Tag Archives: gift

Lola loves… Comic strip washi tape

How have I not been using washi tape for years? It’s so useful and versatile. You can use it to decorate cards and presents, storage boxes, note pads, broomsticks, pigeons, dust, metaphysical science… Well, very almost everything.

This easy comic book washi is great for adding colour and personality. I made mini washi strips (more like stickers) using speech bubbles, faces and small scenes and longer pieces that are perfect instead of sellotape. For projects that need even longer strips, I used polka dot wrapping paper in both green and red, both of which go well with the comic book’s bright primary colours.

I have to say, it is a bit addictive and lots of my other scrapping paper has met a sticky-back plastic end.

I’ve done this before using sheets of sticky-back plastic but I recommend using a roll of it as I did this time (see the picture below) – that way there’s no need to measure. Simply peel off the sticky-back plastic and stick it on the back of your image. (Tip: I found it easier to make a template of the tape and trace it onto the front over the image, then cut out roughly, apply the tape to the reverse side and trim the edges. This makes it easier to see where to place your tape).

I also placed some tape directly onto the image (front side) and cut out to make washi stickers that I could use to decorate the inside of a glass jar – this became home for the rest of my washi tape.

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Lola loves… the Love Blanket

I was a bit sad to hand over the love blanket (yes, I named it. Yes, we bonded) but I hope that’s the sign of it being a good present.

I gave this to some lovely friends of mine on their wedding day, they had asked for a donation to their honeymoon fund (Thailand. Three weeks. Lucky buggers), which I happily obliged with but wanted to do something extra that was heartfelt but not budget-busting.

I bought two fleece blankets, a white one  that I embroidered, and a red one that I sewed to the back of the white one to hide the reverse side (which to be honest was a bit messy!)

All of the embroidery designs were from an iron-on kit by Sublime Stitching, which costs $5  and has full instructions.

I also bought some felt for the appliqué heart and used embroidery threads that I already had, so in total it was a pretty inexpensive gift.

They seemed to like it and have decided to hang it on their wall. I was thinking it would only be used on the occasional winter night or for movie watching so I’m happy, though I did have a romantic notion of their not-yet-conceived kids snuggling underneath it, so I hope it makes it down eventually. I have a crochet blanket made by my great-grandmother, which I snuggled under for comfort when I was ill – it is called the sick blanket (don’t worry, it was never covered in sick). It was, and still is, a very special blanket and I had that in mind when I made this.

I chose an appliqué heart and ribbon and embroidered swallows to ‘hold’ them, partly because I’m  into tattoo designs and because they’re a young and trendy couple, so I thought they’d enjoy it.

I machine-sewed the heart and ribbon with a secure zig-zag stitch  and then trimmed any edges.

It took a fair while to embroider this but it was a lovely project to work on. I even took it in the bus to sew on the way to work (I live in London so it’s always a long and public commute). As it was winter it kept me nice and snug as I sewed!

Here’s the couple on their beautiful day – they make quite a dapper pair, don’t they? You’ll see that the wedding dress is different to what I embroidered as, quite rightly, that was all kept secret until the day, but I was lucky enough to catch a look at the groom’s outfit before as he needed me to take up the trouser hem.

The heart matched the homemade fascinator  I wore on the day too!

It was an incredibly beautiful day and I’m really pleased to have made a special keepsake for them.


Lola loves… A vinyl record bowl

I was itching to get started on this project as soon as a friend of mine told me about it (yes, admittedly, this is not my invention and you should be able to find it elsewhere on the web, including on Instructables). I was well aware that I would be banished for melting my boyfriend’s prized vinyl, so I did a bit of digging in charity shops and on eBay to find the right record – an inexpensive single by The Kinks, one of my fella’s favourite bands, which was fitting at the bowl was for him.

Of course, all that searching was for nought because I scorched the record into a blistering, stinking mess when, on my first attempt, I cooked it in the oven. Yes, I know, it was no more intelligent than it sounds. Plastic? In the oven? Where you cook food? Ah hem, yes, but in my defense I was assured it was a failsafe method.

Trust me, it isn’t a failsafe method. I heated it on a low temperature for just a few minutes and ended up with a molten lump of plastic, a sense of guilt (it felt sacrilegious, like burning a book) and a need to fumigate.

What you will need… to do it properly (and safely):
A vinyl record – single or LP (pick a cheapy from a charity shop or one that’s scratched beyond worth)
A kettle and water
A small bowl
Oven gloves

Boil a full kettle of water, place a small bowl upside down in the sink and your vinyl record on top of that. Have your oven gloves or a tea towel at the ready.

Once your water has boiled, simply pour a steady stream of hot water over the vinyl, avoiding the paper if there is any. Keep pouring the water over one spot until the vinyl starts to yield. Using oven gloves or tea towel, start to mould the record around the bowl so it takes the same shape. You will have work in sections and work quickly as the vinyl doesn’t take long to cool.

Once you have worked right the way round your vinyl, check you like the shape, pour more water and reshape if needed.

Next up, I think I will make one for my dad for Father’s Day, he is an avid Bob Dylan collector so I’m sure he’d appreciated an up-cycled Dylan record bowl. And I think I may use it as a DIY gift basket filled with something yummy.


Lola loves… Homemade gift bags

I love a bit of Paperchase but my lord, gift wrapping can cost a fortune if you let it, and I have certainly been known to get a bit carried away with the gift garnish. Here’s my solution, an oh-so-simple paper gift bag. Actually, I can’t take credit for this one, I’ve seen these used at a couple of craft stalls but never thought they would be so easy to make.

Here’s what you do. Get a piece of paper – I’ve used newspaper and pages of a comic book before, you could also try old maps, wrapping paper or other ingenious ingredients – felt or plastic sheets perhaps?

Firstly, measure a strip one inch wide right the way along the widest side of your paper. Fold this down and glue it. This reinforced strip will be used later for the handles.

Next, get something rectangular such as a book. It needs to be equivalent in size to the paper i.e. a small book for a small piece of paper. You may need to try out a few before you commit to gluing.

Wrap the paper around the book as though you are wrapping a present. Then glue the edge of the paper down along the longest side, leaving you with two open ends.

Next fold in the paper at the bottom of the book just as though you are wrapping a present and glue down. Once you’ve done that, slip the paper off the book and you’ve got your basic bag shape.

Then simply hole punch the reinforced strip you made earlier. You will need to punch holes in the middle of each of the widest sides, one set directly opposite the other. Thread a pretty ribbon or some garden string though and tie, et voile you have your handles.

Once you’ve got the knack this takes moments to do and is a cute way to give a gift. I’ve also made envelopes in matching paper and a personalised birthday card to go in it.


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