UK Handmade Cambridge

// REVIEW: Craft It Up Around The World//

It’s always wonderful to see a children’s craft book that contains plenty of projects that kids can actually do by themselves as well as with adults, and Craft It Up Around The World is one of those books. It contains 35 craft projects that have been inspired by travels across the globe. All the projects are indoor activities, so great for wet and cold days, and most only require the most basic of materials such as paints, paper and glue. 

There is an impressive range of activites which cover a wide variety of crafting techniques, with painting, printing, embroidery, baking, clay and mosaic all being introduced. 

On top of being a fun activity book, it’s an educational book too, as children can learn about countries around the world. They can see what each country looks like on a map, are shown the national flag, and are given interesting facts about each destination, such as;

"The Whirling Dervishes are a popular attraction in Turkey. Did you know that they perform an Islamic holy dance? As they spin they represent the Earth revolving on its axis while orbiting the sun."

The information isn’t overly detailed or too heavy, so it shouldn’t feel like schoolwork, but could easily encourage wonderful conversations about different cultures and how people in the rest of the world live.

The book begins with a brief introduction and a world map, that children can refer back to, to see where each country is situated. The map is divided into continents and is also numbered to indicate where specific countries are, which are listed in a numbered key below. 

There is a one-off worldwide project at the beginning which makes bunting from a map of the world, the following projects are then divided into four chapters: The Americas and Antartica, Europe, Asia and Oceania, and Africa. Some of the countries featured in these chapters include: Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Greece, Russia, Turkey, China, UAE and Ghana.

Some of the craft projects seem to have rather tenuous links tho their country, for example I didn’t feel like I discovered anything of great interest about Finalnd, other than it has snow (lots of countries have snow). However, most crafts represent something very specific about their country, such as the Whirling Dervishes for Turkey, and Sushi brooches for Japan. 

Projects that I particularly enjoyed were; the flag coasters, covering a handful of African countries, looks like great fun with flags, as well as being an interesting use of patterns and geometric shapes. The paper dragon puppet for China is also really effective, and finally who could resist a gingerbread mountie from Canada (not me).

The only project I felt a little let down by (which isn’t bad considering there are 35 projects in total) was the Australian Memory Jar. The project itself is great, but there are two memory jars of sorts included. I preferred the Egypt treasure hunt jar, as you place your memorabilia into the jar with sand, to partially hide it like treasure. I thought this reinforced the sandy nature of Egypt, as well as linking it to explorers and archaeologists that went in search of tombs and treasure. The Australian jar just seemed to be collected trinkets from Sydney, which I imagine will be fairly lost on many British children. I think it would have been more effective to have this project at the front as a world-wide project, for any location that one might visit, and then had something that focused on the rich Australian history in it’s place, such as indigenous cave paintings, the gold rushes or a project featuring the Sydney Opera House, Australian wildlife, or how to bake lamingtons.

Any criticisms I may find in this book are tiny though. The instructional steps are clear and easy to follow and there are plenty of clear supporting images. It has a lovely hands-on crafty look and and feel, using images of textured papers as backgrounds, and using images of clip boards to list materials that are needed, making them easy to locate on the page. There are also cute images of sticky tape, seemingly holding travel photographs in place, as if in an album or scrapbook. There is a great selection of templates at the back of the book, to help children complete some of the projects, and all are full size, so they only need to be traced, rather than having to photocopy and enlarge. 

This book offers so much, it’s a great source of activities for bored kids, it introduces them to a large amount of different crafting techniques, teaches them about different cultures, and is an exciting way to learn a bit of geography without having to whip out some old uninspiring atlas.

Craft It Up Around The World
Libby Abadee & Cath Armstrong

RRP: £9.99

ISBN-10: 1782490388
ISBN-13: 978-1782490388

// OPPORTUNITIES: Handmade Christmas at the O2//


This December, a raft of Britain’s best and brightest designers, crafters, hobbyists, and food and drink merchants will gather to showcase their talents at a three-day event that’s set to become a cornerstone of the UK’s crafting calendar. Specially organised in tandem with three sell-out concerts at The O2, Handmade Christmas will open its doors to an estimated 60,000 people attending The O2 over three days.

