2019 festival round up!

Festivals

So, the festival season is officially over, I know, I always get a little wistful this time of year when the nights start drawing in and it is colder thank when I was sat in a field in my flip flops, cold cider in my hand, listening to some local artist play the sun down.

Nevertheless, we had a wonderful festival season and if you missed it here is a run down of what we got up to – and also, some festivals to add to your list for next year!

First up we traded at Vintage Nostalgia in Stockton, Wiltshire. Now I had never been there before but I was blown away by their set up – so many vintage traders, you could hardly move for retro cars and campervans, vintage tents and picnic set ups, old fashioned music and classic dance classes to entertain and plenty of secondhand and vintage inspired shopping to be had.

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The rain didn’t put the heeled and coifed off at all! Out came the gorgeous umbrellas and the party carried on!

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We were lucky enough to get a spot in a pre erected marquee in the heart of the venue – it was bigger than our oo arh! marquee and we could hear the bands on at the main stage! Out front there was a large circle of hay bales upon which the vintage clad families sat for picnics and drinks – such a lovely, oldy worldy sight to see!

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And we had a lot of vintage customers who loved the upcycled clothing idea and incorporated it into their retro style – how great does this sari skirt look over this lovely lady’s vintage petticoat?!

We will definitely be returning to Stockton, and maybe looking into some more vintage festivals for next year!

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The next festival we attended was called Beacon Fest and it was held in the hills of Watlington – again, never been there before, we had driven through Watlington a fair few times but never noticed the beautiful rolling hills beyond the lovely village.

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And it was indeed on the hill, so much so they had to create a flat stage for the actual stage to go on which was a sight in itself!

A small yet effective festival, we love the smaller, local ones because you tend to recognise more people over the weekend than the larger ones – it feels more intimate. There was always music on, when one stage was active, the other one would be being set up for the next band so the transitions were seamless and constantly entertaining.

We were one of a handful of non food traders so we had a lot of foot fall and stayed open until very late with the help of our new light so we could enjoy the festival with everyone else!

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We were very lucky with the weather, still chilly in the evenings but the sun was glorious and everyone was enjoying themselves! It was a festival of denim jackets – don’t these friends look amazing in their unique upcycled garments?! It’s funny how each festival is different and some things don’t sell, but others do surprisingly well!

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We’d love to take oo arh! back to Beacon, we have never been to a local festival before and it was so lovely to meet some fellow Buckinghamshire/ Oxfordshire people!

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Fairly soon after that we went to Nibley in the heart of beautiful Gloucestershire – we were expecting a small village festival, since the village it is based in is lovely and small, but, as we got taken to our pitch the staff explained where the stages (yes there was more than one!) what the other fields were used for and we were blown away – they had planned everything so well that the traffic flowed, the kids had their own area but there was stuff for the grown ups there too, and the main stages were not too close to be affected by each other, but an easy walk for us punters!

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Unfortunately I do not have many photos of our time there because my phone was playing up but we were one of 10 non food traders which was amazing, we had lovely weather again (we were spoilt this summer for nice trading days) and we were well entertained – The Sugar Hill Gang were there…I know…how? Why? But they were which was crazy AND we got to be at the front for The Correspondents which really made our weekend special because we love seeing them live!

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And of course, it wouldn’t be festival season without trading at WOMAD – we have been doing it for so long we know exactly what to do, the processes they use and where to go – it’s like going home! This year my Mum and Stepdad hired a motorhome and stayed the whole weekend which was lovely to see so much of them and it get random glimpses of my brother as he passed with a massive group of friends!

As you may remember that weekend was the hottest of all that summer – the Thursday in particular was so hot we spent the majority of the day out the back of the stall, with all the doors and windows open, desperately trying to conjure a breeze to cool us all down! Which I think most people were doing because the Thursday and Friday were so slow I started to get worried but it picked up towards the end of the weekend.

This was also our first festival with out new tent – we used to have a 2mx2m cheap marquee but this is a super duper upgrade! We had shade and privacy and a lovely space for Matty to sleep!

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We had a great WOMAD, we always do, and this year we had more returning customers than ever – lots of them came to say hi, wearing their unique oo arh! items, bringing friends and family along, and to find another upcycled garment – it was so lovely and it is those moments which really mean so much to me because it is easy to forget the previous customers because there is always another event and more to sew. It is so humbling to be reminded of you all out there!

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Finally we went all the way to Devon for Beautiful Days! We had heard a lot about this famous festival from friends who had been and worked there but had never thought we’d get a place because of it’s size. However, this changed when I found out that it fell over our birthday weekend and one of our favourite bands were playing – I had to at least email and see if they had any free pitches! And I got a call from one of the organisers saying they’d love to have us!

