I haven’t completely disappeared from my blog it’s just that I have been so busy lately I’ve hardly had time to catch my breath. Now that life is settling down again I am taking full advantage of having some time to get things checked off my to do lists. This week I am spending some time taking photos of the free printables that will be included in the new pro version of Stripe It that I’ll be releasing in the not too distant future. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to show it to you. I’ve had so many requests for extra features to be added that I have had hubby and son working all hours to get them done, alongside the day jobs! Don’t worry though, the free version will still be available. It gets thousands of hits each month and I don’t want anyone to think I will remove it but after a lot of discussion and advice from other makers I have decided to release a ‘pro’ version which will include the most requested features and some extra little freebie printable treats. The lovely Fiona from Figero Designs has created me a new logo and I just love it. Isn’t the pic she shared on Instagram of the process of creating a logo just fab. I love it! The sock wraps are a sneak peek at the first of the printables I will be including in the new pro version so keep watching for more sneak peeks over the next couple of weeks. If there is a free printable you would like to see included let me know and I will try to include a few of the suggestions.
Father’s Day is coming up in the UK on Sunday June 17th and I’ve been looking around for ideas for things to make for dads. I always think something handmade is lovely to give because you’ve taken the time and effort to do it and that makes it special. I thought I would share some of the lovely make at home gifts I’ve found that would put a smile on any dad’s face.
First up is this fabulous Grill Set Holder form Lil Luna. Since we are having fabulous BBQ waether in the UK at the minute this would make a fab gift for a dad or grandad and there is a very detailed tutorial for making it on the Lil Luna blog.
Next up is a super cute tie card from Kiki & Company that would be so easy for a child of any age to make and would really make dad feel special. I really love this one and it comes in four different colourways so you should find one to suit dad.
My third pick is this cute keychain from Hellobee. My kids made their dad a keychain like this when they were small and he still has it on his keys ten years later. You could put any message yo like on this so could adapt it for other family members and other occasions too.
Fourth up are these amazing cookie/brownie/cupcake creations from Bakerella. If you haven’t discovered Bakerella yet go visit her site but I do warn you that you will be there for hours because there is just so much to drool over.
And last but not least is this Car Wash Kit from The Crafting Chicks. You could also do this as a movie bucket with DVD, some popcorn, coke and dad’s favourite snacks in it.
Well I hope that has given you a few ideas of things to make for Father’s Day and there are loads more to be found on Pinterest.
I also made this sweet printable for you to download, pop in a frame and make dad’s day.
Back in April one of my Instagram friends, the lovely Laura from @dibney_cottage_adventures , organised an Instagram meet-up and history photowalk around Belfast. It was lovely to meet up with some of the faces behind those little squares on Instagram and at the same time find out a bit more about some of the landmarks in our great city. Isn’t it odd how we often don’t know as much about where we live as we do about places we visit on holiday.
Anyway, on with the tour! We all met up at the Spirit of Belfast sculpture in Cornmarket. It was created by Dan George out of steel at a cost of £200,000 and was unveiled in 2009. It’s nickname locally is The Onion Rings. The sculpture is meant to reflect two of the things the city of Belfast is famous for – the linen industry and ship building.
As it was raining we decided to nip in to a well known coffee chain and have a cuppa and wait for the rain to stop. It wasn’t long before we were on the move, first stop the Jaffe Fountain. This is located at the entrance to Victoria Square. It was erected in 1874 and dedicated to Daniel Jaffe, a well known politician, businessman and philanthropist who was a central figure in the linen industry in Belfast. In 1933 the fountain was moved to the embankment near Botanic Gardens where it stayed for over 70 years, falling into a state of neglect and disrepair. The developers of Victoria Square decided to have it restored and replaced in it’s original location to coincide with the opening of the new development. It is now a hallmark of the Victoria Square area.
From here we went on to Thanksgiving Square and the Beacon of Hope, or as she is known locally the Doll (or Belle) on the Ball, Nuala with the Hula and The Thing with the Ring. The sculpture is of a girl standing on a globe and holding aloft a ring. The globe represents universal peace, harmony and thanksgiving. The sculpture was created by Andy Scott and is based on Thanksgiving Square in Dallas.
Just across the road from Thanksgiving Square is the Big Fish, also known as the Salmon of Knowledge. This is a 10m long sculpture by John Kindness. The surface is covered in ceramic tiles decorated with images and text depicting scenes from Belfast’s history. Inside the Big Fish is a time capsule containing information, stories and poetry about the city. The location of this sculpture marks the confluence of the River Lagan and the River Farset and it was commissioned to mark the regeneration of the River Lagan. Just beside the Big Fish is Sammy the Seal, which actually refers to the statues of three seals which represent the family of seals that live in the estuary.
From here we crossed over to Custom House Square and headed on towards The Albert Clock, passing one of Belfast’s oldest pubs, McHugh’s. Turning back to look across the river we had a perfect view of one of the big yellow cranes Belfast is famous for. Samson and Goliath, as the cranes are known, are located in the Harland & Wolff shipyard, where RMS Titanic was built many years earlier.
Heading towards the Cathedral Quarter we passed Transport House. This building was the headquarters of the Amalgamated Transport & General Workers Union and I have to admit I have always thought of it as an eyesore with it’s giant tiles mosaic depicting some of the industries associated with Belfast. It was listed in 1994 and is one of the youngest listed buildings in Belfast. It was reported back in 2015 that the Unite Union were going to renovate the building and relocate their HQ back there, but we shall have to wait and see. Just beside it is a very large wall mural by an Australian street artist called Smug One. The mural is reffed to locally as the Lobster Chef, and is just one of a growing number of pieces of street art in the city.
Walking towards the Cathedral Quarter we passed another of Belfast’s oldest buildings which has be reinvented as a popular local pub, The Dirty Onion. The building was built in 1680 and is Belfast’s oldest intact timber-framed building and for most of it’s life has been used as a warehouse. The Dirty Onion opened it’s doors in 2013 and the owners have taken great care to maintain as many of the original features as possible.
Just a little further on is Commercial Court where an almost hidden alleyway festooned with umbrellas takes you into a small courtyard full of fabulous street art. You could spend ages looking at these amazing artworks and each time you look you discover another of Belfast’s famous faces such as George Best, Van Morrison, Jamie Dornan and scenes that depict moments from the City’s past.
Finally it was back out on to Commercial Court, passing one of the first places Snow Patrol gigged in back in 1998 before all going our separate ways, having agreed we would definitely do it all again. I know much more about my home city than I did before and I am looking forward to the next photowalk already! (Rumour has it the next one will have a Titanic theme). If you want to find out a bit more why not check out Laura’s blog (that’s her in the photo below with the rest of us in the background).
I’ve been busy doing some revamping/upcycling this week. I have a metal tray that I really like but wanted to jazz it up a bit. After digging around in my craft stash I found my Annie Sloan chalk paint and some wax paper and knew that I could definitely use those to revamp the tray. I remembered seeing a video a while back about adding typography to wooden items using wax paper and thought I could probably do the same thing with metal so I googled around a bit and found the video again. It is on the Unexpected Elegance blog and you can see it here.
Below is a list of what I used and how my tray looked before the revamp.
I found the graphics I used on The Graphics Fairy, which is a great place to find vintage themed images.
Next I opened the image in Photoshop and flipped it horizontally so that it would print back to front. This means that it will be the right way round once it is transferred onto the tray.
I cut my wax paper to A4 size so it would through my printer and then I printed my image on to the wax side of the wax paper. Make sure to leave it for a few minutes for the ink to dry before you touch it so that you avoid smudges.
This was my printed image.
I then cut round my image leaving a bit of extra space all round.
Then comes the most important part.
Place your image printed side down onto the tray and hold firmly in place with a bit of tape – you do not want it to move at all!
Using a firm edge such as a small ruler or a credit card or something similar rub firmly all over the image. This is what will transfer it on to the surface of the tray. Go over the image a few times to make sure you haven’t missed any bits and then carefully remove the wax paper. You should now have your image right way round on the tray.
