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MakeBox – Alice in Wonderland Cross Stitch

I’ve been spending a lot of time over the last few weeks completing the Alice in Wonderland cross stitch from MakeBox. Alice is a universally loved story and there are so many themes and elements to relate to. The release of this box coincides nicely with the ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ exhibition currently running at the V&A museum in London. I haven’t been yet, but it looks fantastic and is open until the end of the year, so I will definitely be booking tickets. The cross stitch design brings together lots of the elements that make up the story including the white rabbit, the Queen of Hearts’ crown, roses, a flamingo and the Mad Hatter’s hat. The only thing missing for me is the Cheshire Cat!

Included in the box was:

  • Navy blue Aida
  • Navy blue felt
  • Embroidery thread x7 (green, red, pink, yellow, blue, and white x2)
  • Needle
  • Rectangular wooden effect embroidery hoop
  • Blue velvet ribbon
  • Stitch chart

I thought the section at the beginning of the instruction book with techniques about the Aida fabric, using a cross stitch chart and how to do the stitches was very informative and would be especially useful for beginners to this embroidery style. The section about putting the Aida into the frame made it sound quite easy but because of the stiffness of the fabric and the unusual shape of the frame I thought it was rather like wrestling an octopus! I found it very difficult to get the fabric to bend into the frame and even harder to make sure the squares were lined up horizontally and vertically. Mine was at a bit of a slant to begin with but I managed to shuffle it round without popping it out of the frame. 

The instructions also said to cut off the excess fabric leaving a one inch border. I decided not to trim mine as I know this kind of fabric can fray a bit. I’m glad I didn’t in the end as I found that the design was actually too big for the frame. It went right up to the edges of the outer frame, which meant that the inner frame at the back didn’t allow access to that area of fabric to stitch on. I decided to take my embroidery out of frame and I actually found it a lot easier to work on after that. I also found it easier to get back into the frame straight once the cross stitch was complete.

I also deviated from the instructions whilst stitching the design. I started with Alice using the centre point marked on the chart. Once Alice was finished the instructions said to count up from her head to do the crown, but I’m always a bit unsure of myself when counting on blank canvas so I decided to go down to the toadstool which was attached to her feet and then work my way around the design in a clockwise direction using the rose stem to join each section so I was never stitching in no man’s land. I also tried adding the hand stitched ‘10/6’ to the Mad Hatter’s hat, but I couldn’t get it neat enough so I left it off.

When I was finished I compared my one to the picture in the instructions and noticed that the design didn’t seem to go quite so close to the edge in the picture and it looks as though a couple of the elements had had a design change, most notably the brim of the hat and the flamingo’s head. I’m not sure it makes a difference to the overall design, but just like Alice I’m curious as to why the changes were made! 

Finally the felt was cut to size and sewn to the back. Once again I went off piste with this! I decided to use blanket stitch rather than running stitch to attach the felt to the back as I think it looks a bit neater, but again it doesn’t really make a difference what stitch you use as it is on the back.

Also included in the box was a recipe for Queen of Hearts jam tarts by the ‘Great British Bake Off’ contestant Alice Fevronia. They were super simple and quick to make, and tasted delicious! The pastry was lovely and of course they wouldn’t be the Queen’s without the heart shape on the top!

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MakeBox – Beatrix Bunny Doll

I’ve been really looking forward to this month’s MakeBox (https://www.makebox.co/), the Beatrix Bunny Doll, not only because I love sewing but also because it has an Easter feel to it and I love this time of year! I love all the egg, chick and bunny themed craft projects, along with that feeling of Spring in the air and the sense of hope and positivity it brings, especially this year. I was particularly interested in this box because, whilst I love sewing, it is always nice to have a go at a different kind of sewing aside from embroidery for a change. I did make the Sugar Plum Fairy heirloom style doll from MakeBox a couple of Christmases ago (see my blog on it here) and this was very similar in style.

