Saturday, 27 December 2014

Elephants -- Christmas

This month's elephants are of course ... Christmas elephants!

Well I have to say it was a bit of a challenge to find elephants with a Christmas theme. I'm not surprised - they're not the first animal you associate with Christmas, but here is my selection of Christmassy elephants.

1. This really is an embellished elephant ornament

2. Cuddly felt Elephant with Christmas blanket
3. Origami elephant in gold paper can be made into an ornament
4. Elephant ornament made from an old fork
5. Christmas elephant print fabric
6.  Elephants in santa hats = Christmas
7. Christmas tree bauble
8. Wooden 'First Christmas' ornament
9. Felt elephant ornaments

For more images of elephant visit my Elephants board on Pinterest.

All links above are to Pinterest as a number of the items pictured are no longer available at their original link.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Christmas tree topper

I love my little Christmas tree that I bought for about a fiver from Poundstrecher about 7 years ago.

The only thing that I haven't ever got round to resolving is the lack of something to sit on the top of the tree. 

I always wanted this to be the final make in my self imposed Christmas crafts challenge so here it is.

Pen, ruler, paper, scissors - for the template
Felt, pins, needle, thread, embellishments - for the star

Start off by creating your template.

Cut out two felt pieces in your template.

Start embellishing using whatever you want. My tree is red and silver so I decided my start would have silver embellishments. Work in rounds from the outside in. My first round was crouching some metallic thread near the edge.

Continue working towards the centre, I added sequins and then some glittery ribbon. 

I did debate about filling the central portions with beads, but I felt that would make the star quite heavy and it may not withstand its own weight so left it as it was as I liked the effect with the glittery ribbon as the centrepiece.

Once I'd added all the embellishments I wanted the final step was to stitch round the outside with some silver thread. I left an opening at the bottom so it can easily be slipped on and off the tree.

And here it is sitting proudly on top of my little tree...

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Mini monogrammed stockings

These mini stockings are a great alternative to wrapping a present - they are the perfect size for som chocolate coins.

Paper, pencil, scissors - for the template
Felt, pins, needle, thread - for the stocking
Yarn, crochet hook - for the trimming

First step is to draw a template out of some scrap paper. Cut out this template and then draw round it on the felt.

Cut out your stocking shapes and also a length of felt about 1cm width to use as the hanger.

Put the right sides together and start stitching around the outside - you can use a machine or stitch by hand as I did - it doesn't take too long.

The fold over the strip and stitch it to the inside of the stocking. You stocking should look something like this.

The next step is to add some embellishment - I picked some fluffy yarn and crocheted a strip using the yarn and a 4.5mm crochet hook. The border was 6 stitches wide and was worked in half double stitches (UK term half trebles) until the piece was wide enough. I then stitched the two ends together and secured the tails. This border was then stitched in place.

The final touch was embellishing a monogram to the stocking. I used a bit of the yarn and worked the lettering in chain embroidery stitch.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Felt tree Christmas cards tutorial

This is great project if you want to make a Christmas card with a simple clean design.

I first made these cards about five years ago, but wanted a quick handmade card so dug out my box of felt and got designing.

You will need:
Pencil, ruler, paper, scissors - for the template
Blank card, felt, double sided sticky tape (or glue dots) - for the card

First produce a template.

Use the template to cut out the felt shapes, you can either do this this by holding tight, pinning the template or drawing round the template. On a small item such as this just holding it tight is often the best choice.

Lay out the trees on the card making sure they are cented and evenly spaced. Use double sided sticky tape or glue dots to stick them into position.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Cardboard Christmas Trees

I ordered quite a few presents from the internet so I have a bit of a surplus of cardboard around the house at the moment. So this project was designed to use up that cardboard. 


First of all I created myself a template - I used an old cereal packet and cut this out.

Next step was to draw round this onto my cardboard - I made sure that I used cardboard that was free of labels, although you could just decorate over these.

Once I'd cut out two shapes I measured about halfway up one tree and halfway down the other. The slit I cut was about the width of the cardboard, don't cut it too wide otherwise your tree will be wobbly. 

And here are my finished trees ...

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Glitter wooden ornaments

At The Handmade Fair back in September I bought some laser cut mini wooden ornaments. I was never quite sure what I was going to do with them until I saw these lovely decorations.

I started by glueing some red tissue paper to the wooden shape, then trimming it to fit the shape. 

I then covered the red tissue paper with glue and sprinkled on glitter. I waited for the glue to dry and then added another layer of glue and glitter.

The final step was to add a hanging string. I followed a similar technique for the other shapes using silver glitter of different types

Looking good on the tree too.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Dala horse decoration

There are lots of colourful Dala Horses from which you can take inspiration but I decided I wanted to make a simple red and white one to go with the other decorations I have on my tree.

To get the shape of the horses right I used this this template I then figured out the design I wanted on my horse.

Next step was to cut the shapes out in felt then I stitched the decorations on to one side. The next step was to stitch the two horse shapes together adding a hanging thread, leaving a gap to stuff the horse and then sew closed. 

And this is what the final decoration looks like ...

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Scandinavian figures

This cute little kit was another purchase from Tiger Stores.

As with the fabric heart kit it came with all the materials you need, you just need to provide the tools (a needle, scissors and a dab of glue - to keep their hats on their heads).

