Mother's day has presented me with a few challenges. It would be easy to trot out the same old stuff; a felted recipe box perhaps, a bunch of flowers crafted from some recyclable material or a novelty photo frame encrusted with black and white baby photos, for instance.
I could mutter a few words about what a worthy bunch we are and simply leave it at that. But being a mother myself, I know that what Mum really wants for Mother's Day is for someone to cut her some slack. She doesn't want a Wheel of Affection or a bunch of balloons (as recommended by a famous craft guru), she wants someone to take care of the evening meal for a couple of weeks. She wants someone else to get up early and be responsible and she wants someone else to broker peace and maintain order.
What I longed to do for Mother's Day was an expose of vintage knitting patterns (just to give you and Mum a good laugh), a snapshot of a bygone era where mums were the same but different, if you get my meaning, but I knew I'd be pushing the limits of my brief a bit there. I did, after all, have to make something. In the end I settled on the humble greeting card. If you're not catching up with Mum until later in the day, craft her a card masterpiece with a few personal touches thrown in for good measure. It's the kind of thing she'll treasure and hide away in a drawer for years to come.
Step 1 - To make a simple stamp to adorn your card, find a block of wood a couple of centimetres thick and cut to size with a handsaw.
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Step 2 - From lightweight card (a cereal box is ideal) cut letters or simple motifs. Cut 2 sets (cut 1 set first and use this to trace the second set) and laminate one set on top of the other on to the wooden block so you end up with a raised template (use a glue such as Araldite). Remember to place your cut-outs back to front on the block so that when you stamp them they come out the right way around. Allow to dry under pressure if necessary so they are flat and even.
Step 3 - Prepare your gift card by measuring and cutting with a ruler and blade (do this on top of an old magazine so you don't mark your table). Score a centre line gently with the blunt side of a knife and fold, bevelling the fold with the back of a ruler.
Step 4 - Cut fabric to desired size and iron if necessary. Apply a thin layer of paint or fabric paint to the surface of the block and do a test run. Lie fabric on an old magazine and place block on top applying gentle pressure. Remove and reapply paint if required. Once you're satisfied with the print move on to your chosen surface. Printing straight on to the card is possible but to get a better result on paper you will need to invest in offset printing ink, a roller and quality paper from an art store. Glue printed fabric to card and wait until dry.
Step 5 - Add any finishing touches. I got carried away topstitching my efforts on the sewing machine but you could handsew with a needle and thread to add extra detail. Present to Mum and offer to do the cooking for the next 10 days.
• Wooden block
• Lightweight card
• Fabric paint/brush
• Paper scissors
• Fabric scraps
• Needle and thread (optional)