craft kit

Cosy Craft Club – Spring Craft Box

At the beginning of March Cosy Craft Club announced their Spring craft boxes filled with various kits from a range of exciting designer-makers. I saw it first on Instagram, but then signed up to the newsletter to make sure I was first in line for one of the boxes as they sell out quick! There were two choices; the large box containing six mini craft kits for £65, or the small box containing three mini craft kits for £35.

Each kit was designed by a different maker and there was a range of crafts included so you could try your hand a several different things. I got the large kit in order to try out as much as possible and below is a round up of each of the crafts.

From The Wood Cottage Crafts was a hanging heart kit. It contained all the materials you needed to make three stuffed fabric heart shapes which could them be attached to a strip of bias binding to create bunting or could be left separate as individual decorations to hang around the house or give as gifts. I hand stitched mine, but the heart shapes could easily have been machine stitched if that’s more your thing, and the whole project was really quick to complete. It took me less than two hours, but probably would have been quicker had I used the sewing machine. I really liked the addition of the cute little heart buttons to embellish the fabric hearts. The instructions were very simple and easy to follow.

The next kit was a felt bumblebee brooch from Hawthorn Handmade. This kit was a little more time consuming, but worth spending the time on as the result is a gorgeous embroidered felt brooch, which feels very Spring-like indeed! Although I did attach the brooch back in the end, as I was sewing I was tempted to leave it off as I thought it would make a great patch for a bag or denim jacket as well. There was a booklet included in the kit filled with handy tips and instructions for working with felt as well as great diagrams of all the stitches you would need. The instructions specific to this kit were well laid out with good diagrams for the placement of all the pieces and the thread colour you would need, along with a clear photograph of the finished product, which I always find helpful.

There was a paper forget-me-not flowers kit from Suzi McLaughlin. Sometimes I find paper craft a little fiddly, but the most difficult part of this kit was making the coils for the centre of the flowers. It was a great kit for a beginner to paper crafting with a single page of instruction that were mostly photos showing what to do, so not too intimidating! Each step was very simple, but the finished look was very effective.

The other paper craft kit included in the box was card making from Okey Dokey Design. I found this really fun. There were no instructions included and other than a postcard with a photo of some finished cards on there was nothing prescriptive about the kit at all, the only limit is your own creativity! At first this threw me off as I am so used to doing kits with very specific instructions, but there was something quite liberating and childlike just being given some materials and allowed to play with them as you wished. Included in the kit was five blank cards, various patterned papers, paper flower shapes, wooden flower shapes, the cutest little wooden bees, and some twine. I decided to make some Easter cards as it is the season and then some other more generic cards that could be used for other occasions like birthdays.

By far the hardest kit for me was the baby bunny felting from The Crafty Kit Company. If you have read my blog before you will know that felting is probably my least favourite craft! Although I’m not a huge fan I still gave it a go and thanks to the thorough instructions and great step-by-step photos I was actually pretty pleased with my end product. It doesn’t look too far off the photos and I’m sure with practice I could get it even better. There was loads of wool included in the kit so I probably could have made at least one more bunny, although there was only one set of eyes so there might have to have been some improvisation. The time for this kit was two hours, but it definitely took me longer than this, especially as I had to do some quite drastic reshaping about halfway through to stop it looking like a sheep!

Lastly there was a mosaic kit from Mosaics by Sadie. Included in this was the wooden bird shape, a range of mosaic pieces including some china and a pre-cut wing shape, glue, grout powder, a hook to attach to the back, and a cocktail stick to help move the pieces around, although I ended up using tweezers. There was a photo of a design included, but there were enough mosaic pieces included that you could play around with your own design. There weren’t any photographic instructions, but the written instructions were so detailed that pictures weren’t needed. Although the active making time on this kit wasn’t that long, there was a lot of drying time required so it was not a project you could complete in a day.

I really enjoyed this bumper crafting box with so many different crafts to try. You often get these kinds of collaborative kits around Christmas, but I always run out of time to complete them as it’s such a busy period, so it was nice to have something like this to complete at leisure. Although I’ve finished them all in time for Easter we still have plenty of spring left to enjoy these themed crafts.

craft kit

Stitch Club – Badger Shelfie

Earlier this year Stitch Club released their new Shelfie animals as PDF patterns and I’ve been waiting patiently ever since for the full kits to be released, mainly because I’m lazy and don’t want to source my own materials! Well, now they are here and I ordered one straight away! They are cleverly designed to sit independently on the edge of a shelf, table, or any other flat surface, hence the name.

