Super Colourful Crochet Coasters

What on earth has happened to the summer weather?  Blankets, hot chocolate and a feel-good movie has been necessary after every dog walk – as we have returned home, on most days, pretty soaked.

With Brinks snuggled up next to me, I’ve been whiling away the late afternoons with some crochet cosiness.

I seem to have quite a few projects on the go at the moment, including an Autumnal hat and a ripply blanket, to name a few, but these little beauties have really been capturing my mood…

crochet coasters

The inspiration for these came from this post on the Haak Maar Raak blog, which contains a really lovely pattern that you can follow. I needed to adapt it slightly as I wanted an edge of original colour around the outside, but that was an easy little fix.

Anyway, I think they are the FAB-BEST!

roller coasters 1

roller coaster 2

… and because I used cotton yarn, they are wonderful insulators and will protect the furniture from all of those hot cups of tea (and chocolate)!

What projects do you have on the go at the moment? Is there anything you turn to when the weather starts to look more gloomy?

Happy Wednesday!

 

DIY ‘SMILE’ Doormat

On Sunday, I was perusing Pinterest over a cup of tea and some marmite on toast when I saw a beautiful picture of the word ‘smile’ that had been painted onto a concrete pavement.

Yes it was probably graffiti… but what a way to lift someone’s day?! If I had stumbled upon this little message while walking through town, I would have felt instantly better, as if a total stranger had given me a no holding back smile. With teeth showing and everything.

‘I completely love this idea!’ I said to Mr D-F. ‘Can I paint this on the concrete front step of the finca?’

He gave me a mixed look that took into account my love of whimsical home DIY, while at the same time portraying a sense of how painting it directly onto the concrete might be a little extreme. And permanent.

With his sensible advice in mind, I decided to give our doormat a facelift instead. The DIY SMILE doormat was born!

Smile painted doormat

My first thought was to create a stencil using this great, free, online stencil maker.  You can change fonts and lettering to match your mood before printing it out. Unfortunately, we currently have no printer. Hmmm…

So I drew one instead on paper and carefully cut out the lettering with a stanley knife (a craft knife would be so much easier, and safer, but again, as I didn’t have one to hand, I raided the tool box)!

smile stencil

I messaged Mr D-F at work to ask whether he would like gold sprayed lettering (I still think that this would be super cool) or a Farrow and Ball colour that would look a little more sophisticated.  He went for the F&B option.

After debating between Brassica and Stiffkey Blue I went for the blue.  After being denied my gold shiny doormat, I was going to opt for the brightest colour I had in my paint store!

I made sure that I taped the stencil down firmly and put some double sided bits under the vulnerable cut-out sections of the E and M. The mat was put onto the kitchen table and the cat was encouraged to go and enjoy the garden. Knowing my luck, he would have sat on it and ended up with a blue bottom.

Using a stencil technique (I call fierce dabbing – but I’m sure that there is a proper name), I covered all of the areas showing through the stencil.  After 3 coats and a careful peel of the stencil it was finished.

smile doormat in situ

Now I get the warm fuzzy feeling whenever I go in and out of the door.  Hopefully our visitors will feel it too.

Are there any other tips for making guests feel instantly welcome – other than a big pot of tea and a huge slice of homemade cake? Do you have something lovely in your doorway that cheers you? 

Have a great day x

Fabric Dog Crate Cover DIY

The final countdown has begun.

The Hound of the Finca will soon be upon us and it’s time to make things cosy.  We’ve decided to go with a crate option for his initial bed, mainly as a retreat away from the cat if he decides to get a little too friendly. Hmm.

We’ve put in some snuggly vet bed in the bottom and we wanted him to get a ‘den’ feel about his new bed. After all, the surroundings will all be very new, very strange and he may just want to sit somewhere out of sight while he ponders the situation. A soft fabric crate cover was, without question, the way to go.

Gosh, there are some beautiful ones online to buy… I was click click clicking away – ooh I like the one with the grey spots and then…

I’m sorry, how many pounds will that be exactly?

