Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Autumn Leaves: Free Templates & 15 Project Ideas

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been taking lots of photos of autumn leaves lately and thinking about crafty things. So I thought I'd write a list of some leaf-themed crafty tutorials & ideas. Some of these are tutorials I've featured before, or suggested variations on past projects and others are just some simple ideas to get your creativity going. 

For all these projects you'll need some leaf templates. You can collect some leaves and draw round them, or just print out these leaf templates I draw about 4 years ago (I can't believe it's been that long!). You can find the full size template sheets HERE and HERE.

If you're planning on cutting out lots of leaves, it's a good idea to stick the templates onto some scrap card (like a cereal box) to make them sturdy and easy to draw around. You can then draw leaf shapes onto any paper or card you fancy. For autumnal tones I like using gold kraft paper, sugar (construction) paper in red, orange & yellow, and the backs of used brown envelopes. If it's springtime in your part of the world, use green paper instead, and maybe mix in some simple flower shapes among all the leaves.

1) Make a yarn-wrapped wreath decorated with paper (or felt) leaves:


2) String paper or card leaves together to make a leaf garland.


3) Or hang card or felt leaves vertically to make an autumnal mobile - follow the same method as for my butterfly mobile and use felt balls in yummy autumnal colours as spacers between the leaves. Hang the mobile from a circle of card, an embroidery hoop or a couple of twigs for a rustic look. 

 4) For a really dramatic display (a giant mobile, bold garland or whole curtain or leaves), enlarge the leaf templates (or draw large leaf shapes freehand) and make giant paper leaves as big as your bits of paper will allow. If you want, you can use a brown pencil to draw on veins for added detail. These oversized leaves would also look great scattered across a plain tablecloth at an autumn party, and you can just recycle them afterwards.

5) Use a small oak leaf shape (maybe gold or brown paper stuck on card for sturdiness) to make simple napkin holders like these butterfly ones...


6) ... or cupcake / sandwich toppers like these:

7) Use leaf shapes for your place cards or invites too - write your guests' names on small paper leaves and place them on their plates, or print your invites small enough to fit on the back of a large card leaf and pop it in a brown envelope ready to post. If your guests don't know each other, you could also make the place cards double up as name labels - make the leaves from card, and stick a safety pin on the back with sticky tape

8) Make leaf tags, or use clusters of leaves to decorate your parcels. If you're using paper oak leaves, you could also add gold bells or chunky wooden beads or felt balls as "acorns".


9) Make a simple stencil from your favourite leaf shape and use a sponge and some poster paint to decorate plain gift wrap. Or just cut out an assortment of leaf shapes and stick them at random on a plain parcel.

10) Use a small leaf shape instead of a heart and make lavender sachets for your friends - choose felt and ribbons and buttons in warm autumnal shades like rusty orange and deep plum.


11) Cut out a trio of felt leaves and use a line of running stitch down the middle to sew them onto a ribbon to make a fun leaf headband. 

12) Stick paper leaves to card blanks to make simple autumnal notecards or postcards. Use single leaves, pairs or trios.

You don't have to stick to plain paper - use sparkly gold paper, or felt instead like these felt hearts which were stuck in place with double-sided tape: 

And if you fancy something sparkly, you could make glittery leaf cards - like these snowflake cards, but with leaf shapes covered in lots of gold glitter. Glitter-covered leaves would also make great gift tags / garlands / etc.

13) You could also make leafy stationery sets by glueing a vertical row of small leaves down one side of some plain writing paper, and making matching leaf-decorated envelopes too.

14) Follow the method for making these butterfly brooches, but with leaf shapes cut from felt in autumnal shades to make leafy brooches embellished with sequins or embroidery.

15) Or use the templates as embroidery patterns and stitch a leafy something!

Happy crafting...

P.S. For even more crafty goodness, check out my books: Super-Cute Felt and Super-Cute Felt Animals.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Autumn Leaves: Inspiration

A large chunk of October has been dark and grey and foggy... but the leaves have been looking AMAZING as they change colour and fall.

I love the bright colours and the patterns they make, and wanted to take a few snaps for future crafty project inspiration...


... they've also inspired tomorrow's blog post :)

Monday, 29 October 2012

Book Review: All Sewn Up

You know the saying "don't judge a book by it's cover"? Well, in the case of All Sewn Up by Chloƫ Owens you absolutely should judge a book by its cover.

If that photo made you go "oooh", chances are you're going to like what's inside because this book is jam-packed with pretty, colourful, cute, retro designs with vintage prints and decorative details galore - both in the projects themselves and the whole design and styling of the book.

The photos are full of vintage furniture and homewares and every spare bit of space is filled with retro florals, vintage fabric borders, or cute illustrations by Gemma Correll.

