Wednesday, 29 April 2015

DIY Floral Bangle

DIY floral bangle
I'm over at The Pinning Mama again sharing a tutorial of how I transformed a plain old bangle into this pretty floral one.
I used paper so the options on this one are almost endless. My paper was floral Cath Kidston writing paper but you could use old books, wrapping paper, magazines, sheet music, whatever takes your fancy.
Pop over to The Pinning Mama for the full instructions and my usual "loads of photos" and "loads of waffling on" with details that I think might be helpful!

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Friday, 24 April 2015

Floating Photo Frame

Floating Frames, is that what they are called? I've been googling to see what the proper name is. Glass frame, backless frame, I'm not sure what to call them but I do know that I like the effect!
photo on glass effect using acetate and a printer

It's that time for the Pinterest Challenge, where once a month a group of bloggers get together and share projects they've made inspired by something from pinterest.
I saw a lovely idea to transfer a photo onto glass a while back from Do Small Things with LoveYou can find the pin that inspired me here. Nancy used transfer medium to put a photo onto glass - just gorgeous!

Sadly the shops round here do not seem to stock transfer medium and I wanted to try this idea for a birthday present so had no time for ordering on line. I had a look at what I already had to hand.
To make my version I used:

  • An old wooden picture frame
  • Printable transparency film
  • An old photo
  • A computer & printer
  • Superglue
  • Washi Tape

First I took out the back and glass out of my wooden frame then removed the little metal tabs that hold the glass, picture and back in place. These things: 
I just yanked them with pliers and out they came. I gave the glass a good clean then glued it into the frame with a little superglue.
My photo was a lovely one of my mum and Auntie when they were teenagers (this is a present for my Auntie).
I scanned it and then printed it onto my printable transparency film. This is just that stuff we used to use "back in the day" for overhead projectors - remember them? In those days before Powerpoint!
Slight hiccup, it came out a little bit more blue toned that I wanted. Doesn't really go with the wooden frame and it's red check ribbon.
I uploaded the photo to my favourite photo editing site PicMonkey and played about with the colour saturation and temperature until it was more the golden tones I was after. Then I printed it again. 
Much better! It's quite hard to photograph transparent film, hopefully you can see this ok (plus the window reflection!) 

Then I cut this to size and superglued it onto the glass. BIG MISTAKE! The glue had no where to go between the glass and film so it seeped onto the bit that shows and looked awful. I peeled the photo off quickly and then used a razor blade to remove the glue from the glass, I was in such a panic I seem to have not photographed this stage - what a shame!

Take two:
I printed it again (I used the glossy paper setting on the printer and best quality), cut it out again and then fixed it in place with washi tape.
I just made sure the washi tape was only on the bit of the wooden frame that doesn't show. The re-positionable quality of the washi tape made it ideal for this.
Ta dah! 
I'm really please with how it came out. I would still like to try the Transfer Medium method as it gives the photos a beautiful aged look. I suppose you could try an ageing effect on the photo in PicMonkey before printing for a similar look. I'm just gonna keep my eyes open for Transfer Medium next time I'm in an art shop.
floating frame DIY idea

If you have a moment do check out all the other projects that have been "pinspiring" this month!


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Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Succulent cuttings

Succulents are so popular right now and I think that might be because they are so easy to grow and hard to kill. They also look great which helps, but did you know it is easy get new plants from your existing plants?
succulent plant babies
I have a few succulents, some of which have been around for years. I'm not kidding - years! Last September I took some cuttings and now I'm finally getting round to showing you how easy it is. Seriously, you don't need green fingers (I think you call it green thumb in the US, is that right?) these plants want to grow, they really do, just give them a few things and they will do just fine.

First the Money Tree, also called Jade plants. I have dozens of these, we have them all over the place at work too, all descendants of a large plant my granddad had when we were little. You don't have to do much more than break a bit off and put it in compost, however there are a few tricks that will help give your baby money tree a good start.
taking cuttings from money trees
These plants can be grown in a low bush effect or you can let a tall stem grow more like a tree. I tend to let them just do what they want but that little one in the front is not looking too clever, it needs the top half breaking off which will make it grow more stems lower down and become more bushy. The bit you break off can be popped back into compost and will root to make another plant. Plants for free - what's not to like!

Ready? So just break a bit off one of the stems, maybe about 3 inches. You want to snap it off just below a line where leaves come out - this is where the roots will form.
Now pull off the bottom few sets of leaves, like the ones in the middle and on the right here:
Take a pot (ideally one with holes in the bottom) and pop some little stones or grit in the bottom - these plants do not like to get too wet, this will help with drainage. Nothing fancy though, these are just stones from the garden.
Fill the pot with compost, you can get special cactus compost but I just use any old regular stuff, and make a hole in the middle with your finger. You could use a pencil or dibber if you have one and your nails are nice.
Stick the cutting in the hole and gentle push the compost up round it so it can stand up straight. 
Give it a little drink of water and put it somewhere you won't forget it completely. You will need to put the pot inside a planter of some sort, or just in an old lid. Otherwise when you do give it a drink the water will pour out of the holes in the bottom! It will only need watering now and again.
I think the biggest mistake with succulents is making them too wet. They go rotten and once that happens there is no coming back.
Your baby money tree is not demanding but if it completely dries out (and I mean to a crisp) when it's roots are just beginning it might not make it. 
Just a splash now and again - maybe once a fortnight, more if you are somewhere really hot.

