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Craft Projects
  • Posted on December 13, 2016

    5 Homemade Gifts To Make This Christmas

    Next up in our Christmas round-ups, we’re thinking about homemade gifts.  As we mentioned in this post, we’re doing a Homemade Secret Santa this year, but whether you’re after a little stocking filler, or something personal for a friend or loved one, we’ve got you covered.

    Grocery shopping will no longer be a chore, thanks to this gorgeous tote bag from our new book Hygge Knits (this book is published in January, but you can preorder it here). Find the pattern for the bag over on MAKEetc here.

    These home-infused oils make a lovely stocking-filler for your favourite foodie. Click here for the recipes.

    If you know someone celebrating their first Christmas this year, Laura Strutt’s Bunting Baby Blanket would make a lovely gift. Find the knitting pattern here.

    Make these notebooks to kickstart a year of writing for any budding author. You can find a printable PDF project here.

    These lavender bags make sweet little stocking fillers. The project is available here.

    And as a bonus, homemade cards and gift tags can add a personal twist to any gift. We’ve got a video tutorial for these stocking cards here, and the instructions for homemade gift tags on the blog here.

    We hope you’re feeling inspired, but don’t forget to check out our Top 10 Gifts for Crafters blog post on MAKEetc here.

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    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with christmas, homemade, handmade, gift, photos, 2016

  • Posted on December 6, 2016

    5 Projects You Need To Make This Christmas!

    Taking a cursory glance at social media over the weekend, it seemed as if all of our friends simultaneously put up Christmas trees and started decorating their houses. Well, yipeee! We are fully embracing the holiday spirit here at RPS and CICO Books towers, and if there’s one thing we like even more than Christmas decorations, it’s handmade Christmas decorations. Here’s 5 of our favourite projects that will ensure you have a lovely, unique home this year!

    Decorate your tree with Elspeth Jackson’s rag rug Christmas baubles. These are so cute, we’re considering keeping them up all year round…we won’t tell if you don’t! There's a video tutorial here.

    We shared this cute reindeer decoration to make with the kids last week over on instagram stories, and you all loved it so we popped the instructions up on our MAKEetc. blog. Check them out here.

    A garland of these silver stars would look lovely slung across a mantelpiece, or you could hang single stars in your tree to just catch the light like Juliet’s done here. Find the project here.

    This Succulent Wreath looks super effective, and you’ll stand out on a street of holly wreaths! Find the instructions here.

    Jazz up jam jars as tea-light holders with this project from Hester van Overbeek’s first book, Furniture Hacks. You could even use sparkly beads for an extra party feel!

    For more inspiration, check out our book Handmade Christmas and make sure you keep an eye on MAKEetc. for a free project or two over the next few weeks.

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    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, News, UK, Videos, What's new and was tagged with christmas, christmas decorations, christmas craft, handmade, paper crafts, activities for kids, winter living, winter, 2016

  • Posted on September 28, 2016

    The Handmade Fair 2016!

    We had a wonderful time last weekend at The Handmade Fair, it was great to meet so many of you and see some of the other beautiful stands. Oh, and sell one or two books too. We had books from across our whole range available and it was great to see what people were enjoying throughout the weekend.

    Since we’re in a generous mood, we thought it would be nice to share some projects from the our Handmade Fair bestsellers; the books that proved most popular across the weekend. This list really has to begin with our latest book from Fiona Goble: the adorable Knitted Animal Cozies. You might have spotted a couple of samples from the book on the stand, and all weekend we had people asking where they could find the patterns. Well, here’s one for you!

    Knitted Hedgehog Tea Cosy – get the full pattern here.

     

    With autumn most definitely here this week, we’re sure lots of you are turning to crochet patterns for chic and stylish ways to keep cosy, and this was reflected in the popularity of Modern Crochet Shawls & Wraps by Laura Strutt which flew off the shelves! Head over to Laura’s website to find the pattern for this gorgeous shawl.

    Stash Buster Stripes - get the full pattern here.

