Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Buyer-less Craft Fair and Makes for Me

Last weekend I had a stall at a craft fair in a new location for me. It was a bit of distance from me but I have a friend who lives there so I thought I’d give it a go. Unfortunately it was not successful at all! It was very well advertised and there were lots of lovely stalls there, the two ladies who organised it were great but there were just no buyers- not what you want for a craft fair! I think in total about 30 people came in over the four hours the fair was on. It was a long four hours. To make matters worse I brought some crochet to finish off, a special commission from my dad, and I didn’t realise the hook had fallen out. I found it when I returned home, sat on the coffee table- like I said it was a long four hours.
It happens like that sometimes though. It was a sunny day and the first day of the school holidays and no one was about, hopefully next time will be better. I met some lovely people so not all wasted. The next one is on the 12th of October, fingers crossed it will be better?!

To cheer myself up I made some things for myself for a change! Both of which were nice and simple.

I made six rings, five by gluing some of favourite buttons to ring findings using E6000 and one ceramic ring which was simple stoneware clay stamped with the “LOVE” before firing and then clear glazed.

I painted my nails to match my favourite one. You can’t tell in the photo but the facets of the button twinkle as it catches the light when I move my hand

My other make was reusable “cotton pads”. I used a very soft 100% acrylic yarn as I couldn't find a chunky cotton on the wool stall at my local market. The label suggested a 6mm needle/hook. I crocheted each pad using double thickness of yarn and a 4mm hook so the stitches would be nice and tight. The resulting texture helps remove the make-up and grime very nicely using my usual cleanser- trust me you don’t want to see the pictures of that, I appall myself ;-) I just throw them in with the washing and then once clean they can be reused!

Next time will be a tutorial for a crochet beaded necklace, until then craft in earnest! Craftin’ Ernest x

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Button Art and a Bumble Bee!

Well the Sun is still shining! This Summer is certainly making up for the complete lack of sunshine South Wales had last year. My lovely hubby did the unenviable job or sorting out the garden shed and getting out all the garden furniture. I did help clean them off though. I know, where would he be without me huh?
So an afternoon of crafting in the garden was called for, under the protection of a large parasol and very high factor sunscreen. As I had my latest acquisition of charity shop buttons to sort, it was a perfect excuse to do some button related crafting. I had a few box frames to hand so I decided to create a heart shaped picture using buttons to go inside one of the frames and, even though was no rain in sight, I chose to use the colours of the rainbow- the brighter the better!
I covered a piece of board in plain white fabric using double-sided sticky tape. After taking the time to arrange the buttons into a design I was happy with and then just glued them on with regular PVC glue. I used tweezers to individually pick up each button so not to disturb the lay-out and applied a generous blob of glue to each button before returning it to it's picture. Once it was dry I tentatively turned it over to see if I had missed any, which I did- three in fact (I was distracted by carrot cake part way through). Once they were fully attached I popped the finished article into the frame. So simple but I really like the finished result.
We went to a Food Festival in Cardiff Bay on Sunday and ate lots of scrummy food. Delicious ice cream was almost a medical necessity as it was so hot. We bought "pick and mix" brownies to enjoy at home. My sister and I decided on the way back to stop off en-route and buy a paddling pool!! We sat in it for the rest of the afternoon, eating our delectable brownies (it was a tie between double chocolate and peanut butter) and sipping chilled drinks- it was heavenly!
I did have to save this little beauty at one point! I used one of the acrylic sheets from my Sizzix Machine- crafting items can be very versatile ;-) It was very wet but once I had scooped it out and left it to dry off, it flew away, thankfully seemingly none the worse for the experience.

Keeping crafting in earnest, Craftin' Ernest xx

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Cherry Jam

Although we have a really small front garden we do have a lovely cherry tree in it which each year produces a huge quantity of delicious looking cherries.
However, looks can be deceiving! If you think ultra sharp, mouth pinching tartness is delicious then you would love our cherries (funnily enough my in-laws love them for that very reason). Having said that, about one in five are actually lovely and sweet so every now and then I take the risk and sometimes I'm rewarded. The birds really love the fruit and as the tree is right outside our bedroom, we are woken each morning by the chirpy sound of birds singing. I park my car under the tree most of the year but during the Summer months I have to park further up the street as it gets covered in deep red "presents", in less than two days it's a struggle to see what colour the car really is :-(
This year my hubby decided to pick as many cherries as he could reach to help with the poop problem and he had the idea we would make jam. Now whilst I love to craft, I do not like to cook, bake or generally do things in the kitchen but I thought it doesn't hurt to give it a go. 
I never knew how easy it is to make jam! Especially as the hubby bought Silver Spoon Jam Sugar, it has the pectin already added. Simplicity is not the word. You just mush the fruit, which was no problem as removing the stone from each cherry achieved that naturally. (It also sprayed cherry juice on every surface in the kitchen so they benefited from a good clean afterwards.)
You heat the fruit in a pan and add the sugar, slowly bringing it to the boil whilst stirring. Then it boils vigorously for just FOUR minutes before you quickly transfer it to the jar/s! The recipe for strawberry jam on the packet also says to add butter but we didn't do that.
I was really impressed with the end result, deliciously sweet, nicely set, homemade jam. YUM!
We're picking strawberries and gooseberries from my in-laws garden this week, so that will be the next venture in the jam making world. I'm hoping for a taste sensation! I'll update on how it went next time.
Keep crafting in earnest, Craftin' Ernest x