6 DIY Crafts To Make this Winter

calligraphy swirls

When I need a break from knitting, I like to dabble into a different technique to update my home decor, make a gift or simply to prove to myself that I can do it (forever competitive).  And the colder months are a perfect excuse to stay home and get creative.

If like me, you love making stuff, here are 6 of my favourite DIYs to try this winter, including a couple of yarn-related projects by yours truly. Time to get crafty!

Macramé Plant Hanger

by Julie & The Knits

Lost count of how many house plants you own?  Then this project is for you. Not only macramé is the solution when you’re running out of floor space to display your lovely greenery, it’s also an easy craft to get into. All you need to make a plant hanger is a bit of yarn and about 15 minutes.

I originally created this DIY for Mollie Makes and I’ve made it over and over again since. And if neon pink is not your thing, so why not go for a wintery colour instead?

Crochet Candy Ornaments

Twinkie Chan

How adorable are these? Twinkie Chan is the queen of kawaii and, if I’d picked crochet as a new hobby instead of knitting a few years back, this is the kind of stuff I would want to make.

Twinkie Chan describes this project as ‘the easiest pattern ever’ so if you’re a total beginner, this is the perfect project to try, you just can’t go wrong!

Calligraphy Embellishments

The Postman’s Knock

Calligraphy Swirls Tutorials (Part I) | The Postman's Knock

I think calligraphy is one of the most beautiful art forms out there. It looks so delicate and effortless that I recently decided to give it a try. Well let me tell you: it isn’t easy! However these beautiful designs by Lindsey from the Postman’s Knock just make me want to keep trying.

Calligraphy is a skill that comes in so handy if you’re a DIY lover like me – imagine making your own cards, invites or even blog headers. Endless possibilities!

Natural Room Freshener

A Beautiful Mess

DIY Room Freshener

You gotta love good room spray. And the good news is they’re so easy to make – long live essential oils.

If you feel unsure about picking your own scent combos, don’t worry, this tutorial includes some pretty good suggestions like ‘campfire vibes’ – ideal for Christmas!

Note to self: must make pillow mist.

Fake Fur Collar

Tilly and the buttons

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I’m a total beginner when it comes to sewing – my biggest achievement is a piped cushion – but I dream of being able to make every single design by Tilly (yes, Tilly from the Great British Sewing Bee!). Her patterns are so wonderfully retro.

This fur collar is a perfect accessory for this winter and if you’re wanting to get into sewing, I feel like this is a good little project to add to your to do lit.

Cosy Latch Hook Rug

Design Sponge

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This one has been on my list for months! Hook rug making is a slow but satisfying craft and a great way to create a statement piece for your very own home.

I can just picture myself making mine while snuggled up on your sofa and binging on Netflix shows aka my life when it gets cold.

Knitted Heart coasters

Julie & The Knits

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Last but not least, a bit of knitting of course! This knitted heart might be the first pattern I ever published, it is still one of my most popular makes. Probably because it can serve so many purposes – use it as a coaster, embellish a garment, cushion or personalise a gift.

I have made so many of these I have lost count a long time ago!

I hope you enjoy giving these projects a try this winter and if you do, I’d love to see your pictures! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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Hi from California

Hi! I’m currently on holiday in the beautiful LA hence the lack of knitting updates! I did take a couple of projects with me but have been far too busy to knit and I miss it a little bit. I’m back to the UK in a few days and cannot wait to work on my projects. Anyway while I can’t share any work in progress with you I can however show you a few pics from my trip to California, Nevada and Arizona. Until next time!

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Little Miss Delicious Raffle – WIN a Braid Headband knitted by me!

I have discovered so many creative people from all over the world thanks to social media. One of them is Maxine, the lady behind Little Miss Delicious and maker of super-cute polymer clay jewellery and fabric accessories (if I made jewelery, this is what I’d want it to look like). I’ve been following Maxine on IG for a long time now as we share the same love of food and cute faces – we actually live in the same city but have never met!

I recently ordered a Little Miss Delicious Mystery Pack which included all these pretties for only £15! The ice cream felt accessory is definitely my favourite :)

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Ok I’ve gone on enough about how much I love Little Miss Delicious, let’s get down to business. Maxine has organised a raffle in order to raise funds for the Brain Tumour Charity in memory of her grandad (you can read the full story here).

She is doing an amazing thing for such a great cause and I wanted to be part of it.  So I offered to make a contribution by donating one of my knits – this pastel braid headband!

