Meet, Wrap, Mingle

Ok, so Christmas has been and gone for another year - but with it being New Year's Eve today I thought I would share with you some festive inspiration from the Make Wrap Mingle event, hosted by Zeena Shah, Lynne from Papermash and Geraldine from Little Big Bell - just in case you're in the mood for a little last minute crafting! 

Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate
Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate

The afternoon, held at the beautiful (and most-instagrammable!) Papermill Studios was an absolute delight, from beginning to end. With the chance to wrap gifts, have our hair braided by the lovely girls at Prettly, write secret letters, make wooly pom poms and crackers and eat our fill of the amazing treats on offer, it was the perfect way to spend a few hours. 

Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate
Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate

CONFETTI CRACKER MAKING

One of my favourite activities was the cracker making craft, led by Zeena. And who says crackers need to be confined to the Christmas table? If you have a little time today (and just a few basic craft items) why not whip up a few to help ring in the new year? They're so easy to make, and you can easily decorate them to match your theme - whether you're going bold and bright and colourful, or gold and black and sparkly. To read the instructions about how to make your own cracker, nip over to Stylist where Zeena shared all her cracker making know-how. The one I made on the day used mint green card (I'm nothing if not predictable!), and I used gold dot stickers to decorate the outside, while I filled the cracker with brightly coloured confetti and a little treat. Ours didn't include a bang, but these could easily be added too! (You can buy the gold and white bakers twine at Papermash here)

How to make a confetti filled cracker for parties, by Zeena Shah | Gathered Cheer blog
Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate
Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate
Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate

SECRET LETTER SENDING

Another activity we did which needn't be kept just for the most wonderful time of the year, was envelope decorating and letter writing. Our instructions were simple - pick a name and address from the label list, and write them a cheerful letter, while also making and decorating the envelope to house your letter. We used all manner of tape, stamps, stickers and pens to decorate the envelopes (made using a template, currently sold out). This is such an easy and fulfilling craft at any time of year. Sometimes there are anonymous letter exchanges you can join in on, or you could just make more of an effort to send pretty snail mail to your nearest and dearest. So much nicer than a quick email or whatsapp message, right? 

Make Wrap Mingle event with Zeena Shah and Papermash | Gathered Cheer blog - image by Anna Southgate

I hope you liked those two super easy 'not just for Christmas' crafty ideas. I for one am definitely feeling ready to get my craft on in 2017 - starting with some more pretty letter writing to my friends and family. Do you have any crafty plans for 2017? I'd love to hear about them - let me know in the comments below! 

Do also have a little peek at the Papermash blog to hear more about the afternoon, and stay tuned over there for more information on 2017 workshops! 

Happy New Year! 

-x-

All photos by Anna Southgate, of August Story Company (and over here on Instagram), with the exception of the first confetti cracker image with is by Ruth for Gathered Cheer blog.


It's Christmas!

If you're not already sick of the sight of chocolate (not possible, in my opinion), the little craft I have for you today should be just the job for a fun and easy Christmas DIY. These chocolate pouches are perfect for making and hanging up around the home, and they will give any visiting friends and family a little treat as they stop by. They are so so easy to make and require no complicated materials. In fact, so simple is this project that I didn't even take step by step photos! So grab some off cuts of wrapping paper, some pretty tape and a few chocolatey treats and you'll be all set to go.

Lindor Christmas treat pouches | Gathered Cheer blog

You will need: 

  • Wrapping paper off-cuts (I had this gold glittery paper leftover from last year)
  • Pretty tape (like this, which I used from Papermash)
  • Twine (like this, again from Papermash)
  • Hole punch
  • Scissors
  • Chocolate (I used these Lindt Lindor chocolate orange truffles, and some elves and bear chocolates!)
  • Any other Christmas decorations (I used some mini baubles)
Lindor Christmas treat pouches | Gathered Cheer blog
Lindor Christmas treat pouches | Gathered Cheer blog

I was also lucky enough to receive some other tasty Lindt Christmas treats - who doesn't love the classic gold bear and reindeer? Father Christmas is rather lovely too... I've been saving them up for Christmas day - thank goodness it's tomorrow!

