My very first commission

Having seen my foray into gift making, a friend commissioned me to make her a “picture” of the city that she and her partner will soon be leaving to start an exciting new life. They are leaving their office-based jobs in the busyness of Brighton to take on a B&B in the Cumbrian coastal town of Workington – Workington House B&B (boasts a rating of 9.1 ‘Superb’ on Booking.com!)

Onto the project. It was a simple enough brief (inspired by the hearts and maps frame I made for Christmas) – the word ‘Brighton’ from maps set in a dark wood frame.

I tried to get a vintage street map and although I did buy a fairly old one, it was in black and white which had less impact visually. A few trawls through old bookshops, antique emporiums and charity shops provided a good example.

After some deliberation – and discussion with Big and another crafty friend, I disposed of the mount in the frame and went with a solid background.

I messed around with fonts and sizing until I got the right fit, and then used the cut-outs to draw around both iconic landmarks and areas that were significant to them.

The final result is below and my friend has said it’s just how she imagined it.

Brighton framed

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Christmas 2017

December started pretty worryingly. My partner (Big) runs his own business with two others and they’d made an unfortunate decision which led to half salary at the end of November and a bleak outlook for any December money at all. To cut a long story short, it all worked out beautifully in the end but the interim period was full of annoying “I don’t want any presents” from Big (it’s his birthday on 23 December too), so I started to investigate gifts that I could create….well hello again, Pinterest!

First up was a frame that houses heart cut-outs of maps for some of our favourite places.  This was pretty fiddly, and if I were to do it again, I’d measure out the placements of the hearts in a different way, and also get a back-up sheet of paper to stick them to.  I’d also work in a much tidier way… I damaged the sodding mount so had to flip it – it’s not been noticed yet though!

One of my lovely colleagues gave me ideas and donations. My favourite idea was a CD of a few songs from our past and present. With a little rummage through our collection of battered originals, downloads for the rest and expertise from another wonderful colleague, a CD was finally produced. Artwork put together on Canva finished off the case and…. ta-da!

One of the donations was a little jar. I put some gummy bears in it, made a bow with some donated ribbon and a gift tag with a bear-related quote on, I was pretty happy with the result.

Wilko’s provided me with blank canvases for:

A white mug and a Sharpie later..

Plain pillowcases and two fabric pens (and a deep breath – you only get one chance!)…

You may have seen the ‘senses’ idea on Pinterest.  It’s a lovely concept and your imagination and budget can run wild with the gifts you make or buy.  I didn’t really make anything for this one (I wrote on the bags and gift tag) as I was going hell for leather with the other gifts by this point! No matter, the man was really happy with it.

Final gift and I made one each for my boys too…keychains with a personalisation in a bottle cap.

Big genuinely seemed to love each gift and there were no questions along the line of “Did one of the kids make this?”  It was definitely worth the effort to see his face on opening and has made what could have been the worst Christmas for us into one of the best.