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This cute knit will be one of many fabulous prizes up for grabs – all donated by fellow makers – including some cute LMD pieces of course!

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To be in with the chance of winning one of these exciting prizes (they will be divided into 5 bundles), all you have to do is purchase a ticket before 31st August, so you only have a few days left!. You can buy your raffle ticket here for only £2. If you’d prefer to donate to the cause directly, you can do so on Maxine’s Just Giving page.

Make sure you follow LMD on Twitter and Instagram and Like the Facebook page to get the latest news!

Alpacasso Love

Julie And The Knits is massively influenced by the Japanese culture. I’m not sure how it all started. I just feel drawn to anything that comes from Japan – the food, manga, anime, the kawaii culture etc. And since I visited Japan a few years ago I am officially in love with the country as well! I’m sure my friends are bored with me going on about it, but I just can’t help it. OBSESSED!

That brings me to today’s topic: alpacasso (also called arpakasso). But what is this???

Alpacasso is derived from the word ‘alpaca’. An alpaca is one of the cutest animals on planet Earth. They’re also a knitter’s favourite because their coat makes the softest wool.

One day, someone really clever in Japan decided to create plush toy versions of this animal and alpacasso was born! The company Amuse first used them as prizes in claw machines but more recently, they became available online, yay! If you’re into kawaii stuff, prepare to be amazed!

I first came across Tasty Peach Studio’s Zombie Alpaca Plush and soon realised that Alpacassos were a huge phenomenon! They come in so many colours, sizes and shapes, it can be really hard to pick one. Of course, quality varies as well, so if you would like to buy one, make sure you do plenty of research first!

Excusez-moi, but how cute is this beret??!

Below is the alpacasso I bought for my friends’ daughter’s 1st birthday. After browsing many websites I ordered a plain cream plush from Blippo.com. It was so soft and kawaii I just wanted to keep it to myself! (Apologies for the terrible photos, I quickly took them with my phone because I’m an idiot).

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I’d also knitted Eliza a scarf so decided to wrap it around and it basically become the best present ever! I found the pattern for this pompom scarf on this super cute blog.

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If you’re aware of any other gems from Kawaii Land please do share them here!

Die Young Stay Pretty

It’s about time I share with you my love for one of my favourite crafters in the world, Victoria from Die Young Stay Pretty. I’m not just saying that because she is one of my best friends, promise! She actually inspired me to start Julie and The Knits and create my Etsy shop.

Victoria lives in Paris and launched her brand Die Young, Stay Pretty a few years ago. She makes necklaces, earrings, brooches and more based on what she loves. As we have very similar taste, I tend to love every single piece she creates, so I have grown a nice personal collection of DYSP pretties over the years – see the pic at the end of this post! Time to find out more about this talented lady.

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Hi Victoria! Tell us more about Die Young Stay Pretty

Hello Julie! Die Young, Stay Pretty is a rock’n’kitsch jewelry brand I created in May 2009. At the time, I was unemployed and a bit depressed: I needed to do something to make me feel better, using my creativity. Since forever, I’ve been creating things from scratch, and I really love crafting and the DIY spirit. I naturally decided to create jewelry, the medium of choice for expressing myself: I could mix my love of kitschy and quirky with musical and cinematographic references.

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What inspires when you create new items?

Is it okay if I answer “everything”? ;-) I’m similar to a sponge as far as inspiration is concerned: I feed on everything I see. I collect thousands & thousands of pictures on my computer of things that inspire me: bands, fashion, tattoos, home decors, paintings, pop culture stuff, horror movies stills, guitars, food, travels…

You can follow my Pinterest if you wish: http://www.pinterest.com/dieyoungbaby/boards/

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What are your favourite DYSP creations?

Definitely, horror movies brooches!! Especially if worn with a granny cardigan. Also, I made a very ridiculous belt buckle for a friend featuring Annette and Monsieur Roger, 2 characters from a very cheesy & silly French TV show from the 90’s. I was so fond to work on such a piece!

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What piece of advice would you give to creative people who’d like to start selling their work?

This is going to sound a little bit cliché, but don’t give up and don’t be too hard on yourself. Crafting and DIY should be fun, not a constraint.

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Links to your website/shops

You can buy my jewels on Dawanda and Tictail:

And you can follow my Facebook page for news & information:

Hope you love Victoria’s jewelry as much as I do, make sure you check out her shops for more! And without further ado, here is my cherished DYSP collection! I wear my Moss necklace almost every day ♥♥♥

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Brittany’s Embroidered Hearts

While checking out my blog stats (boring) I noticed a lot of traffic coming from a blog called Just Be Crafty. Intrigued, I visited the site and found THIS!

