Friday, 31 December 2010

New Years Tut Part 2

 Just a few more bits of Tut today ......
Designer Pin Badges
My Brother In Law is a bit of an artist, so  I have taken three pictures from his website and turned them into this set of badges.
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I’ve made my mum two brooches using wooden laser cut embellishments with a broach pin glued on the back.
Dinosaur Fossil Notebook
The “dinosaur fossil” above  was my son Tom’s Christmas Pillow Present.  It was embedded in a piece of “rock” and Tom had to chisel it out, giving him hours minutes of festive fun!  I thought that it could have been easily lost or cast aside in the tidying up after Christmas, so I rescued it,  with the idea of making a Bind It All notebook and using the fossil as an embellishment, making a more lasting reminder of our Christmas night! The fossil kit cost me 25p, the newsagent across the road takes all the free gifts off the magazines and sells them for 30p each or 4 for £1, it’s a little box of treasures and I usually pop in once a week to see what’s new in it.
New years Favor Sweetie Bag Wish Upon A New years Star And finally, I have made everyone New Year sweetie bags using Milky Way Magic Stars
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On the front they say, “Wish Upon A New Years Star”
It’s all quite exhausting ….. all this thinking!!

Thursday, 30 December 2010

New Years Tut 2010

Last year, when I posted this idea, several people said that they were going to start this tradition in their own families too, I’d love to know if they have……
Fiddle Fart New Years Tut
I’ve knitted a lovely messy/rough looking scarf for Lucy.  Last year I knit her a lovely mohair one, which she washed and shrank to an inch of it’s life ….. but nothing lost, as I have now used it to make felted flowers with my Tim Holtz Tattered Floral die.
This is a family tradition going back to the days when my daughter Lucy was young and said she didn’t really enjoy bringing in the New Year, as nothing really happened, so we came up with the idea of everyone busying themselves in the days after Christmas making New Years Tut…….
  CoveredAltered Drawers
I’ve also altered an old set of jewellery drawers for Lucy, that cost me 20p from a car boot sale (which I will post in the next day or so)
We call it Tut because that’s what everyone usually does  when they open their parcels!!!
After Boxing Day we all start scurrying around and being VERY secretive as we start  making little presents for all those we will be seeing or thinking of as we see the New Year in. 
On New Years Eve afternoon I will make my Father in Law a bread and butter pudding that he can slice up and eat cold …… instead of layering the bread, you mash it all up to a cake like consistency and sprinkle with sugar, Nom, nom, nom!
It’s funny, but I can remember most of my tuts from years ago vividly, like my Derek Acorah night shirt, made by Lucy, or the bananas and custard with chocolate buttons on the top made for supper by my son Tom, a frozen shepherds pie from my Brother in Law and a simple jigsaw of Jose Murino in a jar from my sons girlfriend …….. oh how I tutted!
Lego sweets
My brother is Lego mad, so when I found these Lego sweets in amongst the “pick n mix” I just had to have them.  I’ve made the box using my box scoreboard and then found pictures of the Lego logo and bricks on the internet to decorate it.
Box of lego sweets
I’m not really sure who this gift is for, I think I may keep it for myself ….. it’s a string jar, all I’ve done is drill a small hole in the lid of a squat coffee jar and then squeeze quite a fat ball of string into it. Aye Walla!!  I had wanted to embellish it with my ceramic pens, but the effect was a bit too opaque and so didn’t show up too well.  I could add stickers I suppose, but I think I’ll leave it plain for the moment.
String Jar
More Tut to follow tomorrow ……

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Foundling Museum - London

My Mum and sister went to London for a short break a couple of weeks ago, and my mum very much wanted to go to The Foundling Museum.  - “The Foundling Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, London's first home for abandoned children and of three major figures in British history: its campaigning founder the philanthropist Thomas Coram, the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel.”
It was very moving for them both and hopefully when I go to London next I will be able to pay a visit myself.
Just before I went to see my Mum for Christmas my sister text me to say, “Take some of your ribbon to Mums, you’ll see why when you get there”
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I am sorry that this picture just doesn’t do justice to what my mum had made …. but it was based on an exhibit at the museum  called The Falling Thread by Annabel Lewis. By adding my ribbons I feel another family Christmas tradition has been started. All  through the coming year I will be looking for small pieces of beautiful ribbon on my travels to add and perhaps make something similar in my home next year.
I’ve copied some of the information for the website, thinking about all those babies brings a big lump to my throat…….
Threads of Feeling  - 14 October 2010 - 6 March 2011
Fabric swatches from the 18th century tell stories of mother and babies parting
“Threads of Feeling will showcase fabrics never shown before to illustrate the moment of parting as mothers left their babies at the original Foundling Hospital, which continues today as the children’s charity Coram.
In the cases of more than 4,000 babies left between 1741 and 1760, a small object or token, usually a piece of fabric, was kept as an identifying record. The fabric was either provided by the mother or cut from the child’s clothing by the hospital's nurses.  Attached to registration forms and bound up into ledgers, these pieces of fabric form the largest collection of everyday textiles surviving in Britain from the 18th Century.
A selection of the textiles and the stories they tell us about individual babies, their mothers and their lives forms the focus of the Threads of Feeling exhibition. The exhibition will also examine artist William Hogarth’s depictions of the clothes, ribbons, embroidery and fabrics worn in the 18th Century as represented by the textile tokens.
John Styles Research Professor in History at the University of Hertfordshire received funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to curate the exhibition. John comments: “The process of giving over a baby to the hospital was anonymous. It was a form of adoption, whereby the hospital became the infant’s parent and its previous identity was effaced. The mother’s name was not recorded, but many left personal notes or letters exhorting the hospital to care for their child. Occasionally children were reclaimed. The pieces of fabric in the ledgers were kept, with the expectation that they could be used to identify the child if it was returned to its mother. 
The textiles are both beautiful and poignant, embedded in a rich social history. Each swatch reflects the life of a single infant child. But the textiles also tell us about the clothes their mothers wore, because baby clothes were usually made up from worn-out adult clothing. The fabrics reveal how working women struggled to be fashionable in the 18th Century.”

