Meet the Author
Hey there, can you introduce yourself?
Hullo, I'm a crafty jack of all trades, I love sewing things, painting things, cutting things and generally making things! I'm fortunate enough to be able to do these things for a living and have written 6 books on all things crafty - including the best selling Everything Alice with Hannah Read-Baldrey and two other titles in the Simple Makes range; Little Sew and Sew on embroidery and Felt Sew Good on felt projects. I have a blog at Sewyeah.co.uk that I try to keep up to date with new craft projects, house inspiration and anything that takes my fancy.
Tell us a bit about the book?
I think this book is my favourite so far, it uses the most humble of materials to make some really exciting projects. There's 30 different things to make ranging from really simple animals made from one piece of A4 and lovely little garlands and bunting to more elaborate feather mobiles, light up water lillies and a little bit of Japanese book binding too. There's giant paper bows which are brilliant for decorating your house for a party ...a step on from the tissue paper pom pom and cute little bird boxes with a postit note roof and a place to keep your paperclips.
What was the inspiration behind it?
As this book is part of a series looking at the main crafting genres, it seemed like a natural choice after embroidery and items made from felt. Something that showcased the versatility of paper and how easily you can make something beautiful from it. When I was thinking up ideas for the book I was on holiday in Colorado at Zapata Ranch where my friend works. There's definitely a few projects in the book inspired by that lifestyle.
Which is your favourite project?
My favourite project has to be the brown paper mirror frame. Its this beautiful Rococco style frame made from cut and folded brown paper that I bought at my local post office for 50 pence, a bit of cardboard and some scraps of gold paper, but it looks so much more than that!
What is your craft space like?
A mess! I recently moved house from a really small place with just two rooms and when I was creating there the whole place was covered in threads and pieces of paper, sequins and glitter everywhere, so when I moved to somewhere with three times as many rooms I was confident I would be able to contain the mess all in one room. Apparently not!
Have you always been creative?
Yes, I've always loved making things as has everyone in my family. My mum made lots of our clothes and always seemed to be making or reupholstering furniture when we were small and Dad built half our house so he's very good at the more hardcore technical stuff whereas I still can't seem to hammer a nail into a wall!
When did you first start crafting?
I used to enter the local Flower and Produce show when I was very small. I have lots of First prizes for Hemmed Hankerchiefs, Gardens on Plates and 'things made from eggshells'. I remember hemming the hankerchief with my nan when we were on holiday in Margate, I was about 5.
Who are your crafty heroes?
I love Design Sponge and Sweet Paul as the stuff on their websites is so inspirational and beautifully shot. I have a heap of old craft/general Housekeeping books some from as far aback as the late 1800's. I'm always finding lost techniques or ideas in them. Anne Shirley from L.M.Montgomerys Anne of Green Gables series of books is an inspiration to me.. not actually that crafty but she has a real gung-ho attitude that I like to embrace.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in everything. I'm currently doing up my home so looking at lots of interior magazines and shops and I love interpreting their ideas and trends into something more small or large scale or in a different medium. When I'm not writing books I work as a designer for Marie Claire Runway which is a fashion magazine that reports on all the high fashion designer shows of New York, Milan, London and Paris. Its great to see all the amazing clothes and fabrics designers like Chanel and Vuitton are using and then take inspiration from them. And skips. I find a lot of good things in skips.
What's next for you?
In September the new Liberty Book of Simple Sewing (quadrille) is published. I created half the projects for this book and it was such a nice book to work on especially as I got to make lovely things from lovely Liberty fabric. Liberty is my most favourite shop so to be able to go in there and see the book on display is going to be a real thrill. I'm also elbow deep in printing ink and rollers as I'm currently devising projects form the next Simple Makes book Fresh Prints which is going to be full of simple home printing projects and techniques for gifts, homeware and clothes out next April.
Paper - both affordable and universally available - is possibly the most versatile material in the crafter's kit box. In this new book in the Simple Makes series, Christine Leech demonstrates 30 original and creative ideas for lovely things to make from paper. Some of the projects are simply drawn and cut, such as the glistening, rippling fish mobile, whilst others are constructed and glued, for example a cute yet practical stationery birdhouse that holds paperclips inside and has post-it note tiles on its roof. A few slightly more advanced projects involve special techniques, such as the beginner's bookbinding method used to create the hand-bound Japanese-style notebooks, but everything is easily achievable by following the clear, step-by-step instructions and guides.