Included in the box was:

  • Cream poly cotton
  • Vintage floral linen
  • Pink linen
  • Embroidery threads (black and pink)
  • Sewing thread
  • Stuffing
  • Elastic
  • Needles
  • Pins

Before receiving the kit, MakeBox emailed the subscribers with a choice of box, Beatrix Bunny (which I chose) or Bobby Bunny. Each came with a different vintage fabric to make the ears and outfit. The shirt style was different for each of them as well. Since sending out the subscription boxes MakeBox have also introduced Betsy Bunny who is available to buy in their online shop. I actually think I might have chosen Betsy if she had been included in the original choice! 

The first step was to cut out all the pattern pieces from paper and draw them onto the fabric. For some of the pieces it was important to remember to flip them over to make an opposite; to create a left and a right ear for example. The vintage fabric was also quite limited to so you had to lay out the pattern pieces carefully, ensuring that you still had a good seam allowance around each piece.

The sewing began with the head, which was definitely the most complicated part. The instructions said you could either hand sew or machine sew. I thought machine sewing would be quicker but sheer laziness stopped me from getting my sewing machine out (!) so I decided to hand sew it and actually, I’m glad I did. Machine sewing would have been a lot faster for parts of it, but there were some parts that were at such an awkward angle and had so many pins in to keep it in place that I definitely would have struggled with the machine. 

Making the head felt a lot like piecing a jigsaw puzzle together, but after constructing it all and adding the eyes and nose with the embroidery thread I felt really proud of myself!

Moving on to the body was a lot more straightforward. The arms and legs were easy to sew around, although they took me a little while to turn out. I used a pencil to help push the stuffing down to make sure they were well filled. Attaching the arms and legs to the body was a little tricky but only because the limbs made it bulky to sew. The instructions were a little vague in places, like saying to pin the body into place but not actually saying to sew it, however the step-by-step photographs were pretty clear to follow. Once the bottom floral piece had been sewn on the bunny could then be stuffed. I used rice to stuff the bottom so that she sits up nicely. The instructions also suggest lentils could be used as an alternative. The rest of the body was stuffed with toy stuffing like the limbs and head.

Sewing the body to the head was by far the most difficult part. You had to do a whip stitch with the seam allowance tucked inside, add to this the difficult angle and my neckline ended up looking a bit messy. I actually unpicked my first attempt and started again as it was so bad! My second attempt was a little better but still not my finest sewing!

Lastly it was time to make the clothes. This was the part I was most looking forward to. The bloomers were cut out of the pink linen, hemmed and sewn together before sewing elastic into the waistband and legs. The pinafore top was slightly more complicated and I’m glad I measured it around the body before sewing up the seam allowances because it was a very tight fit so I adjusted it to have less seam allowance, but still have a tidy finish. The flounces were fun to do, although my thumb was glad when they were done after pushing the needle through so many layers of material! I decided to alter the way the straps were attached to the top. In the instructions they are attached to the top of the blouse and just tied around the neck, but I thought this looked a bit messy, so I attached them to the side of the neckline and then sewed them in place to the back of the blouse like proper straps. It means my messy head attachment is more visible, but I think it gives it a more finished look overall.

I’m very proud of my finished Beatrix Bunny. She was quite a labour intensive project and took me a long time to complete, but the end result is a lovely toy. Now I just have to decide whether to keep her or give her away!

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MakeBox – Amore Soy Candle

I’m a little late on this one as it was meant to be for Valentine’s Day, but who says you can’t spread a little love any day of the year? February’s MakeBox is the Amore Soy Candle, scented with rose. As always when I make candles I was surprised at how quick it was to do and it was yet another technique for melting the wax.

Included in the box was:

  • 600g soy wax flakes
  • Plastic jug
  • Glass container
  • Rose scent
  • Wooden lollipop sticks x2
  • Wicks x2
  • Labels
  • Gift box

At first when I opened my box I thought that one of my wicks was missing, but after rummaging through all the packaging I found it. It unfortunately was missing its metal base, so I used the complete one and if I decide to make a second candle I will just have to make sure the spare one is attached to the base well. There is enough wax to make two candles (or more depending on the size of your containers and how many wicks you have), but only one glass container included in the kit. I have a nice shaped jam jar in the fridge that I’m eyeing up for my second candle once all the jam has been eaten! As I said, the making process was very simple starting with weighing out half the wax. Only 200g fit in the plastic jug provided, so I weighed out the remaining 100g into a spare container from the recycling. Once the first 200g had been melted down in the microwave, you could them gradually add the rest, stirring it in and using the microwave in short burst to keep melting it down.