An impressive team is publicising this crafting extravaganza, including, and those magnificent magazine moguls at Future – publishers of the fantastic Mollie Makes, Simply Crochet and Simply Knitting magazines – who will be on hand to deliver a fantastic array of crafting and making masterclasses. It’s going to be a very busy show packed with punters primed and raring to purchase hand-crafted gifts, one of a kind works of art and exceedingly good British food and drinks.

Handmade Christmas is an affordable way for clever creatives to get face to face with thousands of potential customers in a strong sales environment. With exhibition stands starting at just £350 for three days, it’s a must-do event for producers, traders and suppliers who live to craft and craft to live.

Handmade Christmas at The O2 has rapidly grown into one of the largest designer, artists and artisan food shows in the UK.

SPECIAL OFFER: Get 10% off the stall price by quoting UK Handmade when you apply.

Please call or email Richard Cassar to book your stand.


Tel: 07879 628792

Find out more about exhibiting

13/14/15 DECEMBER 2013 THE O2, LONDON

// NEWS: Centre of England Arts Opens Door to Public//

From 5th - 6th October 2013, Centre of England Arts (COEA) will be holding its 4th Art Exhibition at Patrick Farm Barns, in Hampton in Arden.

Situated in a beautiful, converted barn, the two-day event will showcase art works and crafts created by COEA students, and will also provide the public with an opportunity to meet with the various tutors.

Founded in October 2010, COEA is a not-for-profit company and registered charity that provides a rich and varied programme of day and evening courses, including watercolour, acrylics, oils, drawing and pen and wash. The centre also runs one-off art and crafts workshops for people of all ages.

Artist and COEA Founder, Julie Hyde said: “We like to offer a range of skills for people to try. To come here for just a few hours and take home something they have created, using skills they never knew they had, is a satisfying and thrilling experience for people. The aim of the centre is to enable everyone to appreciate and, more importantly, enjoy the arts.”

COEA will be opening its doors to the public on Saturday and Sunday, from 10.00am until 4.00pm, at Centre of England Arts, Patrick Farm Barns, Meriden Road, Hampton in Arden, B92 0LT.

For further information on the centre’s courses, visit, contact Julie Hyde on 01676 523357 or email

// OPPORTUNITIES: The Made-it Market is Seeking Talent!//

The Made-it Market was established in 2010 as a vibrant contemporary craft event. Beginning with just a handful of stall holders and a ton of passion for promoting creativity and handmade products, The Made-it Market has grown to become a well established event on the creative calendar in East Anglia. This autumn, The Made-it Market will be setting up shop in Halstead for the first time, and we’re inviting local designers, craftspeople and artists to join us in selling, exhibiting and celebrating handmade products.

Crafts appeal to all ages and people from a variety of backgrounds, but the founders of The Madeit Market are particularly keen to support young designers who are the next generation of creative entrepreneurs.

The Made-it Market was born out of a love of creativity, craft and design that founded Sarah Rowden, Halstead, has enjoyed from a very young age.

“We want to support young people and their creative enterprises by offering two fully sponsored stalls to designers under the age of 21, as a first step on the path into promoting and selling their work. Alongside the stall, we will offer our expertise in preparing to sell, and support, encouragement and evaluation following the event. We’re very excited to see what the young people of Halstead and the surrounding areas have to offer!” said event organiser, Sarah Rowden.

The Made-it Market are seeking young designers to join events to sell and promote their work. The sponsored stalls available offer young people the chance to test their creative designs and gain sales experience as well as valuable feedback from customers, without having to pay for a stall or publicity.

The Made-it Market, taking place in Queens Hall, Halstead this autumn will be a spectacular seasonal sale of local and national craft and design, full of things to inspire and enthuse you for the coming winter months, from designers of all age. Visitors can expect sunny home-wares, earthy ceramics, glassware, cosy textiles, stationary, natural cosmetics, eye catching jewels and accessories, with a touch of the changing seasons in the air.

