Category Archives: Crafts

Max – King of The Wild Things

Max – King of The Wild Things

Just a quick blog to share my daughters Max costume.

Her school celebrates World Book Day ever year, where the kids dress up as characters from books. This year she decided she wanted to be one of the monsters from Where the Wild Things Are, which is a brilliant book written in 1963 by Maurice Sendak.

With only one week to prepare, I thought that might be too difficult.

So I persuaded her to be Max, who is the little boy who becomes the King Of The Wild Things.

For inspiration we checked out Pinterest (my favourite), and spent ages cooing over cute babies dressed as Max.

When he meets the wild ones he is dressed in his wolf suit, so that is what we tried to recreate.

We didn’t have much at home that we could use, so I did have to buy a few things.

I wanted a fluffy white onesie, but couldn’t find one for her age (7), so I got a plain one online from which I ordered at the weekend and it arrived on Thursday. It’s actually really nice quality, and she will definitely wear it again.

The crown was made from gold card and the feet from thin foam (both WHSmith).

I cut the feet shapes and then attached thin elastic which went under her feet to keep them in place. Felt would work just as well as foam.

The tail is part of a set (wolf ears and tail) that I got online from Amazon. It came with elastic which went round the waist, but I cut that off and just safety pinned it to the back of the onesie.

A bit of fur fabric would work just as well, or For those with a bit more time, I’ve seen some awesome tutorials for making tails from acrylic wool and a pet brush!

And finally a bit of black face paint for the wolf nose and whiskers.

And here she is…

If I had more time I would have sewed felt buttons onto the front of the onesie and put some fur fabric around the bottom of the crown, but I’m pretty happy with the result. It looks homemade, but I like that.

Dad’s Birthday Hamper

Dad’s Birthday Hamper

I made a lovely little hamper of goodies for my Dad’s birthday recently.

Cute little hamper from Hobbycraft

Labels for the sweets were also from Hobbycraft.

In the basket is:

– Strawberry jam

– Wild strawberry jam

– Raspberry jam

– Fig and onion marmalade

– White chocolate and almond fudge

– two types of dark chocolate truffles

– two types of white chocolate truffles

– dark chocolate covered dried cherries

– chocolate covered salted almonds

Here are the recipes, I made a few adaptations as I went along. And I definitely don’t recommend making truffles on the hottest day of the year!

White Chocolate and Almond Fudge.

This is really delicious. I converted the amounts to grams, and altered it a bit (see below). Other than that I followed her method, except I toasted the almonds.

400g of white chocolate (I used green and blacks)

1 tin condensed milk (I could eat it be the spoonful!)

Pinch salt

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

See link for the method nits a piece of cake.

Red Onion and Fig Marmalade
This is a Thane Prince recipe from  Perfect Preserves. It is reproduced here:

I inadvertently bought re-constituted figs (not dried ones) and I only used 250g. I also just used 1 chilli and just the juice of the Orange, not the rind. It’s yum!
Dark Chocolate Truffles (cherry brandy truffles and amaretto truffles)

I made the recipe in full, then split it in half to make two different flavours. I added a good slug of amaretto to one half and a good splash of cherry brandy to the other.

The recipe is in Green and Blacks Chocolate Recipes book, and is online here:

I rolled the cherry brandy ones in cocoa powder (with added gold glitter dust for extra bling) and dipped the amaretto ones in melted milk chocolate (after freezing them overnight).
White Chocolate Truffles (champagne truffles and lemon truffles)

Same as above – I made the full recipe, and split it in two. One half I put some Sicilian lemon essence in (from Sainsbury’s). About 3 capfuls. It needs a good stir to incorporate. The other half had Marc de champagne added. Most people think champagne truffles are made with champagne, but it’s usually Marc de champagne, which is a brandy made from champagne.

I researched a lot of white chocolate truffle recipes, and ended up kind of making up my own.

I used 300g of white chocolate and 100ml double cream. I put the cold cream and the unmelted chocolate together in a bowl by mistake, so I just shoved it all in the microwave until it melted, and then gave it a good stir. It worked perfectly fine!

Just cool in the fridge until firm and roll into balls. I covered the lemon ones in icing sugar (with silver edible glitter dust added) and the champagne ones in melted white chocolate (freeze the truffles overnight first so they don’t melt when you dip them in chocolate).

Jam (raspberry jam, strawberry jam and wild strawberry jam)

I have previously blogged about making jam. You can find my blog post here. I’m increasingly a fan of using  jam sugar as it helps jam set quickly and retain its fruity taste and bright colour.

Salted chocolate almonds

Healthier Treat: Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Almonds.

Oh my god, these are amazing. I used almonds without the skins on because that was what I had.

Chocolate cherries

I had some chocolate left over after making the almonds, and I had a bag of dried cherries (from Holland and Barrett) lying around, so I chucked those in the chocolate and pulled them out individually with a fork (just like the almonds). They are beyond amazing. If you like Green and Blacks cherry chocolate, then you will love this. Would work equally well with dried apricots (whole or chopped up).

Hand Painted Herb Labels

Hand Painted Herb Labels

I can never find herb labels that are pretty and where the range covers all of the herbs I have. So I did a search on Pinterest, and found this idea for painting pebbles.  (Here).

The paint is Decoart Patio Paint, and the cheapest place I found was BG Payne Crafts, which is in Lancashire, but they do mail order. The paint is waterproof and non toxic. There are loads of colours and they stock a really good range. It was difficult to choose which ones I wanted, and I forgot to order a green one, but it was easy to mix a green as I had bought blue and yellow.

I have pebbles in my garden, so I chose the smallest, flattest ones. If you don’t have any, then garden centres always do.

I just did random patterns, and then painted the names over the top. I used cheap kids brushes from Wilkos. I love these as they are only £1.00, and each one is a different size/shape.

It was really easy, and a fun afternoon in the sun in the garden. My 5 year daughter also did a load of stones. Not sure what she is going to do with hers, will probably find them randomly in the garden!

So here they are, we’ve brought them inside to dry thoroughly for a few days, and I will post a photo of them in situ soon.


Here they are in place!

I think Chives and Apple Mint are my favourites. Which is yours?

Messenger Bags


I saw this lovely messenger bag tutorial on Pinterest and decided to give it a go as my Nephew and Sister-in-Law’s birthdays were coming up.

My nephew was getting a bike, and I have been experimenting with freehand machine embroidery, so I knew I wanted to use a bike motif on his bag. My Sister-in-Law is a teacher, so I wanted to make one large enough to carry her files.

I used this great tutorial on Crazy Little Projects blog. I followed her measurements for my Nephew’s bag, and made one slightly larger for my Sister-in-Law’s.

Design-wise one thing I changed with the second one was was to make the strap slightly narrower, and the back (which also makes the front) slightly longer so that it overlaps more. I also added in pockets onto both pieces of lining fabric.

So my measurements are:

Front: width 45cm, height 40cm
Back (and flap): width 45cm. Height 80cm
Gusset: width 10cm, length 130cm
Strap: width 8cm, length 115cm

The bike bag is made out of some old ikea curtains with a cool lining of bike fabric which I bought from The Remnant House (awesome fabric shop in Harrogate, who are also online!!).

I drew a picture of a bike on the outer fabric with a pen which washes off in cold water. I then freehand machine embroidered it and washed it in cold water to remove the pen. If you want to know more about freehand machine embroidery then Poppy Treffy is really inspiring.


I put in a couple of pockets (pocket fabric right sides together, sewn and turned right side out.

And on this bag I used some interfacing to stiffen it as both fabrics were quite soft.
Here is the finished product.



For the second bag I made it larger, put pockets on the front and back inners and didn’t bother with interfacing as the flamingo fabric (bought from Fabric Rehab) was cotton canvas and quite stiff already. Lining fabric for both bags also came from fabric rehab. Just plain cotton. They have it in a great range of colours.




One thing to note when using a fabric with a pattern that has a definite direction is that you can’t have the back and front panel as one piece of fabric (unless you are happy with the pattern being upside down at the back), so I cut it in two and sewed it back together so that the pattern was upright on both pieces.


So here they both are.


I have a request from my Mum to make one for her, and I have some lovely flowery Ikea fabric for that. So I will post pictures of that once it’s done too.

Here it is!


Homemade Cute Cotton Windbreak


Ever since I was a child I have loved camping, and I’m hopeful that my daughter is learning to share my passion.

Recently I bought us a gorgeous 4 metre canvas bell tent from Boutique Camping



It’s brilliant for a single mum like me as it can be out up by one person. You just peg it out, shove in the centre pole and the a frame for the door, and away you go.

When we went camping this Easter it was quite windy so I used our horrible, cheap plastic windbreaks in front of the tent.
Pretty fire, ugly windbreak!


It really didn’t go with the lovely creamy beige canvas tent. So I thought I would buy a cotton one. Then I looked online, saw they were upwards of £60 and thought again. I decided to reuse the poles from the ugly one and make one myself, using some funky fabric from Ikea that I’ve had in my stash for ages. I figure if it gets dirty or wet I can just chuck it in the washing machine and it will look like new!

Step 1 – measure your current windbreak. Mine is about 30 inches between poles and about 4 inches for each pole loop. If you are starting from scratch (it is possible to buy windbreak poles) then you could use these dimensions. Measure the height of your windbreak too. Mine was around 36 inches (the fabric not the poles). I had about 167 inches of the ikea fabric, so worked out I could use 6 poles with a distance of about 27 inches between them.

Step 2 – cut your fabric to the right height/length. Remember to include extra for seam allowance. I cut mine to 40 inches high, and used all of the length I had. Make sure your pattern works horizontally!

Step 3 – hem all around the fabric.


Step 4 – stitch a channel for a pole at each end of your fabric. Mine were 4 inches of fabric (so 2 inches when folded). Check to make sure it fits!



Step 5 – measure up and pin all of the middle pole channels.




Take care to ensure they are straight (I think mine are a bit wonky because I wasn’t as careful as I could have been).

Step 6 – sew all of the middle pole channels. And insert the poles. Et voila! Not bad for an hour and a halfs work.

I’m going camping this weekend so will post some pictures of it in use.



Here it is in action.


Patio chair cushions


I had a lovely time browsing in the shop at the gorgeous RHS Wisley, and they had some nice looking garden chair cushions.

However, when I saw the price, I thought ‘I could do that’!

I measured the chair seat, and decided on the size I wanted (35cm square)

I had some quite sturdy fabric from Ikea hanging around at home which I cut into rectangles (twice the width of the size of the cushion I wanted to make.) I added a 2cm seam allowance all round.

I sewed it with right sides together, leaving a gap on one side to insert the filling. I clipped the corners to create neater corners when it was turned the right way out. I then also zig zagged the edges together, except on the side with the gap where I zig zagged both edges individually.



I then turned it right way out and pushed the corners out so they were square.

To create the filling I folded four layers of polyester quilt batting together and stuffed it into the cover. I slip stitched the opening closed.

To create the quilting I used contrasting embroidery thread and tied knots at regular intervals, creating a 4×4 pattern.



And here are the finished articles.



I particularly love the fact each one is a different pattern, and I’m hoping that as the filling is polyester that they will wash well too.

Simple Stripey Baby Blanket


My Mentee at work is just going off to have a baby, and I thought it would be nice to make a present for her.

I have been having a big de-stash recently, but still have loads of different coloured balls of Drops Paris 100% cotton, which I thought would be perfect. So much baby stuff is either pink or blue or neutrals, and I thought it would be nice to have something brightly coloured.

The pattern is really simple. I cast on 75 stitches on 5mm needles, and knit four rows per colour in garter stitch. After every 4th colour I did two rows of white. I used 14 colours, but it doesn’t matter how many colours you have really. I tried to alternate a light and a dark colour, but really it was fairly random. After I had used all 14 colours I repeated them twice more in the same order.

It’s amazing how a boring repetitive pattern is made much more interesting to knit simply by switching colours every few rows. I actually enjoyed knitting this, and it only took a few evenings as the yarn is quite chunky and knits up really fast.

As you can imagine, sewing in the ends was a bit of a chore, but actually I did it watching just one episode of CSI!


I then croched the edges in white (double crochet stitch).

And here she is…


It’s not overly huge (50cm x 72cm), meant really as a pram blanket. But lovely and soft, and I hope she loves it.


And it even looks quite nice on the reverse side.