Friday, 24 June 2011

Folksy Friday - Cool as a cucumber...

Whilst listening to the the radio coverage of Rory McIlroy's final holes at the US Open last weekend, I heard the commentators describe the golfer as being 'cool as the proverbial cucumber'. This is of course a phrase I have heard many times in my life - as I am sure you have too. But... have you ever stopped to consider how utterly daft it actually is?

'Cool as a cucumber' - cucumbers are mostly made from water, are juicy and refreshing, and when stored in the fridge are quite cold - therefore cool as a cucumber seems a perfectly acceptable simile. But cool as the proverbial cucumber?

I was just wondering how many cucumbers you had noticed in well known proverbs?!
There aren't that many are there?!

So to start us off, here are the few that I managed to create before I nodded off to sleep...

'A rolling cucumber gathers no moss'

'A cucumber in the hand is worth two in the bush'

'Too many cucumbers spoil the broth'

'Don't put all your cucumbers in one basket' 
'Don't put all your eggs in one cucumber!'

I'm sure you can think of many more - and you are welcome to leave a comment with your suggestions! I'll be tweeting the best ones throughout the day - so why not join in the fun and add your cucumber themed proverb below!

In the meantime, here are a few 'cool' cucumber items for today's Folksy Friday!

Right that's all from me for now - I'm off to make cucumbers while the sun shines!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Tuesday Tips - Room re-organisation

Do you remember back in the old days of the internet?
When you needed to know anything you used to Ask Jeeves? Now you just Google it or if it's something complicated you ask Wikipedia...

...but before the internet became the information super highway, and everything you ever wanted to know was available at the click of a button (if only you could remember what it was you wanted to search for...) before that time, books were used to gather useful information, and even before that there was word of mouth and the sharing of years of learnt experience.

I am a fan of useless information - and often find that it is much more useful than you think! I have a number of books (most of which are second hand, and often from unfashionable organisations such as Readers Digest) which I have found to be an enormous source of fascinating facts and tremendous tips.

So... I thought it might be nice to start a new regular feature 'Tuesday Tips' with the intention of sharing  traditional word of mouth knowledge and experience whilst making use of modern computer technology to do so!

To kick things off, I'm going to share some of the things I learnt from my recent craft room makeover Believe me - many of these tips were learnt after a lot of mistakes! I only hope they will help stop you making the same ones!
  • PLAN! Try to have some idea what you would like your room to look like when you have finished. Measure both the room, and all furniture that you are going to keep and check that it will definitely fit where you think it will. Don't forget to take into account things like skirting boards, radiators, plug sockets and window sills when you are measuring up. Many a time I have had to move everything back to where it started from because of a misguided guess about the width of a sofa! 

    • CLEAR A SPACE! If you are building any new furniture make sure you have enough room to do it in. Cramped conditions lead to more mistakes. Mistakes lead to grumpiness - and no-one should be grumpy when doing DIY!

      • MOVE IT OUT! If you are moving a lot of things around it is worth considering removing everything before you start. That way you can easily position the furniture and large items before finding homes for the smaller items. If everything is still in the room you'll end up stepping over it, stepping on it, moving it, moving it again, and then eventually you'll take it out of the room so you can see what you're doing!

        • EMPTY IT! Under no circumstances should you attempt to move a shelf, cupboard bookcase or CD rack with anything still on it. Always take everything off. I had a very near miss when a staple gun fell off the top shelf and bounced off my head - luckily the safety catch only came off after it hit the floor... but this anecdote could have had a very different ending...

          •  ENJOY! Don't start if you haven't got time to finish it, always double the amount of time you think you're going to need, make sure you have a lovely cuppa at least every hour and give yourself a treat when you're finished!

          I hope that helped! I'll be back next week with more hints and tips

          Monday, 20 June 2011

          Monday Makeover - My room! (The 'after' shot)

          Ta da! Well here it is... the 'after' shot of my craft room makeover!
          A huge improvement even if I do say so myself!

          (Just in case you didn't see it and you really want to know how bad my room looked, the embarrassing 'before' shot is here).
          It's amazing what a few bits of Ikea furniture, and two and a half days of tidying can do!

          (what would I do without my trusty Billy Bookcases?)
          But it's not all about Swedish flat pack furniture - oh no! Whilst Ikea is a fantastic source of storage solutions (I also got my button jars and my cardboard boxes from them), this wouldn't be a craft room if it didn't have a few creative touches here and there!

