Tag Archives: homemade gifts

Suffolk Puffs For Little Princess’s

20 Jun

Suffolk puffs were the theme of our latest craft gathering.


Extraordinarily easy to make and incredibly versatile, these little beauties were so quick to create  that we had produced over twenty by the time the tea and cake was being served.

No longer content with just trying our hand at various crafts, our group has developed a social conscience.

It had been suggested in the past that we put our work towards charitable causes, and this project lends itself to all sorts of creative ideas.

Hair clips are what we decided to make.



Mrs F got in contact with Little princess trust. They are a fantastic charity that provide wigs for children who have lost their hair through cancer treatment.

To our amazement they got back to us almost immediately saying they would love to receive some of our work and they would ensure that they went to the  children they help.

And so our humble craft group has begun to evolve from a gang of women trying out crafts, drinking wine, exchanging birth stories and feeding a ceramic pelican with beer money,  to something that might actually help someone,  somewhere in a small way.

We are becoming a mini movement and quite possibly a force to be reckoned with.

We just need to make the hair clips first 😉


Upcyled Bunting

23 May

Choosing fabrics, whether it be for curtains, table cloths, cushions, clothing or just for sewing is a very personal thing.

It says so much about our tastes and personality and can leave an indelible mark others.

In the last twelve months our family has suffered the loss of three grandmothers. All very different and extraordinary women with their own remarkable and unique stories.

I have been lucky enough to collect some of their old fabrics, which I have kept with the idea of giving new life to these seemingly mundane objects.

So when my mother in law asked me to make some bunting for her little summer-house, I had a rifle through my fabrics and found a piece that had belonged to her mother.

It turned out to be perfect for garden themed bunting, the pattern being a mix of summer flowers and summer fruits.

I got to work cutting the triangles using my trusty Kellogg’s template.



I lined the back with a simple cream cotton and chose a bold cherry red bias binding  to bring the whole thing together.


I was quite pleased with the result and my lovely in-laws sent me photo of it in situ. I think it looks pretty good.

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(I’ll skim over the part where I made it slightly too short, simple arithmetic was never my strong point).

I have another couple of upcycling projects coming up using some of my own Grandmothers fabrics. I am still toying with ideas, but I think one may be a cathedral window quilt and the other may involve Suffolk puffs. These two techniques would be great for showcasing many of her fabric choices without needing large quantities of any one pattern. Plus this involves hand stitching which I love 🙂

I’d better get cracking then!


Pin It

8 Apr

After the high jinx of last weeks post, it is time to get back to reality  😉

This week (instead of meeting Jane Garvey),  I was in Ikea on the hunt for some pinboards.

The children like to collect mementos of everything from postcards to bus tickets to leaflets and photo’s.

They have a their mothers hoarding tendencies, so I thought it would be nice for them to have somewhere to put their treasures as a reminder of fun times.

Ikea had some perfect pinboards for under £5, so I picked a couple up with the idea of personalizing them.


Armed with my current weapons of choice (Glue and staple guns + bog standard PVA glue) I set to work.

Using some pretty butterfly paper we decoupaged the frame of the Livster’s using good old-fashioned PVA glue.


Once that was dry and trimmed I dug up an old net curtain with a fetching check pattern on it.

Cutting it to the size of the cork surface, I then staple gunned it on.

It was very satisfying.


To tidy up those raw edges,  I chose baby pink ribbon and using a glue gun stuck in as a border between the frame and the main part of the board.


And voila! A place for all of Livs memories  to be pinned.


With the Bo’s we left the frame alone. I found some fun spaceman fabric amongst the junk in my trunk 😉 . I used that to cover the cork.

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A really simple, quick make.


Silhouette Portraits

30 Mar

I stole this idea from my friend, who in turn had stolen it from another friend and so I shall pass it on for you to steal at your leisure.

Silhouette portraits have been around for thousands of years and they seem to be having a revival.

I found a really interesting history of the silhoutte here if you would like to know more.

The great thing about a silhouette is that it creates  touching memento of someones likeness with very little artistic skill involved (always a bonus).

I thought it would be a nice gift for Mum to create a portrait of her Grandchildren.

Here is what I did.

Firstly, and trickiest of all, I took a profile picture of each child.

I made sure my daughter’s hair was tied back to get a good clean outline, and that their chins were up so as to show some neck.

Next I printed of the pictures and the traced the outline onto some plain paper.


Once that was done, I broke out the black poster paint and filled in the picture, being carefull not to go over the lines. It would probably be easier just to use black card, but I didn’t have any, so I improvised.


Whilst that was drying I dug out a couple of old white picture frames that had seen better days.


I gave them a new lease of life by decoupaging some pretty paper over the surface and leaving it to dry on the door handle.


Once once my silhouette was dry I very carefully cut it out using a Stanley knife, attached it to some white card and popped it into my newly upcycled frame.

And there we have it.


