Friday, 8 December 2017

How To Make Leafy Paper Snowflakes

Today I'm sharing a very special guest post: Jessica's leafy paper snowflake tutorial!

Lots of leafy paper snowflakes

Jessica posts beautiful, colorful, nature-filled photos on Instagram as vanillalemoncake and started the inspiring hashtag #natureflatlays. Her pictures always make me smile when they pop up in my feed!

She shared a tutorial a few years ago for making these gorgeous leafy paper snowflakes and has kindly agreed that I can repost it here on my blog to share the leafy snowflakey goodness with you all (hurrah!).

 Four leafy paper snowflake designs

I adore these snowflakes. They're a perfect blend of autumn and winter: a quirky alternative to a leaf garland, a leafy twist on the classic paper snowflake (you know I love those), and ideal decor for chilly autumn days or those early weeks of winter when the last few leaves are still hanging onto the trees.

A paper snowflake
Lots of leafy paper snowflakes
 Leaf shapes for leafy paper snowflakes

To make a leafy paper snowflake, you will need:

- A square of paper (cut from a sheet of A4)
- Scissors
- A ruler
- And a pen or pencil

Leafy Paper Snowflakes tutorial materials
To make the snowflakes...

1. Fold the paper in half by bringing opposite corners of the square together. Run the ruler along every fold you make, to ensure crisp edges.

Leafy Paper Snowflakes tutorial step 1

2. With the folded triangle facing you, as shown above, fold it in half again by taking the bottom right corner up to meet the top left corner.

 Leafy Paper Snowflakes tutorials step 2

3. You will now have two flaps of paper at top left (see above). Take the top flap and fold it down towards the bottom, so the corners meet.

Leafy Paper Snowflakes tutorial step 3

4. Pick up the shape you've made, and fold the second flap down behind to meet the bottom corner. You now have your folded shape. 

Leafy Paper Snowflakes tutorial step 4

5. Turn the triangle round so that the folded point is towards you, the two folded edges of the triangle either side, and the unfolded edges of paper away from you.

Draw a leaf outline onto the triangle - use the photos in this tutorial as a guide, or get inspired by your favourite leaves!

The stem should grow from the point (see the filled arrow drawn on the paper, below). The leaf edge MUST incorporate part of the folded edge each side (see the arrows, below) otherwise the snowflake will not work. Give your stem enough width to avoid it being too fragile.

When you cut, take care to not cut along the folded edges within your leaf design. 
Leafy Paper Snowflake Tutorial step 5

6. Time to cut out the leaves! Hold the folds together firmly as you go, to ensure you cut all the layers identically. Cut along the leaf outline. Make sure you don't cut the parts that touch the folded edges.

Leafy Paper Snowflake tutorial step 6

7. Now very carefully unfold your leaf. Each leaf should be joined to its neighbours along that folded edge you left intact. Congratulations... you just made your first leafy paper snowflake!

Leafy Paper Snowflakes tutorial step 7
Click here to visit vanillalemoncake on Instagram, see all of Jessica's lovely photos and meet Oliver the hamster!

vanillalemoncake on Instagram

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

A Year of Wreaths: November Holly Wreath (+ 20% off my book!)

The penultimate wreath tutorial for A Year of Wreaths is now available!

November's wreath features felt holly leaves and felt ball "berries" in a classic festive design:

I used a cheerful red yarn to wrap my wreath, but I think this design would also look fab (maybe even more so) on a pale, neutral background to really make the colours and shapes of the holly pop.

You'll find the free step by step holly wreath tutorial over on The Village Haberdashery's blog.

Click here to buy the November wreath kit, or follow the links in the tutorial to find all the individual supplies you'll need in The Village Haberdashery shop.

Click here to find all the wreath tutorials in the series.

P.S. Fancy 20% off my book, Super-Cute Felt

You can get 20% off Super-Cute Felt and any of the other books featured in this blog post when ordering via before December 23rd 2017. Just enter the discount code GIFTS20 at checkout!

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Tutorial: DIY Reindeer Novelty Christmas Jumper

Today I'm sharing a tutorial for turning a plain jumper into a cute novelty Christmas jumper!


Add some festive fun to your wardrobe this winter with this applique reindeer design, complete with mini jingle bells on the antlers and a fluffy pompom nose and tail. Perfect for Christmas parties and festive selfies!

Don't fancy making a novelty jumper? You could also use this tutorial to decorate the front and back of a cushion (or maybe even a pair of cushions) and add some festive cuteness to your decor.

This tutorial originally appeared in docrafts Creativity magazine.

To make this project, you will need:

- A jumper!
- The templates provided at the bottom of this post
- Felt in the following colours: light brown, dark brown, white, black, and red.
- Matching sewing threads
- Small jingle bells
- A red pompom for the nose, and a large white pompom for the tail
- Sewing scissors
- A sewing needle and pins
- A ruler

Important: Hand wash the finished jumper carefully in lukewarm water. Definitely do not tumble dry!

To decorate the jumper:

1. Use the templates provided to cut the pieces from felt in the colours marked.

2. Position the light brown front body and head and the dark brown antler pieces on the front of the jumper and pin them into place. Use plenty of pins and take care to only pin through the front of the jumper.

Tip: Use a ruler to help you position the reindeer in the centre of the jumper

3. Sew the felt to the jumper, sewing round the edges with whip stitch and matching threads and removing the pins as you sew. Throughout this project take care to only sew through one layer of the jumper and don't sew the front and back together by accident. Check your stitching at regular intervals so you don't have to unstitch a large section if you make a mistake!

4. One by one, position the white ear details, the black eyes and the white belly in position as shown. Pin them in place then stitch around the edges with whip stitch and matching thread. Remove the pins as you sew each piece in place.

5. Construct the red bow by sewing the pieces in the following order: ribbon, right tail, left tail, left and right bow, and centre circle. One by one, pin each shape in place, sew it with whip stitch and red sewing thread, remove the pin(s) then sew the next shape.


6. Turn the jumper over and arrange the back pieces as pictured: the light brown head and neck piece, the light brown body and the two dark brown antlers. The back of the jumper shows the back of the reindeer, so the antlers should be flipped to be a mirror image of the front. Note that unlike the front antlers, the bottom of the back antlers are hidden behind the head shape.

7. Pin the pieces then sew them with whip stitch in matching thread, removing the pins as you sew.


8. Add jingle bells to the front antlers. Use a double thickness of dark brown thread, sewing each bell securely with three or four stitches. To avoid carrying your thread between the bells and creating long, snag-able stitches inside the jumper, finish your stitching after sewing each bell.


9. Sew a red pompom to the reindeer's face to create the nose. Use a double thickness of red thread, sewing a few stitches through the centre of the pompom.


10. Finally, add a large white pompom to the back of the reindeer to create the tail. Sew it securely in place with a few stitches of white thread.

The front of your finished jumper should now look like this...

... and the back like this:


This tutorial is for personal use only: you can use it to make as many jumpers (or cushions!) as you want for yourself or as gifts, but please don't make any for sale. You may borrow a photo or two if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my entire post or share the pattern itself on your site. Thanks!

Follow the links to open each template sheet in a new window or tab. Download the image or make sure you're viewing it at full size and print at 100%.

Want more Christmas craft ideas? Click here for a round-up of all the free felt Christmas ornament tutorials on my blog, or click here to see all the free projects in my tutorial archive.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Gift Wrapping with Old Photo Negatives

Do you have a box of old photo negatives from the days before digital cameras?

Strips of negatives from family Christmases, summers holidays and other special memories make quirky and nostalgic gift toppers.

For these pictures I used a gift that was just the right size for the photo negatives, but of course your negatives probably won't perfectly fit your parcel like this! You can trim them to fit smaller gifts, or add several negatives (with thread either side) to larger parcels.

It's really easy to attach the negatives to your gifts. Cut two long pieces of embroidery thread or yarn (one for each side of the negative strip) then use a large sewing needle to thread them through the holes along the edges of the strip.

If you want, you can then add a second thread colour for extra detail. Once your thread is nice and neat, use the excess thread at each end to tie the negatives to your parcel, knotting them securely then trimming any loose threads. You could attach one or two strips, or a whole row for a striped look.

