Sharing The Love: Last Minute Valentine’s Gifts

Love is in the air do, do, do, do, do, do, love is the air! Yes Valentine’s Day is pretty much upon us. What’s that you say? You’ve forgotten to get the one you love a present? Never fear, for I have spent an evening creating a wonderful list of gifts of love you can make for your partner, your kids, your cat, yourself, basically anyone you truly love. And they’ll never know you may have, sort of, forgot. Obviously these work for other occasions, like anniversaries, saying sorry for forgetting anniversaries. You get the picture.

The full Pinterest Board is here, but here are a few of my favourites….

Printable Breakfast in Bed Kit…

Last Minute Valentines

Valentines for boys (both little and big). If you have any children in your house it’s likely you’ll be regularly stepping on these things (followed by a tiny bit of swearing)…

Last Minute Valentines

You make my heart soar! Printable paper aeroplanes…

Last Minute Valentines

Because, chocolate…

Last Minute Valentines

Because, hot fudge…

Last Minute Valentines

Who doesn’t love a bit of origami?

Last Minute Valentines

And finally, or all the cat ladies (and men) out there, there’s nothing to be ashamed of…

Last Minute Valentines for cats

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You’ll Do: Top 10 Brutally Honest Valentine’s Day Cards

Roses are red, violets are blue...

Valentine’s Day, the day when you tell the one you love just how much they mean to you. Or, if you’re me, the day you send your other half a a mildly insulting card telling them that you tolerate them. Just.

I’m not particularly a big fan of Valentine’s Day (as you may have guessed), but tradition dictates that if I don’t want my other half to hate me I should really give him a card. Especially since I demand some form of token gift in return – just because I don’t like Valentine’s Day shouldn’t mean I miss out on overpriced flowers (this is in bold just in case my other half bothers to read this blog. You know, just to hammer the point home).

Anyway, if you also like your cards with less schmaltz and added snark, then here are some of the greatest Valentine’s Day cards you can buy, from the best designer makers / illustrators selling online…

This is just one of Mardy Mabel‘s amazingly brutal greetings cards…

Dating-site

Because nobody loves anything as much as Kanye loves Kanye
Kanye loves Kanye

Because honesty is always the best policy…

Anti Valentines Day Cards

It’s funny, because it’s true… (Emily McDowell also has tons more great cards on Etsy too)

Valentines Day Card by Emily McDowell

Because if you don’t love yourself no one else will…

Anti Valentines Day CardsThere is NOTHING sexier than good grammar…
Valentines Card by IndieBerries

This one may be going a *little* too far…

Anti Valentines Day Card by Naughty LIttle Cards on Etsy

Well, it doesn’t hurt to keep your options open…

Valentines Day Card by Julie Ann Art on  Etsy

For the geek in your life…Star Wars Valentines Day Card by Card For Life on EtsyFor those who prefer to not aim too high…

Valentines Day Card by Cheeky Kumquat on Etsy

Because I live in Walthamstow, London, and the Hipsters are coming…

Hipster Valentines Card by Kay Barker on Etsy

PS. This list does not include ecards because, quite frankly, if all you get is a snarky ecard I give it six months.

Honeycomb Pom Poms – Tutorial

Honeycomb Pom Poms by Creme Anglaise

Pom poms are everywhere. This in my humble crafty opinion is a good thing, but I need more. I’ve done the classic pom pom. I’ve done rainbow pom poms, but it’s no longer enough. I think I may have a problem.

So to feed my tissue paper addiction I decided to take it up a level – pom pom wise – and create some honeycomb pom poms for the shop’s winter decorations. Obviously like all tissue paper addicts I want to make you as obsessed as I am, so here’s a handy little tutorial so you can make some of these beauties too.

