Wednesday, 25 April 2012

I don't about where you are, but the weather here in West Yorkshire has been abysmal. My poor postwoman stepped into my house at lunch time, literally dripping. Being housebound most of the time I don't think I really see how bad it can get outside and going out can be a bit of a shock to the system. My outings over the last week have included Sunday lunch at the mother-in-laws (always yummy food and no washing up to do), a trip to the dentist (excruciating toothache caused that one) and a visit to a mobile phone store to get my beloved Samsung Galaxy S2 fixed (never in my life have I been so happy to shell out £130 and not come away with a new handbag/shoes/item of clothing).
The crafting side of the week has varied greatly, from sewing to sticking. I have flitted from thing to thing, depending on which mood striked me, in and amongst making up customer orders.

I'll start first of all by showing you my Thomas the Tank Engine patchwork cushion. This is the first cushion with an envelope closure I have ever made and I'm very proud. I also sewed the entire thing by hand as my pelvis has not been good so I have struggled to sit to use a machine. It is 16" square and fully lined. It is available for purchase on my website.

Along the sewing front, I have also started on the bits and bobs cushion I mentioned last week. I must admit, I was a bit dubious about the skill level required and whether it would even look any good, but this is a picture of what I did last night, and so far so good. It is a little fiddley and time consuming, but I love hand sewing and now I can see what it will look like, it will look amazing! Plus, it gets rid of quite a lot of fabric, which will make my other half a happier man!


A give away on Facebook on Monday saw three winners this time, each getting a fabulous gift. There was a pair of Ikea Rosali ceramic fridge magnets (available here), and a pair of striped ceramic coasters (available here).
There were also a set of shabby chic fabric stickies which are a fantastic alternative to sticky tape (available in my Ebay Store). They come in an assortment of colours and sizes and it is only £2 for 20 pieces! I wrap most of my items in tissue paper before packaging them and this stuff really makes it look pretty. The designs include Cath Kidston, Clarke and Clarke, Tanya Whelan, Ikea, and loads more. There are also children's ones available too.











The striped coasters above are a new release, along with two other designs, and they will be available to buy in my shop very soon. They come in sets of four and are only £7.99 per set.









I am also very excited about two new ceramic kitchen/bathroom wall tiles. Clarke and Clarke Floral Stripe in duckegg looks absolutely fantastic as a tile, as does this coffee and cream rose tile. These are also available in my online store.






Lastly, I have made three new pictures. Two blue and red shabby chic designs that are for sale (here) and one nautical design that is purely for pleasure (i.e. it's going in my bathroom), although I love it so much I may well offer the design for sale in the not too distant future.





Where shopping is concerned, I have done very little apart from bubble wrap and parcel paper. I have been a very disgruntled customer of AXA home insurance due to the unfair treatment I have received in putting in a claim for the broken phone. They won't pay out the claim until I provided a report, which would have been fine except the report they said they wanted on the phone (and so I got yesterday) was not what they asked for in a letter they sent. They are fully aware of my disability and the fact that I cannot leave the house on my own, which limits me to only having one day a week for any appointments, shopping etc, but they won't make any allowances for this and I was told it would be very easy to get any engineer out to my house! Needless to say I won't be a customer of theirs for much longer, and I would not recommend them, or Lloyd's TSB (who sold me the policy). Just saying!

A short but sweet entry today. I will be putting together a guide for how to make the lighthouse picture in a few days and will be doing an extra blog post for it, so make sure you watch out for that.

Hope you're all ok!

Kirsty x

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Too many things, such little time!

I have spent this last week trying to finish personal projects already started and get made the new business ideas. It seems that despite my best efforts to finish my "to do" list, when I get new inspirations jumping out at me every single day, my list gets longer and longer! I started posting on a craft challenge thread on Money Saving Expert a while back, and have found a few new friends along the way. On went my list and off I went. Yesterday I reposted said list and crossed of a few items, then added several more. It's not down to lack of enthusiasm or motivation, it's time that appears to be the problem. Yesterday evening I started on some earrings, with the intention of finishing around 9pm and then fitting in an hour of my other job. I finished the earring at 10:30 and thought "stuff it!" with the other job, then promptly fell asleep on the sofa! I know that there will be thousands of people out there, just like me, who find that time just disappears before their eyes.

Despite this lack of time, I did manage to fit in some new things. During my regular Google searching for inspiration as to what to do with the box upon box of fabric scrap I hoard, I found a new, and quite frankly amazing, idea. The Bits and Bobs Cushion by Crafty Love looks absolutely brilliant and I can't wait to get started on it. First though, I spent six hours (yes, six!) cutting all my fabric scraps into appropriate sized pieces and then colour sorting them. What a way to pass the time by! Along the same lines of that, I have also started a Thomas the Tank Engine cushion. It involves sewing lots of 6" x 6" squares together, a bit like quilting. I have never quilted in my life! I love sewing by hand, and I find such a great way to wind down and switch off after a stressful day, but it is taking ages to do. I never really did learn the art of patience! Obviously, once these cushions are finished, I will share them with you, along with some guides.

Some things I did manage to complete this week were:

Some new fridge magnets with Ikea's Rosali design in blue and white on them (available to buy here)



Another glass dish, this time in Cath Kidston blue Hampton Rose, and pink and silver (available to buy here),









And some new Cath Kidston pan stands in Mini Strawberry and pink Paisley (available to buy here).










Over the next few days I will be making some new art work, including Tilda's Rosebird in green and pink, and I am releasing some new ceramic wall tile designs. These will include Clarke and Clarke Floral Stripe in duckegg, vintage rose in mocha and cream, some amazing shabby chic flower, check and spot prints and Prestigious Maple in teal. These will be shared in next weeks post.

In shopping this week, aside from buying some Thomas the Tank Engine trains for my four year old son, I found a new company that sell crafting items, including card, embellishments, wool, decoupage items and so much more, called Samuel Taylors. I only came across them as there is a store fairly near me, but they do have a website www.clickoncrafts.co.uk. There's some handy inspiration pages on there too. It all makes me wish I got involved with handmade cards and scrapbooking, but right now, I think I have enough to do!

As I'm on bed rest at the moment from my SPD (see last weeks post), so it is time for me to get sewing to pass the time. Over on Facebook there's a give-away going on with three amazing prizes that ends Monday 23rd April 2012. I will also be putting some new products in my online store, www.simplydivinethings.co.uk. Have a fabulous week everyone and I will see you again soon.

Kirsty x

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The bin guide

Hello to you all,

What a mixed up 7 days I've had. I suffer from a condition called syphysis pubis dysfunction which means I can't walk unaided, sit for long or stand for long either. I had a set back last week when I ripped a few ligaments in my pelvis so I've been in pain ever since. Because of this, I haven't done much, but I have got some new things to show you, including the finished collage (mentioned in last weeks post), a waste paper bin and a key/change glass dish.

I'll start with the collage. As those of you who read my last post will know, I started a family photo collage last week which was going to have a Prestigious Textiles fabric frame. Along the way I came across a few hiccups with my design plan so had to alter it slightly.

This is the card frame that will have the fabric around it. After measuring and sticking and measuring some more, it came to my attention that the frame shape I had was rather flimsy. If you look on the right you will see the ribbon tied around it that was for hanging it on the wall, but the huge frame just bowed. So my genius boyfriend suggested a wooden frame. The problem? On a Friday night at 10:30pm, who can get hold of wood slats?! I did have lolly sticks though, so we put them across the back and made triangles, then put another layer across the top in a different pattern. It was left to dry overnight with catalogues on it as the lolly                  sticks didn't want to... well, stick!
I began the fabric coating on Saturday. First I measured out strips of fabric, 8 inches wide and the full length of the fabric (around 50 inches). I then began to wrap it round, one side at a time, and cut it diagonally on each corner, like this picture shows. A flush joint was made (don't worry about the pattern not joining.




The fabric overlapped round the back slightly. I kept the lolly stick on the back to keep the front part (the bit on display) smooth. As you can see, the back isn't straight and it's far from perfect, but it won't be on show once it is all put together.


Make sure you allow the ribbon to hang out at the back. I used one length of ribbon (not two as previously estimated) and simply tied it round on either side in a tight knot. The knot has been kept to the centre of the back and fabric has been stuck over the rest of the ribbon.


Over each corner where the fabric joins I stuck ribbon, so the join was covered. It doesn't need to be neat round the back.

The frame was then left to dry for a few hours (the beauty of PVA is that it dries fairly quick at room temperature).


This was the finished frame (for some reason the picture has turned itself upside down!).

After drying, it was time to put it over the photos. Make sure you use plenty of glue and glue the card you are sticking on as it is easy than fabric. Due to the size of my picture it took two people to ensure it was on straight. Ensure that the ribbon is pulled up before sticking the frame. It was then laid out face down with yet more catalogues to weight it down. It was dry the following morning, and below is the finished product.




I am sure you will agree that this looks amazing! Due to the issues I encountered I will be having a look at doing things differently next time. This is a great way to display photos though and I did it for well under £20. It does take a long time (I reckon I easily spent 20 hours working on it), but the result is fabulous and definitely unique!

