A different creative project each week…from children's parties to sewing curtains

Monday, 9 December 2013

Wooden Christmas Sign

I wanted to make something beautiful for our home that would remind us of the joy of Christmas. This project is a little more time consuming than previous ones, but the end product is one that I am sure we will treasure for years.

Here is how you make this festive wooden sign.

You will need:

A piece of wood (mine cost £3 from a wood yard) 70cm long and 15cm wide. It should be at least 2.5cm thick.
Coloured yarn
A printer

Begin by sanding the edges of your wood and painting it lightly in a neutral colour. I have used Annie Sloan Paint, but mainly because I had it left over from a previous project.

Once the paint is dry you are ready to crack on...

I have printed out the word JOY in a font I like and expanded it to fit the size of the wood (which went onto two sheets of paper). I have made sure that the letters are 4cms shorter than the height and width of the wood so I will have a boarder around my words.

In order to save ink I printed only an outline of the letters, which can be done using the font key on your computer.

Sellotape your printed JOY onto the wood making sure that there is an equal gap around the lettering and you are pleased with the presentation of your words.
Now begins the fun (and noise!).

Hammer your first nails through the paper into the wood.

You can see I have started at the points of each letter which allows me to space the rest of the nails equally.

If you are worried about where your nails will go you can mark the paper first so you know that your spacing is accurate.

Each nail should be hammered into the wood until it is secure.

Build up your letters, one at a time until you have nails at approximately 1cm intervals on each of the printed lines.  

You are now ready to rip the paper out from under the nails. You will have to do this carefully, but if you have ensured that your nails are all secure then it shouldn't compromise your work at all.
You are now ready to start weaving your yarn around the nails. Begin by knotting one end around a nail head and then go back and forth around the nails in as many different directions as possible.

Make sure that you cover each gap between the nails on the letter line as a minimum (i.e. where the printed line would have been).

I used 8 meters of yarn for all three of my letters, but you could easily use more, so it might be worth measuring out how much you have before you start. When you have finished simply knot on an inconspicuous nail and trim the yarn to neaten it.

Here is the finished piece. I am really pleased with how it turned out, and although there were some tricky parts it isn't actually a really hard project to put your hand to.

Joy to the world the Lord has come!
Happy, happy Christmas to you xxx

Christmas decoration

Christmas is such a special time of year for us and it seems right to decorate our home with decorations that remind us of the love that God showed us by sending His son into our world.

I saw these pretty decorations a while ago and have tried to recreate them in a simple and easy way. In fact they were so easy to make that I have made loads of them to use as tags, presents and decorations for our home. 

If you have a sewing machine this project will take you under 5 minutes to make. If you don't have a sewing machine you can either glue or hand sew the layers together rather than machine them.

All you need is an old book, some red felt, a scrap of old fabric, some ribbon and a button.

Draw a heart onto your old book pages. I have tilted the page before drawing my heart to make the writing go diagonally.

As you can see my heart is less than perfect. This project lends itself to a slap-dash approach, so don't worry if one side is higher or fatter than the other, it will add to the charm!
Lay the paper heart on your scrap of fabric. If you are uncertain about sewing directly onto the paper you may want to use a bit of paper glue to keep the paper in the right place on the fabric whilst you sew it.
Roughly sew around the paper with a bright red thread. As you can see I have not done this accurately (it really doesn't matter) so experiment with the sewing machine to achieve a simple line around the paper heart.

Once you have sewed it cut around the heart so you have a margin of the coloured fabric.

Line it up on the next page of the book and repeat the process, sewing around the coloured fabric onto the paper.

Again cut around the paper after you have sewed it down so it doesn't move whilst you are sewing it.

And finally for the back layer, which is red felt. Repeat the above processes - sewing then cutting out your final heart.
Here is the heart at this stage. It looks so pretty with the red thread breaking up the different textures.
Now to turn it into a useable decoration...

I have used a length of ribbon that I fix into place  behind the heart with the red thread. On the front I added a complimentary button to finish it off.

Happy Christmas to you!

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Advent bunting

This craft combines two of my favourite things...bunting and advent!

It is a cheap but fabulous way to decorate your home this Christmas, and if you fill up your advent bags with goodies you will make it even more appealing.

These are the things you need: 24 sheets of thin card or paper (I used a Christmas pack from Wilkinsons for £2.50 for 30 sheets), string, glue, and a stapler.

You can handwrite the numbers, or I have used stamps.

The card I bought was already cut into 15 cm squares, so you will need to cut it to shape if you haven't done so already.

