Category Archives: tutorials

Monday…with some Creative Accounting Accessories

January 8, 2018

Filed Under : D.I.Y - tutorials - Winter


Probably one of the worst things about January is the looming Tax Return deadline…I usually start getting up at 05:30 to squeeze in an hour of receipt sorting before the day actually starts as it makes me feel that I’ve triumphed in some small way…however I got all my tax stuff off to my accountant before Christmas, basically because they made me! Tax is going digital and I’m meant to be taking photos of receipts and uploading them to some app, but I can’t quite get my head around all that yet.

I’ve always kind of enjoyed the receipt sorting once I actually get down to it, and the first year I ever did my accounts ( as an actress in 1997 ), I had no idea what was expected and I submitted a sort of scrapbook/journal of my expenditure; notes about what I had been doing and why I could claim a sandwich I’d had to eat during a rehearsal. I’d bought a beautiful notebook from Paperchase for the purpose! My then partner discovered me gluing and stapling in the living room and told me that although it was beautiful, it was not really what an accountant wanted…

I realised that clearly labelled envelopes and a folder was the way forward, but even now I always have to make my accounts aesthetically pleasing to some degree…it’s my life; my previous year in numbers, petrol stops, cafes, trains, post offices and supermarkets. It’s my diary!

So, although I’ve already submitted my accounts, I now have to start work on sorting next year’s and so I thought I’d share some creative, cheap and easy alternatives to some of the standard stuff we buy for this onerous task…maybe it’s a form of procrastination; putting off the actual job, but I also find that if I can do something creative within or connected to a boring job, it kind of makes it all a bit easier…

  1. ACCOUNTS FOLDERBuy a cheap folder with plastic sleeves inside and then cut these leaves out, retaining the spine they are attached to…
    If the folder has an elastic fastening and a pocket save these as well… Take some nice card and draw the template of the folder onto it… I also added some flaps to keep everything a bit more secure… Superglue the spine of the plastic leaves to the new card… Make holes in the card where the elastic will need to be theaded… Cut out a new card pocket and superglue it to the inside of the folder… I wanted to give the front of the folder a personalised look; something which felt like me so I used a typewriter to make the label… ( the typewrite isn’t actually very good, so I photographed the text, then enhanced it with Instagram editing tools and then printed it out… ) I actually decided to create a more colourful label, using some of my own work in the end…

2. THE STAPLERI love using the stapler…it always feels really satisfying and official, so I thought I pimp up a boring one, which I bought for £1.80, with some vintage buttons of my grandmothers…
Basically all you need for this is buttons and glue, and any other bits and pieces you want to encrust the stapler with… The buttons made a few gaps which I wanted to fill, so I added some old beads and tiny shells I’d saved… It reminded me of a caddisfly larvae who gathers lots of bits and pieces which are floating around its environment and makes itself an encrusted outfit…( have a look at this article where gold and precious gems were added to caddisfly water ) 3. PAPERWEIGHTS I wrote a tutorial a while ago about how to make these which you can see here, but I wanted to make some which had some relevance to my year…it’s good to choose something to cover them with which is personal… I collected some ordinary stones when I was in Cornwall and then chose a map which features Amsterdam as it was a city I discovered for the first time this year, and which I really loved…

You have to cover the map and the stone in PVA glue ( I always add a little water to dilute it )… Then you start to wrap the stone as tightly as possible, smoothing the paper all the time as you work it… They’re quite tricky to get completely flat, but even if they turn out a bit rough they will have some meaning to you personally… After you’ve finished all the gluing they need to dry…I put them by the fire but a radiator is just as good… So, now you’re kind of set to start your accounts with some interesting things to look at, at least, and which are genuinely useful.

I also must have Sharpies, envelopes, a nice pencil and my old calculator which my Dad bought me when I was at school!

 

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Friday…with a Handmade Christmas Card tutorial

December 22, 2017

Filed Under : Art - texture - tutorials - Winter

I always really enjoy making my own christmas cards but I think over the last few years I’ve been a bit lazy as I give lots of my family and friends my own printed cards, which feels kind of home made, but it means that I don’t really exercise any practical creativity in these few days leading up to Christmas. To be honest, that’s mainly because there isn’t enough time, but this morning I was ripping up some envelopes and thought how much the tear looked like snow…which is how these cards began… You will only need paper, pencil, glue, paints, crayons or felt tips and some glitter glue, a gold pen and a pair of scissors… I’m rubbish at cutting straight lines so I thought I’d make a virtue of it and create snow drift tops to the cards ( basically cut the card wonky at the top )… Then you need some white paper…if you have 3 different types that’s perfect, although not essential… Tear strips and chunks of the paper, making sure that you’re not controlling it too much…
When you have a few strips you can start sticking them on the card…don’t worry about it being neat or going over the edges…it’s better to look natural, and you can tidy it up a bit after the sticking… Try and build a sort of landscape, working from the bottom up, and include some of the bits of paper which will curl up, as this is reminiscent of windy weather in the snow… Once you feel you have your snowy landscape, draw a very simple cabin house in it… Then colour in the cabin, showing light in the window and smoke in the chimney so that there is a striking contrast between snow and the cosy life inside… You could also add some sunset colours accross the snow before adding some little dabs of glitter which act as ice as well as stars… Each card you make will have it’s own cabin and landscape which gives each one really individual character.. It’s a great, quick way to create something homemade and it’s a way you can re use  some of the masses of excess paper or packaging around at this time of year, and it’s also really easy and satisfying for kids who, let’s face it, love ripping up loads of paper!