Saturday, 30 January 2016

Elephants -- Cross Stitch

When I received the December Lucky Dip Club box I was thrilled that it included a cute cross stitch kit by Tea and Crafting. I haven't cross stitches for years, but was an avid cross stitcher in my youth, spending my pocket money on cross stitch magazines and supplies. Subsequently I graduated to other crafts but cross stitch is such a fun and easy craft to do. To celebrate my return to cross stitching here are some elephant cross stitch patterns I found on Pinterest this month.

Cross stitch elephants college :: Embellished Elephant

1. The simple geometric outline is very effective in this pattern.
2. This colourful floral elephant is beautiful and very intricate.
3. Another geometric design but this one makes use of a range of colours to create a real impact.
4. The repeating design is very unusual and would work well on a cushion cover.
5. Large cross stitches make up this simple design.
6. Another intricate design creating a beautiful elephanty effect.
7. This pattern filled elephant could be created using a range of colourways to suite any room.
8. I love the water spray patter that fills the interior of this elephant and calf.
9. A cute elephant family pattern that would be perfect for a nursery wall.

For more elephants visit my Elephants board on Pinterest.
All links above are to Pinterest as some of the items pictured may no longer be available at their original link.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Felt Cactus

Back in November I headed to Brick Lane to Renegade Craft Fair, while I was there I picked up a felt cactus kit from the Make Arcade. I bought it for myself as a treat but when my other half was struggling to figure out what to get me for Christmas he bought off me so he could wrap it and give it to me as a Christmas present. Yep I'm a very understanding girlfriend, no I don't ever get bought flowers.

So despite purchasing it a couple of months ago. I only actually had it in my possession since the big day and only started making the cactus after all the familial duties that come with Christmas had been completed.

The Make Arcade Felt Cactus Kit Review :: Embellished Elephant
Photo: The Make Arcade

The kit comes in a plain card box with a colourful slip cover. The packaging and instructions were professionally printed on good quality paper. The instructions included all the templates for the project and these were colour coded so it was obvious which shapes you'd need to cut out of each colour of felt. However, the instructions were folded in order to fit into the box and that meant it was difficult to get the templates to lie flat.

The steps were easy to follow but I interpreted the instruction to "stuff well" a bit too literally and ran out of stuffing after 4 of the 6 parts. I had to unstuff and then restuff with a more moderate amount in each. The instructions were a bit brief when it came to stitching on the flower i.e. it didn't give you any tips about how best to go about this - but I figured it out based on the picture on the cover.

Overall I really enjoyed making it. I've worked with felt before but haven't made anything in 3D which was partly why I picked this kit of all of the ones they have available. The kit was well put together and I think the price was good for quality of the kit and the end make. Because the templates are printed on good quality paper it also felt like it was something you could replicate again just by buying a little more felt.

I'd recommend buying this kit if you are new to working with felt, new to stitching in 3D or just love cacti!

Here's my finished make. Finally one plant I can't kill by forgetting to water it.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Paper gems

I'm a bit behind in my crafting and reviews but with a nice long break between Christmas and New Year, rain outside and Mollie Makes issue 62 popping through the door I thought I'd get stuck into that free kit first designed by Mini Eco.

I have to admit that I'm not really a paper crafter but it is always fun to try something new.

The kit itself is fairly basic, just comprising of a wooden template and some pieces of paper (approx a  quarter sheet of A4 each). There are few things that you need to locate from your craft stash to complete the project, which is usual for Mollie Makes kits and they are things that most people will have available - pencil, ruler, glue, scissors, needle (or compass). The instructions didn't list that you might need a mat or something else to lean on to prevent scratching your table top when scoring (and that isn't obvious from the pictures either).

Drawing round the template and cutting out are fairly straightforward. The scoring of the lines was less so as it was difficult at first to know how hard to score to allow for a crisp fold. On my first couple of gems I scored a bit too hard and had to do some patching on the reverse side with tape. Folding was a little tricky especially at the top, and I found the accuracy of the scoring greatly affected how easy it was to fold the top part crisply.