Included in the box was:

  • Felt sheets x3 (grey marl, black, white)
  • Stuffing
  • Embroidery threads x3 (grey, black, white)
  • Needle
  • Pins
  • Freezer paper templates

There was a choice of four animals: badger, fox, hare, or llama. I was torn between the badger and the llama because they looked like they had the most embellishments to sew but in the end I decided on the badger; I am a Hufflepuff after all!

I’ve never used freezer paper to cut out patterns before. It irons on to the fabric rather than being pinned on like standard paper pattern pieces and can be used more than once. I found that when it worked it was great, but when it didn’t quite stick properly it was a bit annoying especially when half way through cutting something out. I definitely think it was better for the smaller pieces though, which can be tricky to cut out using paper and pins.

The best part of the project was creating the front of the badger by building up the layers of felt to create the head and tummy and stitching on the features like the paws and nose. The patterns pieces fit together really well and sewing the front and the back together was really easy. I chose to use blanket stitch, but there was the option to use whip stitch or running stitch instead, all of which were explained in the ‘Learn to Sew with Felt’ booklet along with lots of other useful information about cutting felt, using freezer paper, and using embroidery thread.

The part that took the longest was the stuffing because it’s really important to ensure that all the small parts like the nose and ear are properly filled. To achieve this you need to feed in very small amounts of stuffing at a time, pushing them all the way in with the help of something like a pencil. When I first started the stuffing process I thought there was no way I would use all of the stuffing provided, but I used every last scrap in the end!

The kit cost £19.50, which I think is very reasonable for the amount and quality of materials, plus the great design of the product. I was expecting to pay anywhere between £25-£35 for this kit when I saw it had been released and I think it would be worth that. I’m very pleased with my badger sitting up on the shelf, but now I’m thinking that I might need his other animal friends too…

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Craft Box Club – Wisteria Flower Felt Mobile

I’m clinging on to summer here with this beautiful wisteria flower felt mobile from last month’s Craft Box Club. I thoroughly enjoyed this project! I always enjoy working with felt, but the simplicity of the process combined with the satisfying results made this one a real hit for me.

Included in the box was:

  • Green felt sheet
  • Purple felt sheet x3
  • Lilac felt sheet x3
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Wooden bead
  • Needle
  • Needle threader
  • Green cotton
  • String

When I unpacked the box I was a bit concerned that there wouldn’t be enough green cotton, but there was actually plenty. As usual the link for the instructions was also included. I found the video more helpful than the photos this time around, especially for knotting the string onto the hoop.

The project started with cutting out the leaves. There wasn’t a template for this, just cut as many as you could from the sheet of green felt. The pictures and video gave quite a good indication of the rough size required. The project used thirty leaves. I cut a few more than this, which was quite good as I could select the best ones as I went along. Some of the leaves were pinched at one end and sewn to create a 3D effect. This process was repeated again at the end to add the final leaves to the hoop, although I would have preferred to do them all at once rather than in two lots.

The best part was making the flowers. They were made by cutting strips of felt which were then threaded on to string creating folds of material as you go, and the less neat the better to achieve a ruffled effect. There was enough material for three flowers of each colour, purple and lilac. Two pinched leaves and a non-pinched leaf were added to the top of each one.

The trickiest part was tying the flower strings onto the embroidery hoop, which acted as the frame for the mobile to hang from. The knot was quite easy to do, especially with the help of the video as I already mentioned, but the hardest part was trying to make sure there were evenly spaced and all the same height. Lastly two pinched leaves were stitched together and sewn to the top of each knot, before tying on the string and wooden bead to hang the mobile from.

This was such a lovely project to complete and I love the results. It was a fairly quick one too and not too much mess either, always a bonus! Even though we are heading into Autumn now I can always be reminded of sunny days when I look at it.

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Craftiosity – Winter Felt Wreath

I had so much crafting to do before Christmas that I just couldn’t fit it all in! As we are still in the ‘Christmas period’ I think it’s ok to still be posting wreaths, especially one as nice as this from the December Craftiosity box (https://craftiosity.co.uk/).

Included in the box was:

  • Felt sheets x4 (orange, ivory, light green, dark green)
  • Embroidery thread x4 (orange, green, white, gold)
  • Metal wreath base
  • Needle
  • Paper template
  • Christmas gift of gold flecked baker’s twine

Wreaths, fruit, felt and embroidery seem to be very much the trend of the season, based on what I’ve been making over the last few weeks and this snowberry and orange slice wreath certainly fits the bill. Ever since I saw this kit on Instagram I’ve been looking forward to making the orange slices! The kit was very straightforward to put together, and each step had some great techniques to try. I thought that wrapping the metal hoop in strips of felt to attach the components to was a great idea, and I particularly liked creating the snowberries using a running stitch to gather the circle of felt together. Filling them with off-cuts of the felt was a neat way to use up the scraps and create less waste.

