How To…Make an Embroidered Initial Necklace

I really love the trend for brush lettering and personalisation at the moment. I designed this necklace to compliment both of those trends, and it’s a really quick make you could complete in an evening or two, depending on how quickly you can stitch!

You can buy the kit for this necklace through my Etsy shop. It contains all you need to make the necklace bar the scissors and flat nosed pliers, and the optional embroidery hoop.

The kit comes with instructions, but for more detail, see below!

First of all, decide what letter you would like to embroider.

Use the carbon paper facedown between the letter you want to stitch and the grey linen fabric

Use a knitting needle or a blunt pencil to rub over your letter, making sure you get right to the edges. It’s best to use the middle of your fabric.

Place the fabric letter side down on an ironing board and then place the interfacing bumpy side down over where the letter will be and use a hot iron to bond to the fabric.

Using an embroidery hoop will make the sewing much easier. Use three strands of your chosen colour to work the letter in satin stitch.

Place the letter centrally over the inner circle of the pendant. Draw around the inner circle so that the edges of the circle nearly meet on the back.

Use embroidery thread to gather around the edge of the fabric and pull tight around the inner circle, securing tightly with stitches and knots.

Draw around the outer pendant on the grey felt, omitting the top part to create a true circle. Cover the felt in glue, put the outer pendant on the felt and then place the inner circle in the hole. Make sure that your letter is straight with the top part uppermost. Leave to dry overnight underneath something heavy – I used a bottle of whisky in a box!

Use flat nosed pliers to apply one large jump ring to the top of the pendant and one large jump ring to one end of the chain. Thread the chain through the pendant ring and then use the pliers to apply the small jump ring to the other end of the chain, along with the lobster clasp.

Trim away any excess felt et voila! Your necklace is complete!

It would be amazing if you showed me what you make! Tag me (@elm_rocks) on Instagram and Twitter and use the hashtag #elmrockscraftkits

 

Craft Room Clearout

I’m sure I’m not alone in the craft world for hoarding craft supplies! In fact, I know I’m not! I only have to mention to my crafty friends that I’ve got lots of craft stuff and they immediately sympathise and also say “oh my god, I’ve got to have a craft room clear out!”

My craft room was really out of hand. I couldn’t find anything, things were getting damaged before I’d had a chance to use them and I couldn’t remember what I had, so I was wasting money on supplies. When I moved house, I literally got rid of loads to charity shops, schools and craft groups and still had stuff that I didn’t need that I actually moved house with – twice!

I’m in a couple of Facebook groups for selling craft supplies but other crafters are usually in the same boat and trying to reduce their stash of supplies. I ended up hiring a table at Fox & The Magpie, a crafty café near where I live for a craft room clear out sale. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. I’ve been in the craft fair game for a while now and I’ve sat behind my table of stock I’ve made and packaged and promoted only to have no one turn up. But this was really busy, and busy with people who had actually come to buy as well. Lots of what I’d brought with me sold, which was great! I’ve still got some bits, so if you see anything in the photos you like the look of, let me know by emailing hello@elmrocks.com

Have you had a craft room clear out? And how to you stop yourself from creating the same problem again?!

What I Wore…Yellow Coat

It doesn’t take the most observant person to notice that yellow has been massive on Instagram for ages, or at least it has been on my Instagram feed! I love the colour yellow – it’s such a bright and happy colour and evokes a lot of positivity for me. I think it’s something to do with the coming of spring – lots of daffodils coming up and brightening the days after long wet winters, sunflowers with their enormous yellow heads contrasting beautifully with their chocolate brown centres, bees coming out of hibernation and flying around, pollenating our fields and gardens.

With so much to love about yellow, it’s always saddened me that I can never wear it as a colour. I’ve always thought that I have a yellowish tinge to my skin. Attractive, eh? Other expressions for such complexion include sallow, which, I’m sure you’d agree, is not a particularly attractive colour! So I’ve always steered clear from happy yellow.

My parents brought my Granma to visit Edith a couple of months ago. She’s always been really good with colour and what suits people. We were walking through the new Victoria Gate centre in Leedsd towards the new John Lewis when we walked past Joules. I’ve been lusting over the yellow raincoat in there for absolutely ages and dragged them in to lament that I couldn’t wear yellow. My Gran was astonished: “what do you mean, you can’t wear yellow?” she asked with incredulity from her wheelchair. I was sold! I went home and managed to find a discount code for 20% so I got it for a bit of a bargain!

