Category Archives: Crafts

Crafts: Making your own Christmas Stocking

Christmas is peak crafting season for me. I love making things, or trying to make things for the house and for my family. Alas my crafts often turn out a little wonky and rustic looking, but for me the thing I enjoy most is the act of crafting, not necessarily the result. This month I joined the Turtle Mat blogger craft challenge and tried my hand at making a Christmas stocking.

Crafts: Making your own Christmas Stocking

Turtle Mat sent me a box of craft materials to use and it was up to me to decide what I wanted to do. There were all kinds of things in the box, tinsel, a sewing kit, pine cones, glitter glue, decorative robins, string, hessian, and bells.

I began by cutting out a Christmas stocking shape out of the hessian, which I then hand sewed together. This took a little while as I’m not very quick when it comes to sewing by hand. Turning the stocking right side out, I sewed a piece of laced ribbon in a loop at the top to hang the stocking. I stitched the ribbon around the top of the stocking and down over the areas I’d hand sewn, in part to hide the stitched edge, in part because I was going for a really simple look.

I then sewed on some wire craft stars I’d made at my craft class the week before. I left them so they would dangle and sway on the stocking. 

Crafts: Making your own Christmas Stocking

To make the wire craft stars I printed out a star shape of the right size. Then I bent some brown paper covered craft wire into a star shape using the template. Using PVA glue, I glued the wire star onto some decorative paper. I used a slightly aged page from a music book. I left the glue to dry overnight and then trimmed around the star. The result was quite effective and could be used in so many different ways. Perhaps as decorations or on Christmas cards. 

Crafts: Making your own Christmas Stocking

My simple Christmas stocking was finished and just needed hanging by the fire ready for Father Christmas.

When you make your own Christmas stocking, once you’ve got your basic shape, it’s up to you how you embellish it. You can go wild, or stay simple like me. I really like my brown and cream stocking. My stitching leaves a little to be desired, but you can’t see that and it doesn’t really matter, as long as it holds when it’s full of Christmas goodies!

You can find out more about the Turtle Mat blogger craft challenge here. I was not paid to participate in this challenge and I look part because I thought it would be fun. I was right. 

How would you decorate your Christmas stocking?

Christmas Crafts: Five Festive Crafts from Baker Ross

This time of year really lends itself to crafting, especially with kids. Our small boy seems to be doing quite a lot of creative crafts at school at the moment, which means when he comes home he wants to do more of the same. I love crafting with him and this year we often make things to decorate the house with, or to give as gifts. I’ve picked out five festive crafts from Baker Ross for this month.

Baker Ross have a really huge selection of Christmas craft kits this year. It seems to be bigger and better than ever. Whether you’re making little gifts for friends, family or teachers, or crafting your own Christmas cards, the Baker Ross website is the place to look for craft kits and inspiration.

Christmas Crafts: Five Festive Crafts from Baker Ross

This year scratch art seems to be big in the craft world and I love the look of the Christmas Scratch Art Scenes kit, it comes with a little tool to scratch off your designs a it’s really rather eye catching. The small boy had a lot of fun discovering the rainbow of colours underneath too.

For slightly older children the Christmas Jumper Cross Stitch Decoration Kit is a lovely way to spend an afternoon. The kit comes with a set of plastic “needles” which are easy to handle and safe to use. These would make excellent Christmas cards for special friends.

The Christmas Bauble Colour-in Window Decorations will always be a popular craft activity. Simply colour in these stained glass style decorations which include Santa in his sleigh, an Angel, a Skiing Penguin, a Robin, an Elf and a Skating Snowman. They look really very effective.

One of the crafts my son enjoyed the most this Christmas was the Snowflake Fingerprint Decoration Kits. These kits include six foam snowflake templates, stick-on gems, 3 ink pads and ribbon. My son loved getting a bit messy with these and they’re now waiting to be hung up on the tree. 