The orange slices were the most time-consuming part. The segments were created using long and short stitch and there were three slices to do, with six segments on each. I’m not really sure how long they took me as I sat and did them in front of the TV, but I do know that I love the result! My only issue was that I ran out of embroidery thread after making only two of the slices. I’m not sure why as I followed the instructions, but I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish the third slice. I looked into buying the thread online, which was easy enough to find on Love Crafts (https://www.lovecrafts.com/en-gb/), but before I bought it I decided to check in my sewing box. I have done a lot of kits and have a lot of leftover thread so I rummaged through and miraculously found a skein that was almost identical in colour to the original thread! It is ever so slightly lighter, but I don’t think it notices at all now that they are all attached the to hoop. Once I’d finished the final slice with my found thread I then added the finishing gold touches.

Once I had all the components and the hoop prepared I could then decide on the placement and sew it all together. Although this wreath didn’t quite get made in time for this Christmas I will look forward to hanging it up in my home next year! 

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Craftpod – Winter Swans

The winter Craftpod was such a beautiful kit! I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but there’s just something so magical about the Craftpod kits. The projects are always so delicate and well thought out. The theme for this season was swans and there were three projects to complete; swan and wreath embroidery, felt swans, and a recipe for pine cone ginger biscuits. 

Included in the box was:

  • Pre-printed swan fabric
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery thread x6 (brown, white, gold, orange, light green, dark green)
  • White felt
  • Brown felt
  • Fleece (for stuffing)
  • Tea bag
  • Swan needle minder

The image for the swan and wreath embroidery was created by illustrator Gordy Wright, who also did the design for my favourite ever Craftpod and the first subscription box I ever did and reviewed for this blog, Blackbird’s Nest! The design for this one was quite simple and the stitches were all very straightforward. The thing that sets it apart for me is the 3D element of the pine cones. I like the way they are cut out of the brown felt and appliquéd on to the wreath with long crisscrossing stitches to give the impression of the pine cone’s spines. I also like the gold crown to give it a little magical touch.

The felt swans were quite fiddly and a lot smaller than I thought they would be from the pictures! I decided to make mine in a production line style, completing each step on all three of the swans before moving onto the next step. I think this stopped me from having that ‘starting again from the top’ feeling and made me more efficient. Getting the fleece in the head and neck was quite tricky and required some patience, but the results are lovely. I liked that there was different options for the wing designs. I chose to do one of each design, but I think they would look nice all the same too. I also liked the option to either leave them as ornaments or add a string for them to hang on the Christmas tree. I decided to leave mine as ornaments as I already have so much going on on the tree! They will take pride of place on the mantelpiece.

Lastly the recipe for the pine cone ginger biscuits. It was such a simple recipe and didn’t require any ingredients I didn’t already have in the cupboard. It was really quick to make too, the longest part being the chill time in the freezer for 30 mins, but in that time I carried on stitching my swans. The idea of creating the pine cone effect by indenting the clay with the back of the knife was great, however my biscuits did quite a lot of spreading in the oven and rather lost the effect…they still tasted delicious though! If I were to make them again I might let them chill for another half hour in the fridge after shaping them and before baking, to help them hold their shape a bit more. 

I always sign up for a yearly subscription with Craftpod as I know I will enjoy all the projects. The Winter box was the last one in my subscription, so I must remember to sign up again as soon as they open for Spring. The boxes individually are £25 and the yearly subscription is now £92 (https://www.craftpod.co.uk/). Although this is a lot upfront it means I don’t have to think about it for the rest of the year, aside from getting excited for them to drop through my letterbox!

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MakeBox – Partridge in a Pear Wreath

The Christmas box is my favourite MakeBox this year (https://www.makebox.co/)! The theme is a ‘Partridge in a Pear Wreath’, and the finished product is gorgeous. I particularly love the pears, they are really satisfying to make and look so effective. I like the traditional style of the decoration as well. I think this kit appeals to me as well because I like working with felt. It’s such a versatile and forgiving material.

Included in the kit was:

  • Wooden partridge shape
  • Felt sheets x5 (marl green, dark green, white, faun and brown)
  • Stuffing
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Embroidery thread
  • Velvet ribbon
  • Needle
  • Pins
  • Copper wreath base
  • Red felt balls
  • Wire
  • Paper templates

The instruction book was very well put together with guidance on how to do whip stitch and the dos and don’ts of using a glue gun at the beginning. It then went through how to make each of the elements and finally how to assemble them all together. As I mentioned above I just love the pears. They came together so nicely and look surprisingly realistic! 

