Wednesday 31 October 2018

Christmas Candle Embroidery Pattern

November's free project for my monthly pattern newsletter subscribers is an embroidery pattern for sewing a winter candle!

You can use the candle and holly design to add some festive cheer to any sewing project, frame it in a 5 inch embroidery hoop, or embroider it on felt to make a fun ornament for your Christmas tree.

I stitched mine on cream coloured felt...

... and added a red ribbon loop to match the red candle.

I think this design would also look fab stitched all in white on a solid colour background (maybe red or royal blue - like these baubles or this snow globe ornament). You could also personalise it by stitching a name or year on the base of the candle holder.
November's pattern newsletter will also include a link to October's project: a tutorial for sewing a felt tree stump brooch.
Click here for more information about my newsletters and to subscribe!

Click here to visit my tutorial archive for lots more free patterns... including LOTS of Christmas projects.

Monday 29 October 2018

Exploring Oxford: Jesus & Queen's

I think it's high time I shared some more snaps of lovely Oxford!

First up: Jesus, aka Jesus College in the University of Oxford of Queen Elizabeth's Foundation, was founded in 1571 and is the only Elizabethan College in Oxford.


I visited Jesus for free during the annual Oxford Open Doors festival (as you may have gathered from my Oxford posts, I'm a big fan of Oxford Open Doors), but you normally have to pay to visit.


Founded to educate future clergymen, and has a great history of being attended and run by Welshmen - though apparently there are no records of how much Welsh was spoken in college: "Official college records were mainly written in Latin; while the College statutes, effective from 1622, forbade public conversation, in class, hall and even the quadrangles, in any language but Latin, Greek or Hebrew."


I most associate Jesus College with the novel Gaudy Night by Dorothy L Sayers - in which there's a subplot where a young man from Jesus becomes smitten with the main character, Harriet Vane. His name is not Jones, but another character refers to him as "Mr Jones of Jesus" which makes so much more sense now oh my goodness ("Who are you calling a bloody Welshman", snarled the young man, much exasperated "My name's Pomfret")

The college still has strong connections to Wales, and lots of Welsh students. You can find lots more info about the history of the College here, and take a virtual tour here.

Queen's, aka The Queen's College is a few centuries older than Jesus. You might think from the name that it had been renamed after Queen Elizabeth I during her reign, but in fact it was founded as Queen's in 1341, in honour of Queen Philippa (wife of King Edward III).


All the medieval buildings at Queen's were replaced in the 1700s, so the whole college is now Baroque in style and extremely grand. Just as Jesus was filled with Welsh students, so Queen's was filled with students from the North-West of England.


Apparently it's the fifth-wealthiest college in the University! Queen's is free to visit, but usually only by appointment as part of a tour group, so I was really glad to get a chance to look round during Oxford Open Doors.


You can learn more about the history of Queen's College and its architecture here, or take a virtual tour here (the tour even includes a typical student bedroom... though sadly an unoccupied one!).

Want to explore some more of Oxford's beautiful buildings? Click here to read all my posts about the city, or click here to browse my entire travel archive.

Friday 26 October 2018

Autumn Crafting: Mason Jar Scene Tutorial

My autumn tree obsession continues today with a tutorial for making a cute little autumnal scene in a Mason jar!

This tutorial is sponsored by Bostik - you get two tutorials thanks to them this week, yay! Like the 3D card tutorial I shared on Wednesday, today's post is part of a series of crafty projects I'm sharing using Bostik's range of adhesives (I've also made a giant floral hula hoop wreath and some autumn leaf cards).

Mason jar crafts have become really popular in recent years and I see a lot of Christmassy "winter scene" tutorials on Pinterest, where people stick some felt snow and a couple of Christmas ornaments in a Mason jar and make a sweet little festive scene.

I've never seen any for different seasons of the year, though, so I thought it would be fun to make a little autumn scene in a jar: a tiny house and a tree shedding lots of lovely autumn leaves.


If you wanted, you could make a spring version of this project by making the tree a lovely bright green and skipping the fallen leaves... or you could adapt the tree and make a fir tree instead, then add some fake snow (maybe cotton wool or shredded paper?) for a DIY winter scene.

The little house would also make a cute Christmas ornament on its own: just add a thread for hanging the house or make a whole set of little houses (maybe with different colour roofs and a variety of door and window styles?) to sit along a bookshelf.

You will need:

- a Mason, Kilner or other glass jar (I used a 0.5L Kilner preserve jar, approx 12cm high).

