Thursday, 14 July 2016

All you need are "Head & Hands"!

I met Amanda Wayne a few years ago and having discussed shop life and the dream of being a small business owner I'm so happy to see that her vision is now a solid one!

Nestled in the new Meanwhile Space "Central Parade"   found in Walthamstow's main commercial artery, Hoe street - it's a mix of incubator start up shops, artist & makers studios, a community café/bakery and also a hot desk space- Amanda's new venture couldn't be more typical of this lady's entrepreneurial spirit and holistic view of the world.

Head & Hands is a space where people are invited to purchase hand made goods (hand picked by Amanda for their quality, charm, beauty and healing properties), experience a head massage and view the work of some amazing makers and artists.
From hand made jewellery, hand made apothecaries, textiles, blended teas, ceramics, illustrated tarot cards to beautifully made macramé wall hangings.
Though this is not solely a shop as the main philosophy behind it is to offer people services which promote and encourage mindful and meditative practices the pieces which are for sale are exceptional as well as beautiful.
I could easily spend a whole heap of cash in there!!!

The premises are compact but welcoming. The space is relaxed and harmonious with a nice flow of energy and grace. You can say it's actually a bit like Amanda!
This artist- come- massage therapist is fully licensed and will treat your mind, body, and soul in her art & therapy salon.
Treatments start from as little as £25 per session and bookings can be made here:

We've also heard from Amanda that in future she'll also be organising workshops to help keep those hands busy and heads chilled!
It's been proven that busy hands make for a healthy mind so we're completely on board with this philosophy and we hope to see these workshops up and running soon!!!
This is why I love the concept of this business so much, the offering of holistic well being through creativity is something which resonates with me and I'm sure will with many others too. 

So if you'd like to know more then pop by her little shop or visit the web site.

You can visit Head & Hands at 6-10 Central Parade, Hoe St. Walthamstow E17 4RT.
Open on Monday, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
For full opening times and other information including an online shop visit:

So in a world where emotional and physical well being is many times taken for granted I'm pleased to say that people like Amanda are helping us take back our need for some personal TLC.

Thank you Amanda for offering the community something original and amazing! We wish you luck, though we really don't think you'll need it!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Crochet therapy... 20 mindful, relaxing and energising projects!

Crochet and craft have in general been perceived as nothing more than a twee pursuit, hobbies for housewives, the domain of nans or past times for expectant mothers but thanks to a new generation of makers and health practitioners it is also being regarded as a viable therapy!

To say that Craft saved my life would not be an exaggeration. You see, let me explain, during the mid 1990's I went through something quite difficult in my life, some sort of P.T.S.D. which left me with agoraphobia, anxiety and debilitating panic attacks.
It was tough and though I tried lots of things the one thing which helped me more then any pharmaceutical was crafting!
Not that I am by any means advocating that drugs don't work -they can be a life saver for many people with mental health issues so please don't stop if you are being treated!- but for me it happened to be a mixture of meditation, counselling and making that pulled me out of the abyss.
Though it was predominantly crafting that helped me through a dark time I encourage anyone facing similar issues to see their GP for help and advice. Everyone is different so please seek help from a health professional!

The basic idea of this book is that you work on one of twenty suggested projects whilst employing mindfulness-based meditative techniques.

Projects and exercises are grouped according to a different outcome. There are projects for relaxation, focus, refreshment, perseverance, and even for crocheting with others to celebrate friendship and the support of a community group!
I love the Friendship Quilt made up of tiny individual flowers (pictured below) and I think it's a fantastic symbol of just how important and lovely individual friends can be and how together their help and love becomes even more powerful!
Looking at this quilt knowing that your friends helped to make it must transpose a feeling of love which is pretty awesome especially at times when you're not feeling great so this will serve as a gentle but powerful reminder. I really love this and hope to make my own too!

Funnily enough this was what prompted me to start the craft nights back in 2008. Crafting with others in a group gave me back my confidence and pretty much helped me get rid of the agoraphobia. Though it's something which never entirely goes away when I feel the mega stress monster knocking at the door I turn to crafting! It's something I've been advocating for years so this book just confirms that Craft Does Work!!!

