Tag : birthday

The Crafty Lass does… Pillowcase Cushion Cover!

When it comes to fabrics – I am certainly a bit of a magpie! Particularly if vintage – so they have a bit of history behind them. Or an unusual print or pattern. Or colour, or weave… Who am I kidding – any fabrics that might have a use! I often buy them if I like them, to keep ‘just in case’… (Otherwise known as a classic craft hoarder – much to The Husband’s dismay!)

This time, with a specific project in mind – I was on the look out for some ‘Rose’ fabric – to craft up a present for one of our lovely friend’s little girl’s 1st birthday present. I had kept a sneaky eye out on eBay for anything coming up, and hunted in my normal ‘go-to’ fabric haunts – and I was tempted to go for something such as the Cath Kidston Antique Rose design until, I suddenly, unexpectedly stumbled upon some beautiful vintage roses pillow cases in Brackley Antiques Cellar. Bingo!

I had planned to make a cushion – which may sound a strange first birthday gift – however the bright floral colours, and an idea for potential ribbon details to play with, I am hoping it will be an item loved for years to come in her nursery/future bedroom!

I was already intending to make a simple ‘fold over’ style cushion cover (where the back overlaps) – and my first thought with my new found treasure – was to simply just cut away all the seams of the pillowcase, and then use the fabric as per normal. However, when I started to look at and measure the cases, I realised size wise – it was near as perfect for the cushion inner I had in mind. Wouldn’t it be silly to rip out perfectly already achieved craftmanship, just to redo them all over again?? So, with that in mind – after washing and ironing – I decided to embrace the pillow case as part of the design! Here is how I achieved the final look…

 

  1. Semi ignoring the above, I cut away the end seam to allow me to attach some ribbons for tieing up the case/cushion at the end! (If you see the photos this will make sense!)
  2. Turned the pillowcase inside out.
  3. Pinned said ribbons inside along this newly cut edge, and then re-machine sewed – and the ribbons into place.
  4. Turned the pillowcase back the right way out.
  5. Inserted the cushion inner to check measurements.
  6.  Lined up the ribbons on other edge of pillow case – directly opposite the previously sewed ones and pinned into place.
  7. Removed cushion inner.
  8. Added a simple running stitch along the edge, to sew ribbons on.
  9. Re-added cushion inner.
  10. Folded pillow case back over and tied ribbons together to hold cushion cover together!

Et Voila!

Have you ever upcycled a pillow case into a cushion cover? I would love to see!

Enjoy x

Categories: Birthday, General Craft, House & Home, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass does… A celebration of the discarded babygro!

Babies grow REALLY fast. Everyone tells you – “enjoy it, they won’t be like that for long…”

I heard what people were saying when I first heard this… but I am not sure I really took on board just HOW super mind bogglingly fast time actually disappears… and that some days I think our little one grows before our very eyes. One minute he is wearing that cute little star print vest I love, the next – well, not. I once even thought I had shrunk everything in a wash load – but no no, he really had grown that quickly! Almost overnight…

When he was born, and I had taken approximately 200 first outfits to the hospital in various sizes from very small to very very large ‘just in case’ (we looked pretty much like we were moving house when arriving at the maternity ward, or perhaps maybe a long holiday with 3 cases!!) … he STILL didn’t fit in to any of them. Given the size of my hippopotamus sized bump I was certainly surprised…! Anyway, one of the first jobs for new Daddy was to go out and buy more clothes – turns out we needed very very very small!

Staring at this little bundle of cuteness, who we were suddenly in charge of – and now enclosed in a tiny little babygro on Day 1 – I couldn’t imagine him fitting in to one of the actual ‘going home outfits’ that I’d meticulously and totally unnecessarily planned – let alone all the other what seemed almost ridiculously large items for future months we had at home.

Now, at only (only!) 9 months – he is out of all those wonderful first items – and marching into 9-12 months plus and onwards. So, what to do with all those leftover clothes??

 

  1. Shove them in the loft (just in case they are needed for later…??)
  2. Or, give on as hand me downs? – especially as most of them had been worn for what felt like all of just 5 minutes and in great condition!
  3. Give some to charity?
  4. Or – how about doing all the above but also craftily repurposing some of them?

