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Hello loveheart's, I have to confess that when I started Mrs.Steel's back in January, I had visions of posting different tutorials a couple of times a week.  The reality is, that crochet work, life and everything in between has made that a little ambitious, but, not to be defeated, I may just need to drop that down to once a week or so!

This week, it's an Easter Extravaganza.  We have marbled eggs, decorated bunnies, crocheted flowers and a gorgeous take on the traditional Easter Tree.  All of these have been made to dress-up a family do we're having, in a little village hall in West Wales.  With a few foraged, upcycled and decorated objects, we've got an eggcellent (ahem, sorry, couldn't help it) center piece for our lunch table.



So first up: Prepping stuff for Marbling

I've marbled some eggs and a bunny.  To prep your eggs:
Make a small hole in the top and bottom with a sharp pin, and then holding you egg over a bowl, blow as hard as you can through one of the holes.  This should force the egg out of the other hole leaving you with an empty shell.  Warning: this is hilarious AND difficult.

I then threaded a long yarn needle with some golden thread, and fed it through the egg to make a loop to hang it by.  This not only makes it ideal for hanging up, but also makes it much easier to marble.

Paint your egg with white acrylic paint and leave to dry.

The bunny is a ready-made, papier mache chap form HobbyCraft, that I also painted white.


Marbling with Nail Varnish

You will need:
Nail varnish
Shallow dish
Warm water

The trick to this is, just to use a few drops of nail varnish.  The varnish sits on the top of the warm water like a sheet of plastic, so don't imagine that you dip something in and it comes out with a pretty inky print - this stuff wants to come out in a whooooole sheet of varnish.  The knack is to dip and twist your object, so that the sheet of varnish wraps around it.


If you don't want to ruin your finest china, cut the bottom off an old, plastic milk bottle to use instead.








If you haven't threaded a loop of string through them, having an egg cup or old egg box to rest them in once they're dipped is a good idea.

You can then dip whatever bit of your bunny that you like...






Now for the Easter Tree

You will need:
Twigs
Copper Spray paint
Strings of beads (thrifted pearls and twinkly things are ideal for this)
Marbled Eggs
Pompoms
Flowers
Fairy lights
Vase to stand them in.

You can literally festoon it with whatever you like, for me, more is definitely always more ;)

Make sure your twigs are as dirt free as possible, then lie them down on some newspaper (and preferably outside), spray with the copper spray - lots of short, quick sprays work best.  Make sure you cover all of them.


Pop in a vase, twist you little lights around is you have them, and then have the most utterly joyful half an hour, stringing pearls, dangling beads, tying flowers and pompoms and hanging eggs from them.


The little crochet flower pattern will be available soon over at LoveCrochet.com, so keep 'em peeled and have a lovely holiday! xxx
In a couple of month's I'm sort of getting married (technically we got married ten years ago, but didn't invite a soul, so we're finally fulfilling the promises to our Mum's and having our wedding reception), so clearly the only thing to do is make an enormous floral crown.

I though I'd share the process with you, so that you can have a go too.  This tutorial is stage 1 - building the flowery bit.  Really this blogpost could also have been called 'how to not be afraid of a glue gun', as that's really the key to it all.  If, like me, you used one at school and ended up with blistered fingers, now's the time to put that fear away, remember you're a grown up, and tackle the challenge head on.

For this make you will need:

A collection of silk/paper/woolly flowers.  Mine are from HobbyCraft and were all on stems.  If you find yours like this, then either cut or just pull the heads off (checking that you won't be pulling the entire flower head apart).
Alice band
Glue gun

Method:
Start with your leaves as a base, apply the hot glue to the alice band, and then stick the leaves to it.  It's much easier this way round.

Make sure you glue them nice and securely (go glue crazy) as this will then be the base you glue the flowers to.

To attach the flowers, it's easier to pop a bit of glue on to the part of the flower you want to stick down, and then secure it with a little more once it's in place.





Try it on as you go, to make sure you're getting your flowers in the right place.

When finished, put it on at marvel at yourself in the mirror, and then hear your own voice say "but is it enough?" (true story).  Stage 2 will be adorning it with birds, jewels and dangly bits.


