Simple Christmas: Festive Tree Skirt

a very pretty eco treeIf you saw my cardboard Christmas tree tutorial you would have seen I had to prop the tree up and keep it stable by using some books. It looks kinda cool but I wanted it to look more like a traditional tree so I made a skirt to cover the base up. The design is super simple and you can jazz it up however you like to fit in with your colour scheme. You will need a square of fabric or felt and scissors. If you are doing a slightly fancier one you might need a needle and thread or your sewing machine to decorate and finish the fabric.

skirt pattern1. If you want a quick no sew skirt use a piece of felt as it wont fray. I used a piece of cotton so you can see the extra steps. You want the fabric big enough to cover the bucket your tree is in or the base of books if you’ve gone for a cardboard creation

2. Fold the square into quarters, cut the bottom edge into a curve and cut a smaller curve into the top edge to allow space for the trunk. If you’ve ever made a circle skirt its exactly the same pattern

3. Unfold the fabric and you should have a circle with a hole in the centre. Use one of  your fold lines to cut from the bottom to the centre hole so you can wrap it around your tree trunk.

Skirt cut4. If you have made it in felt you can simply leave it as it is. For most other fabrics you’ll need to hem the bottom, top and cut edge of the skirt. You can do this by hand with a needle and thread or sewing machine

skirt complete

Its up to you how you decorate it, I have kept mine plain with a decorative stich for the bottom and added a little bit of lace at the top. You could create a whole scene using embroidery or applique and you could even making from lots of different fabrics for a unique look. I’ve stuck to a plain red as I wanted to keep it simple and blend in with the surroundings as I already have an unusual tree.

Happy Holidays

Lorna

X xxx

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Simple Christmas: A Simple Star

star atop a treeI needed a topper for my tree and one that was thrifty and eco friendly, so I returned to my old friend the toilet roll. This is a quick tutorial of how to make a golden star to sit atop your tree. You will need a toilet roll or a cut down kitchen roll, a piece of cardboard, craft knife, glue or masking tape, gold spray paint and a star template ( or draw your own)

1. Use your template to draw the star on to your piece of cardboard. I made a template on the computer by using four diamonds to make the classic nativity shaped star

2. Use a craft knife to carefully cut out the starstar and template

3. Spray paint the front of the star

4. Glue or tape the toilet roll on to the back of the star and at the bottom. Spray paint the back of the star including the toilet roll to make a neat finish

star with toilet roll attached star back painted

a very pretty eco tree 

5. Pop on the tree and admire your work

I love this simple star for my glorious little tree. Its bright and bold but nice and traditional. If your tree is lacking something special still then this is the perfect little DIY to finish off with the Christmas decorating

Lorna

X xxx

 

Simple Christmas: Yarn Tinsel

The first decoration I’ve made this year is a easy but quite a time consuming craft called finger knitting. I learnt it off a video on design sponge and it creates a very long garland like tinsel. You can use any wool or ribbon but the thicker the better to get a fuller looking garland. I used some thick mustard yarn which I had taken off a scarf/poncho thing and tied each bit together to form a long string, it is easier however with one long continuous piece. It takes quite a while to make a substantial garland so this is perfect to snuggle under a blanket on the couch and watch several Christmas films! Thanks go to my wonderful mother in law for allowing me use of her hands to show you how to do it :D

point 11. Tie one end of the yarn to your thumb on your non dominant hand, doesn’t have to be tight as you will be taking it off soon. Have your palm facing you.

point 22. Weave the yarn through your fingers by going over your forefinger first, then under the middle, over the ring and under the pinkie, then come back to the thumb by going around and over the pinkie, under the ring, over the middle and under the fore.

Point 33. You will now have a complete line across your fingers. Repeat step 2 so that you have  two lines across your fingers

point 4 completed point 44. Now take the bottom line on each finger and pull it over the top one and over the tip of your finger, so you only have one line. At this point it does feel like you’ve cocked it up but you haven’t. To do the one on your forefinger, untie your thumb and place the lose thread towards the back of your hand and pull over the bottom thread. It will look weird but you will later use it to tie off the bottom of the garland.

