Welcome to my creative online journal

Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas Craft Fairs

In my rather long blog absence, I have made and sold various christmassy crafty items at two christmas craft fairs.  The venues were great for me because they were really local to where I live.  The first one (in a church) was literally just over the road (I walked over with my boxes) and the other (a school) was only a teeny bit further... in the next street.  Such convenience!

I thought you might like to see some of the items I had on offer and to let you know which of my items were my best sellers.

These were very good sellers, both last year and this:
Snowmen covered Cadbury's chocolate bars.
The snowmen were made simply by wrapping computer paper around a chocolate bar and sticking it together using discreetly placed double sided tape.  For last year's model I used the clever method of cutting the tips of fleecy gloves for the snowmen's hats but this year I couldn't find any suitable gloves so drew the hats on with a marker pen.  On my previous snowmen I also used fabric for their scarves but I found that it frayed so this year I substituted it with good old washi tape! Love washi tape, I use it for so many crafts these days.  The faces and buttons were drawn details using black and red pens. 

This next item was also a modified version of something that didn't sell previously:
Hama Christmas decoration greetings cards

(from an idea seen on Pinterest)

Last year my boys and I made loads of christmas decorations out of Hama beads and hung them on a christmas tree to sell at the school christmas fair and not one sold! I dug them out this year, stuck them down onto a heavyweight card with a dymo generated greeting and sold all but one. 

Next we have something I made with my youngest son:
Multicoloured wax crayons

These miniature works of modern art that still function as crayons, were created by melting down other unused old crayons.  I sold a few at the first sale but none at the second.

I also took along a few of my christmas themed word blocks:
...which look great on mantlepieces but they didn't sell  at all well this year.  The few people that looked at them seemed to think they were rubber stamps.

I sold quite a few of these tags at the school fair:
(with twine added, not shown)
...but they took ages to make because I individually had to die cut all the tags before decorating them.

Finally, another type of tag:
Each one a work of individual art in itself!

I was very disappointed not to sell any of these!  I put them on a christmas tree like decorations, maybe people didn't realise they were for sale as tags too...?

That's what you find when you do craft fairs, you live and learn.  At the end of each one you need to ask yourself, 'What worked and what didn't?' 'Any thoughts on why?' 'What can I do to hopefully improve next time?'...

You know what sold the most out of all the things I was selling?  Keyrings that had pictures of Justin Bieber and One Direction on them! Pah!....

Thank you for popping by today. I will be back soon (honest!)
Nicky {Creative Flourishes}

Friday, 25 October 2013

DIY Snowman Kit made with Thermomorph

I had such fun making  my halloween themed noughts and crosses game (see my last post here) that I decided to create something else with my trial pot of Thermomorph.  Thermomorph is a plastic moulding material that comes in a pot of white pellets that you heat up with hot water and mould with your hands or a suitable tool.  You can also make shapes using moulds, as I did in my last post.

The idea for making this 'ready to make' snowman kit appealed to me because it solves two problems that happen when you come to make snowmen.  One, you have to try and find all the bits needed to make the eyes, nose, mouth and buttons (which is quite tricky when the ground is so very white) and two, they don't stick to the snowman's face and body.  Yes I know, we had this very same problem when we were little and survived the trauma (lol) but wouldn't it be so much better if we could make the process a little easier (and make our snowmen in double quick time so that we can scuttle back into the warm and start supping on some much needed hot chocolate?)....

So, what I did with the Thermomorph was to make the snowman's nose and eyes.  I cheated with the form of the nose by moulding it on one of these:
A christmas decoration icicle  (49p for the pack, a charity shop find)

(For more of a description on the process of how to make the Thermomorph, see my last post).  I took the top (the silver bit) of the plastic icicle and put the icicle onto a wooden skewer stick.  When the Thermomorph had got to the correct temperature, I quickly took it out of the water and moulded it around the plastic icicle with my hand whilst keeping it on its stick. (The icicle decoration is not essential, incidently).
It was still transparent at this point, before hardening and going white. (No smutty comments please, lol!)
Other crafters that have reviewed this product say that they managed to successfully colour their model by adding powdered food colouring to the water but mine turned out very pale when I tried that technique (with the previous skulls).  I wanted a very bold orange colour for my snowman's nose so painted mine with acrylic paint.
As I said in my previous post, paint takes a long time to dry on Thermomorph so I stuck my model's skewers into an old apple whilst they dried (not shown).
(These were the eyes, roughly modelled to look like coal, before they were painted)

While these were drying, I found my collection of buttons (and procrastinated by sorting into individual jars every last one into different colours - I will be doing a 'button craft' post soon!) and stuck them (using my miracle 'wonder glue,' shown last post) onto some more skewers.  
I coloured over the skewer's tips black to match the colour of the buttons.

