Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Crochet Bunting

As I mentioned before I've started to experiment a little further with my crochet. After working out how to do circles I started on triangles. I didn't have a pattern so I'm not too sure if it's how your supposed to crochet triangles but it works. I later joined together my triangular experiments with single crochet and made bunting. 

Monday, 17 October 2011

Home Sweet Home

I've been looking out for some of these Children's alphabet blocks for a while and I was lucky enough to find some at the Car Boot yesterday. Yeh!

Featured on Cuteables

I just wanted so say thank you to Lynsey at for featuring my embroidery 'Old flames are dead matches' on her Friday Flickr pics.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Lisa Hannigan's got a new album out

I can't believe I didn't know this but just discovered Lisa Hannigan has a new album out. Yeh! You can download this song A sail from Uk Amazon for free at the moment. As soon as I have some pocket money I'll be getting the album. I loved her last one Sea Sew, she has such a stunning voice.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

I love Rob Ryan

I love Rob Ryan's work and have been an admirer for quite a while. Here is a short interview from Etsy where he talks about his work and a new book which is available to buy from today. It's a children's book called A Sky Full of Kindness, it's about two birds who become parents for the first time.

Handmade Portraits: Rob Ryan from Etsy on Vimeo.

There is true passion in all of his work and its at a level I think everyone can connect with.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Old flames are dead matches

After I finished my cross stitched deer/stag I wanted to try stitching some text. This is s quote from a British poet / painter David Robilliard. When I was at University one for my coursemates has a postcard of his work with this written on it. I always found it quite funny but have never been able to find my own copy of that postcard. So I thought I would create an homage of that piece.

David Robilliard's work was very simple, he had no formal training but was discovered and promoted by the artists Gilbert and George. 

I've added this to my kitchen wall as I have a bit of a Red, white and Black theme going on in there. 

That framed image is a print I made from a print workshop I took part in quite a while ago. The writing is an old family recipe for yorkshire relish which is a bit like Worcestershire sauce. The recipe has been in my family for at least a couple of generations. I found the hand written recipe at the time of the workshop where we were learning how to do gum arabic printing using photocopies. Something I've never done since as it can be a little messy and you need a fair bit of space.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

My DIY test tube vase

I stained my test tube vase base at the weekend. This piece of wood required a lot of sanding but I love the finished look with the visible wood grain. I used Liberon Tint and Wax in Dark oak. It goes on so easily with a sponge brush and doesn't have a horrible smell either. I've used it before when restoring my singer sewing table. Now all I need is someone to buy me some flowers to fill the vases with!
After the success of my crochet baby blankets my understanding of how crochet works has led me to experiment. As I have already mastered circles I wanted to see what other shapes I could do. Can you guess what I'm going to make out of these triangular shapes? As I still don't understand crochet patterns this was something I made up through playing around.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

How to oxidise a silver chain

Last week I went for a little trip to Tewkesbury to explore and I came back with a little treat for myself. I went to Tewkesbury for lunch to celebrate my sister birthday back in May and I noticed they had a lot of vintage/ antique stores but most of them were closed as it was a Sunday. I'm sure I saw this pendant when I was there in May so when I saw it still there in the same shop I had to buy it. 
As you can see it seems to have oxidised quite a lot over time which I quite like but I didn't have a old chain to go with it so I thought I would age one myself by oxidising it. 
As you can see the shiny new chain doesn't really work with the vintage pendant. 
You will need: A sterling silver chain
                          Plastic Tweezers
                          Ammonium Hydrosulphide
                          Boiling water
                          Kitchen roll
                          Old mug or jar

I bought the Ammonium Hydrosulphide from HS Walsh. Boil the kettle and add about 1 part Ammonium Hydrosulphide to 9 parts water. You only need enough liquid to cover the item your oxidising. Wait about 10 minuets and you should be done. Take out the chain using thr tweezers and rinse under cold running water.
My chain came out a little too black for the look I was going for so I used a silver polishing cloth to take it back to the desired antique-y look I wanted.
 I've already had lots of comments on my new / old necklace. I glad I gave it a new home.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Dinner for two

Finished my crochet circle. I thought I would make it a friend just to make sure I could remember how I did it and success, dinner for two! Can you spot my dinner guest in the background,  where's Wall.E! (I apologise!)

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Some new old music

I seem to be on a constant journey of discovery when it comes to music. I don't care where and when it was written as long as I like it. However I'm always surprised when I love music that was written before I was even born.
Nick Drake made some beautiful music, Riverman and Pink moon especially.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Test Tube Vase

This is currently work in progress but thought I would share what I've been up to today. I bought a couple of test tubes at a car boot sale last week and I wanted to make a base so I could use them as stem vases. 
I was invited round to my sisters for dinner today and my brother in-law has a pillar drill he said I could have a play with. So, will a little assistance from him setting it up I was able to drill two holes into a piece of scrap wood. I decided to have the test tubes at varying heights so drilled the holes at varying depths. I then spent the next hour sanding the wood so I have a nice smooth surface which I'm later going to stain. 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Snows Hill lavender farm

