How To Make A Kumihimo Cord

I love, love, love these cords and how simple they are to make. It’s my go-to craft when I’m hopping on the Overground to a workshop or party, or know that I have to commute into the city to get materials. These are also great little cords to use up random yarn scraps… so no waste here!

Here’s a quick little tutorial how to make your own kumihimo cords with a Loome Pom-Pom Trim Guide.

kumihimo cord with Loome tool
crafting on the go with the loome

What you’ll need:

  • Yarn scraps: 7 strands that are at least 45cm long

  • Loome Pom-Pom Trim Guide

  • Scissors (only for trimming the ends when you’re done)

Let’s get making!

First, gather all the strands together and tie a knot in the end, leaving a bit of a tail so that you can tie it onto something later.

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Thread the knot through the hole and separate the strands so that each strand goes into a notch. There should be one empty notch and the knot should sit just inside the hole with the tail hanging out the other end. Hold the Trim Guide so that the empty notch is facing you.

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Count to the left: 1, 2, 3. Take that third strand and pull it down into the empty notch.

Rotate the trim guide so that it’s facing you again.

Count to the left again: 1, 2, 3. Take that third strand and pull it down into the empty notch. Continue in this way, rotating the Trim Guide so that it’s facing you and gently pulling your cord through the back every so often. It doesn’t take long to make a kumihimo cord, one of the prettiest and simplest Japanese crafts. If you’d like the stop, I just twist all my strands together and pop the whole bundle into a little pouch and put it in my pocket or bag, so I can pull it out anytime I like to craft on the go.

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Use your cords as necklaces, friendship bracelets, decorations on gifts… anything really!

You can use any type of fibre to create these cords as well; so experiment! Raffia, thin t-shirt yarn, ribbon, cord, embroidery floss… the possibilities are endless. What kind of cord will you make?


If you want to see the cord-making in action,

check out this video by Loome:

LOVE YA Papercut Card Template for Valentine's Day

Whether you’re in the “Valentines Schmalentines” camp or you’re already dresses in red and pink from head to toe in anticipation for Feb the 14th, it’s nice to get a card that says, LOVE YA. Because we all like to know why we’re loved and it’s even better to tell someone else why they’re the sparkle of your eye.

Here’s a simple paper-cut card template that you can use to make a handmade card (because if we’re really going to go all-out this Valentine’s Day, you might as well make the card by hand!). Paper cutting is fairly easy with the right tools and you don’t need to be particularly artistic or creative to get beautiful results, which is why my paper cut workshops and parties in London are so popular!

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What you’ll need:

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TRACE

Print the template page at 100% on your home printer. Don’t scale or fit to the page.

 Cut around the dotted line. When printed at 100%, this square should measure 13.5cm x 13.5cm and fit a standard square greeting card.

Open your card and lay it down in front on you. On the left-hand side of the inside of the card, place your sheet of graphite paper face down and then lay your template on top of this. 

Trace along the lines of the template until the whole design has been transferred onto your card. If you need to peek to see if you’ve traced it all, just pinch one corner, making sure you have all the layers secure, and lift up the graphite paper.

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CUT

Get your scalpel and start cutting! It’s important to always cut towards your body when paper-cutting. Using a fresh, sharp blade is also important in order to get clean cuts. Rotate the card as you work around the design. Remember to cut along all the lines.

GLUE

Choose the backing paper and cut it to size once all the pieces of the design have been cut out. Carefully use a glue stick to apply glue around the edge of the card and along the chunkier parts of the design. You don’t want to get glue on the front of the card, so I usually just do a few dabs here and there in the middle so that the backing paper sticks down.

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Place your card underneath a few heavy books until dry.

TA-DA! That’s it. Write a mushy note inside for your #1 and tell then why you love them!

Activity Advent Calendar

I made this video seven years ago and it marks my very first activity advent calendar. I don’t even remember why I switched from chocolate to this but I had just moved to London and the city is magic at Christmastime: the lights, markets, concerts and the ballet… I decided David and I could do a different activity each and every day of December to really feel the magic of the season in a new city.

The first version of this included simple pleasures like drinking a hot cup of cocoa or going ice skating, visiting Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland, trimming the tree and staying in for a Home Along movie marathon.

As we had children, we included more and more activities centred around them, and sharing some of our favourite holiday traditions with them. These days, our activity calendars include a chocolate coin every now and then, and also include simple small gifts as well.

This is just one idea on how to make your calendar, and a good way to use up old magazines I might add! One year I made lots of brown paper envelopes with activity cards inside and hung them up in our kitchen.

