Mexican Paper Flowers

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What a week it has been. I am most certainly ready for the weekend, and I couldn’t be more grateful for Monday being a bank holiday. I spent today at a high school in Lancaster teaching a Maths and Science session as part of a Summer School for the new students starting in September. I always find working in schools good fun, but dear Lord am I tired. The kids seemed to enjoy it though so that’s the main thing.

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In other news, today’s post is a super easy DIY for you all. As some of you may know, I’m currently in the midst of planning my 21st birthday celebrations. It turns out that I love party planning- who knew? I guess it’s no suprise, I am an avid list maker and organiser. I know it sounds really boring for those of you who aren’t that way inclined, but what can I say, I do love a good list.

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So, onto today’s project. These Mexican paper flowers were sooo easy to make and I love how bright and colourful they are; they’re going to make perfect decorations for my party.

Here’s how I made them:

You will need:

  • Crepe paper or tissue paper, assorted bright colours.
  • Pipe cleaners.
  • Scissors.

Method:

  1. Cut your crepe paper into squares, about 4″ wide. You will need about 6-8 sheets of paper per flower. P1240636
  2. Place your square sheets of paper on top of each other and fold them together in a concertina style, as though you were making a fan.P1240638.jpg
  3. Wrap a pipe cleaner around the centre of the folded paper and twist the two loose ends together to secure. P1240642.jpg
  4. Use scissors to round out the edges as shown.P1240643.jpg
  5. Carefully peel your paper up, one layer at a time, until you create your desired flower shape.
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    Front view

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    Back view

  6. Use your flowers to decorate your home, garden, or wherever else you fancy!

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There we have it! I hope you enjoyed this post guys, have you ever tried making paper flowers? What have you been up to this week? Let me know in the comments!

 

DIY Halloween cauldron sweet holder!

Get spooky with this Halloween DIY cauldron! A project for the kids to get involved with!

Hey guys! It’s finally Friday, and my word am I ready for it! This week has been my first week back at university, and I. Am. Exhausted. It’s been hard work, and involved a fair bit more stress than I would’ve liked; but now it’s Friday evening, my lectures have finished and I’m looking forward to a bit of a lie in tomorrow!

And seeing as it’s Friday the 13th today, what better than a spooky DIY for you all, in preparation of Halloween! I have been absolutely loving creating my Halloween blog posts for you guys this month, it’s been super fun! Plus, I have a very exciting Halloween post coming up on the 22nd for you all…

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But now to what this post is actually about… my DIY Halloween sweet cauldron! I had so much fun creating this DIY for you… perhaps more fun than a 20 year old should have when using paper mache… but still, it was so fun! Creating this cauldron really took me back to when I was little; there’s something so inherently childlike about using paper mache! Plus I love the finished result, its perfect for keeping by the door and storing all of your trick or treat sweets in. It also just makes a great table decoration for Halloween!

So let’s get started!

You will need:

  • A balloon
  • Paper mache paste and scrap newspaper or paper. Find my DIY paper mache paste here!
  • A glue gun (this is optional, but I really like the effect it gives).
  • Acrylic paints

Method:

  1. Begin by blowing up your balloon. Place your balloon upside down, so the tied end is facing into your work surface. You can stand your balloon on a toilet roll tube or something similar to help with this.
  2. Begin to paper mache the balloon. Once you have covered enough of your balloon so that you have got a large enough cauldron, add another few layers of paper mache on top of this base layer. I did three total layers for my cauldron.
  3. Roll up some bits of newspaper to create the lip at the top of the cauldron. Glue these around the top of the cauldron using your paper mache paste. Once you have added a lip all the way around the cauldron, cover it with one layer of newspaper to help make it smooth and easier to paint later on.P1230528
  4. Leave your cauldron the dry over night. Once the paper mache is totally dry, pop your balloon using a pin or similar. You now have your basic cauldron shape!
  5. Now for the optional glue gun bit. If you have a glue gun, write some spooky wording on your cauldron, and add a few drips around the top! I chose to write ‘Witch’s Brew’ on mine, I love how it turned out!P1230558
  6. Now you are ready to start painting your cauldron. I used a very dark purple for my cauldron, using bits of black to add depth. I painted the top a bright green colour, to give the illusion of my witch’s brew oozing over the top of the cauldron! I then added some white to my writing, to help make it more prominent.
  7. Paint the inside of your cauldron whatever colour you like, or do what I did and add some green tissue paper to make your Witch’s Brew look extra spooky!

