Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Craft Forums and others

Many of us are members of forums, in fact I must be a member over over 20. not all of the are craft forums, many deal with the software I use to run the site and others are for Webmasters and cover things like site promotion and development.

I've noticed something different about the craft related ones, on the whole they're a lot more sociable than other types of forums which I'm a member of.  There's a lot more general chatting going on which is really nice.

Of the forum I'm a member of it's obviously my own which I visit most often and which I enjoy the most.

Free Craft Downloads Forum is the one I use most. Lots of great areas, a lot of general chat but also sections where crafts can be discuss, mostly paper crafts.

The Forum with no Name is very similar. It used to be "Alan and Barrys Crafts" forum but when that company closed it was rescued so it wasn't lost to the members.

Other Popular Craft Forums include:

More specilised Craft forums would include the like of:

There are lots of other Craft related forums... many the popular craft designers also have forum including FeeJ Designs and Joanna Sheen.

All of these are nice forums where you can meet and chat to other crafters.  may be best to have a nosey at a few until you find one which really suits you.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

UK Craft Fairs

OK, as some of you know we run a site called Craft Calendar. What you may not know is that we have been taking part in Craft Fairs in one way or another for over 15 years. We are very supportive of UK Craft Fairs and that's why we're asking for people to COMPLAIN!

  • More and more Crafters are arriving at Craft Fairs to find they are competing with "bought in" goods.
  • More and more visitors are attending them to find that on lots of the stands they aren't being offered handmade goods direct from the crafter.
  • More and more visitors are buying items which they think are "Craft" but after getting home finding labels on them which show they obviously aren't craft.

We believe strongly that UK craft fairs should be restricted to UK Crafters selling THEIR OWN goods. That the person behind the stand should be able to talk to you about how they made the item and even  accept a commission if necessary.

Why should crafters have to compete with bought in goods at an event which is advertised as a Craft Fair (OK if its advertised as a Craft and Gift Fair then you get what you pay for). Why should visitors be mislead about what they are buying. Why should they have to pay (in some cases) to see the same items which you can see in your local tat shop!

The same applies to some extent to Craft Material Shows. Why when I've paid to go into a Craft Material Show, which can be quite expensive at some of the larger venues, should I be presented with stands selling ironing board covers or hair grips! .... I'm NOT interested in them.... the organisers would have you believe that these stands are "spare" because no crafters wanted them... when the actual truth is more and more the smaller craft companies can't afford them because the organisers can get more money giving the space to a shoe polish company!

So we're asking you to complain. Support UK Crafts, they're having a tough time at the moment. If a Craft Fair isn't a Craft Fair or a Craft Material Show isn't a Craft Material Show then you have every right to complain about it being misrepresented.... maybe, eventually organisers will get the right idea.

p.s. there are a lot of good Craft Fair / Show organisers out there and this post obviously isn't aimed at them. Unfortunately they suffer as well when the UK public loose trust in the craft market! So, on the other side of the coin, if you attend a good craft fair, do make a point of finding the organiser and thank them.

p.p.s. All the photo in this article are real crafters!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Themes For Home Made Greetings Cards. Part II Older Children and Teens

Once again the free number card templates make a good standby for Birthday Cards especially for the "important" years, 16 and 18.

Teens are normally quite difficult to do any sort of card for but we did the "Cartoon" figures a while ago which went down really well so these have now been added to the main site. There are three sets: Older tennager (because they are drinking), Music, in which they have guitars and Football. Each of the 3 sets have decoupage, pyramid sheets, backing papers, inserts, tags and frames. In addition to this Street Dance has become popular lately, thanks to Britain's Got Talent and other shows like that so our papers with that on have also proved popular.

Finally Sports can also be popular with teenagers and our free papers include many from Karate through to Skateboarding, you will find these altogether in the new sport section.


Decoupage Sheets

Number Templates 1
Number Templates 2
Number Templates 3

Backing Papers, Inserts and Tags

Monday, 8 November 2010

Themes For Home Made Greetings Cards. Part I Infants and Toddlers

You would not believe how many emails and messages we get asking us to suggest a Card theme for "A Teenager" a "Six Year Old" my "Mother in Law" etc. etc. etc.

We thought we'd do a short series of posts giving some ideas, obviously drawing on the resources at Free Craft Downloads. When we first started Free Craft Downloads the idea was to build up a library of papers. Maybe not "great" papers but a library of free papers where crafters could go, even at the last minuet and hopefully find a papers to suit their needs.

Themes for Infants and Toddlers.

Firstly for young children,the card will be as much to amuse the parents as it will be the child. Card colours tend to be fairly stereotype(ish) with Pinkish for the girls and a range of Blues for the boys. Although there are a great number of  Cartoon Characters which you can use on these papers the old "Number" Theme remains popular and is a good choice if you aren't too sure of the Childs interests, Teddy Bears are also a good standby.. Free Craft Downloads has Nuber based Backing Papers, Inserts, Tags, Template and even a bit of decoupage. Using these together will help you make a suitable card for any aged child even at late notice.


Backing Paper, Inserts and Tags



Saturday, 6 November 2010

Brewster Design

I thought some of you might be interested in see how Brewster Developed. So here are a few of the early images.
I have been asked a few time "why" Brewster came about. Well most of our basic images come from either stuff we have made or public domain images which we alter to suit our needs. After three years of making Free Papers we though it would be nice to have a character who we could use in a range  or papers and in a wide variety of designs. So far with Brewster we have made Free Decoupage, Cross Stitch kits and Scrap booking layouts. He has been both a newspapers vendor and a teacher. Both of these situations were chosen as they gave scope for the designs to be personalised either on the A Board or the Blackboard.

Next week will see Brewster in a festive spirit and again will have scope for personalisation.

We would obviously like to add our than to our illustrator "Mike" for doing all the hard work on each original image and for being able to turn my garbled instructions in to something fantastic.....

Next Year Brewster will be picking up some friends and maybe even a love interest in time for Valentines Day... stay tuned for further news :-)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Card Making and Colours

As is fairly normal, I was sitting making some of the free backing papers the other afternoon with the television on in the background, can't remember exactly which channel but it was one og the shopping telly craft shows so probably either QVC or Create and Craft.

Anyway my attention was suddenly drawn to what they were saying "These colours are so in this year" and "These are going to be next seasons colours". I was honestly going to turn over as I assumed the schedule had moved on to a cloths programme but no, it was still on a card making programme and this was then talking about a set of papers they were selling.

So is it just me or is it really stupid talking about card making papers in this way. I know there are some conventions, lots of reds and greens for Christmas papers, blacks and greys for sympathy ones and I do tend to do my Christening papers and Baby papers in pastel blues and pinks, but are is there really such a thing as "thins seasons colours (pastel green if I remember rightly in this case) or is it just another way of them getting us to buy yet another set of papers?