Saturday, 29 December 2012

Creative Carlow and the Pop Up Shop

Hello,

Lovely sunny day here in Carlow. Taking a break from the after- Christmas clean-up for a few minutes, phew! I had the wonderful opportunity to be involved in the Creative Carlow pop-up shop before Christmas. Creative Carlow is a grouping of "creative" people who live in Carlow, www.facebook.com/CreativeCarlow , its made up of some very talented crafters and really lovely people! With the support of Carlow Entreprise Board we were able to set up a pop up shop in the main street in Carlow town.
Some serious transformation work was done by some of the team as it was a Euro shop with lots of discoloured walls, red plastic and some dirt thrown in. The walls were painted white and we all had our own area inside the shop to set up.
This is my original set-up which was then given a fab makeover by Elaine Scully (Elaine Scully Styling) and Catherine Sothern (Eco Kate Designs) who great styling skills.  We all took turns working in the shop which was great fun and a lot different to selling at a market. Of course I got to work with and get to know and have fun with many of the Creative Carlow group . I'll do a little piece on all my fellow crafters in the next week! Sales were great so thank you to anyone who called in and purchased.
I learnt so much from the experience too and a great tip for anyone like me who is new to crafting is a stock list! Usually at markets I would pop up a price in front of an item, such as Doll cushions, 5 euro but for the shop each item was individually priced and then added to a stock list. This was you can easily keep track of your items, what is selling, what isn't selling, what you need to make more of etc. A great way to run things that I am keeping up!
Right time to go paint some trees on walls, all part of children's Christmas presents, room makeovers, I'll keep you posted!!!
All the best,
Maria

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!!
Hope you all had a wonderful day, that Santa was very generous and that you are having a great holiday time!
After a couple of days taking it relatively easy I am more than ready to get back to normal.


Christmas Cake
 

This is our Christmas Cake, based on a Nigella Malteaser Cake but with lots of icing sugar and decorations, yum yum. I doubled the recipe which wasn't my greatest idea as it was huge, still plenty left!








I had a very busy December with the Christmas markets and also I was involved in a pop-up shop in Carlow as part of the "Creative Carlow" group. Thank you so much to all who bought from Lollipops and Daydreams and Maria Home Decorations, it really was very much appreciated. I am looking forward to creating lots of new items and setting up my new website, have lists and lists of things to do! I'll be adding in lots of pics of the pop-up shop later, duty calls for now!

Merry Christmas
xxxxxxxx
Maria

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Pictures from the Fair and Christmas Decorations

Hello,

Had a busy weekend at the Taste of Carlow Christmas fair in Carlow Town. The first day my little dolls items were my best seller and the next day I nearly sold out of Christmas bunting which was wonderful. The sun was beaming down on Saturday which added to the great atmosphere. The rain came down in buckets on Sunday but it is Ireland and at least it didn't snow!!
This is from Saturday, the sunny day. I loved the little huts! I had my new name on a bunting at the front as you can see, it took me awhile to source the lollipop fabric.
There was plenty of craft stands and food stands too. I had to stop myself from buying too much! I think thats always a temptation at fairs when you see all the other gorgeous things to buy.
The rain came down in buckets on Sunday but I had my lovely cousin to help me set up and keep me company! Thanks missis!! I switched tables then to stop items getting wet.
Getting ready for the next fair this Sunday, Duckett's Grove. Making some new Christmas stocking bunting at the moment but otherwise taking it easy on the craft front as the Christmas decorations need to be put up and time seems to running out quickly.
I usually have a three trees on the go, maybe a little excessive but I can't help it. I am one of those people that just adores decorations!! One has a silver and white theme, the next is red and gold usually but am switching this to handmade decorations this year. Am hoping to pick up some great ones at the fair next weekend to add to my own handmade ones.
Next tree has no theme, its a mix of decorations that hold memories and all sorts of colours and shapes and it has to be my favourite.
Right better go get the fake snow unrolled (Hospital roll of cotton wool!!
All the best,
Maria

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Trip to Waterford and Preparing for Fairs

Good morning,

Carousel in Waterford City Centre
Its a lovely sunny day in Carlow, freezing of course but sunny! Earlier in the week my daughter and I took a trip to Waterford city. As a child we spent many holidays in Waterford so its one of my favourite places in Ireland. Now I live in Carlow and the motorway is built its only an hour away which is great. We arrived and parked by the quayside which now has an impressive flood barrier built all the way down the quays, it makes a lovely walkway too!
We walked up as far as the clock tower and low and behold what could we see in the distance, a carousel! Herself dragged me as quickly as possible up to it, "It's just like Mary Poppins" she informed me. Of course we had a ride, I enjoyed it as much as her!

