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Christmas Crafts

Were you snuggled up last night in front of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas? Christmas can be stressful for many of us, as we try to find unique gifts that don’t cost the earth. Creative projects can be worked on indoors, safe from the weather and the Black Friday crowd! Throw in some hot chocolate to entice some friendly “elves” (your friends or family) to help. With three weeks left to go until Christmas (and just one week of term left- yay!) you have plenty of time to get inspired.

Last night on Kirstie four people competed to design a unique advent calendar. The winning calendar featured origami boxes full of tiny treats like chocolates, glitter and coloured paper stars. Origami takes a lot of practise, but you can make amazing shapes with nothing more than a single sheet of white paper. Some of you will have heard of Pinterest, a website that allows you to bookmark images and links in the style of a mood board. We browsed this board to find this simple tutorial for an origami santa, which blends bright colours with clean lines for a surprisingly cuddly finish! If you’d like to learn more about the art of paper sculpture, browse the photographs in Paper: Tear, Fold, Rip, Crease, Cut (NORFOLK HOUSE 745.54 SLO)

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Start simple, with these origami Christmas lights…

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…and next year you can fill your Christmas tree with paper dinosaurs!

Later in the show, Sewing Bee contestant Chinelo made a grown-up Christmas stocking from faux fur and heavy velvet. These are difficult fabrics to use, but the sock-shaped pattern is easy to follow (just remember to leave a gap at the top!) Sew Basic: 34 Essential Skills for Sewing with Confidence (BOOK ZONE 646.2) is a brilliant beginner’s guide to both machine and hand sewing. Check out Fabric Savvy: the Essential Guide for Every Sewer (BOOK ZONE 646.11 BET) before you spend your Christmas budget on fabrics that might fray under piles of presents! One of the runner-up advent calendars featured a street of fabric houses and tiny fabric pictures behind each door. The Encyclopaedia of Machine Embroidery Techniques (BOOK ZONE 746.44 HOL) will teach you how to use a regular sewing machine to sketch with thread on fabric. Frame your art, or turn it into a dress, a cushion, a laptop case, a pet-sized Christmas jumper….

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Hand embroidery and appliqué techniques are quick to master

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Lots of freestyle embroidery techniques were used to create this sparkling tree.

Do you like the traditional rich Christmas fruit cake, layered with icing and marzipan (and maybe a dash of brandy?) Start a new tradition this year and ice your cake (any sort of cake!) in your personal style. This year Kirstie’s chefs made cakes that featured penguins, clocks and a flurry of snow, and last year’s winner managed to balance a pudding on top of a Christmas tree! Icing and Decorating Cakes: A Complete Guide to Cake Decorating Techniques (BOOK ZONE 641.8653 NIL) will help you choose the icing to match your cake. Then you’ll learn how to colour it and coat the cake with a proper flourish. Modelling (BOOK ZONE 641.8653 MAC) has step-by-step instructions for characters you can modify and make your own.  We’re obsessed with the book-themed cakes on this Pinterest board, from the Gruffalo to the Discworld to the Walking Dead.

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Sugarcraft figures turn this chocolate gateaux into a cute Christmas cake

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However you choose to decorate, make sure your cake represents what’s best about you!

Share photos of your Christmas crafts on our Facebook page. Our Christmas display will be in place from next week!

 

References:

Lott, C Origami Christmas lights accessed at https://flic.kr/p/dDfJGg on 02/12/2015

Stephanie untitled accessed at https://flic.kr/p/9aWxi8 on 02/12/15

O’Malley, M Tree Lot accessed at https://flic.kr/p/8TQd3a on 02/12/2015

Kuba, O Christmas Tree accessed at https://flic.kr/p/dDNsr1 on 02/12/2015

klmubert, Christmas cake accessed at https://flic.kr/p/94jZwy on 02/12/2015

Angus, R The Age of Clarkson accessed at https://flic.kr/p/7t3WjQ on 02/12/2015

 

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