Friday, 20 September 2019

Heads Up To Pep & Co - Halloween Outfits.

I have always had a little Halloween party at The Towers, but this year I plan to make it extra special as both Iris and Bertie are of an age to really absorb all the fun and magic and hopefully hold on to the memories for many years to come, long after (not wishing to sound morbid) I am gone!
And well .....  it's always lovely to have a new outfit to wear, which I hope will also, in part, help reinforce those memories ..... so when I saw this little dress for Iris in Pep & Co. for just £3.50, it was a no brainer, I have spent more on a cup of coffee!
I don't ever "do" gruesome and scary ....... so the cute, childlike print on the dress is perfect.
For Bertie ...... he'll love this glittery skeleton top £2.50 and matching leggings £3.00, also from Pep & Co. Bertie is very at home in pink, but it wouldn't be too much trouble to go over a few of the motifs with a darker colour Sharpie pen if need be, though doubtful!
As for The Monkeys, these newborn popper vests for £1.50 will fit the bill perfectly especially as they will be hosting the party (over on the other side). I could have done without the "Mummy's little pumpkin" bit, but since The Boyz only generally appear from the waist up it shouldn't really show and then they can be put away and used, like all their other "seasonal" outfits, over the next few years ........ and yes,  it does help to be a little bit mad!

Thursday, 19 September 2019

Meeting Up And Shopping With Marc In Worcester.

It's so brilliant that when we're both really busy, but Marc is at the cottage, we can still meet up for a day in Worcester for a catch up and a little retail as it's only 20 minutes away for me by train. and for Marc in the van. We met up a couple of weeks ago and it was sooooooooo good!
Needless to say we did all the discount and charity shops, with Marc finally got his little mitts on some "The Pink Stuff" as recommended by Mrs Hinch!
Poundland's Halloween range certainly did not disappoint, both our baskets were overflowing, although  I am in great need of assorted Halloween stickers none were to be found!  A few years back they used to be everywhere, but their popularity seems to have wanned.
Marc has bought quite a few of these glass light up skulls ...... well, a box of 24 from the Malvern store. He is going to remove the lights and stopper (which is attached to the lights and contains the battery) and after washing thoroughly will refill the bottles with flavoured vodka, replacing the stopper with a cork to give as favours or presents.  To buy the skulls as bottles would cost a fortune from a retailer ...... but with these Marc gets the extra bonus of also being be left with a string of lights, to use on other projects, if only round the odd potted plant, the stopper should be pretty easy to hide or disguise.

In our retail excitement I forget to take any pictures of Marc's haul in the large Home Bargains there, as he bought a HUGE open skull that is going to make the most fantastic planter for the garden, a large skeleton dog and another smaller skull which he is going to paint  black and then decorate with flowers as part of a "Mexican Day of The Dead" project.
Over lunch Marc shared with me the "artistic" meals Iain has been preparing for him of late, what is he like?
Almost all the charity shops in Worcester are based in one street which is really handy. We both somehow managed to resist tearing each other apart for the whimsical clock confection of a clown sitting under a lamppost with only a dove for a friend for only £3 (above).  To be honest, said charity shops yielded very little on the day  ....... until we came to the last one which I believe was the Birch Hill Dog Rescue and then I think I got my greatest charity shop buy ever .........
........ with this huge and stunning crocheted blanket for an unbelievable £10.  I have been looking for a crocheted blanket for ages, but had not found one that could compare. As you can see, it's in my spare/guest room ready for the autumn and winter. I hadn't really got the purchase of any more bedding on my to do list, but found a very reasonably priced plain, teal, king size duvet with matching pillowslips on Amazon to go with it, as the floral set (spring and summer) that was already on the bed wasjust too much and really didn't work with it. However, the yellow pillowslips and cushions work well with the new edition. Its weird how new bedding can change the whole look/feel of a bedroom ...... now the room feels cosy as opposed to being sharp and crisp.

It was a wonderful if tiring day, Marc and I never stopped talking and exchanging ideas ....... as well as a much lighter wallet/purse!

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Half Marathon Good Luck Card

This card measures 6ins x 6ins and was made using a manufactured card blank.
I made this card for my beautiful niece Emily, who is running her first half marathon on 1st September in aid of the Epilepsy Society, a charity that is very dear to us all, we are all so proud.

