UFO Number 1 – Finished!

Finished Decoupage Stag's Head

As any crafter knows UFO stands for “Un-Finished Object”.

Well, my stag’s head is no longer one of them.  It is finished and up!  It sits above the door frame at the end of our hall so that you see it when you walk in the front door.

I’m generally pleased but I think it needs a little something else…

I don’t want to draw in eyes because I think I will muck them up and I don’t know it needs eyes?

Maybe something bright hanging from the horns?  Maybe a moustache? A hat?

Time to put my thinking cap on but I’m out of inspiration just at the moment!

Finished Decoupage Stag's Head

Typographic Kitchen Wall Art

Typographic Kitchen Art Header

We are gradually trying to smarten our kitchen up a bit.  We inherited all the decor from the previous owners and we always thought we would completely re-do it.  However circumstances changed (not least of which was me giving up teaching) and we have never managed to get the money together.  Now I am finding ways to spruce it up without major investment.

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We had a set of three IKEA pictures that used to hang in our sitting room before we re-decorated.  Since then they have been relegated to the upstairs sitting room.  Neither or us were that enamoured of the sand dune scenes and they no longer seemed to fit anywhere (and yes, we still haven’t decided what colour to paint the walls!).

I love typography and I have long wanted to put some kind of outsize sign in the kitchen but not quite found the one that was “right”. So I made my own!

  • Kitchen Foil (I used the extra wide stuff you usually use for the Christmas Turkey).
  • Cardboard Boxes
  • “Mod Podge” or PVA Glue
  • Pritt Stick
  • Double sided tape
  • Mount board in the colour of your choice.
  • Sellotape
Equipment Needed:
  • Computer and Printer
  • Scalpel
  • Cutting Mat (or smooth surface that you don’t mind getting ruined)
  • Steel rule (for cutting with)
  • Paintbrush or glue spreader
  • Tape Measure
  • Blu Tack
Step One:

Decide on the word that you want to feature (mine was partially dictated by the fact I had three frames to use!) and find a font on your computer that you like.

I used “Maxxi Serif” which I found and downloaded from “Dafont.com”.  If you haven’t discovered this website it is an amazing resource for what is fashionable in type right now and most of the downloads are free for personal use.

If you have Microsoft Publisher it will allow you to have sheet sizes that are larger than A4.  I don’t so I have a programme called Serif Draw Plus.  This is graphic design software and I have the free starter edition.

This allowed me to set up a page size the size of my frame and add type to it.  I then played around with the size until I was happy.  When it came to printing the programme splits the digital “page” evenly amongst certain number of A4 sheets.

Printing the Templates

Step Two:

Print the letters out and glue the sheets together.  The printer gives a 5mm overlap to each one and I made it easier to glue them together by drawing a line at the 5mm point to align the edge of the page with more easily.

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I used Pritt Stick to glue the sheets together but then sellotaped over the top of each join to help it hold together as I wanted to move on quite quickly.

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Step Three:

I cut the letters out and used Blu-tack to put them cut outs onto the frames so that I could check the size and proportions of the letters.

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 Step Four:

I stuck the paper cut outs FACE DOWN onto some card board boxes using Mod Podge spread out with an old children’s paint brush (in my experience brushes do not survive glue!)

I stuck them face down because I wanted the templates to be on the back of the final piece and the smoother surface on the front.

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 Step Five:

Whilst waiting for the templates to dry I used the one of the pictures from the frames to mark out the size on the back of the mount board.  Because of the size of the frames I had to use three pieces of mount board (a bit expensive at around £2.50 a sheet, but the only thing I bought for this project).

Because of the price of the board I drew my cutting lines in with pencil completely rather than cutting with my ruler lined up to marks!

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I continued until I had my three pieces of backing board ready to go.

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Step Six:

Using a craft knife I cut out the letters attached to the cardboard.  Once I thought they were cut out completely I would flip the cardboard over and check the back (it is a good way to spot bits you have not cut all the way through on and catch them before they tear and spoil the finish)

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Step Seven:

I spread the roll of kitchen foil out along the table carefully so as not to crease it.  I wanted a more industrial steel finish on my final piece so I placed it shiny side up.  Again I used Mod Podge to stick the shapes to the foil and weighted them down with books to dry (around two hours).

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 Step Eight:

Using a scalpel or craft knife cut the shapes from the foil leaving a border around each one.  Score into internal corners at 45 degrees and cut across external ones at the same angle (see the picture if that doesn’t make sense, I wasn’t sure how to  describe it!)

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I then put double sided tape around the edges and folded the edges tight around the cardboard.

Step Nine:

I used masking tape to mark onto my backing boards where I needed to line the letters up with to get them in the right position and used double sided tape to secure the letters to the back boards.

