Friday, 25 May 2007

Football Crazy Wall Clock

by S. Roberts

Do you know someone who is football crazy? Is your Dad a footy nut? Is your brother a soccer Fanatic? This is possibly the bestest Crimbo pressie you can make them. You can make it fit any football team of your choosing, or add an assortment of football teams. You could also adapt this idea to make a net-ball, basketball, or rugby clock.

To make a Football Crazy Wall Clock you will need...

Paint, thick card or an old grocery box, a clock mechanism and clock hands (you will find these at craft shops) and a print out of pattern of football shirts which is available at the link below.

Colour the football shirts in the team’s strip you choose. You can colour them randomly if you wish. Number each shirt 1 to 12.

To make the clock face, draw around a large dinner plate or a tea tray onto some card. An old grocery box is great. Cut out two identical circles, and glue them together so that the lines in the cards structure cross, this will give the clock face extra strength.

Once the glue is dry, paint the clock face green. Again leave to dry. With white paint, paint on a centre line through the middle of the clock face, and paint a kick off circle in the middle of the clock.

Push a pencil through the centre of the clock face ready to attach the clock mechanism. Be very careful and use the old Plasticine trick - Put a ball of Plasticine on the table, put your card on top of it where you need the hole to be, and push the pencil through the card and into the Plasticine.

Arrange the football shirts on the clock face and stick them down.

Push the clock spindle through the hole and push on the hands. The mechanism has a hole for hanging the clock on the wall.

Put a battery in the clock and set the time.

Football shirts print out S. Roberts is one of Santa’s Helpers and writes for a Christmas educational & activity website. For more festive ideas & gifts to make visit
SantasPostbag is in association with Together keeping Christmas Magical

Sock Monkeys

By S. Roberts

Well we have a fantastic idea to turn a boring old pair of socks into a cute, cheeky, little sock monkey.

All you will need is... A pair of socks in any size, needle and thread, toy stuffing, 2 buttons for eyes and a sewing machine is an advantage but not essential
You will also need the FREE prinable pattern which you will find HERE...

Take the first sock, turn it inside out and lay it out flat heel up.

Mark out the centre of the sock up to 4 cm below the heel line. With a dewing machine, if you have one, stitch 1 cm away from the centre line and sew down towards the ribbed part of the sock. Sew down to the bottom edge, turn away from the centre line and sew across the ribbed section to form a foot. Stitch the other side of the centre line to match.

Now cut up the centre line to divide the legs.

Turn the sock the right way out through the hole at the monkey's crotch. Lightly stuff the monkey's body and legs and sew up the hole in the crotch with invisible stitches.

Lay the second sock out flat in a side profile position and cut out relevant parts as indicated in the diagram.

Fold in half and stitch up the long side, tapering the ribbed edge to a point. Turn, stuff, turn the ends in and attach to the monkey's bottom.

Turn in edges and pin the oval shaped mouth to the main monkey just below the toe. Stitch invisibly in place leaving a small opening. Lightly stuff and close opening. Embroider on a mouth.

Fold in half and sew up the long edge and across the ribbed edge. Turn, stuff, turn the edges in and stitch in place on the monkey's body.

Put two ear parts together with right sides facing. Sew around curved part of the ear and turn right sides out. Tuck the bottom edge up inside the ear and fold the ear in half. Tack half way along the bottom edge to form a fold in the ear and stitch in place at the side of the monkey's head.

Stitch buttons on the front of the monkey's head above the mouth.

Pull the hat on to the monkey's head

For illustrations and photos see a free educational resource packed with creative things to do over the festive period including traditional, religious and 21st Century activities. For more craft projects visit

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Indulge Your Inner Hippie and Learn to Tie Dye

by Chris Robertson

Even if you're not a child of the 60s, you've probably had the pleasure of owning and wearing tie dye clothing. If you've ever been to an event with a craft fair, chances are that you've noticed those eye-catching booths full of colorful tie-dye clothing and home decor. You may even have marveled at how they manage to incorporate those intricate, vibrant designs onto a plain cotton T-shirt.

While intricate tie dying is truly an art, you and your family can have loads of fun at home making your own tie dye (or tye dye) creations. Hands down, the best way to learn how to tie-dye is through instructions demonstrated on a video or DVD. Seeing how it's done, as opposed to reading about it, makes all the difference in the world. Still, tie dye is a process of trial and error, so why not give it a whirl (or a swirl)?

