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Today's make is inspired by two things.  One is the incredible experience of being nominated and attending the Mollie Makes 2018 Handmade Awards this week.  It was such a privilege to be asked to go, especially seeing as this is such a new space, and although we didn't win, the girls that did, utterly deserved it and my heart couldn't have been happier. 

Part of the day was a talk by a group of ladies who have made a serious living out of their craft passion.  That was inspiring enough, but Sara Tasker, social media super-pro, said something that really resonated with me:

  "Share the things you love, because people will know if you're being inauthentic".

I have been trying to think of the best way to order the things I share in this space, the build an 'identity' around it.  And do you know what I really wanted to be doing?  I wanted to be playing along with the British Heart Foundations #thebigstitch that's running until the 15th of July.  So that is exactly what I have done.

Which means that today's make is another upcycle.  This time, a piece of inspiration more than an exact pattern, but hopefully it'll get your creative thoughts flowing and you'll think of something that you can turn on its head too.



Allison Playsuit
You will need:
Massive dress with sleeves
Scissors
Needle & thread
Sewing machine
Fabric scrap



Step 1 Don't bother with unpicking, just go straight in with the scissors and chop the sleeves off...



...the sleeves will then become the new legs!  Line them up, wiggle things into place and pin.  If you prefer, rather than pinning, run a round of running stitch to get them in place.




Step 2  Get the sewing machine out and stitch them all together.  Look!  Hareem pants!


Step 3 . Using your scissors, fold in half and neaten up the arm holes.  As this is made of jersey, I'm just going to leave the edge raw as it will roll nicely.


Now take out some of the back if you need to, this is to make it a little easier to get on.



Step 4   Give it a little shape by stitching a piece of material around the back section.


Step 5   Lounge around your house feeling uber cool and exceptionally comfy.
Hi Chaps, today I thought I'd share a very simple but super effective upcycle.  The British Heart Foundation have launched #thebigstitch for July, which is a social media thang for everyone to share ways that they customise and create new things from preloved stuff.  It's a great way to donate money to charity and pick-up something that you can get confident with the scissors on.

It's also one of my favourite ways to spend a hot summer evening.  Needle and thread, cool breeze under the tea lights, perfect.

This is called a 'rule of thumb' make as I'm not a great one for measuring and being very precise.  I tend to use my thumb as a guide for the length of the stitches I'm making, where I put my needle, that sort of thing.  It's something my Dad taught me when I was young and I've just always done.




You will need:

1 x jumper/sweatshirt
Sharp scissors
Matching needle and thread
Some embroidery threads
Embroidery Needle

Step 1
Cut the sleeves off just above the elbows

Roll the cut edge over a couple of times and stitch in place at the top and bottom.

Step 2
Pick a colour and make some very simple, vertical stitches around the neckline.

Pick another colour, and now here are some 'v' stitches.


How about some cross stitches in the next colour?


And then keep playing with whatever feels right.

Don't be afraid to pull out anything that you don't like, I re-did my blue row 3 times before I was happy with it.  There are no right and wrongs with this kind of make, it's really about the pleasure of experimenting and building up your confidence.


I realised I hadn't given a proper introduction to things, so although (appropriately) this is an upcycled site, I thought I ought to give you some background and introduce everyone.

A little while ago I made a mini-video-survey asking all my fellow crochet fans on instagram, what little things they do in their daily lives, to help make their environment a happier, healthier place.  100 people contributed, with suggestions from using vinegar as fabric softner to making slippers from old jumpers, and I really wanted to find a way to share these everyday insights, with everyone else.

I think the point was just to take the pressure off the idea of Sustainability being this Big Thing, and understand how much people are already doing in ordinary, everyday ways.  Kinda to make us all feel a bit less like yurt-living-moon-bathers, and a bit more like it's normal to do this sort of shiz while you're managing the school run, booking dental appointments and trying to find something that the children will eat without crying (them, not you.  Although maybe you sometimes).  It's also a lunatic way of building a dataset, but hey.

Every person that contributed is represented by a tiny figure from the depths of our toy chest (don't.  I know that plastic is all over the place at the moment, as the worst thing that has ever happened to us, so if nothing else, let thisvbe a way of illustrating just how much it is a part of our live).  I've then shot them in miniature, in a little club meetings if you will, talking about their nifty makes, thrifty suggetions and evironmental passions.  I have tried to use their actual words, but have also taken utter liberties too.

So here's everyone, in their full plastic glory, and seeing as we kicked off the rebith of the social club with a beeswax wrap tutorial, here's everyon etalking about it too.








What a super happy coincidence! The Make it Better Social Club is back, and it's Environment Day too!

Let's hit the ground running shall we?  Over on IG heaps of people were asking about beeswax wraps.  They're a reusable, fabric alternative to cling film. A thin fabric, coated in beeswax, that you wrap around your leftovers, and set in place with the heat from your hands.  Simple.  And they have a lovely, honey sort of smell too.

You can buy these wraps from some lovely, ethical makers, or, you can have a go at making your own.

Here's the recipe:

Equipment

Beeswax - just search 'buy beeswax beads', they are super cheap
An iron
Old fabric - I reuse cotton sheets that have given up the ghost
Baking parchment
Metal tray - you can make one using tin foil

Get the iron warming up on a medium heat.

Cut your fabric to size so that it fits in your tray.  Lay a sheet of baking parchment on the tray, and pop your fabric on top.