(The sticks are, of course, to stick the snowman's features into the snow).

And there you have it, a ready to make snowman kit which will be put all together in one box, excitedly awaiting it's first outing.  A snowman just waiting to happen! 

To order some of your own Thermomorph, you can get it from Amazon UK here.  It's not cheap at £19.95 (currently on offer at £17.95) but you get a large amount that you can use in numerous projects.

Disclosure: I was sent a free pot of Thermomorph to review but all opinions on it are my own.

Thank you for popping by today,
See you soon,
Nicky {Creative Flourishes}

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Halloween Decorations Made With ThermoMorph

I have another product review project to show you today.  As a dedicated(!) crafty blogger, I was approached by the makers of ThermoMorph (http://www.thermomorph.net) to try out their product, make something creative and review how I got on with it here on my blog. 

As you can see from the picture above,  for my first experiment I used it to create some fun halloween decorations.  They were very difficult to photograph with the light off so let me show you what they look like in the light:
Aaaaaggh! Who turned the lights on?
They were very easy and quick to make and I shall show you the method I found that worked best for me, along with a tip or two that I learned along the way.
First of all, the equipment I used:
Pot of ThermoMorph, heat resistant jug, silicon mould (this is one from the current range at Poundland, meant for making ice cubes), a (non-essential) oven thermometer and a long spoon.  You will also need some near-boiling water and an optional bowl of cold water.

The method I found that worked for me was to put boiling water in the jug first and then add some of the ThermoMorph pellets immediately.  I added my oven thermometer (kept away in the jug from the ThermoMorph because it loves to stick to it!) and waited for the temperature to cool down enough for me to handle the gel in my hands.  For me this was about 65 degrees  (The recommended advice is 60 degrees).

When you first put the white pellets into the boiling water (carefully, I put some into the lid) you will be able to see them transform into one clump of transparent gel. When the water cools down to the right temperature you take this clump out (with your spoon) and can mould it with your hands into your desired shape.  It is very malable and stretchy at this point as you can see:
(I unashamedly enjoyed this bit!)

This is when you add it to your chosen mould - or to whatever it is you might be mending.  Thermomorph has many different uses.

I put mine into my Halloween shaped mould and added more pieces of the gel to fill it in all the nooks and crannies:
(Earlier ones I made I filled the shape right to the top, they made chunkier shapes)

You get about 10 minutes to mould your shapes before it starts to harden and turn white. I made my eight shapes in two batches as I was guessing how much ThermoMorph that I needed to use.

When they were hard they popped out of the mould really easily (easier than ice cubes!) and I put mine in a bowl of cold water to finish setting.

After setting you can sand them to smooth any rough edges but I decided to keep mine shabby, just to add to their character.  And for colour, I painted them with a layer of glow-in-the-dark acrylic paint:
..and found that they took AGES to dry! I ended up leaving them overnight but they may not need that long.

They seem pretty strong but the next day as I went to put my second coat of paint on, one of the crossbones broke a little.  This I found easy enough to fix with a little quick setting glue:
(An aside note, I LOVE this glue, it is really good and cheap too!)

So, after their second coat, I added some black paint for shading (and so that they could be seen in daylight!):
(B&W Arty Insagram picture)

The brush I used to do the shading (some of it dry brushing) was held in a necessary upright position and was 'wrecked' in the making of these decorations but was it worth it? Hell, yeah!  I thoroughly enjoyed making these and, as a conclusion to this review, would definately recommend this product, ThermoMorph, to anyone.  I had such fun and my sons have already got their beady eyes on it....

The question  is, what will I do with my skulls and crossbones now?  One idea I had was to add them to a sign for a door saying 'Keep Out' or something like it.... but then the crossbone crosses gave me another idea:
....A spooky game of noughts and crosses!

To try out some ThermoMorph yourself, please follow this link:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/ThermoMorph-Polymorph-Shapelock-Plastimake-InstaMorph/dp/B00D3LAZ9O

I'm not on commission (unfortunately), but that link lets ThermoMorph know you saw the product here on 'Creative Flourishes.'

Thank you for stopping by today,
See you for some more projects again soon,

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Will I go here....or there? A Personal Postcard Journal.

Hello again! I thought it was about time I showed my face in here again!  I have been enticed back to blogging by way of taking part in Julie Kirk's 'Going Postal' Series. I love everything about getting letters and postcards in the post, well, anything stationery related generally...

I have made a postcard book almost identical to the one that Julie made as it looked an interesting way of looking through them.  It's not exactly the same as I made it from memory after looking at hers earlier on in the day.

(The title was copied from the Dr Seuss book)

My front and back covers were made from a floor covering sample book that I got free from a shop that does flooring.  They cut very easily with wonderful Tim Holtz scissors. 

