A little homemade gift given to friends for their trip to New Zealand

Our friends have recently jetted off to New Zealand, they have gone with their two boys for an amazing adventure for a couple of years to live, work and explore the country.  To start their adventure off they obviously had a mammoth journey to complete.  This done with two young boys could have proved to be an interesting challenge!

We wanted to make something for them that may help a little with the long journey, even if it only provided an hour or so of entertainment!  I decided to make draw string bags with their names on and fill it with a few treats to keep them occupied.  We included a magazine, some chocolate and sweets and a little toy.  The magazines had puzzles, games, pictures and colouring pencils in which we hoped would keep both the adults and the kids happy for some time on the plane!



charlie and sams travel bags (1)  charlie and sams travel bags (2)charlie and sams travel bags (3)  charlie and sams travel bags (4)


The bags were made from dark grey textured material cut into rectangles, then sewn together using black cotton thread.  Ribbon was threaded through the bag and sewn into place to allow the boys to wear them on their backs.  They were decorated with felt pieces.


Sock Monkeys – fun to make and fantastic gifts

It has been a few months since I made a sock monkey so I was very happy when I had a reason to make one and even happier I had a fantastic theme for it – Batman.

A friend of ours is a massive Batman fan and therefore we decided an Hours of Fun homemade batman sock monkey would make the perfect gift.  We already had some batman themed socks in so these were used for the Monkey, combining two different styled socks, one for the body and one for the arms, tail and mouth.

The monkey was sewn together and stuffed using toy stuffing.  The cape was made out of black cotton material and the Batman mask was made from a spare sock toe piece.  The Batman sign on his front and the belt were made from felt.

Handmade sock monkey batman by Hours of Fun

For instructions on how to make your own sock monkey click here, or if you would rather let Hours of Fun do the crafting visit our shop to place an order for your own personalised sock monkey.  You can help design the monkey, providing information on colours, style, theme etc and we will craft your sock monkey – made to order.


Personalised unique photo frames – upcycling fun

Here at Hours of Fun we love to upcycle things and make new, gorgeous items from old, shabby things. Or transform a plain item into a patterned piece or design to match a rooms décor or a person’s passion.
One of my favourite crafts is decopatch or decoupage depending on what paper and technique you are using. They are both crafts involving paper layers, using glue and varnish. Decopatch is a brand of paper designed especially for ripping, gluing and layering. It is stronger than tissue paper but not as thick as printer paper. It rips well and doesn’t tear when applying glue. You can buy specialist glue with varnish in it, or use PVA glue watered down slightly then craft varnish as the final coat.
Decoupage is the original craft involving layering up any type of paper, adding glue and varnish, sanding down each layer, then building it up in the same way, sometimes up to 30 or 40 layers. The aim is to have a finish that looks like a smooth coating rather than individual pieces of paper. You can also distress it using sandpaper or distressed ink to give it an aged, weathered look.
We have been making a lot of photo frames using both of these techniques recently. The decopatch paper comes in a range of gorgeous patterns and designs and is perfect to use if you want a frame to colour co-ordinate with a room or match a favourite colour. We have also started making personalised photo frames using photographs printed onto paper, then glued onto the frame in a mosaic style pattern.

The photographs have been of families through the years, full of memories and they create a gorgeous keepsake. We use photo frames that have a border around the inside of the frame, in between the frame and the space for the picture. This breaks up the design, allowing the frame and the picture to stand out clearly from each other.
We can produce your own personalised photo frame. All we need from you are the pictures you want us to use and we will create a gorgeous keepsake you can keep or give as a gift.


Hours Of Fun Craft Countdown To Christmas. Make your own Shortbread – 5 Days To Go!

Hours of Fun are counting down the days until Christmas by sharing a different Christmas activity each day.  Starting on the 13th December with the last post being published on Christmas Eve.

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me………A basket of homemade Shortbread!

Make your own Shortbread

My husband has recently discovered he can make amazing shortbread – another reason he makes a fab husband!!  He has been mastering the technique and can now produce a batch of evenly baked, delicious in taste, Shortbread rounds.

You can make Shortbread without rice flour, however we have found that a recipe with rice flour listed makes an improved shortbread.

Ingredients – make approx 15

150g unsalted butter cut into small pieces

100g caster sugar

180g plain flour

55g rice flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

How to make the Shortbread

oven temperature – 170 degrees C

  1. Grease two baking sheets
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until combined
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and add to the mixture
  4. Mix well with a spoon
  5. Using your hands bring the mixture together to form a dough
  6. Roll out the dough between two sheets of grease proof paper until approx. 7mm 

The grease proof paper helps it roll without sticking, Kev then uses a smoothing tool to finish it off.

  1. Using your round cutter, cut out circles.  Decorate them using smaller cutters, cocktail stick anything you have to hand and get creative!  Then place them on the greased tins approx. 2cm apart
  2. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes
  3. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the tray then cover them in caster sugar
  4. Eat them!

Christmas baking makes fantastic gifts for people.  We are putting together bags of goodies for people this year, last year we did Christmas cakes and mince pies.  It makes a fab little extra gift for people, it helps to keep the costs down and most importantly it is handmade with love by us for all our friends and family and nothing can beat that 🙂

Back to Mince pies for an update!

2 days ago we explored making your own mince pies and mincemeat.  Since then we have made more mince pies using different techniques and I wanted to share them with you.  Apologies it is not shortbread but its more Christmas baking to get you inspired!