January 27, 2008

Winter Landscape Card

Filed under: My Drawings/Paintings,Paper Craft,Seasonal — sarah @ 9:54 pm


I made this card for my friend’s birthday as his birthday, like mine, falls in the winter months, I wanted to show that the winter landscape can be just as beautiful and majestic as those of summer.

I used a sheet of craft card that was slightly bigger than A4 as it is meant more for mounting work on. It was pale blue with a pink blotchy texture that I felt was representative of the winter sky. I also used some pale blue card, magenta purple card, pink card, pritt stick glue, winter trees (which I had punched out of wrapping paper from my birthday the year before which had pale pinks, purples, blues, whites and silver on them) and a pair of scissors.

stuff for winter landscape card

I then folded the blue and pink paper first in half longways and then in half again to get an appropriate card size.

the hills

I then cut out the swooping hills from the magenta card, measuring it against the bottom of the card. I stuck this one with the pritt stick and then did the same for the pale pink hill which I had swooping in from the other side.

more hills

I then cut out a large circle from the pale blue card – about 5cm in diameter – which I stuck on the card as a large cold winter sun.


I then arranged the trees in a way I thought looked aesthetically pleasing and stuck them all on, one at a time. With a shape like these trees there are lots of thin fragile pieces of paper which will pull off or crumple up if you are too rough with the glue. What I did was to carefully lay the shape completely on the end of the pritt stick and then slowly slide it gently over the surface of the glue. I then peeled it off using the thickest part of the shape.

January 20, 2008

Cherry Wood Chalice

Filed under: Wood Work — sarah @ 9:39 pm

Wooden chalice

When I was about ten I helped my dad make this wooden cup. I then used it to drink mead from at our wedding and it sits there on display in our living room to this day. I couldn’t remember much of how it was made other than that it involved a lathe so I’ve again asked my poor old dad to write how it was done for me – here is what he’s done for me:


For turning you will need a lathe, which is a machine for spinning a piece of wood fast enough for you to use a chisel to cut parts off. OK I simplified it a bit (alright a lot).

First, select a suitable piece of timber.

I was lucky as I had been given a piece of cherry wood that had sat in a garden for several months seasoning.

A piece of wood from a tree comes complete with bark which has to be removed before you can start turning. This is easy if the timber is seasoned.

First make one end flat and about 90 degrees to the edge, i.e. the ‘sides’ that had the bark on. A hand saw is the best tool for this job.

Then draw some lines across the end to find the centre; you will also have to find the centre of the other end.

My lathe is old and cheap, so if yours is new and/or expensive some of the following may not make sense.

Place the log on the bowl turning plate. On my lathe this amounts to a plate with holes to enable you to attach the wood with screws. Once the timber is attached use the plate as the headstock. That’s the part that is fixed to the motor and spins the wood.

Next, slide the tailstock up to the log. This is a single point and should be pushed into the centre mark of the log and tightened.

At this point you are ready to start turning.

Start the lathe and begin turning using a large gouge. That’s the half round jobby, er, chisel.

The big gouge will remove the bark and enough wood to make the log round even though it will be a bit on the rough side. Regularly check to make sure that the tailstock is tight in the wood, otherwise whatever you are turning will tear out of the tailstock. Don’t ask how I know this will happen.

10 year old girls and even younger children quite enjoy this part of the process as it throws rather a lot of wood chips in all directions. Yes it is quite safe for children to do this, providing that you never ever leave them alone.

When there are no low points on the wood you can change to a skew chisel, which will enable you to obtain a much finer finish. A skew chisel is a flat blade with a cutting edge on the end that is angled.

Once you have achieved a smooth finish, stop the lathe and mark the dimensions of the chalice i.e. depth of the bowl, length of stem and the depth of the base, with a pencil. A short pencil mark is all that is needed as, when you start the lathe, they will appear as feint lines around the wood which can be drawn completely round by holding the pencil on the mark.

Now using the bottom point of the skew chisel you can begin to shape the piece by moving it either left or right and pressing the point to get a deeper cut and a nice smooth curve.

When you have achieved the desired shape for the chalice it should be completed with sandpaper. Medium rough texture first and then fine to give a very smooth finish. I chose a simple design suitable for a 10 year old. Sadly she thought it was far too simple. So I advise you to talk to your children and listen very carefully to what they tell you, then talk it over until you find out what they really want.

Remove the tailstock and place the chisel rest in the correct place and you are ready to shape the inside of the bowl using a small gouge. This is done by placing one half of the cutting edge close to the edge of the bowl and moving it to the centre. Do this until the required depth is reached, making sure that you do not cut the wall of the chalice too thin. Finish with sandpaper as before.

Finally I gave it two or three coats of yacht varnish so that it could be used as a drinking vessel. It seems to have worked.

Enjoy your turning.

January 13, 2008

Floating New Year Lanterns

Filed under: Kids Projects,Paper Craft,Seasonal — sarah @ 4:02 pm

lanterns in the dark

For the New Year I wanted to do floating lanterns with my Scout group to help them think about global and local issues. I came up with this design of lantern the night before the meeting. Initially the lanterns were cut out of a square of cardboard and folded over one side to the middle to make a rectangle. I then folded the other side over to the middle to make a narrower rectangle. Then I folded the ends over to meet in the middle.

