Friday 23 December 2011

Brooch and Crayon Roll Giveaway!

To celebrate reaching 100 wonderful followers on my Facebook page, I have decided to do a giveaway! This will be a crayon roll and a brooch!

Both are upcycled, so are made using items that people don't need or want any more. I take these unwanted items and make them into new, lovable things! The brooch in this giveaway has been made from jumpers that had seen better days...I washed, felted, cut, sewed, embellished and finished with a new item - which I hope will make the winner of this giveaway happy when they wear it! :)

The crayon roll has been made from bits of bed linen and a bit of t-shirt - I washed, cut, pinned, sewed, rolled and added 10 jumbo crayons! Perfect to roll up, put in a bag and pull out when out and about to keep children entertained and to make sure they can doodle and be creative inside AND outside the home too! Would be great for use on a long train journey, in the Doctor's waiting room, in a restaurant etc etc!

The crayons are non toxic and state on their original packaging ' Children must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times when using this pack. Not suitable for children under 36 months. Choking hazard due to small parts'.

How to enter:

Leave a comment below to enter your name into the draw - That's it!...just one will do :)

Also, please don't leave an anonymous comment, or I won't be able to contact you if your name is picked when the draw takes place.

Why not follow Upcycled Creatively by email (see option on the right)? Then, when the winner of the draw for the giveaway is announced, you won't miss it! Plus, you'll be sure to see all future upcycling ideas and tutorials too!

This Giveaway draw closes on Tuesday 3rd January at 12 o'clock UK time and the winner will be chosen randomly and announced later that day. The crayon roll and brooch will be sent out as soon as possible after that.

If you don't win this giveaway, don't fret! Keep a look out for more in the future and also remember to take a peek at my Etsy shop once it gets filled after Christmas, for the opportunity to buy some Upcycled Creatively items :)

Thank you again to all my 100 plus followers and I hope you all have wonderful Christmas times.

Naomi :)


OK! This giveaway is now closed! Thank you for all who took the time to comment.

The winner of this giveaway has been chosen at random, using and is...'felterskelter' Please email me at so we can arrange delivery details, thank you!


Wednesday 21 December 2011

Upcycled Teddy Sleeping Bag Tutorial

If you have had a sort out of your wardrobe recently you probably found some old, out of shape, not good for wearing clothes. Hopefully you found something made from jersey fleece fabric (jersey like a t-shirt, with soft fleece on the other side). That is what I used and it fitted the job perfectly. I used an out of shape bright red jumper. The beauty of using a jersey/fleece type fabric is that it doesn't fray, is easy to cut to shape and is thicker than standard t-shirt material. Well...we don't want teddy to be cold do we?!

So, now you've got your jumper, this is what else you'll need:

- Fabric scissors
- Small scrap of t-shirt (jersey fabric), about 7cm by 7cm
- Thread
- Sewing machine! (or needle if doing this by hand)
- Pins
- Paper and ruler/tape measure for making templates
- Teddy!

Let's start!

Start by measuring, onto a piece of paper, a rectangle approximately 27cm long by 15cm wide and set aside. Next measure, onto another piece of paper, a rectangle 15cm wide and 33cm long (6cm longer than the shorter rectangle). Lay your paper rectangles on top of the jumper, pin on to secure, then cut out.

The shorter rectangle will end up being the top cover of your teddy sleeping bag. I used the dark blue edging on the jumper to be the open edge of the sleeping looks nice AND I didn't have to hem it!

You can see in the photo above that the smaller rectangle has a bit cut off from the bottom. This smallest rectangle measures about 6cm by 15cm and will be used to give extra padding to the teddy's cushion.

I hope you are following ok. I apologise now because my measurements are not precise! I tend to do things a lot by eye, rather than measuring...sorry!


Get your scrap of t-shirt fabric (you can now see what I mean about not being precise in my measurements!), this will be easier if you start with a square! About 7cm by 7cm (but depends on how big you want your decoration to be...not too close to the edge though or it will get caught in the edges when you sew them together).

If you want to make a heart, fold your fabric scrap in half...

Cut out half a heart shape...

Open out and trim to the shape you want...

Now, you want to pin this to the middle top edge of the top cover of the sleeping bag (on the right side - I mean the side of the fabric that will be seen).

