‘Where’s Wally’ Halloween Costume (homemade)

Technically I made this costume for ‘World Book Day’ for my son Max’s nursery. However, if you are looking to quick pull together a costume for Halloween this is such a cheap and simple costume to make.

For the top I visited my local charity shops and found the stripey red t-shirt. Technically it’s a girl’s top and I had to have him wear it inside out as it had a logo in it, but you couldn’t tell. You could also try eBay.

The hat was a Christmas hat that top the bobble off, but you can easily search and find hats online (https://amzn.to/3VtzaRL). This hat on Amazon includes the glasses but I took ours from a Harry Potter toy we already had. What made it easier for Max to wear was that I sewed the glasses to the hat so it would stay on all day.

Have fun being creative making your own costumes from whatever clothes or toys you have in the house this Halloween.

Decoupage shoes

I used to have a really obsessive hobby in covering anything and everything in pretty paper. Decoupage is very therapeutic. One of the things I’ve previously made were my night before my wedding shoes that I covered in a video game theme. Recently a friend who is getting married asked me to make custom ones for her and her theme is some Marvel comic characters.

I therefore proceeded to make some wedding shoes. Decoupage is super simple especially if you don’t get caught up in the expensive kits. All you need is some PVA glue; water, a brush and some light weight paper with a pattern. Very simply you mix the glue with a splash of water and brush on whatever item you want to cover. Then smooth on the paper and coat again. That very simple is decoupage.

There are however some tips I can give you from over the years. The surface of whatever you are covering needs to be clean and dry. It helps if it’s shiny to be roughed up a bit. For example these shoes were patent gloss so I sanded them slightly with sand paper and a nail file. You should also try to use neatly cut; not torn bits of paper to keep it neat and use as small as is sensible especially around curves. I also like to cut out some blocks of matching colour from the same source. For example on the Green Lantern shoe I cut up small pieces of green from the comic book to provide a little background.

Finally PVA is waterproof to a degree but if you want your end product to last longer I’d recommend a light coat of craft clear spray varnish in very thin layers to prevent white bubbling.

Go decoupage!

Supplies:

https://amzn.to/3RZo18i

https://amzn.to/3VpsXqb

https://amzn.to/3yBeduu

https://amzn.to/3ekTODa

Personalised glass bottles for cleaning and bath products

I’m slightly obsessed with watching ‘clean with me’ vlogs at the moment. Does anyone else do that? A lot of these types of videos on ‘You Tube’ show recipes on how to make cleaning products. Now I’m not really (well yet) that into making cleaning products as I do like a good strong bleach, which I know isn’t great for you.

However, I am into the personalised bottles that you can decant your favourite cleaners into. I’ve also discovered the highly concentrated cleaners that you add water to to make up large batches at a much lower cost that buying over and over again. I do also like the idea of having pretty glass bottles on display and not constantly throwing plastic bottles away (into the recycling but you know what I mean).

So I started with some glass bottles I already had (old amaretto and gin bottles) and replaced the caps with some nice corks I had from my elderflower wine and beer making crafts (https://modernmrsbeeton.blog/2017/03/09/elderflower-champagne/). I also had a really cheap hand cleanser that I peeled off the label from.

Next I’ went to eBay and ordered some personalised labels which were very cheap for use now and in future projects.

The labels arrived and I stuck them on my lovely recyclable glass bottles.

I filled with what I had already such as hand cleanser and bubble bath.

I have on ordered now some classic bottles to make up with some Fabulosa cleanser for both glass and around the house. When they arrive, I’ll do another update.

See links to my Amazon products below if you are interested in doing the same:

Glass Bottles

https://amzn.to/3RQaCzz

Labels

https://amzn.to/3MuE8d8

Cleaning Products

https://amzn.to/3yvZL6L

Homemade cat treats

Homemade Cat Treats (Tuna & Catnip)

We spend a lot of money on treats for our lovely cat Molly moo.

Picture for you:

IMG_9474

She’s a gorgeous short haired tortoiseshell.

I’m not overly precious about what I eat but I do care what she eats as it’s not like she can decide she doesn’t like or is allergic to things to and tell me!

Therefore, the recipe challenge for this week was to find a recipe where I could make and entirely control what she was eating. I figured it’s probably best to start slowly as cat food itself I presume is designed to give cat’s a balanced diet (or that’s what the vet said anyway).

I found a lot of recipes but equally I didn’t want to try something I know she’s never eaten before just in case.

