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Monday, June 30, 2014

origami gift boxes...

So now you've seen the little crafty gifts we gave at the party (clay stamped magnets, felt heart bookmark and fancy paperclips) all you need now is the box to put them in!

These boxes have got to be my favourite piece of origami yet - they are so simple to make but paired with pretty paper they make perfect gift boxes! I love that it is a closed box but only uses one piece of card - I always dread finding out that the separate lids to boxes don't fit - even after I supposedly measured it carefully! To open you just pull out one of the triangles that are tucked in to the top and the box opens before your eyes :)

I followed this tutorial over at Homemade Gifts Made Easy so do head over there to find out how to make these beautiful boxes. After a couple of boxes I didn't have to use the instructions any more, don't be daunted by the amount of folding involved, it really is very simple!

Happy folding :)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

d.i.y. pretty fabric paperclips...

This is a really unessential piece of crafting, it's crafting for crafting's sake. I mean, these paperclips will work just as well without fabric...but when paperclips are involved in my life it normally means hours of boring organisation is also involved. So anything that makes it a little more bearable is always welcome :)

These were the final d.i.y. addition to the gift boxes (see here, here and here) for the party. Since everyone receiving the boxes are soon to be moving house I figured these pretty paper clips might help bring a smile when surrounded by the inevitable paperwork that comes with sorting things out for moving!

This is perfect for using up scraps of fabric and is so simple. I got the idea for these paper clips from Amanda Rydell's instagram feed, I recommend her for crafty inspiration, her photos are lovely!

Just cut a strip of fabric (mine was about 2cm wide) and tie it into a single knot around the top of a paper clip. Trim to your desired length by cutting the fabric at a diagonal angle.

Now all I have left to share are the pretty origami boxes for it all to go in to!

Monday, June 23, 2014

D.I.Y. felt heart bookmark...

I'm a chronic page folder...I know some consider it a crime but I like my books to look read so I don't mind. Not that I would dare do it to any books I borrow - the problem is I can never find a bookmark so I always end up spending time trying to remember where I last got up to! I saved this bookmark idea a while ago as a simple solution to my night time reading woes but then decided they would also make great additions to the party gift boxes.

As with the clay magnets I have no step by step photos but the instructions are really simple! Here's how I made them:

What you need -
Contrasting embroidery thread and needle

1) Firstly draw out a heart template on paper, making sure the point of the heart is 90 degrees. Cut out the template and pin to the felt.

2) Cut out a heart from the felt and repeat to make an identical second heart. Pin the two felt hearts together and trim if any sides mismatch.

3) Cut a length of embroidery thread and thread through the needle. Knot the end of the thread and pull through one heart (see photo below for a guide on placement) so the knot will lie on the inside of the bookmark.

4) Sew the two hearts together along the two straight sides of the heart. Next continue to sew around the edge of one of the hearts for the front of the bookmark until you reach the first stitch. Tie a small knot on the inside of the bookmark to secure the thread. The back will look like the heart on the right in the photo above.

And you're done! I thought it might not be obvious that these were bookmarks so I added a little explanation to help people out!

I have the practice one in my current book of choice and it's holding up well! I did worry that it might fall off the page but it hasn't so far!

For more on the gift boxes you can see an overview here and a clay magnet project here.

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

D.I.Y. printed clay magnets...

In the last post I shared the little gift boxes that we put together for one of the parties we had last week. It was so much fun thinking of what to put inside but also a little tricky. It had to be things that were small,  inexpensive, easy to replicate but also practical because, whilst pretty things are lovely, I didn't want to just create things that would add clutter to people's homes!

Thank you Pinterest! I don't claim any of these gifts as original ideas, pinterest was hugely helpful and inspiring (as always!). Except for the gift boxes, I didn't actually use any of the tutorials so I'll share on here how I made them. Although please excuse the lack of step by step photos - everything was made 17 times and there was a process to making it as time efficient as possible and that process did not include my normal over-the-top camera action! I'm just amazed we finished them in time for me to even take any photos!

First up I thought I would share these pretty clay magnets which were inspired by these Easter ornaments. These are a very sweet gift idea as you could personalise them and give them as a set, and if I dared bring up Christmas at the start of summer, I would suggest they would make great stocking fillers too. But of course I wouldn't dare do that ;)

What you need:
White air drying clay
Rolling pin
Round cookie cutter
Alphabet stamps
Tissue paper
PVA glue
Magnetic strip

1. Take a small chunk of clay and place between two pieces of clingfilm (I found this gave the smoothest surface for the clay) and roll out the clay until it is about 5mm thick. You can of course vary the thickness, I tried slightly thicker but personally preferred them on the thin side. 

2. Cut out the clay with the cookie cutters, I suggest only doing a couple at a time so that the clay doesn't dry out before stamping your wording.

3. Stamp out your phrase, and place the magnets on a cling film lined baking tray. Smooth out any marks or rough edges with a slightly wet cloth and leave to dry according to the pack instructions. It can take up to four days for the clay to fully dry. Note: the thinner magnets have a tendency to curl up as they dry so keep an eye on them and flatten them out if they start to curl up. I made a couple of 1cm thick magnets - these didn't curl up at all.

4. Cut out strips of tissue paper and glue to the magnet, trim any excess and flatten the edges to the back of the magnet. Next paint a thin layer of glue over the tissue paper. I like the contrast of the matte clay against the glossy tissue paper but you could gloss the whole magnet if you prefer. Leave to dry.

5. Cut small strips from the magnet strip and adhere to the back of the clay.

This is a really easy but very effective DIY, I love the colour the tissue brings to the magnet - forget these as gifts, I want to make set for my own fridge!

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's that time of year again...

Almost exactly a year ago I shared this post about our first year in Cambridge. Now our second year is coming to an end and the reality is setting in that this time next year I will be surrounded by boxes and chaos as we move on to a new venture. It's bitter sweet how time flies - whilst in so many ways I relish change, we have come to call people we didn't even know two years ago some of our dearest friends and I'm in denial about the fact that I can't pack them up and move them with me next year! I talked last year about our first year here being sweet but, compared to that, this year has been like a triple decker chocolate brownie sundae with honeycomb sprinkles and dash of golden syrup for good measure. Not to say it hasn't been without struggles and tears but even within those times I've been able to grasp out for the beauty found in the fragility of this life. I have grown so much and owe a lot of that to my wonderful friends, they really are an incredible and beautiful bunch. Yet some of these friends are already moving this year - my baking and crafting buddies are taking their talent across the country! I'll miss them but this has been a week of celebrating friendship together at various leaving parties, including an epic Hollywood themed ball (there might just be a craft tutorial coming related to that!) - I'm so excited for all that God holds for them as they move on to curacies.

For one of the parties, like last year (remember these paper gift bags?), I put together little party bags for each person leaving. I loved the chance to spoil each of them a little and show them how much they're loved! This year we went with origami gift boxes and, wait for it, I was actually organised enough to photograph the contents beforehand! Which means I'll be sharing a few projects over the coming weeks...despite the silence on the blog I've had a really crafty couple of months and am so happy I can finally share it with you!

So here is a taster of what's to come. I'm happy to say that I've found another origami project which doesn't leave me tearing my hair out (I'm slowly adding to my repertoire!), felt bookmarks, pretty stationary and clay magnets. Along with these DIYs my friend Martha made some pretty cross necklaces and we popped in a sweet treat for each leaver and also a prayer card (not pictured as obviously they were very personal).

So stay tuned!
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