Crafting · Tutorials

Revamp a metal tray

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?

I’d love to hear about it.

Don’t forget to Pin!

Happy May Bank Holday 🙂

 

Crafting

What I’ve learnt about Etsy

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.

Crafting · Freebies · Home & Life · Uncategorized

Mother's Day round up and an Easter Freebie

With Mother’s Day looming how many people have forgotten to order their gifts in time for them to be delivered before Mother’s Day? I always do this whether it’s for birthdays, anniversaries, weddings etc. and I end up rushing to the shops and getting something that isn’t exactly what I wanted. So if that is you today then I thought I would do a quick round up of some of lovely, quick make at home gifts that would put a smile on any mum’s face.
First up is this sweet Crocheted Daffodil from Simply Crochet.

simply crochet crochet daffodil
Crocheted Daffodil from Simply Crochet

You could crochet up a few of them to make a bunch or add a brooch pin on the back to make a cute brooch. What mum wouldn’t be delighted with that!
Next up is a bouquet of Map Roses from Pillar Box Blue.
Map Roses from Pillar Box Blue
Map Roses from Pillar Box Blue

If you don’t have any old maps these would look just as good on pages from an old book or on scrapbooking papers.
Or what about Mother’s Day in a Jar from Hello Splendid.
Mother's Day in a Jar from Hello Splendid
Mother’s Day in a Jar from Hello Splendid

What a great way to pamper your mum, giving her lots of her favourite little treats in a pretty jar that she can use as storage afterwards.
If your mum likes to sew how about making this cute little Teacup Pincushion from Pins and Needles.
Teacup Pincushion from Pins and Needles
Teacup Pincushion from Pins and Needles

You could use some fabric from a favourite old blouse or dress, or from clothes that the grand-kids have grown out of to make this gift extra special.
Lastly, if you like to bake how about making this yummy Rose and Dark Chocolate Shortbread from Waitrose.
Rose & Dark Chocolate Shortbread from Waitrose
Rose & Dark Chocolate Shortbread from Waitrose

Add some pretty packaging to make a gorgeous handmade gift.
There are loads more fabulous ideas on Pinterest for quick and easy Mother’s Day gifts to make, but I warn you that you may end up spending so much time looking at all the great ideas that you don’t actually get the time to make anything (I speak from experience here lol).
Finally, with Easter just around the corner I thought I would make a cute Easter themed freebie for you. I love to add to my seasonal decor with printables because they are such a quick way to change things up a bit. Please remember that our Easter printable is Free for Personal Use only.
Easter Printable from RecklessHen
Easter Printable from RecklessHen

The printable will fit in an A4 frame and you can download it here.
Free Easter printable from RecklessHen
Free Easter printable from RecklessHen

If you like our printable please Pin it and if you use it we’d love to know.
Why not follow us on Facebook or Instagram too we would love to see you there 🙂
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there.

Crafting · Tutorials

How to crochet an Autumn Pumpkin

Feeling very autumny, I spent a few happy hours last week on a Pinterest safari looking for crochet patterns for autumnal bits and bobs. I found loads of fabulous leaf patterns, acorn patterns, squirrel and hedgehog patterns and of course pumpkin patterns. A crocheted pumpkin seemed a good place to start as the patterns were all pretty similar and straight forward and I knew I had some orange wool in my extensive stash. So I got a cuppa, my wool and my hook and settled down to start only to realise that the pattern I had chosen was for chunky wool and mine was DK. Not to be beaten I decided to wing it and try to come up with something that would pass as a pumpkin.  I was really happy with how it turned out and thought I would share the pattern in case it is useful for you. First, here is what it looks like.

crochet a pumpkin
How to crochet an Autumn Pumpkin by Recklesshen

You will need:
Double knitting wool
4mm hook
Toy stuffing
Twig about 1cm thick and about 3-4cm long
Hot glue gun
Wool needle

Here is how I made mine.

  • Make a slip knot and place it over your hook.
  • Chain 68.
  • Slip stitch into the starting chain to form a circle.
  • Chain 2. (This becomes your first DC)
  • Work a DC into the same stitch as your slip stitch.
  • Work a DC into each stitch around your circle to the end.
  • Slip stitch into the 2nd chain of the chain 2 at the start of the previous round.
  • *Chain 2.
  • Work a DC into the same stitch as your slip stitch.
  • Work a DC into each stitch around your circle to the end.
  • Slip stitch into the 2nd chain of the chain 2 at the start of the previous round*.
  • Repeat from * to * until your crochet measures as long as you want it to be.
    The longer the crochet is the taller your pumpkin will be. I kept going until mine measured around 30cm.
  • Finish on a slip stitch and fasten off your wool.
    You will now have a crocheted tube.
  • Using the same colour wool and a wool needle, do a running stitch around the edge at the bottom end of the tube. Gently pull the wool to gather the edge until it is as tight as it will comfortably go. Fasten off your wool.
  • Using toy stuffing, stuff your pumpkin right to the top so that it is full and plump.
  • Using the same colour wool and a wool needle, do a running stitch around the edge at the top end of the tube. Gently pull the wool to gather the edge until it is as tight as it will comfortably go. Fasten off your wool.
  • Take a long strand of wool and beginning in the centre of the bottom of your pumpkin, join your wool to the centre and then take it up the outside of the pumpkin and down through the hole in the centre at the top, and out through the bottom.
  • Pull this strand of wool and you will see it pulling the pumpkin and forming a segment.
  • Repeat this step, taking the wool up the outside, down through the centre and then pulling to form a segment.
  • Work your way around the pumpkin until you have as many segments as you want. I mad seven segments on mine.
  • Fasten off the wool securely at the bottom.
  • Using a hot glue gun, put some glue on your twig and place it into the hole at the top of your pumpkin.
  • And viola, you have a lovely autumn pumpkin

