Category Archives: Crafting Tutorials

Guest Post – DIY Photography Tent

Well, today seems like as good a day as any to post this lovely guest piece from Fiona – who co-hosts #CraftBlogClub with me and is hosting tonight’s chat about photography – which runs in line with this great post about a cheap and easy way to get great photos for your blog! Thanks Fiona!

Hi!, I’m Fiona from fizzi~jayne makes…. and I also co-host #CraftBlogClub with the lovely Emma.  Over on my blog (fizzijaynemakes.blogspot.co.uk) I have been doing a photography season with lots of hints and tips for taking great photographs.  I reviewed the book “The Crafter’s Guide to Taking Great Photos” by Heidi Adum and in this book there is a tutorial on how to make a light tent from a cardboard box.

If you have a blog or sell your products you know how important it is to have professional looking photos but not everyone can afford a professional photographer or have all the gear, so I wanted to see if this cheaper alternative does the job.

You will need:

1. ingredients1

Required

  • A Cardboard Box.  The larger the box/tent the more the light can bounce around.
  • Semi-transparent paper such as tracing paper or baking parchment
  • Stanley knife or something suitable to cut through the box
  • Sellotape and Double-Sided Tape
  • Thick white paper, I used wallpaper lining
  • Natural light bulb and lamp

What I used in addition to the instructions:

  • Cutting mat to protect your surfaces whilst cutting the box
  • White paint (I used some white emulsion left over from decorating last year)
  • Have parcel tape on hand in case you get carried away with cutting, like me!

Hopefully most of this you have stashed away or you can easily get hold of them cheaply.

The camera I used is my Digital SLR, a Canon EOS 600D. I took all the pictures on shutter speed 1/125.  ISO was on auto.

How to make it

Take your cardboard box with the opening facing you and cut out large pieces out of the top and side panels.  Leaving enough of the edges to keep the structure and keep the base and back intact.

I painted the inside of the box white, allowing light to reflect more.  Light picks up colour and could cause a colour cast on your product.

2. box cut and painted3. box with sides cut outReplace the sides and top with semi-transparent white paper, I used baking parchment. However, being waxy it didn’t stick well so I would advise using a strong double sided tape or use tracing paper instead. 4. Box covered in parchment inside

5. completed box from outside

Create a runway from the back of the box with the wallpaper lining. Make sure there is a curve at the back to create a seamless background.  I attached the paper with double-sided sticky tape.

6. completed box insidePlace tent near a light source such as a window, outside or lamp.

Place your product inside the tent so it is within the three papered walls.

7. product in box

As with all my photo shoots I took these pics in my conservatory, depending on the direction of the light and time of day I use a lamp with a natural light bulb to balance the light and remove dark areas. On this particular day I did not need additional lighting.

So does it work?

I was pleasantly surprised! I took the following pictures and the only editing I did was cropping the image.

Here is the image of one of my custom orders that was ready for its portrait before being delivered….

8. card image taken in box

And then I took a picture of my favourite mug….

9. mug in box

The lighting was particularly good when I took these pictures and I know not everyone has a conservatory and not every day is a heatwave! So I took more photos of my favourite mug in a darker room.

10. lounge shot I thought I might need my lamps for inside.  I took a photograph with the lights on….

11. mug inside with lights And without the light….

12. mug inside no lights The lights did help but some further tweaking of the brightness would be needed in post-production, however, this is what I would expect from taking pictures in my lounge.

Overall I think it did work as a light tent.  The problem I have is it won’t fold flat so I am not sure where I will be able to store it.  The box is also fragile, you may have seen the amount of parcel tape I ended up using, so I do not think it will last long but as a short term solution I am happy with the results.

If you fancy making your own light tent I would love to know how you get on and see your photos.

fizzi~jayne x

fizzijaynemakes@blogspot.co.uk

Twitter: @fizzijayne

Facebook: FizziJayneMakes

Guest Post: Getting Crafty with Duck Tape Decorating

Who knew there was so much you could do with Duck Tape?  After a recent conversation with Ruth, who works with Duck Tape Colours; stocking a fabulous array of ducktape for all your crafting needs, I just HAD to get her to guest post on here.  Here are some inventive, colourful and creative ways of using Duck Tape in your household and interior crafting, look out for some more tutorials on Frugally Peachy coming up!  Thanks Ruth for your post – it’s inspiring!

