Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Bead-a-thon (wedding bracelets)

As with most of my wedding related craft adventures this one started with finding something I liked in a shop and thinking 'I could make it better/cheaper myself' (not always a theory that works mind you). In this particular case I was in monsoon, having just bought my daughter's beautiful flower girl dress, looking at little girl accessories.

As her wrist is only tiny, I decided to go with an 'elasticated bracelet' instead of an extender chain. She can also put these on herself (although as she's only going to be 2 by the wedding I won't be leaving her unattended with it).

After seeing some personalised 'communion' bracelets online I ended up buying some silver coloured alphabet beads and using the butterflies to make my daughter a personalised bracelet for her birthday. Then I got a bit carried away and ended up making bracelets as favours for all the little girls who are coming to the day reception (shh! It's a surprise, lol). Check out my free tutorial for how to make these.

Although butterflies aren't our theme I loved with the tiny butterfly beads, and so made this simple flowergirl bracelet for her to wear (right) I also made a 'flower' flowergirl bracelet as a back up (left).

Beads in hand, spurred on by the other bracelets success, I decided to try to make the Maid of Honour and bridesmaid bracelets too. This time alternating 6mm ivory glass beads with silver 4mm spacers and adding a hanging layered flower charm to give it a more luxury feel (these had a hollow on the underside so I customised with an ivory bead). I also made one with crystals instead of silver beads, as I like them so much I may be wearing one myself come the big day.

Brooch: The Owl, the Moth and the Sequins

I'm at home today with 2 under-the-weather toddlers... well, considering the scene of devastation that is my living room I think they are feeling much better now ... and so we are somewhat housebound. Later we're making chocolate brownies, but first I kept my hands busy with this cute little craft.

I had a few charms left over from old projects, and when browsing around for new blogs to follow I found these fab Owl Brooches at Ellie's Treasures, what a great way to use all your felt scraps, AND I had a cute little owl who was in desperate need of a new home - rejected from the heirloom bouquet collection for (according to Mum) looking 'too much like a skull when looked at upside down'.

Although my design is completely different, as this is a bit of an 'homage' to Ellie's owl's I'm not going to go into to much depth about how it was made (although with a little craft experience it's not too hard to work out). I created this brooch using only items already in the house, raiding the craft cupboards and even resorting to rumaging around the long forgotten pot of spare garment buttons and ziplock baggies of sequins.

I experimented with the layout a bit, I originally cut the brach structure out of felt by eye (although this eventually was covered with sequins), then was rather indecisive about whether I really needed a moon (covered button) when the moth (technically a butterfly bead, but this is night ime after all) looked so pretty and brought out the silver of the Owl, so I ended up doing both.

I don't have the neatest hand stitch, and insist on using doubled thread - because essentially I'm lasy and hate re-threading the needle, but I do enjoying sewing little projects like this, it's quite relaxing. I have to admit this project was also a lesson in using sequins, as I'd not sewn with them before, took a few tried to get them overlapping in a suitable manner. I'm included photos of the back of the stiting panel and the eventual back of the broach to show how this can hide a multitude of sins. If I had been making this for a gift, rather than just for fun, I would probably have bought a proper brooch pin for the back, but a safety pin works just as well.

Not quite sure what I'm going to do with my little brooch now, if I can be parted from it, it may end up as a present for a special person. Was just so nice to do something non-wedding related for a while :D

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

KIDS CRAFT: St David's Day Daffodils & Leeks

As a Volunteer at a local Mother and Toddler group I often get to devise the weekly craft for the kids to do. We try to work around theme based on calendar events and this week it's St Davids day. Here are two St David's day crafts you can do with your kids at home.


What you will need:
An old egg box
Some yellow paint
A paint brush
A 15x15 cm square of card/paper
A green straw
A split pin
A paper punch

Firstly cut one of the 'cups' out of the egg box, the shape of this will vary depending on the eggbox, but try to make it look even all the way around.

Next, get out the paint, and paint the cup and the paper and leave to dry. When we did this with the pre-schoolers, as we didn't have time for paint to dry, I pre-cut and painted the eggbox cups, and the children decorated the white sqaure with crayons/pen/tissue squares, this also worked well.

Once the paint has completely dried fold diagonally from corner to corner and then repeat on the other side. Cut along the 4 fold lines from corner toward the center (but stop about 2cm from the middle point). Fold into the center as shown above.

At this point I like to use a punch to make holes in each of the triangles where they crossover, in the cup itself and a little guide hole in the straw - this will make it easier to thread the split pin through. Pop the split pin through the cup, and then each pinwheel leaf in turn and the center of the pinwheel and finally through the straw. Before splitting the pin, loosen the pinwheel (too tight and it won't spin).

Here is the version we did with the kids this year, using crayon and tissue to decorate, and paper circle instead of an egg cup.



For something a little different, this is a simple tutorial on making a paper leek - you could made a whole pile of them or perhaps invent more paper vegetables as part of a Harvest festival craft or healthy eating topic.

What you will need:
Green Paint
Paint brush
A4 white paper
Kitchen roll
Sticky tape

Paint the outside edges of the paper (leaving the middle white) and when dry repeat on the other side. To make a longer more realistic sized leek, turn the paper portrait and paint the top half green (repeat on other side).

While you wait for it to dry, cut small lengths of string, these will form the 'roots' of the leek. Once the paper is completely dry scrunch the kitchen roll into a ball and place at one end of the white section, fold the paper around it and start to roll into a tube. Unravel slightly and lay the string pieces as shown above, secure with sticky tape. Continue to roll the paper into a tube, and close with sticky tape (or a little double sided tape under the end).

And that's it, quite simple but hopefully should keep little hands busy for a good half an hour.

TUTORIAL: How to make a personalised bracelet.

