Browsing Tag

handmade

DIY, Thrifty

Easy DIY Cloud Shelf (Yurt Life)

2 December, 2014

I haven’t done much DIY for a while – but when I began imagining a shelf that looks like a cloud I couldn’t hold back. (Ah, bladdy Pinterest kinda beat me to it. Remember the pre-Pinterest days, when you believed you’d invented everything?)

Anyway this cloud shelf filled my dreams. It would be like a cloud, floating on my wall. AWESOME.

“Hold me back, man…Where’s the jigsaw? WHERE’S THE JIGSAW HOLD ME BACK.”

You know I love a novelty shelf.

Exhibit A – shelf made out of a vintage suitcase.

Exhibit B – shelf made out of a book.

Shelves are expensive, and so are brackets. Even second hand ones. So why not just DIY something out of stuff you have lying around that is also just a little bit more beauty than a plank of wood, too? Why not, eh?

DIY CLoud Shelf Yurt Life

It was my first time using a jigsaw, and, my word, those things are flipping cool as. I felt like the world was my oyster, with that in my hand. I just pencilled the shape of a cloud onto a bit of MDF and then flipped the switch and buzzed it out. I started nervously and then I could see the bumps and turns forming under the saw. Ten minutes later I was holding a cloud in my hand.

*God complex*

DIY CLoud Shelf Yurt Life

Once I had the cloud shape – drawn so that the open bit fitted perfectly onto an existing box I had (an old wine crate would actually be ideal.) I then glue gunned it on. Because the cloud shape is just a facade it really doesn’t need a sturdier fixing than that. Glue gunning it also meant I avoided having nails on show. A few licks of  white paint made it the perfect canvas for my brightly coloured shelf occupants.

DIY CLoud Shelf Yurt Life

I used wire around the box to hang in on the trellis of the yurt. But you could equally just hang in on a nail.

cloud11

Then I filled it with my favourite little bits and pieces.

There is no coming back from this. Jigsawing out a shelf for every whim and fancy. A shelf representing every one of my favourite things. I could make a rainbow shelf! A shelf like a fox! A GOSH DARN FRIED EGG SHELF!

And I know I will never have a plank of wood for a shelf again.

Thrifty

Everything I know about a Thrifty, Ethical, Handmade Christmas

28 November, 2014

There they all are, popstars with that winsome, pouty, tragic look: “Do they know its Christmas time at all?”

They could be singing it about me. Or every other English expat sitting out here on the other side of the world.

(Sorry Bob. And, um, Africa, I guess. Although that song is a teency bit demeaning, though, no? Anyway, gosh. This is just a frivolous festive post, okay? Not a discussion about the White Saviour Industrial Complex…)

Because: no! It totally does not feel like Christmas while I am getting sunburnt weeding the sweetcorn patch or watching my daughter and her mates decorate a stick of bamboo stuck in the sand on the beach in lieu of a pine tree embedded in snow.

(I’m not really complaining though, really, honest…. although I do love to rock a vintage Christmas jumper… but the sun is nice and all, of course…)

The fact of the matter is though, I haven’t been thinking too much about festivities really. I do mean to step it up a notch next week.

I have, over the last few years, however, thought an awful lot about Christmas. I thought I’d share all the favourite things I’ve bashed out, in a timely way, so you can crack on with them as advent begins.

1- This advent calendar was such a pleasure to make, and such a joy to look at. I can’t wait to pull it out again on Sunday and fill it with poems and jokes and prayers and sweets and dreams and thanks. (Another blogger helping me put more thought into Adent is Sacraparental with this 76 advent ideas post.)Alternative Handmade Advent CalenderBeautiful Handmade Advent Calendar with pockets

2- A post I wrote last Christmas, with a lot of help from the whole of Facebook and Twitter, has gone kind of crazy. It is Sixty Great Gift Alternatives to Toys... and it is truly awesome. (Totally allowed to say that as only a few are my own ideas!!) It is packed full of cool as present ideas for kids, that don’t include filling up their bedrooms with more plastic crap. Share it around your family to inspire them! Find it here.

