Thursday, 28 February 2013

Button Bookmarks and Macramé

Well it's back into the normal swing of things since I returned from Ireland. Missing the family already but great to be back with the hubby!

Some button craft was needed to help the week go quickly. During the trip to Watford (HP Studios) for my sister's birthday we discovered a shop called Tiger, it's a Danish Store that sells all sorts. I loved it. Two of my purchases included paper-clips; a set of bicycle shaped clips and "mega paper-clips" which are 10cm long, perfect for making bookmarks I thought. So that's what I did and it's really easy. I just tied a large button to the top of the clip using leather cord, paper cord or embroidery floss, depending on the button. To make sure the knot doesn't come undone I dabbed on a spot of clear nail varnish (I hope you can see the detail of the upside down one in the photograph). I only bought one pack which contained 8 paper-clips, as usual I wish I'd bought more. I have tried searching The Net for more the same, but have had no luck so far. I also looked up the locations of the stores in the UK, with everything crossed for one in Cardiff, but they're all in the South-East surrounding London :-( Never mind! There are a lot of 75mm wavy paper-clips on available, I may try those?

In the meantime, I have great plans for Saturday. My Dad and I are off to Cardiff Bay to join a macramé group who meet once a month to knot, chat and share ideas- I'll have some of that, thank you very much! As I've previously mentioned my Dad is very creative and use to do a lot of macramé when I young. This Christmas he got a book by Suzen Millidot called Chinese, Celtic and Ornamental Knots and he really liked it. The book contained information about Suzen's website so we had a look and found out although she's lived in various places all over the world, she now lives in Cardiff and hosts the group in the Bay. Yay as Cardiff is only 35 miles from us. I'm a real novice when it comes to macramé but I did use to make a lot of friendship bracelets when I was younger and my Dad taught me a few things including how to make this simple bracelet.

I'll let you know how we got on!

Other great news this week, friends of ours has just had a beautiful baby girl and she's absolutely tiny and incredible adorable. I love making baby gifts, especially hats so that's the next thing to get cracking on with. There'll be pictures on Sunday of the results!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Ernest in Ireland!

I'm afraid I'm a day late with this week's post as I went away to Ireland last week to visit the family and was totally exhausted (in a good way) when I got back yesterday and even typing was too much
During this visit we went to Bunratty Castle and Folk Park for the day. We used to go a lot when we were children but I hadn't been in years and we had a great time. It's a good place to visit if you find yourself on the West Coast of Ireland. It's a lovely castle with lots of spiral staircases and worn stone steps- I love worn stone steps, they make you wonder about all the people who've trodden on those steps to wear them away and give them that wonderful smooth polish.
Then there's lots of cottages, shops and a school set out as they would have been in days gone by. There were turf fires burning in all the cottages and fresh scones being baked for the visitors to try. There's also a weaver's shop to visit with items for sale! They had some beautiful handmade hats that I admire, very Twenties looking and my aunt Claire said she didn't like that style at all. To quote her, "They look like something Mo (her Grandma) would wear". Well, I tried it on none-the-less and she totally changed her mind, so much so I ended up buying it! I was also very pleased I'd supported a local craftsperson, always a great excuse ;-)

I also bought some fabric and wool remnants and a button- I couldn't resist!

I look forward to using them for something, when I get round to is a different matter.
My Mum and Claire had a fantastic time on the swings and Claire fell in love with one of the pigs!

All in all it really was a good day on a lovely trip. Nothing beats quality time with family.

Before I went I did manage to make a couple more owl doorstops, these two much more colourful characters!

 'Til next time, Craft In Earnest! x

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Personalized Stationary

First things first, what was Harry Potter Studios like? Incredible! I think even if you’re not a fan of the films you can’t help but be impressed. I am, of course, completely bias as I love them but the attention to detail is so impressive. Also as a crafter I did get incredibly jealous of all the backstage crew, the prop makers and costume people especially. It was really fascinating to see how it’s done and the amount of work that goes into it. I’d say it’s definitely worth a visit (and I’d happily go back).
You get to try Butterbeer too but as it’s fizzy I knew I wouldn’t like it, I hate drinking anything with fizz. My sister had some and I tried some of the froth on top which I did like.

As expected, they had lots of examples of the letters from the films, I think nothing beats a hand written letter (even when not delivered by owls) and what can be better than sending a letter with your own personalized stationary? Creating stamps made from regular rubbers (erasers) is a great way of doing this.

Continue reading for the rest of the guide:

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

St Valentine's Day with Harry Potter!

St Valentine's Day is my little sister's birthday so for me the day has always been about her rather than a Love Fest. Thankfully my other half totally understands (not that he has much of a choice). This year I have mucho special plans for her...
We're off to the Harry Potter Studios near London- WAHOOOO! Yes we know they are children's books and films but we love, love, love them. I think it's perfectly fine to enjoy them at any age, wherever you are from, but we do have the added tie that we are from the same village that the wonderful J.K. Rowling grew up in.
I'll let you know what it was like in Sunday's post which will also contain a tutorial on how to make your own stationary using stamps made from rubbers (erasers)! Here's a sneak peak:

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Owl Doorstops

I've got a thing about owls, which is great as at the moment they're everywhere. I have a Greek uncle who gave me lots of books about Greek mythology when I was young and my favourite goddess was Athena who's symbol was an owl- ever since I've loved them.
A couple of years ago, one afternoon my sister and I were in my kitchen which looks out the front onto the street whilst my husband was upstairs. Out of nowhere a huge owl flew down and landed on the pavement at the top of our drive. Without missing a beat my husband, who had seen it too, came running downstairs shouting our Hogwart's letter had arrived :-) It turns out a man who lives behind the houses opposite us keeps owls and it was the owl's first flight and he flew further than the man had expected. It was a young eagle owl we were told and was called Norman. It was pretty incredible even if you weren't keen on them.
I've made all sorts of things with owls on over the years but I think owl doorstops are my favourite as they're quick and easy. Although I've made quite a few, I make them up as I  go, they've all been different. Most often I tend to crochet them but sometimes I knit or sew them.
Here are a few examples of crocheted ones:

Carry on reading to learn how to make one of these cuties. 

Obsessive Hoarder

Thanks so much for having a look at my first post! I hope you like it and check out my future posts. I plan to post at least once a week about the different things that interest me. I love to craft and all things vintage. I will include tutorials and giveaways and would love to hear from you.
I'm afraid I'm an obsessive hoarder. I have trouble throwing anything away because you just never know when it may come in handy. Thankfully I have a very understanding husband who, shall we say, tolerates the overflowing baskets, drawers and boxes without too much complaining. He's very good really.
My crafty streak mainly came from my dad who has always been the kind of person to tinker with one project or other. As a child I remember him making household items using macramé and he ran a model making group. Both he and my mum encouraged me to make things (as long as I tidied up afterwards). I use a wide variety of crafting techniques, often combining different crafts to achieve the end result. I have a passion of wool and buttons so these feature heavily in the stuff I make.
Thanks again for looking. The next post will feature one of my favourite things to make... Owl doorstops and will include a tute!
Have a great day.