My dear Dad, Syd, passed away in 1999, and one of the most moving discoveries I made when clearing my family home, was that Dad had kept just about everything I had ever made for him. Cards of all descriptions (including every single Father’s Day card), plaster of Paris gnomes with only a trace of paint left on them, and an ancient jam jar pen holder with just one lonely shell left languishing in the Plasticine – all of which had been cherished well beyond their sell-by date.
This year, I have continued the crafty Father’s Day tradition, by creating this coaster for Nicho, my son-in-law.
He is a wonderful dad to Saha, my two-year-old granddaughter, and he’s a great fan of coasters! I made this one by gluing smooth white pebbles onto a piece of heavy-duty grey felt (which started life as the casing round an old scented candle in a glass).
I got the idea from a very similar coaster I spotted in an upmarket gift shop in Norway – except that one was £18, which I think is a high price for a coaster (understatement!)
Needle felt carpet tiles make a good base, so as well as being a fraction of the price, these are easy enough for kids to make (with mum or another adult cutting the tiles with a Stanley knife). Try to search out thin, flat pebbles that are evenly sized though, so cups and glasses can sit as steady as possible.
I found a picture frame in a charity shop recently – not particularly special, but I reckoned I could give it a new lease of life with a thin wash of white chalk paint, to enhance the attractive grain of the wood.
It was the perfect size for the ‘pot of flowers’ design I wanted to create from some shells collected in the Outer Hebrides last month. Harris (the largest island) has the most spectacular white sand beaches, like granulated sugar, washed with a transparent blue sea. I loved beachcombing there, and I even managed to find a piece of slate in a perfect plant-pot shape!
My first challenge was how to display everything – or rather, how best to stick the shells and slate down. I found that mixing up some cheap DIY filler did the trick, coloured an appealing shade of mint green with some lovely paint, which I mixed in with the filler, rather than painted on.
I placed the slate and shells into the filler whilst it was still wet, and left it to dry overnight. I then painted the shells with various shades of coloured paint. When that was dry, I got to work with Pinflair’s Pearl Wands, which proved ideal for embellishing the shell flowers; I also used lines of pearl dots to create the flower stalks.
The plant pot was given a thin glaze from a Pinflair Glitter Wand, and as a final touch I added various sparkly gems – I can never resist a bit of bling! I now have a Summery picture that will always remind me of a treasured holiday…