Monday, 24 September 2012

CREATE me some more time please

Firstly an apology - I haven't posted in a long while.  I totally missed a write up of the funkily fabulous plastic pendants we made at the last meet and make session, but this is why



If you are local please feel free to drop in and visit our lovely new venture
there will be lots to see, do and of course beautiful handmade items to purchase
to make your feel all warm and fluffy inside.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Paper Paper Lovely Paper

I started out with scrapbooking as my 'craft' so the last 2 meet and make sessions were right up my street:

Papercutting was the focus of the meet and make for July and August.  Back by popular demand as a few missed giving this a try last year. Session led by the talented Madam Cholet!/madamecholets (not the actual Womble, but wouldn't that be fun?) 

It would seem that it is very addictive.

Here are a few of the lovely creations:

And here is mine finished and framed. 
Sorry I dont have pics of anyone elses finished products. 
(if anyone is reading please facebook me them).x

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Bags of Fun

I had intended to call this post 'sew frustrating' but then that would be unfair as it was not the workshop that I found frustrating ... (more on this later**),  on the contrary I am really pleased with my final product, though I can take absolutely no credit for the appliquéd J. 

Jennie of Cheeky Creations ( was impressively organised with 6 specially appliqued squares for us to compare outcomes on differing material using bondaweb, backing stuff etc. (cant remember what it was called - someone who knows please comment), plus an example tote bag for us novices.  The beginners were making tote bags from tea-towels and the more experienced of us were trying out applique.

Of course when you are faced with creative types you come up against imaginative ideas which deviate from the original plan, and possibly deviate from actual ability (me), but all credit to Jennie she advised and guided and helped us all to realise our dreams - ok so I'm getting carried away but you know what I mean, we all came away very happy with our final products, including applique done by first time machiners!

Anyway enough about that and more about me! **My darling ancient singer (on permanent loan from my mother dearest) got a bit bored after my first few sloooooow plodding stitches and simply refused to plod from then onward for anyone! including Jennie, she did, however, like a good horsewoman with a nervy colt (although my machine is more like a grumpy old man, but that would rather lower the tone of this illustration) keep my machine in line and appliqued a denim J on my bag, after I had failed to be delicate footed and unpicked it several times. 

Undaunted, I am keen to have another go, I may try it with bits of rags first.

Here are the items we made:


TTFN Nik x

(Piccies courtesy of Purple Shmurple - I was too busy cursing and crying to take any)

Saturday, 31 March 2012

sketch it, ink it, print it, bop it

The last meet and make was all about printing, I'm not sure it was screen printing, as I know little about it, but Leonie of Loula Belle at Home ( - check out her latest pretty paper cut) instructed us on grooving the image into polystyrene sheets and rolling the ink for the perfect print and we were off - grooving and rolling with the best of them. 

Some of us - found this a very addictive craft (you know who you are) and were still creating as we cleared up around them.  In the end we needed to prize the rollers away for washing and get to the piccy part of the proceedings.

Now, feast your eyes on the varied prints, created by crafters age 7 - 70 (actually none were aged 70 but it sounds better and we do welcome new members with an interest in tea, biscuits and all things crafty - so any seniors willing to come and have a go, please feel free to come along and make my blogging more truthful).

Pretty family tree - another favourite from one of the Petals
I also really liked the cupcake design by Ruth (
F for fabulous

The children voted this yellow and white flowered print - best.
I loved the trees and the lovely lady who made these gave me one to keep! To my shame I have not framed it yet :(

Cant wait to see how everyone framed/finished their prints.

Next meet is basic sewing, where we will be making tote bags etc.


Saturday, 17 March 2012

More Meet the Crafters

Introducing another member of the group:

      By Sam Palacios

What is your ‘craft’? I make custom made sock monkeys which can be themed or personalised on request

Have you always done this or did you first start with another type of craft?
I have been a 'monkey designer' for 6 months now, but I love to make jewellery aswell. I love Swarovski crystals & swarovski glass pearls. I also like to make cute & quirky designs too.

Is there an interesting story in how you started your business?
Having been unemployed for over a year & spent many soul destroying hours of filling in many application forms which never led to any luck, i found myself wondering what i could do.

My youngest sister became pregnant with her first child & i wanted to buy the new baby a unique gift which could be personalised, but something handmade not just off the shelf in a supermarket!! I accidentally came across 'sock monkeys', I really liked the idea of them but not the scary faces & eyes that most seemed to have, i also didnt like the price! I decided to learn how to sew. I was given a sewing machine from Freecycle & my lovely Mum gave taught me how to sew. My 1st ever Monkey is so ugly, but i kept him anyway! My Monkeys now are all cute & seem to each have a unique personality to them.

