Posts Tagged ‘Gift ideas’

Wow! Look at me – The second post in a week; I’m in danger of turning in to a blogging goddess! As promised here’s another mini feature explaining my lengthy absence from cyberspace……………

I treat myself to this!

The London Emblem Badgemaker 5 - Bloody Marvellous!!!!!!

The London Emblem Badgemaker 5 – Bloody Marvellous!!!!!!

I’ve wanted a badgemaker for ages but since returning to a life filled with freemotion machine embroidery it’s become a necessity rather than wishful thinking; I NEED to make badges, pocket mirrors, bottle openers etc – I REALLY DO!!!!!!!!

Hence the purchase – A rather pricey item, but boy has it been worth it 🙂 Here’s the linky thing if you fancy finding out more or want to invest in one yourself:  http://www.allaboutbadges.com/product_info.php?products_id=42

So what does it do? And, more importantly, what have I done since getting it?

Well, obviously you can make badges – In three sizes as it happens; 25mm, 38mm and 55mm. But you can also make keyrings, fridge magnets, bottle openers, pocket mirrors, medals and freestanding photo frames. Marvellous!!!!!

At the moment I’ve got the 55mm set up – the perfect size for incorporating some freemotion gorgeousness 😉

Ready for some of my designs? Here we go:

Sugar skull themed fridge magnet.

Sugar skull themed fridge magnet.

Also in badge and pocket mirror options.........

Also in badge, keyring and pocket mirror options………

A floral selection - Inevitable really!

A floral selection – Inevitable really!

It's come to something when I can write neater with a sewing machine than I can with a pen in my hand!

It’s come to something when I can write neater with a sewing machine than I can with a pen in my hand!

An apple for the teacher - A really simple idea but a lovely gift whether it's in badge, keyring, fridge magnet etc form :)

An apple for the teacher – A really simple idea but a lovely gift whether it’s in badge, keyring, fridge magnet etc form 🙂

VW's - You don't seriously think I'm going to miss them out? Do you?

VW’s – You don’t seriously think I’m going to miss them out? Do you?

Of course I had to do a T25 option........

Of course I had to do a T25 option……..

And it would be rude to leave a classic Beetle version out!

And it would be rude to leave a classic Beetle version out!

And now of course there's Christmas to contend with and festive versions to make.........

And now of course there’s Christmas to contend with and festive versions to make………

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And what sort of person would I be if I didn't pay homage to my favourite seamstress and her co-stars?

And what sort of person would I be if I didn’t pay homage to my favourite seamstress and her co-stars?

Incidentally, Monday 16th September marked 100 days before Christmas (and just like last year I’m making references to Sally Finkelstein!) The ‘nightmare’ has once more officially begun!!!!!!

Anywhoo, that’s the end of my second mini-post. And, as you can see, I haven’t been resting on my laurels whilst keeping quiet in blogland – I REALLY have been busy. And it’s set to get busier!!!!! Ho hum!!!!

Happy Crafting folks!!!!!!

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Nah! I’m not a would-be terrorist! It’s bath bombs that I’ve been making this week as part of my November theme of Gifts 😉

And as usual, I’m not going to bore you with the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of it all as everything you need to know is on the Internet for you to find out for yourself.

The only thing I will say is that if you treat it the same as making sandcastles then you won’t go far wrong – too wet a mixture will be a nightmare as it’ll start to fizz and expand; a consistency similar to that of damp sand will be just right.

Always make more than you need to fill your bath bomb mold – I pack any left over mixture into a spare mold, leave it to firm up for about five minutes then take it out and break it into little chunks – gather these together and pop them into a little organza bag and you have an instant gift – this works really well if you’ve been making a batch of bath bombs using different fragrances and colours as it adds a little extra variety to the selection. Lovely!

Assorted bath bombs, bath bomb bits, bath salts and MORE soap; Another busy week at Bully Bus HQ!

It’s been a busy week as I’ve made a few more loaves of soap, a little mountain of bath bombs and accompanying ‘bath bomb bits’ and also managed to squeeze in a hearty helping of bath salts.

This is my favourite bath salt recipe – 2 cups of Epsom Salts, 2 tablespoons of glycerin, 1 teaspoon of white pearl mica powder, 10 drops of tangerine fragrance oil, 5 drops of lime fragrance oil, 5 drops of peppermint fragrance oil, 5 drops of grapefruit fragrance oil.

Simply put everything into a large glass jar, shake every day for a week to ensure that everything is thoroughly mixed together, then package as desired. But first, make sure that you put a little bit aside for yourself and throw a handful into a running bath and prepare for an invigorating experience! It’s yummy – refreshing and adds a bit of sparkle to your day 😉

Here’s a few more fragrance mixes you could try…….. but this time using essential oils:

For PMS: 10 drops of Rose, 8 drops of Ylang Ylang, 7 drops of Bergamot, 5 drops of Geranium.

