Monday, 25 December 2017

Christmas gift making


Did you have a lovely Christmas day? I'm going to guess that I did, but I'm writing and scheduling this post in advance as I'm going to be out of town. Lets' imagine I ate and drank too much and we're probably not far wrong.

But now that the unwrapping is done I can share all the Christmas gifts that I/we made.

First up: the wonders of Kraft-Tex washable paper fabric...

I cut out this little box pattern and then drew in, using a mechanical pencil, the areas that would be each side (minus the fold down at the top) and the bottom, then A painted it. Even with my obvious THIS WAY UP arrows she still got muddled and did some upside down painting, but she took it all in her stride and turned her upside down flower into a flower on a vine. On the bottom she wrote a dedication to her teacher and signed it. Good job kid.

When the fabric paint was dry I ironed it to set the paint then stitched the box together, wet it and then rolled the top down with it damp. We filled it with dark Lindt chocolate balls and wrapped it in cellophane. Only hiccup was the grey lead pencil doesn't wash off the white Kraft-Tex as well as I'd imagined it would.

P used some black Kraft-Tex paper to sew a little wallet for his teacher

He has a "very cool" teacher who plays guitar and I've now learned is a vegan, so the choice of washable paper for his wallet was perfect. The pattern is one of the Wallet Set from Thread Theory which I'd bought with gifts and this washable paper fabric in mind. The little front pocket is perfect for a single key, or your guitar pick. If you're that cool....

P read the instructions, glued the PDF together, cut out the pattern and then did the first line of topstitching before freaking out and asking me to do the rest of the stitching. Fair enough, as the little Janome had to fairly hammer to get through three layers of this stuff. I used a leather needle and upholstery thread.

The last Kraft-Tex project was a commission for my mum's newly renovated bathroom. She gave me the dimensions for a bucket bag to hold some cosmetics and requested a black/dark grey colour scheme.

This one has had a bit more scrunching after washing and you can see how nicely the paper behaves. When it's wet it really feels like the chamois your dad used to use to wash the car.  I'd previously given my mum a couple of the Uashmama branded bags and she uses them in the kitchen, one as a breadbag for the table, and the other to collect produce in from the garden. they have aged really nicely.

I found that Kraftcolour, here in Aus, stocks all of the colours in 1.37metre rolls at quite reasonable prices. I bought one roll of every colour for about as much as one extra large commercial bag would cost. Expect a lot more Kraft-Tex paper projects to come! ;)

I thought my choice of lining fabric was terribly clever until I realised that the print on that quilting cotton would be sideways or upside down on three out of the four sides of the bag. Ah well.

Here's a little Ida clutch (free pattern from Kylie and the Machine) that I made for the daughter of one of my friends I do french conversation class with. She had gifted me a fat 8th of fabric from their trip to japan earlier last year. I've turned it into a little clutch purse to gift back!

I've never let a Christmas go by without making something for my nephew. We don't see him often enough to have any idea what his "latest thing" is, but my kids were pretty sure he'd still be a big fan of Nexo Knight LEGO.

OK, time for a stencilled T-shirt, right?!

The T-shirt is a straight size 8 Oliver + S School Bus T-shirt. I used some Lisette knit for the sleeves and back, a perfectly matched Ottobre ribbing for the neckband and a nice white cotton/lycra for the front. All from the stash.

I cut a freezer paper stencil to get the main shape and details of the character

And then most of the shading and painting was done by hand once the base stencil was dry. I've used Setacolour opaque paints and just mixed them to get the shades of grey I wanted. I love doing these!

The last sewn project was another All Day Shirt for my husband. This one will certainly get a blog post all of it's own but here's the sneak peek:

The fabric is some crazy vibrant Vlisco Wax Print from Brave Fabrics. I bought it quite a while ago and I was careful to consult the bloke as I wasn't sure he'd go for it. He has a bit of a tradition of wearing a Hawaiian style shirt for Christmas lunch and I thought it would be fun to make him one. I struggled to find the exact print I wanted (not classic hibiscus, not too floral but not like a quilting cotton surfboard print either...). When I saw this fabric and when I showed it to him and said the magic words: Tron Legacy, he was 100% on board!

Can you spot the pocket?!

Let's hope he doesn't change his mind when he sees it!

After the sewing came the knotting....

My daughter has been wanting a dreamcatcher for a long time. I think they're mostly pretty hideous, but I wondered if I couldn't make a "tasteful dreamcatcher" (oxymoron) with macrame cord. the pattern came from Fanny Zedenius' book "Macrame" . I happened to have just the right amount of 3mm natural colour cotton cord in my stash and only needed to buy the plastic ring for a couple of dollars.

The ring is 30cm across, so it's quiet a sizeable wallhanging. I think it's not bad as far as dreamcatcher's go, but the husband's first comment was "isn't it meant to have feathers and stuff?" so I'm not sure the kid will think it's authentic enough after all.

My final bit of rope craft, and the gift I put off making for fear I had been overly ambitious, was this:

With much cheering on from my lovely Instagram followers, I made a rope mat for my brother in law's new boat. I bought 100 metres of 10mm navy, marine nylon rope that was on sale and when it arrived it looked like a massively overgrown sewing reel! This project required me to cut 40m but I probably only ended up using just over half of that once it was all tightened up.

With all the leftovers I'm thinking I can kit his whole boat out in co-ordinating navy rope things!

The instructions came from my Des Pawson Book of Knot Craft & Rope Mats and I loved the quote for this project: "giving a modest yacht a touch of class" Perfect!

For a first go it's not bad although I can see that with practice in working it not too tight, not too loose, I will have plenty of room to improve.

The pattern suggested that in 10mm rope it should be 60cm across, but mine has only ended up 40cm in diameter. Not sure how that worked, but let's hope his yacht is more "modest" than some.

here it is with feet to give a sense of scale

And the back view shows my first ever go at a side splice finish. You can see the splicing at about the two'o'clock position. It worked quite neatly I think.

So that was all my Christmas crafting, but I'll leave you with some little reindeer biscuits that the kids and I made last week. The inspiration came via Deb and the LMLD food blog.

Not all of our reindeer muzzle biscuits worked out and the first batch were a bit more like mini scones. So we made some random woodland creatures to go along with our reindeer.

Thanks for sticking it out if you've made it all the way to the end!
Wishing everyone a safe and happy festive season. Hopefully I'll be back with one last post before the New Year and that one will include a giveaway. Stay tuned!


  1. There are so many amazing pieces in this piece and I can only say you are a lady of many many talents. I can't wait to hear what your husband has to say about his shirt.

  2. Gorgeous gifts, and so many and varied, too! The kraft-tex teacher gifts are great ideas - and I'm sure the vegan guy appreciated the non-leather wallet. Cute reindeer biscuits, awesome wax print shirt with superb pattern matching, and that rope mat really blows me away! Making one of those would totally do my head in (and speaking of heads, the 'Turk's head' suggested in your knotting book is very intriguing!)


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