Saturday, 30 March 2013

craftypainter is moving house

After some deliberation I have decided to up sticks and move my blog, there is still a little work to do but you can now find me over at Miss Chaela-Boo!

Thank you so much to everyone who has followed me this far and visited my craftypainter blog, I do hope very much that I'll see lots of you on the other side.

Michaela x

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Crafty Creatives Box 9

I have to be honest and say that this month's theme didn't immediately grab me. Brown doesn't feature very heavily in my life and this box was big on brown, there was also quite a bit of leather which doesn't fit with my vegan ways. The theme was Steampunk which I've seen lots of on Etsy but felt at a bit of a loss as to know what to do with the contents which were...
  • The kit: decoupage trinket box
  • 3m brown leather cord
  • Pipe spacer beads
  • Bottle of crackle glaze
  • Metallic transfer foils
  • Bundle of leather scraps
  • Reel of wire
  • Bulb and clock charms
  • Lock clasps
  • Watch parts
  • Brown tweed fabric with metallic twist
The art card of a cute clockwork doll was by Britta of Deviantart.
craftypainter: Crafty Creatives box 9
Putting my prejudices against brown aside I started on the kit and really enjoyed it, inspired by this amazing fairy from the box 9 Pinterst board, I decided to decorate the box with the tiny watch pieces.

Here's my finished box, just need to find myself some trinkets!
craftypainter: Steampunk trinket box
craftypainter: Steampunk trinket box
Starting with the kit helped me get more excited by the box and I moved on to the wire which I found was lovely and soft and easy to bend.

I wondered if I could make a holder for cotton reels. I could! I sketched a basic design and worked out the size (and if I had enough wire). Five rows is actually a bit of a squeeze for the size of the frame but it works ok.
craftypainter: wire cotton reel holder
With the left over wire my mum made these two small mice.
craftypainter: wire mouse
The brown fabric will take some thought, perhaps a sparkly creature of some kind. The leather will have to find a new home with one of my crafty friends.

Overall, I really enjoyed this box and I'm glad I stuck with it, another great box from the Crafty Creatives ladies!

Share your links to your makes from the box, I love seeing what everyone has been up to!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Thrifty shopping in Hitchin

I love reading other blogs about the wonderful things that can be found in charity shops and a recent purchase of the book 'Homemade Gifts Vintage Style' by Sarah Morris inspired me to go treasure hunting. 

craftypainter: charity shopping
I've always known Hitchin as a town somewhere along the train line on the way to London. Turns out it's also lovely market town full of independent shops and 11 charity shops all within 10 mins walk!!

I didn't really know what I was looking for at first but of course quickly found I was drawn to the craft areas, I was also on the look out for tea cups and saucers for a tea themed craft swap that I organised for Cam City WI. 

All of the shops I visited boasted the usual clothes and books but some had more crockery or records and some had crafty corners dedicated to buttons, zips, wool and sewing and knitting patterns.

craftypainter: charity shopping
All of the charity shops are within a short walk, I toured them all in one afternoon:
  • Sue Ryder
  • Garden House Hospice
  • British Heart Foundation
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Keech Hospice
  • Save the Children
  • Oxfam
  • Age UK
  • Salvation Army
  • YMCA
craftypainter: charity shopping
I loved looking through the retro dress patterns but sadly couldn't find any in a suitable size. Of course I found some buttons!!

craftypainter: charity shopping, buttons
As well as the charity shops Hitchin boasts an excellent market with a fine selection of stalls including, plants, fabric and jewellery supplies not forgetting the usual market stalls. On Fridays, the general market is joined by antiques and bric-a-brac, perfect for more button hunting.  

craftypainter: Hitchin market
I bought this whole bowl of buttons for £3.50  although when I got home I found more than just buttons (not in a good way!) 

craftypainter: charity shopping
Fortunately I'm not squeamish about such things because other than the buttons I found a spirograph cog, a mouldy vitamin tablet and a generous sprinkling of small rodent poo (lucky lucky me!)

