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Back in August while I was on holiday in Wales, I began this hand-made Christmas gift.
I’ve done a basic crochet course and made granny’s squares but I was keen to try and master something else, so armed with tutorials on the iPad and a week with little else to do, I set about crochet and un-crocheting until I had mastered this puff flower.
It did take me a while to understand it but then it became as easy as pie and I was hooking it up without too many mistakes!
It became really puffy and super soft and once it was big enough and sewn onto a cushion cover it became very tactile and was loved and hugged by the recipient on first sight. It’s always satisfying to challenge your skills and try something new but even better to hand make a gift that is received so well – win, win
I thought I’d pop in today and show you one of my Christmas makes. I was lucky enough to find a little set of this red rose china earlier in the year at a very cheap price but there were more cups than plates. Then I saw an article in Country Living for Teacup Candles I knew what I could do.
It turned out to be very easy to do and really fun! First melt an existing candle in a double boiler (like a bain marie). This was fun – it smelt great and looked like raspberry jelly. I used cheap candles from Ikea but just be careful that the candle is coloured wax all the way through – I first used one that looked red but actually had a red wax jacket on the outside (like a Babybell!) Once it had melted and dried again it went a lurid peach colour and I had to start over.
Then you carefully pick the wick out from the melted wax and cut to fit the height of the teacup. It didn’t really need pegging in place as you poured but more to keep it in place as it set again.
Then you pour in the melted wax and wait. This is messy so I’d recommend paper towel under where you are pouring. Once it’s settled and set (over night is good) you melt the remaining wax again in the double boiler and top it up in the cup so that it is flat and right at the top (it drops down on the first setting).
Then I wrapped and labelled it and gave it away I hope you give it a go because it really was fun and makes a great little pressie. So be warned my friends – it’s teacup candles for every occasion now!
PS: So far it hasn’t damaged the cups at all but I can’t guarantee it that it wouldn’t stain older cups and ones with perishing glazes… just a disclaimer there before you ruin Aunt Gertie’s Art Deco china and blame me!
First of all an EnOrMoUs thank you for all those lovely comments on the last post. It’s a bit of a bubble working alone at home so it’s extra ‘specially nice when you leave such encouraging and thoughtful comments. It really does mean something to me – my first present of the season – thank you all. x
I thought I’d show you one of the things that has been happily distracting me of late; the making of some handmade Christmas crackers.
I don’t normally go to such lengths (don’t mistake me for someone who makes their own cranberry sauce) but I was seduced by this article in December Country Living showing how to make crackers and paper rosettes.
I thought it would be a great way to use up some of the paper stash but then I bought the gifts for inside and the cracker contents (hat, jokes, snaps etc) so they are probably now classed as Luxury crackers!
An ex-colleague had given me a pile of old music sheets once she knew I was crafty and so these were destined to be center stage. The paper rosettes were really fidley to make and took ages – I had worried they might become Easter crackers!
But I had fun painting labels and stamping names and then making an assembly line of filling and sticking and tieing them up.
But woe betide anyone who rips theirs apart though! It’s got to be elegant cracker unwrapping this year
I had a little fun over the weekend with paint, glue and pretty pictures.
A while back I saw this book Victorian Goods and Merchandise.
It is full of black and white engraved images of Victorian images which would have used as a form of catalogue for Victorian shoppers.
It’s arranged in categories from Women’s undergarments (not sure when I might need to use those pictures!) through to packaging, food, sewing supplies etc.
Throw in some old postage stamps bought in a charity (thrift) shop and I was ready to up cycle this wooden letter rack into something worthy of accompanying my vintage-ese telephone.
I thought I’d share yesterday’s Good Read Quote of The Day as it made me smile and kind of sums up these crazy little projects of mine. Off to do a loony-goony dance now!
Do a loony-goony dance
‘Cross the kitchen floor,
Put something silly in the world
That ain’t been there before.
The author of Where the Sidewalk Ends
Lately I have been as happy as a pig in muck, painting butterflies.
There is something about them that always catches my eye – whether it’s on fabric or stationary. And I was lucky enough recently to find both a vintage set of pinned butterflies and an old encyclopedia of butterflies and moths, so I’ve lots of reference materials.
When we were in Paris I saw these printed butterflies made into push-pins – gorgeous but pricey. So I decided it was something that I really could do myself.
I painted them on really heavy weight watercolour paper and gave them a coat of acrylic varnish to keep them from smudging when they’re used.
Then I folded down each side of the body to lift the wings and make it look more realistic.
I bought some map pins with dark round heads and glued them through the painted butterflies.
And viola! I now have lovely pins on the noticeboard.
I am so excited to be able to share my new greetings cards with you! The Mulberry Tree Gallery has licensed and printed five of my paintings and made these beautiful cards…
They measure 13cm by 18cm (except Teatime which is 13.5cm square.)
They are blank inside and so are suitable for any occasion.
They all come wrapped in a cellophane packet with a white envelope.
A single card is £2.25 + 60p p&p (UK) / £3.50 (overseas)
A set of 5 (1 of each design) is £10 + £1.20 p&p (UK) / £4.50 (overseas)
If you fancy one, two or more please email me at email@example.com and I’ll send details of how you can pay.
Hello and how are you? I have been painting, painting, painting (more on that soon) and designing, designing, designing ( for the last live brief of the ABSPD course which has just finished ) This is a design I put together for a competition which wasn’t successful (for me anyways!) and it was a hard lesson in technical, computer repeats. Which is why it’s always good to be able to get back to a paintbrush after a while wrestling with the computer. Which is where I’m off to right now
On our recent trip to Pembrokeshire I became the junk shop equivalent of David Dickenson (without the perm-a-tan though!)
It would seem that Wales has lots of vintage goodness ready to sell and at good prices.
We found one cold, warren of a place piled high with everything you could think of and not being staffed by the owner. This opened up the opportunity for some cheeky bargaining (I still don’t know what came over me.)
I came away with 3 old wooden storage boxes, two blue and white jugs, a tiny floral jug, a lace work cloth, two embroidered chair-backs and an enamel pan for £15. I quick-stepped it out before the owner came back. I mean when is anything ever as cheap as 50 pence! My gall is a disgrace!!
The next day I spotted two lovely white and blue enamel pieces sitting outside an antiques shop and bartered them down just a little bit.
I have a plan to fill the oval tub with lettuce seeds so that we can grow our own salad this summer and keep it by the back door.
So now the garden is ready for it’s thrifted, vintage makeover (as soon as it stops raining).
We had also been very lucky on a recent family trip to Manchester to come across an antiques arcade. There was beautiful crockery, coloured glass wear, old books, crocheted loveliness and a super wicker basket to carry it all home in.
A couple of Christmases ago I saw that Helen had made a decoration which was a reindeer in a glass jar with sugar for fallen snow. It was gorgeous and so simple but effective and the idea has stayed with me.
When I was in Paris (did I say that enough lately!) at the flower market I was overjoyed to find these little mushrooms and one thing led to another and I recreated Helen’s idea but with an Easter theme instead.
Even Mr L (not prone to sentimentality) said it was sweet !
Easter is my favourite celebration, even more so than Christmas.
I love that it’s not been hi-jacked too much by having a major shopping focus and all the work that Christmas requires. It seems a much lighter celebration and the weather and spring flowers add to its joyfulness.
And I love the real meaning behind this celebration.
I bought marie claire ideas when I was in France.
It is full of inspiration (and French descriptions which I promised myself I would translate and improve my French – yet to do!)
I was gifted a bag of old music scores by a friend at work and set to, to try to add to my Easter dec’s.