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Sunday, January 25, 2015

How to make cloth bags and cloth wrapping

Fabric is the new paper!

Well, not exactly. The Japanese have been using it to wrap gifts and make all sorts of accessories like bags and headwear, for centuries. They call it "furoshiki". And as with all things Japanese, the ideas and designs are gorgeous and creative.

Inspired by this website I came across, I tried my hand at a few.

The more complex furoshiki designs seem to be made using a special stretchable cloth (which I don't have) - but a bit of research revealed that people use all sorts of different kinds of cloth and still get pretty good results. So I tried it with saree material using squares of material from old sarees which have become brittle and tear easily. The ivory-coloured cloth was left over from some curtains I got made! :-)

The bag was easily made by cutting out 2 pieces of cloth, sewing in the seams or rather hemming it and turning the bag inside out. The string was attached by tying it around the top, folding the cloth down and sewing the seam around it. Don't forget to tie a knot though or the string might disappear in the seam :-)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

How to make a paper quilt card

I've always been entranced by paper quilts. (Also by fabric quilts, but those always looked like a lot of work so I've never tried my hand at making one! :-)

Watched a couple of online tutorials on paper quilts and decided to try my hand at making one. And to also make it double up as a homemade card.

Step 1, buy a blank card. (You could also make this out of existing card-like material, if you had any). Bear in mind that buying one might be a better idea as you could also get a matching, correctly-sized envelope.

Step 2, gather your materials. You'll need scissors, cello tape, scrap paper and other embellishments.  For this simple quilt I chose a selection of patterned designs that I clipped out of a used journal. Using a craft scissors, I cut the edges off the paper to create oblong-shaped pieces.

Step 3, arrange the pieces of scrap paper onto the quilt. I laid out the pieces in an overlapping design on the front page of the card.

Step 4, secure the scrap paper onto the card. There could be many ways of doing this but I tend to find that the good old cellophane tape method works best. Cover the entire card with strips of cellophane and trip the edges, folding any excess into the card to create a smooth finish around the edges.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

How to decorate christmas gift bags

Yes, it's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, again! Christmas 2014.

Do you have a large group of people you'd like to give something to for Christmas, but you can't think of what to give exactly? 

It could be a group of colleagues, friends, your kid’s classmates, family members or just about anyone. You’d like something a little personalised, but at the same time, not too difficult to make – since Christmas is such a busy time! J

I have just the solution for you – how about small plain or patterned gift bags (these can be bought at a store for very little in terms of cash outlay) which you can decorate with handmade Christmas-themed motifs before filling them up with sweets, chocolates or other goodies?

These gift bags make for both personalised and homemade gifts, while at the same time, have the added benefit of being pretty easy to make and fill.

OK, so if you’re thinking about doing something like these next Christmas, tip no. 1 is to start gathering your supplies now itself. You'll need to save all cards, gift tags, wrappers, ribbons and other potential christmas craft materials and store them in a box or a folder.

Keep adding to the collection throughout the year, whenever you come across a piece of paper, fabric or other embellishment that fits with your design palette for the bags. Just about anything which is the right colour, can be worked into your design. 

The next step is to purchase the paper bags. (You could of course make your own, for an extra challenge!)J

For consistency, I'd suggest covering all the paper bags with the same wrapper. This not only makes the bags look great when placed to next to each other, but also serves to cover up any “not-so-pretty” pre-printed designs on the bag itself.

Once the basic cover is on, the rest of the d├ęcor for each bag is entirely up to you. For the examples below, I used a range of craft materials to decorate each bag with a unique design. All materials used were recycled from previous Christmas gifts, cards, ribbons and wrappers. Only the paper bags and the goodies stuffed inside, were store-bought.

Personalised gift bags can be used for other occasions too! See what designs you can come up with! J