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Craftiness

Craftiness, Featured, Thrifty

DIY Paint Dipped Utensils (reclaiming Wooden Spoons)

10 October, 2014

I have experimented with painting the handles of cutlery in the past, it was fun, if a little time consuming. When I saw paint-dipped wooden spoons in a fancy shop last week selling for £10 EACH I felt it was time for another batch. This time I thought harder about the pallette I wanted, used large wooden implements instead of cutlery, and, crucially, dipped, instead of brushed.

This idea is ever so slightly old now. But, whatevs, I LOVE IT! Such a cool way of reclaiming those millions of wooden utensils in charity shops and they make a brilliant gift. (Eh, Jo? *stares at sister* Oh, yeah, I didn’t mention that they were second hand spoons eh. I REALLY cleaned them- read on…)Paint Dipped Wooden Spoons

Picking up wooden spoons from a charity shop in order to use them in your own kitchen isn’t just for the brave of heart. There is no need to be cowed by someone else’s bolognaise sauce stains. Let me hold your hand while we deal to someone elses food remnants.

For this you will need:
Old wooden spoons/ spatulas
Fine Sandpaper
Paints
Test tube or something a similar size you can dip into.
Pegs and rope for hanging
Oil

Steps:
Start by giving all the spoons a soak and a wash. If only for your state of mind.
When they are dry again giving them a good sanding. You should be able to get down to a fresh layer of wooden. You can also rub out any digs and splinters. After a rub down they will look almost new!

Smear some olive oil over them – this oil will just stain them enough to bring out their natural colours. Don’t they look beauty?!

Now mix up your colours and fill a test tube with your paint. (I used one of those thin plastic tubes that an orchid stem came in.) Dip your handle in then peg it on a line to dry. Once it is mostly dry dip again. I did three dips and was really happy with it.

The dipping makes a massive difference compared to just brushing the paint on as I did last time. I didn’t want to dip as I felt it was a waste of paint and as you know, I’m a cheapskate. But by the time I had poured the paint back into their pots after dipping, I’d only used a small bit.  *high fives all the penny pinchers out there*

Extra Tip: I got tiny pots of paint from the hardware shop that had been marked down to £1 each, just odds and ends. Rummaging through them, although it looked like a weird selection of colours altogether, actually revealed some wicked combinations. This paint was so cheap and so vibrant. And I am just all about the grey, bright yellow and mustard combo. (Remember the DIY floor of our bus? Same palette! What a bore… )

Taping the cut off point: You can also add tape around where you want your paint to stop. I did this on some, but be really careful about taking your tape off. The paint will be so thick that it might peel off a little bit with your paint. I kind of like the diagonal edge of not using tape.

Yeah, so anyway, family and friends. You’ll be getting some spoons for Christmas. Oh yeah!

Secondhand wooden utensils craft

Craftiness, Green things, Thrifty

DIY Eco and Thrifty Resuseable Snack Packs/ Cling Film

11 March, 2014

You know what I hate? Cling Film. I partly hate it because it hates me – cling film started it when it refused to ever stick to itself so all my sandwiches look as if they are wrapped in scraggly, flappy bits of plastic. Oh wait! That *is* what cling film is!

It is the stuff that our great – great – great – great – great- grandchildren will discover on their archeological digs and think, with baffled expressions on their faces, scanning the barren, scorched land around them, “THIS was the reason for the demise of our beautiful earth! My great – great- great- great- great- Nana was a total plonker!” They will write articles in the National Geographic about how we used up the world’s most precious resource on wrapping up old bits of cheese.

Crumbs, didn’t know I was such a hater. Feel much better for that.

You’ll be pleased (because I was sounding like it was giving me high blood pressure, eh?) to know I discovered an alternative to Cling Film. It is an eco, recycled, reuseable version made with bees wax and fabric. Eco Alternative cling film

All you need is some scraps of fabric and bees wax.  I did six different sizes ranging from 30cm x 30cm to 15cm x 15 cm. I wanted some large enough to go over baking dishes to then go in the fridge and I wanted some I could sew into little snack packs.

