{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!

Advertisements

{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.

{How to} make a fabric bowl

Because all of your beautiful things need pretty places to live. No more tangled necklaces or frantic searches for house keys as you are rushing out the door, these bowls are a great way to use up all scraps of fabric and add some style to your storage solutions at the same time.

You will need:

  • {How to} Make a fabric bowl: you will needfabric
  • rotary cutter and cutting board and scissors
  • craft glue, water and water-based varnish mixture (recipe below!)
  • bias binding
  • glue brush / foam applicator
  • bowl to use as a mould
  • plastic wrap
  1. Cut your fabric into stripsCut the fabric into strips that are roughly 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide and long enough to overhang the edges of your mould. The fabric you use is up to you. Cotton-y fabric works best as it soaks up the gluey slop nicely and is thick enough to hold its shape and whatever you want to put in your dish once it is dry. I’ve tried this with just about every scrap of fabric I could find, you can layer up nets and chiffon and other spangly fabrics to make things a bit more textured or glitzy as long as you keep in mind that you need a reasonable glue-to-absorbent fabric ratio for you creation to hold its shape once it is dry.
  2. The slop. To make your magical wonder glue you will need equal parts of craft glue, water-based varnish and water. I mix the glue and the varnish together first, then thin it with the water to help get the right consistency, you are aiming for that international standard of ‘a pudding-like consistency’. You want your mixture to be thin enough to soak into the fabric but thick enough to stay in the fabric and set the shape of your creation rock solid. Lay your strips onto the mould
  3. Cover your mould in the plastic wrap as smoothly as possible to stop your fabric strips sticking to your mould. Soak your strips in the slop and then lay them onto your bowl crossing them over the centre and filling in the gaps as you go. (I put mine on the inside of the bowl but you can use the outside instead, it just depends what you want the final shape to look like.) The first bowl I made got quite bulky on the base where all of the strips overlapped in the center of the bowl and it wouldn’t sit still. To stop this from happening lay the first four strips in a star shape and then cut your remaining strips in half and use these to fill in the gaps. Build up two layers.
  4.  The easy step. Let it dry. Completely.
  5. Lift your bowl out of the mould, peel off the plastic wrap and trim off the excess fabric at the top.Trim off any excess
  6. Cut your bias binding to length. Apply some glue mixture to the inside of the bias binding and glue it over the edge of the bowl. A fiddly business at the best of times, but made slightly easier by gluing the tape and the edge of the bowl at the same time and allowing them to go tacky before pressing them together. Once the binding was finally all glued in place I covered just the bias binding in a layer of the glue mix so that it would have the same finish as the rest of the bowl.
  7. You can always add a layer of varnish to your finished bowl if you want it to be super sealed and sturdy. (I decoupaged a trunk when I was a teenager which I sealed with a couple of layers of varnish and my son uses it as a toy chest now. The colours have faded a little but the magazine pages are all still perfectly intact!) I don’t think I’ll bother with varnishing mine, I’m happy with how solid and sealed they seem, once yours are dry it’s up to you!

and you are finished! There is something really pleasing about making these bowls, it’s one of those cutting-sticking-paper-mache-being-a-kid-was-the-best happy places that finishes up with a grown up bowl that you can personalise to your heart’s content and show off to all your friends.

For more bowl based inspiration see my {Gallery} here.

{How to} Grow borax crystals

Home grown crystals to add a little sparkle to your life in a few short hours. I made some of these to go on our Christmas tree but with Spring in the air (or at least it was!) it’s time to take the snowflakes down and make room for a new season full of makes. I wondered if the decorations would get brittle as they dried out but they seem just as solid as when I made them back in December, so I am going to put them away to next year and see how well they fare. They are so simple to make though if I have to make a whole new batch it wont be much of a problem.

To make your own borax bling you will need:

borax pipe cleaner jar crystals

  • borax powder
  • hot water water
  • pipe cleaners
  • jar/ heat proof container large enough for your pipe cleaner shape to be suspended in the solution without touching either side.
  • thread
  • a pencil
  • food colouring (optional)

 

 

  1. Bend your pipe cleaner into shape. I have tried this with super fluffy pipe cleaners, normal pipe cleaners, metallic pipe cleaners and twisted metallic pipe cleaners. They all worked fine but you can see from the photos that the crystals grew differently on each one. It’s also worth knowing that I untwisted the same type of silver and blue pipe cleaner I used to make the snowflake to make the heart and the star. Weirdly the crystals grew differently on the pipe cleaners after I had separated them… although maybe that was to do with something else. I guess we’ll never know!
  2. Tie a  loop of thread around the pipe cleaner shape. Then thread the loop over the skewer so that you can suspend your decoration in your jar so that it is not touching the sides or the bottom.
  3. Boil enough water to fill the jar and completely cover the decoration.
  4. Pour boiling water into your container (allow it to cool slightly first if you think your jar might pop!). Add one tbsp of borax powder, stir until dissolved, then keep adding a tbsp of the powder and stirring until the borax stops dissolving and starts collecting at the bottom of the jar, at this point the solution is saturated. If you want to you can add food colouring to the solution and grow coloured crystals, (I haven’t tried this but if you hop on over to the Yoyomax12 YouTube channel they’ve given it a go. [If you aren’t already hooked on Yoyomax12 click here and prepare to loose hours of your life] )
  5. Gently lower your decoration into the solution. In all the tutorials I have read it says that you should see some crystals growing after a couple of hours, I don’t know if I got a bad batch of borax (is that even possible?!) but I have found that I need to leave mine for at least 4 hours to get a good covering of small crystals. As far as I can make out you can leave them to grow as long as you like I think but the crystals will only ever grow so big. Out of curiosity I  left mine over night and ended up with some really great cubic crystals, which leads me on to step 6…
  6. When you are happy with the size of the crystals gently lift your decoration out and either hang it up somewhere to dry, or lay it down on some absorbent paper away from prying fingers.

Cleaning up – Crystals will grow on the inside of the jar but these will wash straight off with  a little warm water and you can pour any unwanted solution down the sink. Just like you would with any laundry detergent type chemicals it might be worth wearing gloves when you are washing up and obviously be careful not to splash it in your eyes and to clean the sink carefully afterwards so that it doesn’t come into contact with anything you would use for cooking.

{How to} make a beautiful Easter basket

The lovely people at Bristol With Kids asked me if I would like to write a guest post for their blog so I shared this super simple, 5 minute craft with them. We LOVE living in Bristol, and if you’re looking for things to do here then Nichola and Fritha’s blog is a great place to find out the best sights and sounds in this fabulous and family friendly city.

Easter basket templates

I first started making these baskets about 6 years ago when I used to run drop in craft days for families. The shape of the baskets is pretty standard but I wanted to be able to decorate my own, printed ones from the supermarket weren’t going to cut it! So I made my own template that fits neatly on an A4 sheet and is so simple that you can put it together in 5 minutes. Making these baskets has become a much loved tradition in our house, if you want to have a go all the instructions are written on the template so print yourself a copy off using the links below and let your creative skills run riot. How to make an #Easter #basket 5 minute make #craft #kids

We’d love to see some of the beautiful baskets you’ve made, share your pics on my facebook page, tweet me a photo @picklepintweet, #LSEASTERBASKET on instagram or just drop me a line at info@laurastepney.co.uk.

PLEASE REMEMBER: If you want to share your photo of your basket these pictures will be on public display.

Printable goodies.

Basket template

Easter hunt this way!

egg template

(Each of these files will open as a pdf)The end!

{How to} Care for your felted lantern.

crumpled lanterns

Whether your lantern has just started to soften and sag, or your cat has mistaken it for a comfy sleeping spot, the following steps will restore your lantern to its former glory.

You will need:

your lantern
a balloon
soap
hand hot water
a tea towel/ drying rack

  • Sit your lantern on a flat surface.
  • Inflate the balloon inside the lantern. The idea is that when you have inflated the balloon and tied a knot in the end, the knot will be roughly in the middle of the lantern opening. The curved top of the balloon gives the curved shape to the base of the lantern. When inflating the balloon it is important that the walls of that lantern should be taut over the balloon to avoid too many wrinkles, but not so tight that it puts pressure on the neck of the lantern. But there is no need to be overly precious.
  • Now we need to wet the wool. I always use hand hot water to wet the wool first and  just a touch of olive oil soap. (You can use a little of whatever hand/ dish soap you have by the sink.)  Agitate the wool gently, make gentle circular movements across the surface of the felt for 1 or 2 minutes. Trial and error has taught me that if you apply too much pressure you can end up forcing the balloon to bulge on the opposite side to the one you are rubbing and because the wool is wet, it can stretch the shape.
  • Rinse all of the soap out of the wool. This one needs to be done with cold water. Turn the cold tap on to a slow steady flow and holding the lantern close to the spout of the tap allow the fresh water to gently displace all of the soapy water.
  • Leave your lantern to dry. Apply some gentle pressure to press some excess water out or pat with a clean, dry tea towel and then it’s up to you. You can leave your lantern on a windowsill, on the radiator ( if you have the sort of radiator that has two raised lines across the top you will get lines in the bottom of you lantern, but there are worse things that can happen!) or you could also dry them upside down by resting them in a bowl. How long they take to dry will depend on so many things – how much you patted them dry, how thick they are, how warm the room is. I guess the best advice I could give you is don’t dry them with a hair dryer but don’t let them stay wet for so long that they start to smell like a damp sheep.
  • Pop the balloon and your lantern will be as proudly upstanding as the first day it was made.

If I haven’t made the process clear, or you’ve tried this and think I’ve missed something out please let me know, I’m only to happy to help and am always on the look out for new hints and tips!

Pictures coming soon!