It's All About the Fabric

When it comes to tie dye, the right fabric is critical. Natural fibers - like cotton or linen, pick up the dye well. If you stick with 100 percent cotton, you can't go wrong. To start with, why not pick up some inexpensive T-shirts at your local mass merchandiser? Get one for each family member, and make it a party! Remember, though, that you need to wash and dry the new garments before you start your tie dying party. Unwashed new fabric won't pick up the dye very well.

The Secret of Dyes

Actually, the dyes you use to tie-dye aren't a big secret. For cotton, you need to use a dye that will react well to the fabric, namely Procion MX, dissolved in a urea solution. You can make virtually every color imaginable with just three colors: yellow, turquoise, and fuchsia. But, before you start dying, you need to soak your fabric in soda ash. Tie dye artisans use a few other chemicals as well, which you can learn about on an instructional DVD or video.

The Fun Part: Patterns

Tie-dye is all about colors and patterns. Learning how to make swirls, crinkles, stripes, wavy lines, hearts, clovers, and - yes - even peace signs is a great way to engage the creativity of everyone in the family. You can learn to tye knots; twist fabric into pancake shapes secured by rubber bands; roll a shirts to form tubes, which you then tie; and pleat the fabric to make symmetrical patterns.

Applying the Dye

There are at least six different techniques you can use to apply the dye to your fabric, from dipping and soaking to using squeeze bottles and spray bottles. Again, someone with years of experience can best teach you how to apply dyes to get the results you want.

Making it Stick

After tie dying your shirts or decor, it's important to follow the steps necessary to make sure the dye reacts with the fiber. Then you need to repeatedly wash the fabric in a special solution so that the dyes don't inadvertently mix and so the garments remain colorfast.

Ultimately, though, tie dye is all about having fun. It can be a family adventure, a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon with friends, or a way to indulge the creative hippie within you. A great instructional DVD or video will help you learn to tie dye, and send you well on your way to creating gorgeous, vibrant designs.

Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies.
For tips/information, click here: Tie Dye
Visit Majon's Crafts and Hobbies directory.

Home-made Safety Pin Jewellery

By S. Roberts

Make a beautiful bracelet from safety pins and beads. No one will know what it's made of until they look really closely.

To make the bracelet you will need...
Roughly 85 silver safety pins of the same size, an assortment of small beads and some sheering elastic.

Decorate each safety pin by opening each pin and slipping on some beads. Make sure there are enough beads to fill that side of the safety pin once the pin is closed again. Close the pin and use a pair of plies to squeeze the head of the safety pin to hold the pin firmly closed.

Decorate each pin in this way, adding beads to pins in a random way.

The pins are now threaded together. You will notice that there is a hole in the pinhead and another hole at the other end of the safety pin where the metal is turned, creating a circle. These are the holes used when threading up the pins.

Two lines of elastic are used one at the top and one below with the pins threaded onto them like the rungs of a ladder. To begin, thread the top line through the head of the first pin and the bottom line and through the circle hole. With the second pin, thread the top line through the circle hole and the bottom line and through the head of the pin.

Continue adding pins to the lines in this way alternating which way you add each pin. Make sure when you add the safety pins that all the beads are visible on the same side.

When the last safety pin has been added tie the two ends of the top line together so that all the pins sit closely together. Then tie off the bottom line in a similar way.

S. Roberts is one of Santa’s Helpers and writes for a Christmas educational & activity website. For more festive ideas & gifts to make visit SantasPostbag is in association with Together keeping Christmas Magical

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Peppermint Sweets

By S. Roberts
To make peppermint sweets you will need...
12 tablespoons of icing sugar, 1 egg white, green food colouring (optional), peppermint flavouring and cooking chocolate.

Remember to wash your hands and clean the work surfaces before you begin.

Add to a bowl the icing sugar, egg white, 4 drops of peppermint flavouring and 12 drops of green food colouring. Mix well and kneed the mixture to form a smooth ball. If the mixture is a little too wet add more icing sugar.

Roll the ball into a large sausage and slice into individual sweets. Use your hands to shape the sweets and leave them on a chopping board to dry.