After sorting them out I'm pleased that there are some very pretty buttons amongst the stash. Also from the market I bought some tea cups and saucers, perfect for a tea cup pincushion for my craft swap!

craftypainter: teacup pincushion
What do you look for when charity shopping? I'd love to hear your tips!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Guest post: Recycling old candles

Today I'm welcoming my first of (hopefully) many monthly guests. First up is the brilliant Claire whose blog is jam packed with wonderful crafty DIYs and beautiful photographs of Cambridge. I'm especially lucky that Claire managed to find the time to write this post before taking a mini-break from blog land. Over to Claire!

craftypainter: recycled candles by Claireabellemakes

Hello! I'm Claire from Claireabellemakes and today I'm going to share with you a tutorial for recycling your old candles.

How annoying is it when you get towards the end of your candle and the wick disappears?! I never ever throw old wax away. So, I will share some tips today for making the most of your old candles.

You will need:

Old jars or glass containers
Waxed candle wicks (I got 10 for £1 on ebay)
Old pieces of wax
Skewers or pencils
Metal jug (should only be used for making candles)

craftypainter: Recycled candles by Claireabellemakes

A little tip for getting the old wax out of containers:

Once your candle has cooled and you can no longer burn it, pour boiling water on the remaining wax. Leave the water to cool completely. The remove the wax in one lump (easy!) and wash your container with hot soapy water.

Prepare your containers by placing a wick into the bottom and wrap the end around a skewer or pencil to rest across the top. The wick should be straight.

craftypainter: Recycled candles by Claireabellemakes

Next, fill a saucepan with around 2 inches of water and place the metal jug into the saucepan.

Break up your wax pieces and place into the jug. If you have a big candle a hammer might be useful to smash it (inside a bag!). Remove any pieces with the wick in.

Keeping the pan on a low-medium heat, allow the wax to melt completely. It is best to keep all similar wax together. At this point you can add scent or colour if preferred. Do not leave the pan unattended during this stage.

craftypainter: Recycled candles by Claireabellemakes

Slowly pour the fully melted wax into the glass jars, being careful to keep the wick in place. Leave the wax to dry over night or plunge the bottom of the glass into cold water to set.

If you would like layered candles you can add more wax after each colour has dried.

craftypainter: Recycled candles by Claireabellemakes

Once the wax is dry, remove the skewer or pencil and trim the wick to just under ¼ of an inch. Any longer will mean that the candle flickers when burnt.

craftypainter: Recycled candles by Claireabellemakes

Light your candles and enjoy!

I hope you have enjoyed this upcycling tutorial today! If you would like to see my other DIYs, please visit my blog here. Thanks for having me Michaela!

Happy crafting!

Thanks so much Claire for a super post, I do love a good upcycle and the candles look beautiful, I will definitely be giving this a try. Do pop over and check out Claire's blog for other crafty DIYs here!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Crafty Creatives Box 8

It's actually been an age since the eighth Crafty Creatives box arrived however, due to my ineptness I didn't manage to collect mine from the post office for over a week. Since then I've been working on some makes from the box, but firstly a quick reminder of what was in the spots and stripes box! 

  • The kit: polymer clay pendant
  • Roll of washi tape
  • Spotty and stripey paper straws
  • Spotty cupcake cases
  • A spotty glass bead
  • 3m stripey string
  • 20 striped resin beads
  • 50cm spotty PVC fabric
  • Fat quarter of striped cotton
  • Pack of sticky dots
  • Stripey  tissue paper
  • Round nose pliers and pins
 Not forgetting the awesome art card by Paul Heard.

craftypainter: Crafty Creatives box 8

I was really looking forward to trying the polymer clay, I was a big fan of it when I was younger, although it was a lot harder to work with than I remembered (that could just have been my cold hands). 

craftypainter: Crafty Creatives box 8 kit

I had a go at making the hearts for the pendant but couldn't get them quite right (probably the cold hands again!). I didn't want to waste the kit on making a substandard pendants (I'm quite a fussy crafter) so I decided to try making buttons instead. 

