Category Archives: Crafting

Dud craft #1

I don’t know if this happens to you but sometimes I choose YES, CHOOSE to do certain crafts without really thinking too much about it and then while I am doing said craft I realise that it just isn’t going to work out the way I envisioned it.

This happens to me A LOT. And then I get cross at my DH for not being able to/wanting to rescue it for me. And then I throw it across the room. And once I’m done throwing my tantrum, I pick it up and display it. 

So. Dud craft #1:

I was inspired by this craft that I pinned.

Source: via Julia on Pinterest

I will admit that I didn’t read the post properly because if I had done that then I would NOT have pinned it. I usually pin in a hurry and I really should stop doing that.

When I eventually read the post i.e. on the Friday afternoon before the Saturday morning that I was going to be doing it, I saw that I needed weird stuff like embossing whats-its.

STILL I was not put off. I had a vision. I knew EXACTLY what I was going to write on the candle and who this gift was going to go to. I bought a few candles (at no small cost btw) to practice on first.

Then I went to the craft shop (with a print-out of that blog post) and they didn’t have everything that I needed. According to them I needed to go to The Deckle Edge (very larney, expensive art materials store in Constantia) to get one or two things. However, they had an alternative solution for me. I could buy a specific pen that they stocked which was generally used to write on candles.  I paid R50 for this pen and I figured it wouldn’t be a waste because a personalised candle was a cute, cheap gift for any person on any occasion. And it did seem easier than working with embossing tools and so on.

So I went home. And I wrote on the first candle. The ink ran. I wrote on the 2nd candle. The ink ran. I wrote on the 3rd candle. Rinse and repeat.

I made my DH write on the 4th one – he is an artist and has that wrist thing down pat. His one looked WAY better than my 3 but still not good enough. He told me to go and buy more candles so we could practice. He felt that one just needed to get the nick of it and perfect the technique (apparently in the wrist) and that it would come with more practice.

I said “HELL NO”. I was not going to waste any more money or time on this project. This was meant to be fun and it was causing me anxiety and palpitations about this money that was now essentially DOWN THE DRAIN.

So I left it and that was that. I did allow both Child1 and Child 2 to add their own “mark” to it. Child 2 coloured in the top bit and messed all over my desk in the process, Child1 drew what I think is meant to be a sun – I forgot to ask.

I still light the candles. And I like telling them to light the hope candle or the love candle or the joy candle or the peace candle.

IT does add something to the atmosphere within the home when they are lit and it serves as a reminder TO ME of a few things:

1.   Don’t jump into things without thinking them through

2.   Have a Plan B.

3.  Be mindful about what I’m capable of (as someone who is not naturally artistic and who has to fake it till I make it)

4.   Remain humble. Because no matter how fantastic your art is on one day it really can turn out rubbish the next day. An artist is only as good as his last creation. OR something like that.

5.  Don’t be embarrassed by your mistakes. You AND others can learn from them.

6. Mistakes are EXPENSIVE!

Having said all of that, here are two of THOSE candles. I hate them and sometimes I love them. Actually they have grown on me and I can officially say that I like (not love) them.

candles 1

This particular one reminds me to ALWAYS have hope. Even during the very dark/ugly/difficult times.

Have you had any flop crafts lately? Does it happen often?


Ps…let me know if you want that pen. I will hand it over with pleasure. FOR F.R.E.E. I still have it and it just feels wrong to dump it.

Crafty stuff

Last year (yes, in 2011) I bought this purple corrugated-like cardboard and I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to use it for yet.

I emptied a tin and decided to decorate it and “up cycle”. It turned out very pretty and then by popular demand I had to make two more – one using a coffee can and another using a green tea can.

This craft was largely inspired by Marcia – she does something similar with her formula cans – I’ve pinned it here. Basically, one would cut the paper according to size and then apply the paper to the can using craft glue.

This is what I used:

materials used

I finished it off using some  washi tape that I had.  Here’s the final product:


I think it’s quite pretty (this rubbish photo actually doesn’t do it any justice) and My DH LOVED it (which is HUGE because he usually hates the stuff I make) and I had to make another one for him. He is busy organising all the painting supplies and is using an old coffee can that I was about to throw away!

Last week I had a bee in my bonnet and organised ALL my craft supplies. I decided to use up what I had and then, inspired by this washi tape notebook that I had pinned, I did exactly the same thing using a notebook but used the reverse side of the paper instead.  See here:

washi tape notebook

You can find some more inspiration for this type of craft over here. The paper is quite hard so I think that a hardcover notebook is best for this.

Also, some weeks ago I mentioned to my friend that I have a thing for elephants and that I was ready to book a trip to Thailand to go and ride one. She sent me a free downloadable printable (if you want it, you can get it here) which I ended up having printed on two sheets of white cardstock so I at least have some pretty note cards.  I LOVE these:

yellow/grey elephants

I made them do it in yellow and grey (original colours on printable) and I also requested them to add some more in orange and black.

orange/black elephants

I LOVE how they came out and the best part? This entire exercise cost me R8! Frugal gifts ROCK!

I’m linking these up over here.

ps…I was going to do a dud crafts post tomorrow complete with pictures but after the way I struggled tonight with photos and light AND WordPress I’m having my doubts. I have been CURSING WP ALL NIGHT because I’m nearly one hour late for my bedtime.

Miss Craftalot says Hi

My crafting this month has been all about practicing Christmas gifts that I’m may be making. There were a number of failed experiments (perhaps I should do one post dedicated to dud projects – though I never take pics of those – in future I will) but I’m OK with how these turned out.

Project 1:

I saw some mosaic starter kits in the craft shop and they all ranged from R25 to R35. I was looking for one with a square base (I’m all about the straight lines) but they were out of stock so I bought one that contained a heart base and another one with a cross base. I thought the starter kits were really good value for money – they contained a latex glove and the glue and the grout as well as a little gadget with which to spread the grout.

I’m relatively happy (for my first attempt) at how they came out. I guess this is something that I need to practice some more. Need to get those gaps smaller I think and the edges a bit tidier?  I was considering buying a few small mirrors or picture frames so I can mosaic the border and give these as gifts to the women in my life. I can see how this can become addictive but I did find it rather time-consuming and I could not get those gaps any smaller no matter what I did. Maybe because it was the first time that I’d done this? The jury is out on this one and I will think some more about whether I’m going to go ahead and do this again.

Mosaic 1


Project 2:

Last month I bought half a meter of the cheapest fabric at the knitting shop. I was in there to buy wool and bamboo needles (as usual) and bought the fabric with the intention of using it to cover a notebook. Last week (on Tuesday I think) I attempted to cover the book. It didn’t work out so well. The fabric was too thin and the glue was rather obvious underneath it.

In my head I was already planning to camouflage it with some of that felt material that I have. Btw…have I mentioned that working with felt is my new favourite thing?  Anyway, on Wednesday evening I was fighting with my DH and went to bed in a huff. After about an hour he woke me up with a surprise. A PERFECTLY covered notebook with FELT material! He even added a bookmark for me!

Felt notebook1

Don’t you think that he is just so clever?

Anyway. After I saw this, MY BRAIN WORKED OVERTIME and on Thursday I went back to my knitting shop during lunch time (I’m thinking that this is my next favourite happy place after the beach) to get more Felt so I could do these:


I just LOVE these, firstly because they are easy and don’t take long to complete, secondly because they are very cheap to make (those little hardcover books that I used here cost me R7.99 at PnP – if I make them as gifts I’ll get an unlined hardcover notebook), and thirdly because this could actually appeal to ANY person, regardless of their age. It could work for Teens and Tweens and little kids AND adults. I’m currently practicing some embroidery because I’m even considering  adding initials or something similar.

Project 3:

I went to the PO to fetch my package from Marcia that contained Washi Tape and I am SOLD on the stuff. Seriously. I have all these ideas in my head about how I can use it.

