Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Last Minute Gift Idea

Last Minute Gift

You can never have too many last minute ideas! Especially for Christmas presents. I find these great for teenagers. I have no clue what they would like! It's not like it was THAT long ago that I was a teenager either.

You can pick up everything for this at the supermarket, so you can even put it together in the car on the way.

The toothbrush adds a bit of humour, makes it look like you put in some effort and you don't need to feel bad for just giving someone chocolates and ruining their teeth!

I've used a jar here to put the m&ms in, but you can also use a mug, or cellophane gathered up around the sweets. Pick whatever chocolate or candies take your fancy or are on special. Tie off around the top with a nice ribbon and secure the toothbrush in there are the same time. VoilĂ ! Now, off to your party!

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Hand Painted Wrapping Paper

Finger painting Wrapping Paper

I normally wrap my presents pretty plainly, using brown paper and some nice ribbon, but this year I thought it would be fun to get Roman in on the action.

I set up a fingerpainting station for him with some red and green paint and let him at it!

Finger painting

He was concentrating so hard and had his head really close to the paper. He somehow managed to get a smudge of paint under his nose, but otherwise he stayed pretty clean. After the paint had dried I ironed the paper flat. I covered it with a sheet of baking paper.

Finger painting Finger painting

If your kids are old enough to do something a bit more crafty than finger painting, try decorating the paper using a potato stamp. Check out this tutorial from theperfectpair.

Or, get the kids to paint some gift tags like these from Jo at bubala

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Glittery Tree Topper

Glittery Tree Topper

I've been putting up my own Christmas Tree for nearly 10 years and I've never had a proper tree topper for it! That's pretty bad isn't it?! Especially for someone who loves putting up their tree. I've put all sorts of things on the top, but this Christmas there will be a proper star on top!

To make one of your own, follow this great tutorial over on twogirlsbeingcrafty. It took me about an hour to put together, including gluing the two sheets together.

I had to glue 2 sheets of glittery card together because the back was plain white. I tested with a scrap first to make sure it would bend nicely. The two sheets were glued together with a glue stick. Hot glue worked amazingly on the joins. I did find that the sheets peeled apart on some of the bends, but a dab of hot glue quickly fixed that. The bends make the perfect tunnel to slot the star onto the top of the tree.

I think these would make great tree decorations made half size, using 6 inch squares of paper.

I cant' wait to put my tree up and test it out!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Fabric Scraps for Gift Wrapping

Fabric Scrap Gift Wrapping

I was given a gift that was wrapped in this way and it was so cute that I kept it in the back of my mind for later. Since Christmas is the season of giving, I thought I share it with you all!

This is a lovely way to use up little scraps of fabric that you have and takes a plainly wrapped gift up a notch.

Fabric Scraps for Gift Wrapping

You'll need:
A wrapped gift
Ribbon of your choice
Scrap of fabric

Fabric Scrap Gift Wrapping

First, cut your scrap of fabric to size. In the photos, I've used a 6" square. Start off with a piece a bit bigger than you think as you can always trim it down.

Fabric Scrap Gift Wrapping

Put your ribbon under the wrapped gift it bring it up to the top and secure with a knot.

Fabric Scrap Gift Wrapping

Holding the bottom of the fabric with your thumb, work up the middle pinching the fabric into a concertina. Hold tight between your fingers. If you're not happy with the shape of the bow, then trim off strips from the top for a less curvy bow, or the sides for a shorter bow.

Fabric Scrap Gift Wrapping

Holding the bow, put it on top of the ribbon and then tie the ribbon over the top. You can work the rest of the ribbon into a little bow or a neat knot, depending on the look you want. You can see my finished wrapping at the top.

Friday, 16 November 2012

No Sew Gingerbread Man Puppet

Gingerbread Man Puppet

Puppets are easy to make and lots of fun to play with. This one doesn't even need any sewing! Just a bit of glue to put it all together. You can use tacky craft glue, hot glue or fabric glue... they're all much the same.

Decorate him with scraps of ribbon, fabric or buttons. If using buttons, don't give the puppet to kids under 3, as they buttons may come off and present a choking hazard. If you really want to make one for a 2 year old, sew the buttons on very securely.

