Support Handmade Small Businesses this Christmas

This year, I decided to take the plunge and apply for a Christmas design and craft pop up shop located in Bantry, Co. Cork.  This was really on a whim and I didn’t  really think it through, to be honest and after a few pushes from himself, I emailed my application form off.

To say I was delighted, would be an understatement, when I got accepted, but then the panic set in and off I went painting, gluing and stitching like a mad woman!

The shop is branded under Forest and Flock and has lots of Irish artists and Irish made products.  Its doors are opening November 25th for a period of 4 weeks.  Maeve and her team are showing progress on Facebook and Instagram, so please have a look and support myself and the other makers.

Here’s a few things that I will be showcasing.

And finally Aisling from Moo Market in Dublin, will be selling some of my pieces in her lovely shop located in Stoneybatter, Dublin.   Aisling is a big lover of handmade and regularly supports and sells other Irish crafted goods, in her shop.  I’m honoured to be included amongst these makers. Thanks once again to Aisling.  If you want to follow Aisling, she regularly posts on Instagram and on Facebook.

Here’s a few peeks to what I supplied.

So Christmas is nearly upon us and people are shopping for friends and family, I hope you will support hand crafted goods and the makers.  The love and passion these people have for their work is second to none and every purchase you make with them, really does make their day.

Not just in Ireland but I know makers from all over the world , and you can find them on Etsy, Folksy, Not on the High Street and I’m sure in your own local town, so give this a thought when you are buying that special gift.

My Etsy shop is here

Till next time !

Maura

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Jewellery Box make over with Folk It techniques

My 10 year old niece asked me to spruce up her jewellery box recently.  I happily obliged.  She is a big fan of what I do and loves a visit to my craft room.

Here’s the before pictures, it was just a plain black box.

Using Folk It kits to make over a jewellery box

Using Folk It kits to make over a jewellery box

Using Folk It kits to make over a jewellery boxShe gave me free reign and off I went.   I decided to try out some folk art, using a kit I got ages ago from Folk It.  I did a Valentines post using one of their kits before, you can catch up here and I used it in this post when I was upcycling some Kilner jars.

First, I gave it a coat of Bin Zinsser,  to help adhere the paint.  Then I used some chalk paint I had on hand.  This one was  a tester pot of Rust-Oleum, in Winter Grey. I gave it two coats and lightly sanded between.  Then I got my folk it kit out and did a few practise runs just to refresh my memory. I love the dotty design they use, and it’s a really simple one to try out, especially for beginners. I just used a combination of colours I had on hand, no special paints required. I gave it a coat of varnish to seal at the end.

Using Folk It kits to make over a jewellery box

Here’s the finished result.

Using Folk It kits to make over a jewellery box

Using Folk It kits to make over a jewellery box

 

For more of these fabulous kits, please hop over to Folk It.  The girls are great to help and you can find them on social media where they regularly post updates and peeks of their work and kits.

Till next time !

Maura

Using Folk It kits to make over a jewellery box

Halloween Embroidery Hoop – Free Pattern

Free Halloween Embroidery PatternIts coming to that time of year again.  Yes Halloween is just upon us, although the shops have been throwing it in our faces since September!

This is a quick hoop I did, for a friend, who’s mad about Halloween.  I decided to share it here, if you want to have a go.  It’s pretty simple,  I used back stitch for the lettering and just cut out the shape of the ghost using some scrap white felt and whip stitched it onto the fabric.

Free Halloween Embroidery Pattern

Free Halloween Embroidery Pattern

 

 

Here’s the template, its sized to fit a 6inch hoopFree Halloween Embroidery Pattern

 

 

 

Have a spooky Halloween, till next time !

Maura

 

Free Halloween Embroidery Pattern

An end of summer crafty catch up

I have been meaning to catch up on my blog but it’s just been one thing after another.  So I thought, I would actually sit down and see what I have actually done this past while.

Summer time, brought the holidays and of course the kids were at home, but I did manage to do a few projects, that is to say in between ferrying them here and here and constantly having to feed them and stop them fighting.  Of course visitors just seem to call, whilst you are in the middle of painting too, don’t they!

My last few posts were on the big revamp of the kids playroom, really happy with how that went.  I broke it down into five parts.  Just click on the pictures below if you fancy a read.

Upcycling an old bookcase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playroom revamp part 3 - upcycling an old chest box with a geometric design

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using patterned paint rollers on your walls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortune

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really pleased that Colourtrend shared my post on the bookcase on facebook, yay!

Speaking of facebook, I finally sat down one day & published The Messy Brunette there.  Not sure what to really expect from it as it’s not my favourite social media.  If you are a regular user, please come and say hi.  Speaking of social media, I am still active on Instagram and Twitter, so if you prefer these, do pop over.

