I spent this morning making these fun Easter crackers for our Easter breakfast table, and I just love how they've turned out!
They are really easy to make, I will show you how:
Use your empty toilet rolls to create the shell of the crackers, and use any napkins, tissues or gift wrap you have to decorate with... There's two other things you will need for this make, the first is THE CRACKER SNAPS...I ordered mine from here
Second, You will need to cut some A4 paper to create those neat cracker ends...I have done the hard work for you and measured out where to cut the paper to fit an average toilet roll:
I have created this template for you, to make the first step easier:
Cracker template...click, save to your computer and print
First, use a scalpel to cut out the diamonds on the template..
If your toilet roll is extra large, you may have to elongate the diamond shape...
Attach the template to the toilet roll with double sided tape (Or you could use glue, but tape is less messy). The cut out diamond shapes should sit outside the edges of the toilet roll.
Cut a piece of tissue paper, or napkin to fit, about 2-3cm over the edges of the ends of the toilet roll.
Roll it on and secure in place with some double sided tape.
Use some string to tie off one end of the cracker.... Trim off any excess paper.
Place the cracker pull inside, then fill with treats...I chose little Easter stickers, Little chicks and chocolate eggs...
Tie off this end of your cracker as well...
Why not make your crackers extra special and fun for the kids by drawing on little faces and attaching bunny ears or beaks and feathers...
Create some funny characters...get the kids involved!!
I just love the little characters...
And they will look great at the Easter morning breakfast table...
Cute...don't you think?
I love Easter: Its all about spring, colours, sunshine , good food and lazy days...
In Norway everyone heads to their cabins in the mountains for a spot of skiing...
I do miss those Norwegian Easter traditions her in the UK, but I guess we'll have to create our own....
....and I think I have just found one we can easily do every year...Our very own homemade Easter crackers....
I'm not sure about you, but Easter always takes me by surprise....every year!
Yesterday I dug out our box of Easter decorations, and realised that bar a few Easter eggs and some feathers, we haven't got a lot to set the mood...
There is no denying the Yellow is THE colour of Easter, and I haven't been a big fan in the past...But I spent last night window shopping online for a few Easter-y décor updates for the home, and I have curated this Seasonal Home accessories collage I just had to share with you all today:
I admit, the subtle touches of yellow has won me over!
Feels like I've been on blogging holiday for ever, not just 1 week...but now I'm back!
I have lots to tell you all about, like the furniture painting commissions I have been doing and Our bedroom makeover progress, amongst other things... But just to ease myself back into it, I wanted to share another quick little concrete project tutorial with you today...
This one all starts with a plastic bottle...
When my mum and dad went back to Norway last week, they left behind this beautiful faceted plastic water bottle...(That's how my mind works...see beauty in everything!!)
I immediately knew what to do with it!!
I'd seen Ben Ueyda''s concrete bottle vases a few weeks ago, and knew that the shape of this humble plastic bottle would make a fantastic concrete vase...
This is so easy to do, so keep your eyes peeled for lovely shaped bottles next time you are shopping, and you can make your very own concrete vase...
You will need:
Quick setting concrete mix
mixing vessel/ mixing stick
dinner candle (or anything else you may have to create a long tubular cavity in your vase, such as a thick pen...)
The first thing to do is to work out how much concrete mix you will need, and to what level you want to fill your bottle:
The easiest way to work this out, is to fill your bottle with water, then push the candle into the bottle through the top....add or remove water until you are happy that the level in the bottle will work for your vase...Remove the candle, and mark the level of the water off with the marker pen on the bottle...Now you have determined the volume of the cavity left by the candle, and to where you want to fill the bottle with the concrete mix.
TIP: Use approximately half of the water left in the bottle to mix up the concrete for a "governors geige" (A decent estimation of how much you will need to mix up to fill the volume)...
1. Mix up the concrete...not too thick, just runny enough to pour into the bottle. Pour it into the bottle and tap a few times to get rid of any air bubbles in the mix...
