Woodland Themed Nursery Fabric Picture Tutorial

I’m finding that it’s all very well and good having this free time to relax and get involved in some crafting but there’s really not much that I ‘need’ to make at the moment, we’re stocked up with birthday cards and the likes so I decided to turn my hand to making some birthday gifts.

This little framed mixed-medium picture was thrifty and fun to make.


Perfect for a toddler or young child’s room I hope that its recipient will like it!

If you’d like to make one yourself I suggest checking out charity shops for a similar embroidery hoop, I think they make really sweet frames for these fabric pictures, painted or plain they look good with a ribbon to hang them!


I started with an embroidery hoop (50p in a charity shop), some twine and little buttons and a selection of fabrics from my own stash, my sewing machine, but you can do much of it by hand, and some red project paint left over from this project. I had the little squirrel iron on patch from a set from H&M that I bought to decorate some plain t-shirts for Joss, so this one cost about 40p.


Base fabric

I selected this bright yellow flower print base fabric as it is pretty robust.


I drew around the outside of my hoop to give a guide for cutting the excess fabric, then drew around the centre piece to mark out the workspace I will be adding embellishment to.


Then I laid out my various bits and bobs to go apply to it as I went along. I decided on bunting and flowers with the woodland squirrel as these are pretty safe toddler themes, and as I prefer brights for a little one’s room I went with blues and reds to complement the yellow.

I cut a cardboard triangle to use as a template for my bunting flags, drew around it and cut out seven flags.


Getting started

I stitched the bunting flags in place


Then I cut two lengths of twine which I overlaid with a few stitches at inch intervals to hold in place


I made a fabric yo yo as a flower embellishment, I love yoyos, they’re very simple. There’s a great tutorial here, but basically you cut a circle of fabric and leaving a long tail of thread as you start fold and tack a quarter of an inch under on the wrong side of the fabric as you go with a needle and thread, once you reach where you started hold both ends of the thread and pull tightly to gather the fabric, then knot the ends of the thread and neaten with scissors leaving as it is or in my case adding a small red fabric heart to cover the hole where the yo yo fabric gathers in the middle.



I cut fabric hearts and fabric flower shapes by cutting more circles and then cutting out notches to form petals, layering where I fancied and adding button centres to add interest, I decided to glue some in place and stitch others to add to the homespun effect.



Finishing touches

Finally I ironed my little squirrel motif in place.


Once I’d trimmed the yellow fabric back and tightened the frame using the screw fix I decided it needed a little lift


I painted the frame red and as I didn’t have ribbon I crocheted a strand of single crochet to add a loop to hang up the frame (I am a great believer in using what you have to hand)!




Fancy a new hobby? How to get started with crafting

My craft space is coming along nicely and I was telling a friend about it this week, she said she’s always wanted to do something crafty but doesn’t know where to get started. I thought I’d blog about how I fit crafty activities into my daily life, something I managed to do with a newborn, whilst studying and now whilst working and parenting, as it’s important to me to do something that I find relaxing, productive, fun and that brings some colour into my life!

1) Start with a small project

You can dip into a small project over short periods of time, nap times are great for small projects as you are also closer to a sense of satisfaction at having finished something! This felt baby mobile was the first thing I made after I had Joss, it gave me a small sense of purpose during nap times when I didn’t want to sleep and occupied my mind which I sometimes needed when I was feeling anxious as a new mother


2) Wrap it up

Package up your project in a zip lock bag so you can quickly pop back to it, I sometimes have a couple of bags on the go and take one to work to spend time on over my lunch breaks


3) Re-use and save

Try to use what you have at your disposal, you don’t need to spend as lot to find a cathartic hobby! Take these greetings cards I blogged about last week, made from recycled wrapping paper I didn’t need a lot to make something special


4) Take to a book

Look at craft literature, magazines are great, they often come with a project inside, like this month’s Homemaker. I made this cushion using materials that came with the magazine, Joss loves it, I got loads of inspiration from the book and learned a new skill, soft toy making! Better still, visit your local library, many have a craft section and with a photocopier on site to copy and enlarge any patterns you may find a gem!

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5) Try to make a little time every day

You’d be surprised how a small project works up pretty quickly with even just ten to fifteen minutes a day, and by how relaxing picking up a project can be! This is a longer term work in progress of mine, the crochet blanket in the background, so far I’ve put about three hours in over many days, it’s so colourful it’s a joy to return to after a busy afternoon with Joss!


What craft would you like to try and why? Or if you’re yet to dip your toe in the water what’s stopping you?

Magic, storytelling and play at The Hancock’s Magic Worlds exhibition

The Great North (or Hancock) Museum is hands down Joss’ favourite day out. In Newcastle’s city centre its a haven from the shops, “goin a see a dinosaurs” is a frequently used phrase in this house and we’re there most weeks, sometimes multiple times a week!

When I heard about the Magic Worlds exhibition we had to go on the first day!

It didn’t disappoint, a V&A Museum of Childhood visiting exhibition with the Hancock until the summer there is bags to see and do, today we focused on fairy tales and must go back to see more of the magic and play!

As a lover of fairy tales I’m keen to share this interest with Joss, I found the displays really sparked my crafty imagination and the Alice in Wonderland play area is amazing and we couldn’t drag her away from the Mad Hatters Tea Party!

The staging is amazing, woodland, elven, witch, fairytale and magic with a sweet little reading area, some great examples of patchwork cushioning and intricate wood cut trees, dark spaces and magic mirrors and loads of puppets, including Sooty himself and a scary Hansel and Gretel witch!

I can’t wait to go back and explore some more with Joss, an awe inspiring day out!


A look back on a relay great week!

Real Life

This week saw the advent of Joss and I taking part in the Team Honk Relay it was brilliant to be part of this Sport Relief adventure, our journey started with Three Boys and a Cat at the Angel of the North and ended with Mumsdays at Baltic Square – I am very proud of Team Durham and have met two lovely ladies as well as raising money for a great cause!

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This week at work I’ve been musing about work blogs, the budget and new projects I want to get involved in, it’s also been a brilliant week for sleep, which is a brilliant week full stop in my book with Joss sleeping 10 hours straight for two weeks now, wowsers, all this fresh air is so good for her!

Blog Life

Popular on the blog this week have been two thrifty tutorials of sorts, one on recycling wrapping paper and the other on creating a container garden, which has been my baby for the last two blogging springs and the source of much inspiration!



This week I was inspired to do some baking for Joss by Charlotte’s Kitchen didn’t manage to snap the blueberry muffins we baked as they got snapped up quickly but I did get a shot of the chocolate ones I made for work

On the crafty front I really want to try turning some tulle I bought ages ago into a tutu like this for Joss

And I discovered a new read, Dadbloguk through this post – we have talked about the way we both work and how we might accommodate at the very least a Daddy day, so DBUKs post was food for thought this week

And finally…

My favourite photos from this week, after our big Team Honk walk, a spot of hide and seek, now where’s Joss?…


There she is!

– See more at: http://www.mumsdays.com

Thrifty Tutorial : Five uses for recycling and reusing wrapping paper

I’m a sucker for pretty paper, if someone’s unwrapping a gift that’s wrapped in lovely crisp paper I cringe when I see them ball it up for the bin! This is one of those occasions when thrift turns me into a total square, but waste not want not is just who I am!

What’s the story with this photo?!

Here are my five uses for wrapping paper!


1) Use for cardmaking supplies

These were made with wrapping paper scraps


2) Whip up some gift tags


3) Make giftbag filler

This is great for slightly crinkled paper that wont do for cards etc, just run through a straight cut shredder!


4) Make gift card envelopes


5) Keep bits for your toddler craft box

I always think, ooh Joss would like that for cut and stick!



This post is linked into Thrifty Thursdays

Acceptable in the 80s

“It was acceptable at the time…”


Furthering my heading towards my 30s at the end of this month and wanting to capture my childhood in some small way for Joss in the words of Calvin Harris “I’ve got love for you if you were born in the 80s…”


So what was acceptable in the eighties (ok and nineties) then? These are photos of photos, so not the best, but I’m putting myself out there, quite literally this week!

Disco dancing! Bert and Ernie! Amazing outfits! Fringes that start at the back of your head, and more amazing clothing!

More to follow over the next few weeks!

Busy days

This week saw Joss and I take a long walk at the Farm to see the frogs!


We also came face to face with the dino at The Hancock museum


And met up with Hannah and Reuben from Mumsdays for a morning of miaows and awesome mum crafts, Joss didn’t want the mask, didn’t make the mask and didn’t wear the mask but she did eat the biscuits at the end!


Bloggy bits

I finished my uni work and put my energy into blog promotion and saw my stats soar! Popular posts this week featured my wee chimney sweep and my new craft room redesign

I have a competition that’s open for a few hours yet which has been really popular and if anyone fancies a thrifty dinner then check out my latest recipe!

