Monday, 5 December 2011

Make a Wooden Shabby Chic Jewellery Tree

Make a Wooden Shabby Chic Jewellery Tree
The shabby chic jewellery tree is a hand made wooden tree that stores and shows off your earrings and necklaces. I painted this one in the shabby chic style, but you could just as easily paint the tree in gold or silver, or a funky hot pink.

The tree is easy to make and there is a handy template to draw around, simply click here to view the template.

To make the shabby chic jewellery tree you will need...

4mm MDF wood,
The template,
Wood glue,
Gold and cream paint,
Sand paper,
Clear varnish,
Some images of birds to decoupage the tree.

First print out the template and cut it out. The template is of half a tree. Draw around the tree onto the wood, and then flip the template over to draw the other half of the tree. You will also need to draw out the triangle templates on to the wood, these are the tree supports. You also need to make a base for the tree. I drew around a saucer with a shaped edge, but a circular saucer would be just as good.

Next you need to cut out the wooden pieces. I used an electric fret saw.

Once cut out, sand all the edges to make them smooth but don’t round off the edges.

On the template there the dots are shown, you need to drill holes at these points to hold the earrings. Once drilled, countersink each hole on both sides and sand off any untidiness.

Apply glue to the bottom trunk edge of the tree and stick it to the centre of the tree base. Apply glue to the two short edges of the tree supports and stick one at the centre front and one at the centre back of the tree. Leave to dry.

Apply 2 coats of gold paint to the edges of the branches on both sides of the tree.

Apply 2 coats of cream paint to the whole tree, supports and base.

When the cream paint is completely dry, lightly sand the edges of the tree to reveal the gold paint beneath. Do this on each edge of the tree on both sides.

Cut out the decoupage images, I chose birds and blossom. Arrange them in a pleasing way on both sides of the tree and glue in place with paper glue. And leave to dry.

Finally apply 2 coats of clear varnish to protect the paint work. Make sure that the varnish says on the time that it doesn’t have a yellowing finish; otherwise it will affect the colours of the finished tree.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Snake Skin Scarf Knitting Pattern

Snake Skin Scarf Knitting Pattern

Knit yourself a cute snake scarf to wrap around your neck to keep you warm this winter. The snake scarf is great fun, and has a wiggly cable detail down his back. Knitted with chunky wool, makes this scarf a quick knit and an ideal quick present to knit for someone.

To knit the Snake scarf you will need...

200g or more of Wendy Pampas Mega Chunky wool in any colour you want your snake to be,
6mm knitting needles,
Cable needle,
20mm sew on wobbly eyes and some red satin ribbon for his tongue.

The knitting pattern for the snake skin scarf can be bought here...

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Comic Strip Nail Art

Comic strip nails! I used an archie comic book. you can also find comic strips to use in your local newspaper like charlie brown, garfield, dennis the menice, etc.

I found Comic Strip Nail Art on Youtube and thought it was a must try! I love the newspaper nails, and sheet music would look fab wouldn't it.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Decoupage Your Own Decor

Decoupage Your Own Decor
By Emily Chadwick

Decoupage is a true art form that's perfect for all of your home accessories and décor. This great arts and crafts project creates a complicated look that's not really all that complicated. Small pieces of cut out papers from magazines, tissue paper and even gold leaf can be used to layer decoupage into any design you like. After the pieces are attached to your favorite décor item, a few layers of decoupage lacquer are applied to the surface. This not only seals in the cutouts, it also makes it appear that the design is one smooth piece like a photo or drawing. Use this guide to decoupage and you'll be on your way to getting an affordable and adorable design on any home décor item in your home.

Prepping the Surface
Before you begin any decoupage project on your home accessories, you'll need to prep the area first. The area must be able to accept a glue to work. Plastic surfaces may need to be scuffed up with some light grain sandpaper to allow the glue to adhere correctly. Glass surfaces may need a quick acid etch with one part muriatic acid and four parts water. Acid etching is dangerous so use the correct safety equipment when handling this material.

Cutting out the Pattern
Materials like paper are easy enough to cut out and can be easily done with a regular pair of scissors. Paper conforms well enough to work with most decor and can easily wrap around round objects with ease. Stiffer materials like cardboard may need to be softened to bend around curved house décor.

Glue it Down
The medium that is used to glue down decoupage is as simple as it gets. Regular white Elmer's glue works great with most materials like wood or cloth. Some synthetic fabrics may require the use of special fabric glues. Wood glue can be used for most craft materials like ceramics, but some materials may require the use of special fixatives to provide a surface for the adhesive to bond to. Glue and place your decoupage materials on your favorite wall art and décor. Allow the materials to dry for 24-48 hours before applying a varnish. This way, if any decoupage materials peel away from the décor, you'll know you need a different adhesive.

