Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Up, up and away - a burnt pencil box

In September Girlie will be starting primary school. She will have just turned four at the end of July and off she'll go (youngest in her class) to school. Gulp! It seems a bit too soon for her to be in a school uniform, having to sit still and learn all her targets, but that's what's going to happen. So this little pencil case is for her.

I decided on rabbits as it's still Easter in my mind - I've just doodled another box with rabbits on and I think they've stuck with me. I was going to have one rabbit in a hot air balloon, but he looked all alone, so I gave him a friend. I didn't want the theme of this box to be loneliness!! AHHH!

The colour palette was fun to do. I mixed a grey and used that as the base to mix all my colours, including the yellow. That way all the colours go together. I thought I'd finished painting but realised I hadn't painted the pencil ends. This is where a huge stash of art materials comes in handy. I remembered the silver pen I bought ages ago (for the Christmas bauble box) so I used that. Luckily I actually found it; usually I can't find anything once it's been used! The pencil ends sparkle now.

So there it is, Girlie's pencil box. Now I just have to work how to shrink myself to fit in the box so I can go with her. Only joking.... I'll be too busy crying.

Thanks for reading! XXX

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

My talented friend... Jenny

This blog is all about hidden treasures, and that includes finding those hidden, sometimes neglected, talents that we didn't know we had or had just forgotten. So this post is completely apt as it is from my very talented and beautiful friend Jenny, who found her hidden talent to be needle felting, amongst other things (singing, painting, photography, acting..... I could go on).

"My name is Jenny and I live by the sea in Hythe, Kent. I’m a full-time picture editor and live with my husband Edward and our cat Peanut.

Two years ago I discovered the joys of needle felting. Edward bought me a needle felt kit for my birthday in January. It was to make a fruit bowl containing various fruits. One day I decided to pick up the kit and give it a go. I didn’t (and still haven’t) make the fruit bowl... however I made a tiny bee. This was the turning point... I was hooked!

I have since made endless creatures. All my friends and family have at least one of my tiny creations! I’ve made bees, birds, ladybirds, cats, whales, owls, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, apple trees, foxes, lizards, turtles, multicoloured ball garlands, hamsters, penguins and even a yellow submarine for my dad on father’s day.

I find needle felting to be something that makes me very happy. Every evening when I get home from a stressful day at work, I settle down and make a creature or two. It’s so therapeutic and relaxing. I also love painting and teaching felting classes in my local sewing shop.

I hope you like my tiny creations :)"

If you would like one of Jenny's amazing felted creatures, have a look at her Etsy shop. There is lots to choose from and she can even personalise them to suit you. Visit or She is also on Instagram and twitter as jenifalynn.

Seven questions for Jenny

Where do you do your felting?
At home mainly on the sofa or in bed, but I've also made things on the train. 

What is your favourite thing that you've made?
My wedding bouquet (pictured below) which I took to Vegas when we got married.

Where do you get your materials from?
I find materials everywhere. Sometimes on Ebay or Amazon, sometimes at my local felt and sewing shop. I also love to rummage around junk shops and boot fairs for additional accessories.

Where do you get your fabulous ideas from?
Mainly from childhood memories including the toys I remember playing with.
Plus, I love animals so I like to create little creatures.

Have you ever been asked for anything out of the ordinary?
Yes, seven tiny ladybird brooches for a hen party. I made a tiny 'L plate' veil for the bride's ladybird.

What kind of response have you had from your buyers?
All very complimentary. They all comment on how original my style is.

Finally, what do you get if you cross a cow with a trampoline?
Hmmmm... a moo bonce? No, A milk shake, silly!

Jenny's creations are flipping fantastic, and just when you thought she couldn't get any better - these are her latest range of felted framed pictures (I love these)...

Why not get one for yourself or as a present, you'll be getting something really unique and very special from a very talented Jenny. Visit or

Thanks for reading, now go and buy yourself one of Jenny's felted creatures!  

Friday, 25 March 2016

A Lithuanian Easter

Happy Easter everyone! I love Easter almost as much as Christmas, but it's not just because I get to eat and drink like a crazy person... it's also about some very precious eggs.

My mum's side of the family is Lithuanian, but unfortunately when my Grandad and Grandma died, the Lithuanian connection pretty much went with them. I suppose it's like all grandparents, when they go there's a huge void where the history and tradition of a family once were. My mum has no one to speak Lithuanian to now, as me and my brother never learned as children, so for her there's an extra bit missing too. Nowadays, we hold on tight to what we do have left of our Lithuanian heritage. The food my Grandma Gerda lovingly made for us (kugalis and clairskus) and her 1950's glass baubles make an appearance every Christmas, but at Easter it's her collection of hand-painted traditional Easter eggs.

She collected these beautiful eggs all her life. I remember we tried to make them once. My mum, Grandma and me all huddled over the kitchen table with melted wax, tooth picks and eggs that had been dyed in onion water. I was hopeless at it (I was only about ten) and being self-involved I now have no idea which ones my mum and Grandma finally made.

