Record-Breakin’ Bowls : A Crafty DIY

Well okay, we’re not breaking them, we’re bending them, but they’re still fun to make!

Did you know today is Vinyl Record Day? To celebrate I thought I would share this fun Crafty DIY with you!

It’s been years since I made some of these, but they make awesome inexpensive gifts and when Offspring#2 and I were in the local record shop recently we noticed they had a huge box of vinyls signposted

“FREE for art projects/students etc”

We decided it would be fun for him to make some projects over the summer, and a set of bowls will make a funky storage solution for organising nick-nacks on his desk at university.

What you need:

  • An oven, preheated to 100°
  • Baking paper, to line the shelf or a baking sheet
  • An oven proof bowl, tall cup or vase
  • Oven gloves
  • Old vinyl records

How To:

  1. Preheat oven to 100°C. That’s °F or Gas Mark , if you are those ways inclined.
  2. Line either your oven shelf OR a baking sheet with baking paper.
  3. Turn your bowl (or similar) upside down and place your vinyl on top. *Remember, if you have a preference for which side is seen (for example, which label is visible in the inside of the bowl), the side closest to the bowl will be the inside and the uppermost side will be the outside.*
  4. Put it in the oven and stay close by. *A note on safety: the fumes released can be quite strong, so it is advisable to make sure you open kitchen doors & windows; and when you’re done, leave the oven door open to allow any buildup to disapate.*
  5. After a few minutes you will see your vinyl start to droop, after 6 – 10 minutes it should be pliable enough to mould.
  6. When your bowl is soft enough to mould, quickly and carefully remove from the oven, along with your mould.
  7. Flip both over and insert your vinyl inside the bowl to shape it.
  8. Working quickly, flute, pinch, or otherwise shape the sides and rim.
  9. Leave for a few moments to set before removing from the mould and setting aside to cool completely.
  10. Stand back and admire your handywork!

Then make millions more of them because it becomes a bit of an obsession.

And enjoy finding new things to store in them.

Tightly pinching portions gives great loops to slip pens, pencils, mascara, scissors, rulers etc into; to store them tidily.

A few notes on selecting records to use :

  • They will no longer be playable, do not use your prized vinyl collection!
  • Look out for clear or coloured vinyls, as a change from all black.
  • Also keep an eye out for interesting labels; or the recipient-to-be’s favourite artists etc
  • Gifting for a special occasion? Why not try to tie track titles, album titles or artist to the event.

    Useage:

    • As these bowls are not made from foodsafe material, you shouldn’t use them for serving or eating. Of course, wrapped sweets are fine! (I have however lined one with a napkin in the past and used it as a bread dish. We survived.)
    • They made great dishes to empty your pockets into, or to store knick-knacks.
    • They also make great gifting containers to package up smaller gifts or a selection of items. Fill the bowl as you would a gift basket and wrap in cellophane, then tie it up with ribbons and bows. If you were really fancy, you could even make your own ribbon or packing shred from an old cassette tape!

    Yeah, so I might have pinched a couple for myself. Shhhh, don't tell!

    If you don’t have any old vinyls to hand, or a friendly neighborhood record store like Groucho’s, charity shops often have a boxful that they are selling off cheap.

    If you try out this crafty DIY, I’d love to see the results, so tag me on your social media pics ( @Crafty_Lass on Twitter and @The_Crafty_Lass on Instagram )

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Hugs, as always.

    Crafty xx

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    If it fits in an envelope, it’s still a card

    It’s my mother-in-law’s birthday today.
    Over the years, I have pushed the boundaries of what counts as a card (1/2 size 3D replica shoes, complete with shoebox, to match the handbag we bought her being one example. The birthday greeting was found on the label inside.) but as this one fits inside an envelope, I think I am justified in calling it a card!

    The base box is cut, scored and folded from one A4 sheet of card.

    Cross strips to add depth to your arrangement of embellishments can be made from card or heavyweight acetate.

    It’s easier to apply the outer box décor before you stick the box together. In this case, I used a few offcuts of co-ordinating 12″ scrapbooking paper.

    Once you insert the supports inside, you can start building up your display.

    I used some fabric flowers, layered onto card stems; and added some ‘MUM’ bunting and a tiny card and envelope which adds a personal message.


    The basic design can be embellished to suit a variety of ages & occasions :

    • New Home? Make the outer box out of Kraft card, and embelish with household items
    • Baby? Fill with toys, rattles & other baby accoutrements
    • Birthday ‘Gift’ filled with party accessories such as party hats, balloons, champagne glasses etc
    • Favourite hobbies
    • A favourite book, film or TV show can offer many ideas for objects to utilise
    • Wedding? Hearts, flowers, champagne, rings etc. Often an invitation will hint at the colourscheme for the day, so you can create a keepsake and greeting in one!
    • Favourite characters make great themes for children’s birthdays.

    What themes would you make one for? And how would you embellish it?

    It would be great if you shared your ideas!

    Hugs,

    Crafty xx

    Last Minute Christmas

    So…it’s less than a week to go, and our preparations are waaayyyy behind. This is nothing new. Our tree has finally gone up on Christmas Eve on more than one occasion. We are often to be found still wrapping gifts at 4 am on Christmas morning.

    But… Ya know what? My kids have never not had a Christmas yet!!

    So in honour of any other procrastinators out there, I am bringing you a week’s worth of Last Minute Christmas ideas; that are quick, cheap, but nonetheless amazingly impressive, and will keep your domestic goddess status intact.
    Recent weeks have been a whirlwind of events, between kids exams, concerts, nights out etc and the odd evening in needs something chocolatey to veg out in front of the telly with. But, you have all these other things needing done so can’t really justify spending hours tempering chocolate, right!?

    Well, I have the answer: 

    5-10 minutes prep time, a few ££s of ingredients and you have enough sweet treats to put yourself into a coma on the sofa AND bag some up for some rather impressive looking gifts.

    CHOCOLATE BARK

    So, just how easy is it?.. I hear you ask!?

    • Firstly, line a baking tray with paper.
    • Melt some chocolate & spread it across paper
    • Add some toppings

    SERIOUSLY!!! That’s it!!



    *For stuff like the peppermint one:

    Melt chocolate, pour onto sheet & spread out. If doing 2 layers, leave to set slightly (5 mins) before repeating with next choc.

    Immediately sprinkle with choice of topping, press in place. Allow to set, then cut or snap into shards.
    *For the cranberry & pistachio style: 

    melt choc, stir half the topping stuff through, & spread on paper, then sprinkle remaining stuff on top & press in.

    IT REALLY IS THAT EASY!!


    *Works with any type of chocolate.

    *Any toppings: dried fruits, nuts, crushed candy cane, space dust, mini marshmallows, m&ms, hundreds & thousands….
    *You can marble two chocs rather than setting in layers
    Will keep in an airtight container for a week or fridge for a month.
    What combination do you fancy? What flavour do you try? Let me know!! Comment below, or tag me on social media if you share pictures.


    See you tomorrow with another idea!

    BabyCakes ❤

    It’s getting to that time of year…

    Day are getting longer, weather getting warmer (marginally!), birds are singing, and it’s nearly time for lambs and the likes.

    And so it seems, it’s also time for lots & LOTS of new tiny humans.

    Why does there seem to be such a huge number of pregnancies around me??
    So many!!

    Anyway, yesterday, myself and a couple of colleagues attended a baby shower for another workmate.

    C., the mum-to-be, already has 2 boys and this little one is of the sugar & spice variety. As you can probably imagine, yesterday involved a lot of pink!

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    Lil Miss C was a bit of a surprise, so mum & dad were pretty much starting from scratch when it came to baby goods. We had already organised larger collective gifts from everyone at work in the form of boring things like bottles & sterliser and changing units but obviously didn’t want to turn up empty-handed to the party.

    If you’re a regular around here, you might remember my sock-cakes and that is where the inspiration for my little gift came from:

    BabyCakes!!

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    Similar to sock cakes, these are rolled baby items.

    I picked up a couple of inexpensive multipacks of vests and a cute little all I one romper suit with matching hat.

    Packaging is one of those cardboard cupcake boxes. Previously I have made these sort of cakes singly but babies call for an extra bit of spoiling, so this one holds 6 cupcakes.

    Build up your box, and insert the holder.

    I slipped the little romper suit in the base before fitting the sheet.

    Next I rolled the cupcake wraps and taped the flaps.

    For the first cake, I rolled up the matching hat (it was so cute, with little ears) and popped it in a case before inserting in the box.

    The hat was pink, so I rolled 2 pink vests into cakes, then repeated with 3 white.

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    I put each cake in the box in an alternating pattern.

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    I finished them off with matching toppers.

    A wrap of pink ribbon and a little paper doily finished it off prettily.

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    Mum-to-be seemed quite pleased to receive my little gift.

    Even if they weren’t as tasty as these cakes

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    Have you tried any fun ways to present a less than exciting gift? Please share!
    Thanks for stopping by,
    Crafty
    xx

    Pinterest Fail? Perhaps….

    We’ve ALL done it.

    We see an idea floating around the interwebs, and eventually, we give in and try it.

    We know it probably won’t work, but we go ahead anyway….

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    These Sharpie Mugs were mine.

    Now, let’s be clear; I KNOW there are perfectly good ceramic paint pens out there (confession: there are probably perfectly good ceramic pens IN HERE too, I probably have some kicking around my craft avalanche corner but that’s not really the point now is it??)

    So, the theory is that you can draw on a mug with Sharpie, oven bake it, then it should be perfectly usable and will survive (gentle) hand washing.

    The theme for PostPals January’s Monthly Project was Nighttime and Nocturnal Animals, and as I was including midnight feast kits featuring some of my Hot Chocolate Stirrers and sweets; a personalised mug seemed like the perfect addition.

    The first thing I did was buy some plain white mugs.
    The theory is that the cheaper the mug, the thinner the glaze, and the better it will allow the ink to ‘melt’ into it.

    Then I found a selection of fonts that matched some of the kids likes (I have my glamorous assistant to thanks for this)

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    Next I used the old “scribble on the back with a pencil” trick to transfer the design onto the mug.

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    I held the template on with a little bit of washi

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    And traced the outline

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    Then I went over it with Sharpie, before solidly filling it in.

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    Just in case you didn’t know, Alfie likes Harry Potter.

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    Zech is a Doctor Who fan, whilst Kaleb likes Spongebob.

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    And Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles appeal to Freddie.

    I set the mugs aside to dry for 24 hours before baking.

    Next day, I baked them to heat-set my designs.
    This was one of the parts I wasn’t too sure about as I had read conflicting advice.

    The consensus seems to be:
    Put mugs in a cold oven
    Turn on the oven & allow to come up to temperature
    Bake for the allotted time before turning off the oven and allowing the mug(s) to cool slowly

    So this is what I did!

    I baked them at 180°C for 45 minutes.

    and kept my fingers crossed that the ink wouldn’t do the weird colour change thing I had read could happen.

    I was reasonably happy with how the plain black one turned out and figured that after a 2nd coat and re-bake, it would be great.

    The colours looked pretty faded on the TMNT-inspired one, but there was only a slight change in the colours of the eyemasks so, again, i was pretty confident with how a 2nd coat would turn out.

    I was less impressed with the Spongebob one as the colours came out looking a bit muddy. I managed to patch it up and whilst not completely satisfied, I didn’t feel it was too horrendous to send!

    The biggest disappointment was with what started off as the perfect TARDIS blue.

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    I knew another coat wouldn’t fix this so I had to rethink.

    I picked up a porcelain pen in our local craft superstore. It was the correct blue but had a glitter finish.

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    I went over all the parts which were blue but now looked sepia.
    The application wasn’t too great, the paint tended to retract into pools and I felt I had to reapply a huge amount. Eventually I felt it was as good as it was going to get, and so I set it aside for the 4 hours it advised on the pen before baking (this time @ 160°C for 30 minutes, again, as instructed on the packaging)

    The Final Product

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    Now the mugs were completed, I set about filling them with tasty treats for a midnight feast!

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    Another handful of marshmallows, a presentation treat bag & a ribbon added the finishing touches….

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    Although the decorated mugs are no longer microwave or dishwasher safe, they should survive at least a few months of gentle hand washing.

    I was quite pleased with the final result and hopefully the kids will like them!

    Have you tried Sharpie Mugs yet? If so, how did yours turn out?

    What’s your biggest Pinterest Fail (or success!)?

    As always, thanks for stopping by!
    Hugs,
    The Crafty Lass
    XXX

    Sock Cakes: A Crafty DIY

    OK, so these are more of a crafty packaging idea than an actual make, BUT it is a rather more interesting way to present an otherwise not-very-interesting gift.

    I give you…

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    I’ve made a lot of sock cakes, they are great for stocking fillers, or putting in party bags, sleepover goody bags etc. They also work well in pamper kits and a fair few have made their way into various swap packages (hands up if YOU got one!)

    The best bit is, they are quick & inexpensive to put together, but are fun to receive (so I’m told. I’ve NEVER received one. I feel left out & decidedly disadvantaged by the whole thing.)


    BAKING SOCK CAKES

    What you need :

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    Socks : 1 pair for each cake.

    (If you are making a batch, check out multipacks in places like Primark, Target etc)

    Packaging:

    • cupcake cases/wraps (I find wraps work better because they are sturdier & hold their shape better)
    • Something to wrap them in (presentation bags/ treat bags/ cupcake boxes)
    • Decorations (something to pop on the top, this can be the toppers that came with your wrappers, a hair clip that matches your sock design, a tiny bath bomb…anything you can use as ‘the cherry on top’)
    • Ribbons or fancy string/twine
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    Sock cake supplies, or should that be ingredients?

    HOW TO:

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    Lay out your pair of socks, fold in half lengthways & start rolling from the toe.

