Friday, 19 June 2015

Hillarys Crafts Competition - Rayna Apple Print / Patio Makeover!

Howd'ya like them apples?

Last year I entered Hillarys Blogger Crafting competition and it inspired me so much it created a whole project which has taken me (and still is) over a year to complete.... more HERE

So this year I was more than ever up for the challenge and I really gave it some thought as to what I could make that not only really shows off the wonderful print but uses the colour and is practical for me!
A tough task - but I think I have cracked it and I hope you agree!

So the rules are simple - You choose your fabric from these choices and request a sample. Every blogger is sent the same amount 1m x 1m and then, well the only constraints are those you give yourself! Craft away and come up with your idea, blog the post and then not only have you had fun with the concept but you are in with a chance of winning £1000! Yes you did read that right!
You can read all about it HERE.


Fabric Choices


If you were too late this year make sure you Follow/Like and subscribe to Hillarys Blind social media and you will be notified or see posts when next years competition goes live (assuming they will run this again, I HOPE so - I may picket their office if not!)

As you may or may not know I have been working REALLY hard restoring my patio furniture and turning a awful mess into a lovely summer space that looks and feels fit for lounging and entertaining and that costs as little as possible (still part of the Peacock project).

I really wanted to incorporate this fabric into my patio makeover!
The Rayna Apple fabric was my choice - for the green shade to go with my outside space and the slightly retro feel to the print design. I remember these large style prints that were around in the 1970s when I was a child. They are as fresh now as they were then - coming out of the dowdy interiors of the 50/60s and in to the bright, colourful 70s!

I love the feel of this design and I wanted my craft to show off the earthy feel and yet still be practical.

I am slightly obsessed with solar lights, I just love them (I actually just LOVE renewable energy full stop) the array of colours now available in LED is astonishing and so beautiful!
I was trying to think a bit differently this year, I wanted something to add dimension but I'm slightly over bunting so I was thinking about light shades and whether it would be possible to make Origami water balloons out of fabric! They were always a favourite to make with Evan and I used to try myself as a child although I was not ever very good at it! It seems though that I have improved with age and they turned out better than I could imagine!

Fabric Light Covers - Origami Style!

I wanted to also do some craft without any sewing as I know so many really do not like to do it so I promise NO NEEDLE & THREAD required! (well maybe for 1 very ickle part!)

So here is the PDF for the paper version
Obviously my first problem was to stiffen the fabric well enough - I bought spray starch which failed miserably and then I thought about Plasti-Kote spray and it is amazing! It lets you hold shape in fabric and it does your bidding without any tantrums at all! (should I coat my son in this stuff?)

Make sure you use it outside as the fumes are awful!

So once you have your pre-cut pieces (for how many lights you want to cover) I made 18 of various sizes.
The smallest 12cm squares and the largest (and best all round size that I found) is 18.5cm squares.

I sprayed them with 2 coats of clear spray and allowed to dry thoroughly before starting.


You will need:
Fabric of choice
Pinking shears
Good fabric scissors
Needle and cotton
Steam Iron

Watch the very simple video guide HERE

I think they look amazing and so much more functional than bunting! I can't really capture the ambiance they give off, but it is so relaxing! Choose green every time for evening lighting.




I then cut out the motif with pinking shears so it wouldn't fray and used fabric spray adhesive to attach them to my cushions I made (Fabric was a beautiful duvet set I bought at a booty for £5) and the remaining material was used to make photo place mats! I used an old place mat for sizing - photographed flowers & strawberries that I have grown so far this year & printed them off. Then using the green fabric for backing, made the front frames from the Rayna Apple material. The whole thing was then put in a laminate pocket and put through the laminater! Wipe-able & waterproof!






I am quite astonished myself with just how super it is!

I had some material left over just bits and pieces but enough to use the leaf shape which got me thinking - what could I use that for... as my cherry blossom tree was looking rather amazing at night but rather dowdy and dead during the day, I decided to give it some life!




I just cut out the leaf shape and glued them on using spray adhesive - sprayed into a pot and then used a paint brush to individually glue on each leaf! (I have way too much time on my hands!)



So there you have my creation - amazing to think it is all out of just 1m x 1m but all that is left is this tiny pile!


If you think 4 weeks ago it looked like this


More on the whole make over SOON!
Now it looks like this!!


