Tuesday 6 December 2016

Getting crafty this Christmas

All my regular readers will know that I'm a bit craft crazy! I love any opportunity to have a go at making something from scratch, from crochet to baking, paper craft to sewing - I'll try my hand at pretty much anything. 

This Christmas is no exception, I've been getting my craft on big time this festive season and I thought I'd share some of my makes with you today - hopefully providing you with some inspiration - there's still plenty of crafting time left before the big day. 

At the weekend, I finally completed one of my biggest makes ever - I've been working on this cotton granny square blanket for two whole years (on and off) and on Saturday I hooked my final stitches. I'm so chuffed with the finished blanket, and I'm already enjoying snuggling underneath it on these cold winter nights, all 150 squares of it! 

Mrs Bishop's crochet granny square blanke
100% cotton crochet granny square blanket in Rico cotton Tangerine, Mouse Grey & Natural. 
As well as crochet, I have also enjoyed learning some origami. On Saturday I attended an Origami workshop run by my friend Erica Roffe from BedPop/The Bedford Clanger, who taught me how to make these fabulous Christmas star hanging decorations. I'm totally addicted to paper folding now, and have ordered myself a book on her recommendation to expand my origami skills. 

Origami star decorations
Origami star decorations!
Each year we try to add new decorations to our Christmas haul, and this year is no exception - well, except that this year I decided to make some new decorations instead of buy. I wanted an orange, cinnamon and pine cone garland, but they were all super-pricey and I had one of those "I could make that!" moments...so I did. 

Homemade dried orange slices
Dried orange slices (second batch - forgot the first batch & burnt them - oops!) 
I dried the oranges for 3 hours in a low oven, purchased pine cones and cinnamon sticks in bulk online for just £12 (a fraction of the price of the garlands, and had lots left over to arrange in glass jars and bowls around the house for extra decorations) and used twine, wire, two mini Robins and foliage to create a big garland and door wreath. 

homemade Christmas garland
My little robin friends! Homemade garland.
homemade Christmas garland
Ta Dah! My homemade Christmas garland
homemade door wreath
My homemade door wreath
There is one homemade item that I make absolutely every Christmas without fail, and that is homemade vanilla extract. I make a large bottle at this time of year, which lasts me for the whole year. Trust me, it takes seconds and is so much better than any store bought vanilla extract you might pick up. It also makes a great Christmas gift for any foodies/bakers. 

To make vanilla extract you'll need:

madagascan vanilla pods x8
sterilised bottle 
sharp knife

  • Pour vodka into your sterilised bottle until almost full.
  • Slice open your 8 vanilla pods and push down into the vodka filled bottle. 
  • Pop on the lid and give it a vigorous shake. 
  • Shake well each day for 30 days, you'll see the liquid darken. 

After 30 days your vanilla extract is ready to use, but the longer you leave it the better it will get! 

homemade vanilla extract
Homemade vanilla extract
Inspired by a Christmas themed woodland walk for children that we went on at the weekend, I made these fun pom-pom snow strands to hang at our windows to make it look as if it is snowing outside. 

I found the iridescent white pompoms in Poundland, and threaded them onto invisible string/nylon thread, with knots to keep them in place, then attached them to the top of my windows using Blu-Tack. Bert absolutely loves them! 

pom pom snow
Pom pom snow
My final make for this Christmas was this Christmas stocking for Connie. I'm so excited for her first Christmas and I'm really looking forward to seeing Bert share Christmas with his new baby sister - he totally 'gets' Christmas this year, and is so excited and full of excited anticipation already. I made Bert his own personalised Christmas sack for his first Christmas, so it was only fair to make one for Connie too. 

I was kindly sent some of the materials I used to make the stocking from the kind people at Turtle Mat, who are encouraging people to get crafty this Christmas with their Christmas stocking making competition. I thought I should take part as I was planning to make Connie a Christmas stocking anyway! 

Firstly, I made a pattern for my stocking on pattern paper, and cut it out in my desired fabrics. 

Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
Creating a pattern for my homemade stocking
I sewed the main stocking and trim on my sewing machine, but added the 'C' , the christmas tree and the button and bell detailing by hand. I'm mega chuffed with the final result and I can't wait to fill it with gifts for Connie this Christmas. 
Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
Connie's giant Christmas stocking
The detail on Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
The detail on my homemade stocking
The detail on Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
'C' is for Connie & a Christmas tree - both finished with real jingle bells! 
The detail on Mrs Bishop's homemade Christmas stocking
Top detailing to my homemade Christmas stocking, complete with ric-rac hanging loop!
Mrs Bishop's festive fireplace
Looking uber-festive on my living room fire place. 
I'm not done yet either... I'm currently in the process of crocheting a beanie hat with the leftover cotton yarn from my blanket - I'm hoping to have it finished in time for the much colder weather on its way! 

Have you crafted anything this Christmas?

Mrs B


This post is my entry into the Turtle Mat Christmas craft competition 2016.