Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Towel Cake Tutorial

towel cake tutorial
Above is a towel cake that I made for a friend a couple of months ago. I also made Towel Cupcakes too!

I have seen many examples of these and also a couple of tutorials on how to make these. I looked around at a few different options and then just came up with my own design by using what I already had around the house for the decorations.

To make the large towel cake, I bought the towels from a local department store, going for bright colours. I then bought a couple of ribbons to match from the local craft shop. I already had a couple of bows and bead decorations in the house.

For the small towel cupcakes, I bought some ramekin dishes and some bright coloured facecloths. As mentioned before, I already had some bows in the house for these. To finish all the completed Towel Cakes I needed the clear plastic wrappingl. I bought this from the local florist by the metre.

I was quite pleased with my first attempt at these, my friend said that she had never seen these before!

Here is a link showing you what you need and how to make one of the large towel cakes.

Here is a link to a towel cupcake tutorial:

If you are interested in making these for a housewarming or baby shower present, it is worth having a search through online photographs to get some inspiration. They really aren't that hard to make, you should give it a try.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Crochet Flower

crochet flower
Above is a photograph of one of the crochet flowers that I made recently. I needed some orange hair accessories to match my daughters orange dress I made for her. I had only made a crochet flower once before, so it took a little longer than normal to get it right the first time. The last time I made a crochet flower was when I made the crochet hat which I posted about last month, here is a link to that post. Once I knew how to do it again, I made some more, it really was quite easy. I made a large one, which could be used as a hairband or added to a headband. I made smaller ones that I fastened to hairclips.

Here is link to a free pattern for a crochet flower, which also has a great short video tutorial to go with it. It is well worth a look, it really does show you how easy it is to make a crochet flower.

Below is a photograph of the large flower and the small flower hairclip I made.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

3 Hour Dress

Today I am sharing a link of a great tutorial from another blog which I came across recently.  The link is This blog has a great tutorial with step by step instructions with many photographs.

I have never attempted to make this dress, but it is one that I may try to make in the future.  The photograph of the girl in the dress is so adorable, I love her matching hairbows.  I found this tutorial by looking at another website they advertise many free patterns and turorials.  It is a site that I frequently visit when looking for inspiration or patterns.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Mother's Day Gift

Above is a photograph of a handmade Mothers Day Gift I made.

Mothers Day is fast approaching here in the UK. It is celebrated on the Sunday 3rd April this year. In the US it falls in the month of May, so still a while longer to go. The shops here in the UK have their shelves full with gifts, chocolates and cards. My kids always like to make their own cards, I think it is more personal than the ready made shop ones. My daughter especially likes to spend her time designing cards for the family. I think the family appreciate them more, when they know that the child has put time and effort into them. If I remember I will post a photograph of the cards I will be receiving this year (hopefully!).

I wanted to share with you today a Mothers Day Gift that I have previously made for my mum. I made an 'Apron set' which included, an apron, tea towels and a small bag, I bought this particular fabric especially for this project as it was quite unique. I loved the fact that this fabric was designed with words relating to the kitchen and I also loved the colour. I used black apron strings, which I bought especially for the apron.

I didn’t follow any particular pattern for the apron, but there are many free tutorials out there if you were wanting one. Here is a link to one of the websites that gives you instructions and also a pattern link. The reason I made a small matching bag to go with this, is so that my mum can keep the apron folded up and kept inside a kitchen drawer. I always like to keep my apron handy on a hook in the kitchen, but my mum doesn’t do this, so this was the better option for her personally.

You don’t really need any tutorials for the tea towels either, I just made them with the remaining fabric so the size wasn’t relevant to me. Here is a link for those interested, which gives details on how to make basic tea towels.

I would love to hear from anyone who wants to share any handmade projects they have made for their Mothers.

I am linking this article to
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Reversible Blanket or Duvet Cover

reversible baby blanket
The above photo shows a project that I made for a baby boy present. I wanted to make a baby blanket that wasn’t the typical cute baby design.  I wanted something that could be used when he was a little older, like a pushchair blanket, carseat blanket or house blanket.

I bought two pieces of matching fabric from the Dunelm Store. This was ideal as the fabric had the same design but one was in red fabric and the other in blue fabric. I made one side with blue fabric and a red border and the other side with red fabric and blue border. I then just stitched these together, leaving an opening so this could also be used as a cot duvet cover. I didn’t follow any pattern with this, I just made it to a size that would also cover a cot duvet.