- the templates provided at the bottom of this post
- Bostik Glu Dots (or some strong craft glue)
- a Bostik Blu Stick (or other glue suitable for sticking paper and card) - green felt
- white card
- brown, orange and red card (or white card coloured in brown, orange and red)
- a pencil
- a fine black pen
- a ruler
- craft scissors
- sewing scissors

You may also need:

- a compass (for drawing a circle template)
- an air-erasable fabric marker

To make an autumn scene:

1. Cut a green felt circle slightly smaller than the base of your jar. I used the lid of my jar as a template (drawing around it directly onto the felt with an air-erasable marker pen) but you may need to measure your jar and create a paper template to suit your jar's proportions.

Check the felt shape fits neatly at the bottom of the jar, and trim it to fit if necessary. Cut a second matching felt circle and set this aside until later.

2. Secure the felt circle inside the jar. To do this I used Bostik Glu Dots, adding five dots spaced out across the felt circle then pressing it down firmly onto the inside of the jar. Quick and easy, and mess-free!

3. Use the templates provided to cut out two tree trunk shapes and one tree leaves shape from card. Draw around the templates with a sharp pencil, turning over the tree trunk template to draw the second shape.

Erase any remaining pencil lines, then draw on the fold lines as marked on the tree trunk template.

4. Fold along the lines, so each tree trunk piece has a little tab of card at the bottom.

Glue the first tree trunk piece to the leaves, as shown. I used a Bostik Blu Stick for this - the glue starts out blue then dries clear, so you can easily make sure you've covered all the tree's branches before sticking it in place.

5. Once the first side of the tree has dried completely, turn it over and add the second tree trunk so it lines up with the first.

Once the glue has dried, you'll have a little card tree which should stand up on the two tabs at the bottom.

6. Print the house template onto a piece of white card, or use the measurements as a guide to draw the template neatly on white card using a ruler and a pencil. Carefully cut out the house shape.

If you're drawing out the template but have resized it to better fit your jar, use a ruler to carefully measure the lines before reproducing them on the white card.

7. Fold along all the internal lines. For neat folds, carefully score along the lines using a ruler and the blade of a pair of scissors (or a biro that's run out of ink) then fold so all the printed or pencil lines are on the inside.

8. Draw a door and windows onto one side of the house using a black pen. For extra neatness, you may want to draw the details with a pencil first then erase the pencil lines once the ink has fully dried. You could also add some colour by colouring in the door with a coloured pencil or felt tip pen.

9. Use the roof template to cut out a roof from red card. Fold it in half so any pencil marks are on the inside.

10. Assemble the house, carefully applying glue to the little card tabs and holding the shape together while the glue dries enough to hold.

I used the Bostik Blu Stick for this, gluing the tabs at the side of the walls then the tabs for the pointed roof.

11. Once the house has fully dried, use more glue to add the red roof. Again, hold the card in place while the glue takes effect then leave it to dry fully.

12. Carefully place the tree and house in the jar, plan the best position for each of them then remove them both from the jar again.

Add some adhesive underneath the base of the tree then place it back in the jar, pressing it into its final position (I used one Bostik Glu Dot under each of the tabs at the base of the tree).

Then take the second green felt circle you cut out earlier, and cut a line so it will fit around the tree. If your little house wasn't sitting flat in the base of the jar (because the base itself isn't flat) cut one or two felt pieces to help make the house level.

Place these felt pieces and the little house in the jar to check you're happy with 
how everything looks, then take them out again. 

Add some adhesive (I used another couple of the Glu Dots) to the bottom of the "extra" felt piece(s) and carefully press it/them in position.

Then place the second felt circle in the bottom of the jar, around the base of the tree, adjusting it until you're happy with it. (Don't use adhesive for this!)

13. Add the little house. You can use adhesive to secure the house in position, but I decided to leave mine unattached to make it easier to perfectly position it within the jar.

14. Finally, cut out lots of small leaf shapes from orange card (to match your tree) and sprinkle them into the jar as if they've fallen from the tree. This will add to the autumnal feel of the scene and help cover up the line you've cut in the felt circle.

Now just put the lid back on the jar, place it carefully on a shelf or your mantelpiece and enjoy!

DISCLOSURE: this post is sponsored by Bostik, who also provided the Glu Dots and Blu Stick I used to make the autumn scene.

Follow the links to open the template sheets in a new window, make sure you're viewing them full size then print them at 100%.