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Hello and welcome to MadeByPin.com. I’m a wife, mom, granny and maker.  I started this blog in 2011 in order to complete my huge pile of UFPs (Unfinished Projects).  I finished many of them but also started a lot and the pile hasn’t really diminished. Join me and follow my progress or get in touch with the stories about your own UFPs.

59. Another Birthday Card

It is my friend Julia’s birthday on Monday.  She loves dogs, so I thought I’d make her a personalised card.

Those of you who followed this blog in its first year will recognise the method – it is a papercut.  I drew a design in pencil then cut it out with a craft knife. I then stuck the design on to a contrasting backing paper with Spray Mount.

It would probably have been better to have drawn the design on the reverse of the paper so I didn’t have to erase the pencil marks; but being no Leonardo Da Vinci, my brain power does not stretch to mirror writing.

55. Word Bird

It has been a hectic week so far.  I realised this morning that I didn’t have a make ready to publish so decided to take an hour out this afternoon to get one ready.  I enjoyed making this so much that I forgot to take photographs at each stage and totally lost track of time. That must be a sign of a good make.

The directions for this make are by Ann Ellis in the January/February 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors

I started by roughly drawing a body, wing and beak shape on cardboard as Ann suggests.

Then I cut the shapes out:

and this is where I got lost in a dream of tissue paper and glue and forgot to take any more photographs.

The steps are very simple: tear up tissue paper, stick it to the body, wing and beak. Then embellish.

Attach the finished bird to a skewer or other handy stick and admire.

53. Decorated Coat Hanger

This make has been languishing at the bottom of my makes basket for a year.  I picked it up many times and then always decided to wait until I got some Mod Podge.  As some very dear people gave me some, I was able to try it out.  It’s great and I think there will be a lot more makes with it in the year to come.

You may have noticed a new button on my blog to the top and right of this post – Pinterest. This is a virtual pinboard where you can save things you find around the web.  It is absorbing and truly fascinating to look at other people’s pinboards and discover all kinds of useful and interesting stuff.  So if you feel like having a look around, just click the button.

This make starts with an old wooden coat hanger and some recycled tissue paper that was way too beautiful to throw away.

I cut the shape of the hanger out of the tissue paper, leaving some extra paper to fold over the top and bottom.  I cut notches to fit it around the bends.

Then I glued it down with Mod Podge and repeated the procedure for the other side.

Once the paper was all stuck down and dry, I cut out some words and stuck them on too. Then I covered the whole lot with another layer of Mod Podge.

(Thank you  Kelly Rae Roberts for the inspiration).

46. Gift box made from Used Stamps

I’ve just got in under the wire with this week’s make.  All will become clear in a couple of weeks time.

I’ve collected stamps since I was a little girl. I had stamp albums that I inherited from my mum and dad and also collected used stamps for Blue Peter Christmas Appeals.  Old habits die hard.  I still can’t throw and envelope with a stamp away.  Nowadays the stamps go to whatever charity is collecting them.  The batch I used for this make included some that were damaged and of no use to collectors.

I started by taking the paper off the back of the stamp.  To do this, soak the stamp in a container of water.

This takes a few minutes.  When you can peel the paper off the stamp easily, dry the stamp by placing it face down on a towel, J cloth or paper towel.

While the stamps are drying find a suitable container that you can use to stick the stamps to.  I used a plastic container that had contained frosting.

When the stamps are dry fix them to the container one at a time. I used acrylic gel medium but you could use PVA glue or varnish.

When you have covered the whole container.  Paint over the stamps with a layer of your fixative.  Again, I used acrylic gel medium.

And here it is.  I’ll probably use it as a Christmas gift box.

19. Elderflower Cordial

The observant amongst you may have noticed that I’ve skipped from number 17 to number 19 in the list of makes for this year.  That is because I made a mistake and have two number 17s – oops.

Elderflower cordial one of the best of the late spring/early summer drinks.  I made several versions of this last year using different recipes and am using the most successful for this post.  This cordial is a favourite of our family, especially when mixed with sparkling water and ice on a hot summer day.  The only downside is that the season for elderflowers is short and I find it nearly impossible to keep up production with the speed at which it is drunk in our house!

The elderflowers started appearing on the trees in our area last week so time to get to the shops to buy the rest of the ingredients: sugar (caster is best); lemons and citric acid.  The first 2 of these are easy to come by, citric acid not so much.  Last year it was scarce but this year it is even more difficult to get hold of.