Duck Tape has been known for years as something your Dad might keep in the garage for DIY jobs, but did you know the product now comes in all sorts of colours and patterns for crafters? It’s perfect for interior design on a budget. All you need is a bit of creativity!

I’m Ruth and I work with Duck Tape and I wanted to introduce you to a couple of the fab things you can now do with it. But first of all, the products. No more plain grey for this feathered friend – Duck is now leopard print, bright green, yellow, pink, zebra print.  It’s water resistant and can be cut or torn by hand so is also great for use with the kids.

Just some of the things that the Duck Team have been creating are…

 

Picture Frames

New ImageFor this you’ll just need Duck Tape, scissors, a
 ruler
and your picture to frame. If you fancy, you could add stickers and magnetic strips.

Step 1: 
Cut 2 x long pieces of Duck Tape and lay them both sticky side up on your work surface.

New Image1Step 2: 
Take one of the strips of tape and place it sticky side down on tope of the other piece of tape, creating a Duck Tape strip. Repeat to get 2 strips the same length.

Step 3
: Make two double sides strips that are shorter in length the same way as you did in  Steps 1-2.

Step 4: 
Form the picture frame with the 4 strips by placing the shorter pieces in between the longer pieces.

Frame 3 Step 5: 
Cut 4 x 1 inch strips and use them to tape the frame together where the long and short strips meet – these are called place holders.

Step 6: 
Cut a strip of Duck Tape slightly longer than your short strip and place it directly over the shorter side of the frame, covering the place holder. Fold the extra tape onto the back.

Frame 4Step 7
: Repeat Step 6 on the opposite short side.

Frame 2

Step 8
: Flip the picture frame over. Centre your photo face down over the frame’s window. Secure the photo in place using Duck Tape. Turn the photo frame round!
You could use stickers or extra pieces of Duck Tape to decorate or add magnetic strips to the back to hang your photo on a fridge. Attach string to the back to hang your photo frame, or make a standing frame by taping a piece of cardboard onto the back.

Frame 6You could also create this fab cushion, which is so easy and cheap to do.

Cushion - to useadccb56bf1cb7a73c69c111dd08d0624b551ad0d

b144fbd3811cf72629178fcbc1abea0dc4be7a341b2b8b73f192300eafd794190bf944490eb6471c4d1bc954577c836c5d28bddde365e9e4a1d25af9Check out these images for a quick how-to and don’t forget to check out our website for all your duck tape needs – we look forward to seeing you! http://www.ducktapecolours.co.uk

 

 

 

Guest Post: It’s Hip To Be A Granny Square

image 9Have you ever been keen on trying crochet?  It’s something I’m determined to master, but I’ve always been put off by the notion that you’re either a knitter or a crocheter.  Today on the blog, the lovely Kelly from Bibble Dibs has written a wonderful beginner’s tutorial for learning to crochet a granny square, so whilst I’m up to my eyes in research, unleashing my inner Bronte and Nazis, why not have a go using Kelly’s easy-to-use instructions!

I have been crocheting for about 3 years now, starting off with simple colourful rows of double crochet and half double crochet, but my discovery of Granny squares has led onto a more adventurous crocheting life!

Granny squares have been around for a long time and can be used to form many crocheted lovelies, including blankets.  I am currently working on one that will be big enough for a double bed (once iv finished it!) and is a colourful jumble of love.  Crocheting is my way of relaxing and taking some time out for me, recently some research has shown that Crocheting is as relaxing and calming as yoga and really helps to slow your heart rate down.

So, back to the granny squares.  This pattern is not designed by me but I will take you through the steps so that you too can create something big or small using this basic pattern

For this pattern I will be using a size 4 crochet hook and style craft yarn, which is super soft and lovely to use.

This pattern calls for the following stitches…chain stitch (ch), Slip stitch (sl st) and treble stitch (tr) and I am using US terms

What to do…I am writing this in the simplest way possible, but if you are still having trouble then I am happy to help you, you can contact me at www.facebook.com/BibbleDibs

 So, fasten your seatbelts, here we go…(good luck) image 1

Make a slip knot on your hook, this is the first thing you are required to do in any crochet pattern.  Wrap the yarn over your index and middle finger with the end of the yarn up toward your index finger

Next, put your hook under the second strand of yarn and pull through

image 2 Keep pulling the hook away from your fingers and you have slip knot, make sure it’s not too tight, so it will slide up and down the hook with ease.  And breathe…you did it!

