Monday, 24 November 2014

Craft Your Own Christmas... Cards

Its getting closer and closer to December and I am barely able to contain myself! I haven't started wrapping yet, but I (like a lot of people) have made many preparations. One of which includes making my own Christmas Cards. Now I did do this last year, and clearly haven't learned from my mistake, as I am again making more work for myself - I simply can't help it!

Feel free to check out my cards from last year here.

So... I thought I would share with you lovely people a few of the card ideas I have had for this year. There is nothing more personal than a handmade gift and I love browsing through others' creations so please share yours with me too.

I recently bought a couple of jars chock-full of different buttons and couldn't wait to utilise them. This gave me the idea for my first card, which I will briefly show you how to create.
I have seen buttons used many times for various projects, and thought a Christmas card would be the perfect opportunity to try out my own creation - a Christmas Wreath. There is something pleasing, cutesy and rustic about the use of buttons - which I'm guessing is why they are so popular. 
In case you hadn't noticed, chevrons are also very popular within the design world at the moment! So I wanted to include some on my card for a 'more modern edge' - please excuse the cliche design talk.

I started with a blank card. These can be picked up from most stationary and craft retailers - usually in a pack of 10. I then marked out where I wanted my chevrons to be and drew them up. There was no particular method for this. I just made sure they were evenly zigzagged and evenly spaced.
I believe that Christmas is the perfect time to indulge in a bit of gold and so I purchased a small bottle of gold acrylic paint. Using an extremely fine paintbrush, I painted the chevrons. FYI, this paint will probably make you consider painting EVERYTHING gold. I honestly think it should come with a warning.

Once the chevrons are painted and dried, its time to move onto creating the wreath. Using a compass, draw a large circle in the centre of your card. Then draw a smaller one within your first circle. If you do not own a compass, simply draw around any circular object(s) you can use as a template. Then pick out green buttons in different sizes and shades - I feel this adds a little more depth to the design. It may take a bit of playing around to get it looking right, so don't stick any buttons down just yet.

When you are happy with your design, use blu-tak to pick the buttons up one by one, blob some glue on the card, and place the buttons back down in position. I find using blu-tak makes positioning the buttons easier, as your fingers don't get in the way. I just used Bostik all-purpose, extra strong glue.

I have found that due to the weight of the buttons, the card held itself better when stood landscape. Its worth thinking about these things when choosing the media you want to work with.

Tip: Its very easy to knock your design out of place, so I recommend taking a photo of your design when the buttons are in place so you can refer back to it when sticking them down.

I finished off my wreath with a cute bow. I picked a pack of these up from Hobbycraft (of course!) and think they work very well. Another finishing touch I think would look rather good is replacing some of the buttons with small red ones to represent berries within the wreath!

Take a look at some of the other designs I have created this year. All have been made from left-over wrapping paper, magazine cut-outs, paint, and other bits and pieces I found lying around.

Christmas Robot
A fun one, created from spare gift wrap originally purchased from NOTHS, winter-themed papers, a 'Happy Christmas' label from Hobbycraft, buttons, and a Santa hat made from scraps.

Festive Weave
Created using strips cut from festive and plain paper, then simply woven together, and all stuck down with double sided tape. The blank squares were then finished off with hand-sketched Christmas trees and wreaths. 

Geometric Bauble
Created by drawing up a geometric design and filling in with acrylic paint. Finished off with a bauble cut from red paper, a 'Merry Christmas' label from Hobbycraft, and a tartan bow (also from Hobbycraft). 

And there we have it! I do hope I have inspired you to create your own Christmas cards this year. Don't be scared to experiment with colour and pattern. Have fun with it and don't be afraid to be quirky - why shouldn't a robot wearing a Santa hat feature?! Also, make what you can with what you already have. It doesn't have to be an expensive project.

If I have inspired you, I would love to see your creations. 
Tweet me: @ZibZobHandmade

But with only a week left until December arrives, you had better get a wriggle on!

Stay Merry and Bright my Lovelies.


Sunday, 2 November 2014

Little Christmas Stockings Tutorial

Its getting to that time of year again, and so naturally (like I'm sure a lot of you have) I have been getting ready for the festive season a few months in advance.
I have a few ideas this year for cards, wrapping, decorations etc. which I cannot wait to share with you all! However, I thought I would sart this Christmas off by showing you how to create your own personalised Christmas Stockings. Enjoy :)

What you will need:
- Festive Fabric
- Red, Green & White Felt
- Festive Ribbon - Green & Red
- Tartan Ribbon (or any other pattern of your choice)
- Red & Green Buttons
- Cross-Stitching Aida
- Black, Green & Red Embroidery Thread
- Red, Green & White Cotton Thread
- Dressmaker's Chalk
- Stocking Template
- Sewing Machine (if you have one)

Start by taking your template and drawing round it onto both your festive fabric and red and/or green felt with the dressmakers chalk. The festive fabric you choose is for the back of your stocking. The felt is for the front. 

It is important to remember that you will be losing around 1cm during the making of this stocking, so choose a template a little larger than how you want your finished stocking to look. I just chose a simple stocking outline off the internet and printed it off.
I wanted to add a white cuff to the front of the stocking. For this I created my own paper template - effectively just a simple rectangle! 
Then use this to cut out the cuff from your white felt.

To personalise the stockings, I used cross-stitch. Now if you've read any of my previous posts, you will know that I have some knowledge in this area! I love cross-stitch because it looks handmade, it looks personal, and this is the finish I wanted. These stockings were actually Christmas gifts filled with goodies for the girls at work, so each one had their name embroidered onto the front of it. Around this time of year, all craft magazines have festive patterns and ideas in them. I chose a simple holly design from one of them, along with a letter pattern for embroidering the names. 

Once stitched, you need to trim down the aida around your design ready to sew into the front of your stocking.

Before sewing the front of your stocking to the back of it, you need to add all of your decoration to it. On these particular ones I added a white felt cuff with tartan ribbon trim, the personalised cross-stitched square, and red & green buttons.
To do this, take your tartan ribbon, and cut it to size. Lay it across your stocking somewhere towards the top, but far enough down so that when your white cuff is put on over the top, you can still see some of the ribbon - giving you your trim. Sew this ribbon into place and then do the same with the white felt cuff.

You then need to prep your stocking for the cross-stitched design. Cut a square into the centre of the stocking that is smaller than the square of aida. Then turn the front of your stocking over, place your cross-stitched design face-down over this square and secure into place with a blanket or applique stitch. This can be done by hand or machine.

Once you have finished embellishing the front, it is time to sew it to the back. Make sure you sew it so that the 'right' side of the festive fabric and the embellished side of your stocking front are on the inside.

Once all in place, sew the front and back together. Although its quicker (and sometimes neater) to use a sewing machine, hand stitching these little cuties will also work fine!

After it has been all sewn up, turn the stocking outside-in and have a look at what you have created. I finished mine off by hand-stitching a loop of ribbon into the top corner for hanging. After all, a stocking isn't worth having at Christmas if you can't hang it by the fire!


So have a go at making your own Christmas Stockings. They don't take long and you can experiment with a world of different fabrics, patterns and embellishments to make yours unique. They also make a lovely, personal gift!

Shopping List
White, red & green felt -
Festive fabric -
Festive ribbon -
Buttons (1 mixed pack) -
Tartan ribbon - ASDA Supermarket
Aida & embroidery thread - Hobbycraft

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial and that I have inspired you to have a go. Get a wriggle on though, it'll be here before you know it!

Stay Merry and Bright!