A couple of weeks ago a friend and I went to Snows Hill Lavender farm which is in the Cotswolds, not far from where I live. I had been there before, years ago on a family outing. This time I was armed with my digital camera and my Through The View finder Kodak Duaflex camera. I was amazed at how many people were there, I think it's quite a tourist attraction now. 
I was amazed at how many different variety's of Lavender there is and all with different bluey/ purpley hues.
I do love the TTV effect you get when taking a digital image through the Kodak Dualflex but I think it's lost it's uniqueness due to the iPhone apps like Instagram. However, if I did have an iphone that might be the first app I download, it does save a little bit of editing time in Photoshop!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Look, it's a circle

Well I've worked it out. I don't think it's 100% perfect but it's definitely round! I think I will turn this into a placemat.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Free Deer head cross stitch pattern

Well I've finished my cross stitch pattern design and even finished the actual cross stitch!
I'm very happy with the results. It's been a while since I've done any cross stitch but I really enjoyed it. Successful cross stitch I think is all down to your ability to count and a little bit of map reading thrown in. I used approximately 16 count Aida (it was a bit I had left over) with one skillet of black floss split into three pieces of cotton at a time as the Aida weave was very fine. The finished deer's head measures 16cm.
I started my design work using an old envelope which had a very useful grid pattern on the inside. However it was very small (can you spot my mistakes!) so I made a digital copy of the pattern which you can download and use for free here. Please note this pattern is for personal use only. 
Here I have already hung up my cross stitch in my hallway. Now I have to decide what to have a go at designing next.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Do it yourself deer Cross Stitch pattern

I've been playing around with the idea of designing my own cross stitch patterns. I used to do a lot of cross stitch when I was younger and it seems to have come back in fashion. I've seen a lot of very simple silhouettes on craft blogs so thought this would be a simple way to start . I also love the use of deer heads in interiors at the moment and thought a deer's head cross stitch would be the perfect addition to my home. I will keep you posted on my progress. 

Friday, 16 September 2011

Finished! You Tube is my new best friend.

Well I did it. I managed to finish my secret big project on time. I was making baby blankets for my older sister who is expecting twin babys. They haven't arrived yet but I hosted a baby shower for her on Sunday and so thought it would be nice to give them to her then. 
She was so surprised, I think the best part about giving homemade gifts is when you get to see someone open them. These blankets are my first proper crochet project and I have to say I now prefer crochet to knitting. I know I'm still a newby but I was taught to knit as a child and enjoyed it but got frustrated with all the counting. You still have to keep an eye on what your doing with crochet but there is a lot more repetition so I can easily watch a film and crochet at the same time without getting into a huge mess!
Baby boy's blanket
By sister is expecting a boy and a girl so I decided to go with strong jewel colours for the boy blanket and softer pinks, greens with a light blue for the girls.
Baby girl's blanket
As I said before I was taught to knit as a child but no one in my family knew how to crochet so I've been teaching myself using You tube videos. I learnt to crochet the basic granny square by watching videos by tjw1963. I was able to go as slowly as I liked and could pause and rewind if I didn't understand. I have learnt such a lot from you Tube that it's almost my go too website if I need to work something out. 
This is the you tube video I used to show me how to join my granny squares. There are many different methods but I liked how this looked and it was quick and easy to do.

My next crochet challenge is to have a go at crocheting circles, a friend has shown me before but they kept turning into cones! Practice makes perfect.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

How long do your projects take?

I am a little bit guilty of starting some projects and not actually finishing them. The problem starts when I realise how long said project is going to take. It always helps when there is a deadline, like if I'm making a birthday or Christmas present. I feel really bad if I give a present late as half the point of giving a gift is to show you are thinking of that person, if you give it late then you've lost some of that thoughtfulness. So the projects that usually have a prolonged finishing date are the one I make for myself which isn't so bad. I think I just need to consider when I start projects to bare in mind the man hours it will need.
My latest big-ish project I have been working on is now in a last stages and my deadline is Sunday! This is when my older sister is having a baby shower. She is expecting twins which doubled my gift idea but I have powered through and I can't wait to see her open her prezzy on Sunday.
She is expecting a boy and a girl which explains the wooly colour pallets above. This has been quite a challenge to keep a secret as she has popped by a couple of times and I have had to ban her from my living room for a couple of mins while I hide the evidence. I sure she thinks I've gone a little bit mad!
Once this project is over I can then get back to the patchwork quit I started about 1 and a half years ago!  

Thursday, 1 September 2011

My airplant hanging feature

I was given some lovely tea-light holders for my birthday from a friend whom knew I am a little obsessed with terrariums. She thought these would be great for making hanging terrariums. I had seen pictures of some very similar (See bellow) on other people's blog and a few on Etsy so knew what she was thinking. 
However, I feel I have explored and experimented with succulents enough in my current terrariums and felt it was time to try something different. I remember my parents having a couple of airplants when I was younger, I was alway intrigued as to how they survived with no soil so thought these would be perfect. My dad even kept one in his car for a while! 

