Welcome to my creative online journal

Thursday 13 December 2012

Love Homemade Christmas Tree Decorations!

Last weekend we put up our tree (have you got yours up yet?) and I love the fact that we've gone for a real tree this year.  We've gone the artificial tree route for years and I must say that I'd almost forgotten just how lovely the real ones smell.  So christmassy, love it!

The other thing I love is when you get out your box of decorations and as you take out each one your memory starts coming back to you. This is what happened to me this year, when quite a few of the decorations I found were ones that I had made and showed you on this blog last year and the year before that.

Like this one:
Made simply by adding some silver cake balls into a clear bauble.  I noticed quite a few of the big shops like Asda and M&S had objects in their clear baubles this year, I wonder if they've been trawling through  our crafty blogs....?

And these two:

Made using hardened bread! They don't seem to have gone off, even though they are 2 years old!

This one is lovely, made by Linda, a christmas blog swap partner last year.  Looks as though it was made from clay. It has a lovely textured pattern put onto it. 

These I made this year, for my recent school christmas fair:
..and the Hama bead ones that the boy's helped me with also look good with the light shining through too:

And finally, one of the tree itself:
 (sniff, sniff)

Hope your Christmas preparations are going to plan.  The best advice that I read about this recently was 'Keep Calm, Make a List'.  

Thanks for stopping by today,

Sunday 9 December 2012

Phew! 2nd Christmas Fair Over!

...I can relax again now!  (Well, as much as you can when Christmas is just around the corner...)  Actually, I won't be relaxing from making things because I love it too much!

Today I'm showing you some of the items that I made for the fair (yesterday) and haven't yet shown you.

Like these luminaires:
  They were plastic cups with patterns and calligraphic lettering written on the outside and scrapbooking paper taped to the inside.  The light was created with a battery operated tealight. 

This is what they look like in daylight:
Ideally I could have done with turning out the lights at the Craft Fair, but I couldn't realistically do that! 

Another product I made (which was a variation of one found on Pinterest) were these 'Polar Express' packs of a bell and golden train ticket:
The homemade ticket was made by  punching the 'BELIEVE' letters using a bradawl and the additional lettering was made by hand.

This santa bauble tree decoration was also a Pinterest find:
(Apologies for photo quality, it was taken under low light)
This was simply made by sticking a black piece of elastic around a glittered bauble.  The buckle was created using sticky gems.
And last but by no means least,  I made some of these hand lettered heart decorations:
Which sold well, both as tree decorations and as tags for presents.

The fair wasn't quite as successful as I was hoping, but unsuccessful sales are going to look great around my own house and tree!

Thanks for looking today,

Sunday 25 November 2012

Christmas Lights

Tonight was the switch on of the christmas lights in our town.  You may remember my shots from last year  (has it really been a year already?! Where does the time go?)

Like last year, I also took photos of christmas themed shop window displays:

Attending this event and seeing all this Christmassy stuff really gets me thinking about Christmas more.  Are you inspired about Christmas yet?

(For more creative inspiration, you may like to visit my Christmas board on Pinterest)

Thanks for looking today,

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Bead Christmas Decorations

As well as the painted stone activity I did with my boys last weekend (following on from this post yesterday), we also made lots and lots of plastic bead christmas decorations. 

 (Pic 1 of 4)

We used two types of beads, Hama beads and Pyssla, which are Ikea's own brand.   They seemed to be compatible with each other.

The designs themselves were a mixture of ones that we found on the web and others that were our own design.  Some were modified versions of ones that we found on the web. 

The boys (aged 10 and 12) really seemed to enjoy this activity and the younger one, as well as making models, quite happily sorted all the beads into their individual colours, to make the selecting task easier.

Ryan, the 12 year old, made all these snowflakes himself:
  (the top, 2nd one was his first 'practice' go)

....and also this Father Christmas:
Which was completely his own design!

After ironing all these, I decided that next time we do this activity, we might like to consider getting ourselves some of the non-iron, water spray sort!

