Throw your own decorate t shirt party

As my kids have got older I have looked at ways to entertain them and their friends at their birthday parties. This year my eldest turns nine and although he still loves pass the parcel etc. He would like to do something a bit different with his friends at his birthday. So we thought we might try out a throwing a decorate t shirt party.header decorate t shirt party

Decorate plain white t shirt

We have done a trial run to test it out, before we launch into doing it at the party. So both my eldest and youngest had a go the previous rainy Sunday. We started with plain white t-shirts from River Island, as this gave a fresh base for colours to be applied.

What to decorate t shirt with?

As a textiles teacher I had loads of bits in my craft stash for the boys to try decorating their t-shirts with. So I created a little decorate a t-shirt kit. In the kit I included:

  • Fabric markers,
  • Crayons for fabric,
  • Fabric paints,
  • Pom poms,
  • Sequins,
  • Fabric glue. decorate t shirt kit

Ways to decorate t-shirt

Both boys chose different routes for decorating their t-shirts. The youngest favoured the paints, followed by immense pom pom application, with the look of a spiny dinosaur in mind. Where as the eldest favoured the fabric markers and the fabric crayons. As he wanted to do more illustrative designs. He drew his favourite things, so there was lego and Pokemon included. He found the fabric pens easier to work with than the crayons. decorate t shirt with paint

Top tips when decorating T-shirt

  • Have some card to insert in between the t-shirt so the design doesn’t ruin the other side.
  • Use light coloured t-shirts so you get the best colours.
  • Choose fabric markers for quick and less mess application.
  • Read instructions on fabric paints and crayons as some require washing or ironing to fix the design in place.
  • Put a cover down and wear something old as you don’t want to ruin furnishings and clothes with the paints and pens. They don’t wash out!decorate t shirt with crayons

So will we use this activity at our next party? Probably, the boys had great fun and they love having something truly unique to wear that they made. My advice would be to keep this to a small party where only a few very special friends are invited.

Need some more inspiration for a decorate your own t-shirt party? Check out my Pinterest Board.


decorate t shirt ideas
This is a collaborative post with River Island. To find out more please ready my advertising and disclosure policy.

Creative corner – Twysted Roots wire sculpture

This week in Creative corner I’m featuring a craftswoman whose wire sculpture work caught my eye. Exceptionally intricate and beautifully detailed. Clair from Twysted Roots is the next person to take part in my interview series.wire sculpture

1. Introduce yourself.wire sculpture

This part always feels like I’m standing up at some group confession! Hello, my name is Clair and I make bead and wire sculpture trees. I’m also a mum, a carer, a home educator, dog walker and home baker just to name a few. I have also been recently diagnosed as Autistic.

2. Tell us a bit about your business.

wire sculpture

I launched Twysted Roots at the end of April this year (2017) and I sell handmade tree of life bead and wire sculpture. I have a large range of both bead and wire colours and welcome custom orders as well as create ones ready to buy.

3. What made you start your own business?

When I moved to Cornwall nearly 4 years ago I discovered that leaving everything behind that was familiar to me, that created a routine, it had a negative impact on my mental health. I knew I needed to have something that was not reliant on other people so I started exploring my creative side again – I have so many paints and art materials I could probably open my own shop!

I was also learning guitar around this time and in the process of restringing and making loops with the old strings, it made me think wire art might be fun to try. That sparked off a search and purchase mission over the course of months for wire and beads to try out different ideas. Actually that part hasn’t worn off yet – I’m still buying wire and beads and trying out new ideas, only now they’re tree related! After many months of trial and error in making self supporting trees (and having lots of positive feedback), it was a natural progression to start thinking about the possibility of making it into a small business, and after a lot of research, that’s what I did.

4. Did you have any formal training for wire sculpture or are you self-taught?

I took higher Art and Design at school but that’s as far as it goes in terms of formal training. For wire sculpture I’m entirely self taught. I find self directed learning works best for me; I struggle with other people’s explanations at times and find it really frustrating when I don’t understand something. Frustration in turn causes mental blocks so learning in my own time means I can take breaks from it and try again once I’ve mulled it over. With doing it this way, I’ve found out practically what works best; wire thickness, bead size, lengths of wire needed, tools and their different uses, and of course putting it all together.

5. Explain your creative process.

For new ideas, I’ll rough sketch what I envision the end result to be, what shape I can make the leaves or floral bunches to make a certain visual effect, or how I’ll assemble each branch. Sometimes I’ll take photos of trees when I’m out walking the dogs.