5. Now repeat the weaving process again so you once again have two lines and then bring the bottom line over the top again. This is basically the process and you keep doing this till you have the length you require.

point 6 several lines off the fingers6. At first you will just have an ugly clump of yarn at the back of your hand, every now and again pull the bottom, i.e. where you started, to stretch the garland out and eventually it will start to look how it should .

Christmas tree partial decoratedI really love this decoration as a more homely and warm alternative to tinsel. I’m not adverse to a bit of glitter but I like that this isn’t made from plastic and I finally found a use for that yarn I’d been hording. The perfect craft to do whilst watching a few cracking Christmas movies

Lorna

x xxx

 

15 uses: A plastic Christmas

Plastic is incredibly bad for the environment, to produce it and when it’s thrown away. I sometimes imagine the whole world choking under a blanket of plastic, which isn’t too far from the truth since thousands of animals, if not millions, are killed by tossed away plastic each year normally through strangulation or choking. There are lots of environmental programmes out there at the moment that are attempting to find ways to replace plastic with an eco alternative, I recently heard about one using a type of fungi. For the most part however plastic is here to stay so we need to make sure we dispose of it responsibly or better yet not at all and make it in to sometime useful again. So here is my little collection of upcycling plastics into a wonderful and eco conscious Christmas!

Plastic Christmas tree ornaments

Plastic Tree Ornaments

1. Rings of cut plastic can easily be transformed into simple ornaments by wrapping round colourful wool or ribbon until the entire surface is covered. Add a loop to hang and you have some mini wreaths for your tree.

2.  I love the look of these plastic toys spray painted in different colours. Toys like this are so easy to find at charity shops and jumble sales, just drill or screw in a little hook into each back, add ribbon and you can hang them. Really light weight too.

3. A collection of plastic bottle tops can be strung together with ribbon and extra beads to make an easy and green ornament as always spray paint is your friend

4. The bottom of soda or pop bottles are often used for creative crafts for their flower like shape but in this case I think they are more like snowflakes. A fun craft for kids to decorate but make sure an adult cuts off the bottoms of the bottles

5. I had to include my own yoghurt pot lid creations from last year. I will be using mine again this Christmas and I still love the personal touch it brings to your tree. Here’s the tutorial.

plastic christmas trees

Plastic Christmas Trees

1. Plastic spoons- I have actually come across large sets of plastic cutlery in charity shops before so I think they would be easy to find and glue to a paper cone, but don’t go out and buy them new! We don’t want to encourage any more plastic consumption.

2. Another one for soda bottles- This tree uses the top end, with the neck used to add more to the tree with the sides cut to flay outwards.

3. This crazy tree appears to use everything and anything plastic, not quite my style but amazing recycling credentials, 5 star!

4. This green plastic bottle tree is beautiful as its the closest to the real thing. It looks like it would need a firm base and structure though.

 5. A plastic bag tree, Once again a structure looks like it is needed to stuff the plastic bags in but I’m sure you inventive crafty lot will be able to think of something.

plastic wreaths and other ornaments

Plastic Wreaths and Other Christmassy Ornaments

1. Not a decoration but using plastic packaging to organise your Christmas decorations will mean a stress free time for next year and protect your more delicate ornaments

2. Cute little festive penguins- made out of two soda bottle bottoms glued together and painted. I’m sure you don’t have to stick to penguins they probably make really good roly poly santas too.

3. Another use for soda bottle bases- glued together and spray painted they make a unique but wonderful wreath for any door, but you probably need quite a lot so start saving now for next year.

4. An upturned clear plastic pot makes the perfect cover for a wintery scene, find small figurines or make your own and create a snow scene a lot less messy then your classic snow globe which often end up leaking everywhere.

5. This wreath is much easier to do. Plastic bags shredded and strung together into a ring makes a snowy style wreath and you can always spray paint it a different colour to match your theme especially if you don’t have just plain white bags.

Have fun crafting and don’t forget to check out the pinterest board for more ideas.

Lorna

x xxx

15 uses: Cardboard boxes vol 2.

