2 October 2015

Sea Shell Decorations

Love collecting shells when you visit the beach? Me too! but what to do with them when you get home?

We recently went on a little family holiday (Master Fox's first trip to the seaside) and whilst there I obviously collected a few pretty shells, because you just cant resist it right? The problem is I never get enough to fill a bowl or vase or anything like that, I just have a cute little handful to take home and remind me of lazy sunny days on the beach (or windy overcast days if your holiday was a bit like ours).

I immediately set upon pinterest to see if I could get some inspiration on what to do with them, as its such a waste to just throw them in a bowl or drawer. I came across this delightful little post from Hoppin' Up which sets them into air dry clay. Whats great is this is a fun little project for kids (admittedly older than Master Fox, but that just means more fun for me!).

The idea is so simple, cut the air dry clay into shapes, press the shells in and let it dry out. Then you can hang them up as a lovely little reminder of your hollibobs. I hope you like mine, though my shells weren't as interesting as the ones used in the actual tutorial.

Whilst I did them I also made this adorable little plaque for one of Master Fox's friends who is turning one. A baby's first birthday is so special I think its great to have a little keepsake like this to remember it by as only happens once.

3 May 2015

Fabric Peg Noticeboard Tutorial - Upcycle and old picture frame

A couple of weeks ago me and my great friend over at Socksy Beasts went out for a little visit to a local craft shop. We were told it was a bit chaotic but crikey it was like an Aladdin's cave for craft!! The problem is I went in without a project in mind and so I was just a bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff, my mind went completely blank so I walked away with absolutely nothing. That's a bit strange for me but I really am trying to make more room not fill it! Mrs Socksy however didn't find the whole thing as overwhelming and managed to come away with a nice little haul.

So a little dissapointed and uninspired we left and as we drove round the corner we spotted a little kitcsh cafe. As Master Fox needed a feed, and we are never a pair to pass up a cuppa we stopped in while we decided what to do next. Amongst all the second hand kitsch furniture and oddments in this little cafe was a very cute fox themed fabric peg noticeboard. It was lovely and I very nearly bought it, until my age old habit kicked in and we decided we could do it ourselves for less.

So like the looneys we are we finished up our cuppas and cake and went straight back to the craft shop for supplies.

Because it was so simple and fun I wanted to share with you how I went about making one of these up. This is a great little project for a horrible rainy bank holiday like this one! Its also a perfect project for one of your favourite fat quarters.

  • An old wooden picture frame the size you want your finished board to be. You can get these really cheap in charity shops
  • Some fabric which is just bigger then the frame, a fat quarter will usually suffice unless you have a really big frame. 
  • Wool or twine
  • Some mini wooden pegs - you can pick these up from most craft or card making suppliers
  • Wadding
  • Chalk effect furniture paint - we picked up a tester pot of Craig and Ball for a couple of pounds in the local B&Q diy store.
  • Scissors
  • Glue Gun
First of all remove all the glass and backing from your picture frame. You dont need the glass front so you can discard this or find another use for it (like a pallet for your lino printing inks). You can then paint up your frame with the chalk paint, just be warned it might need a couple of coats.

Whilst your frame is drying using the back of the picture frame cut your fabric so that it is at least 3 inches wider on all sides.

 Next cut out some wadding to the size of the back of the frame. I used a couple of layers as I had very thin wadding left over from a baby quilt. If you are using thicker wadding you will only need one layer. Use your own judgement, the more you use the more cushion like the board will be.

Now we are going to stick it all together Place the fabric right side down, then the wadding on top of that and finally the back of the picture frame so the hooks are facing outwards. Using the glue gun put a good amount of glue along one edge of the frame back and fold the fabric over sticking it down well.

Repeat with all four sides until the back of your frame looks like the above.

Next you need to fold under the corners which are sticking up and glue them down with a blob from the glue gun. It should look something like the above. I'll admit its not very neat, I am sure you can make a much better go of this but no one is going to see the back once its hung on the wall. Maybe think about the neatness if you are going to give it as a gift though ;)

Then once you flip it over you should have a lovely soft cushioned square like the picture above. See it looks lovely from the front. Do think about pattern placement etc when you are placing your fabric.

Cut a couple of lengths of wool or twine, wrap it all the way around the back of the frame and tie a good knot round the back to secure. You can then add the pegs on and pop the whole thing into your nicely dried frame.

Now you have a lovely new noticeboard to keep reminders/pictures/ keepsakes or business cards. It looks lovely on my craft room wall, it's almost too pretty to hand things one ;) If you make one of these do send me a link, I would love to see it.

