Thursday, 17 November 2011

Christmas is coming...

Well, it's not long really, is it?!

The time is coming for the mantel to be re-done for Christmas time, so I have started on some crafts to adorn it.  And what says Christmas more than Christmas trees?

I do like to use things I have to hand wherever possible.  Last week we got rid of an old double bed, so of course I removed the legs from the base before it was thrown out!  I removed the threaded pieces from the bottom where they were attached to the bed, and thought they had a vaguely Christmas tree shape.

I got out my green and red craft felt.  After applying white glue to the entire leg, I placed it on the felt and rolled it up, then left them all to dry - the red ones were done a little later so only the green are shown here.

Once all 6 were dry, I trimmed the felt around the bottom, up the back "seam (which needed another bit of white glue to get it to stick properly on most of them) and the top I trimmed about 3/4 inch from the top of the actual wooden leg.

To finish the top, I snipped from the top of the felt to the top of the leg 4 or 5 times and then using hot glue, glued each piece down to cover the top of the wood.  Here they are all ready to be decorated!

The decorating was super quick thanks to my glue gun - I gathered up a few craft bits and bobs in red, green and gold (yes, I am going for the traditional Christmas colours this year), and here's what I came up with:

For the first one I used a spare piece of ribbon left over from last year - I glued it at the top then wound it around, finishing by gluing and trimming at the bottom.

Next, I used some little jewel stickers which I originally bought for my spooky spider eyes back before Halloween - luckily, the majority of the pack was green, red and a pale green/gold.

Next up was some gold craft thread - similar to the ribbon tree, I glued it at the back then wound it around before finishing it again with glue at the back.

Then I raided the button box looking for red, green and gold buttons - I didn't find any gold ones but did find some interesting green and red ones - trusty old glue gun again, and voila!

I had a small length of red ribbon from somewhere - I decided this one should have a bow tied around it to look like a Christmas tree present!  I say "tied" in the loosest sense of the word, I am a bit rubbish at tying bows so I assembled a nice neat one with hot glue and then attached it on top of a ribbon band I glued to the tree itself.

Last but not least, I gathered the green scrap felt I had left over plus one other mid-shade of green, and cut some narrow lengths.  I again glued them with hot glue, starting and finishing at the back seam.

This project was so super easy and quick, the only lengthy part was waiting for the white glue to dry on the wooden legs - if you do this part before bed and let it dry over night, all to the better!

You may not have spare bed legs lying around(!) but fear not, this could be easily achieved with rolled up cereal box card, or foam cones are pretty cheap at the dollar store or craft store - if you go down that route, you could also use pins and sequins to decorate, I obviously couldn't stick pins into the wood...

I like this little collection of Christmas trees!  I swithered about finishing them at the top with stars, but decided against it.  I may change my mind when they actually go up on the mantel.

They don't look fantastic from the back, but hey, who's gonna see the back?  I think they look awesome from the front, and that's the main thing!!

Nikki x

Linked with

Chic on a Shoestring - Flaunt it Friday #79
Remodelaholic's Annonymous #97 
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Someday Crafts - Giveaway Directory 
Lovely Crafty Home - Lovely Crafty Weekend #47 
504 Main - Tickled Pink #74 
At The Picket Fence - Inspiration Friday 
Tater Tots and Jello - Weekend Wrap Up Party 
Be Different Act Normal - Show And Tell Saturday 
Craft Envy - Saturday Spotlight #68 
Uncommon Design - Home For The Holidays

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The most fantabulous coat in the world...EVER!

I have been a fan of Katwise on Etsy for some time, her garments are simply, jaw droppingly gorgeous.  Well, just look!!

I mean - just LOOK at it!  Words fail me.  Look at the awesome length of the hood!  Look at that magical flare as Kat spins around!  Look at the WONDEFRFUL colours! I simply must posess one!  And this is Kat's house in the background of the shot - WOW!!

These have proved so popular, that they sell out pretty much immediately - however, Kat is now offering a tutorial in her Etsy shop which I eagerly snapped up for a mere $9 - it is a wonderful read full of photos, tips and insights into Kat herself.  It's just as colourful as her wonderful clothing too - what an amazingly talented woman!

