Sharing The Love: Last Minute Valentine’s Gifts

Love is in the air do, do, do, do, do, do, love is the air! Yes Valentine’s Day is pretty much upon us. What’s that you say? You’ve forgotten to get the one you love a present? Never fear, for I have spent an evening creating a wonderful list of gifts of love you can make for your partner, your kids, your cat, yourself, basically anyone you truly love. And they’ll never know you may have, sort of, forgot. Obviously these work for other occasions, like anniversaries, saying sorry for forgetting anniversaries. You get the picture.

The full Pinterest Board is here, but here are a few of my favourites….

Printable Breakfast in Bed Kit…

Last Minute Valentines

Valentines for boys (both little and big). If you have any children in your house it’s likely you’ll be regularly stepping on these things (followed by a tiny bit of swearing)…

Last Minute Valentines

You make my heart soar! Printable paper aeroplanes…

Last Minute Valentines

Because, chocolate…

Last Minute Valentines

Because, hot fudge…

Last Minute Valentines

Who doesn’t love a bit of origami?

Last Minute Valentines

And finally, or all the cat ladies (and men) out there, there’s nothing to be ashamed of…

Last Minute Valentines for cats

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Ello Sunshine – Tutorial

Summer is officially here and I am melting. However, tropical temperatures couldn’t stop me crafting, especially when it came to the shop’s (Creative Biscuit just in case you didn’t know) new summer decorations considering they were about a month overdue. So, channelling the English summer and roping in Tim to help (oh how he loves it when I tell him I’ve got another job for him to do) we made the following to make the shop look summery…

Splastic spoon sun / flower decoration

First up were flower and butterfly balls (I really do need to think of a catchier name). I feel a bit of a fraud calling these tutorials as they’re pretty obvious and really rather easy, but here we go.

Butterfly and flower balls

For the flower balls you need…

  • A variety of fake flowers – I got ours from the local Hobbycraft as the cheaper ones online meant shipping them from China and I just didn’t have the time.
  • Glue dots
  • Clear plastic balls (which frankly are amazing in my humble opinion and I purchased them from here.)

For the butterfly balls you need…

  • Polystyrene balls – I reused the ones from this previous tutorial here.
  • Green Tissue paper
  • PVA glue with a couple of drops of water in it to make it thinner.
  • Butterfly stampI used this one – Martha Stewart don’t you know!
  • Coloured paper
  • Pins

Cut the tissue paper into squares. Coat part of the ball in glue and stick on one square at the time. Once you’ve covered the whole ball give it another coat of PVA all over and hang it somewhere to dry. Next, repeat the process all over again and then it should be ready for the butterflies.

Green tissue paper balls

Two coats of tissue paper a friend’s garden a bottle of beer and a spot of radio 4 helped create these

Stamp out the butterflies then place a pin through the body of each and stick it into the ball. Repeat until fully covered making sure not to put the same colours next to each other. Once covered, pull the wings up so they’re not lying flat and, et voila, you have a lovely ball of butterflies. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Paper butterfly balls and floating balls of flowers

Paper butterfly balls and floating balls of flowers. Obviously.

Now for the big one. We call it a giant sunshine, some people have said it looks like a huge flower, either way it took one truck load of spoons to make it. You could easily do it on a much smaller scale than this, so if you fancy having a go here’s how…

Plastic spoon sun

Plastic spoon sun. Pretty.

For the spoon sun you will need…

  • A box of 500 plastic spoons – Got to love Costco!
  • Two shades of acrylic spray paint – We used yellow and orange.
  • Two large circles of card – We used old corrugated card from some large boxes and actually drew around our bin lid, but you could use the two-pencils-with-a-bit-of-string-tied-between-them trick.
  • Yellow paint – We used a tester pot of emulsion because it gives better coverage than poster paint
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Yellow paper
  • Tooth picks

Draw two circles on the corrugated card the size you would like the sun / flower to be and cut them out. Paint one side of each in two coats of the yellow paint and leave the dry. Once dry glue the two sides together with either PVA glue or you could always use your glue gun, whichever you prefer.

Plastic spoons

You have no idea how long this took and how hurty it was!

Get your mountain of spoons and start snapping the heads off. I saw scissors and craft knives recommended for this task, but I didn’t find they worked and the best way to do it was with your hands. This hurt though. A lot. We ended up with plasters on our fingers to cushion the blow, but rubber gloves may have been even better.

When you have enough spoons lay them out on the card so you can work out how many you want in each colour then put down some old paper and spray those spoons. I found it was best to leave them overnight to dry although they did seem to remain slightly sticky forever.

Spoons and glue gun

The glueing begins!

Once your spoons are ready, place a spot of glue from your glue gun on the back of the spoon at the bottom, close to where the handle used to be so when you stick it down it kind of pops up a bit.

Tim sticking spoons

Action shot! Messy room!

Gradually work your way around and with each layer making sure it slightly covers the one above it. Where possible put the spoons between the joins in the row above until you get as close to the middle as you want to go.

Quilled paper

Now, you could leave the middle plain, but we decided to make our lives more difficult by trying out some quilling for the first time. For this we cut very slim strips of yellow paper (about 4mm wide but I didn’t bother trying to be too accurate). Next get a toothpick and roll the paper around it. When you get to the end, take it off the toothpick it will spring out a bit. Then get another toothpick and put a tiny dot of glue on the end and glue it to the side so you get a curled round circle. Then make some more. Then make some more. Then when you think you’ve got enough, make some more. Once you’ve finished put a layer of PVA over the centre of the circle and stick the quilled paper down very quickly and leave to dry.

