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paper

Craftiness

Three Free last-minute Valentines gifts

10 February, 2013

I saw a tweet this week from a magazine, something like “Our list of Valentines gifts for under £50″…

I almost spat out my tea and the just-dunked biscuit I was inevitably munching (this womb-baby is a total biscuit fiend.) UNDER FIFTY QUID?! I did chuckle. It was the kind of creative pride in the list; “Behold! We have unearthed some items you can buy to show your love, and they cost, like, less then the weekly shop!”

What a parallel universe I live in. I don’t think I’d spend half-a-hundy on ANYTHING that wasn’t a grocery bill, or an electricity bill, or another kind of necessity. One hundred million percent NEVER EVER on a pressie! Blimey, Tim is lucky if he gets a pair of socks (fresh from his clean laundry pile.) (Jokes.) (Sorta.)

I don’t think I’d ever spend that kind of money on a pressie because I am completely confident that the love felt from a gift has absolutely nothing to do with the amount it costs, but the amount of thought gone in to it.

There is an equation, I read about it in The Book of Very Serious and Scientific Calculations for Life, under the Gift chapter:

Thought x intention = love felt

Settled then.

Of course, it is all very well for the people who are glue-wizards and stitching-queens to say this, but what about people who don’t know their papier-mache from their decoupage? Well, I STILL think there are options. In fact, here are three.

As long as you have access to a bit of paper and a pen, these three gifts are free, can be created quickly in an emergency and will no DOUBT provoke love to bubble up, spring-like, in the recipient’s belly and come gushing forth all over you this Valentines Day.

The first comes from one of my favourite bloggers, Kat from Eco Empire. It is completely genius and involves folding a piece of paper into one of those fortune teller things that were all the rage in the playgrounds across the world in 1995. You fill it with date ideas and get it out once a month. It shows an absolute commitment to special time spent together, and a real care over thinking of the kinds of things you’d like to do together.origami valentines date craft

The second is from a blogger I have just recently found and whose creativity and writing I am really enjoying, Evie S.  On their eighth year anniversary she did a little illustration, summing up their time together in numbers. What a cool way to think about the things you have been through together, and see where your journey has bought you.valentines illustration

Lastly, this is one I did a few years ago for Tim – 52 reasons I love you. Back then I did it on a pack of cards I tied together with ribbon. This year I have scrawled them on 52 hearts I cut out. A reason for every week this year. Some are pretty silly “You make the BEST gosh darn porridge every morning” (He really does.) And others speak more about his nature, the Who that I see more every day even though we have been together for YONKS.

a jar filled with reasons i love you valentines

The very best bit about this simple gift is how much it makes you dwell on all the things you love about them. You think 52 is impossible after you have poured your heart into the first 7, but since finishing it I keep thinking of more. (Sorry, bit yuck, eh.) I put my 52 reasons in a jar, because, you know me, if it can’t go in an old jar? Not interested.

52 reasons valentines craft

So, magazine, take your unthrifty fifties. My Valentine is getting a piece of paper. Cos as Plato said, or was it Ghandi,  or Yoko Ono…  (Hmmm, I’ve got a feeling I’m getting closer…) Money can’t buy me love!

PS I’d hate for you to miss a post… enter your email to get them pinged into your inbox. I won’t be spamalot, promise!


Craftiness, Thrifty

Transforming rubbish old tins with old paper

26 August, 2012

I really, really hate throwing stuff away. If it wasn’t for my husband I’d probably get written about in the Metro, how I have to tunnel myself in and out of my house because it is wall to ceiling with stuff. Much of that stuff would be containers that I plan to Do Something With. I have a whole cupboard of jars and tins and things. They are SO useful, but I appreciate that they are a bit annoying while you wait for the inspiration/ time to craft ‘em up.

A few weekends ago we went to an AMAZING car boot – and met some of your typical Booty Rogues and Gems- and I came away with a load of lovely jumble, including two rolls of truly retro wall paper, one for 10p and one for 50p. For real, I mean, HOW LUSH!

I felt it would be perfect for a bit of transforming old tins business.