I rolled out the polymer clay and used cotton reels and a lip balm lid as cutters. I used the two colours of clay to make some stripey  and spotty patterns and also used beads, buttons and shells to make textured patterns. Finally I used a cocktail stick to make the holes. My favourite pattern was made using the cinnabar bead from box 3. 

craftypainter: polymer clay buttons

I'm really pleased with the buttons although some of them were quite thin and bendy so will be used for decorative purposes rather than functional. 

I've also had a go at using the washi tape to make some cute gift tags which I'll be listing in my Etsy Shop.

craftypainter: washi tape gift tags

I'm planning to use the PVC fabric to make a cover for my bicycle seat and the rest of the box will be absorbed into my craft collection, the paper straws will take some thought though.

Did you get box 8? What have you made so far? Let me know!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Cambridge bloggers meet up

Saturday was the day of the Cambridge bloggers meet up and I dashed into town after parkrun to meet 16 fellow bloggers at Ta Bouche. There was a good mix of familiar faces from real life and twitter, including some visitors all the way from Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

Claire did an amazing job of organising the Cambridge meet up which was the second meet up planned with Rachel, Harriet and Stacie.

craftypainter: bloggers goody bag

Everyone received an exciting goody bag containing lots of lovely treats. We received craft supplies from Crafty Creatives, lovely handmade treats from Ohnorachio, Claireabellemakes, Harriet Gray and Stacie Swift, a 10% discount from The Sheep Shop, a roll of washi tape from, a copy of Homemaker Magazine, a credit from, a sample of tea from Tea Pigs and some amazing smelling Lush soap. I was also the very lucky winner of the raffle prize of five Graze boxes, Yum!

craftypainter: Cambridge blogger's meet

After a long lunch and lots of chatting we headed on a mini tour of Cambridge.  I've never travelled Cambridge as a tourist before and I especially enjoyed our visit to the busker in a bin and a peek in to Trinity College.

craftypainter: Lovely bloggers

I usually try to avoid Cambridge on Saturday afternoons but it was a beautiful sunny day and a fabulous way to spend an afternoon.

Thanks to Claire and all the lovely bloggers for a great day out!

Thursday, 28 February 2013

February highlights

I really enjoyed my monthly round up at the end if January, it was a great reminder of all I'd managed to get up to over the previous few weeks. February seems to have flown by (three fewer days seems to make a big difference) and it's suddenly spring! Things have been a little quieter on the blog recently but here are my highlights nonetheless. 

On the blog:

craftypainter: February highlights

I enjoyed fluffy vegan pancakes and took part in my first ever yarn bomb, snuggled with Ivor the Lovely and enjoyed my first gardening session of the year.

Off the blog:

craftypainter: February highlights

Half-marathon training stepped up a gear with my first 10 mile run and I stopped to take this photo of vegan inspired graffiti. I went on a thrifty shopping trip to Hitchin and explored the many charity shops (I got more than I bargained for when I bought the whole bowl full of buttons!). I attended my first ever crochet class where I learned how to crochet ripples and I ate my first crop of tasty home grown oyster mushrooms! 

There'll be more on the charity shopping and crochet class on the blog in the next week or so.

As for the cat, she's been keeping herself busy with a spot of gerbil watching...
craftypainter: February highlights

How was your February? 

Monday, 25 February 2013

Bunting and crochet (an update)

A few weeks ago I shared with you the needle felted bunting that I made from the Crafty Creatives January box. The woodland themed box arrived just in time for me to make the bunting for baby Ivor's woodland bedroom. Last week I had the treat of visiting him, his lovely mummy Ro and big brother Rufus for lots of cuddles. 

craftypainter: the boys

We attached the bunting to Ivor's cot and it went really well with the beautiful quilt made by Ro.

craftypainter: needle felted bunting

Then there was the red hat that I had promised to make; I've knitted baby hats before, making it up as I go, but this time wanted to try crochet. After a bit of digging around on Pinterest I found this really easy pattern from Hooked on Needles. UK readers bear in mind it's written in US terms so use trebles instead of doubles. It only took a few hours and was all done after a couple of evening's work. It was just the right size with a bit of growing room. 

craftypainter: crocheted baby hat

Ivor decided that sleeping was more important than modelling, I can't blame him.

