Category Archives: Just For Fun

All our latest projects we did just for the fun of it

Fairytale Toy Box

I don’t remember much about turning 2 years old, in fact I don’t think I can remember anything from that age. But what I do know is that toys are the most important possessions you own and they provide endless hours of entertainment! However, for the parents it’s quite another story…a sore foot from the up-turned Lego block, a hidden piece of Play Doh in your bag in place of your pen, you get the idea.

With that in mind I was desperately trying to think of the best present to buy one my best friend’s little boy who turned 2 years old today. I had a wish list of Toys to choose from, but I really wanted to try and give him something that he could keep for a long time to come and that wouldn’t end up being another hurdle for my friends to jump over in the daily rush.

What better than somewhere to store the toys….how about a Toy Box?? After finding quite a basic varnished chest of a suitable size in my local charity shop, I trundled home with great ideas of how I was going to decorate it. But first I had the fun task of stripping the varnish off of the chest itself. Using Nitro Mors and quite a bit (actually a lot) of scrubbing and sanding (glad the weight sessions at the gym are coming to good use), I managed to get the wood to a suitable standard for painting.

There could only be one choice for the paint and that was our trusty chalk paint (used in many of our previous projects). After painting a fine coat of white over the whole chest, I waited until dry and roughly sanded all over. This then provided a blank canvas for me to decorate until my hearts content. I love stars and pretty much use them in a lot of the cushions, paintings, doodles I do, so that was my main pattern of choice. After making some various size star stencils out of card, I used these and four different colour paints to make a star pattern on the front and sides of the chest.

Inspired by the lettering on the rides of Brighton Pier I decided to create my own typography and paint the word ‘TOYS’ on the lid of the chest. I stenciled the letters onto the lid and then hand painted them in. It took some time, but then again I was a bit distracted by ‘Big Fat Gypsy Weddings’ on TV…yikes there are some interesting folks out there!

After all the stars and letters were painted, I lightly sanded them again to give it a bit more of a distressed look. Finally using one of my trusty kitchen sponges I rubbed a very light coat of paint over the stars and letters to enhance the vintage feel.

I finally fluttered my eyelashes at the hubby to attach the hinges for me and hey presto I finally had a toy box birthday present to be proud of!

And I am very pleased to report that the Toy box was very well received by both 2 year old and parents alike! Yey!

Gruffalo Cupcakes

I’m in the kitchen at a three year old’s birthday party. I thought this would be the safest place to hide. I was wrong. You see, I thought volunteering to make tea would be a safe bet. Unfortunately one of the parents thinks I work here and he’s being a little pushy about my tea making skills.

“Leave the tea bag to stew in the water longer” he says, pointing his finger at the cup. “Don’t scrimp on the milk!” As he takes the cup I notice the tin of flapjacks in his hand, and it strikes me they look quite rubbish.

So I say “I like your homemade flapjacks”. I smile and there’s a brief moment where neither of us say’s a word. Now it’s fairly rare I travel great distances to deliver impromptu baking critique to men I hardly know, but he just seemed annoying.

“So what have you brought along” he sneers. I crack open the cupcake tin, proudly show off the Gruffalo Cupcakes and fold my arms in triumph. As he shuffles away towards the ball pit, Anna pops her head into the kitchen to ask for some more milk for her tea.

Precooked cupcakes

Gruffalo Cupcakes (makes 12)
100g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
140g caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
40g unsalted butter
120ml organic whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

Frosting

Chocolate Butter Cream
600g icing sugar
200g unsalted butter
80g cocoa powder
100ml organic whole milk

To make the cupcakes follow Anna’s famous Oreo Cupcake recipe guide.

Smarties

Gruffalo Decorations
Teeth, tusks & horns – Mini marshmallows
Eyes and nose – Smarties
Mouth – Cola strings
Ears – Chocolate buttons

With Buttons

With Marshmallow horns

With Green Nose

With Orange Eyes

With Mouth

With Marshmallow Teeth

Chocolate Eyes

Thrift Shop Shirt Makeover

Quite frankly I can’t keep up with the weather. I have lost count the amount of times I have had to switch between a jumper to a dress, from boots to espadrilles, from cut off denim shorts to a coat (you get the picture). Don’t get me wrong I never say no to a glorious bit of sunshine, it’s just I find it a little exhausting planning the daily wardrobe when you have to factor in such a changeable climate.

With that said, I found myself with a slight clothing quandary on Saturday morning when I was woken by the searing sunshine piercing the blinds in our bedroom. Filled with the joys of summer, I rummaged through my wardrobe looking for the perfect summer outfit. I was off out for lunch with friends and wanted to make an effort. However, and as I can imagine all the ladies out there can relate to, I couldn’t find anything that I wanted to wear. Through all the clothes I had, nothing quite matched what I was thinking.

That was until I found a mens shirt that I had bought at a local charity shop, which I had planned to make into a sleeveless tie front top. Perfect I thought, this is exactly what I need.

So, here is how I made a lovely summer top out of an old mens shirt.

1. I had to firstly cut the sleeves off the shirt. I measured out exactly where I wanted the new sleeve seam to sit by trying the shirt on and marking out with quilting tape on one sleeve. After taking the shirt off I matched the exact same measurments on the other sleeve. I then used my fabric scissors to cut a clean curve and sew a new seam on both armholes.

2. I then repeated this with the hem. I measured out with quilting tape where I wanted the back hem to sit and followed this line through to the front of the shirt. I then used the tape to create a slight ‘S’ shape that curved towards the bottom of the button placket to create the ties. Again, I cut away the excess fabric and used the sewing machine to sew a new hem.

3. I then decided to ‘pretty up’ the shirt by cutting the existing buttons from the shirt and replacing them with new ones.

4. A quick press with iron, some denim cut-off shorts, a necklace and some red lipstick and I was ready for lunch with my friends.

So there we go, get your hands on your husband’s, boyfriend’s, dad’s or brother’s shirt (or you can also search your local charity shops) and get cutting. They really do make gorgeous summer top’s that keep you cool in the sun.

Car Boot Review – Shoreham Flyover

It seems like a while since our last boot fair review and with the Summer Months not exactly living up to their name in terms of the weather, we thought it was best to try and get to as many as possible whilst we can. So, early Sunday morning I dragged Chris out of bed at 8.30am to get to the Shoreham-By-Sea boot fair in West Sussex.

Chris had seen this boot fair many a Sunday on his weekly coastal bike rides with his mates, so it’s good to know that I have got him well trained enough to spot these kind of things, even though his mind should have been on watching the road.

It seemed that a 8.30am start (with a stop off for an early morning coffee) was not early enough for the keen beans of West Sussex, already busy with both people wanting to sell as well as wanting to buy we knew that you had to be here much earlier to stand a chance of getting the best bits.

Unlike the Brighton Marina Boot Fair, this was much more traditional in terms of being full of local people wanting to clear out their unwanted items, and the famous saying ‘one man’s rubbish, is another man’s treasure’ was certainly the case here. I understood from one of the local RNLI collectors (who collected a small dontaion on entrance to the boot fair – optional of course), that this was not the biggest the boot fair had been, which means it had great potential for another re-visit in a few weeks.

Quality of stalls
Bags at the ready Chris and I walked through the busy grassy isles, observing each stall to see what kind of goodies we could find. Definately not a destination if you are looking for furniture or big ticket items to restore. However, if you wanted some vintage crockery, old school wood work tools or an album full of 1950’s stamp collections, then this is the boot fair for you. I am not going to lie, there were probably more stalls than not, that we didn’t even rummage through due to being over powered by the amount of Toys and Kid’s Clothing on offer (though great for any new parents out there), however there was certainly enough to keep us satisfied.

How much spending money
Chris ended up with a Black and Decker work bench for £10, perfect for all the future projects we have coming up, not so great to haul back to the car which was waiting on the other side of the field. I purchased, which I considered to be, a few little gems; an ornamental pig for my garden for £2 (don’t ask me why – I just fell in love with it), some old cotton reels that are perfect for hand quilting, plus I really like the artwork used on the labels, and my favourite purchase, an old stamp collection. What a find! I had to negotiate hard, as the lady wanted £15 for the book, however I manged to get down to £8. Full of gorgeous stamps dating back to 1942, it was a perfect find for graphic and colour inspiration.

In summary, I would certainly recommend a visit to the Shoreham-By-Sea Boot Fair. It may be one that you may only want to go to every 4 weeks or so, but I don’t believe that anyone would walk away empty handed. Free entrance or optional donation to the RNLI, means that you can save most of your pennies for your purchases. Remember though to always take your own bags and take the time to rummage through a majority of the stalls. You are bound to find something that’s worth it.

Where and when
Starts last Sunday in May and then every Sunday throughout the summer.
Open from 8am, sellers from 7am
Located just off the A27 and A283 towards Steyning
Website  Link