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

This is just a selection of the great designs I found. For more images of elephant greetings cards 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

Tutorial :: 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.

Materials:

  • 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 cetnrak 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

Tutorial :: Mini monogrammed stockings

So I'm a sucker for chocolate coins at Christmas time and ended up buying some more, the aim was to give them to my nieces. Rather than just wrap them up I wanted to put them in something a bit more special, so I came up with the plan of making the a mini stocking.

Materials:
  • Paper, pencil, scissors - for the template
  • Felt, pins, needle, thread - for the stocking
  • Yarn, crochet hook - for the trimming
First step was to draw a template out of some scrap paper. Once I'd finally got a stocking shape I cut this out then drew round it on the red felt.


If you are using a pen to draw round the template, just flip the template over before you draw round the second part of the stocking so all the pen marks are on the wrong side.


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 which started life as a scarf from a pound shop and which took me ages to unravel, but anyway ... I crocheted a strip using the yarn and a 4.5mm crochet hook as it was hard working with this yarn on a smaller hook. The border was 6 stitches wide and was worked in half doubles (UK term half trebles) until the piece was wide enough. After stitching the two ends together and weaving in the tails, I stitched the border in place making sure the stitching was fairly sweat as it could be seen.


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



Monday, 22 December 2014

Tutorial :: Felt tree Christmas cards

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.

Materials:

  • Pencil, ruler, paper, scissors - for the template
  • Blank card, felt, double sided sticky tape - for the card

The first step was to produce a template.


I used this to cut out the felt shapes, I did this by holding tight rather than drawing round the template, it is often easier to to this on smaller felt items.



I laid out the trees on the card in my chosen design making sure they were cented and evenly spaced. The I placed double sided sticky tape and stuck down my trees one by one.


A very simple and effective design for a Christmas card ...




Sunday, 21 December 2014

Tutorial :: Cardboard Christmas Trees

I don't know about you but because I ordered quite a few pressies off the internet I have a bit of a surplus of cardboard around the house at the moment. So this was designed to used some of that up. Here's how I made them ...

Materials:
  • Cardboard
  • Pencil 
  • Ruler 
  • Scissors
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 if that's all the cardboard you have.


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

Finished make :: 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.

So today I set about trying to interpret this in my own way.

My first thought was to try my hand at decoupage. So I cut out some red tissue paper for the bauble shape and some tin foil for the bell shape.


Using some PVA craft glue and a old paintbrush I glued these on and trimmed around the edge of it was a snug fit.

But it just didn't look special enough so I dug out the glitter we'd bought last week and brushed another layer of glue on the paper before pouring the glitter on top of the shape.  I then touched up the edges with a bit more glue and pressed it into the excess glitter until I was satisfied with the coverage.

I also experimented with not adding any paper and just adding glitter and that seemed to give just as good an effect. After the first layer had dried I them gently painted glue on again and pressed the decoration into a puddle of glitter stars.

The final step was to add a hanging string - recycled from the glittery gift tags used on the panto costume. And here's the finished ornaments ...


Looking good on the tree too...


Friday, 19 December 2014

Finished make :: 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.

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. Stitch the decorations on to one side adding some embellishments if you wish. 

The sitch the two horse shapes together adding a hanging thread. Leave a gap to stuff the horse and the sew closed. 

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


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Finished make :: Pantomime costume

This wasn't a Christmas make I had planned, but on Friday night I was informed that a costume was required for the staff panto at the school where my other half works.

Each year a pantomime is customised to fit with the school staff/personalities. I've seen Aladdin, Robin Hood, Grease (yes not strictly a panto) among others over the years.

This year the panto is Alice in Wonderland and my other half gets to play the King of Hearts. A crown and a 'cape' (as he called it) were requested. So on Sunday we hit the pound shops of Peckham to purchase supplies.

We (meaning I) ended up turning two giant santa sacks, an old sheet and some glittery red gift tags into a cape and a kids foam crown and some more glittery red gift tags into a crown.

Just in case you ever have the need to make yourself such a costume this is how I created my masterpiece...
(Warning there is a lot of glue gunning involved!)

Take your foam crowns and assemble checking the fit. If the crown needs to be a little bigger cut a strip of something else (I used the other crown in the pack). Glue gun the bits together.

Using a heart shaped cookie cutter (or something else heart shaped) as a template draw heart shapes onto the back of the glittery gift tags and cut these out. Glue gun glittery four glitter hearts to the crown.

Stand back and admire your work, but not for too long as you have a 'cape' to make.


Pull the felt santas off the santa sacks, don't worry too much about the neatness and to be honest as the santa sacks are from a poundshop they'll not be well glued and will come off fairly easily. Just be careful not to rip the sack. Unpick the seams of the sack so you have two large pieces of felt. Cut a strip off one of the sacks about 3cm wide. Pin and stitch the two santa sacks together. Add some folds around the collar area and pin the strip of felt to the inside. Make sure the ends of the strip of felt have some overlap. Sew in place the strip and add a popper. For a little extra decadence add a heart shaped sequin to hide the popper.

Next add your embellishments. I cut out some large white hearts from an old sheet using pinking sheers. Glue gun these in place - I covered the bits where I'd pulled off the felt santas. Add some large hearts to the inside of the 'cape' too so that there is a bit of interest for the audience when your actor is standing delivering their lines (or dancing to Happy by Pharrell as in this panto). The final flourish is to glue gun the remanining glittery hearts inside the white hearts.



Et voila.

One very special panto costume.




Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Finished make :: Scandinavian figurines

This cute little kit was another purchase from Tiger Stores.


Not quite as reproduceable at home as the fabric hearts - but you could probably use wine corks and get a similar effect.


As with the fabric heart kit it came with everything you need (apart from 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.


And you end up with something like this ...


Now I just need to find somewhere to put them amongst all my other decorations ...



Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Finished make :: 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. It also goes nicely with my holly garland tinsel (from The 99p Shop).


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

Finished make :: Crochet reindeer

I initially found this pattern from Lion Brand last year when I was bored of making penguins such as the one here. The pattern is free but you need to sign up.

It's a little more complex than the penguin because of the antlers. Here is their version ...


And here is mine ...


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Finished make :: Ivy Wreath


I decided the front of our house wasn't looking very Christmassy but I'm not able to compete with the scale of the decorations of one house a couple of streets away.


So I decided to make myself a wreath to hang on the handy little hook just above the little window on our door.

I didn't want anything too fancy or requiring too many materials and while sitting on my sofa with a cup of tea yesterday morning looking at the unkempt state on my garden I had a stroke of inspiration - a bit of trimming = foliage for a wreath. The only Christmassy plant in the garden is ivy so my wreath is plain but I think it looks lovely.



Here's how I made it...

Materials

  • foliage
  • scissors or secateurs
  • string

Firstly I cut a length of Ivy that gave a circle of about 25cm diameter (I'll let you do the maths as to how long that needs to be). Overlapping the ends slightly I tied these with some bakers twine (recycled from my recent Lucky Dip Club box) - you can trim the end or use it to create a hanger for your wreath.


I then cut some shorter pieces to weave into the base of the wreath. I tried to pick leafier lengths for this. Keep on weaving in pieces until you are happy with the thickness.



To finish off I cut some individual larger leaves and wove those in where there was too much twiggage.



And here's the finished wreath sitting proudly on my door in the gorgeous Peckham sunshine...