Zip accessories

So… by now you’ll know that I’m a tad slapdash when it comes to crafting – and that is how I like it, thank you very much. I also really really like crafting with bits and bobs you can get from the hardware shop, or doing things you wouldn’t normally do to bits and bobs.

Zips, spikes and hardware in general are big this winter, and so I wanted to have a play with zips and see what I could do. Check out these earrings, and if you ant to know how to make them – or a ring version (or indeed,a brooch version), then check out this week’s Gathered on sale today!

Zippy zippy earring

Zip earring

Venice

Obligatory Grand Canal shot

Went to Venice in September – perfect time to go as the weather was still gorgeous, the canal wasn’t smelly and it wasn’t (too) busy. We went just as the Venice Film Fest was winding down, and rumours that Clooney’s boat had moored off ones of the islands kept us (OK, me) rather excited – not because I fancy the Cloon, more because he’s famous, m’kay?

We loved Venice. It was a bit like being in a Terry Gilliam film, where – at every corner turned – we expected to see some sinister, quirky figure, all moustachioed twirling his cape. It’s also exactly like being in the film Labyrinth, where Sarah tries the most local path somewhere only for it to take her right back to the beginning. Very early on, we realised that just because we could see where we wanted to get to, it didn’t mean we could walk around the corner and get there. It would usually involve going back on ourselves, over a few bridges and then doubling back yet again. But we’d get there in the end…!

We also found a gorgeous vintage shop called Carpe Diem. Budget didn’t allow a proper rummage, so we settled on drooling and taking lots of photos instead.

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Obligatory cat post

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If you follow me on Instagram (I’m monty_rose – feel free to add me) it means you’re a) already sick of seeing photos of my cat, Rosie, have stopped following me and are plotting my downfall b) Quite like cats, especially rather pretty torties like her c) more of a dog person, actually, but are way too lazy to do anything about it.

Apologies if you’re in category a) or c)

We adopted Rosie from the RSPCA rescue centre in Bath (otherwise known as Bath Cats & Dogs home – although god knows why as they do rabbits, guinea pigs and loads of other small animals, but hey ho; who am I to argue?) in April(ish) 2011. She was 2. Her name was Rozene, but we changed it to Rosie as it sounds a helluva lot less like window cleaner…

Her pen was on the same side as the dog pens, and so she spent most of her days listening to a LOT of barking. I think this is why she isn’t massively fussed about firework night.

When we first met her we were warned that she doesn’t get on well with other cats, but she seemed friendly enough to us (if a little cautious). Sure enough, we regularly hear her kicking ass at the neighbourhood cats of an evening. And when we have friends over, she is as flirty as Jerry Hall after a particularly bad dance-off. Or something. (I hope that reference works – I wasn’t even watching Strictly back then).

Rosie has surprised us since her arrival with her ‘gifting’. One time she managed to drag a huge, live bird through the catflap (she’s still the size of an older kitten). Another time – a massive rat. We’re awaiting an aforementioned neighbourhood feline any day now…

Anyway, she gives the best cuddles, is incredibly clever, chirpy, polite and loving. You know she loves you if she starts licking your hair.

Oh, and she has a two-tone bum. She rocks.

Brooch bouquet

Finished brooch with portrait of Dad…

I had wanted to make a brooch bouquet for our wedding for a long time. But my mum pooh-poohed the idea, and so we had several meetings with a florist, many of which were spent with me going on and on about how flowers die, so technically it was a massive waste of money and so I didn’t want to have too many flowers. To a florist. I know.

Two or three weeks before the wedding, we started working on an extra wedding magazine at work to run alongside that issue. It’s probably the worst thing to be doing a few weeks before your bash – immersed in other people’s stunning, personal, highly individualised weddings. I started to get panicky that ours would be… not right. Not “us” anyway. And so “Fuck it, I’m having a bloody brooch bouquet!” It was very important for me to have a photo of my dad, so he could come down the aisle with me. Searching for a small frame that could dangle off the stems was tricky as they seemed to be sold only in bulk. Weirdly, a week before the wedding, I was going thru some of Dad’s things, and found a small frame in which he used to keep a photo of me. Perfect.

Obviously I didn’t have time to scour and collect meaningful bits and bobs slowly, like you’re ‘meant’ to, but it actually helped with costs to run into the high street shops for gems – and meant I didn’t feel too bad about tearing them apart. I did take two special bits for the bouquet. My dad gave me a gold-coloured rose brooch that belonged to me grandma (I collect Roses), and then I also used a butterfly brooch from Topshop that I’ve had pinned to my pin-board at work since I started and has followed me around all the magazines on which I’ve worked. It’s kept me company so far, so I thought it would be nice to take it with me down the aisle.

I love crafts that are a bit slapdash and don’t require specific, careful detail(which is why me a papercrafting will never be friends), so this was right up my street. I made enough flowers over the evenings on the run up to the wedding to use among real flowers in mine and my bridesmaids bouquets. Surprisingly fast (and addictive) to do. Every trinket is different, so it’s all about working out how you’re going to attach your wire. Then wrap green garden tape around each stem. Luckily, my florist took the flowers from me and incorporated them into my bouquet – so I didn’t have to worry about that side of things. But it seems pretty simple, and now it’s all dried, I might just take the trinket flowers and make them into a permanent posey.

Wind garden wire around your trinket…

Lovely cluster of brooch flowers

Yarn-wrapped letter

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When we featured Cranny + B’s yarn-wrapped letter M in issue 20’s Trends, I knew just had to have a go.

But before I got started, I had to purchase the Best Craft Gadget Ever So Far™ – a hot glue gun. I hadn’t used one since year 6 design and tech but, screw that, I have yarn to wrap dagnammit!

Quite proud of how my first one turned out – Cranny’s instructions are really clear and she made me feel rather confident (dare I say gung ho?) about tackling something that did seem a teeny bit daunting initially.

Yes, I think there might be a few of these personalised pressies given this year – look out our F&F! The fact that the Monty household is now a cobweb of strange stringy glue stuff, and the TV remote is attached to the cushion, is mere coincidence. Ahem.

Appliqué hearts

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As I’ve said before, my style of crafting has never been neat. Which is why I kick ass at applique – well, this a-seven-year-old-did-it-so-lets-pretend-it’s-good style of applique anyway. Framed up, they’ll work as nice little Christmas pressies (can you tell we’re having a thrifty Christmas in the Monty household this year?) and obviously they work wonders for using up your scraps.

I am rather addicted to this sort of thing right now… and can see here and here and here