Mexican Paper Flowers

P1240655

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.

P1240649.jpg

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.

P1240653.jpg

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.
    P1240645

    Front view

    P1240644

    Back view

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

P1240652.jpg

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!

 

Super Easy Christmas Craft Ideas

Copy of Roasted red pepper-5.png

Hey guys! It’s official, I’m in full on Christmas mode. Following a weekend of tree decorating, Christmas films and winter crafts, it’s safe to say I’m feeling incredibly festive. It’s less than two weeks now until I come home for Christmas and I cannot wait!

As some of you many know, I travelled home from university this weekend to spend it with my family and Jason. I always have the BEST time at home, so I’m always a little sad when I return to my student halls on the Sunday night. But I have to say, with all the Christmas cheer, crafting and baking that’s saturating my Instagram feed, I’m finding it hard to stay sad for long. My social media at this time of year is absolutely bursting with festive DIYs, gift ideas, bakes and makeup looks. I should probably be fed up of it by now, but instead I’m just becoming more and more inspired to share my own Christmas themed blog posts with you all!

So I do apologise if you’re totally over all the Christmas fever already. I will try and get some travel posts up over the next few weeks to keep you guys entertained too!ย 

As luck would have it, this weekend my sister, Hannah, was tasked with making some Christmas items that could be sold at her place of work, with the proceeds going towards charity. She wanted to make something easy and quick, but something that would still get people into the festive spirit and help raise money for a good cause. And y’all know that I LOVE a quick and easy craft idea. And since becoming a student, ‘frugal’ has become my middle name. So what great timing that I would be home and able to help with the process!

Super cute Christmas tree decoration idea! Really cheap and really easy, perfect for the kids to help with.

Between Hannah, my mum and I, we managed to create plenty of Christmas makes that were sure to earn some money at work! First up are these super cute Christmas tree decorations! How lovely are these? I think these would certainly make an adorable addition to anyone’s christmas tree. And even better, they were ridiculously easy to make, meaning Hannah could whip up a good few to sell.

To make these, you will need:

  • Sticks/ twigs
  • Scraps of ribbon
  • String
  • Pompoms
  • Glue

To make these, Hannah began by gathering some sticks from outside before double knotting different lengths of ribbon around the stick to create a ‘branch’ effect. To make a small Christmas tree decoration like we did, you want your stick to be about 5″ long, and your first piece of ribbon for the top branch to measure around 4″, with each piece of ribbon below that getting gradually longer. Once you have tied all your ribbons on, you can use scissors to trim the edges to create a neater, triangular tree shape as shown here. Once you have attached all your ‘branches’, tie a loop of string to the top of your tree, so you can hang it as a decoration! Add a pompom on top if desired, or maybe a little star!

cd3.jpg

I absolutely loved how these turned out. I think it’s especially great that you can choose your ribbon to go with whatever colour scheme or vibe you want for your Christmas decorations. Hannah chose a bright and colourful colour scheme for her ribbon, as we like our Christmas decor to be full of colour in our household!

Hot chocolate reindeer bags for Christmas! A

Next up, my mum and I also made these adorable hot chocolate reindeer bags! My mum came up with the idea for these and I love how they turned out! My mum is really great at coming up with creative ideas, she’s inspired many of my craft projects over the years, and these were no exception. Again, these were super easy to make and it took no time at all to create ten of them for selling.

To make these, you will need:

  • Clear, disposable piping bags.
  • Red pompoms
  • Googly eyes
  • Glue
  • Hot chocolate mix
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Pipe cleaners

We began by gluing a set of googly eyes and a pompom on each of the piping bags, before letting the glue dry completely. Once it had done so, all we needed to do was fill each of the piping bags with instant hot chocolate mix (we used approximately enough for one mug) and top off with some mini marshmallows. After we had filled our bags, we twirled some pipe cleaners around to fasten them and give the effect of antlers! Told you it was easy!

I think that these hot chocolate bags were a great idea, and would make a great gift for kid’s friends at school. You could also fill them with oats and glitter instead of hot chocolate mix, and gift them as bags of reindeer food!

r1.jpg

We made some other bits of bobs for selling too, but I don’t want this post to be too long. And besides, I’m sure you’re just itching to try out these cute new craft ideas, am I right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ So I’m leaving it here for today, do let me know in the comments if you would like to see what else we made though! I would be happy to share it with you in a future post!

Very best wishes to you all for the month of December, I’ll be back next week with another Christmas themed post for you all!

Maddie x

DIY Love Heart Conker (Chestnut) Wreath!

P1240108.jpg

Hello you lovely people! Lil’ disclaimer- I got a tad carried away with the intro to this post. So if you would like to forgo my waffling and skip to the good stuff, you just scroll on down! ๐Ÿ™‚

I don’t know about you guys, but I am just not feeling quite as festive as I’d like to be at this time of year. There’s something about being at university that really zaps the fun out of the Christmas season, or any season for that matter. All I want to be doing is shopping for Christmas decorations with my family, enjoying mulled wine at the Manchester Christmas markets with Jason, and making a start on my Christmas projects; but instead I’m overwhelmed with deadlines, coursework and the responsibilities of being a fully functioning adult living on my own.

