Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Drool worthy!

Regular followers will notice there was a big break of updates and ideas during the summer. This was due to the fact that I was visiting family in Ireland, during which time I had plenty of opportunity to browse the shops and visit some of the craft and local designer shops to gather inspiration and ideas. There are a multitude of amazing crafts shop and local designers selling everything from pottery, paintings, jewellery, clothing and handbags and much much more. One such place I happened across was Azure Jewellery in Cork, who design the most beautiful designer bridal jewellery and wedding hair accessories; including fantastic feather hair combs - a fabulous alternative to wearing a hat or fascinator to a wedding and that come in the most amazing colours. 

What made Azure so unique was their designs - their attention to detail and their unique ideas, and their natural ease with the customers and bride’s to be. I spent some time talking to them and found out that they offer customised wedding jewellery service where a bride can alter existing pieces for her or the entire bridal party to match the colours of her wedding. This got me thinking about jewellery and hair accessories that I own, which I have not worn for years that could be altered or updated. Something I have not considered before, but definitely something that I am excited to look into!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thinking about Halloween!

Oh my goodness, it is that time of year again, where I dust off the seasonal decorations and start to transform the bare summer canvas of my house to it's full glory!  In this part of the world, it begins on the 1st October with the Halloween decorations swiftly followed by the 1st November with the Thanksgiving or Fall decorations and then without even a breather inbetween -  the Christmas decorations come out on Black Friday (that's the friday immediately after Thanksgiving Thursday to anyone not in the know).  FINALLY all the decorations go back in the boxes around about the 5th January....with only a brief affair with some Valentines decorations and Easter decorations until the 1st October rolls by again.

So basically I am already 2 weeks behind with the "seasonal decor"!!  Not that I go as mad or as crazy as some of my neighbours....who in reality I am deeply jealous of as they go in all guns-a-blazing with this time of year...but I do like to add some of my own festive markers of the season. 

Remembering that I am behind readers!  Here is the pumpkin that I carved last year....I am unsure of where I got the craft ideas or inspiration but I know that I tried to copy something similar that I saw on the web.  Now all I have to do is try to come up with something better for this year!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Simple pleasures

Our house, whilst not full to the brim with toys, has plenty of toys that any young pre school aged child could spend hours playing with....but do they get the attention they deserve??  Of course not!  Do you begrudge buying them? Of course not!  The pleasure of presenting a small child (or any child really) with a new toy and seeing the look on their faces is a magical moment.  Another magical moment that most parents treasure is when they can visibly see their child's imagination run riot...and I got to see that yesterday.  Now most toys are designed to stimulate the mind into play, but the object de jour yesterday was an empty abet ENORMOUS cardboard box....armed with only a handful of crayons, this box turned quickly from race car into space ship into hidey hole.  The best bit???  It was free! (well if you don't count the object I had delivered inside of course!).  Anyway, I thought I would share this magical moment with you all, enjoy.

And of course, this box had super magical powers and drew the cat into it's spell too.  Two for the price of one! Not bad for a humble box!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Double Whammy Tablecloth

Hi all,
Long time no posts - no good excuses - sorry!

But hopefully, I am back with a blaze!  And in my defence, I have been logging all the crafty stuff I have done in the past few months, I just haven't actually written the accompanying blog posts.  So please forgive me with this super easy tutorial for a double sided "cheap" waterproof camping tablecloth.

To let you in on the background as to why I needed a tablecloth, myself and my family recently took a Labour day weekend camping trip to the west of Texas for a much needed break.  Luckily the weather was on our side and stayed relatively cool for the whole weekend - which made for sleeping under canvas a better experience that I was envisioning!!!  So in preparation for said trip, a couple of shopping trips to Bass Pro and Cabelas was high on the agenda....being a seasoned camper, I knew roughly what we needed and what we didn't from the sea of camping equipment currently available on the market.  One thing I knew we needed was a decent wipe clean tablecloth to put on the weathered tables at the campgrounds....not for making things pretty, but for hygienic reasons, (but don't get me wrong, if I have to have one - I wanted pretty!).  So after quickly discounting the Bass Pro and Cabela shops for not having a suitable item - it was off to trusty Walmart....and Walmart came up all aces!

Two, yep TWO vinyl tablecloths for $1.50 EACH!!!!  Now that is my kind of pricing!  And yes I bought 2, as the backing on this wonderful (but cheaply made) cloths is a weird webbing like material which would catch and pull on any wood splinters or anything really except smooth smooth plastic.  So the double sided tablecloth was born...

As it happened, one cloth was bigger than the other and so I came up with the idea of a quilt like blinding to the edge for purely aesthetic purposes.  First I laid them down on the floor, smoothing out as I went.

Then I folded the edges over, mitering the corners.  To keep everything in place, I used my clothes pegs instead of normal pins as the pins would have made unnecessary holes in the vinyl, rendering the waterproofing redundant!

Being really careful, I sewed along the two edges.  As with most "normal" quilts, you blind the middle together to prevent the cloth from slipping - but remember that weird webbing material that was on the underside? Well it stuck together like glue, so thankfully I did not have to make any holes in the middle of the tablecloth.  Yay for weird webbing!

