Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Quick & Easy Gifty Ideas

I always need quick and easy projects I can make for the occasional craft fair I attend.  What's needed is something quick and inexpensive to produce out of supplies I've already got and that I can sell at a low price. Hopefully to draw in customers who might then make multiple purchases - isn't that what supermarkets do!

Anyway - whilst browsing in The Works craft section a few weeks ago I found these pretty sticky backed fabric sheets - £1.99 for a pack of four different designs - and the idea of these little brooches came into my head.

They couldn't be easier to make. I drew round the wooden shapes on the paper backing of the fabric and cut out just inside the pencil line. You can carefully cut off any overlaping edges with a sharp scissors but its better to get the size right on the first stick! I gave the fabric a coat of Mod Podge but watered down PVA glue would be just as good. Glue on a brooch back and present on a stamped card. These will make an appearance at my next fair whenever that is - I've nothing booked at the moment - but they'd also make pretty last minute token gifts don't you think?

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Paper Pinwheels

I made a bunch of paper windmills for a craft fair last week.  I know, I used the American word pinwheel in the title of this post, but it rhymed better - sorry!  I saw the dies at Make the Day Special - unfortunately out of stock at the moment but there are others on the market. When they arrived I realised the windmills were mean for cards and papercraft decorations and would not spin - a bit disappointing.  Anyway not to be thwarted I decided to try and make them spin - which is what windmills are meant for aren't they!

I have to admit it was a bit fiddly but eventually I worked it out and thought I'd share.  Hope this makes sense.  I've numbered the steps to go with the photos above.
  1. I used wooden kebab sticks you can find easily in supermarkets.  A hole is needed but they split easily when the awl is pushed through so a piece of tape (I used washi tape) wrapped round the top before you make the hole stops the splitting.
  2. I die cut the pieces from double sided scrapbooking papers. If you want to make a 'bunch' a pad of paper will ensure all the papers will look nice together.
  3. Arrange 6 pieces in a wheel (a pin helps keep them together) and hold them in place with finger and thumb.
  4. I found it best to staple the pieces together in the middle - if you don't do this you will find it very frustrating getting them to stay together for the next step. I used my Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher bought on a whim but I've found it SO useful - LOVE IT!
  5. I had some pearl headed florists' pins but any long pin with a head will do - there are lots of different designs on the market but a ball head is required here. You need to add something decorative for the centre of the windmill and a small bead which will enable the spinning. I had these flower shape sequiny things I thought I'd never find a use for (NEVER throw anything away!).
  6. Gently shape the pieces with your fingers as in the photo.  This will make it easier to get the pin through all the pieces and the hole in the centre. I'm not going to kid you, its rather fiddly getting everything on the pin but practice makes perfect! Add another couple of small beads to the pin at the back.
  7. I've used a clothespeg to hold the windmill on the pin in the photo - otherwise it will jump off! Make sure you hold everything on and push the back and front slightly together but only a LITTLE BIT.
  8. Poke through the hole in your wooden stick and bend the pin down at a right angle with a pair of pliers. I thought children might want these so I cut the sharp end of the pin off with wire cutters.
  9. Finally wrap another piece of tape round the pin end to tape it to the stick.

Ta-da your windmill. Give it a sharp puff to make it spin. Well, I have to admit they don't spin as well as those you buy in the shops but they do and they look very pretty in a jar on the windowsill.

Saturday, 4 April 2015


Happy Easter all! Its been a miserable Easter here in North Wales so far - but the perfect time for crafting without the guilt of staying indoors! Love this illustration from an Enid Blyton Holiday book though I really can't work out what the girl is offering the little chick - a worm perhaps??

I recently treated myself to a Free Motion Stitching workshop at The Coach House. I've struggled to find time to practise much since and I really really want to improve on what I learnt from the delightful and hugely talented tutor Fliss Owens.  But I have finished one project and yesterday started another.......

I made my first embroidered picture into a peg bag as I much prefer things I make to have a practical use rather than just sticking them on the wall or leaving them in a pile on the side.  And guess what, the sun has suddenly broken through the cloud cover so maybe I can use it this morning!!!!

My picture was inspired by this little sketch in Rebecca Crompton's Modern Design in Embroidery published in 1936.  Rebecca, Kathleen Mann and Priscilla M Warner are embroidery heroines of mine and I've been lucky enough to collect a lovely library of books by them full of gorgeous inspirational work and advice, mostly at very modest prices. However for some reason this book of Rebecca's commands a very high price so when I saw it on sale as what I thought was a very reasonable amount I jumped at it and was not disappointed when it arrived. If you are curious I've a Pinterest board of their work you might like to look at here.

I'll definitely be dipping into it for inspiration for my next creation. Lastly here are a few photos from our class at the Coach House last month, including my very first attempt - the flower in a pot. Although I wasn't happy with it as I was creating the embroidery, Fliss was right when she said it would turn out fine and I really liked it once it was finished and sewn into a lavender sachet.


Related Posts with Thumbnails