Sprinkle the fabric with a small handful of waxbeads, a light covering is plenty.

Put another piece of parchment on top, and then get your iron involved.

This will take a few minutes, as the wax needs to melt, and then you can move it around until it's coated the fabric.

Let it all cool just a little, but so that it's still warm, and then peel off the parchment.

Once cool you can use the heat from your hands to wrap it around your things!  It's not waterproof, and not recommended for meat and fish.  And to clean it you just use a cool, wet cloth.  That's it.

Our last for a good few months, or at least until the children lose them, and if they're made of organic material, they'll just compost down in the garden.



Hello loveheart's, I have to confess that when I started Mrs.Steel's back in January, I had visions of posting different tutorials a couple of times a week.  The reality is, that crochet work, life and everything in between has made that a little ambitious, but, not to be defeated, I may just need to drop that down to once a week or so!

This week, it's an Easter Extravaganza.  We have marbled eggs, decorated bunnies, crocheted flowers and a gorgeous take on the traditional Easter Tree.  All of these have been made to dress-up a family do we're having, in a little village hall in West Wales.  With a few foraged, upcycled and decorated objects, we've got an eggcellent (ahem, sorry, couldn't help it) center piece for our lunch table.



So first up: Prepping stuff for Marbling

I've marbled some eggs and a bunny.  To prep your eggs:
Make a small hole in the top and bottom with a sharp pin, and then holding you egg over a bowl, blow as hard as you can through one of the holes.  This should force the egg out of the other hole leaving you with an empty shell.  Warning: this is hilarious AND difficult.

I then threaded a long yarn needle with some golden thread, and fed it through the egg to make a loop to hang it by.  This not only makes it ideal for hanging up, but also makes it much easier to marble.

Paint your egg with white acrylic paint and leave to dry.

The bunny is a ready-made, papier mache chap form HobbyCraft, that I also painted white.


Marbling with Nail Varnish

You will need:
Nail varnish
Shallow dish
Warm water

The trick to this is, just to use a few drops of nail varnish.  The varnish sits on the top of the warm water like a sheet of plastic, so don't imagine that you dip something in and it comes out with a pretty inky print - this stuff wants to come out in a whooooole sheet of varnish.  The knack is to dip and twist your object, so that the sheet of varnish wraps around it.


If you don't want to ruin your finest china, cut the bottom off an old, plastic milk bottle to use instead.








If you haven't threaded a loop of string through them, having an egg cup or old egg box to rest them in once they're dipped is a good idea.

You can then dip whatever bit of your bunny that you like...






Now for the Easter Tree

You will need:
Twigs
Copper Spray paint
Strings of beads (thrifted pearls and twinkly things are ideal for this)
Marbled Eggs
Pompoms
Flowers
Fairy lights
Vase to stand them in.

You can literally festoon it with whatever you like, for me, more is definitely always more ;)

Make sure your twigs are as dirt free as possible, then lie them down on some newspaper (and preferably outside), spray with the copper spray - lots of short, quick sprays work best.  Make sure you cover all of them.


Pop in a vase, twist you little lights around is you have them, and then have the most utterly joyful half an hour, stringing pearls, dangling beads, tying flowers and pompoms and hanging eggs from them.


The little crochet flower pattern will be available soon over at LoveCrochet.com, so keep 'em peeled and have a lovely holiday! xxx
In a couple of month's I'm sort of getting married (technically we got married ten years ago, but didn't invite a soul, so we're finally fulfilling the promises to our Mum's and having our wedding reception), so clearly the only thing to do is make an enormous floral crown.

I though I'd share the process with you, so that you can have a go too.  This tutorial is stage 1 - building the flowery bit.  Really this blogpost could also have been called 'how to not be afraid of a glue gun', as that's really the key to it all.  If, like me, you used one at school and ended up with blistered fingers, now's the time to put that fear away, remember you're a grown up, and tackle the challenge head on.

For this make you will need:

A collection of silk/paper/woolly flowers.  Mine are from HobbyCraft and were all on stems.  If you find yours like this, then either cut or just pull the heads off (checking that you won't be pulling the entire flower head apart).
Alice band
Glue gun

Method:
Start with your leaves as a base, apply the hot glue to the alice band, and then stick the leaves to it.  It's much easier this way round.

Make sure you glue them nice and securely (go glue crazy) as this will then be the base you glue the flowers to.

To attach the flowers, it's easier to pop a bit of glue on to the part of the flower you want to stick down, and then secure it with a little more once it's in place.





Try it on as you go, to make sure you're getting your flowers in the right place.

When finished, put it on at marvel at yourself in the mirror, and then hear your own voice say "but is it enough?" (true story).  Stage 2 will be adorning it with birds, jewels and dangly bits.


Hello Peaches!

After a lovely little break, we're raring to go with a new tutorial for you.  We love treats as much as the next gal, but there are a couple of things we try to stick to when stuffing our faces; that it's relatively healthy and that if we don't understand what the ingredients are, we don't eat it.  I will honestly eat butter until the cows dry up, it's full fat everything all the way at Mrs.Steel's, chocolate?  Why not, but Aspartame?  I can't even say it, never mind ingest it.  With Mrs.Boss's delicate tummy, and a Tourette'sy boy each, we steer clear of the nonsense and try and encourage a slightly more au natural approach to eatin'.

So, with that in mind, here's a super delicious cheesecake recipe from Mrs.B.