Gratitude jars: a New Year’s twist on an old favourite craft.

Last year at Thanksgiving, interspersed with recipes for pumpkin spice everything, my Pinterest feed became peppered with photos of Gratitude Jars.  The Gratitude jar is a relatively new tradition in which you write down things that make you happy throughout the year and store them in a special jar.  Then when Thanksgiving, New Years or an Anniversary comes around, you have a special way to remember all the things that have made you feel grateful throughout the year.  A Pinterest search like this one offers dozens of ways to personalize your jar.

After the giving, receiving, and intensive shopping expeditions of Christmas and the January sales, it seems a lovely time to take stock and get back into the habit of being thankful for all the blessings we already have.  So we made our own Gratitude Jar from an old candle jar and tissue paper, following a colour scheme chosen by the girls.  The result:

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And just to make sure we don’t forget to add to it, we slipped some LED lights inside to be sure it will catch our attention, as well as doubling as a handy night light.

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Fancy one of your own?  They’ll be available in our etsy and ebay shops from next week, with the option to order one to match your chosen colour scheme.  If you fancy making one of your own, keep watching the blog for our upcoming tutorial.  Enjoy!

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Up-cycled treasure from the garden

This year, the most anxiously awaited present in our house was a metal detector that my eldest added to her wish list.  She has a deep and passionate certainty that she’s going to uncover buried treasure within minutes of it’s arrival.  Unfortunately, Santa didn’t manage to fit it into his sleigh, so the post-holiday period has been spent with noses pressed to the window hoping for the postman to arrive.

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Yesterday, was the big day. Having spent a small fortune on batteries and deciphered the German-only instructions, we were finally awarded with a steady beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep that’s going to ring in my ears for the next six months.  Within minutes, the intrepid explorer was able to detect a cast iron gate, a metal drain cover and the zipper on her boot.  After further practice, she began to locate a selection of tiny objects hidden under the gravel and soil.  Many of them were these:

IMG_1653Tiny springs that used to hold my clothes pegs together.  Luckily, I had been on Pinterest recently and spotted this link, which (apparently) originally connected to Estate2’s Etsy Shop.  So we got started.

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We added a bead, and then foraged through a stash of broken jewellery, and 5 minutes later we had this sweet creation.

IMG_1655It may not quite make up for the lack of gold coins, but it still kept her happy for a little while.  And if I let her keep it, maybe she’ll think of me when the big treasure starts rolling in…

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Tutorial: DIY Cheerleader Pom Poms

OK, you may have noticed an increasing amount of cool stuff populating our shops over recent weeks.    (If not, why not? What are you waiting for, an invitation from the Queen?  Sheesh!)  But there is one special creation of ours that you won’t be able to pick up online. You can’t even buy them in person at one of our craft stalls.  Nope.  None for you.  I’m talking about these beauties:

Shabby Chic pom poms“But, why?”, you ask. “I also wish to be a sweet and funky non-conformist type cheerleader person.”    Well, it’s because this particular piece of awesomeness was an extremely limited edition, designed especially for this sewing-machine-snogging-vixen.

We’re not here to judge.

But don’t worry.  We’re not entirely heartless.  (Actually, I am, but lucky for you Jacqui isn’t.) We won’t sell you any, but we will tell you how to make them yourself and delight any small munchkins who happen to share your home.

It all happened kind of like this:  It was late summer, and in the run up to #wedstival2012, me and the guys were churning out miles of bunting like this:

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We worked around the clock, tying bunting until our hands were sore and eventually we were lashing together any random bits of fabric we encountered.  Every surface in my house was layered in piles of fabric strips, so much so that random cats were inviting themselves in to sleep on them.

bunting cat

Around that time, Sheri (our bloggy bff from Awesomesauce and Asshattery) sent us a “cheer up” package of personalized T-shirts with our logo (also by Sheri) and names (we already had those) in sparkly, bosom-enhancing print!

Behold:  The Sparkle Bosom.  (She really is going to kill me this time!)

Behold: The Sparkle Bosom.
(Jacqui really is going to kill me this time!)

I thought it was really amazing that we had happened across this Canadian expat powerhouse in Germany who was cheering us on with all the energy of a birthday party full of cake-high 4-year-olds.  I remember asking Sheri if they had cheerleaders in Germany, and being really disappointed when she said no.  In my sleep-deprived state, the idea of angry German-accented cheerleaders really tickled me.

Cheerleader:  “Und now you vill give me un ‘A’!”

Crowd:  “Yikes, ok.  A! Just stop yelling.”