Lindor Christmas treat pouches | Gathered Cheer blog

To make:

  • Cut little squares out of your wrapping paper and to make the pocket, simply fold in half and stick down at either side (left and right) with pretty tape. Be sure to use enough paper so that your chocolate treat will fit inside the pouch! 
  • Before you put the chocolate inside, hold it flat and make a hole punch near the top centre. 
  • Thread twine through the hole and stick to the wall with more pretty tape.
  • Pop your treats into the pouches.
  • Add any other Christmas decorations for more festive sparkle!
  • Refill the pouches with fresh supplies as needed (fairly often, I'm guessing!)
Lindor Christmas treat pouches | Gathered Cheer blog

And there you have it, simple chocolate treat pockets - perfect for hanging around the house over this lovely Christmas and New Year break! 

I'll be back here after Christmas, so in the meantime I wish you a very happy Christmas full of peace, hope and joy. xx

Lindor Christmas treat pouches | Gathered Cheer blog

All photos shot and styled by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer.

Lindor kindly sent me the delicious selection of chocolate, but all the words and opinions are my own.



Christmas DIY | Gold glitter letters

Advent is here, friends! That means we are all legitimately allowed to deck the halls and be merry. So, to celebrate I'm delighted to share this super easy (but somewhat messy...) Christmas craft DIY I shot and styled for the brand new Merry Mag Holiday issue.

I'm thrilled to have been part of this Merry Mag issue. Created by the awesome Melissa from The Sweet Escape, and with contributions from a whole host of lovely bloggers, it's a US-based online magazine absolutely brimming with holiday crafts and DIY projects.

I've actually had the letters I use in this DIY in their original plain form since last Christmas, when I displayed them as they were - but this year I wanted to go all out with gold sparkle, and the glitter just had to come out! Just a word of warning, this is a messy craft. Like really messy. You will get glitter everywhere. Everywhere. I'm still finding it on me, in bed, on the carpet... (I did the craft in our bedroom, because that's sensible...) But, I think the sparkly result is well worth it, and I hope you agree.

Christmas DIY | Gold glitter papier mache letters | Gathered Cheer blog

Here's what you'll need //

Merry Mag Holiday 2015 / Gathered Cheer blog | DIY gold glitter papier mache letters
Merry Mag Holiday 2015 / Gathered Cheer blog | DIY gold glitter papier mache letters
Merry Mag Holiday 2015 / Gathered Cheer blog | DIY gold glitter papier mache letters
Merry Mag Holiday 2015 / Gathered Cheer blog | DIY gold glitter papier mache letters
Merry Mag Holiday 2015 / Gathered Cheer blog | DIY gold glitter papier mache letters

1. Cover your letters (one at a time) with a fairly generous layer of mod podge or similar. I used the matte one, but it doesn't really matter which you go for. (Don't put any of the glue on the bottom of the letter, where it will stand up, as otherwise glitter will stick there making it wobbly!)

2. Using an old tray filled press the letter into the glitter. Then be prepared to get messy.  Hold the letter in one hand, and sprinkle more glitter on its surface - adding glue where needed. Make sure there are no gaps left! 

3. Lie the letters on a sheet of newspaper, and nip outside. Spray liberally with a coat of clear acrylic gloss sealer. Leave to dry. This should leave the glitter letters nice and sealed, and less likely to shed sparkle everywhere they go. (I did try out a few different ways to seal the glitter in, including other techniques like mixing mod podge and glitter together and coating the letter that way, but in the end I plumped for this version as it's so easy! That said, it might drop the odd bit of glitter, but nowhere as near as if left uncoated! If you have a fool-proof glitter sealing idea, let me know in the comments below!)