Now, Chain 4 and join to make a ring. To do this push the hook through the ch st furthest away from your hook, pick up the yarn and pull through that ch st and through the ch on your hook, it should look like this

image 3Now, ch 3 – this counts as your first treble stitch. If you need help on the treble stitch check out www.littletinbird.co.uk for super help

image 4Next, Make 2 tr into the ring and ch 2

Now make a cluster of 3 tr and chain 2 and do this twice more, join your ch2 to the last st of the ch 3 at the start of the round with a sl st.

image 5You now should have something that looks like this…

image 6Hooray, congratulations, pretty hey? but no time for a break, now onto the second round

Ch 3, 2 tr st into the first ch space (where your chain is coming out of), ch 1 and then 3 tr st into the next ch space. Now to make the corner ch 2, 3 tr st into the same ch space. Like this…

image 7Continue around…so ch 1, 3tr st into next ch space, 2 ch, 3tr st, 1 ch, 3tr into next chain space, 2 ch, 3tr.  When you get to the first ch sp, 3tr, 2 ch and join to the top of the original ch3.

And there you go, you have done the second round…loving it yet???

image 8 Ok, onto the third round and once you have done this a few times you will be able to continue working round and round to make the square grow.

So this time, ch 3, 2tr st into the ch space, ch 1 and move to the next ch space, 3tr and ch 2, now the corner, remember this? 3tr, 2ch, 3tr, ch1, continue round until you get back to the first ch space, where you started round three make 3tr, 2ch and join to the top of the ch 3.

image 9 If you are stopping there, pull the yarn through and snip it off. Darn in the ends with a darning needle. You can find some brilliant Granny inspiration from Lucy at Attic 24 http://attic24.typepad.com/ her crochet is truly magnificent and the choice of colours are lovely…trust me, you’ll be hooked!

You have now completed three rounds and have done very well. I hope you didn’t have too many glitches along the way, if you did shout and I’ll try to help. I would love to see your makes, you can find me over at Facebook and if you pop over to www.wordpress.com/Bibbledibs i will be doing a blog about joining colours.

I really hope you found this tutorial useful, I have so enjoyed writing it. Happy hooking,

 

#CraftBlogClub – ‘You Complete Me’ Challenge Reveal…

craftblogclub badgeSo, I have a little confession to make before I get into trawling your wonderful makes!  I haven’t completed my project :(.  I feel like the worst host ever, but I was inadvertently left without a table on which to use my sewing machine for nearly three weeks, which has inevitably left me very little time to complete ANYTHING I need to.  I’m behind with my sewing projects already BUT, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Here’s my WIP so far…

The Scrappy Patchwork Chair

chair 1The purpose of ‘You Complete Me’, was to bring to light just how many WIPs us crafty lot have and really take the time to get ONE thing finished.  I blame external incidents for my unfortunate half-finished masterpiece, that and a particularly nasty delivery driver.  BUT, it has been fabulous to see so many of our #craftblogclub crew working so hard on projects they had near forgotten about, over the last few weeks – my Twitter feed has been littered with lovely WIP photos and posts and I can’t WAIT to see some finished projects.  So please, do link up below and share your work!

For my ‘You Complete Me’ challenge, I decided to challenge myself with some new crafting ideas and creating something of a statement in my lounge.  These old chairs were given to us me by some relatives who had no use for them anymore.  Though they were specifically ‘conservatory chairs’, at the time I really liked the shape of them and the comfort too – plus the footstool would be a great added extra for lazy knitting evenings sat in front of the TV.  They did, however, need a lot of TLC and I thought our ‘You Complete Me’ challenge would be the perfect time for me to get to grips with covering them.

patchwork close upAs I’m in the midst of painting and DIY-ing my house at the mo, I decided to try and make this chair a real statement in my lounge.  I had already painted a red accent wall and decided to trawl through my fabric and see how little I could spend patchworking the chair.  I had a lot of teals, turquoises and blues, which I felt would blend in really well with the red.  To finish, I decided to contrast the footstool by knitting a stripy cover using the same colour palette.  This would blend in with the blue hues on my sofa cushions and I even have a couple of knitted squares, ready for a sofa throw in the same palette too.  What could go wrong, thought I?  Well, to be honest, I’ve never patchworked a thing in my life.