For Muscle Soreness: 10 drops of Allspice, 8 drops of Cinnamon, 6 drops of Cajeput, 6 drops of Chamomile.

To cheer you up and lift your mood: 10 drops of Lemongrass, 10 drops of Geranium, 6 drops of Sweet Basil, 4 drops of Lime.

For Calming: 10 drops of Cedarwood, 8 drops of Clary Sage,  8 drops of palmarosa, 4 drops of lemon.

Short but sweet this week! I’m off to run myself a bath!!!!!

Happy Crafting Folks!

It’s a little known fact that a few years ago I was drafted in by a local small business to help create and develop a range of bath and pampering products; Making soaps, bath-bombs and natural beauty preparations was a bit of a hobby for me that suddenly turned into something a bit more serious; Not a course I wanted to pursue long term, but a nice little diversion for a short while……

Hopefully, I’ll be able to share a few hints and tips that I’ve picked up along the way as a result…… because it’s week two of my ‘Gifts’ theme and there’s heavenly scents emanating throughout the house! Soap making and general scented gorgeousness have been very much the order of the day – And now is the perfect time to prepare your product in time for Christmas gift giving 🙂

Melt & Mold Soap Making

Melt & mold soap making is addictive – It’s not as hazardous as making soap from scratch with alkaline lyes and it’s relatively quick and easy to do. In a way it’s much like candle making, where you would melt a product base and then add colour and fragrance before pouring into a mold to harden. Inexpensive equipment needed to carry out the task is readily available and the whole process can be done in the comfort of your own kitchen over the course of a few short hours. What’s not to like about that?

Winterberry fragranced campervan guest soaps – With melt & mold soapmaking you can make just about anything!

I won’t go in to the basics of how to do it because, as usual, there’s a wealth of information, instructions and videos to peruse at your leisure. But here’s a short video clip of making melt & mold soap in its most basic form to start you on your way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXmLgRxTKTg

I wouldn’t use cling film like they do in the video – and I’d advise you to be careful when whisking, adding fragrances etc as, essentially, you’re working with something that’s damned hot and potentially dangerous when it comes to possible burns, scalds etc.

With regards to fragrancing your soap ALWAYS use ‘skin-safe’ products. Cosmetic fragrance oils and essential oils are great; Pot-pourri and incense oils are a huge No! No! Please don’t ever attempt to use anything that’s not already recommended for direct use on the skin! It’s also worth noting that some American fragrance oils are not acceptable for use in the UK. But I guess that this is more of an issue if you’re intending to sell your product rather than give it as a gift.

A bit of a digression I know, but here’s a brief overview of a few of the things you’ll need to know if you intend to make money from this hobby: http://www.justasoap.co.uk/catalog/selling-your-products-c-28.html?osCsid=8f163dad580491e59e41ddd8eb8f5e90

I worked closely with Trading Standards who are also very happy to help and give great advice on things like weighing, labelling, batch marking, indicating shelf life, etc. More importantly, they’ll give advice on maintaining up to date MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets) – again an absolute essential for folks wishing to make money from their hobby.

This is a great site for purchasing supplies in the UK and they include all the necessary documentation you’ll need alongside each detailed product description for you to download and print out – MSDS, Allergen and IFRA limits, plus COFA (Certificate of Analysis): http://www.gracefruit.com/ I’d make using this site my number one priority – It’s one of the best out there!

This site would ALWAYS be my number one stop – It’s brilliant!

This is also a useful site to look at when stocking up on essentials: http://www.yorkshirefragrance.co.uk/

As is this: http://www.bathbomb.biz/index.html

And this: http://www.dennycraftmoulds.co.uk/c17/soap-moulds/

I prefer to make big batches of soap using 1kg silicone loaf molds; You can get a bit more creative and have a go at embedding different elements, layering, suspending additives or including additives on top etc

I made two examples of embedded soaps – one with a loofah running through and one with a few simple ‘canes’ of contrasting colour.

Again, I won’t go in to great details about how to do this as there’s so many instructional videos available on the Internet that’ll show you everything you need to know.

So today I got busy and made a batch of individual campervan guest soaps fragranced with ‘Winterberries’, a lovely loaf of ‘Spa Bar’ fragranced with Lemongrass essential oil with a loofah embedded in it and a poppy seed top for a fantastic exfoliating experience and a creamy ‘Palma Violet’ fragranced loaf with a handful of contrasting clear canes running through it. The house smells wonderful!

