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 🙂

 

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

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.

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

Home & Life · Uncategorized

First steps on Etsy

Today I have been designing new printables to go in the RecklessHen Etsy shop and it has been so much fun being back in the creative zone. I am happiest when I am doing anything creative, it relaxes me and creates a real feel good buzz. So after spending quite a few hours designing some prints and taking photos of them I logged on to Etsy to create the listings in the shop and my feel good mood quickly evaporated! I had completely underestimated the time it would take to get the listings done and how frustrating it would be to think I had finished only to find a mistake somewhere. After checking and rechecking a million times (Ok that’s a slight exaggeration but you get what I mean) I think I finally have them done correctly but I only managed to get 6 items uploaded. I am sure I will get quicker at it the more times I do it  – boy I hope so. If anyone has any advice on using Etsy efficiently I would love to hear from you.
Anyways, the first items are now in the shop so I declare it officially open and you can find it here. All the prints will be available in both printed and digital form so you can either print yourself at home or get a ready made print that you just need to pop in a frame and hey presto – new wall art. I love to change the decor in my home by adding a few new prints and some flowers and moving a few decorative pieces from room to room. Such simple, economical little tweaks can change the whole feel of a room without spending a fortune.
Here is a little peek at the new prints in the shop.


I would love to hear any advice on using Etsy.
Have a great weekend 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 🙂
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums out there.

Home & Life · Uncategorized

Country Blog Retreat NI

It seems like ages ago that Tiny Little Lessons suggested that we go on an Instagram Retreat. I liked the sound of it but didn’t have a clue what to expect or who would be going and if I would know anyone or not. We booked our tickets anyway and I looked forward to it even if I was a little apprehensive about meeting so many new people. In the weeks leading up to it there was alot of surfing the net for something to wear and booking appointments to get nails done etc. When Sunday 24th September rolled around we loaded up the sat nav with the location and four of us set off on our road trip to the beautiful surroundings of Larchfield Estate.  Even though it is only 30 minutes from home I had never been to Larchfield before and I have to say I was so impressed with how beautiful it is. From the picturesque gardens & courtyard, to the fabulous orangery & barn, to the stunning guest cottages and Myrtle the glamping truck, the attention to detail was just perfect. It was all a real feast for the eyes and many, many photos were taken. I apologise in advance as this post is going to be photo heavy since there were just so many things to look and and drool over.
We started off the afternoon with welcome drinks and nibbles in the Orangery provided by Panacea Drinks, Clearer Water and Graham’s Bakery. They are three local companies and their drinks and food were really good and I will definitely look out for them in the shops now.


From the Orangery we headed into the barn which was decorated beautifully and all set up for afternoon tea. It was lovely to be able to put faces to the Instagram names and everyone was so friendly and chatty. After an inspiring talk from Anna from Blossoming Birds  we went on a photo walk in the beautiful gardens of Larchfield Estate. There were plenty of props at hand from giant balloons and letters to lovely lanterns. It was funny seeing so many Olympus Pen cameras every way we turned and boy were there so many opportunities to get some amazing photos. Here are some of my favourites.

After our walk we headed back into the barn for Afternoon Tea which was catered by French Village. The food was amazing and it looked so good no one wanted to be the first to lift something and ruin the photo ops but we forced ourselves 🙂 No words can do justice to how delicious these treats were so I will let the photos do the talking.

After lots of eating and plenty of chatting, we heard from some more inspiring local Instagrammers and bloggers. First was Kerry and Tara from Sisters and Sons, followed by Mel Wiggins and then a panel with Rachel from The Breton Bird, Laura-Ann from All That’s Pretty and Anna from Blossoming Birds. All had plenty of good advice and tips and lots of food for thought. We had a short break after this so it was off into the grounds again to have a look at the gorgeous cottages and Myrtle the glamping truck and to take lots of photos of course. First up is Myrtle. Wouldn’t you just love to spend a night here! You even have your very own sauna.