I’m really happy with how this DIY turned out, I think this’ll look great holding lots of sweet treats this Halloween season!

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What did you think of this DIY? Have you been trying any Halloween related crafts recently? Let me know!

A very spooky best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

 

DIY Halloween candles!

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Hi guys! Now that it’s October it feels only right that I should post my first Halloween related blog post! Today’s post is a great spooky DIY for all you Halloween fanatics out there.

Say hello to my Halloween candles. My initial intent when making these candles was just to make pumpkins, but the striped Candycorn-esque candle was actually a great way of using up the excess wax that I had melted.

I love how these candles turned out! I hadn’t tried candle making in a good few years, it’s probably five years since I last tried my hand at the craft, but I loved the process of making these beauties! It was fun and really easy, and produced great results! Let’s be honest, making your own candles sounds a lot more sophisticated than it actually is… and that makes it a winner in my book! Anything that will impress my family and friends while requiring little effort on my part gets a big thumbs up from me.

If you’ve never tried candle making before, you don’t really require too much fancy equipment to get started; although I would definitely recommend purchasing a candle making kit to help get you up and running. This is usually a cheaper option than purchasing the equipment individually, and all kits come with detailed instructions and safety precautions. My first candle making kit was this Creative Candle Making kit from House of Crafts, which provided me with the moulds used in this project. I found it to be really good value for money, as you are given enough supplies to make up to 20 different fragranced and coloured candles! Plus it makes a great Christmas present for craft lovers.

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So let’s get started! 

You will need: 

  • Paraffin wax pellets, approx 500g. You can purchase 1kg of paraffin wax pellets here
  • Wick. I found a really cool article explaining how to make your own candle wick here! Great if you want to save some money.
  • A wick rod. A pencil or lolly pop stick would also work.
  • Red and yellow coloured candle dyes. I used these
  • A fragrance of your choice.
  • A mould sealer. This is just blutac or plasticine.
  • A round candle mould and a pillar mould. This is one of the main reasons I so strongly recommend purchasing a candle making kit, as you will be provided with several moulds to get you started. If however you do wish to purchase your own, I use these moulds for my candles.
  • One large and one smaller saucepan that fits comfortably inside the larger.

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Instructions:

The first thing to do when candle making is to ensure you’re working within close proximity to your cooker. Cover your work top in newspaper in order to protect it from any hot wax that may drip onto it. 

Safety tips:

