovative in how she frames, poses and stitches her portraits, it is a joy to see what she does next.

 

 

Links

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/times.new.romance/?hl=en

 

@tessa_perlow

Who is she: Tessa Perlow is from New Jersey in the USA and creates upcycled clothes and textiles by filling them with colourful embroidery art. She sells these pieces as unique one-off clothes.

Embroidery Style: Bold, vibrant and modern embroidery that veers from florals to human hearts and geometric patterns. Each garment or textile she creates is unique from any of her other pieces and all are brilliant. She also stitches hoop art, mostly featuring eyes in some way.

Instagram Style: You can expect lots of vibrant in-progress and finished images of her upcycled pieces with her either wearing them or in the hoop being created. Images of her gorgeous cats, plus dreamy photos from her trips.

Why should you follow her: The sheer variety and imagination of her work mean each piece is different and it’s exciting to see what her next design will be. If you love bold, modern embroidery and upcycling then this is perfect for you.

 

~Pure heart contour tee~ #embroidery

A post shared by ⚡️Tessa⚡️ (@tessa_perlow) on

Links: 

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/tessa_perlow/?hl=en

 

 

@rachelwinters_sewing

Who is she: Rachel Winters is from Georgia in the USA and creates flower-rich embroidery hoop art. She sells her designs as PDF patterns and as finished hoop art.

Embroidery Style: She uses a variety of different stitches to create gorgeous floral pieces, sometimes with beautifully stitched birds, both for hoop art and for embroidering on clothes. Love the way she creates brilliant texture on some of the flowers using longer lengths of thread.

Instagram Style: Gorgeous close-ups and flatlays of her embroidery both finished and in progress plus sketches of her designs being created.

Why should you follow her: Her feed is gorgeously full of embroidered flowers and birds and if you love nature- inspired embroidery then this is the feed for you.

 

✨New hand embroidered hoops are now on my Etsy Shop. Link in my profile ✨

A post shared by rachelwinters_sewing (@rachelwinters_sewing) on

Links:

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/rachelwinters_sewing/?hl=en

 

@defnegunturkun

Who is she: Based in Istanbul, Defne Güntürkün designs fabric patterns featuring nature-inspired themes so when she developed a love for embroidery it made sense that these themes would make their way into her embroidery. She has been designing fabrics for over 15 years so this experience helps her to choose colour combinations that work well together as well as decisions on how to incorporate new plants or objects into her pieces. She sells her embroideries through her website and through her studio in Istanbul.

Embroidery Style:  Nature-inspired pieces featuring beautiful floral filled initials; realistic character filled portraits and lots of cacti! She also creates stitched pins and buttons in a variety of designs. Her portraits are mostly stitched on felt.

Instagram Style: Videos of her work being stitched, allowing you to see her process. Photos of her work finished and in progress plus photos of her gorgeous studio.

Why should you follow her: Her portraits are gorgeous to watch being created and if like us you love watching the stitches transform the blank fabric and create a work of art, then this account is for you too.

 

 

Links:

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/defnegunturkun/?hl=en

Website – https://www.defnegunturkun.com/about

 

 

All these artists are inspirational, innovative and hugely creative talents and will fill your feed up with brilliance and loads of stitchy goodness. Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this post then have a read of some of our other posts here

Or if you want to have a browse of our craft kits then you can find our home page here 

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

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

How to tie the easiest bracelet knot clasp

30th July 2017

A knotted clasp bracelet is one of the easiest types of bracelets to make, beaten only by a stretchy bracelet but it is also one that people tend to steer away from as they think tying a knotted expanding clasp is difficult.

Actually this type of clasp is really easy when you know how and you can use it for a huge variety of different designs so have a go at learning how to tie this clasp because you will extend your jewellery making possibilities overnight plus saving you money as all you need is cord and your chosen bead/s rather than a clasp.

There are loads of different methods and types but this one is a super simple version and means you can make bracelets in minutes rather than fiddling around with tricky or expensive clasps. I’m writing this on a very soggy day in Shropshire but these also make gorgeous festival bracelets which you can layer and make in a smorgasbord of different designs.

Choosing the right cord for the job

Cotton reelsRound waxed cotton cord works best for these sorts of clasps and you can now get it in loads of different thicknesses and colours. For the bracelets pictured I used a 1mm thick waxed cotton cord.

