Thursday, 14 November 2019

It Was Meant To Be .........

As you know I have a HUGE thing for 1950's/60s metal frame, fish eye mirrors and I thought with the three resprayed ones in my bedroom that I was done ......
However, to be honest, in the back of my mind I have always carried the memory of ".... the one that got away", a very colourful flower covered mirror I saw and lusted over at The Malt House Emporium in Tewksbury at least eighteen months ago.  I really can't remember at the time why I didn't buy it there and then, but it was most probably because I couldn't think where it would go as all my walls were pretty much covered.
Well, Lu and I returned a couple of weeks ago and half way round I said to Lu "I wonder if that mirror was still here and if it is I'm having it!"  .......
It was, ...... obviously no one else has my hideous taste!  It was still the same price and I couldn't get it down anymore as the lady said it had already been reduced (.....but still not moved for at least 18 months???!!!!) ...... however, I still bought it anyway. I'm not saying exactly what for, but perhaps a months worth of Costa coffees?
There is no age to it at all ....... it's just pretty and I have never seen anything else like it before, as Lu says it's very me.  Finding a place for it to live was hard as I had first anticipated, especially as I wanted to be able to see it all the time, I've put it in the hall, where I can pass and admire it often.  Happy days ...... it was meant to be!

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Mid Century Style Birthday Card

This card measures 6ins x 6ins and uses a pre-scored, manufactured card as its base.
I think I could becoming a bit of a lazy card maker ......or am I simply just cutting out all the fiddle fart in my old age?
This card was made for my brother-in-law who fancies himself as a bit of a mid century boff. All I did was find a mid century design for the background and download a suitable mid century font for the sentiment, putting them all together using Publisher 2003 and then printing it off.
I covered the front of a pre-scored card with the background piece, then mat and layered the sentiment on black and silver card and mounting it on foam pads to give the card a little more dimention in the centre of the card.
The final touch was putting a tiny, cross eye making, silver gem in the middle of the stars to add a little extra, but subtle, birthday bling.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Out And About With Marc In Worcester.

Marc and I were able to meet up in Worcester in the middle of October, when as far as we concerned Halloween was done and dusted and we were eager to move on to what the shops had to offer of a crafty type nature for Christmas ........ but, as per usual, we do tend to get a little distracted .......
...... especially by things that shine and sparkle ....... like this wonderful Christmas de-baubled jumper  in B & M Bargains, it was hard to walk away, but, no considered purchase was make, just in case we came upon something that was even better!!
But while we thought we were a little early looking for Christmas, Home Bargains already had their Easter Crafts stocked, I thought poor Marc was never going to be able to stop laughing, we all know they start getting the Easter eggs out in January, but in October, it's got to be some sort of record.
As per usual Marc only agreed to having his picture taken with his face covered, he is such a diva, but does have such lovely blue eyes!!!
But didn't mind me taking a couple of pictures of his new walking stick. Wherever we go people always remark on his various sticks, we still chuckle about the reaction he once got during a bus ride into Wolverhampton!!
Anyway, on this clear, acrylic (I think) stick he had replaced the top with a skull that he had first coloured using a chrome effect spray paint and then underneath glued real Swarovski crystals so that it really caught the light when he moved. It was quite stunning!
 And finally, rather than bore you with our usual crafty haul and what we plan to do with each and every I thought I would share this prize nugget with you instead, not only in a picture ....... 
........ but to get the "full effect", in video form ......... enjoy!!!!!