I don't know if I will ever get around to making one, although I'd love to for both myself and my daughter - however at the moment, I don't even own a sewing machine, let a lone a serger!  Kat mentions in the tutorial that while it is possible to do it by hand, it will take a LONG time and the sweater pieces may unravel at the edges :O(

In the meantime, I will thoroughly enjoy re-reading this tutorial whenever I need a colour pick-me-up, will continue to make my own far more modest projects (hand sewn, of course!) from my felted sweater stash, and maybe one day down the line when I have all the necessary equipment, I'll be the talk of the town wearing my very own elf coat everywhere I go!

Kat is always so friendly the few times I have spoken to her via email, and I am in awe of her talents!

For an instant shot of colour and fun which is sure to make you smile, check out Kat's website and her Etsy shop.  Happy browsing!

Nikki xxx

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Autumn Mantel

As mentioned previously, my Halloween bits and pieces were packed away on the morning of November 1st, but I couldn't leave my mantel bare, so whipped up a quick Autumn mantel in it's place!

I put this together in just a couple of hours, including craft time - not too bad, I think!  My base for the mantel was an Alpaca pashmina which sneaked into the wash and was felted - the brown colour gives a nice autumnal feel.
First up was a project similar to my Boo Halloween artwork - I had a further 3 left over wooden frames, so I painted one red, one yellow and one orange, then finished then with a brown wash which was wiped off with kitchen paper, to make them less bright.

For the frame insert, this time I used paper lunch bags glues to the card from the aperture - once it was dry, I dry-brushed some brown craft paint on before cutting to size and re-inserting in the frame.  They were finished with some leaves from the pile I made last week (see below).

I got out my hot glue and a big box of twigs and driftwood I have collected throughout the year - they have all been well dried, I don't recommend crafting with new wood and glue as it has yet to dry and settle - and made a wreath which I hung over the mirror with some gold ribbon.

I knew the leaves from my Fall Table Runner (kind of) would be nice and versatile - I'd like to tell you I made a whole new pile, but no - I swpied them from the kitchen table and scattered then along the mantel.  I held a few back and added some thread to them, to hang from my driftwood and twig "tree".

Finished with a couple of pillar candles, my Paper Lunchbag Pumpkin and a small lamp, I am pretty pleased with the overall result, and I guess this will stay up until December when I re-do it all again for winter/Christmas.  I am so glad we got this mantel, it's fun to decorate!

Nikki x

Linked with

Oops, I Craft My Pants - "Tute"-in Tuesday
Coastal Charm - Nifty Thrifty Tuesday #87 
The Girl Creative - Just Something I Whipped Up 
Making The World Cuter Monday 
Sumo's Sweet Stuff - Market Yourself Monday 
Craft-O-Maniac - Monday Link Party 
Skip To My Lou - Made By You Monday 
Dittle Dattle - Amaze Me Monday #48

Thursday, 3 November 2011

TARDIS junk art

Today I was planning on showing you my fall mantel - all the Halloween decorations were taken down first thing Tuesday (I hate keeping decor up once the event is over, I have to grind my teeth to keep the Christmas tree up until after New Year) but no such luck - I find myself without a working camera - Grrrr!

My little point-and-shoot seems to have a wonky charger - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  This week it doesn't, even my pictures of the kids in their Halloween costumes are trapped on there :O(  I'll keep working on it.

I would dearly love to buy a fancy big SLR digital, but it's just not feasible at the moment.  So, I had a look on kijiji yesterday and ended up with another little point-and-shoot, just to tide me over.  I picked it up today to take some pics and there is no memory card!!  I really wish the seller had mentioned this...

I am hoping by the weekend I will either a) have the charger working for the old camera, or b) an SD card for the newer camera, and I can show you my Autumn mantel!  In the meantime, this is the only thing I currently have pics of on my laptop, which you haven't already seen - junk art!

It's not much of a tutorial, but you don't really need one for junk art - just go with the flow!

Junk art is great fun, for kids and adults alike (although kids may be better with white glue instead of hot glue) - it's great to get the imagination working!  There really are no limits to what you can make, it doesn't have to be WHO related!

I had a plain wooden frame which I painted a dark red, and then the board which is the backing of the frame I painted directly with blue, getting lighter towards the middle.  You can see the texture of the board in the picture above.

I drew a rough shape of the TARDIS/11th Doctor Logo and raided my junk pile - I keep all sorts of weird garbage like pieces of plastic, zippers, broken things etc, just for this purpose!  I played around with the layout and broke out the hot glue.  FYI, you can see the logo better if you squint your eyes, haha!