 

Tying the Clasp

Step 1

Cut your cord – You need about 45cm of cord but play around with the sizing a bit because you might find you need more or less depending on which beads you use and the size of the wrist you are making the bracelet for, the amount I have given is basically just for a very small bead with two containing knots, the knotted clasp knots and a medium-ish size wrist.

plaits

Step 2

Add your beads to the middle of the bracelet and add an overhand knot each side of them to keep them where you want them. You can also knot them in along the bracelet but remember if you are doing this then you will need to add more cord at the start. I’ve just used a button and a leaf to help demonstrate.

button step 2
Step 2 – Add your bead/s to the centre of the bracelet or along the piece you want to be at the front on your wrist.

 

Step 3

Tie an overhand knot at both of the cord ends, you can knot a small bead on here first for decoration if you like.

button step 3
Step 3 – knot both ends of the cord.

 

Step 4

Now overlap the two ends so one end is going the one way and the other laying in the opposite direction. Now using one of the ends go underneath the other cord and tie a simple overhand knot around the cord leaving a small tail and pull tight but not so tight that it won’t slide. You can check you have got it right at this point by trying to slide the knot up and down the cord. You will now have what looks like a long loop at the end of a piece of cord.

Stage 4 button
Step 4
Stage 4 leaf
Step 4

 

Step 5

Now do the same on the other side by looping the remaining long cord end around a section of the loop and again tie and overhand knot with a small tail.

leaf step 5
Step 5

 

Step 6

You should now be able to slide both knots up and down the loop meaning that whatever size wrist you are making the bracelet for it will be a perfect fit.

closed leaf clasp
“Open clasp”
open finished bracelet
“Closed clasp”

 

I hope you have found this useful and can use it to make inexpensive and gorgeous bracelets galore!

Please send in pictures of your completed bracelets I’d love to see them!

For more blog articles like this as well as articles on art, craft, wellbeing and nature then please follow this blog. Or you can follow Cre8kits on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

(Originally posted on the 30th July 2017 on our original blog site Cre8ty)

 

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10 embroidery stitches to take you from beginner to master

It is a subject of common knowledge (and quite a few popular books) that you only need to know a few chords on a guitar to open you up to be able to play a whole rainbow’s worth of music. Of course learning new chords afterwards is great and can make your playing varied and even more fun but effectively you can do an awful lot with just those few chords and a willing spirit. Embroidery is actually pretty much the same. While it’s great to know how to stitch a huge range of different stitches you can actually get away with just mastering 10 stitches to make huge numbers of gorgeous pieces.

So here I’ll show you, with photographs, how you can stitch these 10 stitches quickly and easily and start your journey from embroidery newbie to stitch master!


  • Running Stitch:

    Technique:

    There are two methods for doing running stitch, just choose which you like best.

    METHOD 1– First knot the end of your thread and come up through the back of the material until the knot hits the material, now make one stitch by going down through the material again a small distance away.

    Now (as shown in Photo 1) weave your needle in and out of the fabric to create the stitches and pull through. Photo 2 shows the completed stitches.

    Running stitch 1 method 1 resized
    Photo 1 – Running stitch method 1
    finished method 1 running stitch
    Photo 2 – Method 1 completed

    METHOD 2 –  The second method is just to go up and down normally and do your stitches individually. See Photo 3.

    method 2 running stitch
    Photo 3 – Running stitch method 2
    Where to use running stitch:
    1. Decoratively, to create a border or line.
    2. To gather material together.
    3. In appliqué (where you sew smaller fabric shapes onto another larger piece of fabric to create a pattern or picture.)
    4. To hold pieces of fabric together temporarily before properly stitching.

 

  • Back Stitch

Technique:

Backstitch is a lovely simple stitch which again starts with you knotting the end of your thread. Now come up from the back and make one stitch by going down again. Now come up a stitch’s worth amount from your first stitch and then go back down the hole from the first stitch (see Photo 4) covering over where you left the gap. It’s easier to demonstrate with pictures and a diagram as it sounds so much more complicated than it is!

 

backstitch diagram

 

You come up at 1 and go back down at 2, back up at 3 and then back down at 4 and so on.

 

 

 

 

back stitch start
Photo 4 – starting to backstitch
back stitch
Photo 5 – Completed Backstitches
Where to use backstitch:
  1. Decoratively, for lines or borders.
  2. To stitch words or outlines.

 

  • Straight Stitch

Technique:

diagram straight stitch

Super simple and perfect for filling up shapes. Just come up from the back at point 1 and back down at point 2, then start again at a completely different angle.