I’ve still got a few batches to make up so I’ll get on with that now and continue with this theme next week too – plus I’ll add a little bit about making bath bombs and salts and maybe share a few fragrance ideas.

Happy Crafting!

Well! I’ve had the week from hell as regards keeping hale and hearty 😦 A bad head cold has meant that my asthma has kicked in, just in time to endure a bout of cold weather and lots of mould and fungal spores hanging around in the atmosphere! So, lots of rest, steroids and apoplectic coughing fits, with not a lot getting done as regards assorted bits of work in progress…. But, it’s a new month and a new theme…… and life goes on. It’s officially ‘Movember’; A time when men around the world do their bit to raise funds and awareness in the fight against testicular cancer. Our household is no exception. Mr Other Half is already sporting an upper lip rug which promises potential for magnificence in the weeks to come!

My man’s ‘mo’; Already quite impressive but maybe he’s taking things a bit too far by insisting that we refer to him throughout the month of Movember by his porn star name, ‘Butch Waters’, too 😉

I’m toying with the idea of creating an appropriate piece of moustache themed jewellery for myself, Son 2 is starting to grow his lip thatch tomorrow (Movember the fifth) and we’re still trying to convince Son 1 to come on board with the rest of us….. even the bullies of the bus have had little moustaches crocheted by my good self – But how on earth we get them to wear them so we can obtain photographic evidence is a little conundrum we still have to work on though……… 🙂

I’ll keep you updated on our progress….

To join in yourself, register or make a donation, please visit the following link for more information: http://uk.movember.com/

But back to business…… Movember also sees the start of my penultimate theme for my ’52 Crafts in 52 Weeks’ challenge – ‘Gifts’. Here’s a simple little idea to get us on our way……….. and something that can be created quickly and easily without breaking the bank!

When the temperature has dropped, and you’re coughing and spluttering, making something to keep things cozy is always a great option!

I love this little mug cozy idea; It’s really easy to make and the fact that it has an integral ‘coaster’ built in to the design really appeals to me.

You can find the easy to follow instructions here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Crocheted-Coffee-Mug-Cozy/

I think that a nice mug, with a coordinating cozy and possibly some tea bags or hot chocolate making kit secreted inside would make a lovely little gift for someone special in your life. Maybe add a few carefully wrapped homemade cookies in to the mix as an added bonus and you’ve created something that’ll be very much appreciated by the recipient for numerous times to come 😉

I’m going to make myself a hot drink and have a bit of a rest now – too much coughing and spluttering is giving me a headache and I need to get fit and well so that I can finish that mounting pile of WIP’s!!!!!

Happy crafting folks! 😉

Continuing with my retro crafts theme, this week I thought I’d introduce you to a few more cool crafting gizmos and show you how to make quick and easy Suffolk puffs.

Classic Puff Patchwork Cushion

Sometimes referred to as ‘yo-yos’, a Suffolk puff is a little gathered circle made from a scrap of fabric and as such can be a brilliant stash buster when you need to use up excess resources. Traditionally, they were used in patchwork and quilting where they were joined together, edge to edge, and were incredibly popular in the thirties, forties and fifties, when out of thrift and the necessity brought about by hard times, people would use up every last scrap of fabric and recycle all their clothing in the ‘make do and mend’ culture.

Patchwork and puff perfection.

These days, with a resurgence in the popularity of all things patchwork, Suffolk puffs are once again in vogue and are often used  as embellishments, but also feature strongly as decorative elements in homewares, soft furnishings and even clothing.

Bjork sporting a coat made entirely of Suffolk Puffs.

They’re incredibly easy to make – particularly with a yo-yo maker or two to hand, and are also fairly portable which is why I often end up taking a stash of fabric circles, needle and thread on the road with me during the summer.

This week’s collection of gizmos and gadgets.

So let’s get down to the knitty gritty of how to make some…

We’ll start by using a couple of yo-yo makers which are basically circular discs with sewing guidelines. I’m using two different sizes with diameters of 45 and 60 millimetres and my fabric of choice is a selection of lightweight cottons.

7. Repeat the whole process again, using contrasting fabric and a smaller yo-yo maker.

Now it’s time to make a covered button before finally assembling each element.

9. Stack the two puffs and use a few stitches to join them together; add the fabric covered button as a finishing touch before stitching on a brooch back and Voila! A lovely brooch that would make a pretty gift for Mother’s Day 🙂

A really pretty, hand crafted gift for Mum!

Suffolk Puffs are great to use as embellishments. Why not invest in a couple of yo-yo makers and have a go at making some yourself? You’ll soon become hooked!

Puffs a’plenty on bags and purses – great little gifts to give to family and friends 😉

If you want to join in with my crafting adventures next week it might be wise to start sorting through your wool stash now. Until then, Happy Crafting!