It added to our great girly day together!
This weekend I have a stall or rather a little wooden chalet at the Taste of Carlow Christmas Fair in Carlow town. I am busy getting all last minute bits and pieces made including lots of Christmas decorations and stocking bunting. Fingers crossed for no snow or rain.
Then its time to decorate the house for Christmas, I can't wait!
All the best,
Maria

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Lollipops and Daydreams

Hello,

Sorry its been so long again! This time the lead/wire (not sure the technical name) on my laptop decided not to work. Me and cameras/sewing machines/computers don't seem to survive so long together for some reason. I don't even blink an eye at this stage.
I've been working on some dolly goodies for selling at the Christmas fairs, here is Sindy and some Christmas cushions. The outfit is an old one by a company called Faerie Glen who made lots of dolls clothes and dolls around the 1960s.


Some of the Christmas fabrics are perfect for mini size items, a bit of fun!
I'm changing the name of my work from Maria Home Decorations to Lollipops and Daydreams. Slowly updating everything with it and hopefully I'll have a new logo soon. The plan is to have a new website that will be a shop and also have my blog on it. I am earmarking January for all this computer work! I hope you like my new name!!

Small boy turned four last week, which meant for a very exciting week for him. He has been patiently waiting for the big day for about three months now. A ride-on tractor was promised so who could blame him? The cake was made to his exacting specifications, combine and tractor themed of course.

I made the cake and hubby did the decorating, buttercream and very tasty, yum yum. Small boy was delighted so it was worth the effort.

Have a great day!
Maria

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Nanny McPhee - an interiors inspiration

Hello,

What a stormy day it is here, shiver shiver! If you live in Ireland and especially if you have children you might know about the "Big Big Movie" on RTE on a Saturday evening. They show a movie/cartoon every week which is anticipated greatly by the kids in this house. Everyone has to sit down and watch as a rule. Last week it was Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang.


The family live in a house which is so English countryside, run-down shabby chic, vintage, Cath Kidston would be proud, style. Its brilliant! Its set in England during World War II.
Not for those who like state of the art at all but for those of us who like a rummage through charity shops its visually fab.

It was hard to find a picture that shows the house properly and the lovely vibrant colours but you can get the idea. I think some of my cushions and aprons would not look out of place in the house!
Cushion is Cath Kidston print and apron below is a fabric which if I remember correctly is a copy of a 1940s fabric.
So if you haven't seen the movie and you get the chance, do!

All the best,
Maria

Monday, 22 October 2012

Making Christmas Decorations

Hello,

Been busy hand sewing buttons onto Christmas decorations. I love hand sewing, its very relaxing and certainly keeps my hands away from chocolate! Its my first ever year making Christmas decorations so it's something completely different creatively to what I usually make.

Here's some finished decorations
And some more:
The stockings and mittens are open at the top so could be used to put little gifts in either.

I took over a small table in the sitting room to finish sewing the buttons on the felt hearts. These are all finished now so its time to move onto the sewing machine.

My poor sewing machine is on strike. It won't pick up the thread from the bobbin for some reason, the needle won't pick it the thread. I took the whole thing apart about ten times now but no luck so its time tomorrow for me to find a repair shop.
My awaiting sewing pile has grown quite high and I am actually missing using it. Hopefully it is not too serious and I and find someone to fix it!
Next job, finish the rainbow haired doll reroot, only a small bit left to do so I'll post pictures once it's finished.

Take care,
Maria

Friday, 5 October 2012

Welcome to the World!

