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Hawkstone Handmade Blog

  • Writer's pictureSarah Matthews

I'm lucky, in that every year I receive some handmade stitched Christmas cards. They are precious and I wanted to have them on display every year but without hanging them as cards.

So I decided to turn them into tree decorations.

Robin Christmas Card and Felt Heart Tree Decorations

Christmas Pudding Christmas Card

I separated the stitched motif from the card.

Felt Hearts Cut Out

Cut out 2 felt heart shapes.

Attached the motif to the heart, 'Blanket Stitched' the 2 hearts together and attached some beads and a hanging ribbon.

Here are some more of the finished ones.

With Valentine's Day fast approaching I'll be turning these into kits with a 'Love' theme. Keep an eye on the 'Craft Kits' page on the website or drop me an email if you'd like to know more.

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  • Writer's pictureSarah Matthews

Christmas is a great time for making things. Even if you don’t make anything for the rest of the year I think there’s a small bit of us all that wants to make something for the festive period. Whether it be fun new recipes from all the magazines or gift tags made from last year’s cards.

It’s easy to leave it too late to get started and I’m guilty of that too. The weeks fly by and before you know it we’re all in a mad last minute rush. This year as always I’m trying to do things differently and be ready earlier. With this in mind, I’ve been playing with my new Christmas themed wooden block stamps and creating hand printed fabric to wrap or decorate gifts with.

One of the things I’m sure we all think about on the big day is the amount of wrapping paper that gets wasted. In the UK it can be recycled but it still feels like a bit of a waste, both in terms of money spent and in the recycling effort. However, we all need something to wrap gifts in. There are some lovely designs out there and I wanted to see if I could create something equally as nice that could be reused.

For my test pieces I used a simple calico as my base fabric to get that rustic look. It’s also a cheap fabric to experiment with.

I cut out circles to decorate the tops of jars with,

loaded my wooden stamp with paint using the sponge and got stamping.

Here are the results:

To embellish things further and give them a bit of Christmas sparkle I added some hot fix jewels.

Here are the finished wrapped products.

What do you think of the results?

As you can see, I also made some cards to go alongside the gifts, using exactly the same methods.

If you fancy having a go at printing with your own wooden blocks drop me a message as I have some extra ones for sale.

Happy printing :)

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  • Writer's pictureSarah Matthews

Knitting has been making a come back recently, possibly as a result of TV shows like Sewing Bee and the Great British Bake Off where people can see the enjoyment making things can bring. Admittedly, there were some tears on the episodes as well but that shows how passionate people are to make something really nice.

I’ve only ever been a basic knitter. I’m happy with that and I think that will never change as a result. For me it’s an easy hobby to do whilst sitting watching the TV. Simple rows of knitting can be very relaxing and there have been studies showing the medical benefits and claims that it can be as relaxing as yoga, help with arthritis, bring down blood pressure, keep the mind sharp and boost general wellbeing. There are also lots of good causes that you can knit for, so it can be a win-win hobby.

With my simple knitting I’ve been making squares to make blankets for baby rhinos. Baby rhinos, like most baby animals, are very cute but so many of them are left orphaned due to the poaching of their parents. You might think it a bit strange that a baby rhino would need a blanket. In the wild their mothers would keep them warm and regulate their body temperature. The blankets provide them with some warmth and comfort.

The simple 20cm squares are knitted and joined together to make different sized blankets.

You can find out more details of this good cause at

The 22ndof September is World Rhino Day and everyone is encouraged to knit one red square to convey this wonderful animal’s tragic struggle as a result of the actions humans.

Here's my one red square.

Feel like you’d like to get knitting? There are plenty of groups looking for all sorts of different knitted or crocheted items, so there’s lots of choice in things to make. A simple search on the internet will bring them up and you too can join the knitting revival and feel the claimed health benefits that go along with it :)

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