Snap Up That Jam Jar

One of the earliest hand-prepared gifts I remember receiving was a Christmas sweetie jar. My best friend decorated every “panel” on a jam jar with a different picture or pattern on each, using colourful permanent markers. She filled it with pick’n’mix (choosing known favourites and throwing in a few unusual picks, too).

The sweets were gone before new year, but I kept the jar for years, using it as a container for nick-nacks.

Traditional jam jars will work much better for this craft, as they contain many flat surfaces. Mason jars are, of course, very trendy, but they’re all curved corners and relief writing. No, stick with a washed re-used jar and feel good about not buying new stuff when you didn’t need to (AND re-using stuff, which takes less energy that recycling it).

I’ve seen a ton of “gift in a jar” ideas on Pinterest; lots of them are super cute achievable ideas. If you like the sound of an option you see, or come up with your own idea, but are worried about the perceived level of giftiness, I think a hand decorated jar adds that extra something.

Happy crafting (and happy weekend! As I write, I’m at the end of a looooong week, my weekend has got a lot of R&R to deliver…)

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Origami for scrapbooking

I’m generally a bit conservative when it comes to scrapbook page layouts. I tend to cut my pictures and snippets out as rectangles, and arrange them very geometrically. I try to change it up, but to my recent,  regular generally looks best.

What this does mean is that the embellishments have to work quite hard to give a sense of fun and keep it decorative. I do use a variety of things for this task, including:
– ribbons, often in bows
– buttons
– mini pegs (oh, my word, do I love mini pegs)
– abandoned cupcake toppers, etc.

An especially helpful option that I return to often is origami, i.e. folding a shape out of available paper or card.
Reasons this works so well are… Continue reading “Origami for scrapbooking”

Friendship Bracelets – you can make them for yourself

My dad taught me how to make bracelets out of knotted colourful thread (or yarn) when I was younger. We stuck to the simple “diagonal stripes” design, but upon researching links for this post, I’ve discovered that the patterns you can do are almost endless, achieved by changing up the types of knot you tie at each stage. Friendship-bracelets.net has a lot of information on this.

Think of it like knitting. A knitting pattern will tell you which type of stich to do and how many; similarly, the instructions will tell you what strand order to start with and which knots to tie in what order.

The great thing about these bracelets is that you can make them with whatever colours you can get, and you can change it up to get whatever you like. On top of that, it makes a soft, light, low maintenance piece of casual “jewellery”. The finished product will slowly fade and stretch out, and any time it gets wet it’s a little annoying, but it’s something that can make any outfit look more fun, summery and “boho”, and if you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you can make something (for a friend or for yourself) that’s 100% unique and personalised, for a very low cost.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: A Crafter’s Ethos

If you’re anything like me, you struggle to throw anything away that has even a smidgen of aesthetic and/or sentimental value.

The house is full of junk, it’s messy and difficult to clean, and you think, “why am I such a mug?” But then, on other days, you rustle up a cute birthday card that’s very personalised to the recipient for £0 because you had all the materials to hand, and you look at expensive “crafters’ materials” kits with snippets of ribbon, decorated paper & the like, and you think “am I the only one here who’s not a mug?!”

(Just in case this isn’t translating so well… in the UK, one of the many, many ways to call some a fool is “a mug”)

So, how to strike a happy medium so that your inner space-craver (or your long-suffering home-sharer/s!) get some joy? I have some suggestions…

Continue reading “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: A Crafter’s Ethos”

Bunting

How do you know you’re at a party? By seeing the bunting, that’s how.

There are three main ways of making bunting, as far as I can tell:

1. Trickiest: sew two larger triangles together, turn inside out, attach to string e.g. HERE
2 Middling: cut out a large rhombus, iron in half, fold over ribbon/string, sew along top edge of triangles, E.g. HERE
3. (My personal favourite) Easiest: cut out a “wonky diamond”, iron along central line, fold over ribbon/string, sew across line, E.g. HERE

Similarly, these shapes can be employed for paper & card bunting. Mi us the ironing stage.

If you are planning on having lots of bunting up, do yourself a favour and choose option 3: it’ll save you a pretty penny in fabric/materials.

Once created, you can decorate with:
– sewn on embellishments (buttons, etc.)
– drawn on decorations (letters, pictures)
– fabric paint, generally
– embroidered detailing
…the list goes on.

Like quilting, bunting-making is especially suited to odds and ends lying around the house with no jobs found for them. Hodge podge, mis-matching fabrics look great, and the order of Triangles can be changed to keep ” suiters” near each other.

What are you waiting for???

Scrapbooking instead of photo albums

Imagine the scene: you’re on a trip with your fellow holidaygoer/s. You love taking photos & having snaps of yourself from holidays to be able to look back on, but they’re not so keen. So you force everyone to pose for a “proper photo” only a few times – next to major tourist attractions, maybe, or when you’re all in gear for a kayaking trip, etc. And you grab a few snaps along the way, on your phone maybe, of fun things you saw, and a few candid shots of people walking on the beach/the street/wherever.

So then you get home and look back at your snaps and you’ve got a range of resolutions and qualities of photograph, a few snaps of people, a bunch of pictures of random things, and you think, “shall I make an album out of this?”. Maybe you don’t think that. But if you do…

In this situation, I strongly encourage that you also collect up a few physical souvenirs too, tourist maps of the destination, tickets for museums/shows you went to, funny flyers, etc. Then, scrapbook the holiday instead of album-ing it.

If you’re going to keep it digital, scan the physical souvenirs in (you can then decide whether to keep them or not), and play around with the collection of images you have in a scrapbooking software.

If you’re doing a physical page (or two!), pull together the souvenirs you have, mess around with them on a page, and work out what spaces you have for photos. For this type of project, I’d recommend doing a standard size print of your favourite group shot, and save collage images of the candid shots and any other images that make the grade, to get one picture printed that you can then cut into its constituent parts and scatter across the page.

If you’re like me, you’ll have a stash somewhere of “pretty little things I might use one day”. Space allowing, chuck these all out on a table at once, and pick through to find good backing frames and/or edge trims for photos & tickets.

Often, I’ll use maps or funny adverts in newspapers I’ve picked up as a background for some or all of the page I’m making. Much cheaper than buying decorated pages!

I’ve touched on a lot of tools and techniques here in minimal detail. I’ll be going back to them on future Thursdays. Thanks for reading!