Tell us what we can typically find when visiting your stall?
My gorgeous sock Monkeys. Also 'Fluffy' Monkeys. You may be lucky to see a pirate or a princess Monkey on my stall too. Not forgetting my lovely jewellery too
Do you have a favourite item? Personally i love the 'Fluffy' Monkeys best, they are only £15.00 each & are so soft & snuggly - simply delightful to touch.

Do you have a website or somewhere we can have a nosey at more of your products?  

Do you sell online?
Yes via my Facebook page

Any big plans for the future of your business?
I have just recently opened a workshop on Worden Park in Leyland, Lancashire where i can make & sell all of my creations. So i'm hoping that everything works out well. Please do come & have a look at my creations.

You'll find me in Unit 6, Worden Craft Centre, Worden Park, Leyland. PR25 1DJ

Please follow me on Facebook to keep up to date with Monkeys Made With Love.

You can also find a mural painted by Paint Pots and Petals to help the monkey's feel at home at Monkey’s Made with Love’s workshop – so that’s two reasons to visit.


Friday, 24 February 2012

What are you up to - CCC's

Thought our followers may like to keep up to date with what our individual crafters are up to - I think eventually this will have it's own little (regularly updated) section at the side of the blog but for now I thought I would very quickly post an event I know about:

Monkey's Made With Love
Studio/Workshop grand opening tomorrow at 11am - 4pm (apologies for the last minute post)

Where: Unit 6 Worden Arts and Crafts Centre in Worden Park, Leyland, Lancashire

Paint Pots and Petals have also been involved and have completed a wall mural for the monkey's.  So if you wish to see the picture and of course the delighful monkey's (on their best behaviour tomorrow obviously) pop into the park between 11am and 4pm.

Here is a sneak peak


Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Crafty Takeover...

...has taken place (it was the best I could come up with), anyhoo it was a steady success for the most part. Once again shame about the weather but I shan’t bore you with that old chestnut – as it appears to be a CCC recurring theme. Suffice to say this time around said chestnuts were frozen!
Aaaaand thanks to us (the lovely Petals) the downstairs room was like walking into a fridge, however it did mean lots of park passers-by popped in via this entrance and who knows if they would have done so otherwise. Therefore can I extend a BIG Thank U to all the downstairs stall holders for bearing it well with your gloves and hats and thermal vests, we even had some cashmere and furry outerwear (but that is another anecdote). X

The FREE do it yourself crafts organised by Paint Pots and Petals were very popular, thank you to visitors who made a voluntary donation, this money will be used to purchase craft supplies for the activity table/s at the next fair (follow link to look out for date announcements - summer dates will be posted on the right as soon as we know them).

I did get these though .....

These are the bunting flags made by the children who visited the fair.  They shall be carefully boxed until the next craft fair when we will be displaying them at the Coach House for all to ooh and aah at the talents of our young crafters.  

On a personal note, we have our AGM next week when roles are being re-distributed so this may be goodbye from me, but never fear you can still hear my dulcet tones .... over at Paint Pots and Petals blog( which I am ashamed to admit has been rather neglected of late.


Nik x

Friday, 3 February 2012

Meet the Crafters #5

Introducing our last crafter before the big day (this Sunday 10am – 4pm, we’re taking over The Coach House and Gallery in Astley Park, Chorley, Lancashire):

Please give us a little detail about what it is you make?
I mostly make cards and framed pieces from handspun newspaper yarn.

Have you always done this or did you first start with something else?
I started by making little resin blocks with pictures cut out of newspaper, but they weren't that good really! I am not sure why I started rolling the newspaper into yarn, but I do remember googling it afterwards and being slightly disappointed (but not really surprised) that it has been done several times before! In fact, I think it is an ancient Chinese art or something, but don't quote me on that as I am not sure.

What / who inspires you?
I am inspired by the people who dissect and explain where stories in the newspapers come from and try to present the facts behind the stories.  In the health world, that includes people like Ben Goldacre and NHS Choices "Behind the Headlines".  There are other fact-checking websites too that try to present the context to statistics used in news stories.  I am also inspired by human beings, and how they are constantly striving to turn bad news into good.  I think newspaper is full of bad news, but by chopping it up and spinning it into yarn, something beautiful can be created.

Is there an interesting back story/start up story to your business?
I started making stuff initially for my godson's birthday.  I thought of using newspaper from the day he was born and I suppose the yarn sort of evolved from there. I was between jobs at the time, so I suppose I had a lot of time but not much money for supplies.  The idea of using up old newspaper was also born of necessity I suppose!

Tell us what we can typically find when visiting your stall?
Framed pieces and cards mostly....sometimes some additions from my little sister who is a fledgling illustrator  We share craft stalls sometimes.

