Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Quick and easy personalised stockings

If you haven’t got much time before Christmas comes around then this is a quick and easy way to make a personalised stocking.
I managed to find some bargain ready made stockings in Tesco (50p each). They obviously look very plain and boring though so they needed a bit of jazzing up and here’s how!

What you’ll need
·         Ready made stockings
·         Felt
·         Thread
·         Needle
·         Scissors

Step 1

Cut out the letter you want to add to the front of your stocking using a stencil (I made my stencil with paper).

Step 2

Draw around your stencil and cut out the letter on your felt

Step 3

Cut down the side of your stocking (don’t worry – this will be stitched back up and hidden when you hang it up). This just makes it much easier to stitch your letter on.

Step 4

Pin and then stitch your letter onto the front of the stocking.

Step 5

Sew the edges to give it that extra homemade look (also sewing up the side you cut).

Step 5
Add any other decorations (I added a little bow) and then hang up!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Make a Christmas pine cone wreath for less than £5!

I spotted a really cute pine cone wreath the other day but the price tag wasn't so nice at £17.99! Having a little look at it I thought that it would be relatively easy, (and much cheaper) to make my own!

What you’ll need

·         Wire coat hanger
·         Pine cones - I used a combination of shop bought (found a bag in a charity shop for £1) and ones I found in a local forest (just make sure they don’t have bugs or bird poop on them)!
·         Christmas garland (I used the same poundland ones I used in my Make a garland for under £10 post)
·         Wire cutters
·         Pliers
·         Wire
·         Any decorations you want to add (I ended up using LED battery lights in the end from, you’ve guessed it - poundland)!

Step 1

Bend your coat hanger into the shape you want (doesn't have to be too neat as you'll be covering it up)! I decided to go for a heart shape but you could do a traditional round wreath or any shape you fancy!

Step 2

Wrap the garland around the hanger – this gives it a good base and makes it easier to attach the pine cones.

Step 3

Wire the pine cones and then attach them to the wreath. I added the bigger pine cones first then smaller ones. This ensured there was an even coverage

Step 4

Add any further decorations. I’ve only added LED lights but you could keep it plain, add bow, spray with fake snow, or whatever you fancy!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Made by (A)me weekly round up - W/C 16.11.2011

Well that's my first week of successful blogging and twittering done!

Thanks to everyone who's helped, supported and welcomed me to the blogging and twitter world!

Made by (A)me weekly round up:

Personalised gift tags

A quick and easy way to make your presents even more personal with personalised gift tags! (apologies for the shadows - stupid spotlights)!

What you’ll need:

·         2 x Plain white postage tags (I had some ready cut ones but you could cut any shape you want from thin card)
·         Embroidery thread
·         Pencil
·         Scissors
·         Needle
·         Things to decorate your finished tag with

Step 1
Lightly sketch your design onto your tag.

Step 2

Use a basic stitch and follow your design. Make sure you leave a little space between each stitch so your card doesn’t tear.

Step 3

Turn the tag over and secure the thread by threading the needle under a stitch so you can thread a knot.

Step 4

Decide on your decorations. I used buttons and threaded them on.

As you can see on the back I just used the one thread but this will be hidden as this is where tag 2 comes into play!

Step 5

Take the second tag and stitch the two together. This hides any of the messy stitching from before!

Step 6

Add any finishing touches! I added a little handmade bow!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

10 minute make - jam jar tea light holders

Love tea light holders, love jam! So why not combine the two (empty jam jars obviously)!

What I used -

  • Empty jam jars
  • Soft florist wire (but craft wire would work too)
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters

Step 1

Cut a length of wire (about 60cm - but will vary depending on jar size). Wrap the wire around the neck of the jam jar.

Step 2

Twist the wire around itself.

Step 3

Shape the wire into a heart (or whatever shape you like). Mine looks a bit, erm, rustic lets say!

Step 4

Twist the ends and trim the wire

Step 5

Add a tea light!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

The start of my Christmas Cake

I’ve offered to make the family Christmas cake this year. I love baking but what I’m most looking forward to (apart from eating it), is decorating it!

Having done a couple of mini sugar craft courses I’m hoping to put some of those skills to the test.
Today marked the start of the prep for the cake – getting the fruit very drunk by soaking it in sherry! I’m soaking it for a week and then I’ll make the cake next Sunday. (You need to make the cake at least 3 weeks before you want to eat it).