Alongside a regular craft sale, The Made-it Market offers the opportunity to see designers at work, and take part in some exciting craft workshops in a range of skills from lino printing to silver clay jewellery, led by award winning tutors from Make, Do & Mend Craft School, Chelmsford.

“I strongly believe that everyone has the potential to be wonderfully creative, and it is fantastic that through demonstrations, tutorials and workshops, people can find inspiration to try something creative out. We have found that many people would really love to enjoy a creative hobby and learn a new skill, but often don’t know where to begin or are daunted by the achievements of others.

"The Made-it Market makes creativity as accessible as possible; offering visitors with some or no craft background the opportunity to learn, and be encouraged to try it out. Being creative needn’t be exclusive, everyone can have a go, get great results, and enjoy themselves in the process.” explained organiser Sarah Rowden.

To apply for one of two sponsored Junior Designer Stalls at The Made-it Market, visit the website and complete the application form there. We welcome designer-makers of all crafts; traditional and digital, and of all ages. We look forward to a grand celebration of local talent at each of our Halstead events.

The Made-it Market will take place in Queens Hall, Chipping Hill, Halstead between 10am and 4pm. Entrance is free, with workshops available to everyone for small charge on the day- advance booking not necessary.

Visit our website for more information, stall bookings and information on our Junior Designer Sponsored stalls.

Further information available from:

The Made-it Market

Sarah Rowden

07793 889 409 | |

Make, Do & Mend

Hayley Steadman

01245 267 794 | |

// FINDS: Autumn Showcase//

As Summer becomes a distant memory and Winter beckons, embrace the changing seasons with our Autumn showcase full of cosy brights and nature inspired treasures. UK Handmade brings you a varied selection of UK based designers and makers who produce unique wedding items, many of which are bespoke, and all made with the care and attention that just can’t be found on the high street. Here are some of our favourites…

Teal Rowan Leaf Cuff by Sue Gregor

Bunny Plushie Doll by Filili

Skinny Silk Scarves by Jennifer Holsey Handwoven Textiles

Leaf Ring by Magic in the Grass

Orange Kitsune Fox Screenprint by Champignons

Silver Pencil Necklace by Rock Rose Jewellery

Slouchy Beanie by Zukas 

You can see the whole showcase here


This week we meet Sheena Rogers of Sheena Rogers Designs, whose business designing cross stitch kits has gone from strength to strength after she was made redundant in 2011. She is a great example of how you can successfully harness the power of social media to help build your business, and her discipline and hard work shines through in all that she does.

Tell us about yourself

I have always been a creative person and have tried my hand at many different crafts but cross stitch is my one true love.  Once I discovered the joy of creating my own designs using a wide range of coloured threads just over 20 years ago I became hooked and since then I have had two books of my own designs published (Cross Stitch on Colour in 1996 and Mini Cushions in Cross Stitch in 2006).  I now run my own full-time business designing, making and selling cross stitch kits and related handmade gifts.  I mainly specialise in creating mini cushions, which are approximately 6” (15cm) square.

Give a brief description of your career path before you started your creative business.

After completing my A levels at school, in the creative subjects of Art & Design, Music and English Literature, I wasn’t sure which direction to follow.  I wasn’t too fond of studying and I had a few jobs working in shops but this type of work wasn’t for me because I didn’t feel I was achieving anything at the end of each day.  Then I tried office work, starting as a lowly Filing Clerk within a Pharmaceutical company, but I really enjoyed it.  I gradually worked up the ranks to be in the position of Senior Associate but then after 15 years, huge redundancies hit the company and I was one to be affected.

What prompted you to pursue a creative career?

Any spare time I had was filled with creating cross stitch designs or making things from my own ideas and I had managed to build up quite a collection of mini cushion designs, which were enough to produce the book that was published in 2006.  I had learnt a lot of technical computer skills from my day job so in 2009 I thought of setting up my own website through which I could sell kits of my designs so that others could stitch them too.  I ran the business in my spare time and started advertising in the cross stitch magazines which began to produce interest from customers.  During the next two years I created more and more mini cushions on a range of themes and also added some handmade gift items featuring these designs to my product range.  At the end of 2011 I was made redundant from my office job and that was when my creative career really came to the fore.

