Thursday, 23 September 2010

White Christmas

I have my first few Christmas Sale parties booked and am now busy trying to make a load of stuff to sell at them.

As well as some of my old favourites I like to add new things every year as I see a lot of the same faces every year and if I'm selling the same stuff all the time then naturally, they'll probably stop coming.

So I've made quite a few ornaments from china clay.
I've used this clay before to make buttons adorning dresses of angels that I also make to sell at Christmas.

I've stamped images onto the clay before but this time stamped Christmas sayings. 

As well as the big tree we have at Christmas which the children help to decorate I always like to have a small one which usually has white decorations on it and lots of mercury glass candle holders all around.

Lily made a little heart and stamped her name on it.

We are going to make a ton of these with her friends names on to use as gift tags to hang on their presents this Christmas - they can then hang them on their trees and they can even stay out after Christmas in their rooms.  I think they will add a nice touch to the presents.


Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Coffee sack pillows (the cheats version)

A while ago I managed to get hold of a load of coffee sacks.

I was really excited as I wanted to make pillows out of them.

Unfortunately when they arrived they were pretty grubby and the burlap was such a loose weave that they wouldn't have made very good pillows.

I've seen so many pillows made from great coffee sacks that I decided to make some of my own 'replica' coffee sack pillows.

I found some coffee sack images I liked online and altered them to suit my taste then made stencils from freezer paper.

I bought dark brown fabric paint but it was too light so I mixed it with black paint to make the right shade of brown.

I think I should possibly have made the paint a bit more smudgey and faded in areas to make them look more authentic and more like real coffee sacks but even so, I'm still really pleased with how they turned out.

Now I need to decide what to do with the 20 yucky coffee sacks I have up my attic!


Saturday, 18 September 2010

Brightening up a little corner

I've been off work with my son most of this week and as his activity has been limited he has been watching a lot of TV.  I'm sorry but there is only so much of The Suite Life or Hannah Montana that I can take so I ended up removing everything from my shelves and worktops in the kitchen and moving things around, getting rid of character cups my kids no longer use (actually they've been put in the shed for me to mix paint up in as I tend to use anything for this purpose) and having a general sort out.  My kitchen now looks clean and fresh and it almost feels like a new kitchen - I'll post a few photo's soon.

Anyway, last night my daughter was at a Camp Rock 2 slumber party and my son had gone to his best friends (his first time out since his operation) and my husband was watching fishing on TV (big yawn!) so I got to playing with a little spot in my kids little lounge that I hate and never know what to do with.

It's just to the side of the doorway and I usually have a magazine rack there that my husband made me so I moved that into my study area.  Also on this wall is a small hole where we had to put cable through to be able to use the computer in this room and I've never found anything to cover this hole which really bugs me.

My husband often hoards pieces of wood we may one day find some use for around the side of the house and a while ago I came across this old door.  It was from a little wooden playhouse we had bought second hand for my daughter but it was always really hot in there and full of spiders so she hardly used it.  My husband dismantled it and got rid of most of the wood, a lot of which was rotten, but kept the door.  I have been using it, propped up against my fence, to hang some things I've been making to sell and taking photo's of them hanging on this door as I like the shabbiness of the wood.

'Re-styling' my kitchen spurred me on to have a little go at this area so I propped the door up against the wall with the hole!  Moved my little table to this side of the room - it was opposite on the other side of the sofa.  Added a favourite basket which gets moved from room to room as it quite often gets in the way and added a blanket - the nights are getting colder so I always keep a few throws to hand to cwtch up under in the winter.

I did try a twig heart on the door but it was too much brown/cream in one space so I hung a little heart made from one of my favourite Cabbages and Roses fabrics, Hatley.

On the table is a lamp I've had for years (I actually have two of these), a little heart shaped bowl I bought in France a few years ago and some printers blocks with a J on for our surname which I bought about 15 years ago when we lived in London. 

No doubt this room will continue to evolve until I find a look I'm totally happy with but that is likely to involve changing the sofa and having a TV unit made (or having a go at this myself) and getting a new TV ...

For now I'm happy with the fresh look this little change has given this small space and besides the fact that it cost me nothing the best part is the hole in the wall is gone!


I'm linking this up to Funky Junk Interior's Saturday Night Special

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Brave Soldier and the Drama Queen

This is my baby boy.
He is 12 and a half and the happiest, most easy going kid ever (he takes after his father - his sister, bless her heart, takes after her mother and is a drama queen in training).
Less than 24 hours ago Seth had surgery.

This is him now, 24 hours after having an operation to repair a hernia.

For the last few weeks I have barely slept, kept nurofen and paracetamol sales sky rocketing and for some reason have been buying more toilet paper than normal.

I have been so worried and anxious about Seth's operation that I've been neurotic.  I like to fool myself that all mothers who love their kids are neurotic (believe me, in my job I see a ton of kids whose parents aren't interested in them at all).  In reality I know I'm just a nut job who worries too much!

I have an extremely overactive imagination and a sometimes unbearable amount of love for my children (I am actually tearing up with relief just writing this).  These two things turn me into a drama queen.  The anaesthetist commented on how relaxed I looked yesterday - he quickly added that he was being sarcastic and took me outside the room for a chat to reassure me.

Anyway, my brave boy went off to theatre (with his father, of course) completely calm and relaxed and after all my nonsense the operation went without a hitch.

Seth was overjoyed at his brave boy presents - a load of chocolate, The Spy Next Door DVD, WWE armbands, an i-phone (which he has wanted for ages but I refused point blankly!) and the best present of all - a really cool scar!

Sorry for the really gross picture but he is very proud of this.  When the nurse took his dressing off this morning he asked her to give him a minute before she put a new one on so he could take a photo to text to all his friends in school - sick!