Cut your fabric (ideally with pinking shears so it doesn’t fray)

Shave on a small amount of bees wax – sprinkle this as evenly as possible over the whole thing. Work sparingly as a little goes a long way.DIY resuable food wrap

Place on to some tin foil in a hot oven for 3 or so minutes, until wax has melted.

Bring it out and look at it in the light. You should be able to see any patches without wax on- sprinkle a bit on those areas and pop back in oven.

TADA! Done! You can use this in replace of cling film and you can wash and dry it and use it again!

I took two of my sheets and folded them in half and sewed a seam down the side. I left one side open so snacks could be popped in. It can then be folded over and secured with a band or a clip. PERFECT.

I am in love with this easy, peasy alternative to cling film and will never again wrangle with that nasty stuff and the great-grandkids won’t be calling ME the plonker.

Craftiness

Transforming Old Cutlery- Painted Wooden Handles

20 January, 2014

We’ve spent the last few days in a place called Thames- we think this could be a nice spot to settle eventually so we thought we’d check it out. We are working on Bert the bus- getting it ship shape for proper living, trying to do it all using second hand shops and MAN ALIVE we are having fun diving in amongst all the retro kiwi jumble.

We found a cool cutlery set- wooden handles, just like the ones my Nana had.

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But I thought they could do with a bit of funning up so whipped out the paint to do a Pinterest job on them- you know the one.

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Gosh, if only I wasn’t so slapdash and cheapskate. Instead of dipping the handles in the bottles for a nice thick, smooth finish, I just bought the primary colours and mixed my own so had to apply three layers with a sponge. (Well boring.) I lacquered them once I was all done with some lacquer I found in a rusty tin at the back of a junk store and it sort of took one of the layers of paint off with it.
Oh well, it looks alright and is at least a bit shiny.

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So, some tips from all of this:

If you can afford it, make up small bottles of the colours you want so you can just dip the handle in.
Use tape to cover up the bit you don’t want painted- this crisp finish looks brilliant.
Use proper polyurethane to give a final finish over the whole thing.
Choose the colours you actually want, yeah? (I just sort of rolled with it and really regret that ice cream pink – ugh.)
Use pegs to dry them.

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Who knows how long they will last- should be a little while because of the varnish, but we’ll see. Meanwhile they are looking TERRIFIC sitting amongst all these other crazy bits and bobs slowly filling up the bus.

Here he is again, this time with the awning out. We’re hoping that soon his inners will look as charming as his outers.

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Linking up with the wonders over at Magpie Monday and Opshop Show off!

Craftiness

DIY glitter figure decorations

18 December, 2013

Quick! It’s Christmas! COVER EVERYTHING IN GLITTER.Glitter Figures Tutorial

I am always picking up small plastic figures from charity shops and car boots sales- sometimes whole plastic bags of them for 50p. I rummage through it saying to Ramona “One for you, one for me” until they are all dished out. She plays quite imaginatively with them and I craft them up. (These Cowboy and Indian pots were probably my favourite. Until now.)

I also like putting glitter on stuff. Really, who doesn’t? Anything goes. (See: shoes)

Glitter on tiny plastic toys is a WINNER!

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Grab some glue- a nice toxic shoe glue is a goody, something that dries quickly but is really strong.

Grab some glitter.

Apply glue to your figure in centimetre patches, dabbing it in the glitter before you do the next centimetre.

Don’t get your fingers involved. (I was Goldfinger for about 3 days.)

Apply a string to hang on the tree or a name tag for a placeholder.

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Merry glittery Christmas everybody.

(HARHAHAHAHA *evil laugh* Your guests will have glitter in all their nooks and crannies for MONTHS.)

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Craftiness, Thrifty

Vintage Giveaway- Have a bit of our home

14 July, 2013

Yesterday we flung the doors of our home open, sold a mountain of stuff and discovered that I have been in the WRONG job this whole time. I’m not a campaigner! I’m a wheeler dealer, a genuine, bonafide, sell a parachute to a sparrow saleswoman. I even got a fiver for our rubbish bin. (Hey, it was an awesome bin, rescued from a back alley in Soho.)

