Monday, 9 January 2017

New Year crafting, and creative plans for 2017  

Happy New Year to you all!  Did you have a good one?  I hope 2017 has started well for you, and that it proves to be a good one for us all.  We had a simple New Year's Eve, as we usually do - a Baileys, some toe-tapping to Jools Holland's Hootenanny and a kiss at midnight as the fireworks go off.  Just how I like my New Year's Eve; quiet and personal but good fun. 

It's been a challenge to even consider getting up to anything crafty while the kids have been off school, over and above arts and crafts with them of course, but I persevered and managed to complete a couple of projects this past week.  I find it hard to have a minute to myself during the school holidays to be honest, and I certainly struggle to focus on or commit to anything that requires dedicated concentration and / or a project that lasts longer than 10 minutes.  It's been lovely having the Girl and Boy at home, and I think they've enjoyed themselves, but I know they're keen to see all their friends again, and who can blame them?

My first crafty project has been a quirky wall clock featuring an Orla Kiely pattern.

My home-crafted clock

It's not one of her best known designs but I love it and, as the clock sits in our dining room,  I think the teacups are quite fitting.

I love this teacup design, perfect for our dining room

I made the clock for less than ten pounds and in less than half an hour, and it was really easy to achieve; here's how…

I've had the clock mechanism for some time now and originally bought it when I attempted to crochet a clock (yes, really).  The mechanism was bought new off eBay as I remember, and cost no more than a couple of pounds.  When completed, the crocheted clock actually looked quite good, but the mechanism wouldn't work properly as the thickness of the wool and the hardboard backing proved too much for it, and it kept getting stuck in the yarn!  I wrote that off as a bad idea (well, not so much a bad idea as a partially unsuccessful one) but I saved the clock mechanism for another time.  I've been itching to do something with it for a while but couldn't find the right project, until now…

A year or so ago I had the great fortune to find a copy of Orla Kiely's book Pattern in a local charity shop for £3.  It was one of those moments when your heart beats faster and you hug your treasure close to your chest and make your way to the sales counter, absolutely sure that the assistant is going to tell you that it's been priced incorrectly.  But she didn't and I walked out with the book and the biggest smile on my face…  Now as it turns out, I had no intention of reading or treasuring the book - I already have a copy of it, which cost a lot more than £3 let me tell you.  No, my plan for this book was to basically butcher it, painstakingly removing the pages and pages of stunning Orla Kiely designs for use in my various and varied craft projects.

I had a 'light bulb' moment over Christmas and realised that the size of a page from the book would be just big enough to make a fantastic clock, so I set about carefully removing the page using a steel ruler and a craft knife.  I used spray glue to attach the page to some sturdy but fairly thin card of the same size - the thickness of the card I've used is similar to that of a photo mount, I'm not sure of the actual paper weight.  You get the idea though.  I then located the very centre of the 'clock' and stuck a pin board pin into it.  I gently teased the hole, using a pencil, until it was big enough for the clock mechanism to sit in snug and comfortably.  I put a battery in the clock and hey-presto!

The clock sits perfectly next to our dresser



One unique, quirky, teacup-themed, Orla Kiely patterned, retro inspired, wall clock.  I calculate that, in total, this cost me around £6 or £7, including the battery.  It's a complete one off and I think it's fab.

My second project also involves Orla Kiely produce, and is nearly (but not quite) finished.  In fact I'd be keen for your thoughts on this one.

For some time now I've been drooling over the various wild and wonderful patterns that you can now get for window film.  Window film, for those new to this concept, is a covering you can apply to windows, glass and mirrors, and is primarily used to provide privacy.  It's a cheaper option than replacing a window pane, although it's not a cheapy cheap one as it costs (I think) around £30 per metre.  It's really easy to attach it to your window and it's also removable.

Here are some examples of the fantastic window film you can now get.
This one can be found at www.puremodern.com...

and this is my favourite - Figs by MissPrint from www.windowfilm.co.uk

We have a glass panel above our inner front door; at present it's simple plain glass and I've often thought it could benefit from a little jazzing up, but I couldn't justify the expense of purchasing some window film.  I've thought long and hard about how I could make the plain glass more attractive and I've struggled to find an answer.  Last week, however, the answer came from the most unexpected and unusual of places…

My lovely sister knows I have a thing for Orla Kiely designs (have I not mentioned this before?!) and she picked me up a gorgeous OK tin from Boots in the January sales.  The tin itself is beautiful (and orange, yay!) and is now sat in pride of place on our dresser.

Orange Orla Kiely tin top left of picture


The tin contained an orange scented body mist, which is also stunning, which was wrapped in a sheet of Orla Kiely tissue paper which, whilst crumpled, was gorgeous and completely intact.

And it got me to thinking… I dashed upstairs and got the iron.  Starting on the very lowest setting, I tried ironing the paper to see if I could remove the wrinkles.  I carefully upped the heat to around a nylon setting and, lo and behold, the creases started to disappear and I was left with an amazing sheet of patterned, almost transparent, paper featuring a beautiful retro-styled design.

Isn't this the most beautiful design?


I got some short lengths of masking tape, shimmied up a ladder, and attached the sheet of paper to the centre of the window.  And there it still hangs, an incomplete project.  I love it when the daylight shines through it, or when the lobby light is switched on.  I think, if I decide to keep it, that what I'll do is spray glue it, measure the centre of the glass to get it completed bob-on centred and attach it properly.

Paper complete with masking tape...!



But I need to know - have I completely lost the crafting plot?!  Does it look as beautifully fantastic as I think it does, or does it look crazy daft?  Should I stick the sheet up in a one-er, or (as a good friend suggested as an idea), cut it up into equal sections and make a 'chequerboard' effect?  Answers below please!

I've also been thinking (as so often happens at the start of a new year) about projects I'd like to try and complete over the course of the next twelve months, places I'd like to go, and personal achievements I might like to aim for.  I try not to put too much pressure on myself, otherwise the fear of failure becomes all-consuming and, to be frank, I just end up miserable.  But a few personal goals which are I think, on the whole, pretty much achievable, should give me something to aspire to.   Here's where I'm up to so far…

1. I'd like to complete the two crocheted blankets which I add a row or a square to every now and then.  Colder days and evenings are the best time to complete these, as having a heavy woollen blanket sat on your knee in summer weather is not much fun; trust me, I've been there!
2. I'd also like to do some more paper cuts and perhaps try and design some of my own.  I really, really enjoyed doing the paper cutting course just before Christmas and have been absolutely thrilled at what I've managed to create on my own-some since then.  Watch this space!
3. I'd like to try and sell a couple of my home-created pieces and I need to decide on an outlet for that.  I don't know whether to start out small and local, or really take the plunge and go world-wide via something like Etsy; I'm not sure I have the confidence for the latter so might need to go with the former.
4. My final 'resolution', if you can call it that, is to continue with Comfy Marmalade as I'm enjoying it so much and I'm getting some lovely feedback.  I need to try and find ways to spread the Comfy Marmalade word and will try and dedicate some time and research to that too.

What ideas do you have for 2017?

Bye for now xxx

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