Thursday, 10 October 2019

Heads Up - Small Dolls For Crafting?

Just a heads up today featuring some tiny little dolls I found on Amazon that am particularly chuffed with. As soon as I saw them I thought they would be so cute for simple Christmas makes including putting one or two together in a shadow box/frame, with a suitably festive background scene.  Whether I will get round to it this year I don't know, but I think they're an "interesting" find/addition to my craft stash. 
They cost just £1.69 for 5 dolls, plus 50p P & P (from China), which works out at approx. 44p each, and unbelievably they arrived within 13 days of my ordering them when, to be honest, I wasn't expecting them for a month or so.
They came with a cell phone cord attachment embedded in their heads (painful) but these were very easily removed as their hats are only attached at the back.  I think when I eventually come to craft with them I will glue said hats completely to their heads using  PVA, to make sure they don't come off in the passage of time.
Obviously I can't/won't recommend them as toys ........
........ but thinking of Christmas crafting I can already see them in a diorama .......
........ inside a bauble or stuck on a decorated wooden shape to hang on the tree ........ we shall see.  

I am also waiting for some tiny teddy bears (e-bay) that I am hoping will fit in a matchbox,  as another Christmas tree decoration or present tag.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

First Day Back At Nursery Card

This card measures 6ins x 6ins and uses a pre-scored, manufactured card blank.
I made this card to mark Bertie's first day in his new nursery class in September. which, as you would have it, is called "Chestnuts".
As chestnut embellishments are a little hard, if nigh on impossible to find I thought adding busy bees  instead would be acceptable, especially as he is a busy little bee!  The bees came from a pack of 3D, self adhesive embellishments from Poundland,  I pimped them up by giving them googly eyes, glittery wings and a touch of Ranger Glossy Accents on their bodies.
The centre panel is mat and layered on green and silver card with a little faux stitching using a black fine liner pen. The letters are self adhesive card, which I believe came from B & M Bargains.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Doing Up My Vintage 50's 60s Convex Metal Mirrors

As you know I have always had a thing about 50/60's decorative convex metal mirrors, goodness only knows why. 
I know nothing of their history but reckon they were a cheap and cheerful Woolies sort of thing in their day, but I could be wrong????
Anyway, I found a black and gold ivy leaf one (above) at the Malvern Flea Event a couple of months back for just £4.50 ........
....... quickly followed by, at the same event, by the one above for £3.50.  It was in a filthy condition, originally cream, it had been painted, very badly with some sort of gold paint, but I thought it was worth a punt at the price.  The asking price for similar mirrors on-line is way out of my league, especially when, due to their weight and size, they are generally sold as collect only, so I was a happy bunny. 
This final black mirror was another £10 from a Heart Foundation charity shop in Llandudno, in excellent condition and still a pretty reasonable price, in my head I have always said I would never go over the £12 mark, unless it was something I thought was exceptional like a multi-coloured version.
Once home, with the mirrors carefully removed from the frames, the first thing that hit me was that the chains and hanging fixings were all in different positions, therefore in order for them to hang level in a line, said fixings would have to be removed and replaced with U shaped staples, using a staple gun. I spent ages carefully measuring and prayed I have got them just about right.  Then I attached the picture hanging wire which should be pretty secure.
Then came the time to start spray painting them in white .......
...... this took quite a few coats, so what I saved on the actual mirrors, I spent in paint! 
The mirror that was painted gold was the hardest to cover because, to start with, the spray paint simply ran off it, but I got there in the end.
When I'd done all I could do I then had to wait awhile for Trevor, my gentleman painter to work his magic, turning a my boudoir from boring beige to a wonderful Mediterranean blue!
The boy done good ........ and within minutes of his leaving I was putting doze dem dare mirrors up. You wouldn't believe how much I'd been fretting that I wouldn't be able to get them all level and evenly placed along the wall only for the wires to snap within seconds of me hanging them.
Let's just say that the wall is now peppered with one or two extra nail holes ........ BUT all told, I reckon it took me about forty minutes to get the mirrors in line ....... and I am feeling pretty chuffed.  On the bed I have new, quite fancy layered Broderie Anglaise bedding, but to be honest it all looks rather flat and uninspiring in the pictures. I think I need another three smaller cushions to add another layer and fill things out/up, I just don't know what on earth to look for ...... more Broderie Anglais?   

