Gifts I made for my husband on our first anniversary

DIY first wedding anniversary paper gifts

As you may well have already read on my earlier post, it was my first wedding anniversary on Sunday. I often make gifts for people on birthdays and at Christmas, and this special occasion seemed like a good excuse to get crafting too.

First of all I decided to make a little book for him, a sort of collecting book for anniversaries. I drew a little picture to represent the traditional gift given on all the key anniversaries, then bound them into a little map covered book (maps being a favourite of ours and a theme at our wedding). I was rather pleased with the result, and I look forward to Adam ‘collecting’ anniversaries for a long time to come!

DIY first wedding anniversary paper gifts

DIY first wedding anniversary paper gifts

DIY first wedding anniversary paper gifts

DIY first wedding anniversary paper gifts

We’ve been having a bit of a copper obsession lately (long before it became so trendy, I might add!) and I actually tried to find some copper julep cans for Adam’s Christmas gift. I couldn’t manage to find any that were quite right at the time though, but I persisted and found a great set of quite old ones that needed a spruce up. Several hours of boiling in sea salt and vinegar, and yet more hours scrubbing them with citrus fruits later, and they’re almost perfect! I’m looking forward to tasting cocktails in them soon!

DIY papercut, wedding anniversary book, Moomin card and copper julep cans

Last of all I decided to attempt a paper cut for Adam. Because the traditional first anniversary gift is paper (I opted to go mostly with the US list as it makes more sense than the UK one!) I thought this would be a nice thing to keep, and also to frame in our new home.

I first drew a design on grid paper in pencil (using a hot hair balloon and a Winnie the Pooh quote, both of which were inspirations for our wedding), then transferred it in reverse onto the back of my heavy paper using carbon paper. Then it was a case of carefully cutting out the negative space with a scalpel (I swear by the Swann Norton handle with AA blade)….I found it best to start in the middle and work outwards so that I wasn’t pulling on any of the supporting pieces excessively. I also (despite my preference!) decided it best to cut out the really tricky and small fiddly bits first, as the larger and simpler ones required less effort.

DIY paper cut quote from Winnie the Pooh

Once I’d finished cutting, I created my backing paper by painting another sheet of heavy paper using gouache, starting with a blue at the top and fading into a green at the bottom. Then it was just a case of framing the paper cut and backing together…and I’m ever so pleased with how it turned out! In fact, Adam loved it so much we got quite emotional (perhaps also because he had an idea of how many hours I’d spent on it!).

DIY paper cut quote from Winnie the Pooh

Perhaps best of all though was Adam’s gift to me….another project to work on together! Rather fittingly, he had found and had sent from the US for me a copy of  ‘Our Adventure Book’ from the Pixar film ‘Up!’. It was made by the people who first made the album for the production team on the movie, and has our little tagline ‘An Adventure Begins’ on the spine.

First wedding anniversary gift: paper 'Our Adventure Book' from Up!

It’s full of gorgeous paper pages for us to fill with photos, notes, sketches and other bits and bobs from our wedding…..I can’t wait to fill it up together and make a real project of it! This may have to wait until after we’ve moved though, as most of our wedding stuff is still boxed up in various places!

Ems x

 

Tuesday Tutorial: Glitter Name Bunting

Glitter Name Bunting Tutorial by Under a Glass Sky

Yes, you’re right, my last tutorial was about glitter too. But then glitter is worthy of repetition.

A trend has been emerging with my recent crafting projects….glitter. And why the heck not? After all, glitter is the quintessential crafting supply, and everything is better with a good sprinkle of the stuff.

I bought a stash of glitter card ages ago, and did the usual thing of ‘saving it for something special’. And what could be more special than my niece’s first birthday?! Having decided I wanted to make something glittery for her, I thought about what a one year old could best make use of…..she’s mostly pointing at me and laughing right now though, and doesn’t seem to be in need of anything other than whatever food is out of her reach, so I opted for for something to decorate her bedroom. And because (I think it’s fair to say) I’m pretty bunting obsessed, that’s what my first thought ran to!

You don’t need any crazy equipment or mad skills for this DIY, but it does take some precision and patience. The result is pretty rewarding though I think!