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We were in the perfect place – in the middle of the main field, off a concrete track which ran through the whole festival and right next to stage where nearly ALL the bands we wanted to see were playing! The perfect place to celebrate out birthday!

The only down side was the weather – yep, from the hottest weekend for WOMAD to the wettest, so we had to get creative with out tarp!

We managed just fine and didn’t lose too much business because of it, I think most of the punters had some prepared for the weather  and were more than happy to come and shelter and chat and browse. Overall, we loved it and felt very welcome although it was a long way to go for an event, even though we did get to see more of Matty’s life in Exeter and spend lots of time with him, we will just have to weigh it all up when the applications come round again.

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So, that was our 2019 festival season, it felt extremely busy but we loved every minute of it. I’m so lucky to have a husband who supports and believes in me this much, and who actually wants to come on these crazy adventures even when he has already had a whole week of work himself! I’m humbled by the support my customers give me, don’t stop sending your feedback and advice on more upcycling projects and where else to trade (some of my best suggestions come from you guys!) and let’s keep upcycling, finding more ways of using our preloved clothes and change the way we look at out shopping habits.

Here’s to the 2020 festival season – the marquee has gone into hibernation and I’m back behind my sewing machines! xx

 

Second Hand September

Construction, Festivals

We met some lovely Oxfam volunteers at WOMAD this year who told us all about the new Oxfam campaign to bring awareness to the affect our clothes and the way we view fashion are having on our planet. Of course, we jumped at the chance to sign our names up and to be involved through oo arh!

Second Hand September strives to get consumers thinking about where their clothes come from, the carbon foot print and climate change are some of the larger issues but we also need to consider the human aspect, how and by whom are clothes are made and in what conditions. 

We can make a huge difference by thinking twice about where we choose to shop for our clothes – now, obviously, there are some things one would not want to purchase second hand (underwear, swimwear, to name a few) and also there is no shame in buying new, sometimes we have to – the weather changes quickly and suddenly and you need another layer, you have seen the perfect dress for a friend’s wedding, you need a new pair of work shoes that just need to be comfy.

But when everything in a charity or vintage shop is cheap, already made, carries a negligible carbon foot print, and the money you pay goes towards a good cause it is worth taking a second to think whether you really need that new garment? Will it make you happy? And even if we cannot stop climate change completely by changing the way we shop, we might be able to slow the turning wheels.

Here are some helpful illustrations of the impacts of fast fashion:Figure-9.-Damaging-effects-on-society-and-environment

It’s amazing when you actually break the processes down – especially when we, as the consumers, are not fully informed of the exact systems our clothes go through! And it is important to remember that when you put something in the bin at home, it ends up in a landfill and, especially if it is a synthetic garment, it will take years to breakdown. There are other places to place your unwanted garments – charity shops, clothes bins, etc. So, make a simple change to help the ‘after use’ process with our clothes.

 

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It is mind blowing – this is one pair of jeans!

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I know it is mind bending but it helps to take stock sometimes of our individual carbon foot print, we will not be able to change the flawed system over night but small alterations in our own lives will make a difference and it is all about spreading awareness. Take a look at Kate Watson’s blog for more tips for reducing, reusing and recycling your clothes.

Another way of looking at the Second Hand September challenge is to take a look at your own wardrobe – have you worn it in the last year? Does it hold sentimental value? And can you do anything to make it more appealing to you?

Even simple alterations can make a huge difference – recently I came upon a dress I had bought at a festival which I no longer wear and all it needed was the sleeves chopping off and now it is a garment I can wear to work!

Similarly, I used to wear this striped skirt all the time at university but my style has developed and changed so, tada, it is now a top! Now I have two new garments in my wardrobe without needing to buy any new ones – surely that is a victory over climate change worth celebrating!

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oo arh! is built on second hand garments – the pleasure of taking a preloved garment and giving it a new lease of life with embellishment, alterations or transformations! I like to think that even a ‘new’ garment from oo arh! is helping in it’s own small way to combat climate change and help people think differently about where their clothes come from.

Here are some photos of my friends, customers and family wearing their own unique oo arh! items – it is so good to see so many happy faces wearing preloved revamped garments!

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If you want to find unique, second hand garments given a new lease of life with a love of upcycling look no further than the oo arh! Etsy shop xx

Vintage Fairs and beyond!

Festivals

That’s right, oo arh! is branching into the fun filled world of vintage!

Fo a while now many of my customers have recommended vintage fair to me as a fantastic place to trade and that I have a vintage-ey feel anyway so seemed like a natural step.

