Friday, 21 April 2017

Lovely Liberty



My regular readers will know by now that I love it when things are beautiful and practical. Sometimes these things can be shabby and a bit faded and well used (I am trying not to say old here...) but they are still beautiful. Think of old leather bags and wooden things. I think that you see what I mean!


And I have found that it is possible to live beautifully when I have diy in my life. I can control my world because money stops being such a big factor when you have the skills to do something yourself.


 I know that we see images of perfection on ads all around us every day. Social Media is full to the brim with people trying to convince us that they have a perfect life. But do you know what? It isn't actually that hard to move towards this loveliness. Change one thing in your environment every day. Maybe buy a houseplant for a dull corner of your room. Tidy each night before you go to bed so that you wake up to a more serene room. Make yourself something to change the way you feel about the morning.


That is actually my point (trust me I do have one) for this week's offering to you. I have a beautiful cup and saucer and I drink pink tea from it. It is a Twinings strawberry and raspberry one and it is bliss! It is just sweet enough so it doesn't need sugar and it stops my cravings for other sweet things.


I have found that if I use a cafetiere with three tea bags in, I can have about four cups. Practical. It fits on my desk better than a round teapot too. Also practical. But do you know what? My cafetiere is UGLY! Functional but not summery enough. I know, more middle class problems. 

Not the worst thing in the world. Just not quite right for the current mood.

Well, that is the one thing that I will change today. Make that cafetiere less ugly until I can find one that I love to go with my cup and until I can justify the purchase.

No business hanging out with my pretty cup and saucer!
It would possibly be easier just to go and buy a new one right now. I could click away from here and have something beautiful delivered in a day or two. But why would I do that? The one that I have has nothing wrong with it and it would be a bit wasteful to get a new one just because. 


So in the spirit of not spending a huge amount of money and making this better, I am going to make it a little coat. From Liberty scraps. And I shall show you what I do so that you can make one thing in your life better too.


What do we need then?
A few pretty scraps of fabric. I am using the quintessentially English Liberty lawns which are from www.alicecaroline.co.uk. They have a wonderful range and you can buy scrap bags (I know right!) which are the most exciting thing because you never know what you will get.
F8th of fabric for the lining. Liberty again!
F8th of wadding. I am using Thermolam by Vlieseline
a pretty button
Some elastic or cord
a label or similar to anchor the cord
bias binding
Your usual sewing needs 


Righto, let's begin be measuring the cafetiere. I want my cover to go around the whole thing and just meet in the handle section. So measure around and add 1 cm (3/8 in). Measure the height and add the same. This will give you a comfortable amount to trim away. You now have a rectangle.


Take the wadding and draw (with a soluble marker), the rectangle that you just measured. This will give you the height and the width plus the extra.
The idea now is to 'colour this in' with the liberty strips. Cut the first strip. It can be as wide as you like but it must be long enough to cover the width of the rectangle like this....


Place the first strip on face up and then channel quilt it.Cut another random strip and this time, lay it over the first with the right sides together and sew the right hand seam...


Unfold the strip. Press it lightly and then channel quilt it too....


Keep going until you have the whole rectangle coloured in....


You could put the backing fabric on at the same time and do the whole thing in one step but I don't like that because you end up with a lot of messy lines on the back from adding the strips. Because this is such a small make,  it will be fine like this.

Redraw your rectangle now, cut the front out and round the corners...


Fit it onto your cafetiere (or whatever) and trim if needed. When you are happy, round the corners with something like a small cup and attach the backing fabric.
Bind with your chosen binding....

Great use for scraps too precious to throw away.

The rounded corners make binding a breeze - no mitring!
To keep it in place, add the button to one side and the elastic or cord to the other...




I have used a snippet of bright gold bias binding because gold is sort of having a moment right now.


And that's actually it! Go and put that kettle on and grab your current read. I am working my way through Jean Plaidy's Tudor series at the moment. 

LOVE Tudor history!
These are out of print but you can find them on Amazon or at a market. I love the way the story rolls along, taking the reader with it. I cannot tell you how many times I have read these since I found them in high school and I will continue to do so because they are my firm favourites. 


I would love to meet Anne Boleyn's ghost just so I could tell her that I believed her and that she was treated awfully.


Well thank you for visiting today and now go out into your world and find something to make prettier. See you next time!

Love and Hugs
Debbie
xx

Monday, 10 April 2017

Easter Eggs - pretty and non fattening!


Well folks, it is coming up to that time of the year that dieters dread. Easter. 




I know, I know, the real meaning is lost and all that but unfortunately, the thing that gets most of us is the sheer over abundance of CHOCOLATE on offer every where we look. 



Do we give in utterly and face plant into an over stuffed bowl of Lindt or do we pretend to pace ourselves until about 4.00 in the afternoon on Easter Sunday and then face plant into a bowl of Lindt?



I am still in the pretending-to-pace-myself stage and I am going with guaranteed non fattening eggs - made of wood!



This year, I have persuaded the pussy willow in my garden to produce something other than twigs and leaves and there is an Easter tree on my table. 



Because it is crying out for something quite fab, I have decided to paint and gild some eggs.



The plan started with some beautifully turned wooden eggs that I found on eBay for not as much money as I thought they would be.



Step two was a trip to the hardware store for some very small eyelet hooks. A drill and a pit of patience later and the eggs had a hanging thingy in the top.



Next was to give them a bit of an abstract colour. I opted for pastels....well because it is Easter and Springtime and all that. I didn't want to go overboard and I wanted the wood to be left visible so I painted a sort of a roundish oval on the bottom of the eggs like this....



Keep it simple with the colours. Mine are all from DecoArt and I have opted for spa blue, mint julep green and pink chiffon.



When that was dry, it was time to apply some gold leaf as you see in the picture above. Here again I  didn't want to obscure the paint or the wood but I wanted the gold on both so it was a matter of painting on a bit of DecoArt DuraClear Satin Varnish which I find fabulous for gilding.



Then take the gold leaf (or copper or silver - naturally, me being me, I ordered all of them to play it very safe). Take this on a dry brush and then dab it on and let it break and flake if it wants to. 



I like that speckly look. It works well if the varnish is tacky rather than completely dried.



There are some flaky bits and these can either be reattached or rubbed off before the final sealer is applied.



As you can see this stuff is BRIGHT gold! But thin as a whisper and can be a bit of a challenge - ensure no drafts.

When I was happy with the gold, I painted again with DecoArt DuraClear Satin varnish and then hung a thin gold ribbon and a piece of black and white baker's twine through the eyelet hook. 

My ribbon and twine is from Berisfords and you can find it easily by contacting Berisfords@stockistenquiries.co.uk or telephone: 01453 883581.
I love the fact that the baker's twine is really quite substantial and not the thin fluffy cotton stuff.



What do you think? Easter eggs! And as promised, these are non fattening....now where is that bowl of Lindt....



Happy Easter!
Love and hugs
Debbie
xxx

Friday, 24 March 2017

Faux marble wall hanging


I love making things over - taking something quite ordinary and making it look amazing with a few craft tools and techniques. 


This week it is about using things that have been left over from other projects. 

I made an MDF Christmas banner a bit ago and I had one pennant left over. I didn't want to waste it so it got put in the box that I keep for things that I don't want to throw away but don't really want to deal with either. Several years later, it is still here. Well never mind, it hasn't been eating anything so it might as well wait.


I love sticks too. Must have had an interesting previous life! In the same box was a stick that I had painted with DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish Paint in Everlasting. Again, not long enough to do much with.


So I have two awkward things that don't necessarily fit together...


The answer? Make em fit! That is the point of what I do for a living after all! I moved them around a bit and then it hit me - A wall hanging of some sort and I LOVE my faux finishes so I thought that I would show you how to make faux marble. In PINK! Well, It's that sort of Friday.

So, what will we need?
- First of all, something to paint on. I have used a triangle pennant made from MDF with two holes drilled on the top.
-a stick painted white. Go for a walk for this one. The stick needs to be just slightly longer than your pennant top.
-Paint - I am using DecoArt Americana products* for this project:
   -Acrylic paints: warm white, dusty rose, mauve, hi-lite flesh
   -extender medium
   -DuraClear gloss varnish
Brushes 
   -1" flat brush
   -large softening brush
You will also need a sea sponge, strong feather, old towel for the painting bit.
To finish, jute twine, die cut letters in black contact vinyl. I have cut mine on my die cutter but you can use black stickers, a sharpie pen or whatever you like depending on skills and availability.
-small amount of gold leaf

Right. All set them, here we go!

Begin by concentrating on the pennant. We want to make it marble. Give it a couple of coats of warm white, allowing adequate drying time between coats. You can speed this up with a hair dryer if you really cannot wait.


Next make a layer of extender medium onto the white. This should be even. It will give you time to mess around with the next steps. wet your sponge and then squeeze it in the towel so that it is only just damp. You don't want dripping water.

Dab the sponge into some dusty rose and then 'bounce' it a bit on the side to distribute the paint through the sponge. Now over to the pennant. I have decided to align mine pointing down. The marble runs in a diagonal pattern so I have started at the top corner on the left and moved to the other side...


Now with a VERY dry softening brush, come back and blur all of that in the direction that you painted it....


Wash the sponge, squeeeeze in the towel and reload with hi-lite flesh. go over the marble here and there to highlight it and then soften that too....


Wash the sponge and put it aside. Load the feather with mauve and paint veins, also in a diagonal direction. 


Allow the feather to flop from side to side and meander naturally. Soften with the big brush.....


TIP: Always but ALWAYS use the softening brush dry! If you need to, buy more than one. The tiniest bit of water will ruin the effect.

Come back with more mauve and strengthen the veins here and there...


Allow all of this to dry really well. Paint the tip with some gloss varnish and apply gold leaf straight along the bottom....


It depends on the size of the pennant and your personal taste as to how much gold you put on. 


Allow the varnish to dry and then varnish the whole thing allowing drying time between coats.

Decorate with your chosen letters....


Hang on the stick with jute twine or similar.


You can get DecoArt products in the UK from www.countrylovecrafts.com and in the US from www.decoart.com 


Well thank you so much for stopping by. I hope that this has sparked your upcycling interest. Have a look around your house for things that need beautifying and go on a thrift store treasure hunt. Pink marble and gold....a bit blissful I think!

Love and hugs
Debbie
xx


*DecoArt do generously sponsor me with these fab products however, I would not use them if they were not the best and the ideas that you see here are all my own.