Gingerbread Puppet

You'll need:
2 sheets brown felt
Glue (tacky craft glue, hot glue gun or fabric glue)
Scraps of ribbon, fabric and buttons for decoration
The pattern - download here

Gingerbread Man Puppet

Download the pattern template and print it out. If you don't feel like printing out the pattern, use your hand as a guide for size and sketch a gingerbread-ish outline onto a piece of paper. I folded my paper in half to make sure is was symmetrical. Make sure your fingers will fit in the puppet.

Gingerbread Man Puppet

Cut out the pattern, and put on top of a sheet of felt. You can hold it against the felt and cut it straight out, or mark on the felt with a marker or tailors chalk first.

Gingerbread Man Puppet

Repeat on the other piece of felt and cut them both out. Run glue around the edge of one of the pieces, leaving the bottom un-glued. Stick the other piece on top. Leave it to dry. I suggest making the sides you traced onto the inside so you don't have any chalk lines on the outside of your puppet.

Gingerbread Man Puppet

Decorate the Gingerbread Man by gluing on some ric-rac for icing, buttons and fabric scraps for eyes, etc. You could also use goggly eyes or draw black pupils on with a fabric pen. I used buttons for his buttons (imaginative hey?!) and scraps of felt for the mouth and eyes.

You might notice in the top photo I did have to stick him on a broom to get a photo...poor fella!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Tea Towel Gift Wrapping

Tea towel gift wrapping

I love using tea towels to wrap cook books. I think it's a great way to wrap them up that's a little bit different. It's really simple but looks like you've gone to lots of effort. It's nice for house-warming presents too.

You need a fairly large tea towel for a regular sized cook book, so keep a look out for jumbo dish cloths. Finish it off with a wooden spoon, whisk or a few cute cookie cutters. A bottle opener would work well with a wine or cocktail book. Here's how you do it:

Tea Towel Gift Wrapping

You'll need:
A cookbook
A tea towel about 3 times the height of the book
A utensil for decoration
kitchen string (may be needed to secure the tea towel)

Tea towel gift wrapping Tea towel gift wrapping

Take your tea towel and lay it out flat. Put your book in the middle, on the diagonal. It should roughly be in line with the opposite corners of the tea towel.

Tea towel gift wrapping Tea towel gift wrapping

Fold in the sides so that they are parallel with the sides of the book. Fold them over the book to make sure they just overlap each other. When you've got them right, fold them both into the middle.

Tea towel gift wrapping Tea towel gift wrapping

Fold one of the ends in to a point as you would with paper gift wrap. Pinch the edges in so that they are smooth against the book. Fold the flap in and repeat on the other end.

Tea towel gift wrapping Tea towel gift wrapping

Take the tails and tie in a knot in the middle. If they are too chunky to get into a knot, tie them together with kitchen string. For a finishing touch, tuck a wooden spoon, whisk or other kitchen utensil under the knot.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Decorative Plates DIY

Decorative Plate DIY

If you're on Pinterest, then you've probably seen this idea before. While this will work with Sharpies (and I've tried it) the result is not dishwasher safe. I love my dishwasher and get a bit annoyed by things that aren't dishwasher safe.

Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paints and pens are dishwasher safe. They give a lovely glazed ceramic look to your work. I used the pens and like that they draw a nice even line, but if you colour in an area they blend nicely and look painted rather than coloured in. They also don't stink like the Sharpies, which is good when you're working with your head close to the pen to see what you're doing. Put on my glasses you say? That would be a smart idea!

The opportunities are endless when it comes to designs. I have quite a few ideas on my Christmas Pinterest Board. They make great gifts with a pile of cookies stacked on top.

There is a bit of confusion online as to whether the Pebeo Porcelaine 150 pens are food safe or not. They are labelled non-toxic, but then Pebeo says they are not food safe. Then they also say that they are fine to use on plates that won't be scratched by utensils. If you're worried, then decorate a plate for the wall or the outside of a mug (but not the top where your lip would go).

If your kids are old enough that you're happy to let them at the pens, then this would make a fun craft project with a lovely keepsake. Thrift stores are one great place to look for your cups and plates. I got mine in a craft shop for a few dollars.

