DIY Party Crafts

Paper Doily Makes: Crocheted Gifts

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Mother’s Day has recently passed in the UK and I felt like crocheting my Mum something special this year. Whatever the occasion, whether it be birthdays, anniversaries, small celebrations, I always like to gift handmade items of some sort. If you’ve ever read my blog post about my wedding, or my recent feature in Homemaker Mag, you’ll know how much I love handmade gestures. Over the next few months, I’m actually planning to write a lot more craft tutorials for handmade party favours and gifts, as it’s quite clear just how much I love parties!

This year, I decided to make my Mum a crocheted scarf. Some could say that it’s the wrong time of year to give somebody a scarf, but the weather here in Somerset doesn’t seem to be getting any warmer despite the changing seasons, so it felt like a lovely gesture.

This particular scarf is on the large side as my Mum does a lot of walking and I wanted it to be super snuggly and toasty. I’ve only recently taught myself the stitch I used for this scarf and I’m also making a blanket out of it for my lounge. It’s called the ‘V-stitch’ and after trying out a few online tutorials, I found Girly Bunches YouTube video to be the most helpful. The technique was very easy to follow and I adapted the instructions myself to make the scarf. I have a lot of wool in my craft room, so rather than buy new supplies, I used a mixture of pink cotton and cream aran yarn. This was the result above and I was super pleased with it, as was my Mum. Yay! It’s lovely when handmade gifts are appreciated.

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I gave my Mum a few other special but non handmade items, including this gorgeous keyring. Isn’t it adorable? The wrapping paper was perfect for Mother’s Day, especially with Easter on the way, don’t you agree?

I hope I’ve inspired you to make your own handmade gifts, particularly if you have a special occasion on the way. Have a lovely day wherever you are in the world!

DIY Party Crafts · In My Studio

My Craft Swap with RubyRedcrafts

I recently had the pleasure of taking part in a craft swap with the lovely RubyRedcrafts. It was the first craft swap I’ve ever participated in and it was so much fun. I’ve been following Rachel from RubyRedcrafts on Instagram for some time and after seeing all of her beautiful makes, I was able to gain a real sense of what kind of things she liked. Here’s what I made:

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Anybody who knows me well, knows that I absolutely love crochet. I taught myself to crochet several years ago and have been happily ‘hooking’ ever since! I just find it so incredibly therapeutic (unless of course I’m following a very tricky pattern) and I love how easy it is to add colour. I run a local, fortnightly crochet group in a cafe, so a lot of tasty cake and warm hot chocolate was consumed whilst this was made. As Easter is coming up, I thought it would make the perfect garland. I’ve made quite a few crocheted party decorations similar to this and I always have so much fun with them.

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Pastel felt flower gift tags with pink twine, need I say any more? Rachel spends a lot of time in her craft room and plans to use these as organisational tags for all of her crafty bits. The felt flowers were all cut by hand by myself. I drew a brief outline of each flower on thin paper to start with to use as templates. After choosing the felt and cutting out each shape, I used a mixture of hand sewing and hot glue gun, with some added embellishments. The brown gift tags came from my local craft store and were the perfect colour, as the pastel colours really shine through against the background colour.

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Rachel and I agreed on three items, the third being these tall, patterned heart cake toppers, perfect for decorating beautiful cakes with at special parties and events.

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This wrapping paper I used to wrap the gifts in was perfect, as it felt so seasonal. The Spring like colours and delicate flowers stood out to me whilst choosing the wrapping paper and the pink twine was the perfect addition!

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These fabulous handmade gifts were Rachel’s craft swap to me. How stunning are they? I love each and every one item Rachel sent and was so overwhelmed that they were created with love especially for me. I’ve now placed the gorgeous padded heart garland in my kitchen. The patchwork needle case is displayed proudly in my craft room next to my sewing machine. It will definitely be used as I’ve been thinking about teaching myself to make patchwork quilts and accessories for some time now. Rachel also included a beautiful handmade coaster for all of my lovely mugs and look at that little rosette!