The instructions were basic, but you didn't need anything more complex.

The first step was to stitch some detail onto the tunic. The sew the tunic closed at the back. The burlap was a a bit more difficult to work with than the felt because of the wide open weave you just have to be careful not to pull too tight.

The hair was made by plaiting the natural fibres and securing with thread. And the hat was made by folding the tube of knitting and tying up the top of the hat with some thread. The hat and hair just wouldn't stay in place so I used a small amount of glue from my glue gun to hold them both in place.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Felt Holly Garland

This comes from the 2014 edition of Prima Christmas Makes magazine. I knew the minute I saw the project that this is one I would make - it is such a simple idea but it looks great.

All you need to do is cut the holly leaves out of a range of different green felts and then stitch them together with some red felt berries.

There was a template for the holly provided in the magazine, but I didn't want all my holly leaves identical so I started cutting them freehand. The easiest way I found of doing this was to cut a strip of felt then holding folded in half lengthways cut the holly shape out. I also cut the berries freehand as I wasn't worried about having them too round in shape.

When stitching them together I decided to hand stitch them. I used some crochet cotton - about 2m in length. I stitched running stitch and tied knots either side of each felt shape just to hold it in place.

And this is the finished garland all hung up.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Crochet reindeer

I initially found this pattern from Lion Brand last year, the pattern is free but you need to sign up.

Source: Lion Brand

My version.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Crochet robin bauble

I've been following Toft on Instagram since I bought their book at the Handmade Fair. When I saw their post about a free robin bauble pattern I was straight off to download it. I don't know how long the pattern will be free for but I accessed it here. You have to sign up and go through as if you were placing an order and you end up getting a PDF emailed to you.

Source: Toft
Although the pattern was for chunky yarn I used DK and a 4mm crochet hook and ended up with a robin about the size of a squash ball.

It was a quick and easy make and looks great.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Christmas fabric hearts

I picked up this little kit from Tiger stores.

It provides everything you need (apart from pins and needles).

The fabric hearts were precut and you could mix and match the fabrics if you wanted but I decided to just go with the front and back the same fabric.

The instructions that came with the kit were brief but I didn't need anything more detailed.  You just sew the two parts of the heart together leaving a gap for stuffing.

I love the combination of red, white and wood - very Scandinavian.

I think they look amazing and for just a few pounds they are well worth a purchase.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Beaded Christmas card tutorial

I'd bought some lovely Christmas cards already for this year, but then I saw this on Pinterest and was inspired by the simple and effective idea. Here's how I made my version.

You will need:
Plain card and envelope I used A6 size
Thickish yarn/cotton - I used about 1m on an A6 card
Beads/sequins or other embellishments such as stickers
Tea towel (or similar to rest on whilst you pierce the holes)

Start by drawing out your design on paper, making it the size of your finished card.

Lay the design over the card blank, making sure you open out the card first to avoid putting holes in both sides. Use a paperclip or two to hold the two paper template and card securely together. Rest the card on the tea towel or similar to protect your surface, pierce the holes. Remove the paper template.

Knot your thread neatly, thread the needle and pass the thread through from the reverse side. Stitch out your pattern adding the beads as you go.

When you get to the end, tie off securely, with appropriate tension on the reverse side and snip off the ends to neaten. 

There are a few different designs you can make with the same template.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Crochet Christmas wreath tutorial

Source: Pinterest

Another Christmas craft inspired by these crochect Christmas Wreaths from Pinterest.

You will need:
some card (such as a cereal box)
scissors/craft knife
something round to use as a template
crochet hook
green yarn
embellishments of your choice (eg sequins, beads ribbon).

Start by drawing out your template on the card and cutting it out. 

If you are using scissors rather than a craft knife when cutting out the inner part of the circle, make a hole and then snip to the edges before cutting round the edge. 

The larger the distance between the inner and outer circles the wider your wreath will be. You should also think about the size of the inner circle and how you want your wreath to look.

Next up is the crocheting. I've used UK terms followed by US terms in brackets. 

ss - slip stitch
sc - single crochet
dc - double crochet
tc - treble crochet
htc/hdc - half treble/half double crochet

Join your yarn to the card with a dc (sc) and work dc (sc) around the wreath. 

Take this bit slowly and make sure the tension as you crochet is even to give a good finish. Hold the loose end close to the card and crochet over it for a few centimetres to secure it and avoid the need to weave it in at the end. Push the stitches as close together as possible to ensure the card is covered.

Once you've crocheted around the whole wreath the next step is to add the shell pattern.

Repeat the following stitches all the way round - dc, htc, tc, htc, dc, ss (sc, hdc, dc, hdc, sc, ss)
If you find that the shell pattern doesn't quite match up when you've worked all the way round, don't worry you can cover that up the ribbon hanger.

Once you've worked the shell pattern all the way round snip a long tail, 20-30cm and secure. Make a loop securing with a knot and weave the tail in to the backside of the wreath.

Next up the embellishments. You can choose whatever embellishment you want. I went with a mix of beads and sequins in red and yellow.

I used some red thread as I loved the contrast with the yellow sequins and little gold stars. I tried to space the sequins and stars evenly out around the wreath, placing six of each at regular intervals. The seed and bugle beads I stitched in a more random order.