Monday, 28 May 2012

my 'Pass It On' gifts

You can find out about The Pass it On Project here. You gift a couple of things to other bloggers, and they keep one and give the other to a friend. Then, they pass on the blogger gratitude by sending two gifts each, to any of their own blogger friends, and so it goes on.

The bloggers I chose, Danielle at Silver Pennies and Maureen at It's All Connected have received their gifts, so now I can reveal what I made.

It took me ages to come up with the idea. I kept thinking of framing beach junk, but I felt that I wanted to create something that could be used.

I was looking around my studio and was suddenly inspired by this.

A bag for twine that I bought in a friends shop, years ago.

I bought some balls of twine, an eyelet kit, some toggles and some fabric. It was called 'scrim', but I guess it's similar to burlap. Anyway, it was close to the original.

I looked in my trunk of material for some contrast fabric and found some blue silk (Danielle loves blue) and a piece of fabric with Spode's Blue Italian pattern printed on it (Maureen likes Willow pattern china). I used to sell Spode china years ago, and I must have had a piece to make a tablecloth.  

In the end I just used the blue and white fabric because it looked so effective.

I really liked the selvage, so I was able to use it on the front of the bag.

I cut out some pieces for the front, that are from the edging pattern of Blue Italian, not the scene.

I had to unpick the stitching of whatever had been made before. I frayed the edges, and just used the eyelets to hold them in place (also, the tighter weave of the cotton, would hopefully make the eyelets stronger).

Putting in eyelets is THE best fun. Using a heavy duty hammer is always a pleasure - lol - and I feel many more projects with eyelets coming up in the future !

The toggles I bought wouldn't actually go through the eyelets (clever me, huh !), and anyway, they were plastic so I discarded them. I couldn't find any tiny wooden toggles or even long beads to fit, so was struggling for a few days.

I had a lightbulb moment in a shop - why not use driftwood.

I had to break up a piece and sand the edges and then glue them onto the string.  The glue is a little bit visible, but it couldn't really be helped, and I think they look really cute.

The string is attached to the inside of the back of the bag. It is knotted at the top to make a loop for hanging, and then the other end is attached to the toggle, so that the bag sits neatly when hung.

You then put a ball of twine in the bag and feed the end through the other hole (I think the picture above is the one where I got hammer-happy and bashed the eyelet too much. Luckily I made 5 bags, for just such an eventuality !).

So, thanks once again to Natalie  for passing on some wonderful gifts to me, which you can read about here. And also to Karah at The Space Between for the original idea. I'm now looking forward to seeing what Maureen and Danielle come up with !

probably linking up with some parties soon !

linking up with
Motivate me Monday @ Keeping it Simple
Take-a-look-Tuesday @ Sugar Bee Crafts
Cowgirl Up @ The Farmhouse Porch
Wow Us Wednesdays @ Savvy Southern Style
Whatever Goes Wednesday @ Someday Crafts
Link Party Thursday @ Somewhat Simple
Inspiration Friday @ At the Picket Fence
Frugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest
Air Your Laundry (Friday Textile Party) @ Freckled Laundry
Saturday Nite Special @ Funky Junk Interiors
Showoff Saturday @ Nutmeg Place
Sunday's Best @ My 1929 Charmer
Sunday Showcase Party @ Under The Table and Dreaming

Saturday, 26 May 2012

the high's and low's of selling furniture !

From December to February I didn't have any work, so I painted a few bits of furniture. I was hoping, I could make money from doing this, to fill in any periods when I didn't have a commission.
Initially I put three pieces on ebay.

I love working at home, I was pretty excited.

In the first week, I sold nothing and it knocked me for six. My plans weren't working, and together with other things going wrong, I just went into a bit of a lull.

We put the items on again, and eventually (after three weeks) sold this.

I was going to keep this cabinet, but our old tv didn't look good on top, and the old geezer didn't like the height (and I didn't want to take the casters off ).

So I was feeling high and a lady turned up to collect it, and was £10 short !!!

Now, I don't know about you lot, but I was a bit shocked. If you were going to collect something, wouldn't you have the money put aside in an envelope ?

I would.

She scratched around in her purse and found £8.50, so I let her off £1.50. She kept apologising, but whether she was genuine, or trying to get it for less, who knows.

I just know, it left me a bit miffed !

Then I sold this, after another 3 weeks.

It started out life like this.

I painted it cream, distressed it a little and added square glass knobs from TK Maxx.

The guy turned up - he brought the right money !!
(Btw, this was photographed in the old geezer's daughter's bedroom - she has two shades of purple on her walls).