Gluing was the most difficult bit. That might be partly down to my glue (supermarket pritt stick) but also just getting the last panel glued was tricky as you had two tabs that needed sticking in place at the same time. In the end I perfected a kind of glue and pinch method to make sure each panel stuck well. The needle can also be used to help manipulate the last tabs in place. You can't really spot the slightly dodgy sticking in this picture!

Mollie Makes paper gems free kit review :: Embellished Elephant

The picture on the instructions page showed a garland made from the paper gems but there was no hint about how best to construct this. I made mine into a garland by selecting some thin hemp cord that I had in my stash, threading this onto a sharp needle and carefully piercing through opposite sides about 5mm from the top point of the gem.

Mollie Makes paper gems free kit review :: Embellished Elephant

Overall I enjoyed making this free kit and the template makes it easy to replicate this project again using paper from your own stash (Tiger has a great selection if you don't have a stash!)

Monday, 11 January 2016

Embellished -- Golden Globes 2016 dresses

It's awards season again! And that means gawping at all the fabulous frocks on the red carpet. Many of the dresses at this years Golden Globes went for details such as cut outs or pleats. There were a couple of fully sequinned stunners worn by Julianne Moore and Olivia Wilde but the ones I've selected below are those with embellished details rather than full on sparkle. 

1. Jennifer Lawrence -- this plain red dress just comes alive with the addition of a bit of bling in the form of this necklace by Chopard.
2. Jenna Dewan-Tatum -- the bodice of this Zuhair Murad Couture dress is quite densely embellished moving to a swirly arrangement on the full skirt. The dark blue dress and mix of dark blue and silver embellishment really bring the swirls to life. 
3. Leslie Mann -- embellishment around the waist and going onto the skirt such as this one by Monique Lhuillier was a bit of a theme I saw on this years dresses. This one had a flora and fauna design.
4. Calista Flockhart -- I think this was my favourite dress of the night. The colour is gorgeous and the embellishment on the bodice is just beautiful, designed by Andrew Gn.
5. Kate Bosworth -- I'm not sure I actually like this Dolce&Gabbana creation but you can't deny it's embellished. Elle described it "Malibu sequin mermaid barbie".
6. Amy Adams -- the colour of this Atelier Versace dress is a real head turner but for me this dress is finished off perfectly with beautiful beading around the waist and down the left hand side.
7. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley -- this Atelier Versace gown was another one where the detail of the embellishment was in the skirt. 
8. Natalie Dormer -- I saw this on more than one 'worst dressed' list but the black embellished panel creates a quite unusual neckline on this J. Mendel dress
9. Portia Doubleday -- another dress I saw on the 'worst dressed' lists. I'm not sure if it is actually beaded, it looks it, and reminds me of bead weaving. The dress is by Naeem Khan.

All photos are from

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Embroidered paper

I saw this really interesting idea on Etsy's blog ages ago about embroidering postcards. As I've mentioned before on this blog I'm a sucker for Tiger stores and have a range of their patterned paper in my craft cupboard.

I picked a floral design that I felt would take to an embroidered overlay and picked out some crochet cotton in some complimentary shades and got stitching.

I used french knots for the centre and straight stitches working from the outside in to give a brick stitch effect.

And here's my finished piece of embroidered paper. I think it looks lovely and the embroidery really stands out from the print and lifts the design at the same time.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Copenhagen inspiration

I'd been to Copenhagen once before but that was over a decade ago and since then there has been the Scandi TV revolution. So when I spotted a Killing/Bridge walking tour I booked myself on it (4pm every Saturday). I would have loved to go to the Borgen tour as well but my flight didn't land in time.

Copenhagen is a really walkable city, even in December. These are some of the highlights from my trip.

Nyhavn and it's sailboats on a background of pretty coloured buildings.

Christianshavn area as I passed through on a boat trip - the different shades of neutral colours are just delightful.

Tivoli gardens Christmas lights. 

Tivoli Gardens Christmas tree - beautifully decorated in gold and bronze highlighted by the warm yellowy glow of the fairy lights.

Copper church dome against beautiful winter blue sky.

Traditional herring platter.