Snowflake patterned mini bowls

I was bought these little bowls for my birthday- I think they might be dipping bowls for oils and vinegar and I decided they needed a Christmas makeover. I’d seen a few posts on other blogs about decorating ceramics with permanent pen and thought I’d give it a try. The pen I used came from a set I bought from WH Smith that were half price in a sale, they were meant to be fine nib but seem more like thick to me!

Snowflake Mini Bowls

I decided to draw some simple snowflake designs, even though the pens are permanent they rubbed off fairly easily when I made mistakes! To make them properly permanent I saw a tip about drying them in a low oven, so I might try that. At the moment they make perfect bowls for Christmas bits and bobs!

Christmas Snowflake Cross Stitch

This year, I turned my hand to a bit of cross stitch to make a little Christmas decoration. It came about after I finally found some embroidery hoops that I knew I had but couldn’t remember where! They turned up when I was doing a huge clearout of the bedroom cupboard. Anyway, I had a little kit that had been given to me to make a cross stitch card, unfortunately the design for the card wasn’t really my thing so I instead used the Aida from that to make my snowflake.

Christmas Snowflake Cross Stitch Materials

I decided to do a freestyle pattern as snowflakes are symmetrical and so lend themselves to making it up! I had spotted in one of my Christmas magazines the decoration in the picture above and roughly followed this to start off with. However, the snowflake was far to small to stop at that so I kept adding extra until it filled out the hoop. I just have it resting on the mantelpiece for now, maybe next year I shall cross stitch some more to make a proper display!

Christmas Snowflake Cross Stitch

Advent Countdown Ideas

Advent Calendar Envelopes

I know it’s probably a bit late to be posting ideas for advent calendars although I think a couple of days adrift will make no difference! There’s any number of advent calendars out there to buy (chocolate or otherwise) but I particularly love these cute little cards that I bought for my nephews and niece. I started buying them a couple of years ago after seeing them in the window of a shop in Beverley called ‘Something Different’ on Butcher Row. There’s always a really good selection of cards at very reasonable prices. If only I could take a peak at some of the pictures behind the doors before sending them…..

Advent Cards

My crafty idea for an advent calendar started as something I’d seen in a magazine. That was for small, paper advent bags to put gifts in. I thought about making little bags but decided that I wouldn’t have the time (or the patience) to manage 25! I also wasn’t sure how to display them. Instead, I had seen these money envelopes in Wilkinson’s and had been turning over in my mind whether they could be used in a craft. Of course they could- advent envelopes!

Typewriter and Christmas Rubber Stamps

I bought the set of typewriter stamps from Amazon Marketplace (The Pea’s Knees Ltd, £7.99), I already owned the Christmas themed stamps from last year. It turned out pretty quick and easy to stamp up 25 envelopes and then fill them with little treats. My husband is more savoury than sweet(!) which explains the nuts and cheese. Hopefully, some of the chocolates might come my way!

Advent Envelopes and Treats

The noticeboard I used to display the envelopes was from a craft I posted about here. Of course there is any manner of ways to display them- in a Christmas bowl perhaps, or pegged onto a garland.

Advent Calendar Envelopes

Personalised Coasters

One of my presents for Christmas were some glass coasters to put in your own photo or pretty paper.

Personalised Coasters

It’s taken me this long to get around to cutting out some pictures to put into them. I’ve had these roses pictures for ages, they were also given to me and I’ve used them already in a couple of different frames. I picked the best bits of the photos, drew around the guide picture that came with the coasters and then cut them out. The whole thing took about 10 minutes, I can’t believe it took me so long to get them done! Easy to change as well if I get bored with the roses…..

Rose Picture Coasters

Butterfly Appliqué Pillowcase

After seeing a cushion in Laura Ashley with cute cups on it, I thought I could do something similar with some scraps of fabric I had bought ages ago when contemplating making patchwork quilts (as if that was ever going to happen!). Instead of making a cushion cover, I decided to use a plain pillowcase as it would require less sewing. So, along with the pillowcase and some scraps of different fabrics I used a pattern, pins, thread, scissors and a sewing machine (probably not essential, however it would take longer sewing by hand).

Laura Ashley teacup pillow

Firstly, I decided on a shape for the appliqué patches. As I have butterfly patterns on other things in the house, and it’s a simple shape to draw, I went for that. Alternatives could be the teacups mentioned above, hearts, cupcakes, flowers, birds, basically anything that is relatively simple to draw and then sew.

I drew the pattern freehand on some paper- only half the butterfly though as I could fold the paper in half and then cut out to give a completely symmetrical shape. I had a couple of attempts to get a size I was happy with- I guess with some careful measuring beforehand you could be more precise!

Butterfly applique design for pillow

I then traced around the pattern on the reverse of each of pieces of fabric, making sure the fabric was ironed flat. These were carefully cut out. I spent a bit of time positioning the cut-out butterflies on the pillowcase, making sure they were spaced evenly across the cover. Carefully pin the butterflies in place.

