Jingle All The Way!

Here at Bumbleblue, everything is in full festive swing. It’s the last day of November and I already feel like I’ve painted a truck load of Christmas decorations!

As well as painting orders for my fabulous customers, I’ve been trying to carry on with experimenting and keeping my creative juices flowing. It was actually a Christmas song that inspired my newest little creation – This is a good twist of fate as now I can argue that festive Michael Buble is educational!

So, I had Jingle Bells in my head and fueled by a fresh cup of tea I opened my cupboard that holds a bit of everything and had a root around. At the bottom was a big bag full of my wrapping bits and bobs; rolls of pretty paper, bags of beautiful ribbons and tonnes of gorgeous tags.

Hmm, gift tags…

No present you wrap is complete without a tag. It identifies the sender, offers sentiment to the recipient and also makes the whole wrapping process complete. The more I thought about it, the more I started to feel sorry for the humble gift tag. We put so much thought into choosing which paper to buy, matching it up to ribbons and tags and when all’s said and done, we tear the package open and throw it all away.

A few more cups of tea and a few sketches and the ideas started flowing, I just needed one little thing to bring it all together…..

bells

jingle bells tag 2

jingle bells tag 1jingle bells tag 3jingle bells tag 4

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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!

 

 

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!

Eggs-actly what our Kitchen Needed

I am now the proud owner of one gorgeously unique, custom made egg box!

I have wanted one of these since I can remember – I don’t think I even knew what it was at first, I just liked the idea of having a mini cupboard in the kitchen.

There are lots around in the shops, but some seemed quite expensive for what they were. Of course my Joiner Dad hears you say you like something once and, with a few hints and reminders from Mum, it’s usually fashioned together.

He’s made a gorgeous egg box for me. A little gold door knob, two little gold hinges – quite clearly he hasn’t spared any expense!

 

 

 

It sounds silly to say, but my new little egg box looks very proud sitting in my kitchen amongst the tea jar and my herb baskets. The only thing for me to do is to get painting…but what colour?

Pull up a Chair

I love grubbing through antique shops and car boots for little treasures to give a new lease of life to, but my search for a simple wooden chair seemed to be getting very tricky.

I started on Ebay. Perfect chair found. Collection only from Sussex. Moving on…

Cattle Market car boot and a lovely old man that appears at the Derby car boot every weekend caught my eye. He had some gorgeous chairs. Only problem this time was that he wanted a gorgeous price for said gorgeous chairs.

Antique shops seemed to be a similar problem, and alot had already been restored. It would be daft to pay double for a restored chair so I could take it home … to restore.

I decided to look a little newer to see if this would help with the budget, and I found a simple but very lovely unfinished wooden chair. It spent a week untouched while I excitedly picked over my collection of tester pots.

No. 25 Pigeon is a greeny shade of grey from Farrow and Ball and looks subtle and chic on the chair.

After letting two coats completely dry – which was lovely and quick thanks to Mr Sunshine making an appearance – I painted on a thin layer of No.59 New White.

As is always the way, I then went on to finish last weeks ironing pile and deciding what wonderful invention I could muster up for tea.

So as I left my chair drying in the sun, our cat Buddy came to inspect my handywork…

Obviously it had been a hard day at the office.

Hopefully it wont be too long before I can get back into the garden to finish my chair – I’ll keep you posted!

Butterflies Welcome

The sun has actually tried peeping out in the last two days, and to encourage it a bit more I bought a flower plant for the garden. Not being green fingered, I can’t tell you what it’s called, but it’s purple, pretty and looks fab in my pot at the bottom of the garden!

My new blooms got me feeling creative and I went in search of something new….and found these;

Perfect! They’re huge, heavy bits of slate, and to be honest, when I first saw them it was a case of

“…I want them but I don’t know what for…”

I’m constantly doing this. I’ve got a cupboard in the room where I paint and it’s full of random bits of this, and mixed bags of that, just in case…

Luckily my dad gave me a lifetime supply of vintage tabacco tins so my collection of buttons, beads, ribbons etc. are kept tidy (and even labelled)

After studying my new purchases for a few days, instead of being religated to the ‘cupboard of all things waiting to be used’ my new slate labels made it to my desk and the paint came out!

I’ve never painted on slate before, and it’s not the easiest! The surface isn’t flat so all the letters are slightly wobbly round the edges – something that over the last few years I have never allowed. Being a perfectionist, if it wasn’t right, it was sanded down and started again. (My mum would chuckle reading that!)

Pretty chuffed with these…

and of course, with my new little flower that inspired the whole thing.

New goodies for a windy day

I get so excited about adding new bits to my website – almost as much as I love to find things like these….

When I see things like this I can’t resist buying them and painting them up with a new lease of life! They looked so sorry for themselves being bare and plain. So after a few hours on the Bumbleblue desk, they looked a little better;

I took them to a craft fair I was doing and sold them to my first customer! She was a really nice lady as well – told me to carry on making my things becasue my products were gorgeous. I told her she could definately come back!

My boyfriend Ed has become really good at planting his own herbs and veg etc. so I’ve promised to make him his own personal set to label all the bits he’s growing. Trouble is, with all the craft fairs, my Folksy shop, and a new trade customer to paint for, he’s been put on a back burner – His vegetables will be grown, cooked and eaten before I’ve finished them!