We went on holidays to Wexford back in July.  I have only been there once, years ago, at a Tommy Tiernan gig but have to say, we really enjoyed our stay.  We stayed at the Talbot Hotel, which I would highly recommend.  Here’s a few pictures, we actually had great weather as well.

 

Quietly working away on my Etsy shop,  things were slow during the summer period but it gave me time to tidy up a few things and streamline the products, I offer.  Selling handmade is hard work and an eye opener, learning lots from my first year of selling.  I managed to design and list some pretty laser cut jewellery.  I would love to try more but for now, sticking with these pieces.

As for the embroidery, I am still working away, I just really love it! Trying out some of my own lettering and drawings, thanks to Peggy Deans books.  Have you discovered these yet? They are great for people learning to draw or just to brush up on your skills.  You can have a look at her website,thepigeonletters.com for inspiration.

I have found some of the Irish themed hoops sell well abroad and I have gotten some rude requests, which I love! Here’s a few hoops I have been working on.

I have neglected my crochet a bit lately, but i am working on a shawl/scarf, using Scheejes whirl, have your tried this yarn yet? I still have the spice of life cal blanket on to go too! I really should get a move on with it though.  I  have been trying out a few pieces of jewellery combing some crochet but I’m afraid I can’t show these just yet. So here’s a picture on the shawl.

 

 

Lately I attended a workshop with Joanne of Kyle Lane, it was a follow up on her furniture techniques one.  As usual, it was a great day and I came away with a little locker.  You can find Joanne’s website here.

Now that the kids are back to school, I have been messing around with some Christmas designs, I know, I know the C word!!  I wont say much on them, but you will see in time.  Also been toying around with the idea of a newsletter, its on my list ! Is it something you have? Any tips?

That’s about it for now, till next time !

Maura

 

Playroom Revamp Part 5 : Decor & Bits

Part 1 – Upcycled Bookcase.
Part 2 – Upcycled Cot/Hanging Rack.  
Part 3 – Upcycled Chest Box.

Part 4 – Using Patterned Paint Rollers.

Have you caught up or are you fed up?! This is my last post on this project. Just the last few finishing touches really.

Out went this table and chairs. The table top was decoupaged with some paper, but one of the kids had ripped it off.  The chairs were big and clumsy, so they went.  In there place, we sourced this table and bench, in Ikea.  It’s long and has loads of room and doesn’t take up too much space.  The bench is ideal for when little buddies come over, as there is loads of room.

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortune

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortuneI wanted this space to be a crafty space for the kids ( and me if I’m honest !) so we put up some shelving and labelled it, so at least I know whats stored or hidden away from small hands.  I got some little white buckets, in IKEA again, cheap as chips, stuck on some washi tape, where they now are storing their colouring pencils/pens etc.  I got some coloured frames and used them to hang their drawings and pictures.  I had the magnetic board and cork board, again these were from IKEA.  I used this space as their craft area and its perfect.

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortune

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortune

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortunePlayroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortune

Another purchase form IKEA was this little book case, perfect for their books and I can put it under the table out of the way. I used some spice rack holders for colouring book holders and decorated with some washi tape again.  I decorated the little cubby box thingy with a geometic design and it now sits on top of the table, perfect for little cars and trashies.

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortune

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortuneTo give the table the faux marble look, I had some sticky paper stuff from sostrenegrene  You just literally peel off the backing and stick to the table.  It just takes the white bland look off the table and you don’t see the marks as easily ! Its washable too.

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortune

Some pictures were hung at last and the chair got a new throw.

All in all, very pleased with the result and so far the kids are liking it and minding it but we will see how long that lasts!

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortune

Till next time !

Maura

PS this is not a sponsored IKEA post, I can only dream ha !

To see my other follow up  posts on this revamp, have a look here – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

Playroom revamp - decor and those last minute touches that wont cost a fortune

 

 

 

 

Playroom Revamp Part 4 : Patterned Paint Rollers

If you want to catch up on part 1 to read about my upcycled bookcase, click here.  For part 2 click here to read about my upcycled cot/hanging rack and for part 3 upcycled chest box, click here.

Ok, getting back to the room, it  badly needed a paint , as my kids are very  hands on, meaning they like to draw and scribble on my walls!.  This job, really needed to be done. The room was originally just painted white. So I decided to leave it white and freshen it up but to use my patterned paint roller in a different colour.  ( this would help hide any future scribbles I thought !)