I’m really pleased I bought the coat and went out of my comfort zone. It’s such a pretty and useful coat.

Have you ever thought you couldn’t wear a colour only to be proved wrong?

Day Trip To…Harrogate

A few weeks ago, we went to Harrogate for a little day trip. I’ve been once before to the knitting and stitching show there but didn’t really get to see much of the town as there was too much to see in the exhibition centre. That said, my dad and I were dispatched to get the car as my Granma, who’s 90, uses a wheelchair and it was raining. Both of us are easily distracted and ended up getting a bit lost because we weren’t paying attention to where we going. We ended up walking past a cheese shop and of course we had to go in! I managed to get a Christmas present for my father in law, so it really did solve a problem!

Well, cheese is cheese and the lure of it was enough to get me to back to Harrogate. We didn’t go straight there, but instead went to Betty’s Tea Room for some lunch followed by a wander around. It was raining, of course, but that didn’t dampen our spirits or our day. I took a number of photographs of flowers and doors, like you do and that took more time than anticipated. We were running out of time and it looked like we wouldn’t make it to the cheese shop but we stumbled upon it again! I was so happy. I was just coming out of The Remnant House, where I bought some fabric to make a dress, and crossing the road to meet my husband, who was coming out of the record shop, when I saw the cheese shop again! Amazing. I treated us to some lovely Yorkshire Blue, my favourite of the blue cheeses; some Brie and Rich loves really spicy chilli cheese and they have a lovely one there. I may have eaten a bit of the Blue in the car on the way home.

I’m convinced this shop pops up when you need it. And you always need cheese, right?

Getting Started With Bullet Journaling

Bullet JournalI love being organised and I love a pretty notebook, so bullet journaling is pretty much perfect for me! For those not in the know, bullet journaling is having a well deserved moment with stationery lovers and planner geeks like myself. It basically takes all those post-it notes and lists that we’ve all got dotted around and combines them neatly in one notebook.

Genius! You can get inspiration for bullet journaling spreads from Pinterest and you can check out the board I created here. I also recommend watching some videos for bullet journaling and I found Claireabellemakes’ and Nikki McWilliams YouTube videos really inspiring.

So here’s my own BuJo (how modern).

Bullet Journal index Bullet Journaling trackers Bullet Journaling week spread

As you can see, I’ve messed up my index page but I’m going to fix that. The thing I like most about Bullet Journaling is that I can keep track of things, which will be useful when I come to reflect on my business each month and at the end of the year.

I was really nervous about starting the bullet journal – the spreads on Pinterest were all so artistic and gorgeous that I feared messing up my fancy new notebook! So I’ve kept it quite simple to start off with but I’m now enjoying being a bit more creative. I’ll show you more spreads over the coming months and you can keep track of them over on my Instagram feed.

I’m going to add a bookshelf spread as I’m planning to not buy any more novels this year until I’ve read all the ones I already own. Does anyone else find book buying totally addictive? So far, I’m really enjoying using my bullet journal and it’s certainly useful for keeping track of things and planning my weeks and my product development. Do you bullet journal? What do you find most useful about it?

April “No Spend” Challenge

I planned to do a blog post about Bullet Journaling this week as I have recently discovered this addictive form of organisation. But I thought it would be more fitting to lead with this as one of the spreads I am doing is to track a challenge I have set myself for April to not spend any money.

It’s always a bit awkward talking about money and the lack thereof. My toes are curling at the thought of discussing it and I always feel like “money” should be said whilst guarding one’s mouth and said out of the corner of one’s lips! Perhaps I’m so crap with cash because I’m so rubbish at talking about it! Anyway, it’s always nice to know that you’re not the only adult with a spending problem. Writing this was inspired by the honest post by the ever wonderful Sara Tasker from Me & Orla. It really resonated with me because I, too, tend to buy things I cannot afford, don’t really want or don’t need simply because I’ve seen someone else has got it and they look happy, so if I get it, I’ll be happy and like myself too, right?

