28 Feb 2017

Game of Thrones Westeros Map Box

It was my friend Sian's birthday yesterday. I met her at Rock Choir almost 3 years ago and we're both massive Game of Thrones fans! She jokingly mentioned that I should burn the Westeros map a few months ago...but little did she know I was actually doing it. She may have been joking, but I accepted the challenge.

Game of Thrones Westeros Map Pyrography


First was finding a Westeros map that I was able to trace bits from...which was tricky as some of them are really abstract! Eventually I used an image of a Westeros poster and traced the entire outline. I then re-traced on the reverse. This took about 2 hours in total and then I put the drawing away for a couple of weeks so I could get over how long it had taken! (And so I was coming to it fresh when burning it!)

Game of Thrones Westeros Map Pyrography


When positioning it over my wooden box, I decided it would look cool to only burn the top of the box, so not burn the whole map. I moved the map around until I was happy with the positioning - and ensured that all the key places were included, such as 'The Wall' at the very top (we both love a bit of Castle Black!)

Game of Thrones Westeros Map Pyrography


I then scribbled over the whole design to transfer it on to the box...


Game of Thrones Westeros Map Pyrography

Game of Thrones Westeros Map Pyrography


Then it was time to burn! I started with the outline of the islands and the small lettering...

Game of Thrones Westeros Map Pyrography


And then next was the 'Westeros' label in the top right hand corner, which needed a very steady hand due to the straight lines!

Game of Thrones Westeros Map Pyrography

The rivers, trees and hills were done on a lower heat setting so they were finer lines and a lighter brown...

Game of Thrones Westeros Map Pyrography

The last thing to do was to treat the wood with Danish Oil to darken it, protect it and to bring out the grain. I did this once a night for 3 nights. (Please always read the label before using Danish Oil!). This was the finished article...

Game of Thrones Westeros Map Pyrography

Please let me know what you think - or give me a shout if there are any other Games of Thrones projects you'd like me to try. I welcome the challenge :)
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22 Feb 2017

Harry Potter Marauder's Map Box

My Mum bought me the Peter Child pyrography machine for Christmas, so when it was her birthday this month, it was only right that I burnt her something.

She's a massive Harry Potter fan (as am I!) and I'd been thinking about burning the Marauder's Map for ages but it would have been impossible with my old pyrography machine.

The project took about a week in total but I'm really pleased with the results!

Harry Potter Marauder's Map Pyrography Box

The first step was working out how I was going to do this as the actual Marauder's Map is very narrow and portrait. However, I managed to find a large landscape version on Pottermore. The only issue was half of it was back to front meaning the latin writing was wrong! I traced on to tracing paper and then re-traced on the reverse...then positioned the design on a large wooden box.


I then secured the tracing paper with masking tape and scribbled all over it to transfer the design...


Then it was time for the scary bit...the burning. The middle section was the bit I was most worried about so that was one of the bits I did first...


The bit that took the longest was Hogwarts due to all the detail and shading!

Harry Potter Marauder's Map Pyrography Box

For the latin writing, I had to use another picture to see what the latin writing should be to ensure they were the right words (the picture I traced wasn't very clear and lots of the words were back to front!)

I ended up freestyling the Whomping Willow a bit...


The last bit to do was the easiest and only took about an hour...



The last thing to do was to rub out all the pencil marks...


And there you have it, the design was finished! I then gave it to my Mum for her birthday on Sunday with all of her presents inside it. 

Harry Potter Marauder's Map Pyrography Box

I'm now working on my next Harry Potter project for someone else... Watch this space!
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20 Feb 2017

Cross Stitching for Love Quilts UK

I've been a stitcher for the charity Love Quilts UK since 2013 - if you haven't heard of the charity before, it's a group of volunteers that make quilts made up of cross stitch squares for children with life-threatening and life-long illnesses.

Every month, quilt sign-ups 'open' on the website for the children chosen from the lottery. Each quilt is personalised to that child - so all the squares are based on a theme their parents chose (e.g. Disney Princesses and Superheroes are very popular!). When signing up to stitch for a quilt, you fill in details on what you're going to stitch so that other people signing up don't choose the same design!

You then have a deadline to submit your finished cross stitch square by; usually about 3 months. All cross stitch squares should be 13" x 13" and on white aida, and the design cannot be bigger than 9" (which is 126 stitches max on 14 count aida). For more information on the stitching directions, see here.

Or if you don't like the pressure of signing up and having a deadline, the charity always needs 'Any Child Squares' - to see all the themes you can stitch (and the high priority themes), see here. You don't need to let the charity know when you're stitching an Any Child Square, just post it to them when finished :)

Alternatively, if you prefer to do smaller cross stitch designs, each quilt is sent accompanied by a cross stitched card. Card sign-ups open on the Love Quilts UK Facebook page so keep your eye on the page!

Here are the things I've stitched so far...

Hogwarts Express Ticket for Sophie G (Theme: Harry Potter). See finished quilt here.

Harry Potter Hogwarts Express Ticket Cross Stitch


Care Bear for Hope S (Theme: Female Disney and Care Bears). See finished quilt here.

Care Bear Cross Stitch


Minions for Harvey T (Theme: Disney Pixar and Minions). See finished quilt here.

Minions Cross Stitch


Frozen Elsa & Anna for Emily H (Theme: Female Disney Characters). See finished quilt here.

Frozen Cross Stitch


Tinkerbell for Charmaine L (Theme: Disney Princesses). See finished quilt here.

