Sunday, 11 November 2012

made with love nursery wall art

Here's a photo of my completed wall art I made for the nursery.
The first one consists of painted, laser cut, wooden typography, (which already features on my blog).
 I never got round to photographing the other two until now. 
The second piece was constructed using buttons, which I attached in the heart formation using a hot glue gun. The last creation was created from a template, which I made from butterfly vectors that I found online. I copied and pasted them to a word document - cropped, arranged and printed them when I was happy with the layout. I then used my light box to lightly trace the outline on card using a pencil and cut the around the outside of the wings with a craft knife. I mounted some patterned card stock behind the butterflies. 
All ready for baby arriving in 2 days time! x

handmade christmas cards continued...

Here are a couple more new christmas card designs that I have been working on this week.

I have used parcel paper to create a border behind the red patterned paper. I bought mini gift tags from Wilkos (£1.00 for 8) but they were too dark to print on, so I decided to make my own instead. I pinched the dark brown disc and string from the original though to give it an authentic look. 

I used my clear acrylic stamps to create the labels, printing the words twice (in red and gold ink), slightly off-set to create a drop shadow effect. 
I attached some self adhesive foam underneath the gift tag to raise it and create more of a feature and used a hot glue gun to attach the button. 
I wanted to keep the messages simple as the typography is so beautiful on the christmas paper. 

handmade christmas cards

I have had a go at making some new christmas card designs (while I still have the time) using some pretty papers that I picked up last year in the sale.  

I made the mini christmas stocking using felt and hand embroidery, just to add a different texture to the card and to create a fun main feature. 

The cards are white, C6, pre-cut and come with envelopes which cost around £4.99 from hobbycraft.
I attached a piece of self adhesive foam pad to the back of the stocking to create a relief effect, although you cant really tell from the photo. The ribbon was £1.09 a roll and the button was sourced from the hobbycraft Basics Range - £1.00 for a bag of about 50 (mixed colours).

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

thank you so much...

I am counting down the days as I am due to give birth next week to a baby boy.
As my maternity leave started his week, I thought I would try and get organised by making some thank you cards for the lovely presents we have received from family and friends. I have made about a dozen so far, all in the same style, using patterned papers, textured card, pre-cut cards and envelopes and my sewing machine. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

cupcake bouquet

This is my first attempt at a cupcake bouquet. I was looking for different ideas for a celebration cake for my mother in laws birthday and stumbled across this great concept on the internet.

I made mini vanilla cupcakes using my cupcake maker and a dual piping bag to pipe on the pink and white vanilla frosting. I need to work on my piping technique as I am a newbie when it comes to this!
I bought a plant pot and polystyrene sphere and cut a square of  clear cellophane gift wrap and pink tissue paper to make the bouquet look more realistic. I positioned this under the sphere and tied the pink organza bow around the front to decorate it. I pushed cocktail sticks into the sphere and then placed the mini cupcakes individually onto the sticks. I bought a stem of artificial leaves, cut the leaves off and sellotaped them to cocktail sticks to plug the gaps and create a more authentic look.
It took 23 mini cupcakes to fill the sphere.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

handmade cushion

After looking for a cushion for our new nursery tub chair and having no luck finding one, I decided to make one using a pillow case from a single duvet set that we had. The duvet set matched the colour scheme of the room perfectly and as it had only been used once (and then washed!) it seemed a shame to bin it (as we now no longer have a single bed in our spare room). 

I unpicked the pillow case and opened out and pressed the fabric. 

I bought a cushion insert from wilkos and made a paper template (45cm x 45cm) I then reduced it to 45cm x 30cm for the two back panels that would overlap slightly. 

 Once I had cut the fabric out I pinned the edges and hemmed them (on the long side of the two back panels).

 I then set about making my own bias binding for the piping that I was going to attach around the outside of the cushion. I cut a rectangle out of the remaining fabric. Because binding should be cut on the bias (diagonal) of the fabric it was necessary to fold it in a particular way.
I started by folding the top left hand corner down to the bottom edge of the fabric.

 I then took the bottom left corner (point) and folded it up towards the top of the fabric.

 I then began folding it from the bottom upwards and finished by tucking the remaining piece around the fabric.

 I trimmed the left hand edge off after using a ruler and pencil to mark it out and then measured and marked out the width i wanted for my strips. I had to make them thinner than I would have liked as my fabric was not big enough.

 I then took the strips and pinned and marked out the edges ready for attaching on the sewing machine to make one large bias binding strip.

 After sewing the pieces together I pressed the seams flat.

I then pressed the strip length ways in half so I could find the centre and provide a nice crisp groove for the piping cord.
I used a zipper foot on my sewing machine so I could sew as close to the cord as possible and sealed it inside the length of the bias binding. I made just under a metre.

I then pinned the piping to cushion - raw edge to raw edge with a seam allowance.

I then tacked it in place with a needle and thread and removed the pins to make it easier and more secure when machine stitching the piping.
I then placed the two back panels right side to right side over the piping and stitched around the edge as close to the piping as possible.  I also zig zag stitched around the edges of the seams to stop the fabric from fraying (as i don't have an over-locker) before turning the cushion cover inside out.