Shopping bags for No Spend April
Huffington Post

Wrong. Always, always wrong! All that happens is I have a book or a piece of clothing or item of jewellery cluttering up my house reminding me every time I look at it that I didn’t want it and it hasn’t made me happy, or successful, or cool, or…not me. And looking at it all makes me feel physically sick sometimes. And embarrassed. I’ve never hidden anything I’ve bought, but I have lied to the Mr (and myself) about its cost and affordability. That’s quite sad, isn’t it. Forgive the emosh post – but I really do think at the grand age of 32 I should get a handle on myself. It’s potentially as dangerous as comfort eating, this constant spending without resources.

Never has this been more of a worry for me than now: I’ve got three months left of maternity pay and I still have an overdraft to pay off. When I return to the day job next year, I won’t have any spare cash with which to pay it off. So I need to get some good spending (or not spending!) habits and fast.

So here’s my plan. First of all, I’m telling all of you about it, so I’m accountable. I feel like I’ll be much more likely to succeed if people know about my plans.

Secondly, I’ve involved my husband. He is EXCELLENT with money and actually enjoys doing his banking. I hate it and hope that the minus figure has come about due to my lax use of insecure internet connections to make online purchases rather than my own spendy ways. He doesn’t understand my relationship with money, Stuff, or myself but he is endlessly supportive. So after I paid all my online bills, I asked him to change my PayPal password. No more shopping during the night feeds!

No Spend April

Next, I removed my saved payment information from the likes of Amazon and removed the one-click buying settings. There has been loads of research about handing over cold hard cash for stuff is harder than handing over your plastic and hoping it doesn’t get declined. So my bank card is out of my wallet. I have £20 per week to pay for buses and coffees when I take Edith out and that’s it.

This is going to be tough for me but I’m confident I can do it. As an added bonus, whatever’s left from my weekly budget is going towards a treat for myself on April 30th if (when?!) I succeed.

So, I think I’ll save my BuJo post for next week, but in the meantime, I’ll be sharing my progress of “No Spend” April over on my Instagram Feed. Join in using the hashtag #AprilNoSpendChallenge and we can share our money saving tips!

How To…Make a Necklace Tree

I’ve been participating in #MarchMeetTheMaker over on Instagram. I’ve gotten much further than I thought I would! I posted a picture of my jewellery collection and I realised that I don’t wear very many of the necklaces, mostly because they are often all tangled up as I have no where to keep them. So I designed this necklace tree using on-trend copper. It looks really impressive but only takes about ten minutes to assemble. Win.

I say “only takes ten minutes to assemble”. I got a friendly man in my local DIY shop to cut my copper pipe for me to save myself a tenner in buying a pipe cutter. Somehow, he knew that I was not using the pipe for plumbing. I have no idea how he guessed that.

To make yourself a necklace tree, you will need:

Materials for necklace tree

4 x 50mm pieces of 15mm copper pipe

2 x 100mm pieces of 15mm copper pipe

1 x 30mm piece of 15 mm copper pipe

2 x 150mm pieces of copper pipe

6 x end stops

4 x t-joins

Evostick Serious Stuff glue

Paired parts of necklace stand

First, make the base support. To do this, take one t-join and two of the 50mm pieces of pipe. Generously apply the glue to the inside of the t-join and push the pipes in as far as they will go. Then, apply glue to the inside of four of the end stops and push them on to the ends of the pipe. Repeat for the other side. Insert a 100mm piece of piping into the remaining holes.

Necklace stand assembly

Next, make the top bar in exactly the same way using the 150mm pieces of pipe.

Apply glue to the insides of the final t-join and push the base supports into the join. You’ll need to make sure that the base supports are resting on a flat surface and the remaining hole of the final t-join is pointing straight up.

Necklace tree base and top3

Apply glue to the inside of the hole of the top bar and push on to 300mm piece of pipe into the remaining holes, thus completing your necklace tree.

Now you just need to leave it somewhere to dry and then you can hang your necklaces on it.

Finished Necklace Stand

I hope you enjoy making a copper pipe necklace tree. It really is easy and you’ll find that you wear your jewellery a lot more often because you can see what you own!

If you do make one, tag me in your pictures on Instagram and Twitter (@elm_rocks) as I’d love to see what you make.

Christmas Gift Guide – New Mums

I’m quite good at buying gifts for my mum. And my mother-in-law. Or any mums about my own mum’s age. What I am not good at is buying gifts for new mums. I will be a new mum myself by Christmas this year (hopefully – two weeks late for me is Christmas Day and I really don’t want to miss out on another turkey dinner!) and my family keep asking me what I want for Christmas. As I’ve got the none too exciting prospect of expelling a human from my body, I’ve got other things on my mind, but I thought it might be handy to put together a little guide of things that new mums might find useful, you know, to save you harassing heavily pregnant ladies in your life for what to get them for Christmas.

Mummy Milestone Cards / Baby Bonding Activity Tokens / First Aid Kit Pouch

Yoga Hair Ties / Room Fragrance / Memory Book

Teething Bangles / Coffee Set / Baby Mittens

And, if the new baby is due really near Christmas, or just after, this would make an excellent gift, I think:

image-8-gift-box

When I was looking for things for this post, and to fill the Pinterest board here, I did get quite cross at all the ‘hilarious’ gifts about no sleep, pass the gin, not having time for a shower etc. I’ve no doubt these things will be true, but, as someone who’s put up with nearly nine months of this, would you say to someone about to go in to hospital for an operation, “ooh, that’s going to hurt. It’ll take you weeks to get back on your feet and it’ll be awful”? No, you would not (or if you would, I suspect you don’t have many friends). Heading into motherhood for the first time particularly is frightening enough, without other women (and some men) scoffing and telling you you’ll never wash/sleep/eat/finish a cup of tea ever again. Just stop it. Rant over.

Exx

How To…Make Bath Creamers

img_2752I could skip with delight at the thought of the festive season. I bloody love it. And I love making gifts and one that went down particularly well with the mother-in-law and my grandmothers was these bath creamers. I made orange and cinnamon scented ones last year so thought I’d give a delicate rose fragrance a try for Christmas 2016.

I think they make such cute little gifts.

img_2751

To make your own bath creamers, you just need a few basic ingredients. I get all my cosmetic making supplies from The Soap Kitchen. They stock everything you need to make bar soap, gel soaps, cleansers, moisturisers – the works.

This recipe makes about six or seven creamers, depending on how deeply you fill the cases.

  • 100g cocoa butter
  • 50g shea butter
  • 50ml almond oil
  • 2-4ml essential oil (I used rose for these ones)
  • small paper cake cases
  • dried petals or leaves for decoration

Cocoa butter and shea butter melt really easily but to avoid ruining them, melt the cocoa butter in a jug in the microwave first (about 20 seconds on high should do it) before you add the shea butter and heat until that’s melted too.

Stir in the almond oil and the fragrances you’re using and then leave the mixture to cool for about five minutes.

Put the paper cases either on a baking tray or in those patty tins and pour the mixture in nice and evenly.

The mixture will cool and become cloudy but to hurry it along, carefully put them in the fridge. They won’t need long to start to harden so keep an eye on them or you won’t be able to decorate them as easily.

When they’ve started to harden, gently press the dried petals/flowers etc onto the top and leave to harden up for 24 hours.

img_2750I think popping these in tiny boxes with shredded paper looks really glamorous and elegant. You could also put them in cupcake boxes (making sure that the person receiving them knows they aren’t edible!) or perhaps you could put three of them in a long thin box and tie it with a nice ribbon for a thoughtful homemade Christmas or birthday gift?

It’s worth remembering that all that lovely moisturiser can make the bottom of the bath slippery, so do be careful and warn your recipients. And, as with everything, if you’ve got sensitive or broken skin, proceed with caution!

Exx

 

 

 

How To…Make a Dahlia Cushion

Finished Dahlia pillow lifestyle photo

Dahlias were super popular this year, I noticed. And I can’t say I blame anyone who delighted in them on Instagram (I saw and posted a lot of Dahlia pictures this summer!). They truly are a wonderful flower with their gorgeous pompom heads and bright colours. As we move into autumn though, it’s nice to remember those beautiful blooms in a more muted and seasonal tone.

I’ve picked this mint colour to go with my bedroom makeover (the Mr is sanding as we speak, and I’ll be posting all about it as soon as it’s all done) You can pick any colour you like, of course; maybe you want to keep the summer colours going as we head through the colder months, maybe you want to bring a pop of colour to an otherwise plain room. No matter what your intentions, you’ll be sure to love this cute and easy little cushion.

Sewing supplies for Dahlia pillow

You will need:

          Quite a bit of felt. I bought 2m off a 180cm roll, which was too much. About half a metre will be adequate. 