Melt the chocolate in a dish in the microwave, it will only need a minute or two. Don't over do it, it just needs enough time to melt. If you do not have a microwave, you may need an adult to help. Stand a mixing bowl inside a pan of boiling water on the hob, keep the water simmering. Don’t let any water bubble over the side and into the chocolate because this spoils the chocolate. Be careful not to let the pan boil dry.

Dip each sweet into the chocolate half way, and leave it on some tinfoil until the chocolate sets.

A perfect Christmas gift for someone with a sweet tooth.

S. Roberts is one of Santa’s Helpers and writes for Christmas educational & activity website. For more festive ideas & gifts to make visit
SantasPostbag is in association with Together keeping Christmas Magical

LED Light up Bottle

By S. Roberts

You can find lots of unusual things in bottles, ships and messages, so why not fill a bottle with LED lights? What a bright idea! This attractive bottle is a great talking point; it makes a nice table decoration or a festive night-light, everyone will want one of these.

To make the LED light up bottle you will need... A clear glass bottle, a meter or so of tinsel, a loo roll or kitchen towel tube, glitter, PVA glue, and a set of 20 LED lights. You can get these ready made from with a battery compartment from the '99p Store' on your local high street. Tech confident people could make their own from individual components. DO NOT use mains fairy lights, this is a fire hazard!

First wash out the bottle and remove all the labels. Use a nice smelling detergent to rid the bottle of any lingering odours from its previous contents. Leave the bottle to drain and dry out completely.

Take the LED lights and the Tinsel, use a small amount of selotape and stick the wire directly behind the last LED bulb (the bulb furthest away from the battery compartment) to the end of the strip of tinsel.

Twist the string of lights and the tinsel loosely together and carefully push the lights and tinsel into the bottle until the battery compartment rests on the neck of the bottle.

The loo roll or kitchen towel tube will become a fancy bottle stopper that covers the battery compartment. Draw around the end of the tube onto a piece of card. A grocery box is great. Cut the disc out and push it into the end of the tube. Use a bit of selotape to hold it in place.

Cover the tube and end piece in PVA glue and sprinkle with glitter. Cover the cardboard completely so that it is no longer visible. Leave to dry.

Perch the battery compartment on top of the bottle and place the glitter bottle stopper over the top of it, so that it hides the batteries and part of the neck of the bottle.

S. Roberts write for a free educational resource packed with creative things to do and make including traditional, religious & 21-century activities. Visit for more fun stuff. SantasPostbag is in association with Together keeping Christmas magical.

Making a Fingerprint Pendant, Brooch, Tie Pin or charm

For this project you will need the following:
Silicon Moulding Compound
Stainless Steel Burnisher
Stainless Steel Brush
Art Clay 650 Silver 7 or 10g – depending on the size of the print to be taken Sanding Pads
Jump Ring & Necklace or Earring fittings
Liver of Sulphur

This is a wonderful project to make as a present for parents, grandparents aunts, etc. Or for a new parent to make as a keepsake.

1. Mix together equal quantities of the blue and white Silicon Moulding Compound until well blended, about 5mls of each for a small child’s print. You have to ensure that there are no streaks or light and dark patches. Roll this mixture into a ball and flatten slightly.

2. Press a clean and dry finger or thumb into this ball and hold for about 1 minute. You will need to allow this mould to rest for about five to eight minutes. It is ready when a fingernail pressed into the silicon no longer leaves an impression.

3. When the mould is ready press the Art Clay into the mould and smooth out the back.

4. At this stage a Bail Back or Eyelet can be pressed into the wet clay or they can be attached later using a bit of Art Clay Paste.

5. Allow the Art Clay to dry either in the mould for a few hours or overnight or after about 1 hour carefully remove the Art Clay shape and dry using a hairdryer or in a moderate oven.

6. When completely dry you can sand out any rough edges and carve out the person’s name or date of birth, etc.

7. You can now fire the shape on a Gas Hob, with a Gas torch or in a Kiln. Firing instructions for the different methods are included with the Art Clay.

8. Once fired the fingerprint can then be brushed with a Stainless Steel Brush and burnished. Burnishing helps strengthens the finished item as well as giving it a lovely shine.

9. You can also finish the piece by dipping it into a solution of Liver of Sulphur. This does highlight the finger print rather well. You can achieve all sorts of colours using this method and it may be worth experimenting.