I'm really pleased with the results, especially the piping. The duck egg colour scheme of the cushion matches our nursery theme perfectly and is feels more special as it was handmade with love. 
I would like to attempt a nursing pillow next using the same fabric from the duvet cover next. Watch this space!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

only fools and horses cake

My first cake carving project...

today is my husbands birthday so I thought I'd surprise him with a cake. Quite an ambitious task for me as it was my first time cake carving! I knew I wanted to make the van from 'only fools and horse' so thought a loaf shaped cake would be easier to carve. I baked a madeira cake as this is apparently kinder to work with and a bit more dense than normal sponge cake. I used a recipe i found on the internet, a 2lb loaf pan and fondant icing to decorate. I presented the cake on an 8 inch cake board. 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

pirate ship birthday cake

Yesterday I had the challenge of creating a 'cake in a day', 
my other nephews birthday is today and I was asked last minute to create a cake to match his pirate theme birthday. 
I started baking at 11.00am and then with lots of breaks in between finally finished about 11.00pm last night.

I stuck to my tried and tested chocolate cake recipe and used fondant to ice the cake and decorate it.
I am going to create a new post to share the recipe, baking instructions and decorative techniques soon along with pics.

I researched a wide range of pirate ship cakes on the internet and took my inspiration from a selection, although most ships were carved from cake and I didn't have the courage to try this method with such a small amount of time.

I had to wait until this morning to make sure the icing was set on the cake before resting the pirate ship on top as it weighs a ton and I didn't want to crush my cake. 

I used muscavado sugar around the bottom of the cake board to create the illusion of sand. 
The cake is a 6 inch chocolate fudge cake and I used an 8 inch cake board. 

 I tea stained some handmade textured paper (which I bought) and drew the jolly roger design on with a fine liner and added shading with a pencil.

I made the scroll early yesterday out of fondant and wrapped both ends around cocktail sticks while it dried so it would hold its shape. I then used an edible pen to write the birthday message on. I left that until just before I packed up last night so i didn't crush the scroll. Also the pen doesn't work on wet fondant (i have made that mistake before). 
August is a busy birthday month in our family, along with my nephews birthdays it's also my husbands, dads and nans - so lots of possible cake projects coming up - maybe I will have a go at cake carving if i feel brave enough! 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

toy story cake

Here are some pics of the cake I made for my nephews 2nd birthday yesterday.
It's a 6 inch toystory cake -(chocolate fudge) covered in fondant with a vanilla buttercream filling. 

I have a pirate themed birthday cake to make for my other nephew ready for Friday - recipe and details to follow

Sunday, 12 August 2012

handmade diaper bag

I found a pattern for a nappy bag from an old edition of 'sew hip' (issue 34 Nov 2011), while looking for a new craft challenge, as I'm still on my hols. 
As my pram is black, I decided to use some black poly cotton that I already had in, so it would match (and it looks cleaner for longer!). 
As my nursery colour scheme is duck egg, I decided to use this 100% cotton fabric with this beautiful black and teal print, which I found at the local craft shop.  

I made paper pattern pieces using the measurements provided and then cut out the main and lining fabric pieces. The pattern stated iron on interfacing but I only had stitch and tear, which worked a treat but was a wee bit more fiddly when constructing the bag.  

Here I had just machine stitched the front pocket onto the bag

The handles were probably the most fiddliest as I didn't use iron on interfacing! No matter how many times I pressed the fabric into the centre before pinning and top stitching, it wasn't having any of it and I would have to start folding and pressing again. I did consider a handle-less bag for a short time!

Finally, I top stitched down both sides of each handle and then pinned and stitched them to the front and back of the bag. 

My cat - tom decided he would keep me company, for the day while I cut out and pinned my pattern pieces. 

After making the bag flap I hand stitched a magnetic button on and then machine stitched the flap onto the outside on the bag

 Here is an inside view of the outside bag piece so you can see the interfacing. When stitching the gusset plate to the bag panels it was a bit tricky around the corners. I made sure I pinned the fabric really well before machine stitching.

 I created inside pockets on the front and back panel of the bag. Each pocket consists of a folded rectangle of lining fabric, top stitched on the fold (raw edge at the bottom of the bag panel). By machine stitching down the centre it creates double pockets. I reinforced them with interfacing first.

After completing both the outside bag and lining, I pinned the lining (inside out and with a gap in the bottom) over the outside bag piece and machine stitched around the top edge. I actually forgot to leave the gap as I got a bit a carried away and had to unpick a hole- ooops!

 I then pinned and pressed the bag around the edges in preparation for top stitching. This keeps the edges nice, neat and flat and avoids the fabric looking bulky (as shown above).
The photo below shows the elasticated side pocket which I made. It has a pinch dart at the bottom to allow for bulky items. I stitched this onto the gusset plate before attaching it to the front and back panels of the bag, but got carried away so didn't take any pictures while constructing it.

Once I had top stitched around the edges of the bag, the last job was to slip stitch the gap closed in the lining

 Tada  ! - all done

Inside pocket in use

I'm really pleased with the results and cant wait to use it!