Lastly, these Gingerbread House Photo Frame Decoration Kits would make a lovely gift for family members. All your little ones need to do is decorate their gingerbread house with the foam decorations provided and then stick their picture inside the frame. It’s a lovely fun gift.

There are so many more festive crafts on the Baker Ross website, not just for kids either. It’s well worth taking a look for craft kits and materials in general for your Christmas crafts.

What’s your favourite Christmas craft?

Christmas Crafts: Five Festive Crafts from Baker Ross

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Craft Round Up: Five Easy Autumn Leaf Crafts

At this time of year the trees are shedding their beautiful leaves. The pavements and paths are filled with crispy and colourful leaves and they are crying out to be used in crafts. Easy autumn leaf crafts are amongst my favourite kinds of craft, partly because it’s good fun to actually collect the leaves, then sitting down with the boys and having fun crafting something beautiful makes me happy. Here are some of my five favourite ideas for easy autumn leaf crafts.

Autumn Leaf Sand Art

Easy Autumn Leaf Crafts

We are firm fans of sand art and we loved doing this fab kit from Baker Ross. My top tip for sand art is to do it on a tray or a piece of paper so you can collect any stray sand to use again later. These sand art kits are fab, just peel the stickers off the leaf and sprinkle sand onto the sticky paper underneath. It requires some concentration and a steady hand, but my five year old loved it and I think he made some very beautiful autumn leaves.

Make your own Autumn Wreath

Easy Autumn Leaf Crafts

This is a great rainy day activity. Using some foam stickers from Baker Ross and a paper plate we made our own autumn wreath which I think looks pretty cool, and he enjoyed making it which is the most important thing.

Making Autumnal Alphabet Wreaths

autumnal alphabet wreaths

This is a craft I did myself (a grown up craft if you will), but you could easily do this with children too. I think this looks fab and it was really good fun to do too, it’s probably one of my favourite easy autumn leaf crafts. You can read my tutorial here.

Create an autumnal woodland wonderland

easy autumn leaf crafts

This is one of those easy autumn leaf crafts which is good to have up your sleeve for a rainy day. It was incredibly easy, but he had the best time making his woodland wonderland, who doesn’t love stickers? These woodland foam stickers from Baker Ross are great. We used them with some of the leftover leaf stickers from our autumn wreath and made our lovely woodland scenes. All I had to do was print out a silhouette of a tree and he did the rest.

Paint your own tree

easy autumn leaf crafts

I’m very fond of this one. We had so much fun going to the park and collecting a big bag of leaves. When we got home we had a hot chocolate and warmed up. We painted a big tree and then stuck leaves on it. This wonderful artwork is still hung up in our kitchen and it makes me smile at the memory every time I see it.

These are my ideas for easy autumn leaf crafts – what do you like to make at this time of year?

 
Five Easy Autumn Leaf Crafts

I am a Baker Ross Ambassador.

Crafts: Autumnal Alphabet Wreaths

This week it has been dry, crisp and decidedly autumnal. During a walk around my local park I filled a bag with fallen leaves to do autumn leaf crafts with the boy, but as I’d gathered so many I wanted to make something by myself, for myself. So whilst the boys were out feeding the ducks, I spent a happy hour at the kitchen table making autumnal alphabet wreaths.

autumnal alphabet wreaths

These autumnal alphabet wreaths are really easy to make. I’m really pleased with how mine turned out. You can make whichever letter, or letters you want. I chose an A because our surname begins with an A. You could also do any shape you wanted. I’ve got plans to do a few more, maybe a heart and a circle.

You will need:

  • A piece of thick cardboard
  • A pencil
  • Scissors
  • PVA glue
  • A paintbrush
  • Lots of leaves, a variety of shapes and sizes is best
  • A piece of ribbon

To make your autumnal alphabet wreaths:

With your pencil, sketch the letter or shape you will base your wreath on. You can make this as big or small as you would like, mine was around 30cm tall. Carefully cut out your shape, taking care not to lose any fingers. If a child is making this, ideally an adult should do this part.