Sew on!

I used the sewing machine but this could just as easily be done with needle and thread. Maybe you could add an initial inside the heart to make it more personal?

Right, now grab your largest rectangle. Place the smallest of your 3 rectangles onto the top edge of the largest rectangle (with right sides of the fabric together on the inside- in my case, that meant putting the soft fleecy sides on the outside).

Now you need to sew the 2 side edges and the top edge closed...

Trim off the corners, being careful not to snip the thread. This will help to make the corners more pointy when you turn it right side out.

After you've done that, flip the pillow you have just created so that the right sides are out, push the corners to points with your finger or a pencil and get ready to do the same again with the teddy's blanket part of the sleeping bag...

Right sides together...

Sew the bottom and side edges closed and snip corners...

Turn right side out and make corners pointy...

Now all you have to do is fold the pillow down...

Then sew all around the outside edges of the sleeping bag, which secures the pillow in place and makes the whole project look more professional, I think!

I decided not to sew down the bottom edge of the pillow because it looks like a nice secret pocket to store things in...maybe a lost tooth, ready for the tooth fairy or a precious coin? I thought that sounded fun!

All ready for teddy!

My finished sleeping bags measure 25cm long and 13cm wide and fits a bean bag teddy perfectly. You may have to make your sleeping bag bigger or smaller, depending on the size of your teddy. Although, in my experience, teddies aren't that fussy and don't mind being squashed a bit!

I hope you have fun making and re-using! Post a photo on my facebook page if you do one, I'd love to see :)

Friday 9 December 2011

Tutorials for Christmas decorations using recycled paper.

Well, I have FINALLY got down to writing this post, despite having made the decorations a few nights ago and having the links kept on my desk top for over a week! Oh, well! Life is busy at the moment, what with school performances, costume making, class Christmas parties etc etc... It is all fun though.

I really enjoyed making these decorations because it meant sitting down, Christmas cooking on the TV and feeling festive. Also, the satisfaction of making some 'new' decorations for free! You must try and make some of these decorations, the tutorials I have found are very easy to follow. I have used an old Christmas food magazine but they could just as easily be made with pages from an old book or map.

This was the one I found the easiest and quickest:

I can't remember where I first saw these but Chris Job on the page Curbly explains very clearly, with beautifully clear photos, how to make them HERE. I used staples to attach the strips, as magazine pages are thinner.

These were slightly more challenging, but still easy enough once I got the hang of them...

To make these baubles, click HERE for the great and easy to follow tutorial by Ashley at the fabulous blog 'The Creative Place'. She has one of those blogs that you just get lost in as you click from post to post, tutorial to tutorial - wonderful!

This one was also very easy, I picked out reds, greens and golds from the magazine pages and used red thread in the sewing machine:

To make the garland, take a look HERE at this great tutorial, again from Ashley and her fabulous blog 'The Creative Place'.

OK, so this one is a little harder, but WELL worth it, I think! I used the front and back pages from the magazine, as these are a little thicker.

I also made a large version with the old road map I am slowly making good use of...which is "awesome!" according to my 9 year old.

To make these fabulously festive stars I followed this very clear tutorial by HPMcQ. She has the amazing ability to explain things in an extremely clear and concise'll be safe following her tutorial! I love her photos too.

Lastly I made this decoration. This one took the longest to make. I love the texture:

I made this 'spiky bauble' by following THIS tutorial by Jessica Jones at 'How About Orange'. You really must take a moment to have a look around her page, she has some great ideas and tutorials.

Then of course there are the map star baubles I made recently, which could be easily made from magazine pages too.

So, there you are! I hope you enjoy making some of these to adorn your tree this year and can share with me in the satisfaction that you have spent nothing but created some beautiful decorations. Go on, get an old magazine out and put on some Christmas tunes...

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Upcycled Brooch and Fingerless glove designs...

I would love for you to pop over and take a peek at my current brooch and fingerless glove designs. I will be listing similar items in my Etsy shop soon.

Maybe you can get some inspiration for what to turn your felted wool jumper into...

Just click onto the facebook badge to the right of this post and look at the albums on my facebook page :)

And if you don't do facebook, here are some photos:

All gloves are 100% wool and can be hand washed in cool water (do not wring), pressed between a towel to remove excess moisture and then left flat to dry (I leave mine flat on the radiator, on top of a towel - works well).

