Christmas Craft preparations

It’s that time of year again – the annual Christmas Craft Event is nearly upon us! Well, it will be in three weeks on Saturday, so we’re all getting our materials ready. For those of you unfamiliar with this highlight of the Dunchurch calendar, it is an event organised by our Baptist church and open to all children from the village and the surrounding area. For a couple of hours on a November afternoon they come and do as many Christmas-themed crafts as they like (and can fit in), choosing from about a dozen different ones. They range from simple decorated cards for the little ones to painted glass jars, Christmas tree ornaments, decorated gingerbread men, Nativity scenes, stars, snowflakes and whatever else the volunteers have been able to dream up.

For the past six years or so I’ve been providing a stitchy craft, meant to be a slightly more challenging project for the older children. In practice I do get some of the 6-year-olds as well, and provided they bring a responsible adult I’m perfectly happy for them to have a go. It’s really rather endearing seeing a dedicated dad wrestling with his first-ever embroidery as his little daughter looks on encouragingly smiley.

I could just about start recycling previous projects, as the children who did them are now too old to join in, but it’s much more fun thinking up something new. This time I teamed up foam baubles from Yellow Moon with a non-cut adaptation of the freebie stars. At first I thought it would be a good idea to use 20ct aida, as it is a bit stiffer and larger than my usual fabrics, but I found that one length of perle #5 was just too short for a star on 20ct, and it’s also relatively expensive to buy; whereas I have plenty of 22ct Hardanger in stock. So Hardanger it is, with DMC Variations (also from my stash) instead of the lovely Caron threads I used for the two models, plus a Madeira metallic I had lying around and some beads I got at the Knitting & Stitching Show.

Non-cut freebie star stitched in Caron thread on 20ct Non-cut freebie star stitched in Caron thread on 20ct models for Christmas Craft baubles Materials for Christmas Craft baubles Christmas Craft baubles with chosen materials

All I’m waiting for now is the needles, then I’ll cut the fabric squares, do a waste knot and come up in the first hole for each one of them, and kit them up with a large chart (I’m still working out what style would be clearest). Usually I don’t get a lot of time to take pictures when we’re in full swing, but I’ll do my best record some of the children’s efforts for posterity!

Over the (Yellow) Moon

Summer seems to have arrived at last! At least I’ve got my first sunburn of the year – the consequence of falling asleep on the lawn last Saturday. I have some interestingly shaped patches of red skin now, but it was really very relaxing, dozing in the sunshine with the sound of birds and the smell of grass and all that. Add to that a lovely walk along the canal followed by a drink at a canal-side pub before dinner, and seeing an alpaca being born during our Ladies Walk in the morning, and it all adds up to a very pleasant weekend. I even managed to get the pile of 100+ skeins waiting to be bobbinated down to 18, which I hope to do at my stitching group this afternoon.

However, that is not what I set out to write about. Some time ago I showed you the foam purses and notebooks I bought from Yellow Moon, and a bit later the purses adorned with Art of the Needle. This gave me a taste for foam, so to speak, and browsing through the Yellow Moon catalogue I found all sorts of interesting items. Last Friday I received my parcel, containing lots of things to experiment with.

One of them was a set of foam blanks in the shape of flowers and butterflies. I got this mainly for the flowers, although as they turned out to be rather bigger than I thought it might be possible to decorate the butterflies with two small projects, one on each wing.

Foam flowers and butterflies

More practical (well, a little more practical) are the Christmas tree baubles and keyrings. The foam blanks attached to the keyrings are fairly large, but then that would just make them easier to find in your bag! Any stitching will have to be attached quite securely, though, as it will be handled a lot. Perhaps I’ll advise people to use them only for spare keys that live in a drawer or on a hall table … The baubles are glued on one side, so you push your photograph/artwork/stitching in from the unglued side and then glue it shut. These are perfect for mini designs, whether cut or uncut. I rummaged through my workbox and found a few minis I had done earlier (including the blackwork snowflake freebie), which turned out to be just the right size; I haven’t glued them in place yet, but they give an idea of what is possible.

Foam baubles and keyrings Some mini projects mounted in foam Christmas tree baubles

Finally I got something which was not quite the size I wanted, but I thought if I studied the kit I could then make my own from large sheets of foam with exactly the dimensions I want. These are Bible folders (they also come as book folders, with a bookworm design on them; the bag on top, by the way, is a selection of foam cross-shaped beads I got for our Church’s Sunday school), but of course they could equally well be needlework folders! Not, perhaps, with the supplied decorations, so they will be donated to our Sunday school together with the cross beads, but you get the idea: sew a folder out of foam, using cord or perle or whatever, with a slit to take the tip of the flap to close it, and decorate the other side with a piece of needlework (either sewn or stuck on, hemmed or buttonholed or with a frayed edge), and hey presto, a folder to keep your finished projects in before turning them into framed decorations or useful objects. Or you could keep charts in it, or even the threads and fabric for a project-in-progress. if this one works, I’d like to create a folder with a gusset. If I do get round to it, you’ll see it on FoF!

Bible folder kits and cross beads Folder kit - foam, cord and plastic needle