It’s been a while since I did a 15 uses so I hope your ready to get crafting! Since I’ve just moved I’ve bought a lot of furniture to fill the house and with that has come lots of big cardboard boxes so that has inspired todays collection as I have plenty of materials to play with. I have found for you 5 Christmas ideas, 5 furniture ideas and 5 costumes ideas because it doesn’t need to be Halloween to dress up!

cardboard christmas

Cardboard Christmas

1. Those little scraps of corrugated cardboard that come in packing would make great creative decorations for the tree. In love the brown and can see it translating well to snowmen, robins and mini trees very well. Just need a bit of glue, ribbon to hang and a good imagination to put them together

2. This is so cool! Advent calendar made out of different boxes and scrap cardboard. could be pricey to fill with toys and sweets individually but you could put in them fun ideas to do like a DVD for a movie night, Christmas carols to sing or personal notes giving thanks to family memberts

3. Really fun easy ornaments, cardboard circle and coloured string or yarn. Cut a cardboard circle out, make small slits around the edges and then wrap string around it, through the grooves, to make star shapes. I am definitely going to make these

4. A cardboard Christmas tree. I am going to do this for our tree this year so watch our for my own tutorial

5. A reindeer head. A fun twist on the class stag head above the fireplace and no reindeers have to die in the making of it. Would love to do this too if I have time

cardboard costumes

Cardboard Costumes

1. A cute inventive airplane, probably very popular this year after Disney movie Planes was released. Doesn’t look simple to make though

2. Transport is quite popular with cardboard costumes and this fire engine is really cool. Make sure the straps used to carry it around are comfortable. Elastic is a good bet and would be easy to get in and out of

3. This Lego costume is so easy and simple.  A plain box with plastic cups stuck to the front, spray painted and add matching coloured clothes

4. This crocodile head is a cheap costume if you have the right coloured clothes already, can easily be adapted for other animals as well. Dinosaurs are similar but more fun!

5. The easiest costume but requires a lot of ink. Big flat piece of cardboard with a square cut out for your facebook ‘profile picture’ and add in your details.

cardboard furniture

Fab Furniture

1. You might consider cardboard a weak material but put together in the right way it can be very strong, as with this letter shaped chair. Glue many pieces together and the whole item will be sturdy. The more the merrier and stronger.

2. I love the cartoony look of this bedroom, would look cool in a student or kids room but may look a bit too childish for an adult home, but each to their own.

3. Some cardboard is better then others. You can get ready reinforced cardboard depending on the object it’s packing. We had our cooker replaced and it came packaged in right angled strips of very firm cardboard. These would be perfect for a bookcase like the one above to support the weight of magazines and books

4. This little table makes use of the circular tubes you get posters and prints delivered in. The legs would make it very sturdy and the corners strong.

5. The tutorial to make this chest of drawers is amazing and the result is fantastic. Do take a look.

I look forward to doing some of these! Any of my readers going to try these? would love to know and see the finished results. Check out Instagram Makersmeadow to get sneak peaks before the blog.

Lorna

 x xxx

Simple Christmas: Here Comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus

christmas craftingIt’s the 1st of November! and while most are nursing a Halloween hangover I am thinking of Christmas** I normally start planning Christmas a lot earlier then November but having a lot on my plate recently it has fallen by the wayside. I am expecting Christmas to be a very, very lean one this year so it is even more important that I save money for presents and partying by been thrifty and frugal in things that I can make and do myself. I would love to have a decorated living room for me and Harry to enjoy the holidays in but since this is our first year in our own house we don’t have any decorations! So….. I am of course going to make them all. Last year I did a series of Christmas Crafts you can easily make at home called Simple Christmas and this year I shall continue it with all the homemade decorations I create myself. So to kick things off here are the DIYs from last year for you to make. Just click the picture and it will take you to the tutorial!

crackers about crackers

recycled yoghurt lid ornament

recycled paper christmas tree

Wreath

Happy Crafting and I will be back soon with some new DIY crafts for Christmas

Lorna

X xxx

Happy New Year

I’d Like to say a very Happy New Year to my readers and customers and hope you all have had a wonderful holiday period and not dreading back to work too much. I had a lovely Christmas, managing to get round all of the family and meet up with some of my oldest and best friends. As with all my Christmas’s, i’ve had some great presents from loved ones, drank and eaten alot and watched lots of movies. Simple but makes me Happy and thats all you need. Really looking forward to the new year and i think it’s going to be an exciting one. So to start the year off, here are a few happy photos from the past couple of weeks. Look out for more posts this week on fresh starts and bringing in the new year.