Tinkerbell Cross Stitch


Wizard of Oz Yellow Brick Road for an emergency quilt (Theme: Rainbows). See finished quilt here.

Wizard of Oz Cross Stitch


Pocahontas & Friends for Rebecca P (Theme: Female Disney Characters). See finished quilt here.

Pocahontas Cross Stitch

...And a Snow White card for Grace H (Theme: Female Disney Characters). See finished quilt and card here.

Snow White Cross Stitch
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13 Feb 2017

Map Valentine's Card

After making 30 Valentine's cards this year because of my charity sale, I was stuck with what card to make for my boyfriend. In fact, I'd be happy if I never saw a Valentine's Day card again! Except one given to me, that would be acceptable :)

I make my boyfriend a Valentine's card every year...and I knew last year's confetti shaker card would take some beating. I've seen other people cutting up old maps and using the caption 'You mean the world to me' but I had another idea...


Coventry Map Valentines Card


For the map, I wanted to use a map of Coventry as that is where we live together. My boyfriend is from Coventry but I've only lived here 3 years...so the caption is both romantic and true; I would literally be lost on the Coventry ring road without him directing me!

I printed a heart template on to white card and cut it out to use as my guide.




I managed to find an old Coventry map online that had a lot more detail than a modern map - and red going through it which I thought was perfect for a Valentine's card. I printed the Coventry map on to card and then drew around my white heart template and cut out...



I glued the heart to my card leaving space at the bottom for my message...



For the message, I wanted a nice hand written font so used these Me To You letter stamps and my clear acrylic block.




I stamped each letter one by one to ensure they lined up and then cut my message into two strips. So the last step was to stick the words to my card using 3D foam pads.



I have banned my boyfriend from reading my blog until after tomorrow now!

Please let me know your thoughts - and why not follow my blog with Bloglovin
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10 Feb 2017

Wicked Map Pyrography Box

For my 29th Birthday, my friend Jen took me to see Wicked the musical. It was the 5th time we've both seen it and we're totally obsessed! I am Elphaba and she is Glinda :)

So when it was Jen's birthday, I knew her present needed to be something Wicked-inspired and I decided to recreate the Oz map from the stage curtain using pyrography...


Wicked the Musical Pyrography Box

I started with a wooden box from The Works - I always use these as they are good quality wood for burning (not MDF) and only £4! 

For any of you that aren't as crazy about Wicked as Jen and I, this is the stage curtain based on the map inside Gregory Maguire's book 'Wicked' - the book that the musical is based on:



I started by tracing the map on to standard tracing paper and then re-tracing on the reverse...



I then secured the tracing paper to the box using masking tape to hold it in place whilst I scribbled all over it again to transfer the design...



This technique works well to transfer the majority of your design but you always need to go over some bits again in pencil before you can start burning....


Wicked the Musical Pyrography Box

Wicked the Musical Pyrography Box

Wicked the Musical Pyrography Box

Wicked the Musical Pyrography Box

Once I'd removed any remaining pencil lines with an eraser, the last thing to do was to add a shaded border around the edges of the box using Distress Ink and a sponge. The colour of Distress Ink I used for this is called 'Frayed Burlap' (random!) and was the perfect shade of brown for this project.

Wicked the Musical Pyrography Box

Wicked the Musical Pyrography Box

It's worth noting that this was the first big project I did with my old pyrography machine (more like a soldering iron) which didn't allow for fine lines or heat variation. You will notice on my newer projects, the detail is a lot finer :) Either way, I was really pleased with how it turned out...and Jen cried when she opened it on her birthday so it was worth it!

Wicked the Musical Pyrography Box

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8 Feb 2017

Funny Valentine's Day Cards

I sell Valentine's cards every year for charity but got a lot of feedback last year such as "Do you have any that don't say 'love' on them?" and "Have you got any that are less mushy?". People obviously don't want to send a romantic "I love you soooo much" card to someone they've only just met on Tinder...

So alongside my "romantic" cards, I created a new range of funny Valentine's cards to sell at work and at Rock Choir rehearsals - with all the money raised going to Ward 15 of Birmingham Children's Hospital.

funny valentines card

As I'd be selling large volumes, I needed a range of cards that were quick and easy to make - and that could be made in batches.

I printed the card toppers on to white cardstock with a range of funny messages:

  • You'll do.
  • 'Stalker' is a harsh word. I prefer 'Valentine'.
  • Netflix and chill?
  • I LIKE YOUR FACE
  • Happy Singles Awareness Day
  • Thanks for swiping right
  • Obligatory overly mushy sentimental Valentine's Day card
  • I love you more than Kanye loves Kanye
  • Nothing says I love you like a piece of folded card

And one with a Valentine's message in binary code for the nerds :)

I used 6x6" brown square card blanks from Hobbycraft and for the backing papers, I used the Dovecraft XOXO Paper Pack (which is only £4 for 72 papers so is really good value!)



Using my Fiskars paper cutter meant I could make lots of cards at the same time and really quickly. First I trimmed each paper down by 1cm...



This meant that when glued on to my card blanks, there was a border (it also meant I didn't have to take my time lining them up exactly when sticking them on!)


I then trimmed my card toppers down using my paper cutter and affixed to the cards using double-sided foam pads so they stood up from the backing paper slightly.


The last step was to stick a Dovecraft XOXO Heart Pearl on to the card to give it a finishing touch...



To give them a professional look when selling, I packaged each card in a self seal bag - they also ensure the envelope doesn't go AWOL.


The best selling card so far has been "You'll do." - who said romance was dead?!
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