So why crochet in particular and not just craft?
Well the idea of bringing together mindful meditation and crochet makes sense. Personally I love the repetitive and hypnotic nature of movements in crocheting. It's something which I find calming and centring. Plus working on one discipline can be better than dipping in and out of several crafts so allowing your mind to easily follow and flow withing one basic skill and movement.

And there’s been a lot of credible evidence on the benefits of mindfulness based therapies for a variety of problems including depression and anxiety.
If you'd like to read more about this follow this link...

The overall consensus on the project variety is that it's good.
From stress-balls to shawls as well as basic mandalas and other simple projects like friendship bracelets which are great for absolute beginners!
I can confirm that the patterns are clear and well laid-out so not scary at all and as a basic crocheter you'll have to take my word on that! I might not attempt the other more advanced projects just yet but I'm planning on having a look on line for a couple of refresh tutorials before I continue.
The book design is fresh and friendly too so even if you're feeling a bit out of your comfort zone the book in itself will calm you right down...
actually it's a bright and friendly looking book so it also works on the visual part of the brain which can make you feel happy. And calm!
Well looking at pretty, colourful things always makes me happy!

And if you've never crocheted before there's lots of help at the back where the author has added the basics including how to hold the hook and yarn to find the perfect tension to get you going. Plus I must reiterate that the benefit also comes from the actual physical making so don't get too hung up on how precise or accurate it is. It might be the perfect excuse to join a class or even get a few crocheting friends around for an evening!

The meditation exercises are simple and well explained but as the author suggest recording them on your phone might be a good idea as it'll help keeping a natural flow instead of stop starting to read what you need to do next.

If meditation isn't your thing then I'd stick to doing the projects with an open mind and an end goal of achieving them so to feel the sense of completion.
Quiet contemplation will naturally happen as you proceed so don't get in a tangle if you think it's not your scene because you will reap the benefits no matter what!
Besides you'll make some lovely things too so... win win!

Crochet Therapy was written by Betsan Corkhill a physio turned well-being coach, who’s made it her life mission of bringing the holistic benefits of crafting to the public psyche.
Her background as a physical therapist is perfect for understanding the effects of the small physical movements involved in knitting/crochet.
She's also the founder of Stitchlinks, an organisation created to bring creative therapy and yarn based crafts to a wide range of people.

If you'd like to order your very own copy with a special Craft Guerrilla blog reader discount then here's your chance to nab a copy...

To order 9781845436421 Crochet Therapy for £10.00* including p&p, telephone 01903 828503 and quote offer code QPG442
Or send  a cheque made payable to : Littlehampton Book Services Mail Order Department, Littlehampton Book Services, PO Box 4264, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3TG. 

Please quote the offer code QPG442 and include your name and address details. 

*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas."

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Blankets for Caravans!

After our successful fundraiser in aid of Refugee Community Kitchen we decided that we wanted to do more!

So myself and my favourite co conspirator - Debbie Bliss - decided to work with a fantastic local group who donate caravans, kit them out and send them over to the French camps to house the most vulnerable.

Side by Side and Walthamstow Refugees Welcome Group are a completely self funded, grass roots community group made up of Walthamstow residents who've been moved to raise funds to purchase caravans to refurbish, kit out and send over to Calais.
The Wilcumstowe Wagons are such a great idea as dry, purpose built shelters are not easy to come by in the camps!

Plus the response to the actual making process (knitting) at our Crafternoon was something people said had helped them by forcing them to concentrate, have a quiet contemplative moment and reflect on the actual situation we as humanity are currently facing.
So what's better than working together to build something of massive importance? It's not just about making blankets but also about bringing people together and actually doing something!

And you know us and how we feel about quiet, slow contemplation and crafting so this prompted us to start up our knit nights again.
It's a little bit looser as there isn't a set date but for the moment we are meeting up weekly because we're on a deadline.
But as the camps aren't going anywhere soon this is something which we will keep doing until a) they are no longer needed or b) the camps are no longer in existence!

But for now...
We're trying to get at least 3 blankets ready for the caravans as we wanted to add a homely touch to them!
People have lost so much so we're hoping it will provide not just warmth, comfort but also possibly serve as a future heirloom to mark a change in people's lives.


To be kept in the loop please follow us on twitter or Instagram. Dates will be posted as soon as we know our head knitters availability but we'll try to give you at least 4 days notice!
The venue is the Queens Arms on Orford Road, Walthamstow Village E17 9NJ, London.