Glitter Name Bunting Tutorial by Under a Glass Sky

What you will need:

  • Glitter card
  • Wooden pennants with pre-drilled holes (enough for each letter of the name)
  • Mod Podge or PVA glue
  • Ribbon (enough to go across the width of each pennant, plus about 30cm extra)
  • A plastic spatula
  • Craft knife or scalpel
  • Metal rule
  • A pencil
  • Small scissors

How to make it:

  • Place your first pennant on the back of a piece of glitter card and trace around it with a pencil as close as you can get
  • Cut the glitter card with scalpel and ruler or scissors if you prefer, and check it up against the pennant to see that it fits
  • Now give the pennant a good generous coat of glue….it’s better to have too much on there than too little
  • Carefully place the glitter card onto the pennant, squaring it up quickly before the glue dries to ensure all the edges are aligned
  • Press firmly down on the card so that any excess glue comes out at the sides
  • Use the spatula to remove this excess by sliding the flat edge along the side of the pennant….this will also help to nicely seal the edges
  • Repeat this for all your pennants and then set them aside to dry for a couple of hours
  • Whilst you wait, cut out your letters from the glitter card…..I used the pencil to draw onto the back of the card then cut around that, but remember to draw in reverse
  • Once the newly glittered pennants are dry, arrange them in the order you’d like them and offer up each letter to check that the colours contrast well enough to see them
  • Apply glue to the back of your first letter, again using plenty as you’ll need a good coat to get in between the bumpy glittery surface
  • Carefully place the letter on the pennant, check you’re happy with the positioning, and press down firmly
  • Again, use the spatula to remove any excess, although don’t worry too much as the glue will dry clear
  • Repeat for each pennant and allow to dry well, preferably over night
  • Now you just need to thread the pennants together by cutting through the glitter card to reveal the hole in the wood with the scalpel, and posting the ribbon through each hole of each pennant, then moving on to the next
  • Finally, tie a knot in each end to stop the pennants moving about, and you’re done!

If you find it tricky to get hold of some wooden pennants (I got mine from an online craft shop who sell lots of laser cut MDF shapes) you could always cut them yourself from foamex.

I also made a single pennant with a star shape on it for a friend’s birthday, and of course you could apply any pattern to your bunting, or even just leave it plain in all its glittery glory!

Happy glittering!

Ems x

 

Mothering Sunday Embroidered Card Project

You may have read that I’ve recently taken up embroidery, and have been learning some new techniques and stitches as I go along. And because I’m enjoying it so much, I decided my next project would be a sort of embroidered Mothers Day card for my lovely Mummy. 

I had some nice pale pink cotton casement off cuts in my fabric box, and opted for shades of green and orange which are my Mummy’s favourite for for the silks. Having quickly sketched out a design on a scrap of paper, I pinned this to the back of my fabric which I’d stretched into an embroidery hoop, then traced the design onto the fabric. I used some of the stitches I learned whilst making my little bear plushy from the Mollie Makes kit, including a chain stitch for the lettering. I did the same again for the message on the back, then stretched both pieces back to back into a hoop, adding a satin ribbon for hanging to the top.

I’m rather pleased with the result, and my Mummy loves it!

I hope you’re having a nice Mothering Sunday,

Ems x

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Christmas Crafting

Having a bit more time on my hands this year, I managed to get round to some Christmassy crafting for myself! Not nearly as much as I’d hoped still….hopefully I’ll be more organised still next year! I thought I’d share some of my projects though, now that all the gifts have been given and no surprises will be spoiled!…..

Hand stitched personalised Christmas tree ornament gift idea Hand stitched personalised Christmas tree ornament gift idea

First of all, I got my stitch on to make some little embroidered Christmas tree ornaments. It being the year Adam and I got married, I made a little tartan-backed heart which I embroidered with ‘Mr and Mrs McDowall’s First Christmas’….and finding myself rather pleased with it I made another for our friends Claire and Matthew who also got married this year (Claire is Christmas mad like me too!), as well as one for our new niece!

Hand painted salt and pepper shakers with Capybaras

We had some prints made up from the wedding, and the usual doggy calendars for our Mums featuring our own hounds as gifts too. I got a bit more hands on though making some hand painted salt and pepper pots for my Father in Law….annoyingly I forgot to photograph them, but they work on the same principal as the Capybara ones I sell on my Etsy shop, but featuring a gold finch and a green finch as they’re his favourites!

Quick and easy home baked Christmas dog treats; cheese, parsnip and swede stars Quick and easy home baked Christmas dog treats; cheese, parsnip and swede stars

The dogs are never left out in this house, and so I baked some yummy (yes, I tried them myself!) cheese, parsnip and swede star biccies for the six McDowall dogs who live in the UK (I will make it up to Bree in the US I hope one day!). They were super easy to make, so I’ll be making more again soon I’m sure.

Home made Advent calendar idea; a riddle and treasure hunt for each day

I have made some sort of alternative Advent calendar for Adam for a few years now, and this year has been his favourite by far! I wrote out a riddle for each day, giving a clue as to where he could find that day’s treat! He loved working them all out, and searching the house for chocolates and little gifts…his first day’s treat was a pair of tweezers as he’s always pinching mine!

