Love birds!- DIY modelling clay owls

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Hey guys!

I am soooo ready for spring at the minute. As of tomorrow afternoon I will be having a short and much needed break from university life, and will be making the journey down the motorway to spend the weekend at home with my family and Jason. I had been intending on taking my winter coats home to be put away for another year and busting out my spring time jackets- as those of you who live in the UK will know, this will sadly not be the case. Most of the UK (and a good chunk of Europe, actually) has been hit with some serious snowfall for this time of year. Luckily for us Lancashire folk, the Northwest has managed to escape the worst of it; however we are being battered by incredibly strong winds.

So even though we’re not experiencing that warm Spring weather that I’ve been anticipating for so long, this miserable climate is good for one thing- staying in all day and crafting! As my regular readers will know, I haven’t had much time for crafting recently (or anything else for that matter!). My degree is pretty full on, so I’m always grateful of any chance I get to spend some time doing something fun. (Not that Physics and Maths aren’t fun… LOL.)

As luck would have it, I ended up with a couple of hours spare the other evening. Enter my modelling clay owls! 

I recently uploaded a post about my first attempt with my new FIMO clay and asked if you guys would be interested in seeing some little tutorials and more creations. As always, you were lovely (thank you!!) and great fans of my little dinosaur, so today I’m bringing you a quick tutorial on how to make these little love birds!

These two owls are actually going to be a birthday present for my gran. She’s owl mad and has a huge collection of little owl ornaments, so I thought it’d be a cute idea to make her these little guys to join the family.  Like I stressed in my last post, I am by no means a professional standard clay modeller. You can also probably tell from the photos of these owls that I accidentally got pen on the blue little guy, oops. But I’m still kind of happy with how they turned out!

Fancy making some? Find out how below!

To make one owl:

  1. In the colour that you want the body of your owl to be, roll out a small ball of FIMO clay in between your palms. Once you have a nice smooth sphere, place it on your work surface and press down lightly with your palm so that you have a circle of around 1cm thick. Begin shaping the body of the owl, as shown below. To get the ‘ears’, place your pinky finger at the top of your circle and mould the clay around it. P1240286
  2. Once you are happy with the body of your owl, in a contrasting colour clay or a lighter shade like I did, roll out three small balls, much smaller than the body of your owl was. You want two of these to be the same size, and one to be slightly bigger. Using your palm, press your balls flat until they are about 2mm thick. These will be the wings and stomach patch for your owl, as shown above.
  3. In white clay, roll out two small balls. Press them down lightly with your palm, but not as much as you did with the body of the owl. These will be the owl’s eyes.
  4. Assemble your owl. Place the wings on either side of the body and the stomach patch on the front. Add the eyes in the desired position. You will not have to apply a lot of pressure in order to get your pieces to stick together, be gentle. P1240291
  5. Out of orange clay create a very small triangle and press this on just under the centre of the eyes. To help your owl stand up, from the same clay as you used for the body of your owl, create a small triangle. Add this to the back of you owl to act as a little support for when it is stood up.
  6. Bake your owl in the oven according to the directions on the packaging of your clay.
  7. Once your owl is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool completely before handling it. Once cool, add two black dots for eyes. Ta da!

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There you have it guys, I hope you enjoyed this quick little DIY- maybe it inspired some of you to have a go playing with FIMO yourselves! I must admit I am really enjoying it the more I play around with it; it’s great fun and you can be really creative with your designs. I can’t wait until I have some more time on my hands to see what I can come up with! 

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

DIY Advent Calendar

 

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Hello my lovelies! It’s finally that time of year! The time when you can start to get Christmassy and nobody can get on your case about it, because it’s practically December, so it’s totally allowed! And we all know what that also means, it’s almost the start of advent!

I actually love the start of advent, it’s the time when I begin to get fully into the Christmas spirit and excited for the big day. And of course, who doesn’t love getting a chocolate every day for 24 days? Side note: Yes, I am 20, and yes, I still get an advent calendar. But besides the chocolate, that’s what I really love about advent. Having a daily countdown reminding me of how close we are to the 25th is something that still excites me now, and I never start to feel quite as festive as when I open that first door!

I’m super excited as I’m writing this because I’ll be travelling home from university on the 1st December to spend the weekend with my family and Jason. We’re going to put the Christmas decorations up, which normally involves lots of cheesy Christmas music. My parents, Hannah and I have always done this together for as long as I can remember; it’s really the start of the festive season in our household. This will also be the fifth time that Jason’s helped out with it- I love having us all together.

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So, with all that talk of advent, you’ve probably already guessed that this post may have something to do with it (or maybe you just read the title). This year I really wanted to make my own advent calendar. At first I’d considered sewing one, but I don’t have room for my sewing machine up at university, so it wouldn’t have been too practical. I’m also not exactly swimming in free time, so I wanted a project that would help me get in the Christmas mood without taking an age to create! I’m also broke, so cheap was a necessity!

Enter my toilet roll tube advent calendar! The definition of frugal. Inspired by my toilet roll tube bats, this advent calendar was completely free to make, seeing as I already had some Christmas craft paper in, and I’ve been saving up my left over loo roll tubes since returning to uni. Side note: For another free craft project, why not check out my previous post? DIY Conker Wreath.

I’m actually pretty happy with the result, I really love the homemade festive vibe it adds to my room. The best thing about this calendar is that you can fill it with whatever you want, be it a festive poem for each day or a small christmas trinket. Or, of course, chocolate. Adding a little christmassy tissue paper inside each of the ‘parcels’ makes it seem a bit more upmarket and less toilet roll-y. 🙂

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There’s not much to say about how to recreate this advent calendar; I’m sure you can suss that out for yourself! But I thought I’d post it more as an inspiration for yourselves if, like me, you’re wishing to create a frugal and alternative Christmas countdown for this festive season. (Or maybe as some inspiration for next year!) I’ll still include some basic instructions though for those of you wanting to recreate this craft project!

So what did I do?

You will need:

  • Toilet roll tubes.
  • Christmas paper.
  • Scissors or pinking shears.
  • Small advent numbers. I had these in my crafting collection, from Hobbycraft, but you can purchase similar from most craft stores at this time of year.
  • Some acrylic paints- optional!

Ok, so lets get started! I’ll forgo my usual numbered instructions here and resort to giving you a basic description of what I did.

Firstly, the more observant of you may have noticed that my advent calendar only actually has 15 days- shock horror! No, I did not get lazy and couldn’t be bothered finishing it- well, maybe a little… 😉 – this is actually because I’m only up at university until the 15th December, so I decided just to make parcels for those days.

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The first thing I did when making my advent calendar was put on my Christmas music and settle down to paint some Christmassy designs on a few of my cardboard tubes. I opted for holly berries and snowflakes. Obviously this step is completely optional, but I really enjoyed this process, and I love how these parcels turned out! They are definitely my favourite.

Now all that’s left for you to do is the super easy and quick part! Cut out strips of Christmas paper, I used pinking shears for this but you could also just use scissors. Glue a strip of paper on the front of each of your tubes. I also chose to cut a small square of paper to go on my painted tubes.

Add your advent numbers, before folding the bottom of your tube in to get the nice, pointed corner, parcel shape that I had. Fill each of your parcels with a little tissue paper and a small gift, before folding in the top of your tube in the same manner as the bottom.

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Ta da! It’s actually that easy. Blu tac your parcels up like me, or pin them to a cork board. Or why not tie some string around and hang them from a ribbon on your wall?

I love how this advent calendar turned out! I think it adds a really sweet, homemade and cozy vibe to my room. And it was super cheap and super easy! You really can’t complain at that!

Are you guys looking forward to the count down to Christmas? Have you been doing any festive crafting recently? You know I would love to see your own seasonal projects, why not link them in the comments?

Wishing you all the very best of days as we head into December,

Maddie xxx

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

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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.

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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. 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!

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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?! 

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

 

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.

 

 

Homemade Bunting DIY- renter friendly decor!

Handmade bunting makes a really unique and beautiful addition to any home. Great for renters, this bunting can be stuck up with blu tac!

Hi guys! Today’s post is my DIY bunting. I LOVE bunting. Seriously, love the stuff. I’ve got it in my bedroom, the kitchen, the garden, on the wall, in the window… you get the idea.

I think bunting is a great, cheap way of adding character to any space. I love the vintage look and feel of bunting, and it’s ability to transform a room. For me, it creates a festive and homely atmosphere- plus its renter friendly! I use blu tac when I’m at uni to stick bunting up on my walls to help make my room feel like home.

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Working in a fabric shop, I often get asked for suggestions on easy sewing projects for beginners, and I always respond with bunting. It’s a really simple but rewarding DIY, perfect for people who are just getting to grips with a sewing machine.

If you fancy giving it a go yourself, find my step by step instructions below!

You will need (for a 2m length of bunting) : 

  • Assorted fabric. The bunting featured in this post was made using five different fabrics; use what you have in or purchase quarter of a metre lengths of each. This will give you more than enough fabric to produce two metres of bunting. 
  • 2.5m of Bias Binding or ribbon.
  • A sewing machine.
  • Matching thread.
  • Fabric Scissors.
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I purchase all of my fabric from The Buttonhole, my place of work. They offer a great selection and also international delivery on all of their fabrics. All fabric featured in this post and my other DIYs is sourced from The Buttonhole.

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What to do:

  1. Cut out a template for your bunting. An equilateral triangle of approximately 6″ by 10″ will do the job, or scale to your own requirements depending on what you want your final bunting to look like. P1230286.jpg
  2. Pin your template to each of your fabrics in turn and cut around. To make a 2m stretch of bunting you will require around ten flags, this means you will need to cut twenty triangles. Note: Two triangles makes ONE bunting flag. You will see why in the next step.
  3. Place two matching triangles right sides together, that is, with the correct sides of the fabric facing each other. Pin down the two long edges of the triangle before machine stitching down these edges, leaving the top open. Tip: By pinning perpendicular to the edge of the fabric as shown below, you can sew over you pins with your machine without breaking the needle.P1230297.jpg
  4. Turn your flag the correct way around and press with an iron. Repeat this method until you have created all your flags.
  5. Fold the two raw edges at the top of you flag inside the flag to create a neat edge, press and machine stitch into place.
  6. You are now ready to attach your ribbon or bias binding. If you wish to use bias binding and would like to know how to do this, please refer to this blog post where I explain in detail how to attach bias binding to your projects. If using ribbon, place the top of your flag just behind the ribbon and machine stitch into place.
  7. Repeat this, spacing out your flags evenly along the length of your bunting until all have been sewed on!P1230300

That’s it! Congratulations on your new bunting! I hope you guys enjoyed this post and maybe it inspired you to get crafty! Have you got any renter friendly DIY decor ideas? Let me know! It’s always great to discover new ways of decorating my student halls.

Best wishes to you all!

Maddie x