3- These homemade cinnamon Christmas birds are yummy smelling and fun and beautiful and just the very thing to make to get into the spirit of things. Must make them immediately. Homemade cinnamon Christmas birds

4- However, I have sourced some awesomely cool fair trade gifts for children in my time. Here are my favourite ethical toys, if you’d rather. (Also, any Londoners reading- the Fair Christmas Fayre is on tomorrow on Oxford Street. No jokes, this is the ONE HUNDRED PER CENT BEST PLACE to buy every single gift for everyone. More details here.)

5- My Top Tips for a thrifty yet awesome Christmas are here. Hey, look. If there is one thing I know, it is how to enjoy life and not spend any money. I reeeeeeeally believe we need a new kind of Christmas- one that doesn’t drain the earth’s resources or our pockets.everything I know about a thrifty handmade Christmas

6- Possibly my all time funnest craft. Razmataz dinosaurs. And cowboys. They look perfect as placeholders for Crimbo dinner… or even with a little cotton around them to hang on the tree.DIY Christmas Glitter Figures

So much to make and do! Think I’ve just managed to convince myself it IS Christmas by writing this. Hoorah for my fickle, easily persuaded mind!

Would love to hear about any awesome ethical Christmas posts you have read recently, or any way your family celebrates a Christmas that is easy on the earth…

 

Craftiness

DIY Valentines decoration with a doily and a coathanger

3 February, 2013

Doilies are little things of wonder, an intricate relic of a daintier world whose stars faded in the eighties. (Like most good things, eh? MC Hammer pants, Button Moon, my childhood.) I heard it was once commonplace, before the advent of T.V cabinets, to have a giant doily placed over your telly, to hide its big, boxy crassness.  Giant doilies, eh? Can you IMAGINE.Stack doilies

I recently inherited a small stack of doilies from my Nana. I was thrilled to BITS with this lacey, memory exuding pile. Although when I got them home I figured out why I normally don’t snap them up when they are going for a song at a car boot sale. What do you do with them? They are superfluous wee things. When put on your shelves under ornaments, as is, I gather, traditionally done, they add a fiddliness to dusting that makes me think there was probably a perfect correlation between the increase in women in the workplace and the descent of the doily’s popularity.

I need no other disincentive for cleaning so I have had a LOT of fun crafting with the doilys over the last few days. I am most excited about this:
Homemade Valentines Wreath tutorial

*sings operatically* “YESSS! A Valentines Wreath! It is exactly what everybody neeeeeeds” (Since seeing Les Mis last week, which was basically me paying a tenner to sit in a public place and sob for three hours, I have been UNABLE to not sing almost everything. It all just sounds so much better, makes life a lot more dramatic. Imagine every other sentence in song, if you can.)

You need:
Air Dry Clay – this is worth having, it is so easy to work with and non messy and especially good if you are a parent who likes to craft as it can occupy tots too. Ramona and I can happily play with this together for an hour. Although salt-dough would also work.
A Doily
Scissors (or a cookie cutter – but I love the way it feels, cutting this stuff)
A rolling pin
A coat hanger

Simply roll out your clay to about 0.5 cm, and then cut out your hearts. Place your doily on one corner – or the whole thing, if you fancy- and roll your pin over it again, very, very firmly, just once, it should end up about a third of a CM thick. Valentines Doily decoration

Do this with about ten hearts of different sizes.

DIY air dry hearts doily
Meanwhile, take a coathanger and undo it. Twist it in on itself until it is a sphere with a circumference of about 10cm, with a small hook at the top.coathanger

Once your hearts are dry (this could take up to a day by a radiator) glue them on (liberal with the glue folks, this isn’t the Depression. Nope, just a quadruple dip recession.)
hearts glue

Hang it up! Ta Da!

Valentines Decoration Air dry dough doily

I am pretty happy with how it looks, but mostly I flipping loved making it. So much fun, so quick and simple.

Made anything lately? Would love to see it!

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PPS Linking up with the most magnificent Liz and those other marvellous Magpies!

