I like upcycling, repurposing and crafting with my kids

Archive for the tag “Christmas”

Christmas Fayre time again!

Hello Blogiverse!

Can you believe we are nearly in December already, and it’s Christmas Fayre season?

I’m going to be at Portesbery School’s Christmas Fayre next Sunday 2nd December from 12pm – 3pm. Do come along if you are local, it’s a lovely event and there are loads of fun activities for children, plus a superb raffle and tombola for big kids 😉

Flyer about Portesbery School's fayre

Portesbery School’s Christmas Fayre 2018

See directions to Portesbery School here…

Here are some of my Christmassy creations! I really enjoyed making these hoops using upcycled pieces, including denim, ribbons, jute twine and buttons. The little Stop signs are recycled from my children’s long-abandoned train set!

Upcycled fabric hoops

New upcycled Christmas hoops


And it wouldn’t be a ShabbyShe stall without my classic favourites – all made from repurposed juice pouches!


Bags and pencil cases made from Capri Sun packs

My Capri Sun upcycles



Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I have neglected my beloved blog since August! I had the urge to write today, logged on and find that it is 3 years to the day that I started this little project. I love coincidences like that 🙂

My only excuses are the usual: 1) work and family life taking over (happy with family doing that, but as for work…!) and 2) I’ve been busy with craft fairs and my Etsy shop.

Let me show you my latest upcycled makes, on a Christmas theme …

burlap hoop with rustic heart design

This embroidery hoop art is made using hessian (burlap) and scrap fabric, which I’ve upcycled from curtain fabric samples. I used free machine embroidery to applique the hearts to the hessian and make the strings. I love the cute rustic look of this piece, ideal for lovers of shabby chic decor.

embroidery hoop art using upcycled fabric

This green spotty fabric is the perfect backdrop for my cute birdcage hoop. Again, I sketched the birdcage design using the sewing machine without a presser foot. It’s quite hair-raising when you first try it, but I’m addicted to this technique now! The flower is a piece of scrap ribbon and a little bead, and a bead also makes the upcycled fabric bird’s eye!

Here are my most Christmassy designs, which I’m hoping will attract someone’s eye at my forthcoming craft fair next weekend (details here) or on my Etsy shop.

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To make these Christmas themed hoops, I used both free machine and hand embroidery and some felt. I love using felt as it’s such a versatile fabric and of course non-fraying.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, how about you? Promise I will be back soon, I’ve missed this! x


Doing the Etsy thing…

The Lunchbags go live – now available for purchase

Hello lovely readers! Long time no post, I know: I’ve been busy making these little numbers ready for a Christmas Fair and now Etsy – do pop over and have a look at my shop. Your feedback is welcome! I’m hoping these eco-friendly lunch bags will inspire kids and parents alike in the quest for interesting packed lunches! They are great fun to make and I have an unfailing supply thanks to the fantastic recycling efforts of the dinner ladies where I work!!

My shop is here – I’m hoping to continue stocking over the coming weeks with more recycled, repurposed and upcycled loveliness. Watch this space! x

Homemade Gift Ideas: the mug cosy

These heartwarming little numbers are the perfect gift for the tea lover or coffee addict, and you can knit or crochet one up in a jiffy. I made them for teachers and a colleague for Christmas – ideal gifts for busy ladies who probably never get to drink a warm cup of tea 😉

I knitted mine using 2 different methods with interesting results – the reddy-pinky one is a simple moss stitch (knit one, purl one) and the blues are knitted in a smocked stitch which I found on this excellent Youtube tutorial by iKNITS

For both styles I cast on what I thought would be the right number of stitches (around 60) and knitted vertically until I liked the height of them (rather than fewer stitches and knitting it long enough to go round the mugs). The result was that the smocked stitch cosies were perfect as I followed someone else’s pattern, and the improv moss stitch was way too long!! I panicked as it was a gift and had to be given the next day (the previous attempt went wrong too!) My level-headed hubby then suggested just wrapping it further round the mug and adding a big button. It worked, hurray! (and phew!)

The felt labels are decorated with embroidery silks and stitched onto the cosies. I added a ‘string’ of wool to complete the tea bag look. The buttons, in true ShabbyShe tradition, are reused from my button box.

For my next cosy (for me, obviously!) I’ve pinched my sewing circle friend Heidi’s suggestion and knitted horizontally. Now that is good advice 🙂

Christmas Heart Garland: Felt craft

Vertical hearts garland using felt

Christmas garland of felt hearts

This pretty garland in Christmas colours is a quick and easy decoration I made for this year’s festive season. It is so simple that even the most reluctant sewer could cobble it together in no time!

Here’s the How to…

1. Simply take two felt rectangles in contrasting colours – I used red and green to give it a Christmassy feel – then fold and sew your first piece along the longest edge to join it. (I used my sewing machine for speed, but you just do a quick running stitch by hand).

Felt rectangle is sewn together

Step 1: Fold a felt rectangle lengthways and sew along the long edge to join

2. Next, you need to cut a straight line along the other long side (not the side you just sewed) – so you now effectively have two rectangles joined on one side only.

3. Now, open the newly cut edge and fold the felt around through 180 degrees, and sew this edge together.

Felt heart

A cut heart – by folding and stitching the fabric back on itself a heart shape is created.

4. You now have a sort of heart shaped tube – all you need do to create the hearts now is to cut this folded & stitched felt tube at 1.5cm (or 1″) intervals.

Easy felt hearts

Red and green felt heart pieces, ready to be strung together.

5.Follow the steps above for your other felt piece and you have two colours of hearts which you can attach to eachother to make a garland.

I used a needle and thread and simply strung them vertically, but you could fabric-glue them side by side to make a horizontal garland just as easily.

To retain their perfect heart shape I recommend fabric-gluing them to stiffen the heart shape as there is movement in my design, but I quite enjoy the imperfection so am leaving mine as is!

What do you think? x

Adventures in Advent Calendars

Painted wooden advent house

Re-recycled Advent House, ready for some Advent Adventures!

Time to wheel out our huge advent calendar again (recycling in action!) It’s lovely creating new Christmas season traditions when you have a family of your own, and this one will continue as long as the kids want to do it! Last year if you remember I tried giving them little Advent Activities to enjoy instead of gifts, sweets & stickers (see – it was a massive hit with them and my son actually asked if we could do the same again this December!

It’s such a nice alternative to those chocolate calendars which have them baying for more sweets at breakfast time! Plus whoever heard of an Advent calendar having 25 doors – it should be 24, right?

For this Advent season, I’ve used my heart shape cutter to make little hearts and written an activity or event on each one.

Paper hearts with advent activities

Paper hearts for the Advent Activities

This requires careful consultation with my diary to make sure I don’t plan something we’re doing something else. Now they are both in school, we can include some school activities such as Christmas parties which makes life easier!

I then folded up the hearts and wrote the date, all ready to stick in the little numbered windows. Easy as pie!

What are you doing for Advent this year?

Handprint Christmas Garland

Is there any cuter Christmas keepsake than a craft made from your children’s handprints? I saw this pretty Christmas garland on Pinterest and had to make one! See for a far less shabby version 😉

Handprint Christmas garland

Christmas Garland made from children’s handprints

It couldn’t be easier, just draw round the little ones’ hands onto green card. I cheated and traced around the original handprint to save making them sit perfectly still while I drew around their hands several times over! One thing I always try to do when involving the kiddies in craft is to keep it fairly short, before boredom and chaos kick in!

Crackers about Christmas!

One of our exciting Advent challenges (otherwise known as keeping the kids busy!) was to create some Christmas crackers. I always find the shop bought ones a let down so this seemed a good opportunity to let the children get creative!

We reused kitchen roll tubes cut in half and wrapped them in tissue paper, with stickers and little knick-knacks inside. OK the adults will probably still groan, and they don’t snap, but I think they are so much prettier than the mass produced versions and the children have the added satisfaction of everyone’s admiring looks! Plus noone has to wear an oversized paper hat now….

They let rip with stickers and foil bows and I held back from telling them about colours etc (must let the little ones express themselves!)

As you can see from the state of my kitchen table it was not a tidy job but I think the results look stunning.



Advent Season already??

Homemade advent calendar

Repurposed advent calendar

I can’t believe how December has crept up on me this year! Had a slightly panicky moment getting the advent calendar ready on Friday evening, last minute again!

I’ve gone for a different theme this year – instead of each evening putting a mini toy, stickers or sweeties into the small compartment for that day (quite a challenge with one for each child) I’ve stuck little folded cards in with various messages. There’s a mixture of challenges (eg. put on a Christmas show for mummy and daddy), visits (already in the diary – eg. let’s go and watch the Christmas play), crafty things (make a sparkly picture with your holiday stencils) and just 3 or 4 lucky dips (sweets, little pencils etc). I had a look at Netmums for inspiration – there are always loads of fab ideas on there.

The advent calendar itself was given to us by our neighbours – it was one of those wall mounted shelf units for displaying little ornaments, such as thimble collections I imagine. Their kids had played houses with their little character toys with it. As it was plain wood I painted it with acryllics and then numbered some foam sticker shapes and stuck them in. Voila – a repurposed ornament display enjoying a new lease of life as an advent house!

I hope the little ones appreciate the effort!

Advent calendar with Santa

Repurposed advent house with a young Father Christmas

They both immediately got in the holiday spirit by dressing up in their Father/Mother Christmas outfits and dancing to some Christmas pop tunes (today’s musical challenge) and as their daddy lit the fire it was a really cosy start to the advent season!

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