Hello,

It's been a busy a couple of weeks! The newest addition to our family was born last Friday morning. He is healthy and happy and totally handsome (I am a little biased of course)
I was in hospital for five days so it is great to be home. His big brother and sister are delighted with him and showering him with love and attention, long may it last!

I'll be back in business next week with lots of new stock and Christmas things to list. In the meantime the feet are about to be put up!!
Have a great weekend,
Maria

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Decorating the Nursery!

Hello there,

How are you? Its been a few days since I had a chance to catch up so I'll try to make up for it.
Finally got a new camera, am still coming to grips with it so forgive me! Been busy making lots of Christmas decorations, bunting and of course finishing the baby blanket. A lot of cleaning and rearranging and the nusery is almost ready. I went for a soft mix of colours, blues and greens and greys. I have ordered some retro airplane print fabric for the curtains and chair.

I made this cushion a few months ago and had it listed on my etsy shop but I took the listing down and its found its way into the baby's room! The frame was a bargain buy in Dunnes.

The finished pram blanket! A lot of careful sewing and matching and reorganising later it is finally finished.
Here is another picture of it. My hat goes off to people who make patchwork and baby quilts, they must put a huge amount of work and effort into them. The owl babies hanger is from Ikea. It reminds me of the "Owl Babies" book for children.
 Of course no room would be complete without bunting! It couldn't take a decent picture of it as it's accross the window but it matches the blanket. The picture frame is vintage, Old MacDonalds farm pictures. The curtains will be replaced.
 
I couldnt resist this monkey sticker, a bargain from ebay (4.80 euro inc P&P), its large and on the wall over the cot. As its a sticker I can easily removed it when it becomes too babyish!
All the old frames I painted before using grey and green paint are hanging up too and match in perfectly. I'll take a few more pics when the rain stops.
Two weeks to go till the big day so must attempt to put feet up for a bit!!

All the best,
Maria

Friday, 7 September 2012

Dallas is Back! And a cushion for JR

Hello,

Did anyone else watch Dallas the other night? It was the first episode of the new series. Dallas holds a real childhood memory place in my heart! My parents would whisper to each other about getting us kids up to bed so they could watch "Salad" in peace. Eventually we cracked the code and realised they were talking about the Dallas. Of course the odd time we would be allowed up to watch it or we would hide in the dinning room and watch it with creaks in our necks. Being in primary school at the time it was a real badge of honour if you actually got to see it, it didn't really matter that you didn't understand a lot of what was going on in it!
We all knew JR was cool and Sue Ellen was drunk a lot of the time and that Bobby was the good guy but not half as cool as JR. And of course Bobby in the shower, and all those "Who shot JR?" t-shirts. Ah the good old days!
So it was interesting to see Dallas back on air all these years later. It was fun to watch and a real trip back in time. Even the theme tune was the same.
Just a thought but I think sub-consciously Dallas and its cowboys may be responsible for a lot of my boys aprons and cushions!!!

Have a great weekend!
All the best,
Maria

Sunday, 2 September 2012

The Tooth Fairy and patchwork Baby Blanket

Hello,

We had a very important visitor last night, the tooth fairy! It was the first tooth that fell out so it was a big deal. The tooth was placed in a little pink bag and carefully placed under the pillow. Of course teeth mean cash so there was great delight this morning when she found the tooth gone and money in its place. Bless!

Am working through my list of jobs. Here's my plan for the baby blanket, I roughly laid out the squares/rectangles in a pattern and I am going to sew them together row by row. Fingers crossed..



Have a great day!

All the best,
Maria

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Patchwork Baby Blanket, help and advice needed!

Good morning,

Sun is out again so a day trip might be in order! With raincoats in a bag just in case...
I've been busy making new bunting, dolls cushions and Christmas decorations. It does seem a bit strange to be looking at Christmas things in August.
Here is my latest project which I have about 5 weeks to go to make.
Its a baby blanket and I am determind to make one. Of course it may not work out but I have to try at the very least.
I have cut up lots of squares of fabric and my plan is to sew them together and then attach the super soft minky fabric on the other side. The squares, more rectangles measure approx 5inch accross and 6 inch down.
As you can tell my plan is a little vague! Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I really have no idea what I am doing.
I started restocking my dolls shop, Mog Dolls Delights, this week.