Monday, 7 October 2019

Further Adventures into Making A Christmas Snowman Diorama

This is my second exploration into the world of making Christmas diorama's with a few small changes following on from the original one I posted last week.
After discovering that I only had two trays (originally used as packaging for small wooden embellishments) with which to make any more (I could have sworn I had at least ten in my box) I needed to think on my feet, so I looked in the box again and had a think about these divided ones....... 
...... far too big to be cute, but, what if I tried cutting them, it would mean sacrificing two compartments, but in turn would give me two more complete diorama trays? I tried, it worked and now gave me the potential to make another ten dioramas, which is probably more than enough for this year, so win win I guess.
My idea was to use the shorter sides of the tray as the top and bottom of the scene, the opposite of my original diorama, this, I reasoned, would alleviate the need for so much fiddle fart when creating the  background scene between the tree and the snowman. I made a new fatter and taller snowman, again using Das oven baked clay as the new tray was also slightly bigger than the original. With this version I again used twisted black wire for his arms, however, I plan, with my next version (??) to use some small dried twigs that I'd forgotten I had, to make the snowmen look a more realistic (??).  

Then, I discovered that I also fewer larger trees than I thought ...... doh! However, a quick search on The Works website bought up these packs of two 10cm bottle brush trees.
When they arrived they were taller than the original one I used, but by removing the base, and sinking the bare wire into the foam dough snow it just about fit the frame and I thought I could simply add the star to the top of the snowy "pelmet" instead of the actual tree.
I lined the back of the tray with a scrap of Christmas design paper, to be honest the design didn't really matter as it would be pretty much covered in the finished diorama.
I covered the bottom with Martha Stewart craft clay, that has a foam type consistency. However, my supply is also liable to run out too (when I go into mass production) so I ordered a huge tub of White Air Magic Soft Modelling Dough from e-bay, as I know I will definitely find other Christmas projects to use it with, as well as being an lovely medium for Iris and Bertie to play/create with.
I added the tree, fixing it in position securely with E600 glue. I didn't fix the snowman in position until I was sure that the "Let It Snow" wording, using Tim Holtz Idea-ology label letters, would be clearly visible between the two, this took a little fiddly jiggery pokery.
The "Believe" plaque was a wooden embellishment I trimmed down and used the back to write on, but in my next version of the idea I intend to use the scraps from the cut up tray instead and use a black Biro on it so that the lettering won't bleed into the wood.

I originally used Dovecraft 3D pearl on the "pelmet" and around the edges and bottom of my first diorama but swopped it for 3D Effect Snow which  I found online, it doesn't flow as smoothly as the Dovecraft and has a weird gritty type texture, but it does look more realistic.
All that was then left to do was add all the fiddle farty bits, stars, baubles, eyes and buttons etc., however  I decided to replace the small snowflakes in the corners for holly and berries because amongst the snow they seemed to disappear.
Again, I am pretty happy with the results, I think I am now ready to go into mass production ..... so watch this space!

Friday, 4 October 2019

Halloween Bedding ......If Money Was No Object!

As I have said I am having an extra special sleepover for Iris and Bertie this Halloween, something, in the hope of making special memories to last a lifetime.
When I was a child, all those years ago, Halloween didn't exist, we had Bonfire Night on 5th November with a penny for the guy, Standard's fireworks, bonfires, toffee apples and baked potatoes.  These days that all seems to have fallen by the wayside in favour of Halloween and Trick or Treat, which has gradually crept in from when my children were small in the 1980's to what it is now (and still growing) but to be honest really isn't a patch on what they do in the US!
However, I will be trying to set the scene at The Towers in some small way, with thanks to Poundland and a few other places ........ but if money were no object, I would definitely dress the beds, like in the pictures above and below .......
........ but for just one week, at the most, I just can't justify the cost, even if I ordered from China they would be still a little too expensive for me, however I am not ruling it out for another year. I save 1p, 2p and 5p's in a Poundland money pot .......perhaps by next summer (well in advance to order from foreign climes) I will have collected enough for an very extravagant and rash purchase?????
In the meantime, I have splashed out on four cushion covers for the beds which cost me just £4.58 in total, with free P & P .......
.......so less than my Monday chai latte and slice of cake when I go in to town.  The downside is that I had to order them at the end of August in order for them to hopefully arrive by mid October (taking around six weeks), but I am sure they will have the desired effect on the day.

Post Script ........

My cushion covers arrived (on 30th September, so with plenty of time to spare) and I am really chuffed with them.  They are made from polyester, measure 18ins square with a zip fastener and at approximately £1.18 each I cannot fault them for the money, especially as I have a feeling they will be around for many Halloweens to come.

They will go on the sofa during the day, but before I go to bed I will hid a little spooky something behind each one, telling Iris and Bertie in the morning to have a good look around to see if the Magic Pumpkin has left them something in the night and just watch their excited little faces as they search ........ happy days!