I put the boards into the frames (which I had painted white with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and waxed) and secured.

Step Ten:

Hang your pictures.  This was actually quite tricky as they had to be level and it took me quite a long time to tweak the hanging cords to the right level!

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I’m pretty pleased with result. They remind me of a slightly retro marquee sign and with three letters I have limited the amount of chaos Boffin and Best Boy can cause by re-arranging them!

This week I am linking to In a bid to get some more opinions this week I am linking to; Handmade Monday and Enjoying the Little Things.

The Anti-Tutorial – Washi Tape Storage

Firstly thanks to everyone who voted for the colour of my candle sconces.  The result is (drum roll optional!)…Silver Grey to match the galvanised sign and baskets.

Now I just have to find the right paint for the job (as if I need an excuse to spend hours staring at paint charts, be honest you don’t either!).

Secondly, be warned, this is the antithesis of a tutorial.  Seriously this one nearly killed me! Such a simple idea but sooo much hassle.  Of course it didn’t help that I have been fighting a really bad spate of migraines for the last week and a half but even so you’d think I might get a break?


So this is the opposite of a tutorial, it is an anti-tutorial.  As in “don’t go near this project if you value your sanity!”

It all started innocently when I saw this fabulous idea on Pinterest for storing Washi tape in a simple yet (I think) still stylish way, courtesy of “Silly Old Suitcase”.

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We are in the throes of trying to make our shared office/craft room a workable space (as anyone who follows me on Facebook or Instagram will know it’s quite a task!) and I thought that having my Washi tape and rolls of ribbon on display might be quite a cheerful thing to lift the space (which I intend to eventually paint white).  But what to hang it from?

When we made the Up-cycled door trellis I was left with the old wooden door knobs, what do you know funky hangers for my hangers!

I tried to use the same technique that I used (successfully) for my “French-Style Door Finger Plates” (Spraying a base colour, using stickers to mask an area and then spraying a top coat).

It was a series of disasters that saw me:

  • Sanding back the paint three times.
  • Having to spray paint in a dark garage because the weather closed in suddenly.
  • The stickers inexplicably peeling the paint off (same brand, same details).
  • When I put the rawl plugs in to hang the “hooks” they wouldn’t go in despite the drill being the correct depth.
  • Desperately trying to get photos before daylight faded.
  • And finally whilst putting up the hangers one of them slipped out of my hands, bounced across the room and buried itself somewhere and could I find it? No I could not, it was really cute too, with yellow writing that said “Washi”.

So basically you have one hot, bothered and very hacked off Magpie!

I still like the idea and I think it could work but am I glutton for punishment enough to go back to it? Time with tell ;-)

Washi Hooks-1

What Colour Should My Candle Sconces Be? – Help Please!

Wall Sconces-Header

It’s been a tough week so far.  I suffer with migraine and have been trying to deal with a pretty bad attack fro the last three days so I hope you’ll forgive me if this post is brief but I really wanted to post because I really need some input on this one…

As you know from my Brazier Ash Catcher post whilst we were on holiday we raided a flea market. I picked up these wall sconces with the idea to strip out the electrics and use them as candle sconces in the garden.  The only problem is that I can’t make up my mind what colour to spray paint them.

I would really love your opinion and here is a closer shot to help you get more of an idea of the item.

Wall Sconces-2

Thanks for your help, hopefully the results will be posted on here soon!

Greeting Card Organisation System – A Tutorial

Greetings Card Organiser-Header

Up until recently we had everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries displayed on a huge poster stuck to our kitchen wall. Then I succumbed and treated us to a new, outsized kitchen wall clock (well, the other one had no glass anymore!)

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Suddenly there was no more room for the poster that had seen us through the last ten years. But how to replace it?

I kept trying to make my own, smaller version of the poster to fit inside a kitchen cupboard door but I could never get all the months to fit onto an A3 size and it became an Albatross (“Albatross, fresh Albatross”, anyone?!)

Then I realised whilst looking for a card for my Godson’s birthday that we may have the dates sussed but we certainly did not have the greetings card situation sorted! We had this huge box and plastic wallet files. Anyway, see below to see what I mean.

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I didn’t know in advance which cards we did or did not have in stock, I could not see their designs through the folders and the whole thing was heavy and cumbersome.

What about combining the two?

You will need
  • A cardboard box (I opted for one I had that was around the right size but you may find that a shoe box works well).

  • Cute wrapping paper, wallpaper or fabric to cover the box with.

  • More cute paper to make the dividers (I cheated and bought double sided wrapping paper so my dividers would be nice on BOTH sides!).

  • Thick card board for a template.

  • Self-Adhesive printable paper (or alternatively plain paper and something to stick it on with).

