Friday, 30 December 2011

The Eighth Handmade of Christmas - Inspirations


This year I'm not having a New Years party, but if I was then here are some gorgeous DIYs and inspirations for the perfect glittery night.

1. Paper Decorations to make a fun feature wall. 

2. Butter-beer Jelly Shots to get in the party mood.

3. Lights in a Jar - I want to fill a room with these.

4. New Years Wish Wreath to display those promises... 

5. Countdown Glasses for the moment we've all been waiting for.

6. Statement Staircase - just because it's beautiful, if a little impractical. 

I have never really thought of New Years focused crafts before, probably because I get so caught up in Christmas making that I forget all about it! But next year I hope I'll plan some fun New Years projects of my own... That's one resolution already! Speaking of which, I have a sweet idea for resolutions which I'll share in 2012! 

Have a good one everyone,

x Rachel 

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Seventh Handmade of Christmas


Tea-cup candles are one of my favourite favourite things to make, for Christmas and all year round! They make really lovely thoughtful gifts, and even though they can be a little time consuming, they are very simple once you get the hang of it.

 You will need: A tea-cup, candle wax, a roll of wick, metal buttons, an old bowl and a saucepan. You can buy wax from craft shops or online, but I tend to save up used candles and recycle them which works just as well and is much cheaper!

1. Weight down a length of wick to the bottom of the tea-cup by tying the end to a metal button. This is so when you pour the wax in the wick wont float to the top.

2. Melt the wax by using a bain-marie (a bowl inside a a saucepan of bowling water) so that your wax is not directly on the heat and ruining your saucepan. It takes a little while to get going, but be patient and don't leave it unattended! The wax melts faster if you break it up into smaller chunks.

3. Pour the wax carefully into the tea-cup - this can get quite messy so put a protective surface down and wear gloves to avoid burns from splashes. Adjust the wick to it sits in the middle of the candle, if it wont stay put you could rest a wooden skewer over the teacup and tie the wick to it just while the wax sets enough to hold it in place.

4. The wax will take a couple of hours to cool and set properly and as it does so you will notice that the middle of the candle will sink so that the surface is not flat. This doesn't look terrible, but I like to give my candles a little top up of wax to give a more even finish.

And that's it! You can use the same method with all sorts of different containers, as long as they are heat proof. It would be fun to make different candle holders out of things like egg cups or ramekins! Any other ideas?

x Rachel

The Sixth Handmade of Christmas

Merry belated Christmas everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely time resting and over-eating etc. I'm back with another handmade, just a little one...


I know thinking about next years Christmas seems ridiculous when we are all still full from festive leftovers, but this is quite a fun little task which you can do whilst the decorations slowly come down. I am a bit of a hoarder when it comes to birthday and christmas cards, I always think it's such a shame to throw pretty things away. So this is a nice way to recycle Christmas cards and save yourself a bit of time next year!

Ta-Da! Wiggly scissors + Christmas cards = free gift tags for your presents next year, plus a warm glowy feeling for being really organised and recycling! 

x Rachel 

Friday, 23 December 2011

The Fifth Handmade of Christmas


This is a bit of a tradition for me, I always make peppermint creams for little extra presents! Here's the method I use.... 

You will need: Icing sugar, peppermint essence, glycerine and cocoa powder.... That's it! Oh and a few drops of water.

Mix the icing sugar with about a teaspoon of peppermint essence, 6 teaspoons of glycerine and a teaspoon of water. All of these measurements are very approximate as it depends on how much icing sugar you use, but I just guess by eye until I get a thick paste. 

Scoop out teapoonfuls of the mixture and roll between your fingers to make little balls. Then roll these in cocoa powder so they are lightly coated. Then all you need to do is leave them in the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) to set. The best thing about making these is that it takes some time but is quite a mindless task so you can settle down with a bowl and some cocoa powder and watch a film while you do it. 

Mine are setting as we speak! But tomorrow I have some plans on how I'm going to present them prettily so I can give them as presents :) I have some little jars and heart shaped plates, but I have used teacups, little paper bags and even made little parcels out of greaseproof paper and ribbon! So get experimenting, not long to go before the big day now! 

P.S. I know it is now the 22nd of December and some of you may be thinking "how is she going to fit 7 more Handmades in 3 days?!"... Well never fear my petals, there is much more handmade fun to be had after the 25th! I mean, technically, if I was following the real 12 days of Christmas, I would have to start on Christmas day and carry on until the 6th... So really... I'm ahead of schedule! Yes. That's a good way of looking at it... It definitely wasn't me being over ambitious... everything is going completely to plan and I am definitely not sat here at midnight with cocoa powder in my hair and icing sugar on my nose! 

But in all seriousness there actually are more handmades to look forward to between Christmas and New Year, so stay with me. 
Hope everyone else's preparations are going much more swimmingly than mine! 

x Rachel 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Fourth Handmade of Christmas


Yet another stroke of genius from my mum... Here's how to make little boxes out of folded paper to display your handmade presents :) they work especially well for small gifts like jewellery. 