I thought I would try to make a Good Luck card that would reflect her experience.  I started by covering the front of a 6in x 6ins card with a plain purple paper to match her running shirt.
I took a piece of gold glitter card and mat and layered it on silver adding her number using large wooden numbers (from The Works) which I had already coloured using a black Sharpie pen.  A layer of Ranger Glossy Accents helped to make the numbers pop.
Then ....... I got to thinking, what this card needed was a few tiny gold safety pins.  Now, I used to have hundreds of these little blighters in every colour imaginable, but sadly they went in the cull when I moved. I really wish I had kept just a few back because in the end I had to put a temporary halt on finishing the card until the ones I bought from e-bay arrived, but I think it was worth it in the end.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Christmas Wreath Card Using Hobbycraft Glitter Card Toppers.

This card measures 6ins x 6ins and is made using a hand cut white linen effect blank.

In my aim to keep things really quick and simple on the card front this year I decided to give these wreath design Hobbycraft glitter card toppers a whirl. They cost £1 for a pack of five
https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/christmas-wreath-glitter-card-toppers-5-pack/643880-1000
I'll be honest, once I'd got them home I did wonder why I had bought them as they are not very me, however rather than put them in a drawer for another year, as is often my want, on this occasion I "made" myself use them. 
I started off by going  over the green glitter leaves with Ranger Glossy Accents and adding red, flat back pearl gems to accentuate the berries. Then using foam pads, for extra dimension, I put the wreath on a small square, which was mat and layered on silver, in the middle of the card.
Then I got stuck, something was missing, it need some sort of bow but the ready made ones I already had were totally out of sync with the wreath and just looked plain naff,  so the card lay on the table for a day or so while I tried to ignore it.
Then, I wondered about using some red cotton yarn that I had, I wasn't hopeful to be honest, but to my surprise it worked, the proportions were perfect. Putting a little PVA on the ends of the bow stopped the yarn from splitting/fraying and looking tatty.  Success! I also added some tiny clear flat back gems to the wreath for a little extra bling.  Another card done and dusted.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Halloween Aperture Picture Frame Decoration - No. 2

Following on from last week's Halloween picture frame decoration quandary, in the end I decided to go for it and use up all bits and pieces I had left, despite their lack lustre appeal ....... and I am sooooooooo glad I did!  I am thrilled! Iris and Bertie each have a special frame to remember Halloween 2019 by and ..... if I say so myself, I think I like this frame  even more than the first   ....... I think it's all about the extra colour.
Again I used one of the 6.5ins x 6.5ins black, multi aperture picture frames I found in Poundstretcher ........ 99p. 
....... and the very last (dregs) of the sticker packs I got from Lldl and Flying Tiger last year.
I removed the glass from the frame (and disposed of it carefully) and proceeded to cover the paper insert with what I thought were suitably Halloween coloured papers, I did add extra strips of different papers once  I knew which sticker was going where.
I put the frame back together and faux stitched round the edges using a black finer liner pen ....... and that's when I really went overboard putting the little scenes together in each aperture!
Although still feeling underwhelmed with what I had to work with, I have to admit I did pretty well. I put the figures in first and then added a few smaller stickers, followed by lots of tiny multi- coloured stars to fill in the gaps .........
...... and clusters of three black dots.
I also added a good measure of Ranger Glossy Accents to help make some of the stickers stand out (please excuse the still wet Accents on the pumpkins).
....... and with the little witch I doodled cobwebs to fill in the corners, and, it goes without saying, that an abundance of googly eyes was also called for.
Madness then prevailed on the frame using leftover potion bottle stickers, more coloured stars of varying sizes and little dots of  white Ranger Enamel Accents.
You can never say "less is more" for Halloween  ......
........ and on this occasion no one ever accuse me of holding back.  Happy Days!

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Just A Heads Up ....... The Works Wooden Unicorn Embellishments.

Unicorns seem to be everywhere at the moment, I have to be honest, I just don't get them, but I know an awful lot do .....
I found these wooden embellishments in The Works and knew Iris would go bananas for them as she would see them as "My Little Ponies". I just let her do her own thing with them, with at least an hour and a half intensive creating for just £1, it's a no brainer!
I can see the huge potential to add glitter, gems, googly eyes and the odd 3D effect wing, all on this occassion rejected by Madam, so I guess I will have to, perhaps, get another pack so that Nanny can have a play too!