25 April 2015

Felt Dinosaur

This is Mick the Felty Dinosaur! Hello Mick. 

Mick is another pattern which I got from the second issue of Simply Sewing magazine. As soon as I saw this pattern in the mag I just new it had to be done. I mean it appeals to all my sewing whims. Plushie, cute, quick, perfect for the boy. He just had to get made. 

He is made from pure wool felt. When I saw the pattern I knew I had the perfect piece of material to make him out of. The body is a hand felted piece of fabric in teal and green, I hear you, its like it was made for this project. I've had it in my craft room for years and you know when you can't bear to use something because you know the perfect project will come along... well here's proof it does in the end. Because its hand felted real wool as well it gives it a gorgeous texture, its almost scaly just like a real dino!

The pattern was really easy. Its thankfully mostly machine sewn which just a few sections of the feet being hand sewing, perfect! The instructions were really clear and easy to follow. I also love the way the feet are sewn on so that it makes the dino stand up.

The Simply Sewing magazine, whilst not always being chocca full of things I would make, has at least always had really clear instructions, and with the pattern pieces provided this makes things a lot easier. I hate it when you have to upscale pattern pieces, I mean we don't all have access to a copier do we, and the idea of doing it on graph paper is just too much of a chore. I have had issue 3 through the door now, and this one is a little lacking in projects which interest me personally, but I suppose you can't please everyone all the time. It comes with a lovely felt pack, but again i'm not inspired by the projects included so need to rack my brains for a different one.

Anyway. I think I'm rambling!! I hope you like Mick (he was named by Mr Fox, don't ask me why Mick). I would definitely suggest giving him a go if you have a copy of the mag. If not, get googling for some felt dinosaur sewing patterns of your own!

17 April 2015

Blue Baby Moss Print Hoodie

Baby knitting is so awesome! Its so much easier to finish something when its this tiny, and i'll be honest i'm not brilliant at finishing my knitting projects. Admittedly, with a little baby it still takes a while, but at least its a finishable project. I mean it seems daft to put something this small on you hibernating knitting pile when a few extra evenings will see it finished.

This little hoodie is a pattern I got from Ravelry called Manda Ruth which can also be purchased from the designers website. I really like the all over moss print which adds a lovely bit of texture, and of course the cute little hood.

This is the first time I have ever knitted anything 'in the round' (its a cardi, so esentially not round but you get the point). Knitting in the round is where you knit the whole body, front and back, as one piece so there are no seams to be sewn. You then pick up the arms and knit them in the round on dpns so again no seams. This is not a very British way of sewing, and although the technique itself wasn't difficult I think I actually prefer to knit all the pieces and sew them together at the end. I'm not brilliant at picking up and knitting, but at least this project gave me some much needed practice. 

The pattern itself was very straight forward to follow and it knitted up really quick being an aran weight hoodie. I would definitely recommend this pattern, and I might make up another one for when hes a bit older.

I did make a couple of boo boos here and there, but nothing too noticeable I hope, and certainly not something which is going to bother me (or Master Fox).

I chose this really lovely blue Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran which I got from Love Knitting. It was meant to be a superman blue, as Mr Fox is a huge fan of blue, but it is ever so slightly off. The colour and feel of this wool is so gorgeous though, its so fresh and bright.

The sad thing about this pattern is that it has come up really small :(. Master Fox is a little boy and is still in 0-3 month clothes despite being 4 months now (how is he already 4 months old!?!). I chose to knit this in the 6 month size and as you can see from the picture below its a little on the snug side, especially the hood. So if you do decide to knit this double check your gauge and maybe knit the next next size up to be on the safe side. Its ok when the hood is down though, and we will get a few wears out of it as its the perfect cover up for these spring days.

3 April 2015

Fabric Storage Basket

Well, its Good Friday so I hope you are all planning to cram as much chocolate into your cake holes as possible over the next few days... I know I am!

So issue 2 of the new Simply Sewing Magazine turned up last week (it was a bit over a month and I eagerly anticipated its arrival!). It has a lot of cute little patterns in it, my favourites being the stuffed felt dinosaur which I am totally going to make, this fabric basket and a cute pintucked top. The pintucked top is however very similar to the free Colette sorbetto pattern though it does make a cute little variation and has some very nice dipped hems.

What I think I like most about this magazine though it that it contains loads of simple, yet lovely small makes. Things that don't require a huge amount of fabric or time and whats so perfect about this is that its totally a way of me sewing stuff out of the massive amounts of fabric I already have lying around doing nothing.

Now don't get me wrong, I am terrible at using fabric. I buy its because its pretty and then I fear using it for making something which turns out to be a huge failure, or something which I don't actually like. Well, time to get over that fear, I need to get using some of this stuff I'm hording!.