Next up is the cottages. All of them are absolutely gorgeous and I would happily stay in any one of them and be very happy indeed. The decor is flawless and the little touches and attention to detail are so perfect. It made me want to go home and redecorate the whole house.

After tearing ourselves away from the fabulous cottages it was back into the barn to hear from Andrew (@littlewoodmr) and Colin (@father_of_the_birds) with a light-hearted look at what life is like as an Insta-Partner.
All too soon it was time to depart Larchfield Estate with our goodie bags filled with treats and offers provided bygreat graet sponsors.
 
IMG_0560
Goodie Bags from the Country Blog Retreat NI (photo copyright @recklesskav)

 
It was an amazing afternoon spent meeting new people in fabulous surroundings, being fed delicious treats and hearing inspiring words. Thanks to Emma from Life at the Little Wood   (@littlewoodlife) for organising it all, can’t wait till next time.
I will leave you with this quote from Brene Brown that Mel Wiggins reminded us of
“Unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgement, sorrow, shame.”

In her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection‘ Brene says that “I’m not very creative’ doesn’t work. There’s no such thing as creative people, and non-creative people. There are only people who use their creativity and people who don’t. Unused creativity doesn’t just disappear. It lives within us until it’s expressed, neglected to death, or suffocated by resentment and fear.”

I love this reminder not to let fear stop us releasing our creativity, to go full steam ahead and live our best life on our own terms. We will make mistakes as we go and that’s OK, just learn from them and move on. I’m definitely going to print that quote out and post it somewhere I will see it everyday.
Do you have any quotes that inspire you daily?

Home & Life · Uncategorized

Decorating for Autumn

When my kids were smaller I used to have fun being OTT decorating the house for Halloween, the scarier the better. Now that they are older and not that interested in it anymore I was missing the decorating, so I decided a couple of years ago that I was going to decorate with an Autumn theme instead. I have picked up bits and bobs over the last few years and I’ve also made a few things, and each year I bring out whatever bits take my fancy to make the house all cosy and autumnal. I love all the rich reds, oranges, golds, greens and browns that this time of year brings. This year I have added a little leaf garland to the fireplace, added some orange candles from IKEA and put them in with some of the other pretty little things I had and I am pretty happy with the result. The red wall in my main room always comes into its own at this time of year and makes the whole room look very cosy and welcoming.

Decorate your home for Autumn with RecklessHen
Decorate your home for Autumn with RecklessHen

I have picked up bits and bobs over the last few years and I’ve also made a few things, and each year I bring out whatever bits take my fancy to make the house all cosy and autumnal. I love all the rich reds, oranges, golds, greens and browns that this time of year brings. This year I have added a little leaf garland to the fireplace, added some orange candles from IKEA and put them in with some of the other pretty little things I had and I am pretty happy with the result. The red wall in my main room always comes into its own at this time of year and makes the whole room look very cosy and welcoming.
Autumn Decor by RecklessHen
Living Room decor with an Autumn feel by RecklessHen

This year I made a few things to add to my collection. I made an Autumn printable that you can download here and I crocheted a few pumpkins too. You can find the tutorial for them here. I also bought a new candle that I spotted in TKMaxx. It is a lovely orange pumpkin spice scented candle that says ‘Give thanks with a grateful heart’ on it and the gold lid has the cutest, teeny, tiny pumpkin on it. I love it.  You can see it in some of the photos below.

In the rest of the house I added in some Hydrangeas from a friend’s garden, a jug full of Gerberas, some silk autumnal leaves, some greenery from my garden and some nuts and conkers. I love to settle down at night with the fire on, the candles lit and do some crocheting or knitting while the wind is howling outside and I’m all cosy indoors.
When it comes to looking for inspiration online for my Autumn decor a few of the places  I love to check out are Pinterest, Country Living, Martha Stewart, Pioneer Woman, Here Comes The Sun and Ideal Home. I also find that garden centres can be full of inspiration. I don’t know much about plants myself but their fabulous displays mean I don’t need to as I can just pick plants that are in their displays and know they will work in my autumn decor as well. We have some amazing garden centres here in Northern Ireland and three of my favourites are Creative Gardens, Camerons and Hillside Nursery. Here are some of the photos I took this year when searching for inspiration.