Some of the "ingredients" for this were: broken crayons, pieces of kinder toys, broken beads, pieces from an old board game, marker lids, those black plastic thingys which have twist ties wrapped through them in new toy packaging, a plastic bubble blower, glass beads, zipper pulls and more.  I keep a box of empty ice cream tubs where I sort things by colour, I throw things in there as I come across them - I have even been known to pick things up off the street and bring them home to wash them!

It was finished with a silver sharpie which I used to write "Bigger On The Inside" (which, of course, it is!) and some random dots to represent stars in space.

And that's pretty much it!  I have another few pieces of junk art I'd love to share with you, when I can get some pictures of them!  Have you ever made juk art?

Nikki x

Linked with

Momnivore's Dilemma - Creative Juice Thursday #46
Somewhat Simple - Strutt Your Stuff 
Fireflies And Jellybeans - Show Off Your Stuff #99 
The Shabby Creek Cottage - Transformation Thursday 
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Hooking Up With House of Hepworths #73 
Blue Cricket Design - Show And Tell 
The Trendy Treehouse - Create and Share 
Oops, I Craft My Pants - "Tute"-in Tuesday 
Bella Before Abd After - Amaze Me August #61

Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

I was saved time this year as three out of four of my kids opted to wear a ready made costume for Halloween, either that we already had or that was given to them as a gift (thanks Granny!), so I only had one costume to worry about, or so I thought...

My eldest son received a last minute invitation to a Halloween Party on Saturday evening - he is the one I was making a costume for, and it wasn't ready yet, so I had to come up with something fast - I found this on the internet and loved it!

He's a "Smarty Pants" - geddit?  Yes, his trousers are a little on the short side, this is why they were chosen for the glue gunned smarties, they will be thrown out afterwards...

As for the main costume (to be worn at school and for Trick or Treating in the evening), we came up with something a bit similar, as it is another "play on words" - he is going as a CEREAL KILLER!

Now, this costume may be nothing new to you folks in North America, but I certainly had never seen or heard of it before and when I found it online it made me laugh - and it's so easy to do!

We bought an oversized black t-shirt from the thrift store (so we could fit layers underneath for warmth) and splattered it with red paint.

While the paint was drying on the t-shirt, I got some plastic knives and tried to make them look more authentic by painting the handles with black craft paint, then wrapping the "blade" with foil.  I took a bunch of small cereal boxes and glued then closed, then used an exacto knife to make a slit in each, and put a knife in, securing it with hot glue.

Then I went back to splattering, this time over the boxes/knives.  Finally with a brush I painted around the spot where the knife meets the box - it makes it look more like a wound, and it covers the hot glue too.

And finally, we glues the boxes in place on the t-shirt using hot glue - I put a garbage bag in between the front and back layers of the t-shirt before starting this, just in case the glue seeped through and glued the shirt together!

For school today he is wearing just the t-shirt, when we take them out Trick or Treating tonight I am going to have some face paint "blood" on his face, and stick a few pieces of cereal around his mouth too!

Nikki x

Linked with

Dittle Dattle - Amaze Me Monday #47
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Skip To My Lou - Made By You Monday 
The DIY Show Off - DIY Project Parade 
Not Just a Housewife - Show Me What Ya Got #47 
Oops, I Craft My Pants - "Tute"-in Tuesday 
Bella Before and After - Amaze Me August #61 
Sew Chatty - Made With Love #50 
Coastal Charm - Nifty Thrifty Tuesday #86

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Fall table runner...kind of!

I wanted to make a nice Autumn table runner for our kitchen table, so decided to cut out some leaf shapes from felt.  I went with the traditional Autumn colours of brown, orange, red and yellow, but also decided to mix it up with some different shades of brown (from very dark brown through to light beige) a bit of green (well, there are SOME green leaves on the ground outside...right?) and even a couple of shades of purple.

I drew some basic leaf shapes, after checking out the garden to seeing what was around!  I came up with 3 shapes - one is supposed to be a maple leaf (there are a LOT of maples around here!) but don't ask me what kind of trees the other two come from!  Possibly an oak for the leaf on the left?

I ended up cutting out 28 leaf shapes from the various colours.  It took me about an hour to pin the template, cut, re-pin etc.  The perfect job to do while watching your favourite TV show...