Honeycomb Pom Poms by Creme Anglaise

You will need…

  • 12 large sheets of tissue paper (if you’re doing a three colour pom pom like these, then it’s four sheets of each colour. Although obvious, I think it’s helpful to share)
  • 4 sheets of white A4 paper
  • Pritt stick
  • Scissors
  • Compass (although not essential as, unless you hoard random objects like me, you probably haven’t owned one since school so therefore you could use a plate instead or similarly circular object)
  • Pencil
  • Needle and thread

Honeycomb Pom Poms by Creme Anglaise

Take your large sheets of tissue paper (I found doing four at a time easiest) and fold them in half (left to right) then half again (top to bottom), then cut along the folds so you now have 48 rectangular sheets of tissue paper.

Honeycomb pom poms by Creme Anglaise

Next, take two sheets of A4 paper and stick them together with tape (have them both in ‘portrait’ position). Using your ruler draw five evenly spaced lines horizontally across and about an inch in from the top and the bottom of the sheet.

Number the lines so the first line is a 1, second line is a 2, third line is a 1, fourth line is a 2 and fifth line is a 1. (if you prefer you could colour code them, depends on your personal preference, or even number them and colour code them if that floats your boat).

Honeycomb Pom Poms by Creme Anglaise

Place your first sheet of tissue over your grid and, following the line, run your Pritt Stick (other brands of glue sticks are available!) along the tissue. Don’t push too hard or there’s a chance you’ll rip the paper, although make sure you do it firmly enough to leave glue behind. Do this along all the lines with the number ‘1’ next to them.

Next, take your second piece of tissue paper (same colour as the first) and do the same again although this time put glue along the lines that are marked number ‘2’. Then take your third sheet of the same colour paper, put it on top and run glue along the lines marked ‘1’. Next, you’ve guessed it, take the fourth piece of paper put it on top and run the glue along the lines marked ‘2’.

Once you’ve done this it’s time to move on to your second colour of tissue paper for four sheets, then your third colour of tissue paper then back to the first colour again. Repeat until you have no tissue paper left!

Honeycomb pom pons by Creme Anglaise

Take a piece of A4 paper and measure a line the height of the tissue paper. Measure in about a quarter of an inch either end, then using your compass draw a semi circle. Do this twice or simply trace around the first one so you have two.

Honeycomb pom pons by Creme Anglaise

Stick one of the semi circles along the left hand edge of the tissue paper and then cut around it leaving roughly a quarter of an inch space around the edge. Once cut out, stick the other semi circle on the opposite side. If you’re not super neat, you may also want to tidy up the bottom edge for any stray longer pieces of tissue paper.

Honeycomb pom poms by Creme Anglaise

Get your needle and thread and, about a quarter inch in from the corner edge of the semi circle (see pic above), push the needle and thread all the way through and tie loosely so there’s enough room of the circle to open up. Also it’s good to carefully open it up and check it has gone through the corner of every piece of tissue paper. Then do the same to the other corner of the semi circle.

Honeycomb pom poms by Creme Anglaise

Put glue on one side of your semi circle then carefully open until both pieces of white paper meet and stick them together. I did think about fixing the pom poms with paper clips so they could be used again, but the extra weight makes them hang a bit wonky. Lesson learned.

Honeycomb pom poms by Creme Anglaise

You will still have enough paper to do the same with the other end of your stuck together sheets of tissue paper to make another honeycomb pom pom the same size. If you’re careful you can even use the waste in the middle to get another smaller pom pom out of the sheet. Waste not, want not after all.

Honeycomb pom poms by Creme Anglaise

Ta da! Pretty honeycomb pom poms and nowhere near as tricky as they may look. There may be lots of places you can buy ready made pom poms, but this way you can get them the size you want and you can make them match the colour scheme of your party, wedding or shop window display and and you get to make pom poms. What more can you ask for?

Quick note: Apology for picture quality, but as with most craft, this was done late at night and with a deadline approaching so I couldn’t make it look all fancy and forgot to take as many pics as I would have liked. Consider me reprimanded. 

