Friday, 22 March 2013


OK so we've succumbed to another another trendy "Net 2" site, Pinterest. I did look at it a while ago but I had my doubts about putting our images on another site. Anyway after much though I've decided to give it a go, anything to get a bit more traffic to our site.

Free Craft Downloads on Pinterest

Although it still seems strange that I'm putting our images on someone else's site they are only the "medium" sized images, so if anyone wants the proper quality images they will need to come over to Free Craft Downloads to get them. I will also only be putting on one image from each set so again, if they want to see the rest they'll have to visit our site.

Free Craft Downloads Pinterest Account
I'm willing to give this a go and see if it has any effect. As we are new to Pinterest I shall be highlighting some of past papers as well as adding a "latest papers" section.

If you are a member of Pinterest maybe you could think about following us and or "re-pinning" some of our images.

I haven't quite decided if I shall be putting a "pin this" button on our site yet, need to think about that one a little more :-)

Free Craft Downloads on Pinterest

[p.s. If you haven't visited Pinterest before it's well worth taking a look. Lots of craft stuff on there, just put "card making" or suchlike in their search box.]

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Stuck for a Birthday Card Idea.

Free Zodiac Papers
Zodiac Papers
We often here from people who are stuck for an idea for a birthday card. Maybe then don't know the person who the card is too well, maybe their creativity has escaped them for a while. Whatever the reason it can sometimes take longer to think about the theme for a greeting card than it can take to make the card itself!

Here are some basic ideas, using the papers from free craft downloads which we hope will give you a few quick ideas. Obviously, as normal all of the downloads mentioned can be downloaded for free of our site.

Zodiac Based Cards

So you know when the persons birthday is so you can look up their Birth Sign. On free craft downloads we have all the basic backing papers and inserts for the various birth signs, we also have decoupage and digi stamps available as well so, if you with, you can make the whole card out of Zodiac papers.  If you think that is a bit over the top then you can use one of the zodiac elements and combine it with some of the other papers below.

Zodiac Decoupage
Zodiac Digi Stamps
Basic Zodiac (Backing Papers, Insert Sheets etc.)

Name Papers

Free Name Templates
Name Templates
We cover a large number of names both in basic papers and in card templates so take a look because we may have the one you need. Again they can be used together or maybe you can use them with the zodiac papers or other. Don't forget you can "double print the templates if you wish, print the backing paper you want onto the sheet of card first and them put it through the printer again and print the template on top. This only works for some of the "texture" and pattern design as obviously it will end up up-side-down on the back of the card.

Basic Name Papers (Backing Papers, Inserts Sheets etc)
Name Templates

Number Papers

Free Number Papers
Number Templates
Now you wont always know the age of the person you are making a card for, but if you do and you think it appropriate then you can use some of our number papers, decoupage or number card templates. In most we do all the numbers from 1 to 21 , and then each multiple of 5 from 25 onwards.

Basic Number Papers (Basic Papers, Insert Sheets etc)
Number Decoupage
Number Templates
Number Templates2
Number Templates3

Birth Stones

Free Birth Stone Papers
Birth Stone Papers
We haven't quite done all of the Birth Stone papers yet but will will be adding the remaining one soon. You can find the basic papers we have done so far here:
Birth Stones

Relative Papers

If the person you are making a card for is a relative then maybe you will be able to use one of out relative Stencil Cards or Backing Papers. These are fairly new sections to the site and we have concentrated so far on the female papers but we will be adding more regularly. We do try and cover some of the relative which don't normal get covered (aes wel as the regular ones) so do take a look and see if what you want is there.

Free Relative Templates
Relative Templates
If after all of that you are still stuck for an idea then .we suggest you take a look through our Site Map and see if there is anything on there which triggers an idea :-)

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Crafti Creations

Alan and Barry on Crafti Creations 14/03.13

Whilst I realise this is in danger of becoming the Crafti Creations blog I thought it only fair that I posted one more time (at least)) about the show.

I missed the beginning of the show but managed to start watching about half an hour in when Kim Sutton was demonstrating her craft items.

Kim Sutton: Paper Crafts

Kim Sutton Crafts
Kim Sutton Crafts
I haven't come across this lady before but  I thought she was really good. I enjoyed watching her demonstration. It was a bit rushed at times but unfortunately that is the nature of this type of craft telly. She did seem to get across all the pertinent information and was very relaxed in front of the camera. Barry did well, I thought, asked some good questions, let her get on with the demo and obviously only hurried her up when he was told to do so by a little voice in his ear.

Although I get a bit board of endless paper crafts I did like the box cards although I'm not sure I'd actually have the patience to make one. I'm sure a lot of the site members at Free Craft Downloads could make a good job of them.

Alan Gear Chocolate Demonstration
The next bit I saw was Alan and the lady demonstrating the chocolate kits. Again Alan seemed to work well with the gust and it all seemed a lot more laid back and informative than it did on Tuesday. I was almost tempted to buy a chocolate set for Easter!

On the whole I this todays show was a huge improvement on Tuesdays. The graphics seemed to be correct (apart from one which Barry caught) and the whole thing seemed a lot more relaxed and therefore the information came across better.

Surprisingly the worse bits, for me, were the times Alan and Barry were presenting together. You know how they say you shouldn't teach anyone who you know too well to drive because it will only end in an argument' well  I'm beginning to think that TV presenting is the same. Whist they seemed to treat the guests with respect and listen to them, when they are both on screen together they talk over each other, don't bother to listen , contradict each other etc. etc.... Whilst a bit of "banter" could be good, this just makes it difficult for the viewer to get any proper information on the product and too much of it is very annoying.

Stupid and pointless countdown clock
Another annoying bit is the timed count down. Whilst I assume this is something on all their shows (I don't know I don't watch) I really don't get the point of it. Why can't they take orders for any of the products during the show whilst they still have the stock. Whilst they may think rushing people to make a purchase is a good sales tac-tic, personally I wont be rushed into a decision and if they want me to make up my mind in 2 mins then I'm probably going to leave it. Anyway we know they are still selling the items on the web site so just what is the rush. It seems a bit childish and condescending to the viewer. This ISN'T an auction.

I really need to say a few words about I've never used them personally so I have to rely on a bit of research I've done on the internet.

Firstly it is strongly suggested that you purchase off the website and not by phoning as phoning will cost you £1.53.

Secondly keep an eye on the P&P, at the moment the P&P on the Crafti Creations show is free but's normal P&P seems to be £7.99 PER ITEM so check that P&P is free or at least reasonable on any future shows.

Lastly, from what I have been able to find out,  it seems like their customer service phone line is outsourced to India. Anyone who used Ideal World in the days when they did that will know what sort of hassles it can cause. On top of that the call isn't free. So if things go smoothly with your order then you will be OK but if you have issues with it aren't known to be the best for sorting them out.

UK Craft Shows

UK Craft Show and Events on Craft Calendar

We we've been really busy adding this years shows and events to craft calendar. Remember if not only covers traditional craft shows but also craft material shows, craft workshops and crafts within larger events.

If you take a look on the left of this blog you will see a list of craft events which are coming up. If you have your own craft blog or website then you can have this widget on their as well. Just copy and paste this code into an html widget (for a blog) or in your code (for a website)

<script src="">
/* This comment can be removed prior to publishing
s = Event List Type, 0 = All Events, 1 = Newest Events, 2 = Most Popular Events, 3 = Featured Events
z = List Size - Maximum: 20
t = Show Event Time, 1 = Show Time, 0 = Hide Time

CSS Classes: ul, li,, a, time */

Wood Turning
If you run a craft event them please do visit Craft Calendar and add it, it's completely free.

Yet again last year was really tough for crafters, especially for those selling their own finished craft items. A combination of the weather together with the economy meant that visitor numbers and sales were down yet again at many shows,  particularly at shows held outside (when they didn't have to be cancelled).

Please try and support your local craft shows, their a great place for picking up some unique gifts

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Alan and Barry Crafti Creations

So how many people watched Alan and Barry on the new Crafi Creations show on 

Well by judging by the number of comments on various forums etc quite a few people, how many of them actually ordered anything off the show, probably not many!