Being the renegade crafter that I am, I thought starting off with big patches measured, ironed and sewn into place, couldn’t be too difficult – luckily I possess a lot of the ‘how hard can it be’ attitude, so the effect is already really starting to look great on the chair.  Being quite the sewing novice still, I decided to sew each of the top cushion sections and leave an open end on both.  I’m toying with the idea of hand-sewing press studs to secure the cover in place, but it does seem to fold and sit quite nicely without, footstoolwhich I’ll be thankful for when it comes to washing the covers!  I’ll get there, just not this month.  I did have to purchase a little more fabric, but the total spend on this project was just £11.98 – though I should replace the foam at a later date too.

I’m planning to get this baby finished as soon as I can, then I’ll post some finished photos and updates on my new lounge.  It has been a great way of working with patchwork and I do feel I’ve created something really unique for my home too.  I think it has a charm to it, the not-so-perfect patches, there is something quite fairytale-cottagey about it, which I think I quite like!  Just nod and smile.

So what about you guys?  What have you been up to and DID you manage to complete this project on time??  Stay tuned, I’ll be setting up a #CraftBlogClub makes board on Pinterest to showcase our wonderful work!

armchair 1Stay Peachy x

Come Join Us..



#Project34 Week 5 – The Tunic To Skirt Hack

IMG_20140604_164025#Project34 Week 5 – The Ultimate Tunic Skirt Hack

 Time Taken – 45 minutes before teatime!

So, what with my new found love for my sewing machine, I thought it was high time I started a bit of work ‘that there wardrobe of mine’.  The truth?  Not giving yourself the freedom to pop into H&M for a quick update is HARD – I’m still between sizes but, with the weather warming up as it so irregularly is, I’m in need of a constant wardrobe update!

IMG_20140604_163938Being that as I am, I tend to steer clear of Summer pastels and crop tops – they just aren’t me, the last time I wore flip flops I was trudging between lectures at uni and I have one pair of trusty Dior sunglasses that I simply couldn’t live without.  I’m not very, well, ‘Summery’.  I was, however, in possession of two rather gorgeous velvet tunics that felt a little short – which gave me a brainwave!

You might remember I wrote a little post about hacking a black tunic up to make a sumptuous velvet skirt – well, I did the same with my burgundy version and here is a ‘sort of’ tutorial if you fancy hacking up your own wardrobe!

As much as I’m a dress girl through and through, the versatility of skirts is just astonishing when you are a) on a budget or b) bored of your wardrobe.  Since their creation, my velvet mateys have been invaluable in creating new looks and styling up with various charity-shop bought tops and blouses that I have.  I ended up replacing the elastic in my original black skirt hack with a thinner, softer elastic and opted for more of a ‘pencil’ length with my burgundy one.  Read on to find out more!

You Will Need

An old tunic

Soft elastic – around 1.5 inches thick

Matching thread.

Now Do This

Choose the length you want your skirt to be and cut the top off your tunic to the desired length – I opted to cut just below the arms and work lower if I wanted to.

IMG_20140604_163909Measuring your waist, cut a length of elastic and around the waist-line of your new skirt.  Thread your sewing machine with matching thread and, using a straight stitch, stitch along the top line, securing the elastic to the waistline.

Once this is completed, turn your waistline over (the same thickness as the elastic) to create a neater edge and stitch again along the top line to secure in place.

IMG_20140604_163847That is it, you are good to go – providing your stitches are secure you have one rather beautiful skirt and a whole new world of stylish opportunities!

That's me on the left...with the Absinthe Fairy

That’s me on the left…with the Absinthe Fairy

Stay Peachy x

#Project34 – Sensory Toys for Busy Baby Hands

daisy and box#Project34 Week 3 – Sensory Shape Sorter

Time Taken – About 20 minutes – on a borderline hangover, absolutely Reznor-ized!