Home made Christmas cards with pet portraits

I also tend to make our Christmas cards too, and this year I painted portraits of our beloved hounds which I turned into cards….I scanned in the paintings, then we had them printed before I attached each to a pretty pastel card with silver photo corners. I was really rather pleased with them actually….not least because I managed to get them out in time for them to be delivered at the start of December this year!

Very easy, home made Christmas crackers in candy stripe

I took to making our own crackers a few years ago, and like to put new and fun things inside each year, as well as changing the way they look. I have been crazy about candy stripes this year, so used that to wrap them (as well as our gifts), then wrote out little jokes to go inside as well as funny stick-on moustaches for everyone to wear in place of hats!

Candy stripe Christmas nail art

Festoon lights Christmas nail art Snowflake Christmas nail art Christmas pudding nail art

I’ve also had more chance to decorate my nails in a festive fashion this year too….not least because they’ve not been covered in glue all the time! I painted tiny festoon lights, little Christmas puddings, pretty snowflakes and of course some candy stripes too….now for a New Year’s Eve design!

Christmas tree at home

I didn’t get round to making a wreath this year as I often do, in part because there wasn’t really anywhere suitable to hang one. I’m rather pleased with our tree though, and the other bits and bobs we’ve decorated with….but mostly I’m looking forward to being in our ‘forever home’ next Christmas so that I can really go to town!

Ems x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Every Day in May: 5 Lines

“Introduce yourself or sum yourself up in just 5 lines. Include a photograph that you are proud of.”

My name is Emily, and I’m a blogging, crafting, thrifting treasure hunter and events producer living in Hitchin, Hertfordshire.

I’m a little bit into everything, and to say my taste is eclectic would be a serious understatement…..I like to think I can see beauty in everything.

I can’t think of any music that I don’t like, there is certainly no food that I won’t eat (with the exception of Marmite which isn’t really a food), and I just don’t believe that any colours clash.

My greatest loves are my wonderful fiance Adam, my darling lurcher Special Agent Doggie Cooper, weddings, blowing bubbles, the TV Tower in Berlin, blue skies and stationery.

I hate having photos taken of me, but I love to take photos of pretty much anything else…. especially road works, buildings that other people think are ugly, and enchanted places where fairies probably live.

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Our secret garden, St Dunstans in the East, near to where we used to live in London. Taken with my Diana analogue camera with 120mm colour negative slide film.

Wednesday Wants….. Washi washi washi

Right. Before you say ANYTHING, I am allowed to obsess over stationery and packaging, *for professional reasons*. And so what if I did spend an inordinate amount of time last week building a washi tape dispenser in my studio? It was *for professional reasons*.

I mean, I have to ensure the goodies I spend hours making are carefully wrapped up against those brutal Posties, and the goodies also have to be pretties don’t they? And washi tape is just so incredibly versatile too….I mean, what other tape could you make such pretty mini cupcake bunting from?!

Needless to say, I’ve become a little obsessed about washi tape lately, but all the cool people are, and any combination of Japanese kitsch, pretty packaging and super cute stationery is bound to get me over-excited, so I’m going with it. And now you are too….here are my favourites….

mt 2012 Autumn NEW- Japanese Washi Masking Tapes / 6mm Slim Twist Cord A set of 3

Twist Cord A set of 3, from Little Happy Things, £3.39

New-Sanrio My Melody Paper Deco Tape / 15mm (Pink)

Sanrio My Melody Paper Deco Tape, Little Happy Things, £3.73

MT ex 2012 Autumn NEW- Japanese Washi Masking Tape / Map


MT Map Japanese Washi Masking Tape, Little Happy Things, £4.75

Green and White Grids Washi Tape / Masking Tape - Classic, 15m, 1 Roll

Green and White Grids, GoodiMochi , £1.83

Pink Inch Scale Washi Tape / Masking Tape - 10m


Pink Inch Scale, GoodiMochi, £1.83

Fluorescent Color Washi Tape / Masking Tape // Your Choice of Color - Yellow, Pink, Orange, Green // 10m, 1 Roll


Fluorescent Color Washi Tape, GoodiMochi, £1.83

Black and White Chevron Washi Tape / Masking Tape - 10m


(*cough* Twin Peaks) Black and White Chevron, GoodiMochi, £1.83

Heart in the Clouds Washi Tape


Heart in the Clouds Washi Tape, Wishy Washi Tape, £2.03

Washi Tape: On the Road

On the Road, The Sewing Post, £2.03

NEW- Moomin Carriage and Umbrella Series Japanese Washi Masking Tape / Salmon Pink

Moomin Carriage and Umbrella Series in Salmon Pink and White, Little Happy Things, £5.93

Ems x

Something from the weekend…..bit of a lazy one really

Well I’ve been poorly now since last week, and am feeling pretty sorry for myself. So the weekend was a very quiet affair, and I didn’t get up to much at all….

