craft

Christmas Snow Jars

Snow scene jars are everywhere on my Pinterest feed at the moment - and rightly so, as they look amazing! I think they look particularly pretty on mantelpieces and side tables, as well as an eye-catching centrepiece on your Christmas table.

The trick is to create a 'scene' inside them - similar to a snow globe but without the water...

DIFFICULTY RATING: EASY

ORIGINAL PIN:

Via

MY ATTEMPT:

SHOPPING LIST

  • Display jars (I found mine at a bargain price from Homesense)
  • Epsom salt
  • Christmas decorations / models to make a village scene:
    - My house bauble and mini trees are from Sass & Belle
    - My glitter animals are the ones I made to top my Christmas cake with last year (love a good recycle!)

HOW-TO

1. Your epsom salt is your snow! Add to the bottom of your jar/s first.

2. Add your mini village!

Crafternoon essentials: Tea & a chocolate flapjack!

Crafternoon essentials: Tea & a chocolate flapjack!

Glistens in the daylight...

Glistens in the daylight...

... And sparkles at night-time.

... And sparkles at night-time.

That's it!

TOP TIPS

  • Keep out the way of children and pets - mantelpieces high up work well. Jars with lids are also a good call
  • Add fairy lights around them for extra sparkle (you could hide the battery pack or cables with green garlands)
  • Mini woodland creatures and trees create a particularly effective snow 'scene'
  • I would make two in case you want to add them to a mantelpiece or side table - keeping the look balanced.

VERDICT

Easy, pretty, affordable to make: highly recommended!

If you love easy Christmas craft ideas, this might also be up your street.

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Space-Themed Baby Mobile

DIFFICULTY RATING: MEDIUM

There are some lovely baby mobiles on the market, but a lot are super expensive. L suggested Mama B and I use some of my maternity leave to make Baby L's nursery mobile. I was apprehensive at first as my sewing skills leave a lot to be desired-! But Mama B sewed a lot at school and has never forgotten the essentials, plus her career was in teaching, so she taught me in a very easy-to-understand way (making the whole project much more enjoyable!).

I also found the process very therapeutic. I have one of those minds that tends to wander off during TV watching - especially with so much baby stuff flying around my head these days! Opening up my sewing kit and stitching in front of the telly really relaxed me. It was also a nice project to enjoy making with my mum - something we can give to Baby L and keep in the family.

We copied the design of this pretty version below from Etsy, which I found on Pinterest:

ORIGINAL PIN:

Via

OUR ATTEMPT:

SHOPPING LIST

  • Felt (enough for the amount you want to make - remember you need double as you're stitching two pieces together)
  • Embroidery thread (we used some in similar colours to the felt, others slightly brighter to stand out)
  • Needle
  • Polyester filling
  • Wooden skewer (it'll make sense in a minute)
  • Circular embroidery frame
  • Transparent decor crafting thread
  • Ribbon
  • Fabric glue
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Printer / paper / card
  • Pritt stick
  • Sequins if you want to add extra sparkle.

HOW-TO

  • Start by printing out your templates, ensuring their sizing is similar. We made the moon slightly bigger as it's the centre feature. We used Google image search for our templates.
baby-mobile-templates.JPG
  • Cut out your first template and stick it to card. Cut out and you have your first template. (Make sure any sharp edges are rounded rather than pointed otherwise it proves tricky when trying to stitch.)
  • Fold over a square of felt and pin the template to it.
  • Cut around template with fabric scissors.
  • Remove template and start blanket stitching around the edge. Rather than attempting to describe this method, I'd recommend taking a look at some YouTube videos - this one was particularly helpful:

(Video tutorial via)

  • Stuff your felt with polyester filling as you finish a section. Make sure you put enough in there to pad the shape out. We used the blunt end of a wooden cooking skewer to reach the more narrow parts.
  • Once you're happy with the stuffing, close off your stitch.
  • Once all shapes are complete, sew your transparent decor crafting thread to your shapes and fix to the hoop, ensuring everything is balanced and secure. We tied ribbon around the hoop as this allowed us to sew the thread to the ribbon so it was extra secure.
  • Hang your hoop via bright ribbon.
  • And, you're done!

TOP TIPS

  • Make sure everything is fitted securely and is 100% baby-safe
  • Practice casting off, blanket stitching and finishing stitches on a spare bit of felt beforehand
  • Stuff a good amount of polyester filling to give each piece shape, but don't stuff too hard with the skewer as you can damage the stitches
  • We wrapped yellow ribbon around the hoop, which not only added extra colour but allowed us to sew the transparent thread to the hoop, making it extra secure
  • Find a hook to hang your mobile while you attach each piece, so you can see how each piece fits and balances together before securing
  • We stitched a star underneath the centre moon to fill a gap, which worked really well
  • Keep an eye on the two sections of felt you're stitching as you go, to ensure they're aligned
  • The embroidery thread we had was made up of 6 strands, so we separated it into three to make sewing easier and the stitches less bulky
  • We used fabric glue to attach the green felt to the Earth design - make sure this is completely secure
  • We added sequins to Saturn to break up the yellow and add a bit of space sparkle
  • Only sew when you have time - you can really tell when sewing has been rushed (this makes a great maternity leave, evening or weekend project)
  • Bolder colours are better for your baby's development (apparently!) so have fun with the colour scheme! High contrast black and white is also beneficial for babies' visual development, according to experts.

VERDICT

The sewing itself is really fun, especially when you get more confident. However, sewing the transparent thread to the hoop at the end is the tricky / fiddly part. Don't do this when you're in a rush - it requires time, patience and another person's set of eyes who can direct the sewer in terms of how high / low each piece falls and where on the hoop each fits.

For more nursery decor ideas, take a look at my Nursery board on Pinterest.

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DIY Glitter Baubles

I love Christmas crafting during November as it gets me in the festive mood without going OTT too soon. When December dawns, I prefer to relax / eat / watch Christmas movies, knowing any homemade decorations and gifts are all taken care of. (My onions are already pickling! - Now's also a good time to get going on your Christmas cake or pudding if you're making one.)

Homemade glitter baubles have been brightening up my Pinterest feed in recent weeks, so I decided to give them a go. Not only because they look pretty but are super simple to make. You just need to order a few bits during the week and you've got a fun Christmas craft project you can enjoy for a couple of hours one weekend.

DIFFICULTY RATING: EASY

ORIGINAL PIN:

Via

MY ATTEMPT:

SHOPPING LIST

Colour-wise you can go for anything you like! The above list covers the colours I wanted to try: multi-coloured glitter with silver and green accents.

HOW-TO

  1. Fill up your baubles with the glitter, confetti and cut-up lametta
  2. Replace the bauble string with a pretty nylon cord bow

- And you're DONE! Here's some pics of the process:

TOP TIPS

  • Use a funnel for the glitter otherwise it gets pretty messy! Make sure the funnel fits into your bauble before filling it!
  • Make sure to split up the lametta strands before feeding them into the baubles, as they have a tendency to clump and you want that structure inside
  • Give your bauble a good shake afterwards, ensuring your finger is on the top-!
  • Check your tops are fixed properly - you don't want them coming off, spilling glitter everywhere!
  • You don't have to put them on your tree - I'm planning to hang mine from my staircase bannister amongst fairy lights. You could also pop them in a glass lantern to create a Christmas table centrepiece, or use them as additions to your Christmas wrapping as an extra gift (be careful though as they're delicate).

VERDICT

Super easy, not too costly and they look pretty professional at the end!

For more Christmas craft ideas, take a look at my Christmas Pinterest board.

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Bonfire Night Invites

There's something about seasonal crafts that make me feel like a big kid. I guess it's because my primary school really embraced the creative side of seasonal events - from Easter bonnets to DIY Christmas crackers.

This particular Pinterest Project came from an image that stood out in my home feed as it brought back a strong sense of nostalgia: rainbow scratch art!

Difficulty rating: Easy

ORIGINAL PIN

Via

We used to colour in an entire piece of A4 paper with as many bright colours as possible, then used a waxy black crayon to completely cover it. We'd then scratch firework designs onto the black crayon, allowing the bright colours to come through.

However I do remember this craft being particularly time consuming (and I'm all about saving time!), so when I came across this in a local shop I grabbed a packet...

There's some amazing bonfire night party ideas on Pinterest (my favourites can be found here) so I decided to combine the two:

BONFIRE NIGHT INVITES

Using the rainbow scratch kit, simply scratch in your designs with party details and write on the back any finer details e.g. location, RSVP, etc. So simple, so quick and extremely nostalgic for any friends and family that remember this bonfire night craft.

MY ATTEMPT

All you need is the kit - you can purchase a number of versions on Amazon like this one. (Mine came with stencils but I didn't use them.)

You can also turn any leftover paper into dinner table place cards, if you decide to host a bonfire dinner party (which I think I might try next year...):

There you have it!

VERDICT

If you buy the kit, your invites will literally take you minutes depending on the complexity of your design and how many people you're inviting. If you're looking for a craft that'll take up a couple of hours to keep the kids busy, you can make the black rainbow paper yourself.

