Sunday, 12 March 2017

Hello to you all from a rather gloomy Crafty Co HQ.

With the damp weather outside, we are bringing some sunshine inside and doing a spot of up-cycling.

Up-cycling is a wonderful way to revamp or refresh items that you no longer love or are out of date.

You may have items stashed away in your loft or you may want to decorate your house, but simply don't have the spare cash to splash out.

If you don't have anything laying around, charity shops or reclamation yards are a great source for finding items.
The general rule I adopt when searching is, firstly do I like the design or shape and secondly, would I have the expertise to turn it into a piece that I would be happy to have in my home.

I was recently looking for a vase for some silk flowers I had.  To disguise the fact they weren't real, I couldn't have a clear glass one, as the single stem would give my secret away.  I needed a solid colour one, but was not prepared to pay upwards of £30 for one that I would make do with and not one that bowled me over.

I am a huge fan of pearlised stones. so when I saw some in the garden centre, I knew immediately that they would be perfect for the old blue vase I had picked up.

I loved the shape but it looked cheap and uninspiring but at £3.50, I couldn't resist it. This makeover is great as all I needed was some paint, glue and the pebbles.




So with a couple of coats of white paint and some pebbles, a stunning vase was created.

 If you want to up-cyles a vase, make sure you use suitable paint for what you will using the vase for.  Mine was just for silk flowers so it only needed to be wipe clean.




We were lucky enough to be gifted this chair that had been in the family for years and was a childhood memory for hubby. 




This ticked both of my questions as I absolutely loved the shape and as a sewer, I knew it was within my capabilities. I gave it several coats of paint and a wax to protect it, then I removed the old covers and made a template from the pads. Hubby chose the fabric and "voila"...... the chair now takes pride of place in the snug.




There is something about these old bedside tables, that made it impossible for me to get rid of them.
  They are very solid and I love how much room there is in the drawers.





With a thorough sanding down, several coats of paint, a wax and some crystal knobs, I now have two beautiful cabinets that fit in perfectly




We all have them don't we ? - those mahogany effect nest of tables.  
They are so useful, but as we have recently decorated, they simply didn't fit in.

The chair was a purchase online and took me back to my childhood at my nans house




I sanded everything down and glued small mosaic tiles on the top of the tables.  You can pick these up at DIY stores and they come on a square mesh so you can cut them to the size you need.  Once the glue was dry, I grouted the top - I did these with black to go with the colour of the tiles.  Be warned, this is a messy job, but with time and patience, it gives a great effect and is really hard wearing. I then gave the tables several coats of paint and a wax to protect them.  I also stuck felt pads to the bottom of the legs so they didn't scratch the wooden flooring




The chair was very easy to do, a quick fine sanding and two coats of spray paint. 
 Please read the instructions when using spray paint 
as it needs to be done in a well-ventilated space.
 I then re-upholstered the chair seat and made a matching cushion.




I picked up these amazing chairs in a recycled goods centre.  I immediately fell in love with the shape and knew that although I had never tackled something this complex before, I would make sure that I would learn how to. 



All the chair itself needed was a really good clean and polish.  
I carefully unpicked all the cushions and used the fabric as a template. A real bonus was that I was able to re-use all the zips. I bought some on trend check fabric and although this was a challenge and took a fair amount of time, it was well worth the effort and I now have a set of two beautiful armchairs at a fraction of the cost of purchasing them already revamped






These are just a few of the many projects that have been completed here. 
 I hope they have inspired you to have a go and create some gorgeous items to personalised your home. 

Have fun and we would love to see your projects, so make sure you tag us 

The Crafty Co
x




Sunday, 22 January 2017

Dog Treats - Barking Bites

There's nothing we love more than baking up some sweet goodies. Whether it's cookies, cakes or savoury bites there's always one common thing that is always in our kitchen; a tilting head, sniffy nose, adorable eyed dog watching it all.

