Sunday 10 July 2016

My very clever friend - Mrs Lighty

Thought I'd ask my very clever friend Mrs Lighty to do a guest blog, as always, she's got some brilliant ideas to share with you.

Thank you Nicola, you're a star ⭐️

It’s all in the Detail…

 

When the lovely Mandy of The Tinkergirl asked me to write a guest post for her, my first thought was, “what on earth will I write about that will live up to Mandy’s creative standards?!”. By this I mean that although I love a bit of crafting, I am generally a bit rubbish at it, and never have the fantastically creative results that Mandy has. Case in point were the Christmas stockings I made for Baby Lighty and Niece Browny, and on the rare occasions that Mr Lighty will watch The Great British Sewing Bee with me (you know, those extremely rare times when we’ve exhausted all the boxsets we’ve recorded on our TiVo box and there’s no football on), he will often joke that should I ever manage to get on the show myself, the creations that I’d present for judging would be missing a sleeve, have holes where there shouldn’t be holes and be too tight to fit the mannequin. And who is Mrs Lighty to argue with him?! For unfortunately, Mr Lightyis, on this occasion, right.

 

So what to write about for a dear friend that simply oozes craftiness (of the arty variety!) and often visits bearing creations born of her own fair hands?! Well, I thought about it and thought about it, retreated to my creative space (aka, the shower!) and decided that one thing I do know about is attention to detail. More specifically, attention to detail when it comes to party planning.

 

I do love a party or celebration of any kind, and tend to get a bit carried away. But over the years I have also come to the conclusion that there are three important points to all party planning:

 

1) Keep any crafting simple; less is often more.
2) Attention to detail is key.
3) Learn from your mistakes.

 

So how have I come to these conclusions? A small matter of a wedding, 30th birthday party, a baby shower and a Naming Day, that’s how!

 

And where do I always begin? With the invites of course! These are always a prime example of ‘less is more’. When Mr and Mrs Lighty got married, I deliberately kept the invites fairly simple, partly because I knew that the minute I started adding glitz here and ribbon there, I’d go over the top and spoil them, and partly because I had some ridiculous amount to make. The 3 or 4 days – yes days – spent making the pocketfold design and then the 50 or so hours we spent on the computer trying to print the inserts for the pockets was enough to put me off making invites for life. Although I loved how they looked in the end, I’m not exaggerating with the amount of time that went into them.

 

 

That said, I do think an invite is an important part of any event, as they set the theme up nicely and I believe that guests are more likely to RSVP to a formal invite. For our wedding, the invites set the feel for the day: pretty, floral, blues and pinks and plenty of rustic, vintage luggage labels. Any invites that I’ve created since, however, have been simple sheets of A5 card, printed double sided, and finished with my trusty X-cut corner rounder! For our 30th birthdays we had a travel theme. As the party was also a joint housewarming, I wanted them to be a bit quirky and tell of bit of our journey to this point in our lives. They weren’t overly colourful, but I used different font combinations to give a bit of a background story to Mr and Mrs Lighty’s lives – or our journey - up until that point. With my baby shower invites I tried to convey the theme of April Showers, and showering Baby Lighty with love, and for Baby Lighty’s first birthday party we went with the Disney Up! Theme that we’d chosen for the day. And actually, I’ve loved the invites I’ve done for subsequent events just as much as our wedding invites!

 

 

 

From here, I find it’s all about thinking outside of the box. Continuing with my less is more mantra, I don’t think you need to be really ‘in your face’ with the theme; little touches here and there are often enough. I always seem to sway towards the vintage feel for any of my soirées, which for me means scouring the likes of car boot sales and charity shops (both of which are fine with me!). So for our travel-themed 30ths, I sourced Cold War era globes, and also purchased an old road atlas for 50p which was in such as scruffy state I didn’t feel too bad about cutting it up to map bunting and to decorate jam jars to use as candle lanterns and flower vases! I’m also all about recycling party props; the globes and map bunting also made a reappearance at Baby Lighty’s first birthday party, as I felt that they tied in with the theme of adventure that runs through the movie Up!, although the rain did mean that the bunting ended up completely soggy and unusable for any future events, unfortunately!

 

 

For my baby shower, I poured over charity shop windows until I had enough vintage tea cups and saucers to host an afternoon tea. I also used an old biscuit tin as a vase for flowers because it had a shabby-chic feel to it, together with one of the jam jars wrapped in floral paper and ribbon, made by our very own Tinkergirl for our wedding day flowers!