Once all the wax was completely melted it was time to add the scent. When I made candles with another kit the instructions said to pour in the whole bottle, but this one said just a few drops. I think it’s really hard to get the balance right as the other candles are a little overwhelming when I smell them now, but with this one, even though I added more scent than it said to, I still find it quite subtle. However the scent may get stronger once the candle is burning.

To create the candle I positioned the wick in the centre of the container and used the lollipop stick to hold it’s position before pouring a small amount of wax into the base and allowing it to set in the fridge for a couple of minutes. This stopped the wick from floating up when I then poured the rest of the wax in up to about a centimetre from the top. 

I left the candle to set for about 24 hours before moving it to ensure an even set and no sinkholes. There were a couple of labels provided, one with the MakeBox logo on and one blank. I decided to use the blank one to create my own handwritten label using a sharpie. I really like the inclusion of the gift box as well, so I can give the candle away to someone I love!

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MakeBox – Bee Bold

A nice familiar craft to start the year from MakeBox (https://www.makebox.co/). This Bee Bold embroidery kit featured their signature bee emblem and a second hoop with a botanical rainbow, which feels like a hopeful and positive way to kick off January.

Included in the box was:

  • 7 inch embroidery hoop
  • 6 inch embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery thread x5 (pink, black, yellow, green, blue)
  • Linen
  • Felt
  • Needle
  • Pins
  • Velvet ribbon
  • Carbon paper
  • Paper pattern
  • Bee Bold postcard

After cutting the linen in half to fit both the hoops, the paper patterns were transferred onto the fabric using carbon paper. I started with the smaller design of the bee, mainly because that’s what was first in the instruction book! I liked the ‘sketching’ style of the black back stitch around the wings and legs, leaving the focus for the floral design inside the shape of the body. The 3D effect roses were a big part of both designs too giving a nice textural feeling along with the use of French knots.

I particularly liked the use of chain stitch to create the rainbow. I thought it was a really clever way to fill in the stripes using a fairly under used stitch, without resorting to satin stitch which, whilst I love it, can become a bit arduous over large areas. Again, by placing each row of chain stitch so closely together it gives the piece a nice textural quality. 

The hoops were backed with felt stitched on around the edge of the linen which had been tucked in the back. Although I think it is nice to cover the back of a piece so that the messy side is hidden it’s not really my preferred way of backing. I actually prefer to glue the felt on as I feel like this achieves a neater finish over all. 

There were the usual problems with the instruction booklet with some photographs obviously in the wrong place as they did not match up with the numbered instruction, and the colours on the colour chart for the rainbow did not match the photograph of the finished piece. Of course this doesn’t actually matter because you can do the colour placement in any way you like, but when they are on pages next to each other it really jumps out at me. I always try to imagine I am a beginner working my way through the instruction book and how helpful I would find it. I know I have said this before but I’m always so surprised that for a company that values quality and customer service, they are always let down with their printed material.

Lastly there was the Bee Bold postcard to stitch. I punched holes where it was indicated with my needle first and then used the left over thread to decorate it. Another cute addition for my inspiration wall!

The finished pieces are lovely as usual and I always enjoy the variations on design and themes even within the same craft. I’ve just seen a hint on Instagram of what will be in the March MakeBox and it looks pretty exciting, but first there’s candle making in February to look forward to!

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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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MakeBox – Bugs in a Box

It’s been all about the creepy crawlies with MakeBox this month with their ‘Bugs in a Box’ paper craft kit (https://www.makebox.co/shop/product/3142494719). The kit was a collaboration with Sarah Louise Matthews, a paper engineer and paper cut designer (http://sarahlouisematthews.com/). As well as cutting there was also instructions for folding techniques to create marvellous 3D insects.

Included in the box was:

  • Selection of coloured paper and card
  • Scalpels
  • Cutting mat
  • Pencil
  • Metal ruler
  • Glue
  • Envelope
  • Paper templates

The first project was to create a bug display made up of a moth, a patterned beetle and a winged beetle. Although the moth was flat, it was still a complicated piece with a lot of tiny pieces to glue on. Both the beetles had 3D elements that really brought them to life. 

