Totes Adorbs…

So today I launched some tote bags on Etsy! They are all hand-printed by my fair hands, on a cotton bag made from 100% recycled cotton. As they are hand-printed each bag is totally unique – there might be some extra paint, there might be a squint print, some might be some slightly lighter in colour but I think this all adds to their charm! They are safe to wash, but in order to keep the design looking it’s best I’d recommend either spot cleaning them or hand washing them.

The inspiration for all these bags came from plants that I’m growing in my garden this year.

The first bag is printed with super cute strawberries. My strawberry plants are now actually 3 years old! Sadly though this means that I’ll probably have to get some new plants next year, as they don’t produce as many berries after 3 or 4 years.  There are 20 strawberries printed on this bag – 10 on the front, 10 on the back.

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I’ve grown carrots once before, and they turned out to be tiny little things but rather sweet and tasty. I know you’ve got to have quite sandy or unlumpy soil to make it easier for them to grow, so fingers crossed they’ll be better this time round. There are 10 carrots printed on the bag – 10 on the front, 10 on the back.

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I’ve never grown radish before. I also don’t even particularly like radish, but I’m hoping that if they do grow okay I can finely slice them or pickle them for salads. I grew potatoes and peas last year, but supposedly you’re not meant to grow potatoes in the same place two years in a row hence the change to different root vegetables this year. This bag has 20 radish printed on it – 10 on the front, 10 on the back.

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So which bag is your favourite? These totes are great for shoving in your pocket or hand bag meaning you’ve always got a plastic bag alternative handy. Please make sure to have a look at my Etsy shop and let me know what you think about the product shots!

Monday Make: Radish Bag…

So for some reason I took a hankering to do some lino printing at the weekend, having never touched my tools in probably years. (Ever have one of those moods that appear by random for something random? Weird ae.) I also had some spare canvas bags kicking around and therefore the perfect combo for a ‘Monday Make’ was born. A radish printed bag!

The following admission shouldn’t make me a terrible person, I certainly know die hard lino fans will be spitting out their coffee and reeling in horror but… I know I said lino printing, I actually cheat and use that vinyl lino as I find it way easier to carve as it’s softer and smoother.

The material I used were as follows;
Canvas Bag
Fabric Paint
Pen
Pencil
Paper
Roller
Vinyl Lino
Lino Carving Tools
Scissors

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I started by drawing out a simplified sketch of a radish. It was important for me to keep it simple as I was firstly out of practice and didn’t fancy trying to carve anything too complex and secondly I was going to print it as a repeating pattern and didn’t want the over-all effect to look too busy.

I then traced the design in pencil on to some layout paper and did the whole pencil transfer thing by scribbling all over the back. As the vinyl is grey, the pencil marks can be pretty hard to see so I advise going over them in pen.

Then it was time for the fun part, the carving! There’s probably I proper technique to doing it, but I start by craving the outline and then working from there to remove all the excess. Top tip – just take your time, remember you can always remove but never put back!

The other fun part (can there be two fun parts?) is testing out the stamp for the first time. I chose to cut my radish in half so I could have the leaves green and the radish red. I applied the paint by brush (usually it’s by roller, sorry lino printers. Better go make yourself another coffee again and put on a new t-shirt.) and pressed it on to the paper. Obviously on bigger stamping blocks using a roller would give a smooth, even coverage but for little radishes I think brushes are just fine! I like the look of the brush strokes, I think it gives it a little more of a rustic charm no?

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As I was happy with the way the stamp printed, it was time to put radish on to canvas. I added a little more paint to one side of the radish after it was printed to help achieve a rounded, shaded look as I felt it looked a little flat.

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Press, print, repeat and soon you’ll have a lovely canvas bag covered in radishes. The fabric paint I used needs to be ironed for 5 minutes before it’s ‘fixed’ on to the fabric so make sure you read the instructions of yours. Nobody wants their radishes running in the rain!

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Has anyone ever printed before? I think it’s quite a satisfying, easy craft to do and get in to – it’s a little addictive to be honest as I’ve already made a strawberry and carrot bag too!

Monday Make: Leafy Pumpkin…

So unfortunately this Monday make didn’t quite go to plan, but I thought I’d post about it anyway because fails can be just as interesting.

