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  • Tutorial: Handmade bookmarks for men

    I've always found it difficult to come up with ideas for handmade gifts for men so when I was asked if I could make a few manly bookmarks to sell at the library it took me a while to come up with a design that would be easy and quick to make and that I liked. For me, these felt bookmarks tick all the boxes and they've proved popular too which is good.

    Tutorial: handmade bookmarks for men

    My material of choice is felt, again. I like that it doesn't fray and it's so easy to work with.

    Here's how you can make a few of these bookmarks yourself.

    Start by drawing a bookmark shape and then trace it on to the smooth side of a piece of medium iron-on interfacing (this is the side without any glue). Fuse the interfacing with the felt by using a warm iron (follow the instructions on the interfacing itself for best results.)

    Tutorial: handmade bookmarks for men

    Cut the bookmarks and then cut small windows out of them as shown below. You can do this by hand or using a die cutting machine if you have one. I used the Sizzix Bigshot and a few Framelits. These will be the fronts of your bookmarks.

    Tutorial: handmade bookmarks for men

    Tutorial: handmade bookmarks for men

    Pin them to a piece of felt in a contrasting colour or even to a piece of denim. I've been recycling my husband's old jeans and using the fabric as background for brooches and bookmarks. Machine stitch as close to the edge as possible.

    Tutorial: handmade bookmarks for men

    To finish off hand stitch around the small windows, trim the excess background felt/denim with pinking shears and your bookmarks are finished.

    Tutorial: handmade bookmarks for men

    Here's another batch I'd made earlier.

    Tutorial: handmade bookmarks for men

  • Tutorial: Felt pencil bookmarks

    After much deliberation as to whether or not close this blog I finally decided to give it another go so hopefully there will be lots of crafty tutorials/posts to look forward to as I've always enjoyed sharing my makes.

    I'm a volunteer at our community library (it used to be a council library but due to budget cuts it's now run by a group of dedicated volunteers) and to raise much needed funds we sell items handmade by and donated to us by a handful of volunteers. Among the items we sell are these cute pencil bookmarks made out of felt, they're very popular with the children and make great gifts.

    Felt pencil bookmarks

    Here's how these were made.

    Draw a pencil shape or get one from the Web. Trace it on medium iron-on interfacing making sure you do this on the smooth side and not on the side with glue. Cut it out (I like to leave a small border around the outline of the pencil shape).

    Iron the interfacing on to the felt. Make sure the glue side is in contact with the felt and press down with the iron for a few seconds until it's fused with the felt. At this stage I like to set my felt pieces aside for a couple of minutes for them to cool down a little.

    Felt pencil bookmarks

    Cut out the pencil shapes and pin them to another piece of felt (this will be the back of your bookmarks).

    Felt pencil bookmarks

    Machine stitch as shown below.

    Felt pencil bookmarks

    Refer to the picture below to cut and sew a small piece of felt on the "lead" part of your pencil bookmarks.

    Felt pencil bookmarks

    Carefully trim the excess felt and you're done, your pencil bookmarks are ready to be used.

    Felt pencil bookmarks

    Here's another batch I made, these are slightly longer and wider with not so much of the "lead" showing.

    Felt pencil bookmarks

    I hope you like this tutorial and come back for more as I've got a few in the pipeline.

  • Free paper crafts ideas and ebooks

    Not long ago I received an email from Dana from All Free Paper Crafts asking for permission to publish a few of my tutorials on her new website and I was happy to oblige.

    If you don't know it yet All Free Paper Crafts is the place to go for ideas and inspiration if you enjoy working with paper whether it's cardmaking, scrapbooking, making paper embelishments, etc. Check out the great ebooks too, which are available for free download here.

  • 2 birthday cards

    These 2 cards were made back in August for the children of a friend who celebrate their birthdays on consecutive days. The boy loves Lego and after seeing a few Lego themed cards on Pinterest I thought I'd have a go at making one for him. For the little girl I made the cupcake card. I'm told they liked them.

    Birthday cardLego birthday card

    Paula

  • Easy Father's Day cards

    On my last post I showed you how to make a pen holder for Father's Day, today I want to share with your a couple of ideas for cards for this special day. The 2 designs below are very easy to make and therefore are a perfect project for children to make for their dads.