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Last but not least, Rachel has an adorable dog named Wilson, so I couldn’t leave him out. I have two miniature poodles named Felix and Mabel, and they both love Lily’s Kitchen bedtime biscuits. They are the perfect treat for lucky pooches!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and do get in touch if I’ve inspired you! Have a lovely week.

 

Makers Monday · Uncategorized

Makers Monday, featuring RubyRedcrafts

The first instalment of Makers Monday was a real success and I’m bursting with excitement to share the second one with you! This week, I’ve decided to introduce you to RubyRedcrafts who has the most adorable Etsy shop. Rachel Whitworth is the creative genius behind Rubyredcrafts and hand makes pretty decorative homewares, party decor and gifts, all made with plenty of love and TLC in the Oxfordshire countryside.

I first discovered Rachel through Instagram and it’s been lovely to see the ‘behind the scenes’ photographs and general snippets of her day-to-day life.

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One of the things I love the most about Rachel’s work are the vibrant colours she uses. They all work so well together and have such a happy feel about them. The photography used is perfect, as the neutral background really allows the garlands to shine. If I had any one of these garlands hanging on my wall, they would certainly put a smile on my face every time I caught sight of them.

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I can imagine these garlands making anywhere look special really, but especially for a party. These garlands would make any dessert table come to life, or would even look perfect hanging from multiple places in a wedding venue. I’ve noticed a long standing wedding trend for vintage suitcases and crates being used as wedding card holders. Any of these garlands would work incredibly well for that and would add a very special touch to your wedding day.

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If you’re a dog lover like me, you’re bound to love this scottie dog garland. Again, the colours used are just lovely and the fabric choices are stunning. Just please don’t tell my miniature poodles, Felix and Mabel that I have been looking at scottie dogs, as they will not be best pleased, ssssh!

I’m not sure what the weather is like in your part of the world today, but it’s rather dismal in Somerset, so these gorgeous creations have done a pretty good job in cheering me up. I hope they have made you happy too! I look forward to sharing the next Makers Monday post with you and hope you’re feeling super inspired!

 

 

Makers Monday · Party Themes · Weddings

Makers Monday, featuring Shopwillynilly

I’m not really one for setting new years resolutions, I usually just set myself a series of goals relating to my personal/work life. One of my many work goals was to start a regular feature on my blog which others will hopefully love to read and will find lots of inspiration from. Some of you may already know how much I LOVE Instagram. I dedicate a lot of time to it and as a result, have been introduced to some absolutely wonderful makers. My idea for ‘Makers Monday’ revolves around me dedicating an entire blog post to an inspirational maker each week, meaning my blog will be full of not only craft tutorials (and general ramblings) but will also be a wonderful resource for staying inspired and up-to-date with current makers.

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Let me introduce to you to Shopwillynilly set up by Chelsey, who is based in Truro, England. I’ve been admiring Chelsey’s work for some time, mostly through her Instagram account. Her photographs are just wonderful and capture her products beautifully. You can clearly see her excellent attention to detail, wonderful eye for colour, pattern and texture and most importantly, her strong sense of originality.

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Chelsey’s shop is the perfect place for any bride-to-be’s, looking for stylish, shabby chic wedding decor, made with lots of love and TLC. Chelsey’s shop is perfect for special gifts and wedding favours too.

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I bought lots of these adorable jars for my own wedding, as you may have seen on an older post here and wish I had of seen these personalised hearts back then. Homemade jam and chutney have been popular wedding favour ideas for a while now and I can definitely imagine these hearts looking fabulous if used to adorn culinary delights of that sort.

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I would be overjoyed to receive a beautiful keyring such as this one at a loved ones wedding. It’s such a special thought that your guests will be holding on to something forever from your big day. This seems so much more thoughtful (and useful) than the standard place card. The same thought which comes into my head again and again, of ‘why didn’t I see/think of this for my own wedding?’ makes me giggle! There is just far too much inspiration out there.

There is much more to see and swoon over in this beautiful shop. If you do go and take a peek, be warned that you are likely to want to buy everything in sight and may need to exercise some sort of self control!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my first ‘Makers Monday’ post, I really can’t wait to share the next one with you. If you’re planning your wedding at the moment, feel free to pin away! (Gosh, the hours I spent on Pinterest whilst planning my own wedding…)

If you’re reading this and would really like to be featured on one of my other instalments, please comment below and I’ll be in touch. I’d love to hear from you and support fellow makers!