 

Some of those clothes have memories engrained in them. Little laughter and magical moments woven into the fibre of their cloth. Forever to be captured on camera and shared into the Instagram #babyspam. The sleep suit on his first car journey home, on his first Christmas day, when he first smiled, and rolled over. The first time in a jumperoo, and at a baby sensory class. The special outfit at his first wedding – and the first time he met his grandparents. The list goes on… all those milestones that suddenly happen, you grab your camera and BAM – that’s what he was wearing when ‘that’ happened…

I can’t look at some of those beautiful little items without smiling, crying, remembering and rejoicing! If they are going to be made into something they need to be CUT UP… So they need to made into something that will be used, loved, cherished.

On this note, we are now starting to plan a 1st birthday party, which I cannot quite believe – but what would a party be without decorations? And in particular, BUNTING.

And so… I have spent this evening, going through the no longer used, but still very much loved, clothes – the cute little fabrics – selecting, remembering, and cutting triangles. The triangles won’t match, there will be colours, stripes, prints and patterns galore. It will be fun! And memorable. Personalised – a year in the life of our little man. I’m not going to lie, a few tears have been shed tonight – happy tears – but I repeat – how can he be growing so fast??! 

This craft might take some time, there are plenty of triangles to be cut and sewn, and they won’t be perfect, this bunting will have poppers and seams galore… but what a project!! So enjoyable to plan and make… and so exciting to see the outcome.

I look forward to it being hung, resplendent at his first birthday party!

And if this clever (even if I do say myself) crafty idea – could get any better… my plan is to now do this as time goes on. I will add to it, every year, whenever a new celebration that of course requires bunting is needed – with the next batch of discarded wears so that by the time he is 18 it could no doubt be hung to the moon and back!

I will of course, as always, take photos when it is done and share on the socialstratosphere – here, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Right, I’m off to see what else he can sadly no longer wear, do some more remembering, and to cut triangles…

There are more memories to be made tomorrow, who knows what the day will bring. I hope he is wearing a nice printed outfit!! 

Enjoy. x

Categories: Birthday, Business, Crafty Kids, General Craft, House & Home, The Crafty Lass does..., Workshops

The Crafty Lass does… Commissions!

Looking for a way to personalise your wedding with some unique handcrafted decor and favours? Looking for a special personalised gift? A new baby celebration? Throwing a party with a difference?

If you have an idea, want something creative, have an event you would like to make extra special – see if The Crafty Lass can be of help. 🙂

  • Wedding Commissions
  • Wedding Favours
  • Personalised Handmade Paper Bunting
  • Handcrafted Paper Flowers
  • Birthday Commissions
  • Events and Party Decor

Please contact for further information and pricing.

Categories: Birthday, Business, General Craft, The Crafty Lass does..., Valentines, Anniversaries & Lovey-Dovey Stuff, Weddings

The Emma Bridgewater Factory

IMAG0483Yesterday was a bit of a ‘road trip’! One of my closest and dearest friends had her birthday recently – and as she is also very creative, and we mentioned AGES ago about doing something like pottery making, or decorating – my gift to her was to visit the brilliant, and iconic Emma Bridgewater factory in Stoke-on-Trent. We were booked in for both a factory tour to see the makers and creators in all their skillful glory… and then to go and decorate our very own pieces in their studio. Exciting!

It was a horrible drive up – the weather was typically Britishly grey, rainy, horrid visibility – but when we pulled up at the factory the clouds were on the turn – with blue skies and glorious sunshine just around the corner. A sign that our day was about to be on the up!

Despite the horrid journey, we did arrive quite a bit earlier than planned. But – this actually was a genius move – plenty more time to spend in the factory shop! Winning.

 

Although marked as ‘Seconds’ you sometimes struggled to work out exactly why it was just that – and ‘Seconds’ – the odd mark here and there that perhaps was ‘out of spec’ but nothing that didn’t stop each piece certainly being a delightful piece of exquisitely handmade piece of pottery here at the very factory in Stoke. Bargains galore – I really did have to reign in my desire and the true definition between ‘want’ and ‘need’… Beautiful mugs normally £19.95 – instead… £11.90 for two anyone?? A true sign of the high quality standards that the factory obviously strives towards.

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They are very proud of the fact they are in Stoke – and, that everything is made on site – and so they should be! They are one of the largest employers in the area – around 185 people – and it is just so exciting to see such an industry still in good old Great Britain.