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

My Christmas Gifts

I didn’t ask Santa for many gifts of a crafty nature this year, because I have so much stuff it’s untrue, but there has been a bit of kit that I have desired greatly from the minute I knew it existed, a Stampin Up, Bigshot Matchbox Die.  I don’t know how he did it, and I love him to bits for doing it, because my lovely son managed to find one for me!!!!  How brilliant is that?
Stampin Up Matchbox Die  
My first fleeting fiddle with it (for the purposes of this blog) was on 27th December, in a bit of a hurry and I have to admit that neat folding isn’t one of my greatest talents …. but my second attempt didn’t turn out too badly. I can’t get into my craft room at the moment, but as soon as I can I have so many ideas on how to use it, including an Advent Calendar!!!!!
Stampin Up Matchbox 1
I’ve also wanted this stamp for a while, from Lili of the Valley,  as I work in a girl's’ school, it’s just perfect for a few ideas I have ….
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And now for a couple of non crafty gifts …….  this is the most fantastic present, another of my objects of desire for years, a crystal ball – not sure if I’ll be able to see the future in it …… but it’s beautiful.
Crystal Ball
As is my sandglass pendant and necklace ……
Sandglass Pendant and Necklace
I am such a lucky girl lady!!!!!
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My mum gave me this Peanuts book,  the pictures and words are so lovely and very true.
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I am hoping that I can use it as a source of inspiration for my family Christmas cards next year – so I expect you’ll see it again sometime in the future.

And finally, a lovely bit of fun from my husband ....... a technicolour shower head to make the drudgery of my morning shower before I go to work a "Disco Experience"

My Jar of Holey Wish Stones

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Whenever I go to the sea I spend hours looking for holey “wish stones”.  They say that a stone with a hole going through it has mystical powers ….. I have one with me all the time.  I also put one on a red thread and give them to very special people who understand what I am wuffing on about.  I think its all part of me wanting to be a mermaid in my next life …….!

My Glasses

My eyesight is pretty rubbish, I wear quite strong contact lenses but still need a pair of readers on top of them for when I craft, read, use the computer etc.
My glasses
I have quite a collection, mainly because I panic if I don’t have at least three pairs in my bag, and I am always loosing them, as I tend to wear them on top of my head and they fall off without me noticing.   I can’t walk past a rack without having a look and Poundland has had some brilliant multicoloured stripy ones in recently.
Dame Edna
My very, very favourite ones were from Liverpool about two years ago …. I had several pairs, they were leopard and tiger print with diamantes on the nose and arms, they were gorgeous …….. they weren’t very strong and so didn’t last long, but I loved them so much, I was like a crafting Dame Edna in them!

Monday, 27 December 2010

Me…… Would Be Window Dresser!

A while back I went on a fantastic Visual Display Training Course  (sorry about the poor quality of the pictures) and thought I'd tell you about about it today.
It was primarily about window dressing, how brilliant is that?  Something I have always wanted to have a go at. It was run by a company called Made You Look and the lady who took the course, another Helen, was truly inspirational. 
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Helen has done displays for all the top people, including Monsoon, British Airways, Toyota, House of Fraser etc. plus she does some of those wonderful Christmas displays in shopping malls etc..  I am SO jealous.
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The first part of the course was about the “science” of window display, but in the afternoon we had a chance of doing a bit of window display ourselves. I was so lucky, as there were only three of us on the course, so we had this wonderful lady and her knowledge to ourselves. She critiqued, advised and tweaked our efforts. I was in seventh heaven.  The above is my tweaked effort.
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And this is what the other ladies created.
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We also learnt how to wrap boxes for display (with no joins showing)  and as a gift wrapping.  I need a lot more practice, but we were given a brilliant copy of all the course notes that I can use as a reference.
The course cost £175 which was paid for by work – it was so well worth the money, I was bouncing for days afterwards with ideas and inspiration.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Celebrity Button Art Book Launch Party – 12th November 2010.
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A little while ago my lovely friend Stephanie (that’s her with the lovely long red hair and cream sweater) invited me to the launch party of the Celebrity Button Art Book. Karen Gammon the artist and author was one of Stephanie’s teachers at school and does the most fantastic things with buttons.  It was a brilliant night, that gave me a lot of ideas, as well as a chance to mix with the stars of DIY SOS, Deborah Drew and Chris Frediani.
Karen sent a button attached to a card and asked celebrities to “do” a design around it.
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I bought the book, but was fascinated to see all the celebrity contributions in the “Flesh”
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Some were quite simple ….
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Some must now be worth a small fortune ….
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And some were stunning, miniature works of art.
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It’s so hard to say which one was my favourite ……
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But, I as I adore insect jewellery, it has got to be these two spiders by James Opasik.
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Karen also exhibited several stunning pieces of work, that just blew my mind!
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And the attention to detail on the guests table was not wasted on me.
Button Cupcakes Button Cupcake
I couldn’t bear to eat my tiny cake, so it’s now rock hard and on my treasure shelf in my craft room.
Buttons in a Frame
There were a couple of ideas that I would like to try in the New Year,  like these framed collections of buttons, so simple, but so effective.
Framed buttons
I just need to find a good framer …..
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And finally, I love this ………..
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Needless to say I came home buzzing …. with as many little bits and pieces as I could manage to secrete in my party bag….!!!
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