 

straight stitch
Photo 6 – Completed straight stitch

 

Where to use straight stitch:
  1. To fill up large shapes and to create texture.

 

  • Chain Stitch

 

Technique:
chain stitch diagram
Photo 7 – Starting chain stitch

 

Come up  from the back with your needle,  go back down at 1 (next to where you began) and come up at 2, before pulling through catch the thread around the left side of the needle as shown in Photo 7.

chain stitch in progress
Photo 8 – Continuing to chain stitch

 

 

 

 

 

To continue chain stitching just follow the same technique but go through the middle of the last chain as shown in Photo 8.

completed chain stitch
Photo 9 – Completed chain stitches
Where to use it:
  1. To outline words and shapes.
  2. Decorative borders.

 

 

 

 

  • Lazy Daisy

 

Technique:

This is basically a variant of chain stitch so once you can do that you can do this! Start by knotting the end of your thread, coming up from the back and then going back down next to where you came up from, creating a loop. Come up again where you want the tip of the “petal” to be and thread through the loop (see photo 10). Pull through and then make a very small stitch to hold the loop in place (see Photo 11).

lazy daisy 1
Photo 10 – Starting the lazy daisy

 

lazy daisy diagram
Photo 11 – Numbered diagram for the lazy daisy stitch. Come up at 1 and down at 2, keep a loop and come up again at 3 before capturing the loop by going down at 4.

Now come back up in the middle and start again (Photo 12), create the petals until your flower shape is complete (Photo 13).

lazy daisy in progress
Photo 12 – Lazy daisy stitch in progress.
completed lazy daisy
Photo 13 – Completed lazy daisy flower, you can add a centre or just leave as is.
Where to use it:
  1. To create flowers, petals, leaves or seeds.

 

 

  • French Knots

 

Technique:

First knot the end of the thread and then come up with your needle from the back, now using your fingers wrap the thread 3 times around the needle tip towards you (Photo 14) and hold the working thread while you push the needle back down next to where you came up (Photo 15). Pull steadily and slowly until a knot is formed (Photo 16).

french knot thread wrapping
Photo 14 – Wrapping the thread around the needle to form a French knot

 

french knot 2
Photo 15 – going back down to form the French knot
Competed French knots
Photo 16 – Completed French knots

 

Where to use it:
  1. Decorative filling
  2. To form part of or the whole of plants, flowers or seeds

 

  • Stem Stitch

 

Technique:

Come up from the back and, using Photo 17 to help demonstrate, up at 1, down at 2 and then back up again at 3 (point 3 is halfway between points 1 and 2) so that the stitches sit neatly on top of each other (Photo 18).

stem stitch instructions
Photo 17 – Beginning to stem stitch

 

stem stitch 2
Photo 18 – clearer image of a stem stitch sequence before you pull the thread.
Stem stitch completed
Photo 19 – Completed series of stem stitches
Where to use it:
  1. To outline writing
  2. To create stems, twigs and branches
  3. For decorative borders

 

 

  • Satin Stitch

Technique

Draw with pencil or chalk the shape you would like to satin stitch (photo 20), this makes it much easier to make sure you are staying on target.

satin stitch 1
Photo 20 – draw your shape in first to help guide your stitches.

 

It’s down to personal preference but I like to start at the widest point and work out, this is usually the middle of a shape. You come up from the back and go straight across the design and down, as shown in  Photo 21. You then come back up just next to where you started on the left but slightly down. This means that you get a well covered shape with no gaps. Remember not to pull the thread to tight otherwise it will start to gather.

satin stitch 1st stitch
Photo 21 – I like to start in the middle, come up and then go straight across the design and down. Then come back up next to where you started on the left.

 

satin stitch almost done
Photo  22 – Almost finished satin stitched shape

 

satin stitch completed
Photo 23 – Completed shape

Where to use satin stitch

  1. To give a solid filling to shapes or writing
  2. For petals and leaves

 

 

 

  • Cross Stitch

Technique

You might think that this stitch belongs exclusively to cross stitch but it is also fantastic in embroidery as well. It is as simple as it sounds but it is important to always stitch it in the same order as it will show if you change the order you stitch it. As shown in Photo 24, come up at 1 and across and down at 2, up again at 3 and down at 4.

cross stitch method image 1
Photo 24 – come up at 1, down 2, up at 3 and down at 4.

