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Planning Retirement Online

Handicrafts in later life                     October 2006




 Don’t get caught out this Christmas. Start making your cards now.

Judy Balchin, top UK designer and artist, shows you how to make this fabulous card.

If, like me, you love Christmas, then this is definitely for you.
Handmade Christmas cards are fun to make and a joy to receive. It is a time to tell those around you just how special they are, and what could be more perfect than to make them a handcrafted card?

The sending of a seasonal message goes back a long way, dating as far back as Pagan times when good luck charms were exchanged at the Winter Solstice. Greetings cards have been a huge part of our Christmas celebrations for over a hundred and fifty years. In fact, the first printed Christmas card was created in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole, director of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

These days, printed cards can be bought inexpensively and are sent in their millions all over the world. In this fast world of mass production, isn’t it lovely to receive something just that little bit different, made with care and sent with love? I have spent many a pleasant hour in a haze of card, sequins and glitter, totally absorbed in creating the Christmas cards.

Enjoy the project and, most importantly, have fun!

Judy Balchin


Stitched Stocking

Stitching gives this project that really cosy ‘handmade’ look. The simple felt stocking is decorated with embroidered stars and glass beads. Remember to keep the basic shape as simple as possible when working in this way, then you can really go to town on the decorative stitching and beadwork. Felt is readily available and comes in a wonderful array of colours. Using contrasting cotton for the stitching and embroidery will make sure that your creation takes pride of place on any mantelpiece at Christmas.


You will need:


  • Red felt, 7 x 12cm
    (2? x 4?in)
  • Pink felt, 3 x 6cm
    (1? x 2?in)
  • Pink handmade paper,
    9 x 14cm (3? x 5?in)
  • Burgundy card,
    9 x 14cm (3? x 5?in)



  • Gold card, 15 x 20cm
    (6 x 7?in)
  • Pink and blue embroidery cottons
  • Gold glitter glue
  • Needle
  • Small blue beads
  • Felt tip pen
  • Scissors
  • Spray glue
  • Mouse mat
  • Ruler

Tip: Felt is perfect for stitching as it does not fray. If you haven’t got any, you can stitch on to coloured card



 Follow this diagram to create the stitches used on the stocking.

 The template for the Stitched Stocking card.




1. Tear a 5mm (?in) strip from each edge of the rectangle of handmade paper.


 2. Spray the back with spray glue and press it on to the middle of the piece of burgundy card.



3. Photocopy the stocking patterns and cut them out. Lay the paper patterns on to the red felt and draw round the shapes with the felt tip pen.
4. Cut them out.

5. Using strong glue, glue the small rectangular ‘cuff’ to the top of the stocking.


6. Use the felt tip pen to draw random spots over the stocking as a guide to your embroidery.


7. Using three strands of pink embroidery cotton, thread your needle and knot the end of the thread. Using the diagram on page 8 to help you, sew one star at the top of the stocking.


8. Thread a bead and then push your needle back through the centre of the star. Continue in this way, sewing stars down the felt stocking.


9. Glue the embroidered stocking to the middle of the handmade paper.


10. Lay the panel on a mouse mat. Using your needle, prick stitch holes in the pink paper around the edge of the stocking.


11. Thread your needle with blue embroidery cotton, knot the end and stitch round the stocking.

12. Score and fold the gold card down the middle.


13. Glue your stocking panel to the front of the gold card. Add dots of gold glitter glue between the stars. Finally, run a wavy line of glitter glue along the ‘cuff’ and leave to dry.



The finished Stitched Stocking card.





Stitching, beads, glitter glue, felt and handmade paper can be used to make a variety of lovely cards.







Previous editions in this series:

Edition 1 Tea Bag Folding

Edition 2 Celtic knots

Edition 3 Crochet this fabulous colourful bag

Edition 4 Paint this fabulous Clematis

Edition 5 Making Christmas Cards






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