Friday, 25 May 2012

Christmas Craftalong Tutorial ~ To Do List

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to find myself juggling about 17 different craft projects, never mind all the other boring old life stuff (cooking, cleaning, blah, blah). So to help you and I get a little more organised, my first ever tutorial is a fabulous To Do List.

These are incredibly simple to make, easy to tailor to your own tastes, and use items that you probably already have around the house. My son and I made some as gifts last Christmas, so why not make some together with your kids to give as gifts this year?

You will need:

Picture frames
Glitter and / or other embellishments
Dry-wipe board markers

Start by choosing your frames. They need to be at least A5 (or have a 10 x 15cm / 4 x 6” window) but you could make a larger size if you prefer. I’m going to walk you through 2 different styles here ~ Shabby Chic and Glam Goth ~ but as I said you can adapt yours to suit your own décor, or the décor of the intended recipient.

Let’s start with the Glam Goth frame as it was the easiest!

First cover your working area with newspaper. Remove the glass from the frame and spray the frame liberally with black gloss spray paint (I used a car spray paint from my local pound shop). As soon as the entire frame is covered, sprinkle the glitter on to the wet paint and leave to dry.

I went for a heavier covering across the top edge of the frame and just a light sprinkle on the bottom. Once the frame is dry, shake off any excess glitter. You can add a coat of spray varnish if you like but I didn’t bother. Now all you need to do is print off the appropriate skull pdf, or of course you can design your own version. Cut this to size and pop it in the frame, then simply stand or hang where you need it. Tada!

And now the Shabby Chic frame

I used a sample pot of ordinary household emulsion to paint a plain wood frame. While the paint was drying I printed off some little roses that I found on the Graphics Fairy website and carefully cut them out. You could also use wrapping paper or wallpaper flowers if you have some that you like. When the paint dried I used pva (white) glue to stick the roses around the top corner. Print off the appropriate rose pdf, or design your own. Tada, mark 2!

So you can see how easy and effective this craft is. I have included the pdfs I used to make these particular versions but it’s a fairly easy task to design your own, just please do not take images from the internet that belong to somebody. There are plenty of sites where you can get copyright-free images for free, I used The Graphics Fairy for this craft. Or why not get your kids to draw something special?
Other suggestions ~ how about using white spray paint and pink glitter? Or decoupage the frame with old damaged book pages?

I hope you've enjoyed my first tutorial! Perhaps you'd like the chance to win one of these frames yourself?! Simply subscribe to my blog or comment on this post for a chance to win. Next Sunday I will put all the names in a hat and one lucky person will win one of the two shown here.

(dimwit warning: I have never tried to attach pdfs before so please be patient! If the links don't work then please let me know, I'm happy to email them to you if that helps)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Chic on a Shoestring

Yesterday I treated myself to a new crafty book called Chic on a Shoestring by Mary Jane Baxter. I try not to buy too many craft books as a lot of the time you can find tutorials online for free, and I have several bookcases which are already overflowing, but I started leafing through this in the bookshop and realised that I wasn't just browsing, I was reading it!

There are lots of step-by-step tutorials on customising and accessorising using recycled materials, with lovely photos and illustrations. The crafts are simple yet stunning, many don't even require a sewing machine, and there are even instructions on how to make your own hat!

This tutorial is for a silk-scarf top, and while there is no way I could ever get away with a backless top myself, check out this beautiful hair-do!

So last night I sat and watched The Voice (Will I Am = sigh!) and rustled up my very own Floribunda. I used some silk scraps which frankly weren't the easiest fabric to work with as they do so love to fray, but the peacock colours are so vibrant (yes, I know, bad photography doesn't do them justice)

What do you think? I can't decide right now if I want this to be a brooch or a hairclip, so I think I'm going to sew a couple of small loops on the back so that I can slip a hairgrip or safety pin through, depending on my mood / outfit.

You can buy the book in all good bookshops or here, and Mary Jane's blog is here.

P.S. Here I am wearing my lovely new . . . . .

. . . . . brooch!

One last P.S. (promise!) Here's a shot of me wearing my lovely new . . . . .

. . . . . hair clip!

I even tried my own version of the stylish hair-do from the silk-scarf tutorial, except I couldn't face fiddling about with a fishtail braid. Maybe next time . . .

(ok, that's it for now Folks!)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Whetting your Appetite

I'm so looking forward to sharing the Christmas Craftalong tutorials with you. I was hoping to get the work for the first one done this weekend but a bug had me on the sofa being all weak and feeble. I managed to finish off a couple of little stitchy bits (meet Ingrid!) but only because they were lying around and didn't need a lot of prep!
So until I can find the time (this weekend? keep your fingers crossed!) to get the craft made, photographed (ugh, my most sucky thing) and typed up, I thought I would share some other fabulous crafting sites with you, to whet your appetite.

Daily Craft is a great site full of tips and tutorials for all sorts of crafts including knitting, papercraft, and sewing. They have free e-books, and kid-friendly projects too.

Shelterness leans more towards diy and decorating, with lots of cool ideas and tutorials for gifts and home accessories.

favecrafts is possibly the largest craft ideas site I've come across. It's easy to search for crafts for specific holidays (ie Christmas or Halloween) and there are lots of free knitting and crochet patterns.

So why not make yourself a cup of tea, help yourself to a slice of cake, and  go check them out. Have a mooch around, see if anything inspires you. And I'll be along soon with my first ever tutorial.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Thrifted Treasure

Just a quickie to share some vintage lovelies I found at a jumble sale recently:

You normally only find 3 or 4 vintage shot glasses that match, and I usually buy those to make into candles, but to find a complete set like this, still in the box, is rare indeed. I can't bring myself to turn these into candles, they're too perfect! They'd make an excellent Father's Day gift.

And look at these beauties:

Simply adorable!

The background fabric is also vintage ~ a pair of sheets I found (still in the packet!) a couple of years ago which I made into a duvet cover and pillowcases. 

Well that's enough treasure for now. I have an orangey-smelling day ahead ~ it's Marmalade time in the Cheery Chicken household!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Look what the Postman Brought II

Don't you just love ordering online? You get the joys of shopping without having to get dressed and leave the house, added to the excitement of having a 'present' (albeit a self-bought present!) delivered a few days / weeks later!
As I've previously mentioned, I'm a lover of vintage, and quirky, and make-able things. Imagine my joy when I discovered this delightful kit in Vintage Funland's Etsy shop:

Brand spanking never-been-out-of-the-packet new! I may change some of the colours to suit my scheme, but how blimmin' fabulous can you get! I'm off to set up my tapestry frame now . . . .

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Christmas is Coming!

It may seem a little early to worry, but Christmas is only a few crafting months away. It's a busy time of year anyway, but when you're trying to do a Handmade Christmas that hecticness becomes even more magnified. But let's face it, we'd all like to save a little money while still giving awesome and thoughtful gifts, right?
Well, fear not! Cheery Chicken is here to help!
Over the next few months I am going to post tutorials on some beautiful, simple and effective crafts that will make a range of lovely gifts for all the family. Most of them will be so simple that you can make them with your children, so don't think you need to be adept at crochet or an expert at embroidery! After the tutorial has been posted I will be giving away at least one sample of each craft (maybe more!) to one of the lucky subscribers to my blog, so not only will there be lots of fabulous gift ideas to make, there will be fabulous gifts too!
If there are any crafts you would like to see me attempt, leave a comment and I'll see what I can do.
In the meantime, get subscribing! I'm off to work on my first tutorial, so watch this space!

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


Dorito the hen came to live with us on 3rd December, along with 3 other rescued battery hens ~ Vader, Mildred and Pexter. After a life lived entirely indoors, inside a small metal cage, our back garden was an amazing wonderland of discovery. She learned that grass tastes good, and she ate it all. She learned that it was fun to scratch in the dirt and lay up against the wall beside the lavender bush when the setting sun warmed the ground. She grew her feathers back. She chased the dog. She laid delicious eggs. On Thursday 26th April, she was attacked and killed by a fox.
My son and I were devastated. She was such a lovely hen, and we had hoped she would live a long and happy life with us after her horrible beginnings in a battery shed. The fox didn't take her body, possibly because we interrupted its attack, possibly because it's a wonder that it got over our 7 foot brick wall in the first place.
But no matter how sad I am that she was killed, I don't blame the fox. A lot of people say foxes are evil, that they kill for fun. That's just not true. They are simply doing what Nature intended, but they're doing it really well. A fox will kill all the hens in the henhouse given half the chance, because they are hunting to survive and feed themselves and their families. A henhouse just seems like an amazing opportunity to them, and they will kill all the hens so they have food to last them a few days. Think back a few weeks to when everybody panic-bought petrol because they thought there might not be any available if they went back the next day.
If you stop and think about the most disliked creatures in our society ~ rats, mice, foxes, pigeons, etc. ~ they are all creatures who are extremely good at what they do, particularly at adapting to surviving in a human-dominant environment. People forget that the rat population is only as high as it is because we humans create so much waste. Similarly, if we didn't make so many brilliant roosting and nesting spots, and drop so much food litter, our urban pigeon population wouldn't be such an issue.
We will miss poor Dorito. I hope she enjoyed her time with us, and that she is now happily scratching in the dust over the rainbow bridge. But I also hope the fox found a meal elsewhere to feed itself and its family. We are all Nature's creatures.

♥ RIP Dorito ♥