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Freebies & tutorials

Make protective masks

Making masks — whilst it is not possible to make and contribute homemade masks to medical staff, it is possible to make them for your local community where masks are hard to find. In some places (areas of northern Italy for example), people are obliged to wear them outdoors, so in the face of the shortage, homemade becomes a useful source.If you want to have a go, take a look at the two mask patterns Spoonflower is offering for free, both accompanied by a clear video tutorial on how to make them. Scroll down the Spoonflower web page to find the tutorials towards the bottom, along with the mask download links.

I must reiterate that these masks are NOT medical masks and are intended for community use only.

Click for free mask tutorials

Fat quarter drawstring bag

Fat quarter drawstring bag


Looking for things to do during isolation? Here’s a quick and easy idea for a fat quarter — or any textiles measuring at least 50cm x 50cm you have available to use — to make a drawstring bag to use for all manner of things. Here are just a few suggestions — a shoe bag, a grocery bag, a craft bag, maybe to hold your latest sewing or knitting project. The box corners are optional. Download the instructions here.

Pink Flamingo cross-stitch pattern

pink flamingo cross-stitch image

Difficult times for most of us right now. The Coronavirus has turned our lives upside-down and being closed indoors can be trying, particularly where there are young children to keep occupied and feeling safe in such an uncertain world. So this pattern is offered to those who need to keep their hands and minds busy in order to relax and calm down.

You will find a colour chart attached to the pattern — the DMC threads chart has been used, but of course you can use any brand of threads you like, and even substitute colours where it would be more economical to do so. You might even have a stash of threads that you can use. No rules here — just take it easy and remember that every little coloured square on the chart represents a stitch.

Using an 11 squares per inch canvas, your finished work will measure approximately 30 cm x 40 cm — but there are no rules to say you can’t do this pattern on a scrap of fabric — or even as a knitting pattern. I’m no expert there, but if you are, you will know how to transfer the chart to knitting I’m sure.

Satin cord bound eggs

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Bound eggs [Tutorial]

These pretty bound eggs don’t have to come out just at Easter, and of course, they don’t have to be bound in satin cord. Why not go for the rustic country look with jute string? Another interesting version could be with long skinny strips or recycled fabric — your imagination is your only limit. The tutorial suggests a polystyrene egg, but that can be substituted with tightly wrapped and shaped newspaper, for instance to remain with the recycling theme.
Click on the download button below for instructions.

Recycled hearts for wall hanging

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Biedermeier hearts wall hanging [Tutorial]

I’m afraid the image doesn’t do the wall hanging justice, but these are really very attractive and make nice little gifts so you might like to try this one out for yourselves. There is only one heart in the photograph, but the wall hanging actually has 3 of them, one above the other.
Click on the button below to download the PDF file instructions.

Christmas carriers

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Eco-friendly shoppers

Let me just remind you that you can find our tutorials for Christmas themed carrier bags in these downloadable pdf files. You will need to download the images and the tutorial pdf.

We offer two different versions of the carrier — one in traditional reds and greens and the other in more elegant shades of grey.


Just download the files and instructions for these shoppers using the links below.




Biscuit tube tutorial

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Some wonderful well meaning relatives came over to visit us recently, and brought a mountain of ginger nut biscuits to me as a gift!! Well not many biscuits left, but the carton tubes which contained them are still around and here is what I have done with one of them. A pretty container to use as a special gift wrap, or perhaps to store my crochet needles inside.
Well, go collect the tutorial for yourselves but you will need to eat your biscuits first of course ;)

Painting with glue

metallic-leavesRemember the post I put up about checking out the dustbins some while back?

I mentioned some salvaging I had done – or rather – my husband had done on my behalf – of display items which had been thrown out by a local store – they never actually went in the garbage by the way! Well I have a dozen of them sitting in my craft room, and this weekend I decided to put one of these boards to the test with paints and heavy colouring treatment to see how well it survived.

I’m actually quite pleased with the results even though I consider this to still be a work in progress as I am not 100% satisfied with the painting – there are still a couple of areas I will be giving my attention to – a few more details to be added. I have included an image here anyway so that you can see for yourselves the direction the work is taking.

I knew I was going to be using metallic paints and inks, so I wanted the base/background to have a sort of grungy copper type effect with a touch of ‘verdigris’. That was achieved using an earthy/orange coat of paint and a dark umber, both of which were brushed on with a large brush in a very irregular manner. I then used my brayer wrapped with randomly wrapped string to add streaks of turquoise. When everything had dried nicely I used a background stamp for adding minute gold details.When all the upper layer 3D details (created using my hot glue gun) were dry and painted, I sponged the whole painting with black shoe polish and quickly rubbed away some areas to reveal the gold details below.

Great fun, though very smelly! Make sure you keep your windows open if you try this.

Pompoms galore tutorial

pompom-tutorial001If anyone is interested, I have just added a pompom tutorial – I have set it all up in a downloadable pdf file for you – free for the taking, and have fun with the pompoms – they are always such a cheerful addition to scarves and hats and sweaters for both children and adults alike.

You can pick up the pdf file for download by clicking on the link below …

Papier maché bauble tutorial

Managed to get the tutorial done for the papier maché baubles if anyone is interested. You will see that I have suggested inexpensive toilet paper to create the paper base, but of course other paper, preferably from recycled sources is a good alternative. Just be aware that the build up of thicker paper is going to make it more difficult for the light to show through, and so try to leave some areas a little thinner with fewer layers — or even to create small open ‘keyhole’ spaces for the light to be seen. You can pick up the pdf file and more information — just follow the simple instructions in the tutorial pdf which you can download by clicking here …

Made by Hand

When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.

by Giacomo Cinque
'La Sartoria Antica'
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