I love pompoms.
Did I ever tell you how much I loved pompoms? No?

pompoms, holiday projects, cheap and easy craft projects, cool kids projects
The great thing about pompoms is they couldn’t be more simple. You can make them easily. You don’t need to be able to knit, crochet, or even sew – just wind some yarn around a piece of specifically shaped plastic or card, tie and cut. 
Craft for all.
There are various ways ways of making pompoms in all sizes (see below).
So I found myself with a pile of them. I’d had an afternoon of creative ‘holiday project’ fun with my daughter, and was wondering what to do with them. 

pompoms, holiday projects, cheap and easy craft projects, cheap luxury decor

They’re perfect for brightening up any space – particularly a little one’s bedroom.

pompoms, holiday projects, cheap and easy craft projects, cheap luxury decor

Strung up and hung across the mantelpiece around the fire or against the wall?  I’ve done that before and it’s a great simple effect. (Take care, if the child is very small that they are nicely out of reach.)

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Then there was the new pair of curtains I’d recently made, I’d been wondering for a while if they just needed that something extra.

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Yep, I think they did.

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Such a cheap and easy way to inject some extra colour and texture. Pretty cool I reckon .
And if you’re like me and have a good few odd balls of yarn in your stash – it’s stash-busting heaven…. and pretty addictive.

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I even made a Christmas garland with the extras. The colours were perfect.
Go on –  make some pompoms – You’d be surprised at what you can do with them.
Stuff you can do with Pompoms

Soy candle, christmas spice, scent of christmas, scented candle

Christmas is fast approaching ( I know! Where did that year go?) It’s the end of term and time for teachers to have a well-earned break. I can’t bear to get involved in all of that competitive gift-giving – it really does bring the worst out in some folks – but I do like to show our appreciation for all the extra time and work those hardworking teachers put in. No pressure here. Something small and handmade usually does the trick. 
We’ve made cookies, we made soap…  we like to keep it varied.
This year we decided on scented candles. Now who doesn’t love one of those? Especially when they’re made with natural essential oils

make your own scented Christmas Candles, Soy candle, christmas spice, scent of christmas, scented candle
I’d never done it properly before, but I knew that I wanted to use soy wax. I’m told that soy candles are cleaner burning, longer lasting, biodegradable, and leave no nasty grey residue.
I found a great little tutorial here on Clare K Creations. Thanks for sharing this Clare.
At this time of year it just has to be those seasonal scents that instantly conjure up Christmas.
Soooo…. Out came the Sweet Orange, Bitter Orange, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Ginger and Clove essential oils.

Decorating it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want.
Smells gorgeous
Christmas in a jar!

If you’re a little stumped for some last minute christmas pressies, have some old condiment jars lying around and can get hold of some soy wax pellets and essential oils, there’s still time – have a go! It’s not difficult, it’s inexpensive and if you like making stuff – great fun.

Merry Christmas.
Modern Granny Blanket,Modern granny square afghan,pixel afghan
There’s nothing I like more than a special event or occasion. Weddings, births, house warming, anything that marks the beginning of a new phase of life.
In my humble opinion, special occasions require special pressies. Easier said than done, I hear you say. I agree.
Thankfully, for me, I love an excuse to get out the yarn, cloth, hooks needles, whatever just happens to be the latest making phase I’m going through, and the chance to embark on a new challenge.
What ‘s more special than something handmade – something utterly unique that no-one else has, that you just wouldn’t be able to buy, with out having to commission.  

It was a couple of lovely old friends who were tying the knot. They’d been together a while, long enough to have already established themselves as a family with two gorgeous boys of 7 and 5, and me and my little posse were thrilled to be invited to celebrate with them.

I seem to have rather an awful lot of clever, creative friends and these two are no exception. Means only one thing – they like cool stuff. Instantly the stakes are raised. Don’t get me wrong, these folk totally get ‘handcrafted’, whatever shape or form it may take, but in this case, I felt something a little more was needed. I wanted it to have a modern twist – something for both the Designer and the Artisan.

I’d been wanting to make a chunky blanket for a while. I love ’em.

I’ve been impressed by some of the beautiful patchwork ones I’d seen, spread out  across the internet, and always thought that basic granny squares was something you could do something really quite contemporary with.

1.Feathered Hues – Design seeds. 2. Ellsworth Kelly quilt – spontaneous color.  3. Colour Explosion Quilt – Sew English Rose, Folksy. 4.Bears Rainbow Blanket – The Purl Bee.

Here’s what I Did

In a wool/acrylic mix (wearability combined with washability), knitted with two strands of DK yarn. Chunky would’ve done, but the colour choice of chunky yarns is always so restricting… and for this project I wanted some full-on colour –  

a simple two row granny square.

Hundreds of them.

488 of them to be precise.
My, clever other half came up with the excellent visual effect of colours scattering from the corner – just like a mini explosion. It looks simple and random but had to be planned quite carefully, taking into account the careful mix and concentration of colours and neutrals. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work.

When all the squares were made.


they then had to be joined together,

and all the ends had to be woven in.

I can honestly say it’s probably the biggest project I’ve ever done. At times I thought I’d never finish. Anything like this is always going to be labour intensive – that’s what makes it so special. 

Three months and 2,200g of yarn later, tadahh, and what a great sense of satisfaction.

Finished off with a simple row of charcoal single crochet, thankfully I think it works.
When my young daughter saw it she said “Mum, it looks like it’s going ‘Boom”
I think that was the effect I was after…. so I called it my ‘Boom blanket’.

Here’s to Chris and Lucy.
Hope they like it 
Wishing them many more happy, cozy years.
Cheers!

crochet snowflakes, modern crochet, cool crochet snowflake pattern,
Did anyone just mention Christmas?….. Yes it’s nearly here….. and, believe it or not,  I’m pretty organised this year, for a change…. At least i think I am.
Just one little thing though – my tree’s looking a bit bare… still. Every year i try to make new ornaments for it, but this year I’ve been too busy getting organised.
 I needed to give it a quick boost.
 Here’s what I came up with….

Funky crochet Christmas decorations, make your own 'Conran Shop' style tree decorations
… a slightly different twist on the crochet snowflake that, let’s face it, is everywhere these days. 
This one is has a more modern, slightly ‘Scandi meets Conran Shop” inspired twist and instead of traditional white is, yes, you guessed it…..fluoro. 
It still has that handmade quality and sits nice and quirkily on a real tree but also works with something more contemporary.  
Nice and simple, and those colours are fab. Crochets up in just two rounds. You can make a good few of them in one evening, easy peasy – and it’s still not too late. As a special Christmas treat I’ve included a free pattern.
 HERE’s how to make them.
Happy decorating.
We’re hunkering down for the winter here in London… and it’s getting cold… so I thought I’d share this. In these times of saving energy, colossal heating bills and (still, despite what people are saying) austerity. Someone somewhere may find it useful….
Have you seen the gaps underneath our doors?

I mean… seriously…. Look at them.
Gaping, draught-beckoning, under-door, wind-tunnelling, chasms.
…. Kind of needed to sort this.
I have a small stash of fake fur that I’ve had for years. nice stuff that is destined to become, one day, the most gorgeous coat – but in the meantime, there’s just about enough of it to spare for a more pressing little project to keep out those breezes.

So off to Jewsons I go for some pipe insulation (all will become clear – I promise). Love it there – shopping with all those builders – surreal.
So what do you do with a pile of fake fur and pipe insulation?
Here’s what. This is an idea I got from lovely blog Living a Slow and Simple Life . A fab draught excluder that slides snugly underneath your door – and (this is the important bit) stays there. It moves with your door. No getting in the way. No having to put it back in place. 
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And you know what – what a difference.
So snug that when you open the door you’re practically blown off your feet. Ok…. so I exaggerate, but trust me – it works, and particularly well with wooden floors. Our living room has never been so toasty. You needn’t use expensive fake fur. Fun fur, fleece, velour, velboa, minky or even just some unused fabric would be just as good, and for a room with a floor covering like carpet, a fabric with no pile, like cotton canvas, would be the best option.
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It’s important for the environment and for our pockets that we try to conserve as much heat and waste as little energy as possible these days so this is a great idea. It’s easy to make and works out pretty cheap. With the most basic of sewing skills and couple of hours you could do some serious draught busting. 
Click HERE for instructions.

It’s Mothers day again over here in the Uk. I can’t believe it’s come round again. How time flies. 
Big bunches of flowers, lovely handmade cards from the little ones, having breakfast in bed or lunch down the pub – it’s all going on in this part of the world today.
But let’s spare a thought for those who don’t have mums – for whom Mothers Day is not an easy one. 
I’m dedicating this post to the mums who are no longer with us, for whatever reason.
Lets not make too much of a big deal of Mother’s day, as nice as it is for some. Let’s just appreciate the mums we have –  everyday. 
In the meantime, to all you mums out there, Happy Mothers Day.
Crochet Iris by thredHED. Rainbow flower by Iris. Keep watching, pattern to follow.
light up with hearts, heart fairy lights,valentine heart lights
It’s nice to take time to appreciate those you love but, let’s be honest, Valentines day is not everyones cup of tea. Red Roses, Chocolate Hearts, or candle-lit dinners – been there, done that, have come out the other end – now totally indifferent…….  so I’m not going to go on about love… or romance. 
Having said that, I do love the paraphernalia…. but that can be just as much fun without all the sugary stuff. 

So for those of you who are…, or who are not, doing Valentines Day, for whatever reason…. but like the odd heart or two, here’s a nice little project .
 ‘Crochet hearts’, I hear you say, ‘they’re everywhere’. 
Yes’ that’s true and they look great – but I wanted to push  it further and make something extra pretty and, in true thredHED style, 
… a little bit useful.

These little lights instantly perk up a dark corner and look pretty at the same time. Made from crocheted hearts, sewn together and reinforced to make little filigree shades for a chain of LED fairy lights (and I must stress LOW VOLTAGE LED). Use can use any fibre yarn – it’s great for using up your stash.
They can be red and racy, hot pink, or muted pastels for that vintage look….or why not mix ’em up. Which ever way you choose they do look nice…. and if you like a bit of crochet you can make them.  Here’s how – for a limited period of time, my pattern and instructions are free to download to all fans of my thredHED face book page

Click to get it HERE  

men's storage bag,underwear bag, men's shoe bag, men's tidy bag, cool drawstring bag
There’s nothing nicer than a handmade gift. I love ’em. But Boys?….. simple handmade gifts for boys (and by that I mean men) – now, that’s a tricky one, especially with the men I know. They seem to be much more discerning, more fussy than any girl. They totally get the handmade thing but with them there seems to be no messing –  they want stuff that is either really cool or really practical.
Ok. BIG birthday challenge of the above kind. Thankfully I had a small amount of this  great Riley Blake cassette-print cotton fabric.
I picked it up on a visit to friends and family in Bristol, UK from the most fabulous craft shop Flo Jo Boutique. Well worth a visit if you live in or are visiting the area. It sells  all manner of gorgeous printed fabrics, and holds some great classes and workshops – check it out.
I decided to keep it very simple with these lovely little Tidy Bags. Great for keeping their shoes/trainers or undies in when travelling, or just for great-looking, handy hanging bathroom/bedroom storage. Half a metre will give you a couple or if you have more fabric you can make as many as you like. How about a variety of sizes. You can change the size and proportions – the making process is still the same. I think an extra large one would make a great laundry bag. Perfect  – and not just for the boys – I know plenty of girls who would love it too.
They’re easy to make – a good project, particularly if you’re new to sewing. It’s made using ‘French Seams’, so it will be nicely-finished and good quality. I’ve put together an easy to follow tutorial.
You Can find it HERE. 
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Here I am again, sorting through my stash, not wanting to throw away these scraps of fabric. It just seems so wasteful.
Time for another project….. some modern patchwork. As lovely as traditional patchwork is, it takes on a whole new lease of life when we bring in right up into the digital age. “How do you do that?”, I hear you ask…….
…….PIXELS
1. Pixel Ice-cream Plimsols, 2 & 3. AIE Fashion, 4. 3 Rings, 5. Avant Garden, 6. Socialphy
These graphic inspired textiles are currently all over the blogosphere, and are crying out to be made up as modern patchwork.
I decided to stick with something pretty simple – a cushion comprising of 9 rows of 9 squares, 81 squares in total. 
For anyone who’d like to give this a go HERE’s what I did. 

Back in August, you may remember, I did some crochet granny bunting (well just a bit). I liked it so much, I wondered if I would be able to find a Christmas version. I did – I found this  great little Crochet Granny Christmas Tree over at the fabulous Royal Sisters Blog. It’s nice and simple with a great step-by-step photo tutorial to follow.

Just what I was looking for – although it needed a little something to finish to off….

That’s more like it.
As ever, the madness of of the run-up to Christmas means that there’s never enough time for me to crochet up a stack of these. I will at some point, but in the meantime I did exactly as I did with the last lot of crochet bunting. Yes, you guessed it – another printable. Another little crochet trompe l’oeil.
It works really well…. and it means that you can have Christmas Crochet Bunting even if you’ve never crocheted in your life. Once again it’s available as a free download for thredHED Facebook page fans. Get it HERE.  As with the previous bunting, make sure you print it on a good  quality paper and a high quality media setting….or…. you could use iron-on transfer paper, even printable cloth…. for crochet-print fabric bunting. 
Happy Decorating.
Okay, time’s pressing on. The lights are up and our high street is positively twinkling. Trees are stacked outside the shops, and one by one our windows are beginning to light up. Your Yarn Wreath is made and now it’s time for the best bit – embellishing. 
There are lots of ways you can do this – it doesn’t even have to be knit or crochet, although it’s nice to continues the theme. I’ve used my own pattens for my wreath, but, sadly due to my other commitments haven’t yet written patterns (perhaps that’s something for next christmas). There are, however, loads of great patterns out there, free and to buy, for little christmas flowers, leaves etc…..or you can even but them on Etsy or Folksy if you’re a bit pushed for time. 
 Here are some of my favourite, most realistic, free patterns for fabulous knit and crochet Christmas decorations. 

Mistletoe (crochet)
This one’s my favourite. It’s very simple and quick to make…and it’s so effective. Would also look great as a garland. You can get it over at the blog Marie’s Making
Holly (crochet)
Here’s a lovely, lovely, and very simple holly leaf. There’s a great step-by-step photo tutorial with this one, from everyone’s favourite Attic 24
Holly (knitted)
Here’s another Holly option if you prefer to knit. Looks great doesn’t it. You can get it here at  the Cvetulka blog
Pinecone (crochet)
I love this one. It’s a very clever idea – and much easier it looks. Here it is from Planet M Files
Poinsettia (crochet)
Last but not least, a beautiful crochet poinsettia. I think it looks fab. Find the Pattern here at Hobbycraft – Christmas Craft Ideas
I think that’s enough to be going on with, don’t you. 
Don’t forget, it’s important to give thanks to these bloggers for sharing their great patterns, and giving something very precious – their time – for free. Writing patterns is not easy, I know. It takes a lot of knowledge, time and concentration to be clear and accurate.….so a big ‘Thanks’ guys, and all the very best to you.

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Christmas…..here it comes. It’s everywhere, the shops, the telly, the internet – there’s no getting away from it. The West End, here in London, is lit up and sssppparkling, and soon we’ll be seeing the first wave of decorations and chrismas trees appearing in the streets of our towns.
Now I do like to see a nice wreath. They’re popular in my local area of little Victorian townhouses. There are all kinds – small and discreet, real foliage, tinsel, and some seriously ostentatious wreaths in my ‘hood. I love it. My old urban pad in the sky was way too modern, but now in my new ‘old’ house I make sure I have a wreath on my little front door.
Of course…. I had to have a yarn one, didn’t I. Nothing quite so simple for yours truly – something a lttle bit different. Looks like your average wreath…but when you look closer….
Fancy a making yarn wreath? It’s really not as complicated as it looks. 
Here are  my instructions for Step 1 – How to make the base
Here’s Step 1 of how to make my Yarn Wreath
For Step 2 – embellishments, keep watching.
Appliqué Cushion Instructions, Appliqué Cushion How to, cool cushion, flower cushion
I’ve got loads of scrap fabric.
LOADS. 
I can’t get rid of it, it’s far too nice… but the pieces are small – not enough to do much with. I’ve all the bunting I need and no need for anything ‘patchwork’ at the moment.
Fabric Stash ideas, How to use up your fabric scraps, Stashbusting ideas
Here’s something I thought I might try with a scrap of a lovely large flower print I found and a small piece of nice upholstery linen – Appliqué. 
I’ve a lot of cushions without decent covers. I’ve decided, in my new ‘old’ house, that I’m not going to buy any more cushion covers – they are so easy to make, and it seems to be the only way to get something unique, original and interesting, unless of course you pay megabucks for one offs or designer exclusives. 
One by one, I’m covering them, slowly but surely, and I thought that this might be a good use for some of my fabric scraps. 

This is what I came up with – an appliqué cushion. 
I sewed a big red Poppy from a large flower print piece of scrap I had in my stash onto this green linen.
I then used my Easy Cushion Pattern to make it into a cushion. It worked pretty well and was quite easy to do.

I think it looks pretty cool. You can make it as unusual and as unique as you like. 
…and you can get my free instructions on how to do this

Knit flowers, Crochet flowers Yarn flowers, Yarn Bouquet
Just couldn’t let this weekend go by without a big shout out to all you mums out there. It’s the most imprtant job in the world – don’t you forget it …..and if you ask me, it can be damn hard work sometimes. 
Happy Mothers Day ladies. Hope you enjoy your weekend.
‘Yarn Bouquet'(pictured above) made with Stylecraft Special and King Cole Big value DK.
Poppy, Pelargonium and Lavender flower patterns from ‘100 Flowers to Knit and Crochet’ by Lesley Stanfield.
Poppy Leaf, Pelargonium Leaf and Lavender Leaf patterns by thredHED©. 
For information contact ThredHED
Crochet, Bath Mat, Crochet Rug

A nice relaxing hot bath – the perfect antidote to a hard day. Cleansed, warm, relaxed and smelling gorgeous – the last thing you want is to step out onto cold, hard, slippery tiles or floorboards. A soft, warm, dry bath mat is a vital element of that bathtime experience. But…. a bath mat, l find, can be a difficult one. You don’t want to just buy any old bath mat. Yet, the usual scenario (for me anyway) seems to be – search, find a few that are unusual but a little too quirky or gimmicky, then find one I love – but it’s way out of my price range, and I mean WAY out. I normally end up going to the nearest chain and getting something homogenous that I don’t really want. So what’s a simple ol’ homemaker like me to do? Here’s what…..

Crochet Bath Mat, Crochet Rug


Crochet (and knitting for that matter) is big these days – and we aint just talking popularity. Larger hooks and needles, super thick yarn, even rope are being used to create the most gorgeous super- chunky soft creations. What could be better. Not only do they look good but, once you’ve adjusted to the new
weight and dimensions they make-up in super-quick time. In some way
it’s use is limited – most items of clothing would be too heavy, but
WOW, it opens the door to a whole new load of soft furnishing
posibilities.

 
You may have gathered already that I’m a big fan of our local 99p store,
and can often be seen there rummaging around. I had in my ‘come in
handy’ stash a pack of cotton string I had found there a while ago.
Basic but soft, and a nice neutral colour, which when crocheted with a
double strand gave a lovely soft but meaty thickness – in fact perfect
for a bath mat.
Crocheted in a simple ladder-style pattern using pretty basic stitches
it has a textured stripe which looks stylish in a contemporary homespun
way, and the 100% cotton content combined with the construction gives
it just the right amount of absorbency.

A neat picot border finishes it off nicely. A little bit unusual, it’s an expensive and unique looking finishing touch – but a real bargain. would look particularly good with a free standing bath. 

I’ve been using mine for a while now. It’s totally washable and wearing
pretty well – in fact i’m going to make another. It can be made in any
cotton providing the correct thickness can be acheived, and in different
colourways – the options are endless. The construction is very simple
and would be great for a beginner. If you can’t get hold of the cotton string, a suitable alternative could be two strands of chunky gauge cotton, or one strand of super chunky(bulky)cotton. Here’s where you can get the pattern….
Item can be made to order
For details contact thredHED

At last… a new post. It’s been a while…I’ve been rather busy moving out of our urban pad to a lovely old little townhouse down the road. At last we have space…….and a garden. In between trying to remember what we’d packed in which boxes, my first batch of laundry was soon flapping on the washing line, and an idea for my next blog post was hatched.

I already had plenty of pegs of but something important was missing – one of those lovely litle bags to keep them in. Yes I could’ve bought one for a couple of quid from the value shop on the high street, but I wanted to make one a little bit more interesting and preferably waterproof. no messing around carrying it in and out. We’d been getting a fair amount of rain – I had soggy sheets out there – a cloth pegbag wouldn’t stand a chance. At the same time I was dismayed at the growing pile of bin liners and plastic bags in the corner of my new kitchen as each box was emptied – I try not to use them normally but when moving house it’s pretty difficult to avoid.

Anyway….you can see where I’m going …. recycled carrier bags made from what is known in craft circles as ‘plarn’ (plastic yarn)! Cut up and crocheted, in this case, in fur stitch – just like grass and decorated with a couple of little flowers and a butterfly. Turned out rather kitsch, in fact perfect for plastic! Very easy to make too. The only time-consuming bit was cutting up and joining the plastic but I found it quite thereapeutic. Have a go – give a plazzy bag a new lease of life with my downloadable 4 patterns in 1 and instructions. In the name of recycling and for our lovely planet, this one’s on me.

I had a big stash of fabric and not much space to store it. My little daughter was coming up to the age where she was ready to sleep in a proper bed – a lovely old one, passed down through the family. I couldn’t find a duvet cover in the shops which wasn’t pink and girly, gimmicky or just another brand promotion, and I wanted something a little bit quirky and individual but not too naff. The solution was staring me in the face!

A lovely vintage-style patchwork duvet cover! Perfect for that homespun look that fits so nicely with the old wooden bed, and a great way of using all those cotton prints I had stashed away. Not too difficult to do, although took a certain amount of planning re measurements etc and I can understand how a project could be a little daunting for some. So……. I’ve made it nice and easy for you guys and provided you with a pattern.
This one I did is for a single size duvet. It is made of simple squares, has a sheeting border which frames and shows off the patchwork, and a sheeting back to give a soft smooth surface for your little one’s delicate skin. For a clean finish it has a simple side opening with a button fastening(just one of the options).
What’s great about this duvet cover is that once you.ve done one you can make another in a different colour or patterns – the options are endless. You can then, if you wish, use the lefover offcuts to make cushion covers or a laundry bag (watch this space) for a matching look, at a fraction of the cost of the shop-bought equivalent.


Get my free Patchwork Duvet cover Pattern and instructions
 Here
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A friend of mine has been given an old 1960’s sewing maching. Old but beautiful, and it’s in excellent working order (they don’t make ’em like they used to). Understandably she would now like to learn to sew. Thinking that cushion covers would be a nice basic pattern to start with, and hearing that she’d like to make some, I promised I’d dig out a nice easy one – no fastenings and no fancy finishes, for her and anyone else who needs to update their soft furnishings! This is an easy to follow pattern for a 45cm(18 inch) square cushion which, because of it’s simplicity, can be easily sized up or down, depending on the size of the cushion pad you have. Here it is …..