In My Studio · Uncategorized

Homemaker Magazine features Paper Doily

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Today is a very special day, as I’ve been featured in the current issue of Homemaker Magazine as their Reader Maker. Issue 40 is out for sale today and is absolutely wonderful. Friday has surely got to be the most perfect day for any magazine of this kind to come out, right? An entire weekend ahead dedicated to stitching, knitting, crochet and patchwork? Yes please!

Reading the article this morning really got me thinking about how much I’ve achieved with Paper Doily since setting it up in 2014. It’s easy to get caught up in day to day living without taking the time to look back and appreciate the milestones you’ve made along the way.

I’ve received a lot questions lately about what advice I have for crafters starting out on a similar business path. I feel the above article really sums a lot of these questions up, whilst hopefully inspiring others, giving them the confidence they need to get going. Having faith in yourself and your work throughout the good times and the bad times is a fundamental quality in staying on the path to success. There will be absolutely wonderful times ahead where you feel you are on top of the world, followed by the times where life/day to day tasks just get on top of you completely. Keeping your faith, continuing to put in the hard work required and staying motivated are important qualities, and ones which will see you through well!

I thought it would be very helpful to share my top 10 tips for starting your own craft business with you, derived from my experience since starting out almost two years ago.

  1. Write a business plan and ask yourself what it is about your product/s that potential customers will want. Do you feel your products will be desirable?
  2. Who are your customers and where will you find them?
  3. Establish who your competitors are and ask yourself what your business can offer differently. Originality will set you apart from the rest.
  4. Have a marketing/advertising strategy. You can offer the most amazing products but without making a name for yourself and making others aware of your products, your business just won’t be sustainable long term.
  5. Spend a reasonable amount of time on pricing your products, it should not be an after thought. Find out what your customers are willing to pay and what other business costs to factor into your pricing model. Ensure you are not operating at a loss and avoid a ‘race to the bottom’ by lowering prices if you are struggling to sell. Instead, assess whether you are reaching the right target market and make adjustments to the product if you feel it is necessary.
  6. Identify your suppliers and try to make a good/long lasting relationship with them.
  7. What is your key asset? What is it about your business that will help you win potential customers?
  8. Stay motivated. There will be times when life just gets in the way of business (as explained above). Have some coping strategies in place. I live in the countryside and tend to take myself off on a long stroll. I’m also a serial list maker, so I tend to break down difficult tasks into small pieces if the task at hand seems too much.
  9. Stay on top of your accounts. Google drive is very handy for this. It will help you to avoid long amounts of unnecessary work when you could be doing more enjoyable tasks, such as being creative (as you do best!)
  10. Have fun! Remind yourself why you started your business in the first place and constantly come back to this at moments of struggle. It will keep you motivated and will help you to stay grounded!

 

I really hope you enjoyed reading. If you have any more questions or comments then please let me know, I’d love to hear from you. Have a lovely weekend and thank you so much for visiting my blog!

 

Party Craft Tutorials

Paper Doily Makes: Spring Wreaths

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First of all I’d like to wish each and every one of you a Happy New Year! This post comes a little later than expected as I’ve been a little busy in my workroom creating these beauties. I like to describe them as being Spring wreaths, as the pastel colours remind me immensely of my favourite season. Do you agree?

I used foam wreath bases which are readily available from most craft stores and come in many different shapes and sizes. I find Hobbycraft generally has a good selection and that is where mine came from. I had once intended to teach myself patchwork and quilting but never got around to it (it’s still on my bucket list) and at the time, I bought a lot of fat quarters. I thought it’d be the perfect time to use some of them up, seeing as though they were looking rather lonely!

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I began by cutting the fabric into long strips. I then wound each piece of fabric over the base of the wreath, using a hot glue gun to secure the fabric as I went along. A hot glue gun will definitely be your best friend for this, I promise!

