Sunday, 2 April 2017

Easter bunnies!

With Easter not far away, I thought I would look at the origins of the festival - and of course bunnies!

One of our compass points - East - is named for Eostre, the pagan Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and sunrise... so calling this particular festival - a celebration of rebirth, fecundity and new life with the changing of the seasons from dark winter to bright spring - Easter makes complete sense.
In Judaism, the Passover festival corresponds with the beginning of spring, and in Christianity, Christ was the Sacrificial Lamb, crucified and resurrected during Passover.

So where does the Easter bunny come from?
Well, there is some belief that the hare was the favourite animal of the goddess Eostre.... and of course, rabbits and their ilk are well known for producing lots of young 'breeding like rabbits' - a real symbol of the new life of spring. Interestingly, the hare was often featured in medieval church art - it was widely believed at the time to be an hermaphrodite and links were made with the Virgin Mary.
Another story is that in the 17th century, the German Lutherans who settled in Pennsylvania brought their folklore of the Osterhase or Oschter Haws, an egg-laying hare bringing gifts to children who had been well behaved.  The idea caught on and spread throughout America 
(do I hear any groans about another American import?)

I read recently that Easter has become as important as Christmas for gift giving and decorating homes - so I'm delighted to feature some ideas from great Etsy sellers: Gra of and Clare of

Isn't this the cutest little rabbit card? from LittleConkers

Love this boho bunny from Crossstitchtheline

Gotta have eggs!  Love these Easter egg boxes from DunnCrafting

Whatever your bent - whether religious or not - Easter is a time for families to come together to celebrate the gifts of spring - which, above all, are hope and life.

Click these links for the featured shops:

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

How to make an Exploding Box!

Hi folks, I'm excited to share with you a little video of my exploding box - the first I've ever made - and I confess to being really pleased with it!  I'd not come across exploding boxes until I saw a post on a Facebook forum - so I headed over to YouTube to see what I could find.  

As you might expect, there are all sorts of crafters who make these boxes from all over the world, with some amazing ideas about decorations - from the sublime to the totally over the top!  I liked this tutorial for the basic box from Lisa of - the basic box took me no more than about 20 minutes to make.  I used 12x12 cardstock, with a lovely contrasting sheet for the box lid.

Tip - don't throw away the off cuts - they come in handy later!

Then came deciding what decorations to do - this will be a gift for my lovely daughter-in-law's birthday, so I needed something that is pretty but classy and not overblown - less is more!  Two things helped my focus 

1  She likes nice cards to write little notes, thank you notes etc
2  She loves luscious smelling candles

Using an envelope as a template I created little pockets which I stuck, using sticky glue - sets quickly but gives you enough time to position decorations - to the inner side of each flap - 12 pockets in all, using contrasting paper.  For the last layer on the inside, I used the off cuts of the box lid to make pockets.

Next step - make the cards and envelopes.  The cards are super simple to make:

** Cut white (or any colour of your choice) card stock 6 inches x 3 inches, and score on the long side at 3 inches.  If you don't have a scoring board, simply fold the card in half making sure that the edges all line up exactly, and press the fold down firmly.  

**To decorate, I cut little squares of patterned paper that I found in a crafting magazine, cut to about 2 7/8 inches square.  I rounded the corners with a neat little piece of kit that snips the corners for you - very cool!  I also rounded the corners of the cards themselves for a good finish.  

Of course, you don't have to do that - I just like the look of it.

Making the envelopes comes next - again, not difficult and you don't need a template - just follow this YouTube link 

Next step - I decided to use the printed paper off cuts stuck to white card off cuts to make gift labels - I have a couple of label punches which are brilliant for this and you can make them using a ruler and scissors, of course.  

To make them more interesting and substantial, I used contrasting labels for each little set, using the off cuts from the main box.  So, each green tag had a cream and a black one placed under it and tied with some narrow cream satin ribbon.

The decorations are very much a matter of personal taste.  To start off, I used the larger off cuts from the main box to create smaller squares that I glued to the panels as contrasts.  Then I used paper craft flower shapes that I brushed with green ink and then curled the petals to make the flower shape and stuck them on.

And finally to the centre box.  I used black and cream A4 cardstock for this and created a bottom box to fit the centre square - I planned a 3x3x3 inch cube but found the card wasn't quite long enough, so I made the sides 2 3/4 inches.  

