Friday, 31 January 2014

New Year and a Return

We are just returning from our Christmas break and hope you have all had a good start to the year. Every year we try to hand make a few extra stocking fillers for the children and I thought I would share some of the things we made here quickly. Last year I made little monsters, this year my crochet took a slightly different turn.

My daughter is a huge fan of the Despicable me films so I decided to crochet a minion, she was absolutely thrilled on Christmas morning.

I also had a go at making a replica of Edith's hat. Edith is one of the little girls from the film. My son is more interested in games so a Boo was made from the Mario games.

The children love these little extras, my husband also hand made some extra stocking fillers that were amazing. He made a beautiful wooden ring toss game I have put links in if you would like to take a look. A lovely tower of hanoi puzzle and large wooden dice, he also cut out all the parts for a bird house and wrapped them with instructions for the children to make for themselves, which made a good alternative craft present to be put up in our nature garden.

We also made some catnip mice for new our kittens, can't forget presents for them. I would like to introduce our newest members here at lightly enchanted Crow and Tesla.

This was a photograph from when they first arrived, they are a little larger now. Crow was named after two things, the bird is a spiritual messenger and also a character from my husbands favourite series in which a crow was the nickname for a member of the nights watch. Tesla is named after one of our favourite genius inventors, Nikola Tesla, the master of lightning. They have both been exploring the garden a lot lately and are learning how to get along with the chickens.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Wool Wrapped Wire Reindeer

Yesterday I wrote about the wool wrapped wire snowflakes we made... Today I'm bringing you something much cuter, Rudolf the red nosed reindeer, made in the same way as the snowflakes.

We started in a similar way to the snowflakes, my husband began by drilling small holes into some left over dowel and inserting the wire to make a reindeer shape as seen in the photo below. My daughter also made one with an old cork and some wooden skewers as you will see in the last photo.

After getting the basic shape I then wrapped the entire reindeer in brown wool until every last piece was covered. I managed to use one continuous piece of wool again as this is easier to fasten off the end with a spot of glue.

To finish I toyed with the idea of a small, shiny red button or bead for his nose but in the end we opted for a little red pom pom and a quick spray of glitter.


He makes a very cute addition to our festive decorations this year, my daughter absolutely loves him and has made one of her own. She decided to paint her reindeer instead of wrapping him in wool.

 And then there were two...

Friday, 20 December 2013

Wool Wrapped Wire Snowflakes

Every year we try to make some new decorations for our tree, this year we have been so busy I'm only just getting around to posting them here. One of my favourite things were the wool wrapped wire snowflakes... so simple but they look so lovely on the tree.

First I made the basic shape of a snowflake with wire, any wire will do as it will be covered, I've just used cheap garden wire. My husband soldered three lengths of wire in the middle to hold them together but it is possible just to wind the wire to get the basic shape. The smaller pieces of wire on each arm are just wrapped around the larger wire, once the wool is added they will fix better in place.

Then it's time to wrap the entire wire snowflake in wool, I used white for snow. I did this in one continuous piece starting from the centre and going down each arm in turn then back to the centre so that it is covered with two layers of wool, before going down the next arm. This made it easier to fix the end of the wool when the snowflake is completely covered with just one spot of glue.

When the wool wrapping is finished your snowflake will look like the photograph above. I decided to add a tiny pearl bead to the end of each wire like a little stopper, adding a spot of glue to hold it on. This not only looks pretty it also covers the wire ends in case it is a little scratchy and helps to hold all the wool in place.

Here is the finished snowflake after a quick spray with glitter spray, ready to have a loop added to hang on the tree. These look gorgeous hanging on the tree, are very simple and quick to make and we think they look quite stylish too.

We would like to take the chance to wish you all a Merry Yule / Christmas from all of us here.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Garden Charms and Bird Treats

At this time of year, as the weather gets colder, our thoughts go to feeding the birds. This is our way of giving something back to nature to replace the berries we foraged in autumn. As well as making sure the bird table and feeders are full we have also been making some garden charms, which look very pretty hanging in the trees and provide an extra feast for our feathered friends.

