Wednesday, April 22

April's Unblock

In case you haven't seen the previous posts about it, this year I am following (and having a go at) The Jealous Curator's Creative Unblock challenges (Catch up here!). This month's challenge was all about transforming an object. Even the though the challenge called to use said object to make a sculpture, I took the brief kind of loosely because I wanted something functional...
It could probably be argued that I haven't 'transformed' my object, just added some colour but it's all supposed to be fun and that's what I felt like doing!
I bought the wooden bowl for about 50p from my local Tip shop and 'attacked' it with some Sharpie Paint Pens. I'm pretty pleased with the results!
Plus now I have somewhere special to put all my loose change (and stuff) instead of dumping it at the bottom of my handbag, never to be seen again!
(Visit The Jealous Curator to find out more and follow #creativeUNblock on Instagram to see how others are interpreting the challenges)

Tuesday, April 21

DIY Spring Cupcake Toppers

Credit has to go to my lovely Mom for these! Recently when her work had a bake sale, she wanted a way to 'dress up' simple cupcakes to fit the event's Springtime theme so she decide to make her own toppers with some thin coloured card, washi tape and cocktail sticks!
 If you want an easy project this springtime, here's how to make this floral beauties...

You'll need: Pink coloured card; thick scrap card; scissors; glue stick; green washi tape; and cocktail sticks
Wrap pieces of the washi around the cocktail sticks (as shown below) and cut them into leaf shapes
Draw a Tulip shape onto the scrap card and cut out. Use this as a template to cut some identical Tulip shapes from the pink card - you'll need two shapes for each topper
Use the glue to stick two Tulip shapes together with the end of a cocktail stick sandwiched between them

You'll need: Yellow coloured card; thick scrap card; scissors; craft knife; glue stick; yellow tissue paper; green washi tape; and cocktail sticks
Use the washi tape to create leaves(as with the Tulips)
Create a Daffodil petals shape template with the scrap card and use it to cut a number of the same shape out of the yellow card. As with the Tulips, you will need two of the shapes for each topper.
Take two of the yellow cut outs and use the craft knife to cut a small hole in one of them.
Push a small circle of yellow tissue through the hole in the petal shape so it forms a Daff's 'trumpet' and tape it in place at the back (as shown below)
Stick a plain yellow cut out and one with the tissue paper together with a cocktail stick in between

You'll need: White card; yellow coloured card; thick scrap card; scissors; glue stick; green washi tape; and cocktail sticks
Create washi tape leaves on the cocktail sticks (See Tulips)
Cut a Daisy shape out of the scrap card to for a template and use it to cute Daisy shapes from the white card
Cut small circle shapes from the yellow card for the Daisies' centres and stick them onto half the white cut out shapes
Stick a plain white shape and one with a centre together with a cocktail stick in between

Happy Springtime! x

Monday, April 20

Making Over My Kitchen Stools

In our house, we don't have a kitchen table that we eat at but as Hayden is still in her highchair, we both sit at the kitchen counter (or breakfast-bar-type-thing) to have our meals. When we first moved in (getting on for a year ago now) I had a pair of stools donated to me by some friends of my parents and last week I finally got around to giving them a little 'spruce up'.
They started off as simple round, untreated, wooden stools so I wanted to add some colour and make them a little bit more comfortable
They were pretty easy to do and I'm pleased with how they turned out! They're not perfect but it was the first time I'd done anything like this so I'm not beating myself up about it - they are comfy!
If you what to do anything similar, here's how...
You'll need: sandpaper; a damp cloth; wood stain (I used Mahogany); a good quality paintbrush; a sheet of cushion foam (mine was bout 2" thick); a fat quarter of chosen fabric - per stool; a glue stick; a hammer; and upholstery pins.
Sand the stools thoroughly and give them a good wipe down with a cloth so the surface is free of dust and dirt.
Give the stools two coats of wood stain all over, making sure the first coat is completely dry before you do the second one
Use the stool seat as a template to cut a piece of foam the same size and use a dab of glue to stick it on top of the seat (you don't need to use a particularly strong glue as this is only to hold the foam in place whilst you pin the fabric
Lay the fabric on the floor (right side down)and place the stool upside-down in the centre
Trim the fabric in a circle shape around the stool, leaving enough excess so your fabric will pull round to the underneath of the seat (and you can fold the edges over like a hem, so the fabric will not fray)
Taking your time, work your way round the stool seat, pulling the fabric tightly underneath and hammering in pins to secure it

Hayden was visiting her Grandma last week but today we had our first meal using our new 'snazzy' stools!

