Saturday, 30 January 2010

Paper Pocket

Lori has a simple to follow video tutorial on her blog showing you how to make this paper pocket. This is only my second attempt. I have stuck in a few encouraging handmade bookmarks and a little note, and I added a ribbon to tie it all together. I'm sure you can think of a few people to treat to a little surprise in the post... go's really easy.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

One World One Heart

For this years One World One Heart Giveaway, I am offering Gerald the little owl pendant. Gerald is a cool little dude who likes to hang around with you wherever you go. If he can hitch a ride on a magic carpet, he'll make his way over to the winner - failing that, I'll send him by airmail.

I will be adding more giveaways to this post over the next week, so please pop your name and country in the comments section, and enter for a chance to win. I'll do my best to pop over and visit you if you have a blog. If you don't have a blog, then please make sure I have a way of contacting you. Thanks.
Winners will be announced on February the 15th at noon GMT.

If you have a few minutes, then make yourself a nice cuppa, and stay a while.
Thanks for visiting!

UPDATE.... I'm now adding these little handmade rose earrings in the giveaway. So now there will be 2 winners. If I reach over 100 comments, I might just add another prize!

ANOTHER UPDATE...I've now reached over 100 posts so I would like to add this lovely heart necklace as a prize. So I will now be choosing three winners.

The giveaway is now officially announced in this post.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Monday, 25 January 2010

One World One Heart

I'll be back very soon with news of this years One World One Heart Giveaway.
Keep an eye out for it!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Bread Bag

I often make my own bread - the bread machine does the hard work. I tend to use it on dough setting so I can shape and bake the loaf myself. If I bake the loaf in the evening, I usually wrap a clean dish towel around the bread before I go to bed. So I thought, well why not just make a bread bag out of a nice dish towel. I chain stitched the letters onto it, and found a toggle from an old jacket and used a shoelace for a cord. Not the best photo I know , but my regular photographer (older daughter) is busy doing lots of studying for exams right now.
Now I'm thinking I need to make another bag for when the bread is nearly gone, I could embroider it with Not Quite So Fresh Bread! I think I'm only half kidding here! (The vintage bread knife was in a box of junk from my local auction - £1 for the box!)
Somebody was trying really hard to get into the bread bag picture.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

new butterfly brooch

I recently finished this butterfly brooch. Wouldn't like to admit to you how long ago I started it!

It is hand drawn onto vintage cotton and then bonded onto felt and stitched. I used copper wire for the body, and little seed beads for his eyes.
Do you like this interesting fabric he is sitting on? I just bought it. It is in fact a cheap dust sheet from Lidls. I can't wait to make something out of it. It is backed with a soft plastic, so not sure yet what I am going to make, but the colours in it are just sumptious! There is even an occasional glittery thread in there.
Orange tip butterfly brooch will be in my Etsy store soon.

Treasure every moment...

A dear friend's husband died suddenly of a massive heart attack on Saturday. He was a friend too. Only in his fifties. A lovely man.
It was such a shock - so unexpected. No warning signs.
It has already been a reminder to many that we should treasure every moment with our loved ones. With our families, and our friends.
Don't let the sun ever go down on your anger, and don't get upset over silly little trifles. Life is too short on this earth to waste time with that kind of stuff, and none of us knows the exact number of his days, so please treasure every single moment, be content, and be thankful for all you have.

Free Houses!

If anyone wants to use this houses image for their jolly jam jar, then help yourself. Free for your own personal use, or for gifts, but not for reselling. Just click to enlarge and then save to your hard drive. Add your chosen text in your favourite Desktop publisher, make sure it is the right size for your project, and ENJOY!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Story Stones

I've been meaning to make these for some time now. I started a long time ago with the butterfly which I had painted quite detailed. But after seeing this great inspirational blog the other day, I was inspired to get on with it and paint some more stones keeping my drawings very simplified. It would have taken me forever otherwise. To give you an idea of size, the bunny stone here is about an inch and a half wide.
I had a pebble with a natural hole in it and it was perfect for a toggle on the bag cord.
The way we play the Story Stone Game is to take turns pulling a stone from the bag, and as each stone is taken out, the story must be continued to include whatever it is you have taken out. My little girl has also been having lots of imaginary fun playing with the stones by herself. Her favourite is the duck. When I get time, and when the snow melts, I have a stash of smooth little pebbles outside somewhere that I can bring in and make some more story stones.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The big melt

Drip, drip, drip. That is the sound I hear right now. We have been above freezing for two whole days now, and slowly, slowly, the winter wonderland that has been with us for the last three weeks or more, is melting away. Slowly being the operative word! This was a view from my bedroom window when the sun was trying to burn through the Highland mist. I love that kind of ethereal light.

The red kite who hovers over my garden daily paused for a while atop a sunny tree one crisp wintry morning.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Mmmm flapjacks!

I had one of those baking moments today. They don't happen that often, but when I am in the mood, I find it quite theraputic. The kitchen smells really good! I made some coffee nibbles... And some yummylicious flapjacks. What is it about warm sticky oats that makes them so more-ish? I must stop eating them! NOW!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

A Jolly Jar for January

These cold, dark January nights have their advantages. Warm stodgy puddings, log fires, and cuddling up in the candlelight. If you have had the satisfaction of making the candle holders yourself, it's even better.
I know one or two of you might have thought I might have lost the plot when I mentioned the Jolly Jam Jar Project... but wouldn't this look lovely on your mantelpiece. It's fun to take something ordinary and everyday and transform it in to something pretty and useful. If you would like to make one of these, please read on.
What you will need for your candle jar
An empty jam jar or honey jar - a wide opening is best for this project.
Some trim for the top of the jar
Access to a laser printer or laser toner copier
Clear sticky backed plastic
option 1. a light coloured pillar candle that will fit inside the jar.

option 2. candle making equipment.


Using your computer, make a black and white design. I found some appropriate quotes on the Internet and then used desktop publishing software to design my labels. Make sure you make them the right size for your jar. If you want to be even more creative, you can draw a design, scan it into your computer and print it out on a laser printer - or photocopy it. Don't make your drawing lines too thin, or they won't show up so well. The bolder the better. I know that many of my readers are very talented artists, and I am sure that you will get a thrill from seeing your own artwork on your candle jar.

You cover the designs with your sticky backed plastic and cut them out. I have seen this technique done using packing tape, but I wanted something with a better finish and I did not want to be limited to the size of the packing tape and so I thought I'd give it a try with the plastic. It worked a treat, and this means I can produce almost any size of transfer I like. I think the finish is smoother and it is much stronger and easier to work with. So this technique is now called...sticky backed plastic transfers.

Now you need to soak your design in a bowl of lukewarm water for a few minutes. Gently rub away at the paper, keeping your design wet, and you will see that the paper will rub off leaving your toner ink on the clear plastic. Keep working at it until you have removed all the paper.
Place your label upside down to dry thoroughly. Once dry, it should be tacky. If not, you can always use a suitable clear drying glue to affix your design to the jar. You might notice when it is dry that you have missed some bits of paper. Just wet the label again and work on the bits that you missed. It's one of those things that requires patience. If you want to make a bunch of labels in advance, keep the backing paper from the sticky backed plastic, and once the labels are dry, stick them back onto the paper until you are ready to use them.

If you are going to go for option 2, then you might want to leave trimming the jar until your candle has been poured, but if you are just inserting a small store bought pillar, then go ahead and get sticking. When your design is ready carefully stick it to the jar, smoothing out any air bubbles from the centre outwards.

Now you can stick a nice piece of trim to the top of your jar. A chunky trim tends to work better than ribbon here, because the trim helps to hide the bumps. If you don't have any trim, why not cover the rim with a suitable glue that dries clear and wind some jute twine around the top a few times for a stylish finish. I use fast tack glue which dries clear and seems to have a good strong grip.

Option 2.
For a container candle.
What you will need.

Candle wax - there are a huge variety of different waxes available to the candlemaker nowadays. Soya wax is particularly environmentally friendly. Different waxes come at different melting points, so do check with you supplier for the melting and pouring temperatures. For my recycled jar project, I used old candle stubs so that even my wax was recycled.
A Double boiler for melting the wax. This is essential so that you do not heat the wax too much.
Wick sustainer, small metal discs for holding the wick in place in a container candle.
Suitable sized candle wick, please check with your supplier for correct size,
or if you want you can buy pretabbed wicks ready to stick into your container.
Wick holder - I use a bamboo skewer cut in half and held together with two elastic bands.
glue gun for sticking the wick retainer in place in the jar.
wax dyes and scents if you want to get really fancy. Essential oil for a natural frangrance.
For this jar you need to keep the candle colour light so that the black design is shown off to it's best.
There are so many sites out there with instructions for container candles, I didn't think I needed to make another one. I know it won't take you long to find out how. Here is one example at this great website.
If you make one of these, then please drop me a link so that I can see your wonderful creations. I hope this has inspired you to try something new. Have fun!