I thought I’d be sad all day, seeing our much loved treasures flying out the door. But nope, it was exciting! I was just so stoked to see people’s eyes light up at the sight of a stack of old suitcases and a collection of teapots. These were my kind! People who relish digging around a stranger’s home on the hottest day of the year all in the name of thrift.

Some were friends, some were blog readers (*extra special wave*) but most has either wandered in or heard about it somehow. Everyone left with a bursting bag and some hardcores had to come back in a van.

We are one massive step closer to our European Bombaround. Eeep…

For those of you who couldn’t swing by for a slice of the action yesterday I have a little giveaway. This bundle hopefully captures a bit of my love for vintage and craftiness and I wish the winner many cups of tea with milk lovingly poured from this jug while whipping up some magnificent doily numbers!

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A vintage scrabble set- you can play it sure, but (*does creepy Little Red Riding Hood wolf voice*) far better to craft with. (I put Scrabble letters on EVERYTHING. Even a lamp.)
Three doilies again, put your cuppa on them if you like, but you also could make a million things like those stunning doily bowls.
Three vintage sewing patterns. I have to say If you are clever enough to make these then you really should do it because, my word, they are wicked- one is like a 1980’s flapper style dress -HELLO. I tend to use my sewing patterns for crafting and wrapping gifts in the coolest way.
And finally, this vintage china jug from one of the sets I collect, Keeling and Co’s Claremont. Oh. It’s so bloody beautiful. You can have it, go on, really. You have it.

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Simply leave a comment to enter!

For a second entry please share on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram using the hash tag #lulasticgiveaway and let me know in the comments.

Winner will be drawn at random on our very last day in the house, Wednesday 24th July at 9pm.

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED! CONGRATULATIONS TO XANTHE WHO WINS THIS VINTAGE SHIZZLE!

Thanks my friends and mucho good luck!

Craftiness

Quick and Simple Father’s Day Present Ideas

12 June, 2013

When it comes to giving gifts I am not so much “last minute” as “two months (er, yeah, okay, sometimes years) late”. So I like ideas for presents to be simple, fast and generally made from things round the house, able to be given or shoved in the post minutes after realising the date. (I realise this combination of cheapskate and forgetful isn’t endearing. Whhhhy are people even my friends?!  At least it makes me get creative. WHAT? You don’t like painted beans??! UNGRATEFUL.)

But, well, here I am… *preens*… 3 days early with my Father’s Day gifts all sorted, and a couple of ideas for all you other last minute/ missers out there.

Here look, PAINTED BEANS:

Painted beans messageThis is such an easy little way to give a message, but with the added beauty of then becoming a father- kiddo activity. Not only does daddy get a lovely old dose of love but the pair can then go and plant the seeds and watch them sprout together. (While mummy looks at Facebook.)  Ramona and Tim already do loads of gardening so this’ll go down a treat.

We used simple runner beans and non toxic paint with a tiny brush and popped them in a little envelope made out of baking paper . There are lots of wordplay possibilities but we just went for “Daddy, my love for you grows each day!” Waaah…

painted beans message presentThen, for Juno’s Father’s Day debut (I wouldn’t want daddy thinking our second daughter was any less crafty, you know) we busted out the old Message In A Bottle number.

Message in a bottle and other Fathers Day ideas
 (At six weeks old she is a well good writer.)

It is just another simple way of giving a loving message but once again with an activity to do afterwards- I included extra paper and the pen so they can write their own message in a bottle together and send it off to sea. I can’t wait to do this with the girls, how OFF THE HOOK would it be to get a response?! Amazing. Well worth a bit of ocean littering.

Message in a Bottle for Father's Day

For other inspiration do have a squizz at the lovely Liz’s pocket book of love, a few of the gorgeous  Davina from The Making Home’s styley hand made ideas, and the whole pile of possible Father’s Day crafts offered by the marvelous Maggie of Red Ted Art.

Are you planning anything nice?

Craftiness, Thrifty

Recycled Hobby Horse

11 April, 2013

Kids are awesome eh, with their incredible imaginations. Whenever I bend down to pick something up Ramona doesn’t see her mummy bending down to pick something up-  she sees a horse. Struck by my horsey ways, she will immediately clamber onto my back and yell “GIDDY UP, CLIP CLOP!” impatiently.

It basically means I can’t pick things up any more. *gazes around at messy house in ambivalent resignation*

Ramona loves horses. As she grows her favourite animal species gets bigger too. A year ago her favourite animal was the Duck, I suspect in a year it will be the Blue Whale.

I have been thinking for a while of things I can do to help ease the arrival of the new baby. I am not sure we will do the “Baby bought a pressie” thing, but I have been burrowing sticker books and puzzles away as I find them at car boot sales in order to keep her happily occupied in those first few days.

I have been meaning to craft up a hobby horse for ages and felt this would be the perfect time to get on with it, so I can bust it out for Ramona’s enjoyment while I languish on the sofa in a constant milk-machine mode with the littlest one. Maybe if she has a little horse to ride my own back won’t be so tempting. Maybe I could even start tidying again. Pahahaha.
DIY Hobby Horse from recycled bits and bobs

I couldn’t believe how easy it was to do. I completely cheated and did the whole thing with my glue gun, I am sure I will have to come back and sew bits on eventually but it meant I got the initial prototype done within half an hour. Such a delightfully quick craft.

You need:

A leg/ sleeve/ sock
Stuffing (I used a manky old cushion)
Ribbon
Buttons
Lace or wool
A stick 
A bit of felt (I used a jumper that identically went in a hot wash)Recycled Hobby Horse Tutorial

To make this truly thrifty just find things you have around the house.  I didn’t have a sock I was prepared to sacrifice (see this lovely sock version from the magnificent Red Ted Art) so cut the leg from a pair of Ramonas old leggings, where the elastic had gone at the top. Anything could do – a sleeve from an old jumper would be ideal too. I didn’t want to buy another broom so instead used a rough bit of wood and then covered it by winding lace around it. I didn’t have red buttons so used counters from a half-lost game of Tiddlywinks. I didn’t have wool so curled lace on to the head to make the horse’s mane. Recycled Hobby Horse Craft

How to:

Turn legging inside out and sew the ankle end
Stuff with stuffing
Stick the stick inside
Bend a crease in the horses neck
Secure open end onto stick with string or glue
Wind ribbon around the point that the leggins meet the stick- keep going to bottom of the stick if wood is a bit rough
Glue on hair- either lots of wool or a bit of fabric like mine
Cut ears out of felt and pinch the bottom of it together to make them look more realistic
Stitch (*ahem* glue) ears on
Add eyes
Add ribbon to act as rein (this also keeps the head bent)

I love how every horse is going to be different. There are no measurements, just roll with it. Stick the ears and eyes on where you want, use bits and bobs from the house. Whatever you do it is going to look like some kind of awesome animal and your toddler is going to be stoked!

I am so keen to give this hobby horse to Ramona that I am willing this womb-baby to make an appearance – that is odd, eh?! Come on womb-baby!

Craftiness, Thrifty

An Upcycled Toddler Space with Homemade Coloured Chalkboard Paint

4 April, 2013

I have been getting busy with the homemade coloured chalkboard paint again! I am a bit of an obsessive. It is just such a cool, simple and thrifty way to upcycle things and transform spaces. I’ve recently made over a useless little nook into a kid’s corner with it.

See, we intend to keep cosleeping for a while, the four of us, so our little tot Ramona doesn’t actually have a bedroom. We just have the family room- one massive bed and a set of drawers for each of us. Then dotted around the house are little areas set up just for Ramona- one of the spare rooms holds the dolls room and all of her teddies and downstairs she has a bench with her art stuff on it. And now she has a little space with a table, chair and some nursery style decoration.Upcycled toddler space using homemade coloured chalkboard paint

We found this little coffee table on the street, it is quite a handy size but I felt a quick lick of some homemade coloured chalk board paint would just make it a bit more fun.
Upcycled Kid's corner using homemade chalkboard paint
With the extra paint I gave some old frames a little makeover, and hooked up some big letters and numbers we got from a charity shop a little while ago.Chalkboard paint upcyling frames and table

It is quite common to see her sitting at her desk, working away or reading. What a poppet!