Before you begin sticking your leaves to your wreath shape, it’s easier to fix on your ribbon. As I knew my shape would be covered in leaves I chose to staple my ribbon to the wreath, but you could tie the ribbon to the top, or make a small hole and thread it through if you prefer.

autumnal alphabet wreaths

Once you are happy with the cardboard base of your wreath, pour some PVA glue into a bowl and in sections paste glue onto the cardboard. As you start to stick the leaves on, dab a little extra glue on each leaf and stick the leaf to the shape. Try and choose an interesting mixture of leaves and cover any gaps. 

I found it useful to stop every so often and leave the glue to set a little before starting the next section. You may also find it helpful to lay a plastic tray or board on top of the leaves for half an hour or so, this will apply even pressure whilst the glue dries a bit and it shouldn’t crush the leaves too much.

autumnal alphabet wreaths

Once you’ve covered your alphabet wreaths, leave them somewhere to dry, preferably overnight. Once dry you can hang them up indoors. I’m really pleased with how mine turned out. It was really effective and would lend itself to lots of different and rather interesting shapes.

Autumn leaf crafts are some of my favorite things to so, I think the colours and textures are so lovely, it’s a shame not to make the most of them whilst they’re so vibrant.

autumnal alphabet wreaths

 

Easy Ideas for Halloween Crafts

One of my favourite things about Halloween, apart from being given an excuse to dress up, is Halloween crafts. It’s one of those occasions when you and the kids can go all out on the spooky stuff.

Last year me made a few different Halloween crafts, but our favourites were the Spooky Lanterns from Baker Ross which you can find out how to make here. They are still available this year on the Baker Ross website and they do look really effective.

halloween crafts

This month we’ve been starting to look at some more easy Halloween Crafts. We were sent a selection of Halloween and autumnal themed crafts to try (we will do the autumnal crafts in a separate blog post).

The Halloween crafts we were sent were –
  • Day of the Dead colour in mini gift bags
  • Halloween Dotty Art
  • Halloween Pom Pom Decoration Kits

halloween crafts

Day of the Dead has been very much in fashion for the last few years and is gaining in popularity. Indeed, last year I dressed as a Day of the Dead style zombie bride for Halloween. The little colour in gift bags (there are 6 in a pack) would be a great craft activity for a kid’s Halloween party, then they could fill their bags with sweets and take them home afterwards. 

halloween crafts

The Halloween Dotty Art kits would also be great for a Halloween Party (we are going to take ours on holiday with us over half term). The pack contains eight different Halloween designs (Monster, Spider, Cat, Ghost, Pumpkin, Owl, Bat & Skull) and packs of coloured stickers. You then stick the stickers on the spooky design and bring your Halloween picture to life. This kind of thing is great for strengthening little fingers and increasing dexterity, as well as being a fun activity you can do together without creating any mess.

halloween crafts

I love pom pom crafts, so I was pleased to find these Halloween Pom Pom Decoration Kits in my box of seasonal crafts from Baker Ross. The pom pom kit contains everything you need to make a spider, a bat and a pumpkin. 

Like most pom pom crafts they are a little fiddly to make and probably need a grown up to get it started and help tie it off at the end. Making pom poms is lots of fun and once you’ve snipped your threads you can start to see your spooky pom pom creature come to life.

The Baker Ross website has hundreds of easy to do craft kids for children and adults alike. Their kits are almost universally well designed and thought out, and there’s something for all ages, abilities and craft interests, often with minimal mess and fuss. For easy Halloween crafts, have a look at Baker Ross for inspiration.

We are Baker Ross Ambassadors.

Review: Travel in Style with a kids Pipity Activity Case

Whenever we go out anywhere, even if it’s just to a local cafe I always shove an activity book and some pens in my bag to keep the boy entertained. He likes to draw and colour in. It is something he can do by himself or something we can do together. We were sent an award winning Pipity Activity Case, Pipity Portfolio and some Pipity Activity Books to try out on our holiday. But what did the boy think?