I know I found it hard to find a small blanket for the pushchair when my kids were younger. I often had to use baby blankets for my toddlers. So I thought it would be good to make a blanket that was more boyish than babyish, so hopefully it can be used for longer.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Handmade Shopping Bag

handmade shopping bag
Above, is a photograph of a shopping bag I recently made for my grandmother. She was a bit fed up with her old shopping bag and had always had problems trying to find her keys in the bottom of the bag. So recently she had been searching for another bag, but this time she wanted one with some inside pockets to keep her keys safe. After much looking, she could not find one that she was happy with, so she asked me if I could make her one.

I found some material that she was happy with (it was actually from an old throw she had donated to me over a year ago!). I used straps that I had taken from another bag that I had managed to salvage. I also used a washable vinyl type of material for the bag lining, which I already had in the house. This bag is great for my gran because it is also machine washable.

I didn’t follow any particular pattern for this bag. I normally just play around with sizes, I have made a few bags now, and they are all individual designs. I made a few pockets for the inside of the bag and a large one for the outside of the bag. Now she can keep her keys and other small objects inside the pockets, so she doesn’t need to be fumbling around at the bottom of her bag anymore.

Here is a link to a tutorial for a bag very similar to the one I made.

If you like looking at free tutorials, then please visit the blog because it has quite a few other great tutorials, there are some under 'tutorials' and under 'How to make' section. I noticed there were quite a few sewing ones amongst them.

Friday, 18 March 2011

10 minute headband

10 minute headband
Above are the photographs of how I made a 10 Minute Headband.  I found a great tutorial on how to make these, and they really are made in less than 10 minutes because I timed myself!  Here is the link to the great tutorial. The bluebirdstudio website also has some other great free tutorials, it is worth a visit to look at her other creations.

The material I used for this headband was the remnants from the denim dress that I made into a bag, which I featured in an earlier post.  Here is a link to that post. the small frill on the bottom of the dress is the material in question. There was just the exact amount of material leftover to make this headband.
I make lots of hairbands, in different styles, but I really do like this option.  You must make sure that you use good elastic hairbands, as some elastic hairbands lose their elastic very quickly.  This is a very easy sewing project, my 8 year old daughter is able to manage this project unaided.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Computer Repairs

My son asked me to write this post, as he loves to have a mention and there are not many times I have the opportunity.  It isn’t what I would normally label as a ‘craft’ but I will sneak this post under my ‘craft section’ to keep him happy.

Above and below are some photographs of my son busy with some computer parts.

My husband has his own computer repair business, this comes in very handy when my computer succumbs to them dreaded viruses!  My 12 year old son is now at the age where he is keen to help out his dad, when he has the opportunity.  My husband has been giving him a few tasks of taking computers apart and then putting them back together, and even having a go at a few repairs.
My son is a quick learner and found this quite easy so now he is keen to progress.  It’s a good way for father and son to bond and spend some quality time together, and it also gives me a break!

I am no expert on the insides of a computer so I don’t exactly know what he is doing in these photographs. My expertise is using the computer, not fixing them.  I do have a little more knowledge than previously because sometimes my husband will ask me to research things for him to do with his business.  However, I really have no interest in the mechanics of how the computer works, I am just content that it does work!

Monday, 14 March 2011

Tagged Star

Above is a photograph of a Tagged Star I came across on another bloggers site.

When I came across this lovely tutorial, I just knew I wanted to share it with my followers.  The site gives a great step by step tutorial on how to make these.  Here is the direct link to the tutorial:

I just love the colours and design of this. I have seen many square ones, which are quite common to buy, but this is the first one I have seen in the shape of a star. The site I have linked to gives a brilliant free tutorial on how you can make these yourselves. The site also has many other free sewing tutorials that may be of interest. It is well worth a look. I personally have no connection with the owner of this site, it is just simply a site that I occasionally visit, because she has some lovely ideas.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Shoulder Bag - Upcycling

shoulder bag upcycle
The above photograph  shows the bag I made for my niece, which I made for her last birthday.

I had a dress, which was made out of some lovely fabric. I kept this dress so that I could use the fabric for something else, but had never found the right project.

It was my niece’s 9th birthday and I wanted to make her a nice present, so I asked my daughter for some advice. My daughter is only a couple of months younger than her cousin, they are both in the same school year and they have a similar kind of taste. It was my daughter’s idea for me to make her cousin a nice fashionable shoulder bag. We both looked through my fabric stash and we both agreed that the material from the dress was the most suitable.

