24 Nov 2014

Make it: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Baubles

It's Make it time again over here and this time it's a fun simple activity that the whole family could do to decorate the Christmas Tree, cos we all know it's nearly that time - if you haven't already put it up!

I saw these first over on Pinterest and just couldn't not make them, as they are just so cute.  I mean who doesn't want Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle baubles for their tree????

You will need:  Scissors, Ribbon (Blue, Purple, Orange and Red), double sided tape, self adhesive googly eyes and Green Baubles of course!

First, you will need to cut your 4 ribbons to the length that will go around your baubles, with a little overlap.  Then attach double sided tape to one side.

Wrap the ribbon around roughly the middle of the bauble and stick in place.

Next, get your adhesive eyes and stick onto the ribbon.

It really is that simple, repeat the steps for all four of your Turtles and you have your set.

Now, if you can't remember your turtles, I will help you out.  Raphael is Red, Donatello is Purple, Leonardo is Blue and Michelangelo is Orange!  Which one is your favourite???

These would make a great gift for the Turtle fan in your life and with the new film out at the moment, all my childhood memories are flooding back!  Gotta love the 80's!


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21 Nov 2014

Make it: Super Easy Quilt

If you want to impress someone this year with a super easy, yet really impressive, gift this year make them a quilt blanket. Everyone loves snuggling up under a cosy blanket, they make great gifts and you can make them really personal by picking fabrics that you know the recipient will just love. I have to be honest, I am not the worlds greatest quilter, I think it stems from not wanting to cut up beautiful fabrics into little pieces just to sew them back together again. However this easy quilt requires very little cutting and you still get that lovely cosy blanket at the end of it.

I chose once again to use my some of my current favourite fabrics from Dashwood Studio to create this 'quilt' These are from the Retro Orchid collection.

You will need: 6 x 30cm strips of your choice of cotton fabrics (at least 110cm) wide, 150cm x 100cm of fleece fabric, Fabric Scissors, thread and your Sewing Machine.

Start by pinning and then sewing together two of your cotton strips. Pin them right sides together making sure you are sewing a nice and straight seam. You can use your machine foot to help guide your stitching. Then un-fold and pin and sew your next strip in place.

Continue until you have sewn all your strips together. Fold your quilt front in half length ways and mark the centre line with a row of pins. Then be brave and cut up the middle line you have marked, removing the pins as you go. You then want to take your two halves and flip one so it is facing the opposite way around. Line the two pieces up and sew them back together to create the chequered front piece.

If you have been neat, all your squares should line up nicely, if not don't worry too much, mine didn't, I think it adds a bit of quirkiness to the finished piece. It made it look more handmade! So next, is to add the fleece backing, I have not added any wadding to mine as I like my blankets to be a little more floppy and snuggly. Stitch all the way around the edge of your cotton and fleece. Make sure you leave a gap around 15-20 cm open at the end. Use this opening to pull the whole of your quilt right side out.

Folding in the raw edges, start at the opening and sew a line of top stitching all the way around the edge of your quilt about 1-1.5 cm in from the edge. And  you are all done, see I promised it would be easy!

If you can bear to part with your new cosy blanket it would make a great gift for anyone this Christmas, It would be so cute for a new arrival in baby colours and equally in fun boy fabrics for any Kiddos you need gifts for, a great alternative to more plastic toys. I am gifting mine to my Mother-in-Law who loves handmade presents and always admires the quilts in our home.

Who would you make one for this year?

Sammy xxx

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19 Nov 2014

Who's Who: Ragged Life + Review

A couple of weeks ago we were asked along to a workshop at Tea and Crafting with Ragged Life.  We jumped at the chance to play with some fabric on a dreary Sunday morning and to find out more about what Ragged Life is all about.

Firstly we had a chat with Elsie who runs Ragged Life and so that brings us onto this month's Who's who.

Who are you?
Hi everyone, I'm Elspeth Jackson, rag rug designer, maker, teacher and fabric hoarder at Ragged Life.

What do you do?
I design and make rag rug homeware, fashion and art under the "Ragged Life" brand as well as running rag rug workshops in London and Hertfordshire. "Ragged Life" is all about being rough around the edges and unique so every piece I create is handmade using materials sustainably sourced from local charity shops and I love trying our different quirky designs. Over the years I've made everything from traditional rugs, festive Christmas wreaths and bold & bright cushions to rag rug photo frames, handbags and decorative letters - I even rag rugged up a tissue box once!
How did you start?
Every year my school used to put on a recycled fashion show for arts students to take part in. My mum had been making rag rugs for as long as I could remember so one year I bit the bullet and asked her to teach me so I could make a rag rug costume. It took weeks to make and weighed a tonne but I ended up winning a prize, so all was not in vain. From there I just kept on rag rugging and here I am today!

