When the red red robin goes bob bob bobbin along!

It was while out on one of my dog walks recently that I noticed just how charming ivy is: the leaf shapes are so elegant, the deep rich green with its darker veins are so pretty creating a lovely patch of  green while all around me the trees are becoming bare. I love the way it flows and softens the lines of the fence where I was walking – the way the leaves grow smaller along the vine. I also spotted some gorgeous variegated ivy in my own garden! 
Nature always has beauty, no matter what the season – frosted ivy was a wonder to behold. It has been there all year, but my focus has always gone to the scented lavender or the bright geraniums, but at this time of the year I begin to see the structure and beauty of those plants who remain the supporting cast in the garden. 

I was inspired by my walk to create a winter wreath, and decided to give ivy the star treatment! 
I really enjoy using needle felting as it allows me to create more realistic natural patterns, I combined them with the multitudes of tapestry wool -I purchase in vintage shops – often a whole abandoned kit can be bought for as little as a few pounds – I keep it in a small suitcase that resembles a box full of colour! 
Christmas Roses or hellebores, are so lovely too – but overshadowed most of the time by the more colourful varieties. However, they flower when winter has its grip and june roses are a distant memory or promises of summer to come while the branches of the roses look stark like winter skeletons of summer plants. 

The robin adds a splash of colour to the wreath, alongside some small red berries. He is created with a combination of felt, wool and merino floss.

It is easy to use the wool to create the wings on the robin, laying them across the body, using the felting needle to fix it. The beaded eye gives a brightness to the robin and gives him a little sparkle.

The felting gives a fluffiness that gives the robin his plumage, and softens his shape a little.

As you can see some of the ivy leaves are simply cut – with the variegation created with simple use of a felt tip pen!

I also laid several different colours of wool to make up the vines of the ivy, fixing all the elements with a hot glue gun. The leaves lay across the wreath, using a pen to push the centre of the ivy leaf to give it a natural shape.

If you want to have a go yourself you can purchase the wreath here, they are from Gisella Graham who I really love. Heidi feathers does a great beginner felting pack here which includes everything you need to start creating your own wreath. If you would like pattens for the ivy leaves and robin just drop me a line or you can sign up for the course I am running at Clothkits on Saturday 30th November.  

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shhh…

I have been playing all day with my glue gun, it has been a delightful pleasure. I bought these little wooden cotton reels back in the summer from ebay. However when they arrived they were too small for ribbon storage and they have remained stored away in a box until I saw the cover of hand made magazine this month. 
I love the nordic blue for a Christmas colour scheme, it works with both white and a deep red. I also have collected some pretty ribbons and vintage buttons. 
I simply cannot resist buttons in charity shops, they have a story all of their own. When I was a child I played with my Nanna’s button box and I used to love the pretty glass ones, it has created a bit of a collection which I keep by colour in little glass jars. (spice jars seem to be just the right size and these little pots of colour look so pretty on the shelf. 
I love my glue gun it makes such quick work, as it gives instant results. Cut strips the width of the reel, pinking sheers make such a nice edge. If you glue a small amount each time and press the fabric with your finger. 
You can decorate the edge with a button, and thread the braid through the holes and tie it in a knot. Add some glue down the hole and push the knot in, add a tiny bit more glue and hold the button down hard on the top of the reel. This will keep the tread in place firmly so you can hang the reel. 
You can use ribbon too I bought this vintage set from the dotcomgiftshop. I am very pleased with the results and they have a lovely hand made feel. Keep quiet though, it’s not quite Christmas yet!