 

 

 

I also love a bit of quirky at my parties; a little something which will make my guests remember the event fondly. For our wedding, I therefore bought a small chalkboard and chalk for each table and asked people to write a message and take photos of them holding the message using disposable cameras that we’d provided. This worked really well and our guests really had fun with it – one table even used their chalkboard to take bets on how long the speeches would be!!

 

 

Perhaps because this worked so well, I really wanted something that would produce good photos at our 30th birthday party, too. We couldn’t afford a proper photobooth, but instead I gathered together all sorts of props – poundshop beauties in the shape of coloured wigs, hats, massive glasses, feather boas, masquerade masks, you name it – and made speech bubbles with the likes of “I came for the cake!” written on them. I housed them in a retro suitcase to match the travel theme and basically let our guests loose to have fun! I know I’m biased, but some of my favourite photos ever come from that night!

 

 

 

Guestbooks are always a great way of adding to the theme of your party. As such, our guestbook for our 30th was made up of vintage postcards sourced from Ebay which I housed in a retro suitcase and asked people to hang onto ribbon. At my baby shower I asked guests to sign a Jenga block each, and for Baby Lighty’s first birthday, I did something a little bit different and asked friends and family to complete a card in advance with a poem, recipe, photo, a special memory – basically anything that took their fancy – and then these were entered into his Up! Adventure book, made by the fabulous Retro from Scratch.

 

 

 

Over the past five years of party throwing, however, I have learnt not to give away your plans and ideas too much to other people. Not only are you potentially ruining the magic of the day by giving away all of the surprises, but you’ll also get people commenting on what you’re doing in the sense of “Oh that’ll never work”. For example, we were told that disposable cameras at our wedding were useless because of the picture quality, and laughed at for the chalkboard idea. And yes, the photos definitely aren’t high res, but they are fab in their own grainy right and it’s something that people remember from the day. Also, it’s sometimes best not to be too literal with your guests on the day. If you haven’t got an actual photobooth, for example, just call it a dressing up suitcase (something which Mrs Lighty should have done!). People will love it just as much and will be encouraged to take photos left, right and centre that you’ll be able to treasure forever!

 

So there we have it, Mrs Lighty’s top party planning secrets. Oh and one last thing: cake and bubbly! Plenty of cake and bubbly will always set the event off nicely!

 

 

More of the Lighty’s adventures can be found at: www.allthingsspliced.wordpress.com, on Twitter at @MrsLighty, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AllThingsSpliced, and Instagram at http://www.instagram.com/mrslighty1504 .

Sunday 26 June 2016

A quick post about wings !

So the wings are done 


Watch this space for more of the woodland shoot building and props. Next blog will be about a headband holder ;0)

See you soon 

Monday 20 June 2016

Wings of a different sort.

So the woodland set is made. Few tweeks to be made but it's all finished. Now to kit these little fairies out! 
Should we go with tutus and glitter them, Most defiantly not said Leah. 
So what is an alternative to pink, sparkly fairies? 
Well I didn't want go to the dark side! 

It seemed that when I looked back over the fairy type shoots she had done before the woodland set, there was a consistant theme that appears, that of natural. No sparkle, no glitter, no 99p shop tiaras, very much a 'real' feel to her fairys. Imagine the fairies that Arthur Conan  Doyle came upon. 


Magical, classical, mythical little people who lived in sleeping dells surrounded by daisies and rose hips. 

So today I dropped off a ' Maid Marion' style dress and wings. Now all we have to do is wait to see if it fits in.

If you would like details and instructions of how to make these wings please leave a comment. 


Watch this space for more costumes to fit the set. ;)








Friday 17 June 2016

Where do all the hair bands go?

I love this meme 

Why ? Because it's so true isn't it?
I must buy at least one pack of clips and one pack of bands every month! 
And then there is hand bands. They end up.....anywhere! 

So when my lovely mad friend Paula asked me to come up with a hair band holder, it didn't take too long to come up with a nifty little idea. 

So if you fancy making a hair band holder here is what you need to do. 

Firstly the things you will need :

A card tube. This must be solid card and not too bendy. Pringles tubes are great or something of that strength.

Corrugated card. Again it needs to be thickish. Cardboard boxes are an ideal source for this and you  know it with be strong enough. 

Felt or material. I used sticky back felt but you can use any sort of fabric that you like. 

Scissors, double sided glue, glue gun, craft knife. 

Embellishments of your choice.


Take your tube and cover it with your choice of material. You could of course use any sort of covering for this. Sticky back plastic or glittery paper. I used a
piece of sticky back felt. As the width was slightly shorted than the tube I had to cut the end off using the craft knife. 