three girls mufasa fakirs christmas tree bar apricot bavarian cream all togetherQI new years cocktails

Happy New Year
Lorna
X xxx

15 Uses: Christmas Cards

This 15 uses has a distinctively Christmas theme, using old Christmas Greetings cards to make decorations and presents for your house, friends and family. Christmas is often a expensive time and a time when a great amount of waste happens. You don’t have to live in darkness and be a miser just for the sake of the planet and your pockets however. These simple creations made from paper and card that would have been thrown away can now be put to good use, helping you count the pennies this year along the way and do a little bit for your eco credentials. It is also a great way to keep those special cards from loved ones without it feeling like your hording, you can display them for a lifetime without cluttering up draws.room decorations made from recycled christmas cards

5 Decorations for Around the Home.

1. Simple paper/card bunting from Christmas cards creates a new look other then your traditional paper chains, although they would also be easy to make with old cards.

2. Cards in similar colours can make lovely free standing trees for any tables left bare, especially great to add a little festive cheer to bedrooms which are often overlooked when it comes to Christmas decorations.

3. This is a really refreshing wreath, made by cutting and gluing lots of leaf shapes together. The different colours of the cards really make it stand out but the leaf shapes bring the traditional look in.

4. A free standing snow man made from lots of half snowman shapes glued together to make a 3D version. Make sure each section is fairly thick, adding more cards to make it sturdy.

5. Another wreath but much quicker to make. Cut out full characters from cards and glue them to a wreath form made of cardboard. Attach a ribbon and you have a decoration perfect for anywhere in the house

I have my own versions of free standing paper tree and a traditional wreath tutorial

recycled greetings cards ornaments 5 Christmas Card Ornaments

1. Create this ornament like the snow man, adding lots of cut out house shapes together. Thread or glue a piece of thread from bottom to top, adding decorative beads and top and bottom, tie in a loop and hang for all to see.

2. Go green further by recycling old food jar lids as well. Attach wire or thread to the top of the lid with glue and add a Christmas card image to the center. Use the Lid as a template to draw around your imagine then cut out on the inside of the circle so the image is slightly smaller then the lid and can slot in. Glue in place. Check out my tutorial for using yogurt lids in this way

3. Create sweetie holders by rolling a triangle of card into a cone, glue or tape in place. Add a hanging ribbon by punching too holes in either side of the cone and treading ribbon through and knotting. Glue a cut out image from a card and you have a beautiful ornament with added treats.

4. Simple card circles, folded in half , then  glued to 5 others can create a simple but colourful hanging bauble when some ribbon is added to the top.  Use a length of string or ribbon to attach several and make a festive garland for the tree or across a doorway.

5. Make these cute little houses for another decoration that has a hidden surprise. Simply constructed you need card in these shapes: 1 rectangle for the base, 2 squares for the sides, the front and back made from a piece that is a square (same size as the sides) and a triangle at the top, lastly 2 rectangles for the slanted roof. Add tabs into the design of the shapes so you can easily glue it together. Make sure you add any treats into the top before putting the roof on. String wire through the top of the roof to hand on the tree or leave it underneath to open on Christmas day. Perfect for wrapping those really small presents like jewellery.presents recycled from christmas cards

5 Gift ideas from Christmas Cards

1. Make some Christmas coasters and place mats for the big week by glue squares of cards onto cork mats. Be as wacky or as subtle as you like when it comes to colours. Add a lick of varnish when the glue has dried to protect your mats for years to come.

2. I bet many of the thrifty people reading this have made lots of lovely treats for friends and family that fall into the gift in a jar section. Don’t waste more paper and ink by printing out labels. Use cards to ring through the festive delights inside, especially if its got a Christmas theme like cookie dough mix or mincemeat.

3. Give a small child a simple memory game for Christmas by cutting up a large card into equal squares. They can play it inbetween the lull of opening presents and stuffing your face.

