Friday, 28 September 2012

How To: Angel Christmas Card

UPDATE: this tutorial is now part of my printable PDF angels pattern, available from my shop.

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Thursday, 27 September 2012

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Angel Embroidery Pattern

UPDATE: this pattern is now part of my printable PDF angels tutorial, available from my shop.

Subscribe to my newsletter for a monthly free pattern and visit my crafty tutorial archive for lots of free projects.

Monday, 24 September 2012

A Choir of Angels for Christmas

Way back last year I posted a photo of some secret stitching I was working on for my "Crafty Christmas" series... but when the series got cut short due to my sudden move, the project ended up sitting in a box for months rather unloved. Finally (only a year late!) you can see what I was working on...

... an angel embroidery pattern! I was so happy with how this turned out when I first stitched it last year, it's great to be able to share it with you guys at long last.

I'll be sharing the free pattern on my blog later this week, along with a whole bunch of other crafty projects based on the same angel design. This is one good thing about putting a project in a box and coming back to it a year later - looking at it fresh helps spark a whole bunch of new ideas!

As well as the embroidery pattern, I'll be sharing "how tos" for sewing two styles of felt angel ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree ...

... instructions for making pretty angel Christmas cards...


... plus some ideas for other festive paper crafting projects you could use the angel motif for.

The first free project will be posted tomorrow!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

A Very Crafty Reading List

As you can see, there are quite a few craft books on my reading pile at the moment!

I've had a quick flick through most of them, but I need to spend some time properly looking through them all and taking some notes ready for reviewing them here on the blog this autumn/winter.

There will probably be a few book reviews popping up at random here and there over the next few weeks but I'm also hoping to do another Book Week, which will probably turn into a book fortnight like last time as there are just so many yummy books here that I can't wait to show you guys!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Making Cherry Blossoms & Forget-Me-Nots

I've been quite busy the past couple of days with lots of computer-based tinkering. I've been getting lots of important stuff ticked off my to do list (yay!) but I've not been doing much that's especially blog-worthy (boo!).

My main crafty project this week has been slowly cutting out lots of felt flowers and leaves. As always, all these pieces are cut by hand so they take a while...

I'm making forget-me-not brooches, cherry blossom brooches and cherry blossom headbands.

The cherry blossom trios are currently only available in pink, but I'm hoping to get some white & peach ones (like this single blossom brooch) sewn and listed soon. I almost got a couple sewn last night actually, but I wasn't 100% certain that the thread I'd picked up was actually peach so I thought it best to wait until daylight to double check!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

How To: Felt Snowman Ornament

As I mentioned earlier this month, I've been working on a whole bunch of Christmas craft tutorials and it's time for the first one - felt snowmen ornaments!

These ornaments are quick and easy to sew, they make a great beginner sewing project and more experienced sitchers will be able to whip up a whole batch in no time. The snowmen would also make cute brooches, just add a brooch clasp to the back instead of adding the ribbon in step 5.

To make the snowmen you will need:

- the template sheet at the bottom of this post
- scissors to cut out the templates
- sharp sewing scissors or embroidery scissors
- white felt
- black felt
- orange felt
- white, black and orange sewing thread
- round black sequins (approx 1/4 inch / 5mm in diameter)
- a needle and pins
- narrow white ribbon

1) Use the templates provided to cut out 2 white snowman shapes, 2 black hats and 1 orange carrot (you can use the template provided for the carrot or just cut a small triangle freehand). 

2) Sew one hat onto each snowman shapes, so that when you put the two snowman pieces together the hats will match up. Use a line of running stitch in black thread to sew each hat in place.

3) Use orange thread to sew the carrot in position to be the snowman's nose.

4) Then use black thread to sew 5 sequins to form the eyes and "buttons". Use two or three stitches to hold each sequin in place.

5) Cut a 5inch (12.5cm) length of ribbon, fold it over to form a loop and sew the ends in place at the back of one of the snowman pieces. Use whip stitch and sew into the felt instead of through it, so your stitches don't come through to what will be the outside of the ornament. If you're worried about your stitches showing, use black thread and sew the ribbon loop to the back snowman piece so if any stitches come through they'll be lost against the black of the hat.

6) Place the two snowman pieces together, so all the workings are hidden. Hold them together and use black thread to whip stitch the outside edges of the hat together. (It's a bit hard to show this in a photo as black stitching on black felt doesn't show up too well, sorry!)

7) Use white thread to sew the rest of the snowman together - sew around the edge with running stitch, and finish your sewing neatly at the back.

Hey presto, one cute snowman ornament ready for hanging on the tree!

To print the templates - 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 templates have printed out correctly, but you can make them larger or smaller than mine if you prefer (remember that you'll need larger or smaller sequins!)

This tutorial is for non commercial use only: you can use it for as many ornaments as you like for yourself or as gifts for friends but please don't make any for sale. Please feel free to borrow photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my tutorial on your site. Thanks!

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Monday, 17 September 2012

Treats from Renegade

This weekend I took a trip to London to visit the Renegade craft fair - I was very disappointed to miss it last year, so I was extra excited about going to see all the lovely people selling their crafty wares!