Brittany used my free knitted heart pattern to create some lovely Valentine’s Day gifts. I love the fact that she adapted the pattern to her fit her taste and embroidered romantic little messages on them. This totally made my day!  

If you too have knitted some heart coasters, share your photos/links with me :)

Camila Prada

I must have said it a million times before, but I’ll say it again: CUTE makes me happy. So when I came across Camila Prada’s earthenware online, I was very, very happy. She is one of many talented people I have discovered on Instagram – no wonder it’s my favourite social media platform!

You might have heard of Camila before – her work has been featured in many magazines such as Elle Decoration, Grand Designs and The Observer. Camila Prada claims to make “the cutest tableware in the world” – she is so right! I mean, look at this:



Obviously Camila is also a big fan of all things cute: “I started creating characters in clay because they totally cheered me up. Other people kept telling me my creatures made them smile too. And so the Camila Prada collection was born.”

Her unique and adorable designs include salt and peppers shakers, storage jars, mugs and more. I am particularly fond of her limited edition collaboration with Piktorama – it’s super kawaii!

Another great thing about Camila’s work is that everything is ethically made in the historic birthplace of fine British china, Stoke-on-Trent. She says “Look under the teacups in your Grandma’s cabinet, you will see the name “Stoke-on-Trent”. That’s where I live.”

I recently got my hands on the Sweet Talker in Camila’s sample sale – I’m in love… Let’s hope that my kitchen bench gets filled with more of these lovelies soon!

Love what you see? Visit Camila’s website to discover her fabulous creations!

Beautiful Cymru

A couple of weeks ago I went on a lovely holiday to Mid Wales! This is a part of the UK I had never visited but had heard great things about. I wasn’t disappointed. 
I love escaping to the countryside for a few days! I usually go to Scotland as it’s much closer to where I live but I definitely want to see more of Cymru.

Sugar & Vice Designs

When I started JATK in 2012, I used to knit only my favourite things – headbands, hair clips and broochesaccessories are indispensable in my life! The more I have the better, but I always try to find what I call “special” ones. When I came across Sugar & Vice on Instagram, I just loved their super original acrylic necklaces AND the fact that they happily make custom items (like me)! You can have all the accessories in the world, but nothing beats a unique statement necklace…

I asked Sarah from S&V a few questions about her work and selected pictures of my favourite items. Plus scroll down to check out the personalised necklace they made for my best pal!

– Tell us about Sugar & Vice
Sugar & Vice is in its sixth year now, we started off small selling jewellery on myspace and bigcartel and then steadily grew to the point where, although it’s still run by just two of us, we now own three laser cutters for making jewellery and have just launched a clothing line.
 
– What inspires when you create new items?
Absolutely everything! We get inspiration from little things in every day life and sometimes even from the acrylic itself! We recently got a beautiful radiant acrylic and we’ve been making items based on what it reminds us of. The beauty of working with this medium is that we can have an idea, create a design and see it come to life all within the same day. It’s very exciting.

– What are your favourite S&V creations?
That’s a tough one! I’m proud of them all, although constantly striving to be better does mean it’s very tempting to tweak past designs based on what we’ve learnt. The whole thing is a never-ending process and there’s always work to be done. Specifically though, my personal favourites are the Magpie, the Pug and the Dia De Los Muertos necklaces. I love statement pieces so the bigger, more eye catching pieces always end up being my favourites. Go big or go home, right? :) 

– What piece of advice would you give to creative people who’d like to start selling their work?

Just go for it. Don’t overthink it and don’t hesitate. Be cautious where money is concerned because it’s still a very tough financial climate for small businesses but don’t let it stop you if you’ve got the passion for it. It’s a 7 day a week job and can become a little all consuming at times but it’s incredibly satisfying work and I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Here is the amazing custom order they designed for my friend Victoria (a tribute to her own jewellery brand which I’ll tell you more about soon!):

I am yet to decide which piece to get for myself I love so many of them! :)


Check out Sugar & Vice’s jewellery and clothing on their website http://www.sugarandvicedesigns.com and also on Etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop/sugarandvicedesigns Sugar & Vice have a second Etsy store in which they provide other companies with charms and supplies to make their own jewellery (clever idea!) http://www.etsy.com/shop/svcharms