Thursday, 18 August 2022

Heads Up To The Works

Just an extra heads up today to let you know that The Works are currently having a half price sale on their arts and crafts range, which includes various wooden and paper craft products, to help make way for Christmas no doubt.

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Although cards haven’t been “my thing” for ages now, but I did pick up 4 packs of these 30, 6ins x 6ins cards, thinking that I could put something together for all the little ones I listen to reading at school for Christmas. At only £1.75 per pack that’s about 6p per card, including the envelope, making the hassle and/or expense of cutting your own card blanks really not worth it.  Cards are available in various sizes, both in white and Kraft and in different quantities depending on the quality of the paper/card I guess.

25 Drawer Cabinet

I reckon the best buy among all the wooden crafts has to be the drawer sets, perfect for advent calendars, reduced from £18 to £9.

Small Wooden Crate

I might also avail myself on one or two of these small crates for £1 as I can see them as a Christmas table setting, filled with goodies, a paper hat, a joke, a few sweets and perhaps even a little wrapped gift, something a bit different from a cracker perhaps, which are usually pants anyway, no matter how much you pay.

Anyway, it might be worth popping in or having a look online as prices are only likely to go up in the coming months.

https://www.theworks.co.uk/c/offers/half-price-art-event

What’s Under My Desk Thursday ……… More Walnut Shells!

Following on from last week ……… I so far I have managed to sort out at least 70 odd workable shells from the 1 kilogram bag I got from eBay, which were supposed to be smoked on a BBQ, (£1.99 plus £2.99 P & P) so if I just sell four of my walnut, snow scene Christmas tree ornaments for about £1.50 each, the rest will owe me nothing!

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The shells under my desk have all washed, scraped out and drilled, (my least favourite part of the project)  with a tiny, gold, eye hook glued in position, ready to add the snowman scene, which is a pretty bish, bash, bosh sort of operation.

When these are all done, I will go through the bag again to see if there are any more shells I can repeat the process with. There are also quite a few “not quite half” shells that I am wondering if I could make into hanging cradles with a little acorn baby in them, but this might take a little extra thinking time and experimentation to work out a way to hang them…….. so watch this space.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

What’s on My Desk Wednesday

This used to be such an autumn ritual for me since forever, but something I haven’t done for the last five years, I am talking pickling onions!

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I had been sort of contemplating the idea for a while and nipped into the greengrocer on a whim to find out when he might be having some in, only to find that he already had a few sacks, with the prediction that they would certainly be going up in price in the coming weeks/months.  Well, it would have been rude not to make a considered purchase wouldn’t it, especially when shop bought jars never quite hit the pickled onion button!

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I’ve never done them this early before, it was always a September thing, but after three and a half hours of constant peeling on Sunday morning, as I was on the brink of developing blisters, I was done and feeling pretty smug and satisfied with myself.   Now, I’ve just got to forget about them for a while with fingers crossed they turn out OK ……. then look out cold meats, cheese and crusty bread, because here I come!

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Re-vamped Felt Reindeer Decorations/Tags

Today I bring you ……….  re-vamped Primark reindeer tags!

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When I saw these reindeer tag decorations reduced in Primark (Wolverhampton) from £3.50 to £1 for a pack of 4 it was a no brainer.

Primark Christmas Felt Reindeer Tags

They were pretty basic as they were, not brilliant, but nothing, I thought, a pair of googly eyes, a red nose and a bow couldn’t fix.

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Before I chopped off their noses, there were a few repairs to the antlers to be done where some of the gold layer had come away from the felt antler underneath. Then 20mm eyes replaced the printed eyes ……..

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……. and 25mm red pom poms replaced the smaller black noses, glued with a glue gun for a really secure fix.

The Works Make and Create Ribbon BOwsFelt Reindeer Tags.

I also removed the two bells, but then fastened one of them to a red bow from The Works (pack of 12 for £1), also stuck down using a glue gun.

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I reckon the reindeer cost me another 35p each to revamp, so still a bargain at 60p. A substantial gift tag that you could then hang on the Christmas tree and hopefully keep for many years to come with all their associated memories.

Monday, 15 August 2022

Christmas Pudding Pin Badges

It seems ages since I have done anything with a Christmas pudding theme, I don’t know why as they are such an easy subject to reproduce.

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So, I got to thinking, Christmas pudding pin badges would be a perfect fairing gift for Iris and Bertie to give, along with a few other bits and pieces, to the lovely Breakfast Club and Kitchen staff at school.