I made some fridge magnets using clothes pegs and WASHI TAPE. I had previously bookmarked this craft (have tried to pin it but it doesn’t work) and it was inspired by this post.

I could not find those magnets that they refer to in that post so I took one of those magnetic book marks that they sell at the Crazy Stores and trimmed the edges so I could glue them onto my pegs.

See the completed fridge magnet.

washi tape fridge magnets

This was an easy peasy craft which took all of 7 minutes to complete. WILL make more of these.

Am linking this post to Marcia for her October crafts linky. If you have recently made something (ANYTHING) please link up there too?

My first sewing attempt in 21 years.

I recently received some felt material from my beautiful, creative friend.

The felt was intended for something completely different (I have been planning to make these cute felt pencil cases for my nieces as Christmas gifts) and I figured that perhaps I needed to practice something just to get a feel for how to work with the felt and for basic embroidery-type stitching which I haven’t done since Standard 5 (Grade 7).

I decided to try my hand at this cute little purse which I pinned some weeks ago – the one that I made is loosely based on the one in this post.

This is what I used:


Bead (instead of a button but you can use a button – I had some excess beads and no buttons so I decided to use that)

Embroidery thread

Scissors (obviously)

A needle (obviously)

A knitted I-cord to finish it off – come to think of it, you don’t have to use a knitted I-cord – you can convert any piece of pretty fabric or funky string into a cord of sorts.


I actually didn’t use that pink cotton in the pic. I did try it and it didn’t work because it was too thin for the felt. I ended up using embroidery thread for the entire thing, even the bead.

I started by cutting out the right size and shaping the felt.

I then sewed the edges together using something called a blanket stitch. And btw I had no idea what this was so I googled blanket stitch and found this YouTube tutorial which helped me along.

blanket stitch beginnings

Instead of adding a button, I sewed on a bead which I think gives a much prettier effect.

funky bead

I couldn’t quite figure out how to secure my little purse (that post doesn’t mention anything about securing it) so after much trial and error with velcro (Seriously, don’t do that!) I eventually sewed a loop – the thought of cutting a button-hole into my felt filled me with dread – I was having all these visions of frayed-edged button holes.

I then added an I-cord handle that I had previously knitted. So, so easy – I used the guidelines in this tutorial and I managed to complete it in my lunch break at work.  It’s for a child so didn’t need to be that long.

And here is my little purse!

Completed item

I actually think it’s rather pretty. Must say I had lots of fun doing this and I learned a lot about what NOT to do next time. I am going to be giving this one to a colleague for her little granddaughter and will definitely be making something like this again.

So much prettiness

I added a second pic of the completed item just because it is just so pretty and I can’t stop staring at it.

I am linking this up to Marcia for my September craft contribution – better late than never.

I made some jewellery!

I visited my SIL yesterday for some help/lessons in making jewellery. I figure I need to explore all my options seeing that I’ll be making Christmas gifts this year instead of buying them. Must say I quite enjoyed the experience and I’m quite happy with my first attempt.

I went for something African themed and am planning something more blingy for my next attempt. I took the pics with my cell phone so please forgive the quality thereof.

Step 1 – put together all the bits that you are going to use and choose your focal point.


Step 2 – have fun arranging your piece using the board thingy (I forgot to ask the name) to get the balance right.

Putting the pieces together

Step 3 – (not shown) string it together using some special wire (I forget the correct name now)

Step 4 – make a clasp using these tools. This is the not fun/more difficult part. Lots of fine motor movement and patience required for this. My SIL does it with her eyes closed so I guess I just need some more practice with this.

Forgive the blurriness of this image.

Add a clasp

Step 5 – add some earrings – not shown  – much easier than the necklace though more fine motor skills required.

Step 6 – admire the finished product

Step 7 – model the finished product. Please don’t look at how dirty my hair is.

modelling the piece

I had lots of fun doing this and will definitely be doing it again.

Am linking up to Marcia for her virtual craft day.