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