I gather up all my chosen colours of wires and beads and start threading the seed beads onto the wire in order to form the leaves. The height of the tree is dependent on the length of wire used so I use my lap tray as a rough guide when measuring out. Again, dependent on size, I’ll do as many leaves as needed and once I feel enough have been made, I’ll then twist them together to form the tree.

This varies slightly for larger trees, because they require a thicker wire core to add stability. This is needed to hold the weight of the beads as the more there are, the more top heavy the tree becomes. There is nothing more soul destroying to have spent hours on something that you can’t get to stand up! Once the tree has been formed, I will spend around one to two hours on the roots, twisting them together then making the intricate patterns to create a pleasing finishing effect and also strengthen the root base.

6. Describe your typical day.

I take the dogs out as soon as I wake up. Once I’m back in I have a cup of tea or two while checking emails and catching up on anything social media related. The rest of the day depends on what my boys are doing but it generally involves more dog walking, cooking at some point and house related stuff. I make use of the daylight and paint during the day when I have that to do, and at some point I’ll spend at the very least, 2 hours on tree making. Bed around midnight,sleep any time from 2am -4am and repeat the following day.

7. What’s your biggest seller?

Being a new business plus because I make ‘one off’ creations I can’t really answer that one. Everything has been received really well and I’ve had a lot of positive responses, the most popular being this one due to a recent feature on Deviant Art. wire sculpture

miniature trees

Use the code: Tree4Me at the checkout to get a 20% discount for the first 20 people

8. What have been the high and low points of running your own business?

I get ridiculously happy after finishing each tree. I wondered if that part would wear off or I’d become less enthusiastic after going from hobby to business, but I still love it. Meeting other creative people through doing this has been fantastic and the support that I’ve experienced within the crafting community has been incredibly touching. And of course that literal happy dance after each sale – I don’t think that will ever wear off either.

The lows for me have been the anxieties in the run up to opening up the business and after it was launched because I’m not a naturally outgoing presence online or in life. The day I announced it on Facebook, notifications came flooding in and it was so overwhelming I burst into tears. Not because that was anything bad, just the thought of all those people looking at something I’d done… it was the equivalent of walking into your house after a long day and having 100 people jump out and yell “Surprise!” (I hate surprises. Run away!!) The other downside is the inner critic and the self doubt which I think everyone feels to some extent at some point. Perfectionism is a double edged sword; it drives you to be better but it can also render you stuck and unable to move forward.

9. What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?

Do lots of research! Creating things is just one part of it. Getting your work out there takes time so be prepared and know what you’re getting into. It can feel overwhelming when you start out but each thing you accomplish gets you that bit closer to your goal.

Take good photos. Nobody is going to know what you’re offering if your product shots look like you took them in a dark room as you ran past, or if you hide it behind three house plants and a candelabra.

Love what you do. You don’t have to love the paperwork but love what you create. Even if I never sold another tree, I’d still make them.

An important tip is don’t be scared to ask for advice if you feel stuck with something. It’s ok not to know a thing and you’ll often find you’re not alone in that. A support network can be a huge help!

10. What are your aspirations?

I’d quite like to stock some of my trees in a physical high street shop. I’d also love to do more tree wedding cake toppers. My dream would be to create something really big, person sized big, just because I love massive projects. I think I’d need a lot more in the way of arm strength for that though.

11. Where can we find you?

Google +

wire sculpture

Mummy in a Tutu
You Baby Me Mummy

Creative corner Interview – Eweniverse

I love a good pun. The cheesier the better in my case, which is why I was so pleased to have Craig from Eweniverse kindly take part in my Creative corner interview series.creative corner interview

1. Introduce yourself.creative corner interview











Hey, I’m Craig and I’m the guy behind the sheep (that sounds wrong) of Eweniverse. Originally from Wales, I now live in Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire with my amazing wife and 2 boys and a very strange cat called Bert.

2. Tell us a bit about your business.creative corner interview

I create funny, punny illustrations and funny/cute gifts and have a lot of fun doing so. I create and sell prints, coasters, badges. Jigsaw puzzles & more!

3. What made you start your own business?

Working a boring finance/IT day job can be hard work – I needed to make something of what I love doing. So why not challenge myself and set up my own brand!

4. Did you have any formal training or are you self-taught?

I studied at Art College in Wales as a mature student but always had a love of art and in particular cartoons and illustration. The old Beano and Dandy comics are a huge inspiration!