Alan and Barry on Crafti Creations
Alan and Barry on
So was it nerves which got the better of the two, who knows but the best which could be said about their performance was, it was poor. There are certain things you need to be able to do when you are presenting on Shopping Telly and getting the price right, the description right and the telephone number right are 3 of the most important ones. Obviously there weren't alone in making errors, who ever was responsible for the graphs also mange to make a clanger or two. Did the Cuttlebug come with 2 plates or 5, or graphic said one thing, another something different. And Barry said it came with two whist the graphic on the left was clearly saying 5! Did you get 400gsm of Chocolate or 3x 400gsm?. Thats a big difference.

Barry Freestone on Crafti Creations
Barry with guest (Rose?)
Alan much of the time seemed "hectic", there was obviously an attempt to bring back the "banter" which made them so popular with at least some people when they were at Ideal World. For me they didn't really pull it of here and it felt a bit embarrassing to watch at times.

So were there any good points. Well yes, it was nice to see the free P&P, P&P being a sore point for many customers. It was also nice to see at least one item which wasn't paper craft related, the chocolate and moulds, but even then they seemed to be fighting with the gust presenter over who was going to demonstrate what!

Chocolate demonstration on Crafti Creations
The Chocolate Demontration
I shall watch again on Thursday, mainly to see if it improves. I know many people have an issue with Alan and Barry and the demise of Alan and Barrys Crafts which left a lot of people in the lurch but I certainly aren't one of those who will be campaigning or writing to have the show removed. It's shopping telly and like all shopping telly it will succeed or fail on it's orders. If people don't watch or people watch but don't order then it wont last long. If people do watch and buy then, as long as people get their orders promptly and correctly, I assume it will carry on. (there is obviously a bit of hesitancy about who will be responsible for fulfilling the orders and the related customer service and would do well to put peoples minds at rest about those issues).

So will give about 3/10 for this first show with a comment of "more effort and improvement need if its going to stand any chance of continuing". (The show will be on again at 12noon on Thurs 14th March on

Monday, 11 March 2013

Alan and Barry back on TV

Craft Creation 

Tuesday 11th March 2013 12.00 - 1.00

So Alan and Barry are back presenting a Craft Show on British TV, on Bid.TV. Seems like there is a rather polarised option as to whether this is a good move by or not.

Certainly they seem to be the Marmite of British Crafting Telly. Read some forums and you will find that no one is going to watch and think they shouldn't be allowed back on Telly. Read another forum and they are seen as a breath of fresh air and their return it welcomed. (one of the big problems about forums seems to be that people are unwilling to disagree with the prevailing opinion and certainly in this case the general feeling from a forum is either for or against)

So why are people so divided about these two?

On the plus side there is not doubt that Alan is a very gifted crafter and artist. I have know him to review a product and come up with more ideas on how to use it that the developers did. He is one of the UKs top glass painters, a patisserie chef  and an artist.  This is balanced by Barry who is obviously the better presenter of the two. They make crafts "fun" although some people can find them "over the top" at times.

The downside was the collapse of their own company Alan and Barrys Crafts, it wasn't so much the collapse of the company which upset people but the way it was handled. Reading around forums at the time the general opinion was that they let down both customers and suppliers. No one sets out to have their business go bust and indeed many craft companies have gone that way over the last 5 or 6 years but few of these seemed to handle the situation as badly as these two did.

So will I be watching on Tuesday... well yes I probably will. There is definitely room for another craft programme on telly. I probably have more of a reason to be annoyed with Alan and Barry than most people do but this isn't their company and hopefully they will be having nothing to do with the ordering , delivery and customer service! Hopefully this time they will just be able to concentrate on what they are good at.

What would I like to see?

A wide range of crafts, not just paper crafts, not just design CDs..lets have some fine arts, some cake decorating, some rug ragging etc, the type of thing they were hoping to do when they started Create and Craft . (Many people forget that it was Alan and Barry who first brought crafts to ideal world, who started Create and Craft and the Craft Club). Will we get it? Well I wont hold my breath but would love to be pleasantly surprised.

You can watch on Freeview, Sky, Free Sat and online (

Added 14th March 2003

I have reviewed the first two shows here and here: