20 Minute Christmas Wreath

23 12 2013

Rustic Christmas Wreath

I originally made this in 2005 and it is still looking exactly the same.  It is so quick and easy to make.

What you need:

  • One vine wreath (I  used an 8 inch one)
  • Four sprigs of Christmas Berries
  • One large rusty bell (I used a 7 cm one)
  • Scraps of fabric or Ribbon.

How to Make it:

  1. Rip your fabric into five strips, approximately 4 cms by 50 cms
  2. Feed the end of the Berry Sprigs into the centre of the wreath, spreading them evenly around the wreath. You can use a hot glue gun to secure these if you want to.
  3. Tie the strips in a tight bow at the point where the berry sprig has entered the wreath.
  4. Thread the fifth strip of fabric through the loop of the bell.
  5. Tie the bell securely around the top of the wreath.  Allow it to sit slightly into the centre of the wreath.
  6. Use the remainder of the ribbon to make a hanging loop.

December Newsletter – It is beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

2 12 2012

December already!  Amazing.  Where has the year gone? And why do we think this at this time every year?

I am running my Facebook 12 Days of Christmas Specials on the Unique Stitching Facebook page as well as the Santa please bring me…. promotion.  See below for more detail about both of those.

It has been a very full and exciting year at Unique Stitching.  We have continued to expand our product ranges, returned to many shows after a few years absence, run classes off the stand at all of the craft shows and had the opportunity to spend time with an amazing number of you.  I was able to go to Chicago to attend the Summer Craft and Hobby Association Trade Show and Glenn and I went to Houston for both Quilt Market and Festival.  The absolute highlight of the year was returning to New Zealand in September to attend the Hamilton Craft and Quilt Fair and then have a holiday afterwards.  It was the first holiday Glenn and I had, ever, without children.

Next year we will be trading at 12 Craft shows – two in New Zealand and ten in Australia.  It is going to be a big year.  The first show is the new Palmerston North Craft and Quilt Fair and I have finalised my studio teaching schedule over the last few days.  I am looking forward to running some new, fresh hands on workshops at this and future shows.  I will be loading the Palmerston North classes onto the website for pre-booking shortly.

Many of you are aware of the decline and the demise of the Stitches and Craft Shows.  They were run down and damaged as a brand by the time the third or fourth set of owners closed them down.  The Brand name has now been brought by Expertise Events, the company that brings you the Craft and Quilt Fairs and you can expect to see “Stitches” back, better than ever before.  I am currently developing the workshops for the Rosehill Show (7 to 10 March) and the Brisbane Show (21 to 24 March). Let me know if there is anything you would particularly like me to include and I will see what I can do.

And the final show I am currently preparing for is the Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne in April.  So much for December being down time, right?  I am bringing Judy Coates Perez to Australia for this show.  I am sponsor for the Friday night lecture, that Judy will be delivering.  This lecture will be very entertaining.  I can promise you that.  Judy is so much fun.  I am also supporting the new beginner patchwork and quilting classes, supplying cutting mats, rulers and rotary cutters for each student to use in class.  These are such a large outlay for someone who is not sure whether patchwork is for them and I thought that if I provided the tools, it might be an easier decision to give it a go.  Chris Timmins is running the classes so hopefully the classes will fill and everyone will be bitten by the bug.  If you know of someone who could benefit from these classes, please pass on the details and encourage them to take the plunge.  You can find out more details about AQC at www.aqc.com.au.  Judy’s classes are fully booked, but there are a lot of other options available.  AQC is an event that should be on everyones list as it is truely an event in every sense of the word.

I will be taking a table at the Gala Dinner again next year and will be looking for six or seven people to join Judy Coates Perez and I for dinner.  Stay tuned for how you could get a seat.

So Santa is clearly receiving your instructions from the Santa please bring me specials based on the orders streaming through.  I lost internet access for a few days this week and although I was able to read and process orders on my IPad, I was not able to update them.  If you have placed an order and not received a Shipping notification, it is not because the order has not shipped.  I am pretty much up to date, I just have not updated the computer.

If you want details of the Santa promotion, you can get it from: https://uniquestitching.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/santa-please-bring-me-2/

We are now on Day 2 of the 12 Days of Christmas specials.  This link will take you there:  http://a.pgtb.me/ZXp or you can go onto www.facebook.com/uniquestitching and select the 12 Days Tab.  Each special offer is available for up to two days and the savings are significant.  Over the twelve day period I am taking between 15 to 20% off most items and will be featuring books, online class, wild drum carders, foils, Ice Resin and accessories, some of the paint ranges, fabric flowers and so much more.  Please join me and share with your friends.

Facebook remains my most common way to contact people as it is quick, timely, social and chatty.  So I do encourage you to like and engage with the Unique Stitching page.  I have a large number of new products coming in from Houston and as they arrive, I will load them on the website, but I will announce them through Facebook.  So please consider joining me and the almost 3500 others on there if you have not done so already.

Well, this has been a long newsletter.  Please stay safe over the silly season and I hope you get time to relax and spend time with your family.  I will certainly be aiming to do a little of that.

Until the new year, take care.

Santa Please Bring Me

8 11 2012


I have been very absent on this Blog for a while.  I will endeavour to do better from here on.

Anyway, it is that time of the year again and I have prepared my usual, very popular Santa, please bring me… specials sheet.  Designed for you to drop hints to those you love, you can make copies, pin it to notice boards, fore heads or doors.  Don’t forget to make notes or highlight the bits.  There are gifts here for every price range and I hope there is something to tempt you.

Xmas 2012 Santa Wish list

Later today I will move all of these into a special Santa category on the website – www.uniquestitching.com.au – so that it is easy to find for everyone.



12 Days of Christmas Project 12 – Fabric Bowls

19 12 2011

Woo Hoo, we made it.  Or more specifically I made it!  Today I would like to show you/remind you how to make fabric bowls.  I have used matching Christmas prints, but use velvet or silk paper or different novelty prints or some gorgeous batiks or really what ever you have in the cupboard.

You don’t need much to make these, and they are really fast.  You need some Timtex or similar product like this, vliesofix or double sided web – two sheets, and two fabrics (two fat quarters are enough).  Cut the fabrics, two sheets of vliesofix and the Timtex all to about 15 by 18 inches.  In addition to that, you will need some card or template plastic to make two templates and your iron, sewing machine and thread.

Download and print the templates here.  You can make these any size and shape, but make one first and then start to play with designs to individualise the resulting bowls.  Trace the two shapes onto template plastic or firm card and cut out the exact template.

Take your vliesofix, fabric and Timtex to the ironing board.  Iron the vliesofix sheets to each side of the Timtex.  Remove the paper on one side and iron one of your fabrics right side out to the Timtex. Flip over and repeat with the second fabric.  You now have one firm piece of fabric to work with.   Trim to size so you can see where you are going.

Using the templates cut out one base and six sides.

Use a satin stitch to machine stitch around the outsides of all the shapes.  You could machine quilt or do some embroidery or other embellishment if you like.

Lay the short end of a side piece to one of the sides of the base.  Adjust your satin stitch so that you are using the widest of the zigzag widths and stitch over both pieces to join.  Take care to keep the edges touching and the corners aligned.

As you can see, I have used the reverse side of the base to the sides, but you don’t have to.  Stitch all of the sides to an edge of the base.  You can reverse every second piece if you like or be consistent like I have.

Now comes the trickiest part.  You are going to stitch each of the sides together in the same way as the sides to the base.  I find it easiest to start from the outside and work in.  Align two side edges that are next to each other.  Hold the sides so that they are touching but not overlapping.  Stitch with the wide satin stitch from the outside in.

Repeat until all six sides are joined.  Trim off any loose ends of thread.  and now you have a bowl to use

And it is reversable.

Like many of the projects we have done in the last two weeks, I am confident if you make one bowl, you will make many more.

12 Days of Christmas Project 11 – Felt Baby Mobile

18 12 2011

Okay, here is one for the very little people, but like each of the previous projects it is as much about the techniques and adapting the ideas.

Okay, what do you need?  You need a metal or cane ring of about 20 cm diameter or something to make one out of; 1.5 metres of ribbon to cover the ring;  scraps of felt in at least two colours; about 10cms of vliesofix or other double sided web; a small amount of toy stuffing; six metres of fine ribbon and 1.5 metres of cord; scissors, sewing machine, thread and a small amount of craft glue.  Optional is some felt bits, like felt balls or flowers.  If you don’t want to use those, you can just make more stars.

I got these at Spotlight some time ago when they were having a sale, but check out what you have in your drawers before spending any money.  They are optional and in the end I did not use the creatures, though I still might add them in later.  Chunky beads work as well.

Start by preparing your ring.  If you have one cover it with ribbon, if not, make the ring with wire or firm plastic, bind the ends together (I used sticky tape to hold it in place until I got the ribbon around the sides).

Use a dab of craft glue to hold your ribbon end in place. Cover the whole ring and glue the end down when finished.

Print and trace the large star onto some cardboard or template plastic and cut out.

Then, trace the star onto your felt.  Each length on your mobile needs two stars.  I wanted four stars in total, so cut out 4 pink stars and 4 purple stars

Print and trace 8 of the small stars onto your vliesofix or other double sided web.

Iron them onto contrasting felt.  In this case, I ironed four pink and four purple stars.

Cut these out on the lines and after removing the backing paper, iron to the centres of the larger stars.  Create contrast.

I had intended to stitch some pink buttons into the centres here and the project would have benefited from the addition of the buttons, however I could not find them, so gave up.  You might add buttons or other embellishments at this stage.  You could stitch around the small stars too, but I did not.  The mobile will be unlikely to get washed in the time it is used, so it probably won’t make any difference.

Pair up your stars, with the right sides out.  Stitch just inside of the outside edges leaving one side of one point open.

Insert a small amount of toy stuffing into the stars.  Push the stuffing into the points, but don’t worry too much about filling it all evenly,  you just want to get a bit of body in there and you can massage it into place when you have finished stitching it up.

Cut your ribbon into six half metre pieces.

Tuck one end of the ribbon into the open side of the star and with it tucked in a little, stitch the opening closed, catching the ribbon and holding it in place.  Repeat for your other stars.  Tie off any threads and trim away.

Make the felt flower lengths next.  To do this, tie a knot at the end of your remaining two lengths of ribbon and, one at a time, thread the ribbon into a tapestry or upholstery needle.  Push the needle through the felt bits stringing them onto the ribbon.  You may need to get some pliers to help you pull the needle through.  Pliers give you better grip and some leverage which helps pull the ribbon through the felt bits.

Once you have all six strings ready to go, tie them to the ring, varying the length so that each is a bit different.  Spread the six strings evenly around the ring.

Trim off the extra ribbon.

To create the hanger, cut your cord into three half metre lengths.  Tie the three together with a knot.  You might decide to add a loop or hook, but the knot will be sufficient and is easy.

Tie the three cords evenly around the ring, ensuring that the ring will be even and verticle when hung.

And you are done.

12 Days of Christmas Project 10 – Covered Canvas Fabric Art

17 12 2011

Oh well another better late than never effort here, but hopefully the adaptiveness of this project will make up for my tardiness.  We have had some unexpected visitors in the last two days and when you have not seen people for twenty plus years it seems a bit rude to say, ‘love to chat but I need to blog – 2000+ people are waiting for today’s entry’ – rude and pretentious.

Now, I am going to show you one option for creating fabric wall art, but I hope that you will take the ideas and adapt them because the sky is the limit really once we break down the steps.  I recommend three basic parts, each which can be varied:  a surface designed background, padding or bulk in the middle, which can be quilted if you like; and a focal point.  I have used the silver leaves because it works with my theme but you could use applique, collage, photos, anything.

So for the first step, I used a fat quarter of black hand dyed sateen and two deColourant Mists – one clear and one dusty rose.  I also used some leaves from the garden.  Ferns work really well for this technique, but we don’t have any, so use any leaves you like the size and shape of.  The more interesting the better.

lay your leaves on your fabric, push down to keep fairly flat.  Lightly spray the surface with the uncoloured deColourant mist.  Spray from the top down rather than from an angle to ensure you are not getting under the leaves.

Remove the leaves and let the fabric dry.

The pattern will start to show up once it is ironed but you can start to see the complexity of the pattern already.  Steam iron with a hot iron.

Once ironed, replace your fabric and lay the leaves on at a different set of angles.  Spray, allow to dry and then steam iron again.  Spray your fabric for a third time, but this time use the deColourant Plus.  This has colour added to it.

Both the deColourant gel and mist come in deColourant Plus versions.  These not only remove colour but also leave a new colour in its place.  I love these on dark fabrics like the black and the blue I am using in this project. anyone notice the blue photos turned black?  Seamless aren’t I?

So, for the third spray, use the deColourant plus.  In the photo below you can see the colour on the leaves.  Spray fairly heavily to get an even coverage.

Again allow to dry and steam iron.  Your background fabric is now ready for the next stage.

You can do anything for your background.  You can use prepared commercial fabric, you can paint instead of discharge, you can use stencils or masks.  A mask is just something that prevents the colour getting to the background by masking or resisting.  The leaves I have used are a mask.  There are a heap of fabulous commercial ones available or you can use items from around the house.

For the second stage, you need to prepare the frame or canvas that you are going to mount your piece into or onto.  I am using an artist canvas which is readily available and cheap.  I have cut some wadding to the same size as the canvas and glued it to the surface.

Next, I am going to wrap my fabric over the wadded surface around the sides and, tucking in the corners, staple the fabric to the canvas to hold it in place, keeping it taut.  You can glue, stitch, thread or staple at this stage.  You might choose to take the glass out of a cheap frame and wrap the fabric around the backing card.  In that case you may not need nor want the bulk of the wadding.

If your focus point is applique or something you need to stitch through, don’t attach the fabric until you have completed that – obviously it will make it hard to applique if the fabric is already stappled to a frame.

This photo is a bit light, but you get the idea.

The third element is your focal point.  For that you can do anything.  Choose a theme that suits the decor of the person receiving the piece and tie it in with your colour selection and surface design patterns.  I continued the leaf theme.

While I was discharging the fabric, I was dehydrating some of the leaves off the tree that I took my mask leaves off.  For information on how to dehydrate flowers and leaves, this website is very comprehensive – http://tipnut.com/how-to-dry-flowers-a-collection-of-tips/

These will be fragile, so I have painted them gently and sealed the back to give some reinforcement and strength.  The first lot I painted silver and tried against the black and the blue backgrounds.

I also painted some rust and teal ink over the leaves, but did not like that so much, though it was getting there.  It is worth experimenting to get the look you are after.

In the end, I aged some painted dried leaves with distress ink and embossing powder, but I will show you the final version after Christmas as the recipient is watching my sites hoping to see her gift.

Anyway, this suits my friend.  I hope that you can take the concepts and the techniques and tailor it to gifts for people you know.

12 Days of Christmas Project 9 – Repurposed bracelets.

15 12 2011

Hi again,

today we have another ‘any one can make this’ project dressing up old or cheap plastic bracelets.  You might have a collection of old ones, might finds some in the op shops or could pick up cheap bracelets from the discount stores and dress them to suit a colour scheme more suited to the giftee or a particular outfit.  This is also one of those projects that is and looks very simple but the range of adaptations available can be mind blowing.

You need some bracelets, scraps of wadding, craft glue and yarn, ribbon or fabric scraps in the colours you want to use.  I have also used some iron on pearls and the heat wand thing-a-me that makes them stick.  This is optional but does really make a difference to the finished look.

I am going to show you two versions.

First choose a bracelet and measure how wide it is.  Cut a strip of wadding out to that width.  Put glue on the top surface of the bracelet and glue the wadding into place.  Trim to fit.  You can add multiple layers of wadding to increase the loft if you like.

Roll your yarn, cords or other narrow material into a ball which will fit easily inside the bracelets.  Hold or glue one end in place and wrap.

Place each wrap of yarn snuggly next to the previous one, leaving no gaps.

Once you have covered the full surface, trim the yarn and push the end under some of the layers.  Add a dab of glue to secure.

This next example is better for ribbon or strips of fabric.  I have used a strip of crushed silk satin.

Put glue on the end of the fabric or ribbon and hold it in place on the bracelet.

Wrap around the bracelet slightly overlapping each wrap.

Keep going until you have covered the whole surface and glue in place to hold.  Once this has dried, or however much later you find your heat wand (three days in my case), choose some iron on crystals, pearls or other elements and heat them to apply.  This next photo is a bit blurry, sorry.


Create patterns, apply them randomly, add different sizes and colours, what ever you like.  Then you are done.  Pop a couple in an organza bag or a nice box with some tissue paper and you have a lovely gift for that difficult to buy for teenage girl you know, secret Santa present or something to compliment your Xmas outfit.



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