Chinese New Year colour Inspiration

Prosperity. Abundance. Joy. Family.

If I had to sum up Chinese New Year in Hong Kong these would be these words say it all. I allowed myself a few hours yesterday to discover Chinese New Year Hong Kong Style. I’ve never experienced lunar new year in an Asian city and, wow, they really go to town. I expected dragons, lanterns and lots of red… but I’m blown away by the warmth and celebration that is New Year here. It’s the cusp of spring and the flowers everywhere are breathtaking. The warmth of glazed cherry red with sparkly gold and tones of cherry blossom pink that adorn the city are just gorgeous.

Chinese New Year Colour Inspiration


I’m not usually one for pink but I’m just loving the warmth of these colours all layered and singing together. Welcome to the year of the Horse.


Kung Hei Fat Choi.


A new chapter

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

My first international trip was exploring Indonesia at the ripe old age of 21.  The moment I experienced a different culture I knew that travel was for me. I set off on my own with nothing but a backpack, and a teary mother at the airport,  to explore Europe in 1999. And yes, I did – ahem – party like it was 1999. I met my future husband en route from Spain to Portugal and lived in London for four years.  Together we’ve explored over 40 countries across the Europe, The middle East, Africa, Asia and North America. Yes indeed, I have the travel bug.

It’s been quiet on the wanderlust front for some years with two small children but next month we’re starting a new chapter together.

Craft Schmaft HQ is moving to Hong Kong. 

We’re trading our big house for tiny apartment living and our safe shores for the promise of adventure, inspiration and a life experience that I hope my little muchkins will treasure forever. It’s pee your pants excitement people.  Imagine the crafty supplies, the colour and craziness of being in the heart of Asia.


I hope you’ll join me on this journey. The Craft Schmaft blog has always been about life, love and crafting and I can’t wait to share the next chapter with you. And if there are any Hong Kong peeps reading this let me know, I’d love to meet you when I get there!

Mad pastel project

It’s been sunshine and a little glimpse of early spring around here and I thought I’d give you a little peek into my world this week. It’s a random treasury of colours, type and texture that have been inspiring a project that has been bubbling away for a while. In typical moi style, I’ve suddenly imposed a deadline on it. You see I thought that it would be a great thing to have this done by my little munchkin’s birthday party…. ahem… which is … ahem… now only two weeks away. If that won’t get me moving nothing will!

So I’m playing with pastel colours – Tiffany blue, peachy apricots and vintage-ish reds.

I’m adoring scripty lettering like this “Brand” typeface which I think I’m going to have to purchase!

The colour, texture and delicacy of Macarons by Le Dolci on Flickr. 

Macarons by Le Dolci
…and pale ice-creamery tones.ice_cream_texture
Put it together and you have the Ice Cream Project back on track. Can I design and make a fabric ice-cream shop and play ice-cream for a birthday party in two weeks? Well I hope so. I do love a challenge and declaration that I’m going to finish a project but I would recommend you fasten your seat belts folks, this crafty ride could get a little rocky.


Christmas ornament inspiration

I have been known to get a little over excited about Christmas. OK more than a little. A lot. The decorations, the trees, the gift giving, the celebration, not to mention to gleeful anticipation of Santa coming. 

This year I’m going to attempt to hand make all of our tree decorations. Yes, it will be a small tree, but I feel the need to go novelty and get my little munchkins involved in the process. The big kid LOVES craft. The small LOVES penguins. I LOVE pinterest. Between these three things I think we can come to a crafty ornamentation solution.

Here’s the plan. Actually before I tell you the plan I should warn you of my approach to planning when it comes to world travel, offspring and craft projects. I like to come up with an itinerary. I have clear, probably rose-coloured, vision of what I’d like to achieve. Please note that if it all goes horribly wrong, as has happened with Syrian border crossings, toddler tantrums and underestimation of craft materials required, the plan may be changed without notice.

So my plan is to go with a red and white theme of penguins, embossed clay shapes and pom poms. I may throw in a little washi tape just to be in with the pinterest crowd.

Here’s a round up of tutorials and inspiration:

Clay ornaments using cookie cutters. I’m loving the pressed leaves into these, perfect way to get kiddies involved. Great tutorial over at GardenMama.


Little penguins made out of glove fingertips. I’ll be posting a free tutorial and pattern for these next week.

Mini pom poms in glass ornaments, beautiful tutorial over at Say Yes to Hoboken.

What are you making for Christmas?

Be yourself

Last week it was my birthday. It has to be said that it wasn’t the best of birthdays. Amid family dramas I had a seriously nasty flu which put quite the dampener on the occasion. The silver lining of lying in bed and feeling sorry for yourself is the time to think. It’s not often that I get time to just let my mind wander. Or, to be honest, watch quite that many episodes of Mad Men.


There was the inevitable… “What am I doing with my life?  Oh God… Did I really give up a highly paid, successful career to create plush patterns? Is this venture of mine actually going to work? Have I made the right decisions? Should I get a real job?”


This year I have decided to quiet the screaming, practical side of me and listen my heart. I’m hopeful that I’m not the only person who experiences these moments of questioning. Seth Godin calls these doubts your “Lizard Brain” (great blog post here). Massive Attack wrote beautiful lyrics about “What your soul sings“. Well creating things to inspire people to make something by hand… that’s what makes my soul sing. It’s a true joy not only for me, but hopefully, in a small way for you too.


So after my birthday musing here’s my mantra for the coming year:

Love Oscar Wilde, and love that this poster by by Emily McDowell is available in her Etsy store.

Whimsical work

Where do you find inspiration?  Lately I’ve found myself caught up in the whimsy of the 20th century. It started out with the hot air balloons from the 1800s with all their embellishments. Hours later, in the time vortex that is the internet, I found myself in all sorts of vintage flights of fancy. Great exhibitions, Zoological parks, fairgrounds, the circus, seaside tea rooms and vintage toys. Red and white stripes have been swirling in my head, closely followed by glass greens, tea rose and buttercream.

I can hear you say… what the hell is she banging on about?

Well all that whimsy ended up as the inspiration for my latest project. I’ve been designing fabric for the hot air balloons, wanting to introduce the kind of embellishment and detail of days gone by. Here’s a sneak peek of air balloon panels:


The first version with circus inspiration, lots of nips and tucks required to get the design sitting perfectly on the panels.

The second version arrived yesterday and is all ready to be stitched up.

And then there’s the vintage green and tea rose pink. These colours just sang to me. Designing them was one of those rare moments where it all just happens – I was in the flow as my wonderful friend Ange calls it. I can’t wait to see what they look like floating amongst clouds.

Craft studio organisation

I have grand visions of being completely organised but, to be honest, once I really get into making things my entire craft room seems to explode with supplies, patterns, scraps and scribbles. I’ve never been the neat and tidy type but I have taken steps to get myself sorted this year. I’m attempting to create a place for everything in the vain hope that I will keep everything in it’s place (yes, I can hear my friends and family laughing to that one).

There are glimmers of hope, people… faint glimmers!

I’m loving my modified ikea moppe drawers for haberdashery.

My stash of perle thread makes me smile every time I peek at it through the glass, and my stacks of felt samples make my heart sing… But then there’s the rest… oh what to do with my fabric, ric-rac and threads?


So last night I got stuck into some research on craft room organisation that I thought I’d share.  (see pinterest board here for lots of lovely pics: Craft Studio Organisation)

Fabric ideas:

Very clever Fabric Organisers
Fabric mini-bolts on comic back boards is thrifty genius
Fabric on coat hangers also rocks 
Filing cabinet hanging fabric


Ribbon Holders:

Ribbon in soda straw dispenser (oh I’ll be using this one!)

Converting an old picture frame  Tutorial

Ric Rac on paddle pop sticks Yum

Yarn and ribbon on pegs


Thread storage:

Framed thread holder tutorial
Clever little shelves with bobbins
Hanging printers tray


Image and tutorial via 26 Letters

Have you seen any great storage ideas? I’d love to see them! Pics to come of my creative space when I’m done, but for now I should stop typing and start tidying.