I’ve been lost in Pinterest this week looking at Mothers Day craft ideas, next week you’ll get to see some works in progress I hope!


Crafters Paradise – A space to call my own

This week I decided to get motivated and get my uni workspace redesigned as a craft space, I started small, organising some of my stashes. I’ve already come across stuff I had totally forgotten about, like that yellow and green tweed I’ve been saving to line a crochet scarf! It’s lovely to see my recent Fabric Rehab purchases all rolled into neat FQs and to have all my yarn in one place too! The WIPs are notepads from Papercrafter mag, just waiting to be bound. This is a total work in progress, I’ll keep updating as the space improves (a trip to IKEA is on the cards so I’m sure to find a way of storing my paper ephemera and cards, right?!)



Competition Time – Hey Mammy, why don’t you just relax?!


Now that I’ve stepped off the uni treadmill I have a bit of spare time for blogging, craft and relaxing.

Joss recently learned the word relax and uses it liberally but I don’t always know how to relax!

A shower by candle light is a good start (wish we had a bath!) but what then?

This post is a call out to those of you who know how to chill, hit me with your top tips and ideas, if you leave your details in the way of the rafflecopter form below I’ll reward one of you with a pair of sweetheart slippers (one size) for your own relax regime!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

UK entry only
Winner chosen at random, will be notified by email and needs to claim prize within 7 days or will be redrawn

This is not a sponsored post, prize is provided by me :-)

Crafty goodness…getting the house ready for the big day with One Stop Craft Shop

Ah, I have finally finished all 60 hours of interview transcription, and had the afternoon off that I’d promised myself. Luckily I always have a crafty activity or two to keep me busy so I picked up one of my works in progress and foot to the pedal I quickly felt all festive.

With White Christmas playing gently in the background and two hours to myself I set about looking at the two gorgeous fat quarter bundles I was sent to roadtest by family business One Stop Craft Shop. A crafter’s treasure trove their website stocks a huge range of materials, and hints and tips along the way, great customer service and regular tweets with top tips to boot this is the place to come for a crafty hit!

The two fat quarter packs were a great heavy weight quality and I was impressed by the quality of the design particularly the metallic printed fabric as this can sometimes blur but these were great quality – packaged neatly with ribbons what a treat, I think these FQ packs would make a great gift too!


I decided to make something to perk up our Christmas table, our first Christmas at home and inspired by napkins and tableware made recently on the Christmas edition of the Great British Sewing Bee I picked out this metallic Christmas tree print in vibrant red.


And here is the finished article, with three more to follow to make a festive set I measured out 11″ by 11″ and ironed and hemmed with a 1/4 inch hem, two hours and a little pressing later our Christmas table will look really festive and now all that study is out of the way, let the bells ring out for Christmas time!


I’m planning a patchwork table runner with the complimentary coloured fabrics, watch this space for more on that and check out One Stop Craft Shop too!

Disclaimer: I was sent these products to road test, along with a giant stocking which I’ll be decorating for Joss later this week and showing off soon, all views are my own.

Christmas Gift Guide: ActionAid

It’s time to turn Christmas shopping on its head and anti-poverty charity ActionAid wants to save people from the endless hours of trawling for presents they’re not certain their loved ones actually want, while saving the world at the same time! Their Gifts in Action are completely unique and totally unexpected. They’ll make friends, families, colleagues and neighbours smile and feel great, and shouldn’t that be what it’s all about, rather than another ubiquitous bottle of wine or box of smellies? ActionAid have come up with a great gift idea that’s perfect for crafty types like me, something I’d love to receive and my friends would too – a sewing machine!

See Christmas differently

Gifts in Action give people the chance to surprise their sister with a sewing machine, give their best friend a goat or watch as their mum un-wraps a brand new classroom. Of course, the gift itself goes to someone who desperately needs it. What friends and family will receive in their hands is a beautiful card, telling them all about the amazing gift they’ve given to a child or a family living in one of the poorest parts of the world.

Make do and mend

This year’s brand new gift of a sewing machine which costs just £12 will help young girls like Nandar, 16, to join an ActionAid training project in Burma (Myanmar) to teach women and girls learn the arts of weaving, making handicrafts, bags and knitted items to sell. This crafty gift could help Nandar learn the skills she needs to work her way out of poverty – and get closer to her ambition of becoming a designer one day.

Buying an inspiring life-changing gift is simple. To follow the easy steps to give the present that costs a little but gives such a lot just go to Gifts in Action.


Disclaimer: This is a cause I care about, I received no compensation for my post.