There was a piece of card to mount them on when they were finished, however a frame was not included in the kit. I happened to have a box frame which was square so I put my backing paper in and glued the bugs on inside the frame to make sure I got the positioning right, as they are positioned for a portrait style frame in the photographs in the instruction booklet. I definitely think getting a frame is a good idea as it gives them a really polished finish and means you can display you work, rather than just leaving it to gather dust in a drawer!

The second project was a pop-up bee card. I really enjoyed this project because I’ve always wanted to have a go at making a card in this style. The bee itself was very delicate and I was worried the whole time that I would make a mistake and cut through a part I wasn’t meant to, but there was enough card for a second attempt if I had gone wrong. Luckily I managed to only cut where I was supposed to. I think the bee would have been lovely as it was, but there were additional wings to cut out and stick on, giving it even more of a 3D feel. I just need to decide what to put on the front of the card now so I can send it to someone!

I thought this whole box was very well curated. All the tools were good quality and there was plenty of spare paper if you made a mistake or wanted to make extras. I found that I mainly skim read the instructions and instead followed the photographs for each step as they clearly showed how to construct the bugs. 

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MakeBox – Mermaid’s Locker

The August MakeBox (https://www.makebox.co/) was mermaid themed and based around air dry clay and was the box that just kept giving! There were four projects included in this month’s kit; three air dry clay projects and a mini postcard painting.

Included in the box was:

  • Air dry clay
  • Silicon shell mould
  • Acrylic paint set
  • Pearlescent acrylic paint
  • PVA glue
  • Hair comb
  • Bamboo boat x2
  • Bamboo bowl
  • Pearl beads
  • Paintbrushes x2
  • Craft knife
  • Wire
  • Paper templates

The three clay projects were a shell dish, a mermaid dish and a hair comb. The two dishes were built in a similar way by using the paper templates to cut shapes out of the clay and layering them up to create the design. They were then dried using the bamboo bowls to keep their shape. The instructions said that they should take around 48 hours to completely dry out before you could paint them, but I found mine took a lot longer, even when I turned them over to allow the bottoms to dry. In the end I used my dehydrator to speed the process up a bit, but as I’ve mentioned before my studio has a tendency to be a bit cold and damp. If I had brought them up to the house and left them in a sunny window they might have dried a bit quicker, but I didn’t want to walk them up the garden in case I dropped them!

The hair comb was made using the silicon mould to create lots of different clay shells. In order to attach them to the comb a length of wire was fed through each one whilst the clay was still wet. They dried a lot quicker than the dishes, so it was a nice project to do in between. Once the shells were dry the wire was fixed in place and they could be painted using the pearlescent paint and finally attached to the hair comb along with some of the pearls.

When the dishes were dry it was time to paint them. I thought that the instructions for painting the mermaid were really well laid out with a section for each part of the dish. I particularly liked the section for the skin tones as the instructions showed how to create a variety of skin tones using the paints in the set. There was also lots of options for different tail colours and designs. I actually made up my own combination that wasn’t in the book, but I liked all the patterns in there. I think the best thing about it was that you could customise it anyway you wanted with different skin tones, hair colour, tail colour and pattern, and you didn’t have to stick to realistic colours if you didn’t want to as it’s a mermaid, so she could have had green skin, blue hair and a purple tail if you wanted! 

Finally there was the postcard to paint. I thought this was a good addition to the box as I painted mine when I was waiting for the mermaid to dry so I could apply the next coat. By watering down the acrylic paint the details still showed through. It would be a cute surprise to send a friend in the post.

This box was a big project, but I really enjoyed all the components of it and I can see myself reusing the bamboo bowls and shell mould to create more seaside themed crafts.

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MakeBox – Dainty Daisy Lino Printing

I’m still a bit behind on my craft boxes, but I’m slowly getting through them and trying my best to catch up! This weekend I did the MakeBox from July: Dainty Daisy Lino Printing by Lisa Stickley (https://lisastickleystudio.com/). Lisa is a designer, author and illustrator who started her career as a printed textile designer and has curated this kit alongside MakeBox as an introduction to Lino printing. 