Friday, 22 February 2013

February in my garden

Brrr... It's been a chilly few weeks but last weekend was perfect for a bit of much needed gardening and provided lovely conditions for a few garden snaps. 

The miniature daffodils started flowering at the end of January (nutters!) and are looking lovely and jolly. Yellow usually makes me (and most people probably) think of summer but these happy yellow blooms are flying the yellow flag for February!

Despite the lovely sunshine it was still a little too chilly for some people, this brown caterpillar didn't want to say hello. I popped him back under the leaves after taking the photo. The Chinese Lantern skeletons looked amazing and the pretty self-sown violas brightened up an otherwise empty plant pot.

During the week we were reminded that it is still winter really and I had to stop as and take these frosty pics before setting off for work in my fleece lined tights!

Have you managed to get out and about to enjoy some of the sunshine? Let me know what you've been up to. 

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Sheepish heart bomb day

Last night I snuck out after dark and decorated some of my local trees with crocheted heart decorations to spread a little love around my neighbourhood. I discovered Sheepish heart bomb day via twitter and found out that it was the second yarn bomb day organised by Meredith of One Sheepish Girl. This time, being near Valentine's Day, the theme was hearts. 

craftypainter: Sheepish heart bomb

As one who sometimes likes to throw wild flower seeds around neglected patches of land on my way to work, the idea of yarn bombing really appeals to me (something about making the world a more cheerful place). I love to decorate things and hopefully my little tags will cheer someone's day. 

craftypainter: Sheepish heart bomb, crochet heart tags

I was a little late to the party only seeing on Thursday evening when people tweeted what they had done, but Meredith had already thought of that and gave us four days to heart bomb. I followed the pattern on her blog and crocheted around 20 red hearts, I then glued them to mini gift tags with my messages on the back before setting off in the dark to hang them around the local park.

craftypainter: Sheepish heart bomb

After my run this morning I checked back on some of them so I could snap them in the daylight, with the spring branches of the cherry trees bare of leaves they stand out really well. We haven't seen blue sky in a while but it's suddenly feeling very spring like. 

Don't know what yarn bombing is? Read this lovely blog post by claireabellemakes and check out her Cambridge heart bombs here.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Vegan pancakes

Vegan pancakes are probably a bit pointless since traditionally Shrove Tuesday is supposed to be when we use up rich foods before Lent, but I'm making them anyway.

This recipe is super easy and I'm still amazed that you can make such good pancakes without eggs or cows milk.  It's so easy that you don't really need me to tell you what to do,  just that it can be done.

The baking powder in this recipe makes the pancakes really light and fluffy and reminds me of the scrummy pancakes I had for breakfast everyday on a trip to New York.

1 cup Flour
1 table spoon + 1 tea spoon baking powder
1 tables spoon sugar
Pinch of salt
1 cup soya milk
2 tables spoons vegetable oil
Up to 1/2 cup water

Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl or measuring jug, add the soya milk and oil and mix well to form a smooth batter. If the batter is really think add some water. I like to use a measuring jug as I find it easier to pour the batter into the pan.

Heat a small/medium sized pan over a medium/high heat and add enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan. Allow to cook on one side for a couple of minutes and then flip over to cook the other side. Cook the remaining batter (should make approximately six pancakes depending on size).

Serve with your choice of topping, mmm maple syrup!

For yummy banana pancakes which are also gluten free check out Laura's post over at Wrapped up in Rainbows.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Etsy shop give away winner

Thank you to everyone who entered my Etsy shop give away! The lucky winner chosen at random is...



As an extra treat for everyone else I'm offering a cheeky 10% off purchases in the shop with the code FEB10, until Sunday 10 February!!

