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

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.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Thanksgiving Poster

In England we don't often celebrate Thanksgiving, but this year I have felt challenged to use the month of November to be thankful for the many good things in my life.

This is a simple idea to encourage my family to be intentionally thankful during this Thanksgiving season.

I bought a sheet of A1 water colour paper from Hobby Craft for a couple of pounds.

Then I wrote out the words 'give thanks' on my computer, changed the font to 'Charter black' and enlarged the print to 270 character.

Once you are satisfied with the size and shape of your letters select 'font' on the toolbar and if you have the 'outline' facility press this before printing.

Now your letters are printed carefully cut them out and lay them on your watercolour paper as you wish.

I have just gone straight across the middle making sure the spacing is equal.

Draw lightly around your letters with pencil and then remove the paper letters.

You are now ready to begin painting.

I used a small brush that I dipped in water and carefully covered the first letter with a small amount of water.

Then I added in watercolour paints. I have started with red and purposely made some sections of the letter darker and others lighter. I did this by using more or less water to dilute.

Once you are happy with the amount you have covered your letter with the first colour begin to introduce another colour.

At this stage I only want one other colour so I use an orange to fill in the rest of the gaps.
On the second letter I begin with the orange colour, covering half of the space before introducing a yellow shade to finish it off.
On the second word, I am ready to apply a cooler colour scheme.

Starting with a light blue, then adding purples and more blues you can change the colours of your letters quickly and dramatically.

The colours I have picked are attempting to travel through the rainbow, but with a deliberate attempt to return to the warmth of the reds and oranges by the end of the words. 

Here is the picture, which is hung by our front door as a constant reminder to be thankful. But it is also there to allow our family and visitors to write or draw things they are thankful for all around these words.

Why don't you spend this month making a Thanksgiving poster and write down as many things you are thankful for as you can!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever! Psalm 136:1