Pipity Activity Case

There are three different colours to choose from, red, pink and blue, all have a lovely star pattern. We chose the blue stars because blue is his favourite colour. The Pipity Activity Case is a fold out case full of all the stationery a child would need to colour in or create things. It includes a pencil, colouring pencils, a ruler, scissors (not sharp), glue, a pencil sharpener and a little pouch to keep your activity book in. 

The Pipity Activity Case folds out and has an easel/board you can lean on to use if you’re not sat at a table. This is a great idea, especially if you need to keep them entertained somewhere like the airport where they are likely to be sat on the floor.

Pipity Activity Case

The Pipity Activity Case has a carry handle and a strap you can sling over your shoulder and carry it with. And this is what the boy did as soon as he clapped eyes on it. Wherever we went, Pipity had to come too, and the best thing was he was carrying it for once. He was so proud and excited to have his own swanky activity case, he showed it off to anyone who would listen.

We were sent three different activity books to try, so we eased ourselves in gently and just chose the book which had blank pages to write and draw on. These are just the right size to slip inside the activity case. The pages are perforated too – a nice touch, so when you’ve finished your masterpiece you can tear it out and stick it on the fridge.

Pipity Activity Case

Pipity is very portable. It’s light, is around A5 size and is in a waterproof oilcloth case. It’s well made, stylish (I would love a similar one for adult crafting things) and it is suitable for children aged 6+ (though it’s safe for ages 3+). The activity case costs £24.99 and is currently available online via the Pipity website.

Pipity Activity Case

We were also sent the Pipity Portfolio, a handy case with expandable compartments to store your masterpieces once you’ve completed them. It’s the ideal companion to the activity case and costs just £7.50. I really liked this, the boy has a habit of gifting me his drawings and I never have anywhere to store them, so I liked that we could keep them safe in the portfolio. 

Pipity Activity Case

The Pipity Portfolio has its own handle so you can carry it. It’s made from lined board and is around A5 size. The portfolio has an elastic fastener to keep your treasures safe and sound. I think this is a lovely idea and a great price. I’d like to see it also available in a larger A4 size for bigger pieces of artwork.

Pipity was designed by Kate, a Mum of 3 from Devon.  The range has been designed at her kitchen table and was launched in May 2015.  The Pipity Activity Case recently won Right Start Best Toy Award 2016, which is very exciting. The Pipity range is all available on the Pipity website.

The Pipity Activity Case is absolutely perfect for taking on holiday, on days out, or just to the local cafe. It has been very widely admired by everyone who has seen it (or been shown it by the boy) and I can see this becoming a real essential for us whenever we leave the house. 

We were sent these lovely Pipity products for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Crafts: Making simple bunting cards

As a crafter I count myself as an enthusiastic complete amateur. I think often, especially with the crafts I make, simple is often better. I needed to make some fairly quick and simple cards to thank some people who have helped me out lately and I thought I’d make some bunting cards. 

I was sent some card making goodies from Create & Craft TV. They sell online as well as running a popular crafting TV channel – if you’ve not seen it and are interested, you can watch it on their website at http://www.createandcraft.tv/tvschedule as well as on Sky, Freeview etc.

Create & Craft TV

My bunting cards are really simple and quick to make, they’re great for kids to make too and they can create all kinds of designs depending on what kind of scrap paper triangles you use.

Create & Craft TV

You will need –
Blank cards
Scrap paper cut into bunting triangles
Foiled & Die Cut Sentiments
A black felt tip
Glue, I used Pritt Stick

To make your really easy bunting cards –
With your felt tip, draw a slightly downward curved line across your card. Cut your scrap paper into small triangles, mine were about 2cm long. Glue your triangles along the line and decorate with a sentiment, draw a little picture, add whatever embellishments you want.

I kept mine really simple as I think the bunting looks effective enough without too many other things on the card.