  • A laminator and A4 laminating pouches.

  • Scissors

  • A craft knife, cutting surface and steel edge for cutting along.

  • A Computer and Printer

  • Tape Measure AND Ruler.

Step One

If you have a stash of cards already measure the biggest one. If you are just starting a stash buy one that is pretty much the biggest size you usually buy (mine is not that big because I resent paying huge amounts for cards!). Use this as the template to find an appropriate box to use. You want one it will fit in width ways but that is at least half the height of the card to support it.

Greetings Card Organiser-14

Step Two

One sheet of wrapping paper was not enough to cover my entire box so I cut it into half along its longest side so that it would wrap around the sides and not cover the base completely (who looks underneath!)

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Step Three

I found that glue saturated the paper too much so I used double sided tape strips placed on the box (rather than the paper) to stick one side at a time. I worked around the outsides of the box in turn.

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Step Four

Fold the bottom edges under the base as if you were wrapping a present. Secure with more strips of tape near the edge of the paper. (Tip: Press down from the corner towards the edge to avoid bumps).

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Step Five

Using scissors cut slits in the paper at each corner, down to the edge of the box, slant them slightly so you are left with a small, roughly triangular shape at the middle of each corner. Using tape or glue stick the central pieces down first and then the sides. Again, put the tape near the edge of the paper.

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Step Six

Leave the box for a while and move onto the dividers (all will be revealed as to why, don’t worry!).

Step Seven

Using the thick card board create a template for your dividers. I drew a rectangle that was the same height as my tallest card and 5-8 mm narrower than my box interior (make sure you measure the interior with a flexible measuring tape!).

Step Eight

I then worked out the width measurement of my card and divided it by six. This was the size of my “tabs”.

I found something that was the right size and shape that I wanted for my tab and drew around it (in my case it was a Two Pence Piece). I cut out this shape separate from my rectangle template.

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Step Nine

I used masking tape to tape the “Tab” to the template in the correct place. I needed four of each position so I drew around the template, fitting as many onto the sheet of wrapping paper as possible, in my case six per sheet.

WARNING: Make sure that you do the correct number of each “Tab” position. If you decide to reverse the pattern on alternate dividers like I did you need to keep track of this too. I found the easiest way was to put them into the box in the correct order as I did them then I had an easy visual reminder!

Step Ten

Put aside the left over strips from each piece of wrapping paper – we will use these to line the box!

Step Eleven

Print out your sticker for dividers. I used A4 sheets of self-adhesive office labels (the whole sheet is one big label!) and cut them into the shape I wanted.

Step Twelve

Stick the labels onto the dividers – again, I did this whilst keeping the label pile and the divider pile in the correct order so that I got the right one in the right place!

Greetings Card Organiser-3

Step Thirteen

Use a laminating machine to laminate each divider. If you are lucky you can get more than one in a plastic pocket to save money. If you don’t have a laminator many copy shops offer this service at reasonable prices.

Step Fourteen

Cut out each divider using scissors. Cut about 2-3 mm out from the edge of the paper inside (this was why we made the divider smaller than the box interior). Check they fit and trim a little more if necessary.

Step Fifteen

Print out your “Event Grids” and glue one to the front of each month’s divider. Keep them fairly high so they can be seen easily as you flick through the box.

Greetings Card Organiser-2

Step Sixteen

Using my measuring tape I decided that the lining had to be 16 cm tall to cover the edges folded over at the top and cut my strip of left over wrapping paper to that height.

Step Seventeen

Instead of measuring I bent the strip of leftover wrapping paper gently into the box and pressed in a fold once I had the entire side covered. I then did the same thing for the adjacent side. One strip of paper covered the inside of two sides nicely but no more so I cut it to precisely that length.

Step Eighteen

Repeat step seventeen for the other two interior walls!

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Step Nineteen:

Write the birthdays and anniversaries of your nearest and dearest on the grids and enjoy! If I buy a card for a specific occasion I stick a post-it note on the front with who it is for so I don’t get to the posting date and forget (yes, I do this quite regularly, which is why we have spare Mother’s and Father’s Day cards!).

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Step Twenty?

I’m just wondering if I should cover the box with transparent sticky backed plastic to protect it from muck. What do you think?

Greetings Card Organiser-4

In a bid to get some more opinions this week I am linking to; Handmade Monday, It’s Overflowing!, “Work it Wednesday” at the Turquoise Home, Fabulously Creative Friday at Jennifer Rizzo and Remodelaholic.

Catching Bright Sparks – An Ash Catcher For A Brazier

We have a brazier that provides some nice warmth on chilly evenings but that gives us one problem

Brazier Ash Catcher-9

I call it “scorched earth”.  Basically the hot ash falls out of the bottom and kills the grass.