Not being able to take the smouldering stares any longer, we have taken over the kitchen to finally bake some treats that are all for the doggies (they are still all human ingredients, though, so hands off!).

With us human's being very fussy about what we put into our bodies, we thought it's good to know exactly what is going into our dogs treats too.

Taken from the book, Three Dog Bakery Cookbook and adapted to our own style, these barking bites are a great treat to cook up something yummy, and healthy for your furry companion (and there's obviously the fun of baking for you to enjoy too!).

The ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour (with naughty treats being the staple in our kitchen we didn't have any whole-wheat, it works just as well with plain!) 
  • 1tbs of baking powder
  • 250g of PB (we only put in half, our pup may be slightly overweight and could do without the extra calories) 
  • 250ml of skimmed milk 


Method: 

  • Preheat the oven to 160°
  • Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add in the peanut butter and milk and mix it all well
  • Lightly flour a surface and roll out the dough (exactly like you would do with normal biscuits)
  • Roll out to 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes (bones are best, but we only had gingerbread men!)
  • Once the shapes are cut place them on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, or until lightly brown
  • Cool on a rack (don't give in to the puppy eyes watching you just yet!) and store in a container once a cool temperature

Tip for serving: break into small chunks for your hound. Giving them a whole one makes your time slaving away in the kitchen seem wasted (it doesn't even touch the sides!). 

Let us know what you think of the recipe and we would be happy to upload some more! We would love to the pictures of your doggies enjoying their treats, tag us @thecraftyco :) x 

Saturday, 10 December 2016

A Guide to Christmas Decorations - Part 2 - Crystal Clear




Naturally, when we think of Christmas we think of over-stated, over the top, over-crowed decorations. Everything is loud, nothing really matches and your lovely home decor is completely overshadowed by the Christmas chaos


It's a beautiful time of the year, and there's no reason why the decorations cannot match the rest of your decor. But it's far easier said than done, but with so many Christmas decorations with all sorts of colours, it's hard to create an under-stated look.


Well, that's where whites and lights come in. 



We know what you're thinking. 'That's not Christmas, it's too boring!', well, we are here to tell you to re-think your decorating habits. White is still really Christmassy (think of the white Christmas that never actually happens here in the UK), and is the perfect primary colour. 

White: 


White ornaments, baubles, flowers, candles and lights are the ultimate way to achieve the simplicity that will match your interior


Crystal & Silver: 

 

Christmas is all about glitter; you can never have too much of it. We know you won't be able to resist some sparkle, it is Christmas after all! Silver is about to become your favourite colour. Add plenty of silvers to your decorations and you will have a bit of magic that will blend perfectly. Or, if glitter really isn't your thing (we know there are some of you out there!) then you can opt for a subtle decorate approach through the use of crystal. It's plain, yet decorative and will compliment a white theme beautifully. 

Chrome and gold:

Now, you will be pleased to know that 'all-white' doesn't really mean that everything has to be white. The trick is to add colours that compliment a plain theme; chrome and gold do this perfectly. It's a great way to add the traditions you love, without drowning out the plain theme. 















Lights: 

The best way to brighten up your decorations, without adding too much. is to use lights with a warm colour. White lights with white decor may be too harsh, but warm lights will soften the decor and make a far more homely look


So there you have it, a truly white Christmas (we can't rely on the snow now can we!?) 


All decorations can be found at Nocutts

Saturday, 3 December 2016

A Guide to Christmas Decorations - Part 1 - Vintage Elegance


Christmas is all about tradition. Naturally, we are guilty of pulling out the same old decorations box each year, just to make it feel like a 'real' Christmas. But it would come as no surprise if the mismatch tree sticks out like a sore thumb in your the midst of your elegant interior.

There's no reason why your decorations can't still feel Christmassy, as well as complimenting the style of your home. Often, we associate decorating for Christmas with the brightest colours we can find (none of which compliment each other!). But you can still have a traditional, Christmassy decoration using pastels, neutrals and shine that is slightly more subtle than the loud tinsel you are used to using.