Something else I have hand made this week is a waste paper basket. This has got to be the easiest and cheapest thing you could do to brighten up your lounge. All it took was an old cardboard box, some PVA and some fabric (I used Prestigious Textiles Maple fabric, the same as the collage frame, but in a different colourway).

It was simple as coating the box in glue, wrapping the fabric around the cardboard, doing one side at a time and smoothing out any air bubbles. I would recommend using a 100% cotton fabric as from experience, polycotton doesn't smooth very well due to the stretch. This whole thing took me no more than half an hour and cost under £5. What a bargain!




As you can see, the fabric was simply folded under the bottom and at the top too. My only other tip, is if you are using a light coloured fabric, it is worth gluing white card to each outer side of the box so it doesn't show through. I had to do this as my box was black. It was also a flimsy box, so the extra card layer helped re-enforce it.

So, that's the how to guides for this week. It's amazing what can be made from fabric, card and patience isn't it?!

The last thing I have to show you is this glass dish. This is in a Cath Kidston design - Mini Provence Rose, green.

It's perfect size of 5" x 5" is perfect for housing keys, change or even sweeties! It's also a cheap way of getting a little bit of unique into your home, as this piece is only £9.95 (plus postage and packaging).

It is available to purchase on my website here. You can also buy matching items from Cath Kidston direct.

One last thing to mention is a company I came across at the weekend. Party Bag World is THE best place for affordable party bags that are pre-filled. The prices start at £1 each!

That's all for this week. There will be more makes headed your way this time next week. Ciao x


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

All hail the wall tiles.




Howdy folks!

Well, what a busy week I've had. It's been none stop! I've got a lot of things to share with you, but first I would like to mention that the link to my website www.simplydivinethings.co.uk has been a tad broken for a large chunk of the last week, but thanks to a helpful techie person, all is now well, which is good news because I have some amazing new products to share with you this week!

I would like to start this week with a project I began yesterday evening on behalf of my sister. She put together a very large quantity of family photographs and tried to make a collage by sticking them on a large sheet of paper. Unfortunately a few house moves left the paper ripped and the photos all bent so they have not been on display for some time. She asked me if I could do anything with them in a colour scheme to match her sitting room, teal and orange, and then the fabulous memories will be on display once more.

Never one to turn down a challenge I agreed to take it on. After weeks of planning and searching, I decided to make a huge fabric photo frame for them to all be displayed in as a collage, and here's how I'm doing it.

You will need:

Sheets of A4 or A6 260gsm or higher card (quantity depends on the number of photos you are using but I measured the size of the photos all laid out to get any idea, and trimming is easy to do, plus some is needed for the frame shape)
A collection of family photos, new and old, trimmed down with some in different sizes. Mine are square of rectangular, however you could even use triangles if you wanted
Some good quality cotton fabric (quantity is again dependant on the number of photos, but if it is a large frame, consider your fabric width. I chose Prestigious Textiles Maple)
PVA glue and brush to apply it (I use a cheap paint brush)
Some thin canvas framing tape
Ribbon in a colour that matches your fabric (this can be any width)
String, wool or ribbon to hang it (I am using the same ribbon as above)
Scissors
Something very heavy to flatten them while drying (I used two Next catalogues!)

1) I started with some 260gsm A4 white card. I drew a line down one side around 0.75 inch (2cm) in from the edge so I had a guide to the stick on another piece of card. I attached it with some canvas tape I have that is very thin, very sticky and like paper (you'll see why in a minute). On the underside, to stick them securely, I used basic PVA (from a very large container full courtesy of B & Q) and just used a metal ruler to weight it down while it became tacky and held.

2) I have only used 3 sheets of card so far and plan to just add as I get each sheet fairly full. I started to stick down the photos with PVA, and using canvas framing tape is much easier to stick to than Sellotape. As some of the photos had become bent, I had previously laid them under two heavy catalogues to flatten them a bit, and they needed holding for a bit while the glue took hold. I stood things on them like a glass on top of a ruler so I could continue working.

3) Now as you can see from the photos, that is the progress so far as I started it at 10pm yesterday! Overnight I left 2 catalogues on top of them as some of the photos were still trying to bend, and this morning they are now beautifully flat. My next steps are to continue sticking on the photos, leaving a space of around 2.75 inch (7cm) around the edges, and continuing to put catalogues on the weigh them down while drying. The photo below shows where I have drawn lines around the edges so I leave ample space to put on the frame, and the other photo is of the back.