All you need is a piece of decorative card or paper (thick magazine pages work well) cut 4 inches square. Then just follow the folding instructions shown above! If you want to make a lid for your box, repeat the process with a very slightly bigger piece of paper. And there you have it! The perfect addition to your wrapping, absolutely free! 

Thanks Mum! x Rachel 

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Third Handmade of Christmas


I thought I'd share with you all something I did for handmade presents a couple of years ago which was really successful. It's my own take on the "hampers" or gift baskets you can buy in department stores with a nice little personal twist. Instead of buying the pre-packed hampers where the gifts are chosen for you, why not make your own and fill a gift basket with lovely handmade things? You can buy empty wicker baskets from charity shops (ask at the counter they often more of them in the back) and then all you need to do is choose what to put inside!

Some ideas are:

- Food: biscuits, fruit, handmade truffels or peppermint creams (one of my personal favourites, recipe to come very soon in one of the next handmades!)

- Handmade beauty products: natural body scrub, soap, hair or face masks.

- Pretty things: candles, incense, handmade jewellery etc.

- Stationary (this could be a really nice touch): a lovely pen, some personalised notecards, a few fun stamps, some ribbon, colourful ink pots - the list is endless!

When I made some of these personalised hampers up I put in a mixture of all these things depending on the person. Here are some great DIYs I have used in the past for little hamper fillers:

Homemade Body-Scrub

I only wish I had a little bit more time this year to do this again properly! But I am determined to pick it up again next year :) 

Happy Hampering everyone,

Rachel x

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Second Handmade of Christmas

Hello Chums, here is the next Christmas project! This is a reaaallly easy one, perfect for a stocking filler or just to add a bit of cute festivity to your outfit!

1. You will need: two white buttons, one slightly bigger than the other, two colours of wool, glue and a blank badge back (you can buy these in bulk from... you guessed it.... Ebay!)

2. Glue the buttons into place on to the flat edge of the badge back. I use UHU glue, just because it's always my favourite glue of choice. 

3. Tie a tiny strand of wool around the gap between the badge back and the two buttons for a scarf, and glue another little ball of wool on top for a hat. 

4. Feel pleased with yourself for making such a cute little brooch in less than 10 minutes! 


Rachel x 

Saturday, 10 December 2011

The First Handmade of Christmas


Welcome to the first of my 12 Handmades of Christmas! Today I will be showing you how to make a sweet "Merry Christmas" garland made from slide mounts and  scrabble tiles. I'm really pleased with how this one turned out and hopefully you will be too :) 

1. You will need: Slide mounts (I got these ones for under £1 from Ebay, but you can easily just cut your own from a template in thin card), scrabble tiles, PVA glue, a needle and thread, wool, and lots of decoration materials like glitter and pretty paper.

2. The fun bit (well it's all fun really...) decorate your slide mounts! Cover them in glue and glitter, fabric, paper or whatever you choose to add a bit of christmas sparkle.

3. Make a support for the scrabble tile to sit on in the centre of your slide mounts. You can either cover the entire gap with more pretty fabric or card, or simply make a support as wide as the tile so it will appear to be floating in the middle... I've done a mixture of both because I like the way both techniques look together!

4. Glue your scrabble tiles in place with a strong glue like UHU, and if you like you could cover the whole thing in PVA to add a bit of extra strength so your garland will last for Christmasses to come!

5. Thread your finished pieces on to a length of wool so you can hang it up. I used a needle and red thread to attach the slide mounts on to the wool, but you could use glue or you could thread the wool straight through. I did it this way so the pieces would hang flat on the wall.

Ta-Daaa! As you can see I ran out of "M"s so I used a blank... but that's more true to scrabble right?

Hope you enjoy making your garlands, now go fetch the glitter!

x Rachel

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

The Christmas Happy List

I love the little details that start the festive excitement at this time of year. Here's a little list of happy christmassy things that are getting me through the long cold days at work this week!

1. Handmade Christmas Collages by Essimar - so pretty, makes me very excited to start making my Christmas Cards (pssst... my sewing machine will be getting involved!) 

2. Fun Wrapping Ideas - like this DIY from A Common Thread. I'm so in the mood for making some of these! 

3. Novelty Recipes - these little strawberry Santas just make me smile. 

4. Clever Decoration Ideas - this is the best idea for a wreath that I've seen in ages! 

5. Snuggling up, opening advent calendars and watching this with my lovely boyfriend - what a lucky girl! 

So there's my little gems of Christmas excitement! What about yours? 

x Rachel 

P.S... Come back on Friday for the first instalment of the 12 Handmades! 

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Happy December!

It's December! That means legitimate permission for all sorts of Christmas excitement: mulled wine, minced pies, glitter, baubles and most importantly (especially for Jake) A Muppet Christmas Carol! Yay!

For the whole month of December, I will be setting myself a little challenge. For a few years now I have taken the Handmade Christmas Pledge, meaning most of the presents I give are either handmade by me or  small independent businesses. I really love making presents and decorations at Christmas, so this year (my first blogging year) I want to celebrate by sharing with you all ..(drum roll).. The 12 Handmades of Christmas - a crafty countdown in the form of 12 of my favourite Christmas handmade projects!

I'm quite excited about this, I hope you will be too :) .... watch this space!

x Rachel


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