Wednesday, 16 December 2015

An Irish-inspired burnt box

This burnt box was a commission, the brief being could it have an Irish theme and include an Irish blessing. I did struggle with this one, because I didn't just want to do shamrocks and Celtic knots, so it was born out of a few influences, including the Irish blessing itself and David Hockney. 

I love David Hockney especially his iPad paintings. Have you seen them? They are fantastic - especially the ones of Yorkshire, which are bright and vibrant scenes of the countryside. The very first box I made for myself years and years ago was this one, which was my journey to work each morning with Mr Husband. So this was what I wanted to do for the Irish burnt box.

This was my two-minute very rough sketch after Googling images of the Irish countryside. Hilariously bad, but it's all I needed!

Then I just doodled straight onto the box and had a brilliant time creating all those fields and trees. I always have to have stars on my boxes, so they got in there too (couldn't resist).

There's always something satisfying about painting wood and this was really nice to do. Finally, I burnt the Irish blessing around the sides. The blessing was the wedding vows for the lady who will have this box.

"May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back, 
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again 
May God hold you in the palm of His hand".

So there it is, and I am really pleased with it. If you would like an Irish Blessing box, then just ask and I'll make you one too. XXX

Friday, 11 December 2015

Life's a circus box

Boiled sweets and the circus - a retro burnt-box full of colour!

The quote that inspired this box was the old classic, "life's a circus, enjoy the show", but actually the quote I prefer is one I found recently - "not my monkeys, not my circus". That one made me laugh because I often find myself in apt situations thinking just that; at playgroup when I see a child-brawl thankfully not involving my little one; at soft-play centers while avidly watching horrific chaos and thinking about the staff that have to face it everyday; and at Christmas parties when I can see the poor organisers trying to get the oldest member of staff into the tiny Santa costume.

Anyway, enough about that! This box was fun to do, and painting boiled sweets is fabulous. I pinched the idea of the hanging light bulbs from the TV show 'First Dates'. In the restaurant they have these beautiful light bulbs dangling all over the ceiling, so that got stuck in my head and ended up on this box.

So I hope you like it. It will be going on my Etsy page, so why not buy it? Click on the logo above and you'll go straight to my shop. So thanks for reading, and next time you're casually witnessing chaos, just remember - they're not your monkeys, it's not your circus! xxxx

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Five easy Christmas crafts that children can actually do themselves

Making Christmas decorations with children is fantastic because not only do you get unpredictable and hilarious results, but little heirlooms to keep and get out every year. By the time they turn ten, you'll never want to see another glittery toilet roll but that's to worry about later. 

Here are five of the Christmas crafts we have been busy with this year. All easy, fun to do and not expensive. More importantly, with these crafts you can let your little one be creative rather than heavily guiding them (and basically ending up doing it yourself).

1. Sharpie baubles

What you need:
some cheap plastic baubles and a selection of sharpie pens.
What your child needs to do: use a sharpie to draw or scribble all over the bauble.
What you need to do: have a coffee and hold the bauble while they draw or scribble all over it in sharpie pens. Scribbling looks really good, but you might have a Picasso on your hands, so just let them enjoy it.

2. Pine cone Christmas trees

What you need: some pine cones, mini pom-poms and pipe cleaners.

What your child needs to do: push the pom-poms and pipe cleaners into the pine cones.

What you need to do: sit and watch and have a laugh and a coffee. Hang them on the tree later. 

3: D├ęcoupage bells
What you need: some of those cheap polystyrene bells, tissue paper of different colours, PVA glue, plastic beads and pipe cleaners.

What your child needs to do: stick tissue paper all over the bells, and thread beads onto pipe cleaners.

What you need to do: put newspaper all over the table to protect it from the mess. Put PVA glue in a dish, and cut up some tissue paper. Let your child stick the tissue paper all over the bells however they want, let them go crazy. Have a coffee. When they have finished let the bells dry, and then help your child thread beads onto some pipe cleaners. Then poke the pipe cleaner ends into the polystyrene bells to make a loop. Hand them on the tree.

4. Perfect-every-time Christmas cards

What you need: some A4 card, paint, paint brush, glue, craft knife, stickers (optional).

What your child needs to do: paint anything they want onto a piece of card, let them go crazy. Stick stickers on afterwards however they want (optional).

What you need to do:
fold a piece of card in half to make a basic card. Cut out a Christmas tree shape on the front using a craft knife. When your child has finished painting, let the painting dry. Then cut the painting to the size of the card and stick it on the inside front cover of the card. Then, if you want, let your child decorate the front of the card (look! there's a perfectly-painted Christmas tree on the front!) with round or star-shaped stickers for baubles.

5. Air-dry clay decorations
What you need: some air-dry clay, glitter glue and some cheap plastic seed beads.

What your child needs to do: use a cookie cutter, squeeze glitter glue and throw beads into the glue.

What you need to do:
roll out the air dry clay and get your child to use the cookie cutter to make some shapes. Put a hole at the top so you can hang the decoration later. Let them dry for a day turning them once. Then watch as your child smears glitter glue all over the declaration and laugh as they throw the seed beads into the glue. Let it all dry and wonder at the magic of seed beads and how they are just like glitter and manage to get everywhere.

Five easy crafts, children will love and you'll get some nice results too.