“A party without cake is just a meeting.” ~ Julia Child

I make A LOT of cake. Always have. I really enjoy it as long as I have the time to plan and organise (cake nerd) so that I can get the cakes how I like them. Mainly for family and … Continue reading

Hanging heart thank you

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Etta and I do a lot of crafting (a.k.a mess making) together.
I love to receive personalised gifts and in turn, love to make them for friends and family. This is where Etta comes in handy (literally).

Alison, Etta’s wonderful childminder is giving up work at the end of this week to concentrate on her other full time job – raising a family.

Alison has not only a fantastic carer for Etta, but a teacher and a friend. I wanted to make a keepsake for her that would remind her of their time together.

I have put together a super simple tutorial if you should like to make one yourself or something similar, this would work well as a card or in a frame too.

You will need:

• Wooden heart shaped ‘blank’ (eBay or hobby craft, but make sure it has a hole so you can hang it).
• Emulsion or acrylic paint
• Paint brush
• Paint for the prints – I used a metallic gold- make sure whatever you use is water based so it’s kind on the skin
• A good pen to write with – a designers drawing pen is ideal
• Clear spray varnish (optional)
• Ribbon / chord to hang the heart with
• A small and willing child to use as your stamp!

 

Let’s get messy!

1. This is your plain ‘blank’. I actually like them like this andthere is not necessarily a need to paint them but for the purpose of this tutorial that’s what I did.

 

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2. Paint your heart in thin layers of unison or acrylic allowing each side to dry between coats. If you like then the first coat can be in a darker contrasting colour to the top coat and when it’s all painted and dry you can rub it gently with a fine grade sandpaper around the edges to give a distressed look. (That’s what I did here but forgot to take pics of the process – sorry).

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3. Fasten small child to something so they are unable to run off – in my case a highchair. Apply paint to one foot at a time. Not too much as you want a clean print. Place each foot onto the heart and ensure all areas have gentle pressure on them – especially the toes.

 

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4. This is what it should look like – heels slightly overlapped to echo the shape of the heart. You can now clean the child!

 

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5. Next, once the paint has dried, take your drawing pen and carefully write your saying, quote or message around the edge of the print. I find if you put little dots on the ends of the letters it makes an aesthetically pleasing font that looks better than plain handwriting.

 

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Once the pen had dried I gave the heart a two light coats of spray varnish each side to seal the paint and pen. It’s important that they are light coats so the ink does not run and to allow the varnish to dry in between . You don’t have to varnish your heart but I find it keeps it looking better and gives a nice glossy finish.

 

6. This is the ribbon I chose for my heart – you can pick this up on eBay or there are tons of people on Facebook who sell ribbon if you search.

 

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7. My finished heart. I added a personal message on the other side before I varnished it – you may wish to do the same or alternatively print hand prints or let your kiddie-wink go wild with paint.
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I hope Alison will like it and that this will inspire you to make keepsakes for all your family and friends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Capturing baby’s first year and beyond – a photo project

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I discovered Pinterest just over two years ago whilst I was pregnant with my daughter. I couldn’t believe how many different types of coloured chevron were perceivable for decorating a nursery and how many different household items you could up-cycle into objet d’art, however I digress…

Amongst the many, many posts on how to be the world’s best parents, were those capturing the changes over time of a growing baby.

I think what I’m trying to say in a very garbled manner is this is not my idea originally, there are lots of similar things out there, but I like to think I have put my own stamp on it and I hope this inspires you to have a go yourself.

I wanted to photograph Etta on the 9th of each month (because she was born on the 9th October) to see how she would change and grow over the course of the year. I had seen examples using baby grows with numbers on or the months photoshopped on afterwards and decided although I liked those ideas, they weren’t quite right for me.

Then I found Barry.

Barry19580 is a seller on eBay. He lives in Yorkshire and makes things out of wood with a laser. Amongst a plethora of different animals and shapes are numbers. I bought a set of 8inch high mdf numerals: 0-9 inclusive plus an extra number 1.

When they arrived they looked like this:

 

So I painted them with emulsion in the colours I had painted the nursery (you could buy tester pots from any DIY store or use up what’s in the garage / shed). Two coats of paint and a coat of clear spray varnish to finish. Paint the backs and the fronts as babies do not know which way round they go!

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Then position baby and appropriate number on a surface and take photos with a lot of cajoling and cooing and smiling.

I wanted my pictures to be comparable so Etta always had a white baby grow on and lay on the same white cellular blanket.
I put the blanket on my bed, right next to a window with lots of natural light. I opened all curtains and blinds and put all the lights on.

Now here is the shocker: I took these photos with my phone, an iPhone 4s to be precise. So you don’t need any fancy kit and the outlay is less than £20 for numbers and paint etc.

 

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As each month passed, Etta’s expressions and motor skills grew and am so pleased with the pictures I took. Here is the full set of the first 12 months.

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At 12 months I thought I would stop. However we are now at nearly 22 months and I have ordered more numbers from my pal Barry as I need two number 2s for the 9th of August!!

For Etta’s second year I decided to change the ‘pose’ and do something with her little chair as she was walking and far more mobile. The results are different again, she is certainly more spirited than ever and I love that the pictures feel spontaneous.

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I think it’s never too late to do something like this so whether you’re reading this and are pregnant or have a toddler or a child, or have no children but know someone who does, have a go or show them how to!

Say ‘Hi’ to Barry for me 🙂