Personalised trinket dishes

Hands up: who’s not ready for Christmas yet? Not just me I hope!

If you’re still looking for an easy little present or stocking filler, here’s a very simple idea that doesn’t take long to do.

Personalised trinket dishes

You will need:

Porcelain dishes (or mugs/cups/plates)
Porcelain pen
An idea of something to doodle!

I would recommend using a proper porcelain pen and not just a marker, as it will mean your finished piece can safely be washed without your design coming off. I bought mine at hobbycraft. This one can (apparently, I’ve not tested it yet!) even be put through the dishwasher at up to 50°!

Then comes the fun part: drawing on your design!


I’ve gone for simple repeating patterns to keep it easy to decorate, but you could go as complex or personalised as you like. For example: write a word, name or phrase; draw a more complex picture; a significant date or location. Really, you’re only limited by your imagination!

It’s also good to know that until the ink is fully dry and set, you can still wash off your design and start again if you’re not happy *phew* 😉

Then just follow the instructions on your marker. I’ve got to leave mine to dry for 4 hours, bake for 30 minutes at 160° before leaving them to cool completely in the oven.

I’ve got some cups and saucers I’ve been meaning to decorate for myself for ages. Maybe once the Christmas craziness is over I’ll have a chance to do it!

Happy crafting! 🙂

Simple crocheted Santa hat (with free pattern!)

Eeee! It’s December! I’m so excited for Christmas this year! With big brother being 3 1/2 now he’s getting excited and I’m really looking forward to making it magical for him 🙂 Little brother obviously still has no idea what’s going on but he’s enjoying looking at the Christmas tree and all our decorations.

Speaking of little brother, I really can’t believe he’s going to be 1 in only 11 days! My little baby is nearly a proper toddler, this has been a very quick year!

But anyway, back to Christmas:

I’ve made a couple of new things so far this year. First of all I made a felt advent calendar which I’m very pleased with, and which big brother is really enjoying every morning:


The next thing I whipped up was this very quick and easy crocheted Santa hat:


It was made entirely on a whim and with leftover yarn in my stash. But I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, and, even better, big brother loves it and proudly tells everyone that I made it for him 🙂


As you can see from the photo it is a little bit on the big side, so if you wish to make it smaller then start with ch 88 white then skip the row 2 of the red instructions so that the first ‘sk next tr’ comes after 21 stitches, not 22. Likewise if you wish to make it bigger then ch 96 and add an extra row with the ‘sk next tr’ decrease after 23 stitches.

I hope that makes sense! Actually, I hope this whole pattern makers sense, I’ve never written a crochet pattern before, or even followed one for that matter! So if anyone has any (constructive!) criticism about my instructions please let me know 🙂

Simple Crocheted Santa Hat

Red and white dk weight yarn, approximately 40g of red and 20g of white.
3.5mm crochet hook
Wool needle
Pom pom made from the same white yarn as the band.

White band
Row 1: ch 92 then join chain into a circle with a sl st into 1st stitch.
Row 2: ch 2, 91 dc in every remaining ch, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 3-7: ch 2, 91 dc in front lp of each previous row dc, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2, fasten off.

Red hat
Row 1: change to red yarn, make a slip knot, sl st into back lp of last white dc, ch 1, tr 91 in back lp of each dc of last white row, join in beg ch-1.
Row 2: ch 2, (tr 21, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 21, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 3: ch 2, (tr 20, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 20, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 4: ch 2, (tr 19, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 19, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 5: ch 2, (tr 18, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 18, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 6: ch 2, (tr 17, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 17, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 7: ch 2, (tr 16, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 16, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 8: ch 2, (tr 15, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 15, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 9: ch 2, (tr 14, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 14, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 10: ch 2, (tr 13, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 13, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 11: ch 2, (tr 12, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 12, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 12: ch 2, (tr 11, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 11, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 13: ch 2, (tr 10, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 10, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 14: ch 2, (tr 9, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 9, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 15: ch 2, (tr 8, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 8, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 16: ch 2, (tr 7, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 7, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 15: ch 2, (tr 6, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 6, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 16: ch 2, (tr 5, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 5, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 17: ch 2, (tr 4, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 4, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 18: ch 2, (tr 3, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 3, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 19: ch 2, (tr 2, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 2, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 20: ch 2, (tr 1, sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, tr 1, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2.
Row 21: ch 2, (sk next tr, tr in next tr) 3 times, join in 2nd chain of beg ch-2, fasten off.

Finish by sewing in the ends and attaching a pom pom on the top. Then wear and spread Christmas cheer! 🙂

Where has the time gone?!

Happy new year! I can’t quite believe it’s mid-January already and baby boy has been here 3 1/2 weeks already. Although saying that I already can’t imagine life without him!