I did some research and there is some much going on in the vintage scene I didn’t know where to start!

I had a personal recommendation to try and get into the very oversubscribed and sold out MK Vintage Fairs in Milton Keynes – unsuccessful on my first attempt but fingers crossed for this upcoming one in September!

Some fellow traders I have met over the years spoke highly of Lou Lou’s Vintage Fairs – they have fairs almost every weekend up and down the country, so wherever you are there is probably one coming up new you and I cannot recommend them enough (if unique and vintage clothes, collectables, swing music, retro hair dos, amazing tea and cakes are your thing!).

So far I have been to Cardiff and Swindon with their amazing team and have not been let down by their marketing and advertising for their events, their organisation and helpfulness cannot be rated enough!

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The customers are really lovely too – there to browse and chat and have a great day out and so complimentary! It is nice to be offering something different, with a fresh feel and something which you cannot get on the highstreet!

I wish I could do one every weekend but family commitments and other events have meant that I have not done one for a while – I’m having vintage withdrawal symptoms! Nevertheless I am booked into the Bristol at the end of April and cannot wait!

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Finally, I have gone one step further and combined my old love of festivals with my new vintage obsession and we are thrilled to announce that we will be attending the Vintage Nostalgia Festival at the end of May – a whole weekend dedicated to all things vintage and fun, what a way to start the festival season!

Stay tuned for more vintage exploits!

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Marbled Wellies!

Festivals

Wellies…a festival must have…and yet there are plenty of punters, including myself once or twice, who have been caught out by the British Summer! So, I had a gap in my stock supply that needed to be filled – but they couldn’t just be any old wellington boot…I needed an oo arh! wellie!

So I did some internet hunting, and found some amazing white, ankle high, Western style wellington! Perfect for funking up! And I had seen some fantastic projects done with marbling and have been keen to try it out myself…

Firstly, I sanded the outside of the boot quickly to ensure that the paint stuck to it – I’m sure it would have done anyway but wanted to make sure!

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I bought some Canbrush Spray Paint that would work on plastics and a large tub…(apologies about the state of the garden!)

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Fill the tub with water, spray the paint on to the surface and swirl with a stick to create a marble effect, then dip the item (in my case a wellie) into the water and the paint will stick to it – magical!

I did some testers first – some bits and bobs out of our recycling bin!

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I would recommend having plenty of sticks around to scoop up the left over paint from the tub.

I am so pleased with the outcome! This was my first tester pair…might keep these for myself to wear and promote!

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I spent a lovely afternoon marbling and had some company too…

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Very tame and curious!

By the end of the afternoon, I had an army of funky wellies…

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To finish them off, I sprayed them with Plastikote so that, hopefully, the paint will not come off and the wellie will move naturally with the layers of paint and sealant.

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I will see how these six pairs are received and maybe have another session! But for now, enjoy the pretty colours and have a go yourself!

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Christmas markets and beyond!

Commission, Festivals, Homeware, Textile work

So, 2017 was my first Christmas season trading…and it’s time for some reflection.

To launch my festive trading I designed and made some alternative Christmas jumpers, which Webster is so wonderfully modelling here…

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With a winter animal theme and complimentary colours, each one unique and hand embroidered. They have been selling well, but I was not expecting to sell as many scrunchies as I have!

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We have also had very good responses to our ‘baggies’ (set of 3 or small, medium and large sold separately) which are very useful for filling with individual or personal presents, or simply on their own!

During the lead up to Christmas I also turned my hand to some cushions, which have not had much time on the shelves but we have also had some purchases and lovely feedback!

In total, oo arh! has attended 4 Christmas markets and overall I feel the ones we did best at were the ones like Bath, where we could have a larger range of all the stock on display. The marquee, although it is a lot of work to set up for one day events, worked to make the stall look inviting and different, even eye-catching!

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Nevertheless, even the smaller events were ways to get the name out there and to show a different way of reducing waste, which everyone can do themselves, through making or purchasing upcycled or reclaimed items. And without these advertising opportunities, I would not have been able to be involved in some of the personal commissions I have taken on this year!

It has been lovely to meet more like-minded people, friendly and encouraging traders and to get some wonderful feedback and suggestions of where to trade next, etc.

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Looking towards 2018, it is going to be a busy year! I have some new exciting lines to look forward to, including some footwear and even more sari skirts! I am also exploring the idea of having some lines in small independent shops around the South so keep in touch for more news on that as it develops!

We may be attending a few Christmas markets this time next year but not too many as we have our wedding coming up – however we are super keen to go back to music festivals and possibly some new ones too – more information will surface in the New Year, so cannot wait to see where it takes me!

