Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Soldering With Marc – For Microscope Slide Christmas Decorations.

While I was in London the other week with Marc we watched quite a few microscope soldering tutorials on YouTube before having a go ourselves. Crafting with microscope slides has been a thing with me for too many years now,  I really think I should let go!IMG_2143The first thing we did was edge our experimental glass pieces with copper foil, which the solder should adhere to, after it has been coated with flux.
All was going well, but then we got unstuck as Marc’s soldering iron was, we think, more for proper electrical work, it had a weird end which was difficult to work out, at first, where to apply the solder, in the end we worked it out, but it was frustrating and fiddly, what we really needed was a pointed ended soldering iron.
The solder that came with it was also very thin, more suited to fine electrical work, but we persevered.
As this was pure experiment we used pegs to secure/hold the glass, but should I wish to pursue the idea I think I would need to get a Helping Hand magnifying glass stand as well.
s-l400 (1)And the results? Well, I am not sure …….. I was expecting a rougher, thicker and lumpier, handmade sort of looking end result …….
….. and though my application of copper wasn’t exactly perfect, we/I think the solder was definitely too thin.  However, for once, I didn’t get all that impatient and preserved just to get a feel for it all, in fact I quite enjoyed it, I didn’t get the usual itchy gum feeling when I get frustrated. 
IMG_2152I have had a look on e-bay and if I wanted to I  could invest in a soldering kit for under £10, I would then need to buy solder and flux (not sure how much) and a stand (£5).  However, to be honest, if applied with care, using the silver foil I bought a month or so ago, with hindsight, would/has produced just as good an effect as the slides I have studied on Pinterest, plus I can easily change the colour of the foil using a Sharpie pen …… so I need to think carefully if, after all this playing, it’s really worth it.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Charity Shop Find – Santa’s Tea-light House

I am always on the look out for kitsch Christmas ornaments with which to grace my festive shelves and this, though I doubt if there is any age to it ticked a few of my boxes, especially for just 50p.
santa house tealight holdersanta house 1
I just love anything that I can put a tea-light in at Christmas, so there’s one box ticked already ……. but it was the snow I had my eye on ……..
IMG_2559santa tealight holder 4
I knew with a liberal dowsing of translucent micro fine glitter it could be ….. erm….. transformed, so that’s exactly what I did, also giving Santa a light dusting too.
Santa Tealight House DecorationI also felt that the wreaths could also do with a little something too, so a few flat backed gems here and there won’t go amiss ……. not to everyone’s taste I know, but very me ……  when grouped together with other similar festive pieces I might just get away with it!

Friday, 26 May 2017

Small Snowflake Wreath Tree Decoration

I was going to put this small wooden wreath on a card, but I have changed my mind and think I will attach a thread or narrow ribbon to it so that it can be hung on a Christmas Tree instead.
snowflake wreath Christmas Tree Decoration 6It started off as a wooden border in a pack I found reduced in The Works.
snowflake wreathsnowflake wreath 1
It’s a shame the leaves are not a bit more pointy like holly, but beggars can’t be too choosy.   I started by colouring the frame with a green Sharpie pen and then glued on white snowflakes made using a snowflake punch.
snowflake wreath 2I then got carried away by adding smaller punched snowflakes using a tiny punch I had almost forgotten about, wishing I had perhaps used white glitter card instead of plain card.  Please excuse copious dollops of wet PVA glue.
snowflake wreath 8And finally I went the whole hog, not only adding clear flat back gems to the centres of all of the snowflakes but also filling any other gaps with tiny silver stars …..too much?   It is very pretty, but I wonder if, with the gem centres the snowflakes now look more like flowers ?????
snowflake wreath christmas tree decorationFor such a bargain price I did buy several packets so I do have a little wiggle room to experiment. 
I am also thinking that by using small punched flowers I could make something similar, hanging from a matching ribbon to give a bride on her wedding day, trying to incorporate something old, new, borrowed and blue?