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Although I knew they were made in Stoke, and yes perhaps hand decorated – I had no idea, that Every. Single. Piece. is TOTALLY handmade. Hand moulded, hand finished, hand checked, hand well – everything – from beginning to end – each mug, bowl, tureen is completely hand created. And, due to that – on the finishing at least, one will never be exactly the same as the next. Each very talented painter – will of course, have to keep to a certain spec, but it will always be their own. Our delightful factory tour guide ‘Julie’ explained that some people that collect Emma Bridgewater pottery – will ONLY collect certain artists pieces. What a compliment! You may be thinking – but how do they know!? Well, underneath each item, the artists leave their little ‘mark’ – usually their initials, and in the romantic eyes – it gives credence to the artist – which, of course it does – but, also it is a part of the quality control system – but either way it certainly shows it was hand created by a person, and not a machine!

 

IMAG0492Next we headed over the cafe for some well earned (ok, not really – but well desired) tea and scrumptious-moist-really-not-needed carrot cake. What a place! With (as expected!) everything served on in house wares – a now famous ‘polka-dot design’ adorned Aga in the middle, the walls covered with quirky posters and shelf upon shelf of mugs, plates… Just lovely! A fun, relaxed environment akin to the branding and designs of the Bridgewater pottery.IMAG0502

 

We didn’t actually have long, so we wolfed down our treats – and headed on over to the decorating studio.

 

We knew we were doing this – but it wasn’t until we were actually inside that we thought about a) what we wanted to decorate and b) what we wanted to decorate it with! Blank pieces started from as little as £6.00 and luckily there were a wide selection of stamps and paint colours – so it wasn’t long before we were inspired and raring to go!

Those girls in the factory are really so talented – they make it look ‘easy’… I had grand viIMAG0490sions of all sorts of complicated designs – but in the end settled for some lovely and very ‘The Crafty Lass’ hearts and stars in a repeat pattern around the edges of the iconic Bridgewater mug – in green and pink too, of course.

I love those mugs – we were bought the also iconic ‘Mr & Mrs’ mugs when we got married – and although they have a special meaning of course – they are such lovely mugs to drink from. Heavy, but still actually useable. Thick and solid, but still somehow delicate. It’s crazy – but my morning cuppa of Yorkshire tea, always tastes better in that mug than any other.

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Anyway – back to the decorating – we soon learnt that the paint dries very quickly, and that’s quite handy – as if you make a mistake, you can sandpaper it back off! We were fortunate that the scheduled groups after us – weren’t so large, and so with plenty of space – we managed to hang around longer than the normal allocated time. We were so absorbed in our new found love of pottery painting – we hung around in the studio for 2.5 hours…! And due to that – not only did I complete two IMAG0500mugs – one for myself, and one for The Husband but also a ‘Crafty Lass’ inspired matching plate with my now well used ‘Make. Create. Inspire.’ “catchphrase”! I have delightful and rose-tinted visions of my morning tea and toast with them to literally inspire me onwards in my The Crafty Lass days. The only deadline that curtailed us short of moving in and staying there all day and night and decorating pretty much everything – was that the cafe stopped serving lunch at 3.30pm… so we managed to put the paintbrushes down, pack-up, pay and get over there for some more delicious food. (A pesto, mozzarella and tomato toastie and a Ham, Cheese and Piccalilli bloomer – both with salad and plenty of homemade coleslaw incase you were wondering. Delicious!)

The final pieces need to be glazed, fired, cooled – and so they will be sent on to us in just a few weeks time. I cannot wait for the knock on the door the day that parcel arrives!!!

 

A final mooch around the shop to buy more items that I probably don’t need, but feel that my kitchen is greatly improved by – before back in the car, and off home. A long day – but happy, content and I actually feel like we had a therapeutic, creative and world-away from the day to day stuff – just, put simply – a truly lovely day trip out with my dear friend.

I left feeling inspired. Emma Bridgewater started the company simply because she couldn’t find the right present for her mum. Spotted a gap in the market – and et voila! They now produce 1.2 million pieces of pottery every year.
If you hadn’t already guessed by my above review – I would highly recommend a visit here to anyone. So, if you are ever Stoke way, or fancy a bit of a road trip – head on up there! Your bank balance won’t thank me for the recommendation, but your soul and kitchen certainly will.

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Categories: Birthday, Crafty Kids, General Craft, House & Home, Places to Go & Things to See

The Crafty Lass does… Nautical Cake Topper!

Inspired by my recent blog post on the birthday cake topper I made for my dad’s birthday – someone saw this and asked me to make another nautical themed version!

