Thrifty Tuesday

I am developing a very healthy obsession with thrift/charity shops.  The deals you can find are so awesome and easy on the wallet!

My latest finds were treats for my wardrobe: a fabulous floral garden party dress and a beaded geometric necklace.

Dress cost: £7

Necklace cost: £3

That’s a sweet new summer outfit for just £10!  Happy indeed!

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I love playing dress up! 🙂

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Five Minute Friday – View

Here we go, here we go, here we go now!

It’s a cold, wet Friday here in not-so-sunny London.

Today’s Five Minute Friday topic is: VIEW

Here’s what I had to say:

The view from where I am sitting is bleak.  Fat grey clouds punctuate a gauzy skyline. Haze and blur as far as the eye can see.  The rain is periodic. It comes in sprinkles and scatters, splashes and splatters.  The wind whips the soggy leaves around my drenched garden and I think, thank you mother nature for this practical joke – surely this can’t be summer.  Such a view.  What a view.  Perhaps I should change my point of view?  The ground is nourished, my thirsty tulips sip each drop of water that the clouds release.  Bursts of fresh new green abound. Soon the view will blossom and bloom thanks to this momentary gloom.

Annnd, I’m done.  Trying to see the positive side of 8 degree (Celsius) weather and incessant, drizzly rain.  The last line rhyming was unintentional. 🙂

Happy Friday! Hope the weather where you are is much more cheery!

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Quick Vintage Button Necklace – Tutorial

I love home-made jewellery.  You get to create designs to suit your style and when someone admires it you can proudly say “I made it myself!”

Today I’m going to show you how to make a quick, quirky vintage button necklace.  It really is super simple!

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Lately I’ve been raiding my jewellery drawer to find old, broken, or “out of fashion” pieces that I haven’t worn in ages.  A few days ago I found a bracelet that I’ve never worn. It had a pretty piece of floral chiffon type fabric woven into it so I pulled it out and thought, yep I can make something out of that!

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Have a dig through your own jewellery stash or just snip some fabric from an old dress, sheer curtains, or any type of airy material.  Go on a rummage at your local charity/thrift shop and scoop some vintage-y buttons.  A bit of felt and a hot glue gun are the last two ingredients required to make this snazzy piece.  Ready? Get to it!

You will need:

  • 2 thin pieces of fabric long enough to tie around your neck
  • a piece of felt in your choice of colour, cut into a wide triangle shape
  • loads of vintage buttons, beads, fabric rosettes, whatever you fancy!
  • hot glue gun

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How to make your necklace:

  1. Lay your buttons out on top of your felt until you are happy with the arrangement. Don’t be afraid to overlap or experiment with different sizes and shapes of buttons!
  2. Using little dabs of hot glue, glue each button in place.  Working from the middle outward helps.
  3. Grab your strips of fabric and tie a knot at one end of each piece, leaving about an inch of fabric loose at the end of each knot.
  4. Flip your felt/button piece over and hot glue the one inch loose end (the end with the knot in it) of each piece of fabric to each side of the felt triangle.
  5. Ta da! All done and ready to wear!

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I feel pretty! How about you? 🙂

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Cheeky cherry baby booties

Just a quick post before bedtime (and just before midnight) to show you my latest crochet project.

Yesterday I was laid up in bed feeling pretty crappy, for lack of a better word.  I reached for my crochet hook and a ball of yarn I had purchased at a craft fair a few months ago but had forgotten at the bottom of my basket.  I decided it was soft yet sturdy enough for a pair of baby booties and I got to work. (you gotta love a hobby you can pursue while lying snuggled up in bed!)

I made the first bootie and saw it was good.  Then I made the other.  Then I decided I wanted to sweeten them up a bit. So I designed a pair of cherries and they looked awesome! I was super proud of my effort!

Here are the finished booties:

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Aren’t they just too cute?!  And if they really take your fancy, they are available to buy in my Etsy shop!

Until next time,

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Five Minute Friday – Song

Shhhh…. it’s Saturday, but I won’t tell if you won’t.

My Five Minute Friday is a little delayed but better late than never I always say!

