Jolly Gingerbread Men

As well as being decorative and delicious treats, gingerbread men also make cheerful Christmas decorations. They have a cosy and rustic charm that is perfect for your home at Christmas.

The Bumbleblue gingerbread man has become a bit of a favourite of mine both to make and to hang up around the festive period. To be honest, there’s one that sits in my kitchen all through the year – just couldn’t wrap him up when we took the decs down last year!

They start their days as simple wooden shapes, but with a little love and care, and of course a splash of Farrow and Ball paint, they soon turn into little men. Each one is smartly dressed with the finest mother of pearl buttons and a little red bow.

These little chaps are all waiting for their own homes to go to to share Christmas with someone.

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Cracking Christmas Cards

Now we’re officially into October, I feel a bit less premature talking about the festive season. After all it will soon be here, twinkling and jingling all around us – and you will be left wondering where November went!

I’m still on a bit of a mission to create a card range for Bumbleblue. I’ve moved onto brainstorming festive ideas, which I’ve absolutely loved! Being the fairy that I am, I love Christmas. As soon as I see those first decorations in the shops and hear those familiar tunes, my inner child takes over and I have a constant buzz of excitement right through until New Year.

Earlier in the year I found these fabulous tiny birds, perfect for cards. It wasn’t until I was painting some ‘Bobbin’ Robins’ that I thought about making some teeny tiny robins too.

As is usually the case, one idea spurs on another and before I knew it, the Bumbleblue desk was swamped with ideas, sketches, paint and material.

 

 

It’s taken a few weeks, but I’m really chuffed with some of my new additions and I hope you will pop over to my website and have a look!

www.bumbleblue.co.uk

Red, Red Robin

It’s that time of year again when the muggy heat of Summer is replaced with that creeping chill of Autumn.

I love the long Summer days (especially as it means I can live in flip flops for a few months!) but the change in seasons means it will soon be time for cosy nights huddled by the fire under big knitted blankets whilst drinking hot chocolate.

In a bid to be organised this year, I promised myself I would keep on top of my festive products. I know alot of you are going to flip at this point, but yes I’m talking about Christmas decorations. I adore the festive season and I love designing my own gifts and decorations. After a few years of developing ideas, there’s finally  a nice collection forming including one of my favourites, the little Bobbin’ Robin.

Each wooden bird is given a few coats of paint before being sanded down to give them a smooth finish.

His bright red tummy really turns him into a cheerful robin and this is left to dry before the tiny paint brushes come out! After another quick sand down, he’s given a wing, an eye and his song is painted onto his red tum.

A bit of string finishes him off and he’s ready to hang on your tree!

Making a Bumbleblue Keyring

My hand painted keyrings always seem to go down very well whether it’s in one of my online shops, my website or at a craft event. When I’m preparing for a show, I usually pack as many as I can make because they just fly out!

They were one of the first ideas I had for a product when I started working with wood, and I still make them pretty much the same way. As the old saying goes ‘…if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it…’

Each keyring starts life as a disc of fine quality birch wood. My fabulous Dad then has the fiddly job of drilling a hole through each one and like a true professional he never moans, even when I turn up with 30+ little circles!

 

 

Each one is painted with a few coats of Farrow and Ball and is slightly sanded down giving it a lovely smooth surface with distressed edges. The letters are painted on by hand with a very small paint brush. As time consuming as this is I find it quite therapeutic, even though I tend to go a bit cross-eyed after the first 10 or so.

A little bit of string tied in a bow holds onto the keyring and adds the perfect shabby chic finishing touch. So there you go – it may only be a little thing, but I put alot of care into the making of every Bumbleblue keyring and I hope that anyone who buys one is happy with their new purchase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Cupboard Dreaming…

…of Farrow and Ball.

A few months back on a sunny Sunday I went along to a car boot. As I’ve mentioned before, I love to find those hidden treasures often over-looked by others but that jump out to you.

Ed’s face was a picture when I pulled some tatty candlesticks, a huge piece of un-inspiring piece of artwork in a tired frame and a wooden cupboard from my KA (it was a bit of a squeeze but determination got them in!)

With a bit of love and a lot of sandpaper, the candlesticks were transformed into a pair of little gems.

And soon to follow, minus the hideous picture was the huge wooden frame. Now it’s a bit of shabby chic finery and is perfect in our kitchen as a chalkboard…

 

The cupboard has been a bit more of a challenge. It was gorgeous, but hidden under a thick layer of tar-like varnish (and bright red paint inside!) It was going to need some serious elbow grease.

Too big for the Bumbleblue desk, I had to wait for some decent weather to tackle it outside. It took a whole afternoon to get down to the wood, but it was definitely worth it.

Many, many sheets of sandpaper later and it was bald! Not an inch of gloop was left and after a quick wipe down I could finally get the paint out.

Farrow and Ball no. 229 Elephants Breath was perfect. Delicate and chic, perfect for a little cupboard that had been hidden under caked-on varnish. Only a few coats in and already it looks like a new piece of furniture!

 

 

 

Hopefully with all this gorgeous weather, I will get this little beauty finished in no time. Watch this space…

Home Sweet Bumble Home

This is the journey of my Butterfly houses.

I always like to see how piles of materials can be turned into little creations. Every designer can put a little bit of themselves into each product, giving each one their own signature style.