Normal Service Is Resumed

Just a quick post to apologise for the lack of posts at the end of 2014. I know, I’m sure you have been devastated by the lost. Bereft of craft tips. This was due to too many writing deadlines, running a café and lots of market stalls with Crème Anglaise (actually having some stock up and decent pictures is also on the 2015 to do list). Oh yeah, and I had two children to look after. Always forget about that.

Anyway, I’m back. I know, amazing, right? A Beautiful Mess, must be quaking in their stylish boots. So, before my next post (and it’s a tutorial to boot) to try and make amends, here’s a picture of a cat poking its head through a slice of bread. After all, nothing says sorry on the internet like a cat looking miffed while doing something slightly silly (I suspect this will break the internet just like Kim Kardashian did)…

Cat Sandwich

Ello Sunshine – Tutorial

Summer is officially here and I am melting. However, tropical temperatures couldn’t stop me crafting, especially when it came to the shop’s (Creative Biscuit just in case you didn’t know) new summer decorations considering they were about a month overdue. So, channelling the English summer and roping in Tim to help (oh how he loves it when I tell him I’ve got another job for him to do) we made the following to make the shop look summery…

Splastic spoon sun / flower decoration

First up were flower and butterfly balls (I really do need to think of a catchier name). I feel a bit of a fraud calling these tutorials as they’re pretty obvious and really rather easy, but here we go.

Butterfly and flower balls

For the flower balls you need…

  • A variety of fake flowers – I got ours from the local Hobbycraft as the cheaper ones online meant shipping them from China and I just didn’t have the time.
  • Glue dots
  • Clear plastic balls (which frankly are amazing in my humble opinion and I purchased them from here.)

For the butterfly balls you need…

  • Polystyrene balls – I reused the ones from this previous tutorial here.
  • Green Tissue paper
  • PVA glue with a couple of drops of water in it to make it thinner.
  • Butterfly stampI used this one – Martha Stewart don’t you know!
  • Coloured paper
  • Pins

Cut the tissue paper into squares. Coat part of the ball in glue and stick on one square at the time. Once you’ve covered the whole ball give it another coat of PVA all over and hang it somewhere to dry. Next, repeat the process all over again and then it should be ready for the butterflies.

Green tissue paper balls

Two coats of tissue paper a friend’s garden a bottle of beer and a spot of radio 4 helped create these

Stamp out the butterflies then place a pin through the body of each and stick it into the ball. Repeat until fully covered making sure not to put the same colours next to each other. Once covered, pull the wings up so they’re not lying flat and, et voila, you have a lovely ball of butterflies. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Paper butterfly balls and floating balls of flowers

Paper butterfly balls and floating balls of flowers. Obviously.

Now for the big one. We call it a giant sunshine, some people have said it looks like a huge flower, either way it took one truck load of spoons to make it. You could easily do it on a much smaller scale than this, so if you fancy having a go here’s how…

Plastic spoon sun

Plastic spoon sun. Pretty.

For the spoon sun you will need…

  • A box of 500 plastic spoons – Got to love Costco!
  • Two shades of acrylic spray paint – We used yellow and orange.
  • Two large circles of card – We used old corrugated card from some large boxes and actually drew around our bin lid, but you could use the two-pencils-with-a-bit-of-string-tied-between-them trick.
  • Yellow paint – We used a tester pot of emulsion because it gives better coverage than poster paint
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Yellow paper
  • Tooth picks

Draw two circles on the corrugated card the size you would like the sun / flower to be and cut them out. Paint one side of each in two coats of the yellow paint and leave the dry. Once dry glue the two sides together with either PVA glue or you could always use your glue gun, whichever you prefer.

Plastic spoons

You have no idea how long this took and how hurty it was!

Get your mountain of spoons and start snapping the heads off. I saw scissors and craft knives recommended for this task, but I didn’t find they worked and the best way to do it was with your hands. This hurt though. A lot. We ended up with plasters on our fingers to cushion the blow, but rubber gloves may have been even better.