With an unusual name like Rianna, growing up I used to look for hours trying to find my name on the 'personalised' keyring/pen/badge/bracelet carousels. Of course these days having an unusual name is a lot less 'unusual' but finding said name on the branded items can still be quite tricky.

So why not use this quick and simple Tutorial to make yourself or you loved one a personal keepsake, no matter how unusual their name? Great for a birthday, communion, special occasion or makes a great flower girl gift.
What you'll need:
  •  Alphabet beads - enough to spell out required name, check out craft shops and eBay. I've used silver coloured acrylic circles (6mm with 1mm holes).
  • 2 x Spacers - Here I've used metal butterflies (1mm hole) but you can use anything you like: flowers, barrels, even skulls.
  • Beads - this is entirely your preference, you can use any colour, or even a mixture of colours and sizes (here I've used white acrylic 6mm pearls)
  • 4 x Seed beads - These aren't strictly necessary but here where I used the butterflies I would have had exposed elastic, and they add a nice break between the spacer and letters.
  • 0.6mm clear elastic - You can pick some up at your local craft shop.
  • Scissors - Nothing special just for cutting elastic.
  • A ruler - To measure the bracelet
  • A tape measure - To measure the wrist
Start by measuring (or estimating) the wrist of whoever the bracelet is intended for, I normally aim to make the length of the bracelet (when laid flat before knotting) 1-2 cm larger than the wrist.

Now lay your ruler flat (preferably in a tray or something with sides so the beads won't roll away) and begin to lay out the beads. Preferably you should always start with the bead with the biggest hole, as this will hopefully hide your end knot, in my case this was the main pearl beads. Next add your spacer and 2 seed beads either side (if using), followed by the letters that will make up the name. I know it seems odd starting at what is essentially the middle but this will mean you can add more or less beads at the end to alter the length without having to balance either side out. Keep adding beads until they line up to your wrist size plus a cm or 2.
When you are happy with your layout unravel a little of the elastic from the reel, but do not cut it just yet. Begin threading beads onto your elastic, one by one, starting at the first bead you laid out. Pay careful attention to the direction/orientation of the alphabet beads, as its very easy to get one back to front and have to start again.

Once all the beads are in place, this is your chance to test the length by wrapping it around the intended wrist and checking the fit. Add more or less beads accordingly.

Feed the bead string towards the end of the elastic (leave about 2 inches), and now you're ready for the first knot. I use a basic 'overhand knot' (well I think that's what its called) basically crossing the two ends over one another and then double knotting, but if you know a lot about knots go ahead and use whatever you think suitable. After this first knot you're probably safe to cut the elastic from the reel without everything unravelling. Now take the two ends and make another knot over the top, feeding the elastic through again to make a more secure knot.

At this point some people like to do third and even fourth knots and then superglue for even more, however unless your beads have 3-4mm holes a knot this big is going to  be clearly visible and superglue can end up sticking to the beads and spoiling all your hard work.

Give the two ends a good tug and now use the scissors to cut the ends as close to the knot as possible. Now gently pull on the bracelet elastic and slide the knot into the hole of the first bead where hopefully it will remain hidden from view.

And that's it, its really that simple :) Stand back and admire your new bracelet or get it gift wrapped.

Sunday, 26 February 2012


I was feeling rather uninspired by the choice of commercial ring cushions on the market - holding the rings will be my 3 years old son's 'special job' at our wedding and I wanted something equally special for him to carry.

Quite by accident I stumbled across Tintock Taps's beautiful white, floral heart shaped ring cushion made for her sister's wedding and suddenly had the inspiration I was looking for. The cushion was originally based on Amy Butler's Snow Mum Pillow tutorial I loved the 3D nature of the pillow and the way the rings could nestle in the centre.

As my dress is going to be Ivory I started out using ivory felt, cutting and hand stitching each petal in turn. But started to feel the colour looked more dirty than ivory.
Given that the wedding theme colour was supposedly 'cadbury's purple' (and at this point no single item purchased or made for the wedding featured purple) I decided to shop around for the right shade purple felt and see how that worked with the concept.
One evening's stitching later, I had finished the main flower. It looked so stunning as it was that I choose to create a round cushion that would almost 'hide' underneath the petals, rather than the larger round or square. Then I started experimenting with ribbon and central pearl colourings white being my first thought, however once the rings were added I felt this was too much contrast.
In the end purple on purple provided a subtle enough background to the ring (which, after all are the main event!) I used two lengths of 4mm purple ribbon, which were attached at their middle under the central 5 point petal. Two of these strands will then be used on the day to attach a ring each side - which 'should' come apart when the bows are gently pulled (well, that's the plan anyway).
To give the cushion a flatter base once the cushion was half stuffed, I drew the centre in with a felt covered 'button' - made from a circle of cardboard wrapped in a felt circle which was gathered and stitched on one side, leaving a smooth button. This was then hand sewn with long stitches through the centre of the base and hidden under the central petal, and a purple pearlized bead added to the middle.

I'm quite proud of this little cushion, it was quite simple to make (thanks to Amy's template) and hopefully will add an extra personal touch to the ceremony!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Every Blog has to start somewhere...

Welcome to the new Blog section of I aim to use this to share cards I'm working on for friends and family, tutorials and other crafty projects I'm working on.

I might even have chance to share some of my baking exploits, I love  making cookies with the kids, trying new cupcake flavours and tesing my sugar crafting skills out on my larger cakes.

Firstly thou, while HMBR is on hiatus I've been a crafty little busy bee, making so many things for my July Wedding: Invites, Sweetie bar, Bracelets, table plan, placenames, fans, ring cushion, garter, table confetti, heirloom bouquet ... and no doubt plenty more. I'm hopeing to share a lot of the things I've made, tutorials I've found and tips I've learn along the way.