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Halloween Aperture Picture Frame Decoration - No. 1

MY APOLOGIES ...... goodness knows what went wrong with this post but this morning I had quick peep and saw that there really were important pictures missing ........  and I can't find them anywhere in my files, so this morning I have had to take a few extra pictures to add to it in order forhis post make sense!!!!!
I could kick myself sometimes, I usually start off well, taking pictures of a project as I go along, but then as I get more and more involved..... the pictures stop ....... aghhhh!  So, my apologises for the missing stages!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I found the black, multi aperture picture frames (above) in Poundstretcher a while back, they measure approximately 6.5ins x 6.5ins and I think cost about 99p each and (to date) they still have them. When I saw them I immediately thought "Halloween" but after buying a couple they have remained in the box under the bed for at least 18 months.  


However, Halloween will soon be upon us and I have already started to plan a special Halloween weekend party sleepover for Iris and Bertie and I determined it's going to be a special time with many happy memories, so I needed to get cracking on these frames to help decorate The Towers.
I was a very disappointed as I thought I had a lot more Halloween stickers that just the two packets  (above) from Lldl and Flying Tiger (bought last year), I admit I wasn't inspired, but decided to persevere.
I started by removing the glass from the frame (and throwing it away) and covering the pictures on the printed paper insert with Halloween-y coloured papers, so that I knew each aperture would be properly filled,if that makes sense?
I then put the frame back together and faux stitched round the edges using a black finer liner pen ....... and that's when I became totally immersed in putting the little scenes together in each aperture!
When I started I felt totally underwhelmed with the stickers, but I have to admit I did pretty well. I placed the figures first and then used the other smaller stickers to fill any empty spaces.
I  also added some extra strips of paper to add more colour and pattern. I also decided that Halloween wouldn't be Halloween without an ample abundance of googly eyes, stars and and clusters of three black dots, I think I went a little overboard adding them!
I thought I was finished, but then it struck me that the frame was now looking rather plain, so  more stars of varying sizes and little dots of white Ranger Enamel Accents were applied. Halloween has got to be one of those times when the mantra "less is more" should never be applied ...... instead everything needs to be over the top, well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
I have one more frame left, I am now in a quandary as I think I have used the best stickers from a bad bunch on this frame, should I bite the bullet and just try and conjure up something else using them ...... or do I wait until a new lot of Halloween stickers hit  the shops .......
......... hmmmmm?

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Honeycomb Snowman Card

This card measures 6ins x 6ins and uses a hand cut, white linen effect blank.
Following on from last week I had another idea for using the honeycomb snowmen embellishments I found in The Works last year.
Again they were pretty simple to put together, I hand wrote the centre panel first, using a black fine liner pen so that I got the space for adding the snowman just about right. 

With that done all I had to do was give the snowman some small, black dome sticker eyes and a little Ranger Glossy accents on his hat, nose, scarf and gloves, I find that adding just a touch of Accents here and there helps bring an inexpensive embellishment more to life.
The final touches came by adding four white snowflakes (Hobbycraft £1 for 16g), a few clusters of three little dots and a bit of glitter round the bottom of the snowman.

Naturally, I will send the card flat, but all the recipient has to do is peel off the tag and bring over his body to reveal the self adhesive honeycomb middle.

Again, although most of my cards this year will be one offs I love this design so much I have made a few extra but still have one more pack left just in case inspiration strikes again.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Let It Snow Snowman Shadow Box Frame

This shadow box started out as a bit of an experiment ........ but, I think, it worked out pretty well.
I used one of the Poundland enclosed bathroom plaques that I have been squirrelling away every time I have found them,  a large wooden snowman embellishment that I got from The Range in a Christmas sale for 25p years and years ago, an alphabet sticker set from B & M Bargains, various snowflakes plus scraps of glitter and blue paper and tiny flat backed gems.
I started by taking the back of the plaque to create a snowy background using the glitter and blue papers and the snowman.
I then added the letters ........
.....followed by the tiny gems which made me go a little cross-eyed in their gluing ......
...... not forgetting the very small white button on the snowman's hat.  I then added a scattering of plastic and confetti snowflakes for good measure.
I then replaced the newly decorated board back in the frame and waited impatiently for it to dry, before adding faux stitching round the edges using a permanent fine liner pen and more snowflakes glued to the frame and glass to give the picture extra dimension.

I now think I need to make another one, along the same theme but perhaps using a different set of letters as I am thinking they would make extra special decorations for Iris and Bertie's festive bedrooms, a keepsake that will hopefully remind them of Nanny if/when they get them out long after I am gone and perhaps when they have families of their own.