10. If you do not like the finished effect with the Liver of Sulphur then just refire the piece, brush and burnish.

You know have a wonderful keepsake of someone special to wear as a Pendant, Brooch, Charm, Tie Pin, etc. Enjoy!!!

A kit is available with everything you need to make your own Fingerprint for only £32.95 which is a 16% saving on the normal Retail Price!! The kit contains enough to be able to make 2 fingerprints of children.

The kit includes: Stainless Steel Mesh
Stainless Steel Brush
Art Clay 650 10g
Sanding Pads – 3 grits
A Bail Back
Sterling Silver 18" or 16" Necklace
Liver of Sulphur
Blue & White Moulding Compound

Making a Leaf Pendant or Earrings

For this project you will need the following:
A fresh leaf – it should really be one with distinctive veins on the back.
Stainless Steel Mesh
Stainless Steel Brush
Stainless Steel Burnisher
Art Clay 650 Silver Paste 10g
Sanding Pads
Jump Ring & Necklace or Earring fittings

I find that the best leaves to use are normally geranium, rose or sage, but I am sure there are plenty of other varieties out there that can be used. Just ensure that you find a leaf with an interesting shape and it must be firm. Also make sure that the back of the leaf is not too hairy as it will be difficult to coat with the paste.

1. Lay the leaf with the underside facing up and start painting it with a watered down mixture of Art Clay Paste. For the first layer, I mix 1 part water to 2 parts of Paste. Make sure that you cover the entire leaf.

2. Put the leaf on a Stainless Steel Mesh with the painted bit facing up and dry with a hairdryer. Remember to hold the hairdryer directly over the leaf to prevent the leaf from blowing away!!

3. Paint a second layer of the leaf exactly as above and again dry with a hairdryer.

4. For the third and subsequent layer the paste can be thicker than the first two. Instead of painting the paste on you should rather dab it on. This will prevent the first two layers from being pulled off. 5. Keep dabbing and drying each layer, until your leaf is about 1mm thick. Normally between six to eight layers.

6. Once you are confident that the layers are thick enough, ensure that the paste is left to dry completely.

7. At this stage you can try and gently sand away any rough areas or remove any surplus paste that is on the front of the leaf. Be very careful as the pasted leaf is extremely fragile. You may want to file the rough edges away after the leaf has been fired.

8. You can now fire the leaf on a Gas Hob, with a Gas torch or in a Kiln. Firing instructions for the different methods are included with the Paste.

9. Once fired the leaf can then be brushed with a Stainless Steel Brush and burnished. Burnishing the edges of the leaf as well as the veins helps strengthens it as well as giving it a lovely shine.

10. Drill a hole with a pin-vice for attaching to a chain, ribbon, leather thong or ear wires and enjoy.!

A kit is available with everything you need to make your own Leaf Pendants or Earrings for only £26.95 which is a 15% saving on the normal Retail Price!!

The kit includes:
Stainless Steel Mesh
Stainless Steel Brush
Art Clay 650 Paste 10g
Sanding Pads – 3 grits
A Jump Ring
Sterling Silver 18" or 16" Necklace
Paint Brush

For more information about Art Clay and making your wn jewellery Visit Art Clay Supplies

Finding Old Tools Can Be As Much Fun As Using Them

By Douglas Taylor
Once you get caught up using woodworking hand tools it is hard to stop. Like any other modern day woodworker I needed my table saw. I thought I could not get anything done without my power tools.

As I slowly discovered hand tools I fell in love with them. The more I used them the better I realized they fit my style of woodworking. The slow easy pace using hand tools fits my woodworking style like a glove.

I started searching for hand tools and found out they were not that easy to come by. Sure you could buy new tools but the old ones seemed to be better. The used tools are often found at a fraction of the price of new planes and saws. The quality of the old tools is usually very good.

You have to sometimes go out of your way to get a great deal on used woodworking hand tools. Some of the places I always look at are my local flea market and antique stores. Yard sales can often bring unexpected surprises and do not forget to check yourclassified ads. This article will share a few tips to help you find those great old hand tools of yesterday.

