Thursday, 28 January 2010

Tutorial - Vintage Cake Stand

I recently made this cake stand for a friend. Simple but effective!

It's always nice to create a special one-of-a-kind item. If you fancy making a similar one, it's as easy as this...

You will need:
  • A plate (a dinner plate is the best size; choose one which isn't too heavy)
  • A candlestick with a flat top (approximately 18cm/7 inches tall)
  • Epoxy glue (two separate gels which you mix together immediately prior to use)
  • White spirit
  • A marker pen
  1. Wash and dry the plate and candlestick thoroughly.
  2. Measure and mark the centre of the reverse of the plate with a small spot of ink.
  3. Place the candle stick over this mark (i.e. where you will eventually glue it in place) and draw around it.
  4. Lay the plate face down, mix and apply the Epoxy glue to the candlestick, then glue to the plate. (This glue sets incredible quickly so you won't have much time to reposition the candlestick if you make a mistake).
  5. Leave to dry overnight.
  6. Use white spirit to remove any traces of marker pen from the reverse of the plate.
  7.  Place cake(s) on finished stand, admire briefly, then eat.
  • You can find a massive selection of vintage plates and candlesticks sold individually on eBay.
  • Make sure the candlestick has a flat top. Some have rounded tops and therefore less surface area to stick to the plate.
  • In preparation for gluing (to create a stronger bond), you can sand the top of the candle stick and the marked area on the plate. Sandpaper is sufficient, but I was fortunate enough to have a helper with a small electric sander! Remember to clean the sanded areas with white spirit prior to gluing.
  • Wash/wipe clean by hand. Although the Epoxy glue is incredibly strong, I would not advise putting your finished cake stand in the dishwasher.
As always, I look forward to making one for myself!

Friday, 22 January 2010

Spring Flowers

I spent some time tidying the garden this weekend and was delighted to see the daffodils and tulips starting to sprout. It almost made up for losing control of the hose and soaking myself with ice cold water…


Last year local squirrels had a wonderful time digging up the bulbs and tasting them, discarding most...          
I solved the problem this year with some prudently positioned chicken-wire. Looking forward to a little more colour in the garden over the next few weeks!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Tutorial - Vintage Frame/Mirror

I recently found this beautiful old gilt frame. It had clearly seen better days but also had too much potential to scrap. With a bit of care and attention I managed to transform it into a lovely Christmas gift (see pictures below).  By the time I'd finished, I wanted it for myself...


The finished frame with mirror inserted (complete with reflection of dead patio plants):


If you fancy trying this for yourself, follow the steps below.

You will need:
  • An old frame
  • White matt emulsion paint
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood filler 
  • Paintbrushes
  • Rubber gloves and plenty of newspaper...
  1. Fill any gaps or blemishes with wood filler.  My boyfriend told me about 'Brummer' - this clever stuff is a water soluble putty which you can apply with your fingers and if necessary, sand smooth when dry.  It comes in a variety of colours (I opted for white).
  2. Sand the entire frame thoroughly, paying close attention to any detailed areas.  Be warned; paint will not take to very smooth surfaces!
  3. Wash the frame down with warm, soapy water and leave it to dry.
  4. When it is completely dry, apply a thin layer of matt emulsion paint (any colour you fancy but I think plain white works best).  Carefully work the paint into the areas of detail by stippling with a lightly loaded brush.
  5. Apply further coats as necessary; my frame needed three.
  6. Leave to dry overnight or a little longer if possible.
  7. Have a mirror professionally inserted and a hanging wire attached (this didn't cost much).
  • Make sure you paint the inner edges of the frame really thoroughly, or you will end up with an unsightly reflection in the mirror.
  • Unless you can suspend the frame whilst painting, you will have to rest it on one edge and touch it up when the coat dries.
  • In between paint jobs, wrap your brushes in cling film and they won't dry out.
  • For a shabby-chic look, give the finished paint work a quick sand down (I couldn't bring myself to do this after spending so long painting it!).
I look forward to making one for myself...

Monday, 11 January 2010

Handmade Gifts and a Happy New Year

A belated Happy New Year to all! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.
We had a great Christmas spending time with family and friends, being really lazy and eating far too much.  Despite travelling up and down the country by train, we pretty much avoided the travel disruption caused by the recent snow.

We spent New Year with my boyfriend's parents.  This year's fancy dress theme was Old Time Musical; he and his family enterntained their guests with renditions of old music-hall songs and wore fantastic costumes.  Here is a picture of me in my outfit, which was kindly supplied by his Mum at the last moment (who has an enviable wardrobe to say the least!). 

I've decided to stroll into 2010 and slowly contemplate my priorities for the year ahead.  I can't see the point of setting unrealistic goals and starting brutal health and fitness regimes in the first week of January...anyway, we still have a lot of chocolate left which I would hate to see go out of date.

As always, I did my best to give as many handmade and vintage gifts as possible. Here is a selection of this year's items.

I made these pen and crayon rolls for my four-year-old niece:


I also made my neice and her younger sister each a matching set of three appliqued t-shirts (brown as below, one pink and one white). My four-year-old niece loved the pink and white ones but we heard her say, quietly, "Mummy, I'm not wearing the brown t-shirt....ever"!  Fortunately her little sister is too young to object, see below:

I also gave various pieces of vintage china as Christmas giflts (I wanted to keep these for myself, but I just don't have the space).  Hopefully my friends won't hate me for cluttering up their homes.

I also made an 'upcycled' cake stand and transformed a battered picture frame into a beautiful mirror. Photographs and tutorial posts to follow...
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