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As you can see, I then made some beautiful felt flowers and I’ll be posting a felt flower tutorial very soon, as I have an idea up my sleeve which I’m pretty sure you’re going to love. For now, a simple ‘felt flower tutorial’ google search should point you in the right direction. The only materials you should need are felt, scissors (don’t use your best fabric ones, as felt causes scissors to become quite blunt over time) a hot glue gun and some pretty embellishments such as buttons or beads. Once you’re finished making the felt flowers, you can use your hot glue gun to secure them into place on the wreath.

I have lots of ribbon and twine in my workroom so fortunately for me, it wasn’t too much of a task to find some left overs for the hanging ribbon.

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Here are some close up’s of my finished wreaths to give you some inspiration.

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Voila! I hope I’ve given you the creative bug for wreath making and I promise you my felt flower tutorials will be coming soon. You can call this a little teaser. As you may know, craft tutorials are a big love of mine and I have many more here, which you may wish to check out. If you would like to see more of my finished crafts, you can find Paper Doily Party Shop on etsy.

Happy crafting!

DIY Party Crafts · Uncategorized

Paper Doily Makes: Christmas Tree Cupcake Liner Garland

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As my regular readers may know, I moved house in July of this year and have just taken the festive decorations out of storage. This house is a brand new build, so it’s the first time it’s been decorated for Christmas. How special is that? I’ve loved giving it lots of festive cheer over the past few weeks.

I’m still getting to know where certain decorations are best placed and I’ve moved the Christmas tree twice already. Yes, really! I happened to have a really bare wall in the hallway and thought I’d make something bright and colourful to cheer it up a little. I enjoy hand making at least one decoration each year, as it feels much more unique and special than purchasing, doesn’t it?

Anyway, with that ramble over, I just wanted to let you know that I had so much fun making this christmas tree garland that I decided to make a tutorial for you. Excited? Once you’ve found the materials below, you’ll be good to go. You’ll need:

Materials:

  • A selection of your favourite cupcake liners/wrappers
  • Double sided selotape
  • Clear selotape
  • Scissors
  • Star paper cutter (optional)
  • Twine, thread or ribbon
  • Glitter Paper, or other complimentary decorative paper

 

Method:

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First of all, take 3 of your cupcake liners/wrappers and fold them in half, and in half again, like so.

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Cut three small strips of double sided selotape and attach them to the inside of all of your cupcake liners/wrappers, like so. After you’ve done that, turn your trees over to their reverse side.

Place them together exactly where you want them (in the shape of a tree) and take two strips of clear selotape. Place the selotape on top of the middle and bottom pointed edges on the reverse side. Turn your tree over to the correct side and you should have something similar to the image above.

I used different sized cupcake liners/wrappers for my garland which created a beautiful layered effect. I had some mini cupcake wrappers in the cupboard, similar to what you’d use for making truffles, petits fours etc. These worked very well in giving the garland a bit of interest/uniqueness.

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If you have a star shaped paper cutter, now is the time to cut out stars for your Christmas trees. You can either use a small piece of double sided selotape to attach it to the tree, or some glue. I used glitter paper for the stars, but any paper that works well with your theme will do the trick.

If you don’t have a star paper cutter, it’s not a problem. You can just draw the outline to a star on the reverse side of the glitter paper and use a sharp pair of scissors to cut it out. You also don’t have to use star shapes, heart shapes would look nice, as would most other decorative shapes.

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Once you’ve made enough trees for your desired garland length, take your ribbon or twine and your trusty clear selotape. Turn your Christmas trees onto their reverse sides, with the twine laid out in front of you. Cut a small strip of clear tape per tree and attach them together by placing a small strip of the clear tape in between the twine and the back of the paper star. Voila!

You now have yourself a beautiful Christmas tree garland made out of inexpensive materials and plenty of love and care. Enjoy and do let me know if I’ve inspired you to make your own!

DIY Party Crafts · Uncategorized

Paper Doily Makes: DIY Christmas Gift Wrapping

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Happy December all! It’s that time of year when Christmas shopping becomes a priority for many of you, as do copious amounts of toasty hot chocolates with marshmallows, right? I absolutely love gift wrapping, so I usually wrap the gifts as immediately as possible after getting them home. However, I do realise this isn’t normal and many people leave gift wrapping until the last minute.