A little catch up needed here…the end of May came and went in the blink of an eye and I got so busy planning and starting my project for the next #craftblogclub challenge, I’ve barely had time to get behind the sewing machine and knock up another project for #project34.  I have, however, been busy putting a few bits together for Little Miss D and her busy little hands.

At fifteen months, Miss D is developing the most intrigued and clever character; like her peers she has been busy forming words, interacting and learning more about the world around her.  She loves puzzles, books and generally a lot of other things she isn’t allowed to have – so I started collecting odd bits and pieces to make sensory toys that will keep her busy and learning too.  And mostly, out of the kitchen cupboards.

So, one sunny Sunday, armed with little more than a very tired half-a-brain, some polkadot wrapping paper, an old cardboard box that once housed my new iron and about 50,000 plastic balls to fill D’s paddling pool, I made this easy shape sorter.

boxUsing a thick craft knife to punch three adequate sized holes in the sides of the cardboard box.  I covered the box in wrapping paper – not necessary but it does make it look very pretty – and filled the box with about 8 plastic balls.  Then, I watched the fun commence!

It’s funny how something so simple can entertain a child – When she’s a little more aware of the ‘sorting’ part, I might highlight each hole with different colours to match the coloured balls.  But, simply put, this very quick make is ideal for frugal entertaining on a rainy day!

#Project34 Week 4 – Fabric and Felt House Puzzle

Time Taken – About an hour – with plenty of Elvis on Spotify and tea by the bucketload

finished houseSo, not being content with just cutting up a cardboard box, I wanted to do something colourful for D with this mountain of primary colour felt I had left over in my stash.  I’ll be honest, bright yellow isn’t usually my go-to choice for felt projects – but when it comes to baby sensory projects, you can’t go wrong with the original and best!

felt mountainUsing a square of black canvas, I cut and sewed some leftover red polkadot fabric to it, to create a base. sewing I then cut a very simple yellow square for the house template, a red roof, a brown door and some green windows.  I used a black fabric pen to decorate the windows etc simply.

I bought a stash of sticky velcro from my local DIY store, costing a total of £2, cut to small sizes and placed on the back of each piece of the house puzzle.  I used one in each corner for the house and two for the roof – enough to ensure each piece sits securely. It was then probably best to leave the velcro to adjust to its surroundings for a couple of hours (or stitch it, if you have the inclination) – sadly my velcro was pulled about within seconds BUT it has held fast!

I absolutely love this idea and I’d love to make more for Miss D.  They can be rolled up and packed in the bag for the little ones during boring lunches out and they are a great way of using up those last few felt bits that just don’t work with your projects!

velcro stripsdaisy and house

So, I guess I’m pretty pleased with these two ideas – do you have any sensory toys that your little one loves to use?

Stay Peachy x

 

#Project34 Week 2 – Beginner’s Drawstring Bag Tutorial

floral bagDisclaimer: Tilly Walnes I am not, elatedly proud of making friends with my sewing machine I AM!  If you are learning to sew too – make sure you follow my Peachy vs the Sewing Machine posts for mini-tutorials and progress updates!

#Project34 Week 2: Drawstring Bag

Time Taken: 3 LONG hours of practice

 30 Minutes Prepping, Cutting and Controlling Shaking

30 Minutes Sewing and Making!

Ok, I’ve been pretty excited to share this news with you!  Last week, I ACTUALLY sat at my sewing machine and decided to master the basics of my sewing machine!  Week 2 of #Project34 was going to be about pushing my own boundaries and FINALLY overcoming my fears!

I forced myself to sit for three hours, whilst Daisy was spending the day with her dad, and follow lines on a tea towel and I can’t tell you how ELATED I felt when I finally felt I’d got it!  I’m sure lots of people reading this will think this is no big deal, but to me, a few straight lines and decent bobbin winding, had brought me much closer to my dreams of learning to dressmake!  With that in mind, I set to work on a small project to keep up the momentum of what I’d managed to master!  Introducing the beginner’s drawstring bag!

fabricI found this gorgeous floral fabric in my stash and already had the matching organza ribbon too.  I thought a drawstring bag to keep plastic bags in my kitchen would be a great first project.  As the cotton was quite thin, I cut four rectangle pieces (approximately 35cm by 45cm) out and practiced my simple sewing by stitching two pieces together.  Once this was done, I simply followed the edges of three sides (leaving one smaller side open for the top) with my sewing machine, stitching in a simple straight stitch.

