{How to} make Snowball Decorations

Video

This the second of 3 tutorials I’ve filmed for christmas this year. I’ll upload the final one before Christmas, watch this space!

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{How to} Beaded pipe cleaner baubles

Video

I’ve wanted to make video tutorials for such a long time and now I’ve finally done it!

It’s not easy this video business (especially when you live in a basement and even getting enough light is an uphill struggle!) but I am working on it. Baby steps people, baby steps!

But that’s not all that’s new in the pickleverse. You might already have noticed. You are no longer reading Pickled, pinned and stuffed, you are now reading A Peck of Pickles. There’s no real reason behind the name change other than it’s shorter and I like it better!

So as well as following me here, now you can find A Peck of Pickles on

Instagram : https://goo.gl/mzRaKb

Pinterest : https://goo.gl/orYAqR

YouTube : https://goo.gl/RLSedY

 

 

 

{How to} Rag Rug Wreath

wreath featured image TEXT

We need to thank the early 1900s for this nifty, thrifty craft! The best fabrics to use are woollen or jersey weight fabrics but you can use whatever you like, just keep in mind that the thicker your fabric the tuftier your rug.

A quick note about fancy pants crafting gadgets that you dont really need. You dont need a rugging tool, also (and brilliantly) known as a bodger, to make a rag rug. You can use a crochet hook, and if you don’t have one of those you could use a chopstick to push the strip through the hessian. What? Not even a chopstick? Try the end of a thinnish pencil. You dont need a rotary cutter and metal ruler to cut your strips of cloth, scissors work just fine, but gadgets make these jobs much quicker. If you like the look of rugging and think you might like to do more then you can invest in a bodger if you wish. Ok, enough with the gadgets, moving on…

red wreath strips

You will need:

  • Two identical cardboard rings (the size you want your wreath to be)
  • Pen
  • Fabric scraps, plus an extra piece to cover the back of your wreath
  • Hessian
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter (optional)
  • Ruler
  • Crochect hook/ rugging tool
  • glue
  • string or ribbon for hanging

Step one. Cut strips of fabric 1 inch wide and 4 inches long from your fabric.

Step two. Draw around your cardboard rings onto you hessian but don’t cut them out yet!

draw around template

Step three. You can start anywhere you like inside the rings you have drawn on your hessian. Crochet hook users – Push your crochet hook into a space in the weave, fold a strip of fabric in half, grab the middle of the loop with your hook and draw it back through the fabric, then pull HALF of the strip through so it looks like the red tufts in the photo below. Bodger botherers – The same technique really but you dont need to fold your strip you can just grab the end with your bodger and pull the strip through instead.Tuft one done! Skip 3 of 4 threads, push your hook through and repeat. Keep going until your wreath has reached your ideal festively fluffy fullness.

Step four. Leaving a wide margin of at least an inch, more if the size of your cardboard backing will allow, cut around the outer circle of the ring you drew on your hessian. Cut tabs around the outside edge. For the hole in the middle of the wreath, cut tabs (like the segments of a chocolate orange) from the middle of the hole back to the inner edge of the wreath.

tabs red wreath

Step five. Apply fabric glue to the back of the hessian and one of the cardboard rings and allow it to become tacky before carfeully sticking your newly tufted wreath to the cardboard backing making sure that you’ve lined up the edges as best you can. Fold the tabs to the back of the cardboard ring.

hanging loop

Step six. Cut a piece of fabric at least an inch wider than your remaining cardboard ring. Cut tabs into this piece of fabric in the same way you did to your hessain. Glue the fabric to the second ring, folding the tabs over to the back to create a clean edge.

Once both halves have dried, glue a loop of ribbon to one of the rings so that you can hang your finished wreath. I also added a string of red sequins to my green wreath at this stage to add a splash of colour and sparkle.

Finally stick the two rings together, hang you wreath up, stand back and admire your handy work!

These wreaths are so easy to make and have a neat, professional looking finish, and because they are so easy to personalise they make fantastic gifts too.

Make you own Sock Monkey. {Review}

Sock Monkey Kit BoxI wasn’t given this kit, my sister was. She is big fan of Monkey, the cuddly, knitted, tea drinking kind, but not such a big fan of sewing. So, excited by the prospect of owning a Sock Monkey but with no intention of actually making one, she handed the box over to me (cue me trying to look pained and despairing but not convincing anyone).

A tried and tested design, straight forward to make but with enough different tasks to keep you interested and with plenty of opportunity to customize your finished monkey and give it your own spin, what’s not to like? It is also one of those brilliant ideas where once you have learnt how make one monkey the possibilities for making a whole sock based society are only limited by your imagination and the contents of your sock drawer.

