Monday, 30 November 2015

Painted baubles for the vintage look

I will miss not having the beautiful vintage glass baubles on our tree this year, so I decided to make some shatter-proof vintage-looking ones using cheap plastic baubles and paint.

I've written about my Grandma's beautiful 50's glass baubles, which are the Crown Jewels in our house. They're definitely too precious to go on the tree while we have an excited three year old running around who loves to rearrange the baubles in fascinating and inventive ways (three year olds should get crowd funding for their creative enterprises). Plus, when glass ones get dropped, it's the equivalent of a tiny bomb going off isn't it - lethal shards everywhere. So, with the vintage ones safely in the loft, I bought some supermarket plastic ones and set to work.

Who doesn't like painting plastic? It is fabulous.

They're cheap, which means you can squash the round ones on one side to make an indent, just like the vintage ones. Plus, if you mess up with the painting, you can just throw them away, and you can get children involved by giving them a sharpie to decorate their own.

So now we have the vintage-look back on our tree, just don't get too close and quickly drink up that booze please. Maybe next year I'll get the proper ones out... Although as I write this she is busy rearranging the baubles on the tree AGAIN, so maybe not, maybe not until she's 20!

... I'm not kidding! There goes three baubles bouncing to the floor, and rolling under the tree. Not until she's 25 then. Or, I'll just show her them in the box when she's 30.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Six of my boxes are now for sale at the Viking Gallery

I've just popped out of the shed to tell you that six of my burnt boxes are now for sale at the Viking Gallery in Margate. So drop all your plans, and go and buy some please. I don't care where you live... catch a plane, get on the bus, hail a taxi, jump in the car, borrow a bike, set the mainsail... Just forget about yourself and eating that cake in the fridge, and just concentrate on buying one or two or three of my boxes. Just a small request!

Of course, now I have to stop dancing, yahooing and celebrating, and actually make more boxes. Not sure what to start on next, but that's the exciting bit. So I'll keep you posted. Thanks for reading xxx... now get to the Viking Gallery in Margate!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The art of getting dressed

When I was working, before the busy joy of having a child, I had so much time on my hands that it was criminal. I didn't KNOW I had a lot of time at my disposal OBVIOUSLY, I thought my life was chaotic. It has only come to light recently that I squandered so many hours on meaningless task, after meaningless task. Hang on a minute. I am writing a blog post now which is a meaningless....... ANYWAY, when I was without my joy-bundle I was free to roam and do, and there is evidence of this still all around me.

I recently sorted out my wardrobe, and had totally forgotten the drawings stuck on the back of the wardrobe doors. So lazy was I in my 30s that I couldn't be bothered to decide what to wear in a morning, so I made myself an Outfit Menu. Then I could just choose an outfit from the pictures, put the stuff on, and go. No looking in the mirror, and no asking Husband-face if I looked fat in this skirt.

So here are the drawings that made up the Outfit Menu...

There are seasonal sections, shoes choices and options on which way to do my hair. It's absolutely crazy in its attention to detail. I must have been a very funny person turning up for work.

I do remember having the time to think this menu through. I had originally wanted photographs, but decided that was too time consuming, so drawings had to do.

The bloody drawings go on and on and on...

The one thing I've gleaned from this is that a) I was a lot thinner; b) I had a lot more clothes than I do now; c) I wore a lot of Noa Noa and belts; and d) I was prepared for all weathers including shovelling snow, and making snowmen (yes, there's a drawing for this senario). I also realise that nowadays I care less about what I'm wearing, and that without the Outfit Menu I do waste a lot of time messing around in the morning. If I made one now, the winter section would consist of four items of clothes, and one of them would be knickers.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Margate Old Town and a burnt box

Margate's Old Town is really quite special, and a hidden gem in a seaside town currently regenerating itself. When I designed this box I wanted it to look like an old French chocolate box, but with this box you don't get chocolates but colourful sticks of seaside rock instead. This is how I felt when I visited the Old Town for the very first time. It made me think of the charming streets of York or Chester and yes, even France. Yet, this is a proper seaside town with Dreamland up the road and the sea crashing on the lovely sandy beach just metres away. So in Margate, you can have the best of both worlds - old worlde charm and retro seaside fun. Plus, with Christmas excitement bubbling in our house already I made it snowy.

The two shops featured on the box are Kate and George By The Sea and Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shop.

This box is part of a series of Margate-inspired boxes I have made, and they will all be on sale soon. If you would like to have a look at my other burnt boxes, click on the Etsy logo (top right) to visit my shop. Thanks for reading! xxx

Alan Bennett and Margate... A burnt box story

Alan Bennett and Margate were the two inspirations behind this burnt box, and it is part of the series of boxes I've done based on this fabulous re-emerging seaside town. 

I used this Alan Bennett quote on the very first burnt box I made to sell, and it seemed apt for this series of Margate boxes... "life is rather like a tin of sardines, we're all of us looking for the key". I wanted to include the Turner Contemporary Gallery and the newly-opened Dreamland into this piece, as these two iconic buildings hold the real key to Margate's regeneration.

All of the Margate-inspired boxes will soon be for sale. If you would like to see my other burnt boxes, have a look at my Etsy shop by clicking on the logo on the top right. Thanks for reading xxxx

Monday, 16 November 2015

Sunday Sevens #11

This week has been wet and windy (as usual), and included some Christmas crafting, bulb planting, a teddy bear's worst day and a bike that looks like fairy puke.

1. The one thing guaranteed to make my little girly happy is the sentence 'shall we do some crafting'. Anything involving glue and glitter is much better than even ice-cream or chocolate, even better than crawling under the sofa and shouting 'I'm stuck AGAIN mummy'. So I do love the Cbeebies Art comic which, this week, included a mini Santa's grotto complete with elf, tree, Rudolf and Santa himself. These are the results of our labour and it looks pretty good. The grotto does have major structural damage, but we will be applying to Grand Designs so Kevin McCloud can tut about it.

