Easy Festive Wrapping

Candycane homemade potato prints

Potato printing was one of the many homemade crafts I remember doing at the kitchen table as a kid. Twenty years later, I’ve inherited not only the kitchen table, but also the crafty inclinations. Tom and I spent part of our Sunday cutting simple Christmas shapes out of potatoes to stamp some festive wrapping paper.

I discovered that curved shapes are difficult and had a ‘tiny’ childish strop when my snowman didn’t turn out right. But, the great thing about potato printing is cheap materials; and it’s easy to slice off a layer of the potato and start with a once-more-blank-canvas.

Potato print christmas wrapping paper photo collage

I’ve always loved wrapping with brown paper, adding little extras to make it feel festive. There are countless great ideas out there. Tomorrow I intend to forage for forest floor evergreen, to add to my paper-stamped, twine-wrapped, homemade gifts (shh.. I can’t tell you what they are until the 26th!)

Rekindling the Knitting

Cable knit mitt

About a month ago I mentioned plans to knit Tom a jumper. If that were to happen it might be ready in time for Christmas 2015. I’ve been completely stumped by the tubular cast on so haven’t even managed one row of this big project. Every time I thought of knitting I’d remember I couldn’t do the first step and so I’d put it off. Again and again.

So, in an effort to find my knitting mojo, I’ve gone back to what I know and love: mitts – one of my top favourite knitting patterns. It satisfies my need for quick gratification and I’m hoping it’ll boost me enough to tackle that tubular cast on again pretty soon. Any hints or tips most welcome!

And if you liked this…

A Little Bunting

Sewing bunting in a conservatory

A friend of mine is to be best man at her brother’s wedding next month. The outdoor party needs 300 feet of bunting. A little help was called for…

I love getting out the sewing machine. but so often it lies dusty on my desk, neglected in favour of some fresh air. After the last sunny weekend, I was in danger of never getting the promised bunting made.

So I enlisted my mum’s help (always the answer right?!) We spent the afternoon out in her conservatory, ironing board and sewing machine lined up in assembly-line fashion. Mum ironed the binding in half lengthways and I ran it through the machine with some pinked fabric triangles sandwiched in between.

Sitting at the sewing machine: front and back photo collage

Our sunny workshop made it much easier to sit stitching on such a sunny day. And we still got out in the overgrown country lanes to tramp through the big puddles left by last night’s rain.

Bunting is a pretty satisfying project. You can fly through metres of the stuff at a fair lick, sewing machine rattling off the table as you push the pedal ever-faster. This might be part of the reason why some of the lines are a little wonky. But when you’re looking at 300 feet of the stuff with champagne in hand I figure noone will notice.

Home made bunting hanging up

Rock & Thread

Tom crafting at the table

A 70th birthday wouldn’t be complete without a little handmade goodness. For the geologist in your life, a rock and a bad pun are all you need for some fun gifting.

A needle and some bright threads, a bit of tracing and gluing, and there you have it: a ‘Geology Rocks’ box. And what else to fill it with than rocks? Tom used small brushes and acrylic paints for a geological pebble-map of the Isle of Wight.

Embroidery in progress

For a week our table was covered in projects: paints, pebbles, thread and fabric. Rainy spring days are made for a spot of crafting and Radio 4.

Having given a few homemade gifts recently, I’m not sure what will be my next project. Maybe a spot of selfish knitting is in order!

Embroidery box and embroidered box photo collage

A Bonnie Blanket

Quilt on rocks at the beach

Honestly, it’s ridiculous how quickly time passes. It’s particularly noticeable when you give a new baby gift only to realise that said baby is now four months old (happy unbirthday Little O!) But I still have the quilts made for me when I was born, so I figure they don’t have an expiry date.

I didn’t intend for this gift to be quite so late. But even the simplest of patterns takes time, what with the cutting, the stitching, the big procrastinating pause in the middle of the project where you try all the fabrics in different orders to get just the right blend; and then the basting, the quilting, and the inevitable sewing of the finger and breaking of the needle. But- ta da! I finished!

Rusty sitting in the doorway of a shepherd's hut

I did the final hand stitching in Wales, sitting under the eaves of our tiny cottage. Whilst I did this pleasingly slow and quiet task, I thought of the lasting love in quilts. On our journey up, we stopped in for the night to visit friends. The quilt I made their baby girl is now tucked up with the dolls six years on, ready for tea parties and den-building. The quilt my Grama gave me when I set off to London many moons ago still sits on my desk chair, the bright red fabrics softening with age (and the occasional machine wash!)

Flowers and sewing machine photo collage

This quilt was inspired by Red Pepper, whose tips on binding were also really useful. The design started from the ‘perfect size’ jotted on paper, with strips of bright jelly colour added. Inspired by this ever-exuberant lady I ‘eyeballed’ the quilting; the very wonky quilted lines just prove it’s homemade. After all, I could never abandon my slightly haphazard approach to sewing.

This little project has got me itching to stitch and I’m excited to hear this dressmaker speak at Blogtacular (only three weeks away guys- get get your tickets!)

Quilt and dandelion photo collage