4. Got a bottle of something special for the wine lover in your life. Add a beautiful gift tag made from sturdy card folded in half, with a hole through one side and part of a greetings card glued to the other.

5. Use some of the beautiful poetry on a card to make a bookmark for the book worm of the group. This example has a blanket stitched edge to make a nice finishing touch and a neater look

Only a few more sleeps to go :D

Lorna

X xxx

 

Attack of the Brussel Sprouts!

Evil Brussel Sprouts!Its Christmas day, the living room is strewn with paper, the dog is getting inexplicable tangled in tinsel, Granddads already asleep and your about to munch down on a delicious dinner and stuff yourself senseless. Yet a sinister villain has crept in among the festivities, he’s green, he smells but its not the grinch! It is of course the evil brussel sprout which we all endure every Christmas dinner even though we don’t even like them! Why i hear you ask…tradition is the answer. I have always hated brussel sprouts, that was until I found this recipe on A beautiful Mess Blog. The simple roasting of brussels instead of boiling their ass off coupled with a sprinkle of lemon, oil oilve and salt has truly converted me and it shall be the way to serve them this Christmas indeed. I sprinkle a few additions of my own, namely pepper (as i am mad for it) and a little orange peel (just to add a little more of a festive touch)
I just wanted to tell you that i now am a convert and you should try it this way too if your a brusselphobe

Other then dinner, is everyone ready for ding dong merrily on highs yet or are you flapping round town in a blind panic, still finding the perfect present for your Aunt Erma? Lorna X xxx

A Simple Christmas: Crafty Crackers

christmas craftingOne of my favourite traditions at Christmas is pulling crackers as we sit down to our feast. I love the naft jokes and the sometimes nice mini presents, and i also love that every one in my family wears the paper party hats all the way through dinner. They are really really expensive though even when they only contain a novelty moustache comb or a pair of lips. If you make your own you can personalise them or at the very least put something inside a bit more interesting then another pair of toe nail clippers.  I used sweets for the practice one i did but you can use anything you want as long as it fits in the cracker of course. There are two types i’ve shown below, one with a few more steps then the other but still very easy)

You will need: Toilet rolls, ( 1 for the first type, 2 for the second, glue/double sided sticky tape, cellotape wrapping paper(for each cracker you want a piece that will wrap fully round the toilet roll and a bit longer then a A4 sheet of paper), gifts/sweets, terrible jokes, ribbon.

crackers how to1. I found out this little tip to help make the toilet roll rip easier and make it more like the bang of traditional cracker. (incidently you can buy the cracker bangers online if you want to add that extra spark) Cut into the center of a toilet roll from both sides but make sure you don’t slice all the way through. It doesn’t matter if you flatten it to do this, they are quite easy to reshape

2. The first cracker you only need one toilet roll for the center. Do the cut as in no.1. and add in the sweets/gifts and joke into it, try to jam it in so it doesn’t move around too much. Tape the toilet roll to the center and the edge of your wrapping paper.

3. Roll the toilet roll up in the wrapping paper until it meets the other end and tape in place. Use the ribbon and tie into a bow on either side of the toilet roll. Tie fairly tight but try not rip the paper. You now have a cracker to enjoy on Christmas day.

4. If you want a more traditional looking one, repeat steps 1 & 2, then cut another toilet roll in half so you have two smaller tubes. Tape or glue these in place and the ends of the paper in line with the main toilet roll, so there is a gap between the small ones and the main roll. I then use stripes of double sided sticky tape along the edge of the paper to secure the small tubes when i roll it up. Homemade crackers

5. Roll it up and secure with tape if needed. Use  ribbon to tie a bow around the paper where the gap is, pull it tightly and it will bring the cracker together. You now have a beautiful cracker for the dinning table

i also used pinking shears (zig zag scissors) to give the cracker a nice neat edge, you need a few toilet rolls to make a few but you still have time before Christmas. Finally, you need to make sure you find the tackiest, naffiest, most terrible jokes to put in :) My first one was

‘What hides in a bakery on Christmas Eve? A Mince Spy!

crackers about crackers

haha love it

Lorna

X xxx