Then cut two circles of card that are about an inch bigger than your tube and cover them in your felt. Cover one both sides. 

Now get a piece of card and measure your tube, adding about four inches on one side and five inches on the other side. Mark where you tube sits and score this with a pencil or end of a knife. This should now bend so you have three sections.  Cut this oblong of card out - to your desired width. I made mine about four and a half inches. Cut the card oblong out and cover both sides with felt. Now you need to glue the tube onto the oblong of card using the glue gun. 
You now have an oblong open top box with your tube across it. Now glue your two circles into the front and back. I decorated the shorter end with a face using sticky letters. On the other end I personalised with the little girls name. I used all sorts of sticky stuff and tapes to jazz up the overal appearance, this of course is up to you what you want the end result to look like. 


And that's it. They work brilliantly. 

So good luck if you're having a go at making one. If you would like one made please comment below I would  be happy to make them to order . 

Have fun :0) 

Wednesday 8 June 2016

Fairy land

My last blog was to my friend Leah's blog about the magical set she wanted for her photography studio.

I thought I would share things from my side........
A couple of visits to the wholesaler gave me a lot to think on. Leah was very specific about one thing she, really didn't want a sugary, Barbie style set.
Something magical, mystical and hidden. Somewhere a little fairy could just come across accidentally was what I had to create. 

Number 1 - It had to be dull, not in a bad way in a mystical way.
It needed to be pretty, but not sparkly. It needed to be convincing. Not look like a printed backdrop. So where should I start?

Number 2 - It needed to be solid. It needed to be safe, seeing as small people were involved.
After chatting with Leah I discovered she had two pallets in her garden. Perfect. I do like a pallet project. So I had two good condition pallets and an extra pallet that would be useful if we needed it to work with.
After another trip with Leah to the wholesalers we came back with bark strips, artificial ferns as well as artificial lupins. Add to that some dried bind weed type of wood and I was ready to go.


he first small display was our starting point. This may seem odd, but if this created the right atmosphere we had a very definite direction to go in




I got a double thumbs up from Leah, so it was all systems go. Then George (Leah's husband) came up with a wonderful idea.  A tree hollow. It was perfect and getting more perfect by the second. My only job was to make it 'real'. I know I'm going on about the 'real' element, but I so didn't want it looking plastic and 'homemade'!

Two sides. One small side arrangement, and a pond. Oh yes I hadn't mentioned the pond had I! 

So my box of goodies including my glue gun, nails, hammer, tape ( always have duck tape with you, it's a necessity ) and bark, twigs, bags and bags of moss, scissors and an array of crafting knives. 

First of all to 'make' a tree. Using glue and nails I attached the bark strips to one side of the pallet to create a trunk. Because the bark had holes and splits I tried really hard to arrange them so that I had a a strategically placed hole about two foot from the floor. This would be our fairy window. Oh yes, nothing magical would complete without evidence of the really small people! Once the tree was complete, it just needed 'dressing', which is where the moss and ivy came into things. So one side of the first pallet complete. 

I now have to make a confession, I got brain block! I had sketches and had talked about what was needed, but oddly enough the ideas had all gone from my brain. Should I create another 'trunk' or more of a hollow, something sitting back? Maybe a fern corner? Oh god, what to do. I had to stand back. And look hard at it. It needed to match, it needed to flow.

Every great idea has moments like this. You run away with yourself and your ideas and then its like someone's sucked all your creativity out of your brain.
Rummaging about in my box of goodies I found the tumble weedy stuff (sorry, that's not the technical name!) would that  be around a trunk of a tree? I could only give it a try. So with some nails a lot of glue, I now had cascading twiggy stuff around a tree trunk and then ping, all the ideas come flooding back to me. Phew !! Then there was fern and moss and suddenly I was back on track. Double phew!!

Then I encountered another problem (quite a common one this) when you work up close on a project, you become sort of blind to it. To the whole picture. How it's all comes together.
So when I stood up and looked at the completed piece I was rather proud of myself. Considering i had a blind panic, the result was good.

Now what was needed from the second pallet? Maybe smaller tree trunks. Maybe a moss block. I guess a small tree trunk was a good place to start, so that was what I did. The second side flowed beautifully with the trunks just fitting perfectly with a beautiful moss block and tree root coming away from the pallet.

Now for the most important bit, to turn a rectangle mirror into a pond. This was a far more simpler vision. All I had to do was transfer that to the mirror. It's fare to say I was now in a roll. Moss with a nest attached to one corner and perfectly placed water lily flowers. All that was left was to place it where it was to go. 

I know Leah was pleased, and that is all you want when you're creating something. It's all about matching your vision to that of the customers.
Sometimes they can't explain.
Sometimes you cant translate your vision to them.
All you can do is cross your fingers and hope that your visions match! 

This is the biggest worry of the job. From brides to backdrops you hope that your visions match.

So would it work for her visually - that was really all that mattered.
A baby shoot booked in for the afternoon proved a brilliant chance to try it out. Then of course the small person has a bit of a fairy moment and then Leah ropes her son Jack in.  The results are breathtaking.

To find out more about the amazingly talented Leah, take a look at her website http://www.leahvanzyl.com/

Find her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/leahvanzylphotography

Or lastly see her blog http://www.leahvanzyl.com/blog




You can find me on Facebook as well on Facebook.




Tuesday 7 June 2016

So biscuits - don't have to take the biscuit!

As you may have gathered my blogging  is centered around my love for all things creative.
Floristry, wedding flowers being my passion.
But it's fair to say I love creating. I love to try and am happy to confess that sometimes my trying, no matter how hard, doesn't  really end with the desired results. Of course my love affair with Pinterest just spurs me onto the next project. So I never really give up, just postpone an idea!

One thing that's always struck me as simple enough to try is biscuit making. You get the ingredients, mix together, roll out and cut out and your done. Or not as in my case. I've tried, really I've tried but it just doesn't work. I must be missing something really important? Although I do like to try, I am happy to admit defeat, and to be honest 'biscuits' has been for some time at the top of the 'defeated by' list. 
So when my wonderfully mad friend Paula told me she had arranged a biscuit making lesson for the kids, there was a little part of me that thought 'why'?

Why would you inflict this tricky craft on children for goodness sake. 
I was in for a very simple eye opener. 

We visited the lovely Latifa at the Fabulicious Baking School in Loughton. 
Firstly I need to tell you exactly where it is because I'd driven past it a hundred times and didn't even know it was there. The address: 251a, possibly gives you an idea. It's above the shops. In order to get in you need to drive into Brookyln Avenue  and then park behind the shops. The entrance is up a flight of stairs, not that obvious from the outside. 
Once inside you enter the wonderful world of baking , magically mixed together by the welcoming Latifa. 
So there we were three adults and five children and all I could think of was my biscuit baking disasters. And then something quite Mary Poppings happened. Latifa started instructing the children what to do and off they went and did it. Weighing, mixing, egg cracking and a bit of needing. So far these small people where doing brilliantly and I was starting to wonder where on earth I had been going wrong. Then Latifa threw a little gem out there. Roll the dough and then she would pop it in the freezer for ten minutes. At this point I didn't realize this was the little gem and did what mummy's do and helped the children to clean up. It wasn't until the ten minutes where up that I realized this was where I'd  always gone wrong. That magical ten minutes had made all the difference. It allowed the children to simply and neatly cut out the biscuits using an assortment of cutters. And then after 10 minutes in the oven they were all ready to be decorated. Beautiful, crisp, golden brown biscuits ready to be uniquely decorated as only five and six year olds can do. 



Of course this is how you need to dress to have a baking lesson!


Mixing 
Beating 
Cutting
Decorating 😉

And of course at the end of the lesson the children ate the biscuits, a success from everyone's point of view. 

So I had learnt where I had been going wrong all this time, you must chill the dough. 

So I have moved biscuits from my defeated list to my achieved list. 

Below is the recipe that Latifa used and I can honestly say they are delicious. 

60g icing sugar
120g soft butter
25g almond powder
1 egg
100g plain flour
100g whole wheat flour

300g chocolate 
Mini eggs/sprinkles etc

Method
Sift the icing sugar on top of the buyer and mix together. Mix in the almond powder and the egg, sift the flour and mix to a dough.
Roll dough out between two sheets of parchment paper. Place in freezer for ten minutes. 
Cut out shapes of your choice. Place on baking tray. Place in preheated oven - 180c, for ten minutes. Leave to cool on wire rack. Melt the chocolate and spread on biscuits and decorate as you wish. 

For more details of baking classes and courses please contact Latifa at Fabulicious baking school. 
251a High Road
Loughton
Essex
IG10 1AD
Email: info@fabbakingschool.com
www.fabbakingschool.com
Or you can find them on Facebook 

My verdict without a doubt was ***** five star. We will be visiting again. 






Saturday 4 June 2016

A post by my friend Leah about fairies

I'm not going to say much about this just yet. Wanted to share the brilliant talents of the lovely Leah. 



I will offer my side of the adventure next week.