It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Well, I have to be honest … I still can’t quite believe that in five days we’ll be celebrating the big HoHoHo! Day (when did we start calling it that, by the way?!?)

I think I’m almost done decorating and trimming up the Grand Old Lady, although I’m fairly certain that a fabulous project will grab me on Pinterest later and I’ll convince myself that one more won’t hurt.

Here are a few snapshots of how she’s looking; now let me see what I can do with some old jars and a few sprigs of rosemary … ;)

Ribbon-wrapped cider bottles! May look to carry this over to more projects in the new year …

I painted some old terracotta pots with gold acrylic paint, filled with moss and holly sprigs, added a candle … Et voilá!

I love these giant pine cones! Again, painted in gold acrylic and suspended with sumptuous red satin ribbon.

This ribbon ornament was made from wired metallic ribbon. What I love about these is that you can quickly add some large statement pieces to a slightly bare tree (for the first time we have a nine foot tree this year, and a shortfall in baubles!)

No handywork here … I just like the bokeh effect!

And again … loving the bokeh ;)

I’m very much a “less is more” kind of girl, so this year I opted for Scots pine branches interwoven with fairy lights only on our lovely marble mantlepiece in the sitting room. The smell is to die for!

So there we have it … for now. I have almost a hundred hours before the big day, don’t I? Let’s see what I can come up with ;)

Until the next time!

Debs x

 

DIY canvas: an easy, personalised Christmas stocking filler!

 

Most people have family photos pushed away into drawers that rarely see the light of day; here’s a great tutorial that hopefully will brighten Christmas morning for one of your nearest and dearest. All you need to do is sneak a scanned copy of that photo ….

I really love the simplicity of these DIY canvasses, and over the last year or so I’ve followed many tutorials online that are all broadly similar but I always ended up with a little niggle every time. Maybe there was too much of the image rubbed away (i.e. it was “too” distressed!), it wasn’t vibrant enough, or I had annoying bubbles left on the canvas.

I hope this tutorial solves all those issues; for me it’s proven to be the best and most effective method I’ve used.

Please do have a go yourselves; it’s not as intimidating as it might sound, and I’d love to hear about your results!

Firstly, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A laser jet printer for your image – very important – this won’t work on an inkjet copy
  • A photo-editing tool that will allow you to boost levels and/or contrast, and also to flip the image horizontally (particularly important if your image contains text of any kind
  • A blank canvas (I’ve used a 7 x 5 inch in this tutorial)
  • A sponge brush
  • Acrylic matt medium
  • An old credit card
  • A water spritzer
  • Linseed oil

Scan and print out your image slightly larger than your canvas – before you do this you may want to boost the contrast, curves or levels if your photo editing software allows (most photos fade over time, and you need some definition for this to work well).

Also – remember to flip your image 180 degrees horizontally before printing – it needs to be a ‘mirror’ image.

Pour some of the matt medium onto your blank canvas and cover with your sponge brush.

Do the same on your image (not too much as some of the toner will start to come away)

Carefully place the image face down on your canvas. Match up the edges but allow a slight amount of ‘overhang’ (if the image is slightly larger, this shouldn’t be a problem)

This is important … You will get bubbles appearing (it’s a bit liking hanging wallpaper!). The best way I’ve found to deal with them is to use an old credit card and smooth them away. I’ve tried the back of a spoon too but that just seemed to stretch the canvas; an old credit card is perfect!

Wait at least 24 hours for it to dry. I always wait 48 hours, because if it’s even slightly damp when you move onto the next step you could run into problems

(Please forgive the reverse image on the shot above … you don’t need to do that, I just print a reverse copy so I can keep track of which canvas is which!)

Now, grab your water spritzer and dampen the dried image. The key here is to dampen it enough to rub the paper off (too dry and you’ll take the image off too, too wet and …. well, it’ll be a mess!)

Rub the paper with your fingertips. I tend to vary the direction, from “round and round” to “up and down”.

Be warned: this is the time-consuming bit, and it can make your fingertips quite sore!

When you’re happy most of the paper has been rubbed away, set it aside to dry for 24 hours. There will be some rubbing off around the edges, but I think this just adds to the charm!

When you go back to it you will notice that the drying process has revealed a lot of paper still present and it will look a quite ‘milky’, but this is where the fabulous linseed oil comes in!

Take a bit of the oil on your fingertip and gently rub it into the canvas. The wonderful thing about this step is that it brings a vividness to the image (no amount of rubbing at the wet stage will ever remove every trace of the paper …)

Et voilà …  A lovely, personalised and unique Christmas gift!

I’m doing a few of these this year as I think they make perfect stocking fillers, and are just so cute!

If however, you don’t have the time or the inclination email me for information on ordering one (prices start at £25 for a 7″x5″ canvas)- there will be a 7 day turnaround – UK mainland only for orders before Christmas

Coffee filter roses … my perfect afternoon

 

It’s rather typical of me to set out to make one or two samples and end up making more and more and more … And that’s what happened when I set out to make some roses this afternoon. Made from coffee filters. Yes, coffee filter roses!

I wonder what you use coffee filters for? If it purely involves caffeine then let me tell you there is far more to these little paper beauties than meets the eye! They can be dyed and formed into the most beautiful paper roses. Although it’s advisable not to use them to make your coffee … before or after.

I dyed a few coffee filters to test the subtlety of shade I could achieve as I like my roses pale and varied (to be honest they were a bit stronger in hue than I was looking for, but hey ho- that’s a perfect excuse to do another set!) Once they were dry I assembled a mini tied bouquet of roses … I’m rather pleased with them and am now planning a bigger, better and altogether more fabulous bunch!

I hope you like:

These coffee filter roses are about to be added to my new shop, both on their own and as a bouquet and in a vast array of colours and hues.

If you’d like more details please email me.


Wine bottle flowers … and a prayer for some sunshine!

 
Please keep your fingers crossed. This afternoon is our school summer fayre and we’d really appreciate it if the sun could shine … just for a couple of hours between about 3pm and 5.30pm if possible.

Not too much of a tall order, is it? You’d think not, but our summer in the UK has been wet, wet, wet! In fact …. we need a new word for “wet”.

Anyway! On to brighter and altogether more cheerful topics. Here’s my offering for the fayre: huge tissue paper flowers that sit quite happily in an empty wine bottle (most of us tend to accumulate a few of those, right?)

The flexible stems mean they’re easily re-positionable in an empty wine bottle … Let’s hope they help raise funds for our lovely little school! And of course let’s hope the sun stays out …

Paper roses … and glue gun fun!

 
It’s an example of how far I’ve come … Ten years ago my birthday presents were (for the most part) perfume or jewellery.

This year when my lovely mum asked what I’d like I had no hesitation. I wanted Bosch Glue Gun. I’d messed around with a £10 cheap one from Dunelm Mill for long enough; I was ready to move up to the big league.

It was possibly the best present I could have asked for! Nothing is safe from being stuck down now I have a heavy-duty one in my grasp. Quite simply … I love it. Sad? Yes … but I don’t care!

So today I set about making paper flowers with the assistance of my weapon of mass adhesion …

I love the contemporary feel of these paper roses. They have a Rennie Mackintosh feel about them and yet somehow they’re still delicate and dainty.

We’re about to roll out a new line of crafted flowers including these paper roses, including bouquets, single stems, flower garlands and even bunting. Suitable for weddings, parties, dinner tables and window dressing I’m very excited about the longevity they offer … You can leave your flowers in the garden to bloom to their hearts content!

I will of course keep you posted on developments … In the meantime please enjoy!