This week’s topic is: SONG

So without further ado:

I’ve always wished that I could sing. And by sing I mean having a half decent singing voice, not the crackly strained alto I currently possess.  I bravely took up choir in high school, secretly jealous of the sopranos with notes like tinkling bells, while I slouched in the back row and croaked along like a timid toad.  But honestly I’m not that bad. I think.  I held out hope that my kids would be blessed with better pipes than I was. Until recently that hope was high – and then I caught my daughters’ rendition of Incy Wincy Spider.  Clearly the inability to carry a tune runs in the family. As I type this I can hear my mother churn out a song in the kitchen. It is being butchered. Something mournful and reminiscent of ancient Sunday services in the parish church. Scary yet somehow soothing in its familiarity.  Sing, song, sung.

True story.  And I made myself chuckle!

Happy Friday, er Saturday!

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Blog makeover and Thrifty Tuesday

Howdy! If you’re reading this, you are seeing my brand new blog theme!  I love the subtle handmade look — the notched ends of the pages bar reminds me of ribbon and the dividing lines on the sidebar are perfect pinked edges! I also added a new header combining my love for craft, photography, and writing.  Yes, that’s my handwriting (hehe) and it is an excerpt from my favourite poem, “The Walrus and The Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll.

What do you think of the new look?

T1Today is Thrifty Tuesday. Which simply means I’ll be showing you my weekly haul from local charity and thrift stores.  I scooped the vintage thread spools, wooden buttons, and ribbon rosettes all for 50p.  Absolute bargain and great craft room decor!

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This is my absolute favourite find of the week — old postcards. From all over the world.  At 10p each I grabbed 19 of those with the most interesting  photos, handwriting, and subject matter.  The oldest is dated 1939.  With a few strips of washi tape I created a collage out  of some of the nicest ones above my mantle. Each time I glance at them I get a wonderful sense of nostalgia and feel a bit privileged to have a sneak peak into the personal correspondence of people I’ll never meet.

PC3I also love trying to decipher the handwriting.  My former job as an archivist comes in handy for this — I used to spend hours poring over historical documents and updating databases!  This one was easy to read:

Thank you so much for the photo, we think it splendid Mr. Wright is a very good amateur; you are on the mantlepiece of our new dining room…

Lovely.

canAnd my final thrifty item is actually something I made rather than bought.  A soup tin, some patterned tissue paper, and a few dabs of watered down pva glue created this sweet little holder for my crochet hooks (or pencils, or scissors, or paintbrushes…). It was simple, took 5 minutes to make and cost me nothing at all.  My kind of crafting!

Have you scooped any thrifty finds lately? Send me a link below!

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How to Make a Fabulous Fabric Flower Clip – Tutorial

Recently I’ve been collecting fabric like a mad woman.  Remnants, and trimmings, and offcuts, oh my!  All the lovely colours and patterns have inspired me to create loads of cute projects and this fabric flower clip is one of my favourites!

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This tutorial includes an extra special touch as it uses embellishments from a broken necklace I found in the bottom of my jewellery drawer.  If you’re like me, you’ll have the odd earring whose match has gone missing or a necklace with a broken clasp.  Time to UPCYCLE!

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I grabbed a gem from this necklace (hence the gap between the bird and the bead) and used it as the centre for my flower.

Here is how you can make your own fabulous flower!

You will need:

  • gem or bead from an old/broken piece of jewellery
  • fabric of your choice
  • sewing machine and thread (or needle and thread)
  • elastic thread for bobbin (if using a sewing machine)
  • hot glue gun
  • alligator clip

How to make your clip:

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1. Cut a strip of fabric 2 inches wide by 9 inches long.

2. Using your sewing machine with elastic in the bobbin, sew all the way down about 1/4 inch in from one edge. This makes the fabric ruffle nicely.  If you don’t have a sewing machine, simply sew a wide running stitch all the way down one edge.

3. Grab the loose end of elastic (or thread if hand stitching) and pull gently to create the ruffle and bring the two ends of the flower together.

4. Stitch the two ends together

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5. Grab your lovely jewel/gem/bead

6. Place a dab of hot glue on the back

7. Attach jewel to the centre of your fabric flower (I pulled a few of the loose threads from around the flower to create a frayed look)

8. Place a generous dab of hot glue along the length of your alligator clip and attach to the back of the flower

All done!

Now you are ready to clip your flower to anything your heart desires! The possibilities are endless:

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Hair clip

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Headband (simply clip onto a plain headband)

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Handbag clip (my personal fave!)

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial — if you make a clip please come back and share a link so that I can see your gorgeous creation!