Create & Craft TV

As you can see from the two cards I made, the less wiggly line of the two worked better and for future bunting cards I will use a straighter curved line.

Create & Craft TV

There are a full range of craft products on the Create & Craft TV website including papercraft, sewing, baking, jewellery, knitting and much more. I know if you’re anything like me when it comes to craft products, I’m always on the lookout for interesting and versatile new things to use. 

I am particularly taken with the big book of Hunkydory Sentiments, all die cut and foiled ready for popping out and using on your cards. The book contains 620 individual sentiments in a range of styles and colours and I know I’ll be using them for lots of cards this year. 

You can never have too many blank cards to hand and the pack sent to me by Create & Craft TV were great quality and included a mixture of finishes. I was impressed with the variety of card making kit which I received and it’s got my creative juices flowing again.

I enjoyed creating my really simple bunting cards, they’re ideal if you want to make and send a homemade card but you’re short on time or confidence to do anything more elaborate. But honestly, I always think simple is better and I’m pleased with how they’ve turned out.

Note: I was send some papercraft products from Create & Craft TV to make some cards with. All images and opinions are my own.

Our first Craft Class at Little Miss Bee Designs

This year I made a promise to be a bit kinder to myself. One of the things I’ve chosen to so is join a local craft group. I’m no great artist, but I really enjoy doing crafts. When you are crafting or doing something creative you can’t, no matter how hard you try, think about anything else. I come back from my monthly craft group feeling refreshed and like I’ve switched my brain off for a few hours. I know it’s unlikely that I’d ever sit at home by myself and do some crafts, so craft groups and classes are for me the way forward.

Last week a couple of my crafty friends and I booked a craft class at Little Miss Bee Designs in Failsworth in Manchester. The craft classes are run by Bernadette, a teacher and major craft enthusiast. The sessions are held in a lovely summer house in her garden which is known as “Bee Cottage”.

Little Miss Bee Designs

We booked to make paper flower wreaths. This class cost £10 per person with everything included. Generally the Little Miss Bee Designs craft classes cost between £10-£15 per head. The classes include everything you’ll need for the session, plus refreshments. Little Miss Bee Designs offer craft classes for all levels of expertise and experience. 

Bernadette talked us through every stage of the wreath making process, from covering the hoops with decorative papers, to constructing the flowers and curling the petals. She let us make all of our own design decisions, and gave helpful tips and advice every step of the way.

Little Miss Bee Designs

We all had a really good natter and agreed it was the perfect way for our group of busy working mums to wind down a little in preparation for the weekend. I totally switched off from all of my worries and concerns and just focused on making my wreath and chatting to my friends.

Bernadette at Little Miss Bee Designs is really knowledgeable and lovely, she gave us a little tour of the studio and talked us through all the crafts she does and the classes that she runs. I ended up buying some of her jewellery because it was so pretty and unique.

We thoroughly enjoyed the class and we think the Little Miss Bee Designs craft classes would be great for groups of friends looking for something crafty to do. There are lots of different craft classes to choose from and Little Bee Designs are releasing new class dates all the time. 

For more information and to find out more about Little Miss Bee Designs visit their website.

Win an Instant Flower Press from Interplay

Earlier this week I got my own Instant Flower Press from Interplay. The flower press is really easy to use and great for crafting whatever age you are (suitable for ages 8+). It takes less than a minute to press a flower using this kit and we had a lot of fun gathering the flowers, pressing them and then crafting with them.

Instant Flower Press from Interplay

You can read more of our thoughts about the Instant Flower Press from Interplay and get some ideas for easy dried flower crafts here.

The Instant Flower Press from Interplay costs £9.99 and is incredibly easy to set up and use, it comes with a detailed instruction booklet and everything you need to get flower pressing. It’s great for learning more about nature as well as being a pretty essential addition to my craft cupboard. 

For more information about the Instant Flower Press from Interplay, visit their website.