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Iris's Harry Potter Spell Bottles

Iris's latest bedtime story has been her first Harry Potter book, a present for her birthday from her Great Uncle Iain, it has had a profound effect on her. So when she found these little brown bottles (The Works) in my crafting drawers, straight away, with that look of creative excitement in her eyes,  she said that they were just perfect for making Harry Potter Spell bottles with.
She then proceeded to rifle through every drawer, box, bottle and tub finding all manner of tiny things to put in them, googly eyes, beads, buttons, charms etc.
Next, she wanted to put a label on each one.  I suggested a self adhesive label which she was very happy to go along with. I just love her innocent spellings, they bring a tear to my eye, every time I look at them. 
She also knew she wanted to put a key on the bottles, fiercely independent, I was allowed to do this for her, as she said didn't know how, but I think she will for next time. She also found a wooden tray to put them in (a tantalus??) and liked the suggestion of putting some paper of magical letters in the bottom/back of it.  I did the cutting to size while she spread the glue.  

She took it all home with her to sit on her bedroom shelves, but I really, really need a set of my own now, to perhaps even frame in a shadow box. I am hoping next time she is here for the day I can persuade her to make me one, with the promise that it will be my very special treasure too.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Spooky Spider Halloween Card

This card measures 6ins x 6ins and is made using a pre-scored, manufactured card blank.
Following on from yesterday's card this is the Halloween idea that sprang into my head as I was looking back at the pictures.
I used the same background paper and frame as before, but painted the frame orange before covering it with a layer of Glossy Accents. I really need to look out for some more of these frames (The Works) as their size makes them so versatile for all sorts of other cards.
Again, I coloured the letters with a black Sharpie pen, followed by a layer of Glossy Accents to make them really pop. The printed words were made using my very old, original Dymo label maker.
The spiders were in a bag of confetti bits found in a charity shop, but adding two thick layers of Glossy Accents to their bodies gave them much more dimension and defination, and the two tiny silver gem eyes helped them take on a completely different character and prescence.
The spider webs were hand drawn using a black fine liner pen.  All that was needed then to complete the design was a scattering of three dot clusters and silver stars.  I am so pleased with how it turned out, even better than in my head!

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Contemporary First Wedding Anniversary Card

This card measures 6ins x 6ins and is made using a manufactured pre-scored card blank.
This card was made for my nephew Joe and his wife Amanda's first wedding anniversary ...... where has that year gone?  They are a very modern, no fuss couple so I wanted to make a card that reflected that.
I simply took a pre-scored card and covered the front with a paper that went with the black and white theme I had chosen to use.  I painted the Kraft card frame (The Works) white .....
..... coloured the wooden letters with a black Sharpie pen and then added a layer of Ranger Glossy Accents to make them pop and printed the sentiment using my trusty, original Dymo label maker.
When everything was dry I put all the pieces together.
The final touches came from adding some tiny, silver, nail art hearts and a scattering of three dots here and there using a black fine liner pen.

I like it, but it is a little unusual, which is probably why it has had me thinking about Halloween ...... I think by using the same components, but replacing the number for letters that spell BOO, painting the frame orange and adding a tiny spider or two here and there  .......... I could possibly have a Halloween card?????

Monday, 30 September 2019

Christmas Snowman Dioroma

I think this is what you call a diorama????  I have seen them so may times on Pinterest but never thought I could ever be able to make one until recently.
I was looking through my box of saved wooden trays (the sort embellishments come in) and wondered what I could do with them and then I thought diorama.  I did a little "pinning" and finally felt brave enough to tackle one! 
I started by covering the back of a tray with suitable festive paper, the proportions of which I thought would go with the size of bottle brush tree I planned to use and the snowman I was going to make.
I used Martha Stewart paper clay to hold the tree in position, with a good dollop of glue and added some white glitter card to act as a snowy background.  This, at the time was all very much on the hoof.
I then built up the background "scene" using scraps of other Christmas papers ..........
........ plus tiny stickers that I already had.  In the end I decided not to use the "believe" embellishment as the snowman's hat I made later covered part of it up.  
I replaced it with "Let it Snow" using letters taken from a Tim Holtz Idea-ology Label Letters pad.
I trimmed the bristles on the back of the bottle brush tree so that it would fit and lay flat against the back of the decorated tray and then decorated it with flat back gems and an iridescent flat back star on the top.
I then added a pelmet to the top of the tray using a scrap of card, which I proceeded to cover with several layers of Dovecraft 3D Pearl Effects (£1 Poundland) and small, plastic snowflakes in the corners.

White iridescent micro glitter was added to the paper snow along the bottom and little flat back gems to the centre of the snowflakes.
Adding the snowman was the final touch.  My apologies, as I forgot to take pictures of him during the making process, doh! I used white Das baking clay for his body, red for his scarf and black for his hat, keeping things really simple as I am no modeller.  I used black flat back gems for his eyes and buttons, twisted wire for his arms and a cut down 3D paper embellishment for the holly on his hat, after he came out of the oven.

I am really chuffed with how the whole thing turned out. Now I have worked out the best way to make more, that's what I plan to do ...... the white clay and some more Christmas trees are already on order.  Unfortunately I don't have any more trays of the same size ........ but I have an idea, that I am hoping will work, so watch this space ........... for my Christmas dioramas part two!