Handmade gifts all round!

May is a crazy busy month for me every year. My job at the college becomes full of helping stressed out students prepare for deadlines and exhibitions, the warmer weather means weekends are booked up with BBQs and camping trips and we have recently started a tradition of travelling to Barcelona for Primavera Sound festival at the end of May. Not only is it my birthday in May, it is also the birthdays of lots and lots of my friends and family.

Usually I like to make my loved ones gifts as much as possible, but for the people with birthdays in May I just don’t often have the time. This year I decided that as an avid crafter and occasional Etsy seller I should be buying my friends and family handmade gifts from Etsy or craft fairs if I cannot find the time to make them myself.

I thought it might be nice to share a few of the lovely gifts I have bought on Etsy with you here. Maybe it will spark some ideas for gifts for your loved ones, but most of all I think it’s important to share the love of all things handmade with others and support other crafters!

DIY needle felting toadstool kit

I bought this kit for a friend who has never tried needle felting but loves lots of other crafts. I can’t wait to see how she gets on with it. I came across this kit when reading Leonor’s blog Felt Buddies and Co and decided to purchase her kit in order to support another UK crafter and blogger 🙂

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Black and white crystal pendant

I ordered one of these black and white crystal necklaces and it arrived a couple of days ago, it’s beautiful and I’m sure my friend will love it.

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Another crystal necklace

Two of my closest female friends have birthdays in the same week (the same week as mine too!) so I often end up buying them similar gifts, I bought one of them the black and white necklace above and the other one this purple triangle necklace. You just can’t go wrong with handmade jewellery.

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Owl watercolour print

I actually bought this print a year ago for an owl loving friend of mine, it’s a beautiful watercolour design and it arrived pretty quickly despite coming all the way from America.

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Watercolour cherry blossom prints

Another Etsy purchase from last year, this time for my mum who is a big fan of cherry blossom. She loves these prints so much! Her birthday is coming up again soon, hopefully I can find her another gift she likes just as much on Etsy.

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And now I can’t resist sharing some items that I haven’t purchased yet but would like to one day, either for myself or as a gift.

The Fox In The Attic

I just stumbled upon this Etsy shop today, their stuff is so cute. I hope a friend/family member has a baby soon so I can buy it one of these rattles.

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Papio Press

I came across Papio Press at the Bristol Etsy fair at Christmas time, I fell in love with their illustration style so much that my friend went back afterwards and bought me one of their prints.

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Last but not least is Click Picks

Click Picks is my friend Zoe’s shop, she’s a really talented photographer and sells her prints on Etsy as well as handmade notebooks, book covers and other crafty bits and bobs. She gave me one of her handmade notebooks once and it is absolutely beautiful.

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Well I hope that little round up of fun stuff I’ve found on Etsy was at least a little bit interesting for you! Small businesses really rely on people spreading the word about their fantastic products so it’s great to share brilliant makers and handmade items when you come across them!

Etsy is so full of amazing things it can be hard to know where to start sometimes, I’d love any recommendations any of you might have, either for your own handmade items or someone elses! Thanks for reading 🙂

 

 

Machine Sewn Baby Blanket

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A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my plans for the two weeks off work I had over Easter, in that post I mentioned hoping to finish a baby blanket I have been working on and today I have finally finished it!

This is the first baby blanket I have ever made using my sewing machine, the previous blankets have been hand sewn. It was a much quicker process but it’s safe to say I need some more practice with cutting accurately and machine sewing neatly as my blanket has turned out pretty messy looking in places.

I started by choosing some cute fabrics and cutting them into strips, I chose strips because it would be quicker and simpler than triangles for instance but slightly more visually interesting than simple squares.

The next stage was working out order and placement for my quilt.

Once I had come up with a design I liked, I methodically piled up my strips of fabric and stored them in piles labelled by row so that I knew what order to sew them together in.

Then I got started sewing the strips together, once each strip in each row were joined I ironed the fabric and joined all the rows together.

The final stage was picking a fabric to use for the border and back of the quilt, as well as some wadding. I chose 100% cotton wadding as the blanket is for a baby, it’s so soft and easy to sew with I think I will use 100% cotton for all my quilts now. The colour I chose for the border was not what I originally wanted, I was hoping to find a green cotton that matched the green background of the fabric with a mushroom pattern. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a green that was suitable so I picked a bright teal instead that picks up on the teal in a few of the other fabrics. I usually use a patterned fabric for the back of my quilts but this time the main patchwork fabrics are so bright, loud and busy with pattern I wanted to tone down the overall feel of the quilt by using a plain cotton.

So here is my finished quilt, as I said before, I am not 100% happy with it as quite a few of the corners don’t meet properly and the whole thing has a slightly messy, rushed feel. I did learn a lot though and despite the messiness I am still looking forward to giving the quilt to my cousin for her new baby when he or she arrives in the summer. A handmade gift (especially one you have put a lot of time into) is always appreciated and loved, I’d rather give a slightly messy looking quilt to a loved one than a present bought in a shop any day!

Now that this quilt is finished I am looking forward to starting a new one and working harder on accurate cutting and neat machine sewing! If any of you make quilts or any form of patchwork I’d love to see it!