5. Explain your creative process.

My work usually starts as either an image or a pun/play on words. I will then develop it as a pencil & ink sketch then scan into a digital file to draw & colour digitally. Although a few are painted with watercolours or acrylics.

6. Describe your typical day.

Sort and pack orders from the previous night. Open the sketchbook, put some good music on, some coffee and then get creating. This usually happens when the kids are out of the way! A lot of the time, the evening is my most productive time!

7. What’s your biggest seller?

The Ewenicorn is possibly my most recent big seller – a cross between a sheep & a unicorn! The enamel pin badges went down really well!creative corner interview

10% off code “EWE2017” at checkout!

8. What have been the high and low points of running your own business?

Highs – seeing people enjoy something of completely your creation – when people “get” your stuff it’s a brilliant feeling!

Lows – The amount of time in a day – someone needs to do something about this!

9. What would be your top tips for running your own creative business?

Don’t get hung up on competing with other creatives. Never compare yourself. Always do your own thing – it’s unique and is yours alone. Also challenge yourself and take that leap of faith!

10. What are your aspirations?

To turn Eweniverse into a household brand and my full-time job.

11. Where can we find you?

My shop




Creative corner interview giveaway!

Craig has kindly offered the chance to win one of his Chocolate Baaa! Ltd edition pin badges

You can enter multiple times using the entry options shown.  The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter. The Winner will be contacted by Eweniverse to send them the prize. Full terms and conditions can be found in the widget.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

One  Chocolate Baaa! Ltd edition pin badge –  no monetary exchange available

The contest will close Midnight Wednesday 4th October

Distribution of  prizes is the responsibility of Eweniverse, Craft with Cartwright cannot be held responsible for lost prizes and all winner decisions are final. The winner has 48 hours to claim or a new winner will be drawn
UK Entrants Only
creative corner interview

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky
You Baby Me Mummy

Win a handmade wedding gift

Summer time equals weddings. Especially when you get to your thirties and everyone seems to be getting married off. The months of June and July seem to be filled with them! Getting a great gift can be so difficult. Many couples ask for money or have extensive wedding gift lists but if you fancy giving them something a little more personal with a handmade wedding gift.

handmade wedding

This is something that’s been crafted with love, by hand. Then you can’t go far wrong with this cute Mr and Mrs cross stitched hoop art. It comes framed in a wooden hoop and backed with felt. Easy to stand propped on a shelf or add a hanging loop of ribbon. Classic colours in white black and red make it suit all tastes and fit all home décor schemes. The Hoop measures 5”. So it would also be small enough to give the bride as a wedding charm.

Win a Handmade wedding gift

To enter simply complete the rafflecopter form.

handmade wedding


handmade wedding

You can enter multiple times using the entry options shown.  The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter and contacted by Craft with Cartwright to send them the prize. Full terms and conditions can be found in the widget.

One Mr and Mrs cross stitched hoop art –  no monetary exchange available

Contest is open until Midnight 29th July
Distribution of  prizes is the responsibility of Craft with Cartwright
 Craft with Cartwright cannot be held responsible for lost prizes
All winner decisions are final – the winner has 48 hours to claim or a new winner will be drawn


UK Entrants Only


Butoonies review

This is a review post for Craft Yourself Silly*

Are you in need of some ideas to keep the kids occupied though the summer holidays? My youngest who is four is still quite easily amused, give him the paddling pool and he’ll stay in it all summer given the chance. My eldest who is eight is quite different and once the allotted half and hour of screen time is up, I can often hear his lament of boredom echoing around the house.

So when we were asked to try out these new Buttoon-ies craft kits made by Craft Yourself Silly I thought they would be perfect for my eldest. He loves lego and small world imaginary play and these little characters would be perfect for that.

So we sat down together one afternoon, whilst the youngest was busy watering the garden. (Another one of his favourite summer activities). I must admit I’m glad I did sit with him and not just give him the packs as they are quite tricky to make, even for skilled lego building hands such as his.

If your child has had no experience threading before I would recommend that they have ago trying that skill first as they might find it very frustrating watching the thread bend away from the button hole as my eldest did.

He nearly gave up all together but with some help and a division of the jobs, he read the instructions, sorted the buttons into size order and directed me whilst I did the threading. We soon had our first little character created. Both kids love this little chap and he has since been involved in some great adventures.

So what if he didn’t make it all by himself, I much prefer something we can do together and his sense of achievement in the task was not diminished. He’s looking forward to building some more with me soon. I just need to get some pot plants for the youngest to water!