          About half a metre of lightweight interfacing to stop the felt stretching

          Sewing thread

          A 9”/23cm zipper

          A 30cm diameter round cushion pad (I choose one filled with feathers because I love feather pillows, but you can go synthetic if you prefer)

 

First of all, you’ll need to cut out your circles to make those lovely petals. You can use a die cutting machine if you’ve got one, or draw around cookie cutters, or use a compass and pencil, but either way you’ll need to cut:

          38 x 3” circles

          10 x 2.5” circles

          10 1.75” circles

and cut each of those circles exactly in half to make all your petals. I made a paper pattern and then cut them out in twos

 Dahlia cushion front and petals

You’ll also need to cut out a 32cm (12.75”) circle of felt for the front. For the back, fold the front piece in half and add 2cm to the new straight edge and cut two.

To give the cushion that lovely depth, you’ll need to cut a gusset that is 96cm x 6cm.

Iron the interfacing onto the front, backs and gusset of your cushion and then, using a compass filled with either a dressmakers marker or tailor’s chalk, draw seven concentric circles at 26cm, 23 cm, 20cm, 17cm, 13cm, 9.5cm and 6cm. This will be where you put your petals.

Pin 16 of your largest semi-circles to the outer line. Overlapping them by about 2cm means you’ll get a good fit. Then use a sewing machine (or you can sew them by hand) stitch them in place using a 5mm seam allowance. Make sure you’ve managed to get all the petals and haven’t veered off.

Felt dahlia cushion how to

Use another 16 of those largest petals on the next line. This time, you’ll need to overlap them by an extra half centimetre to make sure they all fit. Make sure you align them like you would bricks though, with an overlap so you don’t just have rows of petals going into the centre. Pin and sew in place in the same way as before except use a 3mm seam allowance for this and the next ones (you can mark this on your sewing machine foot with a fine whiteboard marker or Sharpie.

Repeat a further three times on the next three lines using 16 for the first line, 14 for the fourth line and 13 for the last line (you’ll have one left over, which you don’t need). Again, overlap by an extra half centimetre each time and make sure you’re staggering the petals so it looks like a gorgeous flower.

Felt Dahlia cushion how to

Move on to the next size petals and pin 13 of these to the sixth marked circle, overlapping by around 4cm this time.

Onto the seventh circle and this time you’ll need seven of these medium semi circles, overlapping them by about 3cm.

The last bit is super fun – overlap the small semi circles by about a third in a line together and stitch them together using the half centimetre seam allowance again. Then coil it up on itself and you’ll have the centre of the flower. Secure it to itself with a few anchoring stitches and then hand stitch it to the middle of your cushion so it fills the gap. Ta-dah, the front of the cushion is finished. The hardest bit is over.

Felt dahlia cushion how toFelt Dahlia pillow close-up

Next, move on to the gusset (gusset is such a horrible word, don’t yout think?!). As this cushion is made of felt, it might distort and stretch as we sew the round circles to the straight edge, so to avoid too much of that, you need to stay stitch about a quarter of an inch from the edge down both long sides. Don’t make it any wider than this, or you’ll be able to see it after you’ve sewn your seams. Beginning and ending 1cm from each end, sew the two short sides together. In starting and finishing 1cm from the ends, you’ve saved yourself two notches – huzzah! You’ll now need to clip into the seam allowance to about the stay stitching, certainly no more than a 1cm or you’ll have holes in your gusset (see?! Such a horrible word!).

Then, pin your gusset to your front, easing the fabric as required to make sure you get a good, even fit. Don’t rush this bit, or the sewing as a good neat edge will really make a difference. When you sew this seam, use a 1cm seam allowance and just sew a few stitches at time before you adjust the material to make sure you’re still going even. Keep going all the way around the circle.

In to the final straight now!

Dahlia cushion felt

Pin the back pieces together along that straight edge. Baste on the machine, then go back and sew 4.5cm at each end of the seam and insert your zipper in between these two short seams.

REMEMBER TO OPEN THE ZIP ONCE IT’S IN! Otherwise, you’ll have a hell of a job getting the cushion back in the right way again.

Using the same method as before, sew the other clipped gusset edge to the back of the cushion and sew, nice and slowly, until it’s all attached and then pull the front of the cushion through the zipper. Push the cushion pad into the cushion and you are done my friend. One Dahlia cushion to see you through the winter. Beautiful.

E xx

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