Brown Sharpie Pen

I started with some 35mm MDF circles (eBay), simply colouring the bottom part of them with a brown Sharpie pen.

Tulip Slick White Dimensional White Fabric Paint

After leaving the brown ink time to absorb into the wood and thoroughly dry, I added the “icing/custard/sauce” using white Tulip Slick dimensional fabric paint, sprinkling it lightly with translucent, ultra fine glitter while still wet, before again leaving overnight to dry.

Ranger Glossy Accents

Then the magic happened, when I covered the whole of the pudding with Ranger Glossy Accents.  I don’t think I will ever get over how wonderful Glossy Accents is, as it transforms the ordinary into something really special and professional looking.  I could never craft without it. Once more the puddings had to be left until thoroughly dry.

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I deliberately left adding the currants to the puddings, using a medium nib, permanent black pen, until the Accents was dry, if I had done it before the Accents, I would have risked the ink bleeding into the wood. That’s the beauty of Accents, you can draw on it when dry with a permanent pen(s).

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Then the fiddle fart, adding the holly to the top of the pudding using holly confetti (I’ve had this for years but not a clue where from, I must have a look on eBay as I will need some more before too long) with three, red flat back pearls for the holly berries.

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I tidied the back of the badges up by adding faux stitching all around the edge with a black, fine writer pen, before adding a brooch fitting using B-7000 glue for a really secure fix.

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I then made small cards to attach the puddings to, before putting the whole thing in a small cello bag.

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As I said at the beginning I think a few of these will be going to Iris and Bertie’s school at Christmas with the message “Thanks for pudding up with us!” attached.

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

What’s On My Desk Wednesday – Walnut Shells

With the success of my two walnut shell Christmas tree decorations from a couple of weeks ago, I was really keen to get on with making some more, but I only had a few shells left and was impatient to find more, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get any locally at this time of year and if I did, knew they wouldn’t be that cheap, especially as I wanted a couple of nets.

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So, then I got to looking on eBay and found a 1kg bag of organic walnut shells for BBQ smoking for £1.99 (plus £2.99 P & P).  When I looked at the pictures it looked as though there were plenty of half shells within all the other bits, so I threw caution to the wind and bought them.

I was not disappointed, I was able to rescue more halves that I will probably need/use this year, as well as finding some other interesting shapes that I think I may be able to make something else with, bargaintastic!

Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Christmas Fairing/Favour Tins for Merci Chocolates

I think this year is going to be a small tin sort of year as far as a lot of my Christmas and Halloween crafting is shaping up and I can also see the potential of Merci chocolates to use in small fairing gifts, so why not combine the two.

Merci Chocolates Tin Favour

Talking of tins …… I have to confess to a moment of stupendous madness regarding 56 of the creatures, because after saying how expensive they were last week, I stumbled upon a bundle of small cigar tins for £4.99 or nearest offer plus P & P. I promise I tried to resist, but they kept calling to me and so I put in a cheeky bid of £4.50 and got them, aghhhhh, so including the P & P they worked out at 16p each, but what to do with them?

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There’s no great shakes to this first idea, I simply gave the outside of a tin two coats of white spray paint, leaving it overnight to really dry.

Next day I glued three metal Christmas tree embellishments on to the front using B-7000 for a really secure fix.

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The sentiment is a silver table confetti piece sprayed gold to coordinate with the gold of the trees.  A smattering of gold three dot clusters and the front was done! Very less is more.

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The inside was pretty easy too, as I just lined it with a lightweight,  small print,  Christmas design paper and then faux stitched round the edges with a fine tipped black pen.  I will add a handwritten message to the inside lid nearer Christmas when I know who I am going to give them to, at the moment  I am thinking the Lunch Time Supervisors at I and B’s school.

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I wish the Merci chocolates (box of 20 for about £4.99, but I am hoping to find a better deal nearer Christmas) were just a fraction thinner, the tins are approx. 7/8cms deep, so as a precaution, I have also bought some small, round, clear, adhesive seals to put on the sides to keep the lid from popping and chocolates safe, but that’s me, I am a bit anal about that sort of things, wanting things to look professional. 

My eyes will be peeled now for other chocolates that could fit the tins for different ideas and themes, chocolate coins for little ones perhaps?

Merci Chocolates Christmas Tin Favour

I am also thinking of using the tins as Christmas/Birthday money holders, with a box containing another 50 odd I have plenty of scope for ideas.

Monday, 8 August 2022

Halloween or Christmas Skeleton Fairies

About ten years ago skeleton garlands were such a Halloween staple in discount shops that they got boring. I bought my fill, mainly for decoration and then the novelty sort of wore off.