P1240127.JPG

It’s not just a lack of free time that’s the issue though, when you live away from home it kind of feels like you’re missing out on…well, life. At least for me. Not having my car up here with me makes it difficult to get out and about, and I really miss the mundane things like Sunday afternoon trips to a garden centre with my parents.

But, with all that said and done, I am really trying to get in the Christmas spirit! I mean, really trying. My flatmates have been subjected to me blasting Christmas songs from my room, and I’m trying my damn well hardest to start a few Christmas craft projects!

P1240103.jpg

Which brings us to today’s post: my DIY conker wreath! Despite it being nearly December, this wreath would’ve been a super cute edition to your decor throughout the Autumn season (and it would’ve been, if I’d got my act together and made it sooner!). But this wreath is also a perfect way of adding some Christmas cheer to your home, which is EXACTLY what I am in need of right now! Plus, this was super cheap to make! I actually had all of the stuff in for this already, so it was actually free for me! And even if you don’t have some scrap fabric lying around, you would have more than enough if you purchased a quarter of a metre! ๐Ÿ™‚

I collected most of the conkers for this wreath back when Jason and I were holidaying in France, in late September. I have always had magpie-like tendencies when it comes to things like conkers and acorns; I remember rummaging around for them back when I was a kid- I was a pretty weird kid. Collecting conkers is something I will always associate with my childhood and Autumn, but even though I am now twenty, I still enjoy filling my pockets with shiny brown chestnuts! Skip forward a week of conker collecting in France, and I had about thirty of the beauties, and no idea of how to use them.

Enter my DIY conker wreath:

You will need:

  • Conkers
  • Strong cardboard. I used the cardboard from a shoe box.
  • Hessian/ Burlap.
  • Assorted fabric scraps
  • Ribbon
  • A glue gun
  • Scissors/ Craft knife

P1240112.JPGMethod:

  1. Draw out a heart shape on your cardboard to whatever size you want your wreath to be. Mine was about 10″ high and 10″ wide at its widest point, but this is totally up to you. Take into consideration how much fabric you have to hand and how many conkers. You could also print off a template for this if you’re not too confident in your drawing ability! ๐Ÿ™‚
  2. Draw a smaller heart shape inside your heart so that you have your desired wreath shape. Cut around your wreath using scissors or a craft knife. Cut out the centre of your wreath.
  3. Place a blob of glue at the top of your wreath, on the front and back of the cardboard, and attach a loop of ribbon here so that you can hang your wreath.
  4. Now that you have your desired wreath shape, begin to cut out strips of hessian/burlap. You will be wrapping these strips around your wreath, so ensure that they are at least twice as wide as the wreath itself (enough to go over the front and the back of the cardboard).
  5. Using your glue gun, glue a strip to your wreath by folding it in half and placing the fold on the inner edge of your wreath, so that one half of the strip is glued to top of the cardboard and the other half is glued to the back. You want it so the ends of the strip are on the outer edge of your wreath.
  6. Repeat this with as many strips as necessary, until all of the cardboard is covered. You should have some nice texture around the outer edge of your wreath thanks to the raw edges of the hessian.
  7. Now you can start to glue gun your conkers onto the wreath! This does require quite a lot of glue, but I love the finished effect. I must say though, this isn’t a foolproof method. Some of the conkers can become a bit loose when the glue dries. I’d recommend ensuring that they are securely stuck down with lots of glue, and of course being careful with your wreath when dry.
  8. Now that you have added your conkers, cut out some strips of assorted fabric. You want these strips to be about 3″ long.
  9. With one strip, twist it in the centre so that you have a little bow shape. Pop a blob of hot glue in the centre, and press it onto you wreath (use a pen or similar to press the fabric down, you don’t want to burn yourself!). This is how I added the texture to my wreath, as twisting the fabric strips and attaching them in this way gives a charming 3D effect.
  10. Repeat this with as many fabric strips as you like, until you are satisfied with the overall appearance of your wreath.

Ta da! Easy as that.

P1240105.JPG

There you have it guys! Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post! What’ve you been making in anticipation for Christmas? Let me know in the comments!

Best wishes to you all, filled with lots of festive cheer!

Maddie x

Get festive with this DIY chestnut wreath! A great craft project for Autumn and through into winter. Bring some Christmas cheer into your home, or why not use it as a table centre piece for Thanksgiving!

A rather bad attempt at pumpkin carving! (What else?)

P1230952.jpg

Hey guys! So it’s finally here, the scariest night of the year, Halloween! It’s been a weekend of fun filled Halloween activities up here at uni; I may have not taken part in the clubbing, but I have been getting in the Halloween spirit nonetheless. (Probably the saddest sentence of my life right there, I do go out clubbing sometimes, I swear…)

Jason actually came up to visit this weekend, so most of my time has been dedicated to watching films under heaps of blankets, eating lots of food and going for coffee. I did, however, manage to squeeze in a bit of pumpkin carving before he arrived.

P1230951

Ok, so this guy is supposed to be a little hanging bat. I know, I know, this is NOT up to my usual artistic standards.ย Unfortunately, my pumpkin carving process this year was a much more rushed affair. I usually spend a few hours at in, but this year I had to squeeze it into a mere forty minutes. It was just a consequence of the sheer amount of work I had for uni, and trying to get everything done before Jason came to visit on Saturday.

I’m not as proud of the result as I have been in previous years, but it still ain’t half bad. And besides, it’s the process that makes pumpkin carving so fun! I had loads of fun creating this little bat design, even though I didn’t get to spend as long on it as I’d have liked!

Typically, being at uni, I’m also not allowed naked flames in my bedroom, so my pumpkin is sans candle. I’m pretty gutted that I couldn’t take any funky pictures of this little guy glowing eerily in the dark, but I did put my phone inside with the torch on and that looked pretty cool, haha!

P1230956

I love pumpkin carving. I think it’s such a fun and creative activity at this time of year! I’d never actually tried pumpkin carving until fairly recently, in the big scheme of things. I may have done it when I was really little with my mum, but throughout most of my childhood and early teenage years I don’t remember doing it. I guess my mum didn’t want to leave me to do it until she could trust me to handle a knife on my own (which in actual fact she still doesn’t; I almost sliced my thumb off at the start of uni last year, but thats a whole other story). But she trusts me a bit more with knives now. Ish.

For the past five years (I know this exactly, thanks to good old Facebook’s ‘look what you shared five years ago’ posts), I’ve had a go at pumpkin carving on my own. When I’m at home I always take the time to sit down and plan my design out, before merrily setting to work hacking away at my pumpkin. I actually really enjoy getting all the guts out, which I know is some peoples least favourite part of the whole process. But for me its super satisfying, whilst being really gross and slimy; perfect for Halloween, am I right?!ย 

So that’s all from me today, I hope you enjoyed this post guys, despite it not being my usual style! Would you like to see more of this type of chatty post, or should I just stick to making stuff? Haha!

Best wishes to you all for this Halloween, whether you be spending it Trick or Treating, partying or just watching a scary movie and hiding behind a cushion. Or if you’re just staying in with the lights off pretending your not home to avoid the Trick or Treaters!

Have a wonderful and blessed day guys, best wishes to you all!

Maddie x

 

Cardboard tube bats!

Hello you lovely people! Today we have a spookyย halloween DIY. Say hello to my cardboard tube bats!

Copy of DIY

Ok, so they’re not that spooky…they’re actually pretty cute in fact, I love their little faces! I’ve named them Bert and Eric; I feel that suits them.

Now would you believe me if I told you that Bert and Eric started life as toilet roll tubes? Well, you probably would judging off the title of this post, but still, they look pretty good for some recycled cardboard tubes!

Fancy making your own bats?

You will need:

  • Cardboard toilet roll tubes (as many for however many bats you wish to make!)
  • Black or dark grey acrylic paint
  • White acrylic paint
  • A black marker pen
  • Black card
  • Wire
  • A glue gun (though regular PVA or a glue stick would work too!)

Method:

  1. Paint your toilet roll tubes using your black or grey paint- I used a dark grey colour. Leave to dry.
  2. Once your toilet roll tubes have dried, fold the top of your tube in on itself to create the bat ear shape as shown. Do the same with the bottom of your tube.
  3. Paint two white circles on your tube for your bats eyes, and two small triangles for fangs. Once your white paint has dried, draw pupils and a line for the mouth of your bat using the marker pen.
  4. Cut out your wings. Fold a piece of card in half and cut out a wing shape, when you open your card out you will have a perfectly symmetrical set of wings! Do this for however many bats you are making.P1230515.jpg
  5. Glue your wings to the back of your bat. I used ย glue gun for this, but PVA glue should work fine too.
  6. Glue two pieces of thin wire to the bottom of your bat for its legs! Curl the bottom of the wire over to allow your bats to hang upside down from things around your house! (Eric and Bert have been living quite happily on a lamp shade for the past month! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

P1230522.jpg

I absolutely love how these little guys turned out, and they really were so simple to make, a perfect DIY for the kids to help with!

I think these look especially great hanging from the fancy light we have in our snug at home; super creepy right?

P1230525.jpg

That’s all from me today guys, and also my last Halloween DIY for the year! I hope you’ve enjoyed all of my posts leading up to Halloween, and if you’re looking for some inspiration over the weekend why not check them out?

Related posts:

DIY Witches Cauldron, DIY Halloween Party Treats,ย DIY Halloween Candles.

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

Guest post- Decoupage!

Decoupage.png

Hi guys! Something a bit different for today: my first guest blogger post!ย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

P1230428.jpg

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.

P1230424

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!ย 

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!

P1230417.jpg

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

P1230415

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! ๐Ÿ™‚
  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!

P1230414

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ย ๐Ÿ™‚

Maddie.