Thanks for looking today,

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Out from Hibernation

When I did my first proper craft fair a few weeks ago, one of the comments I got from an interested customer was, 'Did your boys (who were with me) help you make the crafts?'  I had to admit that they hadn't and the customer looked a bit disapointed.  It made me think, 'Maybe they could, in fact they would probably enjoy it too.'  So, for this next craft fair I am doing, the boys have started to help me and last weekend we made these:

Pet rocks

I found this children's craft idea on Pinterest (originally from here as fridge magnets, but ours are just going to be (potential) pets.  We were thinking of selling them at the primary school craft fair but I do like the idea that I saw SJ had done with some of the ones she had made.  She left them in places in the wild for other people to find!  What a great idea!  (Also love her designs, see here and here). 

Making note: The pebbles without the googly eyes were created by just adding lines to the natural cracks found in the stones (eg bottom left, green).    All the stones were painted using Designer's Gouache and varnished with spray gloss. 

Most of the items we are making are Christmas items, but we will also have a few (like the above) that are not.  

 * * * * * *

The weather is proving to be quite a mixed bag at the moment.  Some days it has been surprisingly warm and other days really WET! (like yesterday)  but one morning last week, bright and early, we had a frost.
It was FREEEEZING!  But the sky was a lovely colour:
(Taken from the skylight in our attic room)

And finally, for my round up of today, my photos of our Bonfire Night at the local rugby club:

See you again soon(ish!)

Sunday 4 November 2012

Why we celebrate Bonfire Night

Whilst looking for some crafty material in my (very messy!) craft room I found an interesting leaflet all about Guy Fawkes and why here in the UK we celebrate Bonfire Night.  I knew vaguely of the story (history lessons at school were so boring in my day, not like the fabulous Horrible Histories programme kids get today, thats brill!) but I never knew there was a connection to my (now) home county of Warwickshire.

I will show you the leaflet, which is in comic book form, after I have shown you what I've been doing today as part of my preparations for the school christmas fair.

It's these parcel labels:
These and many more were all painstakingly done by hand, stamped and individually cut out as I haven't got a die like this for my Cuttlebug.  I also individually distressed all the edges by hand and then added the twine.  The vintage and kraft paper look is so 'in' at the moment, Paperchase says so! lol.

On to the leaflet and to read the story, click on the pictures:
It was an educational leaflet produced for local schools in 2008.

Our family are going to our local rugby club firework display this year, are you celebrating?

Finally today, my husband was asked to bring along some food to a samba event today, for adults, I might add!  This is what he made and took along:
Appetising, huh?...  Some of the adults didn't even know the story!  (I, incidently, made the label).  "I do not like them here or there, I do not like them anywhere!"

Thanks for looking,
Have a safe Bonfire Night,

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Happy Halloween 2012

Halloween snook up on me this year and all my preparations were done at the very last minute.  I left it so late tonight that I was still carving the pumpkin for our doorstep after the first lot of trick or treaters had left!  

These were my boy's costumes this year:

 Ryan, our eldest, went as Darth Vadar which was easy as we already had the helmet, voice box and light sabre.  He only had to find some black clothes which was easy enough - he raided my wardrobe!

I found the idea for Joshua's last minute costume on Pinterest.  To make it I simply drew the skeleton's face freehand on a black tshirt:
 ...and then cut out the features with scissors.  Initially he wore it with a white t-shirt underneath:
(Zombie facial colouring courtesy of photo editing program PicMonkey)

...but then we thought it looked even more dramatic with a dayglo glow-in-the-dark cycling shirt on.

It was difficult to know what additional horror he could wear with this so we settled on just giving him some fake blood facial scars.

It's amazing what you can do when you are under a strict time pressure!  (And thank goodness for the wonderful resource that is Pinterest! :) 

Thanks for stopping by today.
Hope you enjoyed your Halloween,

PS (Late additional posting) - I also decorated these 'baby pumpkins' (satsumas)
..using a Sharpie black marker.


Thursday 18 October 2012

Vintage inspired Shaped Christmas Cards

Today, as part of my preparations for the school Christmas Fair which I am doing in December, I decided to make some Christmas cards.

I made these:
 I figured that if I didn't sell them at the craft fair, I could use them myself! 