Thanks for looking :)

How to felt a woollen jumper

A few people have asked me how I felt the items I use for making my brooches, fingerless gloves and scarves. It is very simple...

1. Get your hands on a 100% wool jumper, scarf, hat (anything really, as long as it is made from 100% wool. It won't work well if it is a nylon mix).

I get my woollen items from friends who have accidentally shrunk them and from charity shops (usually in the sale section because they have been slightly shrunk already or have moth holes). I am trying to set up an arrangement with second hand shops where they give me their shrunk, therefore unsellable woollen items so I can rescue them from being discarded.

This one I bought yesterday was in the sale section because it was already slightly shrunk. I couldn't quite see the label but knew it was wool because of the feel and the fact it had been slightly shrunk already.

2. You wash your woollen item on a hot wash in the machine. I try to save up a few items to do at once, to be economical with the energy. It is good, however, to not fill the machine too full because the bashing about in there helps the felting process too (as well as the water and the heat). Oh, and a fast spin helps too.

3. I tend to tumble dry mine next, mainly because I am impatient to see them finished (sadly, I find it quite exciting)! I wouldn't think you have to tumble dry them but I think it helps the whole process and to help fuse the fibres more.

This is the jumper after felting. It has got smaller, thicker and bobbly (just pick these off or use a de-bobbling tool (whatever they are called! -I don't have one...yet!)...oh, also the bottom section is now purple because I felted a purple scarf at the same time. Obviously, this jumper had been slightly shrunk before I bought it but if yours hasn't, it will shrink lots more (although I have found cashmere not to shrink so well). It still makes me giggle when I pull them out of the machine!

4. Oh, a very important thing to look out for is - if your woollen item says 'super wash wool', it WILL NOT shrink/felt. I believe it has been treated in a special way to prevent it from washing wrongly.

Also - Some wools I have used in the past have needed a second wash because the fibres didn't fuse totally the first time.

5. So now you are all ready to think "mmmm, what can I make with this?". You can cut it and it will not fray, which is great! You can hand sew or use the sewing machine. If using the machine, I have found it needs to be on a very low tension.

That's it! I hope you have fun felting, making and saving tired old jumpers from being thrown away. Why not make an upcycled brooch as a gift for a friend?

Monday 5 December 2011

Bottle tops Advent Calendar.

We finally got down to making our version of the advent calendar I found by Belle at 'Belle and Burger', using bottle tops! Where we live, we can't recycle our bottle tops so I was very pleased to find an exciting use for them.

This is what we did:

We collected our 24 washed and dryed bottle tops and yogurt pots (because we didn't have enough bottle tops - they still worked well).

My youngest son, 6 and a half (who LOVES craft of any kind), arranged them onto our piece of strong cardboard from an old box. Later he decided to have them in a star shape "it's like the star that the wise men saw Mummy!"

I had planned on printing out some verses from the Bible (to follow the Christmas narrative) to have one verse each day under each bottle top/pot...but I wasn't as organised as I had wanted to be and came across some old pages from a Bible verses calendar. Perfect! We can recycle them as well as focus on a verse each day with the boys. We hope to read the verse together each day and talk about it with Christmas/the Christmas narrative in mind. We just snipped off the date and folded each one, ready to fit inside the bottle top/pot. This proved to be very exciting for my little craft helper!

So then we glued them all down, using a hot glue gun. If you make one, just do dabs of glue - enough to hold the pot/bottle top in place, but not so much that it is hard to pull off on the required day! Ours was running out so we were fine with that. My youngest had a go too (eek - cue a slightly anxious Mummy)!

We decided to use a dark blue, like the night sky (keeping in with the star theme). Here is the spray paint we used:

Which needed to be shaken for 1 minute before use...

Hee hee hee!

So, then we sprayed...

...added silver... the calendar...

...plants... shoes...

...and ended up with this:

Our shiny star advent calendar made from recycled materials! All ready to put numbers on and pull a bottle top/pot off each day to share a Bible verse as a family in the run up to Christmas day. Although we will be having to pull off more than one today because of making it late...oops!

Thank you Belle @ Belle and Burger for the inspiration!