And this is what I ended up with.

I had originally planned to artfully arrange these into a runner for the table and then either sew or glue them together (although after all that cutting, I'm pretty sure I would have ended up using hot glue - super fast!).  But as I played with them, I started to see the potential for leaving them unattached.

1)  I can arrange them in all kinds of different ways, whatever takes my fancy (see pictures below);

2)  Craft felt doesn't wash very well - if there was a spillage at the table (and with 4 kids, they are not exactly rare) I am hoping I can scoop up the few leaves in the firing line - if they get ruined so be it, at least I don't have to thrown the whole project away!

3)  I can make a few new leaves every year to add to the pile - maybe one day the pile will be big enough to require a garden rake :O)

So, here are the ways I tried - I'm quite sure the options are almost limitless though (sew them into an Autumn mobile?  Put them in frames for Autumn artwork?  Make a bunch of them into an Autumn wreath?) - my ideas are all to do with the table.

Spread them out randomly to cover quite a long distance...

Gather them closer into the middle of the table...

Or even try to arrange them around a centrepiece.  Obviously, I don't have a centrepiece in this picture, I'm planning to carve my pumpkin with the same leaf shapes and sit it on the table too, so that would work.

Those sharp-eyed readers amongst you may have noticed that 3 of my leaves have some embellishement.

I added some veins to the purple leaf, I outlined the orange (in blanket stitch - a tried and trusted favourite of mine!) and on the yellow one I did both.

Over the next few days I am planning to grab a few leaves whenever I have a spare half hour, and eventually do one of the above to them all - it adds a little texture and interest, I think.  They don't all have to be done, even just a few "accent" pieces would be nice!

I will be sure to post a couple of updated pictures once I am done!

Nikki x

Linking with

Sunday, 23 October 2011

a twist on the Perpetual Calendar

Just a quick, picture lite post today - and completely non-Halloween related!

I am a big fan of Bon Temps Beignet and loved one of Liz's recent posts for making a perpetual calendar from a picture frame.

Now, the last thing I need in my house is another calendar having ordered one myself for 2011 and we received several more as gifts.  However, I decided to alter the idea slightly and voila!  Now I have a great way to keep track of the kids' school activities and after school bits and pieces too!

If I could change one thing, I think I should have used papers with a bit more contrast, and may re-do it at some point.

It won't have to be adjusted too much during the school year, and if I do need to change anything, I find a cotton wool ball and some nail polish remover is a great eraser (I used a sharpie for all the writing)!  I have this in my kitchen so I can see at a glance each morning who needs gym gear, when homework is due back and when I have to hunt for the kids' library books!

AND it looks so much better than the limp piece of paper which I had stuck to my kitchen wall with all this info last year ;O)
Thanks for a great idea Liz!

Nikki x

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Friday, 21 October 2011

Complete Halloween Mantle

So, I think my halloween mantle is complete!

We picked up this mantle a few months ago through Freecycle, you'll notice (obviously) that I have yet to come up with a permenant idea for the space, and our "hearth" is a shelf we bought from the hardware store and cut to size so the mantle wasn't simply sitting right on the floor.  Anyway, that big glaring gap is a project for another day ;O) 

Here is the top half, including a few of my blog crafts:  my BOO artwork, Halloween Countdown Blocks, Papier Mache Pumpkin, Spooky Spiders and web.  I decided to off-set the mirror from the centre and quite like it, and my spider is kinda filling the gap above the other half.

The kids and I also make a ghostie garland, and used the leftover bat embellishments from my Halloween Wreath to make a pattern above them.

Here is the lower half, on the "hearth"

A friend of mine was throwing out the little green foot stool, so I thought I would try to make use of it!

You'll notice there is a particular author who is a favourite of mine - with the dust jackets off the colours are nice and muted for the most part, and the books help to fill up a bit of that empty space.

I added some seasonally coloured books on the other side to add a bit of height - the bowl is a papier mache one I made a few years back.

I'd love to know your thoughts on the overall look - I look at it one minute and think "Hell yeah, it looks awesome!" and then the next time I look I think the combo of the top half and the bottom half makes it look too busy!!

I guess now that this is finished, I need to start thinking about Christmas crafts...!

Nikki x

Linked with

Chic on a Shoestring - Flaunt it Friday #75
Remodelaholic - Anonymous #93 
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