Decoupage It
Once the paper is in place and your design looks good, it's time to cover it all up with a decoupage medium. A varnish or lacquer is commonly used to create the decoupage. Some decoupage materials are already premixed and ready to go. For a cheap alternative to store bought decoupage medium, wallpaper paste can work perfectly. Add several layers until the decoupage medium is flat and smooth across the décor. This may take many layers, so be patient and let each coat dry before applying another.

For all your home decor needs for all kinds of furnitures, check out Arcadian Home Decor.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

How to Make a Robin Nest Box

How to Make a Robin Nest Box
A great way to encourage a festive Christmas Robin into you garden is to provide a supply of meal worms, one of the robins favourite treats. You can also encourage robins by installing a nest box for them in your garden. Robin boxes are a bit different in style to the popular blue tit box, in that they are less enclosed. So you may already have a bird box in your garden, but if you want to provide a habitat for a robin, you need a robin friendly nesting box.

You can buy Robin Nest boxes online or at your local garden centre, they cost around ten to fifteen pounds. However, for the fraction of the price, you can make your own Robin box quite easily. It’s a great little project to make the box and it’s very rewarding when robins take up residence.

To make your Robin Nesting box you will need: Wood – a decking plank is ideal and only costs around 3 pounds, and screws.

You need to cut the decking plank into the following lengths-
26cm long for the back panel
15 cm for the roof panel
8 cm for the front panel
The base needs to be the same length as the planks width.
The 2 sides need to have a sloping top, the back edge should be 18cm and the front edge should be 13cm

Note: The two sides need to be cut out so that they are inverted if you are using a decking panel with a textured side.

When you have cut the wood out give it a light sanding to get rid of any rough edges or splinters. Don’t worry if your sawing isn’t perfect, the robins won’t mind about the rough and readiness of their new home, they’re not too house proud!

Follow the photo diagram to assemble the robin box.

How to Make a Robin Nest Box
Use a drill to pilot drill holes, and then screw in two screws through the bottom back into the edge of the base wood.

How to Make a Robin Nest Box
Then get the first side in place, screwing two screws up through the base wood and into the side. and then through the bas and into the side.

How to Make a Robin Nest Box
similarly, attach the other side to match.

How to Make a Robin Nest Box
with just two screws, attach the front panel to the bird box, screwing into the side panels.

How to Make a Robin Nest Box
Finally, screw the roof into place.

On the back panel that sticks up from the roof, you will need to drill a hole through the wood to mount the nesting box.

The great thing about making a robin box from decking planks is that the wood has already been treated so you don’t need to paint it. Having said that, if you do want to protect your nest box further, use a water-based preservative that won’t harm your feathery tenants.

Site nest boxes where birds won't be disturbed, away from prevailing winds, rain and the full glare of the sun. Make sure the box is 2m to 5m from the ground and there are no nearby footholds for predators.

Woolly Hat Knitting Pattern to Match Michelle Szeghalmi's Evangeline Fingerless Gloves

Woolly Hat Knitting PatternI recently knitted a pair of Evangeline fingerless gloves designed by Michelle Szeghalmi. I found the gloves pattern free online. I had knitted a pair of elbow length gloves about a year ago for my daughter, and now I wanted to knit the short pair as a Christmas present for Nanna, but I also wanted to knit a hat to match. So here is the hat I knitted, incorporating the same pattern panel as in the gloves by Michelle Szeghalmi.

With the same wool as used for the gloves and on size UK number 7 needles cast on 88 stitches and work 14 rows double rib

*K2, P2* rep to end.

Then Knit 24, P2, work first row of Evangeline cable pattern, P2, Knit to end

Alternate rows, knit the knits and purl the purls.

Work three sets of the Evangeline pattern (32 rows in all) and then keeping the pattern as true as possible shape the top as follows.

Row 1: *K6, K2tog* to end

All alternate rows are purl.

Row 3: *K5, K2tog* to end
Row 5: *K4, K2tog* to end
Row 7: *K3, K2tog* to end
Row 9: *K2, K2tog* to end
Row 11: *K1, K2tog* to end
Row 13: *K2tog* to end
Row 15: *K6, K2tog* to end

Thread the yarn through the remaining stitches and draw up and finish off. Sew down the back seam of the hat with fight sides facing.