So this is a combination of a few recipes I found and trusted:

Ingredients:

  • 200g of oat flour
  • 100g cornmeal
  • 1 large tin of drained tuna
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of cat nip

Method:

  1. The best way to make oat flour if you can’t find it is to grind down using a food processor some porridge oats
  2. Mix everything else in with the ground oats and keep blending until reach a relatively dry and non-sticky mixture
  3. I tried two methods of shaping which is rolling into little balls and pressing into a baking tin and cut into small squares
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 190 degrees c but make sure they are completely cooked so they will store nicely dried out

It was a good sign that Molly was walking up and down in front of the oven like she does when we have a chicken in the oven.

Initial thoughts are that she loves them but I think maybe they won’t last that long in the jar as they are made of fish. I’ll keep them for the next couple of weeks and feedback on how we get on.

Here’s a lovely jar you can buy to store them in:

https://amzn.to/3yzZb8q

Jam jar labels:

https://amzn.to/3Ti9OV0

Some Cat Nip:

https://amzn.to/3rQZjMS

Potato print wrapping paper

Is it just me or do you hate spending money of wrapping paper? I mean it’s lovely stuff but bearing in mind most people just tear it and throw it straight in the bin it seems really wasteful. I’m not the most eco-conscious person in the world but even I feel bad about this even if you do recycle it.

So what I tend to do is buy a really big roll of brown wrapping paper (https://amzn.to/3VmW39n). You can leave it there if you like! Just a add a pretty bow or a ribbon and it looks simple and classy. If you want to jazz it up feel free to add stickers for kids or do what I do and add some really retro potato prints decorations.

Simply grab a fairly fresh potato and slide in half. Go to cupboard and pull out whatever cutters you happen to have. I had some nice stars that I use at Christmas for mince pies. You can also (carefully) grab a knife and carve whatever design you like. Dry off the potato and pour some paint into a dish so it creates a shallow dipping area.

Layout the paper on a big table or even to a wall if you paint isn’t very drippy. Secure with tape so it doesn’t roll up. Then taking a small dip of paint press the potato on the paint and then the paper. I recommend testing on some normal scrap paper or newspaper if you have it first to learn how much paint gives you the best looking impression you like.

Make wrapping paper Make wrapping paper

Make your own wedding bouquet

When researching getting married I was definitely shocked at the price of wedding flowers especially bouquets. You can buy them fresh or from silk flowers pre-made. I’m a bit crafty and love to try new topics so I figured how difficult could it be?

Having pre-chosen my colours, I purchased a range of cheap loose flowers and greenery from Amazon. You can get this type of flowers in the UK locally in Hobbycraft stores, but they are super expensive.

I’ve included some links below to the items I bought if you are interested.

Once the flowers arrived, I worked out the metal underneath is really tough and can be sharp so be careful. I ended using metal cutters and some tweezers to shape them into a bunch. I covered the stems (where you hold the bouquet) with thick tape (duct) to give it real stability. That was a bit ugly though so I bought some green floral tape that is normally used to cover real flowers so it would look a bit more authentic.

I’m really pleased with the end result. I loved it so much in the end I didn’t throw it at the wedding and now they reside in a vase in our living room so I get to keep it forever.

Make your own wedding bouquet Make your own wedding bouquet

Product links:

https://amzn.to/3CvNSyT

https://amzn.to/3Tl4FM9

Wedding Post Box

The wedding prep continues.. This weekend’s task was a Wedding Post Box in order to hopefully hold any lovely cards we get from our wedding guests.

I will completely own this though as a cheat. I thought about making one and then I saw the prices of the ones to buy and the vary between £10 and £50! I came to a compromise of buying a kit on eBay and customising it to the colour theme of the wedding. As with all of my wedding blogs I won’t spoil the end result but will do that post wedding but hopefully you can see enough of it and see how you can make something fairly cheaply but special.

This is the kit. It comes flat packed with the cut-out pieces still in their single sheet ready to push out.

If you want one similar here’s a link:

https://amzn.to/3S18bKq

wed post box 3

My next decision was colour. The wedding colour themes are duck egg blue and rose gold so that’s what I went with. I choose some acrylic blue in a matte and some shiny metallic rose gold which i then used on a whole range of wedding crafts for consistency.

name-cards-2.jpg

So using some PVC glue I stick the letters and trim; painted the core box in blue and the trim in gold.

Update on Wedding Confetti

Our wedding is getting closer, so the wedding planning and crafting is getting much more serious, and my organisational skills need to kick in. Earlier in the year when the flowers were in bloom I collected and dried lots of petals (see link to blog below) and now I’m moving onto making these actual wedding confetti. I saw a really fab picture on Pinterest for wedding cones made from lace and stored in what looks like an apple crate. My father-in-law to be is a really good wood craftsman so I’ll share some of the other items he’s making for the wedding in future but in light of that he’s agreed to make us the box to store them (see picture below). Post wedding so I don’t spoil the reveal I’ll share a picture of the full box.