 

cross stitch complete
Photo 25 – Completed cross stitches

 

Where to use cross stitch
  1. As a decorative filling
  2. For borders

 

  • Blanket Stitch

Technique

(These instructions are if you are stitching two pieces of fabric together) Knot the end of your thread and go down through the bottom fabric piece only, this will hide your knot between the two layers (Photo 26). Make your first stitch by now going through the two layers from the top, this creates a loop and your first stitch (Photo 27).  Push the needle sidewards through first stitch and between the middle opening of the two layers to anchor it and make the thread appear on the left hand side of that first stitch.

 

 

Now using Photo 28 to illustrate, go down from the top a short distance away from your last stitch and make sure the thread loops behind the needle so that when you pull it together it looks like Photo 29. Just carry on doing this all the way around the piece you are stitching until you are back to where you started. Then slide your needle sidewards through your first stitch and then again to make a loop, now pass your needle through that loop so you have a knot.

blanket stitch
Photo 28 – Blanket stitch in progress. Go down from the top a short distance away from your last stitch and make sure the thread loops behind the needle.

 

blanket stitch loop
Photo 29 – The loop forming
Where to use blanket stitch
  1. For decorative borders
  2. Appliqué
  3. To sew two edges together decoratively

 

I really hope you have found this whistle-stop tour of embroidery stitches useful. Embroidery is so rewarding, not just because it is relaxing and therapeutic but also because it is something that has no parameters so you can literally stitch your imagination!

Please send in pictures of your completed embroidery masterpieces, I’d love to see them!

For more blog articles like this as well as articles on craft, wellbeing and nature then please follow this blog or follow Cre8kits on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Green – Reasons to love and hate the marmite colour

For 2017 a green shade is Pantone colour of the year, appropriately called Greenery; fresh and vibrant it truly makes you think of freshly uncurled leaves.

“There’s an understanding now, that you can use green as a neutral colour, just as Mother Nature does. With any flower that pops out of the Earth, you never say, ‘oh, that can’t go against green’.” Leatrice EisemanExecutive Director of the Pantone Color Institute

The colour green is everywhere, we see it everyday whether we work or live rurally or in urban settings. From sumptuously filled gardens to the weeds in between the paving slabs on our way to work, it is ever present. Despite this the colour green is often portrayed as an afterthought, much less popular than its “shade cousin” blue and also associated with unluckiness in some countries and jobs.

As it is green’s year, I thought it was the perfect moment to look at this colour in more detail and find out why and where we should and conversely shouldn’t, be including green in our lives.

What is Green?Hand drawn leaf Becky Woolley

Green is perched between blue and yellow on the visible light section of the electromagnetic spectrum and has a wavelength of around 510nm. Things, such as for example vegetation, appear green because all the other colours in the visible part of the spectrum are absorbed into the leaves but green is reflected.

Green Colour Associations around the World

In many languages, including English, green is irrevocably intertwined with growth in nature but culturally green has a myriad of different meanings across the world. In Europe and the USA green denotes Spring, a sign of rebirth and environmental knowledge. However in China green means exorcism and in hats, that someone’s wife is cheating. Green in Japan means life and in Islam green shows hope and virtue. In Feng Shui green means Yin and a refreshing, nurturing, calming and healing energy.

green scooterUnlucky?

Widely thought of as an unlucky colour for a vehicle, many people would rather have any other colour paintwork rather than go for green. Interestingly dark green was a very popular colour for early automobiles but now only 6% of cars (from a 2013 survey) are this colour and this figure is still dropping.

But can the colour of your car really be linked to higher crash rates?

A Monash University Accident Research Centre study in Australia found a clear statistical link between car colour and risk of crash. This showed that cars that might be more difficult to see clearly, such as darker cars like black, brown and green, were more likely to have more severe crashes than lighter or white cars. However green, although high up, was not at the top of the list of most crashes so why do we have such a specific view that green cars are unlucky when it comes to crashes?

One possible link is that in 1910 a car being driven in a race in Syracuse lost control and killed several watching members of the public – it was green. Then again in 1920 Gaston Chevrolet was killed in his green car during a race. These two events seem to have had a big impact on the racing car scene with this superstition being at its highest between the 20’s and the 50’s. This feeling is only now starting to ebb because corporate sponsors want their logos on cars and if the sponsor’s logo happens to be green, drivers on that sponsors team have to put aside the superstition in order to drive.

And Now the Positives

There is mounting research both being undertaken and already completed that colour can affect your mood and enhance your memory and creativity.

