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.
Before you all jump to the conclusion that I have a secret love child named Albert, let me introduce the guest of this post – Kate, the mother of Albert (below), and my #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa!
You might have seen a few #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa posts from me this year; I blogged about what I made for ZoFlo here and here, but I have forgotten to blog about one important element – what I received! In this post, I wanted to spend some time showing off the amazing crochet goodies that I received from my Secret Santa – Kate, from Albert & Me (formerly Beak Up Crafts).
As Kate has recently rebranded her blog to reflect a new lifestyle photography business venture, I thought it was a great opportunity to introduce Kate to you all, and her awesome work. Kate has kindly agreed to answer my burning questions, so find the Q&A below, interspersed with crochet.
First of all, how did you learn to crochet?
“I learnt crochet by watching American YouTube videos although it took me a while to realise that stitches were called by different names in the UK! I started to learn crochet as a form of mindfulness and figured that, as there was only one hook compared with two knitting needles, it would be easier to learn for someone uncoordinated like me!”
In my last blog post I told you about the felt cupcake needlebook that I made for ZoFlo as part of the #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa. This post looks at the accompanying DIY cupcake pin-cushion ring!
This ring DIY is an amalgamation of two tutorials I spied on Pinterest – the main one is by Obsessively Stitching, whose excellent tutorial told me how to make a basic cupcake pin-cushion ring.
Against Obsessively Stitching‘s advice, I made my pin cushion using felt, rather than fleece, as it had to match Zoe’s needle-book (soz), but I must admit I was still happy with the end result.
To make a cupcake pin cushion ring, you will need:
- A4 sheet of felt (in two colours – 1 for base; 1 for frosting)
- A bottle cap (such as Cherry Coke or 7UP)
- Sewing thread (mine is Hobbycrafts Value Crafts range)
- Stuffing (e.g. soft toy filling – hi-loft polyester)
- Sharp scissors
- An elastic hair-band (You can get these from Boots, Tescos…)
- Red button (optional – for cherry)
- Dress pins
For the cupcake ‘frosting’, I cut around a tea-light candle jar about 3.5 inches in diameter (a bit bigger than Obsessively Stitching‘s recommendation). Next, I threaded around the edge of the circle, before tugging the ends to make it gather – it looks like a baby jelly fish until stuffed!
Back in November I told you about the #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa, where a group of crafty bloggers make and swap homemade presents with fellow festive craft-bods in time for Christmas.
I absolutely loved the idea, and signed up straight away. I can now reveal that I was paired with the amazing Zoe from ZoFlo. I spent an age researching Zoe’s blog and social channels for clues about her hobbies, likes and dislikes (read: stalking!), to help me pick a theme for her present.
I learnt that she is a fan of The Great British Bake Off, the John Lewis Christmas ad, country bike rides, and The Great British Sewing Bee. After umm’ing and err’ing, I decided to combine two of her favourite things, by making a cupcake-themed needlebook and pin cushion ring (cakes and sewing, huzzah!).
Whilst scouring Pinterest for inspiration, I came across this fantastic tutorial from Sew4Home which really fired my imagination. Whilst Alicia’s tutorial featured a lovely cat on the cover, I realised I could adapt this for my cupcake theme, and the instructions were really clear and easy to follow.
#CraftBlogClub is a Twitter chat which runs every Tuesday between 7 – 8.30pm for craft bloggers and lovers alike. It’s the brainchild of founders @KatieGetsCrafty, @Fizzijayne and @LivePeachy.
Last week I was really excited to learn about an awesome festive initiative they run called the #CraftBlogClub Secret Santa which is open to everyone, and now in its third year!
You can find details on how to sign up here, but make sure you do so before 8pm on Thursday 5th November. You’ll then be matched at random to another crafty secret santa. Cool, huh?
Inspiration from past #CraftBlogClub swaps:
Once you’ve emailed to take part, you’ll be emailed back by Tuesday 10th November with the name and address of the person you’re making a gift for, and the making begins!
There are no rules when it comes to gifting – you can make anything you like from any craft – past examples include mittens, baubles, Christmas stockings, and personalised Xmas bunting.
So that everyone can receive their gift by Christmas, they ask that gifts are sent (with a note, revealing your identity) by 21st December, and then the excitement of receiving and blogging begins!
I can’t wait to take part in this awesome initiative. There’s nothing nicer than a homemade gift, and what better way to spread the joy at Christmas than by sharing it with fellow craft-bods!
The makers of these Secret Santa presents are:
1. Handwarmers by Icy Sedgwick | 2. Owl Pllow by Zoflo | 3. by Fizzi Jayne Makes | 4. Christmas stocking and bunting by Katie Gets Crafty | 5. Red Stocking by Kay Gets Crafty | 6. Homemade Soap by The Little Soap Kitchen | 7. Crochet mug warmer with coasters by LoveTwoCraft