Saturday, 29 December 2012

This Week I...

...celebrated Christmas with my family.
I love Christmas!

And Santa, you are too kind.
I got 5 seasons of CSI on dvd, Taylor Swift's Red album, John Green's Looking for Alaska, Suri's Burn Book, maple syrup, and many other goodies.

I hope you'll forgive my absence this week but I was busy seeing a lot of family and eating a lot of food.
Often at the same time.
And Christmas isn't complete without a game of monopoly (matching jumper optional). 

Sunday, 23 December 2012

This Week I... very excited about Christmas!

But I still had to work.
But when work involves making this giant string balloon it's not so bad.
I had to buy balloons that inflate to 3ft for this, and to make it look more planet-y I covered it in tissue paper.
I like how you can still see some of the string through the lighter colours.

As I showed you during the week I made these chocolate truffle pops for my friends at our Annual Gift Exchange.
They were so good I'm going to make more for Boxing Day.

There was a lot of other baking this week, including making this gingerbread house with my sister.
My sister made the gingerbread, cos she's better at that than me, but I was in charge of assembling the house.
Check out my mad piping skills on that roof!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The Annual Gift Exchange

Another one of the traditions I have with my friends is the Annual Gift Exchange.
Every year we do a Secret Santa between us girls, and this is the occasion when we exchange gifts.
It's at my house so I get to put on a lovely spread.

I made this awesome cookie Christmas tree.
The star cookies came out looking pretty irregular, but when they're all stacked up you can't tell.
I decorated it with sugar balls and edible glitter (it makes your insides shiny!).

I made cake pops! Well, they're more chocolate truffles but who cares because they were delicious.
And how cute do they look as mini Christmas puddings?

I also made your standard Christmas cookies using a Christmas tree cutter.

I decorated the table with a string of Christmas lights and red cups.
You know, red solo cups.
I bought a pack when I was in New York and thought this would be the perfect occasion to use them.

Such fun.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

What I watch at Christmas

Most of what I've been working on lately has been Christmas presents for people, so I can't show you them yet. So instead I thought I'd show you some of the things that I watch over the festive season.

Christmas Eve on Sesame Street.
It was filmed in the 70s, and my parents recorded it onto VHS at some point, probably in the 80s, and recently my sister got it put on to dvd so we can enjoy it forever and ever.
It is a classic.
This clip is part 1, so do yourself a favour, watch it, and then watch all the other parts.
You are welcome.

As I mentioned in my last post I've already watched Elmo's Christmas Countdown.
I'm definitely a Sesame Street kid.
This show is all kinds of random. I love it.

The Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special was on the other night when I was babysitting.
Always worth a watch.
This bit is my favourite. 

I also watch Christmas episodes of my favourite tv shows.
Roswell only ran for 3 seasons, but has 2 Christmas episodes. And I love them.

And I'm excited for the CMA Country Christmas special. I hope someone puts the whole thing on youtube.
I loved it when Scotty McCreery gave that girl a 'big ole Christmas hug' last year.

So what Christmas things have y'all been watching? Any traditions?

Sunday, 16 December 2012

This Week I...

This week my family and I went to London to see The Magistrate at the National Theatre.
The set design was cray-cray y'all.
And that's my sister photobombing.

I also put the Christmas tree up, and the rest of the decorations, and wrapped up some presents.

I did that whilst watching Elmo's Christmas Countdown.
It's so good guys! 
Brad Paisley singing Jingle Bells? Jamie Foxx rapping about the Nutcracker? Ty Pennington extreme makeovering with The Count?
So good!

What do you guys like to watch when you're doing Christmassy things? 

Thursday, 13 December 2012


If I'm going to be making planets, then I'll need some aliens to live on them.

Check out these little guys!
I got the idea from this website.

If you make the alien by wrapping the pipe cleaner around your finger then it doubles as a finger puppet.

I experimented with putting tissue paper over the string balloon which creates an interesting texture for this guys to hang out on.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Bring and Share Christmas Dinner

For the past 6 years my friends and I have carried out the tradition of a bring and share Christmas dinner.
It all started when a friend of ours at the time said he wasn't really into Christmas, so we wanted to change that.
We spent many weeks planning the first dinner on a white board in the small room we hung out in at school, like it was a military operation.
We said it should be an annual thing, and so far we have done it every year since.