And did I mention that they all have lovely coffee shops and it would have been rude not to take the time to sample the coffee and cakes while I was there 🙂 Speaking of coffee, when RecklessHen went on a roadtrip the other day we stopped off at Starbucks for our first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season and Heather delved into her large handbag and out came some handmade autumnal props ready for an Instagram photo. The pattern for the leaves and acorns is from Just Pootling and the conkers were just made up as we went along.
Autumnal crocheted props
Autumnal props for our Pumpkin Spice Latte

Do you decorate for Autumn? Where do you get your inspiration from?

Food · Uncategorized

The best Sweetcorn Chowder Recipe

I don’t know about your house but in my house at meal times I often hear that delightful refrain from my kids of “Yuck, I’m not eating that!” This is particularly true when vegetables are involved. There are not that many meals that everyone in this house enjoys with no complaints whatsoever but my Sweetcorn Chowder is one of them and for that reason it is, as far as I am concerned, the best Sweetcorn Chowder recipe ever.

how to make Sweetcorn Chowder
How to make Sweetcorn Chowder by RecklessHen

I can be sure that whenever I make this, there will be no complaints at all, just happy faces and full tummies. I don’t remember where this recipe originally came from but I am sure it was inspired by something I read or saw somewhere.  I have been making it for so long now that I tweak it from time to time or add something extra now and then, but the basic ingredients and quantities stay much the same. The recipe below is just how I make it, timings may be different depending on your cooker.
chowder ingredients
Ingredients:
1 onion, diced
2 long celery sticks (or 3 short ones), diced
1 pack of 12 slices of smoked pancetta, cut up into small strips (or 2 of the small packs of ready cubed smoked pancetta)
A knob of butter or some olive oil
2 vegetable stock cubes
3 medium sized potatoes, cut into equally sized chunks
3 large corn on the cob (or you can use a couple of cups of frozen sweetcorn)
200ml double cream
1 litre of boiling water
Salt & pepper to taste
I have been known to substitute bacon for pancetta and have used milk when I have had no cream.
Method:
Put the onion, celery and pancetta into a large pan with the knob of butter (or oil) and sweat it slowly over a medium heat until the onion and celery have softened and the pancetta is starting to change colour. I usually do this with the lid on and check it regularly. It takes about 10-15 minutes. If it looks like it is starting to stick I add a little water to stop it.
chowder
Once the onion and celery have softened I make up the vegetable stock cubes in a litre of boiling water and add it to the pan. I turn up the heat and leave this to come to the boil and then I add in the potato. The potato acts as a thickener so if you like thicker soup you might want to add another and if you like thinner soup you might want to use one less. Trial and error is how I ended up adding 3 potatoes, as we like our soup quite thick.
chowder 2
Turn down the heat slightly and continue to cook until the potato is soft. While the soup is cooking prepare the corn on the cob by stripping the kernels off the cobs. If you are using frozen sweetcorn you won’t need to do this step. Once the potato is soft add the sweetcorn and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. At this stage you can add a little more boiling water if required.
Take the soup off the heat and use a handheld blender (or you could use a jug blender) to blend the soup until it is a consistency you are happy with. We like ours quite chunky but I know other people prefer it smoother so you can blend it as little or as much as you like. I do recommend that you do this very, very carefully as more than once I have ended up splattered with boiling hot soup.
chowder 3
Once it has been blended I put it back on the cooker, add the cream, heat it through for a minute or two and it is ready to serve.
We like ours with heaps of crusty bread just out of the oven. I often buy those packs of bread that are ready to bake but equally often I just buy a french stick or some other crusty loaf and heat it up.
chowder 4
I hope you can follow this and it turns out delicious. If you use the recipe I’d love to know.
Have a lovely weekend.