A study from the University of Essex assessed mood and tiredness in a group of 14 men. The group rode an exercise bike for 5 minutes while watching a simulated cycle through natural surroundings with either a green, red or monochrome filter applied. The participants reported feeling less tired and had steadier mood fluctuations when the green filter was applied than when the other two filters were used.

The same research team also undertook a previous study which found that even a tiny amount of exercise outside provided very positive improvements in mood and self-esteem.

Green surroundingThey theorised that these positive effects traced back to when lush greenery to our early ancestors indicated plentiful food and water and would presumably provide calmer and happier feelings as a result.

Another study, on the relationship between colour and emotion completed by Naz Kaya PH.D. and Helen Epps PH.D. from the University of Georgia used 98 college students as the participants. They used a computer screen to separately show each participant a series of ten colours – red, yellow, green, blue, purple, yellow-red, green-yellow, blue-green, purple-blue and red-purple. They were then asked to report their emotional response to the colour on the screen and how it made them feel. Out of all the colours, green was mentioned most positively with 95% of responses being positive. The words and emotions people associated with green were relaxation, calmness, happiness, comfort, peace, hope and excitement. The participants said that they associated green with nature and plants which made them feel more soothed.

Increased Concentration and Creativity?

A slightly different slant on green’s positive impact is that research by Dr. Kate Lee found that it can also boost concentration and help you make less errors in your work. A group of students were given a boring computer based task to do but which involved concentration not to press the wrong button at certain times. When the students had a mini break half of them viewed a green roof and the other half a concrete roof. Those who had viewed the green roof made less mistakes and concentrated more than those who didn’t in the second half of the boring task completed after the break. She put forward the theory that the green view had given the students a mental boost and also a mind relax.

Links between green and enhanced creativity was made in a study by Lichtenfeld, Elliot, Maier and Pekrun where a very quick glimpse of green before doing a creative task boosted participant’s creative performance as opposed to when other colours were viewed.

So where or how is the best way to welcome green into your life?

Given that green seems to be beneficial for mood, concentration and creativity; it sounds like offices and educational establishments would benefit from a bit of greening here and there. In the home, green could be beneficial in home offices and also in rooms where you want to relax and recuperate. As with everything, use with moderation as too much green could also be overwhelming. Elle Décor suggests using some paler greens as neutrals and adding feature colours to imitate flower colours.

When it comes to transport it appears it is darker cars in general that are more likely to have crashes than lighter cars due to heightened visibility and not than green is particularly unlucky. However if safety is your primary concern when buying a car you may want to consider the colour and go for lighter rather than darker colour car shades.

 So Love it or hate it, green does have some very good points, just perhaps not when it comes to cars! How will you be using green this year?

For more of our blog posts please have a browse here

Information sources and links to further information:

https://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS/Wavelengths_for_Colors.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC300804/

http://scienceline.ucsb.edu/getkey.php?key=532

http://www.deborahswallow.com/2010/02/20/meaning-of-colours-across-cultures/

http://www.sensationalcolor.com/color-meaning/color-meaning-symbolism-psychology/all-about-the-color-green-4309#.WOwWEhEizIU

http://www.theaa.com/newsroom/news-2013/aacars-most-popular-car-colours.html

http://www.monash.edu/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/216475/muarc263.pdf

http://auto.howstuffworks.com/auto-racing/nascar/history/green-cars-unlucky-in-nascar.htm

https://www.kent.ac.uk/careers/Choosing/colour-personality.htm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/10767459/Seeing-red-The-mind-bending-power-of-colour.html

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es301685g

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es305019p

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S027249440290232X

http://www.apa.org/monitor/apr01/greengood.aspx

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9450.2004.00419.x/full

https://adobe99u.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/2012_lichtenfeldetal_pspb.pdf

http://info.shiftelearning.com/blog/how-do-colors-influence-learning

http://europepmc.org/articles/PMC3743993

http://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/color/news/a9392/pantone-color-of-the-year/

http://www.livescience.com/36735-does-the-color-green-boost-exercise-s-effects.html

http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/38646306/colorassociation-students.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIWOWYYGZ2Y53UL3A&Expires=1492521099&Signature=WSQk7oGC%2Bx3EXuh10Kq9silRNig%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DRELATIONSHIP_BETWEEN_COLOR_AND_EMOTION_A.pdf

http://freshome.com/2010/09/08/20-ways-to-use-color-psychology-in-your-home/

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