I made the lid out of cream card - making the top 3 1/8 inch square and the sides 2 1/2 inches all round.  I stuck the black base to the central square in the main box securely - lots of sticky glue all over and then left to dry.  The lid I decorated with some black chiffon ribbon that I found in my ribbon stash, for that classy finish.

I bought a votive candle in a pretty ceramic pot that my daughter-in-law will be able to use again - as you will see from the video, it fits nicely in that centre box.

I hope you enjoy the video - and have fun making your own!


If you would like me to make one for you, do get in touch through my Etsy shop:

Friday, 17 March 2017

Mothers and Daughters - Mother's Day 26th March 2017 #3


The relationship between mother and daughter is like no other - it can be like two sisters, can be fraught with conflict, or can be somewhere in the middle ... my own mother was like my best friend to whom I could talk about anything and know that she would respond with merriment and teasing or with calm wisdom, depending on what she sensed was needed.  She very rarely got it wrong! She also insisted on her position as matriarch and even as a frail old lady of 96 years she could put me in my place with a word and a look.. and I would be a six year old again (much to my intense irritation at myself!)   

On Instagram I posed the question 'How would you spoil your Mum?'

My mother rejected Mother's Day as an American commercial racket - but appreciated being fussed over.  Gifts she wouldn't accept .... but a home made cake and tea all laid out on a trolley? That was different!

I've discovered a lovely shop on Etsy called QuirkyArtsHere - Kerry is a talented maker of all sorts of gifts using decoupage - and her answer to my question on Instagram was 'I'll be treating mine to one of my decoupaged 'all things tea related' tea caddies.'  

... and here is what she meant......

How cool is that!  A great gift for anyone who likes tea ... (she also makes a coffee lover's caddy!)

My old mum died a few years ago so I'll be treating my lovely daughter-in-law and my own daughter to something special that I will make .... 

... and in case you are stuck, there is still time to visit DunnCrafting for an intimate gift for a special mum - or grandmum

You will find these in the Wedding Favours section at DunnCrafting

The final word I give to Kahlil Gibran (author of The Prophet - a beautiful philosophical poem )

The mother is everything - she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgiveness. He who loses his mother loses a pure soul who blesses and guards him constantly

Here are the links to the two Etsy shops featured : -

Happy Mother's Day

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Mother's Day: 26th March 2017 #2

The bond between mothers and daughters can be incredibly strong - even when their personalities clash!

My mother used to say 'A son is a son 'til he gets him a wife, a daughter's a daughter all her life' - I'm not sure that is entirely true (seems a bit hard on sons who have their own special relationship with their mothers!) but I always valued my mum's sense of fun (she was in many ways my best friend) - and above all her wisdom.

Mothers Love.  Love Mothers
Gra of has designed some amazing cross stitch designs that would be great gifts for these very special mums.


The centre of any home starts with the mother - chief cook, bottle washer, seamstress, creative genius of fancy dress costumes, birthday cakes and party games, provider of soft lap and hugs, medic, and a shoulder provider for weepy moments - often while being a full time employee somewhere else!

Juggling Mum- this makes me laugh, it's so true!(

Ancient Greeks and Romans celebrated mother goddesses in the spring, and later early Christians took the fourth Sunday of Lent to pay tribute to the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ - this was then expanded to become Mothering Sunday when children brought gifts and flowers to church, and workers were encouraged to return home to honour their mothers.

Today, it is a vast commercial enterprise across the world - but fundamentally, it is still the one time in the year when families can say - Love you mum!

A tribute to a mother's wisdom and love

It has to be said that ideally we should show our appreciation to our mothers all the year round - not just on one day!  Mums of all ages, new mums, older mums, working mums, grandmums - we salute you!

Pay a visit to Gra's shop - you won't be disappointed!

Happy Mother's Day


Friday, 17 February 2017

The Language of Flowers

I've always been intrigued by the meaning of flowers - how secret messages could be conveyed by the flowers that were sent from lover to lover.  The interpretation could be positive or negative - and I guess it would depend on the combination of flowers in the bouquet and the recipient's feelings or mood on the day as to how the message would be received!

For example, an arrangement that contains purple hyacinth, hydrangea with ivy sprig with white tendrils says 'I am sorry, please forgive me! Thank you for understanding - I am anxious to please you.'

So for your wedding, here are some meanings for the flowers that you might be considering....

