Wednesday, 17 January 2018

October, November & December in Pictures

Time to catch up with what I got up to in the final quarter of 2017!

In October...

... I ummed and ahhhed about what colour to use for the quilting thread and binding for my scrappy quilt. I started this project in my teens, finished the quilt top a few years ago and have now promised to (finally) turn it into a quilt as a gift for my mum. But what colour(s) should I use to finish it?? I still can't decide.

... I had a studio clear out, listing a whole bunch of craft supplies and other bits and bobs over on Instagram. I quite enjoy these sales, they remind me of the days when I used to sell craft supplies in my shop and the sometimes-tediuous but often quite soothing process of photographing, measuring, weighing, listing, packing and posting.

... I took a quick trip to Burnham-on-Sea, walked along the esplanade, ate some delicious chips, and fell in love with a wall (isn't it a fabulous wall?).

... I blogged about the dolls clothes I've inherited which were handmade by my grandmother, and October's kitty-themed addition to the A Year of Wreaths tutorial series.

... and I won a fabulous stationery bundle from Roger La Borde!

In November...

... My first two faux leather craft projects were published on The Village Haberdashery's blog: tutorials for making a star headband and a mini notebook.

... I unpicked a section of my mini squares blanket (that sticky-outy dark red block just didn't look right!) which took ages but was totally worth it.

... I stitched a custom order of snow globe ornaments, which then proceeded to get lost in the post for months (argh) but finally turned up (phew!). (If you want to sew your own snow globes, you'll find the free pattern here).

... I finally found a use for these paper snowflakes which had been in my craft stash for almost a decade (because they were just too nice to throw away after the Christmas I made them), using them to decorate an Advent "calendar" of small gifts for my parents.

... I gave myself a slightly lopsided DIY haircut (all my haircuts are DIY haircuts, some more lopsided than others!)

... and I also started blogging about my trip to Liverpool, shared a tutorial for making a novelty Christmas jumper, and finally started a weekly email newsletter after literally years of thinking that I should probably get round to starting a weekly email newsletter.

Then in December...

... I blogged about my Holly Wreath tutorial and lots of DIY Christmas card ideas, and shared a gorgeous tutorial for making leafy paper snowflakes.

... I wrote about the lovely treats I got from the dotcomgiftshop for being a terrible blogger (it's a long story).

... I posted an old behing-the-scenes pic which I don't think I'd posted before, of the "making a mess designing things" stage of making this doll.

... I made lots more mess working on a secret project (there's a desk under there somewhere!).

... and I shared the weirdest thing I achieved in 2017: writing a very silly joke about losing a sewing needle which ended up going slightly viral on Tumblr!

Finally, I ended 2017 working on something very colourful and very relaxing: adding a few more blocks of colour to my ongoing using-up-my-leftover-scrappy-threads cross stitch project.

Quite delightfully, this snap ended up becoming my most popular photo of 2017 (albeit not actually in 2017 itself) as it got shared on January 1st by mega craft blog A Beautiful Mess... which was a very fun and really rather exciting way to start a brand new year.

Here's to another twelve months of colourful, crafty goodness!

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Monday, 15 January 2018

Tutorial: Use Leftover Yarn Ends to Make Colourful Stripey Cards!

If you knit or crochet, you probably end up with lots of scrappy bits of yarn left over at the end of each project. It feels kind of wrong just throwing them away (especially if they're lovely colours)... but what do you do with them?

Today I'm sharing one idea for using them up: making stripey notecards!

 Notecard decorated with yarn stripes

These cards are easy to make and I think they look rather fabulous. The yarn stripes are simple but textured, and you could have lots of fun choosing colour combinations for each card.

