Festive table decor

Yes, much as I love pinecones and harvest themed table decor, after only a few short weeks I’m ready to go festive. It helps that my Mum is coming for a visit and so we squash all our festivities for the year into the trip and so it’s easy to feel a fiesta coming on!

Festive Table Decor3

I toyed with the idea of buying real plants – red geraniums – to go in the aqua pots I have (I use these turquoise ceramic pots to: hold the dishwash & brush, hold the table linen, and home a declining aloe vera plant) but I decided that I should make do with what I had. I tipped all the stuff out of the pots and filled them with various ‘reds’ from other projects. Repurpose!

I had some red paper roses and fading red feathers, some gorgeous plastic sweetpeas that my Mum gave to me for my first Mother’s Day (I know, cute isn’t it!) and some red berries that I use for everything.

Unfortunately, I’d stored the berries in our laundry-rumpus room and the spiders have been busy making whoopee on the fake foliage and laying their egg sacs! So I had to abandon them outside until the babies have hatched, and come up with an interim solution of pinecones, felthearts and red pipe cleaners.

FestiveTableDecor2

For the flowers to stay in position, I  criss-crossed ‘sellotape’ across the vase in a 3×3 grid to keep the flowers in place. For the hearts in the pinecones, I skewered the hearts onto the pointy end of BBQ bamboo sticks. There’s a danger for the toddler to be interested… but so far, if it’s not a truck, it’s untouched!

Just need to make a secret ‘Welcome Nanny England!” sign in complementary colours and the vignette is complete!

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Simple Needlebook

I was inspired to make a simple needlebook today – I’ve been needing one for a while, I keep my needles in a fancy Kauri wood toothpick holder but I’ve been thinking of upgrading.

Needlebook2

Now I would have loved to do the apple or owl style that’s out there (and I will, the minute I have a spare dollar for some red and brown felt), but I was compelled to use what was in my Tardis Craft Cupboard.

So I raided my shoebox of fabric scraps, the bag of embroidery threads, the tub of ribbons. It’s not fancy, but it’s a simple needlebook with one purpose: needle storage.

While I was getting all the gear together, I made a fascinating, if slightly belated discovery… the bag of embroidery threads that I’ll be using from now until doomsday – a hand-me-down from a co-worker’s husband who found it somewhere else – contained some beige floss, wrapped around a paper tube.

I’ve never paid it any mind until today when I caught a glimpse of a red postal stamp. I took the thread off and discovered it was an envelope from Sydney Trades Hall sent to its recipients on 19 April 1945! I don’t know if that means all the thread is nearly 70 years old (holy moly!) or just the one on the envelope.

Discovery

Back to the needlebook. Here’s what I had available, hot pink flannel, grey linen (from a  separate hand-me-down bag of fabric), some pink & orange cotton fabric that I loved when I bought it but only had two 3″ squares left, and some orange floss from the bag of oldies but goodies.

NeedleBook1

What I used:

  1. Pinking shears
  2. Two rectangles of fabric – one linen, one felty
  3. Smaller rectangles of felt for the ‘needle’ pages within
  4. Embroidery floss and regular cotton thread
  5. Applique paper

What I did:

I cut the rectangles out the same size for the outer and inner ‘needlebook’ cover.

Using estimates of where the hem would be, I folded the rectangle in half and sewed the embellishments on the ‘front’ first. I appliqued a heart and square. A running stitch around the square and a chain stitch on the heart.

Putting the big rectangles right sides facing, I sewed them together. I left a an opening so I could put the material the right way round. I used a running stitch to close the gap and around the edge of the whole book, because I liked the orange on the hot-pink.

A quick running stitch to attach the ‘needle’ pages to the book and it looks great in contrasting colour thread on the spine of the ‘book’.

Voila. A home for my two dozen needles!

Autumn Wreath

DIY-Autumn-Wreath

Last year,  I was  just as thrifty and imoverished as I am this year.  I didn’t have the moulah to buy a polystyrene wreath, I had no pool noodle to hand, but I really wanted a wreath. So I used a bit of genetically provided ingenuity (thanks Mum) on how could I make one with things I had at home.

I used:

1. A wooden hanger

2. Heavy cardboard

3. Old clothes – stretchy works best – cut into strips

4. Burlap – in strips

5. The original wreath – things to embellish – pine cones, berries, & pipe cleaners to attach the goodies.

5b. The new wreath – things to embellish – two colours of felt cut into heart shapes, complementary wool to attach the goodies.

Using  a wooden hanger, I attached a cardboard semi-circle to the bottom of it – making an approximate circle. I wraapped it in old clothes several layers thick to pad it up, and then wrapped it in red burlap.   Some red berries I’d bought for $1 and pine cones I’d found for free, voila, I had this beautifully misshapen, lumpy and very heavy wreath! It looked good to my eyes. Not professional or purchased, but home-made and homey. 

DIY-Autumn-Wreath-original

It’s held up really well.

I retired it for spring and summer – you can see the Valentines wreath I made recently with the red berries, but Autumn is tapping her golden fingers in this hemisphere and so I pulled it out of hiding last week.

I was inspired by this lady blogger’s – friend’s  – St Patrick’s Day wreath at their recent craft night.

I cut out dark red hearts and little grey hearts and used some pink yarn I had lying around to attach it. I love it!