(I can never manage to read on the Tube, so my trusty Walkman is an essential bit of kit for a long journey across the city!)

Everyone was super friendly, and I got to meet and catch up with lots of my crafty chums whom I've "met" online through Etsy and Folksy and blogging. It's always so good to finally meet people in person, and have a good natter :)

I scoped out a few new-to-me shops for some potential Christmas shopping later this year, and treated myself to some cards and notebooks (always useful) from a whole bunch of sellers...

... A cute foxy "drink tea & eat cake" card from Kayleigh O'Mara, and happy star and sunshine cards from Debbie Greenaway...

(I also bought one of Debbie's adorable hedgehog brooches, which my mum has already stolen! I was showing her the lovely things I'd bought and when she saw the hedgehog she just fell in love, so I had to gift it to her!)

... A couple of postcards (You've Got to Be Kind to Yourself & One Step at a Time) from Art Equals Happy, and a very cute cat notebook from Zosienka & Rosie.

... A peacock postcard & a little notebook for writing lists from Lovely Pigeon, and a tea & biscuit themed card for a friend from Mellybee.

... A printed Moleskine notebook from Finest Imaginary and a sweet mini notebook made from a vintage postcard from Ladybird Likes. I don't think I'm going to run out of notebooks for a while!


Here are a few more of the business cards, etc, that I came home with... from Zeena, John of The Bungaloo, and Sarah of Magasin...

...  Rebecca of Charming Little Picture... plus some mini London-themed cross stitch patterns from CrossStitcher Magazine.

I was also very pleased to finally meet the lovely fellas from Folksy, after having a shop on the site for so many years (I was Folksy user number 12 when I signed up way back in 2008!). I thought the cardboard postbox on their stall was especially ace & I couldn't resist pinching one of their "Golly!" cards, which were actually for people to fill in their email address to sign up for the Folksy newsletter (shhh, don't tell! no-one will find out now I've posted it on my blog, er...). Folksy is so often described by sellers as "the British Etsy", and I find the quirky Britishness of their branding / marketing style very appealing (and I would totally buy a pack of postcards like this).

And as if all that wasn't enough fun for the day, I also got to have a cuppa with the lovely Genevieve of Floss & Mischief who sells very cool cross stitch kits & patterns.

Hurrah! :)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Gift Wrap Idea: Cassette Tape Gift Tags / Toppers

If you're like me, you've probably got some old cassette tapes sitting in a drawer somewhere...

I still play a lot of my old, beloved mixtapes (I actually bought a new walkman recently for this very purpose) but I've also got a whole load of old, totally random tapes that just aren't worth keeping - and which none of my local charity shops will take.

So, I thought I'd use some to make some gift tags / toppers!  This project would be a fun way to decorate gifts for the music lover in your life or if you've got loads of old tapes you could have a mixtape theme to your Christmas wrapping this year...

First up, you need to spray-paint your cassette tape. I chose silver for my tape (which looks great in real life, but which I have to admit is a total pain to photograph!), but bright colours would also look great.

Follow the instructions on your can of spray paint...

... and turn something like this...

... into something like this:

To attach the tape to your parcel, cut a length of ribbon long enough to tie around the parcel in the normal fashion. Thread the ribbon through the holes in the cassette tape, so the tape is in the middle of the length of ribbon.

Turn the tape over and knot the ribbon at the back.

Then carefully tie the ribbon around the parcel (you may need someone to help you do this, so one of you can hold the tape in place on top of the parcel while you turn it over) and finish by tying the ribbon in a knot underneath the tape.

If you've used curling ribbon, you can curl it and leave it in place. If you'd prefer to remove the ribbon ends, lift the tape up carefully and snip the ends away so they'll be hidden under the tape.

You can leave the tape blank, or add a paper label to turn the tape into a gift tag.

Measure the label space on your tape and cut out a strip of white paper to size. Position it on the tape to check you're happy with the size, write your message (remember to start with an A or B to mark the "side" of the tape!) and then stick the label in position with prittstick or double-sided tape.

You could also make mixtape gift tags...

Position the tape on a luggage tag and mark the position of the holes with a sharp pencil.

Use the pencil to poke two holes through the tag where you've marked. Then thread a short length of ribbon (the same colour as the tape) through the tape, and thread each end through one of the holes in the card tag.

Secure the ends of the ribbon with sticky tape...

... then stick a large address label or a piece of paper onto the tag to cover up the ribbon & tape. The tape makes the surface a bit lumpy, so if you want to write a message on the label or paper it's probably best to do so before you stick it in position.

As before, you can leave the tape plain...

 ... or add a label with a short message like "Happy Birthday!", "Happy Father's Day", or "Merry Christmas"

Please note: once you've spray painted the tape you (obviously) won't be able to play it any more! So only do this to tapes you'd otherwise throw away, and make sure your gift recipient knows the tape is decorative only.

Please feel free to borrow one or two photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my entire post on your site. Thanks!

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