 Sindy was delighted to be modelling again. This is one of my rescue dolls, the doll was missing half her hair which was originally brown. I cut it all off and replaced with a mix of black and some blue stripes. Its an early 1980s doll brought into 2012!

Have a great day,
Maria

Friday, 17 August 2012

School Uniforms and lots of bunting in progress

Hello,

Yesterday we set out to sort out school uniforms for next month. As the holidays are getting near the end I could no longer ignore the issue. Armed with a long list and steely determination (on my part not the children) I was going to cross everything off one by one in record time. That was the plan at least. I can safely say I managed to get about half the things on the list and about ten things I didn't really need. So a new list has been drawn up and we'll have to face out again but this time I am bring Moshi Monster merchandise resistant spray if I can just get my hands on it!!

Back in the land of sewing I am running up a nice batch of bunting, lots of work in progress.
These flags are nearly ready to be sown onto ribbon. They have been cut, sown and turned the right way out. Sometimes I have a plan in mind colour wise an other times I wait and see what looks good together when all the flags are made.
This is my first complete one. I was down to my last boys bunting so I finished this one first, its listed on my etsy shop today.

Have a great weekend!
Maria

Monday, 13 August 2012

Baby Burp cloths and new additions to family and shop !

Hello,

When I was making stock for craft fairs I decided to extend (in length!) the fabric face cloths I was already making and turn them into baby burp cloths. From what I can tell these are very popular around the world and are starting to be sold more and more in Ireland.

They do the same job as a muslin cloth but are a lot prettier and can be used for a lot more purposes. You could then use them as mini towels for toddlers or face cloths.
I made some for girls and some for boys.

And of course my interest in baby items has another side to it, baby number three will be making its appearance before too long! I am due the end of September so am slowing down by the day / and or getting bigger!! So the sudden influx of baby influenced items in my etsy shop has an inspiration or reason behind it.
The nusery is a major work in progress at the moment and I am trying not to panic by the fact that it is not all ready. I'll post some pics when its a little less messy!

All the best,
Maria

Sunday, 12 August 2012

How to Reroot Dolls Hair Part Two

Hello,
Months ago I began a tutorial (of sorts) on how to reroot a dolls hair
http://www.mariahomedecorations.com/2012/03/re-rooting-dolls-part-one.html which for some reason I never finished so its about time to!

These are three old Sindys, two from the 1980s and the middle one from the early 1970s that have all been scrubbed up and given new hair for various reasons (bald patches, missing hair etc.)

If you take a look at my previous guide (above) I was just at the stage to begin rerooting. A dolls hair had been removed and the new hair was ready to be inserted so I'll continue from there.
1) The hair usually comes in a long piece (hank) which you can cut in half or three depending on the length you want the hair. I usually cut in half, this leaves the hair long and makes it a lot easier to work with. So cut the hair in half and seperate it into sections. Divide again into smaller sections to make it easier to work with. Once you have a smaller section in hand you can dip the end in water to seperate. If you look at the picture above from right to left, the right is half the entire hank of hair, next is about a third of the hair, then you have a smaller piece to work with  (end has been dipped in water) and finally a small piece through the needle.

2) A tricky part when you are starting out rerooting is figuring how much hair to thread into the needle to fill each hole. Add to this, the existing holes on the dolls head are usually different sizes so you will have to change amounts to suit each one. Some of the hair types (nylon, saran etc.) are different in thickness. You will get used to this very quickly. Seperate some hair and thread it through the needle just as you would in sewing.
The needle is then pushed through a hole in the dolls head. I do this from the outside in.

You will get used to how much hair to put into each hole very quickly. It should slide in easily and should fill the gap nicely (not too bulky or too thin)
You can then use your long-handled tweezers to pull the needle out the other side. Pull through just enough so you can tie a not in end. If you pull to quickly or too much it will just all come out the other side and you'll have to start again!

Tie a small knot and then trim the end. When I first started I think I added about three knots to the end of each piece in case the knot would come loose but this just makes for a lot of bulk inside the head. So a small knot is enough.

Part three to follow soon.
I hope this was useful!

All the best,
Maria

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Back from the Fair, time to create!

