Some of you may know Alice at Nipper and Tyke: funny blogger, owner of a sleep helmet wearing genius, and talented artist and maker of tapestry (tapestress is almost certainly not the word). Alice also offers tapestry classes and makes do it yourself tapestry kits, so that we can all pretend to be talented tapestresses (definitely not the word).
For Christmas, Alice has made kits to make your own gorgeous tapestry Christmas tree decorations, and she has kindly given me a kit to try. The decorations come in a variety of designs and colour schemes, and each kit makes three decorations, in different sizes and shapes. They are all so pretty, but I chose the red and white design as I love the heart and snowflake motifs.
The kit comes in a little bag and contains everything you need. You get the tapestry needle, six plastic canvases (two for each decoration), all the threads, the hanging wire, instructions, and the pattern for your chosen design.
The designs are stitched in a half cross stitch. You sew each design twice, to make the two sides of the decoration, and then stitch the sides together and attach the wire for hanging. The instructions are very clear, and the patterns are really easy to follow (as in, I was able to follow them). There are simple methods for neatly securing loose ends at the start and finish. This may seem an odd thing to mention, but I know it will appeal to any other people like me who may be out there. That would be people who enjoy sewing, are actually reasonably good at embroidery, but inexplicably have never mastered using any kind of sensible, tidy method for dealing with the loose threads at the start and end. You would not need to have any pre-existing abilities or knowledge when it comes to sewing, embroidery or tapestry in order to follow these instructions. I would say your level of experience would really only affect the speed with which you can complete the decorations.
It’s really very relaxing to do the sewing, and it is satisfying seeing the pattern coming together. As you progress, and can see the designs appearing, it becomes pretty intuitive to see where the next stitch goes without needing to closely count out the pattern (though, of course, you can still do so, if living on the edge is not your thing). The best part is that, as Alice has done all the hard work of designing the patterns, providing instructions, and collecting up the necessary materials, it really doesn’t take all that long to make a lovely handmade decoration. You then get to look awfully clever and creative, whilst secretly knowing that it wasn’t actually that hard (because really Alice is the awfully clever and creative one).
I have taken pictures showing the materials, the stages and a completed decoration. Mostly because I have always wanted to be a little bit Blue Peter, and push my just started piece out of the way to plonk down my ‘one I made earlier’. In fact, if I have one criticism here, it would have to be the disappointing lack of double sided tape and washing up liquid bottles involved in the making of these decorations. Of course, for all those who have less romanticised recollections, and remember the reality of Blue Peter creations, this could only be seen as a positive for Alice’s creations.
You can purchase these kits on Nipper and Tyke’s Etsy store. I would definitely recommend them to add a bit of homemade charm to your decorations, or as lovely handmade Christmas gifts for friends and family, not to mention an enjoyable craft activity.
I give The Toddler and The Baby a Christmas decoration every year, and this year will be giving them each one of the Nipper and Tyke decorations I have made myself, so that will be extra special. I may neglect to mention that the credit is really all Alice’s (sorry, Alice): ‘Look what Mummy made you! Isn’t Mummy clever?’
(You can see more examples of Alice’s work on Nipper and Tyke’s Facebook page, as well as in her Etsy store.)