Lots of fun - for both kids and big kids.

What other crafts do you remember from primary school? I'd love to hear them!

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Melted Crayon Pumpkins

You may remember last year, I had a lot of fun drilling and carving pumpkins. This year, I decided to use Pinterest again for some more pumpkinspiration and came across these melted crayon versions...

DIFFICULTY RATING: MEDIUM

ORIGINAL PIN:

Via

MY ATTEMPT:

After following the how-to, I have to say - it's not as easy as it looks! (As you can probably tell...!) In a nutshell, you glue crayons to the top of your pumpkin and put a hairdryer over them so they melt and drip down. In reality, the glue doesn't really hold the crayons in place and when you heat it up, it obviously melts the glue! I had my hairdryer on the hottest temperature on the lowest fan and it just wasn't working. I had to hold the hairdryer really close to the crayon and even when it started to melt, it was being blown everywhere! 

In the end, we (L had to give me a hand!) decided to play hardball and grabbed a kitchen blowtorch. This obviously makes the craft more dangerous and not appropriate for children, but it did one hell of a job of melting the crayons quickly and preventing too much mess-!

Initial tools - before replacing the hairdryer with a kitchen blowtorch and popping some foil on the stalk to prevent burning.

Initial tools - before replacing the hairdryer with a kitchen blowtorch and popping some foil on the stalk to prevent burning.

Soak crayons to remove paper sleeves (much easier to peel off this way!).

Soak crayons to remove paper sleeves (much easier to peel off this way!).

Place crayons on kitchen roll to dry off.

Place crayons on kitchen roll to dry off.

Snap crayons in half as you don't need a whole crayon for melting.

Snap crayons in half as you don't need a whole crayon for melting.

Add PVA glue to the top of the pumpkin.

Add PVA glue to the top of the pumpkin.

Place crayons on top. Leave the glue to set a bit if you can.

Place crayons on top. Leave the glue to set a bit if you can.

You have to laugh:  This  is what happened when I used a hairdryer. It went EVERYWHERE and wasn't giving the drip effect I was after.

You have to laugh: This is what happened when I used a hairdryer. It went EVERYWHERE and wasn't giving the drip effect I was after.

Attempt two: We replaced the hairdryer with a kitchen blowtorch and covered the stalk with foil to avoid burning.

Attempt two: We replaced the hairdryer with a kitchen blowtorch and covered the stalk with foil to avoid burning.

MUCH more effective! (But also more dangerous as you're dealing with a naked flame).

MUCH more effective! (But also more dangerous as you're dealing with a naked flame).

As you can see, a VERY messy craft so cover all surfaces! 

As you can see, a VERY messy craft so cover all surfaces! 

THE END RESULT:

Not the prettiest but I like this crafty look - fun, messy and a great way to jazz up plain pumpkins.

Not the prettiest but I like this crafty look - fun, messy and a great way to jazz up plain pumpkins.

Place on a coaster to avoid staining your furniture.

Place on a coaster to avoid staining your furniture.

I added mine to each side of our fireplace to balance it out.

I added mine to each side of our fireplace to balance it out.

TOP TIPS

  • Use a kitchen blowtorch. Otherwise it takes ages, isn't very effective and melted crayon gets blown everywhere
  • Definitely NOT a child-friendly craft as a result
  • I wouldn't place paper under your pumpkins are you're using a naked flame with the kitchen blowtorch. The ones in the picture were there when we were using a hairdryer
  • Cover your pumpkin stalk with some foil to avoid burning
  • Don't melt the crayons too much otherwise you start to burn the pumpkin beneath
  • Much easier when there's two of you but you have got to be SO careful when tilting the pumpkin to get the drips as you're dealing with an extremely hot open flame
  • Ghost pumpkins with oranges, reds and yellows look particularly autumnal
  • Always keep out the way of children and pets as the dried crayons can peel or break off (why I put them up high on our fireplace)
  • Don't place pumpkins directly on furniture as they can stain it (I used candle coasters underneath mine).

VERDICT

This is a pretty dangerous Pinterest project - because of our use of the kitchen blowtorch. But if you're careful and smart with the process, the end result looks really good! (Well, not exactly as it does on Pinterest but I love the colour and texture it adds to the pumpkins / your Halloween home decor.) It's definitely something a bit different to the popular carved and drilled ones you see on Pinterest these days. If I were to do it again, I'd probably buy more black and orange crayons to give them a more eerie look.

