When Crafty Meets Crafty

Tuesday 26 November 2013 by

Having stretched ourselves so thin to get into the new house by Christmas, we won’t have the luxury of buying any new accessories or essential items for a while leaving us firmly in the make do and mend camp. But this is okay. I’ve been in this camp for quite a while and have gotten to know the neighbours quite well, who always know that whatever junk you have going free, Emily will take off your hands. This drives the boyfriend insane as we usually have a few extra trips to the dump per year to offload the treasure even I cannot salvage, but on the whole it either adds to the eclectic ensemble that is our home or the penny jar.

Bf and I have been together for 6 years 9 month-ish and this coming house move will be number 6 together. You would think we’d be good at it by now. In all these house moves we have only ever had to buy a few pairs of curtains but of course, the ones we have bought are not going to fit the windows in the new house. And what with it being a new house, there are not even poles from which to hang our non-existent curtains.

Neither do we have a lawnmower, washing line, garden shed, bookcases to hold either books, DVDs, CDs, household paper work, work resources (more paper), crafting materials, board games as well as a few other essential items such as the table hog; a plastic hog figurine who makes an appearance at the dinner table to mark out the poor mannered hog who is then tasked with clearing the table.

We had an offer of a few curtain poles which I have gladly accepted and once I’ve got my tape measure out then I’ll be on the scavenge for some reasonably priced curtains.

In the mean time I’ve had a small breakthrough on the storage front. In the local British Heart Foundation furniture shop, for the bargain price of £10.00, I have purchased myself a wall unit. We saved ourselves the delivery charge by cramming it into bf’s ‘the only sensible car in the family, isn’t it good that I bought myself this car’ car in two parts and it’s now taking up a large chunk of my already full dining room. I’m not going to lie to you, it is ugly. But the talented furniture painters of the Internet have given me hope of transforming this ugly duckling.

Wardrobe, Craft, Free

You can’t really see it in all its glory because the top half is upside down and part dismantled, but there are glass shelves and a strip light hiding in there. However, I think the bottom half cupboards are worth the £10.00 on their own. The kids have climbed inside. The 5 year old shut the 1 year old in and she couldn’t escape so seems pretty sturdy to me. I haven’t totally decided on the cupboards future use and I haven’t totally ruled out baby prison.

It’s also a potential board games and crafting cupboard in lounge, a potential wellies/boots/hats and scarfs/dog stuff cupboard for the hall way and a potential cupboard to hide paper work and work stuff in the dining room.

It’s been in the house for 4 days so far and it is yet to get any prettier. I need to get the sandpaper out of the shed but it’s cold outside. I’m running out of time though as of course, bf hates it and is banning it from new house in its current form. I don’t know who told him he sets the benchmark for beauty. He certainly isn’t qualified for it.

Try as I might, I haven’t forgotten Christmas. I’ve had a few brainwaves but I have to be careful as I think half the readership of this blog is family so I don’t want to give away what they might be receiving.

But here are a few ideas I ran with last year and no one told me to my face they were awful so I’m happy with that.

1) if you have a child or children, put them to work.  You can give people any old crap if a kid has made it so if it actually looks half decent then you are quids-in (your pocket as you haven’t had to spend much).

i) last year I bought a sharpie pen and some plain white table wear – a few plates, mugs, salt and pepper pot and had my then 4 year old draw portraits of family members onto them. I baked them in the oven as per Internet instructions, but later found out the pen doesn’t survive the washing up bowl. SO, I recommend a ceramic marker which holds much better hopes of lasting.

ii) same theme. White cotton Tote bags. They cost about £1 on eBay and small people can decorate them with a hand drawn picture and ta da, your recipient has a unique shopping bag and might remember to take their reusable shopping bags out a little more often.

It may be that you don’t have any little people to exploit for cheap Xmas present ideas. In this case, you can have a go at doing something creative yourself but put some effort in; scribbling becomes much less endearing when you get into double figures.

Plates, Craft, Kids

While you are waiting for your ceramic marker or tote bags to come in the post, how about making yourself some salt dough? Ridiculously cheap to make and really versatile. I will definitely be doing this again this year. We made some handprint Christmas tree decorations last year. Then a little mouse moved into the under stairs cupboard and ate them. I would recommend storing them a little smarter than I did.

As well as tree decorations, much craftier people have had lots of crafty ideas which they welcome you to steal. I like this Rainy Mum ‘The Quickest Ever Salt Dough’ recipe because it’s so simple and she uses a microwave rather than the oven. I’ve seen salt dough bracelets, brooches, gift tags, hanging ornaments, key rings, baby hand and footprint plaques.

I recently made an enquiry to a company who take your children’s fingerprints and stamp them into metal keyrings.  £75.

I’ve just seen a salt dough version sprayed with metallic paint.  I think I know what the bf’s getting this year.

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