A couple of years ago, I wrote a feature on Christmas gift ideas for a scrapbooking magazine. As you might remember, I'm not a scrapbooker but I do like hitting up their supplies.
The two hoop pictures below were my favourite of the projects I put together, not least because they were a very deliberate attempt at luring die-hard papercrafters over to the dark side. By which, obviously, I mean embroidery.
Each picture uses slightly different techniques, but both can be put together in under an hour, with only the most basic of skills and materials.
Like dogs, fruitcake and Macauley Culkin movies, they're not just for Christmas. They make excellent emergency gifts all year round, and are simple enough for creative children to try out, too. It's the summer holidays, you know. I've got your back.
I'm guessing you can work out the details from the pictures above and below, but in case you need a quick breakdown, here goes:
:: Paint the hoop or stain with coloured ink, then add dots with a paint pen.
:: Stretch light-coloured fabric over the hoop when dry.
:: Place something sturdy under the fabric (I used a wooden canister lid) and stamp stems using green ink.
:: Stitch a selection of buttons at different heights on each stem.
:: Trim or cover fabric to neaten and finish off the back of the hoop.
:: Stretch denim fabric over the hoop.
:: Sew four short running-stitched lines across the middle of the fabric to make stems.
:: Layer paper and/or fabric flowers above each one and fix in place with a fancy brad (a button would work, too).
Hopefully it goes without saying that you can mix the ideas up - stamped stems and brad-fixed flowers for a total no-sew project, or vice-versa if you're feeling stitchy. You could even get really fancy and make your own flowers.