Thursday 20 August 2020

Paper Tigers (and other animals)

Finding something to fill a spare hour or two probably isn’t much of an issue for most of us: our furry, feathery, and scaly companions need feeding and exercising, after all. But with lockdown still very much in effect for many, spare time is sometimes unavoidable, and finding something to fill it that's fun and entertaining (and preferably not too tricky) can be tricky. 

Say "Hello" to the wonderful world of paper craft. If you’re looking for something to entertain yourself with for a few minutes (or longer), these exquisitely designed print-and-make creations are addictive. Paper crafting has always been a popular hobby, and has seen a resurgence during the CV-19 lockdown. In today’s blog, we take a look at just a few of the incredible models that have caught the eye of the Hubble & Hattie crew.

What is paper craft?

Paper craft covers a multitude of areas, from multi-layered decoupage creations, to the miracle of paper folding that is origami. Here we focus on flat, printed patterns, with cut, fold and glue marks, that can be formed into 3D objects. These cater for all skill levels, with most requiring just a few simple tools to complete; a printer, a cutting rule, craft knife or scissors, and glue or tape. You can supplement your kit with cutting mats, circle cutters, markers, folders, etc, should you catch the paper crafting bug!

Where do I start?

New to paper craft? You need to start somewhere that's both inspirational and fun. Originally intended to provide free craft activities for owners of its colour printers, the Canon Creative Park website is the perfect place. 
It's well worth taking a look around Creative Park, if only to wonder at the sheer range and ingenuity of models, and the skill of the artists and designers behind them. Of course, we made a bee-line for Animals, and there you’ll find everything from pets to mythical beast. 

Creative Park's wonderful Dragon model

As you would expect from a company such as Canon, all its offerings are high-quality marvels of paper engineering, some of which even feature working mechanisms. There are literally hundreds of projects, covering almost every subject you can imagine … plus a few more. There’s equal focus on the educational and the fun, too, and each comes with clear, detailed instructions.

Canon even offers diorama templates to
stage your paper craft creations in

Alongside models of pets, flying animals, and marine animals, you’ll find a well stocked Beginner Series, with models suitable for crafters of every age. Creative Park also provides some very realistic-looking models, and even paper dioramas for staging them. A fine collection of prehistoric animals, endangered species, and animals found only on specific continents makes them a great educational aid, and a wonderful way to encourage a love and understanding of nature in children (not to mention the crafting bug).

Creative Park's full head wolf mask
Away from the animals, you’ll find projects for the home,  construct-your-own toys, and group activities for family and friends. You’ll also discover photo booth props (perfect for livening up those lockdown Zoom calls), hats, costumes, and even full head masks.

For even more incredible creations, head over to PaperCraftSquare. This website gathers together thousands of sources of paper models, toys, origami, quilling, and other paper arts, under one roof. Believe us when we tell you that you can find almost anything in model form, from Harry Potter character busts, to historic buildings, and even Japanese fighting robots.

Animals are well catered for, with  models covering nature, film and animation, and pets. They also cover all sizes; if you're up for a large-scale challenge, why not try making a metre-high elephant‽ Stylistically, templates range from the cartoon, Minecraft block-style, and plain 'silhouette' designs, to some superbly realistic models.

No matter what your favourite 'style,' you'll find something to suit at PaperCraftSquare

Sometimes, especially with new hobbies, it can be hard to interpret written instructions, so why not take a little video instruction? YouTube is the perfect place to see models actually being built, and perfect for picking up tips and hints from those in the know. Whiling away the minutes, watching someone else do the work, can also be quite rewarding!

Many uploaders provide links to downloadable templates of the models featured in their videos. Tubbypaws demonstrates this perfectly, with its video build of Keyboard Cat, a working mechanical model …

We must admit that, after looking at all these amazing paper craft creations, many at H&H caught the paper craft bug, so we asked which paper craft model they would choose to make … here's what they said:

Rod Grainger (Publisher)
Rod's choice is a Chevrolet Confederate Deluxe Sports Roadster, and Dr Who's TARDIS ("To get away from CV19")

Jude Brooks (Publisher)
Jude chose a Cockatiel – which she made, and is modelled here – and a Unicorn

Geraldine Cetin (Marketing Co-ordinator)
Geraldine chooses the iconic (desktop-friendly) Sagrada Familia, a favourite from her travels, and an Exotic Shorthair. ("Because it looks like mine!")

Emma Shanes (Office Administrator)
Emma is always up for an arty-crafty challenge, so decided to make both her choices: the Statue of Liberty, and Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs.

If you've caught the paper crafting bug, and made your own crafty creations, let us know on twitter, facebook, and instagram with the hashtag #papercraft, or post below in the comments section.

Thursday 6 August 2020

It’s all change from next year for UK residents who want to take their dogs on holiday to Europe.

For many, having holidays without their canine companion is unthinkable. Enjoying the journey; making happy memories in a new location, and seeing their interest in new sights, sounds, smells and scenery is all part of the fun. But for UK residents, things are about to change because of the UK leaving the EU, and travel to Europe with pets will no longer involve simply obtaining a pet passport. With many not able or willing to travel this year because of the pandemic, it’s important to check the big changes being put in place from next year that will affect travel with your pet.

Holidays in Europe with your dog just got a lot more complicated for UK residents ...
(© Photo by Jasmine Brunner on Unsplash)

Since February 2000, UK residents have been able to take dogs and cats to countries in the EU and return without the animal needing to be quarantined, providing certain conditions are met. These included the pet having a valid pet passport (some 100,000 are issued annually), and being microchipped. Whilst this continues through 2020 in what’s known as the ‘transition period,’ it’s all change from 2021.


More advanced preparation will be needed for those planning holidays in mainland Europe with their pet next year. The Government’s website lists all the new requirements for a pet to travel. Spontaneous breaks will be a thing of the past, as owners will need to start planning at least four months before travel, checking with their vet to get the latest advice. Pets (defined as dogs, cats and ferrets), will need to be vaccinated against rabies and microchipped. A blood sample is then taken at least 30 days after the vaccination, and is sent to an EU-approved blood testing laboratory. A three-month waiting period from when the successful blood sample was taken is then required before travelling, whilst obtaining a copy of the test results from your vet, who also enters the date the blood sample was taken on an animal health certificate (AHC). To obtain the AHC, you must visit your vet no more than ten days before travel, taking along your pet’s vaccination and microchipping history and the successful rabies antibody blood test result. You will also need this evidence upon entry to the EU, and a new health certificate will be required for each trip to the EU!

Check out the new rules before travelling next year.

© Photo by Alan King on Unsplash     

It sounds like the new procedure will be time-consuming and expensive, and may deter all but the most determined of travellers from taking along their loyal companion on European holidays. The alternative, which many owners dislike, is boarding their pet(s) in a kennel or cattery, and not seeing (and probably worrying) about their pet for the duration of the holiday, not to mention the expense of boarding.


We advise UK-based readers to take time to check out the Government’s website, and to check with your vet if you need further guidance, well ahead of any trip.