There is such an incredible selection of gift wrapping available, the choice can be overwhelming. I personally like to have one specific theme, so all of my gifts look beautifully styled and uniform under the Christmas tree. Brown paper, available from most stationery shops and supermarkets is my favourite wrapping paper to use. If you’re anything like me and happen to have a very large patterned paper stash, you can really go to town with the personalisation. The brown paper gives the gifts a fabulously blank canvas, meaning you can use any colour, theme or style of paper on top of it.

For these gifts here, I used the brown packing paper as a base and then simply cut several strips of patterned paper, attaching them to the present with double sided sticky tape. (Remember not to use too much of this though, given as though they need to be relatively easy to open on the big day). I’ve been rather guilty of making presents too hard to unwrap before, sometimes wrapping them in several layers of paper to add to the anticipation. I’ll be quiet now, shall I!?

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I bought a star paper cutter from Hobbycraft some time ago. This isn’t a sponsored post, I just happen to love using them. I have them in all shapes and sizes and decided to make little star wands and star embellishments for the gift tags.

The star wands were made by cutting two stars out of equal size. I then took a bamboo skewer and some double sided selotape. (Selotape becomes a lifesaver this time of year, doesn’t it?) I turned both stars over onto their reverse side and attached several strips of double sided tape to them. I then placed the skewer on top of one of the stars and finished the wand by placing the remaining star on top of it. The beautiful thing about the star wands, is that they can also be used as cake or cupcake toppers or placed in clear jars as table decorations, meaning the theme can run through your house this Christmas.

You may have also noticed a patterned peg in one of the images above also? This is a washi tape peg and can easily be created at home and used for your Christmas gift wrapping. You can see my earlier washi tape peg tutorial here.

The brown gift tags were purchased from Amazon some time ago. I used my small star paper cutter to cut out several silver glittery stars and attached them to each gift tag with a small strip of double sided selotape. I left a space for writing the recipients name. A gold pen would be perfect for this. You can also handstamp the gift tags like I have done here. (scroll down to number three).

I had some beautiful, sparkly gold sewing thread left over from a previous project. This was wrapped around the present horizontally and threaded through the gift tag. I cut a second, smaller piece of the gold thread and used it to attach the wand to the gift tag and main piece of gold thread. Alternatively you can use decorative ribbon or twine, the choice is yours entirely.

Voila! I’m so happy to show you the final result above, which I am very pleased with! I really hope I have inspired you to start your Christmas gift wrapping earlier than usual. Do let me know if you decide to use my tutorial as a basis for your gift wrapping, I’d love to know.

 

Party Craft Tutorials · Uncategorized

Paper Doily Makes: Crochet Christmas Stocking

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Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without stockings, right? Anybody who knows me well knows that it doesn’t take much effort for me to get into the festive spirit. I’ve been known to have a fully decorated Christmas tree in the lounge by mid November before, but this year I’m trying to be very controlled by holding off until December 1st. How very grown up of me. *giggles!

I browsed the web for an easy crocheted Christmas stocking pattern and happened to come across this. It’s an American pattern, so be sure to use a crochet stitch conversion chart if you’re based elsewhere. Being the creative person that I am, I didn’t feel like using the specified yarn, colours or finish suggested. I free-styled and feel very pleased with the final result. I feel it’s one step further to writing my own patterns, which I’m keen to experiment with in the new year.

For the crocheted bow, there are a multitude of patterns online, I used the Kat Goldin one and added some pom poms for extra prettiness.

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Here’s a close up. I’m very tempted to make a second stocking with a light pink bow for a real kitsch Christmas kind of feel. I can imagine this stocking hanging from a pretty fireplace until Christmas Eve, when it’s obviously only right to leave it at the end of your bed. These crocheted stockings also make the perfect gift for a special family member or friend as they are reasonably quick to make. (I spent a few hours each evening, over the course of a few days crocheting mine). I think handmade gifts add that extra special touch to Christmas and surely mean so much more to the recipient when you’ve put your heart and soul into it.

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As Felix (the miniature poodle) spent so many hours cuddling me whilst I was crocheting the stocking, I felt it was only right to include his picture. Here he is doing what he does best, snoozing!