For a spring wedding ...
Yellow and white ....
Daisies                 Innocence, loyal love, purity, faith, cheer, simplicity
Daffodils               Return my affection; new beginnings
Baby's breath        Innocence, purity of heart
Jasmine                Unconditional and eternal love 
White lilac             Youthful innocence
White lily              Purity
White roses           Virtue and purity

Pink and white ....

Peonies                   Prosperity, honor
Pale Pink roses        Desire, passion, joy of life, youth, energy
Carnations              Sweet and lovely, innocence, pure love, faithfulness
Canterbury Bells      Gratitude
Baby's breath          Innocence, purity of heart
White roses             Virtue and purity

For a summer wedding ...

Red and white....

Red carnations      Deep romantic love, passion
Red roses               True love
Scarlet lily            High souled aspirations
Lily of the Valley   Sweetness, humility, returning happiness, trust
Plum blossom       Beauty and longevity   

Peach and grey ....

Peach blossom      Long-life, generosity, and bridal hope
Thistle                  Nobility     
Protea                  Courage
Pink roses             Grace
For an autumn / fall wedding ...

Autumn colours ...

Burgundy roses           Unconscious beauty
Orange roses              Desire, passion
Red and yellow roses   United
Orchids                       Refined beauty

For a winter wedding ...

Classic white - or white and silver ...
Moonflower          Dreaming of love
Lavender             Devotion
Blue rose             Love at first sight

I hope you've enjoyed reading about the meanings of wedding flowers - come and visit us at DunnCrafting to see our selection of beautiful bouquets, pomanders and buttonoles.  

We welcome custom orders and will be delighted to work with you to match your own unique colour theme

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Mother's Day - 26th March 2017

There are any number of quotes for Mother's Day - some beautiful, some thoughtful, some smaltzy.  At the heart of them all is knowing that we would not be here if it weren't for mothers!

In appreciation of all those wonderful women we know - the mothers, whether new, experienced, or grandmothers - this blog gives some tips - and gifts - to show how much they are loved.

1  Breakfast in Bed - for any mum!

Dads - get the kids involved!  A cup of coffee or tea, some toast inexpertly spread with large dollops of marmalade, maybe a crumpet sticky with honey - all placed on a tray that is carried perilously up the stairs ..... and of course, with a flower...  

This beautiful pendant is available from

2   For the new mum....

Dads.... Change the baby, warm the bottle - or hand over to mum for feeding, making sure she has everything she needs to hand... while you put the kettle on ....
and get breakfast ready for her, burp and soothe baby, put baby down to sleep, and take your lovingly prepared tray of breakfast upstairs to mum - or if she's beaten you to it, lay the table, fresh coffee, warm rolls or croissants - and add a little something that says....

How sweet is this?  From

3 For Granny...

These great ladies are particularly special - they made us possible, often care for grandchildren and are an almost infinite source of stories and wisdom.  My old mum became bed-bound in her final years and loved a little pot of artificial marigolds that brightened up her room.  So here's a gift idea from me at

A beautiful table centre with faux silk rosebuds  - perfect for a bedroom too

 Do pop over to these great UK Etsy sellers and browse their range of gifts

Happy Mother's Day  

Thursday, 12 January 2017

My Funny Valentine

Love shouldn't always be a serious business - fun and laughter should also be a part.

So, here is a great selection of funny and sweet gifts for that special person (male or female!), all from UK Etsy sellers

In our last blog, we featured handmade cards - here are a couple of ideas for crafty folk

Valentine's Day is for lovers - but there are lovers who are alone now and need hugs....

Gra of Crossstitchtheline created this lovely design - don't we all need hugs?!  

Heather of HeatherEllisArt's cute stamp fits this idea too - I love the tender words!

and who doesn't love a bunny to cheer us up on a grey rainy day? She's called Peaches (aaaah) from Peculiaris

and for funny valentines....

I'm a big Star Wars fan and I love this mug from TattooMugLady - how cool is this!

and with no apologies, I'm back to the romantic....

Kelly of FuNkTjUnK makes 
this fab confetti - great for 
scattering on the table at 
your intimate dinner for two...

 and when you are there, sipping the wine and gazing into each other's eyes,  you slip out a little gift....

Darling, you have the keys to my heart...
(with love from LittleConkers!)

I'll love you till infinity and beyond
(from Alludio)

The Happy Couple (and that's just the cats!)
from CarlBatterBee

Here are the links to these fab Etsy sellers

and a few lovelies available at DunnCrafting....