Brown paper packages wrapped up with string...

These are a few of my favourite things!

Mary Poppins clearly had the same gift wrapping obsession as we do here at Not Mass Produced!  If you have ever grinned from ear to ear when wrapping or receiving a brown paper parcel all wrapped up with string you will most definitely enjoy our latest Pinterest board! "Brown Paper Packages"  Sometimes keeping it simple works really well!

Here's a selection of our favourite brown paper parcel gift wrap ideas and just some gorgeous images -!

Brown Paper Packages' by Evie Marie

tied up with string
Brown paper parcels tied with string and colourful buttons - SuperDewa

"Finished orders, wrapped in vintage paper patterns and tied with string are ready to be posted, with love." from two and six

Christmas Wrapping Ideas from Home Life 

Regalos decorativos bajo el árbol
Simple little details added, butterflies, letters or mini pegs  - Facily Sencillo

Gift Guide - Quality Craft Kits

A few weeks ago we posted a guide to crafty activities to keep the kids amused over the summer holidays.  During our hunt for crafty and creative project ideas we came across lots creative people who have put together craft kits to buy.

These quality kits contain everything you need to make up a simple craft project, supplies, tools, instructions and some useful tips.

We have created a gift guide with our favourite quality craft kits - they are from small independent companies and designer-makers and will make wonderful gifts for creative freinds and family.

Needle felt kit
This kit from contains everything you need to make this amazingly cute and colourful needle felted elephant.

Knit a cottage kit

From - Knit and create your own seaside cottage

Eco Jewellery making kit from

Make a PE Shoe Bag Kit
Make a little pe kit or shoe bag for a pre-schooler or for a child starting nursery - everything is included and it's simple to sew up. Pump Bag Kit from has everything you need to start lino cutting in this lino cutting starter set.  Lino Cuts are great for printing your own greetings cards - it could save you a fortune at Christmas!

We hope you agree these kits look fantastic - have you ever bought or received a craft kit as a gift?  We'd love to hear about what you created...

Maia Flore - Sleep Elevations

Maia Flore - Sleep Elevations

When you see something breathtaking like this you just have to share it - we couldn't believe how beautifully strange Maia Flore's 'Sleep Elevation' images were.  Femine and surreal, they have an amazing dreamy quality - a very clever photographer! Take a look at more of her wonderful images here -

Say hello to textile artist Victoria Logan

felted skinny scarf

Handmade Knitted and Felted Gifts from Victoria Logan

Victoria Logan  works with natural materials, mainly lambswool. Her work is usually knitted then felted to create a dense but luxuriously soft fabric - we think her products are highly original and particularly love the cut out pieces.

The  range Victoria currently has available are scarves, cushions,bags and her new 'critters'. They will make perfect gifts for your family and friends - read this interview with Victoria to find out a little more about the maker of these wonderful knitted and felted pieces.

How did your business come about? Is it something you had always wanted to do?

In my final year of university I made scarves for my friends at their request and it helped me realize what I wanted to do with my future so after graduating in 2009 I knew I wanted to make my own products from my textile designs. However I always thought I would have to get experience in the industry before I could possibly imagine setting up on my own, but after a masters degree (a major confidence boost) and the realization that I could make my business my career I decided to just go for it, and now I'm glad I did.

Victoria Logan Not Mass Produced Artisan
Victoria Logan

Your work is highly original, where do you take inspiration from for your designs and do you do commissioned pieces?

I take inspiration from my surroundings – mainly natural landscapes. It all stems from studying abroad in 2007 for five months in Lapland, Finland. I became entranced by the beautiful landscapes, and used this inspiration in my final year design project, after graduation I translated my designs into products, mainly a scarves collection called the Talvi collection. My next collection was inspired by the Dutch city landscape as I had just moved to the Netherlands then. My Blaadje skinny scarf is part of this collection.

My most recent body of work is inspired by my own country, Scotland. I spend most of my holidays back in Scotland, and using it's beautiful natural landscapes for my new work has made me feel more at home. I'm also inspired by things in my environment, my corgi cushion is inspired by the newest addition to my family, Alvar the cardigan corgi. This cushion has led to requests for a labrador cushion and bull terrier cushion, and I hope many more doggy commissions are on the way as it's lots of fun to translate dogs in to knit.

double bed knit machine

Corgi cushion

Is the knitting and felting process complicated, what is involved? – how long does it take to produce one of you beautiful scarves for example?