So this was the plan, I wanted to have my new glass orbs in my bathroom with airplants in them, after a little googling I found a UK based company that specialised in airplants called what else but Just airplants. There was quite a selection on offer so I dropped them an email to ask which they thought would be suitable in a bathroom and they got straight back to me with a list of recommendations. My lovely new airplants have now been in my bathroom for a couple of weeks now and seem to be quite happy. I've only watered them by spraying them a couple of times since I've had them as they seem to get a slight steam bath every time I have a shower. Very low maintenance, I thinking this could be some Christmas presents sorted. 

Monday, 29 August 2011

How too fresh flower bridal hair clips.

As I mentioned a couple of blog posts ago it's wedding season for me at the moment. This bank holiday weekend just gone I attend the lovely wedding of Amy and Paul. 
Amy asked me if I was able to help create real flower accessories for her wedding hair. I've made a couple of tiara for wedding previously but never with real flowers. 
The plan was to make a tiara but after a little experimentation we decided the flowers were too big and so we decided to attach the flowers to kirby clips. 
Here is a simple how too if you were looking for a simple way to add real flowers to you wedding hair style.
 You will need some real flowers, we used freesias, some fine florist wire and some kirby grips.
I pulled the flower off the stem but made sure a little of the stork was still attached, this will help support the flower as the petals are quite delicate. I then passed the florist wire through the flower and stork so it was third of the way through. 
I then wrapped the smaller length of the wire round the base of the flower so it was secure.
I then lined up the flower so the head was facing the top of the clip and used the rest of the wire to wrap around the top of the clip and the flower. You don't have to worry if it looks a little messy. This will be hidden when you place the clip into the up-do. Make sure all the wire is wrapped around with the end tucked in, you can use a small pair of pliers if it gets fiddly. That's it your done. 
I made 6 but it all depends on what look your going for. 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

How too vintage floating shelf

I have been loving all the floating shelves that I've seen around in the interior blog-o-sphere recently but haven't found any that go with the granny chic (aka vintage charm) look I have going on in my living room. So, I thought I would have a go at making something. I started off with an old wooden box I picked up from a car boot sale for £2, bargain! I'm not sure what it was used for previously but I know my brother in law used something similar to store tools in.
I gave it a quick wipe down and I was good to go. I used two medium mirror plates and four screws that were long enough to go into the frame of the box securely, about an inch deep. These are to go on the each end of the box.
I then measured to the middle of the box sides and placed the mirror plates so I could mark where the screws would go. I put the mirror plates aside and then used a bradel to start off the holes to make it easier when screwing in the screws.
Once I made the guide holes I placed the mirror plates back and I was then ready to screw the plates on using a screwdriver.
If you have done this then congratulations you have just made a floating shelf. Now you are then ready to fix your new floating shelf to the wall. You may want a friend to help with this part. As I wanted my shelf to be centred to a picture I already had hanging I measured the centre of the picture and aligned the shelf. I check with a spirt level to see if it was straight and marked a couple of guide holes where I wanted to drill into the wall. You will need two screws and two raw plugs suitable for the screws and make sure you have the right sized masonry drill bit. It makes all the difference! However if you are attaching the shelf to a plasterboard wall make sure you have plasterboard fixings. 
Once I drilled the first hole, I put in the first raw plug and attached the shelf loosely so I could check that the other guide hole was in the right place and the shelf was not at an angle. I drilled the second hole attached the other side of the shelf to the wall and I was done. A very cheap project and a great way to display your treasures. Mine currently holds a little wooden village I used to play with when I was a child.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

How too faux cross stitched wedding card

I seem to be in the thick of wedding season again. I'm off to a wedding this weekend so I'm trying to be organised. The outfit is sorted so I started thinking about making a card. I've wanted to have a go at making a faux cross stitch card for a while so thought this would be the perfect opportunity. I grabbed my graph paper pad and had a bit of a doodle for a design and came up with this simple heart design. I designed a few smaller ones as well but though this one was most suitable for the size of the card. I could use the other designs for valentines day. If you fancy having a go feel free to use the pattern bellow.

I used a letter X stamp I had in a small alphabet stamp pack. You can draw out a base grid in a soft pencil if your not confident to help you aline the X's and then rub it out when the the ink's dry. As you might be able to tell I decided to try it freehand. It depends how much of a perfectionist you are. Very simple but quite cute.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Through the view finder

I've wanted to try this for soooooooooo long. I bought a Kodak Duaflex almost a year ago from Ebay for an absolute bargain price of about £5 but I just hadn't got round to having a play. 
Through the view finder photography is basically when you take a digital photo through the viewfinder of a old analog camera. This gives the look of an old photo without any Photoshop tricks.
So eventually, one evening last week I got out some black card and started to freestyle and make a collar to marque off the viewfinder on the top of the camera.

This turned out to be a little complicated but was basically trial and error. I still have a little work to do but I couldn't wait to test it out. This was the first shot I took. As you can see it was very murky, this was down to the fact that I hadn't cleaned the camera since I got it incase it lost the 'vintage effect'. I took a risk and gave the viewfinder a clean which I admit has lost some of the charm but it still gives the desired effect. The results are the image at the top of the russian dolls and image bellow of my pet goldfish who was being a little camera shy!

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