Often you will have good luck at the flea market. If you get lucky you will come across a booth where the guy has some old tools and does not have a clue what they are worth. You can get some great bargains when you run across this situation. Usually there will be a tool dealer or two where you can find some good tools. They will more than likely not be as good a bargain because the dealer will know the value of what he is selling.

Antique stores will often be your best bet in finding old tools. Almost always there will be some old tools in those glass cases. Shop around all the different antique stores and one will almost always stand out as the best place to buy tools. When you find this store visit often, as you never know what you may find.

Yard sales are even better than flea markets in most cases as the seller very seldom knows what the old tools are worth. He may have had these tools lying around for a long time and is glad to see you haul them off. It is harder to find many good quality tools at a yard sale but you never know what you will find.

It is a long shot but once in a while you will find someone selling an old tool collection in the paper. It is worth the time it takes to glance at the classified ads every once in a while.

Finding old tools is as much fun as using them. There is a great satisfaction in finding a fifty-year-old tool and restoring it so it can be used again.

For more information on using traditional woodworking hand tools try visiting where you will find lots of tips, advice and resources about topics all about woodworking.

A Baby Quilt Will Be Treasured Today and For Years To Come

By Heather Allen
Often when a couple are expecting their first child they will receive lots of gifts from family and friends. One of the gifts that they are likely to receive in all this as well as diapers, toys and clothing will be a baby quilt. However although these can be brought readily today it is much nicer if they receive one that has been made with love from someone who cares.
In many cases a baby quilt which has been made by hand and handed to the couple will be treasured for years to come and often will be passed down from one generation to the next. So choosing the right type of baby quilt pattern can often be very difficult because of the large variety of patterns now available. The most common types of patterns used for baby's quilts include trains, planes, boats, ducks and letters of the alphabet.
All the patterns available will provide the quilter with a general idea of what they will need to produce the quilt as well as detailed instructions on how to make the complete product. Actually getting hold of a baby quilt is not that difficult as there are plenty of books and also websites that offer 100's of different patterns for a person to choose from. There are even some sites which will offer you the chance to get hold of patterns completely for free.
The great thing about a baby quilt is not only can it be used around the crib, but also to provide a cover inside the crib when the baby is not in it. It could even be used as a decorative wall hanging if the parents so wish. However at no stage should it be used as method for keeping the baby warm at night, because of the risk of suffocation. However it could in fact be used during the day when they are sleeping in your arms or in order to prevent a chill whilst out with them whilst out for a walk with them in their stroller.
If you're making a baby quilt for an expectant couple it is best if you choose colors which are either neutral or bold, but do not stick to one prevalent color such as blue or pink. A lot of couples will not tell others the sex of their baby until it is born so keeping away from pink and blue is a good option.
If you want to learn more about baby quilts, click over to Heather's site at Or click here to get 3 Free Reports about quilting.
Christmas Gift Crafts

Bonsai Tree Secrets Guide

By Stephen Ahlfeld

Growing and maintaining a healthy looking bonsai tree can sometimes prove to be a tough task
for those who are unaware of the necessary attention,patience and dedication needed in order to successfully grow and nurter a bonsai tree.This is where I would like to talk about and review a very helpful bonsai tree guide I recently bought, which is called "Bonsai Care Secrets".This guide shows
people how to grow as well as take effective care of their bonsai trees.

This easy to follow,step by step guide which is also loaded with more than 50 colour photos, guides you in growing and maintaining a healthy looking bonsai tree.It does not matter If you are a beginner
or an experienced gardener who is already aware of bonsai tree needs, this ebook will
greatly enhance your knowledge for growing successful bonsai plants. With this ebook you will learn many aspects such as identifying ideal loactions for planting, different growing techniques, disease curing and general training all your bonsai trees.

The other important topics talked about include "How to identify types of bonsai for indoor or outdoor growing"," Three simple ways to grow bonsai from cuttings or seeds" And various other tips and tricks to pruning and shaping a bonsai tree.This will help you achieve great success in growing your first Bonsai tree! This package also includes three bonus gifts which are "Growing Bonsai for Beginners","Growing Bonsai from Seed" and "Three Reports on Composting, Pest Management and Mulching". This package is an absolute must for anyone interested in growing or maintaining bonsai trees.

Did you find this Bonsai Tree review helpful? For more information on this Bonsai Secrets Handbook visit my home page at:
Bonsai Tree Secrets