Please join us if you can!
Crocheters welcome and so are novice knitters so don't be shy... come along and lend us a hand!

Friday, 6 May 2016

Modern Retro!

Whether you call it retro or vintage the reality is that the hunger for it shows no signs of dissipating!
Our love for the unusual, designer made and stylish is something we find is becoming more of a norm as home owners all over the world are swamped by Modern Retro Fever. And it's addictive! 

Published by Jaqui Small this brand new title by Caroline Clifton Mogg is one I've enjoyed reviewing immensely! I too am one of those swamped by the big love for quirky vintage living!
Though it's not a new kind of love it's one which has been maturing and growing along the years. A bit like the general public's appetite for it!
I have quite a few pieces of everyday furniture which are just fit for purpose but... there are also a few key statement pieces I've been collecting throughout the years.
But finding the right comprehensive look can be hugely daunting but equally thrilling! Knowing how things fit together, well that's an art form...

Mixing the modern retro with objet trouvé is something that requires a little practise as well as an understanding of how each element works best singularly but ultimately as an entire look!

Having the eye and the ease to mix styles is nothing short of alchemy, though with this title at your side you too can create a magical and inspiring place filled with all kinds of gems!

But this is not just a book about admiring or valuing twentieth-century design. Far from being a catalogue this book is about how to make this wonderful style work in a contemporary home.

I like the way it's divided into sections according to styles under the Retro Styling banner, exploring different interpretations which will surely suit all types of tastes. Classic Mode, Rustic Reclamation, Structural Industrial, Colourful, Eclectic. In all I found elements I loved and thought I could re-create in my own vintage lovers home.

Knowing where things go, and how things respond to each other in a scheme has always been an integral part of successful interior design, and it is even more important when it comes to creating an interior that is a mixture of the expected and the unexpected.

And that's where Caroline Clifton Mogg's expertise and talent becomes clearly apparent.
This book showcases all the different elements, from chairs to mirrors, from lighting to textiles and also  Room by Room which looks at every part of the retro home providing an array of gorgeous and inspiring decorative ideas.

Modern Retro shows how to combine, how to edit and how to put the unlikely and the unusual together to make your home a modern retro masterpiece. And may I add that it won't be like living in a museum either... it's about building a livable home with imagination and heart!

To order Modern Retro at the discounted price of £24 including p&p* (RRP: £30), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code QPG428.
*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

In that yawning gap between the antique and the new, there is something else. Some call it vintage, some retro, but whatever the name the concept is the same – the objects and furniture that are not quite old and not quite new, but are always original and unique. Modern Retro looks at this fascinating area of design and decoration. The arrangement of rooms – where to put what – has always been a vital part of successful interior decoration, and it is even more important when it comes to creating an interior that is a mixture of the expected and the completely unexpected. It is an art and it requires a real skill, for there has to be respect for every objet trouvé, as well as an understanding of how each element will work best. Modern Retro shows how to combine, how to edit and how to put the unlikely and the unusual together in a sympathetic way. Inspiration and ideas occupy every page of this absorbing book. 
- See more at:
In that yawning gap between the antique and the new, there is something else. Some call it vintage, some retro, but whatever the name the concept is the same – the objects and furniture that are not quite old and not quite new, but are always original and unique. Modern Retro looks at this fascinating area of design and decoration. The arrangement of rooms – where to put what – has always been a vital part of successful interior decoration, and it is even more important when it comes to creating an interior that is a mixture of the expected and the completely unexpected. It is an art and it requires a real skill, for there has to be respect for every objet trouvé, as well as an understanding of how each element will work best. Modern Retro shows how to combine, how to edit and how to put the unlikely and the unusual together in a sympathetic way. Inspiration and ideas occupy every page of this absorbing book. 
- See more at:

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Charity Crafternoon! Saturday 14th of May.... be there or be a granny square!

We've teamed up wit the legendary knitwear designer Debbie Bliss and event queen extraordinaire Sliz Gillard to host an amazing charity event in aid of the Refugee Community Kitchen!
This army of volunteer chefs have taken it into their own hands to feed up to 2000 people a day in the Northern French camps! Serving food from an old battered food van these amazing men and women have stepped up where our governments have failed!
Not content with serving gruel this troop has taken it on them selves to serve good, nutritious tasty food for their fellow men (and women!) to show that food is more then just sustenance but also about breaking down barriers and showing love and respect for others.