When you have enough spoons lay them out on the card so you can work out how many you want in each colour then put down some old paper and spray those spoons. I found it was best to leave them overnight to dry although they did seem to remain slightly sticky forever.

Spoons and glue gun

The glueing begins!

Once your spoons are ready, place a spot of glue from your glue gun on the back of the spoon at the bottom, close to where the handle used to be so when you stick it down it kind of pops up a bit.

Tim sticking spoons

Action shot! Messy room!

Gradually work your way around and with each layer making sure it slightly covers the one above it. Where possible put the spoons between the joins in the row above until you get as close to the middle as you want to go.

Quilled paper

Now, you could leave the middle plain, but we decided to make our lives more difficult by trying out some quilling for the first time. For this we cut very slim strips of yellow paper (about 4mm wide but I didn’t bother trying to be too accurate). Next get a toothpick and roll the paper around it. When you get to the end, take it off the toothpick it will spring out a bit. Then get another toothpick and put a tiny dot of glue on the end and glue it to the side so you get a curled round circle. Then make some more. Then make some more. Then when you think you’ve got enough, make some more. Once you’ve finished put a layer of PVA over the centre of the circle and stick the quilled paper down very quickly and leave to dry.

Splastic spoon sun / flower decorationFinally make a hole through the card circle at the top about 1.5cm in and do the same mid way down on either side. Thread through some string and then it’s ready to hang!

If you wanted to make a more permanent version of this, you could use a thin circle of wood and put a circular mirror in the middle (which you can get in Ikea). You could also make much smaller ones and I’ve also seen versions where rather than using spoons you can use rolled up paper. The craft world really is your oyster!

Make Something Good

Plushies from hell, my favourite artist, phenomenal chocolate, stunning stained glass and a hundred other amazing makers made Make Good the most inspiring event I’ve been to in a long time.

Makegood.Festival

My life is ridiculous at the moment. While I dislike blogs that are all me, me, me, as quite frankly I don’t think any of you particularly want to know about the minute of my life (despite the fact I am, obviously, fascinating) bear with me while I get self indulgent for a moment. You see, I’ve been stuck in a blur of trying to run a business, forward plan, look after kids, freelance, pitch, work on our ceramics range, help make a year 1 science project, work on a club door and clean my house (OK so the last one is a lie, it’s still a pit) among a million other chores and tasks. I’ve even been employed by stealth to work on a magazine two days a week, which I didn’t even notice happening. It means making and blogging have had to take an underserved back seat, but I think, thanks to Make Good, I may have got the kick up the bum to sort my life out and start making changes.

Makegood Programme of Events-2

For those of you who don’t know, Make Good was a ‘festival of culture, creativity and entrepreneurship’  – basically lots of unique start-up businesses founded by a whole host of weird and wonderful people (emphasis on the wonderful) doing everything from millinery to accountancy, café owners to artisan cider producers. Most of the companies are here thanks to School For Creative Start-Ups, who help creative people make viable businesses by providing mentors, business know-how, courses, advice and support to turn your hobby or fledgling firm into a full-time job that more than pays the rent.  Basically they sound pretty damn amazing.

Creative.Places..Sewing.at.Makegood.Festival

It really was inspiring not only finding new projects and people to write about – and buy from – but to feel so much positivity in one place. I’m now going to see if I can sign up for the School For Creative Start-Ups for the café, get some more childcare and start making time to make again.