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Patchwork Christmas Tree Card …… And The Sad Demise Of The Craft Punch

This card measures 5ins x 5ins and uses a hand cut kraft card as it’s base.
punched Christmas Tree Card 7I am not sure about this card, I think it’s too busy, with too many trees and too many patterns, on a not very merry background and looking at the pictures with fresh eyes, I am not even sure about the mat and layering! With all the square gems and stars, there’s just too much going on …… put simply, I don’t think I really like it!
Punched Christmas Tree Card 1The idea is there, it just needs refining, so you’ll probably be seeing a few more versions of it over the next month or so as I try to get it right.
Punched Christmas Yree Card 3But, there is a story behind it too …… I know I had a triangle punch before I moved, in fact I had two huge drawers of punches, but I had to sort through them very carefully to condense them down to one drawer and I guess my original triangle one slipped through the net!  Well, I thought, I’ll just have to order me a new one from eBay …… OMG not a one!  Well, there were some in China, but the size wasn’t clear and for the price I guessed that they were tiny.  So I had to look further a field and this taller style punch was the only one I could find after a good while searching. I have since managed to find a squatter triangle on eBay, but had to do so by buying it in a bundle!
I blame dies for the sad demise of the punch, I love a punch, I cut my crafting teeth on them all those years ago. I have a good collection of exactly what I know I will use, the basic shapes in all sizes plus lots of flowers and leaves, with my Stampin Up circles as a staple. I have a Big Shot, and again have all the basic shapes I need, although I am not averse to increasing my collection occasionally, but Tattered Lace etc. don’t really do anything for me. But I admit I  am a very lazy die cutter, unless I have a specific idea, I don’t want all the palaver of getting my Big Shot out just for a few shapes, I prefer to go to my drawer and get out a punch.  Marc always tells me that I am a VERY impatient crafter, but all those mats and rolling for couple of shapes? The fact that I could buy a huge punch at The Hobbycrafts show that would have once cost well over £10 for just £1 shows that the punch is doomed …….. so I really need to double check to see if my collection is lacking anything before they disappear forever.
But …….. having had a great moan and a whinge all because I couldn’t easily find a triangle punch, it doesn’t mean this lady can’t be turned everso, everso slightly because I am now considering buying a small die cutter to have on my table whenever I craft  ……….. I fancy the Baby Blue, so all recommendations would be very much appreciated.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Marc’s Christmas Tree Bauble.

I found this Christmas bauble on Marc’s top shelf, it looked soooooooo expensive and then Marc laughed and told me that it was made from a polystyrene ball and a pair of old glittery tights!
IMG_2185He said he made a hole at the top of the ball, then cut a section (possibly the foot) from a pair of purple glittery tights, forming it round the ball and gathering the ends into the hole, securing with glue and a spare hanging fixing from another bauble.
IMG_2184He then decorated it using small squares cut from a mesh of faux jewels (I found an identical length of the same material in Home Bargains wedding section for 69p for 2 metres) and strands of very small silver plastic ball chain artistically swirled and glued.  It is stunning! And now, when I see glittery tights around Halloween I shall certainly be availing myself of a pair or two to see what I can come up with.  I am already thinking swimming noodle door wreath?