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    Ideally, you want it to look like a swirl of frosting. Ya know, if you squint. In a darkened room.

    Pop your 'cake' into the case and add any decorations. These bunny rabbit wraps came with matching ears.

    Pop your ‘cake’ into the case and add any decorations. These bunny rabbit wraps came with matching ears.


    Now you can gift wrap them:

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    This one is in a simple treat presentation bag and tied with a ribbon. I think the bags were £1 for a pack of 20, and they came with ribbon.

    These My Little Pony socks are quite fine, so didn't really fill the wrap. I rolled them around a cute pot of lip balm and in the end they fit quite snuggly.

    These My Little Pony socks are quite fine, so didn’t really fill the wrap. I rolled them around a cute pot of lip balm and in the end they fit quite snuggly.

    Do you have a fun way to gift a not so interesting item? Please share in the comments.

    Summer drinks…

    Yeah, so I suppose you stumbled in here thinking “It’s July, she’s gonna be all Pina Coladas & drinks with paper umbrellas”?

    Well, you’d be wrong! Yes, it is July- the height of summer but it’s freezing 😦 Seriously, it was so cold here yesterday that I put the central heating on and boiled up a big ol’ cauldron pot of thick spicy butternut soup.

    So instead of basking in the sun; as one may imagine you’d be doing mid-July; I’m sitting snuggled in a hoody, nursing a hot chocolate & watching the rain battering down. Sigh…

    Still, it does mean i get to share a yummy recipe with you:

    Hot Chocolate Stirrers! These became a minor obsession in our house over winter 🙂 Essentially they are blocks of chocolate (ok, there are a few other ingredients) on the end of a spoon or stirring stick which you stir into a mug of hot milk to make the most amazingly delicious Hot Chocolate!

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    There are a few recipes for these floating around; some more complicated than others; but after making HUNDREDS of these as Christmas stocking fillers, care package additions & study survival treats during exam time; I’ve come to the conclusion that you can do without a lot of the extra ingredients.

    What you need:  Equipment:

    • spoons or sticks (I use disposable wooden ones for gifting, I’ve seen some cute ones using vintage silver teaspoons.)
    • mould (I use ice-cube trays for the block ones, plastic shot glasses or small silicone cake cases work too)
    • double boiler, bain-marie or glass bowl that will fit over a saucepan
    • a glass or jug and a disposable piping bag or zip-lock bag

    Ingredients:

    • Chocolate, lots of it! For every 200 g of choc, you will also need
    • 40 g Cocoa
    • 60 g Icing sugar

    Plus, any of the following Optional Extras, for decorating:

    • sugar balls
    • edible glitter
    • mini marshmallows
    • crushed candy cane
    • freeze dried raspberry
    • edible gold leaf
    • chocolate shavings …….

    Method:

    • Melt your chocolate
    • Stir in cocoa & icing sugar
    • 3/4 fill each mould ( sit the bag in the glass and fill with the chocolate mixture – it’s easier 7 tidier than trying to pour or spoon it in. trust me!!)
    • Leave to cool for around 20 -30 minutes. Once it has started to thicken, you can insert the spoons or sticks. If you do this while the choc is still runny, they just slowly fall over.
    • Add your chosen toppings
    • Leave to set overnight before removing from the mould.

    To Brew:

    • Warm, until almost boiling, 250-350ml of your preferred milk per stick.
    • Decant into your favourite mug and dip in your Stirrer.
    • Stir continuously until completely melted.
    • Add a splash of cold milk if required, whipped cream if you’re feeling particularly decadent, and ENJOY!!

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    For home use, we just leave them in the fridge, still in the tray and remove as required but they make nice gifts wrapped in little cellophane bags with a gift tag bearing brewing instructions. they will store in an airtight container for a while and don’t need to be refrigerated. VARIATIONS:

    • These work equally well using white or milk chocolate. you can even layer different chocolates. At Christmas we did some Christmas Pudding ones using dark choc with a thin layer of white and added little sugar sprinkles in the shape of holly leaves & berries.
    • Try using flavoured chocolate. (Terry’s Chocolate Orange ones were AHMAYZING!) Just don’t try to add liquid flavourings or alcohol – these will make your chocolate seize. You could however stir in a shot of your favourite tipple when you are brewing your cuppa!
    • Whilst I use really good quality chocolate, with a high % of cocoa when i am making these for gifts; inexpensive chocolate does the job just as well. I used supermarket value range 100 gram bars at 30p each when making these for a kids party and the parents were all raving about them….

    Please let me know in the comments if you try these, or if you swear by a different recipe.

    Dark Chocolate with a sprinkling of freeze dried raspberry is my favourite, what’s yours?