I'd say this Pinterest project was achievable but don't be fooled by how perfect they come across in your Pinterest feed. I think the messier the better.

Discover more of my favourite Halloween craft ideas via my board on Pinterest.

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Easter Egg Wreath

DIFFICULTY RATING: EASY (BUT MESSY!)

DIY Easter wreaths are everywhere on Pinterest at the moment - especially these crafty ones. They're really fun to make - dipping embroidery thread in a mixture of spray starch and PVA glue before wrapping around blown-up water balloons to make egg 'nests'. Once dry, you pop the balloons and you've got yourself some eggs ready to glue-gun together into a wreath. It's that simple!

ORIGINAL PIN

MY ATTEMPT

- A mini version (for those who are short on time!). 

Scroll down for my Top Tips...

Apply some olive oil to your water balloon before wrapping glue-dipped thread to make balloon removal easier once popped.

Apply some olive oil to your water balloon before wrapping glue-dipped thread to make balloon removal easier once popped.

Mix PVA glue with spray starch, then dip thread into the mixture until fully coated.

Mix PVA glue with spray starch, then dip thread into the mixture until fully coated.

Peg balloons to a makeshift washing line to dry.

Peg balloons to a makeshift washing line to dry.

Once fully dry, pop the balloons!

Once fully dry, pop the balloons!

Lay out your balloons into a wreath shape before glue-gunning together.

Lay out your balloons into a wreath shape before glue-gunning together.

This is a really messy craft so make sure to put a protective surface down (I opted for old oilcloth).

This is a really messy craft so make sure to put a protective surface down (I opted for old oilcloth).

TOP TIPS

  • This is ideally a two-person craft. Mama B and I held a prosecco crafternoon on Mother's Day, with one dipping the thread and the other wrapping it around the balloons with glue-free fingers (much easier).
  • There's lots of tutorials out there - we took inspiration from a couple but ended up adding our own twist e.g. Mama B's idea to add olive oil to the balloons before the thread was applied to make the balloons easier to remove once popped.
  • While this is really fun and looks pretty, it's also very delicate and probably won't stand the test of time or store well until next Easter.
  • It looks great on windows, mirrors and walls (why not replace a picture frame for a few weeks?).
  • Make sure you give yourself a week to gather supplies / order online: embroidery thread (pastel colours are perfect for Easter), spray starch, PVA glue, a glue gun and water balloons.
  • For weekend crafters, wrap balloons on a Saturday, allow to dry overnight, then assemble Sunday. 
  • Wrap lots of thread around each balloon, to ensure you get the egg shape. It needs a strong structure to hold its own within the wreath.
  • Cut a number of threads ready to dip in the PVA/spray starch mix, it's not easy doing this with gluey fingers!
  • Think about the ribbon or string you want to use to hang it - a big bright yellow bow, some rustic garden string or raffia will look great.
  • Once dipped, get your thread onto the balloon as quickly as possible - it dries fast.
  • While a mini version is quick and fun, a bigger one with two layers (as featured in the original pin) will help give it stronger structure (depends how much time and thread you have!).

Visit my Easter Pinterest board for more crafty ideas and recipes.

Glitter Animals

Difficulty Rating: Easy (But Messy)

While on the hunt for some cake topper ideas for my Mary Berry Christmas cake, I stumbled across these glitzy animal toppers on Pinterest. Simply purchase a tube of these, apply PVA glue with a paint brush and sprinkle glitter over them! 

Scroll down for my top tips...

TIPS

  • Safety shout-out: While the glitter is non toxic, it's not for use by children under 3 years.
  • Beware - this is glitter we're dealing with. It goes everywhere! Make sure this DIY happens on a wipe-clean surface.
  • 3-4 will be joining these trees on top of my Christmas cake. I'll be making sure to brush any excess glitter off my icing before serving!
  • I'll be using the remaining herd as gift tag accessories and decorations on my dining room bookshelves to add some sparkle.
  • If you want to keep it more rustic, simply add glitter to specific parts of your animals e.g. antlers or hooves.
  • Toy manufacturer Safari Ltd offers many other themed animal Toobs from around the world. I went for North American wildlife as I really wanted a moose on my cake (the name of Mama & Papa B's new labrador) - as it's his first Christmas with us. Rainforest, coral reef, mythical - so many Toobs are available for different cakes and crafts! You can even get arctic animals (for an arctic roll or an icy-looking baked Alaska) - perfect for this time of year.

Keep an eye on Maison Bailey the week before Christmas to see these sparkly characters in action. For more festive cake topper ideas, check out my Christmas board on Pinterest.