You will need:


Schnizzors (that is Gangsta for scissors)

Paper or fabric

A ruler (but you are not a school kid and it isn’t the nineties so maybe a measuring tape instead)

A pencil

Some homemade Mod Podge (Pva and water)

Some old tins – coco tins/ milk powder tins/ stock tins/ etc tins

Measure all the way around the tin, and the height of it. Plot this on to your paper (It will be a long rectangle) add an extra 0.5cm onto the end of the length and cut it out.

Slather it with Mod Podge, if it is thick. Be a little scrimpier if lightweight paper. Smooth it on, adjusting it, overlap the last 0.5cm. I did loads at one time and, honestly, it probably took me 15 minutes for the whole shebang. In the past I have also varnished over the top to make them super robust.

These will be ideal for odds and ends and crafting supplies, but also for… wait for it… presenting people with biscuits! Tim makes the most AMAZE biccies and it is always a bit of a worry that the tin they get given in (or manky tupperware) might not come back. With these it just doesn’t have to.

Linking up with that totes marv Liz and the Magpies!

PS Fancy joining in with the Charity Shop Blog Hop? Simply write up your fave chazza shop/ route & link it up in a few weeks time. See the details here, my friends.

Craftiness

Bumblebees and Boats- stitching on books

5 July, 2012

What CAN’T you do with a needle and thread?*

It can be therapy- like these prisoners who learnt to stitch their stories.

It can raise political consciousness and beautifully challenge social norms. 

It has helped people find the meaning of life – like this jolly chap who went on a journey to find out about where his clothes came from and ended up trying to sew them all himself.

And then, at its most simple,  it can just make ordinary things look pretty. . .

From that crafty wizz Martha Stewart

I love how needle and thread have replaced pencil.

From Paper Stitch (loads of beautiful art on there)

And I wanted to give it a go.



We have a few funny old books, this one above is from a 1950’s one called “Getting the most of of life” – really, it is just such a load of nonsense. But has a lot of words that evoke images.

If you look carefully you will notice there is poo in this vessel.



These two pages are from “A Treasury of Thought” a delightful book with excerpts from  Shakespeare, indexed by subject. The one above is from the Ships entry and the one below from Bees. I know for some it is pretty much an Awful Thing to be treating books in this way, but I kind of feel you are giving them an extra kudos- letting pages see the light of day that might not otherwise.


They do only take a couple of minutes to do, but I know if I had a tiny dot more patience and took them a bit slower they could look LOADS better. Darn my laziness.

I did wing this one by Ramona to see if she could tell what they were though. “BUMBLE BEE” she yelled. *fist pump*

(Yeah, okay.  Bumblebee is Ramona’s current fave word and is what she defaults to most of the time but still, a leetle bit recognisable, no?)

Joining in with this months Pinaddicts Challenge  over at the luscious  Love Bump – check out the other things I hope to make one day soon on my Pinterest Board. 

PS- So remember that beautiful vintage magazine, Pretty Nostalgic, came to our house to take some pics? Well, the issue is out and you can catch a glance here. The whole thing is STUNNING!

Just a little confession though, our house is not normally that tidy. Not even close. My mum even came round the night before to help us clean up the piles of washing, the  raisins scattered all over the floor, the crumbs and pop corn and garlic skins on the kitchen side, the toys in every corner. Just so you know. Also, just so you know, we don’t normally look quite that wild eyed and deranged, promise.

PPS- I just started a Facebook page, are you on there? I would actually really love it if you wanted to come and say hi, or even just like it, if you are a shy one.

*You can’t:

Eat with it, unless it is really fine spaghetti.

Use it to catch a ball, or put an energetic baby to sleep, or win an Olympic medal with it, or fly with it. Etc, etc.

Craftiness

Easy resin craft – Bambi and scrabble letters get Pompei’d

15 May, 2012

I want to let you into a little crafter’s secret. I’ve mentioned it once or twice before. It is the key to making stuff that really doesn’t look home made.