2. Push the candle in, and leave to set.
TIP: Try to twist the candle out when the concrete has just set, but don't worry if you don't catch it in time...
3. When the concrete has fully set (approx. 1-2 hours), use your scalpel to cut the top off the bottle...
4. Rip off the plastic bottle.
5. Leave your concrete vase to cure for a couple of hours.
If, like me, you didn't manage to twist the candle out in time, simply light the candle and let it burn down...Use the hot liquid wax to coat the inside of your vase to water-proof the cavity..
This worked for me, but if you find that the flame keeps going out towards the bottom, use a knife to cut out the remnants of the wax, and coat the inside with PVA to waterproof instead...
Sand back any rough edges on the top of your vase...
...and there you have it: A concrete vase, perfect for displaying a single flower...make more than one and group together, or you can always just stick a candle in it instead...
Not only is it a unique and unusual item of home décor....that you have made yourself, but you have also re-used a throwaway item, a humble plastic bottle, to make something that will last a lifetime!!
So next time your recycling bin is full of empty plastic bottles, pick up a bag of concrete (about £5) and make some vases or candlesticks, before taking all that plastic to the dump!
One of the questions people most frequently ask me, is where do I get my inspiration for all my projects from?
I can honestly say, that sometimes I don't even know!!
I'll wake up in the night with an idea...sometimes that idea will mature in the back of my mind for a while and other times I will get up the next day, and "just do it"!!
But I do always keep an eye out for things that inspire me:
Whether that be on a walk in the woods, out and about in shops or looking through magazines and books!
But today I want to share with you all some of my favourite online sources of inspiration:
The internet is a wonderful place, and probably my top source of inspiration!! There are so many beautiful and creative people and projects out there!
Like these Geoballs from the French blog zugalerie ...head over there for the free printable...then all you have to do, is fold them up!!
I have recently updated my reading list (You can find it in my sidebar), so that you can check out some of my favourite creative blogs:
There is of course the BIG ones, like Apartment therapy and Design Sponge where I can keep up on design trends and find endless inspiration for my home as well as projects..
Since Christmas I have become more and more drawn to Scandinavian interior design blogs, like My Scandinavian home and Emma's design blog ,that is full of beautiful images of Scandinavian style homes and décor...with professional guides to the latest in design and home ware! I also like designer and stylist Emily Henderson's blog for the same reason, but she also posts some awesome DIY projects that are worth noting!!
But also blogs like Deuce cities henhouse , that are more about the personal journey of creating a home, a bit like mine, and is a perfect example of what I aspire to do with Nostalgiecat!
Stained glass artist Flora Jamieson from Through the round window inspires me with her funny little post about her idyllic coastal life and her gorgeous work in progress shots from her workshop...and I just love her little "doodles"!
I recently started following Persia Lou for all her little and large DIY projects and her fantastic sense of style ...and last but not least I want to mention Ben Uyeda's creative blog Home made modern, that posts "smart and affordable DIY ideas for cool people that like modern furnishings"...Ben is solely responsible for my Concrete obsession!!
This easy, but gorgeous Tangram bunny art from Persia Lou would be a great little project for easter!
There are loads more blogs that I would love for you all to discover, but I'll leave it at that for time being!!
A wonderful place to get inspired, and to find new blogs to follow, is of course Pinterest :
I am assuming you have all discovered this treasure-trove of inspirational images, links and possible projects already, but if you haven't, then you really should check it out!!
You can curate your own inspirational boards, in any category imaginable, from home décor to pets or travel to food, hair and fashion to art....anything: Just check out my board Projects, to see probably the biggest pool of my inspiration!!
The other place in web-world where I get totally inspired by beautiful images is Instagram!
I follow tons of beautiful instagram accounts, but I want to share 6 (I was going to do a top5 , but couldn't quite whittle it down to 5....)of my favourites with you here today:
Diana's istagram account is the epitome of Scandinavian style: Beautiful shots of her bright and airy home...She has an eye for details and showcases her little and large DIY projects with a definite personal style. You can also visit her blog here.