My first stop to find some was the pharmacy section of our local Sainsburys. ‘No, we are out of stock. No, we won’t be getting more soon.  We only get what we are sent and can’t order more. Yes, we know there is a call for it at this time of year, lots of people have been asking for it.’

Second stop was a small branch of Boots in our village. ‘No, we don’t stock this anymore. It can be abused.’ I was curious and in answer to my query the assistant whispered, ‘bombs’. She suggested I try the health food store in the village when I reassured her that all I wanted to make was elderflower cordial.

Third time lucky, ‘Squirrels‘ our local health food store stocked it in its home brew section. I mentioned to the friendly assistant what Boots had said – she was surprised but also told me she had heard of other ways in which it was abused.  I had no idea that this simple ingredient would be in such demand.  I think I’ll stock up before it becomes a banned substance altogether!

On to the recipe.  This is what you will need:

20 heads of elderflowers

1.5 litres water

1.4 kg caster sugar

2 lemons- preferably unwaxed and sliced thinly

50g citric acid

Shake the elderflowers to remove any little bugs, rinse under the tap and place in a large bowl.

Add the sliced lemons to the bowl.

Now put the water into a large pan, add the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.

Once boiled, remove from the heat and add the citric acid. It will fizz up a bit so make sure you are using a big enough pan.

Add the syrup mixture to the bowl of elderflowers and lemons.

Cover with a clean tea towel and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.

The next day get ready to bottle the cordial.  We drink shop bought elderflower cordial during the rest of the year so I’ve been saving the bottles but you can use just about any screw top glass bottle.  You will also need a couple of jugs, a ladle, some muslin (I’ve heard some people use a J cloth – I use a jelly-making fine mesh bag) and a funnel.

Heat the oven to Gas Mark 1/140C/275F/. Wash the bottles in hot soapy water, rinse and drain. Place the bottles in the oven for at least 30 minutes. (Use oven gloves to remove them from the oven.)

While the bottles are in the oven, boil a kettle and scald the jugs, funnel, ladle, muslin and bottle tops.

Once the bottles are sterilised, place the funnel inside the first one and the muslin inside one of the jugs. Ladle the elderflower mixture into the muslin and then when the jug is full, rest the muslin in the other jug and  transfer the cordial to the bottles, screwing the tops on as each is filled. (I say this as I’ve swiped a full but uncapped bottle off the counter with my arm before now).

The bottles will keep in the fridge for at least 2 to 3 months.  It will freeze too (but not in a glass bottle!).

14. Spice Bleachers

This make is a little unusual, some (like husband) might even say ‘weird’.  But it has solved a problem in my kitchen cupboard and is made from recycled materials, so it makes me happy.

I’m not the tallest of people and our kitchen wall cupboards have been built by and for giants.  Consequently, I can’t see things that get pushed to the back and have wasted many minutes looking for specific herbs and spices, think we’ve run out, buy some more and then push those to the back too.

Then I had an idea…Herb and Spice Bleachers.  So now they are all stacked in rows of increasing height and are easily found.

I’d spent a few weeks trying to find suitable containers or boxes that I could build some bleachers with and at last, this week, hit upon the ideal thing. An empty cling film box. I then set about looking for more of similar that I could use.  Luckily, my mum had just finished off some foil and also cleared out her cupboard and provided me with several more boxes. Thanks mum!

Here is what you will need (ignore some of the things in the photograph, I found after I started that I didn’t need glue and a brush).

Empty paper/film/foil boxes (keep the cardboard tube inside as it gives them some stability)

Masking tape

Clear sticky tape

Old food/recipe magazine

Double sided sticky pads (I got mine in the Pound Shop)

Take any sharp cutting pieces off the boxes or fold the top over them.

Stick the boxes together with masking tape.

If the box doesn’t have a strong cardboard inner tube then stuff it with crumpled newspaper or some of the magazine pages.

Before you cover each box, check how they will fit together in your cupboard.

Next choose some interesting pages from the magazine and cover each box like you are wrapping a gift. Sticking the paper down with clear sticky tape.

Unless you have a really large magazine, you will need to overlap the pages.

Starting at the back of the bleachers stick the boxes together with the double sided sticky pads…or if you don’t have these use sticky tape.

Place inside your cupboard and add the herbs and spices.

My very funny daughter added some props when I wasn’t looking:

Michael McIntyre talks about his herbs and spices – this is hilarious!