So then I needed the lace cones. I bought some paper dollies from the local pound store. By cutting them in half and gluing them together you can make a good cone. If you use two layers and insert one into another you get a stronger and prettier lace effect. I sealed the front with a sticker which I got personalised from a store on eBay with our wedding married names.

The plan closer to the time is to then pour a small amount of my dried petals into each cone and the place the cones in the box and voila.. hopefully homemade wedding confetti (and we should have a nice apple crate/box to keep forever).

I’ll update after the wedding with final photographs.

Some materials to buy to copy this:

Wooden Crate

https://amzn.to/3CCfPp8

Doilies

https://amzn.to/3fTHHNy

Personalised Stickers

https://amzn.to/3Mr0fkC

Pear Jam

Jam is more difficult than I though to make and it did take me quite a few attempts but having a Pear Tree made me motivated to do it. It is completely worth the effort though. The trick seems to be in the setting of the jam. You need to boil the jam enough that is sets or you end up with jars of jelly, which actually with some peanut butter is not necessarily a bad thing.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg fruit (Any you like. I even like buying bags of cheap frozen mixed berries and using them)
  • 1kg jam sugar (has the pectin enzyme to make it set)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Vanilla (1 tbsp essence; extract or fresh pod scraping them black bits of with a knife)

Method:

  1. Boil ingredients together for about 20 minutes.
  2. Put a plate in the freezer in parallel.
  3. After 20 minutes put a drop of jam onto the plate and if it starts to solidify and form a skin so setting it’s ready. If not keep boiling until it does.bcec95038a4005942b8979a014129f3b_free-pear-tree-clip-art-pear-tree-free-clipart_467-577.png
  4. Sterilise jam jars (old or new) buy pouring boiling water over them in the sink and the lids or use your dishwasher to clean them.
  5. Pour into jars and store for about a year.

Some materials in you want to copy:

Jam Jars

https://amzn.to/3T9eOvg

Jam Jar Labels

https://amzn.to/3TbuLkM

Elderflower Champagne

Elderflower Champagne

This is the simplest and cheapest recipe to make your own alcohol and also, it’s super lovely; fragrant and is fizzy. With the fashion for ‘Prosecco’ at the moment this made excellent Christmas gifts for my family, and I’ve also heard of people making it for the start of their wedding reception as a cheaper and more personal version of ‘Champagne’ to toast with. image01

You really don’t need to buy any expensive home brewing kits for this one but if you do buy one, you can always move onto different hedgerow varieties such as ‘Nettle Beer’ or even store-bought kits which are great fun to try out.

Also, if you really get into making alcohol at home it’s a good idea to buy a hydrometer* (even supermarkets sell these now) as it will tell you the percentage of alcohol you make but if you are just trying a few basic recipes, it’s not really worth it.

Ingredients:

  • 4 litres hot water
  • 2 litres cold water
  • 700g sugar
  • Juice and zest of 4 lemons
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 15 elderflower heads
  • Pinch dried yeast
  • Large bucket or professional fermenting container (You can buy online – see links below)
  • Some bottles. I like the ones with the pressure release tops as Elderflower wine can produce a lot of gas so it’s a bit safer than screw top or sealed glass bottles (see below)

Method:

  1. In Springtime head to the local park and look for the Elderflower trees. They have a spray of flowers out from one stem and the leaves have serrated edges. They are best when they are white and pick heads from about shoulder height, that way you’ll ensure you get an Elderflower and nothing toxic as Elderflowers grow from bushes and not directly from the ground. Collect around 20 heads cutting them off with scissors/shears.download (1)
  2. Dissolve the sugar in the hot water.
  3. Add the cold water and the rest of the ingredients.
  4. Stir.
  5. Leave to ferment with either a pressure lid or a piece of cloth covering the top for about a week. Stirring occasionally.
  6. After a week the sediment should have sunk to the bottom so decant either very carefully with a jug or with a syphon (tube or pipe straw).
  7. Pour into bottles and seal.
  8. It can be drunk immediately or kept for a couple of months.

I’d also highly recommend The River Cottage method as that’s the first place I ever saw someone make this lovely brew (https://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/sparkling-elderflower-wine).

Some materials to buy if you want to do this recipe:

Bottles with swing top lids

https://amzn.to/3CytCN4

Beer making kit with basic brewing container

https://amzn.to/3rUq17a

*Hydrometer

https://amzn.to/3yEveUt