I added a couple of coats of Modge Podge to seal it but you could use varnish instead. Hey Presto you have a revamped tray.
I absolutely LOVE my tray now and can’t wait to try this fab technique on lots of other bits and bobs I have in the house waiting for a facelift.
One little tip……….don’t do what I did the first time I read about this technique some years ago and assume wax paper is the same as greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Wax paper is also called freezer paper and one side has a coating of thin wax on it, which is what transfers the image.
We have been having lots of sunny weather here in Northern Ireland so my new tray has been put to good use already.
Have you used this technique for transferring images or text to revamp pieces in your home?
Ever wondered how people get those cute Pin It buttons that match their blog? I was getting frustrated that my blog template did not come with pretty Pin It buttons so I decided to make my own. I knew I wanted them to feel like the social media icons over at the right hand side of my site and I knew that I wanted them to match the brand colours from my logo and I also knew I could create them button easily enough in Photoshop. What I didn’t know was how to then get that image used in my blog as the Pin It button. Well it turns out it is really easy. There is a neat little plugin called the jQuery Pin It Button For Images that does all the hard stuff for you.
All I had to do was create the image I wanted to use, upload it to my media library, open the plugin, tweak a few settings and Hey Presto!
If you use WordPress on a self-hosted blog you will find jQuery Pin It Button For Images in the plugins library.
Install the plugin, activate it and then go to the settings.
On the Visual tab you will be able to upload your image and set the size you want it to be.
Save your settings and you are good to go.
I had so much fun creating my button that I thought I would make it in a few different colours and give it away as a freebie to anyone who might want to use it. It is for personal use only and if you do use it I would love to know how you got on. Click below to get your free buttons and don’t forget to Pin them!
I love those little hanging jars with tiny flowers in them that you see everywhere. I have some from Matalan but the jars are green and I really wanted clear ones but couldn’t find what I wanted in the shops so decided to make my own. They are super simple so if you fancy making some yourself, here is how I made mine.
First gather up what you will need.
Some small jars
I used three jars on my branch but I’m going to make another one with five on it, just go with whatever makes you happy.
Lay out your branch and jars so that you can see how far below the branch you want the jars to hang. Once you are happy with the spacing cut three pieces of twine, the length of each should be about three times the distance from the jar to the branch.
Tie a small loop in each end of your three pieces of twine. This will involve a bit of trial and error until you get the loops in the right position so that your jar will hang where you want it to, allowing a little extra length to allow for tiring it to the branch. Cut off any excess twine. This is what we will use to hang them from the branch. Cut three smaller pieces of twine to go around the neck of each jar.
Find the middle of your long piece of twine and tie it to the branch, making sure the ends are level. Thread the small piece of twine through the loops on the ends of the long piece of twine and tie tightly round the neck of the jar. Repeat for the other two jars.
Put a little water into each jar and pop in a flower or two. Add a hanging loop made from twine.
Recently I was asked to design a custom print for a lovely customer to give to her husband on their anniversary. I came up with four slightly different designs using the words she wanted and she was delighted with the one she choose. Hopefully her hubby will be too!
I have added all four designs to the RecklessHen Etsy shop and I could hardly believe that it took me longer to do all the descriptions and edit the photos and get them into the shop than it took to design the prints! Surely there must be an easier way? Will I get quicker at it the more I upload? Is there some quicker way to add to your shop? If you are an Etsy aficionado I would love any advice you might have.
Anyway, after spending the best part of a day and a half designing, editing photos and uploading I have managed to get all four designs into the shop and thought I would give you a preview.
