Flaming tutorials…

Hey, sports fans!  Remember the Pyrocrafting post I did in the run up to Wedstival 2012?  When we made that ginormous pile of flowers?
Well, guess what– The full tutorial is now on the Buttoneering Blog.  Check it out and get your jollies melting stuff with fire!

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Oh, it is SO on! (buttoneering website launch)

Say, remember in my previous posts I mentioned the upcoming buttoneering website launch?  Well…

Hallelujah, People!

The time has come!  Today is the day!   But what the heck are we talking about?

Buttoneering is what happens when you round-up Stacy & Jacqui’s wildly acclaimed* Upcycling and Sensory parties, The Re-Creations team who brought you Wedstival 2012, and the can-do attitude from Mel and Lou of The YouCan Hub…  And then shake them all up and stick a button on it.  (these guys really like buttons…)

Buttoneering means you can have events you want in the way you want, however far off the beaten track it may be.  (Keeping within the laws of physics and current UK legislation, of course!)

Fancy dress wedding, or bride & groom want to splash down the aisle on a slip and slide?  Seems Legit.  Need a Starship Enterprise shaped pinata for your baby shower?  Of course, why wouldn’t you?  Maybe you’ve got big ideas for your kid’s birthday, but you’re not sure how to pull it off? We have lots of coffee and few inhibitions–get in touch!

The best part (IMO) is that all the proceeds from these amazing shindigs will help fund the work of TheYouCanHub and Re-Creations Project.  So while you’re partying down, you’ll also be supporting social enterprise and helping others achieve their goals–everybody wins.

So, in addition to the awesome upcycling you’ve come to expect from Re-Creations Project, you can also check out the Buttoneering Blog for how-to’s and posts on how to make your events as awesome as is humanly possible.  I’ll be offering my two cents worth on “Tutorial  Tuesdays” full of caffeine and sometimes messy DIY.  So without further ado…

Go check it out.  Follow the group on twitter, Like it on facebook and enter the launch competition for a chance to win one of 4 bodacious prizes!

Tutorial: Milk jug flower lights

Egg carton flower lights

You may remember me showing off the egg carton flower lights that I made after spotting features like this one on Pinterest.  But perhaps you aren’t keen on eggs.  Or maybe you prefer flowers with a bit more variation in shape.  Either way, we’ve got you covered with these:  upcycled milk jug lights

And the best news?  If you’re a crafty so-and-so, you can make these flowers in an afternoon with some bits you probably have lying around your house.  You’ll need:

  • A clean plastic milk jug
  • Scissors
  • Pliers for gripping
  • A heat gun
  • A self-healing mat or other protective surface
  • Some LED fairy lights.

First off, use the scissors to cut out some pretty flower shapes from the milk jug.  It doesn’t matter how many petals the flower has.  The main thing to remember is that you’ll need one large flower and one smaller flower for each light.   Next, use your scissors to cut an X shape into the centre of each flower.  (This is where the light will poke through)

 

Grip the flower with your pliers, using the tips of the pliers to cover the “X”  and prevent buckling.  Use the heat gun to heat one petal at a time, until they become transparent and floppy.  The heat will help the plastic take on a natural, varied flower shape.

When the flower is transparent, quickly remove the heat.  Then you can use your fingertips to shape the petal (if you’re a hardened crafter like me) or press the petal against your self-healing mat (if you’d like to keep some sensation in your fingers) as the plastic cools and regains it’s white colour.  The petal will now hold it’s flower shape.

If you make a mistake, or aren’t happy with your flower, just reheat and adjust the shape as needed.  When you are happy with the shape of your flowers, insert each of your LED bulbs through the “X” of the larger flower and then the smaller flower. (It’s best to use LED as they give off much less heat than traditional incandescent bulbs, reducing the risk of fire and preserving the shape of your flowers) The X shape should hold the flower in place naturally, while allowing quick removal if you wish to change the look of your lights at a moment’s notice.  The finished result will look beautiful draped over a mirror or photo frame, woven through branches, or even just dangling in short strings as part of your eco-friendly party or wedding decorations.

upcycled milk jug flowers  upcycled milk jug lights

And if you like the flowers, but don’t have any fairy lights around?  Use hot glue to hold the layers together, and add a pretty button or bead to the centre. Attach your finished flower to a brooch back or  hair clip for permanent flower accessory!

upcycled flower brooch

More Scrapbusting (with style!)