Included in the box was:

  • Lino sheet
  • Lino cutting tool set
  • Apron
  • Tea towel
  • Fabric paint x2 (pink and black)
  • Paintbrush
  • Glue
  • Paper template
  • Carbon paper

I found this month’s booklet well laid out and thought that the section at the front about Lino as a material was really interesting. It’s always good to know about the materials and tools you are using and equally helpful was the section on the cutting tool and how to change the blade. This project only used two blades so I’d be interested to do some more research and maybe watch some videos on how to use the other blades in the pack, particularly the flat one. There was enough Lino in the kit to cut out the daisy design, do a bit of practice and maybe cut out another small design of your own if you wanted to. I just stuck to the design included in the kit for now, but I’d like to have another go at cutting, so I’m quite tempted to order some more Lino, especially as I already have some textile paints from when I did wooden block printing.

The process and instructions were really easy to follow, although I would recommend having a good sharp pair of scissors. I really liked that to create a backing/handle for the Lino shapes you repurposed the box that the kit was delivered in. I’m all for recycling! 

The printing itself was easy to do, as long as you are confident about your pattern placement. Once you have decided that, it was just a case of painting your chosen colour onto the shapes and pressing them onto the fabric. I foolishly moved my apron before it was fully dry so the paint smudged onto another part of the fabric. I did my best to avoid these areas when I was heat setting the design with the iron so I’m hoping the rogue bits will come out in the wash. 

This is a craft I’ve been wanting to try for ages and I was hoping to book a workshop for it before lockdown happened, so I was really excited to do this box and I was not disappointed! This is such a fun craft that is really not difficult to learn and achieve lovely results, as long as you embrace imperfections and the uniqueness of each print.

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Home Sweet Home Embroidery MakeBox

I’ve spent the last few weeks working on the Home Sweet Home embroidery project from the June MakeBox. Cross stitch is very satisfying to complete but it sure does take a long time!

Included in the box was:

  • Aida fabric
  • Embroidery threads
  • Needle x2
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Wooden backing board
  • Velvet ribbon
  • Wooden beads
  • UHU glue
  • Masking tape
  • Double-sided sticky sheet
  • Pattern chart
  • A6 notecards and envelopes

The main project in the box was to create a cross stitch wall hanging with the words ‘Home Sweet Home’, however it was themed around the current lockdown situation and featured images that represent the time we have all spent at home in the last few months: a house, a rainbow for the NHS, a cat and a dog for our pets, a bicycle, an unused car parked under a tree, a cup of tea and of course a bottle of wine! This main part of the embroidery took me a very long time. It required a lot of concentration and I found I could only do small sections at a time otherwise I would get neck ache, so I left it out on the dining table and just kept coming back to it. Included in the instruction book was a blank grid page so if you wanted to customise the design e.g. making one of the pets look like your own, or make any additions you could plan them out before you started sewing, which I thought was a really nice touch. I didn’t do any customisation aside from adding a few bits on the main design where I thought they were missing, such as cross bars on a couple of the Es and a stitch on the butterfly otherwise it wouldn’t have been symmetrical, which definitely would have annoyed me!

Once the embroidery was finally complete it was time to mount it on the wooden backing board using the double-sided sticky sheet. I cut strips off to use on the back and used the rest of the sheet to secure the embroidery to the front of the board. After taking so long with the initial part of the project this part was reassuringly quick and easy to do. The only tricky part was threading the ribbon through the holes at the top as the ribbon was bulky and the holes were small. It took a lot of strength and a lot of wiggling with the needle! Threading the wooden beads on afterwards was no problem though.

After completing the main project there was a further mini project to complete with the offcuts of Aida fabric and the remaining embroidery thread. At this point I was a little fed up with cross stitch, but wanted to complete the full box, so I persevered. The mini project was to make some cross stitch cards using adapted designs from the main project. These were really quick to do in comparison and only took me a couple of hours to complete all three. Once they were finished you could then cut a window in the notecards and glue them inside. All the measurements were provided for cutting out the window, however when I came to do mine I found that instead of A6 notecards I had been sent three pieces of A6 card. As disappointing as this was I made the best of it and turned them into teeny tiny A7 size cards instead. The envelopes are a little big now, but it doesn’t really matter.