Once the parcel is opened, you can all have fun holding the film up to the light to see the images and explaining to any kids or teens in the vicinity what these strange little dark pictures are and how you all used to take your family snaps with this thing called "film" back in the day.

Don't have any old film negatives, but love the retro photo look? Click here for a how-to on making Polaroid-inspired cards and gift tags featuring your old family photos.

For more gift wrapping ideas and other free tutorials, visit my free tutorial archive!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

40% Off Craft Books at MAKEetc!

MAKEetc. (a lovely crafty website run by my publishers) are celebrating their first birthday with a BIG discount.

You can get 40% off all craft books (including my book, Super-Cute Felt) at tomorrow (Friday 24th November) with the discount code HAPPYBIRTHDAY40.

Click here to visit MAKEetc and check out their range of crafty books for knitters, crocheters, paper crafters, & more.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

A Trip to Liverpool: Pier Head & The Three Graces

My slow travel blogging continues!

Over the next few weeks I've got lots of photos to share with you from my trip to Liverpool... which may have happened over two years ago but is still well worth blogging about, because Liverpool is pretty awesome.

Holidaying in England in the spring is always a bit of a gamble weather-wise, but you can get some excellent hotel deals and if it chucks it down with rain it just means you (well, I) end up spending more time in museums and cafes which is really no great hardship (regular readers will know how much time I already spend in museums on my trips, rain or no rain).

I was really lucky with my Liverpool trip though, the weather was completely glorious and I got to spend a lot of time going for walks around the city and swooning over the architecture.

The most famous building in Liverpool has got to be the Royal Liver Building (even I'd heard of that and I knew next-to-nothing about Liverpool before I visited). This is one of the "Three Graces" on the city's waterfront: the Royal Liver Building, the Cunard Building (both pictured above), and the Port of Liverpool Building (below).

This is a rather fabulous trio! They create a very striking and impressive skyline, and if you look closer there are loads of interesting decorative details to reward your attention.


The Three Graces are located on Pier Head, which was the landing site for passenger ships travelling to or from Liverpool - including liners crossing the Atlantic. Your first impression of England would definitely be a good one if Liverpool's waterfront was the first thing you saw! You can still catch a ferry from here, albeit to much more local destinations.

There's a fabulous mix of old and new on Pier Head. The way totally different styles of architecture nestle up against each other is one of my favourite things about cities. One of the newest buildings is the Museum of Liverpool, which opened in 2011 (pictured on the left, below). 


The museum is free to visit and, as you might guess from the name, tells the story of Liverpool and its people. I particularly enjoyed the galleries devoted to Liverpool as a global city, and the city's overhead railway. So many fascinating things, all very thoughtfully displayed.

Also on Pier Head you'll find the Church of Our Lady and Saint Nicholas...

... if you walk along the waterfront, make sure you look up to see the church's ship-shaped weather vane and (of course) the two famous Liver Birds on the Royal Liver Building.


It feels a bit weird to write that you "loved" a memorial to a disaster, but I was very struck by this one: the memorial to the "Engine room heroes" of the Titanic.

Apparently this was the first monument in the UK to depict "the working man" and has been rededicated to include all those who died in maritime engine rooms in World War One, as well as the 244 engineers who died on the Titanic. The inscription reads "The brave do not die, their deeds live for ever and call upon us to emulate their courage and devotion to duty."

If you're familiar with the details of the Titanic story, you might be surprised to see a memorial in Liverpool (since the ship sailed from Southampton) but it turns out the White Star Line (which owned the doomed liner) was founded in, and based in Liverpool.

Just round the corner from the Three Graces is the wonderfully stripey Albion House which was built as the headquarters of the White Star Line.

Looking this building up for this blog post I discovered that it's now "a 64 bedroom luxury Titanic-themed hotel" which I honestly find deeply weird. The Titanic disaster is a very interesting, famous bit of history but I'm not sure I'd want to stay in a horrible-maritime-disaster-themed hotel - how about you?

That's enough Liverpool snaps for now... I'll be sharing lots more sometime soon!

For more slow travel blogging jam-packed with museum visits and swooning over architecture, why not read about my trips to Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham.