Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Cork lovebirds - easy Valentine's Day crafts

I'm not a big fan of Valentine's day, but I am partial to a good hearty craft, and unlike most Valentine's stuff, it won't cost you! These little lovebirds certainly won't - they're made from corks (saved up over Christmas.. I have many.. ) They are quick and easy to do and can be turned into a useful gift, like a keyring or a fridge magnet. Love a useful craft. You could also write a little Valentine's message on the heart if you want to.

You'll need:
A cork
Coloured paper
Hole punch
Glue stick
Craft glue
Black felt tip or gel pen
Feather (optional)
Mini eye pin (optional)
Keyring (optional)
Small magnet (optional)
Strong all-purpose glue (optional) 

1. Paint the cork any colour you want. 

2. Fold a small piece of coloured paper in half and draw half a heart on the fold. You want it to be roughly half to two thirds the length of the cork - and make it narrow too. (We made the heart a bit bigger for the penguin)

 3. Carefully cut around the shape and open it up.

4. Rub glue stick on the back of the heart (or a thin layer of craft glue) and glue it to the cork with the point almost touching the bottom edge. Cut a strip of different coloured paper for the wings - make the width about two thirds the length of the cork. If you're making a penguin, leave out the wing strip.

5. Line the strip up with one side of the heart and the base of your bird and wrap the rest around the cork - cut away any extra paper where it touches the other side of the heart.

6. Rub glue stick on the top half of the strip only and glue in place, so the bottom of the wings stick out slightly.

7. For the eyes, use a hole punch to punch out some circles - rub a little glue stick where you want the eyes to go on the cork, wet your finger to help pick up the little circles and stick them in place.

 8. Use a black pen to add the pupils.

9. For the beak, cut out a small triangle from yellow or orange paper (or colour in some plain paper), rub glue stick just below the eyes, wet your finger to help pick up the triangle, and glue in place.

10. Paint on claws on the bottom edge with yellow paint and leave to dry.

11. To add a feathery head plume, make a hole on top by screwing in a small screw, nearer to the front. Take the screw out.

12. Choose a feather, dab a little glue on the pointy tip and push it into the hole.

13. To make it into a keyring, screw a mini eye pin (seen in step 11) into the top of your cork and attach a keyring. Or, for a fridge magnet, glue a small magnet to the back of your bird. Use strong all-purpose glue like UHU.

I got these little magnets on Ebay - they're a great size, weren't expensive and are seriously strong. Nothing worse than a fridge magnet that doesn't hold stuff!

To make them more durable you could give your lovebirds a coat of clear varnish. If you don't have any, try clear nail varnish instead.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Easy Darth Vader figure - #StarWarsCraft

Come over to the dark side....

Darth Vader is back...
And if you have any young Star Wars fans in your life, then you might want to have a go at making this easy little mini figure.

You'll need:
Egg carton
Craft scissors
Black paint
Silver metallic pen (fine/medium nib)
PVA/craft glue
Red/pink straw
Black permanent marker (like a sharpie)
Nail scissors (adult supervision needed)

1. Roughly cut out two middle cones from an egg carton so they're easier to work with.

2. On one of them, draw a line all the way around the cone, just above the bumpy card joins at the bottom. Cut along the line and check the cone sits flat and even. This will be the body.

3. For the head, take the second cone, and use a ruler and pencil to measure and mark about 2cm (3/4in.)  from the top on each side. Join the marks with a rough line. Cut out the head - a good way to do this is to cut up two adjacent corners to the line, bend back the card flap and cut it off. It's now easier to cut along the rest of the line.

4. Glue the head onto the body. Cut a strip of card from the egg carton lid for the arms - make it roughly 0.5cm wide(1/4in.) and about 5cm long (2in.)

5. Paint the body and the arm piece black.

6. While that's drying, cut about 4cm (11/2in.) off the end of a straw and use the black marker pen to colour in the handle of the light sabre.

7. Use the silver marker to add detail to Darth Vader's head and body, using the picture here as a guide.

8. When the paint is dry, bend the card strip in half and cut along the crease, then either stick the arms on each side of the body with glue, just below the head - or, make slots either side using the nail scissors (keep them closed, press down and twist - once you've made a hole, cut slots to fit the arms)

9. Make small cuts up the handle end of the light sabre (with the nail scissors), so you can slot it onto the bottom of Darth Vader's arm, and he's ready for action!

