Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Update

Well, if anything, I have been consistent with my neglect of this corner of the Internet.

Back in November, I bought my biggest DIY yet - a house,  It has been completely re-wired, re-plumbed, re-plastered, walls have come down and been rebuilt and I spend all my spare time sanding, painting, cleaning, painting some more and I have the battle scars to prove it (I thought a glue gun was the ultimate weapon before I got my hands on a heat gun - if there is a DIY I can find a use for this, I will).

My plan, of course, was to carry on blogging as this went on, but that is proving (and I think I have proved this very well) impossible.  I'm near the finish line now, but my spare time is completely at the house and will be more and more as I actually get to move in!

So.  The plan is to (continue to) put the blog on a sun-filled and cocktail drinking holiday as I move in, get the Internet sorted out, set up my office and then resume the blog life as soon as possible.

Be warned.  SO many home DIYs coming this way.

I'd put off this post as I hoped to be able to say when that would be - but the truth is that I'm not sure, and when I do resume, I want it to be consistent again (which I loved and miss) and the blog could do with a little attention - I still have Christmas DIYs in my side bar for goodness sake!

see you soon x

Friday, 6 May 2016

DIY GIFT // Mothers Day Personalised Mug

Hello! [shall we ignore the time that has passed since my last post?  Great.]
Today, I bring you a DIY that is 2 months too late in the UK, but a last minute idea for many of you.  Of course, this DIY isn't just for Mothers Day - it can be personalised with any name, quote or word you like!
I picked this pretty floral mug up at Sainsburys and the porcelain pen from my second home, HobbyCraft.  In total, this DIY costs you £6.75.  Bargain.
Practice the style, size and overall look of your word on paper with pencil [if you are unsure of your handwriting skills - look at this post for some tips and tricks!] and when happy, turn your sheet of paper over and trace the word in reverse:
Place the paper, right side up, over your mug and where you would like the word to be transferred:
...scribble over the writing, to transfer the reversed tracing on to the mug [this will only be light and provide an outline for you to follow and wash away when complete]:
On to the fun [and slightly nerve-wracking] part - writing your word.
If you are brave, you can completely skip the tracing step and write straight on to you mug:
The pen just requires a good shake and a few presses on some scrap paper to get the flow going.  Have a practice on paper as well to check the pressure required and thickness that can be achieved unless you like to live on the edge and dive straight in:
[Unfortunately, it's quite difficult to do this and photograph it at the same time]
I started with light strokes, following the outline and then filling in to create thicker and bolder lines. 
[a tip I found via Google - nail polish remover can help clean any lines or mistakes up]
I left the paint to dry for an hour or so between coats - add more layers to make the finish more opaque or add an ombre effect.
Depending on the paint or pen that you use, some drying time will be required before you fire the mug in the oven to set.  This pen required just 30 minutes in the oven at a high temperature and then I left the mug to recover overnight before hand washing to see if it had worked:
Hurrah!
Party Rings optional, but will score Brownie points with Mum, or whoever you give your personalised mug to.

see you soon x

Monday, 21 March 2016

DIY Easter // Decorated Egg Biscuits


Hello and welcome to one of my favourite types of week - the four day week.
As I am taking part in no chocolate March, I have an Easter biscuit DIY for you.
[but there are plenty of chocolate-related Easter DIYs here]

I was sent some cookie stencils to try out from Designer Stencils and with it, the perfect excuse to try out something that has taken me far too long to try out - edible gold glitter spray.  I mean, what will I not now cover this in?

There are some beautifully decorated biscuit designs that Pinterest will give me major icing skill envy for - but stencils give you a fab alternative.  They are easy to use and will allow you to create little masterpieces in minutes.  
 The stencils can be used a number of ways, but I tried using them with a spray and added embellishment.  I also used ready to roll regal icing which is another time saving alternative to royal icing [as used in previous Easter DIYs like this].
 Roll out the icing on a surface dusted with icing sugar to a thickness of around 1-2mm.  Use an egg- shaped cookie cutter to create your toppings.    Once cut, pop in the fridge to harden the icing after being rolled and cut - this will make it easier to work with and place on top of the biscuits later.
As they cool, do the same to a biscuit dough - I used my favourite shortbread biscuit recipe as it tends to hold it's structure well after baking - but you can use any recipe you prefer.
 Once cooled, the excess should come away easily and we can move on to the best part:
 DECORATING WITH GOLD GLITTER SPRAY!
[and some sugar balls]
Simply place your stencil over the icing and cover with the spray:
 ...remove to reveal a beautiful pattern.
After covering all my icing tops with their patterns, I then also added a little embellishment with sugar balls. Use a toothpick to mark where they are to be placed and then use the toothpick to add a little water to the area before placing your sugar ball on top.  Leave to dry fully to help secure it:





 Once your biscuits have been baked, trim the edges with your cookie cutter to ensure when the icing is placed on top, the edges will meet neatly:
 Add the icing tops and if like me, you just don't know when to stop, 
you can add further embellishment with icing pens: 


  These were genuinely so simple to make - but the results look like something that should have taken much longer.  I'll be experimenting with colours next - give them a go!
see you next time x

Friday, 11 March 2016

DIY Jewellery // Silver Letter Necklace // Metal Clay

Fri-yay!
Today, I have the final DIY from my Metal Clay series - a little more freestyle and the necklace I made after feeling a little more comfortable using the clay: An initial pendant.

As with the triangle necklace, I created my own template to use as a guide:

I tried to draw the template as I would ideally like the clay to follow, but with the understanding it would be thicker and maybe a little less 'fine' than my writing! Bear this in mind when creating your template, allowing the design to cater for thicker lines [or even draw with a thick pen to make sure].

To start, create a thin sausage of the clay that will allow you to easily trace the lines of the template:
Unsure of how easily I could mould and shape the clay, I made this a little thicker than I would if I could make it again - though you can see, some cracks did appear where curves were made and the thickness doubled where the clay crossed over: 
Once I had created my shape, I started to attach the clay where it crossed over and flatten the overall appearance.  I found the side of a toothpick did this job easily, with a little water to smooth the clay:
This, out of all the pendants, felt much more substantial.
When dried, it had a real weight to it, though in my confidence with using the clay I don't think I 'finished' the clay in the same way as the earlier DIYs.  The clay wasn't as smooth as others and I think, a little too dry when shaping.
I've got my excuses in early, as this is what happened after drying fully with the hairdryer and starting to sand the clay:
Nightmare.
Using the same technique as the triangle necklace, I made a clay paste that I could use as glue to fix the two halves together.  As this pendant was much more substantial, it did take a little longer to fix and I applied several coats to the clay just to make sure:
Once happy I had firmly fixed the initial back together, I dried further with the hairdryer and then fired and sanded the finished initial:
Buffing and polishing the clay to reveal the silver underneath, the pendant was complete!
I left the finish slightly more matt than the previous designed, finishing my polish with a light sanding, which also created a lighter silver colour to the pendant:
Looped through a chain, I was really happy with the finished look:
Which of the four designs do you prefer?

*update: giveaway now closed*
Don't forget to enter the giveaway!  You can win a beginners kit and 7g of silver clay magic.
Enter at the end of last weeks post using this link.
Ends tonight!

See the other Metal Clay DIYs I've posted:

see you next time x