Happy New Year everyone! Better late than never, I wanted to finally share my #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa with you! If you’ve not heard me bang on about this before, the CBC Secret Santa is a brilliant initiative by Fiona and Katie who run the weekly #CraftBlogClub Twitter chat every Tuesday at 8pm.
Each year, anyone with a passion for craft can take part to make and receive a handmade present from the #CraftBlogClub community. Though I haven’t managed to join the chats much lately, my experience of this community is that they’re one of the warmest, most encouraging bunch of people you could ever wish to e-meet. It’s always a pleasure, so do join in if you can!
Somehow this was my third year taking part (where does the time go?!). In Year 1 you might remember that I made a DIY felt cupcake needle-book and cupcake pin-cushion ring for ZoFlo, and last year I made DIY homemade goats milk and honey soaps for Laura, which turned out quite well.
This year, my Secret ‘Santee’ was Naomi Jade. After a little stalk of her blog and social channels, I saw that she was a lover of all things cosy and also quite girly, so I decided to make her a DIY miniature wall hanging. I used a weaving kit that I got for free with a Mollie Makes magazine earlier this year.
This year I was delighted to take part once again in the #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa. In case you haven’t heard of it, #CraftBlogClub is a weekly Twitter chat which takes place between 7 – 8pm every Tuesday, hosted by the lovely Katie (@katiegetscrafty) and Fiona (@fizzijayne), with occasional guest hosts.
As well as chatting all things craft, throughout the year, Katie and Fiona love to set us seasonal crafty challenges from spring-cleaning (stash swapping) to upcycling, but my favourite has to be the annual Secret Santa where everyone is paired off to create homemade presents for each other.
You might remember that last year I made a DIY felt cupcake needle-book and cupcake pin-cushion ring for ZoFlo, and was lucky to receive an awesome crochet stash from Kate at Albert & Me.
This year I was paired with @knitknatlaura and decided to try my hand at homemade soaps for the first time. A while ago, I found this pin on Pinterest, and decided to give this ten minute DIY a go. The tutorial is by Heidi at Happiness is Homemade – it’s super easy, and the results do look really great.
A few years ago my boyfriend and I made homemade jam (with DIY jar labels) as Christmas presents for friends and family. A lot of people kindly returned their empty jars to us (no doubt hoping for more jam), but last Christmas we decided to do something a little different with them – homemade jar candles!
You will need:
This DIY is incredibly simple, and doesn’t take long at all. Start by melting your wax over a saucepan on the hob, in much the same way as you would melt chocolate. The wax should never be over direct heat, so lay your saucepan of pellets (or old candle wax) into a bigger saucepan with boiling water in the bottom.
It’s best not to leave the wax unattended, and not to let it get too hot, so keep an eye on it at all times, stirring occasionally. While your wax is heating up, prepare your jars – make sure they are clean and dry. Add your weighted wick so that it stands up in the centre of your jar, cutting it to the desired height.
Once all wax lumps have melted on the hob, remove the pan from the heat. If you are adding a colour or fragrance, now is the time to do so, but mine were just plain, resulting in a white wax. Whilst molten, pour your wax into your jars to the depth desired. Once poured, leave to cool and set on a flat surface.
In May of last year I made my Grandma a DIY wordsearch card to combine a few of her favourite things – puzzles, and gardening. Well, a while ago, for some reason, I decided that this DIY wasn’t good enough for the blog, and I deleted it, and now – over a year later – I’ve changed my mind.
This is one of the simplest DIY cards you could possibly hope for. There are tonnes of free wordsearch generators available online that allow you to personalise your puzzles. I used one called www.puzzle-maker.com, where you can choose between making a custom wordsearch or a custom crossword.
If you follow me on Instagram you might have already seen a few snaps of my latest DIY – a wooden planter for the dahlia on my front doorstep! My neighbour actually gave me the idea for the planter – she has an almost identical one in a dark lavender colour on her doorstep, and I got jealous.
Looking for something similar that would make my plastic-potted dahlia feel a little more welcome (and suave), I went on the hunt. On my first stop I found a ready-made wooden planter in Homebase. It looked great, but with a £24.99 price tag, I wasn’t quite prepared to part with the cash.
With a few hours left in the afternoon, I put the question to my boyfriend – “Can we make this?” In typical Jack style, he replied, “Yea”, and so we went around Homebase picking up the bits and pieces we needed to make it ourselves instead. We found cladding for £5.99, and some spruce for £6.
To make your own DIY wooden planter, you will need:
- 2x lengths whitewood spruce (33mm x 33mm x 1.8m)
- A pack of tongue-and-groove cladding
- Saw (for cutting the wood to length)
- Table saw / router (for creating the grooves)
- Screws and a screwdriver
- Some clamps
- Outdoor paint (We used Cuprinol Garden Shades in Malted Barley)
Last Sunday, Jack and I went to the christening of a baby boy named Carl. We made a paper-cut card for Carl’s big sister Lauren when she was christened a few years ago, so we thought we’d stick to the same style for her little brother, but this time using my Silhouette cutting machine, instead of a scalpel!
Jack designed the paper-cut image using InkScape (free downloadable vector graphics software), which allows you to import images and convert them to line art, as well as draw various shapes. Jack imported three free line-art images from Google – a heart, a church, and a balloon. After importing and embedding the images, he traced the bitmaps and converted the images into two colours (black and white), so that he could see which sections would be cut out, and which would stay connected.
Once the vector had been generated, Jack modified the image using the node tool, which allowed him to remove unwanted features (such as complicated details on the windows), as well as change certain design elements (such as the door archway). He also created a cute picket fence and bunting.
A few months back one of my good pals from university got engaged! Both her and her partner are in the navy, so they often have to go a few months without seeing each other when they are posted out to sea. I wanted to make them an engagement present that would make their time apart a little easier.
I found these cute 2 x 2″ gold and glass double-sided square photo-frames at Oliver Bonas (one of my favourite shops), and thought they’d fit the bill perfectly, so bought two – so they can have one each.
I felt like a bit of a stalker finding photos of the two of them to use – thank goodness for Facebook! Apparently I chose well though, as they have print-outs of these photos already in their house.