Keep your diary free and come on down to Walthamstow Village , Saturday 14th of May from 1 - 5 PM.
£4 entry which includes free yarn and knitting needles. 

We were so moved by this project and the people behind it... hearing stories from one chef in particular, Chris Gillard, who was there volunteering made us want to do something more then just be sad or worried about it... yeah, you know what it's like... so many horror stories that it's hard not to get world crisis fatigue and just curl up in a ball so we've decide that enough was enough and that action was needed so we came together to organise something which we hope you'd also like to be a part of.

You can book your tickets here or donate whatever you can via this Evenbrite© link:
Eventbrite - Charity Crafternoon!

If you can't make it on the day...
Use the hash tag #Knit4RCK to join in on twitter! If you'd also like to organise your own Charity Crafternoon on the 14th get in touch as we'd love to link up and make it global!!!
But if you'd like to contribute on an individual level then don't worry either...
More info will be available soon for any of you that would like to knit squares for our blankets.
We're asking knitters (or crocheters) for 10cm X 10cm squares which you can then send in for our volunteers to sew up into blankets to then be taken to the camps in Europe or where ever they are needed!

So on the 14th of May join us for an all signing all making Crafternoon!
But it's not all about the knit... even though we'll be working on blanket squares to make much needed bedding we'll also have a Tea and Cake Bar, a fully licensed bar, a crafty tombola (win hand made prizes!), live music  from the Stowicks and even a beat box workshop From Tim "Wireless" Coles for the kiddos!

It's all about being thankful, coming together and bringing awareness to one of our lifetime's greatest humanitarian crises and feeling like we're actually doing something  proactive like raising funds to help the amazing super human people who are on the ground making life a little bit easier for others who've already been through so much.

And don't forget even if you're not in London don't worry as we'll be live on periscope (look for Craft Guerrilla)... so please do join us at the #Knit4RCK Charity Crafternoon event and lets make for change!!!

We'd love to hear from any designer makers who'd like to donate a prize for the tombola too so... email us for further details please.

Debbie Daniel & Debbie Bliss

Friday, 15 April 2016

Frida Kahlo, life portraits.

This lovely new title from Frances Lincoln will delight all Frida fans and captivate any newbies to the work of one of Mexico's greatest artists!
I'm looking forward to re-reading this after the Easter break and decorating some more chocolate eggs* with Frida Kahlo inspired folk art! Hey, don't judge, chocolate eggs can be eaten all the time regardless of holiday!
*note: see our post featuring Easter Break ideas to keep creative minds & hands busy!

Written by Zena Alkayat  this sweet little biography follows Frida Kahlo’s exceptional life and work celebrating the Mexican icon’s immense legacy through beautifully illustrated works by Nina Cosford.

From a young age, Kahlo forged her own path to become a timeless international icon which so many still follow to the day!

I for one have been a Frida fan for as long as I can remember. Her artwork has touched many and still continues to inspire artists and creatives all over the world! Her history is peppered with tragedy, sadness, romance, happiness and pure and utter brilliance plus a healthy dose of style too.
The illustrations in this book help us understand her life and her "being" through gorgeous and quirky illustrations featuring key life chapters.

In this book we look at her life from overcoming polio as a child, and bravely battling the after-effects of a tragic road accident that left her with lifelong injuries.

This book traces her relationship with Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, her success as an artist, her many love affairs and her inspirations and influences.
Her art, her political stances and philosophy show a woman with her own mind, own ideals with a very creative and imaginative and resourceful mind too!

Frida Kahlo follows on from equally evocative illustrated biographies of twentieth-century literary giant Virginia Woolf, French fashion legend Coco Chanel, and one of literature’s most loved authors, Jane Austen.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Easter makes with Frida... keeping creative hands and minds busy during the break!

Here's our top tips of things to make, drink, eat and do during the Easter break inspired by the life and art of Frida Kahlo!

"Why Frida Kahlo?" you ask? Well my response is "Why not?!" as she is after all one of my favourite artists and people who has ever walked the earth!