  • Ensure your water level in your large saucepan is always at least as high as the wax pellets in the small saucepan. Add more water as you melt your wax if you need to.
  • Should you wax catch fire, smother with a damp tea towel. Do not add water.
  1. Prepare your moulds. You need to use a spherical mould for the pumpkin candle and a pillar mould for the Candycorn candle. Pass your wick through the small hole in the top of your mould and out the bottom, leaving around 4cm of wick poking out the top of your candle mould and 12cm of wick at the bottom of the mould to tie around your wick rod. Your wick rod is just something that you can tie your wick to.
  2. With your candle mould upside down (so you will have a large opening facing upwards where you can pour your wax in), balance your wick rod so that it is lying across the candle mould, there will usually be two little grooves on your mould here to help you do this. Tie the end of your wick around the wick rod. Pull your wick tight by the 4cm piece of wick sticking out the top of your candle and seal this end of the wick with a piece of blutac or plasticine, this is just to prevent hot wax dripping out of the mould.
  3. Your mould is now ready for your wax.
  4. Fill your large saucepan about three quarters of the way full with water. Place your small saucepan inside your large saucepan, so that it sits in the water. Begin by making the wax for one of your pumpkin candles. If you want your final pillar candle to look more Candycorn-like than mine, make your yellowy pumpkin first. Place your wax pellets in the small saucepan, you will require around 200g of wax for the mould I used, but don’t worry about melting too much. You will be pouring the excess into your pillar candle anyway.
  5. Heat your wax on a medium heat, stirring occasionally as it melts. Add your dye. You will only require a tiny amount of dye to colour this amount of wax, your dye packaging should give you some sort of guidelines for how much you need.
  6. Once your wax has melted, take it off the heat immediately and add your fragrance. A few drops of this will be sufficient, I’d say 3-5.
  7. Pour your wax into the mould and leave to cool. When you have filled your spherical mould, pour the excess wax into your pillar mould. Place your spherical mould in the fridge overnight to aid you with removing your candle rom the mould.
  8. After leaving your candle overnight in the fridge, you may remove it from the mould. To remove your spherical candle, untie your wick rod and run a blunt knife around the centre join of your mould. You should be able to ease the bottom off, followed by the top.
  9. Now make your orangey/red pumpkin using the same process. Pour your excess wax into the pillar candle on top of your yellow layer.
  10. Now make a white batch of wax by adding no dye this time. You will only need about 50g of wax. Pour this on top of the red layer of the pillar candle before placing this candle in the fridge overnight too.
  11. To remove the pillar candle, remove the wick rod and mould sealer before rapping the mould on a hard work surface firmly. Repeat this until the candle falls out.P1230793.jpg
  12. If you wish to make your candles look extra smooth and shiny like mine, you can carry out a process called glazing. Holding the wick of you candle before you cut it down to size, dip your candle in hot water from the kettle. Once the candle has cooled, polish the candle with an old pair of tights to make it extra shiny!
  13. Once you have done this, add your pumpkin’s face! I used a black permanent marker pen for this, though black acrylic paint would also work.

Ta da! There you have it, your homemade pumpkin candles. I know this post seems incredibly lengthy, but the candle making process really is simple, and great fun. Once you have mastered your basic candle making skills you can try all sorts of new colour and fragrance combinations, and maybe even try adding things like glitter into your hot wax to give your candle some extra sparkle.

That’s all from me today, I hope you’re all enjoying October and getting in the Autumnal mood! If you have any trouble with making your candles or would like to know anything more about the process, please let me know in the comments!

What have you been making for Halloween? Tell me all about it!

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

Note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will earn small commission if you choose to purchase certain items that I have linked. All items that have been linked in this post have been tried and tested by me and are my favourites, though not all have been bought from the same suppliers! 🙂 

 

 

Guest post- Decoupage!

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Hi guys! Something a bit different for today: my first guest blogger post! Bringing you today’s post we have the lovely Hannah from over at AverageBlonde.

Hannah is a 21 year old Psychology graduate from York University…and oh yeah, she’s also my big sister 🙂 Hannah had the pleasure of trying out Decoupage for the first time this week, and she has kindly written a blog post all about it for us folks over here at A Little Mad Smith! If you’d like to know about how she got on, carry on reading!

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My position as the less artsy sister means that craft isn’t my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I have an appreciation for all of the cute little things Maddie makes (particularly the food) but myself, I have zero creative talent. Actually, that’s a lie. In year seven I did a life drawing of my school shoe which my art teacher pointed out as being the best in the class and my mum hung on the fridge for a number of weeks.

Since then, my creative abilities have been restricted to organising a coloured coded system to my wardrobe and making scrapbooks for ex-boyfriends which will most definitely end up in the bin a few months later.
A week ago, I couldn’t spell decoupage, let alone did I have the foggiest idea what it was. We were in a little craft store in a garden centre and I found some pretty little paper sheets next to a variety of cardboard shapes and told Maddie they had some cute paper mache stuff. She laughed at me. Apparently there’s a difference.

After 10 minutes spent convincing me I would be capable of ripping bits of paper up and gluing them on a pre-made cardboard bird house, I bought some. I bought two different shaped bird houses and two different papers. I used the shiney decoupage glue because you literally just paint it over the entire thing at the end and it leaves it with a nice sheen.
I assume this is the part of the post where Maddie would explain the technique to the craft she is blogging about.

