Make It, Don’t Buy It – Why We Love Crafting
More than a hashtag, “make it, don’t buy it” has become our mantra.
We know it can be easy to snap up that irresistible bargain for a last-minute Christmas present, or to let the little ones watch that same episode of Peppa Pig one more time. Little shortcuts to an easy life are ever more tempting amid the chaos of 21st century life. And we get that.
But consider how you feel when a special person in your life takes the time to create a thoughtful handmade gift just for you. Or the relief when your work is done for the day and you can sit in your favourite spot, stitching away to create that cosy Christmas jumper. Or the way you feel about your kids’ messy masterpieces, even when you’ve got no idea what on earth that’s supposed to be. (Seriously, was it a dog… or a dragon? Doesn’t matter, the kid’s a genius.)
Crafting can be an outlet, a way to explore your creativity or the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill. Even if your drawings were never up to much in art class (sorry, Miss Hockley), there’s a vast array of different ways to craft. And it’s not just about professional masterpieces. It’s about fun with the kids, finding time for yourself, making your dream home or wedding a reality, and finding creative ways to show your loved ones how much you care.
Mental health has become an increasingly big part of our national conversation. According to the mental health charity Mind, one in six of us report experiencing a common mental health problem in any given week, including depression and anxiety. Perhaps this offers some explanation as to why exercises and activities that promote mindfulness have become so popular.
When we spoke to artist Emma Howell, she explained that after losing her dad, “I totally lost my way, but creating art saved me and pulled me out of quite a negative hole.” She went on to add that her creative work had become “a form of meditation” or “mind yoga”.
Increasingly, we’ve seen more and more emphasis on mindfulness within the crafting community. Psychologies magazine addressed the buzzword of the moment, explaining that the concentration involved in projects such as colouring, cross-stitch and knitting helps to replace negative thoughts with a peaceful state of mind, using repetitive action that “focuses the brain on the present, blocking out any intrusive thoughts.”
In a world filled with distractions – from the daily grind of 9-to-5s or the chaos of young children, to the infinite onslaught of social media newsfeeds, crafting can offer an escape. It gives you a moment to explore your creativity in its many forms.
Crafting with Kids
Crafting time is quality time. It can be a great bonding experience to teach your kids a creative skill, whether it be sewing, baking, painting or even the chaos of collage. The whacky and wonderful projects you and your little ones make will become instant mementos of that time together, too.
Filling up their pre-school or half-term days with fun and creative activities also helps you minimise screen time, while laying the building blocks for early cognitive development. Artistic and crafty projects can be key to helping them explore their imagination, as well as to develop tactile learning and fine motor skills. Making with kiddy dough, feathers, pom-poms and more introduces varied textures and media that allow your kids’ creativity to run amok.
Here are some of our favourite kids’ projects, ready to add a little inspiration to your next rainy day!
As well as these projects, there are a few essentials that are always good to have on-hand for kids’ crafting sessions: picture beads, kids’ clay and dough, crayons, feathers, pipe cleaners and googly eyes.
For a simple way to make a loved one feel special, a good ol’ handmade card works every time. It could be celebrating a big birthday or it might be a thoughtful thank you. You can completely brighten someone’s mood with a heartfelt card that’s tailor-made just for them.
The techniques included in many of our card-making project posts are perfect for personalising to suit your recipient – like, for example, if your other half is a super Star Wars fan. You can add your favourite photos, or include significant lyrics or messages to add personal meaning.
Even for crafting rookies, card-making is accessible. It can be as easy or hard as you like. With a set of card blanks, you’ve got free rein to use any materials and techniques you like. Start yourself off with stickers, toppers and washi tape and then, depending on where your strengths lie, try other applications such as painting, calligraphy and brush lettering, die-cutting, stamping, lino printing, paper cutting and beyond!
We’ve got all the tools ready and waiting for you to get started, whether you want to invest in your very own die-cutting machine, get your lino cutters ready or treat yourself to a new set of calligraphy pens. What’s more, there are plenty of how-to guides on our blog to get you started…
Why stop at card-making? The perfect present is within reach and there are plenty of different ways to do it. From adding handmade touches to pre-bought gifts, such as using foil lettering to decorate a tote bag with a custom message, to creating something unique from scratch.
Stuck for ideas? We’ve got your back.
Your Handmade Wedding
It’s the biggest day of your life. One that’ll fill up the photo albums. It’s important that every detail of your day feels true to who you are, and how better to achieve that than by incorporating handmade details to set your celebrations apart?
You can bring close friends and family together for crafting days to create your table arrangements, wedding favours, hen party essentials and more. That way, you’ll be making memories as you hand-make the special details of your celebrations. It then becomes easy to put your own spin on things. You can use bold, unusual colour schemes, add extra personal touches to your thank you gifts and favours, and ensure that the finer details of the day are all the more memorable for every guest.
We’ve put together a guide on how to plan your wedding, perfect for crafty brides and grooms who are looking for creative wedding inspiration.
Make Your House a Home
Your house is yours. Why not make it truly you?
There’s nothing better than walking into someone’s home and seeing how brilliantly it reflects their personality. Take our Knitcraft expert, Emily Platt: her home is practically made of yarn. You’ve got Hugo the llama on your left and a mighty mound of granny square blankets on your right. It’s cosy and colourful, and wonderfully unique.
There are plenty of ways to add your personal stamp at home – from modern minimalist chic to a bold, eclectic mix. In fact, we love seeing all of your inspired approaches in our #hobbycraft hashtag…
Top right: @isoscella, top left: @hobbycraft_shf, bottom right: @mariebuckley85, bottom left: @s_simple_things.
For inspiration on how to add custom crafty touches to brighten up your home, check out some of our favourite blog posts. From wall art to terrariums, these fantastic designs will transform even the most uninspiring flat into a special space.
We’d love to hear why you love crafting! Let us know in the comments.