Small, plain wooden trays are often used as packaging for small items such as tealight candles or craft items, and are useful for organising small items. The trays are very plain, and sometimes only roughly finished, but it is quick and easy to turn them into decorative and useful drawer or desk-top organisers.
First use some sandpaper to smooth off any rough edges. I simply decorated these trays by cutting felt inserts to sit in the bottom of each compartment- this is a useful project for using up fabric odds and ends.
The compartments were measured, and squares of different coloured felt cut out and fixed into the bottom of each compartment using a small amount of glue.
The trays could alternatively be lined using leather or decorative papers, or be decorated using paint. I have these trays in the bottom of a shallow drawer in my jewellery bench, and they are perfect for holding jewellery making materials and semi-finished items.
I have been playing around with the small loom I have previously used to make scarves and cowls, experimenting with different textures and techniques.
I decided to weave several small sample pieces (approximately 8 x 13 cm / 3.5 x 5 inches), experimenting with different patterns and ideas for each piece. The width of the loom allows for two sample squares to be woven at once (which was a little fiddly), or the piece can be woven using only half the width of the loom.
The individual tapestries are great quick projects, and a good way to use up any pieces of yarn left over from other makes. I plan to make a few more small tapestries, and then combine them in a project to be shown in a future post…
This is a quick DIY project, ideal as a decoration for summer parties. It is also a great stash-busting project as small pieces of leftover yarn from other projects can be used.
Yarn in various colours
First choose your colours. The tassels can be made in any size of your choice, for this garland I made 10 the same size, and one larger one for the centre of the garland. In order for the tassels to be the same length the yarn can be measured out by wrapping it around a piece of cardboard, or another flat object. The thickness of the tassel is dependent on how many strands it contains (therefore how many times it is wrapped around the card).
Tie the bunch of yarn together in the centre, and fold in half.
Next, using the tail of yarn from tying the tassel together, wrap yarn tightly around the top quarter/third of the tassel and tie off. Cut the tails of your tassel to make them even and to open up the closed loops.
Finally thread a large-eyed darning or tapestry needle with your stringing material (yarn, ribbon, cord etc), and pass it through each of the tassels. The top of the tassels should have been wound tightly enough that they remain where you place them on the string.
Et voila, one finished garland to be hung where you desire!
I recently went through the various vintage and antique hand-embroidered fabrics that I have, in the hunt for some material to make bunting for a friend’s wedding. Due to the hours of work that these pieces represent, I am loathe to cut them up, with the exception of any items that are damaged or spoilt by a permanent stain (I remove and bin the damaged area, and use the rest of the material in craft projects).
Depending on the size of the material, the embroidered fabrics can be used in a variety of projects: I really enjoy giving new life to something that someone else has put so much time and effort into, but is now ‘ruined’ for it’s original purpose (e.g. a tablecloth with a stain in the centre).
Using some fabrics that I already have (in this case by upcycling) also means that I am still managing to stick to my new year’s resolution to buy no new craft materials this year!
The few pieces that I have shown here are all undamaged items, and as I seem to have collected quite a few pieces in good condition, I have decided to sell a selection- after all, there are only so many tablecloths etc that one person can use!
Bunting is a fantastic way to brighten up a dull corner, and this miniature bunting can find a home in the smallest of spaces! The bunting is made from Washi (paper) tape and cotton thread, and is a quick and easy project, and thrifty too.
First choose your washi tape- I chose tapes that were all the same width for a uniform look. Next fold short lengths of tape in half over a strand of thread (or wire if you want to shape your finished bunting), sticking them to themselves. The lengths of tape that I used were approimately 3cm long, and I attached them to the thread with 2cm gaps between each ‘flag’.
Keep adding strips of tape until the bunting is of the desired length. Next, cut the bottom off each piece of tape, making the ‘flags’ into squares.
You can leave the flags as squares for a bolder look, or trim them into triangles. If making triangular flags then I found that it is best to cut from the top of each flag, downwards, to avoid accidentally snipping the thread!
And after only a few minutes’ work you have some lovely, cheerful bunting to brighten up a corner of your day!
I have finished the cowl knitting project that a started a couple of weeks ago, using some lovely soft Artesano alpaca and wool yarn that had been languishing in my stash. As you can see, I decided to use the left over yarn to knit a bobble hat- I had just enough yarn!
The hat and cowl were both easy knitting projects, and the stripes mean that they would be great for using up yarn left over from other projects.
At least the continuing bad weather means that I have already had an opportunity to wear my newly finished items- every cloud has a silver lining!
As the weather has finally turned to a more seasonally-appropriate temperature (i.e. cold, rather than warm and wet!) I have dug some thicker yarn out of my stash and made a start on a striped, stocking stitch cowl.
The GORGEOUS (yes, it is so nice that it deserves shouty capital letters!) yarn that I am using is Artesano Superfine Alpaca and Peruvian Highland Wool, and it is sooo soft. As I am knitting in stocking stitch and using an aran-weight yarn I decided on a cowl rather than a scarf to avoid it being too bulky when worn under a coat (particularly where the knot would be if it was a scarf). Cowls also have the added benefits of being quicker to knit than a scarf, and using less yarn (so I’m hoping that I’ll have some left over for a hat too…).
I can’t believe that 2016 is already underway! After a busy Christmas I have started to think a bit about New Year’s Resolutions, and future plans of the creative type.
First of all I plan to repeat a resolution I followed in 2014:
Not to buy any craft materials/supplies during 2016!
Unlike 2014 I will not allow myself to buy or acquire any second-hand materials either (I find a lot of my craft supplies at car boot sales), in an attempt to make a serious dent on my craft stash over the course of the year. In order to make this resolution slightly easier to keep, I will still be allowed to buy glue if required.
I hope that this resolution will help me to be more creative with the materials that I have, and encourage me to complete projects that I have been planning for a while. I expect to engage in a fair bit of upcycling and Make do and Mend as well. I am looking forward to a creative 2016, and a smaller craft stash by the end of the year!
Here is another multi-purpose Christmas decoration/present-topper. Leather tassels add a touch of luxury to a wrapped present, and can be kept and re-used by the recipient.
The tassels could also be used as keyrings, worn as pendants, added to bags or simply hung on the Christmas tree!
Using some metallic leather adds a bit of seasonal sparkle, particularly when contrasted with soft suede. Whether monochrome or multi-coloured, leather tassels are easy to make- you can find instructions in this previous post.
The tassels are so pretty in their own right, that plain wrapping paper is all that’s needed to show them off!
Pompoms can make great decorations, but are ideal for topping presents too…
Big or small, and whether you buy them in a shop or make your own, pompoms can be used to add a bit of colour and fluffiness to any present! And if you make your own, then pompoms are an ideal stash-busting project: a way to use up lengths of yarn left over from knitting/crocheting projects. You could even upcycle yarn unraveled from an old scarf or jumper.
I’m off to add these beauties to a few more Christmas presents…