Friday, 28 February 2014

Jet Setting Part 2 - Ireland

After the delights of Poland we headed for our annual February trip to see the family in Ireland (see last year's February post here-
As always it was great to see everyone especially as we only made one trip over last year. We flew straight from Krakow to Dublin, then drove west to Limerick in a hire car- here's a handy hint for those not familiar with saloon cars- the don't have rear windscreen wipers so don't go ask the guys in the hire office how to turn them on, you will look silly ;-)

Shopping was once again on the agenda, we concentrated on culture last year after all. We even had to buy another suitcase, definitely a sign of a successful trip! I finally made it into a shop that had caught my eye previously but didn't have the time then to go in, The Art and Hobby Shop:
I'm very glad I got to go in! I bought lots of bits and bobs- a large circle cutter, a set of fabric pens, more washi tape (yes I certainly have fallen in love with the stuff), some ribbon, ink pads and a pack of resin flowers.
I had earlier picked up a a necklace and earring set at the knock-down, bargain price of 1 euro and thought it would be good to use with one of the resin flowers.
Using pliers I removed the horse-shoe charm and replaced it with a small metal disc with a hoop I already had (it was from a long necklace with lots of them dangling off it). All I had to do then was glue one of the flowers to disc. I don't think it looks too bad at all for about 1.30 euro?
My aunt Maxine gave me a chunky green cardigan she knitted, perfect to keep me snug in the evenings! She's very good.
All in all it was a truly fantastic week and I could do with another week off to recover!
Until next time, craft in earnest! Craftin' Ernest x

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Jet Setting Part 1 - Poland

Well, I've had a super busy week jet setting about, as you do. 
As I mentioned in the last post my oldest friend, Becky, married the love of her life, Steve, on Thursday in a truly beautiful ceremony in Poland! The day couldn't have been more perfect and I was truly delighted to be part of it as Matron of Honour and one of the witnesses. The wedding took place in Niepolomice Castle about 25km outside of the wonderful city of Krakow:
Krakow is a lovely city with lots to do and see, we went on a few day trips (for example The Salt Mines in Wieliczka), took part in two walking tours and consumed an incredible amount of chocolate at Pijalnia Czekolady Wedel:
There were quite a number of shops selling handmade items, including Kiku Miku, below, which sells a wonderful mix of accessories and gifts.

I treated myself to a cute, little brooch made from a bottle cap -

I also bought my sister a pair of earrings as she has a thing about Paris.
These were most deserved as later on the trip, whilst on one of the walking tours, my eagle-eyed sister spotted some wool in the window of a shop which was the first port of call after the tour had ended. There are lots of little passage ways in Krakow hiding all sorts of places and at the end of the one with wool in the front window was this wonderful treasure trove -
It was packed full of goodies, everything from buttons and wool to zips and patches. The brilliantly helpful man behind the counter didn't speak English but was really great, producing all sorts of extra colours of items I was after. Buttons, naturally, were a must and I couldn't resist a few other things. The zips for example were a bargain at the equivalent of 50 pence each! 
I think Krakow is well worth a visit! In the next post, I'll fill you in on Part 2 - Ireland. Until then, craft in earnest, Craftin' Ernest x

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Cupcake Earrings

I hope everyone had a lovely St. Valentine's Day! I over indulged with yummy chocolates and scrummy cake (in my case birthday cake thanks to my wonderful sister's happy birthday)!
So today I am posting a tutorial for guilt-free, super cute, cupcake earrings made from polymer clay.
I have used Fimo for these ones but any type would work. There are quite a few photographs in this post.
You will need polymer clay in a suitable colour for the cake part. I blended mine using white, caramel and yellow until I was happy with the shade for a traditional sponge. (A dark brown for chocolate cupcake would look good too don't you think? Or how about red for red velvet cupcake?)
White clay for the icing, various colours for hundreds and thousands style topping, e.g. blue, pink and green.
A sharp cutting tool (I've gone for a scalpel), earring findings and some glue.
First shape a small piece of the sponge colour into ball as marked 1. below.
Then roll one side of the ball in your palm with one finger to narrow one side as in 2.
After this flatten the bottom of the narrow end as in 3.
Using the sharp tool create ridges by gently pressing it into the narrowed section.
Next soften a ball of white clay and flatten it. As this for the icing it shouldn't be too neat, after all icing isn't perfectly regular on a cupcake. Attach it to the top of your sponge section, pushing it quite firmly whilst being careful not to distort the sponge.
Roll out very thin lengths of the colours for the hundred and thousands and cut lots of tiny pieces, then press them onto the icing.
Cut the iced cupcake in half from the top down and add a small ball of red, for a cherry, to the top of each.
Now follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to bake your cupcake (for example with Fimo bake at 130 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes), sadly you don't quite get the enticing smell of the real thing :-(
Once the two halves have cooled completely, attach the earring findings with glue (I rough the surface to be glued up a little first to give it a good key to stick to) and leave to dry completely.
Finally enjoy your tasty looking but completely calorie free cupcake earrings!
Another option is to stick them to pieces of card and use them as toppers.
I hope you liked the tutorial and found it helpful, please leave a comment if you want to ask or add something.
I'm off to Poland for my oldest friend's wedding this week, so no doubt they'll be news of that in the next post. I'm very excited and also very lucky as I get to be part of her and her hubby to be's "Big Day" as Matron of Honour!
Until next time- craft in earnest, Craftin' Ernest xx