Tutorial – How to Finish Your Hoop Art

Finishing-hoops

 

There are many ways out there to finish your embroidery hoop. This is the way I do it. It really makes it look professional.

Step 1: Turn your hoop over onto the back and trim the fabric back to about 1cm (1/2″) from the rim of the hoop.

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Step 2: Run some hot glue around the inside rim of the hoop and stick down the backing fabric. Watch your fingers – that glue can burn! (Ask me how I know.) You can skip this step if you only have the one layer of fabric.

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Step 3: Then run some more hot glue around the top edge of the rim and fold down the main fabric.

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Step 4: Place your hoop face down on some felt and draw around it with a pen or pencil.

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Step 5: Cut out around the circle, about 3mm (1/8″) inside the pencil line. I like to use pinking shears!

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Step 6: Now is the time to add any labels to the felt.

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Step 7: Centre your felt piece onto the back of your hoop, and start gluing. I like to glue at 12, 6,3 and 9 o’clock, and carefully pull the felt to flatten it out nicely and press down. Then just fill in the extra bits with glue and press down some more.

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Step 7: Admire your nicely finished hoop art!

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Even though you can’t see the back of the hoop when it’s hanging on the wall, I think a professional finish is never a waste of time!

I hope that was helpful.

Till next time

Michelle

Aussie Handmade Birthday Club

StitchstitchstitchI’ve had the funnest time making a present for the first birthday girl in our Aussie Handmade Birthday Club Party 1. It was for Debra from Stitching Rules.

Stalking her on Pinterest and Instagram so that I could make a gift she would really like. And it worked – she said she loved it!!

I found the pattern on Etsy here and stitched it up in Debra’s favourite colours!

Then I made a yo-yo (or suffolk puff) bunting to go with the hoop, and added some washi tape samples and pretty straws.

If you ever get the chance to join a swap on IG or online, just do it! It’s lots of fun.

Till next time

Michelle

Nine Easy Gift Wrapping Ideas

Nine easy gift wrapping ideas

Here are nine very quick and easy gift wrapping ideas that will help your presents look so pretty and make the recipient of your gift feel very special.  None of these are original ideas – just what I’ve put together after being inspired by Pinterest and Instagram!

Most of these start with the present wrapped in either butcher paper or brown paper – a lovely blank canvas to make pretty!

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POM POMS

Wrap your gift in butcher paper and then in some pretty coloured wool. Make a couple of little pom poms in matching colours and tie on.

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TWINE AND STICKERS

Wrap your present in butcher paper, then wrap the twine around the box three times tying in the back. Find a pretty sticker and attach in the front where the twine crosses over. In this case, I have used my logo sticker.

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PRETTY PAPER AND RIBBON

This pretty wrapping paper is from Daiso, and I tied a pretty coordinating ribbon around the middle. That’s a kraft envelope with washi tape on each end.

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BROWN PAPER PACKAGES TIED UP WITH STRING

Here I have used brown kraft paper, with some of the pretty Daiso floral gift wrap. I used my pinking shears to cut the edges of the floral paper (scallops would look good, too!) Then three times round the package with string, and it’s done. I’m pretty sure I got this idea off Instagram but can’t for the life of me remember who’s feed :-(

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FABRIC STRINGS

Presents were wrapped in butcher paper then tied with thin pieced of fabric which I save from my sewing projects. I made the envelopes from scrapbooking paper (and some of them even match the ribbons!)

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WASHI TAPE

Oh my! What you can’t do with washi tape… Just wrapped the gift in butcher paper and went to town with my pretty tapes. Easy peasy!!

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YO YO’S (or SUFFOLK PUFFS)

I have a growing number of yoyo’s (with colour coordinated button middles) sitting in a jar just waiting to be attached to a plain butcher-paper wrapped gift! I colour matched the twine and there you have it!

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TWINE AND A BUTTON

I love this colour combination. Brown kraft paper with black and white twine, and a black and white gingham button – perfect!!

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FABRIC BOWS AND PANEL

This was a wedding present. I wrapped the gifts in tissue paper and tied them with fabric bows using the same fabrics that I used to make the gifts. Then I popped them in a plain brown kraft gift bag that had a fabric panel glued on to it.

Well, that was nine different ways to quickly and easily make a gift look pretty. Hope you get a chance to try some of them.

Till next time,

Michelle

How Cole and Taffy Came to Be

I started my home-based craft business, officially, last November, with an unsuccessful market table (see here for the full story and photos).

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But quickly worked out that Etsy was a better way to go, so I opened my Etsy store back in March of this year (click on the Etsy link on the right to see what pretty things are currently available). I can do it all from home without the stress and enormous costs of selling at markets.

A couple of people have asked how Cole and Taffy got it’s name.

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Cole and Taffy were two black miniature rabbits that my two youngest children decided they just had to have. They were very sweet and cute, and the kids named them Cole and Taffy. As soon as I heard that, I remarked that that would be a great name for a blog! And so, when I started thinking about starting up my craft business, I prayed about a name, and God reminded me about Cole and Taffy.

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We had to sell the rabbits when we got our puppy, Lizzie, in early 2013, but they will always live on in our memories, especially while Cole and Taffy (the business and blog) are around!

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Till next time,

Michelle

Crunchy Jumbles

Crunchy-Jumbles

I posted a photo of these yummy biscuits on my IG feed today, and got a number of people wanting the recipe. These are easy enough for my 11 year old to make.

CRUNCHY JUMBLES (original recipe from The Great Big Cookie Book by Hilaire Walden)

½ cup butter (at room temperature)

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 ¼ cups plain flour

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

2 cups Rice Bubbles (crisped rice cereal)

1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4

2. With an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Sift over the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt, and fold in.

3. Add the cereal and chocolate chips. Stir to mix thoroughly.

4. Drop spoonfuls of dough 3-5cm (1-2in) apart on trays lined with baking paper. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 36 biscuits (or 30 if said 11yo eats some of the dough!)

Leave a comment to let me know how you enjoyed them :-)

Till next time,

Michelle

My Path to Patchwork

I’ve not done much patchwork before – a hand pieced and quilted log cabin pot holder, and a 9-patch pin cushion a few years ago.

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But I’ve always loved fabric (I’ve been sewing since I was a teenager). The touch of it! The colours! Buying it and planning what to make with it!

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Twenty years ago I bought a quilt kit at a craft show, and somewhere in my home it sits, in  a bag, all cut, half sewn :( In the darkest gloomiest colours you’ve ever seen!

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I always thought that making quilts was too expensive a hobby – and then I discovered mini quilts! So now I’m obsessed with patchwork and quilting! And I even have plans for a single bed sized quilt for no. 1 son (he wants black and white). I will slowly buy the fabric I need for it over the next few months, and sew it up over the Christmas holidays. That way, it won’t seem like I’m spending heaps on fabric – spread it out, that’s the way!

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I decided in No Spend May to make a plus mini quilt. It looked easy, I didn’t need a pattern, and had plenty of fabric in my stash (from 30 years of sewing!)

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I chose some of my favourite fabrics – some I had used to make dresses for my daughter and me, and one was from a pretty pillowcase I made. I even had some Liberty scraps I could use ♥ There was an overriding floral them :-)

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So I cut and I sewed, and I googled, and I sewed, and I basted it, and googled some more, then machine quilted it, and then sewed on the binding.

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It’s my first ever, properly made, patchwork project, and I quite love it! It is, hopefully, the first of many mini quilts to be hung on the lounge room wall (which is from now on to be known as my mini wall!)

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Till next time,

Michelle

PS. Apologies for the six week gap in posting – Instagram is becoming a little addictive!!

Busy Making

I’ve been busy making lots of pretty things the last couple of weeks – so I thought I’d show you what’s been keeping me away from my blog!These are some easy crochet granny squares I am going to make into a lovely snuggly rug (hopefully before the end of winter!)

Rainbow-cardsI used some rainbow washi tapes to make these adorable cards (the little stickers are from kikki k).

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This is a tiny notecard (2×3″) with its own matching envelope.

Plus-quiltI’ve been so inspired by all the quilts I’ve seen on Instagram that I decided to make a mini plus quilt, just using some of my stash (it’s No Spend May in the Hickson household!) I will hopefully get this one finished in the next few weeks.

Wedding-cardAnd finally, a card for a wedding we are attending this weekend. I love using kraft cards – they look so great with almost any colour paper!

Till next time,

Michelle

 

Project Life Weeks 15 & 16

As life gets busier, it’s not as easy to be keeping up-to-date with my Project Life album. However, I take heart in that I am only a couple of weeks behind!

Here is week 15:

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Week-15-page-2Love the prettiness of these cards by KaiserCraft called “Happy Days”.

Here is week 16:

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Week-16-page-2The kit used here is Kraft – except for that grey chevron card (can’t remember where I downloaded that from :-( )

I decided to use some word art to cover faces for privacy reasons this week – nice for a change!

How are you keeping up with your Project Life 2014 album?

Till next time,

Michelle

 

 

Pinspiration

Knitting-needle-cse3My friends know I’m crafty (see last post).

So when a friend asked me to make her a knitting needle case for her mum for Mother’s Day, I said, “Sure!” But I wasn’t sure how to do it – would I crochet one or sew one up?

I have some lovely coloured yarn, so decided to crochet one in a pretty plum colour. Alas, after crocheting for some time and getting near the end, I decided I didn’t like it. So, off to Pinterest to get some inspiration for a fabric knitting needle case. (What did we ever do before Pinterest??)

After looking at a few tutorials and taking a close look at an old (ugly) brown one I bought off eBay a couple of years ago, for the large selection of needles it held, I had a plan!

I found some pretty green floral fabric for the outside, a pretty paler green polka dot for the inside and pretty yellow gingham ribbon to tie it up. (Notice that “pretty” is my theme!)

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Here is a picture of me trying to sew the pocket lines very straight:

Sewing-straight-linesIt probably took just under a couple of hours from go to whoa – and it turned out so lovely! I was really pleased with it! This is it open with some knitting needles in it (note the flap at the top to stop the needles falling out – very clever of me, I thought!)

Knitting-needle-cseAnd here it is rolled up and tied with a pretty bow:

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And all finished in time to be mailed to New Zealand for Mother’s Day! I hope she likes it! And thanks to Pinterest for the inspiration!

Till next time,

Michelle