Decorative Plates

You'll need:
A ceramic plate (or mug/cup or bowl)
Pebeo Porcelaine 150 pens
A soft lead-pencil

Make sure the plate is clean and dry. Using the pencil, draw your design onto the plate. Go over the design with the Porcelaine Pens. After doing one colour, leave it for a few minutes to dry and then you can use a second colour without smudging the first.

Decorative Plate DIY Decorative Plate DIY

If you have a made a mistake, it is supposed to wash off. I tried and couldn't get mine off with a wet cloth, but I could scratch it off with my fingernail.

Once you are happy with your design leave it to air dry for 24hrs. To make it dishwasher safe, it needs to be baked. Put the plate in a cold oven and then turn the oven on to 150°C (300°F). Once the oven reaches temperature, leave the plate to bake for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave to cool.

Now your plate is dishwasher safe!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Felt Christmas Ornaments

Felt Christmas Ornament

Does your sewing machine have a heap of decorative stitches? Did you think how cool they all were when you bought it? Have you EVER used them?? This is the prefect project to test them out.

If your sewing machine doesn't have any decorative stitches on it, tracing around Christmas cookie cutters onto the felt and then hand embroidering over the outline would look lovely.

It's a good idea to test out your decorative stitches on a piece of scrap felt before starting. I used a Sulky Cotton 12 for my lines because I love the shine it gives. It is a thick thread so it didn't work for all the stitches I tried as some used very small stitch spacing. I also used an Size 90/14 Embroidery needle in the machine to make sure the thread flowed smoothly.

Felt Christmas Ornaments

You'll need:
Tailors Chalk
Heat n Bond Ultra
Suitable thread for your stitches
Glitter fabric paint and paint brush (optional)

The size of felt you need depends on how big you want your decorations and how many you are making.

Using tailors chalk, mark lines along the length of the felt to use as guides when stitching. I spaced mine 1.5cm (5/8") apart and used 7 lines.

Felt Christmas Ornament

Then choose your stitches (testing them first) and sew each stitch down a line following the chalk line. When done, give it a light press on the wrong side of the felt to flatten it out again. Cover it with baking paper to protect the iron.

Felt Christmas Ornament

On the paper side of the Heat N Bond, draw your circle to size. I added the little square at the top so it looked more realistic. Repeat for how many ornaments you are making, lining them up and making sure the tops are all level.

Felt Christmas Ornament

Cut it out roughly in one piece and then line up on the wrong side of the felt. Iron onto the felt following the directions. Again, put a piece of baking paper over the top to protect the iron.

Felt Christmas Ornament

Once completely cool, cut out along the lines.

Felt Christmas Ornament Felt Christmas Ornament

Cut a short piece of ribbon. I used a 5cm (2") piece. I was worried that the 1 layer of Heat n Bond wouldn't be enough to hold the ribbon so I cut a scrap slightly smaller than the top of the ornament. I then peeled the paper off the ornament and layed the ribbon how I wanted it, then put the scrap of Heat n Bond on top. Then I very carefully ironed just the scrap onto the back of the ornament. For this step you cannot use the baking paper so very carefully keep the scrap in place with your fingers while you iron it down.

Once it has cooled, peel off the paper and then put the ornament onto a plain piece of felt. Iron it down, using baking paper to protect the iron and then once completely cool, trim the back piece of felt to the size of the front.

This step is optional but I think it finished off the ornament perfectly!
Using a paintbrush, paint some glitter fabric paint onto the top square to make it look like the little gold cap on the top of an ornament. Leave to dry overnight.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Play Felt Christmas Tree - No Sewing Needed!

Play Felt Christmas Tree

Does your toddler like to play with your Christmas tree? Do you get panic attacks every time they go near it? Especially when they go near the side that has your favourite glass decoration on it that you got on holiday 5 years ago and you know you can't ever replace?? I'm hoping that this play tree will solve my problem. A little tree just for your kids to decorate and play with as much as they like.

These felt trees are so much fun! Even I enjoy playing with it. I've set it up in our dining room/sewing room so that when I'm working on a project Roman can play with the tree and we can hang out together. I think I got an hour of uninterrupted project time the other day. Roman loves taking all the decorations off and then sticking them back up again.

