Saturday, 24 December 2011

The 12 Days of Craftmas {12}: light garland

The big day is just around the corner so we bring you the 12th Day of Craftmas in our series of Christmas posts.

To finish off, we'd like to show you an easy idea for making a wonderful gift in no time at all that we saw on the inspiring blog, Wit & Whistle.

Wit & Whistle
Using a string of 20 LED fairy lights and 20 squares of paper (in this case 21 x 21cm), you can make a lovely light garland that will create a magical and romantic atmosphere.


1. Fold the paper following the steps shown in the image below:

Wit and Whistle
2. Place each cube on the lights and it's done!

Wit & Whistle
We're off to make tonight's dinner, but not without sharing our wishes with you first. We hope 2012 is full of happiness, health, love and above all, creativity! Thank you for reading our blog!

See you after the New Year!

Olga and Carla

Friday, 23 December 2011

The 12 Days of Craftmas {11}: Clay creations

A while ago we came across Sania Pell's beautiful blog, which includes some great ideas like this one for making clay Christmas decorations. When we wrote a post about her dip-dyed cutlery, I also promised you a sneak peek at the results if I decided to give the clay a go, and a promise is a promise... 

You will need:
DAS (or other brand) air-dry clay
Utensils for cutting and shaping the clay
Embellishments such as ribbon, beads, stamps, brooch clasps, nail varnish etc.

In the end, I got carried away and started making other things including markers for herbs, brooches and my sparkly nail polish even saw some action.

And here are some pictures of what they looked like after drying (and nail varnish painting).

If you're looking for more clay decoration ideas, take a look at the lovely Spanish blog, Gris Berenjena, written by friends Marta and Marta who were also inspired by Sania Pell.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

The 12 Days of Craftmas {10}: Festive music compilation

Time is ticking away so let’s make this a quick and easy gift – a compilation CD!

I love receiving music compilations from people, especially when you know they’ve made an effort to find songs you like, and what could be better than a bit of Christmas music to get you into the festive spirit?

Here’s a compilation we composed that includes some classic seasonal tunes as well as some beautiful covers of classics. Download them from iTunes and make a nice CD for someone. Go, go go!

"Silent Night" cover by Michael Kinawuka from 4:39

We’ve also been using Stereomood to find more Christmas songs for you and posted a few on our Facebook page so head over there to find them.


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The 12 Days of Craftmas {9}: Christmas "tree"

There's just a few posts left of our countdown to Christmas and we hope you're enjoying them and that you like today's idea.

When we showed you the printable labels to adorn your gifts, I mentioned that in my house we don't have a Christmas tree as such. Today I finally managed to take photos to show you my alternative to a tree.

I'll tell you how I made it in case some of you are inspired by this very fast and very easy idea that you can make last minute.

1. Get out and enjoy a wintry walk through the park and pick up a dry branch you like the look of. Mine was resting on my balcony for a few days until I got down to work on it.

2. In my case, I painted it with white spray-paint but you could also leave it as it is.

3. Start adding the lights that you can attach using a small bits of selotape.

4. Finally, add your favourite decorations. I chose different types of hearts for a very lovely Christmas. 

And it's ready!


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The 12 Days of Craftmas {8}: treats in a jar

Yesterday Carla showed us the perfect gift for the sweet-toothed and today's post is about another three foodie ideas that will delight avid cooks and make life easier for those who find it tricky to get their apron out ;-)

1. Jar filled with biscuit mix

The idea behind this is to give someone a beautiful jar filled with the dry ingredients for a biscuit recipe that they will only have to add eggs and butter to. Then all they have to do is mix it and put it in the oven!
You can make it more personal with a favourite recipe and decorate it with matching string, paper or material on the lid and it looks great, don't you think?

You can find the recipe here along with more photos of the version that Bakerella showed on her blog because we love how she combined the pink smarties with the labels and also because you can download the same labels from the website :).