Monday, 11 November 2019

Christmas Snowman Dioramas

At last, I have been happy enough with my Christmas snowman diorama design to go into mass production and I have finally have a whole batch of finished ones sitting on my craft table.
How many I could actually make was all reliant on how many frames I could wrestle from the compartment trays I already had (originally manufactured as boxes for wooden embellishments).
In the end I managed to get sixteen because instead of throwing away the frames that didn't have any sides when the boxes were carved up, I cut new ones from the scraps and carefully glued and taped them together to create a new complete frame ........ 
..... with the intention of using decorative fabric tape, when the time came, to cover any/all the imperfections from all that butchering .......... I was so chuffed!
The frames were then lined with a small print blue paper and scraps from a printed Christmas ticket design that were in perfect proportion to the diorama embellishments.
The snowmen were then made en-masse, with each taking about a quarter of a pack of soft white Fimo to make.  Hats, scarfs and carrot noses were made using scraps of Fimo I already had.  The real twig arms were added to the snowmen before the baking process.
The 10cm Christmas trees (The Works) were not, how shall I say, the bushiest and most were a little squashed and flat in places, however this sort of worked to my advantage as I didn't have to trim them, by finding their flattest angle and fluffing the rest up, they fit pretty easily into the frame, after removing their base and plunging the bare wire, with a little glue into Air Magic Soft Modelling Dough and then left to dry.
Now came the fiddly farty stage when all the flat back pearls had to be attached to the trees with great dollops of PVA glue, thank goodness it dries clear .......
...... and the Dymo tape "Let It Snow" sentiments added.  I wanted to put them in between the tree and the snowman, which was easier to do before gluing the snowman in permanently and I wanted to add small snowflake confetti (Hobbycraft) and tiny gold stars to the background as well, at the same time.  By the time I had finished I was almost crossed eyed.
My best buy so far this Christmas was buying a tiny £1 holly punch from Hobbycraft making decorating the snowmen's hats so much easier than my first attempts!
With that, snowmen were finally glued into position and when I admit to starting to feel frustrated, as it seemed every stage needed time to dry before I could move on.
The "pelmets" for the snow had to be added ...... so while they dried I made the corner "believe" signs using the left over bits from the original trays, writing using a black biro so that the ink didn't bleed into the wood.
When the pelmets were dry I decided to touch up the snow and snowmen up with a little white paint as the snow, through handling wasn't quite as pristine as I had hoped, however once applied the paint also added a certain pleasing snowy texture.
Next followed all the twiddly didly bits, first 3D textured snow applied to the pelmets, edges and bottom of the trays, followed by the holly and berries, plaques that I added a little beige felt pen to to add some "age" finally a stars to the top of the Christmas trees.
After allowing the snow to dry I was then able to add the Snowmen's eyes and to a few a mouth, then their buttons and a tiny silver heart on their scarves which fiannly gave each diorama its own individual character.
I thought the final touch was adding a sprinkling of translucent glitter, but before I did that I decided to add faux stitching where there was a small gap between the ribbon and the tray edges to add more detail.
I am really, really pleased with how they have all turned out, but they were a lot of work ...... I reckon they took at least an hour each to make.
They have evolved just a little in the process, I really like the ones with the house stickers in the background but sadly I ran out of them ...... and I couldn't really wait for shops to get their Christmas stock in, but if I see any this year I will stock up for future projects.

I now need time to rest and recover before I decide whether I will repeat this operation for another year and really that all depends on whether I can gather up a few more trays in the meantime!

Friday, 8 November 2019

I said I wouldn't ....... But I did!

I don't think I ever completely ruled out buying any more chandeliers, rather it was more a case of trying to reign in my compulsion to buy them, ruling that they would have to have something a little morespecial for me to make a considered purchase ......... so what's a girl to do when she spots this beauty in the British Heart Foundation shop in Malvern ..... for just £4.  
I am afraid, dear reader,  it came home with me ...... the chains of clear beads are always useful ...... but it was the other larger beads that really took my fancy .....
All the beads were (sadly) plastic, however, I could see the large purple shapes replacing some of the amber coloured ones on my Moroccan style light shade in the bathroom.  The clear drops just scream Christmas, and the turquoise ones I am thinking about, but may make an appearance on my ornate shower-room light shade ...... and the red ones, I am thinking might go on my spare bedroom chandelier.  There were also some brown coloured drops, these also need some thought, but have the potential to be decorated with gold 3D effect paint and a flat back gem or two to make fancy parcel charms or Christmas tree decorations.

I need to have an evening taking the shade apart and then doing the calculations as to where they could be added or what they can be used for. I think there are possibly eight of each shape .....plus goodness knows how many clear chains ....... happy days!

Thursday, 7 November 2019

The World Is Your Lobster Card

This card measures 5.5ins x 5.5ins and is made using a hand cut, white linen effect card.
I loved these lobster stickers from Paperchase when I bought them, they have such cute faces, but what on earth to do with them? So I am afraid they have been languishing in my sticker box ever since I bought them. Then I got stuck for a card for Tom's birthday and I mean really stuck!  In a desperate search for inspiration in said sticker box I re-found them and got to thinking .... hmmmm "The world's your lobster"  I am pretty sure Arthur Daley said it in an episode of Minder, one of the Dukes very favourite programmes ......
...... Tom's card!  I took a silver frame (The Works £3 for 30 assorted silver, copper and gold) and backed it with a scrap of white card, adding two lobsters, some tiny weeny, cross eye making flat backed gems and hand wrote the phrase.  
I then mat and layered the filled frame first on red corrugated card followed by silver card, simples! I am so chuffed with how it turned out, now ...... what to do with the other twenty-eight or so lobsters! 

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Baby Boy Shower Favour - Guest Crafter - My Ex Next Door Neighbour Sue.