What's Next?
With Christmas coming up I've been keeping myself busy with Rag Rug Wreath workshops and Christmas present commissions. Our large rag rug letters have been really popular so I'll be rag rugging my way through the alphabet over the next few weeks. Longer term I'd really love to get together a whole load of people to embark on a World Record Attempt for the largest rag rug in the world. I just think it would look absolutely stunning. Watch this space!

What advice would you give yourself if you could go back to the beginning?
Think big and act small. All your small actions will get you there in the end.

After our little chat we were able to get down to the fun of the workshop and start rag rugging ourselves. If you have never been down to the Tea and Crafting workshop space, we definitely recommend a visit.

There was a group of us crafters/blogging types to learn the skill of Rag Rugging and Elsie gave us a wreath or cushion to make and so we chose one of each to get us started.  Rag rugging is very simple as all you need is Hessian, spare bits of fabric and a latch hook.

First, Elsie showed us the Looped method.  Using long strips of fabric, roughly around 2cm wide, you hook the tail end to the front of the hessian and push it back and loop it at the front, hence the looped method.

Then it was over to the Shaggy method.  This is more of the traditional method that you see more often and involves smaller strips of fabric.  The handy gauge that Elsie gave us means that you can get all your strips about the same length and get more cut in half the time too.

This method is about getting the fabric hooked through a hole in the hessian, so that it has the two ends of the fabric loose at the front of the fabric.

Both of these methods are very simple and the looped method is more used for particular patterns and the shaggy method good for large expanses and wreaths for example.

Sammy and a few of the other ladies decided to do wreaths, it coming up to Christmas and all and went for the shaggy method.  What's great about this is that it is quicker and you can add all sorts of fabric to make something really striking, you can also use sweet wrappers to get some sparkle! Sammy chose her colours with her Christmas decoration theme in mind, so just wait for that.

A couple of us went for the cushion and I decided to try the looped method on mine, which appeals to my more ordered side!  I wanted to make a pattern in the centre of the cushion and so I decided on an anchor and using blue fabrics - of course!  I may use the shaggy method around the outside of my anchor, but not yet decided.

We had loads of fun at the workshop and met some new crafters, which is always nice.  We are both going to be finishing off our pieces soon and so I am sure we will share them over on our Twitter and Instagram feeds soon, so watch out for that.

Elsie also sells kits so that you can do your rag rugging at home or give it as a present, if going to a workshop isn't your thing, or you are further away from the classes.

The kits include: Latch hook, Hemmed Hessian, Wooden Rag Rug Gauge, Instruction Booklet, Instructional CD with Videos and a Pen.  They cost £9.99 and can be bought in her shop and will shortly be available from Sew Crafty too.

But for those who love a good workshop and are stuck for a present idea then just book yourselves on one of the workshops below: 

Thursday 20th November 2014 – Rag Rug Wreath Introductory Class – 19:00-21:30 @ Tea & Crafting, Camden, London. To book please head over to Tea and Crafting

Sunday 23rd November 2014 – Rag Rug Introductory Class – 10:00-12:30 @ The Coach House, Great Wymondley, Hertfordshire, SG47ER. To book please email raggedlifedesigns@gmail.com

Saturday 6th December 2014 – Rag Rug Introductory Class – 10:00-12:30 @ The Coach House, Great Wymondley, Hertfordshire, SG47ER. To book please email raggedlifedesigns@gmail.com

Sunday 7th December 2014 – Rag Rug Masterclass – 10:00-16:00 @ The Coach House, Great Wymondley, Hertfordshire, SG47ER. To book please email raggedlifedesigns@gmail.com

Wednesday 4th Feb 2015 – Rag Rug Introductory Class – 19:00-21:30 @ Tea & Crafting, Camden, London. To book please head over to Tea and Crafting

Phew, that's alot of information!  We loved our morning with Elsie and have definitely got the rag rugging bug.  Such a great way to use up some fabric supplies and as it uses smaller bits, you can really use up all those tiny bits and pieces that you have left over from projects, especially for the shaggy method.  Elsie recommended keeping old clothes and scouring charity shops for pattern and colours - we can imagine her place is full of fabric!

The patterns and styles that Elsie comes up with our amazing and really help to dispel that myth that rag rugging is for older people and just a bit, well, old fashioned.  Go check out Elsie's work and you can even commission her too!


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17 Nov 2014

Make it: Glitter Snowglobe

Another gift for Christmas today and it's a really simple Snowglobe.  You can really tailor this to whoever you are going to give it to as the scene inside is whatever you want it to be.  I choose a Barbie theme as I know it's just what the recipient of this little beauty would love.  This would be just as perfect for a child as an adult and so there are no limits to the theme you could choose.

