How to be the queen of crafts this New Year
It's the lull between Christmas and New Year so get ready for your New Year party by becoming a domestic princess by making these homemade festive treats
You are well into the Christmas holidays and you are probably already faced with a barrage of 'I'm bored! What can I do?'
With the homemade Christmas becoming en vogue this year, why not get out the glitter, glue pens, wrapping paper and paints and spend a day or two making Christmas table decorations that will delight your guests and give a personalised touch to your home.
HobbyCraft has recently opened on Riverside Retail Park and it's a place where you can buy everything you need to make your Christmas go with a homemade swing.
The craft warehouse sells everything from glue, glitter, ribbon, twigs, berries and paper, to cake icing pens, food colouring and sugar paste blocks. It even has a range of make-it-yourself style kits that contain all the bits and pieces you need to make your own festive fancies such as Christmas crackers.
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Life Matters has selected five items that you can easily make using items in your home or from items bought from the city's craft shops or your local shop.
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To make the cupcakes you will need: 200g salted butter; 200g caster sugar; 4 eggs; 200g self raising flour; 1tsp vanilla essence; muffin tray and cases.
How to make: Preheat the oven to 180c or gas mark 4. Place the butter, sugar and any flavouring in an electric mixer and cream together until fluffy.
Beat the eggs lightly in another bowl and slowly add to the mix on medium speed. Now mix in the flour on low speed setting. Put paper cases into a muffin tray and fill about two thirds full. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the sponge is springy to touch. Leave to cool completely before decorating.
For the decoration you will need: Edible glitter; white sugar paste block; orange food colouring; writing icing tube in black; food colouring pens.
How to make: These easy to make snowmen cupcakes are so cute that adults and kids will both love them! Once your cupcakes have cooled, start by covering the tops with runny icing so that it trickles over the sides. Roll balls of icing for the heads and use writing icing for the eyes and mouth. Add a blob of icing for the nose and a spotty paper scarf.
You will need: Natural twig wreath; decorative papers; ceramic painted clay stars; berry picks.
How to make: Create this brightly coloured wreath by cutting out letters as well as your choice of stars, snowflakes and other fun shapes from sheets of different patterned card. Stick down onto a simple, plain twig wreath.
You will need: Candles; wrapping paper; ribbon and felt shapes.
How to make: Nothing creates more of a cosy, seasonal glow indoors than beautifully decorated candles that will add an extra finishing touch to your festive displays. Customise some simple pillar candles by tying some bright, patterned paper or ribbons tied around them.
Remember: Remove wrapping before burning and never leave lit candles unattended.
You will need: Gold cracker kit; laser cut wooden hearts pack; pink acrylic paint; patterned paper; mini lime buttons; star craft punch; lime coloured ribbon; white paper or card; double sided tape and tacky glue, or glue dots.
How to make: Using a Christmas cracker kit, delight your dinner guests with their own individual handmade cracker. Customised with patterned paper, brightly coloured ribbons and wooden hearts, they'll be almost too pretty to pull! Add a personal touch by gluing on recipients' names and don't forget the treats for inside!
You will need: Silver cones; name tags; ribbon and patterned cellophane.
How to make: Transform your Christmas dinner table with a touch of elegance that is sure to delight your guests. Everyone loves a table favour so why not take some silver cones, attach a name tag and fill with tiny chocolates or sweets? Wrap it up with cellophane and a decorative ribbon for a truly special treat that your guests will not be expecting.
All materials are available from HobbyCraft on Riverside Retail Park or www.hobbycraft.co.uk