Also my soft furnishing services keep me busy on the side lines and I will still be offering these through my website. And am always up for taking on commissions, be it fashion, gifts or upholstery orientated!

A final thank you to everyone who has supported me this year, through buying your own unique oo arh! item, or commissioning one. To those who have hosted events and festivals, or simply popped into the stall for a chat and a browse! You make it all worth while and I cannot wait to get stuck into the next chapter!

Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year, one and all xx

Signs for the Birdcage

Construction, Festivals, Homeware

So after making my new signs for oo arh! my stepdad approached me with a commission! He and my mum have a lovely restaurant in Malmesbury call ‘The Birdcage’ (I know, shamelessly promoting my family’s business – I should get commissions for how often I talk about them and their fantastic pizzas!) and he wanted some lavatory signs for it! Very exciting – so I obviously said yes…excuse to get the power tools out again!

I still have some of the reclaimed wood left over from the oo arh! signs, so I decided to cut them to size (5″x 16″) and then repeated the same process as before – it worked a treat then so I have faith that it wouldn’t fail me this time! Also Stewart stated he wanted them exactly like the originals – so I got all the materials and tools out…and got cracking! 

Boards cut to size…


First coat of Creocote..


And the next…


Now the Vaseline…


And the spray paint…


I then wiped the Vaselined edges and sanded the spray paint down to get a lovely distressed effect and started painting my lettering…


And here are the signs in situ…
I’m very proud of how they turned out and how well they fit in with the restaurant! 

WOMAD 2017

Festivals

Yes, back at WOMAD and could not feel more like a second home! We were in a slightly different pitch as they had reorganised the layout – this year we were on a lane with other craft people, like are old friends from Living Jewellery and Jane Follett and her lovely pottery! Also we were opposite some lovely food places – like pies and Caribbean food, and very close to the Bowers and Wilkins stage so we couldn’t be happier!

Again, we arrived early so we could set up with space and time, and then go home for a little respite and a bath!

We had some lovely customers, as usual, we seem to have some truly lovely customers who returned wearing previously bought beloved items and even found more to inspire them – I started an Instagram account to publish the images of our lovely customers! They are all up there but I would love to share them here too!

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Old friends from our first Boondocks – a lovely couple with fab items!

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Gent from Baby Boondocks with his new jacket to brighten up his WOMAD outfits!

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A dapper gent with a passion for kilts, who found a waistcoat to match!

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My beautiful mum, who, now I live away from home, does not see everything I make, got to have a root through the rails and fell in love with this fab jacket – doesn’t she look amazing!

We did really well over this festival season – I feel I am coming along leaps and bounds in order to find out what sells well, etc, and get a feel for new designs to fill my winter months with! So here’s to the next adventures!

Truck Fest!

Festivals

First things first…have I mentioned we now have a van?! Yep, and he is beautiful and reliable and merry – complete with a beacon! He will be invaluable when it comes to packing for festivals, moving moves, and camping!

Anyway, back to business…a different festival?! That is right oo arh! branched out into the unknown world of other music festivals this year – Truck was an obvious choice really as it is local, very local, and Alex is a massive Rock Music fan…so the choice was easy!

I don’t mind admitting I was extremely apprehensive, I suppose I always am at the start of a festival, but since this one was new, and came with so many T&Cs one didn’t know what you were saying yes to…so we made a point of setting up early…and I mean early!

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It looked like we were going to be all alone for Truck Fest – actually it was lovely to have the space to set up without being it other trader’s ways. We spent most of the Wednesday setting up, meeting our lovely neighbours and getting settled with our new van set up! We even purchased another mini marquee to go between the van and stall so we could keep dry (the forecast was WET!) and store food. Alex had to go back to work for a few days so Matty and I stayed and enjoyed the last rays of sun before the festival started on the Friday.

My fantastic staff even purchased their own oo arh! items to model…and support me! What would I do without them?!

We saw some brilliant bands – varying from new and upcoming local bands, to well known and loved ones – top of my lists have to be Girl Ray (the former) and Franz Ferdinand (obviously the latter!) and my lovely staff had to opportunity to see loads between shifts too, which is what I really wanted!

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Yep, it was muddy – but being on a farm there were plenty of straw to go around! We made the most of it and only had a few casualties with muddy foot prints and we managed to keep our feet on the ground…some patches were like ice!

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We didn’t take many photos but these two ladies were really fabulous in their oo arh! purchases – they even brought their husbands back to find outfits for them too!