Do you have a favourite item?  .... My favourite is my framed rainbow coloured raincloud.  It's made from newspaper yarn but also some vintage dictionary.  All the colours were found in the newspaper, I haven't used any inks or anything.  All the colours of the rainbow can be found in something you think of as black and white (not to mention full of bad news)! I quite like the rain - it's what makes rainbows and, quite, importantly, it is essential for all life on earth... It's currently for sale for £37.50 online (plus P&P) though you might be able to haggle with me a little bit at a fair!

Do you have a website or somewhere we can have a nosey at / purchase your products?

Any pipe dreams you are willing to share?
I love making bespoke pieces - I always get slightly scared when I hear people's requests, but I do like to be challenged a bit!  I never would have contemplated a giraffe, if no-one had asked me to do one, but I was really pleased with the results (and so was the lady who bought it).  I think I would like to do more of these. Secondly, I have quite a science background, so I would very much like to do some more geeky/science themed pieces.  And lastly....I picked up a copy of the last ever news of the world on a train, and I know I should do something with's just not entirely clear to me yet how to express my feelings about the story of the NOTW using newspaper yarn... maybe one day!

Wow very insightful, BB is definitely a crafter/artist who makes me stops and take a moment to see my world.

And now must be moving on again, if you are local we very much hope to see you Sunday.  Free craft activities for you to try, fittingly some of these involve newpaper, but this time it’s decopatching, if you have an item you would like to try this on, please bring it with you, or we have mini boxes you can use.  For the children (although they will be welcome to ‘patch’ too) we are asking them to help us make an excitingly long bunting for our Summer events and the lovely birdies are back (if you missed them last time, well worth a go, so simple yet very effective).

See you Sunday. xNik

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Meet the Crafters #4

"More  more  moooore, how do you like it? how do you like it?" that's enough singing. (just in case you do want to hear more more more)

 Introducing .....................  Eyeshoot Photography

Please give us a little detail about what it is you make?
I'm a photographer and sell high quality prints of my work, which I make myself in my studio, I also have photo blocks, mini zines and greetings cards featuring my work

Have you always done this or did you first start with something else?
There's a question!  I'm a graphic designer by training, I've been a chef, worked in retail, co owned two chocolate shops and a cafe, so I've done plenty of things before turning my long term passion into a career.

What / who inspires you? I love the work of Martin Parr, he sees things in such a unique way and with a great sense of the absurd and a nice touch of irony.

Tell us what we can typically find when visiting your stall? Bright and vibrant pictures from my trips to Morocco and Cuba, lots of graffiti which is a long time obsession of mine, little books hand stitched by me and canvas prints.

Do you have a favourite item? 
This image was shot in Morocco, just an ordinary house on an ordinary street, but I think it's beautiful - the composition, the colour and all the elements work together perfectly and fits my style of photography perfectly.

Do you have a website or somewhere we can have a nosey at / purchase your products? is a hub to all of my places - blog, shop, galleries and so on (ooo clever, I must find out how she does this)

One last picture before we sign out
Fun" picture - hopefully how I'll feel on the big day!

Thanks for letting us have a peek into your world.
Now I reckon we can fit just one more in before the craft fair on Sunday, look out for Zygote Gifts.

Nik x

Friday, 27 January 2012

Meet The Crafters #3

Continuing on with the 'We are Chorley Contemporary Crafters ..... with an ‘s’......theme let me introduce our next member of the group:  

Purple Shmurple (by Lynsey Wilkins)
(I just had to do purple lettering, Nx)

Please give us a little detail about what it is you make?
Jewellery and accessories! I like to say that it’s a little bit quirky and curious...

Have you always done this or did you first start with something else?
I work full-time too, as a website editor for a music memorabilia dealer, but since I decided to try starting up my own little creative business in my free time, it has always been in that genre.

What / who inspires you?
I'm a big fan of the weird and wonderful! I don't have any big 'idols' in the fashion or art world, but there are a lot themes that I love - steampunk and vintage, gothic, animals and nature, fairytale....

Is there an interesting back story/start up story to your business?
Not so much for starting my business, but I always get asked how I came up with the name. Purple is my favourite colour and I just thought 'What rhymes with Purple?' and the rest is history :)

Tell us what we can typically find when visiting your stall?
All sorts! I make a lot of items out of wood, glass and acrylic. I have started doing a small range of sterling silver items as well as silver-plate and gunmetal.  Lots of necklaces, rings, earrings, brooches and other things.

Do you have a favourite item? 
I love my ticket necklaces - they have a lovely vintage feel but aren't too feminine or delicate.

Do you have a website or somewhere we can have a nosey at /purchase your products? 
Please visit
Etsy -
Website -

(And of course don't forget, if you are local, we'd love you to call past The Coach House in Astley Park, Chorley next Sunday 5th February to have a look at Purple Shmurple's lovely items in the flesh.)

Any big plans for the future of your business? (answer whichever suits)
I have no big plans, but it would be great to be stocked in a shop. I have been thinking about it for about 6 months now so maybe this year I'll try!