Like this? You’ll love
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I was asked to review these Buttoon-ies in exchange for my honest opinion. You can find out more in my advertising and disclosure policy.

Epic Mommy Adventures

100 hashtags for creative bloggers

I’ve being hearing a lot recently on twitter about how engagement is really low on Instagram and lots of people are struggling to keep or gain new followers. At the moment I can’t agree. I have been working really hard to grow my following and I think it’s down to me upping my game with my hashtag use. You can too, with 100 hashtags for creative bloggers.

100 hashtags for creative bloggers

I’ve been setting myself Instagram goals in my monthly stats roundups and this month I set myself the task of getting to 1000 followers. Not a big ask, some of you may think but until recently I had really struggled to gain any new followers.

Why make hashtags for creative bloggers?

Since I started noting my stats my followers have grown from
781 followers in March
803 followers in April
977 followers in May
I’ve already smashed my target for June by hitting 1041 when I checked this morning. That’s a gain of 260 new followers in three months.

You may not be all about the numbers game but for me, with wanting to make more income from my blogging you do have to try and increase your followers.

So that’s when I started to focus on my hashtag use. I have three main areas that I cover on my blog and in my Instagram feed. Crafts, Lifestyle and Parenting. So I thought it would be helpful to break it down into three posts with a stronger focus on each of these three areas.

In my 100 hashtags for creative bloggers I have covered, general crafts, art and design, sewing, fabric design and paper crafts. These are my main interests in the creative world and should hopefully offer you some new hashtag choices. Obviously the more niche your creative pursuits are there will be a whole host of hashtags just for them but the general crafts ones should be helpful to all creative bloggers.

#General Craft

#Craft #crafts #crafting #craftsposure #craftday #crafters #crafter #crafty #design #designlife #designer #designing #designblog #lovewhatyoudo #creative #creativelifehappylife #creativityfound #creativelife #thatsdarling #girlboss #love #creativeminds  #diy #diycrafts #diycraft #diyideas #diyblogger #diyproject #blogger #bloggersuk #bloggergirl #bloggerpost #lblogger #mummyblogger #ukbloggers #handmade #homemade #making #handmadewithlove #memade #makers


#artistsoninstagram #art #artstudio #artistslife #sketchbook #illustration #illustrationoftheday #colouring #painting #artsy #instaart #artcollective #artoftheday

#Sewing and Embroidery

#sewists #sewcialist #sewing #sewingideas #sewingroom # sewingforkids #sewinglove #sewingaddict #crossstitch #xstitch #needlecraft #needlework #embroidery #embroideryart #embroideryhoop #crossstitchpattern #embroiderypattern  #hooplove #hoopart #igers #xstitching #xstitcher #handsewing #handsewn #puntodecruz #pointedecross #crossstitcher #crossstitching #crossstitchersofinstagram  #crossstitchlove #kanavice #kreuzstich #kruissteek

#Fabric design

#surfacepatterndesign #surfacepattern #surfacepatterndesigner #printandpattern #fabricdesign #fabricdesigner #textiledesign #textiledesigner #fabric #fabriclove

#Paper crafts

#papercraft #papercrafting #papercrafts #scrapbook #scrapbooking #scrapbookpaper #diecut #diecuts #diecutting #diecutcrazy #papercut #prettypapercraft #minipapercraft #craftstamp #stamps #stamping


Grab your FREE printable of the 100 Hashtags for creative bloggers here.

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5 great ways to paint without a brush

In my time as a teacher and as a mum encouraging my children’s creativity I have often found children to get stuck in a mindset of the ‘right’ way to draw and the ‘right’ way to paint. I find it deeply tragic when children and adults tell me that they can’t do it. Just because you don’t like the result when you put a brush to paper does not mean you are not capable of being a painter. It just means you haven’t found your way of painting yet. Here are my five great ways to paint without a brush.
 paint without a brush
So if you feel like breaking free of the ‘right’ way to paint. Loose the brush and try these five great ideas instead. You might just find you find your or your child’s perfect way to paint and release all the creative potential.

1. Dot painting.


Whether to choose to be really messy and get back to early childhood painting with your finger tips or use cotton buds. Painting with dots is great fun. The rhythmic pattern play is so relaxing. This style links to early paintings and can be seen a lot in aboriginal work.

paint without a brush


2. Painting with bubbles

We love doing this in our house. Just mix up a half cup of water based paint, with a table spoon of water to loosen it and a tablespoon of washing up liquid in a large bowl. Use a straw and blow bubbles in the mix. Lay paper over the top and print your own bubbly painting. Just remember to watch children blow and don’t drink the paint.