What was the most difficult thing about this decision? And what was the easiest?

Like a lot of people, I have a mortgage and the usual bills to pay so I had to wonder if it was sensible to trade a steady income that an employer would give for an uncertain income from my business, but by making the decision to run the business full-time I realized it was down to me to make it a success and I was going to put all of my efforts into achieving that goal.  I had a little breathing space that my redundancy payment gave me but I knew that wouldn’t last forever so I made sure to plan out how the business would run and sustain me for the years to come.

How supportive of your decision were your family, friends and (former) colleagues?

It was very strange because my work colleagues seemed to treat my decision as an inevitable thing for me to do, probably because I was always doodling or talking about my designing!  My family have always known me to be creating something or other too (which usually ends up planted around the house somewhere), so again it seemed to them a natural thing for me to do. 

How has pursuing a creative career been compared with your previous career? What are the challenges, and what are the highlights?

A lot of skills that I learnt through my previous career, particularly the computing skills, have been invaluable in helping me to achieve my own full-time business.  But although the technical skills have helped immensely, it has still been a case of building the business up through my own research and trying out different ideas and projects so see which ones work well, or not so well, with potential customers.  My previous career certainly gave me the confidence to put myself forward and approach magazines and other people in the craft industry with ideas for articles or projects and I have had some successes in receiving commissions for cross stitch projects which have been published in craft magazines.

Have you had any regrets about choosing a creative career?

Not yet!  I still sit in an office most days but it is my own office at home where I am surrounded by my craft materials and everything else to hand so that when an idea for a new design strikes I can put it into action.  The time I spend spreading the word about my designs through social media and articles like this is invaluable for generating potential customers and I have also made many new friends along the way so I feel I am building a lovely niche for my business and designs in the Cross Stitch world.

What has been the best thing about your decision to pursue a creative career?

Spending every day working with my own creations has been brilliant for me and it is what makes me very happy.  I love coming up with new ideas for mini cushions and researching new designs, such as my ‘Around the World’ designs which involve delving into each country’s culture and selecting the objects, buildings or creatures that most people would associate with them.  And my ‘Flowers of the Month’ collection was so much fun because each one offered the challenge of designing a different combination of flowers while incorporating each month’s birthstone colours.  I have the freedom to produce designs that I like (and hopefully customers will too) and I get great satisfaction from stitching each one.  I stitch every design before making it available on the website in case any of the colours need adjusting as I don’t want someone spending a long time stitching the project only to be disappointed with the finished effect.  I also like the fact that the decision making is all down to me.  If I come up with an idea for a new product or website feature that doesn’t pay off the only person to blame is me, but it also means that when I launch a successful range of designs or get great comments back from customers I can give myself a big pat on the back!

If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering taking up a creative career, what would that be?

Don’t be under the illusion that you’ll be spending all of your days just stitching or painting or creating.  The majority of my time is actually spent on promoting my products via social media, writing articles, updating my blog, processing orders, taking photos of my products, producing the kits including instruction sheets, charts and packaging, sourcing materials and keeping accounts updated.  You need to be flexible and able to manage your time well.  I’m lucky in that I enjoy all of these aspects and the variety of tasks allows for my creative ideas to keep flowing.

What are your plans for the future?

I trade worldwide via my website but I know I am still not reaching as many people as I would like so during the past month I looked into ways of expanding my business by offering my products through other sources which resulted in the setting up of an additional shop, this time with  I have already received orders from it so I hope this route is going to be beneficial for the future.  I have many, many more ideas for new mini cushions and am planning a historical collection of kings and queens with their jewelled embellishments. I have also recently launched my new Park Pals range of mini animal cross stitch designs which will include special visitors at times such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter.  With the huge collection of stitched mini cushions that I have amassed I would love to hold a gallery exhibition of them all together so this may be something I will pursue in the future.  And I’m also determined to find time to start painting again!

