Saturday, 30 January 2016

Winter whites

I have been visiting quite a few charity shops over the last week, but with my magpie tendencies this can sometimes lead to impulse purchases and they in turn can feed my imagination.  So when these classic white bone china tea cups and saucers caught my eye for just £2.99 I couldn't get my purse out fast enough!  it is only when I got them home and examined them that I realised that the cups and saucers are not from the same set, all the cups are from one set and all the saucers are from another! well they are a jolly good match and I love them.

I was thinking of popping a budding hyacinth bulb in each one, but when I went to Lidl this week they had little pots of tete a tete daffodils on special offer for just 50p a pot. Being a bit of a tight wad I thought that I could buy just one and put a single bulb in each cup but when I got it home and stood the pot inside the tea cup I knew that I would have to return for two more.

Inspired by this post from Vibek Design I wanted to create a display on my mantle piece that is predominantly white, although a bit of green was need for balance in the end. I went on a treasure hunt around my house in search of suitable bits and bobs, piled them on the dining table then tried to make a bit of sense out of them, who knew how many shades of white, off white and cream there are!

tea cup and books

Not a freebie this time but at a total cost of £4.49 it won't break the bank.  I am pleased with the outcome and you can expect to see the tea cups in some future posts. I will get some shots of the daffs as they progress and put them on Instagram I am classicmini66 if you want follow.

bleached pine cones

It was another chance to use the bleached pine cones I talked about here, it is a very simple process to do but it does require a little time for the bleach to take effect.

daffs in tea cups

You can probably tell from the photos that I am still moving things around in different spaces and combinations and I will continue to have a look for a few other bits to go on there, I am thinking that playing cards might fit in somehow,but that is one to ponder for later.

winter whites ://

I think that the black and white postcard was tried in almost every place and seemed to work nicely wherever it was placed. I have had it for a couple of years, it was brought in the sale from Paperchase because I loved the skirt.

old books piled up

Have you used any household pots to put flowers in or have you had any inspiring bargain buy ? I would love to know all about them, please leave a comment to let us know or a link to your blog if you are a fellow blogger.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Free make 2 - Vintage Sewing pattern displays

With my thrifty January head on I was looking round for more projects that I could complete without having to spend any money.  I remembered some photo frame I had brought from poundland in the summer and wanted to fill them with a sewing related display so hit on the idea of displaying a couple of my vintage sewing patterns in them.

vintage sewing pattern

I don't have a vast collection of vintage patterns, in fact this represents two thirds of my whole collection!  The patterns are narrower than the width of the frames so I have inserted a small off cut of fabric down the side to fill the gap and also to represent a possible fabric to use for the the pattern.  I like this idea as it gives you a good visualisation of how a finished garment may look and I might adopt this for future sewing projects.

 tea bag distrsesed frame

I was concerned that the frames looked very white against the aged paper of the patterns so I tried to distress one of the frames with a used tea bag, I am not convinced it is a good effort and looks more like I have split my tea so I will probably wipe it all off.  I am sure that there are products out there that I could buy to achieve a distressed or aged effect, however, I am trying to use what I have available.

displaying vintage sewing patterns

My original intentions for these frames was to to remove the glass and replace it with cork sheeting so that I can use them as mini notice boards to pin up our tickets and mementos from out days out, so at some point these will be re-purposed.

I am calling this another January free make as this was all things I already had in but I would estimate the cost at no more that 5 or 10 pounds depending very much on the cost of the vintage patterns you use for your display.

Thanks for popping by and please share if you have any no cost ideas for aging the frames.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Free stuff to do in January

As January is a typical skint month I thought it would be good to find some free stuff to keep us occupied without having to spend, spend spend.

2016 Hand Lettered Calendar,

  • Go for a walk  - if like me you have enjoyed the Christmas festivities to the max your clothes will be telling you that it is time to move around a little more to help shift a little from the middle!  There are many general well being benefits associated with walking including a boost to your vitamin D levels.  Check out the walking clubs available in many UK areas and these are some of the benefits to be gained. 

  • Read - chances are that most of us will have a few unread books lying around the house that we  received at Christmas or have just not got round to starting. Get them out and give them ago, if the reason that they have remained unread is that these are just not your cup of tea pass them on it will help with the decluttering. I don't have an e-reader but there seems to be plenty of free books on Amazon when I am browsing on there

  • Christmas presents - revisit the gifts you received, there was probably so much going on that you didn't get time to fully appreciate everything.  I am planning to indulge in a nice long soak in a bubbly bath with my rubber ducky later as I got a lovely Crabtree and Evelyn  gift set.  If there any gifts that were unsuitable and need to be returned check with the store beforehand. Which provide a clear guideline to your UK rights but some stores offer extended return dates for Christmas gifts until the end of January.

  • ebay - strictly selling not buying! it will help to make some space for all your new Christmas gifts as well as helping the finances. Also check out Facebook as there are many local selling groups that don't charge selling fees and if they are local the buyers should be able to collect, saving them money on P&P too.

  • If you haven't already got one print out a free calendar for the year here are some free printables. Don't forget to transfer all your important dates over from the previous year and add in any events you may already have booked

We have had a smattering of snow here in the middle bit of the UK so walking has not been on my agenda today, this evening is looking like bath, PJ's, book or film and a nice mug of hot chocolate curled up on the sofa.  Enjoy what is left of your weekend and leave a comment below to share your Sunday night plans.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Free Make 1 - mini paper bunting

I should really have been cutting up T shirts to make strips for my rag rug but I have had this little make in my head since before Christmas and it just wouldn't sit back and wait its turn.