Saturday, April 18

This Week's Blog Finds

This week Hayden has been away so I've used the time to start on the play kitchen I'm making for her well as having some 'chill out' time - I started rewatching Breaking Bad, had a few lie ins and my bestie & I went on a spontaneous girl date (Waffles!)
I also did some web surfing so...
[Source: (Top) 1; 2; 3; 4; (Middle) 5; 6; 7; 8; (Bottom) 9; 10; 11; 12]

1. These DIY Pleated Pom Pom Curtains would be a really fun addition to a room

2. DIY Birthday Headbands are definitely on my list for next year!

3. This is the cutest Doll's House ever!

4. This Instagram Chocolate Mouse Cake is so impressive!

5. Loved hosting my Easter Party the other week, if you're hosting a party at home there's some great tips on Confetti Sunshine

6. I love these Printable Inspirational Art Prints (especially the 'Make it Happen' one), they would really
spur you on if you were having a bad day

7. These Citrus Apple Spritzers are perfect now that we've started to have some sunny days...

8. ..Because any cakes can look awesome if they have a DIY Cactus Cake Topper!

9. Speaking of cacti: How adorable are these DIY Chocolate Cacti Treats?!

10. These DIY Painted Plexi Glass Table Numbers would be good at a variety of events - not just weddings. If you are planning impending nuptials the rest of Oh Joy's mini series, Oh Joy Weddings, is definitely worth keeping an eye out for...

11. I love these DIY Cloud Cushions and I do need to chip away at my fabric stash...

12. If you're looking for a small project, these DIY Mini Jewelry Dishes are quick and easy but oh-so-pretty!

Have an awesome weekend, let's keep our fingers crossed the sunshine sticks around!

Rainbow Sugar Cookies

I'd seen a few spiral sugar cookies online before, most with two or three colours, so I wanted to have a go at making some with the entire rainbow! I think they look pretty cool, although I do wish I'd had the foresight to cut them in half before baking so they would look like proper rainbows. Still they are a lot of fun and they were some of the best textured cookies I've made...
These kaleidoscopic treats would be great for a kid (or 'big kid')'s Birthday party or a St Patrick's Day bash, or just because you want to brighten up your day!
Makes 35- 40
400g butter (softened)
400g sugar
800g plain flour
2 (lightly beaten) eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
A pinch of salt
Various food colourings

Cream the  butter then mix in the sugar until light and fluffy
Add the eggs, vanilla and salt and stir until combined
Gradually add the flour until a dough forms
Split the dough into seven equal parts and add different food colourings to each part (so you have red, yellow, pink, green, purple, orange and blue)
Wrap each ball of dough in cling film and refrigerate for an hour or two
Remove the dough balls from the fridge one at a time and roll them out on a floured surface. As you go along, stack each 'sheet' of dough on top of each other (red first, on top of a piece of baking paper) using your rolling pin to press each layer together
Once all the colours are stacked, cut of the uneven edges* so that you have a rectangle block (it will have clean horizontal stripes along the sides)
Take one longer edge of the block of dough and slowly begin to roll it into itself (like you would roll a poster) into a log shape- be careful that the outside layer of dough (the red) doesn't break
Wrap the log tightly in cling film and put the dough back in the fridge to chill for another hour
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper
Remove the dough from the fridge and slice the log in pieces (about 8-10mm thick)
Set the pieces on the tray and bake for 12 minutes
Once baked, leave to cool on a rack

* I used this excess to make multicoloured marbled sugar cookies which also looked pretty cool

Saturday, April 11

My First 'Photo Book'