As usual I visited my product development manager and my personal joiner (Mum and Dad!) and discussed a new idea. I left Dad with a rough design to see if it would be possible and cost-effective to make. Of course, Dad being Dad completely succeeded my expectations and on my next visit, a small town of Butterfly houses were waiting for me.

Made of quality wood and each one hand crafted by a joiner, Butterflies will be making a bee-line (or should that be a butterfly-line) to make one of these their home.

Once they land on the Bumbleblue desk, I can get my paint pots out and each house is given a few coats, sanded slightly in between to get a nice smooth and even finish. This also helps when I paint on any wording, which isn’t as easy on thick, lumpy paint.

The final coat is left to dry completely, and with my latest batch the sun made an appearance, perfect for helping the paint to dry.

When the whole house is finished, it’s then given a coat of external varnish to protect it from the elements, which have been a touch random lately!

Every house will reach its new owner with a little guide to help you to make the most of it and what to do to encourage butterflies to stay. I think one of these will definitely be making its way into our garden, they’re just too nice to sell them all!

 

 

Car Boot Treasures

It really felt like Spring was on it’s way the other weekend. The clouds and chill in the air moved to one side and the sun tiptoed into their place.

I joined the early bird on Sunday and went along to a car boot sale. I was a bit bleary-eyed but wandering around in the sun peering at people’s offerings, I soon started to wake up. I love trips to antique markets and shops, but the humble car boot will always be a special treat. Traders in antique shops have usually selected the items they hold and are looking to make a profit on whatever piece you buy from them – after all it’s their business. Car booters offerings are a random mix of old and used or new and un-touched bits and bobs. You never really know what, if anything you’re going to find.

I did a quick lap but was distracted by the tea van. On the second lap I found some fabulous little treasures. One actually isn’t that small – It’s a gorgeous wooden frame perfect to be turned into a chalkboard for our kitchen. I didn’t realise just how big it was until I got it back to the car. My little KA did very well to accommodate it!

A pair of wooden candle sticks and this gorgeous bedside table and I came away quite pleased with myself.

 

 

I’m waiting for a nice day to get on with the table, but I couldn’t wait to get the candle sticks sanded down!

 

Painting Presents

I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front recently and for this I’m sorry!

As usual, I’ve not been twiddling my thumbs but painting two big projects, one of which being a present for some friends. They had a little boy last August called Ben and I know it’s what you’re supposed to say when friends have children, but he really is gorgeous. When he first came home we took him some name blocks for his new room.

I said on the run up to Christmas I didn’t want to over do the handmade present thing, so we hunted the highstreet and online for the perfect present. This turned out to be a lot more difficult than we first thought.

Quite often I will imagine a present for someone before I’ve seen it. This isn’t wise to do because what you imagine, nine times out of ten doesn’t actually exist and therefore can’t be purchased! Excellent start.

Me and Ed spent many evenings discussing what we could buy and ruling everything out just as quickly as suggesting it. We got side-tracked and started talking about things we had when we were young – favourite toys or games that kept us amused and amazed for hours. Luckily our friends escaped many childhood remembered treasures including a noisy penguin steps and slide game which, oddly enough I was reunited with by my sister!

Another memory was being measured against a door frame and the date being scribbled on to show how much we had grown.

Light bulb moment. A height chart! And what better image for little Ben to be measured against? Big Ben of course. So knowing this very specific present wouldn’t exist, it was off to Homebase to purchase a tall piece of wood and lots of paint.

The actual image took quite a bit of sketching and measuring and even more measuring, but eventually Big Ben was taking shape.

Now it’s with it’s happy new owners and waiting for Ben to grow!

Vintage, Shabby and indeed chic

Working with wood, it’s incredibly handy having a joiner Dad. He’s on hand for advice and he’s constantly drilling holes for me!

I remember when I was little, being sat at the end of our garden watching Dad working in his workshop. To make me feel like I was helping, I would have a block of wood from his offcuts box and a pile of nails to hammer into it. I started young!

My parents have got used to me popping over for a cup of tea, complete with a box full of new wooden bits that all need holes of various sizes drilling into them. Many a good idea has also come from these tea visits and my latest product is no exception. Vintage wooden signs.

I love old signs, packaging and typography and my house is literally bursting – from blown up old wine labels in the kitchen to place name signs in the bathroom.

Dad could source me lengths of wood with a rough unfinished surface, perfect for creating that ‘its been around forever’ look. The first sign I painted cheekily landed back into Dad’s hands as a Christmas present! Finally I’ve got round to painting more.

Hopefully the finished product reflects all the work and care that has gone into it. Now all it needs is a loving home!

 

Bee My Valentine

I’m slowly learning, when you hand make your own wares you have to always be a few months ahead.

I was baffled when people on Folksy were saying they had started making products for Christmas…in June! Don’t get me wrong, I’m Mrs Christmas, but I couldn’t imagine painting snowflakes without some festive music – and believe me, Ed would be less than impressed if I was blaring out Jingle Bells for more than one month a year.

Apparently I’m a bit late already for Valentines Day, so I’ve had a little assembly line on the go to include a few loved up goodies, especially for the one area I always struggle to shop for. Cards.

Every year on the run up to Valentines Day, I wander round card shops picking up cards reading super soppy verses and seeing far too many ‘horny devils’ for my taste. I like nice cards, and I’ve had a go at making some simple and stylish designs.

I know not everyone will like them, but at least I will have one ready to give to Ed!