The book is a lovely hardback, with a tactile fabric cover. It's got an introduction at the front, 35 projects, and then a techniques/supplies/templates section at the back. The projects are divided into 5 chapters: Cooking up a storm (including a tea towel, placemats and coasters), Cuddly companions (including girl and boy dolls and a cat doorstop), Gifts (including a mini quilt and a laptop cover), Rest your weary head (including cushions and an eyemask), and Decorations (including fabric pictures and a lampshade).

All the projects have a very retro 60s/70s feel to them and many of them feature vintage florals and other patterned fabrics. They range from the quite simple (basic fabric coasters, bunting, lavender hearts) to some very detailed projects, like this gorgeous woodland-themed table runner.

Some of the motifs are repeated between projects - for example there's a raincloud brooch, a raincloud & rainbow quilt, and a "springtime showers" mobile involving rainclouds too. There's also lots of birds (including an owl cushion), butterflies and flowers... but if you're a fan of those things, this is no bad thing!

The projects use a mix of machine and hand sewing, and there's lots of attention to detail, like the pompom trim that's added to the top of the mobile. Each project includes step by step text and clear illustrations.

If you're a minimalist at heart this book would probably drive you a bit nuts, to be honest! However, lots of the designs could be simplified to be slightly less busy if you like the idea of some retro applique but don't want to go for a full on colour and pattern explosion. For example, these Scandinavian style placemats are my very favourite project in the book (they made me say "OOH" out loud when I first flicked through it, and I love the bright colours) but I'd probably sew the applique design onto a plain background instead of the patterned one if I was making them for myself.

The only niggle I have with this book is the templates section. All the templates are squeezed into just 9 pages, and even the smallest motifs need enlarging by at least 200%. Also, not only do different projects on the same page need enlarging by different amounts, so you'd have to get the same pages copied/enlarged multiple times... but different templates from the same projects are also included at different sizes for some of the projects, so you'd have to copy/enlarge the same page twice which is a bit of a faff. However, once you've got your templates sorted I think this book will be a pleasure to sew from.

All Sewn Up is published by CICO Books. RRP £14.99. It's available from Amazon UK, Amazon USA, The Book Depository and many other bookshops.

[Disclaimer: CICO Books sent me a free review copy of this book, and the Amazon & Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links]

Sunday, 28 October 2012

A Secret Something

A quick snap of the supplies for something ribbon-y I've been working on this week!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

DIY Snowflake Scallop Bunting

Time for another easy snowflake-themed craft project today - making scallop bunting decorated with paper snowflakes!

You could make some of this bunting for a Christmas party, or hang it as part of your seasonal decor.

You will need:
- the scallop bunting flag template at the bottom of this post
- white paper
- a compass or something circular to use as a template
- a pencil
- a glue stick
- black card
- baker's twine or other string, ribbon, or yarn for hanging the bunting
- a large, sharp sewing needle or a holepunch

First, use the template provided to cut out lots of scallop shapes from black card.

Then make lots of paper snowflakes using the method in yesterday's post. If you're using my scallop bunting template at actual size, your paper circles will need to be approx 9.5 cms in diameter. Use larger or smaller circles to fit larger or smaller bunting flags.You will need one snowflake per scallop.


Stick the snowflakes onto the scallops. Use a gluestick to stick one snowflake onto each card, making sure any pencil marks at the edges (from drawing the circle) are on the side you cover in glue! Place the snowflake face down on a piece of scrap paper and carefully cover it with glue. Then slowly peel it away from the paper (any excess glue will be left on the scrap paper), turn it over and lightly position it on the scallop as pictured. Then smooth the snowflake down so it's stuck firmly in place.

Next, cut a length of bakers twine / yarn / ribbon etc long enough for all the scallops plus extra at each end. Depending on the thickness of the twine etc you're using, either punch a hole in each of the top corners of the scallops... or use a large needle to poke holes through the black card.

Then thread the twine / ribbon through the holes, so it passes across the top of each scallop at the back of the bunting. The scallops should be evenly spaced and there should be a length of twiner / ribbon left each end for tying the bunting in place.

And you're done! Now you just need to hang the bunting wherever you fancy :) 

To print the template - right click on the image and select to view it in another window or tab, then click again (if necessary) to view full size and print at 100%. I've added a scale so you can check if your template has printed out correctly, but you can make it larger or smaller than mine if you prefer.

Want more crafty decorating projects to try? You could sew some simple felt bunting or make a paper autumn leaf garland.

This tutorial is for non commercial use only. You may borrow one or two photos if you want to blog about my projects but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce entire tutorials on your site. Thanks!
For more crafty goodness, check out my books: Super-Cute Felt and Super-Cute Felt Animals.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Giveaway Winners: Notecards & Moo Business Cards

A very quick post from me today to announce some giveaway winners.

