1. Little Bird – Most of you with kids will be familiar with Jools Oliver’s lovely line of adorable kids clothing at Mothercare. It is my absolute favourite – every single thing they create is cute, colourful and good quality. And its no more expensive than anything else in Mothercare. Win!
2. Janome TXL607 Sewing Machine – I wanted to share with you the machine I use, in case you’re interested, or if you are looking to upgrade yours. I’ve had this machine a year now, and I LOVE it. It is the best machine I’ve ever used. I wouldn’t buy it if you’re a beginner – its got a fairly hefty price tag – but if you sew regularly this is definitely one of the best machines out there. It has loads of pretty stitches (don’t judge me if my main motive to purchase was being able to sew hearts), as well as loads of other features. But most importantly, its easy to use, runs smoothly and sews beautifully. I feel happy every time I use it.
3. Blistex Lip Relief Cream – Sorry if this is boring… but it IS one of my favourite things, so here you go. With the heating on and the icy cold weather, my lips were cracked and hideous. I bought some of this cream and within a day they were soft, healed and happy. Its cheap, it works and its been around for years. I don’t know how I’ve missed it!
4. Gutermann Sewing Thread Notebook – This book of 42 spools of thread is a thing of beauty for sewers. With varying gradients of colours it’s the perfect antidote to never having the right colour threads when crafting!
5. Batiste Dry Shampoo– I may be so behind the curve with this one but dry shampoo is simply the best invention ever (in my opinion). I thought it was purely for festival-goers until a mum friend revealed it as being her secret to shiny, clean-looking hair. It’s perfect for mornings when you just don’t have time/too sleep deprived/have run out of normal shampoo. It also comes in a variety of scents and is a now a firm favourite in my bathroom cabinet.
6. Mary Berry ‘Cooks The Perfect’ Book – From the queen of baking, this bumper book of over 100 recipes covers sweet and savoury dishes. The tips boxes, which are accompanied by photos, are the selling point for me as you can actually see what each stage of the recipe is meant to look like. Its helpful for newbie bakers and cooks (like me).
Tia & Laura x
My Little Button is really into shopping at the moment. When she’s at home she likes to fill up little paper bags with objects and then show me what she ‘bought’ at the shops. So I decided to make her a personalised felt shopping bag in which to store all her ‘purchases’. I’m not sure it really counts as a ‘bag for life’ but it’s a step in the right direction, and it will definitely do her until she gets a new obsession!
For this project you will need:
- 3 sheets of green felt
- Scrap of contrasting coloured felt
- Embroidery thread to match contrasting coloured felt
- Sewing thread
1. Begin by cutting your pieces out of felt. You will need to cut the following:
- Front and back of bag – cut two rectangles measuring 7 x 9 inches
- Base of bag – cut one rectangle measuring 3 x 7 inches
- For the side panels – cut two rectangles measuring 7 x 3 inches
- For the handles – cut four rectangles measuring 12 x 1 ½ inches
You do not need to incorporate any seam allowance.
2. Pin and sew the base piece of felt to the front and back piece (as above).
3. Pin the two side panels to the front, back and base of the bag and sew in place.
4. For the handles, pin and sew two of your rectangles together. Repeat with the other two rectangles. Pin the handles to the bag. One goes across the front and the other across the back. I positioned mine 1 inch in from the side of the bag and 1.5 inches down from the top. Sew in place by sewing a square and then a cross inside the square to reinforce the handle.
5. With your scrap piece of felt, cut your little one’s initial and pin it to the front of the bag. Then sew in place using embroidery thread and a blanket stitch.
Finally, go shopping! My Little Button loves to take hers to our local fruit and veg market – now she just needs to realise someone needs to pay for her groceries before she sticks them in her bag!
~ Laura xx ~
5…4…3…2…1… Blast Off! This project is a really good boredom buster for a wet sunday, a little rocket to launch your little space people into galactica! Hope over to the Hobbycraft Blog to see how to make it, complete with video tutorial!