And somewhere around my eleventeenth cup of coffee, my mission revealed itself:  There would be a cheerleader in Germany.  But how?  Luckily, my youngest was “helping Mummy” at the time.

silly kid

And I realized that we were already surrounded by the makings of a kick-arsch cheerleader set.  This is how we did it.

1.  Cut strips of fabric around 2 feet long. (or twice the length you want the finished pom poms to be.)  We used fabrics of different colours and textures for added sensory appeal.  Lay the strips together in a pile.

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2.  Use a thin ribbon to gather your fabric strips in the middle, and tie the ribbon in a knot.

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3.  Grab a nearby candlestick.

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4.  Make sure it is the kind that is hollow through the middle.

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5.  Thread the ribbon through the candlestick from bottom to top.

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6.  Thread the ribbon through some pretty beads, to prevent it slipping back through the candlestick.  Secure with a knot.

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7.  Submit the finished item to your quality control team for vigorous testing.

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8. Optional Wait until quality control team is sleeping before sneaking the finished product into a box and posting to Germany.

And there you have it:  a sweet surprise that will enchant budding cheerleaders everywhere.  And for extra fun, check out A Couple of Craft Addicts Scrap Skirt tutorial and make one of these to go with it:

Get Scrap Busting!  (Oh, and if  you see copies of these projects floating around Etsy in a few months time, do feel free to link to this post and taunt the vendors about their super-original ideas! Hee Hee Hee…)

Creatures & Features!

Oooh, it’s been an exciting week!  Not just because of the closing Olympic extravaganza. And not just because I watched a 200 pound German Shepherd hurdle through my 8 foot fence in a desperate smash-and-grab attempt on foster dog’s squeaky toy.

For us, it’s been a big week because our Fairy Godmother in Berlin* has been waving around some magic pixie dust on our behalf and gotten us features!

If you check out our newest piece of flair over here ————————-> We’re wearing a “Roadkill Rescue” badge!  That’s right, baby!  Our Sweet Wrapper Lanterns  are sitting pretty on the front page over at Roadkill Rescue.  (Amongst a whole legion of other  kick-ass ideas which are well worth a visit!)

And if that wasn’t enough, It’s also sitting in the Craft section over atLove All Blogs. (Which, incidentally, seems to be just the app I need to keep all of my blog reading in order!)  These features make one thing clear:  Sheri from Awesomesauce & Asshattery has a lot to teach us about exposing ourselves to the wider public! 😉

In other news this week, we’ve been going nuts with wine bottle lanterns, including these creepy creatures:

Imagine those guys peeking out from your wine rack this Halloween!  Here are a couple of action shots from the group this week:

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We’ll update with more photos when the lanterns are finished.  In the meantime, I’ve been road-testing a new online sales venue!  So if you fancy getting your mitts on some fancy bits like the ones I made for Wedstival 2012, come visit the shop on DaWanda, where more items are listed each day.  And stay tuned for our upcoming upcycling tutorials of wonder!

 

 

Wedstival 2012 Photos!

I know, we’ve been teasing you with previews of the wedding for ages.  And now its finally time for some of the photos from Wedstival 2012 to emerge!  The ones with the bride and groom are going to have to wait until they come back from honeymoon, but in the meantime we can walk you through the setup and shamelessly boast about all the prettiful things we made. What we love about this whole celebration and all the decorations is that it’s handmade, eco-friendly, and it doesn’t have to cost the earth.  The cost was more in terms of time and effort than money, so it’s an effect that anybody could achieve.

For starters, here’s the view as you walk up the drive towards the Pavillion:

Check out all that lovely bunting, courtesy of our very own nimble fingers!  As you reach  the top of the drive, you begin to encounter some funky signs put together by the bride and groom:And some helpful instructions about what you should be doing:

And then you might go inside to check out the Pavillion.  And wow.  The first thing to discover inside is the amazing catering display. I’m not sure which was more incredible–the smell of all the amazing tea and cakes or their collection of vintage teacups!

We had a few tables set up inside, complete with the group’s handmade chair garlands and table flowers.

upcycled fabric flowers

Each of the flowers was upcycled from the same scrap fabric as the bunting and garlands, then attached to a brooch back or hair clip so they could be worn away as favours–beautiful and eco-chic!   The Pavillion was also the place where guests could place their cards and presents.

But one of my favourite views from inside the Pavillion, was actually the ceremony spot where the bride and groom would look out over their assembled guests:

I love the picnic blanket seating for the ceremony, and the “altar” made from apple crates that were borrowed from the awesome Ruth of the YouCanBike  project fame.  Exiting the Pavillion, one of the most noticeable attractions was Andy’s beautiful vintage photo booth. 

It would have been churlish not to have a go! On the beautifully papered walls, you can spot a selection of frames that were sourced and revamped by the fine folk at the Wednesday group.  And next there was a Polaroid “guest book” table where visitors could take photos of themselves with all the available props and pin them up with their advice and wishes for the bride and groom.There was a great under-cover chillout space next door where you could lounge underneath the fabulous bike-tire chandelier, and even more miles of bunting!

From there, you could watch the other partygoers try out some fun carnival games.

Or sit down to watch the ceremony with a lovely cup of tea.

And here are some of my favourite views and details from the day:

The Ceremony Spot

Andy’s funky leg planters

The garden party in the sunshine

guitar pick buttonhole, plectrum flower

The guitar-pick flowers we made for the groomsmen to wear, and

The miles and miles of upcycled bunting!

If you’re planning a celebration of your own and like any of the decorations or ideas you see here, there’s good news!  Follow @buttoneering on Twitter or Pinterest for news about the launch of a spanking new wedding/events service with workshops, tutorials,  prop hire, and custom-made swag for a party that reflects your own personal style.  Keep watching–this is going to be good!

Scrap busting

Did you think we were going to be having a rest, recovering from our creative efforts of the weekend?  Yeah, we did too.  But after a several-week-long upcycling frenzy, apparently one’s fingers don’t just switch off and chill out.  Mine were twitching and I had to find something for them to do or take drastic action and resort to doing actual housework.

Luckily, I had plenty of Wedstival leftovers to work with.  Despite making miles and miles of scrap bunting, we somehow still had some scraps left!  Now, Thing2 had some big ideas for what to do with them…But I thought we could manage something a little more productive.  So I grabbed a worn out bike tire I had lying around and about a hundred knots later I came up with this:

Nice!  Definitely an idea for busting your stash of fabric scraps.  But I was still full of energy and looking for some other creative outlets.  Remember these from the wedding?

They were a huge hit.  But I still had a couple of bottles hanging out in the recycling bin that didn’t make the cut for the wedding since they just weren’t as pretty as the spirit bottles.  (Not yet, anyway)  The answer?  Stickers + Spray Paint = Awesome.

I really do like these.  But now I have a new problem.  I’m out of bottles.  My fingers are still twitching and I’m minutes away from tackling the housework and polishing the floor to such a high shine that family members fall down when they enter. Any ideas?

Wedstival 2012 Teaser…

I know, I know.  Wedstival 2012 wound up almost 36 hours ago and we haven’t posted yet.  Did it rain, did we have enough bunting?  Were there really man-eating chickens?

We promised there would be photos.  And there will be, we promise.  At the moment we’re just sorting through the hundreds of fantastic shots to bring you the best of the best from that splendiferous day.  And there will be tutorials, top tips and the trials and tribulations of handmade weddings to come.  But right now we’re a little tired.  So to keep you occupied while you wait, here are some shots of the Wedstival setup from the fantastic Nick Dennis, whose website you can see here

(In addition to helping us hang several miles of bunting, Nick joined the gang of self-proclaimed “burly men”* who erected the marquee and graciously allowed us to share his photos and link to his page despite the fact that we spent all of Friday calling him by the wrong name and quizzing him about his choice in footwear.  Thanks Nick!)

Upcycled fabric buntingThat’s our bunting decorating the gate, along with a sign made by the bride and groom themselves!

upcycled teapot, teapot flowerpotThat’s one of the teapots that we scoured the county to find.

scrap chair garlandOne of the chair garlands our group made, wafting nicely in the breeze…

upcycled photoboothThe famous (infamous) photo booth, where you may spot a few items from my previous posts–the tin sign, the bike tire mirror, and several frames revamped by our group members!

Nick pauses to check, “Does my lens look big in this?”

One of my favourite images, of the props next to the photobooth.

upcycled tea cupsThe bride and groom’s glasses for the toast.  I already loved these, but I loved them even more after we showed them to a pair of 7-year-old girls who were helping us set up.  Their response:  “But, will the bride and groom have jam with their toast?”. Awesome.

You’ll have to wait for more photos until we’ve selected the best ones (and carefully edited out any that show me in an unflattering light) but to answer the burning questions:

Did they like the decorations?  In the bride’s words, they were “Amazing.  Like, rock star awesome.”  And obviously we wouldn’t dream of arguing with the bride on her special day.

Were there really man-eating chickens?  Well, there were definitely chickens.  And several guests were, in fact, missing from the morning-after clean up session.  So I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Do Re-Creations do weddings? In light of the evidence, I would have to say yes.  Yes, indeed we do!

*The self-proclaimed “burly men” did appear to be as advertised–a strapping bunch of guys!