10. Recycled ruffle necklace

Into double figures! Make number 10.  Sounds good until I realise I have 42 left to make.

This make was inspired by a Marni.com necklace that I saw in one of the Sunday supplements.  The Marni necklaces are beautiful and follow one of the hottest trends of the moment – ruffles but if you don’t have the cash to splash out then have a go at making one like this.

I used about 2 metres of black ribbon for the pleated section and about 1.5 metres for the ties.  The ribbon came off a beautiful box of perfumed goodies that I received for my birthday. The beads (22 taupe coloured and 22 very small black) I took from an old 80s necklace. I also used two jump rings from my jewellery making supplies but they aren’t strictly necessary if you don’t have any to hand.

Starting at one end of the 2m piece of ribbon, start to fold tiny pleats.  I creased them by running my thumb nail down the fold and then putting a couple of stitches at the top of the pleat to hold it.

I have to admit this does take a little while to complete.  After I had pleated the entire piece, I pressed it very carefully – I was terrified that I’d melt the ribbon!

I then sewed the beads on one by one alternating the larger taupe coloured with the small black ones that act as spacers.

The ribbon I used was already shaped at each end but if yours isn’t then cut each end on the diagonal then hem them raw edge.

Slip each end through a jump ring and stitch in place.

Lastly cut the other piece of ribbon (1.5m) in half and hem each end of both pieces. Thread one end of each piece through the jump ring and stitch in place.  I gathered mine slightly but you could easily attach in the same way as you attached the main part of the necklace (i.e. cut the end of the ribbon on the diagonal, hem and thread through the ring).
Tie the two ends in a bow, slip over your head and you are ready to go!

5. An Almost Recycled Bracelet

Yes, surprisingly we are a month in and I’m still making.  I had the idea for this make while I was with my regular Sew, Knit and Natter group at Burnham Library.  We had a great bunch of makers there on Saturday.  V showed us how to make paper (which could well be a future make here) and a few others were teaching a new recruit how to read a knitting pattern.

This week’s make is made almost totally out of stuff that would otherwise have been thrown out. Here is what you need.

  • A magazine (I chose the John Lewis one pictured as the paper has a lovely feel to it)
  • Ruler (optional)
  • Pencil (optional too)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • A stick or knitting needle (I used a wooden skewer)
  • Spray varnish

The first step is to cut some long tapered strips from the magazine.  The top is about 1cm tapering on both sides to the narrowest point which is about 0.5 cm. Use the whole length of the page.

You can make it any width you want.  The wider the bottom the wider the bead; the more tapered the point and longer the strip, the fatter the bead.

You can also do this with a ruler and pencil or if you get fed up with that (as I did) just do it by eye.  This part is fun because you can experiment with the colours.  The colour at the point of the strip will be the main colour of the bead.  I’ve tried, with this bracelet to make the beads roughly the colours of the rainbow.

Next step is to wind the strip of paper around the stick or knitting needle starting with the wide end as pictured below.Try to keep the paper centred so that the narrow end ends up in the middle of the bead. Wrap the paper tightly and when you get to the point where there is just about 5cm left to roll then add a thin strip of PVA glue.

Wind the last 5cm around the stick.  It doesn’t matter if the glue oozes out and spreads onto the bead, it will dry clear and will also keep the bead nicely together.

Gently pull the bead off the end of the stick/needle.

Now make a few more.

I made about 80 for this project.  It was a random number – the amount I could make while sitting in front of the television catching up on Gossip Girl and Waterloo Road!

I then decided I’d varnish them to make them a little more robust. (This is the part where I put the recycling bit to one side)

Daughter, S and little one were here when I decided to do this so, in order not to asphyxiate little one, I took the beads out to the porch with a piece of newspaper and a can of spray varnish.

Learning number one: Don’t expect paper to stay still outside on a windy day

Learning number two: Spraying paper beads with an aerosol sends them scattering to all corners of the porch.

Luckily I had a trusty box with me (recognise this monstrosity from my first make?)

I sprayed the beads one layer at a time in this and it worked perfectly.  I’d imagine a small tupperware box would work just as well as long as you don’t want to use it for food again.

Next was to find something suitable on which to string the beads and I came across a piece of gold coloured elastic taken off a chocoloate box.  It is roughly 70 cm long.

When the varnish is dry start stringing the beads.

I decided to string mine in a rainbow sequence.

Once the beads filled the string, I tied the ends of the elastic.  It can be worn as a bracelet or necklace and here it is: