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!

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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: Pumpkin Garland…

So it occurred to me, as I was changing my home accessories to match the new season, that I was really lacking in autumnal themed objects. I decided I wanted to try and make one before heading to TKMaxx and purchasing one, and I’m so glad I did because I think what I made turned out super cute!

I picked up five polystyrene pumpkins from Hobbycraft at 50p each, and I already owned the needles, felt and jute. So technically this project cost me £2.50 and about 5 hours of my time on a lazy Sunday. Not bad huh?

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I started off by roughly felting wool on to the pumpkin to create a base, and then went back over it with a second layer to fill in any gaps. Once I had the orange down, it was time to focus in on the detailing by repeatedly needling in between the sections to give it a proper shape. I attached the stalk and then needled in some jute string to enable them to be hung up. At this point I didn’t know whether they were going to hang at different levels as a bunch or in a garland.

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I chose to felt two of the pumpkins in a darker rusty brown with a light stem and three in the classical orange with a dark stem. This was just to add a little variety, meaning I used four wool shades but technically if you were on a tighter budget, you’d only need two shades. I used one full pack and a bit for the three orange pumpkins so if you were planning on using the same colour for all 5 I’d suggest buying three 10gram packets of orange and only one of the green.

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I chose to make them in to a garland as hanging bunch just didn’t quite sit right – they looked more like a radioactive bunch of garlic actually… At first I used slip knots to figure out where I wanted them all before tying them in to place a little more securely. The garland still didn’t look quite finished to me though: the tied knots and little tails of string looked untidy.

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I decided that felting little balls on top of the knots was a nice decorative way to hide them, and I was much more pleased to call this it’s final look!

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I am so happy with how it turned out! I think it’s cute and fun, and it felt way more satisfying making it myself than going out and buying something new. If we’re costing it up properly;

Jute String £1
2 x Orange Roving £3
1 x Rusty Brown Roving £1.50
1 x Dark Green Roving £1.50
1 x Light Green Roving £1.50
Felting Needle Tool £7
5 x Pumpkins £2.50

Grand Total = £18

Do you think that’s an okay total for a craft project? I certainly do. You’d have the needle tool for future projects, and you’d have the extra wool to play with too. I no doubt could have picked up something cheaper at TKMaxx but sometimes when creating handmade things saving money’s not the point.

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Monday (re)Make…

So my gran was getting rid of this little footstool, because let’s be honest here, it was pretty disgusting. However, I liked it’s little feet so  I asked her if I could take it away and try to give it a new life – she of course agreed being from the ‘make-do and mend’ generation and for a while it sat in my cupboard whilst I mulled over what I was going to do with it. And how, as I’ve never re-upholstered anything before.

I figured the first step would be to strip it down to see what would be left for me to work with. I used pliers to remove the staples, which was how the material was attached to the base. After seeing the state of the foam and fabric I kind of wished I’d been wearing a dusk-mask… The original foam certainly needed replacing too, and I was surprised at how thin the base was, it was just plywood.


I headed to my local Hobbycraft and picked out a lovely fresh fabric. (Upon reflection, cream maybe wasn’t the best of colours to pick for a footstool. Even though I wear slippers in the house it’s still bound to get visibly dirty after a while.) As it was a flat fabric, opposed to a fluffy fabric, I realised it wouldn’t hide the staples so I chose some fun trims to cover them up. Now that I had my fabric, it was time to pick out a colour for the feet and I chose a Rust-oleum furniture paint called ‘Pumpkin’ – isn’t it punchy!

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I’ve never worked with chalk paint and to be honest it was a bit of a pain. It dried super quick meaning it dragged if you accidentally double stroked, and the details in the feet made it even trickier to use. I eventually got there, after three coats but unfortunately there was a lot of brush marks. They could probably be sanded out using a very fine sandpaper but I felt it wasn’t worth the time. I next sized up the piece of foam I bought from Dunelm, cut it out and glue-gunned it on to the base.

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I knew to get a smooth finish on the stool, the fabric needed to be wrapped tightly onto the foam but I had a few problems trying to do this. I just couldn’t figure out how to keep it tight and in place whilst I tried to hold and staple it. I needed more hands! I don’t mean to be a bad workman blaming his tools here, but also my staple gun was £10 out of Hobbycraft – it’s not technically a ‘real’ staple gun. (It can seriously be turned in to a desk stapler, it came with the attachment…) It often half-heatedly smooshed several staples in at once meaning the fabric wasn’t actually tacked down. I got there though, all be it roughly!

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Next was to hide the hideous staple job after I tidied up the edges a little more than in the above picture. I used pom-pom trims that I glue-gunned into position without any problems, thank goodness.


And viola! It was done. I love it. I think it’s so cute, and fresh and it’s just the right height for when I’m sitting at my desk to prop my feet up on – not too high, not too low. It’s good to know that if I get bored with it in the future, I can easily change it! Have you ever completed a project like this before?

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Monday Make: Fairy Garden…

*VERY PICTURE HEAVY!*
So as the weather is getting better, my mother and I have been touring the local garden centers. One of the trends predicted to be big this year seems to be ‘Fairy Gardens’ or ‘Miniature Worlds’, and oh my goodness I can understand why because the stuff for them is super cute. I could also see it being very addictive as there’s various themes you could base them on and so many accessories you can buy.

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After seeing plenty of inspiration, I decided I was going to set my own up. The first step was to buy a suitable pot and some plants. I went with a plain terracotta pot as I liked it’s shape: it was shallow but had a large enough circumference to include enough in my Fairy Garden to make it interesting. For the plants I bought some hebes, alpines, thyme, lavender and a mini conifer tree. Before 100% committing to the arrangement I had play about with plants to get the placement right. After a few trials I decided the thyme and lavender were out of place so stuck to the tree, hebes and alpines. I am fully aware that not all of my chosen plants will stay compact on their own accord and this means either regular pruning or eventual removal but I’m okay with that.

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The main feature of the garden was going to be the house, it was an obvious choice for it’s appearance as I love mushrooms/toadstools. I needed something for scale and structure so I used a small plant pot for the base. I first of all rolled out some fimo clay, (like a whole block of the stuff) thin enough and large enough to wrap round the whole pot. Then I used some masking tape and duct tape to create the mushroom top, again covering it in rolled out fimo. Toadstools are renowned for their spots, these were pretty easy to make; just chop a few thick slices off the block, roll in to a ball and then squash, ta da spots.

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Next was to add some housey details, you know like windows and doors. I really like the way the front steps turned out, they took zero effort as I just rolled a thick slice of coldish clay (the warmer fimo gets the more malleable it gets I’ve found) until it reached the desired thickness and it just sort of naturally formed those cracked edges. I added some shimmer powder to the windows for a glint and to the door for depth. I also remember things like adding wood-grain and hinges to the door for additional detail and ‘realism’.

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And that was the house finished. Truth be told, I really didn’t know how it would turn out after baking. I mean I’ve never baked a plant pot or some duct/masking tape before so the whole thing could have melted, set on fire or even poisoned us all but it didn’t and it turned out just as it went in. Hooray! (except the clay was now hard of course.)

Next was to create some little garden features, I really fancied a pond for the garden. I made one by stacking squashed blobs of clay on top of each other round the base of a plant pot (so it didn’t collapse in on itself while I was trying to make it), then added a base and detail. Once baked, I siliconed the inside in hope that it would hold water but as you can see in the picture it did have a leak somewhere, never mind.

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At one of the garden centres I picked up some really cool marbles that shouted crystal balls to me. I made them little plinths out of clay, added some texture and some shimmer and, once baked, super glued the marbles in place. I hope you don’t mind me saying, but I think they look so cool!

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One of the accessories I actually bought was an adorable little mouse wearing a saddle! (I can’t believe I never took a solo shot of him, he’s so cute). He obviously couldn’t run around loose so would need a little paddock to live in, therefore I had to create some little fence posts. I made them using the fimo cane technique. Once baked, I turned my pile of sticks in to a fence by wrapping copper coloured jewellery wire around them.

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Now with all my accessories made, it was time to assemble the fairy garden! I already had some black decorative gravel (from a shut-down fish tank) but bought a contrasting colour to create pathways. The grass is actually artificial, it’s a sample which I picked up for free and cut to shape/size. I figured out I could bury the mouse in a little by trimming it short where he was to sit- I felt his brown base stood out too much and looked ‘fake’. (You can see it in some of the pictures before I realised this.) The little owl in the tree was another of my purchases and I attached him there with some black jewellery wire. I totally understand that all my fimo things could crack outside, and will eventually fade as they’re exposed to sunlight but I had such fun making them that it would be no hardship to do so again.

Thanks for sticking with the post, it was a long one!

So has anyone else got a fairy garden? Is this a totally sad ‘hobby’ that I shouldn’t have shared? Has anyone else put fimo stuff outside before and what were the results?

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