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October 2007
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December 2007

Crafts at Mistletoe Cottage

BasketsetcDianne and I have completed the two all-day craft days at Mistletoe Cottage - and what a lovely time we had! Two fantastic groups of people, from young mums to grannies and one token male added to the mix.

Each day was very relaxed and consisted of good food, good company and a lot of creativity. We made large wreath baskets and some small Christmas decorations.


Everyone who attended went home with something really beautiful to decorate their home with and all left requesting more! When we have details on future days at Mistletoe Cottage we'll post them.

You can check out more of what we got up to here.

A great big thank you to everyone who joined us, see you again soon.

Mini dioramas for Christmas


It looks like Easter around here. Gracie and I have been decorating eggs. She's been my little helper and model for various magazines lately, today it's an Easter issue. She's so good at understanding how to pose for "step-by-step" photos, moving just the right amount in the right direction and she's incredibly patient for six. Best part is bribery still works with her, if she's tiring I toss her a few sweets and she's mine for at least another ten minutes: )

We had a couple of eggs left over so we decided to make some mini dioramas for the Christmas tree. These were so simple and for some reason made us really giggle, probably fine glitter on the brain.

Snowmanframed_2Here's what we did:

Made holes in the eggs with a pin and broke them open to nearly half a shell.

We then washed them, let them dry and painted them inside and out.

When dry, we put glue around the rim and sprinkled on fine glitter.

For this one we built a snowman out of two pom-poms, used sticks for arms, added googly eyes, a pipe cleaner scarf and a felt hat and nose.

We glued gingham ribbon around it, tied a loop for hanging then a bow above. Another way to decorate these is to glue in cut out images from old Christmas cards to create a mini festive scene.

We were very eggcited with the results - easy and quick to make, perfect for children and adults with limited attention spans - like me ; )

Button monograms & vintage linens


My 50th post! I promised I'd show more monogram projects way back in my 6th post when I put up this tutorial. I'm a little slow on the follow-through, but here's one I made a while back - a gift for Dianne. I used a vintage piece of embroidered linen which lent itself nicely to a large "D" right in the middle of it.

A full-on tutorial isn't necessary - this is more a of a tip on using buttons for design, not just function:

  • Cut out the pieces for a cushion cover in any fabric (I like vintage embroidered linen bits for monograms.)
  • Lay the front piece of the cushion fabric out flat with the right side facing up. Position your buttons in a letter shape. When you're pleased with the design pick up each button, one-by-one, put a tiny bit of fabric glue or white craft glue behind it and put it back in position gluing it to the fabric. NOTE: Too much glue may clog the holes and make sewing them difficult.
  • Let the buttons dry then sew them on. The glue lets you position them nicely for sewing without losing your design. This works well for buttons in shapes too - like hearts.

Mother of pearl shirt buttons like these are easy to come by. I usually find them in the big tins of buttons I pick up at boot fairs.

Tphotoalbum_2I doubt anyone could possibly need a cushion making tutorial, so I haven't made one. If anyone does need one, I found this - a great source for cushion making and other home sewing projects.

Oh and another - already? This is Tristan's photo/baby album. I made a very simple "T", same method as above, and covered the album with the fabric I sewed it to. Gracie's still waiting for hers, she's 6.

This is my first autumn with a blog, sure is hard to get the photos done before the sun goes down. I may have to resort to flash soon - ugh!

For tutorial lovers


Anyone who loves a nice little tutorial and hasn't found my half of the brain must visit (but give yourself plenty of time to view it.) Melissa, it's creator, has compiled a huge tutorial database that covers 76 specific categories, mainly sewing related.

The site is very clean, straightforward and useful - just what we like. Thanks for featuring my latest tutorial Melissa : )

Shop love & seasonal wishes

Shop_2Now I know this little excerpt may be a bit of a tease for those outside the UK, but if Kent appears on your itinerary in the future, shop here. Frank is an artist and maker's dream. A lovely place to buy great work and be inspired by truly amazing British made craft.

The shop stocks work by many artists well known to craft blog lovers like Julie Arkell and Rob Ryan. Located in Whitstable, it's surrounded by fantastic foodie spots too, like my favourite deli, Williams & Brown, tiny but stocked with perfection.Interiorb

Thank you to my new friend Heikke for introducing my products to the shop. If you do visit Frank, look out for a seasonal Nini Makes design. I currently aspire to making time for crafting more often. It'd be good fun to have more items behind the Frank door, if for no other reason than to visit and buy the other lovely craft there.

This has always been my busiest time of year for work related projects, this year is no different. I wish I could spend time making all my gifts and preparing for the season, though there was a time my handmade efforts were not so well received. Quote from sister 1989 "You're not making our gifts again this year are you?" Imagine her disappointment finding out I had.

If I did have spare hours I'd take part in this at Sew, Mama, Sew!, great inspiration for makers out there. But I don't, lucky you Patty - probably won't be making your gift this year.

holidaytraditions2007button copia /

I will however be taking part in this little holiday group put together by the wonderful Meg at Montessori By Hand. It involves swapping stories of Christmas holiday traditions as well as a bit of handmade goodness, looking forward to it Meg!

And a big thank you to the lovely Amy at Gift of Green for naming Nini Makes "One Sweet Treat to Read." In the immortal words of my maternal grandmother, back-atcha! ; )

A family note: Congratulations Gamaiel and Rebecca on the birth of amazing little Isei. And to big brother Pete, get better soon! 

Royal biscuit fun


These must be the simplest way to entertain a child bored at home because her big brother is ill. Our weather here is unseasonably - no freakishly warm. I doubt anybody here remembers ever attending a Guy Fawkes bonfire night without a warm coat! We wanted to have a long cycle ride, but poor brother is not well. So we made these instead.

UsbornebookWe got the idea from this Usborne book, but used our own recipe. Gracie loved it because she was able to use a knife to carve her own crowns and then decorate them with all the nasty icing that she of course loves. But this will be the last of the nasty icing, I have just found India Tree, a lovely company that stock natural decorating products - I'll definitely be ordering from them (hope they ship to the UK.)

To make these biccies, use any sugar cookie recipe, we didn't use the one from the book due to lack of ingredients. Basic sugar cookies are so quick to make (even allowing the 1/2 hour in the fridge.) After refrigerating, roll them out into rectangles, carve three points at one end, bake and decorate.

Fun for little princes as well as princesses.