Then, taking each section of the open top end, I folded it over to approximately a centimetre and stitched across, to create the fabric loop, through which I then threaded my ribbon!

And that, is quite literally it!  Much like cushions and machine covers,sewing machine the idea of a drawstring bag is simple, a great way to practice very simple techniques and the ‘drawstring’ feature hides a multitude of sins if you find your stitching goes a little wonky!

I was so pleased with my bag, I immediately set to work making bag number two – a laundry bag for Daisy’s room, using some beautiful Jemima Puddleduck fabric I bought to make a cot bumper with originally.  I also had a go at two-toning my fabric with this nautical I made for a very special 1st Birthday present!  This one was slightly longer and thinner, more of a pillowcase size but using exactly the same renegade measurement and sewing techniques!

francis bag 1

francis bagSo, if you fancy a go at something this afternoon and you’re pretty confident with the very very basics, why not brighten up your home with a floral drawstring bag?

Stay Peachy x

Frugally Peachy: Jam Jar Tealights Holders!

fairy flirtIn keeping with my love of all things DIY, I’ve been experimenting with some simple ideas for lighting your garden space this week.  Having seen a rather inspiring and tear-jerking post from the delightful Hodge Podge Craft on DIY Wedding ideas, I was really taken with the simplicity of some large rope covered vases that were featured.  Needless to say….the mind started ticking.

Now I happen to be in possession of about fifty million recycled jam jars.  I love them.  I love to dress set, drink and bake all sorts of weird and wonderful concoctions with them.  So, when it came to thinking about cheap, cheerful and rustically-fabulous ways to light your garden, should you be sitting out at dusk, sipping on a cold beverage (from a jar), I grabbed some garden jute twine and set to work on these bad boys!  Great little tealight holders for sitting in situ in your garden and a snip of the price of a fancy tealight holder!

how toYou Will Need…

A selection of (clean) Glass Jam Jars (lids not necessary)

Garden Jute Twine

Some Super Strong-Hold Superglue – suitable for use on ceramics, glass etc.

Now Do This…

finished!To make a simple sitting tealight holder, glue a thin long line about a cm up from the bottom of your jam jar.  Unravel your twine and glue into place, ensuring that the end is sticking securely.  Once the bottom line is firmly in place, continue to wrap around the jar in an upwards movement, ensuring your glass is completely covered.  Be sure to add a little bit of glue every fourth wrap or so.  Keep wrapping until you reach about 2 1/2 cms from the rim of the jar and repeat the glue line, cut your twine and secure firmly in place.  Leave to dry for a couple of hours before using.

Now you’re done, I think this calls for a cheeky homemade cocktail and a makeshift BBQ, don’t you??

Stay Peachy x

Wilf...you flirt!

Wilf…you flirt!

#Project34 – Week 1- Cross Stitching, Across The Universe

cross stitch finish#Project34 Week 1: Cross Stitch Poetry

Time Taken: 3 x Daisy Naps

                     1 x Sex and the City Film (it was one of THOSE weeks)

               2 x True Blood Episodes – admittedly I was distracted at points!!!

       3 x Listens of the latest Pretty Reckless Album

If you have read one of my latest catch-up posts, you’ll be aware that I’m trying to take a little bit of time to get back into crafting for myself.  One of the best ways I thought I could introduce a little more craft and DIY back into Frugally Peachy was to create my own little #Project 34 – a project in which I create one thing per week (in the last 34 weeks of the year), for myself (or a gift).  I sometimes feel I babble on a lot about crafting and learning to make dresses, with very little evidence of doing so – the desire to do it is there, it really is sadly the time.  In between looking after D, I’m running the home, setting up The Gothic Librarian, Writing, running #CraftBlogClub, amongst other things – that can often leave little time for myself!

So, last week, I got a bit DIY creative around the house and made a start on reclaiming the space in my home.  My bedroom needed a bit of a facelift so I painted one red feature wall, put up some lovely red curtains from eBay (bargain) and treated myself to some much-needed new bedding.  The result?  A gothic-inspired haven of loveliness, my room feels comfy and reflects me!  It is still a little work in progress – I want to upcycle my chest of drawers – but my little home is starting to feel just like mine and I’ve got the DIY bug now!