Saturday, 20 May 2017

London For Eurovision

Eurovision will never be the same without sharing it either in Worcester or London with Marc and Rick and this year was no exception. 
IMG_2158Our money was on Belgium to win and Spain to get null points, but, what Rick and I were really thinking was that which ever country won, it would be one that was fairly easily to travel too, Stockholm was supposed to be a once in a lifetime, bucket list occasion, but somewhere along the way we really got the bug………
IMG_2161…….. so our attention in the next 8-9 months will be firmly fixed on the Portugal Eurovision website.  The competition for tickets is sooooooo great, as we have found in the past, so we have a plan, one of us will try to get tickets for the final and the other for The Judges Final and fingers crossed one or both of us is successful.
IMG_2159Inspiration wise, Marc’s flat never fails to get my creative juices flowing with all his bits and pieces and how they are displayed, I make no apologises if I am repeating some pictures of my favourite pieces throughout this post.
When not gearing up for Eurovision, we spent a lot of time watching videos YouTube, mostly crafts but a few “choice” others too, some of which had us in fits of hysteria or leaving us absolutely gobsmacked!
Now, about once a month I may do a post on my latest charity or Poundland purchases but on YouTube there are hundreds of people with their shopping bags making regular films on their latest shopping expedition, just type in “Poundland Haul” ……. I am just such a none starter!!!!!  I am really not tempted to follow suit ……. but, I did think that if I was ever in a mischievous frame of mind and I had indulged in an extra Asti Spumante or two I might, one day, do a spoof!!
We watched several videos on using gilding flakes, something I was given several years ago, but have never used, but Marc raves about and uses a lot.
IMG_2179It was his gilded seashells that inspired me, as I have it in my head to one day decorate a mirror using shells, coral, pearls and jewels etc. and the idea of  having a few gilded bits here and there really appealed.
IMG_2189I think I must drive Marc mad as I go mooching along his shelves, as he says, nothing’s new, but I see something new each time……..
…….. but the one constant object of desire is the venetian mirror in the lounge, my eyes are continually drawn to it ……. it’s the real deal, so well out of my budget ……… but, never say never ……
the one that got away_thumb[2]……. you may remember me finding this mirror in Georgian House Antiques in Evesham in December,  it was near enough the real deal for me ……..
Huge ornate mirror_thumb[2]……. I had got it down to £160 including delivery, until I saw sense!  It was stupidly large and was so heavy it would have taken my walls down!!!  However, I have decided to take in a few pictures of Marc’s into the shop and ask them that if they find anything similar on their travels to give me a call.
IMG_2198My flat still feels very, very new, but I know it will evolve as I become more settled and start looking round it again with fresh eyes and changing tastes,  and then it will be the time to get Marc and Rick in to advise me as how to be more adventurous with colour and the placing of things, not everything has to be centred to an inch of its life!

Friday, 19 May 2017

My First Order From Every Crafts A Pound

While I was staying with Marc a few weeks ago, he told me about Every Crafts A Pound, http://www.everycraftsapound.co.uk/ and as I am always up for a bargain I thought it would be rude not to have a look ….. and despite an iron will, I put in an order!  Having looked at the items they had on sale I have a feeling that I may have bought a couple of things from them at the Hobbycraft Show at the NEC, as some things looked familiar. I was especially pleased to see that they had the cardboard rings and hearts that I kicked myself for not buying at the time, as I have had a few ideas for seasonal door wreaths since then. IMG_2460When the box arrived it was crammed, it was just like Christmas as I had forgotten some of the things I had ordered,  in all I received 46 items (some duplicated), with prices ranging from 25p to £3, so I am well chuffed. (P & P free on orders £40 – I didn’t spend quite that much)
IMG_2463I ordered quite a lot of patterned paper pads and packs, as the prices were so good, I especially love First Edition papers because of the quality and designs, but I always baulk at the price (when not reduced) but at £2 and £3 I am not going to argue.
IMG_2469I presume that some of the papers and ranges may be discontinued (?), but though there are trends in crafting/card making, for me paper and embellishments have no use by date. I ordered, subconsciously, quite a few bits from the Paris inspired Tonic Studio and Dovecraft ranges because I just like the romantic, subtle coloured theme as well as having a thing about the Eiffel Tower at the moment …….
IMG_2518I have wanted some rub on transfers for glass pendant decorations for ages, so the Tonic Studio Parisian Transfers for just 25p per pack were a no brainer.
I ordered several packets of pockets and doilies, again at just 25p a pack plus some washi tape, thinking perhaps about making scrapbooks with/for Iris and Bertie.  At the moment Iris is obsessed with making at least one card a day for one of her toys, Kermit, Elmo, as well as various relatives, and at 25p a pop I can afford for her to use all the pretty things her heart desires!  The chipboard alphabets were 50p for 39 letters, again something I had been looking for but was being mean when looking at the prices in the shops.
The bows, well I am not really a bow sort of person but thinking of Christmas, and a couple of projects I have done recently, like my craft stick fairies, I think they could come in useful.  The chunky silver gem ribbon comes from Marc and I bouncing ideas off each other. I think the individual hard plastic hearts and butterflies will get cut up to use individually and some used on a jewelled mirror I have in mind.
IMG_2466I have not featured all the items I ordered, however a bargain is only a bargain when you actually use them ……. so I had better crack on!!!http://www.everycraftsapound.co.uk/