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Mimi’s Linen Stitch Scarf (A Free Pattern Download)

Mimi’s Linen Stitch Scarf (A Free Pattern Download)

Back in October 2010 I started a scarf, knit lengthways in linen stitch, from four skeins of Koigu Painters Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM). Things in my life were not right at that time, and it was a meditative marathon of a knit. Each row of […]

Christmas Crafts Round-Up

Christmas Crafts Round-Up

I had planned at least four more Christmas craft posts in the run-up to Christmas, but I’ve had to lay those plans aside for a while as my little boy was laid low with a horrible eye infection and a virus. We’ve had a tough […]

Paper Snowflake Wreath

Paper Snowflake Wreath

As I walked with my little boy to his nursery this week, we talked about the changing seasons. He was given a perpetual calendar for his birthday, which also records the time, weather and changing seasons, so we have enjoyed watching the almost daily changes that this time of year brings.

As we walked through the cold and crisp weather and talked about the bare trees now devoid of leaves, we passed by the garden of a huge house. He spotted that a huge leaf pile had been swept into a corner of the front garden and announced ‘this bit is still autumn’.

I resolved then to change the bit of our home that was ‘still autumn’ and to make a replacement for the paper autumn leaf wreath on the front door.

Snowflake wreath made from pastel coloured paper

I have had a box of paper snowflakes for years. I am not sure how many years, but I think I bought them either before I had my little boy or whilst he was a babe in arms. I am pretty sure my husband asked what I was going to make with them when I bought them (memory also suggests that the whole box cost me £1), and I am pretty sure that I shrugged and said ‘something’.

Well, finally that something turned out to be a winter snowflake wreath for our front door.

A wreath of paper snowflakes made for christmas from pastel and white

I bought a polystyrene wreath form from Poundland which I painted light blue with acrylic paint. In hindsight next time I would leave it white or paint it to match the colour of one of the papers used for the snowflakes, but at least it does not stand out too much.

I didn’t shy from including the pastel colours and left out only the seven huge dark red snowflakes that were included in the box of paper shapes that I bought. I had asked the good people of Twitter what type of glue I might use to attach card/paper and polystyrene, as it has a tendency to melt or dissolve when in contact with solvent-based glues, when Coopknits asked whether I might use dressmakers pins directly into the polystyrene form. It was the perfect solution, and exactly the technique I had used when making my bridal bouquets, being both secure and even adding a small element of unobtrusive decoration by way of pearl-headed dressmaker’s pins.

Paper snowflake wreath

Though the wreath form is crowded with snowflakes, I attached them in a planned manner, dividing the wreath form into seven segments and placing the snowflakes (of which I had seven of each size, shape and colour) evenly and methodically into those sections. Only the very top, small white snowflakes did I place in a less methodical manner, to give a more random look to those topmost flakes.

Since finishing the wreath I keep changing between loving it and thinking that it’s just a big mess of paper, which in many ways it is. But it is like a chaotic flurry of snowflakes. It is airy, light and works well in our brightly lit hallway, and I think does a superb job of seeing away that part of our home that was still autumn so that we can welcome in the festivities that winter promises.

Personalised Canvas Christmas Stockings With Vinyl Decoration

Personalised Canvas Christmas Stockings With Vinyl Decoration

The first Christmas decorations have gone up in our house in the form of our Christmas stockings. In past years I have hung the two stockings that I designed and knitted; (Star Stocking and Cool Stocking) for my husband and I. I love those stockings so […]

Roundy Baubs: The Birbs Are Back

Roundy Baubs: The Birbs Are Back

In my quest to come up with the world’s most difficult-to-photograph project, I decided to make some new decorations for our Christmas tree. As we have not had a Christmas tree for a few years, Darwin wishing to have a tree this year feels like […]

An Embroidered Partridge In A Felt Pear Tree

An Embroidered Partridge In A Felt Pear Tree

We have not had a Christmas tree up for the past two Christmasses at Castle Codd. As soon as The Toddler Years hit, the floor space became a valuable commodity, and it just seemed to be more bother than it was worth. Russell really misses the Christmas tree, though, and if I have to look at his sad droopy puppy dog eyes every day from December the 1st for one more Christmas it will be too much. Additionally, my little boy has started to show and interest in Christmas and all of the shiny sparkle that it might possess. At a supermarket recently, a huge tree bedecked with lights caught his eye. I asked if he would like a Christmas tree at our own house this year. ‘Yes please, Mummy’. The deal is sealed.

felt christmas decorations

So, I am preparing a few decorations. I think a fair few of ours are toddler-friendly; the glass decorations to be put away until such a time as our son won’t break them (which I am guessing will be when he’s about 30) but I thought a few more toddler-friendly decorations cannot go amiss.