Then I sold this.

In fact, we know the person who bought it, but they actually found it on ebay.
We got the right money !!!

Then I sold this. It sold almost immediately.

A lady turned up with a handful of change. I started counting it, and told her why I was doing so. Then I felt bad, so I stopped counting - it looked about right !

She left with the table and I counted the money. It was 10p short !
Ok, that's not a big deal, but it's the principal - I was a little bit miffed !

Then I painted this.

It's a desk, but that top section just sits on top, so it could be a console table.

Believe it, or not, I painted it the same colour as the tv cabinet - but I put a dark wax on it, and it changed the colour completely.

I put it on e-bay, on 'Buy It Now or Best Offer'.

I was first offered  a quarter of my asking price !!!
I politely declined.

I then had two offers of less than half my asking price !!!!

I did only try for one week, then I started sorting out the mini guest room, and tried it in there. It looks so good, that I'm going to keep it for now.

And the moral of this story - I'm not going to make my fortune on e-bay, though things do sell eventually.
Put 'script' on as much as you can - it will probably sell faster.
Get a booth, so that someone else can count the money !

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

mini shelf unit

So, this is the other half of the box frame, that I wrote about here.

Those dividing pieces were really stuck to the tongue and groove, so it gave me an idea.
I bashed out the diagonal pieces, cut them down and moved them. There were bits of wood and glue that I couldn't remove, so I decided to cover it all in plaster. I had a large tub of cheap wood filler, so I used that.

I did thin layers of plaster and made sure it dried out between each coat. When the middle sections were done, I found some wood to make a frame.

Ok, so nothing fitted or joined up, but I just kept filling and painting, filling and painting.

In the end I had a mini unit for loads of little things that have been in a drawer. I know that some of them are pretty tacky and twee, but they are sentimental, and I found a nice little space in the corner of the guest room that I am trying to finish.

The only things I'm really NOT attached to, are the teapots. I bought them about 20 years ago and loved them then, but not any more !

The silver piece on the right is a silvered champagne cork commemorating the birth of my oldest friend's son. The brightly coloured dish and the one below are metal enamelled dishes from china. I bought them when I was a child, from a jumble sale.

When I was young I wasn't interested in dolls. I would go to a shop called Pauline Lovell, in Sevenoaks (it's no longer there), and buy knick knacks, like the ones below. They had a craft shop as well, and I would go there for fabric and beads.

Both of the things below were gifts - a little tiny powder compact and a small hand mirror, with stitching on the back.

I have a really cute little silver mirror, but no idea where it came from - you can just see little ribbons and flowers etched onto the back. Next to it, is a tiny box set of four Winnie the Pooh books - greatly faded as it was also purchased 30 or 40 years ago !

I've been writing this post while staying at my friend Pandy's house, and she informs me that I promised the teapots to her !!  Brilliant - she loves collections, and she has a few of the teapots already (and a much larger house), and I get to gift them (which feels better great) and display a couple of other things I recently found.

And, the cost of all this? Well, the whole box frame was £5, and I used half for each project, and everything else I had already. So that's £2.50 for my mini plastered shelf !

As you can see, the walls of my mini guest room are white - well what else could I chose.
Anyway, the room really is tiny - white makes it feel larger. 
More on that soon !

linking up with
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Terrific under ten Tuesdays @ At Home With K
Cowgirl Up @ The Farmhouse Porch

Weekend wrapup Party @ Tatertots & Jello
Saturday Showoff @ Nutmeg Place
Spotlight Saturday @ Classy Clutter
Sunday's Best @ My 1929 Charmer

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

specimen box !

One of the many things that's been on my to-do list for ages is this box (btw I blame ALL YOU other bloggers for my VERY LONG to-do list. Can you please stop being so creative and posting about it - please, I can't keep up, and sometimes I just go and sit on the sofa with a cup of Earl Grey, because my head is spinning. Actually, that's a lie, I sit on the sofa quite a lot !!!)

Sorry, this is the only photo I took, but basically, it was full of dried petals and stuff, but I wanted it, because it was deep.
I needed a deep box frame for one thing. One thing that I found on the beach months ago, and which I treasure. One thing, like many other things I have found, only bigger. One thing, with such great colours, that the old geezer thought I had done a paint effect on it.
When I did a beach junk post over at A Place 2 Call Home I showed some of the other things to go in the box frame.

But I hid my favourite thing under that crab shell at the top. I needed to showcase the one thing that still amazes me.
Here she is.