Bring a little bit of sunshine indoors on a wet afternoon with this paper plate hat. It’s easy to make with your little ones and when finished it makes a lovely addition to any dressing-up box.
Our full tutorial on this is up on Hobbycraft’s site now!
~ Laura & Tia x ~
Just after Christmas my brother and his wife had a beautiful little girl called Inara. She wasn’t due till February, so she was the picture of teeny tiny pocket sized perfection. I wanted to make her a little picture with her name on it, so I thought I would applique something as I enjoyed making the photo-applique so much. Here’s what I made…
You will need:
- Printed image for template
- background fabric (big enough to fit your selected frame)
- fabric scraps for the applique
- fusible interfacing
1. Begin by printing an image of an elephant and baby to act as the template for your applique (I used this one). I amended the image a bit so that the mummy could hold a flag with my little neice’s name on it. Draw on the name now then cut out the templates.
2. Select fabric for the background and applique pieces (I cut pieces for the elephant, calf, flag, text, flagpole and balloon). Iron on fusible interfacing to strengthen pieces and reduce the amount of fray.
3. Place the first applique fabric pieces onto the backing fabric and pin the template on top. Sew all the way around the template (it doesn’t matter if you sew over the paper a little).
4. Remover the paper, then snip around the applique. Sew the calf on in the same way.
5. For the flag, sew the main piece on as above then place the text fabric over the top and sew over the text. Tear the paper away and snip around the letters.
6. Sew on the flagpole and a little balloon (I was quite pleased I added the balloon as the back of the baby elephant does look like he is floating a smidge…!), then hand sew a french knot for each elephant’s eye.
As a last little touch I sewed on my neice’s date of birth onto the bottom of the fabric. Press and frame!
Whilst the weather drizzles outside, why not host your own indoor olympics? These medals are super simple to make from gold, silver and bronze fimo and our the perfect craft antidote to the Great British weather. For our tutorial on how to make them, visit the Hobbycraft blog.
~ Tia and Laura xx ~
It was Tia’s birthday recently and knowing her love of Kinder Bueno I made her these little gems. The sponge is packed with Kinder chocolate chunks and the buttercream is flavoured with hazelnut. In the words of my Little Button: de-lic-ious!
To make 12 cupcakes you will need:
- 350g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100g butter
- 200g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- vanilla extract
- 175ml milk
- 4 Kinder chocolate bars, chopped
- 175g unsalted butter, softened
- 250g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- 3 tbsp Nutella
- 2 Kinder Buenos
- 100g dark chocolate
1. Begin by preheating your oven to 180 degrees. Then, cream the butter and sugar together.
2. Add the eggs and combine. Next, fold in the sifted flour and baking powder to the mixture.
3. Chop the Kinder chocolate into chunks and stir into the cake mixture. At this stage a lot of the Kinder chocolate didn’t quite make it into the sponge!
4. Separate the mixture into cupcake cases and fill them so they are three-quarters full.
5. Bake for 2o minutes or until the cakes are cooked. Remove the cakes from the oven and leave to cool.
6. To make the buttercream, beat the butter until it’s light and fluffy. I did this for about 10 minutes. Add the icing sugar and mix until combined. Then, add the milk and Nutella to the mixture and mix until the buttercream is a consistent light-brown colour.
7. Pipe or spread the buttercream onto the cooled cupcakes.
8. Melt the dark chocolate and pour into a piping bag. Pipe in lines over the cupcakes to resemble the top of the Kinder Bueno. This doesn’t have to be precise.
9. Finally, break the Kinder Bueno into pieces and stick into the top of the cakes.
These turned out to be really creamy and light cupcakes and a real treat!
~ Laura xx ~
It’s half-term. and we’ve teamed up with Hobbycraft to come up with crafts to keep your little (and slightly bigger) ones entertained this week. Our first project is this Duck Tape Pencil Case – it’s quick and fun to make. To see how to make it, hop on over to Hobbycraft where you’ll find our video tutorial.
~ Laura & Tia xx ~