Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Creating Success Around the Globe - Sea Green of Appledore

Well...I had the most relaxing Christmas holiday with my family. Oh, there was the one little mishap with the day-after realization that my 10-year old son ate every single speck of chocolate and candy that was in his Christmas stocking and various gifts (at least a 2-3 month supply). We sat down last night for a 'sugarholics anonymous' discussion. And now he's on detox. Which means I have to be on detox to set the example. Really? Did I sign this contract when I became a mother?

How about your holidays? Any inspiring or funny anecdotes?

Anyway, relaxing for the holidays also meant that I was away from 1) the computer, and 2) blogging. So while it's been a bit quiet around here this past week, it's time to hop back on the train and head straight towards the new year! And it's time for our weekly peek at a fellow creative in the European pitstop of the Creating Success Around the Globe blog hop.

This week's European creative showcase:
Sea Green of Appledore

Who:  Josie at Sea Green of Appledore
Where:  Appledore, England (North Devin Coast)


BVC:  When did your passion for creating and crafting begin?
Josie:  I was born with the passion for making things, one of six children living in the countryside we made all our presents and cards using anything we could find. We picked wild flowers and made posies for our mother at Easter and Mother's Day, and Christmas wreaths with holly and ivy, which I still do today. I carried on crafting with my own children - we always had an ongoing project on one end of the table and had to eat our meals at the other end.

BVC:  Do you have a 'day job'?

Josie:  My three daughters have all left home now, so last February I took a risk and mortgaged my house to buy my little shop and craft workshop in Appledore "SEA GREEN of APPLEDORE" where I make nearly everything myself from recycled materials. It's my only income and I've managed to pay all my bills since then and even afford a bargain inspirational trip to Barcelona. Only two months to go and I will have proved that you can make a living out of craft. I have worked with children doing crafts, and I've also used craft as a therapy for elderly people, adults with learning disabilities and in hospices. I've had stalls in craft fairs and markets selling my creations.

The whole community is behind me on this project so I find some strange things left on my doorstep to recycle. I enjoy the challenge to use my inventive-ness. I made some great wooden coat hooks out of the legs of a broken table the other day and someone made a clock with a T-shirt at my workshop yesterday.

BVC:  Have you ever sold any of your decor creations on sites like Etsy or Epla?
Josie:  I don't sell online because I can't face all the administration involved with online orders.

BVC:  Do you feel that England has a strong and supportive network for recycled arts and crafts?
Josie:  I don't think England has a very strong craft/recycle network, but I do feel that it is now growing and expanding fast. The people who come to my workshops are very keen, and in these hard times are seeing the sense in reusing things.

BVC:  What is your 'dream' project?
Josie:  I'm now living my dream project - I don't want it to expand into something else. I think a lot of people get caught up in this trap and then realize that they didn't recognize the dream when they had it.

BVC:  Fill in the blank:   If I was in Paris, I would...
Josie:  ...do what I can't resist on any of my foreign adventures, head for the back streets. That's where you find treasures. Away from the tourists I find pokey little antique and retro shops, small galleries and workshops, and unusual eating places. And of course I meet real people.

How great to meet someone that is living their creative dream - and showing that the bills can be paid at the same time! Thank you, Josie, for sharing your thoughts - and for letting us know that we aren't the only ones out there with projects on one end of the table, and dinner on the other.

If you'd like to catch up with past global blog hop interviews for Europe, check out:
Stylizimo (Norway)
Ina Olavarria (Spain)
Made by iSa (France)
Handmade by Kallaristi (Greece)
Annemarie's Haakblog (the Netherlands)

Now let's hop over to see who's been discovered in North America, Australia, or Asia.

Are you also in Europe and would like to be considered for an interview feature? Leave me a comment at the end of the post, or send an e-mail with your website/blog to: bluevelvetchair at bredband dot net.

**Don't forget to add your own blog or website to the link party below to connect with new creative soulmates from across the world.

Until next time...

29 Ways to Stay Creative

29 ways to stay creative...I couldn't have said it better myself.


Until next time...

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Easy & Fun Last-Minute Decorating for Christmas

Still decorating.

Yesterday when I posted a quick project with leftover christmas balls, I promised to show this ridiculously quick and easy decoration that was in the background. Made them in about 30 minutes.

What you need:  a couple of old thrifted frames from your pile 'o frames, your trusty dusty staple gun, some fabric that makes your heart sing, a printer and some kind of super easy photo software, buttons, and some blue tack (which is actually white, in this case).

I had this sample of IKEA fabric laying around for about a year now...thought I was going to use it for our oversized ottoman we are making...but it was too bold for that space. Then I thought it might go for a valance curtain on a window. Nope. Not that either. But I LOVE accents of black and white, so out it came to find its place as the backdrop of these simple holiday decorations.

What's next? Staple. You can cut the material to 'about' the size, and just staple it to the back of the frame. Pull and stretch as you do.

This was the first round that went up last minute (literally) before this year's annual ornament exchange  with girlfriends - handmade of course. I used one of the free sage green backgrounds that I know and trust from Aimee at Sprik Space. "Very Merry". That's my message this year.

They looked a bit lonely on that wall behind our table. Of course, with bits and parts of the house still not remodeled, the final look doesn't come together quite yet. You can see in the pic below what's done and what's still in progress.

Now, I liked the pale sage green, but it wasn't making me look twice. So I changed to a muted red background, like you saw in the photo of my last-minute chandelier holiday dress yesterday.

You can also see that my hubby put up a couple of IKEA picture rails for me (so that time isn't included in the 30 minutes it took me to do these quick frames). Next grab some buttons and blue tack. I originally pulled out some colored wire from my craft stash, but it didn't find a home here.

No, I didn't even bother to glue the buttons because I'll just take them apart and use them somewhere else another time. This isn't a permanent installment, so the solutions don't need to be permanent. 

I grabbed the last of my extra christmas balls - the ones that were too heavy to put on the chandelier dress - and gave them a home on the picture ledge beside the frames.

A couple of times passing by made me realize I wasn't digging the muted red either. So one last trip to the computer scored me this fun turquoise blue printout. I simply chose a solid colored background in Photoshop, and found 2 different fonts that I liked for the 'very' and 'merry'. They are held to the material background with...you guessed it...blue tack. And on went the buttons with blue tack. Easy, quick, and no mess.

I put my vintage bottles with the 1-minute DIY poinsettias on the table. But they looked a bit lonely.

So I grabbed a bit of greenery from the bottom of our christmas tree and now they sit nice and nestled on the table. They might even get the surprise of some simple white flowers to hold.

When I pull back to get a photo of the entire area, it isn't quite the 'complete' picture that I want because of the things that still need remodeled or renovated. But, it's an improvement over what I started with and gives me a nice surprise punch of color for the holiday.

I've got one more DIY decoration that I'm determined to get up before Christmas day - so perhaps I'll have one more of these last-minute decoration posts. And because we don't really have to take down the Christmas tree until 20 days after Christmas in Sweden (a tradition called julgransplundring where friends and family dance and sing around the tree before taking it down), I'll have plenty of time to enjoy my last-minute holiday decorations. I'm not sure how many Swedes still adhere to that old tradition...but you can be sure we'll be holding out the full 20 days at my house this year.

Until next time...

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Creating Success Around the Globe - Sea Green of Appledore

We have a temporary delay in Europe for the global blog hop with Creating Success Around the Globe - but you'll want to check back tomorrow when we feature Josie at Sea Green of Appledore (England).

When Josie gets her hands on found and discarded items...she creates something fabulous. I'm really looking forward to introducing her to the global blog hop travelers.

Watch this space!

Until next time...

Reflections on Last Minute Holiday Decorating

This post is all about my reflections on last minute holiday decorating.

No...not those kinds of reflections. The real ones. Literally.


A couple of days ago I talked with the Facebook crowd about the fact that I will still decorating for Christmas. While a lot of you are done (enviable), there are still a few of you who, like me, will be putting out decorations until the very morning of Christmas!  My first day of decorating was at the beginning of December. But then I had to shift focus to my day job - and WHAM! All of the sudden there was only 1 week left. So, I am still putting together a little bit of this and that each day, and as I do, I'll share in case there are any last-minute wanderers out there like me.