Applique butterfly pillow

The final stage is to sew the butterflies to the pillowcase. I used a contrasting blue thread and zig-zag stitch, but any stitch that will secure the butterflies in place is of course fine! Finally, I hand stitch the thread ends to neaten everything up. This should withstand going through the washing machine, as long as the fabric chosen is cotton.

The Perfect Desk!

Previously, my excuse for not doing that much sewing/ crafting had been that I didn’t have a proper workspace. The sewing machine used to live behind the sofa (gathering dust) and the rare occasions I took it out it would be placed on some storage bins in front of the sofa where I would sit and try to sew. After about half an hour my back would be sore from slumping over the sewing machine and all the bits and pieces that I needed for sewing would be in a mess on the sofa and the floor. Then, I would have to put it all away after not really accomplishing much.

Desk built to fit

Anyway, we decided to fit a desk into the corner of the back room (dining room) so that the sewing machine and laptop could always be out and ready to use. Storage was needed as well so that all the craft bits were within easy reach and there could be no excuses for doing some sewing. After looking at the desks available in places like Argos and Ikea, we decided that nothing was quite right to fit the small space we had. Instead, we made our own desk using mdf, vinyl and legs (really cheap from Ikea). The board was measured to size and cut to fit perfectly with a nice curve. The vinyl was stretched and glued over the surface- pinned underneath using drawing pins! Finally, the legs were screwed on and the desk was dropped into place.

Desk tidy solutions

On the windowsill is a few bits to keep the desk tidy- a toast rack that is now used to file bits of paper, a flower pot doubling as a small bin and my tin can pen pot that I blogged about previously. Now there is no excuse not to sew and craft!

Necklace Noticeboard

I’ve already done a past blog on customising a noticeboard to display the usual things noticeboards are used for. While doing that I thought how perfect it would be to use little hooks instead to display necklaces and bracelets. I have mine in a big pot and find it a nightmare in the morning, when in a rush, to find the one I want and then untangle it from all the others. This is the perfect way to have them all at hand and looks good enough to be on display all the time.

Making a Necklace Noticeboard

All you need is a noticeboard (supermarket buy at £2.75), some small hooks (any good DIY or craft store), wrapping paper (or wallpaper or fabric) and a bit of double sided sticky tape.

Paper on Noticeboard

Firstly, cut out the paper to size. I cut it to be slightly bigger than the cork part of noticeboard and then crisply folded it to fit and give straight edges. At each corner and half way along each edge I put a bit of double sided sticky tape. I then stuck the paper to the cork.

Hooks on Noticeboard

I placed the hooks where I wanted to screw them in. I decided on three rows- two for necklaces and one at the bottom for bracelets. All you need to do now is to screw the hooks in place.

Finished Necklace Noticeboard

There you have it, a perfect way to display all your necklaces and bracelets! You could stand this up on a set of drawers or even hang it up on your bedroom wall.

Future Craft Projects?

Whenever I’m browsing the shops I like getting ideas for things that can be made at home. Obviously, it would be a lot easier to buy (and probably in some cases cheaper!) but a lot of the time the fun is in the making and not so much the buying. Some of the things I’ve seen recently that made me think ‘I can make that’ are below.

Ribbon Votives

I saw these candle votives over Christmas and thought it was a great idea. A few plain votives, glass jars, small vases, some pretty ribbon, buttons or beads and glue. All together makes a great candle holder!

Buttons picture

This button picture I’m definitely going to create. In fact, I’m a bit disappointed I never thought of the idea myself! So very simple- box frame, and various different buttons sewn onto some fabric to create a shape.

Owl Cushion

The owl cushion on the other hand may be a step too far! I’ve noticed a proliferation of owls over the last few months adorning plates, tea towels, mugs, wallpaper etc and seen quite a few shops selling cushions like this one. Maybe this is one to purchase and not to make…..

Memory Box Frame

I have been meaning to display some of the things kept from our honeymoon to Italy for ages (it was over two years ago!) and finally got around to buying a box frame (about £2.50 from The Range) last week.

Ideas for a memory box frame

I planned out how I wanted the bits and pieces arranged, using the most colourful and memorable ticket stubs as well as a champagne cork and the ribbon from our wedding cake. For the background I used a lovely piece of cream paper with little silver dots on and laid the ribbons across this at the bottom. Everything has just been fixed down using double-sided tape apart from the Coliseum ticket in the centre which I used sticky pads to raise it up a bit.

Memory box frame

All in all an easy way to display treasured memories!

Lacey Ideas

Lace vase and photoframe

I was looking through a box of fabric and wool that I had sitting around and found some wide lace trim. It made me remember an idea in Ideal Home magazine for customising vases and photo frames using lace.

The photo frame first- I had this lovely silver frame that a friend had given me and I hadn’t managed to put a picture in it. I thought this would be ideal for a pretty lace background. I used some handmade pink paper as the background, placed the lace trim on top and then cut out a couple of rose photos that I had. All together it made for a striking picture.

The vase didn’t take any time at all. I bought a flat sided glass vase from the supermarket for £3.50 and placed the lace trim round the base. I secured it with a few stitches but I’m sure some fabric glue would work just as well.

Both the frame and vase together look so pretty!