This kit proudly proclaims that is contains absolutely everything you need and indeed it does. (Well, everything except a pair of scissors, but it’s close enough right?!) Obviously there is a pair of socks in the box, there is nothing on, or in, the box to say what the socks are made from, but they have a soft cotton-like feel. Along with the pair of socks there is:

  • an instruction booklet
  • a bag of polyester filling
  • a needle
  • 2 buttons
  • red and white embroidery floss
  • a piece of red ribbon

( I’m sorry that I don’t have more pictures to show you for this one but I selfishly started this project without a second thought for you guys, I just had to start cutting and sewing immediately)

The instruction booklet has 16 pictures explaining each step but there are no written instructions. The steps are easy enough to follow but there are no tips on what stitches to use, or how best to attach the limbs or other extremities to your toy.  I have started a pinterest board with a few toy making tips since making Miss. Monkey. You don’t need any special expertise but knowing how to do some blind hemming is a handy skill to have up your sleeve.

Sock Monkey yellow skater skirtOnce the body was made it was time to pick her accessories. Rather than use the blue buttons in the kit my sister choose different buttons for eyes and decided that she would like a girl chimp with a bow in her hair rather than a boy monkey with a bow tie. She also wanted her monkey to have one ear up and one ear down. I chose to hand stitch this little lady, all in all I guess she took about about 3 hours to make, but you could sew the body, arms, tail, and ears on a sewing machine and then attach them by hand to save time.

As a final flourish I stitched the bow onto a tiny safety pin so that she can move the bow to suit her mood and made a very quick, no sew golden tutu and this summery yellow skirt from some scraps I had. (Somehow managed to miss that her skirt was lifting up in this one, maybe she is an aspiring Miss Munroe?)

It just so happens that it was my birthday while I was making this monkey and my son bought me this book of sock monkeys as a gift*. The perfect source of inspiration! There are some fantastic photos and some clearly well loved friends in Sock Monkeys  and what I didn’t know was that they a history all of their own. The Etsy blog has a good brief history, click here to find out more.

Make Your Own Sock Monkey, imported by Funtime Gifts Ltd, is available from various online retailers.

Overall score: 4 / 5. One mark lost for lack of sewing tips.

Difficulty: Easy. The box says 5+, I think this would be good first make for a child learninglearning how to sew. I’d say personal taste and not age would be the deciding factor on this one.

Trickiest part: Sewing the mouth on. This is where blind hemming would come in useful!

* Sock Monkeys (200 out of 1,863) by Arne Svenson and Ron Warren is published by Ideal World Books. ISBN 0-9722111-2-8.

{How To} Turn an old shirt into a cushion cover.

{How to} Upcycle a shirt into a cushion cover 2

This simple twist on the classic envelope cover is a great way to give new life to an old shirt; 4 straight lines of sewing and someone has already done all the fastenings for you. Here’s how you do it…

You will need:

{How to} turn a shirt into a cushion cover, sewing, handmade

 

  • 1 shirt
  • 1 cushion inner – I bought mine but you could make your own.
  • measuring tape/ ruler
  • chalk/ pen/ pencil to mark out your pattern
  • pins (in the altoids tin!)
  • scissors
  • thread

 

 

I made my cover on a sewing machine but you could easily make this by hand.

You will not necessarily need to make your owl tape measure look like it is flying a kite, but it does help.

1. Find/ steal a shirt from unsuspecting partner/ housemate/ father/ brother. Mens’ shirts are probably best because they are bigger and tend not to be fitted. I got this one fair and square by helpfully offering to put it in the recycling box and secretly snaffling it away into the fabric stash.

appropriated shirt

2. Measure your cushion inner, mine is 45 cm (18 inches) square. To make your cover you need to add on 2 cm (1 inch) to the height and width for seam allowance.

Iron your shirt before marking out your pattern. Yes I know it is a pain but do it anyway, you will thank me when you have a beautiful square cushion cover.

3. Measure and mark out a square on the front and back of the shirt. For my inner this will be a 47 cm sided square.

front and back

This is where you get to choose. If you are lucky this will fit perfectly within the sleeves of your shirt. If not the choice is yours. You can:

a.) Just ignore the sleeve seams and cut right on through ( I think this adds to the upcycled-shirtiness effect)

OR

b.) You can just re-adjust your pattern making it slightly smaller to sit within the seams of the shirt. Cushion inners are squishy and forgiving to this kind of behavior.

4.) Decide that despite having gone out and bought an inner specially that your shirt would look much better as a bolster cushion than square and grab a cushion off the sofa to use instead. (Optional)

5.) Pin the front and back pieces together, right sides facing each other and sew the four sides together. I have allowed for 1 cm (1/2 inch) seams in my pattern, you can leave more if you wish. I used a line of straight stitch and then a line of zigzag stitch running parallel just to keep the edges from fraying too wildly.

pin right sides together

Once you’ve finished sewing you can turn your cushion cover inside out and iron it flat. (Yes, iron it again, it DOES make a difference.)

All that is left to do is unbutton the shirt, slip your inner inside and sit back and relax on your latest sewing triumph. Shirts will never be safe in your house again.

finished productIt doesn’t need to stop at shirts either. I made an old cardigan into a cover to fit the square inner, before finding yet another old shirt and now have more covers than cushions! They are so simple to make that all three of these covers only took me an afternoon.

 

The pockets are a handy extra too. You need never loose the remote control again…

Chandni Chowk shirt