Not convinced? Still feel yourself itching to get down the Christmas box that is buried in the depths of your loft? 

Here's some inspiration to persuade you to decorate your home with 'vintage elegance' this year.

Silvers: 

The absolute key to Vintage Elegance is to make silver your primary colour. Starting with a simple, plain base adds elegance, which can be layered upon to add vintage character. 

Make sure large decorations are silver, your lights have a white cord with a warm coloured bulb and you will have the perfect start to your theme. 



Purple: 

Deep purples are the perfect compliment to your silver base. Mix a range of purple, violet and dark pink's and an elegance is naturally created. 

Natural, pastel colours create a serene atmosphere within your decor and create fabulous sophistication as a result. 

White: 


Too much silver and purple can take away from the softer feel and create a look that is too 'busy'. Add in whites and you can have the best of both worlds; colour and simplicity. 

Whether you opt for white lights or white decorations, a little bit of plain acts at the perfect balance to your elegant look





Flowers:

Use of floral design elements is the most important decoration when it comes to vintage elegance. Pretty, decorative and subtle they offer the desired look with little effort. 

Simply creating flower arrangements, using pastels and purples, or placing them in your tree you can achieve an expensive look at a low cost

Mix complimenting colours, creating a contrast of soft and dark, add silver for sparkle and you have a beautiful, simple arrangement




So there you have it, a few little shopping changes and you can turn your old-fashioned, dated Christmas into one that is modern, yet beautifully elegant.

All decorations can be found at Nocutts


Sunday, 20 November 2016

Party Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes


Peanut butter, great. Chocolate, great. But together? Mixed and spread on top of a delicious vanilla cupcake. What could be better?

These cupcakes are full of crunch, flavour and yep you guessed it... are as sickly as you would want them to be!

The finished result looks great fun and would be the perfect treat for a children's birthday party (or an adult one too!). They are super easy to make and the ultimate cake for the messy baker (you don't have to worry about your icing skills here, the fun topping hides it all anyway!).

So where to get started?



The good news is that while these cupcakes make look super impressive, they are actually really basic. The cupcake itself is just your plain, old cupcake recipe. We got ours from here. But as we are talking peanut butter cupcakes here, feel free to opt for a peanut butter cupcake recipe like this one


What's different about these little delights, is the all important icing. Usually, peanut butter cupcakes combine peanut butter with icing sugar to get the peanut flavour. We say that's nowhere near as indulgent as we would like it to be! Mix it with chocolate instead. 

Chocolate icing is super easy to make, give it a go with this simple recipe. Or, you can be lazy like us (we just had leftovers okay!) and use the good old Betty Crocker chocolate fudge icing

For this recipe you will need half a tub. Or, for those of you making your icing at home 395g. 

Next up, the peanut butter. 



5-6 teaspoons of natural peanut butter needs to be mixed in with the chocolate icing. It is worth bearing in mind that the peanut butter really should be natural (made entirely of peanuts and nothing else), due to the excess oils making it mix better with the fudgey chocolate (yep that does taste as good as it sounds!). Keep tasting (the hardest part of the recipe right there!) until you think you have the perfect/peanut butter balance... 

Next add the icing into a piping bag. 


You want to use the biggest nozzle you have if you are using crunchy peanut butter with large chunks of nuts (we jammed a few of the smaller ones before realising this!). 

Like we said, don't worry too much about perfect icing. You're going to cover it with a lot of good stuff anyway! 

Finally, add your toppings. 

For this recipe, we used 2 packets of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups chopped up into messy pieces, but Reese's  Miniatures or Pieces would work great too! For a second topping we opted for M&M's peanut butter flavour. If you haven't had these already then you need to! If not, the original peanut m&m's would work well too!  






So there you have it... a truly sickly but great party treat. It's easy, fun to make and taste so much better than your average cupcake!