 

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How to make a Summer Bunting – Tutorial

Today was a glorious, sunshine-y day.  I sat at my dining (aka craft) table in front of the sliding glass doors that lead out into my garden. With the smells of cut grass and BBQ floating in on the breeze, I was inspired to make something quintessentially summer — a lovely, bright bunting.  Perfect for dressing up the mantle or for quick and easy garden party decor, I absolutely love how versatile they are!

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Now, I have to admit that this is my very first sewing tutorial and I am an absolute beginner — I took tons of photos to try to show every step and I am sure there are probably faster/easier/better ways to make a bunting but this is my own little home-made version and I quite like it. 🙂

You will need:

  • Four 8x8in squares of fabric each in a different colour/pattern
  • A ball of jute twine
  • A safety pin
  • Cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Sewing machine, thread
  • Iron

To make the bunting:

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1. Lay your first square of fabric out and fold in half with wrong sides together.

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2. Fold over into quarters and turn the square around so that the fat folded edge faces you.

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3. Cut a simple triangle shape from the cardstock. Mine measured 4 in across the top and 4 1/2 in along the sides. This is your bunting template.

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4. Place the top edge of the template against the folded edge of your fabric and cut out.

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5. Remove the template and open out the fabric. You will have 2 diamond shapes.  Fold these in half with wrong sides together. Now you have two double sided bunting flags!

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6. Repeat steps 1-5 with the remaining squares of fabric and give your bunting flags a good press with an iron.

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7. Pop a flag into your sewing machine and sew a zigzag stitch down the long sides (not across the top, that comes next). Repeat with all flags.

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8. Now stitch a straight stitch across the top of each flag, leaving space between the top of the flag and the stitching — approx. 1/2in.  This will allow you to thread the jute twine through each flag.

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9. Grab your safety pin and hook into one end of your ball of twine.  Thread the twine through the top of each flag, spacing them out neatly.

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10.  Continue to thread all of your flags onto the twine.  Leaving about 12in on either side, cut twine and tie two loops at each end.

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Hang and enjoy!

Note: I did not bother to secure the flags to the twine — they can slide along freely. However, the rough edges of the twine help to keep the flags in place and they don’t easily move around.  If you plan to use this bunting outdoors or in a way that it is likely to be touched, you can always stitch or hot glue each flag in place.  I was just too lazy to complete this step and couldn’t wait to display my newest creation! 😉

Please do let me know if this tutorial is helpful to you or if there are any adjustments/suggestions.

Thanks for reading!

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Five Minute Friday – Brave

Today I am participating in a freewriting exercise called “Five Minute Friday”.  You can read all about it here on Lisa Jo-Baker’s site.

The challenge is to freewrite on a topic for just 5 minutes – no more, no less.  You cannot edit, backtrack, or change what you have written. This is pretty much the whole point of freewriting, you see.

This week’s topic is: BRAVE

Here is what I wrote:

I have a little boy. He stole my heart. From the moment I laid eyes on that tiny bundle, snuggled myself against that soft, warm cheek, I was in love. Unconditionally and inextricably.  My boy is the embodiment of brave. Poked and prodded from just a few weeks old. Many nights spent on hospital wards. Endless lists of medications, supplements, tests, trials, and all that comes with being “special”.  Because he is special, in every possible definition of the word.  He never lets his challenges hold him back.  He is bursting with energy and love and kindness.  He minds his manners yet can also be loud, rambunctious or downright over-the-top.  He does silly things like hug random strangers and slightly embarrassing things like lick the shopping cart handle.  I once filled up with tears when he threw a tantrum in public until I realised that it was me who wasn’t coping, not him.  I needed to be brave. Like him.  He has taught me about myself in ways I could never imagine and I am eternally grateful that I can call him my son.

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And that’s it.  When I looked up at the screen and re-read what I wrote, I felt a tinge of pride.  Not bad at all.

I found it therapeutic and enjoyed the challenge of not being allowed to alter the words that flowed freely from my heart. I am notorious for editing, perhaps to a fault.  I find myself tweaking things that I wrote back in high school — now some 15 years in the past.  This was a wonderful exercise in restraint and I welcome it.

Freewriting is something I have come across in the many creative writing and literature classes I have taken throughout both my degrees.  But this is the first time I have used the technique as a blog post.  And I rather like it.

I think I will try to keep up with “Five Minute Fridays” — it’s always good to step out of your comfort zone.

Have you ever tried freewriting?  What do you think of when you see the word BRAVE?

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(credit goes to Lauren @ The Thinking Closet for inspiring me through her own “Five Minute Friday” post today!)

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