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Picture from https://fabfinds.co.uk/products/halloween-skeleton-garland-1-8m – not in stock at moment

Then, when I was thinking “fairies”, you couldn’t find them for love nor money and if you did, the prices online were stupid. So, last year when they made a reappearance  I bought both Marc and I a few packs, they were no longer a pound, but at about £2.99 they still worked out at 50p each, which wasn’t bad going as the main component of a project.

Halloween Christmas Tree Skeleton Fairies

But as I say, a bargain isn’t a bargain unless you use it, so this is what’s on my desk this week ………

Skeleton fairies

My aim now is to use all the fairies I have  (finding more suitable wings permitting) and then get them out of my system.

The fairies are pretty basic, the skirts are made from two layers of 6cm wide, wired, sequin lace that I gathered and then glued in place with a glue gun, because it’s quick and almost impossible to remove from material once stuck.

The large black and purple wings were part of a really cheap artificial flower spray from a discount shop in Evesham.  I am hoping they will have a few more when I next pop in.  I teamed these up with a smaller wing from a craft pack, now sadly discontinued, from The Works

Skeleton Fairy

I then added iridescent flower sequins (The Works), adding a small flat back pearl in the middle, on the shoulders and breast bone of the skeleton …….

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……. finishing it all off with a silver crown finding (E-bay) using B-7000 glue for a secure fix.

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On the back, so that the fairy can be hung, I glued a flat bail and pendant fixing.

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They needed something else to add to their fairy-ness, so I decided to give them wands,  I used a cocktail stick and a silver snowflake embellishment, to which I added a purple flat back pearl in the centre.  What really made the wands up was the silver, chrome pen I used on the stick, it really does look like metal. 

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For good measure I also used the chrome pen on the skeletons toe nails!

skeleton fairy wand

I used B-7000 glue to attach wand on one hand and up across to mid section of the opposite arm.

Skeleton Fairy - Halloween Christmas

I’m thinking that these fairies could do for Halloween, Christmas or just general, not to everyone’s task I know, but if I do get a craft stall later on in the year, I think I also need a few things that are different from my usual cutesy stuff and these might appeal to someone?????

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Guest Artist – Bertie Boo

As I have said before, Bertie is a reluctant artist, he’s more model maker, writer or a numbers man, everything is always quite small, understated and neat  ………..

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…….but these two pictures, the bottom one in particular,  from his school RE book touched all our hearts …………

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I think I am going to see if I can shrink the first picture of Bertie and Iris to fit in fridge magnets and key rings for family crackers this Christmas, it’s just to beautiful to leave in a book.

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Snowman Walnut Tree Decorations.

I nearly gave up with these little blighters, nothing went or looked right, so I walked away from them, slept on the idea and the following morning everything just fell into place.  I just found I needed a much lighter, less is more kind of touch.

Snowman in a Walnut Shell Christmas Tree Ornament

I’ve had the walnut shells waiting for at least two years now, left in frustration after similar ideas didn’t work a couple of Christmas’s ago. 

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All I had to do was drill a small hole in the top of the shell and then add a tiny screw eye hook, adding a little B-7000 to help secure the fix.

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I used HobbyCraft Superlight Air-Drying Clay (£1 for a 30g pack)  for the snow.  It’s really, really weird stuff, with a texture not unlike chewing gum!  Learning from my mistakes the day before, I used a lot less of the clay than I thought I needed, pressing a small amount into the bottom of the shell, leaving room for the embellishments.

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I put a cotton bud tip in the picture (above) so you can see how small the snowman and tree are, aghhhhh!  I made a pile of snowmen a while ago using white Fimo, adding a scarf (red thread) and black wire arms, but again, aghhhhh, the heads weren't really quite big enough to add a full face of eyes, nose and mouth except for these two, which means making another pile as I now know I definitely want to make a lot more of these decorations.

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The little wooden trees had to be cut down a little to fit at the back of the shell, after a light covering of green glitter. I stuck the snowman and tree down with B-7000, again for a secure fix.

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I also learned that I had to hold back with the white Americana Writer for a more delicate covering of snow, on the clay base and round the edges (I was far too heavy handed with my prototypes),  followed up with just a delicate dusting of Stampin Up Dazzling Diamonds to add a subtle wintery sparkle.

 Snowman in a Walnut. Christmas Tree OrnamentSnowman Scene in a walnut shell Christmas tree ornament

I am really pleased with how this second version have turned out …….. next mission ……….. to make a pile more!