Here is a quick vlog of me showing how to whip up Homemade Coloured Chalkboard Paint

And here is a little How To with the coloured chalk paint and coffee table:

Craftiness

Fancy Dress Mishaps and Coathanger Bunny Ears

25 March, 2013

We have had a lovely weekend, it felt a bit like a final fling before we begin a period of hibernation with a newborn. We had my nephew’s sixth birthday party at ours complete with some of my best friends and an incredible Angry Birds cake crafted up by my sister, Jo. (Jo could write a pamphlet on pulling off amazing Sixth Birthdays. She created a whole bespoke outdoor adventure kit for her lad using gear from an Army surplus store and emblazoning it with his initial. He ADORES IT!)

And we had another birthday bash for a friend at the gorgeous Paper Dress Vintage in East London. A couple of hours before we set off to go we had a text message from the hosts saying “Hey Lucy and Tim! Can’t wait for our FANCY DRESS party later! You know it is an animal theme, right? See you in FANCY DRESS later!!”

Was it a fancy dress party?

NOPE.

Rapscallions.

Fortunately we clocked them and their wily ways before we got the bus to Shoreditch bedecked as an enormous chicken and heavily pregnant bunny.

Friends, eh?! Pahahahaha.

We actually would have been sorted for a seasonal animal look as I have been crafting up all kinds of Spring fun for Ramona lately. Check out these crazy bunny ears made out of fabric and an old coathanger.

Easter Bunny Ears from a Coathanger(For real, could this little sausage be more squeezeable? She so rarely poses for the camera but here she is doing a perfect rabbit!)

They were super easy to do and I reckon they look well fun- about as far away from Playboy as you can get. (It makes me really cross how they can have a monopoly on the lobes of one of the world’s cutest marsupials.)

1- Bend a coathanger into the shape of two ears
2- Use Gaffa tape to securely attach it to the headband and blunt the wirey ends
3- Take long strips of fabric and dip them in homemade Mod Podge (mix 1 part water to two parts PVA)
4- Wrap this around the whole structure
5- Leave to dry
6- I also added some gorgeous orange bobble ribbon, given to me by Victoria of the beautiful blog The Owl and Accordion. It just adds that little bit more crazy. 

Here is an action vlog of me whipping them up for Netmums:

Have you been doing much Easter crafting?

Craftiness, Green things

Plastic Bag PomPom

14 March, 2013

I have been getting my craft on with plastic bags recently, playing around with some flower and pom pom type things with a Spring / Easter vibe. Who would have thought they could be so much fun? Pom pom recyle plastic bagDespite ALWAYS refusing plastic bags at the shop, we still manage to have loads lying around. Our online grocery shop comes with them – annoyingly sometimes with 1 or 2 items in (GRRRR) and sometimes I even pick particularly pretty ones up as they float around the street.

The colours are often quite vibrant and if you are looking for thrifty decorations or child play things plastic bags are a winner. (Um. Once they are made into something. Probably not ideal to give toddlers a bunch of plastic bags to put over their heads. What is with tots wanting to do this? Ramona thinks plastic-bag-on-head it is the best thing ever…)

I have rejected the traditional pom-pom making method. I’m sorry, but YAWN! In and out of that cardboard hoopy loop- life is TOO SHORT.

Here is the lazy persons guide to pom pom making with a plastic bag.
pompomChose a brightly coloured bag and chop off the handles.
Make a huge, long ribbon out of the bag by cutting into it, 1cm wide, spiralling round and round. (As you would peel an orange when you try and get a continuous peel so you can get the initial of who you are gonna marry. You don’t do that?)

pompom1Once you have your loooong ribbon take a piece of cardboard, mine was 6 cm long, 4 cm wide, and wrap it round and round and round as evenly as possible.

pompom2Once you have wrapped it all around, hold it securely and push out the cardboard.
Tie a belt around the middle.

pompom scissorsTake your schnizzors again and snip through the looped plastic on each end.
Fluff it all out into a pompom!
It made need a few snips here and there to make it all even.
Tada!Pom Pom grocery bag spring craft

Have you got any recycled Spring crafts on the go?

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