Properly dressed for the occasion

As I was finishing the card from my last post I decided that the bottle of wine that was to accompany it was woefully under dressed. I started by trying to tie a simple paper knot around it, but it quickly became an actual tie.

The silver paper I was using was not really paper but the plasticy gift wrapping that you can never get sellotape to stick to. The flexibility made tying the tie quite easy and then it had to have a collar which was just a strip of paper folded in half.

After that I couldn’t resist making a ribbon bow tie with wing tip collar.
I will never again, take wine out without first making sure it’s properly dressed.
Shelley

So you’re going to tie the knot, engagement card

Some friends of mine have become engaged, you know who you are.

Naturally a card is called for, and for some reason I felt the need to make a paper knot card.

It was as simple as tying a knot in a piece of paper, well nearly.

When you tie a knot, one of the tails that sticks out of the knot is reversed so I cheated and cut it off just inside the knot, turned it over and poked it back in the right way around. I added the white paper on top of the silver to give it some texture and I also liked that two different threads papers have been knotted tied together, just like my two different friends, ahhhh.

It’s tricky to photograph metallic paper, so you can’t really tell, but it’s a gold background with silver and white ribbons of paper across it, and yes, I used my favorite aperture cards, a Papermania 240 GSM square card 13.5 cm x 13.5 cms.

Congratulations you guys.

Shelley

The last in a long line or I love my Scarf.

The last row, I’ve finally finished!!!

I only say that because it’s taken me about two years not because it’s been a chore, far from it, I have loved knitting my first scarf.

The pattern is called Logan and came from The Pure Wool Collection by Rowan.

For a large chunk of that two years it has taken me, the knitting languished in the bottom of my wardrobe, having had the needle swiftly removed by my curious toddler.

The really annoying part was when I finally remembered to give it to my mum to be rescued, it took her less then five minuets to restore it.

I had asked mum if she would teach me to knit and she very kindly gave me the book, wool, needles and a lesson for my birthday. Thanks mum.

Despite the needle-ectomy and inordinate length of time it took me, I can’t recommend this pattern highly enough. Bearing in mind that this is the first full blown knitting project I’ve taken on, I’m sooo pleased.

This has to be, for me anyway, the perfect combination of easy to follow pattern, forgiving design and an end result that appears complex enough to impress and encourage.

I see far more knitting in my future, but given the time scale per piece, I don’t think any one will be getting a scarf for Christmas, at least not this year.

If you have a recommended beginner knitting pattern, I would love to hear about it.

Shelley

Spiral wool decorative eggs

I’m loving playing with egg shells, husks, casings? Shells sort of implies they’re fragmented, note to self, find proper name for egg casing (ooh ooh… pod, I like that, egg pod).

Anyhow, I’ve been wrapping egg pods in wool and I think they’ve turned out really well, this is how I made them.

If you wish to hang the eggs once completed, then I found a neat way of creating a loop.

Start by selecting the opening  (made when you blow the egg, egg blowing link here,) which you would like to become the top of your finished egg.

Choose two colours of wool, don’t cut lengths of, just unravel some of it. Make a loop in one of the ends of wool and then tuck both ends and the knot (having covered the knot in PVA glue ) into the opening.

Now spiral the two lengths of wool around the egg. I use PVA glue as it’s viscous enough to hold the wool in place as you go along. Glue small areas of the egg and work your way down.

When you get to the bottom cut of the wool and your done. If you get a little hole right at the bottom after you cut the wool of, it can be filled with a small off cut of wool and becomes almost invisible.

The eggs also look great on a table piled up in a bowl. If this is your preference then just tuck both ends into the opening at the beginning, no knot needed and spiral away.

Great fun with quick results, the way all home made projects should be.

Shelley

Truly inspirational colour boards

If you are looking for inspirational colour for a room design or just some eye candy then pop over to design-seeds.com

I could have spent hours Ooing and Ahhing. I really liked a lot of the colour combinations but I really really liked this one.

Have fun.

Shelley

Pretty spring egg with a bow on top

I did say that I would let you see the fruits of my egg blowing labours. So here we are.

To start I used a small jewellery eyelet in the top of all the eggs, these are just glued in place.

For the pink eggs I used hen’s eggs. I filled and sanded the hole made from blowing them. I painted them with Liquitex acrylic in Medium Magenta with a very small amount of Deep Magenta and a tiny splash of water added. It only took 10 thin layers of paint to get a nice finish.

The ribbon on this egg was from my collection of saved pieces, I think it may have even come around an Easter egg I received a couple of years ago from my mum (thanks mum). A bit of cutting and gluing, and here we are.

The small eggs are Quail’s eggs and they are beautiful as is. I filled the hole made from blowing them, sanded and touched that up with acrylic paint. Liquitex, Burnt Umber, to match the brown markings and then varnished them.

I’m very pleased with how they turned out and I really hope they will keep for a good few years, we’ll see.

When it’s hailing outside, Yes Hailing, these are a beautiful reminder that spring will return.

Shelley

Pink Easter Bunny

Hello, and sorry I’ve been away, from the blog that is, not off anywhere exciting.

I’ve been a busy little bee, finishing a commission and a painting for an open exhibition in Wymondham Arts Centre, Norfolk.

The arts centre is well worth a visit, set in the historic Becket’s Chapel in Wymondham, I would recommend checking it out, if you are ever in the area.
www.wymondhamarts.com

Anyway, I digress.

I had to share with you the commission that I’ve just finished…

It’s only a Pink Easter Bunny!

Actually she’s not, she’s a European Giant Rabbit called Willow and she is lovely, but given the season I will always remember her as the Pink Easter Bunny.

Seasons greetings.

Shelley.

Egg Blowing

This is such a great way of making spring decorations.

So let’s get cracking! sorry.

First step, wash your eggs, we all know where they’ve been.

Step two, making some holes. You can use a large pin but my weapon of choice is a pair of very sharp nail scissors, it gives me something to keep hold of and I feel a bit more in control of egg-sactly how much presser I’m using.

Eggs can be surprisingly hard to puncture. You need a small hole at the top and a slightly larger one at the bottom. Egg-speriment with the size of your holes, start small and make them a little larger if you can’t blow out the egg.

Step three, blow through the small top hole and the contents will empty out through the bottom, make sure the have a bowl underneath to catch the eggy innards so that you can cook it later.

Finally, step four, gently wash out your empty eggs and leave to dry.

Now the eggsciting bit, deciding how to decorate them. I know I know, I just can’t help myself when it comes to egg yolks, I mean jokes.

I’ll be back with some of my finished and decorated eggs soon.

Can I just say a big thank you to my eggscellent assistant Ian, beautifully blown man, beautifully blown. Thanks.

Shelley.

Milk Chocolate Easter Nests

Milk chocolate Easter nests are something of a tradition in our house and this is how I make mine.

To make 12 nests you will need;

200 g  milk chocolate

1 heaped desert spoon of butter ( I’m not big on measuring if I don’t have to and this rough amount works for me, if you need a number I’d go for 25 g.)

1 desert spoon of golden syrup

4 shredded wheat

I like to use mini eggs and only put 2 in each nest , so, you’ll need 24 of these.

Break up the chocolate and put it in a heat proof bowl along with the butter and golden syrup, put the bowl over a pan of hot, not boiling, water.

Don’t over heat this, gently warm, stirring the chocolate, as soon as it’s melted and combined take the bowl off the hot water.

Crumble the shredded wheat into the chocolate mixture, making sure to crush any large lumps. Mix well, then dollop out 12 heaps onto a non stick sheet. I really like the reusable Teflon cooking mats for this sort of thing.

Make a dip in the middle of each one and put in your eggs. You don’t need to be neat and they do hold together once cooled.

I don’t put these into the fridge as this makes the mini eggs sweat, just leave them in a cool place and they will set, if they don’t get eaten first.

Enjoy

Shelley.

When you just can’t find the right card

We received a lovely party invitation and I wanted to reply in kind. I quickly came to the realization that if I wanted the right sentiment I would have to make it myself.

So here it is, my very own We would love to attend card. 

I was inspired by a beautiful card with the word love written in scrabble letters. Once I got home, out came the little one’s wooden blocks.

I stated by trying to use just large blocks but was missing a couple of letters. I ended up swapping out a few large blocks for small ones. I feel that it works with the random, fun vibe I was going for. As usually happens I spent ages playing with the layout and ended up going with the second photograph I had taken.

In photo shop I didn’t do much to the photograph other than gray scale it and, in the image section, go to adjust, and change the brightness and contrast so that it was still legible once I had re-sized it.

Printing on paper was not up to scratch, so, out came the photo paper. I only use inexpensive photo paper from the supermarket but it makes a big difference to the clarity. The image on the right is on photo paper the one on the left is on plain paper.

It was then just a case of taping it into an aperture card, I use tape as glue buckles the card and you don’t have to wait for tape to dry.

I love aperture cards, this one is a Papermania 240 GSM square card 13.5 cm x 13.5 cms. I always have a stash set aside, they are so handy and mean I can whip up a very smart, personalized, heartfelt card in next to no time.

So, have fun playing with toys.

Shelley.