Splastic spoon sun / flower decorationFinally make a hole through the card circle at the top about 1.5cm in and do the same mid way down on either side. Thread through some string and then it’s ready to hang!

If you wanted to make a more permanent version of this, you could use a thin circle of wood and put a circular mirror in the middle (which you can get in Ikea). You could also make much smaller ones and I’ve also seen versions where rather than using spoons you can use rolled up paper. The craft world really is your oyster!

Make Something Good

Plushies from hell, my favourite artist, phenomenal chocolate, stunning stained glass and a hundred other amazing makers made Make Good the most inspiring event I’ve been to in a long time.

Makegood.Festival

My life is ridiculous at the moment. While I dislike blogs that are all me, me, me, as quite frankly I don’t think any of you particularly want to know about the minute of my life (despite the fact I am, obviously, fascinating) bear with me while I get self indulgent for a moment. You see, I’ve been stuck in a blur of trying to run a business, forward plan, look after kids, freelance, pitch, work on our ceramics range, help make a year 1 science project, work on a club door and clean my house (OK so the last one is a lie, it’s still a pit) among a million other chores and tasks. I’ve even been employed by stealth to work on a magazine two days a week, which I didn’t even notice happening. It means making and blogging have had to take an underserved back seat, but I think, thanks to Make Good, I may have got the kick up the bum to sort my life out and start making changes.

Makegood Programme of Events-2

For those of you who don’t know, Make Good was a ‘festival of culture, creativity and entrepreneurship’  – basically lots of unique start-up businesses founded by a whole host of weird and wonderful people (emphasis on the wonderful) doing everything from millinery to accountancy, café owners to artisan cider producers. Most of the companies are here thanks to School For Creative Start-Ups, who help creative people make viable businesses by providing mentors, business know-how, courses, advice and support to turn your hobby or fledgling firm into a full-time job that more than pays the rent.  Basically they sound pretty damn amazing.

Creative.Places..Sewing.at.Makegood.Festival

It really was inspiring not only finding new projects and people to write about – and buy from – but to feel so much positivity in one place. I’m now going to see if I can sign up for the School For Creative Start-Ups for the café, get some more childcare and start making time to make again.

So to kick this off, here’s my round up of my favourite businesses and people I met at Make Good (although it really is the tip of the iceberg, check out the full list here) before I toddle off to start on the enormous to do list I have made for myself…

Mock Duck Studios Amazing puppeteers who not only make all the Duracell Bunnies, but quirky creations such as these…

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Cocoa Hernando Beautiful artisan chocolate makers with stylish packaging, almost as good as the chocolate inside. The masala chai can only be described as heavenly…

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Renn Designs Unique kid’s wallpaper that  isn’t too twee. I am mildly obsessed with the girl flying on a swallow on the pink one…

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Matt Sewell My favourite artist of all time Matt Sewell was there which came as a great surprise. Not only are his birds beautiful, but he was absolutely lovely, excused the fact I sounded a bit like a stalker, has some amazing projects coming up and made me this…

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R. G. Croudence Glass Incredibly talented stained glass maker and restorer, using exciting new techniques, while also recreating more traditional designs (like the ones which used to be in my mum and dad’s terraced house before the days of double glazing)…

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The Rag and Bone Man Taking upcycling to a whole new level, the Rag and Bone Man transforms vintage machinery and scrap into stylish pieces for the home…

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Mrs McGettericks Fuggler Emporium The freakish little fellas are so awesome they’re getting their own blog coming soon! Promise!

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Craft Hacks

This post comes to you thanks to a, shall we say, disagreement with my partner Tim. You see Tim is a pedant. As he rapidly approaches 40 he is getting more and more picky about things. Don’t worry, his inexhaustible supply of gripes and misdirected fury are qualities I actually quite like about him, but anyway, it all started one evening while I was browsing the internet….

A friend of mine had posted a link to some excellent life hacks. Now I’ve always been a fan of a good life hack, or in my day-  and in the pages of my mum’s copy of Family Circle or Take A Break – they were called ‘hints’, ‘tips’ or ‘cheats’ (Viz’s Top Tips remains one of my main resources for learning how to gain a Darwin Award should I ever want one).

I mentioned my love of the life hack to Tim, which prompted a furious response that there was no such thing as a ‘life hack’. It was simply a tip. You could only hack a computer I was informed. It was as ridiculous as saying ‘Totes Amaze’ and possibly the tipping point that would see the end of the English language as we know it.

So do you know what I did? I went on Pinterest and started a board of Craft Hacks. I thought I would combine a lovely list of lots of random hints, tips and cheats for crafters solely so I could repeatedly tell Tim that I’d found another hack and it was amazing. Hack, hack, hack. Sorry Tim did I mention I found another hack?

Anyway, it turns out an evening of winding up your boyfriend can actually result in some very useful information being found. I now know ways to make sure my wool never gets tangled. How to clean paint brushes and how to keep my bobbins in order. Good, eh?

You can find my Craft Hack Pinterest board here. Feel free to share your hacks with me. Oh and remember it’s definitely a hack and not a tip anymore. OK?