Whilst browsing in TK Maxx the other day I spotted this large metal drinks tray,

Brazier Ash Catcher-1

On an unrelated note; I LOVE that shop it has some of the best, quirky stuff.  You have to look (and try on if it’s clothing) but you can get some really original stuff.

Anyway having paid the grand sum of £2.00 for the tray I set about it with some heat proof spray paint (so it matched the brazier).

Brazier Ash Catcher-2

I started with the base and then did the top, making sure that each side was thoroughly dry before adding the next coat.

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(You may remember my impromptu “spray booth” from my DIY French Style Fingerplates).

And voilà, no more bald patches;

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On a completely different note you may see on my table there my current pride and joy.  We were lucky enough to find a flea market in France and these are one of my purchases.

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It is the most fantastic set of eight glasses and a jug in their own wire carrier that we think dates form around the 1950’s.  Each glass has a map of France in a colour and a saying printed on it such as “A home without a woman is a home without love”.  They just make me all happy and warm on the inside and one of my greatest pleasures at the moment is to use them in the garden.  Remind me again which country I’m living in because it doesn’t feel like Britain at the moment!

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What are your tricks for a happy summer evening in the garden?

Up-cycled Door Garden Trellis

Upcycled Trellis Header

We up-cycled an old interior door into a really lovely  trellis for a climbing Clematis in our back garden.  The entire project cost around £10 and I think that is it sturdier and looks better than most of the flimsy trellises you can buy at garden centres.

The cost was minimal as we already had a lot of the materials from other projects.  If you had to buy the paint etc. from scratch it would still be under £20 with plenty of materials left over for other projects at the end.

As I mentioned in my “DIY French Style Door Finger Plates” post we are gradually replacing all the interior doors in our home with nicer ones and the next to be replaced is the one in our living room.

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We have an ugly compost bin in our back garden I have been desperate to hide for a while and I bought a gorgeous Clematis a few weeks ago and had been meaning to get round to putting some trellis up to block the compost bin and allow it to grow along.

Up-cycled Trellis-4

Inspiration struck and thanks to some wonderful hard graft by my wonderful “Boffin” it became a reality.  Here’s how:

What Kit Do You Need:
  • Old interior door. (I think the panelled kind would work best but feel free to experiment).
  • Screwdriver
  • A gorgeous assistant ( to hold and help move the door).
  • Outdoor wood paint (I used Cuprinol Garden Shades in Pale Jasmine).
  • A paint brush.
  • Galvanised outdoor wood screws (I needed at ones that were 60mm long).
  • An electric drill.
  • A 6mm drill bit suitable for use on wood.
  • A pilot drill for the screws you are using.
  • A jigsaw with a blade suitable for wood.
  • Clamps
  • A work surface you can clamp your work to (a work-mate or similar).
  • Chicken wire (approximately 2m in length, the roll we bought was 75cm wide).
  • Tin snips or wire cutters.
  • Padded gloves.
  • A staple gun and staples.
Step One:

Take the door off of it’s hinges and remove all the other furniture ( I left a couple of bit on because I like the interest they added but you may want to remove absolutely everything).


Using the 6mm drill bit and drill make holes in all four corners of every panel you wish to remove. (Boffin did this so quickly I didn’t get to take a photo but you can see remnants of the holes in this shot!).

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Step Three:

Use the jigsaw to cut out the panels (please wear goggles and remember to clamp your work securely so it doesn’t move whilst you are using the saw).

The holes should make turning the corners simple.

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Step Four:

Paint the bottom edge of the door with the exterior wood paint (to stop the damp from the ground below rotting the wood).  Allow to dry thoroughly.

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Step Five:

Spread the roll of wire along the back of the door an use tin snips to trim it to length (you might want to wear gloves for this as chicken wire can be quite nasty).  You can fold the ends over to make sure that they don’t stick out and catch on anything.

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Step Six:

Using the staple gun staple down the solid middle of the door.

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Step Seven:

Again, using the staple gun staple around the edges of the piece of wire.

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Step Eight:

Work out where you want to put your screws to secure the trellis to your post or wall.  Pilot drill holes and use enough screws to hold your trellis securely in place.

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Use a spirit level to make sure that the trellis is level.

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Step Nine:

Paint the rest of the door with the exterior paint and allow to dry.

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Step Ten:

Plant up your plants as you wish and secure them to the wire with soft string or ties made specially for the job!

Enjoy your new improved view!

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I hope you enjoy your trellis as much as I am going to enjoy mine, happy summer days x

I’m linking up this week to “The Scoop”, “Link It or Lump It”, “Work It Wednesday” and “Share your Creativity”  come over and see what else there is.