Ok, so now you're thinking 'Fiona's lost the plot, she's going round the bend'. Seriously though, I can't get over the size of it. My hands are quite long, so this claw must have come from a really big old mama of the sea. I also love the colour and the fact that it looks like the colours have been painted on - especially with that arrow shape on the top claw.
Unfortunately, she cracked (hence the ribbon) - maybe being brought into the heat of my house (although I did try and blame it on my inebriated house guests at the time. I reckon they went to have a look at it, after we'd gone to bed - and dropped it !).

So mama needed a special box, and when I took the thing apart I discovered that the wooden dividers were really stuck to the bottom, so I put that section away for a different project.

I already had a large piece of beadboard given to me. So I cut a piece off for the back. I painted the frame white - what else, and distressed it. The beadboard I did dark brown, then put some crackle stuff on it, painted it white and did a bit of distressing and dry brushing. 

That's not coral, just a bit of seaweed I painted white.

All the crab claws are pretty amazing, and this worn crab shell has really pretty colours.

There are a few small fishing boats along the beach, and I'm guessing that many of the creatures get caught in the nets. I'm a bit squeamish, so if they look too real, I can't pick them up.

I couldn't touch this wee beastie because of the tentacles and eye sockets, but I was just amazed at the colour - it looks way too exotic for the South Coast of England. 
Weeks later, I found smaller sections of the same lobster so I was able to collect some specimens !

My big old mama's claw is the same size as that whole other lobster's body !

The box frame was £5, but as I said earlier, I've made two things out of it, at no extra cost, so £2.50 for my crab and lobster specimen box is pretty good, and goes well with my stencilled 'coral' walls.

So, it's back to the long list. I wish all my blogging friends could just come over for a coffee and help me focus. Perhaps we'd make some cakes and swap stuff. I have so many things to decoupage, I'd love to give some away. I have a trunk full of fabric, a box full of beads and numerous ribbons. There are paintings stuffed under a bed and loads of blank canvases. There is furniture to do and citra solv to buy and try. There's a chair needs covering and a pelmet needing to be made and ..........................

I think I'll get an Earl Grey and go watch some trash on tv !
Happy blogging x

Linking up with
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Terrific under ten Tuesdays @ At Home With K
Cowgirl Up @ The Farmhouse Porch

Weekend wrapup Party @ Tatertots & Jello
Saturday Showoff @ Nutmeg Place
Spotlight Saturday @ Classy Clutter
Sunday's Best @ My 1929 Charmer

Sunday, 13 May 2012

the pass it on project

I first read about 'The Pass It On Project' at Karah's, over at The Space Between.
She came up with the great idea of passing on a little gratitude to fellow bloggers, in the form of presents.

I have watched beautiful gifts passing from blogger to blogger with admiration. Not only because of the time spent and the sentiment, but also because I would be nervous of making something for fellow bloggers, who are all so 'crafty' themselves !

Then when I was away, working in Hertfordshire in April, I had a lovely e-mail from Natalie in New Zealand.
She wanted to join in, and asked if I would take part. That would mean accepting her gifts and making more to pass onto others.
I was quite shocked, and initially started composing a refusal e-mail (sorry Nat - I'm not so good with pressure). Then I read her e-mail again and thought how generous of her. To make things for someone she had never met, who lived on the other side of the world - really, I couldn't refuse.

And this week (a bumper week for me), my presents arrived !

In a really pretty little box - a charm, and two bracelets. Yes, three presents, which must have taken ages to make. And so I am passing on the pink bracelet to my closest friend Pandy, because she really is a pink girl. And being greedy, I'm keeping the other two. I love the other bracelet, and the charm is so adorable.

This weekend I have been making four things and will pass two each to two lovely fellow bloggers. I decided on these two people ages ago, but I hope you all realise, that any of my bloggy friends would have been worthy, (that sounds really toffee-nosed. I'm not sure my gifts will be worthy, but I just meant, that I wish I could send everyone a present !).

So to Danielle at Silver Pennies
Maureen at It's All Connected

I will soon be sending, one thing each for them to keep, and one to gift to a friend. They have both agreed to do the same and pass on some gifts.

I won't post about what I've been making, until the packages have arrived - surprises are always best. I really hope they like them, and just as a teaser - I had to get out my sewing machine !

And I would just like to finish by giving a great big THANK YOU to Natalie for not only sending me some wonderful gifts, but also for getting me to take part. I have really enjoyed it, and can't wait to post off my gifts - thanks Nat xx