Quick and Easy Wool Pom Poms!

It’s been some time since the pom pom was ranking top of the craft slot but thanks to a new surge in focus from the fashion and interior design industry, these little sphere’s of retro fluff have been making a well earned come back!

As a child of the 70’s I remember them well, it was the era of pom pom back then! I loved them then and I still do today…And who doesn’t, even Winnie the Pooh likes to ‘tiddly pom pom pom’!  They have such a happy vibe about them and having been taught the skill of making them by my sister all those years ago, I’ve never forgotten it. Over the years (in fashion, or not) I’ve made many a cute ball of fluff which has found itself sewn on the odd scarf or cushion to give it some personality, or created something seasonal with them for the home…Not to mention using them as a decorative touch in wrapping to give some colour or quirkiness to a gift!

These days, with time being so precious though, the old way of making them just isn’t viable for me. For those not so familiar with the technique, it had a rather lengthy process of cutting out cardboard rings and winding wool around until you couldn’t see the middle anymore. So now, I use a perfected shortcut method which I find perfectly suitable for making purely ‘decorative pom poms’ and whilst they may not be quite as robust as the original, they’re so much quicker, meaning I can make mountains of them in just 10 minutes! Oh if only I knew that then (although as kids it did keep us quiet and out of trouble and so i guess it served its purpose!!)

So if you don’t know how to make them or only know the old lengthy way of making them, then do read on and I’ll show you my new quick and easy method…Along with (of course) some of our own decorative ideas on how we’ve use them!

what you'll need

What you’ll need:  Some wool (we’ve just used any we had left over in our craft basket), a piece of cardboard (or you can just use your fingers!) and some sharp scissors…And that’s it!

Step 1)  Start off by winding your chosen wool around a piece of cardboard –  We’ve used a rigid luggage tag (we use various sizes of tag to get different pom pom sizes) but you can use any cardboard or just your fingers if you prefer (works just as well!)

Step 2) Keep winding the wool until you feel it’s sufficient – the amount of wool needed will depend on the size of your cardboard tag and how fluffy you’d like the pom pom to be but certainly you need a fair bit and with practice you’ll get a dab hand at gauging it! Once you’re happy with the amount, remove the wool from the cardboard and secure around the middle with a small piece of wool – Ensure you tie it nice and tight – double knot! (or your wool will simply fall out once it’s cut.)

Step 3)  Cut through all the wool loops (top and bottom) ensuring you don’t cut through the wool you’ve tied it together with. This should leave you with a sort of raggedy pom pom …To get a more rounded version simply trim with scissors as desired!

Ah, and there you have it…A quick and easy pom pom! You now just have to decide what to do with it!

Here’s just a few of our own Springtime favorites and for more pom pom inspiration why not visit us on pinterest!  Click here to go directly to our ‘wool’ inspiration board (or find us at https://www.pinterest.co.uk/lovewrapping

pom pom wreath3

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How to make a Seed Heart Bird Feeder

Baby it’s cold outside! February can be a really harsh month, with biting winds and ice even on the brightest of days and so if you’re feeling the cold in all those layers, just think of all the wildlife braving it outside, day and night!

So as Valentines day approaches, we thought we’d spread the love to all those little birdies out there with these really super, easy to make and nutritious (for birds ONLY you understand!) Seed Heart Bird Feeders.

Now we do warn you, they are a bit messy to make but it’s well worth it and don’t worry if you don’t have heart shaped cookie cutters in the cupboard, other shapes work just as well . (Unless it’s like a big eagle shape…or a scarecrow…Mmmn yes perhaps you might want to avoid them!)  Read on for our ‘how to’ guide and…Enjoy making!

materials

We used:   Approx 275g to 300g of Bird Seed –  250g of Lard (or animal suet if you prefer) – Cookie cutters (or make your own shape from tin foil) –  A Pan –  A Tray  – Tin Foil or Clingfilm – A Spoon – A Skewer (or pencil), Ribbon (or Twine).  Oh you might want to have some soapy water and a towel handy too! (well I did say it might be a bit messy!)

  1. Firstly, preparation is key so line a tray with some clingfilm or tin foil and place your cutters on there ready.
  2. Carefully heat the Lard in a pan until it’s just melted and then remove from the heat. (Note that the lard can be quite hot at this stage so be careful not to burn yourself!) Stir your birdseed into the fat a bit at a time until you feel you’re happy with the consistency of the mixture.  (Don’t worry if you have a small amount of birdseed left over you can always add it in at a later stage). As a general rule you should be able to see approximately a couple of mm of melted lard sitting above the seeds in the pan.
  3. Before you can start to fill your cookie cutters, allow your mixture to cool down by placing it outside or somewhere away from room temperature until it is at a temperature where the Lard begins to go white (but just before it solidifies.)
  4. When the fat has whitened (but you can still stir it), this is the perfect time to fill your shapes with the mixture. (Note that if the liquid has not solidified enough, it will seep out of the bottom of your cutters!). It’s also the best time to decide if you need to add more birdseed. You need just enough lard to hold the seeds together and so if you need to add more, do so now. Then use the spoon to fill the cutters  with the mixture, pushing it down firmly and ensuring you fill any corners or edges well to ensure you take on the shape of the cutter.
  5. Once you’re happy they are filled enough, take a skewer or pencil and form a decent size hole (this will be to thread your ribbon/twine through at a later date).
  6. Next, place them (whilst still in the cookie cutter) in a cool place or fridge until  they’re as solid as they can be….As lard will only go so hard.

Finally….Gently press out the hardened mixture with your fingers (yep that’s the most messy bit!) and thread the Ribbon or Twine through the hole. Hang them in the garden and stand back and admire! (Preferably in the warmth of the house with a nice cup of hot tea whilst humming “feed the birds”) Nice work …Mary Poppins has nothing on you!

2 hearts back garden

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Recycling Christmas Cards

Every year I receive the most beautiful Christmas cards and the thought of throwing them in a bin (even a recycling one) after someone has spent time, thought and money buying them for me just isn’t something I can bare. So this month we’re bringing you some crafty ways to use or keep them instead!

Firstly how about getting ahead for next Christmas by making some Gift Tags. It really is easy, fun and a great way to use up any bits of ribbon or twine you have lying around too.  There are many styles of tag you can make too, we’ve used a couple of methods…

Some designs lend themselves to a spot of freestyle cutting and this gorgeous Christmas tree is one.

xmas tree cardThen there’s the easiest way I know and that’s using a luggage label as a template to draw around the chosen picture and then just follow the lines to cut it out. If you’re not confident in cutting straight then a craft trimmer or guillotine can be most helpful!

 

picture template

My top tip when making gift tags is to not just look at the front of the card but the back too as there can often be plenty of ‘white space’ and a cute picture you can use ..Like this one!

back of card

And voila…Here’s just a few I made earlier (including the image from the back of the card as shown above!)  Aren’t they just super? A sure winner to saving you time and money next Christmas…Not to mention what a goody two shoes you are for recycling!

labels collection2

If you fancy making something to give as a gift, how about a Christmas bookmark? A nice addition you can add to a stocking or home made Christmas Cracker. Just look for an image on a card that is a good length then cut to size, hole punch the top and add some matching pretty ribbon. How fab is that?!

bookmark2

And finally,  one of my absolute favourite things to do is to frame those cards that I love or that mean something to me and then I bring them out each Christmas, dotting them around the house on book shelves and dressers etc where I can see and enjoy them.  You’d be surprised just how effective this can be. Here’s just a couple of my newest editions from this years received cards…

picture stood up

most wonderful time picture in fram

….There are lots more ideas for recycling your cards but I suspect that might just be plenty to be getting on with for now!

Have fun being creative and don’t forget…If you enjoyed this blog do please ‘pass it on’ by forwarding to a friend or sharing on social media!

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Get Crafty with Kraft this Christmas

Bored of doing the same old thing with your gift wrapping and looking for some creative inspiration this Christmas? Then look no further than Kraft paper!

Being plain, Kraft paper is one of the most versatile papers to use. A blank canvas, it can change its look quite dramatically (depending on what you do with it!)

In this months blog we’re going to show you some crafty and creative ways to transform your Kraft paper using just a chalk marker, a few bits an bobs found around the house (or garden) and a little imagination!