All my designs are created in a computer program that I can connect to my double bed knit machine. the pattern is then translated to the machine and the knitting can begin. Most of my designs take about 1000 rows to knit, and are then felted, steamed then put together. The felting process shrinks the fabric by about a third, so there is a lot of fabric 'lost' in the process. My scarves usually take about a day to be completed, from knitting to attaching of the label. Most products are made in bulk and I create a sort of production line, knit, felt, leave to dry, steam, put together, then lastly labeling (labeling takes so much longer than you would think!)

Felted plushie Critter

Will you be producing any new ranges soon, what do you have planned for the future?

I have recently completed a new collection for 2012/13 based on the Scottish landscape. I have added new critters to my critters collection, and hope to be adding even more by the end of the year. I'm currently working on stock for new stockists and new colour combinations for my current collection, plus I'm working on opening my own online shop in the Autumn. I will be bringing out some seasonal products around Christmas, I'm working on designs for Christmas products now. For the time being I will be working on more commissioned dog cushions and counting myself lucky that I get to do something I love for a living.

Visit Victoria on - Victoria Logan Knitted Textiles

Benefits of a Bicycle

Cycle more, drive less...   be fitter, happier and wealthier :)

Source - via humblebee 

Reasons to get on yer bike! 

This is a great advert for why we should all be oiling our bike chains and donning our cycling shorts...  (ok maybe not the shorts!)

Yes, it's something that's not always possible to do, but for those of us who live in a reasonably flat part of the country, have you considered the savings you could be making by switching from petrol to pedal power, even just over the summer months? Let alone the fact it keeps you fit and is a completely environmentally friendly form of transport.  

Here are a few of our favourite bicycle pins from our latest board "I like to ride my bicycle"

Source: via Not Mass on Pinterest

We'd love to know if you are a cyclist - do you ever use your bike to get to work?

DIY Home Decoration ideas

Do you want to spruce up your home with a few interesting decorations, but would rather not spend a fortune or buy any mass produced, unoriginal pieces?  We have a little collection of home décor tutorials we have found on our travels across the net. We think you will really love these fun ideas.  Simple DIY projects to give your home decoration and you a little lift.  

A vase of needle felted balls on sticks

These look so effective and each little felt ball only takes a few minutes to make up.  The tutorial is available over on Design Sponge, written up by Kate Pruitt - you could use any colour as the 'wool roving' you need can be brought in a myriad of organically dyed colours and is very readily available die to the recent resurgence in the craft of needle felting.  Go rainbow bright if you want!

Vase in a wall frame

This project found on website 'Sunset' is brilliant - it enables you to update your décor seasonally - just a quick wonder around the garden or park and you are bound to find a pretty bloom or some fresh foliage to cheer up your room.   You will need a shadow box frame (Ikea do them from fsc wood) and also a little item called a 'pin frog' which you use to stick the stem of the bloom securely into a shallow dish of water with, we googled and they can be bought for a few pounds - alternatively you could make one from pins and a little piece of leather or something that won't dissintegrate in the water.  When it doesn't have flowers in, you could simply place another pretty little object - or even a paper flower.

Decorative Cork Ball

This is a great excuse to start amassing some wine corks! The tutorial from fabulous blogger Andi of 'All put together' is also so simple a child could make them (if they're old enough to use the hot glue gun!)  All you really need are plenty of corks, a polystyrene ball (they sell these in garden centres and craft shops) and a trusty glue gun.  Andi also recommends painting the central ball darker to hide any white bits that may show.

If they all sound great, but you don't have time to make them (or enough corks yet!), you could also head over to our home collection over at Not Mass Produced, there are some wonderful handmade decorations and home accessories to browse through.

We'll post more of these great tutorials as we find them, let us know if you have found any great home decoration tutorials, we'd love to take a look and get inspired!  

Creative Bloom!

Pretty, floral and not mass produced...

These pretty floral inspired gifts are all ethically produced and available at our website along with many other florally inspired gifts, accessories and homewares.

unique sterling silver vase

English Flower garden soap

Silver Daisy Earring Studs


Take a greener holiday this year

Green Tourism

If you are just starting to think about where to head of on a summer break, you may be interested to hear that the 'green tourism' industry is growing and taking a greener holiday may not be as difficult and inconvenient as you first imagined.