Finally I threaded a small length of ribbon through the knitting at the bottom, centre of the first pattern row and tied a bow.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Knitting Pattern to Knit Action Heros

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Knitting Pattern to Knit Action Heros

Want to knit yourself (or someone else) some retro action figures? My Daughter as big as she is, still adores the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, so I designed a knitting pattern to make soft knitted replicas of hero’s in a half shell – Turtle Power!

To make these retro action dolls you need...
Double knitting wool in shades: Emerald Green, Lime Green, Dark Green, Tan, Red, Blue, Purple and Orange.
You also need size 10 UK needles,
Kapok stuffing,
And sew on wobbly eyes or safety eyes if your toys are for a younger child.

Each doll measures approx 19 cm

You can buy the pattern to make the turtles here...

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Halloween Decorations & Treats for Parties : How to Make a Ghost Decoration with Foil

Easy ghost decorations for Halloween! Learn how to make a ghost for a Halloween party in this free video clip about a Halloween parties for children.

Want a step by step guide to making ghost decorations - Visit

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

LadyBug Slippers Knitting Pattern

LadyBug Slippers Knitting Pattern
I always give my children a silly Christmas present every year just as a bit of fun, and this year I have knitted my 20 year old daughter a pair of LadyBug Slippers.

I found a free knitting pattern online you can download the PDF here...

The pattern says that you need fleece yarn, but because it's just a silly Christmas gift I didn't want to go to that expense, and I just used two strands of double knitting yarn. I knitted the 'adult medium slipper' working to the sizes in brackets and my slipper has turned out to be 22cm in length, but as the pattern says the slipper does stretch. I have size 7 feet and they fit me fine.

Ladybird Slippers Knitting Pattern

Another alteration I made was to the spots, instead of sewing some spots on my ladybirds, I knitted them some.

Using size UK 8 kneedles and single strand of black double knitting wool cast on 12 st and knit a row.
Row 2: K2 tog to end then cut the yarn and thread it through the remaining stitches. sew the knitted row ends together so that it makes a circle. I made 5 spots for each slipper.

I also made the ladybird some eyes. I thought that plastic eyes wouldn't be very comfortable on your feet, and besides I wanted to keep the cost to a minimum and I have lots of oddments of knitting wool.

With size UK 8 Knitting needles and white double knitting yarn cast on 20 stitches and knit 1 row.
Row 2: P2 Tog to end then cut the yarn and thread it through the remaining stitches. sew the knitted row ends together so that it makes a circle.


With size UK 8 Knitting needles and black double knitting yarn cast on 12 stitches.
Row 2: K2 Tog to end then cut the yarn and thread it through the remaining stitches. sew the knitted row ends together so that it makes a circle. Sew the pupil in place on top of the white of eye.

To make antennae I cast on 16 stitches, and knitted 1 row quite tightly and then cast off. The knitted strip has a natural curve to it. Go with that curve and toll the one end of the antennae to make a small ball on the end. Tack into place and then sew the other end of the antennae on to the slipper.

Monday, 10 October 2011

How to Make ‘Pencils’ to Tie Your Hair Back With

How to Make ‘Pencils’ to Tie Your Hair Back With
Having watched MissPrincessPancakes’s video on Youtube entitled How to tie your hair back with a pencil, it has inspired me to make ‘pencils’. The video explains that when you just need to tie your hair up but you can’t find a hair elastic or slide, that a pencil or any similar object can be used to hold your hair up. The video demonstrated how this is achieved, but the steps are…

Gather your hair together in a pony tail.

Put the pencil on top of the ponytail base with the nib to the right and wrap the tail up and around the end of the nib end of the pencil.

Next, twist the pencil around as though you are turning a cooker knob. The nib should pass over the top of the pony tail base.

Finally, you need to turn the pencil so that the nib is facing the starting point again, but instead of twisting, the nib needs to turn in towards the head and go through the base of the ponytail and out the other side.

It does take some practise to do, buy watch the video and try it yourself. It doesn’t take long to master, and it does hold your hair up really firmly and it doesn’t damage the hair like tight hair elastics can.

Once I had got the hang of tying my hair up a pencil, I wanted to find something nice to tie my hair up with. The Video suggest using a chopstick, a fork, and of course a pencil, this is great if you have nothing else to hand, but to wear your hair to go out in this style, you would look a bit kooky.

It is this that inspired me to make an alternative.

To make these hair ‘pencils’ you will need...

6mm Dowel Available cheaply at B&Q costing around 60p
Beads, ribbons and exciting things to decorate your pencil with.
Strong glue and sandpaper.

