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 ūüôā

 

Tutorials

Make your own Flowers in Jars

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.

  • A branch
  • Some small jars
  • Some twine
  • Flowers

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.

Hang on the wall. It really is that simple.

If you try this I’d love to know how you got on.

Don’t forget to Pin It if you liked it.

Thanks and have a great weekend x

Tutorials · Uncategorized

How to make an Easter wreath

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.

Make an Easter wreath by RecklessHen
How to make an Easter wreath by RecklessHen

First get together all the supplies you will need. I used

  • a wire wreath frame
  • burlap ribbon or strips of burlap
  • garden wire
  • a selection of Easter decorations
  • hot glue gun
  • glue sticks
  • a bow, or ribbon/fabric to make a bow

Easter wreath supplies by RecklessHen
Easter wreath supplies by RecklessHen

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.
Easter Wreath by RecklessHen
Easter Wreath by RecklessHen

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!
Easter Wreath by RecklessHen
Easter wreath by RecklessHen

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

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 ūüôā
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there.

Freebies

Free Autumn printable

I just love the colours of Autumn – the reds, browns, greens, golds and oranges that seem to speak of cosiness and warmth and evenings indoors wrapped up on the sofa. I love the crisp cooler air that means it’s time to put on a sweater and get out the wool to knit or crochet a new scarf and hat. I love the crunching sound of leaves under my feet and sitting in front of the fire at night with a crocheted blanket¬†on my lap and lots of candles dancing on the walls around the room. I love how my cooking changes as the days get cooler and the salads and barbecues of summer change to¬†soups, stews and hearty casseroles to warm and nourish. I love getting out my recipe books and planning crumbles, pies and delicious treats to make use of all the amazing fruits of the season. I have many happy memories of coming home from school to be met with the smell of freshly baked apple pies and scones just out of the oven. In Autumn more than other seasons I find that the smell and taste of food evoke childhood memories.

free Autumn printable
Free Autumn printable from RecklessHen

At this time of year, I love to decorate the house with a few bits and bobs that bring the Autumn indoors. I try to find a new piece to add to the collection each year, this year it was some silk leaves in fabulous Autumn shades. I also made an Autumn themed printable to frame and put on the table in the hallway. I was so pleased with it that I thought it would be a nice freebie to giveaway so you can download it from the link at the bottom. ¬†It is designed to be A4 size but I trimmed mine to fit an 8 x 10 frame as I found a lovely red frame hidden away in a cupboard that I had put away ‘somewhere safe’ and forgot about.
Free for personal use only Autumn printable from RecklessHen
Free Autumn printable from RecklessHen.

Our Autumn wordart printable is Free for Personal Use only.
You can download it HERE.
We hope you like it and can use it in your home, we’d love to see a picture if you do.
Leave a comment if you have an idea for a free printable you would like to see on our blog and don’t forget to follow us for updates.

Freebies

Stripe-It updated

Just a quick update to let you all know that the three new Stylecraft Special¬†DK colours – Lapis, Lincoln and Blush – have now been added to Stripe-It. If you haven’t heard of Stripe-It yet, it is a random stripe creator for those of us who have difficulty in doing ‘random’ colour patterns. At the moment it is based on the Stylecraft Special DK colours as this is what we most often use at RecklessHen HQ, but you can just ignore the colour names and use it for any yarn brand as well. Further colour charts will be added over time.
We have added a quick link to Stripe-It over on the right so you don’t have to scroll through posts to find the link. If you do use Stripe-It we would love to hear from you so leave us a comment.
Have a great weekend.

Freebies

A girl with a plan(ner)

I spent last week tearing my hair out trying to get to grips with my Silhouette Cameo cutting machine. I got it for my birthday last year because I really wanted to make my own planner stickers, but it has been sitting forlornly in its box on a shelf ever since. Things keep coming up and I just haven’t got round to learning how to use it yet and I was finding it really frustrating. So last Monday I decided that this was the day that I would master the Silhouette Cameo. I¬†thought that in a few hours I would be printing and cutting lots of lovely new stickers to go in my Erin Condren Life Planner. Boy was I wrong! I connected up the machine and linked it to my computer via Bluetooth (see how techie I am lol) with no problems. I got the software running and started to design my first set of stickers and that is where it all went wrong. I am used to using Photoshop and Photoshop Elements but this software was just not doing what I wanted it to do at all. After many, many hours and more than a little name calling, I finally had a page of stickers. I printed them out on my computer and they looked fine but when I put them through the Cameo the cut lines were going through the middle of the stickers. I checked on the screen again, everything looked fine, I could see the cut lines and they were not in the wrong place so I printed them out and tried again, and again, and again (I’m sure you are getting the picture). By this stage I was extremely stressed, more tense than the most tightly coiled spring on earth, and more than a little bad tempered. I’m sure if you asked my hubby or kids they would agree wholeheartedly. I finally worked out that the problem was that the registration marks you have to set were ever so slightly out and it was completely ruining my stickers, sheet after sheet after sheet of sticker paper was going in the bin. Eventually, on Friday, my son appeared and within no time at all he had sorted it out. So five days of temper tantrums and stress later and I can now print and cut my own stickers. Yay go me ūüôā
My first sticker sheet is very simple, nothing fancy, but I thought I would give it away as a freebie anyway.  You can print the PDF file on to an A4 sticker sheet and cut the stickers out with scissors, or you can just print on to A4 copier paper and then cut out and glue the stickers in to your planner. If you have a Silhouette Cameo you may even be able to import the pdf and print and cut it but I have no idea how to do that yet. Any advice on using the Cameo would be very, very gratefully received.
Now that I have got the hang of basic rectangular stickers I will move on to other shapes and see how I get on and hopefully I won’t be turning the air blue!
cupcakes-&-cocktails
Cupcakes & Cocktails planner stickers PDF
 

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.

Uncategorized

A blast from the past

I’ve been trying to organise all my photos on my new computer which is taking forever. I so wish I had kept them organised better over the years, it would have saved me so much time now. I have just reached 2009 and I’ve come across a few photos of something I had completely forgotten – I once had a digital scrapbook layout published in a magazine!!! Can you believe that – I can hardly believe it myself.¬†It was a layout of a couple of photos of our last trip to Walt Disney¬†World and I called the layout ‘Winnie the Pooped’.


I haven’t done any digital scrapbooking for a while now and finding this has really made me want to get back into it again. I have a computer full of great digiscrapping resources and they are going to waste if I don’t get back in there and start using them.¬†Some of my favourite designs come from Weeds & Wildflowers, but I’m slightly biased as I was on the CT there until the designer took a break to concentrate on family life. I also love the designs of Kate Hadfield¬†and she often has a freebie on her site too. If you haven’t tried digital scrapbooking and you want to give it a go there are plenty of free resources out there that you can use to see if it’s for you or not, just pop it into google and Hey Presto! I use Photoshop Elements¬†and you can try it out with a free trial to see what you think. Here is a Getting started with PSE guide I wrote a¬†few years ago. It is for an earlier version of PSE but it should help you get the gist of it. Do you digiscrap? If you do or if you decide to give it a go I’d love to hear how you get on.

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 ūüôā


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 Рvery 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?
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