    Cards for Father's Day

    If you're not too keen on these and want something a little more elaborated have a look at these cards instead for inspiration.

  • Pen holder for Father's Day

    DIY pen holder for Father's Day

    Here's an idea for a simple but lovely gift the children can make for Father's Day. To make a pen holder such as this you'll need a cardboard tube, a piece of cardboard for the base, ice cream sticks, hot glue, thick gold or silver card (or any other colour you like) and paper shapes to embellish the pen holder. I put together a little step by step tutorial, hope you enjoy it.

    Pen holder tutorial

    1 - Apply hot glue around the edge of the cardboard tube and place on a piece of cardboard pressing down for a few seconds until the glue dries.

    DIY pen holder for Father's Day

    2 - Trim carefully all the way around with a craft knife or pair of scissors making sure the cardboard base is flush with the tube.

    DIY pen holder for Father's Day

    3 - Cover the cardboard tube with double sided sticky tape and peel back the non-adhesive layer.

    DIY pen holder for Father's Day

    4 - Begin covering the cardboard tube with the ice cream sticks. make sure these are nice and straight, to help them stay in place use one or two elastic bands.

    DIY pen holder for Father's Day

    5 - Cut 2 lengths of thick gold or silver card and put them around the pen holder. These will serve as braces helping keep the ice cream sticks in place and also serve as a decoration element. They should overlap a little at the back; keep them in place with a little hot glue.

    DIY pen holder for Father's Day

    6 - Apply a line of hot glue inside the pen holder along the top of the cardboard tube as shown below. This will further help keep the ice cream sticks in place.

    DIY pen holder for Father's Day

    7 - Add any other embellishments you want and you're done.

    DIY pen holder for Father's Day

     

  • Crafts at the library: Space Explorers

    We traveled to the stars and back yesterday at the library during another lively crafts session. We were a very small group as the weather was its usual self: grey, cold, windy and very wet but we had great fun adding whatever details they wanted.

    As usual I made samples for them to see and then they let their imagination and creativity run wild.

    Paper plate UFO with alienBalloon rocket

    If you'd like to have a go at making any of these yourself these are the tutorials I used as inspiration: paper plate flying saucer and balloon rocket.

    Happy crafting :-)

  • Playing with fabric and embroidery loops

    Back in February I showed you a project of mine, a Sunbonnet Sue appliqued and embroidered on felt and framed with an embroidery loop. Here are 2 more, these were made as a birthday gift for a friend.

    Applique on felt with embroidery loop frameApplique on felt with embroidery loop frameApplique on felt with embroidery loop frame

    To make sure the background felt remains stretched I applied hot glue all around the back of the loop and then folded the felt over to fix it in place.

     

  • Spring tree

    Despite the still wintery weather it's looking a lot like Spring in the library thanks to the great tree mural designed and painted by Becky, a very talented 16-year old Art student.

    We had a narrow, blank wall space between one of the notice boards in the children's area and the emergency exit. After looking online for inspiration I thought a tree would be a good idea but not just any tree, ours is an interactive one as it will change to reflect each season.

    Our Winter tree was looking quite bare as trees do between December and March.

    Interactive tree mural - Winter tree

    But now it's full of blossom and new leaves, there's birds perched on its branches, butterflies and owls and daffodils on the ground.

    Interactive tree mural - Spring treeInteractive tree mural - Spring tree

    Me and Becky were helped by 3 very energetic and creative children aged 3, 6 and 8 who soon took over the whole project and did almost everything themselves with only a little help from the adults here and there. I think they did a brilliant job, don't you?

    These are the samples I made from templates found online. The links are below, the butterfly was drawn free-hand.

    Paper bird

    Blossom and leaf

    Paper butterfly

    Paper owl

    Template for bird, owl and leaf.

    Template for blossom.

  • Paper hats

    When looking for ideas for my Crazy Hat Day taking place at the library in 2 days time I came across these Easy Paper Hats from FirstPalette.

    This is a great crafts project to make with children of all ages as it's so easy and fun. I made a few myself to show them and I can't wait to see what they come up with.

    Paper hats

    To make these I used white cardstock to print the hat templates, the ribbons are made from strips of paper, cardstock or wallpaper, the flowers were punched out of paint cards. The leaves were printed on green card and the feathers printed on white card and then coloured in.  All hats were coloured in with markers or pencils.

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