The winner of the set of business cards from MOO is...

... Mundo Feltro, who said: "Yessss! I love the idea!"

And the winners of the notecard sets are...

... Kathy, who said: "I would love the haberdashery cards. They remind of the things that I inherited from my great-grandmother's sewing basket!"

... and bairozan, who said: "Oh, the robins grabbed my heart! I'd love to have them so much if I'm lucky to win :) "

And simply because it feels weird to have a blog post without a photo in it, here's a snap of the snowflake bunting I'll be sharing a how-to for tomorrow :)

Thursday, 25 October 2012

DIY Glitter Snowflake Christmas Cards

I was sorting through a box last month and found some small paper snowflakes I'd made one past Christmas and I thought it was a shame to just throw them away, so I thought I'd use them for a couple of simple festive crafty projects instead: some Christmas cards and some bunting. I'll share the pics & instructions for making the bunting at the weekend, but first up: the cards.


These cards are lots of fun to make and they look really dramatic when finished. It's quite hard to photograph things that are covered in glitter but trust me, these are really sparkly!

They'd be a great project to work on one chilly winter weekend with friends or with your kids, folding and cutting paper snowflakes together while watching movies and then having a fun session with lots of glitter.

To make them you will need:  
- black sheets of card, cut to size and folded (or ready made card blanks)
- white paper 
- a compass or something circular, and a pencil
- scissors
- a glue stick
- PVA or other craft glue 
- white or silver glitter 
(or glitter glue)
- a silver gel pen or a white pencil

First, cut out some small circles from white paper. The size of the circles you need will vary depending on how large your finished cards will be, but for my A6 cards I used snowflakes that were approx 9cms (3 1/2 inches) in diameter. You could use a compass to draw your circles if you have one, or find a jar or vase or small dish that's about the right size and draw around it. If you want to make lots of snowflakes, you might find it easier to make a circular template from cardboard first. 

To make the snowflakes, fold each circle in half three times and snip out shapes from the edges so a pattern is formed when the paper is unfolded again. Remember that the more detailed you make your snowflakes the more fiddly it'll be to glue them in place and decorate them.  

Use a gluestick to stick one snowflake onto each card, making sure any pencil marks at the edges (from drawing the circle) are on the side you cover in glue! Place the snowflake face down on a piece of scrap paper and carefully cover it with glue. Then slowly peel it away from the paper (any excess glue will be left on the scrap paper), turn it over and lightly position it on the card leaving room underneath to write a message if you want to. Then smooth the snowflake down so it's stuck firmly in place.

I rather like how the plain white snowflakes look on the black card, so if you're not a glitter fan you could leave your cards like this. (Plain white snowflakes would look fab on square black cards!)

To add sparkle to the snowflakes, paint a layer of PVA or other craft glue onto the white snowflake shape, and sprinkle it with glitter. When you've removed the excess glitter you should be left with a very sparkly snowflake! Alternatively, you could use a glitter glue pen - the effect is more subtle than using proper glitter but it's also a lot less messy!

 I used white glitter for the middle snowflake, and silver glitter glue for the other two.

Finally, when the cards are completely dry, use a sharp white pencil or a silver gel pen to write "Happy Christmas" / "Happy Holidays" / "Season's Greetings" / etc under the snowflakes. You can then use the same pen or pencil to write your message inside the card. 

For more snowflake projects, try making felt snowflake coasters or ornaments, making a snowflake curtain, or decorating your gifts with paper snowflakes.  

You may borrow one or two photos if you want to blog about my projects but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce entire tutorials on your site. Thanks!

For even more crafty goodness, check out my books: Super-Cute Felt and Super-Cute Felt Animals.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Show and Tell #10

It's time for a show and tell post, sharing some of the lovely things my customers have been making with supplies they buy from me. I love doing these posts, it's always so great to see what everyone has been using their supplies for!

First up, Gemma used felt to embellish some cute owls:

Annamaria of tuliManna used felt to make balls to decorate colourful cushions:

Heather of In Love With Threads used felt to make a handmade teacosy match her new teapot:

Caroline from Beautiful Thinking UK used felt to make some Jubilee owls:

Linda from ndandut used felt to make a sweet brooch:

Jane from Craft Hippy used felt to make some textile art greetings cards:

Sara from Little Lili May used an embroidery thread storage box to organise her ribbon stash:

And Laura from LauraFallulah shared pics of her embroidery thread stash - before and after buying a storage box from my shop...

 ... what a difference! The stork embroidery scissors are from my shop too - don't they fit in the box perfectly? I love it when stuff works out like that.

You can see more great stuff made by my talented customers by checking out all the show and tell posts here. Want to show off what you've been making from my supplies? Get in touch!

 P.S. please respect the work of my customers as you do mine, and don't copy their designs :)