If you use this pattern we would love to see a picture of your pumpkins.
Happy Autumn 🙂

Crafting

A pleasant way to spend the day

Today has been lovely so far. This morning we went to one of our favourite breakfast spots, General Merchants. They do a great selection of slightly unusual breakfasts and today we both opted for Elvis and a latte. I can wholeheartedly recommend Elvis and not just because I am a fan of its namesake. In this case, the Elvis in question consists of toasted sourdough, back bacon, banana and Meridian almond butter. It was delicious and very moreish. Then it was off back to Casa Hezza (a.k.a Heather’s house) to get some photos of our Vintage Granny blanket and to start to write up the pattern so we can share it with you. The Vintage Granny started life as a way to use up some of the ever growing stash of our favourite Stylecraft Special DK. We have so much extra yarn, in every colour imaginable that it was hard to choose but Heather knew she wanted to create a blanket that had a vintage vibe to it and used some of the colours from the Attic24 Hydrangea blanket. She soon whittled the hoard down to nine scrumptious shades and set about deciding what to make. Should it be a stripey blanket, a ripple, a granny square or something else? After many hours deliberation, and quite a few glorious detours via pinterest, she decided that the Granny Square from The Patchwork Heart would be perfect. If you haven’t found the beautiful patterns on The Patchwork Heart blog you really need to pop over and have a peek, they are fabulous. We took loads of photos of the blanket and really hope you like the colours. Surprisingly we have since discovered that Heather chose the same shades as those in The Patchwork Heart Vintage pack so just goes to show great minds think alike. Heather is the vintage loving half of RecklessHen whereas I am more of a brights girl but I do love the muted, almost faded effect of these colours together. I will write up the pattern and colour sequences and post them tomorrow.

Crafting

Playing with dye

Lately I have been taking some courses from the fabulous Makelight on how to improve my photography for instagram and blogging. It is an amazing, supportive community full of lovely, creative people from all walks of life and I have learnt so much from them all. Having been inspired to add some props to my photos I decided to try my hand at dyeing some beautifully soft muslins using natural dyes and food colourings. It was soooo much fun. I cleared a space on the kitchen island (not an easy task in this house as everything seems to get plonked on there), gathered together whatever I had in the house, which turned out to be some strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, turmeric and food colourings and set to work. The food colourings were easy as that just meant adding a few drops to the water and letting the muslin steep in it for a short time. I then rinsed it out under cold water, wrung it out and hung on the line to dry. I tried out gel colours and liquid colours and I would have to say that I definitely got a more even result from the liquid colours as the gel seemed to leave darker spots on the muslin where it hadn’t quite completely dissolved but I quite like the effect anyway and will definitely use it.
The food colourings were easy as that just meant adding a few drops to the water and letting the muslin steep in it for a short time. I then rinsed it out under cold water, wrung it out and hung on the line to dry. I tried out gel colours and liquid colours and I would have to say that I definitely got a more even result from the liquid colours as the gel seemed to leave darker spots on the muslin where it hadn’t quite completely dissolved but I quite like the effect anyway and will definitely use it.
Next I got started on the natural dyes. I put the fruits in different pans on the hob and covered them with a little water and let them boil until the fruit started to break down. At this point I mashed them down a little to get more colour out and let them bubble gently for a few more minutes before straining the liquid into a bowl, making sure to squeeze every last drop of juice out of the fruity pulp in the sieve. I added the muslin to the bowl and allowed to steep for a short while before rinsing under cold water, wringing out and hanging on the line to dry.


If you look at the pictures below you can see my results and from left to right they are pink gel colouring, blue liquid colouring, raspberries, blueberries, turmeric and strawberries. If you look closely at the pink food colouring one you can see the darker spots.

I am very happy with the results. I think my favourites so far are the food colouring ones as they gave a softer colour but I really like the purple shade from the blueberries and the deep yellow from the turmeric as well. I had a blast experimenting and I will definitely be doing it again. I am wondering what would give me a dreamy lime colour and a lovely grassy green.