I bought a white pumpkin from Morrisons Supermarket, it’s the first one I’ve ever seen! I thought carving it would be a waste: its peely wally skin was a little repulsive but also alluringly beautiful and I wanted to show it off. I decided it would be an ornamental, indoors pumpkin to complement my mini squash and pumpkin garland. Pintrest was my source of inspiration – I was not aware you could do so many things to them other than carve them, I cannot wait till next year now!

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I really liked how some autumn leaves stuck to the skin looked, not completely Halloween themed so perfect to keep up afterwards without looking crazy. My glue was the source of the failure, it was just not tacky enough to get those darn leaves to adhere. The stuff I was using was basically PVA put into a fancy bottle meaning it’s wet, slippy and not at all sticky. I’d advise using a proper glue if you were to try this project, maybe even spray mount? As you can see the leaves ended up poking up at all points and I just didn’t have the patience to wait on each layer drying with ineffective results.

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I gave up, pretty disheartened, and just sort of left it until later on when another idea struck me, this time it was to pin the leaves to the pumpkin with sewing pins. They have small enough heads to not be too noticeable but also manage to keep the leaves in place.

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It did work, but it just still isn’t right. I think I’ve pinned too many on, as I’ve now hidden a lot of the beautiful skin that I wanted to show off. I’ll try re-pinning it all tomorrow but for the time being it shall stay as it is.

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The annoyance that it wasn’t right was too much to sleep on, so I had to go and fix it. I think it’s a lot better now; I love that the leaves have started to curl up as they dry, it makes it look more natural and relaxed. Have you ever decorated a pumpkin rather than carve it?  Also has anyone else came across a naturally white pumpkin, are the UK just late to the game?

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Monday Make: Patched Shorts…

So I own this pair of shorts that are a little too large for me now but they’re just so comfy that I can’t bear to throw them out. I managed to stain them whilst on holiday, annoyingly it was one of those mystery stains that you’re not sure when/where you got it but I’m going to blame it on dropping food on myself. Anyway, in my super stash of craft items I had plenty of stuff to help patch over the offending stain.

I used some;
– Fabric square quarts
– Iron on studs
– Iron on motif
– ‘Heat n Bond’
– Iron on decals

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I started out by having a play around with the fabrics and once I thought they looked good I stuck them together using ‘heat n bond’. If you’ve never used this product before it’s like ‘Wondaweb’ (a glue that bonds fabrics together when heated) but in sheet format. It saves sewing for ages and also works quiet well as you can layer really easily.

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After that I chose some iron on decals from a book by ‘Sukie’ that is just filled with them (how awesome is that?!). When I originally bought the book I had no idea what I was going to do with so many iron on decals but I knew I had to have them. I’ve actually had it that long I was worried the decals would have disintegrated or something but they applied really well!

The patch was still looking a little plain so I added a blue jay motif and some lovely blue iron on studs that complimented the blue jays colour perfectly. Ta-da – my shorts now have a stain free, cool new look!

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Unfortunately as there was no sewing involved I’m really not sure how long my patch can survive, it might now mean that I have to hand wash my shorts or just re-patch every now and then.

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Monday Make: Fimo Oceans…

So I’ve seen lots of craft pieces and tutorials using resin and Fimo and think they looked fantastic, I really wanted to try it for myself so bought a box of resin and some clay. This was yonks ago though, I lost my bottle and couldn’t work up the courage until last week. I had one of those ‘let’s do one of those unstarted projects’ notions, and the resin fimo combo was what I chose. I went with the octopus and coral in a scallop shell, as I a) had been collecting scallop shells, b) didn’t have any other molds/vessels to hold the set resin in and c) had watched a few tutorials for it.

Making all the little corals was super fun and almost a little addictive. I wasn’t going for anything too realistic but did google corals to get a rough idea of shapes and textures. The octopus however was a little more tricky – his tentacles (careful) were very thin and floppy and upon reflection a little out of proportion for his body. I baked the whole thing as was, but when it came out of the oven all the pieces had returned to singular elements! This meant I had to silicone them back in to place.

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I made a second smaller octopus in a shell, whos legs are super funky but ended up with a squashed head – handling things that small delicately is a must! I also tried to ensure that the corals were going to stay stuck together by adding some algae (green fimo) in-between the corals to plug any gaps. Fortunately this worked, and once out of the oven all of them were still in place.

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After baking I painted some details and the eyes on to the octopus with some acrylic paints. Can you spot the little extra addition? A little seasnail shell!

Next was the part I was dreading, the resin mixing and pouring. I think I’d maybe read too much about it – like burning skin on contact, bad mixes that don’t set, highly flammable but use a match to pop bubbles, etc, and it all sounded way too dangerous for the super safe person I am. But I had to bite the bullet. So I snapped on some latex gloves, had a glass of water for extinguishing burning matches on stand-by and took a big breath.

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And actually it was all okay. Nothing or no one got burned (bar the matches) and my mix eventually set hard! I used a pebeo mixing kit, which handily has marked measuring cups to ensure you get the correct 2:1 ratio. They also have lovely little handles making the pouring easy to control. The large ocean took the most resin as it’s a deep shell and I wanted the octopus to be submerged. The little shell was quite shallow and therefore I sort of did a resin puddle with what was left. After pouring I did notice I had some bubbles in the biggie, so as the tutorials suggested I lit some matches and very quickly popped them by hovering the match over them. Then I hid the two oceans in my glass cabinet to help keep the dust of them for 24 hours – and ta da! Two little octopus oceans.

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One of the things I’ve learned for next time is to definitely take the time with stirring the resin mix and popping the bubbles. I think I may have stirred too vigorously and whipped air in to it which resulted in lots of fine bubbles in the deeper, larger ocean.

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Anyone else tried resin before? Or maybe you too have a box sitting unloved – well start using it, it’s not so scary after all!

Monday Make: Easter Wreath…

So I’ll be doing a new ‘feature’ possibly every few weeks, where my Monday posts will be about a ‘make’ I’ve completed. (Why a Monday, purely because of the alliteration.) This weeks Monday make is an Easter wreath! I like to decorate the living-room to match the seasons and with Easter approaching fast it was time for me to get decorating.

I’d seen a few wreaths in TKMaxx, however there was always a certain aspect that put me off (a wrong colour, not quite the right style, etc etc), therefore I decided to make my own. I headed to Hobbycraft and picked up some supplies;
A plain wreath – £3
Wire foam roses – £1
Wire paper flowers – £1
Packet of polystyrene eggs – £1
Box of chicks – £1
(I already had my glue gun and some moss)

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As much as I love the tackiness of fluffy chicks, they were really out of place in this design and not in a good way so I decided to leave them off. After I’d had a play about with the layout, I got down to gluing everything down – aren’t glue guns just wonderful things!

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I think it turned out really well! As tacky as those roses and flowers looked in the packets, I think they look quite pretty and delicate on the wreath. They came on wire stalks which I had to cut off so I could glue them on, and this left me with lots of green wire bits. Not wanting  them to go to waste, I decided to create little spiral bits to add extra charm!

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For something that cost around £5 to make, I believe it was totally worth it! I’ll be able to use it every year too. Does anyone else decorate for Easter?

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Stag Surgery…

So there’s a really interesting interiors shop quite local to me (Kudos Interiors) – each time we go in there’s always something to catch my eye and it often makes you want to redecorate whole rooms at a time (if money was no object of course). My mum has recently taken a liking to the whole ‘tartan/country/rustic’ style so we couldn’t believe our luck when we saw this injured stag for clearance at only £10! My mum was quite happy to take it ‘as was’ – she planned to turn it side on so the breakage wouldn’t be noticeable, but I knew I could go one better and actually repair it. I’m sure the woman in the shop thought we were mad paying £10 for a clearly broken lamp but if only she see how handsome he is now!

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So how did I do it?
I decided to use air drying clay as I knew it would texture and paint quite well. I doubt I could have colour matched as effectively had I used polymer clay. Due to the antler was quite thin and long I thought it best to use a straightened paper clip up the middle for extra support. I then textured it to look more like the original antler.

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Once it was dry, I painted it using acrylic paint – this was the trickiest part and it took the longest. As I couldn’t get an exact match, I sneakily painted the other antler with the paint I’d mixed in hope that it wouldn’t be noticeable, as they now technically matched in colour. To attach the antler I used silicone glue and left to dry for a while.  My mum was over the moon at the results and so was I! What a steal for £10!

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