So to kick this off, here’s my round up of my favourite businesses and people I met at Make Good (although it really is the tip of the iceberg, check out the full list here) before I toddle off to start on the enormous to do list I have made for myself…

Mock Duck Studios Amazing puppeteers who not only make all the Duracell Bunnies, but quirky creations such as these…

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Cocoa Hernando Beautiful artisan chocolate makers with stylish packaging, almost as good as the chocolate inside. The masala chai can only be described as heavenly…

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Renn Designs Unique kid’s wallpaper that  isn’t too twee. I am mildly obsessed with the girl flying on a swallow on the pink one…

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Matt Sewell My favourite artist of all time Matt Sewell was there which came as a great surprise. Not only are his birds beautiful, but he was absolutely lovely, excused the fact I sounded a bit like a stalker, has some amazing projects coming up and made me this…

IMG_7432

R. G. Croudence Glass Incredibly talented stained glass maker and restorer, using exciting new techniques, while also recreating more traditional designs (like the ones which used to be in my mum and dad’s terraced house before the days of double glazing)…

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The Rag and Bone Man Taking upcycling to a whole new level, the Rag and Bone Man transforms vintage machinery and scrap into stylish pieces for the home…

IMG_7443

Mrs McGettericks Fuggler Emporium The freakish little fellas are so awesome they’re getting their own blog coming soon! Promise!

IMG_7440

Spring Felt Birds – Tutorial

Spring is here. I know it doesn’t particularly look like it but I saw daffodils today, so that makes it an actual fact. This also means it was time for new shop decorations – and a lovely tutorial to match. Don’t say I don’t spoil you.

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I decided to go with some cute little felt birds perched on embroidery hoops this spring. I love making things from felt firstly because it’s easy – you put a template on some felt and cut it. It doesn’t move about and drive you a little bit mental like cotton can. Also I can buy a metre of the stuff for £4 down Walthamstow market. Now I grant you a metre is rather excessive for some tiny little felt birds, but come on. It’s a bargain. Screw you Hobbycraft.

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Anyway I digress. Here’s what you actually need…

  • Blue, yellow and white felt (or whatever colours you fancy) One square of each will be enough.
  • Blue, yellow and black embroidery thread
  • Fabric glue
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery needle
  • Stuffing
  • This lovely pattern, which you can download HERE
  • Pencil to draw around the patterns with

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So first up let’s do the Tweet Bird.

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Get the two body pieces and your black embroidery thread (you only need to use two strands at a time for any embroidery thread used in these patterns) and sew it through, leaving it a little loose to create a semi circle. I sew this down in the middle to keep it in place, but you don’t have to.

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Next, starting at the beak, sew all the way down the back with two strands of the blue embroidery thread. When you reach the tail, line it up the white bottom of the bird and, starting at the middle of the tail, keep on sewing round holding the edges together.

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When you get to the end of the body piece at the start of the beak sew the two blue sides together and then pass the needle under the stitches and back to the start of the white felt and sew down the other side of the body. About two thirds of the way down, pause sewing, stuff the body full of stuffing then sew up to the end. Now all you have to do is stick on the wings (you could sew these on two, but I decided life was too short) and there you have it. Your cute birdie is complete.

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Now we’re on a roll let’s do the Little Chick. Which is, in no way, an angry bird. It has a sweet nature. First thing to do is sew two eyes. I went for simple little crosses, but you could do loops the same as the Tweet Bird, if you so wished. Next sew the two tiny beak triangles together then sew this to the bird between the middle stitches.

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Next pick a corner and start sewing to the top. When you get there pick another side and sew back down to the bottom again. Then with the last side start at the top again so there are no gaps and then, when you get half way down, stop sewing, stuff it full with stuffing, then sew it up.  Stick on the wings, then finally take the tail piece and sew it on the birdie’s bum and you’re done.

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To attach them to an embroidery hoop take it apart so you just have an inner hoop. Sew through the bottom of the bird, round the hoop twice, then sew through the bird again to where you would like the second leg to go (make sure they’re a decent amount apart or the bird will wobble about) then go back through the bird wrap it round a few times and tie it tight.

There you have it, two lovely little birds. Just one tiny thing, these are only to be made by you for fun, not for financial gain, so please do not sell any items made from these patterns as that’s just not cricket and it will make me sad (and possibly a touch stabby) and no one wants that now do they?

One last thing! Here are the rainbow rain clouds I made for the window display. Nice, eh?

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And in case you missed them these were the hearts for Valentine’s day. Feel the love.

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