Those prices would keep us in puppy treats for about five years. So I thought I’d have a go at making one myself.

fabric dog crate cover DIY 115kb

I had completely no idea where to start. I am not a proficient sew-er by any means, but I’m not afraid to give something a go, especially if I have instructions to follow.

Luckily, I found the best fabric dog crate cover DIY ever. Do you know what was even better? The lovely Jessie from Dimplicity Crafty Blog said that I could post a link to the instructions here.  By following Jessie’s lead, the whole process is almost foolproof… I mean… I managed it. Yes siree…

Knowing that I often need a couple of tries at something to iron out my mistakes, I chose some fabric offcuts that I had lying around. I chose the outside of the cover to be all the same colour, a sort of blue tweed affair. Then I chose two contrasting patterned fabrics for the underneath of the front, back and sides.

DIY fabric dog crate cover side view 115kB

The cutting, ironing and sewing probably took me most of the day, but I was continually having to measure, check and re-design as I went along. This was due to my crate being slightly bigger than the one in Jessie’s post.

You can probably see from the picture that I haven’t sewn the sides of the ‘flap’ sections together, so that we can roll them up, depending on which door the puppy will be using.

Also, Jessie included piping and buttons in her stunning design, which really finishes the whole thing off.

‘Do you like my first attempt?’ I asked Mr D-F when he came home. ‘Don’t worry, I plan to buy some proper fabric and try it again.’

…and of course he answered, ‘I don’t want any different fabric. I like that one.’

Before he threatened to hold his breath, I gave in. Luckily I didn’t make up my practise in mustard yellow. I don’t think I could live with that for long!

Have a great day x

 

Easy Easter DIY | Pom Pom Willow

Pom pom willow

I’ll tell you how this post came about, as it wasn’t planned at all… but I’m so pleased that it materialised in my head because it has really given the Finca a much-needed Eastery lift!

I had planned to take photos of the beautiful willow with its fluffy catkins and talk about how incredible that a 3-year old tree that was a mere twig when I planted it, could now look so robust and happy and have its own catkins. So I was standing there, admiring the beautiful, long, whippy branches with their fuzzy, almost chick-like flowers and wished that I could cut some branches and bring them inside. I often see florists, at this time of year, selling stunning branches of willow for people to take into their homes. However brilliantly my hedge willows have done, they are not at the stage where I can hack swathes of branches off them without returning them to their original twiggy state.

“I know,” I thought. “I’ll make some instead.”

…and that’s where we find ourselves.

So if you fancy a bit of cheap, easy fun, just in time for Easter – give this a try. Here’s how…

(I’ll provide links to all the bits that you may need at the end of the post).

rooster ceramic jug

Firstly, find yourself a nice jug or container. It doesn’t have to be ceramic and it doesn’t have to be patterned, but it just so happened that I was given this rooster jug by a lovely friend and it seemed to fit the Easter theme perfectly! You also need to source some long twigs – I used Cornus, or dogwood twigs as they have fun, twisty shapes.

pom pom on gold sprayed twigs

If you want to give your branches a face-lift you can try spraying them, like I did, with some metallic gold spray. It’s best done outside and not on a windy day, if you don’t feel like adding a new dimension to your shoes or trousers (not that this happened to me… of course not…). As it was a cold, damp (and yes, windy) day they needed a good 24-hours to dry.

pom moms attached with hot glue gun

Using the smallest of my trusty pompom makers, I quickly made twelve mini pompoms in four colours. I chose pastel yarn colours to stay with my Easter theme. I also decided to give my pompoms quite a radical trim with the scissors, so that they were small and compact, as I wanted to make sure that my branches would hold them without bending.

Using a hot glue gun, I attached my pompoms to the twigs at various points. Some twigs held one or two, while the branchier ones looked good with three.

Et voila!

Materials:

Gold spray, Clover pompom maker and hot glue gun (affiliate links).

Have a great day x

FRUIT SLICE CROCHET KEYRING

fruit slice crochet keyring

This little piece of crochet loveliness solved a bit of a conundrum for me this week… which all started with lunch boxes.  For about a month now, I have been desperately searching for a trendy-looking lunch box to take with me on my Finca travels around the county.

I would have never thought to indulge myself in this way, except that I had an unfortunate and rather comical accident which involved a knife, a fork and a hole in my usual lunch bag (for lunch bag please insert well-used and recycled plastic carrier bag).  I’m sure you can imagine the scene!

So the search for a replacement got underway and I dismissed one after the other: too big, too small, too spiderman-y… until at last I found a fantastic one.  The only problem was that it is very very similar to my friend’s.

I knew crochet would come to my rescue and help me sort out any possible future mix-ups.

In order to cultivate the food theme, I decided to whip up a fruit slice keyring, with the hope that once attached to my bag, would allow it to be easily distinguished.

 

cotton balls

crochet circle

Without time to buy a particular yarn, I rummaged in my stash and found some lovely  Rico Essentials Cotton DK in sage and teal.

The slice began as a magic circle and increased in 4 rounds of dc (using the sage). I finished the circle with a single round of dc in the teal before folding it in half and joining the two sides together.  It was at this point, that I realised that if I had wanted to add pips to the design, I should have embroidered these on before joining the two halves, in order to hide the tail ends of the yarn. Lastly, I fixed on a keyring loop for attaching to things.

birds eye crochet view

I’m really pleased with this quick little project and am now thinking of making a lemon, watermelon and other fruit slices – but this time with a quick yarn order! Please let me know of any other funky fruit slices that I could try out.

Have a great day! x

 

Make Your Own Pompom Garland

pompom garlands

Welcome to my newest craze! These gorgeous bundles of woolly joy are sure to cheer up even the darkest of wintry days… and I currently have them almost everywhere! My newest obsession began as I wanted to have a colourful pompom garland strung up in our window, where our alternative Christmas tree is planned to go (more on that next week, I promise). I loved the idea of bright pops of colour contrasted against the painted white of the window frames.

pompom makers

 

I toyed with the idea of cutting out two cardboard doughnuts for my pompoms and making them as I did when I was at school, but after spending half an hour wading through the recycling box trying to find just the right thickness of card, I was suddenly, enormously sold on the idea of PomPom Makers.

Using these, I can make uniform, secure pompoms in minutes… which is perfect if you have a long garland of twenty or thirty pompoms to finish! I found that by wrapping the yarn tightly and winding until there was no more space gave the best results.

Using white yarn and a wool needle, I threaded each pompom so that they were evenly spaced. At each end, I made a loop so that the garland could be easily attached.

Every time I look up and see the colour in the window, it makes me smile.  I’ve also heaped white pompoms of two different sizes into a bowl, to look like snowballs… and I’m debating whether to fill a mason jar with pink and white pompoms to resemble marshmallows.  However, I think I might just buy marshmallows – they’re better in hot chocolate!

places for pompoms

Have you joined in with any pre-Christmas crazes?

 

Cosy Afternoons | Stamping Christmas Cards

Christmas cards that christmas feeling

Some years, I hanker after the glossy, luxury Christmas cards on offer in the shops.  However, every other year or so, I want nothing more than to sit cosily by the fire in the late afternoons and make cards that are much more personal.  Obviously this notion appeals hugely to my craft-loving, stationary-obsessed self!

Usually, my self-made cards involve some sort of stamping.  I love the way that an image can be repeated using different colours to build up a big picture. I also love script and typography, so any stamps that have interesting lettering are first on my list.

inks and acrylic

This was my first attempt at using clear stamps on an acrylic block and I must say, this method had me hooked! Not only could I vary the position of the icons on the block, I could clearly see where I was stamping, so my final results were much more accurate than when I have used wood block stamps in the past.

Although I went a bit crazy when ordering my ink pads, I generally used the blues, reds, greens and purples the most. I also used my Ali Edwards word stamps to print words on the inside of my cards… such as MAGIC, BEST and SUPER.  I plan to add handwritten messages to incorporate the words… like ‘we hope your Christmas is PERFECT!’