I then unfolded it and had a smaller square in the centre, marked out by the folds. Then I folded the square along the diagonal to get a triangle and then folded that in half to get a smaller triangle. Following that, I unfolded it again. Now I had a small square in the middle which was divided into four triangles – I ignored those triangles. Around this small square there were four rectangles joined at each corner by a small square – the small squares were divided into two triangles. I pinched the cardboard at these corners so that the small squares folded along the line that made the triangles – this gave me a nice square-shaped dish with elegant pointed corners.

I then roughly checked weather a tea light candle would fit. It did, so I roughly measured how long the side of the dish was – this is equal to that of the inside square I had earlier on. At this point I had no ruler so it was very very rough. I cut out a rectangle that was about four times as long as one of the dish’s sides and about one and a half dish sides high. I forgot to add in any sort of tab before cutting it out.

Once cut out I folded it into four so that it made a chimney for the lantern. I then cut a slit the depth of the dish’s side – up each corner of the chimney at the bottom. I then slid each of the sticking out corners of the dish through these slits. I had to use sellotape to fix the chimney together, which was a bit fiddly. I then lit the tea light candle with a long match and placed it on a bowl of water. The design worked!

I then got a ruler and a black fineliner (bought at WH Smith’s) and drew out a plan for the lantern, this time with a tab. I then scanned it but unfortunately the base/dish and the sides/chimney would not fit onto on sheet of A4. Now I had a digital copy of it on the computer where I got rid of the slight mistakes I’d made – drawing a solid line where I’d wanted a dashed line.

I then printed enough bases and sides for 20 lanterns on brightly coloured paper from dazzle create pads we’d picked up at some point in Tesco’s. I managed to get two bases onto one sheet of A4 – I realised this would mean I had more bases in various colours but reasoned that the kids would probably want to mix and match anyway.

So, using my template you need one template base and one template chimney, one pair of scissors, some sellotape, a tea light and a pen.

equipment for lanterns

I cut out the templates; I had bold lines for lines where you cut and dashed lines for where you were supposed to fold. This included the slits at the bottom of the chimney.

cut out

I then put the names of countries that had been in the news for some sort of negative reason on the sides of the chimney and taped the tab to the side. I put the sellotape on the outside to prevent any sort of fire risk but some of the kids put it on the inside and their lanterns were fine, so I think I was being over-cautious.

folded and secured

When I finished I then showed the lantern to the kids and explained what to do.


This is what they produced. There were some interesting variations on the original design but they all worked and looked really good with the tea lights in them glowing away in different colours.

the kids' lanterns

January 6, 2008

The Christmas Crafts of a Two Year Old

Filed under: Christmas,Kids Projects,Paper Craft — sarah @ 3:44 pm

Here are all the things that our two year old daughter made at nursery for Christmas:

Jean's pot

This little pot was her Christmas present to mummy and daddy; it’s made out of a peat pot that you would normally grow seedlings in. Around the rim there are metallic Christmas shapes of the kind you would find in table confetti like stars and bells, probably stuck there with PVA craft glue. A piece of green sugar paper has then been placed in the pot with a few chocolate coins.

Jean's calendar

This calender is now hanging up in my husband’s office. It is made out of a paper plate painted green and blue with a metallic sheen to it. The middle of the paper plate has been cut away, leaving just the rim. A photo of our little girl was cut out and laminated, then attatched to it by being sellotaped to a metallic red and green pipe cleaner which was bent into a loop and also sellotaped to the paper plate. This gave it a nice effect, as if the photo was a pendulum in a clock. They then stuck on a little tear-off calender on the bottom.

snowman bag

All the Christmas stuff arrived home in this snowman bag. It was made by taping two large sheets of thin purple card together along three sides to make the actual bag compartment. The handle was made of purple metallic parcel ribbon approximately 1.5cm wide, which was again sellotaped in place. The actual snowman was made of three white circles, starting with the smallest as the snowman’s head. These had been glittered and then painted over with white poster paint and glued, overlapping, onto the bag. The carrot nose was cut out of orange paper and stuck on and the blue hat was again just cut out and stuck on. Then the mouth, eyes and buttons were drawn on in thick black colouring pencil. The writing was then done in thick silver paint pens. On the back of the bag Jean had made handprints in white poster paint.

bell orange and white black and gold

These three napkin rings are incredibly simple and I thought they were really effective. One orange and one black Christmas tree and one pinky red bell were cut out to use as decoration. Each ring was two of the decorative shapes connected at the bottom by a strip of card. They were decked out with glue and glitter – gold glitter on the black Christmas tree, white glitter on the orange tree and more gold glitter on the bell. A hole punch was used to punch through both shapes at the top and tie them together with a bow of parcel ribbon in metallic Christmassy colours. A sheet of kitchen towel was then rolled up and put them into them as napkins.

Jean's Christmas card

This Christmas tree was Jean’s Christmas card to use – again this is incredibly simple. A Christmas tree shape was cut out from a folded piece of card, making sure that the points of the branches weren’t cut too finely by the actual fold, so that it remained a card and not two tree shapes! With help, Jean added baubles to the tree by finger-painting with red and yellow. A red glittery pom pom was then stuck on the top.