I had a pile of christmas balls that never made it to the tree this year, so instead of packing them up, I grabbed my trusty ring of flexible wire (I always have some on hand from the DIY store), and started stringing them up.



Once you get a few on, it will start to look like this as the balls naturally wrap around each other. One of these days I'm gonna regret holding my camera in one hand and stretching the arm to hold out something to photograph in the other. Not because I might pull a muscle (a real possibility), but because I'll probably drop the camera. Note to self...must enlist assistance when taking blog photos.


Once I had all of the extra christmas balls strung on the wire, and I was in this pose that somewhat resembled the 'warrior' pose in yoga, my husband assistant walked up and offered his help. "Not because I think you're going to drop the camera," he said, "but because you look really uncomfortable."  I'm pretty sure he thought I was going to drop the camera.


The funny thing is that I didn't have a place in mind of where I was going to put this string of christmas balls before I started. I've seen beautiful wreaths, but my wire was flexible and was not intended to hold the circle shape. No, I had plans of wrapping it somewhere. So I literally started walking around the house with the string in my hands. Around the glass vase? No. Nestled amongst the nutcracker collection? Nah. Wrapped around Lulu? Yes! I found the perfect spot. Remember my renovated vintage chandelier Lulu that is filled with glass baubles? She now has a beautiful new holiday outfit!


I took off Lulu's light shades - they are going to get a revamp and I'm waiting for inspiration to hit. But doesn't the string of christmas balls suit her like a T?  I love how they look like they are just going to tumble down at any second. All I had to do was lay the wire up and over each arm, and then twist the two wire ends. Super simple. 


It's another happy little color pop for the holidays! And all it took was 15 minutes, plus a few extra minutes for arm-stretching photo shots.


See those frames with the black and white in the background? Come back tomorrow to see this ridiculously simple project.

Until next time...

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Sunday, December 18, 2011

20 Inspiring and Low Cost Holiday Decorations - Recycled

I suddenly realized today that there is only 1 WEEK until Christmas! I know, I know. But at the risk of sounding exactly like my forefathers, the time is zooming by as I get older, and that especially applies to Decembers! 

I've been gathering 'recycled Christmas' inspiration to share that I need to get out to you so that you can tackle any of those last-minute decorating needs at low cost and with minimal time. Here we go.

yes, I would also stop and stare at these recycled junk mail snowflakes if I had made them!
Michele Made Me

lovin' this unique and space saving cardboard christmas tree (dog not included)
El hada de papel

green balls of yarn in their organic state huddle together to repurpose as a christmas tree this year!
Sweater Surgery

now how do I get my hands on a load of old license plates to repurpose as christmas decor?
Recycled Art Co.

turn Martha's latest edition into this festive red magazine page christmas wreath
Childhood 101


Life as a Thrifter

Johnson Banks

Green Eyed Monster

christmas stockings from recycled sweaters make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
Hand Made Pretties

LaDeDa Creations

Sweater Surgery

One Hundred Christmas Trees

Decoration Decoration

Saved By Love Creations

my friend M made this recycled bottle cap ornament
for our umpteenth annual ornament exchange party this year (Hi M!)

via Tatertots & Jello

I'd love to have a tree full of these recycled Tshirt christmas ornaments in shades of blues and greens
I Still Love You via Skip to My Lou

nothing says "drink milk" like this fabulous recycled milk carton wreath
Michele Made Me

my husband will just die if I suggest this recycled tire and hubcap christmas tree for the yard next year! but I absolutely love it!
So Funky

And if you are trying to pull together some decorating cheer on little-to-no budget, don't miss these 26 DIY projects from the forest. A little walk in the woods and a little inspiration will get you set up in no time!

See you again soon with some more last-minute holiday decorating ideas. I'm still walking around my own house - mostly because I'm way behind on time - but I like to tell myself that it's never too late! Are you still decorating? Or are you organized and done!

Until next time...

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