Hello,

I think this has been the longest break I have taken from my blog, but I'm back to business!
I had been sewing lots of stock up to the weekend so I am looking forward to trying lots of new things in the next few weeks.
I was at the Tinahely Show, Co. Wicklow on Monday and here are some pictures of my stall.
The table cloth was a last minute purchase from a local shop in Tullow. I had planned on buying a white tablecloth but I think it looked well in the end, a bargain for Euro15.00 considering there was nearly 4 metres!

The show was incredibly well organised from start to finish, the organisers certainly know how to run a show! I was in the craft village marquee with some very talented crafters, there was writers, jewelry makers, fellow sewers, wood crafts, a great range of items. I'll add in the links of the other crafters here shortly..
There was an amazing quilt tent full to the brim with some very talented work including one by Tomomi who has a shop on etsy www.etsy.com/shop/SlaneyHandCraft and who has an truly incredible talent, she really has turned quilting into an art form.

There was some delicious food to be had, I had some melt in the mouth fudge which I am still thinking about today. And the most delicious scone I've had in a long time also.
There was so much for children to see and do as well. Small boy here has all his tractors and farm animals back out and lined up in the sitting room reinacting the scene!
I am delighted to say I did sell lots, I nearly sold out of bunting and dolls cushions.
Sindy was very popular, a few did try to buy her but she was too comfortable on the couch to leave!

Right the BBQ is nearly ready so its time to go, hope its sunny for you too!
Take care,
Maria

Sunday, 29 July 2012

The Littles, my first doll in the 1980s!

Hello,

Can you remember your childhood dolls and toys? I do! There are some that stay in my mind more than others. Sindy of course is one. No question there. I had one blond doll for awhile until I managed to get my hands on a second doll. I would tuck her into bed every night in her own little dolls bed which rested next to mine such was my devotion. But my very first dolls were actually the Littles. These were dolls and furniture that would made by Mattel in 1981 for a year or two and were absolutely tiny. The scale is about 1:24 (Barbie is 1:6) so very small stuff. My own dolls have long since disappeared and after a search on google I finally figured out the name of these dolls from my memories.

This is the dad, baby and mother. I took these straight out of a box so they are like new. I wonder how many of the baby dolls ended up in the hoover? A lot I am guessing.

Does this bring back memories for anyone? I had lots of the little furniture too, most of it is cast iron so it was built to last. A year or so ago I bought a small lot of the furniture on ebay (nostalgia got to me) and its now all set up in a Sylvanian dolls house by my children in the room where I do all my crafting. It buys me a lot of quiet time!!

Next weekend I have stalls at two craft fairs so I am still busy making lots of new items. As I am new to all this it is hard to work out how much exactly of everything I need so I am aiming for more than I think I need (I think). I've made lots of shabby chic style bunting this week and am now working on some boys cushions (counteracts the girliness of the bunting).


I've closed my etsy shops for a little holiday while I go to the fairs but I'll have plenty more stock and new items to add when they reopen.
Hope the weather is less confusing where you are (rain,sun,rain,sun)

All the best,
Maria

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Painting Old Picture Frames

Hello,

I finally got around to cleaning and painting some old pictures frames I had. These were a mix of charity shop finds and old neglected frames I had.

The first thing to do is take them completely apart, remove the back, the glass etc. I wash the glass in a bowl of washing up liquid (carefully) and leave it to air dry.
The two pictures on the left above have repainted frames and the gold on the right was just cleaned. The pic on the left had a pine colour frame which looked very dated and the green one had a very dark blue colour which was gloomy looking. I use washing up liquid and water ( a little bit!) to clean the frames too. Once dry you can paint to your heart's content. I had decided on colours so I bought two small tester colours from a hardward store. I use my own brushes and not the tester ones, a few coats and job is done.

I love this grey colour, its Homebase Sanctuary range, "shadow" colour in matt. Here's a link to some of the "before" pics.    http://www.mariahomedecorations.com/2012/05/charity-shop-finds-vintage-childrens.html
I cleaned up some destined for photos so it doesn't have to be just children's pictures you can do this for.

Hope the sun stays out, have a great day,
Maria