To make this mini bunting I have used pages from the recycled book I brought back from holiday that I am still finding ways to use up. This little project only used one and a bit pages so it hasn't made much of a dent on it!  This does mean that this would be a good project to use up any small pieces of nice paper that you have left over, I think my intention was to try use some of the off cuts when I was doing my Christmas wrapping but it ended up as no more than a thought.

This is how I did it

  • Take a book page and fold it in half long ways
  • Cut down the fold
  • Fold each piece in half long ways again
  • Cut or tear into small flags about the size of the top of your thumb
  • Glue the bottom edge but ensure the top is not stuck down as the thread needs to pass trhough here
  • Cut a little "V" shape into the bottom
  • Thread onto string, you can play around with the spacing and take some off or add more if needed.
  • Hang on the edge of your shelf edge, mantle piece, mirror frame or any where you want.

Initially I put this up using blu-tac and it looked pretty bad especially as it seemed to draw attention to the parts of the shelf where I had made a bad attempted to do some "distressing".  A quick look on Pinterest  and I saw a couple of posts for mini bunting using washi tape and it was a good excuse to crack open the pack of washi tapes I has received for Christmas.

An easy, quick, free make as I didn't pay for the book, the string is recycled from my Advent calendar project, and the glue is of no real cost. I am pleased with the result and now just need to make another string for the next shelf down.

I am intending to feature a few "free makes" in the coming weeks as money is always tight in January and February just when we could do with a bit of cheering up, so keep checking back.

Friday, 8 January 2016

WIP no1 - Rag Rug

As promised I am starting the new year with a review of my work in progress (WIP) projects, the first thing I am looking at is a project I have the items for but have not yet started, it is a rag rug, I have always liked the idea of these, their origins based in necessity and they embrace the frugal mentality of make do and mend which is a mind set I need to tap into.

I was inspired by a visit we  made a couple of years ago to Blists Hill Victorian Town  where one of the custodians was making one of theses and it seemed relatively simple to do. This could be because she was very experienced and made it look very easy!

The thread is a small narrow oblong of fabric cut using the gauge to ensure uniformity, it is laid into the latch hook, this is pushed into the hole in the hessian and out the other side then released so that the thread is either side of hessian strand.  I understand that the key to getting it right is to ensure that you pack the treads in tightly as they work together to hold each other in place.

I brought a 2nd hand  kit from e-bay it was almost the same price as just the latch hook and came with a set of instructions, a cutting gauge and one piece of hessian. On reading the instructions I found that you need two pieces of hessian one to hook the threads into and one for the backing, I have since acquired some more hessian.

The only thing that is missing now is the actual thread, I will be making this from old T shirt fabric so I have been pouncing on anything the family have discarded. I am not sure how far my little stash will go so the next step is to cut some strips and have a practice, this will give me an idea of how far one T shirt will go and give me an opportunity to practice the technique.  I was eyeing up a couple of the discarded T-shirts and wondering why I had passed them over for this project when I realised one had a big oily cooking stain on the front and the other had a string of holes on the arm, making them perfect for this project.

As always I have done some research on Pinterest, there are many different techniques and ideas for making rag rugs if you are thinking of having a go from the "tufting" method that I am going to try to creating a long plait of fabric coiled and sewn together.

I will keep you updated with how things are progressing, in the mean time if you have any experience of rag rug making and can offer any advice I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

A final Christmas post ... the one that got away

Its always a bit bare when the Christmas decs get taken away and as today is twelfth night, traditionally the day when the end of the wonderful chaos of Christmas ends and we all return to some form of normality.

I have one final Christmas post to share with you, this was my table decoration for Christmas day.

I have used a few empty jars in different heights and widths, tied on some gingham ribbons and wound round some coloured string along with a couple of the clay ornaments that I made.  I felt that as these were simple shapes I could get away with carrying them into January without it looking too Christmasy.  This would work just as well with neutral string, wool or embroidery thread.  You could replicate the clay shapes in card or paper. but they look just as nice without.

The jars are filled with mini peppermint candy canes, cookies and cream Hershey kisses and non-edible pine cones.  I was inspired by Pinterest to try bleaching some of the pine cones we collected on our trip to Norfolk, this was done by leaving them to soak in a solution of 2 parts bleach to 1 part water in a lidded jar.  I left them for about a week giving them a shake every time I thought about it and changed the solution about half way though. I used some of the smaller cones as there were more practical to get into the jar, I selected a few that were open and some that were only partially open this meant that there was variation in how the cones whitened, the more open ones losing most of their natural colouring.

We did have a minor issue with the wall lights on Christmas day so the contents of the jars were rapidly deposited onto the table and were replaced with candles and mini twinkle lights which was very romantic but not really light enough, at one point I thought I might have to string the twinkle lights around my neck in order to see!  Luckily I am married to a very practical man who found something from the back of the garage to effect a temporary fix.

I am going to continue to use the jam jars with the lights in during January helping to fill some of the space left behind now the Christmas decorations have gone.  I will post an update once I can get some light for a half decent photo.

Wishing you all a very happy and prosperous 2016, I hope you will drop by during the year to keep up to date with me and what is happening in my little world xx