Thursday, 31 January 2013

January highlights

Well January was a busy month on the blog after I decided to get organised and plan the posts for the month ahead. I thought I'd have a quick recap of highlights from the month both on and off the blog; I do love putting together a good collage.

On the blog:

craftypainter: January on the blog

First off there was the lovely Crafty Creatives 'Icy' box (I have yet to use the sparkly bath bomb), a walk around my garden and the crochet project with Cam City WI. I made a yummy vegan cheesecake, reopened my Etsy shop with a give away (still two days left to enter!) and finally the gorgeous 'Woodland' themed box from Crafty Creatives. 

Off the blog:

craftypainter: January off the blog

I worked mornings only for two weeks (wonderful) and discovered that my favourite place to go for hot chocolate is Costa since they have free WiFi and you don't have to do any silly logging in or registration (and the hot chocolate is massive). I spent about 5 minutes trying to photograph an upside-down swan and it snowed a bit. I started my half-marathon training and snuggled with The Cat who is feeling much better after a week of being unwell. 

Finally I learnt that if you run towards a rainbow you'll probably get rained on.

How was your January?

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Crafty Creatives Box 7

I know I'm probably the last person to get around to writing about the Crafty Creatives January box but I have been a bit busy with getting everything sorted for the reopening of my Etsy shop. In case you missed it, I'm celebrating my reopening with a give away which you can enter here!

Anyway, back to the box! The theme could not have been better as my wonderful best friend Ro has decorated her new baby's room in a woodland theme. Huge congratulations to Ro and Steve on the arrival of Ivor who turned up in a bit if a hurry this morning, he is an absolute beauty.

So the very pretty art card this month comes from Lucy and this lovely box of goodies contained:
  • The kit: needle felted leaves
  • Toadstool beads
  • Wooden leaf buttons
  • Skeleton leaves
  • 5 leaf pendants
  • Owl print fabric
  • Flower soft
  • Fox beads
  • Owl pendant
  • 3 birch hearts
  • Pine cone
craftypainter: @craftycreatives box 7 contents

I got straight down to the needle felting as soon as I got the chance and made 13 leaves from the kit. After a bit of fiddling I threaded them on to some green ribbon. Hopefully there is a spot in Ivor's room where these can go.

Needle felted leaf garland by craftypainter

I haven't got started on the rest of the box yet but the leaf pendants are definitely going towards a charm bracelet. Since I don't wear earrings it'll be charms all the way with the fox and toadstool beads as well. I just need to get a few jewellery making supplies...

craftypainter: @craftycreatives box 7 contents

The flower soft, which looks like very finely chopped nylon netting, will be added to my glitter collection for future card making sessions and the birch hearts will be added to a photo frame (probably). 

Now I'm off to finish crocheting a hat for a very small person!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Etsy shop reopening giveaway

I promised more give aways this year and here is the first one. Last night I reopened my Etsy shop after a few weeks off to take stock (and make stock); this was number two on my list of resolutions for the year. I was however, a day late since I hadn't considered the time it takes to edit and upload photographs as well as writing all the item descriptions.

Old favourites back in stock include my fabric brooches (I think I have one of these attached to every coat!).

I've also been working on these felt brooches, made entirely from accumulated felt off cuts, I love the random shapes of the pieces and the spikey flowers they create.

I've also expanded my selection of gift tags, focusing mainly on mini tags because you don't need to say that much on a tag and they are just cuter.

And finally, coming soon, a new peacock cushion! It's smaller than the original but I've already been working on it for a week or so now, I just didn't manage to finish it in time and didn't want to delay reopening, so here is a sneaky peek...

So on to the give away and firstly the prize; a set of ribbon-covered mini tags and a felt brooch!

Entry will be open until Sunday 3 February 2013 at 4pm (GMT ). I'm trying out PunchTab for the first time as the method of entry, you can enter via Facebook or email initially and submit extra entries through the PunchTab widget, for example, visiting my shope or following me on Twitter will add an extra entry!

Good luck everyone! 

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