You can find out more about Sheena’s beautiful work at the following links:

Etsy shop:

// EVENTS: Design Your Career//

'Design Your Career' is a one-day conference & workshop that offers all the information and inspiration you need to establish or develop your own creative enterprise.

Held in Bermondsey, London SE1 on October 19th, 2013, spaces are limited so make sure that you book soon! Jam-packed with experienced professionals, networking break-out groups, ‘Design Your Career’ gives you the chance to gain essential skills through practical demonstrations and get some insider tips.  

Local and national speakers from the world of craft and design, retailers, copywriters, agents, accountants, branding experts, designers, social networkers, bloggers and web designers will all be on hand to offer an insight into what makes their tills tick and customers return for more!

An array of guests will all offer specialist insight and help you raise your creative practice to the next level. Talks, workshops and breakout sessions will be run by Perri Lewis,, The Design Trust, Create a Craft Business, The Contemporary Craft Festival, South West Artworks, Z Sinclair and Mark Masters of the ID Group

For more information, please visit

// MEET: Sue Whyte//

Today we are pleased to meet Sue Whyte, of Yorkshire based Whyte Glass, to find out about how she became a glass artist and what inspires her work.

Please tell us about yourself and how you got started.

Hi, my name is Sue Whyte and I am a glass artist. It still feels strange to call myself that as I have spent the last 25+ years as a scientist of one kind or another. Up until five years ago I worked in microbiology labs as a research scientist, then as a lab manager testing foods for everyone from big supermarkets to talented individuals who made their own cheese, although my favourite was the specialist micro breweries.

I have back and knee problems, which meant I had to stop work five years ago as life in a wheelchair and working in a lab are not compatible, especially when combined with very long stressful hours.

I have always made things for my own entertainment in a ‘try a new craft this month’ way and bounced from one to another never settling for long.

Then, out of the blue I got a prospectus through from my local college which did evening classes in everything from beaded jewellery to pottery and ‘stained glass for beginners’. So I signed up for a couple of different classes including the glass and I was hooked, totally, insanely hooked. Also it turned out to be something I could do, as I am somewhat limited by not being able to draw what is in my head I often struggled to get ideas onto paper, but with glass it was easy, it worked for me. I think after a life-time of searching I found the one thing ‘crafty’ which held my interest and had endless possibilities.

What is the story and ethos behind your work?

I have always loved the light you get in big churches and cathedrals which is tempered with beautiful coloured glass. The way the windows were produced always fascinated me ever since childhood when all I could do was admire them. The chance to make something like that never even entered my awareness.

I did evening classes for two years but already had every tool, toy and gizmo which could be had for making stained glass within six months of starting and continued to teach myself at home from books and the internet (YouTube is your friend for almost anything you want learn). Glass in all its forms has become my passion and I still find it endlessly fascinating.

What do you love most about what you do and what do you find the most frustrating?

I quickly realised that with the physical limitations of working from a seated position I was unlikely to be able to make huge church windows but while looking through the thousands of glass pages on the internet I became interested in the smaller light catchers, sun catchers and window hangers which could be made in glass. One of the first books I bought was about stained glass ornaments for the garden. This excited me as glass is often considered a fragile and transient material but the idea of making things to interact with the sun, wind and rain directly was inspired.

When I see someone ‘get’ something I made it makes all the cuts and burns and time spent burnishing foil worthwhile, I enjoy watching people become fascinated by the different types of glass and the different finishes glass comes with. At craft fairs it is fun to people watch, and there are definitely glass people and non-glass people, with the non-glass people my work doesn’t even impinge on their consciousness, then there are the others who spend several minutes looking through everything on the stall.

In just over 14 months of selling glass online and at fairs I have learnt a lot, such as, just because I like something doesn’t mean someone else will and vice-versa. It is much more enjoyable making something you like but often it is worth expanding your range to include things which, while not directly your taste, do appeal to customers. I find making one off commissions the hardest as often the customer hasn’t seen a final plan/colour scheme, they are the ones which give me sleepless nights hoping it is what they wanted or expected and that they like it.