The idea for my book is places I (or my family, or just my sons in the future) might want to go to for a holiday.  I had already got a stack of random postcards, bought from a charity shop, that I thought I would put to use someday in my crafting and here it is!

This is the inside cover:
I was going to cover it up with some decorative paper but then I thought that I'd keep it's origins and add some travel & postage themed stamps.  Bad move!  The ink remained permanently damp and dirtied the postcard I put on the first page of the book:
(Arrows indicate mess from inked images)

My book, as you will see, is meant to be grungy, but not unintentionally! 

For my postal project I decided to be nosey analyse what people wrote on their postcard, finding out who they were and who they were writing to, what they thought of the place they went to and any other information they gave about their lives.  I even researched the picture on the stamp, where possible.

So, turning over the postcard, I left the original postcard with it's original writing as it was and extracted the information from it for the next page:
Postal themed stamps and washi tape were added for embellishment.
I was being like a detective and even called it 'Case No 1.'  The person that wrote this card didn't write about Santa Monica at all, not even about the weather, so I wrote on the next page about what she did write:
She wrote about it being pancake day and wondering whether Mrs Hislop (the receipient) would be going to 'Shrove tide'.  I investigated what this was on the web and found out that it was a local pancake day event, 'mob football.'  Cynthia and Jack seemed to be in America for a long stay and were going  to be attending a christening in 21 days. Mrs Hislop at the time was also due to have a baby and I have worked out that the  baby would now be 24! (The postcard was from 1989).  As you can see by the picture I even looked up the (old) address it was sent to on google maps - I'm SO nosey!

This was the stamp I investigated:
..and found out it was Igor Sikorsky, who was credited with inventing the first helicopter.

Next, I thought I'd find out about the place on the postcard to find out if I'd be interested in going there.

First thing to find out was where is it?
Where in California?  And what part of America? (next photo, left)
Next, I researched the place and this is the information I gathered from reviews on the internet:
(background postal stamps found free on PicMonkey)
For the last part of my research I wrote down a few places on the web where I can find out more information about Santa Monica, should I want to go (left):

...and to finish I added some stylised american flag paper, just because....

I have done another 2 postcards with 3 more to go but I think you've got the idea....! 

 Thanks Julie, for getting me back into blogging....
I wouldn't have done it without you! 

More projects coming your way very soon,

Monday, 8 July 2013

Warwickshire Open Studios Slideshow

Back again!  I am creating but with this wonderful weather I am not spending quite so much time on the computer, hence the lack of blogging.

To start off, I have two more pictures for the Gallo Organico Summer 2013 Photo Scavenger Hunt to show you.  I have done nearly all of them already, despite the deadline not being until September 21st.  I just keep spotting them when I am doing other projects.

Here I have #13 A Fence:
...which was taken at my youngest son's Primary School playground.  It's a big year for us him this year as he moves up to High School in September. 

and this one is for #1 An Open Air Market:
 ...or maybe this one?:

Our town closed its main street to traffic and had a market showcasing all it's local independent shops yesterday.  Yay for the independent shops rather than the same old, same old, big brand name shops that you can get any town anywhere (well, all over the UK anyway).  It's important that we support these small shops or we'll lose 'em!  

At the weekend, I also went along to visit some of our local artist's studios.  This was part of an organised event that happens every year and is free, yay!  Ours is called 'Warwickshire Open Studios' and has places to visit all over Warwickshire.  The event started on 29th June and runs until 14th July.

Rather than loads of individual photos, I have put together a slide show on Photobucket. Blogger wouldn't let me embed it in here, so you will find the link to it here.
(If on Feedly, or some other substitute google readers, please click yourself into the blog to follow link above).

Thanks for stopping by today,

Monday, 1 July 2013

A Sad Goodbye to Google Reader + Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt

I was surprised to see my Google Reader just vanish a couple of days ago. I knew it was due to go, but on the 1st of July (today), not a few days before! I think it's sad that it's going at all, but Google shouldn't have taken it away before they said they were going to. I'm fortunate in that I found a smooth, easy changeover to Feedly (unlike Bloglovin', which said 'No Feeds found' when I tried to transfer...?) but I can see that it (Feedly) will take a bit of getting used to. I do wish Google wouldn't mess with things we like and I'm more than a bit disappointed that they are removing iGoogle too, in November...

Ah well, back to blogging!

I have still got all my cards to show you from last month's ICAD (Index Card a Day) but if you want a sneaky pre-post peak at some of them, check my flickr set here.  The slideshow of all my cards from June will be on here very soon, so 'watch this space.' 