I mentioned a little while back that I'd signed up to do A Beautiful Mess' online course: Capture Real Life in 52 Weeks, and it's been really encouraging me in my photo taking! Aside from the prompts for pictures, the course also gets you to create some mini photo albums using different techniques. I've taken this loosely and instead of creating small albums, I'm using the techniques mentioned in each task in sections of some 12x12 albums. Here's the first one- all about my recent trip to London- using stamps and ink (as well as some paints). So I thought I'd share some pages...
Some stamped text: I invested in some new letter stamps (get them here) and I used them loads! The above photo is a 12x12, there were more throughout the album but I this is one of the few that I did anything too - I wanted to keep a lot of them as they were and let the photos speak for themselves!

I love this Bicycle stamp and it was perfect for these photos of my best friend, Sabrina and her sister posing at a Park&Ride stop! This was one of the first pages I did and it also gave me a chance to play with paints too

I decided to keep the colour scheme to just red and blue for this section (all British and that) and I'm pretty happy with the results. There are some things I would probably change in hindsight, but I don't want to dwell on it too much because it's all a learning curve and I know that I will appreciate the memories anyway when I look back on these pages!
I got a set of photo strips from Inkifi for another project so I decided to also get one made up of some selfies we took during lunch. I stuck it on a 12" 'background picture of the restaurant that we visited! 
I changed up the paint colours for the M&M World (because it was such a colourful place!) but kept the same style- bold patterns and borders around some written parts (like below) on the pocket cards. I did write on quite a few of the 4x4 photos, I used ABM's Messy Pens because they dry really well (and are apparently acid-free)

These phrase stamps are from a 'Keep Calm and..' set so I just repeated the pattern over the whole pocket card with blue and red/orange ink. I like how imperfect it turned out, it looks exciting and chaotic- just like our weekend!
Another page with some red and blue pocket cards. The 'Another Year Older' stamp is from Hobbycraft like a lot of my stamps and the camera (which is my fave) is from a free kit I got with the online course!
For this page I stamped a film reel border on some smaller prints of us in Green Park (3x3) and trimmed the excess, then stuck them on this 12x12 of the park. I think it look it turned out pretty well!
I had some full colour pocket cards throughout the album and the quickest and most mess-free way to achieve this was to put a little acrylic paint onto a baby wipe and wipe it over the card. It dried really quickly and I was able to write and stamp on the top with ease. I used this technique for the back page (below) which gave me a chance to share some more  memories that hadn't fit on a particular page. Even though this is a photo book, having this photo-free end page allowed me to write a bit more and as I don't keep a diary or journal it will help me remember the little moments! (I had to block some of them out because- you don't want to know...)

Now I'm working on the second album task, using acrylic paints which is going to be some pages from the recent Easter Party!

Friday, April 10

This Week's Blog Finds

We had a lovely Easter weekend and this week has been spent 'recovering' (a.k.a reading stories, having cuddles and chatting -'toddler style'!) I also had to find some time to bake a good few batches of little cupcakes for a charity bake sale my Mom had at work. They were yummy!
Here is some spiffing stuff I saw online this week...

[Sources: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9]
1. Having a party? Here's some ideas for Easy Party Treats for Kids (I know plenty of 'grown ups' that would appreciate them too!) like these Alphabet Cakes

2. I love dressing up my phone display with pretty wallpapers (and I change it like I change my mood) so this compilation of 24 Free Spring Wallpapers is amazing!

3. These DIY Paper Plants are awesome!

4. These DIY Paper Party Hats that look like ice cream cones are very cute and would be perfect at a summer party!

5. What a great idea for a family project - I will definitely be trying this Family Art Collage when Hayden's a little older...

6. This Narwahl Embroidered Hoop is so cute and the quote is lovely

7. Last week I said I wanted a Waffle Maker... These Chocolate Bubble Waffles make me want a Bubble Waffle Maker too!

8. I love all the stuff on the PetitiPanda shop but I need this Sloth Hot Water Bag Cover so bad!

9. This homemade Strawberry Infused Sugar is such a cute idea for a mini gift or a party favour