2. The old butler sink has been sat outside in the rain, while the daffodil and crocus bulbs, we bought weeks ago, have been sitting by the back door all smug-like. So this week, me and girly planted, what seemed like, a million bulbs in two layers; all ready for spring. We love getting messy, but by the time we had finished we both looked like we'd been to Glastonbury. If there's one thing guaranteed to make my little girly run away and hide under the sofa, it's the sentence 'shall we just quickly wash your hands'. So that was a fun twenty minutes.

3. Did you know fairy's puke up bikes? Yes they do. And here's the proof. Christmas is coming and this is the bike girly chose out of a whole rack of normal-looking bikes. This one comes with headache tablets and an anti-glitter device.

4. Due to a lot of Margate-inspired boxes being made, we all ended up in Margate this week so I could take some photographs of the town's many landmarks. By far my favourite landmark is the Lido sign, and I have no idea why. Its 1920's style is quite endearing. I wish I could take it home with me to be honest, but I don't think I'd get it in my tiny car. So here's a picture of the beach which, as it turns out, I can get in my car!! Most of Margate beach now resides in the footwell of my car!

5 and 6. The two boxes I made this week inspired by Margate... nothing much to be said as this is a shameless plug for you to visit my Etsy shop. Don't worry, just ignore this bit.

7. This week we got up early and went to Girly's preschool for 8am where all the parents and the children had a teddy bears' breakfast. It was really nice and Teddy enjoyed himself... even though he was rough-housed by a little boy, thrown around mercilessly, forced to eat banana and got sat on a few times by an over-excited owner.

Have a good week everyone. XXX

Sunday, 15 November 2015

A burnt-box inspired by Margate's famous Lido

This is the second Margate-inspired box I've done, and it's all about the fabulous Lido in Margate.
On the front of the box, the lido sign lights up Margate harbour - set the world alight. On the back of the box, the lido is in star light - "Only when it's dark enough, can you see the stars", Ralph Waldo Emerson. 

The lido sign in Margate is incredible iconic and I love how huge it is when you drive past. It was placed there in 1927 when the lido was a big attraction for holidaymakers. This bright and cheerful sign echoes all the memories of Margate's hay day. This iconic image just seemed ideal to go on my matchbox, a bright star in Margate's history, now slightly dimmed but ready to face the next phase of the town's regeneration. 

A Margate-inspired burnt box


I do confess to being slightly obsessed with the seaside, and this vintage-seaside box includes the fabulous famous Helter Skelter at Dreamland in Margate.
I wanted to include the Helter Skelter in place of a lighthouse. The waves are crashing around it, and it's the beacon for holidaymakers, and a perhaps a saviour for a town regenerating itself. Dreamland newly opened this year, and the Helter Skelter is its star attraction.

This is the first of five Margate-inspired boxes I plan to do, so I'll post the next four when I do them. I wanted to start with this one as I have always loved drawing helter shelters for some reason. Who doesn't? Although I can't go on an actual one myself. I tried when my little girly was two years old. We went to Dymchurch on the miniature railway, and she wanted to go on the Helter Skelter at the fun fair there. My knees started shaking half way, and by the time I got to the top I was having a full-on wobble. Vertigo dizziness and everything! So I had to carry her down again, and the confused man gave me my token back.

Hope you like this box. If you want to see my other boxes have a look on my etsy shop. Just click on the logo on the top left. xxxx

Monday, 9 November 2015

Sunday sevens #10

This week has been a soggy one and involved a bonfire, a painting shed, Ladybird books and Sue Perkins. If you want to join in with Sunday Sevens see Natalie's blog ( for details (Wendy I'm talking to you!). 

1. I went to Hythe this week to get some Chalk Paint (Authentico, which is fabulous, utterly brilliant) but the shop wasn't there when I arrived. It confused me no end because in its place was a modern hairdressers. I thought I was going barmy, but turns out the shop has moved down the road and Derren Brown had shaken his wand to transform the charming corner shop into a faceless hairdressers. It really was unrecognisable. Shame on you Derren! Anyway, I tutted my way down the high street and eventually found my lovely chalk paint shop, which was closed! So I HAD to go to the vintage clothes shop, and I found this lovely wool coat. It is heavy! So heavy I had to wear it to the car, and I was so hot! It will be great when winter sets in. Are you jealous?

2. I've been banging on about how messy I am when I'm painting, and this week I found a solution. We turned the shed at the bottom of our garden into a little painting room for me and my girly. We always paint together, so now we can be messy together. I don't think Mr Husband will see me now until December.

3. I have just finished reading Sue Perkins brilliant biography Spectacles, and I loved it. It's funny, well written and, more importantly, not boring. Love her! It made me laugh.

4. Mr Husband came home with some of the new re-imagined Ladybird books. The one called The Wife was very accurate! He also got The Husband, The Hipster and The Midlife Crisis. The Midlife Crisis one is too true for comfort!

5. We went to a bonfire party on November 5th, and the weather was terrible. Trying to walk with an excited three-year-old down a country lane in the pitch dark and in the driving rain was 'interesting'. Mud everywhere, soaked and soggy! She was a bit scared of the fireworks, liked the bonfire, but lit up with excitement at the hog roast. She was a proper carnivore munching soggy pig and then demanding cake.

6. This week there has been a lot of Duplo play, and this is what I found in the playroom. A marvellous creation courtesy of girly and Mr Husband. I love these little worlds that she creates.

7. Finally finished another box, this time a seashell one. Do you want it? Have a look on my Etsy shop for details.

Have a great week everyone! XXXX