The best part about this project is how easy it is! There is no sewing involved. Felt sticks to felt, so there is no velcro either, just pieces of felt. Acrylic felt is fine to use for this, no need to hunt down wool blend felt unless you really want to.

To make it feel a bit more festive, I decorated the baubles with dimensional glitter fabric paints. This is not at all necessary and I think it would look just as nice if the decorations were plain. It would also make the project cheaper and faster. If your kids are old enough, they can help decorate the baubles or cut out the felt shapes. I find that the shapes still stick to the felt, even if the decorated side is to the back (and stuck to the tree).

The fabric paints I used had quite hard containers, so my hands got very sore squeezing the tubes. If you're looking to buy some fabric paints, make sure the tubes aren't too stiff!

Play Felt Christmas Tree

You'll need:
A large piece of green felt - mine was 1m x 70 cm (36" x 28")
scraps or sheets of coloured felt
A pen for marking the felt
Blu tack or 3M Command poster strips to put up the tree
Dimensional glitter fabric paints (optional)

To start, you'll need to cut out your tree. I made mine 1m tall and 70 cm wide at the base (36" x 28"). I actually think it's a little too big for Roman as he can't quite put the star on the top. I get the occasional 'Mama do it' which I don't mind.

Lay out your felt and find the middle of the top short side. Using a long ruler or piece of string, mark a line from one bottom corner up to the top middle. Repeat for the other side to get your triangle. Now think about how you want to cut it out. You can simply cut along those lines to make a plain triangle, or use your imagination. Here are some ideas:
- Cut along the line in a jagged fashion to give the tree a bushy appearance (this is what I did)
- Add some tiers to the triangle for a more traditional shape
- Add curved tiers

Once you've chosen your shape, mark it on the felt using the triangle lines as a guide. The side you draw on will be the back, so feel free to redraw the lines if you need to.  If you're happy with how it looks, cut it out. You're tree is now done!

To make the baubles, trace around a cup onto the coloured sheets of felt. Cut around the circles. Repeat with each sheet using different size cups or other round containers for your templates.

I did my star free hand and also made a template on paper by hand for my lights (I think they look like fish). I picked up my snowmen in an op-shop for 10c.

If you want to decorate the baubles with fabric paint, do so and then leave to dry for about 24 hours. I found that mine curled up a bit so after they were dry I put them under a book for a few hours to flatten out. Make sure you put some baking paper on the glitter side so that they don't stick to the book.

That's it! Find a nice place to stick up your tree and let the kids at it!

Play Felt Christmas Tree Play Felt Christmas Tree

Thursday, 1 November 2012

A Very Crafty Christmas

Christmas decorations

I hope you like all things Christmas, because for all of November and December this blog is going to get very Christmassy!

During November I'm having 'A Very Crafty Christmas' and will be bringing you lots of fun crafty Christmas projects. Some will be nice and easy and perfect for first time crafters, some will get the kids involved and some will be a bit more complicated.

For the month of December, Laura from Craftstorming and I will be co-hosting 'A Very Cookie Christmas' and be giving you lots of recipes for delicious cookies.

To get you into the Christmas Spirit, here is a wrap up of all the Christmas projects I did on the blog last year:

In the Kitchen

Spinach Cranberry Salad Gingerbread Ice Cream
Spinach and Cranberry Salad                                Gingerbread Ice-Cream

White Chocolate Cake Boil and Bake Fruit Cake
White Chocolate Christmas Cake                         Boil and Bake Fruit Cake

Candy Cane Brownies
Candy Cane Brownies


Glitter Letters Salt dough decorations
Glitter Letters                                                       Salt Dough Decorations

Christmas Decorations Mantle
Easy Decorated Baubles                                       Felt Garland and Paper Snowflakes

Santa Stocking
Christmas Stocking Tutorial and Free Pattern


Doggie Treats Cookies in a jar
Doggie Treats                                                       Cookies in a Jar

Peppermint Schnapps Sugar Scrub for Hands
Peppermint Schnapps                                          Sugar Scrub for Hands
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