This week will be a continued effort to chip away at the massive amount of scraps that the group has built up while working on the wedding.  If you’re anything like us, you may have a few bits of your favourite fabric lurking in the cupboard too.  We’ve found a few great ways to put them to good use!  Here are a couple of bits that we’re working on and several ideas we haven’t even started yet!

1.  Think Christmas.  (I know it’s August, but that’s one holiday with a nasty habit of sneaking up on us!  Luckily, Zakka Life offer this fab, kid-friendly tutorial for turning your scrap stash into holiday cheer!

2.  More wreaths. Whether its for Christmas or just a pretty decoration with some of your favourite fabrics, scraps can become beautiful wreaths.  You can even use the same technique linked above!    Handy tip:  Follow Rod’s example and use some leftover pipe insulation as a wreath form.  With some creativity (and electrical tape) you can create lovely shapes like his signature love heart.    Rod would also like you to know that his wreath (above, left) will be available in the group’s Etsy Shop later today.

3.  What, you still have more scraps?  Don’t Panic!  Over at The Cart Before the Horse, we found this amazing idea for a fabric scrap mosaic, created by Jo James.  I can’t wait to try one of these.


4.  And finally, if you still haven’t managed to bust your way through your scrap stash… Then it’s time to pull out the big guns.  Uber genius Suzanne Zing at Notes from the Patch posted this amazing tutorial on how to create this gorgeous shag rag rug:  DSC_2315dIt’s so fluffy, I just want to give it a hug!  So that’s what I’m going to be starting on, just as soon as i can get my hands on some plastic fencing.  Boy, and I thought my fingers were tired after tying the bunting!

5.  Scrap busting doesn’t just apply to fabric, either!  Remember these?

(I know, how can you forget when I keep showing them to you?) Anyway, you didn’t think we threw away the bowl part of the wine glass, did you?  Not when we could make these:

Now those are some serious glasses, for some serious wine!  And that lonely saucer in lurking in the cupboard?  Say hello to your new display piece!

saucer candleholderPhew!  After all that scrap-busting I have only one problem:  I need more scraps!

 

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!

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!

How do you like them apples?

Say, remember our buddy Sheri from Awesomesauce and Asshattery?  By total random coincidence I just happened on to this. Not only does Sheri have nimble fingers, she’s only gone and written herself a book!  Can you believe that? Somebody I know has a book that we can actually buy.  It also reminds me that behind the wedding scenes we’ve been amassing a set of Re-Creations goodies to send off to her in Berlin.

And in the meantime we’ve been crafting furiously for Wedstival 2012–only 2 days left to go!  Here are a couple more sneak previews for you while we lay on some coffee and get ready for the big event

Image:

Image

 

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…

Lightning Round–Quick Update

Phew!  So much has been and is going on around here, that I’m way past due for a decent post.  However, so much is still going on that a decent post just isn’t going to happen tonight.  Instead, you get my super-brief news bulletin–Here’s what’s been happening:

  • The Women’s Social Leadership Awards that I posted (nervously) about were fantastically inspiring and motivating.  I did not fall over or spill anything.
  • The group has been working at fever pitch on wedding decorations for Wedstival 2012.  Apparently most of us have a frustrated wedding planner buried deep down  that has been itching for an excuse to spring out!
  • Parties, Baby!  Jacqui and I have been out and about doing a kids upcycling party, and having way too much fun in the process.  Check out our Parties page and we’ll be adding photos so you can see what the heck we’re talking about!
  • A great many pretty things have been made!  I don’t have time for the full tutorials,  at the moment because it’s very very late.  But here are a few that I’ve managed to photo thus far:

upcycled plastic hair clip, plastic bottle hair clip, plastic bottle flower

Upcycled paper necklace


I suppose you noticed that I used the big pictures to distract you from the overall shortness of the post…  But sadly, it’s two minutes to midnight and if anybody feeds me I’ll turn back into a pumpkin.