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I’m going to cut this short:

Rip the paper into random pieces and glue them on at random angles. When all of the card is covered, whap a load of glue over the whole thing to secure down any bits of sticky up paper. And voila!
So easy, I could do it. You could probably also manage it if you didn’t have opposable thumbs. Or are 3 years old. Or a dog.

Decoupage – So Easy, Your Dog Could Do It!

Would you like to write a guest post for my blog? If you’ve recently tried a new craft, come up with a tasty recipe or been on some exciting travels, why not let me know! I’d love to start sharing other bloggers posts! 

Thanks for reading guys, I hope you’re all having blessed days,

Maddie x

DIY paper storage- decoupage cereal box!

Check out this DIY paper storage box! Super cute AND super practical, a great craft project for the kids to get involved in.

Hi guys! HAPPY MONDAY! -I decided to put that in capitals because today marks the start of my birthday week! I turn 20 on Friday- yay!

If, however, you’re not feeling too happy about the fact it’s Monday and would much rather be crawling under your duvet instead of facing the week ahead, I’ve got a lovely little DIY project to get you feeling inspired!

Today I bring you my DIY paper storage. As you may have seen in my recent Paperchase post, I have a love for stationary. However, what I failed to mention in that post was that my love for stationary extends to all things paper related. We’re talking pretty folders, cutely decorated storage boxes; you get the idea.

I love to feel organised and on top of my paper work, and being a Physics student, I have a lot of paper work.

Which brings us to today’s post, my how to DIY paper storage box!

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For this DIY you will need:

  • A cereal box
  • Scissors
  • Paper mache paste and paper (Find my DIY paper mache paste here!)
  • A pen
  • A ruler
  • Decoupage paper or other patterned paper
  • Glue (You can buy specific glue and varnish for decoupage purposes here, or at similar craft stores including Hobbycraft.)
  • Washi tape

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I use the brand Decopatch for all of my decoupage supplies; they offer an amazing range of bright and colourful papers with a variety of awesome designs on, as well as glue and varnish specific to decoupage purposes.

What to do:

  1. Draw a straight line from the centre top of the cereal box to approximately three quarters up the side of the cereal box. Do this on both sides of the cereal box and then cut along both lines to create the shape of your paper storage box.
  2. Cover your box in paper mache. If you’d like instructions on how to do this, check out my post! Leave to dry over night. This will help make the box sturdy and strong enough to hold all your papers! 🙂
  3. Once your paper mache has dried, you can cover your box in pieces of paper! Tear your paper up into small pieces and apply them to your box using the glue, one at a time. Layer them up ensuring there are I used decoupage papers from the brand decopatch. I really like the contrast between the red and the blue paper on my box, but you can cover your box however you like!
  4. Paint the inside of your box, or decoupage the inside in a contrasting paper! I used a really cool pink design I’d found at Bents Garden Centre.
  5. Leave your box to dry over night again, before applying washi tape along the edges to cover up any messy bits!
  6. Ta da! Congratulations on your new storage box!

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I love this idea, it’s a great craft idea for kids to get involved in! It was really fun to make and I love the unique finish of this box. 🙂

I hope you guys enjoyed this simple DIY and maybe it inspired you to get crafty. What have you been making recently? Let me know in the comments, I would love to check it out.  🙂

Maddie.

 

 

One month of blogging!

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Wow, that went fast! A Little Mad Smith is one month old today (can we get a hip hip hooray?) and I just wanted to share a little post to say thank you so much to all my lovely followers and readers of this blog. Your support over this past month has meant the world to me- I am over the moon to see that my blog has been received with so much love all over the world! I never would’ve thought that people in hometown would have been at all interested in my craft projects and recipes, let alone people on the other side of the globe! So thank you to all who have shared, liked and commented on my posts, and thank you, yes you, for taking the time to read this.

I hope I can continue to produce content that you find interesting, entertaining and inspiring. I already have a thousand crafty ideas and tasty recipes that I am dying to get stuck into and share with you all in the near future, so I do hope you stick around!

As a little celebration of our one month birthday, I’ve put together some of my favourite posts from over the past four weeks. I hope you can find something that inspires you to get crafty and try something new!

