Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Recycled Glass Vases and Bowls - Garden Toadstools/Mushrooms

This picture came up on my facebook feed a while back and I just feel in love with the idea .........
....... they are toadstools/mushrooms made using old clear vases, bottles and bowls, they are soooooooo pretty with an ethereal fairy like quality.
I immediately shared the pictures with Marc as I could just see a little cluster of them in the garden of Marc and Ricks cottage in Worcester and he was hooked too.
So, that's sorted out all our charity shop shopping and carboot sale moochings for the next few months as we're off making a few fairy circles of our own!

Monday, 30 March 2020

Halloween Truck - Part 2 - Hmmmmmmmm

To be honest, I am not 100% with how my Halloween truck has come together at this precise moment, but, I am not trying to be too hard on myself as it's very early days!

The truck painted up really well using black acrylic paint from Hobbycraftt (£1.60), but on closer inspection it could do with another coat at some stage during the process, then I am wondering whether the paint could then take a couple of coats of clear, gloss varnish (?).
It was the drawers that I am, at present, disappointed with, but fortunately I have only done one side of the truck (12 so far) so I think I can get things right on the other.
I decided, not only to cover the front of the drawers but also line the inside front and back with the same Halloween themed papers and that worked well........
....... until I went on to colour the edges with a black Sharpie pen and then the sides with a thick felt pen ...... resulting in fingerprints all over the shop ........ agghh, now I know I am not the neatest of workers, but I was sooooo cross with myself.
I am going to cover the inky ones again, despite in some eyes the fingerprints adding an extra spooky element to them. The plan is to then add further embellishment, which would probably cover all manner of blemishes, but I know if the tiniest bit of ink is still visible, my eye would be drawn to that rather than the overall effect!! 
Now when I tackle the drawers on other side I need to get all the colouring done first and then allow the ink to really soak in and dry for a day or two, before doing the fronts, well, that's the theory anyway.  As I say, it's very early days in this project, there is a long, long way to go yet! 

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Charity Shop Bargain Label Maker

You know how much I love a label maker ...... well, I found this one for just 50p in my favourite Evesham charity shop, the one that sells things at realistic prices.
At 50p it was well worth a pop ....... and did not disappoint!
The first print was a bit cloudy along the top and bottom of the label, but it just needed me to a line the tape a little more accurately which then adjusted the pressure ....... for perfect results.
I bought a real Junior Dymo label maker a while ago for £2.50, it wasn't so much the machine that I was interested in, but the twenty or so unused reels of spare tape it came with, which are really quite pricey to buy.
I think this one will  end up in Iris's craft drawers after a lesson on how to use it with a couple of spare tapes .......a most excellent purchase!

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Easter Bunny Bags

We only had a couple of days warning that schools would be closing indefinitely from last Friday because of coronavirus.  The sadness was that at the same time Bertie would be saying a last farewell to all his nursery staff and Iris to her beloved Mrs Packer.
I couldn't cobble much together at such short notice but I did risk a very fast, gloved and sanitized visit to Lidl at the end of the day, when it tends to be quieter, to pick up some Easter chocolates, which spookily hadn't been deemed essential enough to be worthy of stockpiling! 
I got six pots, two each of twenty five lambs, chicks and bunnies for, I think £1.99, but don't quote me on that.
I already had two packs of ten pink bunny bags, bought at Christmas from the Flying Tiger reduced section for £1 each. I saw them and thought how cute they were and knew if I had an inkling of an idea as to how I could use them, I needed to get them there and then as I probably wouldn't be able to find anything like them at Easter.
The bows were made from ribbon were left over from Tom and Laura's wedding, yes, they are still going strong, seven years on!
I simply put a mix of ten chocolates in each bag, tied the ribbon round the bunnies ears and then added a punched tag to say Happy Easter from Bertie/Iris.  I don't think either of them appreciated the full impact of what they were doing as they excitedly handed them out amidst huge smiles and giggles, but nanny for one shed a few of tears then and when she got home.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Staying At Home ........

These are truly unprecedented and uncertain times, which is why I decided to delete my last post re: my pooped mojo, what a twonk!!!
As the coronavirus surge gathers pace in the UK  I want to scream ".... for goodness sake people, this is for real!", I just feel that some people can't see what is heading our way beyond the need to stockpile. What's with all the loo roll?
For Iris and Bertie school has now closed, which was heartbreaking to witness. How do you explain that there's no school, no swimming, no Rainbows and no dancing etc. etc. for a long long time? Tom and Laura will be taking over the childcare between them, leaving me to #StayHome and be safe.  Thank goodness for video calls! As a result I will not be venturing out again unless absolutely necessary and at the moment I can't imagine what that would possibly be for, then if/when we go into lockdown, Lu (who is now working from home) is all packed and ready to come down to me the second it's announced.
Marc (and Rick), you'll be glad to know are safe at the Worcester Cottage, which is wonderfully isolated, the thought of Marc being in London terrified me. Our usual Eurovision weekend, when we also celebrate Marc's birthday is obviously cancelled but we will be in contact all the time.
So ....... I have no excuse not to post now, with at least 12 weeks in front of me, I need to keep my body and mind active and absorbed, goodness only knows what I will be posting, a bit of everything I expect ........ but I will be here ...... and so will The Monkeys on my other channel ...... 

Monday, 16 March 2020

Another Project - Spooky Halloween Truck With Drawers

Sorry, this is yet another project that I will probably carry over several weeks/months because I don't really want to do it in all in one go as some bit's will need to dry properly and I also think I may need some thinking time between stages, as I develop idea and in turn need to source one or two extra embellishments, so please bear with me.
Marc gave me this wonderful Advent truck when I saw him last a few weeks ago ........
..... originally from Aldi a couple of years back and costing around £10 at the time, I know he bought several up when they were reduced to half price after that Christmas, thinking that we could "do" something a little more elaborate with them.
They are wooden and really solidly made, however, not that it really matters, the wheels don't actually go round.
After thanking Marc profusely we got to thinking where to take the idea and within a minute or two I came up with a Halloween theme, replacing Santa with a skeleton and that's where I left it until I got it home.  Before I could really do anything I needed to make sure I could easily remove Santa from the driving seat and the drawers from the back and then see if the knobs could be taken out too without causing any/much damage, as my plan was to cover the drawer fronts with Halloween papers and going round said knobs could be a trifle tricky.
My worries were soon allied when they all popped out like a dream. I covered one drawer front with an appropriate paper, colouring over all the red paintwork edges with a black Sharpie pen before replacing the knob, which, for now I have left gold.
Then just to add some extra fiddle fart and attention to detail I glued another piece of matching paper to the inside, which in turn hide the back of the knob.
So far so good!  All drawers will be varnished, several times and some may be embellished a little bit more ...... but the next stage is to paint the truck black using an acrylic paint (Hobbycraft £1.60) ... after which I hope to get a better feel of where to go from there.

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Insects Of Desire

I love a bejewelled insect ..........
As soon as I spotted these two at Evesham Garden Centre up at The Valley, Evesham, I could just see them in an Ikea Ribba box frame on a black velvet background.  Then I wondeed how easy it would be to snip off the metal ring that they hang by because  I knew, if framed, if not removed it would irritate the life out of me!  I could also see them hanging from a door handle ..... and as for on a Christmas tree, stunning!
As I am on a minimal spend this year, they were much admired, but at £8 each I knew I didn't really "need" them, however, I thought I might start scouring Poundland or other bargain stores to see if I can find any large plastic insects that I could perhaps spray gold and embellish instead!

Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Iris's Foam Christmas Card (The Works)

I bought these foam cards from The Works ready for Christmas 2018 when they were buy one get one free, so they actually worked out at 50p each. Sadly, time was against us and they never got done, but just before Christmas 2019 Iris found the pack in my craft drawers and naturally wanted to make one.

I have to say, I was impressed, the instructions were very easy for her (and me) to follow and as the shapes were self adhesive and just had be pushed out of the foam there was no need for scissors or glue.
I suppose the only guidance Iris really needed was threading the ribbon through the top of the card.
I'll be honest I wasn't expecting such good results after using other cheap craft packs where pieces have been  missing, the instructions confusing or fiddly pieces needing to be cut and one false snip and they are ruined ...... so for just 50p for a good hour of one to one Nanny time with much concentration, creativity and fun ........... priceless!

The Works often carry the same or similar seasonal stock for several years, I know these were available in 2019, so if I saw them again, on offer, I could be tempted as I can also now see how the pieces could also be used on a card blank with good effect, leaving you with two sheets of decent red foam for other projects ........ hmmmmm.