Jacqui Fink is a Sydney based maker of hand knitted luscious textiles from wool, linen and cotton rope. There is a wonderful aesthetic beauty in her instagram shots of the textures of her makes that inspires me..
American painter and all round artist, Alisa Burke is inspired by street art and graffiti, and has become her own brand with her distinct style, collaborating with Demdaco to create a range of fashion accessories...Her instagram gallery is chuck-a-block with lovely snaps of her laid back , creative family life and inspiring in-process shots of her work!
Australian based ,Kim Wallace makes gorgeous ,handmade, functional and decorative ceramics for her boutique shop . Her instagram account consists of behind the scenes shots from her workshop, showcasing her beautiful ceramics collections.
Mr had been shopping for a romantic gift for me, in a local art shop, Art at 88..
He had chosen a beautiful fused glass heart....in red!
How sweet, I hear you all say!
The thing is: I CANT STAND THE COLOUR RED!!
After 8 years of marriage , you'd think he knew??
Normally I would've probably smiled sweetly, thanked him and shoved it in a drawer, and reminded my self that it's the thought that counts!
How-ever....having just spent best part of January de-cluttering and purging the house of un-wantables , whilst doing The January cure...I was determined not to start filling it with more stuff I didn't really want....
So here's the bit where you are all going to think that I am a wicked cow:
I took it back to the shop and exchanged it for something not red!!
The lady in the shop was shocked: How could I?? "He spent ages choosing that!"
I felt a twinge of guilt!...But it soon passed as I chatted away to the owner of the shop, Jenni...
I tentatively asked where they got all their marvellous art from, and Jenni told me that people would send them an e-mail with pictures of their makes, and that they would contact them if interested....
Courage failed me at the time, but I took their card and later that evening I sent them an e-mail with loads of pictures of my makes....
So that's how it all started....
...turns out they were interested in my concrete work....
And I had just recently started experimenting with folding origami shapes to use as moulds to cast up in concrete...so that really suited me fine!
You may even say: It was meant to be!!
I'd also been playing around with the idea of making bowls out of concrete, and trying to push the material to its limits with regards to the thickness....and then gold-leafing the insides of the bowl....
I made some samples and took them in to the shop the following week, and met the other half of Art at 88, Malcolm. He really liked the bowls, and thought that my origami shaped candlesticks had a masculine appeal...Whilst I was there the telephone rang, and Malcolm politely told the person on the other end of the phone that he would call back, as he was currently "with an artist"...AN ARTIST?? ...ME?? I can honestly say: That made my day!!
So off I went with an order for more stuff to make....practically skipping down the road with excitement!!
Just over 2 weeks , and a garden full of concrete mess, later, I finally brought my finished collection into the shop last Sunday!
Malcolm and Jenni started Art at 88 in 2011 to showcase work by local artists as well as their own art: Malcolm Gorrie is a fused glass artist (I think he probably made my original valentines gift....ahem!!) and Jenni Cator works in pastels.. They've created a thriving art-space selling affordable and original art.
I am very excited to now have my collection of concrete home accessories for sale in their shop!
So this is the new venture I've been hinting at in the last few weeks, and I can now reveal my collection of concrete home accessories, exclusively for sale at Art at 88 in Berkhamstead:
This morning I visited the shop to take some pictures of my stuff in there...
...and was delighted to see my concrete bowls, with gold or copper leaves , along with other local artists work, on display as soon as I walked in!
And my origami concrete candlesticks , although not in such a prominent position in the shop, stood out for being so different from the rest of the shops handmade merchandise...
I hope "the ladies who lunch" of Berkhamstead are ready for my concrete home accessories, and that Malcolm and Jenni has luck in selling my collection!
In the mean time, I will bask in the glory of now being an "artist"!
(Still makes me smile....)
Just goes to show: You never know what life's got in store for you!