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year!

Thank you for popping by over the last year, it's been so lovely having your company. And I've plans for this little blog (as you do on the 1st Jan...) that might hopefully make this an easier space to look around. We'll see anyway!
I've accepted I need some help updating things, and with a new craft book coming out in March, think it's probably about time.

Here's hoping 2017 is kind to you; that it brings success, good health, happiness and cheer, and that there is always more light than dark.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Morning rush

I like this one, because it kind of looks how I feel early in the morning - a bit blurry and rushed.
It was taken from the car on the way to school.
And no, I wasn't driving!

Linking up with Photalife's My Sunday Photo

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Christmas tree decorations - #ChristmasCraft

Christmas tree decorations this time, and they're not that different from the sparkly birds.

You'll need:
egg box/carton
plastic bottle top
sheet of newspaper
fine paintbrush
craft glue
strong all-purpose glue
glitter (optional!)
Sequins and other shiny bits
needle and thread
Nail scissors (to make holes - adult supervision needed)

1. Roughly cut a whole cone from the egg carton

2. Draw a rough pencil line all the way around the cone, just above the bumpy card join at the bottom, and cut along the line. Neaten up the edges so the sides are even and the cone sits flat.

3. Paint the cone green (if it's green already you could leave it). When the paint's dry, use the nail scissors to pierce a hole through the top (if there isn't one there already) - keep the scissors closed, press down and twist from side to side.

4. Thread a needle with a good length of thread - we used gold thread, but use whatever you have - and push the needle up through the cone and through the hole, then back down through the hole, leaving a loop for hanging your tree. Use sticky tape to stick down the two strands of thread inside the tube. Trim the ends of the thread.

5. Brush glue inside the cone and push in a scrunched up piece of newspaper. Don't fill it completely - leave a small space at the top.

6 Put a layer of strong all-purpose glue (like UHU or Bostik) on the newspaper and put some on the rim of your bottle top too. Stick the bottle top onto the newspaper and leave to dry upright.

7. When the glue's dry, brush some craft glue in a spiral, around your tree for the tinsel, then sprinkle over some glitter. Shake off the excess. A good way to save glitter is to do the sprinkling over a paper plate, then bend the plate in the middle to catch the glitter in the fold, and funnel most of it back into a container.

8. Have fun gluing on sequins or any shiny bits you have. You could also scrunch up small balls of coloured tissue paper to make baubles.

9. For the star on top, we used two identical stars from a pack of Christmas confetti, brushed glue on the back of one and stuck it onto the thread, just above the top of the tree. Then we stuck the other star to it, sandwiching the thread between them. Fiddly to get the stars to line up, but looks good when they do.

Next time Christmas fairies!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Christmas tree advent calendar

Our advent calendar has grown this year... conveniently the little pegs have numbers on them and I bought them thinking they'd save time sewing on numbers (which I know from experience takes me ages), but to be honest sewing up the felt baubles took a while anyway. I've only just finished! Quite pleased to have made a dent in the pile of felt scraps I've been hoarding for years.

I drew around the top of a cup on some felt and sewed two circles together using blanket stitch, leaving an decent sized opening, so it's a sort of bauble pocket. The Christmas tree frame is made from pieces gathered up after pruning the hedge in the back garden, though you could use any straight-ish thin branches. I used some gold wire bought from Tiger to bind them together, with three smaller bits in the middle to strengthen the frame and to give me something to wrap the lights around. Then just attached pieces of wire between each section for hanging the baubles. The star on top is an old Christmas tree decoration.

I like it because it's bright and Christmassy and doesn't look half bad on the wall - the kids like it because there's room for more treats...

Linking up with Darren's My Sunday Photo

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Merry-go-round - Sunday photo

Not quite sure this works with just my head and shoulders peeking out at the bottom - but like the moving carousel in the background. It was taken at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. Lovely, sparkly festive atmosphere, and a great way to part with a pile of cash in an exceedingly short space of time... Tried hard to win a large Christmas doughnut cushion, but no luck!

Linking up with Darren's My Sunday Photo.