This has been our first week with daddy back at work, and we’re doing pretty well finding our feet. Big brother has been so good with baby and every day he makes me proud. I’m just hoping that the harmony (and lack of jealousy) continues, and they’ll be running around as little amigos before I know it. And no, I’m not kidding myself that it’ll always be perfect but I hope there will more harmony than chaos!

So, what have we been up to? Not a whole lot really, we’ve spent a lot of time cuddling, playing, reading stories, housework, basically just carrying on as normal. Play dates, a zoo trip and visits have taken up the rest of our time, so no time for any crafting for me. Which is a little sad because my lovely parents gave me an overlocker for Christmas which I’m very much looking forward to using! But it’s not going anywhere, and the wonderful, squishy, newborn stage is over so quickly I’m going to get as many cuddles as I possibly can :mrgreen:

Speaking of which Christmas was a bit different this year with a 5 day old baby! For the very first time we spent the whole day in our house, just us. Present opening was lots of fun, and again young sir slightly shocked us, but also made us very proud, when he firstly put down his chocolate reindeer to eat the apple from his stocking, and then stopped opening his presents because “that’s too many presents for me, mummy”! They did eventually get opened, but he took his time and had a good play with everything before moving on.

Clever baby even had a present for big brother! Which was much appreciated but did cause him to stop in his tracks and question how baby had bought him a present? “Erm… Baby told mummy what he wanted to give you, and mummy bought it for him” seemed to do the trick! Haha

Baby has been so good, he’s very contented, loves being wrapped and cuddled, feeds well and even sleeps pretty well (touch wood!) only waking once or twice a night for a quick feed then back to sleep. Wrapping him has been wonderful, he goes straight to sleep and it leaves me with 2 hands free to play with big brother, cook, do housework, whatever! And just l look how gorgeous and snuggly he looks in there:


OK, that’s enough for now, otherwise I’ll be tempted to just totally over fill this post with yummy baby pics!

Tutorial: yarn wrapped wreath

I love handmade Christmas decorations. I think it’s so nice to have unique and individual looking homes at Christmas time, not just straight from the shop. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a place for shop bought too, but I love to see some homemade bits in the mix.

Last year I made us all new Christmas stockings:


(get the free pattern and tutorial here). I also made some festive bunting which I don’t think I showed you, but as it went up yesterday I can show you now!


My first new addition this year is a yarn wrapped wreath for our living room door. I chose a dark blue and a sparkly white acrylic yarn, nothing expensive, to match our color scheme.

You will need:
Empty cereal box
Bubble wrap
Yarn sewing needle

To start with I opened out an empty cereal box and drew 2 concentric circles on it. I made the hoop about 5cm/2″ wide and made the outer circle as large as my box would allow. You can make your hoop any size you like, I’m thinking of doing a mini one for young sir’s wardrobe door, and the technique is exactly the same. Don’t worry if your hoop goes over a bend in the box. It’ll all be stiffened up as we go on.


I didn’t want my wreath to be too 2 dimensional, but I also don’t have hours to spend on wrapping the yarn. So I cheated! I bulked up my hoop using strips of bubble wrap, about 7/8cm wide, wrapped round the cardboard. Start by taping one end of a piece of the bubble wrap to the hoop, then start to wrap it around. Depending how much you want to bulk up your wreath will depend how much of an overlap you use. I left about 1.5cm between edges.



Continue wrapping until the whole hoop is evenly covered, taping the ends of each piece in place.


Now it’s time to start wrapping the yarn. My hoop is big enough to pass the whole ball of yarn through, but if you’re making a small wreath then you’ll have to cut lengths of yarn to wrap.

Simply wrap the yarn round and round on top of the bubble wrap, but not too tight or it defeats the purpose of bulking up the hoop! You’ll need the yarn to be at least 3 passes deep to give a nice full look. Just wrap:


And wrap!


I decided to have a 2 colour wreath, with blue covering 3/4 of the surface and the sparkly white on the top 1/4. So once I was happy with the amount of blue on my wreath I switched yarns and continued to wrap:


Until the whole surface was covered. I also added some white crosses onto the blue section, which I simply did by wrapping at an angle from one end of the blue to the other end, then back again. Once you’re finished wrapping, use your wool needle to tuck the ends away under the rest of the layers, and your wreath is complete!


You can add extra touches to it or leave it as is, depending on the look you want to go for. I was undecided between one big pompom in the centre and three small ones hanging from the bottom. In the end I chose to make one large pompom to hang in the centre of my wreath. To make it I wrapped my yarn 200 times round the top of a pint glass, which gives a large, floppy pompom. Then tied it round the centre, cut open the loops and trimmed it all to the same length.