Hopefully we can fit another couple of crafters in before the Craft Takeover next weekend.


Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Meet the Crafters #2

Following on from the last blog, introducing our next 's' (you'll have to read the last one to get it x)

But first read all about the lovely: 

Bobbin & Bumble (by Leanne Smith)

 Please give us a little detail about what it is you make?

I make cushions, bags, make up bags and more. All items are handmade in a shed at the bottom of a garden in Lancashire and combine vintage, new and second hand fabrics to produce pretty, modern designs. 

What / who inspires you?

Everything I know is down to my wonderful and talented mum, I watched her sewing as a child and I was instantly hooked; I’ve not stopped stealing fabric from her since….sorry mum.  I am inspired by a myriad of things, insects, birds, botany, wildlife in general, and all things British.  I use these inspirations to create simple yet unusual pieces.

Tell us what we can typically find when visiting your stall?

Cushions mainly, but also bags, make up bags and art work.
Do you have a favourite item?  

This ladybird cushion is one of my favourite pieces. I love the pretty, vintage, floral fabric and the quirky insect design. I believe it would make a beautiful and unusual addition to any room.

Do you have a website or somewhere we can have a nosey at / purchase your products?

(Bobbin and Bumble will also be attending their first craft fair with the contemporary crafters ‘The Crafty Takeover’ on Sunday 5th February 2012, in the Coach House within Astley Park, Chorley (we are taking over all 3 rooms and plan to have entertainment in the form of live music and have a go craft tables in the upper galleries).   So pop along and see her lovely items in the flesh. x)
Any big plans for the future of your business?

Setting up a Bobbin & Bumble website and hopefully more craft fairs.


Thanks Leanne, love your quirky cushions.

Look out for our next crafter coming soon. xNx

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Meet the Crafters

We are Chorley Contemporary Crafters ..... with an ‘s’...... so I said to myself “Nik, it might be nice to hear from other crafters in our group right about now”.

So without further ado let me introduce our first clever crafter:

Bird House Press (by Rachel Jones) 

Please give us a little detail about what it is you make?  My work is mainly screen prints, based on the illustrations that I doodle.  I love birds - so there is always one or two of them in the work I do!  I produce my work either as prints that can be framed - or as limited edition tote bags, greetings cards, and for 2012 - notebooks!! I also have letterpress prints and lino prints as well - but the focus is screen printing!

Have you always done this or did you first start with something else?  I have only been screen printing for just under 2 years - so I am still learning.  I love the process - and love trying new ideas.  Not all of them have worked - but I love trying anyway!!

What / who inspires you? I love the screen prints of Jay Ryan - and the Papercuts of Rob Ryan (neither are related - just coincidence!) I have tried paper cuts - but end up cutting my fingers far too often - so some of my more recent prints have a papercut "look" to them  without me having to buy stocks of Elastoplast in the process!!

Is there an interesting back story/start up story to your business?  I am still working full time for a local council - so my artwork is done in any spare time, weekends and days off!  Initially when I started screen printing - I was working out of my garage - and with it being separate to my house - there is no electricity, no water, and in winter - no heat!  So the fact I stuck with the printing is a good sign that I like it!!  Thankfully - I was able to get a studio space at Hot Bed Press, Salford ( in 2011, so printing is less of a challenge - and more like the fun it should be!

Tell us what we can typically find when visiting your stall?  There are prints that can be framed, greetings cards, tote bags, I am planning on a range of notebooks this year - and I have even had some designs put onto plates - so the range is varied!  I will be at the next Chorley Contemporary Crafters Art Fair on the 5th of February (10am – 4pm at The Coach House, next to Café Ambio, in Astley Park) - so please pop down and check out my work in person!!

Do you have a favourite item?  This has to be a print I finished around August time 2011.  The design is inspired by papercuts - but the sentiment is something that I feel is applicable to young and old - my "Shine" screen print.  It was printed as an edition of 20 - and I have just sold the last one on New Years Eve.  I still have people asking for it - so I think there will be a second edition of it in 2012! 

Do you have a website or somewhere we can have a nosey at / purchase your products?  oooh yes - head over to, find me on facebook ( and find me on Twitter @BirdHousePress (I have no understanding of twitter, sorry guys you will have to get here yourselves, Nik x).  I also have shops on Folksy and Etsy  (search Bird House Press in the shop search)  I also have a blog too:

Any big plans for the future of your business?  For 2012 I need to update my website and incorporate a shop into my site too.  I also plan to focus on my online shops, and perhaps get my work into a few shops locally too.  Not particularly massive plans but I am sure with the day job to do as well - they will keep me busy!!!

One last picture

 - my most recent screen print - "The World" - initially commissioned by a friend as an engagement gift (which was personalised with names, place they got engaged, and the date) - this is the main part of that design.

Keep a look out for our next Contemporary Crafter soon.

Bye for now.