It's the rich colours I love on these eggs. Black with yellow, red and green (gold, red and green being the colours in the Lithuanian flag). They look amazing. My Grandma Gerda stored them in an cardboard 'Customagic Covers' box wrapped in colourful serviettes. I still store them the same way now, but I've added tiny polystyrene balls as I'm paranoid about breaking them. These eggs, by the way, are not hollow. They have not been 'blown', and if you shake them you can feel the dried up solidified ball of yoke inside. 

Traditions shouldn't be preserved in aspic, so I've added to the Easter celebrations too. I always get out the eggs and put them on the wooden plate which hung on the wall of my grandma's house, but I also put out the growing number of eggs painted by Girlie. Plus, I've made a little Easter display in a Kilner jar using three Lithuanian eggs and some of Girlie's baby clothes and her first Easter ornaments. I've also added two glass eggs, which I bought a few years ago. They're hand-blown and painted, and Girlie will inherit them when I'm wizened and shouting at squirrels.

Is it all a bit sentimental? I'm not sure. Maybe. Yes. I don't really care though. I enjoy looking at the eggs and imagining my Grandma's delight in them, and I like to imagine Girlie treasuring them too, and remembering her family. If I can just preserve them until she's 30 then they'll be safe. It's exactly the same as the glass baubles... I've hidden the footballs which she likes to kick around the house, but my eyes get really really big whenever she's within a metre of them. Fingers crossed she doesn't get chocolate egg crazy and smash the lot this Easter

Have a great Easter everyone! Have you got any Easter traditions, I love to hear about them XXXX.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A Hockney-inspired burnt box

I made a David Hockney-inspired Irish box for a lovely friend of mine, but I wanted to make a Yorkshire one. This is the result, and it's a lot more vibrant than the first one.

I laid all my recent boxes out on the kitchen table, ready to box up. When I was out, my Mum (who had come to look after Girlie) had a little look at them. When I asked her later what she thought of the boxes she said, "eh, yeh... they're nice. But, what's the one with the bright colours. It's not like any of the others?". Translation: I really really hated that vibrant one. Mums eh! Well it is vibrant but I was looking at Hockney's vibrant colours and they just rubbed off on me. What can I say? 

What do you think anyway? Too bright? Let me know. Thanks for reading! XXXX

Monday, 21 March 2016

Sunday sevens #15

I'm a bit late with this week's Sunday Sevens! And it's going to be short and sweet again, because it's a bit hectic round here at the moment! I've been piano playing, coin making, comic creating, freelancing, box making and kitten tracking.

1. Even though I've got boxes to do and the house is a mess, I've spent a lot of time accompanying some very famous singers on the piano. I've got an evening job as a piano player in a lounge bar, and it's been fabulous. I spent an hour last night with OMI (who?) playing his hit Hola Hoop, and the audience went WILD!.... OK, I've woken up now.... What I'm actually doing is playing Magic Piano, a free app, which is addictive. I just put my earphones on and tell Mr Husband that I'm going to my evening job. Try it, it's fab!

2. I've been continuing to download my little comic, so that's kept me busy this week. It's on Tapastic under Didi Von Stone. Have a look, it's nothing but fun and totally underwhelming.

3. Lots of boxes have been burnt, painted, sanded and varnished. I'm surprised I'm not addicted to varnish by now!

4. We made (or tried to make) chocolate coins! So frustrating, so rubbish, so sticky. It's in the bin now. Don't tell girly. Although, she was unimpressed too. It made me go 'grrrrrrrrrrrr'!

5. We're still on the hunt for a kitten (or two) and I think I'm on to a good 'lead' (nearly a pun, but cats don't go on leads)! The RSPCA in Canterbury have a secret stash of kittens apparently, so we'll be clawing our way there soon! (Clawing our way.....!!!)

6. Did you know I've given birth to a natural instagramer? Here's a photo she took in Whitstable...

7. ... and this is the photo she took of me, and it's very flattering. I don't look anything as good as this in real life.

And that's it for this week. A quick one for you, but you're busy anyway, and I've just given you the gift of time! Thanks for reading xxx!

A burnt seaside shell box

This burnt-seaside box is another reworking of a box I made a while a go, and I think it works quite well as a smaller box with a lighter colour palette. 

 I always forget how nice it is to paint shells, and that crab was a joy to get working on. Hope you like it. This is just a short post as I'm currently in the middle of making chocolate coins with Girlie. The bloody things just won't work in the machine, so we're having to take breaks in between the annoying stickiness! Thank god for Mr Husband, who is now trying to tackle it as well. This is the second time we've tried making these coins!! AAHHHH!

Thanks for reading! XX

Friday, 18 March 2016

A Saltaire-inspired burnt match box

This burnt box was inspired by one of my all-time favourite places - Saltaire in West Yorkshire.  
It's in Saltaire that you'll find Salts Mill, which has the amazing David Hockney gallery inside. I love it here because I grew up in nearby Nabwood, and spent many hours exploring this quirky village and gazing at Hockney's incredible paintings. So this box was quite nice to do and it depicts the monument in the park. Hope you like it xxx!

If you would like one of my boxes, just leave a comment or contact me on twitter. XXX