On Saturday I had a long lie in, and then after a little shopping, pottered around the house. I keep thinking the house is ‘finished’ but then I spot another little project I want to do, or find I’d like to add something or change something around in a room. I expect this will go on for a good while yet!

In the afternoon, I decided to get at least a little productive, and so set up my sewing machine on the kitchen table and stitched together some pretty dog beds. Don’t get excited…we still don’t have any dogs, but Adam’s Mum’s dogs Newton and Piper visit often and I wanted to make them comfortable when they are here! They even have a special little tin of biscuits for their visits too!

On Sunday, we made the short trip to the market and the weekly car boot sale there. I’m pretty addicted to the market now, and feel like I’m missing out if I don’t go on each day it’s open! We picked up a few more treasures for the house, including some thrifty finds that I will be adding to my new Etsy vintage shop soon.

We happened to be out at 11am so we made our way to the War Memorial in front of the church to take part in the Remembrance Sunday silence. It was lovely to see such a big crowd there and hear the Last Post.

Once home, we set to some baking. I’m loving spending most of the time in the kitchen….it really feels like the heart of the house and I’m so glad that we have room for a table and chairs in there now. Adam was in charge of the baking on this occasion, with me as his willing commis. We made a banana and chocolate loaf which is just divine, and we will definitely make again!

After that, we decided we should make the most of the glorious day and so took a stroll in the countryside. We visited the pigs at the Charlton Pig Table which is very nearby, and met lots of lovely dogs with their walkers, including ‘Baloo’ who is the most gorgeous Nepalese Mastif. He is an absolute giant and has the thickest, cuddliest fur. We both fell in love with him and hope to see him again soon!

The evening was spent, as tradition dictates, slobbing on the sofa and watching some more X Files. We are well into the second season now and I’m totally hooked!

Not too bad really for a poorly weekend….I’m glad I got out a little and didn’t just fester indoors feeling sorry for myself!

Hope you had a lovely weekend,

Ems x

Friday good deeds… Crafty ‘Pay it Forward’

It’s Friiiiiiidaaaaay!!! And because it’s nice to do a good deed on a Friday…….

I read earlier this week about a fabby fun project on the wonderful Matin Lapin blog, and I knew I had to join in. Not only would joining in mean that the brilliant Vixie of said blog will make something for me (squee!) but it means I get to make some pretty things for my readers too! Sounds cool huh?!

This is how it works:

I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be handmade by me, and a total surprise (I don’t even know what it will be yet!). I will then post it to you sometime in the next few weeks. All you need to do in return is the following:

  • Leave me a comment, including your email address so that I can get in touch with you about your mailing address and some other information about you too.
  • To complete signing up, you must play along too by blogging a similar post and pledging to make a surprise for the first 3 people who comment on it.

So, who wants to play?! Comment quick below to get involved!

I’m so excited about sending post and getting post, and making and stuff! I’ll be sure to blog about my surprise when it arrives from Vixie, as well as what I end up making to send out too!

*scuttles off to plan surprises to make*

Ems x

Because it’s Valentine’s Day……. A little Love Token

So after our visit to the Miracles and Charms exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, and because I’ve been toying with ideas of crafty arty projects, today I made a little love token…..it being Valentines and all.

I’ve been thinking of ways to create little worlds from bits and bobs, and love the idea of making things from lost treasure (or rubbish if you prefer). I’ve always been fascinated by small, detailed things that I could squirrel away, none more so than the little Charlie Chaplin matchbox toy that my brother and I fought over as children (it WAS mine). And so I got to thinking about making little scenes inside matchboxes…… and I finally made one today…..

Adam and I are always joking around saying I love you THIS much, and gesticulating to show just how much….. I might reach right out to the walls, and then Adam might just hold two fingers about an inch apart and tell me he loves me that much on an atomic scale. He likes to try to trick me too by doing something similar and saying he loves me that much on a galactic scale….I usually fall for it or spend ages trying to work it out.

Anyway, with that in mind I have made this little love token inside a Swan Vesta matchbox, where a man standing on the whole world is stretching his arms out to say ‘I love you THIS much.’

I hope you like it, despite the sappiness. I’m planning to make some more, although perhaps less romantical, and perhaps get around to selling them on Etsy. Thoughts, suggestions and requests gratefully received!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

P.S. Thank you to Adam for taking the photos! xxx

Meet Herman. The largest Christmas tree we could fit in the flat.

Herman is our Christmas tree. He measures a towering 21cm. Because we couldn’t find baubles the right size to set off his delicate branches, I have made pretty adornments for him from my button box. We think he looks charming.

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