Every year is different. Sometimes we forget to cook the brussel sprouts.

Sometimes the jelly doesn't set so we have shop-bought pots.

Sometimes we have incredible chocolate cake creations.

And sometimes, well, most times, we struggle for oven space.

The people change as friends enter and leave our lives, along with the length of my hair, but one thing stays the same; there's always so much food!

And this is what this year looked like.
(8 people really don't need 5 different puddings, but we had them anyway!)

Complete with tinsel and Christmas jumpers.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

This Week I...

I had a visit from my friend Natalie who I haven't seen since graduation!
On Wednesday morning we woke up to snow so I lent her some wellies and took her on a tour of my town.
Which included going on the zip-wire at the park!

I started wrapping up Christmas presents.
These are my gifts for the Secret Santa my friends and I do.

And I chopped a lot of vegetables ready for our Bring and Share Christmas Dinner tonight!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

String balloons

Have you all seen these string balloon things that people turn into lanterns and baskets and the like?
Well my boss at work recently saw them on Pinterest and thought they could be part of a children's workshop, so I got to experiment with making them.

Unfortunately, the ideal room for me to make these in was taken, so I found an area in my little office, between the shelves and the desk, covered it in plastic bags and got to work.
The key to this project is corn flour.
Mix corn flour with water and add PVA glue. Cover the string with it and wrap the string around the balloon.
I found it easier to cut the string into separate bits, but I admire people who could manage the string in one long piece.
Those people probably weren't trying to do this in a small office.

The best part is popping the balloon.
Watch this video, and make sure you have the sound on, to see what I mean.

These string balloons will eventually become planets, but so far I haven't done anything with them other than this. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Plastic Christmas ornament

This one's for the kids.
Specifically the kids in my Mum's class as this is an activity she came up with for them, I just made the example for her.

Here's how they'll be making a shiny Christmas ornament.

Draw around an ornament template with a permanent marker onto a piece of plastic.
Or you could freehand it - go crazy!
I used a piece of laminate but any clear plastic packaging would work. 

Start the decorating by covering the plastic in glue and shaking on some glitter.
Lots of glitter.

Then add more glue and bits of tissue paper, shiny paper, sweet wrappers, and more glitter.

When the glue has dried cut out the ornament, punch a hole in the top and attach some shiny thread.

This would look great hanging from the Christmas tree, but I can't show you that because we haven't put ours up yet!

Check out all that glitter.
Shine bright like a diamond, y'all.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

This Week I...

Made this at work. It's not finished yet.
The project included a trip to Morrisons just to by corn flour and balloons.

I went to see Rock of Ages in London with my girls dressed up as 80s rockstars.
I think we should bring crimping back.

And I put this in the cd player as soon as it was December.
AccuRadio has a Christmas Country station which I've been listening to all day.
Hunter Hayes singing Go Tell It On A Mountain?
 I'll take that!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Christmas Craft Fair

The Arts Centre is having their Christmas Craft Fair at the moment, which is up for a month.
This is my table.

My Dad made me this stand for my hand painted baubles.
What a nice Dad.

I've displayed some of my small paintings on these mini easels.
Mini easels! I love them.

Then we've got my miniature fireplaces which are getting a lot of interest.
None sold yet, but there's still time.

I've also put up a few of my paintings.
I don't know if anyone will buy them, but it makes my table very eye catching.

Before I got a chance to take these photos the little old lady got sold.
I hope she's gone to a good home.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Painting Bugs

I was looking through my photos to find something to paint and came across this image of a bee in lavender, taken on this visit to a local lavender field.

That photo reminded me of one I took in Nashville of this butterfly, so I painted that too.
I was surprised I got such a good shot of it.

Both are oil paintings on small canvas panels, smaller than A5.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

This Week I...

Got my paint on.

Went to the Festive Gift Fair at the NEC in Birmingham.
Only one more week until I get the Christmas tunes out!

Had another stall at a craft fair.

And I updated my art website/online portfolio.