          This shelf shows a collection of my favourite things all in one place:

          Here are a few of my favourite things!
          1. My piggy money box... it's spotty, it contains money and I painted it myself
          2. My pirate... it's playmobil and it's a pirate - surely I don't need to say anymore?!
          3. My mushroom light... with added toadstools - red and white spots (just like my kitchen!)
          4. My beautiful storage boxes... they were originally used for Sanctuary gift sets (also my favourite!), they have been recycled,  and are now full of buttons and ribbons that I have salvaged from worn out clothes that are too old to be donated to a charity shop!
          I am a big fan of re-using, recycling and re-inventing, and the same goes for the storage I use in my room. Here are a few more inexpensive creative craft storage solutions that I have used:

          Takeaway pots put to good use! Think I may need some more very soon...
          Charity shop basket - now a knitting basket!
          An old mug - now covered in orange spots and used as a pen tidy!
          Another basket - this time painted and used as a 'Lucky Dip' basket!
          Plastic shoe boxes are just perfect to store my finished stock!
          Mmmm... Buttons!
          I am so pleased with the finished result - I feel I have achieved a pretty but practical craft room makeover! I'd love to know what you think - and if you have any other ideas how to re-use and recycle household objects to make interesting craft storage please feel free to leave a comment!

          Also... tune in on tomorrow for my first 'Tuesday tips' 
          to hear some of the lessons I learnt whilst re-organising my craft room! 
          Maybe if you follow them it will help your re-organisation be quicker and easier than mine was!

            Friday, 17 June 2011

            Folksy Friday - Lavender's Blue...

            'Lavender's blue dilly dilly, Lavender's green...'

            ...except I rather thought that Lavender was, well, a lilacy, purpley, lavender sort of colour!

            Nevermind - wherever the origin of the song, or whatever the reason they chose to think that lavender was green, I shall carry on regarding lavender as part of the purple family - not least because that is the name I have given to my latest colour themed collection of items that I have recently designed!

            The Lavender Collection

            Here are a few close up pictures of some of the purple, lilac, lime green and cream brooches and corsages that are now available to buy from my Folksy shop

            But if brooches aren't your thing, (but if they're not, they really should be!) here are a few other handmade lavender items from other Folksy sellers:

            Monday, 13 June 2011

            Monday Makeover - My room! (The 'before' shot)

            First - a disclaimer... 

            My room does not always look this bad! It quite often looks half as bad as this - that is to say pretty messy, but definitely not usually this bad!

            This environment is shocking, embarrassing, and not at all conducive to working creatively 
            (or safely, given how clumsy and accident prone I can be!) 

            Soooo..... I have a plan!

            I am a massive fan of storage, and I already have a good selection of pots, tubs, jars, shelves, boxes, nooks and crannys in which to beaver things away - but clearly it is not enough! (of course this mess is nothing to do with me - just lack of storage!)

            It is obvious to me that I need more shelves... more workspace.... and more lovely storage...
            I can feel a trip to a certain Swedish Blue and Yellow Superstore coming on...!

            Watch this space for the amazing transformation of 'My room!'

            Friday, 10 June 2011

            Perfect Packaging...

            Just a quick blog post today to let you know I have finally taken the plunge and listed some of my pretty pink packaging on Folksy! It's been available through Facebook and at craft fairs for a while now, and as people seem to like it, I have decided to add it to the Folksy shop!

            All items are available from my Folksy shop - click here

            The wrapping paper is available in 5m, 10m and 20m lengths, and the 
            tissue paper comes in packs of 10 sheets or on rolls of 25 or 50

            If you only want a small amount why not try the Gift Wrap Set?

            Each set contains 2 sheets of Wrapping Paper, 2 sheets of Tissue Paper, 
            2 Handmade matching Gift Tags and 2m of pink/purple twine. 

            Feel free to message me if you would like a different combination of tissue and gift wrap 
            and I'll create a custom listing just for you!

            Monday, 6 June 2011

            Monday Makeover - Wooden Fireguard Part 3

            Ta da! All Finished! I can now reveal the full effect of the makeover!

            From this..

            to this...

            To the finished piece!
             And being put to good use on Sunday at the Reetsweet Craft Fair in Leeds...

            Friday, 3 June 2011

            Roll up, Roll up, The Circus is in Town!

            A lot of the books I have read recently seem to have featured a circus. Not the bright, loud, electric version that stops off at your local field once a year, but the run-down, faded from glory, slightly sinister type that is populated by a motley crew of 'other worldly' characters.

            Despite the fact that the literary symbolism of using a shambolic travelling circus, full of 'unusual' people that have come from 'elsewhere' is so obvious it's a bit like being hit over the head with the strong man's dumb bell, I still love the descriptions of these people and places. As a reader you are free to see the romance in the setting and  every time your protagonist encounters the shady world of the circus it adds a frisson of danger that is so exciting when you know that you are sitting at home, safe on your sofa!

            I know I am not the only one to have noticed these descriptions  - there are plenty of depictions of the circus available on Folksy. For today's Folksy Friday I have picked a selection of my favourites - items that encapsulate the weird and the wonderful, the moody and the macabre and the kooky and quirky...

             Just click on the pictures to be transported to the sellers shop

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