Monday, 9 March 2020

Wooden Toy Christmas Wreath

I saw the idea for vintage wooden toy wreaths on Pinterest and just loved them, and set my heart on making one, although the prospect did daunt me.
I had a small collection of vintage wooden toy decorations picked up in various charity shops over the past couple of years but wasn't sure if I had enough to complete a wreath, it was touch and go for a while, but after searching every single nook and cranny of my crafty drawers and cupboards I just about managed it.
I started off using a card ring that I have had for ages and simply covered it with a gold lame ribbon that came with the Christmas hamper Marc sent me for Christmas, gluing it in place with my glue gun.
It looks OK from the front but because it was just a tad short, the back is a bit dodgy, but there again, no one is ever going to see the back but me.
I also used my glue gun to attach all the wooden bits and pieces, sorry no pictures of a work in progress until the very last part because I was sooooooooo engrossed in what I was doing.  To fill in the gaps round the edges I used small, bottle brush trees  (The Works) 
It was when I got to the stage (above) that I needed to search high and low for bits to fill the last small gaps. So far it had cost me nothing to put together as I already had everything in my stash and to stumble at the last hurdle to either look for (and buy) something on eBay or even worse, leave the project unfinished until the months running up to Christmas to see what I could find in charity shops ....... that, I was determined wasn't going to happen!
So in the end, not everything I used was wooden, or vintage, but it still works. Small, wooden, flat backed teddies and resin Santa's and snowmen helped to add layers and fill the gaps.
I need to alter the string on the back ever so slightly so that it hangs a little more to the left using the yellow figure at the top as my guide, but that's me being ultra picky.
If I see any more tiny wooden/resin flatbacks I might be tempted to add a few more.  Initially I was also tempted to add a few beads and stars to the bottle brush trees, but I know I must resist the temptation as that would really over egg the pudding, as well as spoiling the vintage feel/look I was looking for.

I wouldn't mind repeating the idea, so if I find anymore similar wooden decs. on my charity shop travels and they are going for a song, well, it would be rude not to buy them wouldn't it?

Wednesday, 4 March 2020

The Crafty Adventures Of Sam's Study - Cabinet 5 and Ladder

To be honest I was dreading putting this Cabinet 5 bookcase together ..........
........ but I have to say it all slotted together very easily ........
....... with very little gluing ........ if only every piece was that easy!
The stepladder wasn't too bad either, despite my reservations.
The only fiddly bits were the two small slates ........
....... that fit on the back ........
........ and needed to be held into position for a minute or two to stop them from slipping.
Please excuse the gratuitous glue shots, I promise all trace will be removed when everything is finally put together!!

I think I got away very lightly with these two pieces ...... having looked ahead at the instruction manual, I am not so sure it will be such plain sailing with the next three!

Tuesday, 3 March 2020

A Rainbow Jumper For Bertie

I have started knitting again! Well, I have just completed the back of a jumper so far.
Bertie loves wearing bright colours and said he'd like a rainbow jumper, so I decided to take the plunge. The pictures (above and below) don't do the colours justice, as the dark blue is actually purple and the cream, lemon.  About 30 odd years ago, when Tom and Lu were small, I was never without some knitting on the go, but as they grew up hand knits weren't what they wanted to wear, so I started crafting. However I kept my knitting bag, needles etc. until I moved to Evesham when I gave them all to a charity shop along with all my patterns .........
......... except for my hand knitted by Helen Geddes labels and two 1950s patterns, that were knit for me and my brothers way back when (the cross over neck style) and then I knitted, after tracking the pattern down on e-bay for Tom. It was so easy to knit and sew up and looked so stylish and just a bit different. I might even knit another for Master Bertie yet.
I bought the 100 gram balls of wool from the Crafters Companion store  up at The Valley, just outside Evesham.  It cost £1.99 per ball.  I cadged the knitting needles of other Granny Denise.  However, if I decide I still rather like knitting there is a charity shop in Evesham that has hundreds for just 20p a pair.
The pattern is also from Granny Denise and is as old as the Lovely Laura, in fact I am pretty sure I had the same pattern which I used adapt for my two, using my own designs rather than Thomas.

Hopefully this project won't take me too long to complete, though I have to admit it's not entirely been plain sailing with quite a few dropped stitches needing to be picked up plus a few rows having to be undone and reworked ........ so watch this space.