This beautiful set of baby shower favours was made by my ex next door neighbour Sue in honour of  the safe arrival of my current, very lovely, next door neighbours Kata's little boy Kristzian.
Kristzian decided to arrive early, which is why the shower took place after the event rather than as more traditionally before!
Inside the card carrier type box was a whole host of lovely things, so beautifully put together, including a tea-light .......
...... some sunflower seeds ..........
....... a Wish braclet .......
...... and some blue sweeties.  
You know me, I just loved all the tiny details from the little charms to bows, bags and tags.  It was a gift to treasure ....... but I will use them all and remember a very lovely afternoon of Prossecco, cake and baby munching!

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Iris's Harry Potter Quill Pen

Iris is Hermione Granger/Harry Potter mad and had been telling me in wonderment about quill pens, so I decided that I really ought to have a go at making one for her.  
I found a pack of  eight large, black feathers in Hobbycraft for just £3 giving me more than enough to make a few more if the need arose or for other projects.
I already had a few pen nibs from my days working at the Girls High School.  When the school was being refurbished so much wonderful stuff was just thrown in the bins, however I did manage to rescue several tins containing several hundred of these pen nibs which have since been either been sold or given away, but I did keep a few back for me as well.
I used a really strong glue to attach the nib to the quill giving it a good length of time to allow it to adhere properly.
The finishing touch, to make the pen look a little grander, was made by dotting gold Dovecraft 3D effect paint (£1 Poundland) all along the shaft of the feather.  It didn't take that long or that much effort to make one little lady a very. very happy little wizard ........ and I was really chuffed with the results.

Monday, 4 November 2019

A Lovely, Lovely Halloween

After Iris and Bertie's glorious Halloween Sleepover Weekend I think Lu (my daughter) and I are ...... how shall I say ..... were quite tired....... and perhaps in need of a quiet spell in a darkened room.
....... but hope we made the sort of happy memories that they will both fondly remember and hold dear to their hearts for many years to come, hopefully even when they get to my age! Nutty Nanny by The River!!!
The Towers looked lovely for around five minutes after they both burst through the door, straight from a few days in bracing Devon ..........
......... where, although they had witnessed huge waves crashing over the sea wall which had obviously made quite an impression .............
...... Bertie left saying that he had had a lovely time, but he needed to get back for Nanny's Sleepover, something he has been looking forward to for weeks now.
The help yourself spooky Pick 'n' Mix"" and "cocktail bar" was an instant success because sweets really are a HUGE treat for them, certainly not a daily event, if even weekly, but this was a special night.
Bertie was also keen to get stuck into carving one of the pumpkins they had bought with them ....... but no, I wasn't going to make punkin pie from it's contents!
The Halloween crackers filled with Ty Mini Boo's (presents from Uncle Marc from Poundland) went down very well, with no duplicates found, as did the Fortune Cookies which needed careful listening to when read out, followed by an often complicated translation!
My Gok Wan recipe Chow Mein, (a huge favourite), looked just like worms especially when served in a witch's cauldron, but tasted wonderful and went down a treat, if in disgusting fashion!
Tea was followed by a "Midnight Walk" ...... everyone well wrapped up and armed with glow sticks, torches and a monkey ...... to look for moles ....... a memory from last year when Iris was well into nocturnal animals!  
Because of the wet weather my PVA covered, bottle lanterns were a bit of a damp squib (see above) and could have done with stronger lights, but from the lounge window Iris and Bertie were still suitably spookily impressed.  Next year I might just light up the garden with outdoor fairy lights.
However the (Christmas) star lights in the windows at the front of my flat looked great and left my  neighbours in no doubt that I never leave my festive preparations to the last minute......  that  being said, they definitely won't be going on again until 1st December!
Despite the rain, there were still several fairly large firework parties going on, so plenty of fizz, bang and sparkle for us to stop and watch on our walk along the edge of the estate, looking down on the river.  Unfortunately there were no moles on the meadow, probably scared off  by said fizz, bang and sparkle, but with spirits undampened we headed back to The Towers for a magical, light dimmed, bath time featuring more glow sticks, play foam and colour changing bath light ..... supervised by  yet another monkey!
Then it was finally time to snuggle up on the settee, under a huge blanket to watch Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets ...... both children wearing their Poundland Harry Potter glasses which must have been the biggest success of the weekend ......
...... with Bertie even taking his to bed with him.
The morning, having been woken at 6.37 (!!) was very chilled affair with Bertie wanting to draw with Lulu, something he doesn't naturally chose to do .......  
...... and Iris turning the spare bed into the Hogwarts Express, boarding for a fantastical journey!  

Then, with the sun beginning to break up the clouds we went to the meadow for a good run, to leave our pumpkin in amongst the trees to give the animals something to eat ....... and to find that the moles had been very busy in the night!!!!  This was followed by lunch and another play before heading back home to mum and dad.  The flat is so quiet and empty now .......... I am too tired to even attempt a tidy up until the morning ...... but when it's done .... it will be time to start planning for our New Years Eve sleepover .................. Happy Happy Days!