Saturday, 29 December 2012

Christmas cushions - some more patchwork, dinosaurs and holly

A homemade Christmas present selection wouldn't be complete without a few cushions - so here are the ones I made this year.

Patchwork for 3 year old Oliver, mini dinosaurs for 2 year old Leo
And here is other side of the patchwork cushion (of course, they weren't matching!).

Finally, a Christmas cushion for Liz to add to her wonderful Christmas decorations each year.

I reckon it could be used all year round.... :)

Draught excluder snake - with a buttonhole fastening

Al's sister Liv asked for a draft excluder with a removable cover for Christmas, so I had a go at making one with a big piece of blue corduroy from Our Patterned Hand. I got the inners from Lancashire Textiles online.

His stuffed felt forked tail appears to be slightly folded under here. Oops.
As well as buttons for eyes, I used a button to fasten him together at the bottom end. This is the first time I have used the buttonhole foot on my sewing machine. It's very clever, you put the button into the foot and it creates a hole to fit it.

Button hole foot in action.
Here's the finished button hole and button.

And here is Liv enjoying her snake :)

Mug jumpers

My only foray into knitting beyond scarves, I made these mug jumpers from some leftover wool on 10mm needles. To add the handle hole, I cast off five stitches in the middle, then cast back on again next row. The button I attached with wool. No need for an extra buttonhole as the knitting itself was loose enough to poke a button through wherever you needed it.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Personalised bags for Ivy and Poppy

I decided to use some left over corduroy to make little handbags for Alex's neices Ivy, aged 5 and Poppy aged 3. They were simple little things, with pink binding and a wooden button. I appliqu├ęd the letters I and P onto the flap and added some butterfly, ladybird and flower buttons. 

Photographed under the Christmas tree at home.

The flower bag was a prototype

 I wanted to get pictures of the girls wearing them, but in the chaos of Christmas with small people, it wasn't easy and all the ones I took were blurred.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas scarves

After a long break where I spent most of my 'making things' time on my sewing machine, I did a bit more knitting in the run up to Christmas. I'm still really only any good at knit stitch - so it's all about simple scarves. The wool for both of these came from Bibelot in Leek and they were knitted with 10mm needles. I added tassels to the end of this one for Mum, which made it look a bit more exciting. I haven't done tassels before, so I have no idea if I did them right. I cut three lengths of wool and folded them in half (to make a tassel of six strands). I then pushed the loop made by folding them in half through the wool at the end of the scarf, threaded the tassel ends through it and gently pulled them tight.

I thought Dad might like his left tassel free.

And here is Tilly the family dog modelling Dad's scarf... she's a natural.

What a good girl :)

Cycle doodles with porcelain pens

Another go with the porcelain pens, this time to make plates for a couple of cyclist friends. Jess's looks a bit better as hers was the second one I made...

Porcelain pens on eggcups and toast plates

Alex's mum Liz bought me some porcelain pens for my birthday. I bought some plates from a charity shop, and plain egg cups from a kitchen store, and made some Christmas presents.

Alex wanted me to write good egg and bad egg and then let my parents fight it out between them, but I went for a less controversial approach! 

When painted, you need to fire them in the oven at 150 degrees C for 35 mins to fix them.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Homemade and recycled Christmas tree decorations

Christmas trees and their decorations are one of my favourite parts of the Christmas period. In my family home we added more decorations, often homemade, each year. Now, decorating the tree becomes a reminder of all the Christmases and years past. Each decoration is familiar and friendly, all too easily forgotten until you unwrap it from its newspaper or get it out of its box. And everything looks great on a Christmas tree, whether an intricate and delicate bauble, a fir cone covered in glitter or a santa claus made with cotton wool and red cardboard in playgroup.

I've been very aware of what I post about Christmas after writing this blog post on Christmas, making comparisons and mental health. However, I couldn't help but share my own collection of decorations as it starts to grow. My favourite are these Christmas mice. They are made from the inside of an eggbox (a six pack of eggs can make two mice), sprayed gold or silver and then decorated with glitter, beads and wire. A pipe cleaner tail attached to the back can help hold them on to the tree.

I also really like these butterflies. I made these with craft paper from Cowling and Wilcox from a tutorial in the Guardian family section last year. Cut a circle and a square and fold in half to make an oval and a triangle. Fold the paper like a fan into the central folds of each and then squash together at the centre. Wrap wire or thread around to hold them together. I added beads and ribbons too.

The wire can be used to hold them in the tree.

And of course, your spraypainted and glittery fircone. I made one last year while volunteering at Radio Lollipop for Great Ormond St hospital.In fact, you can spray any twigs, fircones or leaves silver or gold, add some glitter and attach them to the tree!

This holly decoration has lasted three years now - the silver spray must preserve it!
This owl is made from half a strip of cut and folded old book with mince pie cases for eyes.

And here is the tree in all it's homemade glory.