Crafting

When one blanket finishes another begins

Since I finally learnt how to crochet in 2015 I have been a big fan of the brilliant Attic24 blog. I am such a fan of Lucy’s use of colour and the beautiful patterns she creates. I have so far managed to crochet four of her blanket patterns and a few of the lovely little flowers and birds on her blog as well. If you haven’t discovered Attic24 yet then do go and have a peek, I’m sure you will love it and find so much inspiration there. This week I finished the Moorland Stripe blanket and I love it.  The colours are fabulous and I love how Lucy got her inspiration from the moors near her home. Most people find that the sewing in of all the wool ends is their least favourite part of their crocheting but I find it quite relaxing in a way because you don’t need to think too much or concentrate too hard on it. Some people like to sew the ends in as they go along and some, like me, leave them all to the end. Are you a sew them in as you go or a leave them till the end girl? I am sure the answer to that question must say something about our personality types, but perhaps it’s better not to know 🙂


So now that I have finished my Moorland Blanket journey what next for my hook? Well, since you ask, I just happened to be browsing Wool Warehouse the other day and would you believe it but the Hydrangea Blanket kit just hopped on in to my basket (oops how did that happen!) so that is what I will be crocheting next. The colours are beautiful – very soft and definitely reminiscent of hydrangeas. If you want to see the pattern you can find it HERE on Attic24.
What are you crocheting, or knitting, or sewing at the moment?
IMG_6475

Crafting

The end is in sight

Has the countdown begun in your house? I know it has in mine. Only 14 days left until the end of the school year here in Northern Ireland and I for one can’t wait. I have always loved this time of year when I look forward to two months of no school lifts to do, no homeworks to check, no uniforms to wash and iron, no lunches to make and when unplanned days of just going with the flow lie just around the corner. I have always loved having the kids at home for long, lazy days in the summer and now that they are older and like to do their own thing I kind of miss not having any little ones to take to the park or the movies or even just to be in the house playing games and making the place feel busy and alive. Our house was always full of their friends in summer and there was always the sound of laughter and chatter as they jumped on the trampoline, swung on the swings or played in the paddling pool. Now I tend to hear music blasting out from their rooms and they only appear when they want fed lol. One of my other favourite things about this time of year has always been choosing a present for their teachers. I usually tried to get something a little different as I know that teachers are inundated with sweets and smelly stuff at the end of term. Quite often I made things myself which would mean something to the teacher. At the end of my son’s first year I made a cross stitch sampler for his teacher of things that they had done during the year and a personalised card to go with it. Another year the girls helped me make a salt dough plaque of children in their school uniform. When the head mistress was retiring I organised the whole school to make a massive quilt. Each child in the school designed a square and then fabric painted it. Myself and another mum then stitched them all together and I cross stitched all the childrens names around the edges. Although my kids are too old to do teacher presents now I thought I would like to design a printable that could be framed and sit on a desk or go on the wall. This is what I came up with – it’s printed on linen blend fabric using some fab fonts from Kimberly Geswein and framed in a 5×7 frame. I think it’s cute – what do you think?  Are teacher presents an end of year tradition where you live?
Best Teachers with watermark

Crafting

Colour me Summer

With the fantastic weather we are having at the minute I am inspired to create a new crochet blanket that reflects my love of the beach. I love the colours of the sea and sand, the sound of the waves, the smell of the salt in the air and the fresh breeze that you just don’t get anywhere else but at the beach. One day I will have my beachside summer house so I can enjoy it all the time but until then I will just create a new blanket that brings to mind lazy summer days by the beach. Not as easy a task as you might think since there are just so many shades of blue to choose from! For a bit of help and inspiration I have been using a great colour tool from Sherwin-Williams called ColorSnap. It takes any picture and shows you the colours that make it up. It is based on their own paint colours but you can use it for inspiration for wool colours too, which is what I am doing. I have been looking at pictures that really say summer and sea to me and I have loads of inspiration to choose from now – the hard part will be narrowing the colours down so I don’t end up with a mammoth blanket. Anyway here are just some of the colourways I love, which would you choose?

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Crafting

So many pretty things

We had a fantastic day at a local craft fair on Saturday in Knockbreda Parish Church. It was the first real outing for RecklessHen and the support and comments we received were amazing. We worked into the wee small hours for days beforehand but it was all worth it. We were in the company of a great selection of our mega talented local crafters and surrounded by so many pretty things it was hard to know where to look next. We just love a real craft fair where the beautiful items on the stalls have been lovingly created by the stall holder and where you can see their love of their craft when you chat to them. There was also a great brass band playing as people arrived, delicious scones and traybakes and a mouth-watering BBQ to be had. Add in the face painting, games and puppet shows and all in all a great day. We will need to sleep for days now but we can’t wait for the next one 🙂 Here are a few photos to give you a little taste of the fabulous crafts on offer. Now to get our Etsy shop up and running!