How long have you known each other? How did you meet?
Wendy: We have known each other for 17 years after meeting at a ‘celebrity croquet match’. I can’t remember who won as the champagne was flowing quite rapidly!
Julie: Yes– we bonded immediately over shared ideals and a bottle of Champagne! We then saw each other at various events over the years, but it wasn’t until 3 or 4 years ago that we started to work together and formed Good Turn Productions (a combination of our names!)
When did you start ‘The Crafty Beggars’ and what inspired you to do it?
Julie: I had come up with the name ‘Crafty Beggars’ about five years ago, and I wanted to form a TV show around my lifelong love of crafts, and with Wendy’s help and vision we brainstormed ideas and created the format of our show.
Wendy: I loved the idea and we’ve been full on with it ever since!
Would you count yourself as crafters? Do you create your own cards/ gifts for friends or family?
Wendy: Yes we are both enthusiastic crafters. I make cards and gifts for friends and family along with a tonne of other stuff that ends up on the shelves or the walls of my own home.
Julie: I started crafting when I was about seven, having been inspired by my favourite Ladybird book ‘Things to Make and Do’ and my wonderful mum who was always making things and recycling/upcycling. Mum would do things like cutting up our old coats to make rag rugs from them and she encouraged me and my little brother to make Christmas decorations, which we then sold to our very forgiving neighbours!
What are your resources/ inspirations that keep you up to date with the current Crafty trends?
Wendy: Personally I’ve never been very guided by trends, fad or current fashions – they play a part of course but it gives me more pleasure to think out of the box and create something that’s unique. I find inspiration everywhere – in shapes, colours and textures that come with everyday life through to charity shops, car boot sales and beach combing.
Julie: I look through all the current magazines, Pinterest, Etsy and the Internet are a constant source of inspiration, but I also find inspiration in shops, window displays, and resourceful friends’ homes – everywhere really! I always take lots of photos of things I like, and keep an ideas file on my iPhone and a folder for hardcopy cuttings.
What has been your greatest Crafty achievement?
Wendy: This has to be a large Fairytale Castle I made years ago from clay. It’s rather old now but it still has pride of place in my parents’ living room window! (Photo provided)
Julie: For me, it has to be seeing our show on air when it initially launched - and thinking ‘We did it!’
What is your best crafting tip?
Julie: Don’t give up on something if you think you’ve made a mistake – we are always having ‘happy accidents and even if you think a project has gone wrong, there is often a solution that can even end up being better than your original plan!
Wendy: I swear by glue dots! I have only recently discovered them and now I can’t think how I lived without them! My other tip is to make use of your camera/phone and take a snap or screenshot of everything you come across that inspires you. That way you can build up a great visual database to help with your crafting endeavours.
How does it feel to be Create and Craft Ambassadors?
It feels like an honour to be a part of such a huge and respected crafting family. I’m very lucky to do a job that I love so much.
Julie: We are so proud to be part of the huge Create & Craft family – on both sides of the ocean!
You’re well known for your love of upcycling- what is it that you love about it and why are you keen to share your passion with others?
Julie: We both hate waste, and so many things that are chucked away can be given a new lease of life and made beautiful and useful again. Crafting is a soothing and successful antidote to all the stresses and strains of modern life, and the ‘feelgood’ factor of upcycling or re-purposing something can’t be underestimated. Plus it does wonders for your wallet too!
Wendy: We live in a very ‘throw away’ society – a trend which I certainly DON’T like to follow! I am passionate about sharing creativity with others as I know the enormous pleasure that crafting can give… it’s a great mood lifter and the act of making something yourself boots self-esteem and confidence.
What’s your best craft bargain to date?
Julie: A huge bag of gorgeous beads and embellishments and jewellery findings that I found in a charity shop for £7! So I helped a good cause and benefitted at the same time! Win-win!
Wendy: Piles of old sheet music I found in a bric-a-brac shop for £5
What products from Create and Craft are you most excited about using/ getting to know? Are there any types of craft you’d like to experiment with in your Ambassador roles?
Wendy: I am now the proud owner of the Brother Scan & Cut CM900 – a home electronic cutting machine with a built in scanner. I can’t wait to see what I can create with it.
Julie: Unlike Wendy, I’m not so into ‘technical crafting’ – but I’m getting really excited about my new baby Blue as die-cutting is a whole new world to both of us! And it’s very exciting exploring the Create & Craft website to see which products we can utilize to transform things!