Friday, 31 January 2014

Let Me Introduce You To...

Earlier this week I saw this on Facebook and I think I'm coming down with a case of it...

Photo: Oh so true... (just ignore their spelling!) ;)

In particular I'm suffering symptom 2 (although how can window shopping on the internet be 'suffering'?). I can't help when I see something beautiful and vintage to investigate a little further. And that's how I found this wonderful shop full of vintage French items.

This post is in no way sponsored or influenced. All opinions are my own and any quotes are taken directly from the people I'm writing about.

This week I'd like to introduce you to...

Ma Maison Francaise is a large collection of vintage fabrics, homewares, kitchenalia and other treasures found in France. They date from a range of ages and many have 'never been used, just stored away for decades' meaning they are still in great condition and very useful. There are lots of lovely quintessential French pieces and looking through the shop is like being transported through time to a rustic French town.

The shop is the work of Joan who is an 'avid collector of antique and vintage linens'. Since moving to France a few years ago this collection has grown and the list of items has expanded so they are now available to buy too as Joan believes 'these beautiful things should be used as they are just too lovely to be hidden away' and I couldn't agree more! I think a beautiful piece should be seen and be admired, even if just as decoration if it's intended use isn't practical to you. 

Ma Maison Francaise vintage French home wares

As it says in the diagnosis of 'Vintageitis' above, there's something very exciting about things that are newly discovered. This sounds very odd when talking about vintage as by their very definition there's nothing new about them. However, to a modern eye in a different country the newness is finding different patterns, colours and products that although are 'old' to others are 'new' and full of wonder to some. (Which reminds me of going into an 'antique' shop with my mum the other day, to me it was lots of undiscovered treasures, to her it was a reminder of her childhood! She wasn't too impressed they were called antiques...)

This discovery is something I think Ma Maison Francaise offers you. It's finding a different time and place and with it being a themed collection rather than lots of various vintage finds (which I also love) you do feel like you're discovering a hidden world rather than just a few items.

My favourite part of this world has to be the kitchen:

Vintage french kitchen picks from Ma Maison Francaise

Find out more...

Shop at Ma Maison Francaise 

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Shop Sheffield

Regular readers will know that one place I sell my work is Bird's Yard in Sheffield city centre. For those of you who don't know, it's a collection of local independent designers all under one roof selling a variety of handmade, vintage and locally made items. There's a huge array of lovely things to buy including greeting cards, ceramics, baby clothes, preserves, books, accessories, clothes... basically lots of choice!

As well as being made in Sheffield, a lot of the designers like to make items with a Sheffield theme. There's a pride in the city for those who were born or have come to live here and people like to buy souvenirs, reminders or keepsakes.

Bird's Yard Sheffield Valentine's window
Here's my Heart Sheffield card in the shop window

So I thought I'd share with you some of those wonderful Sheffield items. If you live around here call into the shop and pick up a treat; if you don't live near a lot of the designers have their own websites too and contact details can be found at Bird's Yard website and are always happy to hear from people!

Sheffield books and cards at Bird's Yard

Sheffield jewellery at Bird's Yard

Henderson's relish products at Bird's Yard

Sunday, 26 January 2014

How To Make Vintage Paper Flower Embellishments

Finding ways to use old papers is something I always enjoy doing. Playing around with different ideas until I find something that works is a wonderful way to while away a few hours, and hopefully find a new favourite make at the end!

That's how I first made these flower embellishments. I'd been cutting up old books to make greeting cards with but there were still some little details left in the scraps that were too nice to throw away. I took my circle punch and got to work saving the interesting details and then had a try at making something with them.

How to make vintage paper flowers by Pink Flamingo Handcrafting

I've made lots (and lots) of these flowers. I've put double sided sticky on the back and sold them as stickers, I've added them to gift tags, put a few on a card to make a bunch of flowers, decorated notebooks with them, used them as decoration when wrapping presents.... there are so many uses for them!

Here I'll show you the basics of making them. You can of course make them in various papers and sizes to suit how you'd like to use them.

You will need:

how to make a paper flower


  • various papers (I use old book pages)
  • a circle punch (or coin to draw round)
  • glue (I prefer PVA)
  • buttons or gems

Step 1

Use your circle punch to punch out interesting bits of paper (I've used a 1 inch punch but any size works). I always turn the punch upside down so I can tell I've positioned it in the right place. You'll need 6 circles for each flower.

Vintage paper ephemera flower tutorial

Step 2

a. Spread a little glue just down one edge of one circle.

b. Position a second circle just overlapping where the glue is. Make sure it's a little further down so it's starting to form the circle flower shape. This is one advantage of using a wet glue like PVA as you can move the paper as you work.

paper ephemera craft idea

c. Spread a little glue just down one edge of the second circle and repeat the steps until 6 circles have been used.  The final circle needs to tuck under the first one.

making paper flowers

vintage paper ephemera craft project

Step 3

Choose a button or gem to match your flower. Use glue or double sided tape to attach the button or gem to the centre of the flower.

paper ephemera craft

Paper flower tutorial by Pink Flamingo Handcrafting

And it's as simple as that! It's fun to try making them with different papers or making them extra special for someone by using an old copy of their favourite text.

As always, I only use books that are past their best, are outdated, are falling to pieces or are damaged in places.

Find this and other tutorials in my gallery at

Friday, 24 January 2014

Let Me Introduce You To...

Last year on this blog I had a weekly feature showing the work of one of my favourite UK crafters. I love to look through other people's work and creations and share the passion that goes into the pieces. While doing my research (it was research, not just window shopping!) I found lots of wonderful people who were either outside the UK or were vintage sellers rediscovering rather than creating treasures.

So, for a new year I'm having a new way of working this weekly feature. I'm broadening my searching and bringing you lots of new non-UK and/or vintage sellers to be introduce you to, and hopefully love their work as much as I do.

This post is in no way sponsored or influenced. All opinions are my own and quote are taken directly from the people I'm writing about.

This week I'd like to introduce you to....

 caring for vintage clothes, clothing, storing vintage clothes, washing instructions, advice, uk, catwalk creative
Catwalk Creative Vintage
Catwalk Creative is a home for wonderful vintage pieces including quality, hand picked clothing, accessories and homewares dating from the 1920s - 1990s. There's a great range of pieces all kinds of tastes and budgets and it's wonderful looking through all the unique and retro pieces to find new favourites.

My favourite way to spend an afternoon is wondering around an antique centre or vintage shops looking at all the unusual and fun items for sale. However, I'm no expert when it comes to what pieces are or their history, so I love finding someone who does know and wants to share that knowledge. That's what I love most about Catwalk Creative Vintage's site, as well as buying items you can find out their story too as well as lots of additional information and suggestions - just like having a personal shopper!

Let Me Introduce You To... Catwalk Creative

Catwalk Creative Vintage is the idea and work of Louise who has been buying and selling vintage items for nearly 10 years. She established her own online emporium in 2008 selling a whole range of stylish items for you and your home. As well as running her own business, Louise is also a member of the Vintage Fashion Guild who are a great resource of information on and promotion of vintage items. She says of them 'we are committed to providing excellent customer service and accurate information' which, if like me you know little about vintage, is a reassurance that what you buy is genuine and good quality. 

Louise sources the items she sells from a range of countries and contacts so she can offer a varied and unique collection where you can 'be sure to find something special to add to your own collection'. The wealth of knowledge she has gained from her trading means Louise is also able to offer lots of useful advice about subjects such as caring for clothing and accessories, vintage clothing sizes and suggestions of outfits and collections from different decades. 

A piece of advice from Louise- In order to keep your precious clothes in good condition, wash them less...
a good airing can often work just as well for removing odour without damaging the garment.

(Any excuse to do less laundry is fine by me! I'll have to buy more vintage clothes as an excuse.)

For Louise vintage means items 'over 20 years' which have had a previous life and use. There are other shops I've seen who use this cut off point to sell anything and claim it as 'vintage' when it's just 'stuff' that was made a couple of decades ago. Catwalk Creative hand picks quality items to truly represent their era and give you a proper vintage piece. This commitment to offering the customer quality pieces means that Louise has established a 'sterling reputation in the vintage clothing industry' (and with over 150 five star reviews in her shop on it's clear others think so too!).

These are some of my favourite items from my favourite era from Catwalk Creative:

1950s fashions from Catwalk Creative

Find out more about Catwalk Creative here:

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The Basics of Crafting with Vintage Paper Ephemera

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I LOVE vintage paper ephemera! Finding little hints of the past in items that would have been discarded is a lot of fun for me. Those everyday little objects offer great insights into the trends, thinking, attitudes and fashions of the time they were made. And they add a little bit of their charm and uniqueness into modern day life too.

Paper ephemera for crafting by Pink Flamingo Ephemera

That's why I love to use vintage ephemera in my own crafting; it lets me make unique pieces that are special for whoever receives them. I love it when I'm at a fair or in a shop where someone is looking at my work and it brings a smile to their face as it brings back memories or introduces them to something new. It means that forgotten little pieces of social history have found a new purpose in a useful way.

Something I often get asked though is 'what is ephemera?' and (if customers are crafters too) 'how do I use it?'. Well, hopefully you can find the answers here with my beginner's guide to using ephemera in crafts.

What is paper ephemera?

Paper ephemera refers to any papers or paper goods which would otherwise be thrown away. It includes items such as: 
  • adverts
  • postage stamps
  • magazines
  • postcards
  • letters and envelopes
  • maps
  • matchbook covers
  • game cards and pieces 
  • books (choose ones which are falling to pieces and not much use anymore) 

Where can I find paper ephemera?

There are lots of places to find ephemera. The first place to look is around your house - you could be amazed at what you could find! (I recently found a box of postcards in a storage box I'd completely forgotten about). Also look around charity/second hand shops, antique centres, local markets and table top sales as well as lots of places online (ebay and etsy are good choices).

What counts as 'vintage'?

Most places that sell vintage class it as 20 years or older (so pre-1994 currently). I like to use anything 1980s or earlier to make it look really vintage.

Why use vintage papers rather than new supplies?

I like to use a mix of both new and vintage materials. There are many reasons to choose vintage over new though, for example:
  • it's unique. Although it might have been mass produced when it was made, because of it's nature not as much survives
  • it's eco friendly
  • there's more choice to make a truly personalised item
  • it's a reminder of past times and little glimpses into social history
  • and a favourite of mine - it's lots of fun hunting out vintage pieces!


What craft supplies and tools will I need?

The same as any supplies for paper craft will get you started - scissors, glue, card and paper, double sided tape. Depending on what you want to make there are lots of other toys (er, tools) to use including paper punches, inks, stencils, embossing tools... well if you've ever visited a craft shop you'll know how many possibilities there are!


Which crafts incorporate paper ephemera?

  Any that would use paper. Particularly suited are:
  • scrapbooking
  • collage
  • card making
  • mixed media pieces
  • altered art
  • journaling 
  • decoupage


What can I make?

The possibilities are endless! I love card making the most closely followed by decoupage. Below are just a few ideas...

Paper ephemera bunting by Pink Flamingo Handcrafting
Paper bunting - find the tutorial here

Handmade gift bags by Pink Flamingo Handcrafting
Add vintage book pictures to bought or handmade gift bags. The tags are made using the matching part of the story.

I found these heart garlands at Diane Faw's blog - they're adorable!

This lovely scrapbook page at Inkcognito is inspired by vintage ephemera - but why not use the real thing?

Paper bead earrings by Pink Flamingo Handcrafting
I love to make beads out of paper - these are some earrings I made with them
Paper flower sticks by Pink Flamingo Handcrafting
Another of my favourites to make - there'll be a tutorial to show you how to make these flower stickers here next week!
These are just a few ideas to get you started - you're only limit is your imagination! And to get your imagination fired up why not take a look at my Pinterest board dedicated to Paper Ephemera for supplies and projects?

Monday, 13 January 2014

Unique and Upcycled Paper Bunting Tutorial

If you've read any of this blog before or seen my work you'll have seen that I love to use old paper in crafting. I love to find different ways to create new pieces which are unique and can be made to be personal for the person they're made for.