Green tourism sounds a little like an oxymoron - how can travel of any kind really be considered green when the likelihood is you are increasing your carbon footprint as soon as you step foot on a plane, or fill your petrol tank to the brim for the 300 mile journey ahead.

If you want to be freaked out by Carbon emission stats take a look at website 'the trillionth tonne' - it makes our individual attempts seem a bit petty to see the numbers clocking up in huge red typeface, but it's all about changing the culture so we all get on board and accomplish that 2-3% reduction per year.

It's not about guilt tripping individuals for 2 weeks in the sun once a year, so rather than locking the front door and never leaving the house again, we suggest that holiday makers simply work greener options into their holidays, hotel choice, destination and also modes of travel -  the overall effect would be a big reduction in our collective carbon footprint for not a great deal of extra expense or effort.

Here are some useful links to help kickstart your research into a greener holiday this year - green tourism isn't just about cutting or offsetting your carbon travel footprint, it's about respecting the destination and not trampling on it's culture or all over the beautiful environment you came 1000's of miles to see! Directory of Green Travel companies - Directory of Green Hotels - Travel Europe by train, Loco2 is committed to Low Co2 (clever name!) - Help finding Train routes across Europe - Connecting local travel guides to the global travel market

It's companies that should really be looking much harder at ways of cutting their enormous frequent flying carbon footprints.  Is that 3 hour meeting in New York really necessary, or could you use video conferencing instead!?

If you are a company looking to reduce your carbon footprint, try the 'One in Five' challenge from WWF, it could save you money too.

Are you off on your hols this summer?

Where would you love to go away on holiday this year - have you ever considered using green travel companies or travelling to Europe by train?  Many green options can lead to an altogether more exciting adventure abroad.  We'd love to hear what you have planned (or what you wish you had!)

Homemade Gift Ideas for Teachers

Spend time, not money on an end of term thank you gift for a teacher 

There's a growing trend to buy  more and more elaborate thank you gifts for teachers, in the states it's called 'Teacher Appreciation Day'.  It's lovely to show your appreciation for a teachers hard work, but it needn't cost you a fortune - especially if you have more than one child at school.

We think it's better to get your kids to make a homemade teachers gift or even simply a card, it really comes from the heart then, and not the wallet.  The teacher will be extra impressed with the effort, especially if your infant school kids use their new writing skills on the card.

We have found a few great ideas for inexpensive thank you gifts for teachers. 

You can also browse our Pinterest board for even more brilliant suggestions and tutorials for homemade  thank you gifts for teachers.

roll up tote bag tutorial

Roll up tote bag tutorial

Teachers are always in need of a spare bag - they'll probably need one to put all their end of term gifts into!  This one rolls up and has a handy 'snap fastening'.  This would be a great gift for an older child to make - or for a younger child to help you with as you need to get the sewing machine out.  

tissue rose tutorial

Paper Flowers

A bunch of flowers that will last forever! We found so many brilliant tutorials for paper flowers but we think these tissue paper roses are probably the most simple, you want your kids to enjoy making the gift, not just watching you make it (although it is tempting to take over!)

felt owl make

Felt Wise Owl Tutorial

This tutorial from felt queen Lupin of popular blog bugs and fishes is great. Teachers and owls have a certain something in common! We thought that you could aslo adapt this tutorial into a no sew, by simply sticking the 2d owl onto a card - making this something even a 5 year old could attempt with a little help cutting out the shapes.

edible bunting biscuits

Homemade Edible Bunting Biscuits

You can't really go wrong with edible bunting can you!  These would look gorgeous presented in a pretty cake box on tissue paper. This make is not as difficult as it may first appear, and won't cost you much at all, the trick is not to forget to make the holes in the top of the biscuits - other than that it's really just a classic biscuit recipe.  If the icing looks a bit complex you could always swap it with the technique where you just mix up a little egg yolk with food colouring and paint on the colour before you bake them.  Like in this recipe from the Klutzy Cook - no chance of the icing falling off in transit then either.

These have teacher written all over them! Do you recognise them from the fist issue of Mollie Makes? If you know how to crochet, making up an apple cosy like this is 'apparently' pretty simple.  It would be a great gift for a teacher, your child could help to pick the colour and the button out. 

However if you are not a crochet queen quite yet, there are simple instructions available all over the internet for getting started with crochet - so this may be one to leave until next year! (Now that would be serious preperation!)

Many more ideas can be found here! Have you decided on a gift for your teachers?