I have made a few bags in the last few years so I didn’t find it too difficult to make this, though I still look online for tutorials on how to put them together. I never make the same design, I just make do with what size of fabric I have. Once I had put the bag together I then added a few accessories to brighten it up. I added a few pink ribbons and pink flowers to match with the colour of the bag.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Baby Play Mat - Upcycling

baby playmat upcycle
The photograph opposite shows a baby play mat I made as a gift for my cousin's new baby, 'Freya'.

My cousin's wife had just had a baby and I wanted a unique gift, so decided to make one. It was a lot harder than I had anticipated, as I had never made one of these before. I did learn from my errors and if I made another one, I would do it slightly different so it wouldn’t be as time consuming.

I used a curtain which already had the printed blocks in the design which made it easier, so I was upcycling again.  I then used the matching spare material to cut out appliquéd letters spelling the child’s name.  I used wadding to pad this mat and used a patterned material for the bottom of the mat. To make the letters I simply traced these from printed pages I copied from the internet. I then sewed a border around the mat (This is the part I would change, it was a nightmare!). I was however really pleased with the end result, considering it was the first time I had made one of these.

The photograph below shows the before and after photos of the mat.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Adding Sleeves to a dress or top

adding sleeves dress
Above is a photograph of the top which I added sleeves. (I apologize for the fact I didn't iron it before I took a photo!)

  Here is how I made a short sleeved top into a long sleeved top. My daughter had a lovely top that she loved to wear, but being short sleeved, she always wore another top underneath. I know it has been cold lately, but for in the house, she didn’t need to wear two tops. I decided that I would have a go at adding some sleeves to the top, so that she didn't have to wear two layers of clothing.  I have visited other peoples sites where they have done this and they have said it is quite easy. But, I was wary as I had never done this before.
The photo opposite shows how the original sleeves on the top had  looked like.

My daughter had a pink sleeved top which had a picture on the front, which was a bit weathered and she no longer wore.  This matched the shade of pink that was on the dress.  Luckily the sleeves on this top were in perfect condition.

I followed the basic instructions from some online tutorials and managed to accomplish it without much difficulty.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Girls Dress Made from a Ladies Top

This is my latest upcycling project. I needed some orange clothes for my youngest daughter. Why?, you may ask.  At nursery at the moment, each week they are having a colour theme. They have already covered a few colours which, I have so far managed to find for her. But orange, I really didn’t have anything in the house which was orange. As you know my girls like pink, and orange doesn’t really go with pink. Last week it was green, luckily my eldest daughter had a small t-shirt in green, so this quite easily fitted my youngest.

I went out to the shops to try to find something girly and orange. I didn’t find any clothes in the general clothes shops, so I decided to look in the charity (thrift) shops. I still couldn’t find any girls clothes, but I did find a small ladies strapless top in a lovely bright orange colour, and this was extremely cheap. I purchased it last week as a backup option, still hoping to find something else before this week.

As I had not found any alternative, I then started on re-designing the top into a little girl’s summer dress. It wasn’t that difficult and only took less than 2 hours of often interrupted work. The only things extra I needed were: some elastic and thread. Below is a quick tutorial of how I did this.
Step 1: I measured my daughter's chest, then took in the side hem of the top accordingly, to make it slimmer. (I kept the scraps to make the bracelet).

Step 2: I cut of part of the long bottom frill. (I just cut this by freehand to make it unique.)

Step 3: Using half of the cut of bottom frill I then made two long straps.

Step 4: I added elastic into the long straps, to make them look ruffled and sewed them to the top of the top (now making it a dress!).

Step 5: I added some belt hoops with some of the spare material. (I sewed these into the side hems, by unpicking a small gap, placing them inside, and then sewing over the gap and the belt hoops)

Step 6: With the remaining half of the frill, I managed to make a belt for the dress.

Step 7: With part of the top frill (which I had removed to make the dress slimmer) I made a stretchy arm bracelet.

The Photo above is a close up of my daughter modelling the completed dress and the bracelet. She loves posing for the camera, as you can probably see.

To keep in with the theme of orange, I also managed to crochet an orange headband. My daughters’ have boxes full of headbands, but again none of them were orange. This was the first crochet headband I have ever made, so I kept it to a very simple quick pattern, nothing fancy. I also made an orange crochet flower hair bobble/band.

I hope the mini tutorial makes it clear on how simple it was to accomplish this. If I wasn't being distracted by my children I could probably have made this in less than 1 hour!