Start by wrapping your gifts in kraft paper…Not looking very festive? Don’t panic! What could be more Christmassy than snow? Queue the chalk marker! Generously add lots of white spots over your kraft paper and voila….See how easy was that!

kraft white dot uni and wool

With this super snowy background whatever you now add will be sure to look fabulously festive, so it’s time to be creative and have some fun!   Here’s some we did earlier…!

stag

We simply love the Scandinavian look and it’s so on trend!  We’ve added a wooden decoration and tied it in with some plain white satin ribbon. Ta dah!

bauble coaster side view

Simplicity in itself….We’ve added a red felt coaster (that we got free in a home magazine some time ago) and tied on some matching wool we had in our craft basket. Easy but effective!

DSC02978

Got lots of buttons you don’t know what to do with?  Why not use them to make a cute picture. We’ve added in some wool scarves for colour and used a marker to draw in some detail and complete the picture.  The buttons can then be placed in their final position and securely stuck with double sided tape or glue.

 

washi tape

Ever wondered what you can do with your Washi tape? Why not recreate a look of bunting with some string and write a festive message! (Well as long as it’s not ‘bah humbug’ that is!)

kraft white ribbon foliage and pine cones

Want a classy look but in a hurry?  Just add some fresh foliage and pine cones then tie with a simple white satin ribbon. 

Merry Christmas and happy wrapping everyone! x

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Just add a Gift Tag…

Over the years I’ve found myself with a variety of unintentional collections of this, that and the other. Things that I’m sure I’ll need in the future so can’t bear to throw away…You know the kind of thing….Odd buttons, old keys, mini toiletries from hotels and…..Gift tags!

Yes, it’s a thin line between ‘collector’ and ‘hoarder’ at this point and my profession as a gift wrapper won’t save me on this one as after rummaging through a very large box of gift tags, it’s clear my love of them started way before my business began! (Many moons ago judging by some of the styles.. Apparently tastes do change!)

So, if like me you have some (??!!) very pretty gift tags you’re hoarding (I mean saving for a rainy day) that you don’t have matching paper for, then fear not….You can use them up and plain paper is your friend!  Couple the tag with a bit of ribbon and some imagination (in other words hole punch a second hole in the tag, thread a length of ribbon through, secure on the back with double sided) and this is the result….A unique and pretty decorative touch to embellish a gift!

kraft and tag final

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Wrapped with Love!

Oooh it’s that time again…Yes love it or hate it, Valentines day is upon us and the world will be a little more loved up, which is surely not a bad thing?!

Over the years (single or attached) I’ve learned to embrace some of the traditions of Valentines day  and do try (really I do) to enter into the spirit of things in my own way (with the exception of small fluffy teddies holding love hearts or paying double to eat out in overcrowded restaurants …that’s simply a step too far).

Ok, yes it can be a bit too ‘commercial’ and being a bit of a romantic (and being married to one too) in our house love and thoughtfulness is thankfully spread out over the course of the year but for me Valentines has its place (a rather sentimental gushy one that warms and brightens up this cold month of February) and gives me the perfect excuse to get creative and a little loved up in the wrapping room!!

For those, looking for some Valentines wrapping inspiration or if you just love wrapping fullstop, these are for you…

x-and-chess-and-card

Keeping it simple….Plain white printer paper, string and a scrabble letter.

better-when-were-together

Want something more traditional? …Add two honeycomb love hearts (we found some at Paperchase) and use a hand written playing card as a matching gift tag.

brown-paper-and-blue-ribbon

Brown paper is perfect at any time of year, it’s just about what you put with it…Add a postcard next to it to say all you need to say this Valentines day!

map-side

With a little imagination this gorgeous map wrapping paper could say so much!   Just add a clever caption to the tag to suit. Here’s some of our favourites:  ‘You’re my world’, ‘You mean the world to me’ or ‘You’re out of this world’!

bee-paper-scrabble-table

On trend …Bee’s are all the rage this Spring/Summer. (I LOVE bee’s!)  How gorgeous is this wrapping paper by designer Linda Wood. Just add a pretty ribbon and a caption to suit!

 

We hope you’ve been totally inspired and are feeling the love this Valentines Day….Even if it’s just for the wrapping!   Have a wonderful February whatever you get up to.

Jo x