Nearly a fortnight into January and I’m actually sticking to my New Year’s resolutions. This is a first. I usually abandon them all within a few days and then focus on Chinese New Year (I’m a Monkey) giving me a second opportunity to lose weight, drink more water and get rid of my clutter (yep – same old, same old…)
This year though, I am determined to shed both the pounds and my clutter (I’ve been giving something to the charity shop on a daily basis) and also to create my own crafts room, as I’m driving my poor husband Patrick bonkers by constantly hogging the kitchen table. BTW if anyone reading this has their own crafts room/workshop, please send a photo to www.craftybeggars.tv and we’ll display it in our gallery as a source of inspiration!
And talking of inspiration, I can’t believe how many crafts, sewing, knitting and baking mags there are these days. I popped into WHSmith recently to check if the new copy of ‘Simply Homemade’ is out yet (Wendy and I have had a double page spread for the last few months) and the shelves were awash with magazines packed with ideas and free gifts – it’s just a shame they’re so expensive!
December was very much about amassing ideas as I was in Panto all month. With two shows a day I didn’t have much time for crafting, although I did enjoy making tin can tealights, like these three, which are upcycled old baked bean tins. The secret is to fill them with water and pop them in the freezer before you try hammering any designs onto them – it’s crucial for the tin to be rock solid with ice, otherwise a nail won’t go through it and the can will just buckle. If you want to use your finished can as a lantern, make sure you hammer out two holes into opposite sides at the top (again whilst the can is still filled with ice) and then you can thread through some thin wire to hang it (the wire looks lovely with some beads threaded onto it too).
When you want to hammer out a design, use as long and thick a nail as possible (it’s easier that way) and it’s also a good idea to draw the image on a piece of paper first, which is then sellotaped onto the frozen can (and it does stick, strangely enough!) You can then use that as a template and when you’ve finished, peel it off, immerse the can in boiling water (to melt the ice quickly) and paint if desired.
The final step is to have some fun glueing on ribbons, buttons, decals or whatever you fancy – and then just drop in a tealight. Use an extra-long match for safety and let your new lantern light up your new year!
P.S. Just in case, Chinese New Year 2015 falls on Feb 19th and it’s the Year of the Sheep. Now I’m going to pour myself a big glass of water…