Well Overdue Project

My best friend and I brought some material about five years ago (?) at a Patchwork and Quilting show in Birmingham and promptly forgot about it.ย Occasionallyย I’d come across it in my wardrobe smile and think ‘we should do something with this’, put it away again only to find it next time I had a clear out.

This summer Izzy decided she wanted to try her hand at making a cushion. So out came the material which had sat patiently for five years and a week or so later we had our cushions. ๐Ÿ˜€ Probably my third cushion but my first without Mums help so although it might not be a work of art I’m rather proud of it. I ย just need somewhere to put it now.

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Anyone out there who’s brought something to do but has ended up shoving it to the back of a drawer then this year get it out and complete the project – you’ll feel better for doing something just for you.


Felt Rug

Jacob Sheep Fleece

Another mother and daughter project. We did this on an extremely warm day (well for England anyway) and rolled it out on the trampoline.

The rug is made from a Jacob sheep’s fleece I brought at the Woolfest, felt fibres of a similar colour to the fleece are laid on the back – or inside – of the fleece. The net is then placed over it and wetted.

Covered with netting

Unfortunately because of the thickness of the fleece it just wouldn’t soak though so I had the brilliant idea of spraying it with the hosepipe. After spraying myself to cool down, the fleece was finally wet. It then needed rubbing to make sure the fibres were stable before rolling. We then washed it in several changes of water, it’s surprising how heavy it gets and how dirty the water is, before putting it in the washing machine.

It took all day and is more tiring than it looks, especially in the heat. Anyway, here’s the finished product, I particularly like the mottled effect of the fleece – not a bad buy for ยฃ4.

Mocha Cupcakes

You will need:

  • 60g soft butter/margarine
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 150g plain flour
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 140ml buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 3tsp strong black coffee

Now I don’t usually measure out the ingredients for the icing because normally the amounts in the recipe books make way too much icing, so these are rough measurements.

  • 100g soft butter/margarine
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 4+tsp strong black coffee (depending on taste)

What to do:

  1. Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4/180C/350F and place muffin cases into your muffin tray.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Briskly beat in the egg.
  4. Sift the cocoa powder and mix in.
  5. Sift the flour and baking powder, add with the buttermilk into the mixture and beat it in rapidly to avoid flour pockets.
  6. Stir in the white wine vinegar and coffee.
  7. Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cases (makes around 12-15).
  8. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  9. Once cooked transfer onto a wire rack to cool.

The icing:

  1. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder together.
  2. Cream a little icing sugar with all of the butter.
  3. Add the icing sugar a bit at a time with the coffee tasting all the time so it’s as strong or as subtle as you like.
  4. When you have the right amount for the number of cakes and the icing is stiff you can add it to the cakes. Either use a piping bag or you can make butterfly cakes by cutting a small circle out of each cake, adding the icing and then placing on the wings. ๐Ÿ˜€

Just managed to get a finished photo before they were all eaten ๐Ÿ˜€

Felted Scarf

I made this scarf for a friends christmas present last November. I got into felting because my Mum started attending courses and so I got her to teach me how to felt as well. Now, I’m not as competent as she is and don’t have the confidence to make anything without her instruction but, I’m quite proud of this one ๐Ÿ™‚

First, I laid out the wool and wetted it with soapy water before rubbing it to get it to felt together. Unfortunately, the wool didn’t want to felt on its own so we decided to add a black backing, hoping the colours would show up bright enough.

Using more warm, soapy water I spent ages rubbing until it was secure enough to roll. Everytime I do some felting I’m surprised at the amount of physical effort it takes but this had to be done quickly because I was using the dining room table and the family were getting hungry ๐Ÿ˜€

I was quite pleased with how the colour looked against the black, in fact I think it looks better than it would’ve done without the backing but it did mean it wasn’t as floaty as originally planned.

I almost didn’t want to give this away but giving something handmade as a present means more than just buying a mass-produced product ๐Ÿ™‚

Decoupage Box

These cardboard boxes are brilliant. Only a few quid from the Range they offer hours of intense concentration and enjoyment. When choosing your box make sure the draw/lid opens and closes quite easy because when you add paper obviously the fit will be tighter. As I didn’t think the lid or draw would close properly if I added paper, I painted the lip of the box and the sides and bottom of the draw in silver (you can just about see this here).

Tear up some fancy paper, or you could always use pages from old magazines, in roughly equal pieces. Then, get sticking. I just used PVA glue, you don’t need anything special. The curved top of the box was a little fiddly at the edges as I didn’t want any ‘bubbles’ or folds in the paper. The straight edges of paper were perfect for making sure no cardboard was visible, especially round the mirror.

Next, I used the same paper (green) for the mirror and the bottom half of the box – including the base. And the pink paper for the front of the drawer as well as the lid of the box to give it a nice contrast.

Now the fiddly bit – lining the drawer was quite easy, just cutting the paper to size. But when it came to the little compartments under the lid it got a bit more complicated, so a cup of tea and some chocolates were needed before starting ๐Ÿ˜€

As all the little sections in the box are slightly different sizes I found it easier to cut out the paper and arrange the pieces in a template-pattern so I knew which bit went where. Also, it’s good to have bits that overlap for a more even finish.

When this is all painstakingly stuck in (be careful you put them in in the right order otherwise your little flaps will end up on top) you can give it a quick varnish to hold all the paper in place (I used PVA mixed with a tiny bit of water as the glue was old and so quite thick). Secure the mirror in the inside of the lid and in this case make sure the ribbon is fixed behind the mirror. Wait for it to dry and ta-da! One decoupage jewlery box ๐Ÿ™‚

Newspaper Nails

I usually just paint my nails one bright colour. However, I saw this somewhere (facebook I think) and decided to give it a go. It took several trys and the first few attempts weren’t that neat but in the end it worked out pretty well, and it recieved nice comments from the hairdresser and the girls in New Look.

You will need:

  • pale nail varnish
  • ready-cut newspapers strips
  • nail varnish remover/a perfume with an alcohol content/vodka/gin
  • cotton wool pads
  • clear top coat of nail varnish
  1. Firstly, prepare your nails as usual and apply one or two layers of base colour
  2. Wait for it to dry fully
  3. Place a little alcohol substance on a cotton wool pad
  4. Carefully place a newspaper strip face down on your nail and cover with the cotton wool pad
  5. Press down firmly for 5-10 seconds, but no longer otherwise it will start removing your nail varnish
  6. Gently remove and repeat for your other nails
  7. Apply a clear top coat to hold the print in place

Note: Don’t use too much alcohol substance.

This also works better with smaller print and on longer nails, so if you bite your nails – stop! ๐Ÿ™‚