Craftiness, Thrifty

25 handmade gifts for grown ups

30 December, 2012

At anyone time, if you were to peer into the window of my home, you would see me doing one of two things; reading a book or working on a little crafty something to go in my box of handmade gifts. Yes, my dishes (and my kids) are a bit dirty. But I am happy in my soul and so our home and children are too! (I jest… sort of.)

So addicted am I to crafting, that if I am away from my workstation for a few days I start to get a bit twitchy and end up doing things like trying to make origami out of leaves on a hiking holiday, or rummaging through host’s drawers for a sewing kit. I need to make myself a tiny mobile craft kit to soothe these craft cravings. (*DRAGON’S DEN ALERT*) But one of the massive bonuses of an insatiable crafting urge is that it saves us a stack of money. I have found that one happy way of hanging on to pennies but living generously is by crafting handmade gifts for every occasion. So there you will find me, burrowing a way on a pair of slippers or gluing glitter al over a kids toy.

Whilst I mostly tend to focus on handmade crafts for kids today I wanted to focus on handmade gifts for grown Ups. Here I present to you my top 25 handmade gifts- the things I have most enjoyed making, and giving.Handmade present ideasBottle Top Magnets are always going to be a winner – who doesn’t need as many magnets going to hold up those lists and kids drawings?! These can be personalised so easily. If you haven’t played with resin yet, I REALLY recommend you give it a shot it is SO much fun! Bottle top magnetsNatural homemade body scrub with 2 ingredients – this post includes a How To for the beautiful upcycled jar.natural body scrubFollowing right along the beauty path- I made a few bottles of South London Rosehip Oil, rosehips foraged from the fair streets of Peckham. It is dead easy but creates a most luxurious gift.Foraged Rosehip OilThis lace bowl was wicked to make and with it’s useful but vintage feel is appreciated by EVERYONE!handmade lace bowlI made these decoupage bird decorations for our Christmas tree, but I was so pleased with them I might do a batch as presents. Who doesn’t love a little bird hanging on the corner of their mirror? DIY Decoupage birdsOpening a gift and finding a pair of slippers is like being given a cuddle, I reckon. They are the most cosy, pleasant gift to receive and these ones are made out of the armpit of an old jump, and take SIX minutes.
how to quick felt slippersYou know how impossible it is to resist buying vintage tourist spoons from charity shops? Here is a little gift that gives them a new purpose- a spoon peg rack!Vintage spoon peg rackYou may have picked up by now that I love playing with resin.I use ice cube trays a lot and had a lot of fun making these stars with paper which I made in to jewelry.handmade resin starsMy Go-To hand made present though has to be a little framed crossstich. I choose unexpected quotes or song lyrics and frame them in a little charity shop frame. They can be stiched so quickly and whilst doing other things but really show a lot of loving thought. 20 handmade gift ideas

As Christmas looms- what dear friend WOULDN’T want a little collection of blingtastical dino figures? These are fun to make and would adorn any festive table or even beauty cabinet. (Imagine a dino holding out your stick of mascara every morning? Bloody brill.)diy glitter figures

Here are a few of my favourite gift ideas from the beauty section of my other blog, Wonderthrift…

I whipped up an amazing homemade calendula balm that can be given in a beautifully tagged jar. It can be used for almost every skin ailment but is the perfect gift for the gardener in your life….
soothing marigold balmthis lip soother an absolute breeze. Just two ingredients but it will restore lips to luscious Betty Boop style loveliness. coconut oil bees wax lip balm

This body scrub is quick to make, costs very little and is the perfect emergency (AH, CRAP IT IS MUM”S BIRTHDAY TODAY) gift. Make a bit extra to keep on your own shelf as it is beeeeeyootiful.beautiful home made body scrub gift

And finally, in a cheeky gesture my 10th idea is not just one but, well, TEN. You see, I went to choose one of these teacups ideas and couldn’t choose. They would all be a delightful gift. So go right ahead and give one of these crafty ways to upcycle teacups a crack… Teacup gifts

What have you enjoyed making this year? What was your favourite handmade gift to receive? And are you vowing to be thrifty in 2013?

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