Some other ideas for finishing touches: you could hang ribbons from the bottom, a bauble in the centre, or even make a dreamcatcher style wreath with a yarny snowflake in the centre.

To hang my wreath I made a very simple twisted string using lengths of my two colours of yarn. Ta da!


A simple way to make a wreath, which is easy to customise and will last year after year 🙂

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have a fabulous day filled with joy, laughter, friends, family, good food and the odd new toy to keep you out of mischief!

It’s all been too much for young sir who’s already having a nap, so I’ve taken the opportunity to attack a chocolate reindeer. I mean come on, when else can you legitimately eat lots of tasty treats at this time of day?!



Christmas Day Mark 1

Today we have had our first Christmas Day with my mother-in-law, so that she could see young sir opening his presents from her and have Christmas dinner with us.

For breakfast I decided to have a go at making these delicious almond croissants that Poppy shared the other day, having been dreaming about them since I read her post! They were very simple to make (I managed to make them pre-7am with a toddler helper!) and so tasty I shall definitely be making more for actual Christmas morning.


Thank you for sharing, Poppy, I’m looking forward to the second batch!

Christmas Stocking Tutorial and Pattern

Well the big day is getting closer but there’s still plenty of time for a few more Christmassy makes! I’ve treated the whole family (well, all 3 of us!) to some fabulous new Christmas stockings, and as they were so quick and easy to run up I thought I would share the pattern and tutorial with you all. Consider it my Christmas present to you 🙂

These stockings are long and thin (more sock shaped) than the current trend for things that look more like sacks with toes attached. I suppose it’s because my brother and I grew up using actual socks so that’s what I wanted from my stockings!

I have designed this pattern to only need 1 fat quarter of fabric for the main body of the stocking, so you can easily make a different one for each person and not feel like you need to buy loads of fabric. For each stocking you will need:

  • Christmas Stocking Pattern
  • 1 fat quarter outer fabric
  • 1 fat quarter lining fabric
  • 32 x 17cm plush fabric for the fold down top
  • 1 fat quarter batting (optional – you don’t need to make your stockings padded, I have and the instructions include using batting, but if you don’t want to use it just skip those bits)
  • 16cm ribbon

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Start by cutting out all the pattern pieces, as shown above. Then we’re going to assemble the lining of the stocking. Take the two stocking shaped batting and lining pieces and layer them as: batting, lining, lining, batting. Neither my lining nor batting had a right side, but if yours do then make sure the right sides of your lining are together in the centre of the sandwich. Sew the layers together slowly using a longish stitch (about a 3) due to the thickness of the fabric, and with a 15mm seam allowance, remembering not to sew across the top of the stocking! Then tie off the ends and trim the seam allowance fairly close to the line of stitching.

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Then take the outer fabric and fold it in half along the fold, with the right sides together. Sew with a 5mm seam allowance using a smaller stitch (about a 2). Using a smaller seam allowance on the outer fabric leaves room for the batting without your fabric pulling. It also means you don’t need to trim the seam allowance of the outer fabric, but as we will be turning it inside out it is important to cut notches in the curved areas: around the  toes and heel, otherwise the fabric won’t sit flat on the finished stocking.

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Next we’re going to turn the outer layer over the inner. The easiest way to do this is to put your arm into the outer layer, while it is still inside out, and with your hand at the toes, take hold of the toes of the lining and pull the outer fabric over the lining. Like this:

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Then using a long tacking stitch sew the outer and inner layers together at the top of the stocking to keep them lined up.

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Take your fabric for the fold over at the top of the stocking. Lay the lining on the right side of the outer fabric and sew along one of the long sides of the rectangle. If, like me, you are using a plush fabric with a directional pile, make sure the pile is going to be the right way up on your finished stocking! I want mine to go top to bottom, so I sewed the lining along the bottom edge of my plush fabric. Open out your joined piece of plush and lining and fold it in half the other way to sew the sides together. If you have your own fabric labels then this is the time to add one to your creation.

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You’ll notice the lining piece isn’t as wide as the plush piece. This is so that when it is folded over on the finished stocking the plush fabric will be tucked under a little, completely hiding the lining fabric. It also means you don’t need to press open the seam you just sewed, instead fold it over the lining on both sides. Sew all along the side seam and turn the outer piece so that it is on the outside. Tuck in one piece of batting between lining and plush on each side of the fold down piece, and using a tacking stich sew the lining to the outer layer to keep them in place.

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You might be wondering why I used two pieces of batting here instead of one long rectangle. I found that by using two it was much easier to fold the piece in half and so it sits better on the finished stocking.

We’re then going to attach the ribbon for the hanging loop. Fold it in half and pin it into the stocking so that the edges of the ribbon line up with the top edge of the stocking. Sew across the ribbon, roughly over the line of tacking stitches, using a small stitch length to make the join nice and strong.