As I said, it really is very simple to make.  You will need:  A Jar (I got mine from Tiger), waterproof glue, plastic glitter, Glycerin, Bottled water and your ornament for inside.

Using the waterproof glue, attach your ornament to the inside of the lid.  This may take a good 24 hours to completely dry and so you can do this way before you are ready to put it all together.  You could make up a whole scene or use a small ornament like mine to keep it simple.

Once your ornament is in place, you can get to the fun part!

Fill your jar up with bottled water, it needs to be distilled water and so this is why bottled water works best.

When you have filled your jar almost to the top, add a dash of Glycerin, probably about 2 tablespoons.  This will make your glitter fall down more slowly.

Then, add your glitter.  Add as much or as little as you like to make your snowglobe glitter happy.  Then stir your water, glycerin and glitter together so that it makes a nice mix.  You can now fill the jar totally to the top.

Now you can pop your lid on (make sure you keep it upside down) and seal it up using glue.  The jar I used has a great cork lid and so its easy to glue inside the lid first.  A little liquid might come out the top as it is overflowing from the ornament being added.  Just mop it up and when your ready turn it over.

You now have your glitter snowglobe.

What scene or ornament would you put in yours?  I am always on the look out for a really nice London snowglobe and so perhaps this should be my next make!


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14 Nov 2014

Make it: Unicorn Hobbyhorse with free PDF download

This month of DIY gifts is so exciting for us because we get to share so many things to make for your family and friends. Today I'm going to show you how to make any of the little princesses in your lives squeal with joy. We are making a Unicorn Hobby Horse!  We have included a PDF download for this too so you can print it off and keep it handy for birthdays as well as Christmas time.

You will need: 1/2 metre of white fleece, 3 x 15cm by 75cm strips of coloured fleece, ribbon, toy stuffing, thread (normal and extra strong), a pole or stick, scraps of felt or fleece in black and a pretty colour, pins, scissors and a sewing machine (optional) glue (optional).

Start by drawing out your pattern or use the one we have provided and scale it up to size. Place the unicorn head piece on top of two layers of fleece and cut around the template leaving a 1.5cm seam allowance all the way around. Do the same for the ears and horn, making sure you cut two extra ear pieces from a pretty colour of felt to make the inside of the ears. Stitch all the way around your head shape leaving the bottom open and snip into the seam allowance at all the curves. Next, fold over the horn, pin down the straight edge and stitch it down to make a cone. Also stitch the ears leaving the flat edge at the bottom open, then turn everything right side out.

Next, take a square scrap of fleece and a handful of stuffing and make a ball on the end of your stick by wrapping some thread around the base, I have used an old fabric pole, ask at your local fabric shop if they have any spares you can have, or head to a DIY store and pick up some dowelling. Start to stuff your unicorn head until you reach the bend at the top of the head then insert your pole. Continue to stuff down the neck until you are about 7-9 cm from the base of the neck. Take some strong thread and stitch around the neck pulling it in tight at the base, wrap some pretty ribbon around to cover the stitching and to help keep it in place on your pole.

Next you are going to make the mane. Layer up your three colours of fleece strips and pin them together along the centre. Stitch all the way down the centre of the strips. Take your super sharp scissors and start to snip the strips all the way along both sides leaving 1.5 cm between the end of your cut and the centre line of stitching. You should end up with a lovely fleecy hair do for your unicorn.

Stitch the mane to the base of the neck and tack it in place along the neck seam until you get to the forehead of your unicorn, then fold it back on itself and carry on tacking it on until you reach the end of your mane piece.

It should look a little bit like a horse now, so it is time to make the horn. Take the cone you stitched earlier and stuff it. Stitch up the bottom of the cone with some strong thread and without cutting the thread take it and wrap it up and around the cone, pulling it tightly to create the spiral up the horn. Finish off by stitching through the tip of the horn and tying off your thread.

Fold the ears in half and taking your strong thread again, stitch them to the head either side of the mane, then stitch around the base of the horn. Lastly take a scrap of black felt and cut yourself some cute eyelashes and stitch or glue them onto the unicorn's face.

Here is a picture of the template I drew, you can easily download this picture (right click on your mouse and choose save as or download our PDF) scale it up and use it for your own template.

I am in love with this girl, I am going to be hard pushed to let her go, but the little girl who is getting her for Christmas is going to just love her even more than me I'm sure!

We would love to see what gifts you are making for your loved ones this year, link in the comments or #livelovemake on Instagram or twitter to show us your goodies. 

Sammy xxx

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