4. Display anywhere you want to add a dash of holiday cheer. 

The best thing about this is that you can spell anything you fancy, for any occasion. So fun.

Merry Mag Holiday 2015 / Gathered Cheer blog | DIY gold glitter papier mache letters
Merry Mag Holiday 2015 / Gathered Cheer blog | DIY gold glitter papier mache letters
Merry Mag Holiday 2015 / Gathered Cheer blog | DIY gold glitter papier mache letters

Hope you enjoyed this project, and be sure to check out Merry Mag to see more awesome Christmas craft ideas!

x


A Petal Unfolds and Quill London Paper Flower Workshop

There's no denying that a bunch of flowers brings joy for both the giver and the receiver. (And yes, self-gifting definitely counts.) Brown paper and lashings of twine containing a bundle of hope. Or a bundle of sorry. A bundle of 'I care'. Whatever the occasion in the petals and stems of fragrant blooms, a moment is lingered over and celebrated. But as with many of life's pleasures, the joy is momentary. Temporary. To be enjoyed and then discarded with the week's scrapings and wrappers. But what if a bloom could last forever, a moment savoured, a caring thought cherished? Well, thanks to incredible paper artist, Susan Beech of A Petal Unfolds, this is happy possibility. Taking crepe paper of all hues, a trusty pair of scissors and a whole lot of knowledge about the intricacies of flowers, Susan crafts these beautiful blooms with such precision and passion. Seriously, nip on over to Susan's instagram feed and prepare to be amazed! 

Paper Flowers Workshop with A Petal Unfolds and Quill London | Gathered Cheer blog

Now keen to share her talent with others, Susan has teamed up with the lovely team at Quill London to teach the art of paper flower making. I was lucky enough to get a preview of the class with a bunch of other sweet blogging pals, and goodness me, those attending the class are in for a treat! For us bloggers we learnt folding, cutting and glueing techniques as the wine flowed, the cookies (thank you Honeywell Bakes) were devoured and the cake (thank you S K Cakes) was cut. What's more at the end of the class I tried my luck and Susan generously gave me two of her own creations to bring home and photograph along with my own. (Thank you, Susan!)

While I still have a way to go developing my own paper artist skills, it was such a relaxing class and Susan's encouraging, friendly and unassuming nature made it such a joy! And sure enough, by following her gentle guidance at the end of the time I'd produced a pretty peony. 

Here are a few photos the gorgeous cake and cookies we enjoyed - just look at that grey marble with gold flecks decoration on the cookies. So gorgeous. And the cake, complete with rice paper flowers was stunning! 

Paper Flowers Workshop with A Petal Unfolds and Quill London | Gathered Cheer blog
Paper Flowers Workshop with A Petal Unfolds and Quill London | Gathered Cheer blog
Paper Flowers Workshop with A Petal Unfolds and Quill London | Gathered Cheer blog

Can you tell which of the stems below I made? I had such fun photographing the trio; their soft peach petals looked lovely on my simple white linen cloth. 

Paper Flowers Workshop with A Petal Unfolds and Quill London | Gathered Cheer blog
Paper Flowers Workshop with A Petal Unfolds and Quill London | Gathered Cheer blog
Paper Flowers Workshop with A Petal Unfolds and Quill London | Gathered Cheer blog
Paper Flowers Workshop with A Petal Unfolds and Quill London | Gathered Cheer blog

Below are a couple of images taken from Susan's instagram feed to show how jolly talented she is - those dahlias are so life-like! It amazes me how paper can be manipulated, cut and folded so intricately to produce such beautiful creations. 

Paper Flowers Workshop with A Petal Unfolds and Quill London | Gathered Cheer blog
Paper Flowers Workshop with A Petal Unfolds and Quill London | Gathered Cheer blog

To find out more about the Quill London and A Petal Unfolds workshops, click over here - currently the listed classes are sold out, so it is definitely worth signing up to the Quill mailing list to be notified when more go on sale. They sell out super fast! 