I'm not one to celebrate Easter in the traditional sense but I do love the more pagan based rituals of welcoming in Spring so here are a few projects which I hope you'll be making too regardless of your views on Easter.
It is after all  a holiday about rebirth so lets welcome the new season with a crafty celebration! It's definitely needed after the long dark winter we've had where everything seemed to be suspending in its sleepy grip...
And Frida Kahlo's work touches a lot on the ideas of birth, spirituality, the renewal of traditions and the celebration of popular culture plus her bright and eclectic sense of style always reminds me of spring.
Must be all the flowers, the folk designed embroidery and colourful fabrics she wore!

And on a side note it is totally alright to eat your own weight in chocolate during Easter break! You see Easter calories are empty calories but only on this particular holiday - I promise!- so eat up... I'm sure Frida would certainly agree, after all she was a lover of pleasure!

• Make some Frida-tastic Easter eggs!

image ©

We love these! Just the right amount of kitsch... well can you ever have too much kitsch? Ha, probably not but these are really lovely and stylish!
For a complete tutorial on how to make these visit Little Inspiration!

• Make a flower Head Band!


This amazing and great tutorial will show you how to achieve one of Frida's signature looks. Anyone can make this and we love the easy to follow step by step instructions!
Flower head bands in our opinion should be worn at all times even as Frida did in bed though she was painting and not snoozing! But hey, we're making one to go with our jim jams...
Thank you My Poppet Makes!

• Read something inspiring!

Reading these days seems like such a luxury, there never seems to be enough time in the day to sit down and read an entire book so this illustrated book written by Zena by Zena Alkayat and illustrated by Nina Cosford is the perfect easy read to get you inspired!
Frida Kahlo, Life Portraits is part of a wider collection including Coco Chanel and Jane Austen!
Read our review* which will be posted here very soon!
*Includes a special CG blog reader discount code!

• Paint some eggs!


I'm loving these but I think I'm going to try this tutorial with white chocolate dipped eggs and food colouring instead!
We need more chocolate in our lives so yeah... lets definitely thy this technique with chocolate eggs too!
I just love the colourful, happy and loose brush strokes on these. They do remind me of Mexico and all the vibrant colours in their folk art. I might even throw in some edible paste flowers onto them just to add an extra layer of kitsch!

• Welcome the new season with a new hairstyle!


Learn to make Maiden Braids to create your very own Kahlo inspired up-do! I wish I hadn't chopped off my long locks but it was time to go shorter... but remember you can also use hair extensions to get the look!
Tutorial via a beautiful mess here!


• Toast to a long weekend with a cocktail or two!

Spiced Passion photo credit ©
As the days grow longer and we find ourselves out socialising more there's nothing like a great little cocktail to help kick back featuring tequila another great Mexican export!
I can imagine that though Frida was mostly bed bound that she loved parties so lets clink our glasses to Frida Kahlo!
Here you'll find a few recipes which aren't Margaritas  here!
*P.S. Remember to drink responsibly!


• Find 50 Fridas!


Finding 50 Fridas is the latest exhibition at the The East End Prints Shop. Exhibiting 50 of the very best portraits of Frida Kahlo by a selection of artists.
See works including drawings, mosaic, street art, painting, printing and all other mediums!

• Head East, to North East London that is!

As a lover of bright and shiny things we love God's Own Junkyard in Walthamstow and we think Frida would have loved it there too!
Plus there are a few other treats at the same industrial estate including Mother's Ruin Gin Palace and the Wild Card Brewery.

• Listen to music!

It's a well known fact that Frida loved Mariachi bands so here's Mariachi El Bronx's a modern and fun take on a much loved traditional!
We love them and have been bopping away in maison Craft Guerrilla! Or should that be la Casita Craft Guerrilla?!


• And finally... Eat Chocolate cake! 


I love this recipe from the good people of Waitrose... looks fairly easy and it's chocolate so well worth making to celebrate Easter!
And thanks again to Mexico for giving us chocolate, those Mayans were really clever folk!
You can find the recipe here!

So whatever you're doing, don't forget to take time out and relax a little bit too... but if you're anything like me you'll be getting cabin fever after the first day off so a little creativity can be the perfect solution to helping you through the long Easter bank holiday! Don't forget to share your crafty makes Instagram... tag us @craftguerrilla and add the hastag: #EasterIsForCrafting