Wedstival 2012: A week in Photos

OK, in the week running up to the event of the year (Olympics, pfft!  Wedstival 2012 is where it’s at!) we have no time to write a proper post.  But we’re so proud of what we’ve all achieved that we have to share it!  So enjoy these and rest assured there are lots of stories, tutorials and news coming up when the big day is done.

These are some custom upcycled photo frames for the photobooth (before and after tutorials coming later):

This is an “old tin sign” for the photobooth, made from an upcycled baking tray.

 

 

Upcycled bottle lamps:

Chair garlands are clearly a serious business:

Teapot planters trying to soak up some sun:

repurposed teapots

And my favourite so far, the teacup wine glasses!

teacup wine glass, repurposed chinaAnd all these are only the beginning!  This is going to be the coolest wedding since ours!

(Kidding actually.  This wedding is much cooler than ours was!)

Upcycled Wedding Progress!

OK, so it’s been a bit of a whirlwind the last few weeks.  We had the Jubilee.  We had parties. There was Euro2012 and the Ravelympics drama.  And the Olympic torch passed through.  But don’t start thinking we’ve been distracted by all the excitement.  Oh no, our little fingers have been busy getting ready for Wedstival 2012– our very first upcycled wedding!  So here comes the photo recap of what we’ve been up to:

We went out in search of materials to upcycle into wedding decorations.  At Emmaus we found some inspiration right away in the form of a giant Audrey Hepburn portrait.  Her flawless beauty and classic, graceful style helped the team decide exactly what they were looking for:

“Breakfast at Emmaus”.  But after that, it was all serious business.

No, really, it was tough work.  Our main objective was to find unusable fabric that we could upcycle.   Torn curtains, bedding full of holes, and stained tablecloths were our mission. (Just the kind of stuff every bride wants at her wedding!)  It couldn’t be just any old rags–we had to find rubbish fabric that would match the wedding’s colour palette.  Actually, the pressure was so intense, that

we were knackered and had to break for lunch.  Outside.  In the grounds of a beautiful cathedral.  With puppies.  It’s just as well we rested, because we had to carry back heaps of supplies to make lots of cool stuff, like:

Singed fabric flowers.  (Hooray, more pyrocrafting!) We also need to make lots of

chair garlands and bunting.  Sure, it looks easy enough.  But remember, we’re making loads and loads of them!

Mass production means spending a lot of time doing repetitive tasks and making piles of stuff like this:

So, how do we cope with the long days full of repetitive work?  Well, we chat a lot and exchange our news and stories.  We work as a team and set up assembly lines with everybody contributing what they do best.  We make jokes and have many, many cups of tea and coffee.  And last week we had some help from these guys: 

Ahh, Goonies.  I know, I know, it’s a tough life.  And tomorrow is going to be even tougher.  Because while we work our way through around 80 metres of bunting, we have to decide between Pirates of the Caribbean and Night at the Museum.  Sigh!  The Pressure…

Check out the Awesome(sauce) T-Shirts!

So if you’ve been reading a while, you may remember that a few weeks ago I nominated Sheri from Awesomesauce & Asshattery  for a Kreativ Blogger Award.  Because her blog is awesome & full of creative goodness.  (Check out the play kitchen she made for her wee one, just for a start!) But posting a Frank Sinatra clip on her page in return just wasn’t enough for Sheri.  Oh no, she had to go and ramp up the awesome-ness to an unprecedented level by designing and making us T-Shirts!  We test-drove them during yesterday’s group session to critical acclaim, and even attracted compliments from random members of the public!  So without further ado, behold the Mencsh T’s Creations:

Group members reported that the inclusion of a teapot and the reversed colouring of the shirts were works of genius.  My four-year old was delighted that there was a flower on my boobie.  And I concluded that unless I could find a way to donate several excess chins to charity, I needed to sign up to Sheri’s “Baby Weight Be Gone” Quest.  (I know, my “baby” is two.  Shut up.)   So consider me signed up, and I’ll update on my progress whenever you see this button:

Awesome Sauce and Asshattery
(I just posted my first button!  Awesome!*)  So if you see me munching on junk food, you’re authorized to yank it from my hands and slap me around the head with it, forcing me to flee and thus burn calories.  My plan is to shrink my waistline until my kick-ass new T-Shirt starts a baggy new trend.  And if you want to bag your own groovy T’s, visit Mensch T’s to check out their selection, or click their logo on our sidebar ———–>
* I know I’ve used the word “Awesome” an excessive amount in this post.  But I’m an American of a certain age, and vulnerable to these transgressions.  Be glad the post wasn’t liberally peppered with “Dudes”.