If you are not sure what I am talking about when I mention these rollers, they are a roller with a pattern on them, you just paint on your design.   On first impressions, you think it resembles wall paper or even a hand painted design.  I found these online ages ago and they have been sitting on my shelf waiting for a project.  I have two but I decided to use the Tussock design for the playroom.  You can get the rollers from The Painted House on Etsy, and she gives great advice and tips on how to use them. Just click here  to see or just visit the website 

Using patterned paint rollers on your walls

We tested the pattern out first, on the back of the bookcase no less ( see below)  I thought the design was pretty nice.  So himself decided to get in on the action and took the lead on this project.  There is a knack to it and to be honest our lines are not very straight but I do like the effect it gave.  Some lines were not as dark.  But you can go back over these yourself later on with a brush if you wish.  The top of the wall, where it meets the ceiling also needed to be tidied up.  But because this is a busy pattern you can’t really see the mistakes unless you point them out.  Most people when they see it, think it’s wall paper at first, but I say I hand painted it ha 😉  Can you spot the mistake on the second picture below ?!

Using patterned paint rollers on your walls

Using patterned paint rollers on your wallsHere’s a section of the wall.  You can see the bits where the roller doesn’t quiet meet  the skirting board, but I filled these bits in myself  later on.  What do you think ? We used some paint we had in a light grey, it is recommended you use emulsion paint with them.

Using patterned paint rollers on your walls

 

Each roller is reusable and interchangeable, and can be used with either the fabric applicator or the wall & paper applicator.  Yes, did I mention you can use these on fabric!!  I think they would be great to use on furniture too and what about trying them out on some wrapping paper, so many ideas with these.  When you are buying the rollers, you need the applicator so don’t forgot that.

 

 

I know the walls are not prefect,  but hey  it was my first time trying these rollers, I really like the effect and plan on using them more. You know what they say, practice makes perfect.

 

Till next time !

Maura

To see my other follow up  posts on this revamp, have a look here – Part 1, Part 2 Part 3, Part 5

Using patterned paint rollers on your walls

 

 

 

 

 

Playroom Revamp Part 3 – Upcycle Chest Box

Just click on part one and part two to catch up.

You are probably wondering, how many things, in my house, do I have to upcycle at this stage! Yes, I am beginning to wonder that myself ha!

This will be a quick post I promise.  I really liked doing this one as it was such a nice day outside, perfect for sanding.  I do like using a sander !

Here’s a before shot.  This box was just one of those old pine boxes they used to giveaway with coupons in the Centra/  SuperValu stores years ago.  It was painted a few times and I used some stencils on it the last time.  It was dirty and the lid had come off, so out with sander and off I went.

Playroom revamp part 3 - upcycling an old chest box with a geometric design

Here’s what it looked like after I sanded and cleaned it off. The grain came up pretty well I thought.  It was a bit battered and had some knocks but that only adds character .. right ?!

Playroom revamp part 3 - upcycling an old chest box with a geometric design

Right now I am liking this look, so I decided to not paint it, what you say! yep …… but of course I couldn’t leave it just naked now could I?!   So I painted on some geometric little designs with paint I had on hand. These were just pencilled on, I then used frog tape to mark off the areas I wanted to paint.  You just peel off the tape, after you have painted. You should then get sharp lines.  This stuff is brilliant and I came across it when doing one of Kyle Lane’s workshops.

Playroom revamp part 3 - upcycling an old chest box with a geometric designPlayroom revamp part 3 - upcycling an old chest box with a geometric design

I painted a bigger shape at the sides and left the back alone as it was going to be up against a wall. Two coats of clear matt varnish to seal it and its done.

Playroom revamp part 3 - upcycling an old chest box with a geometric design

Here it is all finished.  I left the lid off as this had caused many a wail, as little fingers got stuck…ouch!

Playroom revamp part 3 - upcycling an old chest box with a geometric design

 

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooksTill next time !

Maura

To see my other follow up  posts on this revamp, have a look here – Part 1, Part 2, Part 4, Part 5

Playroom revamp part 3 - upcycling an old chest box with a geometric design

 

 

 

Playroom Revamp Part 2 : Upcycled Cot into a Hanging Rack

If you want to read Part 1 on my painted bookcase, just click here.

Ok, still with me on this project ?  Good here we go …

Next up, I wanted something to hang stuff from, you know all the kid crap that likes to lie on the floor and has no place.  Because our back door is beside the playroom, they tend to traipse in through the house and look for hats, scarves, wellies, hurleys, helmets etc etc  Of course these things are never where they should be! So I remembered, I still had our old baby cot in the garage.  Now I did use the headboard for a project back ages ago, you can read about it here.

So I decided to use the other part of the cot for this project. Here’s a picture of the cot before I did anything.  I was just cleaning and prepping it here, funnily enough on another cot – don’t ask!

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks

 

When I started, I was going to try a geometric pattern on it, see here …..

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooksPlayroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks

but I didn’t like the colours against the blue so I scrapped that.  I really wanted to use up the paint and materials I had, the last thing I wanted to do was buy more stuff!

Then I decided to use some paper. I was undecided on what paper to use.  I used Instagram stories, where I showed a few different papers and people there seemed to prefer this paper.  Its called Brighton Pier.  It was a roll I had for ages, yes just one roll!

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks

 

Lastly,  I just screwed in some hooks, that I had from Ikea.  Then I  got himself to actually screw the cot itself, into the wall and now all the crap is hanging on this and not on the floor. Result!

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks

 

Here it is all finished …Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks

 

Please note: I did wash and clean down the cot before I started. I used Bin to prime it for the paint.  The paint I used was a test pot of Valspar.   This apparently has a primer built in.  I used some Mod Podge to glue and seal the paper.

No children were harmed during this project 😉

Till next time !

Maura

To see my other follow up posts on this revamp, have a look here – Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Playroom revamp - part 2: up-cycling an old cot into a hanging rack, using some paint, paper and some hooks

 

 

Playroom Revamp Part 1 : Upcycled Bookcase

I recently did a major revamp of our kids playroom.  It had gotten old and tired looking and there was crap everywhere.  My hands were itching to do something and so, when the good weather hit, I got started.

I showed a lot of my progress on Instagram stories and I got good feedback.  I am going to break my process down in the next few posts, as it would probably take too long, in just one post!

It started with this book cabinet. I originally painted it years ago for the kids with yellow chalk paint.  It was one of those dark mahogany coloured cabinets that everyone’s mother seemed to have back in the day.  It was never prepped or primed and to be honest it showed and with the kids using it, it didn’t last the pace.  So I decided to give it a major over haul.  My before picture is not great, of course I forgot to take a decent one before I started, but you get the gist.

Playroom revamp - part 1: up-cycling an old bookcase with some paint.

 

Firstly I had to get off the wax, so I used good old methylated spirits.  This stuff is good, but be warned, open your windows and doors, it will give you a headache!  I then sanded it back a bit to give the new paint some key to work with.  I then applied undercoat.  I decided to use Colourtrend satin wood in shades of Beade and Blue Roan, basically two different blues. And here it is ….

Playroom revamp - part 1: up-cycling an old bookcase with some paint.

Really happy with how it turned out.  It took a lot of elbow grease, as they say.  Getting the wax off was a pain, as I was practically high from the fumes, but this stuff works.  (I have since discovered my local hardware shop supplies Krud Kutter and will try this the next time)  It took 2 coats of paint to get  good coverage.  I really like how the blues turned out.  What you think ?

Till next time !

Maura

PS, if you wan to read more about my playroom revamp, have a look at these posts – Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Upcycling an old bookcase

 

DIY Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Yes, its coming to that time of the year again, some of us will be breathing a sigh of relief, a break from the routine of car taxing and lunch box making. Don’t you just hate making lunches, or is that just me! Others maybe having a silent scream of having the kids all day.  I am somewhere in the middle 😉

Teacher appreciation gifts seem to be the thing these days and as my two are finishing up, I decided to make my own. So I am going to share these little DIYs with you. They are simple enough to make and won’t take up too much of your time. Result !

Here they are ……………………

Tutorial: Teacher Appreciation Gifts - with some embroidery hoops and iron on glitter fabric, how to make these simple little glitter apples

 

Materials:

  • Embroidery hoops – 3inch & 4inch
  • Embroidery thread of your choice
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Glitter iron on sheet ( you can find these here) these are great!  you get a glitter sheet with a protective surface, all you do is cut your shape, use your iron to attach it to your surface,  then peel back the protective sheet and your shiny glitter pops.
  • Iron, Scissors, Needle

Tutorial: Teacher Appreciation Gifts - with some embroidery hoops and iron on glitter fabric, how to make these simple little glitter apples
I think this graphic fabric was ideal for this project but you can use anything in your stash.  The bigger hoop is a 4inch one, and I embroidered on some lettering. Here’s a little template for you to copy and trace.

Tutorial: Teacher Appreciation Gifts - with some embroidery hoops and iron on glitter fabric, how to make these simple little glitter apples

Tutorial: Teacher Appreciation Gifts - with some embroidery hoops and iron on glitter fabric, how to make these simple little glitter apples

These will be headed off soon enough, but i have some over on Etsy if you are more of a buyer than maker.

Till next time !

Maura

Tutorial: Teacher Appreciation Gifts - with some embroidery hoops and iron on glitter fabric, how to make these simple little glitter apples