Activity Advent Calendar ideas

I think it’s a lovely idea to make time to do activities together, whether it takes 10 minutes to do or it’s a whole day out. When I put together our calendars now, I make a note in my diary which days have which activities so I can plan ahead (the secret to everything when you have a 1 and 3 year old!).

Here’s the list of all the activities I use and others I’d love to do as my kids grow older.

  • Home Alone Marathon

  • Bake gingerbread

  • Christmas colouring activity

  • Trim the tree

  • Read a Christmas book

  • Drink hot cocoa

  • Make a holiday craft

  • Go ice skating

  • Fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child (we always did this as kids)

  • Clean out your toy boxes and donate good quality items to an opportunity store

  • Invite a few friends over for a cookie decorating party

  • Attend a Christmas market

  • Bake a festive treat

  • Make a popcorn garland

  • Roast a marshmallow

  • Watch the Nutcracker

  • Do a favour for someone not expecting it

  • Make a stocking

  • Visit a reindeer

  • Make or write holiday cards

  • Watch Love Actually

  • Watch classics by the tree

  • Attend a Christmas concert

  • Write letters to Santa

  • Pull out mattresses and have a family slumber party under the tree

activity advent calendar

Simple Christmas Bauble Gift Tags

Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for me, with the shop and workshops, on top of trying to make it a special time of the year for my two little children. So, finding simple ideas that make a gift POP that don’t take any effort (shh don’t tell!), like this one, are right up my alley.

simple christmas handmade gift tags

These handmade Christmas gift tags are a really simple way to dress up a gift. Here’s a quick tutorial how to make them.

You’ll need:

  • blank gift tags (or make your own with sturdy card that’s 11 x 5.5cm and a hole punch)

  • glue stick

  • scraps of decorative paper

  • black pen

  • scissors

I used the circle die for my Sizzix Big Shot machine to cut out the circles but you do not have to have one of these to make these tags. Use a compass, or any small round object and trace around. My circles are 4cm in diameter.

  1. First draw the top of the bauble and the line down the centre of the tag.

  2. Glue your circle and place it on the tag so it slightly overlaps the black lines.

  3. Attach some ribbon or baker’s twine to the top of the tag and write a personal message on the other side.

christmas gift tag diy

Pom-Pom Gift Wrap

The Christmas holidays may seem ages away still but now that Bonfire Night has come and gone, it’s definitely time to start thinking about Christmas and the gifts that will be underneath the tree.

Let’s chat wrapping, shall we?

Did you know that most wrapping paper isn’t recyclable? Especially the beautiful glittery ones with gold foil. I love these papers but the reality is, they all end up in the landfill at the end of the season. So in an effort to save my pocket (gorgeous wrapping paper is also so pricey!) and the environment, I’m going to share a few ideas on how to do up your gifts to look superb with my favourite thing ever: POM-POMS!

Use up your yarn scraps, grab a Loome tool, and make a bunch of pom-poms. Lots of people are wrapping their gifts now with brown kraft paper. And sure, it’s pretty plain jane but spruce it up with some foliage and a pom and you can a very Instagrammable pressie! (It’s all about the gram!)

Enough chit chat, let’s go!

pompom gift wrap

Pom-Pom & Tassels

Grab a glue gun and some pom-poms from the craft store and stick them on in a polka-dot pattern. Tie with metallic string and add a few tassels.

Swish! (image via @honestlywtf)

Here’s a simple idea from  Cox & Cox : wrap in plain white paper and add a pom-pom bobble trim, available at most craft and haberdashery shops.

Here’s a simple idea from Cox & Cox: wrap in plain white paper and add a pom-pom bobble trim, available at most craft and haberdashery shops.

Hobbycraft is so on-point with this wrapping! Make a red pom-pom, glue it on and add Rudolph’s features with a sharpie. Here’s  the full how-to .

Hobbycraft is so on-point with this wrapping! Make a red pom-pom, glue it on and add Rudolph’s features with a sharpie. Here’s the full how-to.

monochrome pompom gift wrapping

Monochrome

I love the look of these packages with black & white pom-poms. These are a cinch to make with a Loome tool and some stripey baker’s twine. (Image from @ateliepompom)

Make your tape part of the wrapping.

Or a handy staple to secure your tag and pom.

felted ball wrapping

Felted Ball Garlands

These felt pom-poms are threaded with a strong string, which can be used later as a decorative garland! A lovely idea from Oh Happy Day.

simple wrapping with pom-poms

Which ideas do you love the most? Which idea will you be trying?