Meanwhile, back to my participation in Gallo Organico's Summer Photography Scavenger Hunt and I have another 3 pictures to show you (the others that I have done can be found on my flickr set here)

This one:
 (My apologies to Ireland and Wales that aren't strictly represented, but I thought it was too good not to use, it even seems to include a bit of 'France'.  I also like the way the blue sky represents the sea. ) 
The subject was to be a cloud in the shape of something and we had to say what it was.

This one was 'a sign that was intentionally or unintentionally funny'.  
This church found in Warwick often has very cleverly thought out handwritten signs outside.  The colour streaks you can see are from the sun. 

Some of the photos I've been taking for this project I've been thinking, 'I might find a better one' later on (not the two above!) but I do think that maybe I could find a better one than this one of our local theatre:

It's an unattractive 1970's building, which is why I 'hid it' by taking my photo from this side of the river (yes, there is a river between that theatre and the bushes) so now it looks more theatrical - like a scene from 'Sleeping Beauty'.  I may find a better theatre picture between now and September 21st when this challenge finishes....?  If not, it still qualifies (just needs a bulldozer!)...

Thanks for looking today,

Saturday, 15 June 2013

ICAD post.....soon!

I have been keeping up with Daisy Yellow's Index Card a Day (ICAD) challenge every day this month but haven't got round to putting a post together yet (sorry!).  I will do soon, honest, but In the meantime, I have taken yet another two photos for the Gallo Organico Summer 2013 Photo Scavenge.

I went with my youngest son's Year 6 class to Drayton Manor Park & Zoo in Staffordshire yesterday and apart from getting soaked, I managed to come away with two more of the subjects I needed:



I'm never very keen on seeing animals in zoos and did think the cages were a bit small there.  I have to say the best conditions I've seen for animals in captivity were at the Jersey Conservation Zoo a few years ago.  We went there for the weekend for our son's 2nd birthday (and he slept through it!)

That same son (at 11) is definately braver than me for theme park rides.  I just about managed the gentile horses bobbing up and down on the carousel but he went on this roller coaster ten times!:

He didn't go on this, though, would you?:

* * * * *

This weekend I'm going to (once again), be attending our annual (free!) Leamington Spa Peace Festival.  I go every year and it is such a creative place, full of colourful music, crafts, good music and interesting people.  You can see what it is like from my photos from last year on my set in my flickr account here.

I was hoping that the weather would be better this year, but the forecast isn't good. Brollies and wellies (flowery ones) are at the ready!...

Enjoy your weekend and thanks for visiting,

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Unusual graffiti eh? Such nicely joined up writing!  Loving the reversed out hand print that's above it too. 
It's the latest picture that I've put on my Instagram:
Still trying to use Instagram more than I do, so if you are on it yourself, please look me up (Doodledoo) and give me some gentle words of encouragement.  Something like 'PUT MORE PICTURES ON!' should do it...

* * *

I found another photo for the Gallo Organico Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt that I spoke about in my last post:
 Think it looks a bit like a dog with it's tongue hanging out...

...and this side view looks a bit like a face, doesn't it?:
(or is that just me...?) 

See you again soon,

Monday, 10 June 2013

Gallorganico Summertime Photography Scavenger 2013

Hello! I know it's been a very long time since I put pen to paper fingers to keyboard but I'm glad to be back and bursting with more creativity! What better way to get back than to get stuck into some of the great Summertime challenges that are lurking around in Blogland.

The first one I found was this fun scavenger photo project and for that my thanks must go to Julie Kirk who had pinned it on (wonderful) Pinterest (my second home).  

For all the details of this project you need to pop along to the blog:  http://gallorganico.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/2013-summertime-photography-scavenger.html where you will find the list of 21 items that we need to hunt out and snap during the (hopefully!) sunny months ahead.

It actually started on June 1st, but I think it accepts latecomers and it runs until September 21st .

I have to say, even though we have all Summer, I have already spotted and taken 8 out of my 21!  So many of these were on my doorstep and the weather (up until this week) has been absolutely brilliant.  So, enough waffling without further ado, here are my pics so far:

 Our local Town Hall.  Just look at that naturally fabulous blue sky!

 This man was sleeping in the park in the sunshine. I like the way you can see the bottom of his shoe!

 This tower was part of a local church called St. Pauls. (I could have had #4 Airplane too, but I'll try and get a bigger one)

 This 'car' in our local river, is actually a boat.  These girls were eying up some lads in another 'car'.

 Stylish benches found outside our local Post Office

 Window of a country pub.  I popped in for half a cider just so I could photograph this (dedication you see!)

 Didn't think I'd see a fisherman but spotted these few people fishing 'illegally!' (omve!)

...And, last but not least, the bonus item, someone wearing an item of clothing representing their country.  (My mother in law just happened to have bought my son this shirt a couple of weeks ago).

Be back soon with pictures of another challenge that I'm taking part in, ICAD 2013.

Thanks for stopping by today,

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