This was such an easy make, in fact the most tricky thing about it was getting the children to stand still for long enough to get a profile picture of them.


Happy Mothers Day xx

Guest Post From Ladybird Lab- Card Making

3 Feb

Today Mrs Blythin Makes comes to you via Ladybird Lab who are talking about handmade greetings cards.

I have never  attempted making cards before,  but having looked at their beautiful work I have been inspired to give it a go.

So without further ado I shall pass you into the more than capable hands of Ladybird Lab…..

Thank you to Hannah for giving us the opportunity to be a guest blogger.  The Mrs Blythin Makes blog has lots of great, inspirational ideas so it’s a real pleasure to have this opportunity to talk about card making.

As way of an introduction, our names are Tasneem and Alefiyah.  We are sisters who create handmade cakes, treats and cards in our Ladybird Lab – this is where all the creativity happens!  You may have seen us at The Creed Street Theatre, Old Wolverton Bath House flea markets and other local craft events.  We will be writing about card making in this guest post.

Making cards is easy, fun and can save you money.  It’s lovely to know that something you have created has brought a smile to someone’s face and as you can personalise your cards you can make the person receiving your card feel extra special!

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Here are a few simple steps to follow when making cards which may inspire some of you to give it a go:

  • Sketch some rough ideas of  how you want your card to look.  We always find this helps, it makes the task seem less daunting and gives you  an opportunity to really think about what the recipient would like.
  • Once your sketch is complete you need to research and decide on what images and techniques you want to use to create your cards.
  • Many shops now sell craft items for card making and a wide variety of items can be brought from your local craft store.  However, it’s always fun to try and recycle and re-use things you already have and that are readily available.
  • You can print out copyright free images, draw your own images or cut out designs from gift wrap and wall paper.
  • You can use beads,  sequins, stamps, textured paper, glitter, ribbons and stickers to enhance your creation.

Mixing different techniques and crafty items will make your card look and feel unique.  Don’t be afraid to try new techniques, a lot of them (such as stamping and creating dimensional effects) are really simple but look very effective.

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You can add a 3-dimensional feel to your card by adding form pads beneath layers to make them slightly raised.

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Don’t forget to keep old cards you have received – you can recycle and re-use parts from them to create new cards or you can do what we do and draw inspiration from lots of your favourite cards.

Don’t worry if some of your earlier attempts at making cards go wrong, as this is part of the learning and experimental process, and the good thing is, that these can always be recycled!

Feel free to have a look at the Ladybird Lab blog and Facebook page to see cards we have created in the Ladybird Lab and to look at some of the card techniques we have used:


We wish you many happy card making times!

Tasneem & Alefiyah – Ladybird Lab



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Tea Cup Candle

16 Dec

I found this rather attractive cup and saucer a few months ago and picked it up for pennies.


My plan was to make a candle with it, but as always it sat gathering dust whilst I mustered the time and the inclination to buy the stuff that I needed.

Mum and Dad had been sorting through the loft recently and this inevitably means that I get dumped with stuff that don’t want and will never use.

In the past I have been presented with in line roller skates from when I was 12, a calligraphy set where the inks had dried out and the nibs were bent and loads of A level art books, paintings and sheafs of paper that send my husband apoplectic and a bit Wicker Man.

This time though she actually found something I needed.

My old candle making kit. Every child should have one 😉


Not only was it full of wax beads and wick but it was full of old candles that I had obviously planned to recycle in the future (though I probably was not thinking 20 years in the future).

Because I am too lazy to bother with instructions and clearly arrogant  enough to think that I can do it without help, I just made it up as I went along. And it shows.

I took a cheese grater to the old candle of choice (blood-red of course) and grated the wax into a bowl. Having done this I made put the bowl over a pan of hot water and let it melt town to molten lava.


This is where it all started to go a bit pear-shaped. I decided that sticking a blob of melted wax would be enough to hold town the end the end of the wick to the bottom of the cup.

I hadn’t really thought this through. As soon as I poured hot wax into the cup it melted (obviously) the wax blob and I lost my wick, quite literally. Cue me poking around with then end of a spoon to try to re-stick it.

I eventually botched it back into position and tied the loose end around a spoon to keep the wick straight.


Once again impatience and an inability to stop fiddling got the better of me and I released the wick too soon, resulting in a sunken middle.


And because I hadn’t practised first, my poor sister in-law got a truly sub-standard birthday present.

Sorry Sis, hope the pretty lunch bag made up for it x

Peg Wreaths

12 Dec

In theory as a craft (?) blogger I should be blocking up everyone’s news feed with loads of amazing/ropy stuff to  inspire/ annoy/ignore (delete as appropriate).

In practise there are not enough hours.

Work, Birthdays, Christmas plays, card writing,office parties and shopping have eaten into my time budget. Oh and washing, ironing, school runs and food shopping.

Clawing it back is not really an option.

There have been things happening quietly in the background. My sloe gin doesn’t need any help and the jams and chutneys I made during the harvest are quietly maturing and gathering dust.