I’m using a Mary Berry recipe and crossing my fingers that my first Christmas cake lives up to my mums!
This is the recipe if you’d like to use it and I'll post each stage as I go!


  • 175g (6 oz) raisins
  • 350g (12 oz) glace cherries, rinsed, thoroughly dried and quartered
  • 500g (1lb 2oz) currants
  • 350g (12oz) sultanas
  • 150ml (¼ pint) sherry, plus extra for feeding
  • Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
  • 250g (9oz) butter, softened
  • 250g (9oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tbsp black treacle
  • 75g (3oz) blanched almonds, chopped (I used more raisins here instead of nuts)
  • 75g (3oz) self-raising flour
  • 175g (6oz) plain flour
  • 1½ tsp mixed spice


Step 1
Put all the dried fruit in a container, pour over the sherry and stir in the orange zest. Cover with a lid, and leave to soak for 3 days, stirring daily. Grease and line a 23cm (9in) deep round tin with a double layer of greased greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 140ºC/Fan 120ºC/Gas Mark 1.

Step 2
Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, treacle and almonds into a very large bowl and beat well. Add the flours and mixed spice and mix thoroughly until blended. Stir in the soaked fruit. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and level the surface.

Step 3
Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 4-4½ hours or until the cake feels firm to the touch and is a rich golden brown. Check after 2 hours, and, if the cake is a perfect colour, cover with foil. A skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

Step 4
When cool, pierce the cake at intervals with a fine skewer and feed with a little extra sherry. Wrap the completely cold cake in a double layer of greaseproof paper and again in foil and store in a cool place for up to 3 months, feeding at intervals with more sherry. (Don't remove the lining paper when storing as this helps to keep the cake moist.)

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Make a Christmas garland for less than £10

This year I really wanted a Christmas garland to go down our banister.

With Christmas just around the corner though most of my spare cash is being put aside for Christmas presents. A nice shop bought garland can range from £14.99 to £49.99, and the cheaper ones don’t quite have the look I wanted. With that in mind though, I thought I could use the cheaper garlands as a base to make a garland that was just how I wanted.

What I used
(by the way, I didn’t use everything in my pic in the end)!

  • Cheap garlands (I found mine in Poundland and used three – most cheap shops will sell a basic, or value garland that could be used instead)
  • Wire (I needed thicker wire than the beading wire in my pic)
  • Decorations for your garland. I used flowers and holly off some more cheap garlands I found in a local cheapy shop - £1.25, cut up berry napkin rings I found on a charity stall market - 60p and pine cones which you can find for free!
  • Handmade felt decorations for the end decoration (felt 30p a square, thread around £1) P.s I’ll show you how I made these in another post!
  • Scissors and wire cutters
Total cost – around £7-£8!
Time - about 3hrs

Obviously you can decorate the garland however you want. Baubles, ribbons, maybe even use some sprigs of real holly. Just scour your local shops, charity shops and markets to find what suits your theme and tastes.

Step 1

Measure your garland by wrapping round your banister then cut to size. You’ll be able to see further on in step 4 I didn’t end up wrapping it in the same way as below as once I’d added branches as it was too bushy to wrap like this! I was able to cut about a foot of the end of the length but I’d still advise wrapping as per step 1 to start with as it’s better to have it longer rather than too short!

Step 2

As you can see my garland was only one strand to start with so I needed to make branches. If you have a garland that already has branches you could still add to it to make it a bit bushier or just go straight to the decorating stages!

Making the branches

Take the second and third garland and cut up to make branches.
Cut a length double the size you need as you’ll be wrapping the branch around the main garland. As you’ll be wrapping them round the main garland they will end up shorter than you cut. I cut mine into 30cm lengths then when I wrapped around they ended up about 13cm branches.

Step 3

Bend each length in half and then double wrap around the main garland. As there was wire already in my garland I could just wrap this around without gluing or wiring. If your garland isn't wired you could wrap the branch around wire to give it some structure.

Keep wrapping until you have done the whole garland.

Step 4

Test it on the banister to see if there are any bare spaces (if there are just add a few more branches).

Step 5
Wire your decorations and add onto your garland in even spacing.

I did mine on the floor to give me more space, this also allowed me to rotate the garland as I wired to ensure there is coverage all round.

I started with my pine cones then the flowers, leaves and berries from the napkin rings (and the cat wanted to help too)!

Step 6

Test it again on your banister and add any further decorations where you think necessary!
I’ll upload another picture when I officially put it up for Christmas, I might also add some LED lights and ribbons but here's the finished article!