I just had to do a quick post because today I am having a really good hair day and that is very unusual for me at the moment. Being a lady of a certain age there is a hormonal war to end all wars raging and the casualties are my skin (very dry), my moods (let’s just call them changeable lol) and my hair (just picture Worzel Gummidge and you’ll get the idea). I have quite long blonde (not natural) hair and the last couple of years it has developed the texture of straw, has become very easily tangled and just lacks any kind of life. I’ve tried salon products and regular products of every kind, I’ve had treatments done in the salon, treatments done at home, I’ve bought miracle oils and brushes galore and nothing has helped. I have longed for the days when I could just blow dry my hair and that was that. Instead I have had to wash and dry it, then lather on more products and either straighten it or curl it to stop it going frizzy.
(Let me just say that this is not a sponsored post. This is just me finding something that really worked for me and wanting to share it in case it may help you too.)
A couple of friends had been raving about Percy & Reed products so I thought it was worth giving them a go, although to be honest I didn’t really think they would make much difference. I decided I was only going to buy the travel size set so that I wouldn’t be out too much money if they didn’t work, made that mistake once or twice before. Anyway, off I went to good old Marks & Spencer and bought the travel set. I choose the one that contained moisturising shampoo and conditioner, some oil and some hairspray. The packaging is really pretty and girly so I was secretly thinking that even if they didn’t work for me I would still keep them on display because they are so gorgeous. Got up the next morning, had a shower and washed my hair and got the hair dryer out ready to go.
The first thing I noticed was that my hair was not as tangled as it would normally be and the comb did not pull out as many strands as usual. That’s very interesting, I thought to myself but once the hairdryer starts it will be a different story. But it wasn’t! I was able to dry my hair without having to stop every few minutes to sort out the tangles. Once it was all dry I was wondering whether I should straighten or curl but after brushing it and adding a little of the No Oil Oil I realised that I didn’t need to do either. It looked great, I could actually leave it as it was! You have no idea how ridiculously pleased that made me. It has been years since I could do that. It is now the second day and it is still fab. It feels silky smooth, there is no frizz and it even has some shine again – and all that after JUST ONE USE!!! What a game changer! And did I mention they all smell fab too?
I don’t actually even know if the moisturising one is the best one for my hair type, I haven’t even looked at the whole range yet, I just grabbed whatever M&S had in the travel size. There may even be something in the range that is better for my particular hair issues and that is mind boggling to me after so many disappointments with products in the past. So I am off to browse their full range and get some full size bottles, but first I am just going to sit here and run my fingers through my lovely silky hair for a little bit longer 🙂
You know you have a problem with procrastinating when you realise the fabric you bought and the wooden eggs you painted to make an Easter wreath have been sitting there for a couple of years and you still haven’t got round to making it! That was my reality this morning. I was looking on Instagram and saw a lovely floral wreath made by @justlaurajayne so I decided today was the day the wreath would be made.
I thought maybe some of you would be interested to see how I made it so I’ve put together a tutorial to show you what I did.
First get together all the supplies you will need. I used
a wire wreath frame
burlap ribbon or strips of burlap
a selection of Easter decorations
hot glue gun
a bow, or ribbon/fabric to make a bow
For a 30cm wreath frame you will need about 18-20m of burlap ribbon, depending on how full you want your finished wreath to look. I didn’t have any burlap ribbon but I had quite a bit of burlap fabric so I cut it into 12 strips which were about 1.5m long and 6 inches wide.
Start by folding your burlap in quarters and threading a small length of garden wire through it and twisting to secure it. Then use the wire to attach the burlap to one of the spokes of the frame.
Begin pulling loops of the burlap up through the outer ring on the wreath frame. Next pull a loop up through the middle ring and then through inner ring.
Once you have done these three loops, twist the burlap firmly and work your way back up the wreath frame in the opposite direction, pulling loops of burlap through each segment in the wire frame. Continue doing this until you have all the frame filled.
Secure the end of the burlap to the wire frame in the same way as you did at the start, by threading garden wire through it and twisting round the frame.
Lay out your Easter decorations on top of the wreath until you are happy with how they look and then glue in place.
Make a bow and glue it to the wreath, add a loop of garden wire on the back as a hanger and Hey Presto, it’s finished!
My wreath is finally hanging proudly on the door and I am off to put the rest of my Easter decorations up.
Happy Easter x
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