So it was with pleasure and relief that I filled the car with ladies, cakes and jangling bags of pegs, wire and beads.

We were all headed to our second ever craft group, this time hosted by Mrs H.

Our mission that evening was to create a peg wreath to attach Christmas cards.

There had been much hand wringing and anxiety over what people did and didn’t have, how they should colour their pegs and the general quality of their preparations.

Most people spray painted their pegs the colour of their choice. One lady in what can only be described as a moment of pure insanity dismantled every peg, dyed them and the re-assembled them. Others simply glued pretty craft paper to one side. Mine were shoddily and hastily painted in the first thing I got my hands on.

Wine, bucks fizz and many peanuts later we had all created uniquely different but equally pretty little wreaths that will keep some organised chaos for all those Christmas cards.

It is incredibly simple to do. Bead, peg, bead, peg, bead, peg. You get the idea.

These are just a few examples of the creations. Mine is the last and worst.

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Oh Baubles!

6 Nov

Our new craft group had our first ever making evening last night.

We made Baubles.

Ollie Cromwell was not a fan, but he was a kill joy.

Winging it as ever,  we sat sipping mulled wine and staring at the polystyrene balls that Mrs M had kindly bought over.

The Balls were clearly making Lu anxious and she eventually had a mini breakdown exclaiming that she didn’t know what she was going to do with them.

Luckily Mrs M stepped in, and in true Blue Peter style with some examples of baubles she had made earlier.

She showed us a fab glueless way to cover the baubles which was quick and you also didn’t need to be overly accurate. Which suits all of us very well.

Essentially it involved carving ditches in your ball so that it was divided into segments. Some people went for 4 segments while others went wild and carved 8.

Once the ball was carved up,  we covered each segment with fabric cut slightly bigger than to size and firmly shoved the edges into the ditches, repeating all the way around until the whole thing was covered.

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Once this had been achieved people could really go to town on the embellishments.

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Everyone went home with a really lovely little creation. Even those who claim not to be crafty had something to really cherish.


A Rose by Any Other Name!

22 Oct

I had forgotten about making this gift until yesterday.

I start things, meaning to blog about them and get distracted by something else. Brain like a seive!

Anyway I get Mollie Makes magazine every month and often they contain a little project.

Earlier this year they sent a little envelope containing everything you need to make a little cross stitch rose.

It really was only an afternoons stitching before the thing was complete.

With my friend’s birthday approaching I popped to ikea to get a box frame and placed my latest creation inside.

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I felt like the frame needed something extra, so I pulled out some vintage buttons and glued them to the corners.

My friend was genuinely pleased with her gift and it actually goes really well in her vintage style kitchen.

Apple Butter

12 Sep


It was with some trepidation that I took over a very tiny pot of freshly made apple butter to my friend.

Lu is a straight talking lady, so I knew I would get a straight answer. She isn’t going to sugar coat any pill.

Apple Butter. What is it?

Well it is like a spicy concentrated apple jam/ spread/very versatile little make. I believe it is more well-known in America, but also Jersey seems to have its own version Black Butter. Weirdly butter plays no part in either of these things.

As I still had a huge amount of apples to deal with from my little Scrumping trip with Mrs P, I thought I would give it a go.

Basically because I have better things to do with my time than stand for hours over a saucepan, I used a slow cooker technique.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that my slow cooker is my best friend (I don’t get out much). A slow cooker is not just for winter stews, they are great for so many things, jams, puddings, spag bols, slow roasting. They are just brilliant!

I digress.

Apple butter seems to be less recipe and more rough guide depending on what type of apples you have and how tart or sweet you like it.

Having put the children to bed I peeled and cut around 5lbs of apples (very dull work) and added them to bestie. I then threw around 7oz of sugar, 2tsp cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg and around 5 cloves.

Once everything was in the slow pot I popped the lid on and switched it on high for an hour, stirring once or twice.


When the hour was up I gave it a quick stir and turned it down to low, leaving the lid off this time. Then I had a glass of wine, watched a bit of TV and went to bed.

By the morning the smell in the house was divine. Aromas of apples, and spices evoked memories of misty mornings, frizzy hair, conkers, artfully arranged scarves and rushing out to buy de-icer. Autumn

So after roughly 10 to 12 hours of slow cooking with no lid on what you get is a lovely golden brown mulch.


I took a whisk to it to smooth out some of the lumps and placed it into sterilised jars.


So what did Lu make of it?

Well it was a yes from her.

We tried it on some really mature cheddar and it went beautifully, it’ fruity tartness (Naughty) complementing the creamy, salty flavours of the cheese.

We also tried it with a little butter on toast, which was really comforting and would be lovely after a nice autumn walk with a cup of tea.

It would also be lovely used as a glaze for a baked ham or chops, or even spread on a piece of apple or fruit cake.

A very versatile little jar of loveliness.




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