I found this kit for four brightly coloured embroidered felt decorations in Hobbycraft for just £3, perfect for a bit of budget crafting. I’ve had a look online to see if I can find a link to this particular kit, but either my site search power is amiss or they are not for sale online. You can buy a digital pattern for both these and a whole range of other patterns from the designer, Larissa Holland’s, Etsy store, however.

A big bonus to buying the kit for me, however, was that the pieces of felt were pre-cut. As I do not have a printer, printing and cutting the shapes accurately is pretty much impossible. Obviously, the kit worked out a far bit cheaper than buying the patterns and materials individually, too, though the felt is of a very hard, crisp quality, rather tough to sew through (though it holds shape fabulously when finished).

Four brightly coloured felt christmas decorations

The instructions for the embroidery are rudimentary at best. ‘Stitch a leaf design onto the green pear piece’. Looking at the design on the front of the kit, a stitcher with just a little experience, or a beginner with a bit of pluck and a simple guide to embroidery stitches should be just fine. I’d recommend anyone stitching along to mark a general placement of the main lines of stitching, else your free-handing may result in a pear as fabulously wonk as my yellow pear, but nature’s wonkiest fruits are often the sweetest, so she can stay.

Two of the ornaments I stitched as close to the original designs as I could see/be bothered. The others I did in my own pattern, though they are very definitely variations on the original theme. I took me a day on and off to make these four decorations, which isn’t long at all for something so cheery that I am sure will grace our tree for a good number of years.

Felt hanging decorations with embroidery handmade for christmas

Any other handmade decoration ideas out there? Are others gathering grand ideas and plans or are festive makes already truly under way?




Our First Two Years Together

Our First Two Years Together

It’s been two years since our family grew by one. I think we were always a family, Russell and I. From, perhaps, the day that I felt like I trusted in his goodness to let go of that little bit of certainty and security of the path I was on, soon to have my own little place to live, and took the leap that I could trust in this human to be good and to care and love enough that I could uproot once more and move in with him to a pokey little cold flat in Whitley Bay. Boy it was cold. And it was so tiny! But perhaps it was my favourite of all the places that I have lived due to it being where our story began and the first place in which I had felt safe in a very, very long time.

But my favourite chapters of the story so far all burst into colour two years ago when a tiny human popped into our world, a mixture of Russell and I. This whopping great blackcurrant stained baby shot into the world at a faster rate than I could really handle it. But after all the worry and panic there lay this 9lb bruise with a wrinkle for a nose and Russell and I cradled pure love in our arms. It had not been so very long previously that I did not think that I could trust anyone to truly love in my lifetime, and now I had these two pillars of love, one huge and protecting and one (not so very) tiny, heartbeat fluttering fast upon my chest, and I knew that I would never feel the same again. And our family was strong.

I truly love being a parent, but as so many people will tell you, parenthood is tough. Gosh, yes we have our off days. Tired, grumpy days, days of illness and the mystery maladies of baby and toddlerhood, sometimes that write themselves apparent three days after the screams and sobs with a scarlet rash and sometimes which manifest on no physical symptoms that you will ever detect and are put down to some mystical condition which may or may not have existed. And you are always, always doing it wrong. So says that lady in the supermarket, or the health visitor who you’ve known for four minutes of your life, or that relation who’d do that differently, or the neighbour who is old enough to remember when babies did not cry because in those days 10 month old babies did as they were instructed, and probably earned their keep down the mines at the same time.

If my little boy knows or feels anything I would hope it is just how perfectly I love him and that I love learning from him more than from any of those people. I hope that Russell and I can teach him, above all else, how to be kind, how to be thoughtful and how to have empathy for all the people whose lives touch on his. I do not expect that as he grows and natually makes mistakes for him to always be good, or that he will always make the right choice, but I do so hope that we will always have time to put three chairs around the table and to talk about how we feel and how others might feel, and the effect of our actions on others. And from him I am learning how to best see the world anew. How the most basic and fundamental feelings that I have can be best nurtured and put to use. I am tougher in my resolve to surround myself with good and kind people and to not let damaging influences into our lives without guard, and to that end I have a strong determination to stand up for my family and to know when to say ‘no more’.

I hope that our third year together will be one of greater learning and growth. I hope it will be full of rainbows and colour, but when there are grey days that we can make things better with love and understanding. I hope that that there will be laughter, kindness, and, importantly, dinosaurs.