For the charms we have used some garden wire bent into the shape of a heart or star and various dried berries and nuts. The heart shape has been threaded with rosehips and raisins.

When fully threaded the shape was secured safely with either tape, string or wire and a loop was added to hang it on the tree.

We also made a star shape which was threaded with chestnuts and Rowan berries. It is harder to see the shape of this one as the chestnuts are much larger. Anything that birds find tasty can be threaded onto your wire shape and they look gorgeous hanging in the garden.

The pine cone feeders have been a firm favourite with the children for quite a few years now. First attach string or wire for attaching the feeder to the tree as seen in the above photo. Then coat your pine cone with either peanut butter or lard and roll it in bird seed.

These little pine cone feeders usually attract the small birds that are a bit nervous about visiting the bird table when larger birds are around. They are very simple and a lot of fun to make even for very small children.

I will leave you with a couple of photographs of the garden charms and pine cone bird feeders hanging in the trees. They add some much needed colour to the garden this time of year.

The children love feeding the birds and this also provides them with extra opportunities for bird watching.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Pumpkin sun catchers

Just thought I would share this quick Halloween craft with you. If your children are as busy with crafts as mine, it is inevitable that you will have many left over pre cut out sheets of random shapes... I always save these just in case they come in useful and it makes perfect sense to re-use craft items to save money.

This is a left over sparkly, foam sheet with pre cut pumpkins on it. First cut out one of the pumpkin shapes... sounds odd cutting out an already cut out shape but you will need to leave a border around the shape, a bit like a photo frame...see below.

This is our sparkly pumpkin border, which was then stuck down to a piece of orange tissue paper. Our craft sheet was already self adhesive making it very simple. Then cut out the whole shape and it will look like a coloured in pumpkin.

All that's left to do is add your facial features and stick on the window, for some pumpkins we cut out eye, nose and mouth shapes and stuck them on, but in others we just used a marker pen.

These are some of the finished sun catcher pumpkins which can also be fixed around a light source like a jar with a tea light inside to be used after dark.

This is a very thrifty and easy craft for children to do using something that normally gets thrown away. This could be tried with any shapes you have, but if you don't have the craft sheets you can always cut out your own shapes in black card.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Corn Husk Beads

I'm back to show you my daughter's corn husk recycling craft. The idea came from the paper beads we all used to make as children, the dried corn husks looked like a similar shape to the paper template, so we thought it was worth trying.

First take your dried out corn husk, which is an elongated triangle shape, and start to roll it around a skewer as shown above. A little glue may help it stick here. Carry on rolling right to the end of the corn husk and glue it down.

At this stage it looks a little like a cotton bud. You now need to slip it off the skewer carefully to preserve the hole in the center as this is where you will thread your bead later.

Once we had made as many as we needed they can be trimmed to neaten up the ends and to the size you require.

My daughter chose to paint them in beautiful colours with some metallic paints, they could also be varnished if you want to make them more hard wearing.

After the beads were dry they were threaded onto a piece of thin elastic, just the right size for a bracelet or necklace.

This is the finished bracelet, very pretty colours... I think she did a wonderful job. If you don't have corn husks to use have a go at the traditional paper bead making... it's a lot of fun.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Mini corn husk broomsticks

As Halloween is approaching fast we thought we would make some mini decorations to hang on our spooky Halloween tree. After the crops were harvested on our allotment we had a lot of corn husks left over so we have decided to use them.

First take a small stick and wrap the dried corn husks around one end, any small twigs or raffia will do if you don't have any corn husks. Then trim the ends to an appropriate length for a broomstick, we have cut ours at about a couple of inches.

Tie the corn husks to your stick tightly, we have used copper wire as we have quite a lot of it but any string will do.

Snip up from the bottom to give the little decoration an authentic broomstick look. We gave ours a spray with the glitter spray to finish it off with a magic dust sparkle.

That's all there is too it, all that is left is to hang them on the spooky Halloween tree when it is put up.

Last year we made corn husk dolls and a corn husk sunflower wreath with our left over corn husks. My youngest daughter has also been crafting this week with these leaves and I will be back soon to show you her wonderful creation.