I actually decided to skip about through the instructions. I know from previous experience that you can lose a lot of glue by having the glue gun on all the time whilst you are busy doing other things, so I decided to prep everything else first and then have a big glueing session. I cut out all the pattern pieces, stitched my pears and cut all my wire before turning on the gun. I found this a really productive way to work and actually got it all assembled pretty quickly!

Having said that I love this kit, I do still have a negative to talk about. I don’t like saying negative things because I know how hard the people who create these craft kits work, but I also want to give an honest review. Not for the first time with MakeBox I found myself short of materials. There was not enough wire to make the kit as stated in the instructions. Each leaf and flower was glued onto a 15cm long piece of wire, you were then supposed to attach the leaves to another central piece of wire (x2) and then use two further lengths of wire to attach the branches to the wreath base. I actually ran out of wire cutting the pieces for my flowers and had to cut two in half to create four shorter lengths. I thought maybe I just got a mis-measured coil of wire, but in the instruction booklet it clearly states that a 5 metre length of wire is included. Being pedantic, I went through the instructions and added up all the lengths it asks you to cut. It totals 6 metres and 40 centimetres. None of this actually matters to me because I just twisted the leaves together, leaving out the central wire and then wound the whole branch around the wreath base, which was a bit trickier but not a problem. What I find frustrating about this is that firstly there are people out there who are not as experienced at crafting and may not know what to do to be able to complete their project without the extra wire and secondly, this is not a cheap subscription box, it’s a high quality brand. All the materials are excellent quality and the finished products are always gorgeous, which makes it all the more disappointing when you are short of one of the materials because someone didn’t bother to work out how much was needed, or there is an error in the instruction booklet that could have been avoided with proof reading or a beta test. 

Despite this annoyance I still enjoyed making the project and would make it again if I could find more marl green felt! The wreath is a truly beautiful Christmas decoration that I will be getting out year after year to hang in my home. 

There was in fact enough extra materials to make not one, but two more pears to turn into tree decorations. If you follow me on Instagram (@theinquisitivebee) you will know that I have been doing several projects over the Christmas period that have resulted in my tree being absolutely laden with ornaments, but it makes me smile every time I look at it! I have so many now that I think next year I might need two trees!

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In Bloom MakeBox

So, I’ve had this MakeBox hanging around for a while. I think it was the second ever box that they released and I started subscribing to MakeBox with the third box (Painted Ladies), because I only started this blog in May and I was searching for lots of crafty things to do. Me being me decided that I needed to have all the boxes so I back ordered this In Bloom box and the Bee Kind box. I finished the Bee Kind box last year, but haven’t got around to doing this box until now!

I have actually been wanting to do it for ages and it’s been sat on my dining room table looking at me! I discovered at Christmas, whilst I was completing the craftvent calendar from The Make Arcade (https://www.themakearcade.co.uk/), that I actually really like working with felt. It’s such a versatile and forgiving material and I was really keen to use it again in another project.

Included in the box was:

  • A range of coloured felts
  • Glue gun
  • Spare glue sticks
  • Paper templates
  • Wire
  • Velvet ribbon
  • Copper metal hoop
  • Embroidery thread
  • Postcard to embroider
  • Needle
  • Brooch back

The first project was a flower wreath. I started off by cutting out all the paper templates and then all the felt pieces. The instructions said to cut out the pieces as you went along but I found that I worked better with them all pre-cut. 

Each of the flowers had a slightly different process, but were mostly quite similar. My favourites were the peonies. The stamens were really fun to make with a strip of felt glued in half, and then snipped down the folded side before rolling it up. I thought it was a great effect for the centre of a flower and once the petals were added it was quite an impressive piece. It was quite a therapeutic process and I really enjoyed playing with the glue gun all day! The only trouble was that I didn’t have enough glue to complete the wreath, let alone the second project. Luckily, being a crafty person, I had some spare glue sticks hanging around down the shed!

The finished wreath looks great, although in hindsight I would have spaced my flowers out a little more as they look a bit bunched together. I just need to find somewhere good to hang it now…

The second project was a brooch. Having already made the wreath this project was so quick and easy to finish. It consisted of a peony, a daisy and some of the eucalyptus leaves. The wires were twisted together at the back to create a cute little bunch and finished off with the brooch back.

I’m really glad I’ve finally done this box. It totally lived up to my expectations and I definitely want to make some more felt flowers now!

You can see all the back boxes from MakeBox + Co on their website: https://www.makebox.co/