     

    During the fair, a few of you mentioned how nice it was to see lots of our books catering for crafting beginners, and it’s true! Whether knitting, crochet or even origami, we had books for all skill levels. Beginner stitchers were loving Emma Hardy’s Learn to Sew and if you didn’t manage to pick one up at the fair, head over to The Sewing Directory to find the instructions for this lovely knitting bag.

    Knitting Bag Project - find the instructions here.

     

    Last, but by no means least, to no-one’s surprise ScandiKitchen: Fika & Hygge by Brontë Aurell was our runaway best-seller on the food side of things.

    Check out a recipe for Success Cake on our blog here.

    We hope you had as much fun as we did at The Handmade Fair, and if you’d like to see a little more of what we got up to, check out this video on our MAKE youtube channel!

    Happy making!

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    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, News, Recipes, UK, What's new

  • Posted on June 15, 2016

    Memory Jars for Fathers' Day

    Giving a homemade gift makes the experience extra special (not to mention a homemade card – try this one!) and with Fathers’ Day just around the corner, we’ve got a lovely project for children (of all ages!) to make for their dads. In Hester Van Overbeek’s latest book Crafting With Mason Jars she suggests this sweet way of displaying your favourite holiday snaps and memories, and we think it would be a lovely gift for Dad this weekend. Perhaps you have a little trinket that means something special to both of you? Or a memento of a trip you took together? Alternatively, find a lovely picture of you and your father, and fill the base of the jar with something that reminds you of him, such as the coffee beans Hester suggests. A super simple idea with endless possibilities!

    Memories In A Jar

    Instead of displaying your favorite snaps in photo frames, pop them in a jar! Did you go on a beach vacation? Take some sand, shells, or driftwood back home with you and place these in the bottom of the jar.

    Did you go on a city escape? Why not fill the base of the jar with coffee beans from your favorite espresso bar and pick up some small trinkets or save tickets to decorate the jar with.

    Crafting With Mason Jars by Hester van Overbeek is available here.

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    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with homemade, handmade, gift, kids, quick, 2016, mason jars

  • Posted on April 20, 2016

    Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...

    Author Fiona Bird was on BBC Radio 4 Midweek today talking to Libby Purves about her latest book Let Your Kids Go Wild Outside, life on South Uist and seaweed, and it was a fascinating chat; you can catch up here. Fiona is hugely knowledgeable about seaweed and the many things you can use it for (she even dropped off some seaweed shortbread at the office!) so we thought we’d share some of the seaweed-y wisdom to be found in this amazing book, along with a super easy craft project. Over to Fiona…

    Seaweed and its amazing uses

    Macroalgae is a really useful weed. You can pop seaweed in the bath, cook with it, or use it in craftwork. Plan a visit to a herbarium, where you will be able to see beautifully preserved plants and seaweeds—our ocean flowers—and find out the best ways to preserve a seaweed’s shape and color.

    Collecting, Drying, And Storing

    If you are not planning to use your seaweed fresh from the seashore, then it can easily be dried and stored for using in recipes or other projects later on.

    Collecting Seaweed

    There are a few rules to bear in mind when collecting seaweed from the seashore for use at home:

    Don’t pick storm-cast seaweed for cooking; only use seaweed that is growing.

    Do use a pair of scissors to cut seaweeds from their holdfasts at low tide on a clean beach. (Remember to take scissors with you when you visit the beach.)

    Don’t cook with floating seaweed or seaweed that grows at the top of the shore near drains. Sea lettuce and sea grass like growing here—instead, pick these seaweeds from rock pools at low tide.

    Do wash the seaweed in the sea so that any hidden “visitors” can find a new home locally. You should also rinse the seaweed in cold water when you get home.

    Do use a separate bag for each type collected, as this will make it easier to sort out your seaweeds when you get home.

    Drying Seaweed When you get home, wash the seaweed thoroughly. Rinse it in   cold water and squeeze out as much of the water as possible. A salad spinner is helpful here—spin the seaweed around, just as you would if preparing salad leaves.

    Next dry the seaweed. Lay the pieces of seaweed on a tray lined with newspaper or some paper towel—making sure that they aren’t touching—and leave to dry on a sunny windowsill. You could also pop the tray in a warm airing cupboard. On a sunny day, you can dry larger seaweeds such as sugar kelp by pegging them on a washing line. You can also dry seaweed on trays in a low oven or even in a food dehydrator if you have one. Some people dry seaweed in a hot oven, but you must be eagle-eyed if you do this and make sure that the seaweed does not burn.

    Storing Seaweed When you have dried the seaweed, cut it into manageable lengths or grind it in a food-blender. It is easier to grind a little at a time, pop it in an airtight container, and then repeat the process until you have used up all of the seaweed. Shake the containers when you remember and use the dried seaweed as a flavoring, just as you would herbs or spices.

    No-sew Seaweed Bath Sacks

    These easy-to-make bags make a lovely seaside vacation memory or gift. Younger children can practice knots as they tie the sacks. Soak the bath sack in your bath water for 5 minutes before you use it, unless, of course, you want to spend a long time in the bath. As the seaweed rehydrates, it releases a gel that has skin-softening properties.

    WHAT TO USE

    4 Dried seaweed, cut or broken by hand into short lengths

    4 Jelly bag, pop sock, or a leg of pantyhose (tights), cut below the knee

    4 Ribbon, for tying (optional)

    WHAT TO DO

    Stuff the dried seaweed into the jelly bag, pop sock, or section of pantyhose and then tie a knot (and a ribbon, if using) tightly at the top to make a sack. You can use colored or patterned pop socks or pantyhose if you wish to make your bath sacks look really pretty.

    Let Your Kids Go Wild Outside by Fiona Bird is available here.


    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Craft Projects, Featured, Interviews, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with homemade, school holidays, kids, photos, nature, activities for kids, 2016

  • Posted on April 14, 2016

    Get in the garden for National Gardening Week

    One of the things we love about gardening is how everyone can get involved, no matter how big or small; tiny fingers are very useful for planting seeds in our experience. So, in honour of the Royal Horticultural Society’s #NationalGardeningWeek we decided to share a project from our children’s book My First Gardening Book that’s perfect for any budding green-fingered enthusiast! Best of all, in the spirit of getting everyone gardening, you don’t even need a garden!

    Eggshell Gardens

    The next time your family has boiled eggs for breakfast, ask everyone to eat their egg very carefully so that they do not break the shells—then you can fill them with miniature flowers and moss to make a tiny garden.

    You will need

    Eggs

    Knife

    Bowl

    Potting mix (compost)

    Garden sieve (optional)

    Egg cups or egg carton

    Pin

    Spoon

    Moss (available from florists)

    Plants with small roots: Forget-me-nots, Krauss’ spikemoss, Violets ‘Moonlight’, Sweet violets

    You can either eat boiled eggs and keep the shells or ask an adult to help you cut the tops off raw eggs using a knife. Do this over a bowl so you can tip the raw egg out—you can use it to make an omelet later!

    Rinse the empty eggshells carefully in warm water.

    Check that your potting mix (compost) isn’t lumpy. If it is, you can push a little of the mix through a garden sieve, if you have one, or use your fingers to break up any lumps.

    Place the each eggshell upside down in an egg cup or carton and very carefully make a few small holes in the bottom of each egg with the pin. This is so that the water can drain away.

    Put the eggshells the right way round in the egg cups or carton. Spoon a little potting mix (compost) into each egg, making sure that there will be enough room for the plants.

    Put one plant in each egg and add a little more potting mix. Gently push a small piece of moss onto the top of the potting mix if you wish.

    Hints and tips

    • The potting mix will dry out quickly, so water the eggshells every day with just a little water.

    • Flowers like violets will carry on flowering for a few weeks so “deadhead” them by pinching off any faded flowers. This will encourage new ones to grow.

    My First Gardening Book is available here.


    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with homemade, school holidays, my first series, nature, activities for kids, gardening, 2016

  • Posted on March 24, 2016

    Crafting With Mason Jars blog tour

    We’re sure we don’t need to tell you that we love a bit of upcycling here at CICO Books towers. Whether you’re the sort of person that looks at a wooden crate and thinks ‘Hmm, what can I turn this into’ or you prefer to work on a much smaller scale, we’ve got books with great ideas for you. Latest to add to your upcycling bookshelf is Crafting With Mason Jars by Hester Van Overbeek. This is Hester’s second book for us, after Furniture Hacks last year (you can read more about that book here) and it is absolutely packed with ideas for upcycling the humble glass jar.  We celebrated the launch with a lovely blog tour last week. Just look at all the blogs we had taking part.

    We started the week with Apartment Apothecary who shared some of her favourite projects from the book, including this lovely oil lamp.

    Day two saw us pay a visit to Clare Nicolson’s blog, Full Time Fiesta where she’d had a go at making the Wall-Mounted Vase. How lovely do the flowers look against her block colour backdrop?

    Photograph by Clare Nicolson

    A Playful Day reviewed the book on Day 3 of the blog tour summing up: For me, this is the joy of Hester's book: a project for everyone’ and celebrating with a blood orange cocktail – a delightfully seasonal take on one of Hester’s picnic ideas. So lovely!

    We followed this with a look at Tinkered Treasures favourite projects from the book, including the totally instagrammable picnic in a jar. We know we’ll be doing a lot of this over the summer!

    Last but by no means least, we finished up a beautiful blog tour with a post at Claireabellemakes, who followed Hester’s instructions for making your own mason jar candle. How gorgeous does Crafting With Mason Jars look when it’s lit by candlelight?

    Photograph by Claireabellemakes

    We’ve had a lovely week celebrating a beautiful and innovative book and are looking forward to seeing some more makes from this book! Just to tickle your creative tastebuds, our most recent #MakeOnMonday was Hester’s tutorial for the Coffee Cup Jar – perfect for summer camping trips! Find the project over on our MAKE YouTube Channel.

    Crafting With Mason Jars by Hester van Overbeek is available here. Unless stated otherwise, all photographs are by James Gardiner.


    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with handmade, upcycling, video, photos, blog tour, 2016

  • Posted on March 22, 2016

    Crochet Easter Egg Cosies

    With Easter and the bank holiday weekend on the horizon, we’ve got the cutest craft idea to share with you today. Perfect for keeping boiled eggs toasty whilst you’re hunting Easter Eggs (obviously a priority), these little bunny egg cosies are taken from Nicki Trench’s Cute and Easy Crocheted Cosies. So grab your crochet hooks and brighten your breakfast table, next weekend and beyond! Plus, if you like these cuties, there’s plenty more Easter crafting to be had straight into your inbox with our latest MAKE newsletter. Join here to receive it now!

    Bunny Egg Cosies

    These cute little egg cosies have bunny ears and are made using standard double crochet to fit an average-sized egg. They are made in a spiral so it’s useful to use a stitch marker to mark the beginning and end of each round.

    materials

    Debbie Bliss Rialto DK, 100% merino wool DK weight yarn

    1 x 50g (1.oz) ball – approx. 105m (115yd) – each of:

    A: 58 Grass (green)

    B: 44 Aqua (blue)

    C: 64 Mauve (pink)

    D: 69 Citrus (yellow)

    3.5mm (US size E/4) crochet hook

    Stitch marker

    6 small pink beaded fabric bows

    tension

    17 sts x 19 rows over a 10cm (4in) square, working double crochet using 3.5mm (US size E/4) hook.

    finished measurement

    Approx. 4cm (1½in) diameter

    abbreviations

    approx. approximate(ly)

    ch chain

    cont continu(e)(ing)

    dc double crochet

    dc2tog double crochet 2 stitches together

    rep repeat

    RS right side

    st(s) stitch(es)

    ss slip stitch

    WS wrong side

    Cosy

    (make 1 each in A, B, C, and D)

    Make 2ch, 6dc into second ch from hook.

    Round 1 (RS): 2dc in each dc to end. (12 dc)

    Cont in rounds with RS always facing.

    Round 2: Rep Round 1. (24 dc)

    Rounds 3–7: 1dc in each dc to end.

    Round 8: *1dc in next dc, dc2tog over next 2 dc; rep from * to end. (16 dc)

    Round 9: 1dc in each dc, join with a ss in first dc of round.

    Fasten off.

    Ears

    (make 2 per Cosy)

    Row 1: Using A, B, C, or D, make 5ch, 1dc in second ch from hook, 1dc in each ch to end. (4 sts)

    Rows 2–5: 1ch, 1dc in each st to end. (4 sts)

    Row 6: 1ch, [dc2tog] twice. (2 sts)

    Row 7: 1ch, 1dc in each st.

    Row 8: 1ch, dc2tog.

    Fasten off.

    Finishing

    Sew in ends on WS and turn Cosy RS out.

    Pin and block Ears.

    Position and pin Ears onto top of RS of Cosy and sew in place.

    Sew one bow onto the left-hand Ear.

    Cute and Easy Crochted Cosies by Nicki Trench is available here. Don’t forget to subscribe to MAKE now to receive this and lots more Easter craft ideas straight into your inbox. Join here today!


    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with handmade, easter, school holidays, Nicki Trench, quick, crochet, 2016

  • Posted on March 1, 2016

    Flowers that last forever

    We’re all about the homemade gift here at CICO Books Towers, and with Mothers’ Day just around the corner (for those of you in the UK at least), we thought it was time we shared some ideas. These lovely tissue paper flowers are taken from our new book Let’s Get Crafty with Paper & Glue which is part of a new series aimed at introducing even the littlest children to crafty fun! With just some lovely brightly coloured tissue paper, and pipe cleaners, you can make a bunch of flowers for Mum that will last forever!

    Tissue-paper flowers

    Delicate and pretty, these delightful tissue-paper blooms make lovely gifts when bunched up into a colorful bouquet. Look out for multicolored packs of tissue paper in art stores, or collect leftover pieces from presents and packaging to have on hand when you need to say it with flowers.

    What you will need

    Sheets of tissue paper in different colors

    Scissors

    Ruler

    Pipe cleaners

    Twigs

    1. Layer tissue paper: measure and cut 10 pieces of different colored tissue paper, 9½ x 12in (24 x 30cm). Lay them on top of each other.

    2. First crease: fold all the layers of paper over together by about 1.in (3cm) and make a crease.

    3. Make a concertina: continue to fold the tissue paper until the whole thing resembles a concertina.

    4. Shape the strip: cut both ends of the strip into either a curved petal shape or snip it into thin strips using scissors.

    5. Wrap the layers: take a long pipe cleaner, fold it in half, and twist it around the middle of the paper strips.

    6. Make petals: carefully pull each layer of paper out to form the petals.

    7. Attach to twig: twist the pipe cleaner onto the end of a twig. Add a leaf shape if you like.

    Let’s Get Crafty with Paper & Glue is available here. We have also published Let’s Get Crafty with Fabric & Felt, available here.

       

    For more Mothers’ Day gift inspiration, check out our Spring Flower Pot, Felt Tulips and Origami gift box video tutorials.


    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, UK, Videos, What's new and was tagged with handmade, Mother's Day, Book Launch, crafts for kids, kids, paper crafts, activities for kids, 2016

  • Posted on January 11, 2016

    Motivation Monday: Colour Yourself to Calmness

    All this month, we're sharing #MotivationMonday ideas and inspiration to keep you focused and on track for your New Year's Resolutions. So whether, you're eating healthier, taking up new challenges, or wanting to live a little more mindfully, we're here for you! With regards to mindful living, we're aiming to take a little more time for ourselves in 2016, and what better way to do so than with our colouring pencils. Today we've got a brand new colouring sheet for you to download and print. Just click on the image below to open the printable PDF, take 5 and grab your pencils. Bliss!

     

    This colouring sheet is taken from our Colour Yourself to Calmness Postcard Book, with original artwork by Sue Coccia, available here.


    This post was posted in Craft Projects, Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with january, mindfulness, quick, mind body spirit, Motivation Monday, colouring books, 2016

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