Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Owl Cupcake Toppers

Felt Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Our local schools break up for their half-term holiday on Friday, with all next week off.  It's been a long eight weeks since the start of term back in September and both students and teachers are ready for a well earned rest.

Alice has now joined her brother at secondary school and it was a very successful transition, due to the efforts of her lovely form tutor and subject teachers.  George went into Year Ten and has stayed with the same great tutor for the fourth year running.

As a little thank you for all their help and care in making the first half term so painless, the children and I stitched up some cute cupcake toppers for both tutors.

George also helped out with the design of the packaging and on the back is one of my favourite seasonal quotes;

 'Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower' Albert Camus

The yummy frosted cupcakes were purchased in Sainsburys and the ones pictured only just made it through the photo shoot before they were polished off by some very willing 'helpers'.  I'm now putting off buying replacements until the last minute, hopefully avoiding further temptation!

We're off to Barcelona for a few days next week and when we return it will be almost time for our Halloween party, so it should be a lovely break for the children.  If you're on holiday too, enjoy!

Monday, 20 October 2014

How to Style Cheap Plastic Skeletons

Give your decorations a cool new look!

The quick tutorial I'm sharing with you today is not only the most straightforward of my Halloween DIYs - it's also one of my favourites.  I took inexpensive plastic decorations and instantly gave them a great new look, simply by the application of a little heat!

Take a look at these guys - Don't they look debonair in their casually cool poses!

They actually started out as cheap hanging decorations bought from my local supermarket, and are just the kind of thing you find in any pound or dollar store.  The little chap below has yet to be subjected to the magic;


So to place boring skeletons into far more interesting poses, simply heat with a hot air gun and gently manipulate into place.  The process doesn't even need any extra photos, it really is that easy!

 Go and turn up the heat!

Monday, 13 October 2014

From Plastic Clock to Perfect Cloche!

Halloween Cloche Tutorial

Our Halloween theme this year is 'Victorian Gothic' so, not surprisingly, bell jars, cloches, apothecary jars and other weird and wonderful curiosities all feature prominently.  

We've collected lots of great items but something exciting happens when 'treasures' are placed under glass, as they instantly become even more special!  Our displayed specimens also have authentic looking museum labels, which I created in a gorgeous copperplate script, adding to the Victorian curiosities feel.  

I love cloches and bell jars but found them shockingly expensive in the shops and I needed loads to transform our home into the abode of a slightly eccentric Victorian family, so I set about making my own.  I've already shared a tutorial on the smaller cloches, two of which you can see on either side of the top hat wearing skull.  They looked great, but I also wanted a few taller ones for our larger exhibits so when I found a (very) kitsch plastic dome clock at my local car boot fair I knew I had struck thrifting gold!  I subsequently found another six, paying between 50p and £1.00 for each, leading to my next Halloween Craft DIY;

Thrifted dome clock
Small handle or knob
Spray paint 
Dremel or drill

Firstly remove the clock itself as only the base and dome are needed.  Simply turn the clock over and unscrew, retaining the removed parts for a later project.    

The next step is to cover the holes left from the clock with a circle of acetate.  I upcycled mine from the clear window commonly found in packaging.  It needs to be the same size as the inner circle on the base.  Stick into place and then spray paint black.

If your dome is plastic rather than glass, drill a hole in the top and attach a small cabinet handle.  Mine was originally a rather bright brass colour so I sprayed it black to perfectly match the base.

That's it........

...from plastic clock to perfect cloche!

What will you display in yours?

Monday, 6 October 2014

Sewing World Magazine ~ SewforSoul Feature

Nifty Needles, October 2014

October's Sewing World Magazine is in shops now and features another SewforSoul project;

A little linen needlecase stitched up in cute navy and red dotty fabrics  

The sewing notions fabric is Makower's 'Sew Retro Montage' and it was purchased from the lovely Lucy over at Secret Garden Quilting.  The needlecase can be personalised by picking out different colours from the Sew Retro fabric and then stitching the applique in matching shades.  You could also embroider a name instead of the 'Needles' wording, making a very thoughtful Christmas gift for a fellow stitcher.  This baby blue version was made for Jude and regular SewforSoul readers might recognise it from this post.

Like many of my projects it features my favourite raw edge applique and free motion machine embroidery techniques.

There's a useful internal pocket running the length of the case, perfect for holding a few stitching essentials;

If you're going to be stitching your own 'Niffy Needles Case', then do consider paying  Secret Garden Quilting a visit.  It's a small business independently run by Lucy who holds regular pop-up shops in local village halls, as well as the online store, but she is hoping to eventually open up on her local high street.  Postage and packaging starts at just £1.95 and is free for spends over £50!  I love visiting little quilting stores and unless we all support small businesses then the future will only see large multi-nationals attempting to cater to our stitching needs.

Happy Sewing!