So this months issue came with a little floral tea towel and some patterns on how to best use the tea towel to make it into something else. These included a roll bag, a lunchbox, a pinny or cutlery roll. They are all very nice ideas but do you know what, non of them are practical to my life (and the idea here is to destash, not create stuff I don't need). So instead of making one of those I used the pattern in the magazine for this fabric storage basket and turned this tea towel into storage instead. 

The pattern called for some lining fabric as well so I used this teal and black fat quarter which I bought about 2 years ago from ebay. Its a lovely colour match and makes a very nice lining in my opinion. The nice thing about this basket is its also reversible. 

The pattern was really easy to follow, just a few straight lines and folds here and there and you have a basket. I did omit the interfacing as the free tea towel was pretty sturdy, it is a little floppy though so you might want to use it anyway. It doesn't fall over though so is perfectly servicable. Its now sat in the living room keeping my current knitting project in order instead of being strewn all over the side! perfect.


Have you been reading the new sewing mag? do you have any favourite patterns, or makes from it you want to show off? Please feel free to leave a linky below.

Happy Easter :)

27 March 2015

Tulle Bow Tutorial

So I did a quick pinterest the other day to see if I could find a tutorial on making little tulle bows which could be used as hair clips/brooches/sewn onto headbands etc and to my surprise there was a distinct lack of them. I decided that the internet deserved one so here you go... your very welcome :)

You will need: 
  • Some tulle or net fabric. I used some 6inch tulle which came on a roll which was left over from our wedding decorations (like this). You will need one piece approx 55inch by 6inch (enough to wrap around a place mat about 6 times) and one piece which is just 3inch by 6inch.
  • A regular coffee mug mat
  • Scissors
  • Matching thread and needle
  • A Pin

 Using your coffee mug mat, starting at the back put the tulle about 2/3 of the way across making sure it crosses the middle of the mat. 

Wrap the tulle all the way around the mat until you have 6 layers of tulle covering the front. Making sure once again that the end of the tulle is 2/3 of the way across the back and passing over the center. 

Ensure you have a hold of all the layers and carefully slide the mat out from the middle.

 Pop a pin into the center through all layers to hold it together (the folds want to be to the side and the open edges to the top/bottom). 

Using a basic running stitch and matching thread sew through all layers from one open end to the other. 

Pull the thread to gather the bow in the center and wrap the thread around a couple of times. Secure with a little stitched knot. 

Taking your small piece of tulle, and starting at the back wrap it around the middle of the bow 2 or 3 times. Trim any excess making sure the end is at the back and hidden in the middle. 

Using your needle and tread sew a few stitches to secure the loose end down so that it doesn't unravel.

Finally using your scissors you need to carefully cut through the folded edges at the end of the bows so that they poof out nicely. Do this part carefully and trim any stray bits which might end up sticking out. 

And there you have a pretty finished tulle bow. You can pop a bobby pin through the end and wear it in your hair, a brooch for your coat or it can be sewn onto a garment for a bit of upcycling glamour.

I would love to see what you decide to use these for, so if you use this tutorial to make one for yourself leave me a comment with your picture or instagram me @thediyfox

20 March 2015

Simply Sewing Polka Dot Headband

I finally got round to stitching up the headband from the first issue of the new simply sewing magazine using the free polka dot fabric which came with the magazine. The mag did provide patterns and instructions for three things which could all be created from the one piece of fabric provided. First was this headband, second a gathered fabric flower and third a fabric covered book. I have done both the gathered flowers and a covered book on the blog already so I have gone for the headband (and I used the rest of the fabric to make the pockets of my new dress!) 

The instructions were really easy to follow, and the headband was really easy to make. All you need is a sewing machine, some thread and a small piece of elastic. I decided to make my headband a little snazzier though. I used a pink thread for my top stitching instead of black and also made this really cute little pink fabric bow out of a bit of scrap fabric I had. I hand stitched the bow onto the headband to neatly sit about where my parting lies. Now this cute little headband matches my hair and includes a little extra detail and interest which I really like. 

I don't tend to wear headbands all that often, however I have posted before about how stupid I look in hats! Being fair, and needing to keep the sun off my head, a nice thick fabric band like this is perfect for keeping me sun safe and still looking sharp. I definitely think I will be making up another one of these once we get summer fully into swing (really hoping we get a summer!). It would work really well in any kind of polycotton, quilting cotton or cotton poplin. 

If you want to make one of these for yourself hurry out to the shops for your own copy of the new simply sewing magazine. But hurry, I think issue two will be out very soon.