Cut the dowel into pencil length pieces at around 19cm.

Then with a Stanley knife cut the tip of the dowel as if you were sharpening a pencil, making sure that you are cutting away from your body. You want to shape the end to a blunt point. Then sand the point and the rest of the dowel so that it is smooth and wont pull on the hair as you push it into your hair style.

Next comes the fun part – decorating the end. I tried a couple of designs dangling beads, a bumble bee and ostrich feather and flower.

dangling beads hair slideTo create the dangling beads I took lengths of thin ribbon, on one end of the ribbon I glued a small bead and the other ends of the ribbon I glued the ends altogether into a bigger bead. Next glue another bead onto the end of the stick, and then stick in place the bead filled with ribbon ends, and leave to dry.

When using beads, you may need to ‘sharpen’ the decorated end of the dowel to make it thin enough to feed beads onto.

bumble bee hair slideThe bumble bee is simply two bead stuck onto the end of the dowel. I drew some stripes on the yellow bead with a black permanent marker pen and I glues on some wobbly eyes to give him a fun character. The bee’s wings are simply a piece of transparent silver ribbon folded into an ‘M’ shape. I then sewed a few running stitches along the bottom of the ‘M’ to hold the two ends and the central part together and to gather them. Then I put glue on the gathers and stuck on the bees back and left it to dry.

ostrich feathers hair slideThe ostrich feathers are just a section of ostrich feathers wrapped around the end of the dowel and glued into place. I held it with a peg whilst the glue dried and then I stuck a ribbon rose on top of the feathers where the ends joined.

The great thing about these hair accessories is that you can use anything to decorate them. One Idea I had was to get Hello Kitty danglies from the slot toy egg vending machines that you see in supermarkets. Hello Kitty hair accessories would be so cute.

Top Tip – I found that standing the pencils in a glass was great when leaving them to dry.

Tie Your Hair Back With a Pencil

Tie Your Hair Back With a Pencil

Monday, 19 September 2011

How to tie your hair back with a pencil

How to paint shabby chic furniture!

This video shows you how I paint old furniture into shabby chic style. I hunt around boot fairs for cheap furniture then paint and sell it as a hobby in the holidays. Hope you enjoy!

Top 5 Shabby Chic Decorating Tips

By Jason P Anderson

Ready to bring all the charm of a vintage, country cottage into your own home? Take note of and apply the following five tips and you'll have an adorable shabby chic home in no time!

1. Furniture
Solid wood furniture is ideal for shabby chic decor. Painted pieces of furniture can also compliment a room nicely. Basically, you want to utilize simple furniture that is less decorative or ornate like the furniture you might find in a home with a more formal interior design. If you have antiques, use them! They make great accents. Some popular antiques commonly used in these chic and shabby homes are pie safes, kitchen queens, and jelly cupboards.

2. Colors
As far as colors are concerned, you can't go wrong with pastels. Using pastel colors in conjunction with whites and off-whites is very common in shabby chic decorating. Painted walls as well as patterned wallpapers are also a great way to bring out that country cottage home feel.

3. Flooring
Often overlooked in the grand scheme of this particular type of design is the floor. The most popular floor styles for this type of decor are probably natural wood or ceramic tile. However, painted patterns and also diamond or checkered design schemes can also work very well. If you decide to paint your floors with your own design, make sure you add a coat of varnish on top to protect it.

4. Fabrics
The best fabrics for shabby chic design should incorporate floral patterns, stripes, and checks. Using these fabrics will help pull together the distinct look of this charming and unique style.

5. Be Creative
Although the suggestions here will help nudge you in the right direction, it is of the utmost importance that you give yourself creative license to mix and match and experiment. There are no real rules in shabby chic design, only guidelines. So don't be afraid to get creative, and of course, have fun!

Often times, all the pieces and accents you need to turn your home into a shabby chic home are already in your house (or perhaps stored away in the garage). Mixing and matching existing pieces is one of the best ways to achieve this style. However, if you'd still like to shop around for pieces of furniture and other items that will help compliment the motif, check out Shabby Chic Furniture.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Halloween Toffee Apples

Halloween Toffee Apples
This Halloween Toffee Apples recipe is featured on the Hobbycraft website and is a great idea to make for trick or treat callers on Halloween. It's a relatively cheap 'treat', which looking substantial. The treat is also sweet whist having a healthy apple at the heart, but best of all - Toffee Apples are a traditional treat for Halloween.

What You Need:
6 x small apples (Russet apples are best but any will do)
300g sugar*
Small saucepan*
Lollipop sticks
Slips of natural paper
Slips of white card
Hole punch
Natural jewellery cord
Orange and clear cellophane wrap
Assorted ribbons - orange, brown and purple
Alphabet rubber stamps
Brown ink pad

This Project
Allow: 45 Minutes
Skill Level: Beginner

  1. Prepare a sheet of kitchen foil by oiling it lightly with vegetable oil. Push a lollipop stick into each apple.
  2. Melt the sugar in the pan and allow to boil gently until it turns a caramel colour. Do not overcook as it will taste bitter. Remove from heat.
  3. Take each apple in turn and holding it by the stick, dip each apple in the sugar until it is well coated. TAKE CARE AS THE MELTED SUGAR MIXTURE IS EXTREMELY HOT. You might need to spoon the mixture over the last apple as the level in the pan drops.
  4. Place each apple on the oiled foil sheet and allow to cool.
  5. Place each cooled apple in the centre of a 30 cm square of cellophane sheet and draw up and around the apple securing where the apple and stick meet with a knot of ribbon.
  6. Attach a stamped label to each stick with the cord if desired.

Ladybird Cupcakes

Ladybird Cupcakes
These Ladybird Cupcakes are really cute and ideal for a garden or girls birthday party. The Ladybird Cupcakes are featured on the Hobbycraft website.

What You Need:
Cupcake recipe of your choice*
500g sugar paste/regal icing
Round cutter
Red, purple, pink, green and brown food colouring
1 tbsp royal icing
A little water
Piping bag
Cocktail stick*

This Project
Allow: 1 Hour
Skill Level: Intermediate

  1. Bake the cupakes and allow to cool.
  2. Divide the sugar paste into five equal pieces and knead one food colour into each.
  3. Dust a surface with icing sugar, roll out sugar paste 2mm thick and then cut out circles the same size as the cakes with a round cutter.
  4. Cut a triangle into the circle. Coat the top of each cake with 'soft peak' brown icing and stick the circle on.
  5. Fill a piping bag with 'soft peak' brown icing. Pipe a fine line around the edge of the circle and then large dots in the centre.
  6. Roll a small amount of brown sugar paste into a head and stick to the front of the cake with icing.
  7. Finish off by making 'eye' holes with a cocktail stick.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Halloween Craft Ideas for Children

Egg Carton Bats
By Teresa Evans

There are so many different Halloween craft ideas that can be done at Halloween and many can be created out of simple materials like paper, egg cartons and paper plates. The kids enjoy making them and best of all you can also use them as decorations for the classroom or at home.

Here are a few different Halloween crafts that won't cost you a fortune.

Spider Webs
These webs can be used in the window where they will look great catching the sunlight during the day or indoor lights during the night. Start with a large sheet of wax paper or thin white paper. With a pencil draw a spider's web on the paper. Use curving lines to make a pleasant design. Next go over the lines of the web with white glue then sprinkle with glitter. When the glue is dry it should be invisible and only the glitter will be seen. Hang in the window or in a corner somewhere. They also look good hanging in a doorway.

Egg Carton Bats
There are also some great Halloween craft ideas the only require egg cartons. Bats are easy to make and will look effective especially when several are hang together. Use three egg cups still attached in a row. Cut out the fronts and backs of the two end cups to simulate wings. Paint the bat black and add some googly eyes. Then hang your bat from the ceiling or in a doorway. Add a few friends for him and you'll have an effective display.

Halloween Masks
Here are a few Halloween craft ideas for using paper plates. Of course Halloween isn't Halloween without a few pumpkins and with a paper plate you can make a great pumpkin mask. Draw the pumpkin shape on the plate and trim it up. Cut out the eyes, nose and mouth to resemble a Jack O' Lantern. Paint your pumpkin orange and add tie string to either side to hold it on as a mask.

There are also many different animal masks that can be made with a paper plate. Add ears and paint in black and orange stripes and you have a tiger. Add long ears and paint with grey and white and you have a rabbit. Be creative and there are many different animal masks that can be made with a paper plate.

If you are looking for Halloween craft ideas the main rule is to keep it simple. With simple crafts the kids will be sure to succeed and you'll have happy kids and effective decorations all in one. There is no need to go to a lot of expense as you can often use household items for your Halloween crafts. Use your imagination, and almost anything can be used for Halloween crafts.

Teresa Evans is a parent and teacher who has created a collection of Easy Halloween Crafts for Kids. For more Halloween craft ideas visit