4) When that is completed, I shall make the frame by cutting strips of card. I would like a wide and bold frame, so will do it 3inches (7.5cm) wide, but you can choose any size. I will stick the strips together in the same way I have attached the card, and when the glue is dry, I will wrap two lengths of ribbon (the length of each piece will depend on how long you want the hanger) around the frame, and knot on either side for hanging, but not tie them together at the top at this point.

5) Then to wrap the fabric around each side of the frame and secure, cutting it so each piece meets on the corners, and joining the fabric together at the back, allowing the ribbon to still hang loose. Where the fabric meets on the corner, I will wrap a strip of ribbon around and secure with PVA glue so there are no lines.

6) Now to attach the frame to the photos. First push each length of ribbon through the backing card so it then will hang out of the back of the picture. Then glue down the frame, and weigh down to dry for 24 hours.

7) When it is dry, the two pieces of ribbon for hanging can be knotted or tied in a bow and it is ready to hang! I will take more photos as I go along and of the finished product, and will post them in my next blog, so watch this space. I think it's going to look amazing!

So, after all that work, it's time to tell you you what other things I have been doing this week. I sent off for a sample of the oil cloth version of Harlequin What a Hoot from John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com). I'm over the moon with it and I have been inspired. I'm thinking that will be purchased at some point and some aprons made from it. Not that I have ever made an apron before but I'm willing to learn!

I am a happy bunny today, not least because I am getting things done, but also because I have finally found a pair of curtains for my bedroom. I've only been looking for a year! With the window being only 56 inches wide, but 75 inches long, it has been extremely difficult to find some that fit at a reasonable price. Good old Next provided me with that pair, although they are too wide to go up separately, so I only plan on one going up. The minefield that is curtain buying is a complicated one with all the measurements you have to decipher, and not only that but blackouts are hard to find. That being the case I have decided I will attempt to attach a blackout lining myself (eek!). I think I'll make cushion covers out of the other curtain. Watch this space for more news on that front!

I also saw on Facebook that Sweet Treat Desserts are back in production with their mouth watering home made fudge, which is by far the best I have ever tasted. I absolutely love this stuff and have to stop myself from ordering 5 boxes at a time. There's mint choc chip (love love love this one), malteaser (and this one), KitKat, lemon meringue and many more. £1.50 has never been such a good investment. You can find it at http://www.facebook.com/SweetTreatDesserts and if there isn't any left you can rest assured that there will be more in the not too distant future.

Oh and I have found this online shop called Dot Com Gift Shop and after having a right nosy around I have discovered that they actually sell some really nice stuff. I didn't think it would be up to much and had never heard of them before. You can go to their store here Home & Garden

As I said last week, I had received a Cath Kidston fabric delivery and I have made some cute ceramic fridge magnets in a wide range of her haberdashery designs. They are 45mm square with very strong magnets on the back and they look wonderful on my fridge. This is a great way to add some colour to your kitchen without breaking the bank, and considering they can only be purchased on www.simplydivinethings.co.uk, a price of £7.50 is an absolute steal for 4 of them.

Since then I have been busy putting together a new range of wall tiles. If you love shabby Chic, Cath Kidston designs, Clarke and Clarke designs or Tanya Whelan's beautiful fabric then you will absolutely love this. A new way to insert some amazing style into your home, you really are getting a piece of something that is truly unique.

This first picture shows some of the first tiles I made. You will see Cath Kidston for Ikea Rosali in white, Clarke and Clarke Bird Trail in grey and pink with Cath Kidston hearts.

Clarke and Clarke Beach Hut in grey.


Cath Kidston Classic Rose in blue.

Here is the side view so you can see how they are finished.
 Tanya Whelan Delilah Buds in pink.


 Pink Cupcake.


However, these Cath Kidston designs are my absolute favourites.

Here we have from left to right, Rose Sprig in White, Rosali in blue, Mini Spot in red,Victoria Rose in grey, Tea Rose in White and Classic Rose in blue, all separated by plain white tiles.

All designs shown are available in 98mm square or 148mm square. They are fully waterproof and can be used in your ktchen, bathroom, round a fireplace if it will not get too hot, as a splash back or just to hang up as a picture. Usage in a shower is not advised however. The 98mm start at just £8.95 each and the 148mm start at £13.95 each. Hand decorated tiles start at around £15 upwards per 98mm tile, so this really is a bargain. Fabric samples can also be purchased for a very small cost through my website too. If you can't find a design or colour you want, I can also take bespoke orders for a very small fee of just an extra 50p per tile. See this page for all my shabby chic wall tiles.

You can buy things to match from Cath Kidston online.

So that's it for this week folks. Once I have finished the collage and frame I will post more pictures up. Have a brilliant week.

Kirsty x