Friday, 24 February 2012

photo of the day: ancient earthworks

These ancient earthworks are just off the main road between Belfast and my home town. I have a weird obsession with hill forts, dolmens, cairns and so on and I eyed up this clump of trees every time we passed it.

 We finally got round to stopping at it last weekend and up close it's clear that the mound and its ditch around the perimeter were at least partly formed by humans and I just find it fascinating. Keep your eye trained to spot these ancient formations in the landscape.

Nellie the Elephant

Somehow I forgot to post about this recent find - a yellow elephant money box from the Northern Bank in Northern Ireland. I remember these from my childhood though I didn't have one myself. I looked them up online and found an identical one from the Midlands bank in England and apprently they were made in Finland in the 1970s.

The Ulster bank had the more famous 'Henry Hippo' money boxes which loads of my school friends had and I was so jealous of them because I was with a different bank. No need to be jealous any more! 

I must confess however that I inexplicably decided that the best thing to remove the decades of dirt would be nail polish remover. I was wrong. It stripped the shine off parts of the suface before I realised the error of my ways. Still, I love the bulbous shape of her and perhaps she'll encourage me to save a few pennies for a rainy day. 

Today's finds

I haven't done a post about my finds in ages but rest assured that my thrifting is unabated. Here are a couple of little beauties I've picked up recently - the Hornsea biscuit jar may horrify anyone who was around in the seventies but to me it's pure retro good ness.

The little Scottish watercolour is unsigned but really quite acomplished I think. I just did a quick count though and I now have 30 framed pictures in our living/dining room alone. Perhaps it's time to start rotating the collection, before I become one of those hoarders you see on TV who can't even get into some of the rooms in their home. 

And this little plant isn't found so much as made. I volunteer one morning a week with an organisation called the NOW project (  and last week we planted these mini cacti and succulents like this one into old teacups that I collected. I just love how the design of this cup echoes the shape of the plant so this one came straight home with me.

If you happen to be from round these parts we'll be down at St George's market in Belfast next Friday morning selling all the goodies we've made over the past few months. We'd love it if you came down to support the charity.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Pixelated goodness

This morning I came across instructions for how to make this ridiculously clever pop-up card on a website called minieco which is chock full of brilliant craft ideas in the prettiest colours. It completely blew my mind! Turns out it's really easy to make as well.

Here's my go at making it. I cut a little quotation out of a book and stuck it inside and glued another heart onto the front. (which came from a botched first attempt at making the card)

The inventor of this design is a genius and I now have yet another new website to obsess over. Happy days.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Origami winged heart tutorial

I browse a lot of design blogs and have almost overdosed already on all the hearts and pink everywhere so I'm not going to go overboard on the Valentine's themed posts. This however is a really sweet and easy piece of origami that you can make in a minute or so. I found the tutorial on youtube (that's the absolute best way to learn origami in my opinion) and the photos are of a few hearts I made myself. 

If you search on youtube you can find slightly more complex versions of this design with more realistic wings but I think this one is a good one to start with if you haven't done a lot of origami before. You could make large versions of this to decorate a room or stick one to the front of a homemade Valentine's card.