 Not even sure of what type to make when I started, I decided to give the alcohol inks and distress inks on a non-stick mat method a try.  Routing through my christmas craft boxes, I found some unused and admitedly unloved, peel-offs and stuck them down onto some cardboard before dragging it through the ink & sprayed water mix.  
Whilst they were drying, I found some old christmas shaped cards that I had never known what to do with and decided to use them.   They were made from a dull silver and gold card which wasn't that appealing so I covered them up...
 ...with christmas collagey bits from my stash.  After they had dried, I re-cut around the shape of the card.

This was the third one I made:
For this one I added some glitter and gemstones to the embossed snowflake that was already on the card. I then attached my cardboard embellishment on to it, directly in the centre so that it could follow the existing snowflake pattern.  

* * * * *

I've also been doing some other crafts that I haven't yet photographed...

...apart from some more of these blocks that were popular at my last craft fair:
This time I've added christmas messages to my blocks.  They will also make nice decorations for my home, if they don't all sell (I almost hope they don't, I quite like these!...)

Thanks for looking today, I appreciate it.
See you soon,

Monday 15 October 2012

Aaaggggh! Spelling Error!

I hope you'll excuse my mini blog break (again!), I've signed myself up to do another craft fair and am once again busying myself up making things to replenish my stocks.  This one is at my youngest boy's primary school, their annual Christmas fair.  I'm using the lessons learned from the one I did 10 days ago and I am also making new things that are more 'me' than standard craft fair 'fodder'.  More of that at a later date but for today I have some photos to show you.  WARNING: Some of them are not for the faint hearted, they are pretty halloween-y scary!

I was in town today and my favourite shop for reflection photos had another interesting display in their window:

Clocks, lots and lots of clocks!  But no, they aren't what was scary!....

Just around the corner advertising their 'delightful' range of fancy dress they had this:
...which produced some great reflection pictures
loving the spooky face reflected in the sky:
Very gruesome!  No photo trickery, just straight photos taken of the reflections in the shop window.
(In case there is any doubt, the 'face' is a mask!)

As for the spelling error (from my title)?

....spotted in a cheapo shop. Unbelievable! 

Thanks for looking today and for any comments,

Monday 8 October 2012

Post Craft Fair Analysis

So, how did it go?

 Some of the items I made

These snowmen, containing a Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate bar sold like hot cakes.   The snowmen's hats, you may remember, are made from cutting the tips off a pair of cheap children's gloves.  The glossy effect on the eyes, nose, cheeks and buttons was created using glossy accents. 

None of these calendars sold.  Is it too early to think about next year?...
(I did wonder if the proportions were wrong with these.  I put the scrapbooking paper on to the cardboard  before I bought the calendars.  All the calendars I found in the shops were bigger than they were last year!)

There was a lot of interest in the 'Pint of Socks' (see top picture).  All 5 sold, and if I had had more then they would almost certainly have sold too.  They are made with a pair of black socks and a white flannel, wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a ribbon.

Most of these items sold:

Reindeers with Penguin bars inside
..and a few of these sold too.  I also had some orders for different words and different combinations of coloured blocks to be made.  

Here is me at my stall. See if you can spot the 'deliberate' mistake:
Doh!  When I made the banner very late the night before, I missed out the 'U' in 'Flourishes', oops!

Things I did which worked well:
I invited friends along using Facebook.
I brought along some battery operated christmas lights which added sparkle to my items.
My two boys came along and ran the 'Children's Lucky Dip' which brought children to the stall.

Things I learned from the experience:
Give myself more time to make things - not just 9 days!
Carry more stock.
Bring along a flask of tea and snacks, so you don't have to buy it at their cafe which will eat into your profit. 
Consider the type of people that will attend.  In this case it was a church and attracted more elderly people than youngsters.  Make items accordingly, where possible. 

I was hopeful at the start when our town Mayor turned up to officially open the event, but I don't think it was advertised very widely.  Quite a few of the customers that bought my items were other stallholders...

Thanks for popping by today and for any comments,

Apologies but I have had to add word verification to my comments, I have been getting 20 spam comments a day recently!
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