I really hope I’ve inspired your Christmas crafting and I’m looking forward to working on many more crafty blog posts in the coming weeks. I’d love to hear from you and see your results if you decide to crochet this beautiful stocking.

 

In My Studio · Party Craft Tutorials

Paper Doily Makes: 10 festive crafts I’ve made this month

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1. Christmas preparations are in full swing here and what better way to use up leftover felt balls? I went through a foam wreath buying stage several months ago, with plans of making lots of new ones for my shop. I have so many creative ideas running through my head on a daily basis, it’s easy to forget good intentions like this! I recently had a bit of a clear out of my craft space and suddenly remembered what they were for. I’ve made two so far, one Christmas themed one and a pink and purple one. I’m amazed at just how much they transform a space! The crochet christmas decorations were inspired by this months Simply Crochet Magazine (issue 38).

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2. You know how I mentioned above that Christmas preparations are in full swing here? It wouldn’t be Christmas without some festive cake toppers, right? These ones certainly made me smile and undoubtedly add a lot of cheer to your standard Christmas cake.

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3. I recently purchased a set of ‘love’ stamps and some new ink with the intention of making these. They are bound to look gorgeous on Christmas presents and were so easy to make. I bought some blank gift tags and added my own twine for a rustic look. I then used my trusty heart shaped paper cutter to cut out the patterned papers. Once the hearts were in place, I got creative with the hand stamping and voila! If you’re anything like me and are planning on making a lot of homemade gifts this Christmas (including chutney and jam, which are favourite options of mine) these are the perfect labels!

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4. As you may already know, crochet is a huge hobby of mine and definitely takes up a large proportion of my spare time. I couldn’t resist making a festive garland in kitsch Christmas colours. The piece of driftwood used as a photographic prop to drape the garland on, travelled all the way from Sandymouth Beach on a recent weekend away. How special is that? If you’re feeling inspired, head on over to Cherry Heart blog for the ‘twinkler stars’ pattern. I can thoroughly recommend it.

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5. I couldn’t just stop at one set of gift tags, they were far too addictive and enjoyable to make. After sorting through my huge stash of Christmas papers, I came across these. If you’re looking to make your own gift tags, then you must invest in a star paper cutter (and some pretty twine, as there’s always space for twine, right?) The beauty of handmade gift tags is that they can be made to suit your gift wrapping theme perfectly! They also look wonderful sitting under the tree and have a unique touch of handmade.

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6. I went through a phase of making lots of washi tape pegs several months ago and found them so addictive (like most crafts). I still have a HUGE washi tape supply and seem to have accumulated a large amount of these pegs. Gift wrapping has never looked so lovely. They seem to make everything look that extra bit special. They are particularly useful for Christmas parties, especially if you’re having a sweet festive buffet and would like your guests to take home some home baked sweets and treats.

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7. You must be noticing a theme with the gift tags? I just love them (in all colours, shapes and sizes). These scalloped gift tags have a particularly crafty feel to them and I can definitely see my presents looking extra fabulous when it’s Christmas time next month! I like to use matching ribbon or twine to give them that extra special touch. Make sure you have your best fountain pen ready for writing on the reverse side!

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8. Christmas is all about that extra bit of sparkle isn’t it? These glittery heart cake toppers are a favourite of mine, particularly if you’re looking to make a non traditional set of cake toppers for your Christmas cake. I used my heart paper cutter to cut out the shapes (2 hearts of the same size, per cake topper). I then used some double sided selotape on the reverse side of half of the hearts, which held the bamboo skewers in place nicely. To finish off, I took all of the remaining hearts and placed them on top of the skewers, (with the sparkly side facing me) and pressed down to stick in place. This was the end result, of which I’m rather pleased with!

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9. Felt ball garlands are perfect when made this time of year. They look absolutely beautiful draped over a Christmas tree or hanging from a fireplace. I just can’t get enough of making them (in all colours and shapes and sizes!) I wrote a tutorial on how to make your very own here.

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10. Any christmas crafting wouldn’t be complete without a large mug of hot chocolate, right? The cream and marshmellows are such a yummy addition. You should go and make one right this instant, you know you want to!