You will need:

- Blank card (I chose black, but any colour will do), cut and folded to the size you want (I made an A6 size card, folded from a piece of A5 card)
- Yarn, in assorted colours
- A ruler
- A pencil
- Sewing scissors
- A large, sharp sewing needle
- Optional: a pencil eraser

Handmade card decorated with lines of yarn

To make each card:

1. Select some yarn in a colour palette you like. Each piece should be at least 20cm long.

2. Open up your blank card, and use a ruler and pencil to draw two horizontal lines on the inside of what will become the front of your card. One line an inch (2.5cm) from the top of the card, and the second an inch (2.5cm) from the bottom.

3. Use the ruler to measure the central point of each line, marking it with a small pencil dash. Then mark seven dashes either side of these central points, each 5mm apart. You should now have 15 points marked along each line.

4. Use a large, sharp needle to poke a hole through the card at each one of the points you've marked. Place the card on a pile of scrap paper to protect your workspace as you poke the needle through!

If you want, you can now erase the pencil lines. 

5. Choose your first piece of yarn, and thread the large needle with it. Pass the yarn up through one of the holes at the bottom of the card and then down through the corresponding hole at the top of the card. Leave the yarn ends dangling (they should stay in place due to the small size of the holes), then repeat this step to add all the yarn stripes.

6. Knot the yarn ends together to secure the stripes, and carefully trim any excess yarn. You could add a piece of tape to cover the ends but I quite like how mine look!

Knots on the inside of the card to secure the yarn

And that's it! Your card should now look something like this:

Minimal modern card decorated with leftover yarn

For lots more DIY card ideas and other free crafty projects, visit my tutorial archive.

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Friday, 12 January 2018

A Year of Wreaths: 12 Free Seasonal Wreath Tutorials

Now that my year of wreath tutorials for The Village Haberdashery has come to an end, I thought it would be good to do a quick round-up post with links to all the projects...

DIY Wreaths for Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter

This is a nice excuse for me to look back at them all, and will be a handy way for you guys to easily find the wreath tutorials you want to make - just bookmark this page!

January: Felt Rainbow Wreath.

Rainbow Welcome Wreath

February: Valentine's Heart Wreath.

Valentine's Heart Wreath

March: Daffodils & Narcissi Wreath.

Felt Daffodils Wreath

April: Felt Flowers Wreath.

Spring Felt Flowers Wreath

May: Felt Foxgloves Wreath.

Felt Foxgloves Wreath

June: Felt Butterflies Wreath.

Felt Butterflies Wreath

July: Felt Pinwheels Wreath.

Summer Felt Pinwheels Wreath

August: OMG Ice Cream Wreath.

Felt Ice Cream Emoji Wreath

September: Embroidered Oak Leaves Wreath.

Embroidered Oak Leaves Autumn Wreath

October: Cosy Cat Wreath.

Cute Felt Cat Wreath

November: Felt Holly Wreath.

Felt Holly Wreath

December: Embroidered Snowflakes Wreath.

Embroidered Snowflake Wreath

Which one's your favourite?

Follow the links to find all the free step by step tutorials and template sheets over on The Village Haberdashery's blog. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Embroidered Snowflakes Wreath Tutorial

Time for the final tutorial in my Year of Wreaths series: a sparkly snowflake wreath!

Yarn Wrapped Wreath with Embroidered Snowflakes

This one's a bit late (sorry!) but snowflakes are definitely for the whole of winter and not just Christmas, right?? I hope you'll agree it was worth the wait because I love how this final project turned out.

The wreath is decorated with navy blue yarn, metallic silver thread, sparkly beads and sequins, and five embroidered snowflakes.

Embroidered Felt Snowflakes

You could also use the snowflake embroidery patterns to make felt snowflake brooches or ornaments, or to add some snowy charm to other sewing projects.

Sparkly Winter Snowflake Wreath

You'll find the free step by step snowflake wreath tutorial and the snowflake embroidery patterns over on The Village Haberdashery's blog.

Click here to buy the snowflake wreath kit, or follow the links in the tutorial to find all the individual supplies you'll need in The Village Haberdashery shop.

Click here to find all 12 wreath tutorials in the series.