Overall it was a nice kit, but I’m not sure that cross stitch is for me. I do enjoy it, but I find that I get tired of it quite quickly and want to be doing other crafts, so it always takes me a long time to finish anything. The wall hanging is a bit twee for my tastes but I do like the little cards and would send them out to my friends. As this one has taken me so long I already have the next MakeBox lined up (along with several other subscription boxes!) and am expecting the August one imminently, so it looks like I’m going to be very busy crafting over the next few weeks!

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Spring Flowers Masterclass MakeBox

I’ve just completed the MakeBox for May; a Spring flower masterclass. The instruction booklet for this month’s box takes you through the steps for how to create five different kinds of flowers using crepe paper and wire. The results are absolutely gorgeous and much bigger than I thought they were going to be! I think the flowers look really realistic, and although delicate are much sturdier than I would have thought too.

Included in the box was:

• Italian crepe paper in cream, yellow, pale pink, hot pink, pale purple and green
• Wire
• Florist’s tape
• PVA glue
• Wire wreath base
• Velvet ribbon
• Paper templates

The instructions started with how to make pollen using the yellow tissue paper and then went on with a step by step guide on how to make anemones, camellias, daffodils, tulips and peonies. The basics were the same for each flower but obviously varied depending on their petal shape, leaf type and whether or not they had pollen. The Italian crepe paper was excellent quality and was really nice to work with. It doesn’t rip easily and holds its shape well. And my new best friend is florist’s tape! It is so satisfying to work with and hides all manner of sins, but between that and the PVA glue be prepared for very sticky fingers!

Once the flowers are all made there are lots of suggestions at the back of the booklet for what you can do with them. I turned some of mine into a wreath using the wire base and velvet ribbon included in the kit, but there were plenty of other ideas including a flower crown, napkin ring, gift wrap, or just styling them in a vase or bouquet.

As usual this project was lovely. It was something different that I haven’t tried before, which is something MakeBox are great at delivering. The supplies were all of excellent quality and the end result is gorgeous. Hannah is obviously very passionate about flowers and this craft is clearly one of her favourites as you can tell from the intro at the start of the booklet. This was not a quick craft that could be done in a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon. I have had this out on the dining table all week and have been coming back to it whenever I have a moment to cut out more petals or stick wire to leaves. Having tried to rush a few bits I can also say that its best to leave the glue to dry if you can as it’ll only make the following steps harder if it’s still a bit wet.

Unfortunately the instructions were once again a bit of a let down. To start with, an email was sent out to everyone who received the kit to say that the tulip instructions had been printed in the wrong order and a link to download the correct ones was provided. I wasn’t ready to make the kit when I received the email so I didn’t download them immediately, but when I tried to get them to make this kit last week the link had expired, less than a month after they were sent. The main problem was that the pictures were out of order and did not match up to the numbered instructions, but as this was the fourth flower in the booklet I could match them up in the logical order as I’d made three types of flower already.

This was not the only problem I found with the instructions. Also in the tulip section it says to cut a piece of wire 5cm by 9cm. This didn’t make sense to me. A piece of wire can only be one length surely? In the end I cut it to 9cm and it all worked out fine, but I’m still unclear as to what was intended by the instruction. The other part that had me confused was in the peony section. It said to cut 6 x 5 sets of petals, a total of thirty petals, however the instructions then went on to say cut six lengths of wire and glue six petals to each piece of wire. This means you would need a total of thirty-six petals. You could use five petals per wire, but I chose to cut six extra petals instead to give the flower more volume. In the instructions for each flower type it said how many flowers you had the materials to make. All of them were to make three flowers, except the peony, which was two. I made the suggested amount for each one but found that when I got to the end I didn’t have enough wire left for the final peony.

It’s these kind of confusing instructions, oversights and miscalculations which I find very frustrating, especially as the overall craft and final products are always lovely and worth the effort in the end. I had debated cancelling my subscription but I know I would regret it and feel I was missing out when I saw the new project each month, but I do hope that MakeBox think about proofreading the instructions and testing the kits before sending them out in the future as this is not the first time that instructions have had mistakes or been omitted, or not quite enough materials have been included.