Their daughter Nadine is apparently mad on boats and sailing… So, this is just what she got! 🙂 All handcrafted out of paper and card – a yacht, with personalised ‘Nadine’ bunting, a little anchor, the ‘ferocious’ sea – and a little seagull keeping watch at the top too!

If you’d like a personal, handmade, different cake topper – then please get in touch! 🙂

Categories: Birthday, General Craft, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass does… Big birthday celebrations!

It’s been a busy week of celebrating some special birthdays – my dad turned 70 and one of our close friend’s Mark turned 40!

What better way to celebrate than to have some delicious birthday cake…and topped with a The Crafty Lass cake topper!

For my dad’s birthday, we had a wonderful Carrot, Cardamom and Pistachio cake from Cotswold Baking. It was so light and moist – scrumptious… clean plates all round, even after a three course lunch!

For the cake topper, I went with a ‘nautical’ theme – he loves sailing and can’t get enough of the summer sunshine – so a lovely little yacht, floating on the crest of a wave with a big bright yellow sun. Birthday bunting, and a little anchor completed the look. 🙂

For Mark’s 40th, we celebrated with some vanilla cupcakes with vanilla frosting. Mark is very into cars – and so using Adobe Illustrator I fashioned some road and speed signs to celebrate Mark’s special day. I am not sure I would be able to re-create the speed signs for commercial sale as the original British road sign designs are Crown copyright. However, for a small friend’s gathering – I am hoping this was ok! The road signs aren’t quite the same – but you get the feel and the idea! The yacht design was entirely my own design and creation 🙂

Happy Birthday Dad and Mark!

If you would like a personalised birthday cake topper handcrafted out of paper and card – why not get in touch! 🙂

 

Categories: Birthday, General Craft, The Crafty Lass does...

Afternoon Tea Garden Party!

What a glorious day yesterday was – the sun shone from morning til late evening – and good job it did too – we were invited to an afternoon tea (and prosecco!) garden party, and so rain wasn’t really part of the agenda…! (We were very lucky as both Friday, and today have been horrid!)

There were scones, plenty of clotted cream and jam, typically British sarnies, cakes… we didn’t leave hungry!

Aside from prosecco, delicious food, music, good company – every good party needs some decorations! And that is precisely where The Crafty Lass stepped in.

The brief was simple… make anything you like! But mainly the colour purple.

So, I set about making personalised bunting “Happy Birthday Amee” and “Time For Tea”, paper roses, tissue paper flowers, a party hat and rosette for The Birthday Girl, little cupcake flags, and heart confetti in hot pinks, purples, naturals and creams. (Alot of crafty fun was had!)

 

If you are looking for something that little bit special for a celebration – why not get in touch to see if The Crafty Lass can be of help. Or, alternatively – coming soon are the creative workshops where you can come along, be inspired and get involved to make these lovely crafty things for yourself! 🙂 Make. Create. Inspire.

Tissue Paper Flowers Cupcake Flags Party Hat and Rosette The Birthday Girl Personalised Bunting Personalised Bunting Personalised Bunting Paper Roses Personalised Bunting Paper Roses

 

Categories: Birthday, Business, General Craft

The Crafty Lass does… Birthday Invitations Commission!

I recently received a delightful commission for a ‘zoo-themed’ toddler’s birthday invitations…I had a LOT of fun with this one – who wouldn’t love spending time designing and creating some cheeky little meerkats and monkeys on Illustrator!

It has really inspired me to think about future invitation design ideas, and even a new range of children’s birthday cards! 🙂

I hope you all like the design just as much as I had fun creating them! I became so attached to them I even started to name the animals… 😉

 

Jacob InvitePS – I’ve changed a few of the details, for obvious reasons! 😉

Categories: Birthday, Business, The Crafty Lass does...

The Crafty Lass does… Handmade Washi Tape Birthday Card!

Well, the official ‘National Stationery Week’ may be over – but in the words of Sarah Millican on Twitter:

“This week is National Stationery week. For some of us, EVERY week is National Stationery week.”

So, why not carry on your love for stationery and get creative with a handmade birthday card! All you need for this simple idea is some blank card, some scissors and the ever popular – washi tape! 🙂

It was recently a special birthday in this house, and my husband’s favourite colour is green…Understandably this card may be a little bright for some tastes – but go with whatever colours your recipient would love of course 🙂

A very simple card and craft, but I think with an effective outcome!

wpid-imag1528.jpg– Print out, or draw the ‘3 and 0’, or a letter, or even a short phrase! (backwards if possible so that no opportunity for lines to be seen when on the card) – cut out, turn over and wrap in washi tape!

– Cut out a rectangle of card, in whatever size and shape you would like – and score down the middle so that the card folds nicely in half.

– Cover the front of the card in alternative/contrasting tape to make sure you can see the numbers/font clearly and just trim neatly at the edges.

– I used some Sellotape sticky foam pads to then attach the numbers to the card so that they stood out slightly, but you could just glue straight on.

– ‘Et Voila!’ one personalised, handmade birthday card! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Categories: Birthday, General Craft, Stationery, The Crafty Lass does...

Top 5… Spiffingly British Crafts!

With the Queen’s birthday yesterday, nearly the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third wedding anniversary, still a V.I.B. (Very Important Baby) to appear sometime soon, AND it being St. George’s day tomorrow – it truly is a spiffingly British few weeks! Here are my top 5 jolly good crafts to make you feel truly patriotic!

 

1. TEA – UNION JACK MUG

Us Brits love our tea don’t we – according to a recent article, we drink on average 876 cups per year, enough to fill two bath tubs! What could be more exciting than serving your tea in a home decorated Union Jack mug! This pinterest pin advises that you simply decorate a mug with Sharpies and bake at 450 for 35 min…cool in oven, wash and it does not come off!” There are plenty more hints and tips for this craft technique here at Craftaholics Anonymous. (Great website name, might have to join!) Of course, it doesn’t HAVE to be a flag – get creative! 🙂

 

2. DRAGONS – SOCK PUPPET

With St George’s Day on 23rd April – why not get crafty with the kids AND make use of those annoying odd socks! This ‘No Sew Dragon Sock Puppet‘ from My Little 3 and Me has easy to follow instructions and templates included – perfect to inspire your little one’s imagination!

 

3. ROSES – PAPER CRAFT

The rose being the national flower of England, why not have a go at creating a giant crepe paper rose with this tutorial from Studio DIY. I personally, am a massive fan of creating flowers out of paper and fabric (see my commissions page!) they last forever, look oh so pretty… what’s not to love. It may take some time to create, but certainly worth the effort!

 

4. LIONS – CROCHET

Sticking with national symbols theme – this time, the Lion – national animal of England. I have never quite got that – when did you last see a wild Lion in the UK?? Anyway, if crochet is you’re thing… check out this ‘Little Bigfoot’ knitted lion pattern from Amigurumi To Go. Cute!

 

5. UNION JACK – DRESSER

I know I kind of already covered Union Jacks with the Sharpies mug above, but how could I not include this ‘Painting a Union Jack/British Flag on a dresser tutorial‘ from Meg Made Designs. The instructions are clear, the results look great! Why not give one of your own cupboards a really British makeover?

 

T.T.F.N, Tally-ho, Toodle-pip!

Categories: General Craft, House & Home, Top 5

The Crafty Lass does… Cupcakes!

So, it’s the eve of my 32nd birthday. Uh oh… well, I’ve got cake to console my ever growing age. I know I’m not THAT old… I mentioned in my last post how quickly a year had gone… But where have 32 years gone?! Saying that, my husband pointed out to me recently – I’m probably only just half way to retirement…

So, the tradition in our office is, if it’s your birthday, you bring in the cakes…and this year I have opted for Mint choc chip, and Terry’s Chocolate Orange cupcakes! I originally learnt to ‘properly’ make cupcakes at The Gourmet Cupcake company – an inspiring course that makes fluffy sponge and sugar paste roses seem accessible and easy… and yummy! The Terry’s Chocolate Orange cakes are inspired by a local cupcake superstar… The Wonder Kitchen cakes, always so jealous of her wonderful pink, goodie-laden van at our local Brackley market! The Mint choc Aero cupcakes are just a recipe I have been making for such a long time… A few years ago, in a previous job – I made a double batch for a charity bake sale, and they sold within 10 minutes. I should have made more!

A tradition started by my Mum and Dad when I was only 1 was reinacted tonight, and happens every year – they rang to say “Goodnight 31 year old!”, and tomorrow morning, they will ring me with – not “Happy birthday!”, but – “Good morning 32 year old!”. Love it, love them. Gotta love birthdays, no matter what your age! Right, off to get some beauty sleep – I need it, for all that cake, chips and champagne tomorrow! 😉 (Not sure why the wink smiley, we both know all will be consumed within the next 24 hours!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Birthday, Sweet Tooth Scrumptious Stuff!, The Crafty Lass does...

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