Begin by laying your square with a corner facing you, then fold the bottom right side over to create the first side of your cone. It is not an exact angle, so don't worry if it doesn't look right at this point.
Fold the left side over the right to make the cone shape and then staple or glue the two folds together. 

You will not see the staple once the top is folded over and so I have preferred staples over glue as I think it will hold better and not wrinkle the paper.

Fold the lid over to make a flap.

I have printed by numbers using stamps and an ink pad, but you could easily write your own numbers, or even print them on a computer.

Once you have finished your numbers, cut them out and stick them onto the lid of your cone.
I wanted to embellish a few of the cones and so I used red snowflakes to stick on a decorate. As the paper I have used is so decorative I really didn't want to over do any further embellishments, though this is obviously personal taste!

Now for the fun parts!

Fill up each cone with delicious chocolate treats, or little notes to those you love.

You are now ready to hang your bunting. Measure the space you want your bunting to hang and cut string 30cm longer, this will allow the bunting to hang down and leave enough string to tie up on each end.

Open the top flap of each cone and lay the string along the crease. Then fold back over trapping the string.
They should stay on the string without pinning them up, but I couldn't resist these little pegs which I used to peg the lid closed and secure them onto the string. 

Here is my finished advent bunting which hangs merrily in my kitchen as a wonderful reminder of this joyful Christmas season.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Christmas Gifts

This simple craft makes an ideal Christmas gift. It isn't expensive to make, doesn't take long and really is very easy!

You will need to save up any containers that are cylinder shape like cocoa pots, pringle packets, coffee jars etc. They need to have a lid and should be cleaned before you use them.

You could use any cookie recipe but I always follow this one which makes the yummiest cookies ever.

100g Softened Butter
100g Light muscovado or brown sugar
1 tbs golden syrup
6 oz self raising flour
3 tubes of smarties.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/Gas mark 4.

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy, then beat in the syrup.

Work in half the flour. Stir in the smarties with the remaining flour and work the dough together with your fingers.

Divide into 14 balls, place them well apart on a baking tray and cook for 12 minutes until golden at the edges.

As soon as the cookies are out of the oven you will need cylinder container you will use later.

Cover each cookie with the cylinder (see photo) and move it around the cookie in circles. This will shape the cookies slightly smaller than the container so they fit inside once cooled.

Leave on a wire rack to cool.
Now you are ready to decorate the container. 

Find some beautiful wrapping paper - You will probably notice this is paper left over from last week's craft!

Cut it to the right size to cover your cylinder, glue it and stick it to decorate your container.

Already it looks pretty, so by wrapping up a tower of cooled biscuits in some brightly coloured tissue paper we are only adding to the deliciousness!
Wrap the tissue around the cookies, twist at the end and drop into your lovely box

I love giving home-made gifts to friends and family, and this is such a simple and tasty gift to delight any recipient.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Little Christmas Lanterns

If, like me, you are already bursting to get the Christmas decorations up then this craft is a perfect one for you without going all out Christmassy in November (my husband is already relieved!).

This is a clever use of Christmas lights to bring the warmth of Christmas into your home right now.

You will need fairy lights (I bought these ones for £2.50 from Wilkinsons), and a variety of pretty paper. I used wrapping-up paper as anything too thick makes this a much harder task.

 Cut out squarers of paper 15cm by 15cm.
Fold your square in half horizontally with the patterned side on the outside.
 Open it up and fold it vertically this time.
 Open it up and fold it diagonally.
And finally open it up and repeat on the opposite diagonal.
Once opened it should look like this, with the four folds in a star shape.

Hold the bottom of the square and carefully fold in the middle sides to create a triangle shape.

This photo shows the folded side so you can see how it works.
Press it down firmly.
Now lift up the bottom right hand corner of the triangle (only from the top flap) and fold it up to the top corner of the triangle.
Repeat this on the left flap, folding it up to the top of the triangle.
Turn the triangle over and repeat this on the back with both the bottom corners folding up to the top corner to make a diamond shape.
Fold both the left and right flaps of the diamond to the central line creating two little triangle shapes.
Turn it over and repeat on the other side.
This is the first tricky part. You will from this photo the top section has two little flaps. Fold each one down to join the central point, seen on the top left side.

Then fold it over again and tuck into the little triangle pockets, seen on the top right side.

Turn the whole thing over and repeat the above processes tucking the top flaps into the the side triangles.
You are ready for the second tricky part. Open the four sides out and gently push the top and the bottom  until it folds magically into a cube shape.
Insert the fairy light into the hole in the cube and it should stay in firmly.

Repeat with as many different papers as you have fairy lights.

This is how it looks one you have finished them all. It is as delightful in the daytime without the lights on as it is at nighttime with them brightly shining.