Hello Peaches!

After a lovely little break, we're raring to go with a new tutorial for you.  We love treats as much as the next gal, but there are a couple of things we try to stick to when stuffing our faces; that it's relatively healthy and that if we don't understand what the ingredients are, we don't eat it.  I will honestly eat butter until the cows dry up, it's full fat everything all the way at Mrs.Steel's, chocolate?  Why not, but Aspartame?  I can't even say it, never mind ingest it.  With Mrs.Boss's delicate tummy, and a Tourette'sy boy each, we steer clear of the nonsense and try and encourage a slightly more au natural approach to eatin'.

So, with that in mind, here's a super delicious cheesecake recipe from Mrs.B.


Mrs.Steel's School of Stitchcraft and Scissory is ALL about making more, and taking less.  Got hole in the knee of your favourite jeans?  Patch them.  Hate the idea of some horrible denim patch?  Make it an excellent feature.  Reusing, upcycling, remaking; it's a way of life as well as a deeply gratifying, and enjoyable thing to do.

So preaching done, and here's today's lesson: just one way to patch a hole.  I think it may be time to start a Mrs.Steel's School account, so we can find all sorts of other, really clever examples of beautiful, creative ways to make your clothes go further.

Materials
Some scraps of fabric you like
DK Cotton yarn (but you can literally use anything, I like to use what I have to hand)
Twilley's Gold Fingering yarn
Scissors
Pins

Method
i. Cut your scraps and pin in place.  I've gone for two squares, sat one on top of the other.





ii. Thread your needle and sew simple rows of running stitch, up and down the first patch.  I liked the look of the rows going over each end by a couple of stitches.




iii.  Change to an alternative yarn, and sew rows of running stitch across the next patch, and over the first one.




iv. Fasten off all your ends, and walk around staring at the beauty on your knee.





You can make your stitches as fancy as you like, starting with a simple running stitch is a great way to get going but you can make all sorts of stitchery patterns when you get confident.
My Dearest Squash-blossoms, I have a pocket for a garden, but am determined to do my bit by growing at least some of the things we intend to eat this year, so today is a tiny little, seed pot make, that is also incredibly gratifying.  This is still very happily in keeping with the make more, take less approach that is the school motto.

If you've never grown anything before, don't be afraid!  The worst that will happen is nothing, the best is that you can have fresh pea shoots in your salad every day.

When I get round to making emblems for each house, this will very firmly sit in The Green House, alongside other botanical joys (but I'm doing my best to take things slowly and do things in a measured and calm way, MOST unlike me).

Materials
All you need are some empty toilet rolls, a box of some sort to keep them in, a pair of scissors and some seeds.



I've chosen peas, carrots and onions, and I'm going to get a few sewn now, and will then do some more in another couple of weeks so as not to have a glut of anything.

Step 1: Cut the toilet roll in half.

Step 2: Make 4 slits, to about half way up the cut roll.

Step 3: Fold the bottom together like a cardboard box, so that each section overlaps the next.


Step 4: Fill it with some compost and pop a seed in it.

Step 5: Place on a water proof tray, put on a window sill and water lightly.

I've also used an empty egg box for some of the smaller seeds.  Once these have started to grow, you can literally just pop them out and into the garden or a window box.



Recently I was asked by Paintbox Yarns to pick a collection of 10 colours, my favourite colour pack.  I love bold, bright colours, and chose my favourite, fall-back palette.  These are the colours I use for everything from embroidery to crochet, and love having a stash of them in DK cotton for all craft situations.



I recently used them to make a big, fairground inspired, letter cushion for Mrs.Boss (Katie), and thought I'd share the grid with you.  I've kept the format down to a basic grid so that you can use it for tapestry crochet, cross stitch, freehand embroidery, knitting, anything you like.  I also thought you might like other letters, so have designed most of the rest of the alphabet too.

Please share these to your hearts content, but we would love it if you could credit Mrs.Steel's School if you do.  We'd also love it if you wanted to share any makes with us!  Just hop over to Instagram and tag your pic with #stitchcraftandscissory.  Oh, and you can pick up the cottons at LoveCrochet ;)