In this tutorial I'm going to show you how you can make some simple paper bunting using old papers which is something I made last summer. I had a stall at a fair outside and had a gazebo so I thought I'd decorate it in a festive way to match the items I was selling. As well as prettying up a gazebo, this bunting is great for parties and other celebrations and can be made to suit the person by choosing the type of texts they like.

How to make paper bunting

You will need:

  • various old papers - maps, book pages, magazines, music sheets
  • string
  • glue (I use PVA)
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • scissors
upcycled paper bunting tutorial

Step 1

Sizes and quantities will depend on how long you want the length of bunting to be and how big you want each flag. As such I'm not giving exact measurements, just cut the paper and string to the size you want.

Cut a piece of paper into a triangle that's longer than it is wide.

paper craft idea

Step 2

Turn the triangle over so the reverse side is facing you. Draw a line across the paper 1.5cm down from the top. Fold the paper down along where the line is.

Upcycled paper craft tutorial

Step 3

Turn the triangle of paper around so the 'right' side is facing you. Where the flap of paper at the top has been folded down there will be a little piece overhanging at either side. Cut these off.

making paper bunting

Repeat steps 1 - 3 to make as many paper flags as you need. Cut a length of string long enough for all the flags to fit on remembering to leave enough string at either end to be able to tie the bunting to wherever you're hanging it (I usually leave about 1 metre at each end).

Step 4

Turn the paper over again so the reverse side is facing you. Spread glue along the flap at the top of the triangle.

upcycled paper craft

Step 5

Place the length of string along the folded line then fold the glued flap over and press it down.

make your own paper bunting

Repeat until all the flags are glued onto the string, and you're finished!

It's as easy as that! Now you know how to make a cheap and unique decoration for all kinds of occasions. They can be stored easily to reuse or the paper is recyclable when you've finished with them.

Find this tutorial and lots of other makes at

Friday, 10 January 2014

A new start to the new year

Phew! The Christmas rush of craft fairs and orders is over, I've had a little break and now I'm ready for 2014!

If you've seen my creations you'll know I love to make unique pieces using old, upcycled papers that I get from all kinds of places - books, magazines, adverts, music sheets, stamps, maps ... well, anywhere really! As such, I have a rather large collection of 'rescued' (please note - not 'hoarded') treasures ready to be reused. The thing is, the collection has got to be far more than I could ever possibly use. So over the holidays I came up with a plan to create some craft packs to share with other crafters.

upcycled paper craft
A birthday card pieced together using vintage papers

upcycled vintage paper craft
Unique luggage label gift tags using tourism postal adverts

So I'd like to introduce you to Pink Flamingo Ephemera a new online place to buy vintage paper supplies for card making, scrapbooking, collage or any other paper craft that you enjoy. Below are a selection of some of the one of a kind packs you can buy which date from the 1930s - 1980s and are mostly from the UK.

Vintage scrapbook words: set of 45 paper words perfect for scrapbook titles, captions, embellishments. Decorative words for paper craft.
Vintage scrapbook words £2.50 Pink Flamingo Ephemera

Collage paper pack: lot of 50 pieces of vintage paper ephemera for paper craft, upcycling, scrapbooking. 1930s - 1980s from the UK.
Mixed vintage paper pack. 50 pieces for £5 Pink Flamingo Ephemera

Card making embellishments: 20 black and white vintage paper women for paper craft. Make your own cards, scrapbook, collage. From the UK.
Cut out vintage women embellishments Pink Flamingo Ephemera £2.25 for 20

Used postage stamps: pack of 34 mixed vintage stamps in various natural colours. Ideal for upcycling, paper craft, decoupage.
Mixed pack of used postage stamps £2.50 Pink Flamingo Ephemera

This is just a little sample of what's available, so please do take a look for more unique packs (with more added on a regular basis).

Over the year will also be posting lots of paper projects with ideas on how to use vintage and upcycled papers.

A New Year's clear out, a new shop and a new batch of paper craft projects ... I'm looking forward to 2014!