Thank you so much to Susan, Lucy and Alexa for inviting me to such a wonderful evening! 

x

All photos shot and styled by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer.


How to Print Fabric by Zeena Shah : Book Blog Hop

Hello friends, I hope you're having a super week. Today, I'm delighted to share with you a fun craft DIY, as part of a blog hop celebrating the imminent release of Zeena Shah's book - How to Print Fabric. Having met Zeena a while ago, first at her lovely workshops (lino cutting then and then screen printing) and at many London Renegade Craft Fairs, it seemed to me that a book deal was always just around the corner. Friendly, talented, super enthusiastic and encouraging, she's honestly the best person to learn a new crafty skill from! So, for those not near enough to attend one of Zeena's workshops, this new book (out on 27th November) is full of amazing and simple tutorials which mean you can get your craft on in your own home. Plus there's also now a whole bunch of videos with Zeena talking you through some of the DIYs, step by step. 

'How to Print Fabric' book by Zeena Shah | Gathered Cheer blog

Taking in the basics first - including understanding pattern design, mark making and the various inks and dyes - the book lays a handy ground work of knowledge in a clear, understandable way. The projects then follow, each one using a different printing technique, and a suggested way to then turn this printed fabric into something beautiful. When my sewing machine is fixed (one day!) I can't wait to try my hand at the watercolour mark printing, using the printed fabric to make a lunch bag. The book then finishes with some helpful sewing techniques, templates and a list of suppliers and resources. Another great thing about the book is that Zeena really has made printing fabric so simple. Most of the projects use household items (anything from potatoes and pencils to lint rollers and elastic bands) so nothing seems out of reach or too complicated. 

So, back to the DIY for today - pencil end printing. I picked this project to share with you today mainly because it is so jolly simple and requires absolutely zero sewing. In the book, Zeena makes a larger hexagon trivet, but I opted to make a few coasters as they're much needed in our sitting room! 

'How to Print Fabric' book by Zeena Shah | Gathered Cheer blog

Materials:

  • Felt fabric (3mm thick)
  • Opaque fabric block printing ink
  • Dish
  • Paintbrush
  • Pencil with a rubber end
  • Trick marker (I used a dressmaker's pencil)
  • Scissors (or scalpel and cutting mat)
  • Ruler
'How to Print Fabric' book by Zeena Shah | Gathered Cheer blog

To make:

  1. With a pencil, trace around a hexagon template. I used a handy little hexagon box I had, but you could use a mug or another object too.
  2. Carefully cut out the shape, using sharp scissors or a scalpel and cutting mat. 
  3. Squeeze a pea size amount of ink into a dish and use your paintbrush to spread it out into a smooth, thin layer. 
  4. Use a ruler and trick marker to mark a guideline for printing onto your shape, making a point every 2-3cm that is evenly spaced vertically and horizontally, to create a consistent repeat pattern. 
  5. Using the rubber end of your pencil, dip in the ink and print onto your shape, starting at the top and working your way down to the bottom - to keep your hands away from the wet ink and prevent smudging. 
  6. Dry your print with a hairdyers and fix the felt following the instructions on your ink product. (Once dry, I covered the felt with a scrap piece of fabric and ironed on a medium heat to set the ink into the fabric.

The beauty of mark making with a pencil end is that you can make whatever design you like. To make my set of three coasters different, I did one in lines as above, another using the same pencil end but in a random scattered pattern and another using the tip of my paintbrush to make dots. Experimenting is definitely the way to go here! The result is a sweet item, that took little over 15 minutes to make.

'How to Print Fabric' book by Zeena Shah | Gathered Cheer blog
'How to Print Fabric' book by Zeena Shah | Gathered Cheer blog

I hope you enjoy trying your hand at printing! 

x

Disclaimer: All content and photos from the 'How To Print Fabric' Blog Hop are copyrighted and courtesy of Stitch Craft Create. Top image via Stitch Craft Create and all other DIY images styled and taken by Ruth Garner for Gathered Cheer.