Fabric Flowers DIY– This is one of my favourite mini sewing projects of all time. I love the vintage look of these and they’re a great method of using up excess fabric. I also think that they make a beautiful addition to any handbag.

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DIY Photo Holders- This DIY was a super simple project that produced great results! And all you need is a pebble, some paint and a bit of wire. What could be better?

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Peanut butter and Chocolate Cupcakes- I cannot describe to you how good these tasted, but believe me when I say, they were goooood. Like, seriously, you need to try these.

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DIY Patchwork cushion cover– This beautiful DIY is a great project for those wanting to try out patch working, and its a great way of using up scraps of fabric. I love how this turned out.

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Domino’s style cookiesThe inspiration behind this bake was my favourite fast food cookies. Served warm, these soft squishy cookies are truly divine. Why not give them a try?

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DIY painted glass lanterns– This DIY is a great project for the kids to get involved with. A great way of using up excess jars, my DIY glass lanterns are the perfect addition to any evening garden party.

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Drawstring bag DIY– Drawstring bags are so useful and so versatile! My drawstring bag DIY gives a simples method for making your own drawstring bag that can easily be adapted into a child’s PE kit bag ready for back to school.

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Well there you have it guys, just a selection of some of my favourite blog posts from over this past month. I hope you enjoy them if you didn’t see them first time round, and please let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see up on the blog over this next month! In the meantime, remember that there’s plenty of other projects to keep you busy in the craft and food sections of my blog- why not have a look?

I’m always looking for new ideas and crafty inspiration.

Hugs and best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

 

DIY tassels

 

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Happy Friday! How are we all today? Looking forward to the weekend I expect. If you’re looking for some crafty inspiration for over your days off, look no further than my DIY tassels! I got this idea from a recent post over on KelleysDIY, where Linda had put together a post all about craft ideas for teens. If you haven’t visited her blog before, I strongly recommend that you go and check it out! There’s some fantastic craft ideas that are sure to inspire and entertain people of all ages.

But anyway, in the post there were a good few ideas involving tassels. And that got me thinking about making my own. I’ve never made tassels but I thought- how hard can it be? Well, the answer to that would be not very hard at all. It’s actually pretty easy in fact. I will say however that my first attempt at my tassel was not exactly the prettiest tassel in all the world, but I soon got into the swing after that.

It turns out that tassel-making is oddly addictive; it required quite a lot of self discipline to stop myself from churning out tassels all afternoon. But aren’t they just so damn cute?! I only had a small selection of yarn to hand, but I think these would’ve worked great with embroidery thread for a finer, more delicate tassel. They’d also look great with some beads added on, or maybe a contrasting colour yarn to make the head.

Interested in making your own? Find my step by step instructions below!

You will need:

  • Yarn, thread, string or similar
  • Scissors
  • A piece of cardboard or similar (this is to wrap your tassel around)

So what do you do?

  1. Your cardboard should be double the length you wish your finished tassel to be. Wrap your yarn tightly around the cardboard as shown. The thickness of this will be half the thickness of your finished tassel. I wrapped mine until it was about three quarters of an inch wide.
  2. Slide your yarn off the cardboard so you have a loop. Place about a 5″ piece of yarn around the centre of this loop and tie it in a knot.  1.-2.png
  3. Bring the two loose ends of the centre yarn up and the two ends of the loop down. Now you need to make a head for your tassel. Using an approximately 10″ piece of yarn, create a loop in one end. Place the loop on the tassel and hold in place with your thumb.
  4. Wrap the end of the yarn without the loop around the top of the tassel tightly. This will create the head that you can see on my tassels. When you are happy that this has been wrapped around enough, thread the loose end of the yarn through the loop and pull to secure.3.-2.png
  5. Cut through the loops at the bottom of the tassel to create the skirt. You can now tie your tassel to your creations using the two loose threads at the top!

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There you have it! From experience, it might seem a little bit tricky on your first attempt, but once your get into the swing of it it’s really easy! I feel I’m going to be churning out a lot more tassels in the near future.

Have you got anything crafty planned for the weekend? Let me know!

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie.