Downloadable awesomeness – how to make your own scratch card

There is a wall at work on which someone has put up a bunch of cards, probably from past birthdays and occasions. So I was staring at it and there was this japanese card with a scratch-able area. Personally, I am a big fan of scratch cards so I thought, wouldn’t just be so awesome if I could make my own scratch card?

DIY mystical scratch card - Irene loves crafts

Lucky for me, after a bit of research, I found out they’re actually incredibly easy to make!

DIY scratch card - materials

This is what you’ll need:

  • A card. I made my own and left it blank so it can be customisable. It’s a bit silly, Mystical Cards lovers edition, good if you are planning on giving it to your other half. You can download it here.
  • Normal tape and masking tape
  • Acrylic paint and a brush
  • Washing up liquid

DIY scratch card - scratchable area

Make or print your card. Put normal tape on the area you want it to be scratch-able. If you are using my design, write down the message in the shaded squares and proceed to tape the squares with normal tape as that will be the scratch-able area.

DIY scratch card - taped area

Now take the masking tape and tape around the scratch-able area so no paint goes over the rest of your card. Make sure you press down on the tape so there are no gaps where the paint can sneak down under the tape. I didn’t do that enough so my squares were not so square afterwards.

DIY scratch card - applying paint

Once you have achieved the colour you want by mixing the acrylics, mix two parts of acrylic paint with one part of washing up liquid. The washing up liquid is important as it’s what it will make it scratch-able. Paint what will be the scratch-able area.

DIY scratch card - painted squares DIY scratch card - Irene loves crafts

Let it dry and carefully remove the masking tape. It is ready to be scratched!

Out with the blues, in through the letter box

Already two weeks into 2013 and detox is not going very well, it’s too cold and dark to go running and, chances are that, you have the January blues. If you don’t have it then you probably know someone that does or just have that little friend that needs a bit of cheering up.

Out with the blues box - insideSo why not send them a surprise packet through the post to say – hey dude, here’s this box with some pampering bits and bobs, especially for you!

Out with the blues box - materials

Out with the blues box - what's in it

This is what you’ll need

  • Some bits from the store
  • String
  • Tissue paper
  • A small box to post things through

Out with the blues box - goodiesOut with the blues box - inside the box

In the box I put in a detox smoothie – to help with the January detox, a face mask and a hair mask – to look as beautiful as ever for the year ahead, a Home is where the craftstation is temporary tattoo – because they are awesome, and an instant hot chocolate and a bag with marshmallows to go with it – because the body could also do with a treat!

Out with the blues box - the packet

Out with the blues box - posting

Wrap it all with some tissue and add a note, just because getting letters AND packets rules. Add a bit of string to the box so it’s super special and you are ready to post it! You are awesome.

Temporary tattoos are back and they are ridiculously easy to make

A few days ago I was admiring some of Tattly‘s new tattoos. And then, randomly, I thought – wouldn’t it be so cool if I could just make my own temporary tattoo. So I did.

DIY temporary tattoo arm - Irene loves craftsI proceeded to design this cute crafty tattoo. You can download Home is where the craftstation is and make your own at home! Temporary tattoos are super easy to make. All you need is a design or drawing that you like and some temporary tattoo paper (for either inkjet or laser printers, they’re different!). If you do a quick search online you’ll be able find a provider in your country.

DIY temporary tattoo chest - Irene loves crafts

This is how you make it:

  • Choose your design and flip it sideways so once it’s transferred is readable and the right way round – if you download my tattoo you’ll see I’ve already done that for you
  • Print it on the temporary tattoo paper following the brand’s instructions
  • Cut out the tattoo as close to the design as possible. This will stop areas of skin where there’s no design appearing shiny
  • Apply as per instructions and show off!

Mexican inspired cardigan chain

Well hello there trendy world of cardigan chains. I have recently discovered this wonderful accessory, probably brought back to the public eye by actress Jayma Mays playing guidance counselor Emma in the TV series Glee, and I gotta say it is so old school that it’s totally back in fashion. I haven’t really seen them in stores but, the good news is that they are incredibly easy to make.

Cardigan chain detail - Irene loves crafts

So I thought – this is really ace but hey, in all honesty, I am probably not going to wear this. So I made a really cool one anyway as I know a few friends that would love one. It’s seems like a much bigger project that it actually is but, if you have some basic crafting supplies, you won’t need a lot more.

Cardigan-chain---materials

I made a Mexican inspired cardigan chain. Used some Sculpey to make two skulls and I decorated them Mexican styley with colouring pens. You could also use some pretty vintage clip on earrings and you could save yourself a whole lot of trouble. To make this cardigan chain you will need:

  • Chain
  • Two sculpey skulls
  • Two clips – I used blank clip-on earrings
  • Two metallic loops that mach the chain
  • Scissors, pliers and tweezers
  • Colouring pens
  • Glue gun or superglue

Cardigan-chain---sculpey-skulls Cardigan-chain---mexican-skullMake a couple of skulls – or your desired shape – out of Sculpey following package instructions. Decorate with colouring pens in awesome Mexican style.

Cardigan-chain---clip-and-chain

Use some scissors to cut the chain to the length you like and attach to the clips with a metallic loop. Some plier action will ease things up.

Cardigan-chain---chain-and-skulls

I opted for the double chain look. With the chains and clips set up and my skulls decorated I am ready to go.

Cardigan chain - glue gun

Carefully glue the skulls to the clip. Keep in mind the clip has to open and close easily so make sure not to glue the clasp.

Cardigan chain - skull detail Cardigan chain - Irene loves crafts

You are now ready to rock that awesome chain or to give it away as a great homemade present!

Pretty things to look at: New Year’s eve mood-board inspiration

That last and first night of the year is round the corner. For those of you who are lucky enough to not be working on New Year’s eve, here are some pretty things to look at from around the web to get you in the party mood. If you are throwing your own party, they might help you out with those last loose bits you needed to sort out. Personally, I am not gonna be hosting a party this year, but I will surely be using these awesome ideas at some point in 2013.

DIY confetti sling

This DIY confetti slingshot from Green Wedding Shoes is my super-fave. So cool and easy to make.

Shiny stars drink stir sticks

How adorable are these shiny star drink stir sticks. You can find the tutorial and loads of other great ideas over at Somewhere Splendid.

DIY fringe garland

I love this DIY tissue paper tassel garland from Ruffled. It makes me want to have it up all year round.

Mini celebration milkshakes

Got some spare small-ish glasses that you aren’t planning on using? Or maybe you got a bit over-excited buying shot glasses? Why not make this adult-only tiny White Russian milkshakes from Camille Styles?

DIY pinecone placeholder

Oh handy pine cones, how I love you so. To me, they are a bit like pumpkin. A seasonal star that I look forward to all year and once it’s here I try to use it as much as I can. A bit of a random comparison but it works for me! Use them as these cute neon name tags also from Camille Styles.

Champagne and swizzle sticks

If, like me, you love a bit of fizz for any sort of celebration, you need these bad boys in your life. Rock candy and sugar swizzle sticks, picture from Sensationally Sweet Events, you can easily get them online.

Sparkling cranberry brie bites

These sparkling cranberry and brie bites from Annie’s Eats look delicious. I can’t wait to try them.

Glamorous and inexpensive table runner

Lastly, if you are still pondering on how to decorate your table, Bright Bazaar has some wonderful easy ideas which might suit your  adopted “last minute decorating policy”.

But for now, let me wish you all a great end and start of the year. Enjoy your celebrations, whether they’re wild or mild, and see you on the new year! Happy 2013 to you all!

All image credits belong to the links above

Show off with Furoshiki, the lovely japanese scarf giftwrap technique

The countdown to Christmas has now properly started. Soon, the last weekend before gift-giving day will be here. If you are still planning on how to giftwrap your presents, have you considered the super ancient but also mega cool japanese art of wrapping with scarves also known as Furoshiki?

Scarf Giftwrap Furoshiki - Irene loves crafts

Much easier than it looks and it’s two presents in one. Pop down to your local charity shop (if on a budget) or any clothing store (if not) and pick a few nice scarves, your presents will definitely stand out! I have tested out 4 wrapping styles which are suitable for four different shapes. Find the written tutorial after the  pictures

 

Kouse Tsutsumi – or the slender object carry wrap

Suitable for small piles of books of similar shape, a shoe box, a box of chocolates or any sort of rectangular shape.

Scarf giftwrap - Kousa Tsutsumi 1 Scarf giftwrap - Kousa Tsutsumi 2 Scarf giftwrap - Kousa Tsutsumi 3 Scarf giftwrap - Kousa Tsutsumi 4 Scarf giftwrap - Kousa Tsutsumi 5

How you do it:

  1. Put the item in the centre of the scarf. 
  2. Take the top and right corners of the scarf and tie them
  3. Take the bottom corner of the scarf and slip it under the knot, it’ll now be between the two other bits
  4. The same corner you just slipped under the knot, tie it together with the left over corner going above the existing knot – sounds complicated but it’s not, the picture should help
  5. You now have a super quirky pressie 

Otsukai Tsutsumi – or the basic carry wrap

Ideal for big books or boxes

Scarf giftwrap - Otsukai Tsutsumi 1 Scarf giftwrap - Otsukai Tsutsumi 2 Scarf giftwrap - Otsukai Tsutsumi 3 Scarf giftwrap - Otsukai Tsutsumi 4

How you do it:

  1. Put the item near one of the corners and fold the scarf over it
  2. “Roll it” so it’s about half way down to the scarf
  3. Fold the bottom corner towards the centre so you only have the left and right corners. Tie them up 

Bin Tsutsumi – or bottle carry wrap

Ideal for two bottles or similar shaped items, even if it’s small scented oil bottles like these, you’ll just need a smaller scarf.

Scarf giftwrap - Bin Tsutsumi 1 Scarf giftwrap - Bin Tsutsumi 2 Scarf giftwrap - Bin Tsutsumi 3 Scarf giftwrap - Bin Tsutsumi 4

How you do it:

  1. Make the two bottles/ items stand up in the middle of the scarf with about 1cm of separation. Tumble them over to their sides so they are laying horizontally on the scarf.
  2. Fold the bottom corner over the bottles
  3. Starting on the bottom side, roll the scarf and bottles towards the top corner
  4. Get both left and right corners together as you make the bottles stand up. Tie them up 

Yotsu Musubi – or 4 tie wrap

Ideal for square boxes. (note – the scarf I used was actually too big for the box, bare those proportions in mind if you decide to go for it)

Scarf giftwrap - Yotsu Musubi 1 Scarf giftwrap - Yotsu Musubi 2 Scarf giftwrap - Yotsu Musubi 3 Scarf giftwrap - Yotsu Musubi 4

How you do it:

  1. Put the box in the centre of the scarf
  2. Take the top and bottom corners and tie a knot on the top of the box
  3. Take the left and right corners and tie a knot on top of the previos know
  4. If necessary, re-tie the first (and bottom) knot over the new knot – so essentially it’s tied 3 times

After all this wonderful Furoshiki you can still decorate this lovely presents with some cool name tags, pine cones, baubles, anything you like really. Go crazy!

These tutorials and many more can be found at Furoshiki.com

If you want to find out more about Furoshiki, check out it’s Wikipedia page here

Bringing something to the table

This year we are going over to my folk’s for Christmas, so today we are having Fake Christmas with my other half’s family. There is going to be a massive feast ready for us to eat so taking food or drink as a hostess gift is really a bit out of the question. I thought flowers might be a bit predictive so, instead, I decided to roll up my sleeves and give floral arrangement a try.

Hostess gift - Pretty flower arrangement DIY

I have a feeling that floral arrangement is probably something much bigger in the States than the UK. I had never done floral arrangement before and this was a bit of an experiment. I wanted to decorate it with some funny extra bits but I ended up leaving it quite simple, just because I was quite pleased with it anyway!

Flower arrangement - flowers

This is what you’ll need:

  • Wet floral foam – easy peasy to get, call your local florist
  • A vase or a container. Mine’s are really in one of those disposable tupperwares, mainly because this was done on a tight budget and because I knew I wanted to wrap it afterwards anyway
  • Brown craft paper or any other sort of paper you like
  • Double sided tape and some cool tape – either washi or something similar
  • Pinking shears (optional)
  • Funky bits to decorate with – mine are some wooden animal decorations for the Christmas tree. That way the can be re-used afterwards!
  • Flowers

My approach to choosing the flowers was to buy two different types. The big flowers that kind of dominate the bouquet and then the smaller greener flowers that give variety and help visually breaking it up and they fill it up.

Flower arrangement DIY - floral foam

This is how you make it:

Prepare the floral foam in advance. Clean your kitchen sink and fill it up so it would totally cover your floral foam in water when holding it down. Let it soak until the foam floats no more. This will take a while. Once it’s soaked it’ll be really heavy and you can now start cutting it to the shape you want. It’s quite delicate so be careful not to press it too hard. Also, cut it so it fits snuggly but it’s not squashed in your vase or container.

Flower arrangement DIY - placing the flowersThe flower stem needs to be cut diagonally so it facilitates drinking the water from the foam. If you are placing flowers horizontally, insert them so the longest point of the stem is at the bottom. Start by placing the biggest flowers, in my case the white ones, to map out the central points of the bouquet. Then put the other “main flowers”.

Flower arrangement DIY - finished flowersFinally add the green bits to fill it up.

Flower arrangement DIY - wrapping paper

I chose craft paper to wrap it up. It looks quite homey and it matched the little wooden animals that I put at the end. Cute the sides with pinking shears to make it extra pretty.

Flower arrangement DIY - securing the paper

Put some double sided tape on each of the corners of the tupperware to secure the paper to it. That way you can give it the shape that you want a lot more easily.

Flower arrangement DIY - wrapping

Give it some shape and add some pretty tape. I’m clearly not very good at placing tape straight!

Hostess gift DIY - Pretty flower arrangement

You are now ready to add funky bits. Go to the 99p / 99c store and get some playful toys or, like me, some Christmas tree decorations.

Flower arrangement DIY - top view Flower arrangement DIY - Irene loves crafts

Considering this was a bit of an experiment and I didn’t really know how it was going to turn out, I am really happy with it. It’s something a bit different to take to a hostess, it’s homemade and it looks great!

For more useful tips on how to use floral foam successfully have a look at this article from the American Rose Society.

Snow card – posting a white Christmas

Christmas times are superbusy times. So much that, believe it or not, I haven’t come round to making any Christmas cards yet. So now I need something cute, fast and easy so I can get those Christmas Greetings out the door pronto.

Snow card - A white Christmas - Irene loves crafts

The best thing is that you can make this card with materials you most probably already own. This is what you’ll need:

  • White paper
  • Hole puncher
  • Blue colored cardboard or a blank blue card
  • Double sided and normal tape
  • White thread
  • Sticker paper (optional but recommended – otherwise you might need glue)
  • Pretty pens to draw your cloud with

Snow card - materials Snow card - making snowflakes

Punch some holes on your white sticker paper. If you don’t have any, normal paper will do. Gather all the small white dots aka snowflakes.

Snow card - snowflakes

Cut some bits of white thread and stick them on the sticky side of the snowflakes and cover with another snowflake. A bit like a snowflake – thread – snowflake sandwich. If you are using normal paper then you can use some double sided tape to stick together the thread and the snowflakes.

Snow card -back of the cloud2 Snow card -back of the cloud

Draw (or download and print) a cute cloud and cut it. I decorated it with some golden colored pen. Take the normal tape and stick the bits of thread on the back of the cloud. I quite like it when the snowflakes fall with different lengths.

Snow card - back DIY snow card - a white Christmas

I made use of my S200 printing kit and stamped the back of the card. If you don’t have a stamp that’s ok, write or draw a small cheeky surprise! The card is now ready to be written on and posted, someone will get their own white Christmas through the post! Merry Christmas everyone!

Crafty Fox London Christmas Craft Fair

One of the best things about the run up to Christmas is the insane amount of Crafts fairs that come out of nowhere. I love it. This weekend Crafty Fox teamed up with The Dogstar in ever trendy Brixton and brought three floors of crafts and workshops to South London.

Crafty Fox market - Brixton craft fairCrafty Fox market - London craft fairFor regular awesomeness, throughout the year Brixton hosts a few monthly markets. You can find the Brixton Makers Market with beautifully made jewelery  unique accessories and homewares, delicious baked goods and original artwork and design and Brixton’s Retro and Vintage Market, a favourite for vintage lovers with a mix of home furnishings, dresses, menswear, jewellery and collectable goods. If you are around, don’t forget to go to Brixton Village for a coffee or a cheeky cocktail.

Lucie Ellen - craft fair stall Lucie Ellen - market stall

These are some of the stalls we found this weekend at the Dogstar with some ace last minute present ideas. Pretty badges and facet styled wooden jewelery for that kirky friend in your life brought to you by Lucie Ellen.

Pygmycloud - Craft fair stall Pygmycloud - market stallSuper cute plush toys (OMG how ace is that cloud?) from Pygmycloud

House of Ismay - craft fair stall House of Ismay - market stall

House of Ismay had some wonderful handmade jewellery and homewares at its stall, all made using reclaimed, vintage material.

iwishawasa - craft fair stall iwishiwasa - market stall

Iwishawasa made me want to be small again. Mainly so I could fit is their cool costumes. If you have kids, you seriously need to check out their stuff!

Bow Tie Club - craft fair stall

Bow Tie Club has the Christmas present solution to all your trendy needs. Definitely back in fashion, these babies will make an unusual but fun surprise.

Butterscotch and beesting - craft fair stall

Butterscotch and Beesting, regulars of craft fair scene and featured in previous posts, were back again with their circus wonders. This time I spotted this funky necklace. They never cease to disappoint! : )

Fabric Nation - craft fair stall

Some nice, vintage-inspired badges from Fabric Nation.

Wingate print - screen printing London Papercraft Princess - craft fair stall Paper Craft Princess - Stampin Up! Letter Lounge workshop

There were several workshops throughout the weekend. These are some images of Mr Wingate screen printed products – he’ll also teach you how to screen print! check his website for workshops in London -, the card making workshop of Papercraft Princess and the little card writing corner of the Letter Lounge.

Paket Paket giftwrap Paket Paket - Craft fair stall

Finally, to wrap all that up, Paket Paket was running a giftwrap service and had some of its gorgeous giftwrap on show.

For other markets in Brixton, South London:

Makers Market – 2nd Saturday of every month

Retro and vintage market – 3rd Saturday of every month

Food makeover: Glam up that cake for any occasion

I like making the everyday a bit special. Sometimes that means having a cheeky bit of cake and, whether you bake it or buy it, it’s nice to glam it up anyway doesn’t matter the occasion.

Is it a rainy Sunday afternoon and you’ve decided to bake a delicious cake? Are you catching up with your girls having afternoon tea at home? Are you making or taking a cake to the birthday party of one of the young members of the family? This quick cake makeover is going to bring huge amounts of cuteness and glam to your day and you can do it with loads of materials you already have.

Make different size flags and add them to your cake using skewers and toothpicks as flag poles. For the actual flag, you can use different color cardboard, washi tape, pretty cloth if you have some, ribbons or twine. It’s best if you combine a few materials and/or colors. Plain shape flags (triangular or rectangular) look really cute but you can also look online for banner drawings, mimic the shape by drawing them on your cardboard and cutting them up.

If you have any nice stamps you can use those as well. The one I used is part of the set of stamps I posted a few weeks back. If you don’t have any stamps, you can print it out Delicious onto colored paper and use it. If you have a bit more time on your hands you can also make tiny bunting to glam up that cake.