You can put several stems into the same pot, that would probably give you a more fuller, bushy look much more quickly.

Try to resist the temptation to pull it up and see if it has roots, they don't like that! You will know it's taken (that's a technical gardening term don't you know!) when it starts to grow new leaves. 
Bearing in mind it's now April, the ones I took last September look like this now: 
These little fellas need their compost topping up a bit, I'll do that in a minute.

Another succulent I have a kabillion of is Aloe, I think these are lace aloe but I'm not positive. What I am sure about is how easy they are to grow.
So, confession time, this is the sad state I had allowed a couple of them to get into.
Poor things, but look, all is not lost, they have babies round the bottom.
Tip the plant out of its pot,

then gentle pull on one of the baby plants until it comes away from the rest.

You just need to make sure a length of root comes with it. Don't panic if some root gets left behind, there just needs to be an inch or so, even this much is fine.
Remove any dead leaves then prepare the pot the same as before, stones or grit then compost. You will need to make a slightly larger hole in the compost as you have roots to fit in this time.
Taking cuttings from succulents
Cover the roots with a little more compost and press it down gently. You can put one on it's own or let it have company.
Again, just a splash of water to settle it's roots but DO NOT OVERWATER. Just give them a drink now and again. If the leaves start to shrivel then you might need to give it a splash a bit more often but these plants are designed for dry places. They like to be kept a bit on the dry side.
Here is that exact same pot 6 months later:
Lace aloe rooting babies
The best thing about taking cuttings is that you still keep the original plant. Those bigger aloes were perfectly ok, once I'd pulled off all the dead leaves and repotted them they spread out and made a full recovery, even had a few more babies!
A money tree plant can last 30 years plus and give you hundreds of offspring in that time. In fact they seem to like having the straggly ends of their stems removed, it makes them sprout more.

So to recap the main points that will help with success:
  • Drainage - the pot needs holes (or you must water VERY sparingly) and stones
  • The stem will sprout roots from the point the leaves were - make sure at least one of these points is in the compost, below the surface
  • If you are taking babies with roots already just make sure a small bit of root is still attached.
  • DO NOT OVERWATER (did I mention that?!) Once they have got going you can let them dry out between waterings - they seem to like that.
I wouldn't go putting these in a terrarium with a lid or anything similar, it's going to be all damp and humid in there.  
Succulent plants for free by taking cuttings
You do need a little bit of patience, cutting don't turn into giant plants overnight. However, they are almost free, you just need a little compost and you get the satisfaction of knowing you grew them yourself. Once you start it's hard to stop, your house will soon be full of the same kind of plant, you will start giving them away to friends, you have been warned!

update: After a few comments I just want to add these are house plants. I'm gardening outside as I am kind of messy when I do things like this but these plants live indoors. I'm in the UK so they wouldn't survive outside here, I guess if you live somewhere hot and dry you can try them outside - good luck!
You might also be interested in:
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Easy Cake Decorating Ideas
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Cake Making for Absolute Beginners
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I'll be linking up at these great link parties

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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Check and Lace Shirt Refashion

I'm playing fast and loose with the term "refashion" here but I didn't think "Check and Lace Shirt minor tweak" had quite the same ring to it. Adding a little lace has not totally transformed this shirt but it solved a problem and made it wearable for a while longer!
add lace to an old check shirt

I love check/plaid/tartan - call it what you will. At last count I had 6 check shirts! This one I've had for about 5 years, I love the colours and the frill, but it is kind of tricky to iron the frill so it lies properly especially near the top.
I needed to do something to make it a garment I chose to wear in the mornings instead of something just using wardrobe space.
I had contemplated temporarily removing the button band to take the frill away altogether but buttons and button holes don't have a huge margin for error! I've seen a lot of lace with check around the place and so thought maybe this shirt could have a little extra embellishment that could solve the "frill issues" at the same time.
I had this beautiful crochet lace in my stash, it's just so pretty.
I just pinned a length of the lace to the front of the shirt, just to the side of the button band.

The top is just turned under.
And the bottom just turned under to the wrong side.
Then I just stitched down either side of the lace with the sewing machine.
The seam at the back needed a little something too so I added a length of lace there too.
And finally I added a little across the shoulder front too.

This is actually this shirts 2nd makeover. When it was new the back was very full and gathered into the back yoke and the whole thing was really baggy. 
I undid the yoke seam, cut away a strip of fabric from the back, joined the back together again with a centre seam and restitched the yoke with the back fabric flat. I also shaped the side seams at the waist a little and added darts front and back. It is a nice fit now, I can breath and move but it's a nice shape for not tucking in. 
Sadly I can't show you that process as it was all long before Sum of their Stories started but it is pretty easy. Next time I'll take pictures - promise.
add a little lace to an old plaid shirt

So what do you think? Too much with all the lace? I'm contemplating unpicking the bits on the shoulder fronts. Does it deserve a place in my wardrobe for another 5 years?
You might also be interested in:
Lace Top Refashion
Lace Top Refashion
Stripe T Shirt with Floral Trim
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Pom Pom Scarf Refashion
Pom Pom Scarf Refashion
Star stitch Sweatshirt Refashion
Star stitch Sweatshirt Refashion
I'll be linking up to all these great link parties, why not go and have a look!

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