To conclude, we met some really lovely people and even did a little networking – thank you to everyone who came to see us and make our weekend very enjoyable! Plenty of colour makes even the muddiest of festivals merry and bright! xx

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Baby Boondocks, Sherston

Festivals

I was honoured to be invited back to Boondocks this year – a smaller affair but none the lesser for it, somehow they were able to shrink last years festival into a tiny field in the middle of the beautiful village and not loose any of the classic festival feel! We were slap bang in the centre of everything, nestled behind the sound tent and flanked by catering vans. There was a lovely community spirit and the sun shone for us!

We set up on the morning of Friday 7th…it took us around 3 hours just the two of us to get oo arh! up and running as we had not had a chance to test the new configuration of the sign frame yet but I think you will agree, it looks pretty fantastic!

I had more stock this year and so was able to keep some back, ready to replace whenever another item sold which was really nice!

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The layout also looks a lot neater now that I have started doing more lines of designs and, possibly for the first time since trading, I have been very satisfied and proud with the look of the stall!

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As if last year needed any topping, we actually did better this year, even though the footfall was less and the festival was smaller! And I have to mention some of our lovely and loyal customers (apologies as I am awful with names!)

A local gent, who bought an oo arh! jacket last year, came back and snapped up three shirts, then proceeded to bring his friend back another time later that day and buy him a shirt! Turns out another of their chums came and bought a similar jacket and then told his friends on a Stag Do who all came and purchased shirts too!

It was great seeing people wearing my garments around the festival! Such a buzz! Doesn’t this gent look fab in his oo arh! shirt?! So proud!

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A lovely lady came and found four items she fell in love with and two young girls went away with matching scrunchies!

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These two are part of a sewing club at school, and will be the leaders next year, they had a good rummage through the stall and were very complimentary…they even got me a gift…really touching and humbling.

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Glitter glitter glitter! I also got festivaled up at the Glitter Palace by some really talented ladies to match my Western inspired festival getup – I would recommend them to anyone looking for a slightly different approach to face painting, etc!

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After our little test run, we discovered that we really need more light in the stall – it isn’t too bad but it would be nice if people didn’t have to use their torches on their phone to see by! I’ve ordered some more fairy lights because, even if they do not kick out much light, they look so so pretty, and I’ve ordered some camping lamps, so hopefully we will get a nice balance of useful light and ambience.

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We received such lovely comments (plenty of oo arh-ing!) and fantastic suggestions for other design ideas and festivals to look into – so a huge thank you to everyone who came and said hello and stayed for a chat, tried items on, found their own unique oo arh! garment to take home, and to those behind Boondocks for having us!

And of course, massive thank you to Alex, ever supportive, ever loving, and ever constant!

Here’s to next year!

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New up cycled signs!

Construction, Festivals

For a while now I have been meaning to create some extra signs for the stall – it helps having a little bit of information to give passers by an idea of what will be inside. And to follow with the up cycling-ness of oo arh! I decided I would make my own from scratch!

I did a bit of research and came across some great blogs:

www.ribbonsandglue.com/rustic-blessed-sign.html

diddledumpling.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/tutorial-vintage-looking-painted-sign.html

and decided I was going to go for it!

In true up cycling fashion, I asked Alex to bring some wood home from work – helicopter parts are often shipped in large wooden boxes which are then discarded, so what better use for them!? So I started designing my lettering and words and finally settled on ‘Unique, Handmade, Up Cycled, Fashion’ on a white back ground in red letters so they stand out against the white marquee!

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Alex, very kindly, did as asked and brought back some really great pieces for me to work with! I chopped them up to fit my chosen words – yep, that’s right I used an electric saw! My Granddads would be proud of me!

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I then stained the wood with Creocote – can you see the difference? I layered up coats and the wood took it really nicely!

I then applied Vaseline around the corners, edges and some in the centre of each signs…

And went at them with white spray paint! I did two layers again, so that the colour was bold!

Next was the turn of the electric sander! Oh yes! Sanding away the paint to bring back the wood …and I think they turned our rather good…

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Alex drilled some holes on the tops of the signs so they could be hung up on the metal sign!

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He had a bit of an audience too!

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Back to my comfort zone – I arranged my sheets on the wood (after flipping the images of course!) and used a paint brush to wash some water over them…

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I used the handle of my fabric scissors to rub through the black ink – TADAH!

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Very faint but always helpful to have a guide! And the i could start painting!

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I am so chuffed with how they have turned out – I love the different sizes and different finishes with the paint and wood!

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I also did a distance test…well, the length of our flat test to see if the writing could be seen far off and well, I’ll let you be the judge! Can’t wait to see them up in festival season!
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