Ta Dah......the finished cloth!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Scrap Letters

Motivated by Earth Day, I challenged myself to come up with something eco-friendly AND stylish.  What I eventually came up with was "Scrap Letters", using exclusively materials I had on hand....I didn't have to run out to the craft store ONCE!  They came out much much better than I had hoped and I plan to cut out the rest of my name using the same fabric.....and later on, in different fabrics, the names of my husband and son.  The fridge is never going to look the same.

It is a very easy process, but here is the tutorial:

Advertisement fridge magnet
Craft knife
Mod Podge
Spray adhesive (or you could forgo this and be super careful?)
Strong adhesive

 Take an advertisement thin fridge magnet, (the ones with the cheap paper toppers are infinitely easier to work with versus the more expensive laminated kind), and remove the top layer of paper carefully!  It didn't take long but I worked slow as to not to pull or distort the magnet backing. I wet the paper several times to loosen the surface and used a scraper for the tougher bits. 

Next, print out on plain paper the letters that you want, making sure that the size you choose FITS the magnet you have just cleaned!  I used Cooper Black typeface in size 175, I thought that the roundness of the letters would be easier to cut.  Glue the selected fabric to the magnet using super strong glue...(on a side note, I would like to add that the fabric scrap I am using - I scored from a friend. It's vintage, and I think that the design is from or about the year of my birth and I can remember having a similarly looking fabric on a chair in my room as a kiddo...not that I am saying I am vintage - JUST the scrap, heh ha).

Moving on! With a craft knife, cut out the letter and with a smidge (technical term...!) of temporary adhesive place on the fabric/magnet and trace the letter onto the fabric, remove paper and cut out the letter, also with the craft knife.

To finish, cover the entire thing in Mod Podge, let dry and then stick it on your fridge!

Glorious!!!  Now onto the rest of the letters!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day 2011

Hello everyone, I hope that you all went to Starbucks with your refillable mug today to get your free coffee?  I certainly did!  And don't forget that if you go to Lowes tomorrow, they are giving away free trees.....yep, FREE TREES! Of course I had the wrong information and went this morning.....but at least I got to peruse the vegetable plants in relative peace and quiet. 

I have had a brainstorming session recently with ways to reuse and recycle some common household goods but in the meantime I will leave you with some ways to get ecofriendly with your morning Starbucks order...

1. Did you know that you can order your drink in an actual ceramic mug!  Of course, this only works if you are going to be drinking your beverage in-house but I thought I would voice that option.

2. And if you are drinking your beverage in-house, then that muffin you ordered can be put on a ceramic plate instead of in a paper bag.

3. My local branch has a basket at the end of the counter filled with used grounds for your garden.  Best part is that it is FREE, like all the time.  Go and look to see if you can score some.

4. Ask a crafty friend or yourself to knit/make/create a hot beverage holder.....just reducing that small piece of cardboard can make all the difference.

5. If you are getting a second cup, get a refill....not only will you save money, (refills are cheaper!), you save the wastage of the second cup.

6. Bring your own travel save money (about 10 cents a cup) and you will feel amazing about not using a disposable one!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chocolate and Easter

Being an English lady in the USA, I tend to miss most of my very long list of missed food items right around this time of year and in turn I get a little homesick.  (Not that the tornado weather we are having in Texas is nothing but fun fun fun!) You see, this is the time of year that we english brave the weather outside long enough to have our first barbeques of the season, even though approximately 30 minutes afterwards, all go inside and have copious amounts of tea, but that's not the point.  (BTW, that's hot black tea - with milk - with sugar AND with a biscuit).

What is so different you ask?  Well I'll tell Easter, all the kids (under the age of about 20) get a huge over packaged name brand chocolate egg filled with yet more chocolate from possibly every relative they know.  (I think one year I managed to collect over 10!) Which have to sit on the shelf until Easter Sunday, when (after sunday roast dinner of course!) we gorge ourselves on said eggs until we cannot move.  There are no Easter egg hunts with small plastic eggs hidden in the garden, in fact I don't think I had heard of hunting for eggs until I moved to Texas.  But I do have to admit that I find the egg egg hunt more endearing and a whole lot healthier!  (Something that I will continue, even if I move back to the homeland.)

For the adults, the shops are filled with hot cross buns and everyone around you is shaking off the winter doldrums (even though the weather is still the same from January). Which go nicely with a cup of tea...have I mentioned the tea yet?  Oh how I miss those hot cross buns.....toasted if you please and covered in butter....hhhhmmmmmm.

But the best best best thing of all is........almost everyone has Good Friday and Easter Monday off from work!  Yep, practically the whole country has a glorious four day weekender every year!  Now if you add in the fact that the following weekend is ALSO a four day weekend because of the upcoming royal wedding.  You get a super duper couple of weeks??!!!  It is the perfect time to pack up the kids and the suitcases and have a nice holiday somewhere in wait....hold the phone.....that's is exactly what the entire country does end up doing....ah well, we can always stay at home and have a barbeque...or some tea.

For more seasonal ideas check out my blog post for Halloween Craft Ideas