Along with my great fabric project dream, I have another business yearning: to open a craft shop on the high street where I live. I’ve recently moved across London and one of the things I miss the most from my old neighbourhood is the fantastic cheap and cheerful craft shop on Stoke Newington High Street, which I used to pop into at least once a week for something or other.
It stocked everything from coloured card, all lined up in a highly appealing rainbow stack, to fabrics, cheap wools, stuffing, paints and so on. Really, anything you could think of that you might need to complete any sort of craft project was lurking somewhere in that shop (sometimes covered in a few years’ worth of dust, it’s true, but always there somewhere).
Where I live now, there is no craft shop within walking distance. There’s a small, very expensive wool room in the back of a rather chichi and very expensive kitchen / clothes shop. And there are a couple of toy shops that stock a few arty things for kids, but that’s it.
So, a definite gap in the market. And I’ve longed most of my life to run a little shop. The nature of the shop changes by the day / season / year. Sometimes I think a deli is the most appealing, other times a second hand bookshop, or maybe a plant nursery. (The holy grail would be a coffee shop with deli attached, second hand bookshop upstairs, plant nursery in the garden and a space for craft classes. Sigh.) But a lovely craft shop, with all the wares arranged appealingly by colour is sounding right up my street just now. And, of course, I could stock all of my own fabrics in it.
All of which is a rather long intro to the thing I actually wanted to talk about in this blog post: DIY crafting kits. This is, clearly, something else I can stock in my fictional shop, when I get round to writing a business plan and opening it up…
So, to get myself a little more inspired, I thought I’d round up some appealing make-your-own kits. Some are for adults, some are for children. Absolutely all of them I want to buy right away and make…
First up, two from the children’s classic toy maker, Galt.
These chime birds are a great idea for kids. Sew together a little bird mobile, complete with wind chimes. The birds play into the ever-popular vintage vibe with their cute fabrics. Do eight-year-olds buy into the current vintage zeitgeist? I don’t know, because I don’t have an eight-year-old, but if they do, they’d be sure to love this.
A bit less trendy but just as cute, is this sock rabbit kit. The box boasts that it comes with “real toy eyes.” I’m not quite sure why that’s so exciting, but if toy eyes do it for you you’re onto a winner. Okay, sarcasm aside, I love the whole thing, including the eyes.
Nepotism alert, for the next kit is from a company run by a good friend of mine. Trug is her new venture of kits for children. She’s got a few (check out the Trug Facebook page for details) but my favourite is this lavender bag kit.
This make your own doorstop owl from Maia gifts is hardly a make your own kit at all. All you need to do is fill it with rice, but for the really lazy DIYer, this would be a particularly pleasing result. I just love owls at the moment. And foxes. I know, I know, there’s no originality in this brain of mine.
I’m not such a big fan of tapestry, but this London bus cushion by Kirk and Hamilton is quirky enough to tempt me (though the price tag is decidedly offputting).
John Lewis stock a huge range of amazing kits and I can’t resist but put a fair few in here:
From Sass and Belle, make your own felt dinosaur. He looks frightening but a bit limp at the same time. I especially love that this isn’t too perfect but retains the whole homemade look…
Also from Sass and Belle, this fabric fox is a little terrifying in some ways. He looks a little like a roadkill fox. Perhaps more appealing to adults than children, but, like I said, I love me a fox, so I couldn’t resist this little critter.
As an actual knitter, I always find knitting kits a bit odd – you pay much more for buying some wool and a pattern than if you just, well, bought some wool and a pattern. Still, this knitted tea cosy is really awesome and the kit would be a great way to introduce a newbie to knitting.
And, veering away from fabric or wool based kits, I’ve just stumbled across the following almost-irresistible DIY kit: make your own insect house. Why wouldn’t you, really? Even the tin this comes in look nice. Ah I’m a sucker for packaging.
All-in-all, a rather excellent round up just in time for Christmas, methinks. But tell me, in this one-day-to-be-realised craft shop of mine, what other DIY kits should I stock? What favourites do you remember from childhood? And what would you like to buy now?
And if you need a little more inspiration for some last minute Christmas presents, take a look at my posts All I want for Christmas, 10 gift ideas for cooks or, if you’ve time on your hands between now and Tuesday, Top 20 tutorials for homemade Christmas presents.