3. Painting with feathers

Feel really old school and use feathers to delicately tickle the paint onto paper. It gives a great wispy, natural flow to your artwork. They are also great dipped in paint and pressed between two sheets of paper to make a print.

4. Paint without brushes! Use Potatoes!

Everyone loves a potato print. Not just for infants, potato printing can be taken to a whole new level. Try using cookie cutters to aid you in creating more complex shapes in the potato and then stamp away to your hearts content.

paint without a brush

5. Paint with cardboard

Use strips of cardboard to apply paint in smears, like old school masters would have used a pallet knife in oil paintings. Try cutting different shaped cardboard strips, with curved or zig zag edges to experiment with different mark making in the paint.

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Outdoor painting
Go mad with paint
Aboriginal art colouring in

Double the Monkey Business

How to make a tie dyed gift bag.

Mother’s day can be a tricky one for Dad’s especially when the kids are smaller. This is a project I often do in school to make life a little easier for the dads. The kids love making them as they are quick and fun and unique. Perfect for storing a little gift in for mum. This is a great little tutorial on how to make a tie dyed gift bag.

To make the bags you will need cotton fabric as this dyes best.

How to make a tie dyed gift bag.

 How to make a tie dyed gift bag.

How to make a tie dyed gift bag.

Once you have made your bag, you can personalise them with tie dye. I was lucky enough to be sent some great dyes from dylon uk to show you this fun project. So we chose to do our bags in blues or purples as this is an easier colour for everyone to agree on. But for your project the sky is the limit and you should check out their website for the great range of colours they stock.

How to make a tie dyed gift bag.

There are various different techniques you can use to create different patterns but these were our favourite designs.

How to make a tie dyed gift bag.

How to make a tie dyed gift bag.

Then you are ready to dye your bags. You must ensure you follow the instructions on your pack carefully as different dyes use different methods and I must stress this is not a bit for the kids to do, I always do the dyeing at school.

How to make a tie dyed gift bag.

How to make a tie dyed gift bag.I love that this one looks like a heart!

Don’t the finished results look cute tied with a ribbon.

How to make a tie dyed gift bag.

For those most reluctant of sewers you can also get a great result by cutting a square of fabric, fraying the edges and then dyeing it the same way. Gather the edges around you gift and secure with a bow.

Have you got any great tie dye tips? I’d love to hear them.
Like this? You’ll love
One of Each #littlemakes

Free Cross stitch advent calendar.

Now is the time to be stitching up a great heirloom piece for Christmas. This would look great stitched as it is and framed up. Or you could stitch each one individually and make them into a pocket hanging advent calendar that you could fit a chocolate coin in each one. Personalise it further with the days or a child’s name. You can grab an additional freebie by signing up at the bottom of this post.



So here is the complete cross stitch advent calendar. It includes: A gingerbread man, a snowman, a penguin, a Christmas pudding, an angel, a robin and a Christmas tree, as well as many other cute seasonal designs. Each section measures 26w by 34 h on 14 count aida. So they are perfect to stitch altogether as an advent calendar or split up and use for card making and decorations. I hope you like it and I hope to see some pics of the stitched up patterns before Christmas. You can find the individual  patterns on my cross stitch patterns page.

advent calendar

You can just click on the pop out and print off your free advent calendar pattern here.

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Want to personalise your advent calendar? Add Names or the date? Why not sign up to grab your FREE alphabet chart here.

advent calendar

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Many thanks to the talented Jeni Lynn Ingram for model stitching this piece. If you would like to work with Jeni, you can contact her via the Facebook group, Embroidery Model Stitchers and Designers.
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Free cross stitch advent calendar pattern, Santa Hat

I couldn’t help myself had to finish the Advent calendar with Santa, or at least Santa’s hat. I hope you have enjoyed this series. If you missed some of the patterns, you can find them all on my Free cross stitch patterns page.
PDF Advent cross stitch pattern
Free Advent cross stitch pattern
















I have loved making this series of mini cross stitch patterns for Advent. As I’ve designed them I’ve thought of lots of other uses for them as well as the calendar. They would be great stitched up for cards, made into decorations and used for gift tags. Have you got any other great ideas for them? I’d love to your stitched versions of my designs.

As always just click on the pop out button for the printable version of the pattern, if you don’t like stitching from the screen.

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Grab your FREE alphabet chart here!

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