Monday, 24 December 2018

Christmas Crafting

Over the past month, I have been busy making lots of different crafty Christmas things for friends, family and my home.

Pottery tree decorations

Using basic buff clay, I rolled it out to 1cm thick and used heart and star biscuit cutters to create the shapes. To add the textural decorations I used the end of a pencil, a fork, a plastic knife and a screw head. I created a hole so they could be hung on the tree. I used regular clay but if you were making these at home air-dry clay or salt-dough would work just as well.

I'm an art and technology teacher and luckily have access to a kiln so I added the decorations to a bisque firing I was doing (for students work) and when they were cooled I glazed them. The effect of the glaze you can see I achieved by painting the glaze on the clay and then wiping the surface glaze off, leaving the glaze only in the textures and in-prints of the clay.

The majority of these have been gifted to friends and family but I kept a few for myself!

Christmas crackers

I went to a fantastic workshop with the London Craft Club at their HQ in Bloomsbury Square. It was such a fun evening of crafty craziness. They provided the cracker template, amazing wrapping papers, ribbons, cracker snaps, hats and chocolates to customise your crackers. At home, I added some cheesy jokes and extra little gifts inside.

Pom pom wreath

Last Sunday I spent the morning at Drink, Shop, Do at Kings Cross with knit designer and crochet-extraordinaire, Katie Jones, who was a vision of fun and festivities! I bought the workshop tickets for a friends birthday present so we spent the morning drinking tea, eating cake and learning how to make pom poms using a pom-pom-maker (rather than two rings of cardboard).

Once we had made a decent collection of pom poms we attached them to a tinsel wrapped wreath frame. Katie also showed us how to make simple tassels to decorate the wreath with too!

A truly fab time was had and my wreath was featured on Katie's Instagram account the following day!

Christmas shortbread

On the last day of term on Friday, I made some shortbread biscuits with one of my technology classes at school. We decorated them with some icing sugar and sprinkles which made them look very kitsch and festive. I took the batch I made into the staff room at break time and they disappeared in minutes!

Festive foliage

I never get a full-size Christmas tree or want to store an artificial tree, so I add a few extra additions to my bamboo plants every year. This year, I selected branches of spruce and eucalyptus, berried ivy, red roses and cotton plants to add some gorgeous scents and festive greenery to the room. I then decorated them with fairy lights and a selection of gifted and hand-made Christmas decorations.

Whatever you are doing over the festive break I hope you have some fun spending time with the people you love and get a chance to relax and maybe sneak in some craft!

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Marbled Sketchbooks

In July I attended an amazing 6-hour workshop to learn how to marble paper. I ended up with over twenty beautiful marbled papers which have been patiently waiting for me to do something with them. I decided to make some easy machine-sewn notebooks (my first set are here) and set to work to produce a bunch that I can include in my Christmas stockings in a few weeks time!

I bundled them into pairs and taped strips of tracing paper around them printed with 'CJ Made hand-marbled notebook'. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ones!