2. Jar filled with hot chocolate mix

Another option is to prepare the ingredients for a good hot chocolate with cocoa, sugar, little biscuits or, in the American version, mini marshmallows. You can decorate the jar with tissue paper and even add a small bottle of Kahlúa to go with it as shown on the Hey Gorgeous blog.

Hey Gorgeous
Hey Gorgeous
Another idea for presentation. Photo by David Prince
3. Flavoured salt

For people who prefer savoury food, you could prepare a jar of salt flavoured with spices. It can be used with meat, stews or even to prepare dressings and you can tailor it to people's tastes.

We think this idea from the Sarah Hearts blog is really nice and you can also print off the labels she uses here.

Sarah Hearts
Sarah Hearts
Do you like the idea? Can you think of any other alternatives along the same lines?


Monday, 19 December 2011

The 12 Days of Craftmas {7}: brownies

If you like to make baked goods for your friends and family as a present, you can’t go wrong with this amazing recipe for chocolate brownies. It’s a recipe from Bill Granger – one of my favourite chefs. His recipes are always simple and give great results every time.

You will need:
350g caster sugar
80g cocoa powder
60g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs, lightly beaten
200g unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200g chocolate, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Line a 22cm square baking tin with baking paper (I don’t have a square tin so I put mine into two circular tins and it works fine). Stir together the sugar, cocoa powder, flour and baking powder in a bowl.

Mix in the eggs...

...butter and...

...vanilla until combined.

Now it’s time to add the chocolate :)

Pour the mixture into your tin(s) and bake for 40-45 minutes.

Don’t worry if after 45 minutes your brownies look quite soft and undercooked, they will be fine once you leave them to cool. Leave to cool slightly in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Slice them up into nice squares and place in a pretty box or tin to give to someone as a gift...or just eat them yourself, whichever.



Sunday, 18 December 2011

The 12 Days of Craftmas {6}: magnets

Today's tutorial couldn't be easier. This button magnet-shaped nugget of inspiration comes from Cintia of My Poppet. She also runs her own online shop Poppet in the post, which is full of lovely and colourful items (if you're still looking for gifts).

You will need:
- magnets
- a glue gun
- buttons

1. Once the glue gun is heated up, squirt a small amount of glue onto the magnet.
2. Place a button on top of the glued magnet (taking care not to touch any glue that might squeeze through the holes – don’t burn yourself please!).
3. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
4. Leave to dry et voilà!

You could make a whole collection of these and put them in a nice tin or box to give them as a gift.

Alternatively, you could make glass bead magnets like the ones we showed you back in May, and use images that are tailored to your gift recipient:

What do you think? Would you give this one a shot?


Saturday, 17 December 2011

The 12 Days of Craftmas {5}: tissue paper lamp

Our marathon of pre-Christmas tutorials continues. We hope you're enjoying them. Today's tutorial makes a perfect gift for the home. It's a very special candleholder made with tissue paper that we saw on the Hey Gorgeous blog and that we thought was just perfect! 

- Glass vase
- Metallic silver tissue paper
- Craft punch
- White glue and container
- Paintbrush

1. Start by punching the medallion shapes out of the paper (several layers at a time). Depending on the size of the vase, you might need more or fewer medallions but you will need quite a lot. Rhi suggests around 75-100 per vase:

2. Prepare the glue mixture. Add a little water to a cup filled with glue until it has the consistency of milk:

3. Using the paintbrush, paint a good layer of glue around the outside of the vase and start attaching the medallions (you will need to start and end with a layer of half medallions along the top and bottom of the vase for a neat finish). It's a delicate task because you have to make the circles match up to give the design shown in the photo:

4. Leave it to dry completely before putting a candle inside and you're done!

Photos: Hey Gorgeous
Don't you think it gives a lovely effect when it's lit up? It would also look really nice as a centre-piece on your table to make your Christmas lunches and dinners more special. Who's up for making this?

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