I didn’t want to put too much on my bedroom walls, I have a little selection of postcards, but I decided I wanted a centrepiece for the wall behind my bed.  I’m all about positivity at the moment and I decided to set myself a little cross stitch project for my first week of #Project34.  What do you think?

cross stitch 2The words are taken from a poem by Tyler Knott Gregson, from his Typewriter collection.  This particular poem means worlds to me, for reasons I won’t go into here – so I thought it was important to have something wistfully romantic and positive to read every morning.

In keeping with the ‘Typewriter’ tradition, I tried playing with fading out the colour of each silk as I stitched the lower lines, as if the ink on a typewriter is fading.  I think working with block colours would have worked just as well, but I like the colour scheme on the finished piece.

From my early days on the Cross Stitch Train (a club I went to at primary school) – as much as I love it as a craft form, but it really is a labour of love –cross stitch 1 everything takes a lot longer than you think, but I’m really pleased with the outcome.  I love the simplicity of working with cross stitch to create words and I’m over the moon to have something personal on my wall again!

Do you feel like you need to take some crafty power back?  Why not join me on #Project34 – I’d love to see some of what you guys are up to!

Stay Peachy x

Review: Sizzix ‘Big Shot’ Die-Cutting Machine

sizzix mainAs I’m a something of a Frugal fiend, I don’t tend to say yes, very often, to reviewing products on this blog.  I see my blog as depicting my journey from, quite frankly, a renegade crafter of sorts to adored self-sufficient seamstress (ahem), so product reviews just don’t really fit the bill!  When, however, I was contacted on behalf of Hobbycraft and asked if I wanted to test out the latest die-cutting machine from Sizzix, I jumped at the chance to have a go and, in the process, add another string to my frugal crafty bow!

The Sizzix ‘Big Shot’ Die-Cutting Machine is available from Hobbycraft priced £74.99.  It is a table-top slide machine that allows you, the avid crafter of paper and fabric wonders, to cut intricate dies and embossing patterns effortlessly.  Impressed so far?  You will be!

Sizzix overviewFrom a ‘mechanical’ point of view, the Big Shot not only looks pretty, but on receipt was incredibly easy to assemble.  The machine comes pretty much in one piece with just the washer and crankshaft to screw in place – you are then ready to go!  The Big Shot comes with two cutting mats and an Extendable Multi-Surface Platform – for use depending on what sort of dies you are using.  Being completely new to this, I was really pleased that Hobbycraft sent me a packet of this trio of Tattered Lace Owl Dies to try out, available from Hobbycraft for £22.  The next thing was to actually TRY it out!  Which, in turn, happened to be pretty easy to follow too!

Whilst the instructions were easy to follow and clearly stated which dies are suitable to use with the Big Shot (I can be accused of getting a bit ‘faffy’ when it comes to new machinery), it was fairly self explanatory to work – once I’d chosen which colour paper I wanted to use – I simply popped the die in place with the paper, sandwiched between the two cutting mats and placed on the platform. sizzix and papercuts Turning the washer, the platform guided the sandwich through and the results were wonderful!  Each little owl was perfectly formed and intricately cut – I instantly got the bug for more.  I tried cutting fabric too – which didn’t work as well with these intricate designs, but would be a lifesaver for prepping fabric patches for patchwork and quilting projects.

So, what did I do with my little owl experiments?  I have a couple of very special Birthdays for very special little people coming up, so I decided to use these designs to make up some Birthday cards – I used basic glue to hold these owls in place, but they would work well in 3D form also if applied with sticky foam.

Birthday cardsOverall, I was really impressed with the machine and with my first go at die-cutting,  It all sounds so simple but I’m excited to try other dies in the appropriate ranges and also try my hand at a bit of quilting now that I have a machine that can make life a little easier!  I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good machine that is both simple and effective – I think it is going to become a regular little devil in the craft room and I can’t wait to try some more bits and pieces with it!

Stay Peachy x

Birthday Cards finished

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the Sizzix Big Shot Die-Cutting Machine and the Tattered Lace Owl Dies for the purposes of this review.  I was not paid by the company for this post and all views are my own.