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Fathers Day with #TruprintDads

It is with my greatest pleasure to hand over my blog to my brilliant son, Evan-Eric who is going to tell you all about his experience with Truprint and buying his Fathers Day gifts...

TRUPRINT Dads!

 Hi my name is Evan. I am very happy Mum has chosen to let me write on her blog. I really appreciated the book she made me for Mothers Day about my Nanny Pat and it brought back some really good memories of us all. So I was so happy when I got the chance to do similar for my Dad.

 I went out with Mum doing some photography as I love taking photographs and using my favourite platform - Instagram! We spent the afternoon taking shots of my Dad's work place. He restores Volkswagens for his living and he loves his job. Not many adults say that! He will be soon moving home and I wanted to make something on Truprint that he could have as a house warming gift and be useful so the coasters (which he uses a lot) are awesome!

I found the upload very easy to use and it is quick and easy to understand the instructions.

Then you just pick which uploaded shots you like - I went for 6 shots at 14.99


This left me some money to play with so I really like the collage wood panel 14 x 11" for 27.99 and I chose 3 photos of Dad and me at various stages of my life (no front teeth in one shot) and I could upload these easily from Facebook which is an amazing feature. I would really like to be able to directly print from instagram too Truprint (PLEASE)



I would recommend this company for any gifts you need!

Thank you for this opportunity Truprint and I hope Mum will let me show you them when they arrive  :) I won't be seeing my Dad until dinner on Monday evening so I will take some photos of him with his gifts then!

Thank you so much Evan! I am really envious of your natural eye for a good photo!

Father's Day is on 21st June this year. There are lots of personalised father's day gifts to choose from on the Truprint website including cards, mugs and gifts for the office. The last date for orders from Truprint is Monday 15th June. You can get up to £30 off your order using this code:  LOVEMYDAD 

Terms and conditions:-
  1. Code LOVEMYDAD gives £10 discount on order £20-£49.99 and £30 discount on orders £50 or more
  2. Minimum spend does not include P&P charges
  3. Offer is valid until midnight 15th June 2015.
  4. Offer is valid for single use during the promotional period and to customers residing in the UK on Truprint.co.uk only.
  5. P&P charges will apply
  6. Offer cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer or on pre-paid prints.
  7. Please allow an additional 1-2 delivery days during this promotional period.





This is a collaborative post as we received credit to use on the Truprint site, this is however my 13yr old son's honest view of using the service.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

A Little Patio Paradise - Restoration Part 1

My furniture was a hazard - taking your life in your hands if you precariously sat on a bench or risking life and limb on a chair...







Action was required and quick, so to add to doing up the whole of my house I decided to restore all my garden furniture too, so that by the time summer comes I will at last be able to enjoy my garden and have somewhere to sit and entertain!

The first thing to do was to decide on colour - so a trip to Homebase was called for and Cuprinol happened to be on offer at 2 tins for £22.

I have an issue with colour - if I lived miles from anyone I would have the brightest, boldest I could possibly find but as I have people close by and some common courtesy still in me (though heaven knows why, for some neighbours) I do keep it down a notch!

Willow came out by far as my favourite - a really warm, herbal green that spoke to me of hazy summer days and warm, fire pit evenings...



So the restoration began. First I used Cuprinol garden furniture restorer to bring up the grain and remove the dirt and grime that had accumulated over the last few years.

On 3 for 2 - All Cuprinol woodcare at Homebase (as of 13/06/2015)


The consistency is like that of wallpaper paste and it goes on easily - you apply wait 15 minutes then wash off with warm water. As the wood was in a particularly bad state I used wire wool to scrub and a scourer to really clean it off and bring back the grain.


If you wanted to restore your furniture to the colour it was previously this is just perfect. Even though my furniture was almost white from sun bleach - the restorer got the red wood back through and a good wax or oil would have kept the colour brilliantly!
After seeing the colour of the wood come back I was very nearly tempted to not to paint it!






The Willow prevailed though and after the wood had dried through I started to fill all the bad cracks and chips in the wood. Cuprinol wood filler in light shade 99p for 2 in Poundland! You do need proper wood filler as it gives a flexible fill to compensate for the movement of the wood as it is used.



Leave the filler slightly proud so you can sand to a lovely smooth - in line, finish.

I use a Black and Decker Mouse to sand but if you need extra work for your bingo-wings then a good block and paper will certainly work up a sweat!



Once all the sanding is finished (see part 3 for furniture feet) then painting did commence!

Cuprinol Garden Shades - available in so many colours you would be really hard to please if you couldn't find your perfect shade!
The consistency is lovely - not too thick or thin and there is no odour, well I'm sure it smells slightly like Amaretto (that could be just wishful thinking!) It covers almost perfectly in one coat but I did give my furniture two and the coverage is amazing.




I am absolutely thrilled with it so far so stay tuned for the finished look!

I was not compensated in any way for this review. It is my honest opinion after buying and using the product.




Monday, 1 June 2015

Growth Spurt - Gro-Sure Plant Magic

I am in mid planting heaven, with most of my beans in and tomatoes coming out of my ears, things are looking very green, lush and just waiting for some long, warm Summer days!

Me too!

Summer isn't Summer without strawberries, so I have obviously got a few plants already showing fruit. This year I have decided to grow some in my patio baskets and they look lovely in with a few flowers.

I decided to do a comparison planting so I planted the first two baskets with Plant Magic from Gro-Sure and the third without.

With






Without



Isn't it just amazing? As an advertising graduate I tend not to believe everything I see but this truly works just like it says!
Everything I have planted with it so far is coming on lush, full and fast!

You can see the ad HERE

As you can see it is as simple as just throwing in a handful when you sow/plant or pot up!

Incredible stuff!

Song for this POST

I was not compensated to write this post and it is my own honest opinion after using the product.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

My Top 10 Gardening Tips! #GardenSecrets

I am quite simply obsessed with gardening. I remember as a child pulling carrots with my Dad on Sunday mornings in time for the roast and helping Mum weed (normally if I wanted something!) but now I love the quiet, the peace and the satisfaction it gives me.

I can be lost for hours in amongst my compost and pots and if I don't answer the phone I am probably in here:



Freegle is a great, great place to start (or Freecycle if that is what you have locally) to find items for your garden...

Like my gorgeous greenhouse which was put up at the weekend (thank you my wonderful friends).

So I thought I would do my 10 ten tips for anyone new to the hobby!


#1. Don't buy more seed than you need! It is really easy to get over enthusiastic and buy tons of seed - work out what space you have and what you REALLY want to grow.
Find a friend that enjoys it too and split packets etc

#2. Go to your local dump! If it has a 'sale' area or a 'too good to throw' spot and check regularly to see what gardening items are left - so far this year I have got:

Fork, spade, adjustable rake, loads of tools, Tumbler composter, 3 china pots 30 plastic pots, fairy ornament, 2 metal hanging baskets

Total cost £3.50!

#3 Car Boot sales are an awesome source of plants, pots, tools and well anything you can think of!
It saves you loads of money when setting up and you get plants at a fraction of the cost of a nursery/garden centre!

Boot Sale Bargain £3 RRP £20!!


#4 Make your own compost. You can make compost in all manner of containers from bags to buckets to large bins and wooden structures. I have 2 wormeries, 3 composters and a huge bag (the sort you fill instead of a skip) all cost me nothing to set up and the compost is AMAZING!

#5. WEED - I cannot stress  this enough! Every weed you pull out is one less later in the season and is worth the effort. Do not just rotovate it all in, spend the prep time and dig it out and then dig it over again!



#6. Get your children growing! Even if you don't have a garden - Ev and I didn't until he was 5, we planted a lemon pip together when he was 2 and grew it in our flat kitchen, planted a few potatoes in a tub... he LOVED it and even though he just about acknowledges me going on about my veg now, hopefully one day he might try it again (he certainly eats more veg because of growing it when he was little) you could even just do cress on some kitchen roll!




#7.  Mulch! I use all my Autumn leaves for mulch which helps to hold moisture and keeps weeds away. Make sure you investigate what trees you have and the best way to use them.

#8. Grow veg that cost a lot to buy. I worked out I saved an absolute fortune last summer just from the few varieties I grew. I love peppers, french beans and corn on the cob!

#9. Join a local gardening group or even an online forum. You will find a wealth of tips and knowledge and can swap/help each other no end! Which leads me on to my top tip....


#10. Seek out and make friends with the oldest gardener you can find - seriously hang out at your local allotment and TALK to them, they love passing on their tips and will willingly offer up any help they can!


Song for this POST