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Finally comes the only (slightly) tricky part of this project: attaching the main body of the stocking to the fold down top. After a little experimentation I have found that the best way to do this is to use pins as markers. On the main body and top, seperately, put in 6 pins at roughly the equal distances apart all around the edges you tacked together.

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Then put the fold down top into the main body, still the right way out, and match up the positions of the pins:

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At each position take a third pin and join all the layers together where the pins line up. There will be more fabric between the pins on the top piece than on the body, this is called the ease, and means that the top piece will not squash the main body when it is folded down over it and the stocking will lay flat. A good thing, yes, but does make this bit a little tricky as you need to try to evenly space the fabric and not let it all gather in one place. You might find it easier at this point to hand stitch the layers together as you can go more slowly and have more control, but it is possible to do by machine if you take your time and use your fingers to spread out the extra fabric.

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And it doesn’t need to be perfect so if you have a gather two it doesn’t matter. Or use patterned plush like me and you won’t even see them!

When you’re finished sewing, tie off the ends and pull the top out of the stocking body:

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And fold the top down, hiding the seam. Then fish out the ribbon and display your creations with pride!

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Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!

Make-along: Activity Advent Calendar part 2

Well it might have taken a few days to get to part 2, but I’ve been playing about with the layout and borders and such and I’m finally happy with my activity cards. Oh, and I had to learn how to include it as a file to download too! So here it is:

Activity advent calendar

This link will download 3 A4 pages in pdf format. I have included all the activities on the list in part 1 and kept a fairly straightforward layout so the individual cards will be easy to cut out. After much umming and ahhing I have also left the cards undecorated. This way they can be either left plain or decorated by hand, I’m going to do the latter.

I printed out the activities and marked the cut lines around the edges of the boxes. I used a 4mm border top and bottom and a 6mm border at the sides. I cut them out using scissors as it was too much hastle to get out my cutting mat and knife while young sir was desperately trying to get into everything today…

I used my fineliner pens to do the decorations, but any festive decorations would work. This isn’t the most detailed photo, but here are my finished activity cards. I’ve tried to theme the doodles to the activity, hopefully that’s obvious!


So I hope you will join me for part 3 where I’ll be making up the calendar ready for use! Not long to go until it’s needed!

Make-along: Activity Advent Calendar part 1

This year, instead of buying my wee man a chocolate advent calendar, I’ve decided to make an activity advent calendar full of lots of Christmassy activities to get us feeling festive. And I thought it would be fun to share the making process with you, in plenty of time, so that you can join in and make your own one with me!

Today I shall be sharing my list of activities that I’ve come up with, and later in the week I shall be sharing how I’m going to display the calendar. Now, first of all you will notice the obvious error that there are more than 24 items on the list. This is deliberate! My reason for it is that I wanted to make something that will still be relevant when young sir is a little/lot older, so I have included toddler-friendly activities right up to older kids/adult. And there is also the option to include religious elements (carol service) or not, if you are not religious. Or include everything and have days with multiple activities! And of course you don’t have to stick to my list, it can be a starting point for creating your very own activity advent calendar!

  1. Watch a Christmas film
  2. Make gingerbread men
  3. Put up the Christmas tree and decorate it
  4. Decorate the house/your room
  5. Make mince pies
  6. Ice the Christmas cake
  7. Go to a Christmas market
  8. Go to a Christmas party
  9. Make Christmas cards
  10. Go for a walk around the neighbourhood and deliver your cards
  11. Visit someone you haven’t seen for ages
  12. Read a Christmas story
  13. Make a festive wreath
  14. Give something to charity
  15. Wrap up warm and go outside to play (make a snowman if there’s snow!)
  16. Go for a trip to see the Christmas lights
  17. Go to a Christmas carol service
  18. Put on a Christmas CD and dance around the house
  19. Make some Christmas decorations
  20. Invite friends over for some festive fun
  21. Learn about Christmas traditions in another country
  22. A Christmas treat of your choice!
  23. Go to the library and read some new Christmas stories
  24. Random act of kindness: do something nice for someone else
  25. Choose a tasty Christmas treat and learn how to make it
  26. Christmas King or Queen: everybody draw lots and whoever wins wears a Christmas crown and gets to choose the activity
  27. Write a letter to Santa
  28. Stay up late and watch a new film with snacks
  29. Go for a wintery walk
  30. Go into town and take part in the festivities
  31. Make table decorations
  32. Hang up Christmas stockings
  33. Put out a festive treat for the birds in your garden
  34. Donate some food to an animal shelter:it’s Christmas time for them too!
  35. Phone a friend or family member you won’t see over the holidays

So join me again later this week for the next step: making up the calendar!