Christmas cards tis the season

When it comes to Christmas cards, do you have particular favourites that you buy each year?  Or do you have a special recipe for handmade cards?

 

 

How To Give Your Pots Some Personality

painted pot face1

I am starting to bring some of the succulents further inside, towards the warmth, as the weather turns colder and wetter. The slugs are beginning to stir again and would like nothing more than to graze on the juicy petals of an echeveria.

It’s always a bit of a juggling act when the plants come inside. Some have more specific light and warmth requirements than others and as I only have limited windows that face west or south, Mr D-F often finds himself waking up to the sight of a large palm or some other frondy-leaved plant waving around in the window by his head… he doesn’t even question it any more!

We have family and friends staying over Christmas and the guest bedroom window has an excellent success rate for keeping succulents happy over winter.  I didn’t want our visitors to feel as if they were living in a jungle for the Christmas period, but instead that the plants were an intentional addition to the room’s decor!

potface collage1

After collecting together some white ceramic pots and painting terracotta planters in various shades of Farrow & Ball, I set upon them with a permanent marker pen (I used a sharpie pen with a medium thickness nib). I have seen pots with sweet little expressions on the internet and wanted my plants to have their own personalities as well.

succulent collage

When it came to re-potting the succulents I used an equal mix of cacti soil, perlite and sand. Each pot also had a nice layer of stones placed into the bottom, to aid drainage.

pot people

They look like a little succulent family now and will hopefully entertain our friends while they are all roomies over the holidays!

Have a great day!

 

How To Bring Nature To Your Table

pinecone placecards

… pine cone place cards …

This time of year always seems to be full of great excuses to entertain.  Although we don’t have any huge gatherings planned, I wanted to make the most of the informal parties that are coming up in the diary.

On Pinterest, I have gradually been accumulating lots of ideas for finishing touches for the table. Even for smaller groupings, place cards can make the atmosphere feel much more personal.  I like to invite my friends to take away their place names as a memento of the evening.

natural place cards

Natural place cards 2

… ribbon and leaves …

It’s easy to find things of interest while out on a walk or in the garden; colourful leaves, stones with holes in them, pine cones… all make for innovative ways to display friends’ names.  Handwritten script always looks friendlier than printed letters and I had lots of fun practising a calligraphic style of writing to achieve the style I wanted.

Now I just have to wait until the next opportunity to try these out… Have a great day!

Create Some Cosy With This Candle Holder DIY!

by day

The clocks turning back at the weekend rather took me by surprise this year.  We’ve had such a mild Autumn so far that I haven’t really mentally prepared myself for the onset of long nights, log fires and woolly socks!  The evenings arrive so quickly and I am always looking for ways to cosy up the atmos and make the darkness something to look forward to.  After searching through my hoards of pinterest images for pretty candle holder ideas, I came upon this fun and cost-friendly DIY… which looked, above all things to be simple!

step by step

Once you have dug out a jam jar that has not made it into the cupboard with this year’s mass of tomato chutney, ensure it is nice and clean before wrapping your twine or string around it. If you choose twine, your finished product will end up slightly rustic looking, whereas string will give you a more clean, minimalist feel. Try wrapping the string in an artistic manner, with a few crosses and overlaps.  Then tie the two ends together firmly.

With some white primer, gently paint the entire jam jar, including the bottom and leave it to dry for a few hours.  Once the paint has completely dried, carefully snip the twine in several places before peeling it off.  You should hopefully be left with lovely, unpainted lines criss-crossing each other.

Decorate the neck of the jar with a twine or ribbon bow, before placing a normal or battery-operated tea-light inside.

by night

I must apologise for this final photo… it was very dark! Rest assured that the jar, in real life, looked so pretty and homely.  The white of the jar glows warmly, while the light shines out of the unpainted stripes.  It makes a nice addition to the sitting room cosiness!

Enjoy!