Sometimes homemade IS the look you want; mismatched fabrics, crazy collections of buttons, novice stitching. But other times you want to be able to say “I blooming well MADE it!” without stating the absolute obvious.

Let me welcome to the stage, Resin. Crystal Resin.

I whipped up some bottle top magnets a bit earlier and waterproofed a jar lid before, but today resin is moving up from supporting act to main.

I embedded some paper – a tiny cut out deer (I Pompei’d his ass) and a sentence that said “so busy dreaming” – I love that you can see the words all the way through as they curl round. I also cut up a few flecks of sweet wrapper to act as glitter. And thirdly a scrabble letter. No craft experiment of mine is complete without getting a least one old scrabble letter in there.

The thing I especially love is that you could put absolutely ANYTHING inside and it would come out looking cool. An insect flew into the resin as it set – it looked grotesqely nice before I fished it out. Imagine getting your kids to collect random objects and then setting them in?!It is a way of making something together that you can both be stoked with. (Pasta shape pictures only go so far, eh.)

“Here mummy! Here’s a slug!” “Oh, darling. Such a shame, it’s not going to fit into the mold.”

As you can see, I made a necklace and I made a pencil end – it funks up a boring object, transforming it into a  magical wand. But you could really do ANYTHING with these molds. Magnets. Brooches. Rings. Leave them plain and put them in people’s drinks along with the ice as a delight for their eyes as they sip. Party favours or place settings even.

Logistics
At first it doesn’t seem hugely cheap- I use Gedeo which at the moment is online for £12.95 for 300ml. I fill the molds only a third up, so this makes these come in at about 50p each, which I think is pretty bargainous for a gift or bit of jewellery.

Have you noticed, apart from using the drill, this is completely skill free?! If you don’t know how to use a drill I suggest you sort that out pronto. It will change your life. You know the little bits that you poke into the end of the drill? Do you know what they are called? Drill Bits. Yep, it’s true. If that genius simplicity doesn’t make you want to learn how to use it I don’t know what will.

Linking up with Lakota’s spanking new Ta Da! Tuesday.

Also, if you get a moment to vote for me in the MADS, in the Thrift and Craft catergories, that would be phantasmagorically wonderful!

What reckon ye? Got any imaginative ideas for these molds or things to embed?

Craftiness, Green things, Thrifty

Delicious body scrub in a fancy jar – a Mothers Day craft

16 March, 2012

I am absolutely rubbish at Mo Day usually but my New Year’s Resolution was to do something for people on their birthdays and special days. This Sunday it is my mum’s turn, the lucky devil.

I love giving gifts in pretty jars, the dual element of something cool inside but then a craftivised jar mean the receiver gets something immediately and more long term.  This time mum gets some delicious home made body scrub (it feels sooooo good on your skin, and only 3 ingredients!)  in a rose lidded jar.

Obviously, it took just absolutely days and days and days of really hard work, also, it cost LOADS of money, like, literally, gosh, probably should have just sent her to a spa in France for a week.

Yeah, well, that’s the end of this post. Yep. BYEEEE!

PSSSSST. Are you still here? That’ll be mum fooled. MWAHAHA. For real, this scrub is SO EASY! AND CHEEEEEAP!!!! HAHA! The lid, probably took  10 minutes, the scrub about 2. I reckon it cost me about £1 to make. Here’s how:

Coconut and mint Body Scrub:

1  cup salt
1/2 cup coconut oil (I buy mine from the local Nigerian shop for £3 huge jar)
Few drops peppermint oil (you can leave this out/replace with some other nice smell)

Allow the coconut oil to soften in a warm place. Let it cool but not set again and stir in the salt and peppermint. Spoon into your jar!

And for the lid….

The paper was some beautiful rose paper the Red Cross sent me as part of a stationary set. Who knows why? But I have crafted the hell out of it so I am muchly indebted to that life saving emergency organisation.

I actually also did a layer of crystal resin over the top of the lid, as a bit of waterproofing as I imagined the jar sitting in the corner of a damp shower. I have only used resin once on my bottle top magnets but I am a big fan, worth having some in your craft cupboard for this kind of thing.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!!