By the way I know an i-phone is quite extravagant for such a young child but surgery is such a horrible thing for a child to go through and I'm so proud of how brave he has been (plus I got a good deal).  I also know that he will really look after it.  He was the last of his friends to get a phone and I only agreed to it then as a lot of his friends live in the next village and I never used to let him go and see them.  My husband told me to stop over protecting him so I let him go and got him a phone so that I would always know where he was.  Since then his phone has been looked after and is always fully charged - all of his friends have broken several (one is on his 5th phone!) by dropping them on the ground or down the loo, leaving them in trousers and them ending up in the washing machine...  Seth's is as immaculate now as it was the day he had it.

To be honest I'm so glad his ordeal is over that I'd have bought him anything!

See - I told you I was a Drama Queen!


Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Atlantic Shipping painted sign

Having made a pillow for Lily the other day I decided to make something for Seth's room.
We've had the most torrential rain here for the last few days so my husband couldn't go outside to cut me some wood - I admit it - I'm scared of power tools!  I am thinking of buying myself a jigsaw though so I may well overcome this phobia.

Anyway someone had ordered a wooden sign from me and I had some lengths of wood cut at the Timber Merchants.

So with one of the spare pieces I thought I would make him a sign for his room.

As much as American's seem to adore anything with a European feel to it (particularly French) we Brits have a passion for anything which seems remotely American.

I played around with words and initially printed off NANTUCKET but it was too short for the piece of wood so I decided on ATLANTIC SHIPPING as it had a nice look and sound to it.

Before I even started on the lettering I mixed some black and red paint to make a browny shade and painted this randomly onto my piece of wood.  I then sanded it back and painted over it in white three times each time sanding lightly in between and sanding a lot on the areas where the brown paint was so that it would show through.

I then scribbled over the back of the paper I had printed off and taped it, right side up, onto the painted wood.

I then traced around the edge of each letter and removed the paper so that an outline of the letters was seen on the wood.


I then 'cheated' by going over this with a Sharpie marker pen (is this cheating?  Do the professionals do this or would they turn their noses up at my amateurishness?!  Is that even a word?!)

Then came the hard part - painting each letter with a tiny brush with black paint.

I've realised that as creative as I like to think I am :) detailed painting definitely does not come naturally to me.  Maybe it's because it was around 11.30pm or that I was listening to Deadliest Catch on the TV and kept getting up to watch bits or that I'm just crap at detailed painting, however I found this really hard to do.

The letters in shipping are slightly thicker and closer together than the ones in Atlantic - I was obviously very tired then and just wanted to get it finished!

My P's are a bit squiff!

But my son loved it when I showed it to him and couldn't believe I was giving it to him and not selling it!

I hasten to add I do give my kids stuff but lately I've been really busy building up stock so it's all gone away in boxes - my kids aren't deprived, honestly!

This was quite an easy project to do and for someone who has a steadier hand than me you could really come up with something pretty cool.

I don't know whether to try and paint the letters in Atlantic a bit thicker so they look more like the Shipping or just to leave it as it is and pretend it was painted by some old signwriter with a drink problem or a gammy eye!

What would you do?


Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Monogrammed grain sack pillow

Like so many of you I love grain sacks but so far have only bought the ones without letters stitched on either side of the stripes.

I eventually hope to include some with letters to my growing stock as they look so gorgeous - see the one below in Maria's gorgeous bedroom.

image from Dreamy Whites

I recently found some gorgeous canvas which is very much like grain sack in texture and colour so have been making a pile of pillows / cushions out of this.

Last night I decided to try my hand at adding monogrammed letters either side of the stripes.  I chose my daughter's initials for her first and middle name - L and M for Lily Manon (I know Manon is unusual - it's Welsh - both my children have Welsh middle names and my son chose Lily's middle name when I was pregnant).

Using freezer paper (of course!  I'm obsessed with this stuff) I typed out an L and an M in the same kind of font that is often found on original grain sacks - taped these over freezer paper and cut through both layers.  Ironed the paper onto my fabric either side of the stripes and dabbed with red fabric paint.  I then set this with a hot iron so it can be washed and washed!  Hopefully it will fade and age a bit with age.

I think it's a really good way of getting the look of a monogrammed grain sack without the price and you're guaranteed to get the initials you want!

These are available to order from my etsy shop.
(Sorry for the shameless plugging of my etsy shop but I'm saving for next year's holiday!)


Sunday, 5 September 2010

A little facelift (for my sofas)

I've been so consumed with crafting recently that my house has been neglected and looks like a bombsite a lot of the time.

After making a ton of pillows for other people I decided it was time to do some for me.

The old pillows on our sofas were a mixed bag - a tapestry one from Laura Ashley that I had had for years and gone off a long time ago (so I sold those on ebay), some other damask ones and some cream linen ones which were made for us when we had the sofas recovered a few years ago.

I found some gorgeous cotton canvas recently which really looks like a cross between linen and grain sack and have made some cushions out of this to sell on etsy but went back and got a load more of this fabric on Friday just for me.

I wanted grain sacks without the price, so using masking tape (tip - I have found that when painting stripes on fabric using masking tape is easier to position that freezer paper and works just as well) I taped off some lines for painting.

After dabbing lightly with a stencil brush I ripped off the tape and voila!

I wanted a large pillow down the middle of my big sofa rather than loads of smaller ones so bought a bolster pillow - this is really comfortable to sit on and my sofa is extra deep so there is still plenty of room for bottoms!

I used a 30cm x 60cm pillow for the smaller sofa but may get another bolster for here too - I'm going to live with it for a bit and then decide.

The only thing is I think I made the sofas too comfortable now - this is my husband this lunchtime!