WIN an Instant Flower Press from Interplay

To be in with a chance to win an Instant Flower Press from Interplay worth £9.99, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5.The winner will receive an Instant Flower Press from Interplay RR£9.99.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 19th June 2016.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winner’s name will be available on request
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Crafts: Dried Flower Craft Ideas

This week I became the proud and excited owner of an Instant Flower Press from Interplay. Admittedly it’s designed for children, but both my son and I had great fun with it and we’ve created some pretty little dried flower craft items yesterday afternoon with some flowers we picked on the way home from school.

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

The Instant Flower Press is really simple to use and comes with an instruction booklet. You open up the press, put a layer of the felt pads and the pieces of cotton material in the plastic press, place your flowers inside. Put another layer of cotton and more felt pads (all supplied) and close the press. Pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and you’ve got dried pressed flowers. Slightly more moist flowers may take a little longer in the microwave, but once you start pressing your flowers you’ll quickly be able to judge what will take an extra ten seconds and what will dry more quickly.

As a child my Grandma had a flower press and I loved using it with her, carefully picking pansies from her garden and pressing them between thick parchment and screwing the press shut, then leaving it for months before seeing the fruits of our labour.

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

With the microwave flower press the whole process is done and dusted in minutes and perfect if you need some pressed flowers for some quick dried flower craft.

Quick and easy Dried flower craft ideas

Pretty Jam Jar Candle Holders

You will need:
A clean jam jar
A selection of dried flowers and leaves
PVA glue
A paint brush

These are so simple. Take a clean jam jar and some PVA glue and a paint brush, brush the glue onto the jar where you want to stick your dried flowers. Carefully press the flower onto the glued area to stick it on, then gently cover the flower with PVA glue to seal it in place. Leave to dry.

You can be as creative as you want with this, I’ve left mine quite simple, but I love the delicate little blue flowers and the daisies. It took hardly any time at all to glue on, but maybe an hour to dry properly. They look so pretty and I can see me using this idea on so many things around the house.

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

Pebble Paperweight 

You will need:
A clean stone
A selection of dried flowers and leaves
PVA glue
A paint brush

Again, this is very simple. We have a pile of lovely smooth pebbles in the garden, so I picked one the right size and gave it a good scrub and left it to dry. Then I selected a suitable leaf which I’d dried in the flower press and brushed PVA glue onto the pebble and pressed the dry leaf into place. I left it for a few minutes to stick, then I painted PVA over the leaf to seal it in place and then I left it to dry properly for a few hours.

I’ve now got a lovely paperweight, or a pebble to stop my napkins flying off the table when we eat in the garden. 

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

Dried Flower Sun Catchers 

You will need:
A laminator and pouches or some sticky backed plastic
A selection of dried flowers and leaves

Borrowing a laminator I arranged some dried flowers in an artistic way in the laminator pouch, I then put it through the laminator a few times until I was happy. I then cut my A4 sheet down into a circle and using a clear sticky dot stuck it to the window.

It’s really quite pretty and I’ve got a nasty window in the downstairs loo which needs replacing, which I’m now going to cover in these lovely dried flowers to pretty the place up a bit!

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

These are just three very quick ideas I had for dried flower crafts that afternoon. I’ve got a few more ideas up my sleeve including some nice thank you cards and other papercrafts.

The Instant Flower Press from Interplay is a cracking piece of kit and if you enjoy crafting and have kids that enjoy crafting, then I can’t recommend it enough. The small boy went to school today with a bag full of dried flower pictures for show and tell and he’s loving showing off his dried flower craft to anyone who will listen. It’s nice to do something a bit different with him and importantly he’s really enjoyed it and got something out of it too!

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

The Instant Flower Press from Interplay costs £9.99, is suitable for ages 8+ (though my 5 year old used it happily with supervision) and is available from a wide range of retailers.

Note: We were sent the Instant Flower Press from Interplay for review purposes. All images an opinions are our own.