Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy!

For this blog post, I thought I’d tell you what I’ve been working on over the long weekend (yippee for German bank holidays).....

Over the past few weeks, most of my ‘free’ time has been devoted to one of my 2 current BIG projects.  In April, I held an open house party to introduce Crafted by Carly to the world (well, just to friends, neighbours and friends-of-friends actually).  It was a HUGE success, and I’ll be forever grateful to my mom for planting the idea in my head and encouraging me to go ahead with it (despite my nervousness about ‘showing’ my stuff for the first time)!  Thanks mom!!!  I think I’ll write a special blog post on the event one day, as I reckon that holding an open house party could be a fantastic first step for any crafter wanting to start selling their wares (not that I’m an expert)!!!  Anyway, back to the point of THIS blog.....  I’m still getting orders off the back of the party and, over the weekend, I managed to get up-to-date with them all – phew!  Here are some of the things I was working on:

The other BIG project I’m working on at the moment is TRYING to get together a collection of things to sell in the online shop I’m planning to open.  The plan to start selling my things in this way has been simmering away for a few months now.  But, other projects have been getting in the way!  The long weekend gave me a bit of extra time, and I was able to make some more bags to stock my little shop with.  Here’s a sneak-preview of a few of the things you might see for sale in the Crafted by Carly Shop:

Hopefully, I’ll be ready to welcome customers pretty soon - I’m VERY excited about it!!!  I LOVED playing shops when I was younger, and setting up my own little crafty shop online is like playing shops for grown-ups!!!  Watch this space for more on playing shops.....
If anyone out there has any experience of selling via online handmade marketplaces, I’d love to hear from you!  Which marketplace(s) do you use?  And do you have any ‘top tips’ for newbies?
Oooh, and I also started making myself a dress.  It’s only my second attempt, so I’m not sure whether I’ll be sharing photos of it or not!  We’ll see.....         

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Crafty Book Review – Cath Kidston’s ‘Sew!’

Like all obsessive crafters, I’m building up quite a collection of crafty books and magazines.  Try as I might, I CANNOT walk away from Smiths or Hobbycraft (or ‘click’ away from Amazon) without buying a new one to add to my library! 

I thought it might be a nice idea to review some of my book purchases (and presents) on the blog.  If you have any crafty book recommendations, I would love to hear about them (it’s never too early to start your Christmas wish list, after all)! 

For my first review, I decided to tell you about my very first sewing book – Cath Kidston’s beautiful ‘Sew!’.  I received the book as a Christmas present, along with my sewing machine, a year and a half ago.  And it remains one of my favourites!

I LOVE the fact that the book comes with everything you need (fabric, buttons and an ‘official’ Cath Kidston label) to make the gorgeous bag on the front cover.  I spent most of Boxing Day cooped up in my parents’ spare room and, under the supervision of my ever-supportive mom, made my very first bag!  For a first attempt, I don’t think it was bad! 

The instructions were relatively straightforward to follow (even for a complete beginner), and the diagrams helped a lot! 

Also very useful were the frequent referrals back to the ‘Sew! Basics’ section at the beginning of the book.  These pages provide a great introduction for beginner sewers, and include information on equipment, terminology and basic techniques. 
The subsequent pages contain 41 projects – soooo many pretty things to make!  These include cushions, useful kitchen-y things (like aprons, oven gloves and a tablecloth), quilts, bits and pieces for wee ones, and bags and cases for every occasion!  The book’s beautiful photos, colourful and clear design, and step-by-step instructions and diagrams make the creative process painless and fun.  And I really like the fact that each project is given a ‘skill level’ rating – making it easy to pick out a suitable project!  
I think my next 'Sew!' project will be the tablecloth design.  I love the colours and the cute little birdies (and their little button eyes)!!! 

I'd make most of the things in this book for myself (or my home).  But I think it’s particularly brilliant as a source of inspiration for creating special handmade gifts for friends and family!             
If this review has tempted you to get your own copy of ‘Sew!’, Amazon is selling it for £7.49..... enjoy!!!

Friday, 17 June 2011

A New Crafty Hobby

I’ve just discovered a BRILLIANT new crafty magazine, called ‘Making’!  My parents brought me issue 8 (‘The Paper Issue’) when they visited us in Düsseldorf a few weeks ago.  And I LOVE it!!!  Thanks Mom and Dad!!!  It’s packed full of exciting projects, interesting articles, and..... well, just GORGEOUS things in general!  It has a really clean, modern look, and covers loads of different crafts.  The magazine is divided into 6 sections:  making for living; making for the outdoors; making for the kitchen; making for the bathroom; making for the wardrobe; and making techniques.  Each section is colour-coded, and I think this enhances the clarity of the magazine’s layout, makes it more user-friendly, and – most importantly - looks pretty!
The MOST exciting thing about it, though, is that it introduced me to a new craft – paper cutting.  It’s great!  I already had a cutting mat and HEAPS of paper at home.  So, all I needed to buy was a cheap scalpel.  Then I could get started straight away!  I used the templates from the magazine to make these super-cute pictures:

The instructions were simple to follow, and it was surprisingly easy to get pleasing results from my first attempt. 

So, a new hobby that’s inexpensive, fairly simple for a beginner to get in to, and heaps of fun!  You should try it!!! 
I feel a trip to IKEA coming on – I need some frames so I can put the pictures up on the wall in my little crafty corner!  I love their colourfulness, sweetness and fairytale-ness!!!  They will DEFINATELY make me smile as I work! 
Next, I’d like to have a go at the design on the front cover of the magazine:

But..... something tells me that it’s going to be a tad more of a challenge than the others!  I’ll let you know how I get on.....
So, if you enjoy crafts – of any kind – I’d really recommend you check out ‘Making’.  Issue 9 is on sale now.  I think you should be able to get it from most big newsagents and supermarkets in the UK.  You can also order copies online (
I’m totally hooked, and have just ordered 5 back issues!!! 

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Hello World!

Dear Reader,
Welcome to the Crafted by Carly blog!  This is my first EVER attempt at blogging, and I’m really quite excited about it.....
As the title of the blog suggests, the main focus is going to be my crafty pursuits.  But, occasionally, I might be tempted to include other bits and pieces – about  my non-crafty adventures.  My ‘main’ craft is sewing (which I have been doing for about a year now).  So I’ll probably be writing about lots of sewing projects!  BUT, I’m hoping that my attempts to keep this blog varied (and interesting) will motivate me to experiment with other crafts too!
I plan to TRY to post at least once a week, and to include some of the following:  stuff I’ve been making; exciting crafty purchases; things that have inspired me; links to my favourite online crafty resources (blogs, websites, podcasts, etc.); reviews of great crafty books, magazines, shops, etc. that I find.....  Well, whatever tickles my fancy and makes me smile, really!  
If you'd like to see what I got up to (crafy-wise) before entering the blogging world, you can link from this page to my Facebook and Flickr pages. 
I hope you’ll enjoy visiting the Crafted by Carly blog from time to time, and getting to know me better!  I’d love to hear from you too, so please get in touch – either by leaving a comment on here, or by emailing me at
Bye for now!  Until next time.....

My little corner of the world

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