DIY-Autumn-Wreath-closeup

 

Easy Wall Words for My Playroom or Any Room

Decorating the  playroom for my little fella has been slow and intermittent – always dependent on time, inclination and how many naps I need to take during his naptime. Like the Perfect Storm, the ‘playroom’ has been taking shape without any input from me – a gift of an indoor slide, a coffee table we don’t use that I can refurbish so it’s child friendly, and an old crib mattress, that I could see being used as a flop-cushion, in between sliding and artistic endeavours!

My favourite bit, on my list of ‘to-do’s for this room, was making the word ‘Read’.

Read1

It’s straightforward: freehand letters onto cardboard and cut out. Wrap them with strips of crepe paper – under a sun umbrella in the garden yesterday as Marsh snoozed.    

Playroom-Wall-Letters-Read

I attached them to the wall with command hooks and pegged them onto a ribbon.

It’s a place where we flop while Marshmallow crayons or slides or reads. 

Love Heart: Traditional Craft of Proddy Rugs

Heart Proddy Ruglet - wall hanging
After being inspired by my Mother’s gift of a ruglet kit, I made this with red hessian & leftover red fabric

For my birthday, my lovely Mother sent to me a little proddy ruglet kit from a Cotswolds cottage-garden industry – Pig and Lion. You can find out about the history and terminology of proddy rugs here at Wikipedia.

ProddyRugPigandLion

It was a wonderful present, the kit contained a square of hessian (burlap), 100 little ‘clips’ (rectangles) of fabric, and a special wooden peg to push the fabric pieces through the hessian holes.  My Mum bought it from Cheltenham fete, but Pig and Lion appear to be a mail order business if you wanted to experience a ruglet kit for yourself.

It took about 45 minutes. The brown hessian makes life easier as it’s a looser weave and you can also see the fabric being drawn through.

Here’s a picture of the reverse side so it makes sense how the fabric is drawn through on the top-side like a butterfly.

ProddyRugreverseside

I found doing this kit inspirational and as I was doing it, I was planning something with some red hessian I had in the cupboard, and what better than a heart in anticipation of Valentine’s Day!

Of course, red on red is not as easy to see, do-able, but probably better on natural burlap.

ProddyRug2

And the red burlap was much stiffer than the Pig and Lion hessian. Got quite a calloused thumb pushing the wooden peg through!  But it was worth it and I love it! ProddyRug1

Valentine’s Wreath

How fun that Valentine’s Day is nearly here again! Before that, of course, we are going to be celebrating Groundhog Day by watching Bill Murray at his finest. But that doesn’t need any crafting. So, skipping to Valentine’s Day. I made a wreath.

Valentines Wreath

Because I’m cheap, I used the the easy wreath I made for Christmas with an embroidery hoop you can read about that here, and gussied it up with berries from last year’s winter wreath, feathers from Marshmallow’s craft stash, felt-hearts from a project I still haven’t finished yet (filling a goldfish bowl with felt hearts, best not to ask) and I used red furry pipe-cleaners from the craft stash to tie the bits and pieces to the hoop.  For fullness, the Christmas embroidery hoop was wrapped with red crepe paper and a slither of ribbon to tie it to the wall.

It was very straight-forward to do, but does requires tweaking to make it just so. The tweaking takes the longest!

Valentines Wreath2

No matter what colours I see throughout the day – year – my life  – east, west, red is best! I love this. The red and white square quilt is one I made earlier and you can read about it here.

I’ve found lots of inspiration on the internet about Valentines gifts to make. Some involve chocolate, so I can’t be making them too soon, otherwise I’ll eat them in advance too, ha ha. Can’t wait and can’t wait to share the project with you!

I’m a little teapot, short and stout

My toddler boy loves the teapot rhyme.

I’m a little teapot, short and stout

here’s my handle, here’s my spout

When I get all all steamed up hear me shout

Tip me up and pour me out.

I was browsing Pinterest for felted food, I came across this cute teapot tutorial. So I decided to make one for Marshmallow for his Christmas stocking.

My tips on the teapot:

1. To make the circular base, I found a glass that was just the right size (top-end) and made a template. But also, when I was attaching the base to the teapot, I used the glass as a stabiliser.

2. I sewed three panels together x 2, and then pinned the handle & spout into position. Rather than as the tutorial suggests, sewing the panels together 2 by 2.

3. I didn’t have any felt pieces I wanted to use,  so I used the palest baby blue fleece. I really like it. And, like felt, it doesn’t fray.  The fleece I had was leftover material from a baby blanket I made.

4. Hand sewing, this took less than two hours to do. My scissors are awful and blunt, so if you had the right equipment, even quicker I reckon.

I will be making two teacups to match. But I’ve yet to find a tutorial for that… Even if my cups turn out bad, I’ll share, I promise!

Mad Hatters Tea Party

As you can see, my teapot is shorter, stouter and less embroidered. Also, it’s really hard to take a decent photo of a pale blue fleecey teapot!

But this is for a little boy, who may have tea parties with our little sock monkey family (I still don’t know what I’m doing with all those mad little primates I made). Marsh loves the monkeys. They’re currently on my bedside table shelf and he comes in and says ‘sock!’ sock!’ and then grabs them all in a bear hug and walks around the house like a zoological Hansel, leaving monkey breadcrumbs!