Monday, 8 January 2018

New in My Shop: Felt Poppies Tutorial (& Poppy Embroidery Pattern)

One of my goals this year is to get lots of patterns added to my Etsy shop, and I'm kicking off the year with one of my old faves: poppies!

Felt poppy brooches

I've stitched a lot of felt poppy brooches over the years, they used to be one of the most popular items in my shops and I still wear one on my jacket every autumn. I'm delighted to be giving this design new life as a tutorial.

Lots of felt poppies

The printable PDF pattern includes templates and step-by-step instructions for sewing three sizes of beaded felt poppy, and how to turn them into brooches, hair clips and headbands.

Three beaded felt poppy brooches

The PDF also includes a poppy embroidery pattern, which you can stitch on anything you fancy or frame in a five inch embroidery hoop.

Embroidered poppy

Click here to find the poppy pattern in my shop!

Friday, 5 January 2018

Kew Gardens in January: Bare Trees and Small Details

One of the best things I spent money on in 2015 (no, that's not a typo, bear with me...) was treating myself to a year's membership of Kew Gardens in London.

Towards the end of 2014 I'd started skipping my Nice Days Out, telling myself I was far too busy for proper days off and ending up ridiculously stressed as a result. So, I resolved to refocus my priorities, make sure I took days just to switch off and relax. I hoped being able to go to Kew on a semi-regular basis would help me achieve that, and it totally did!

I'd never actually been to Kew Gardens before I bought the membership, but I fell in love with it almost immediately and spent lots of wonderful and relaxing days there as the year went on.

I also took approximately a zillion photos, which (in my typical Slow Travel Blogger style) I've finally got round to editing and which I'll be sharing with you guys in occasional blog posts throughout this year.

Kew is a really beautiful, inspiring place to visit and it was a joy seeing it change through the seasons - I hope you'll enjoy seeing snippets of it in these photos, and maybe be tempted to visit it yourself (or even treat yourself to a whole year of visits like I did).

But enough of this preamble, on with the photos!

On a slightly gloomy January day I was completely delighted by the lush little pocket of green that is the Mediterranean Garden (complete with its own little temple).

King William's Temple, Kew Gardens
The Mediterranean Garden at Kew

I strolled around the lake, watching the ripples of the water and the resident birds (not just Canada geese, although there are a fair few of those to be found at Kew). 

 Canada geese by the lake, Kew Gardens
Canada geese swimming on the lake at Kew Gardens
The Sackler Crossing, Kew Gardens

I'd decided to save the famous Palm House for another visit, but even from the outside it's quite captivating...

The Kew Gardens Palm House in January

... and it's guarded by a whole row of mythical beasts!

The View from the Palm House, Kew Gardens

Instead of exploring the Palm House, I took a trip up into the trees - 18 metres above the ground, in fact, along the Treetop Walkway.

Kew Gardens Treetop Walkway in January
The stairs up to the Treetop Walkway at Kew Gardens

Even in January the views were pretty spectacular, and it felt really special being able to walk through the tree canopy.

Kew Gardens Tree Canopy in January

In the winter you appreciate the structure of trees so much more, their bare "bones" making striking silhouettes against the sky. There are some truly magnificent trees at Kew, many of which have plaques at their base so you can read about the type of tree they are and their history in the gardens.

Winter Trees at Kew
The path to the Palm House at Kew Gardens, January

As well as the "architecture" of the gardens (and I'd definitely place those large trees in that category!), there are lots of smaller pleasures to be found at Kew in the winter.

The textures of lichen, and soft carpets of fallen leaves.

Lichen on a tree in Kew Gardens
Carpet of fallen leaves at Kew Gardens

Flashes of colour shining out like a lighthouse in a sea of browns and wintry grey.

A pop of colour at Kew Gardens in January
A pop of colour at Kew Gardens in January

And, of course, snowdrops!

A cluster of January snowdrops at Kew Gardens

Lots more Kew pics coming soon...