What is your main goal for the next year?

Over the next year I am looking to expand my range of fused glass ornaments and wind chimes and to add some more jewellery. I am hoping to be able to go on a couple of specialist courses in fused glass so I can make better use of my kiln.

How do you get the word out about your work and where can we buy it?

A lot of the time I am contacted directly on Facebook by people who are interested in something they may have seen at a fair or online. I do have an Etsy shop and almost anything in the albums on Facebook can be made in any colour or size. I also have stock in a shop in Selby, North Yorkshire called Kreative Krafts & Gifts.

What have been your biggest successes and mistakes that you have learnt from along the way?

Over the last year I have learnt a lot about myself and how to present my work but it is a steep learning curve and I have by no means conquered it yet. My biggest success has been managing to find something I can fit around my health issues, if I can only manage 20 mins work in a day then that’s what I do, often I can find things to be doing while I am waiting for painkillers to work or sitting with heat packs so that I still get some foiling done or even just updates on Facebook and picture editing. The biggest failure I have had in the last year is not being able to continue doing courses and learning more from experts about a subject I love and would dearly like to explore more of, such as how glass is made, blowing and torch work and so on there is always more to learn.

Would you recommend starting up a business to anyone and do you have any helpful tips?

I am not sure if setting up a business in this economic climate is a good thing but if you are passionate about something and want to do so, I truly believe it is worth doing. The long hours may not pay you in the same way that a ‘normal’ job would, but the sheer enjoyment of making things are worth more than money. Being able to survive the first few months or year until you find your niche is important but the rewards are worth it.

 Sue’s social media links where you can find her work:




// CRAFT FAIR: From Cambridge With Love//

 An event full to the seams of the city’s best handmade businesses - think foods, drinks, textiles, jewellery, clothing - you name it! Alongside a vintage zone, vintage tearoom, amazing crafty workshops and demonstrations, beauty bar, live music and much more! 19 Oct and 30 Nov1030-430£1 entryGuildhall, Market Square, Cambridge For more information please visit or or

// REVIEW: Pearl Lowe’s Vintage Craft//

Review by Maggy Woodley of Red Ted Art

Now here is a great book for lovers of all things vintage or shabby chic. It has taken me a few attempts to finally start writing this review, as there is so much more to this book than just crafts. Normally, you pick up a craft book, have a good flick through and spot things you want to make straight away and, yes, that happens here too, but this is also like a philosophy, as well as styling advice for your home. So, not only is it a pretty pick up and glance at book, but it is also a pick up and read thoroughly book.

For example, when it comes to your bedroom – such a private and personal space – Pearl encourages you to not just get vintage, but get personal, figure out what your style is, what your key pieces of furniture are and work from there. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The book is divided up by rooms of the house: Kitchen and Dining, Living Spaces, Bedrooms, Bathrooms and Office Space, and also has a good section on craft basics and information about sourcing and salvaging vintage (something a bit tricky for a book like this, as you need to find things to work with in order to consider the projects in the first place). One of the projects included is a Mini Bathroom Cabinet. I love the idea of repurposing old crates to make nifty little cabinets, and I think they would look great in a kids room too.

I also like the super cute and really simple bauble table markers and love the idea of using lace to dress up your Christmas table to give it that festive vintage feel!

One of my favourite ideas, which I would love to try, is making an old ornate frame into a tray! How cool is that? It would make a great gift too. It is a wonderful book and I can just see my crafty blogger friends such as Me and My Shadow (who is an expert at charity shop finds), and Lulastic (who has great vintage ideas herself) loving this book! Lovely! Big thumbs up!

Pearl Lowe’s Vintage Craft: 50 Craft Projects and Home Styling Advice
Pearl Lowe

RRP: £20.00

ISBN-10: 0007491093
ISBN-13: 978-0007491094

UK Handmade is an online magazine committed to showcasing and promoting the UK's best creative talent. The term 'handmade' indicates quality, care and professionalism which is second to none in the UK.