Thursday, 27 June 2013

UK Vegan Food Swap June 2013

This month I was lucky enough to be paired with the brilliant Mitsu from To Happy Vegans. By a happy coinsidence we were sending our parcels to each other since it's usually a case of send to one person and receive from another.

With a request from Mitsu for mainly savoury foods I went shopping to the trusty Arjuna. Occasionally I grab a few bits from the local supermarket but for the more unusual items Arjuna is the place to go. It also helps that being a vegetarian and vegan shop, everything is helpfully labelled.

The bits I sent off were:
  • Koulouria savoury olive biscuits
  • Tropical Wholefoods dried oyster mushrooms
  • Organix carrot sticks
  • Zest green pesto
  • Granovita tangy tomato pate
  • Panda blueberry liquorice
  • Clipper Love Me Truly chai tea
Miss Chaela Boo: UK Vegan food swap June 2013
And in return I received a brilliant box, which contained some great discoveries of every day things that are vegan friendly. Who knew Oreos were allowed? I ate almost the whole packet in one day.
Miss Chaela Boo: UK Vegan food swap June 2013
In addition to the Oreos my box from Mitsu contained:
  • Chocolate chip Hobnobs
  • Sharwoods Thai green curry paste
  • Cola flavouring
  • Trek protein flapjack
  • Elite bubbly chocolate
  • Mimilicious - vegan clotted cream
  • Homemade honeycomb granola
  • Dip-dab
The Mimilicious was a revelation and a great excuse for Mike to make me some scones. Yummy!!!!
Miss Chaela Boo: UK Vegan food swap June 2013

I'll be trying out the cola flavouring with some frosting for cupcakes which may prove interesting, I'll be reporting back.

I had hoped to have a go at baking for this swap, but was worried that vegan cakes and muffins tend to go a little soggy after a couple of days and there was no guarantee when my package would be delviered.  It was great to receive Mitsu's homemade granola which off course didn't mind an extra few days sitting in the post office so maybe next month I'll give it a go with some crunchy biscuits.

You can read about my previous adventures in the UK vegan food swap here, or why not give it a go and sign up yourself on the To Happy Vegans website?

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Pimp your ride

Today is the last day of Bike Week 2013 and while I've spent the week accessorising my bike (although I still have lots I want to do) it's time to share with you my favourite DIYs, tutorials and accessories from around the web.

Firstly here's a quick before of how she looked fresh from the shop...
Miss Chaela Boo: Pimp your ride
...and here she is today!
Miss Chaela Boo: Pimp your ride
The first job was to add baskets, I adore the look of the Dutch bikes with their beautiful wicker baskets but my bike is light and fast so I didn't want anything too big and heavy. I've also added two different seat covers and pom poms to decorate the basket.
Miss Chaela Boo: Pimp your ride - bike seat covers
If you happen to have one of those lovely wicker baskets why not make yourself your own basket bunting with this tutorial from Claireabellemakes? Guess where I got the idea for pom poms?
Miss Chaela Boo: Pimp your ride - basket bunting and pom poms by Claireabellemakes
Source: Claireabellemakes
I'm still working on a stripey yarn cover for the lock after seeing this one on Pinterest and I'm also planning to cover the cross bar to protect it from getting knocked (my precious).
Miss Chaela Boo: Pimp your ride -  Bike Lock Cozy by The Knit Cafe Toronto
Source: Ravelry
There are some really quick DIYs for decorating your bike; Paint Job Stickers are available in packets of 50 and will give your bike a new look in very little time, or why not try making your own? I made these flower stickers from sticky backed plastic for #CamBikeFest.
Miss Chaela Boo: Bicycle stickers
Or how about covering your bike in washi tape, like this beauty from Schoolactie?
Miss Chaela Boo: Pimp your ride - washi tape bike by schoolactie
Source: Schoolactie
 I absolutely love this crochet skirt guard which would look wonderful on a sunny day while riding along a tree lined avenue. Unfortunately I fear it may not look quite so beautiful after a winter of cycle commuting!
Miss Chaela Boo: Pimp your ride - skirt guard by Simeli
Source: Simeli
The skirt guard above is available to buy from Simeli but there are also patterns available for making your own. 
Finally, how cute are these tiny planters?! Sadly I fear they may not survive the lumps and bumps of Cambridge roads.
Miss Chaela Boo: Pimp your ride bu wearableplanter on Etsy
Source: Etsy
If you're looking for more inspiration for pimping your ride, check out my new bike themed board on Pinterest!

What's your top tip for a beautiful bicycle?

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Days of fun

It's been a busy couple of days which started on Thursday afternoon when I went to the Cambridge Etsy Craft Party organised by Claireabellemakes and CraftyGlitten. This year we met at The Mill pub and just over 20 of us squeezed in to the back room.
Miss Chaela Boo: Cambridge Etsy Craft Party
It was a really muggy day and the room was like a sauna with a window that only opened a couple of inches.
Miss Chaela Boo: Cambridge Etsy Craft Party
That didn't stop the crafting fun though as we got down to work with badge making kits supplied by Etsy and baby blankets for Addenbrookes hospital. You can read Claire's post all about our party here.
Miss Chaela Boo: Cambridge Etsy Craft Party
Yesterday the crafting continued as a sped off to Norwich to spend the day with my friend Ro and 4 month old Ivor. We started off with lunch at a vegetarian cafe in Trowse. All day brunch followed by ice cream sundaes set us up for an afternoon of crochet; granny squares for Ro and baby blanket for me.
Miss Chaela Boo: The happy boy
If all that wasn't enough fun, I'll be heading off to CamBikeFest this afternoon at Milton Country Park.  It all gets going at 12pm and as well as the weird and wonderful bikes on display they'll be food, craft and bike decorating.
Miss Chaela Boo: Flower stickers for CamBikeFest
I'll be dropping off round 100+ flower stickers that I made for the bike decorating but I'm most looking forward to the yarn bomb treasure trail and I'll be keeping a careful look out for Claire's bike wheel.

Will you be going to CamBikeFest or have you got something else exciting planned for the weekend?

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Bicycle seat covers

I've been planning these makes for a little while now and Bike Week 2013 is the perfect time to get them finished and share them with you. I've linked below to a couple of other tutorials for further reading where you can find full instructions for making your own covers.

It wasn't until I ordered the new bike that I finally went shopping for matching coloured yarn. Since bike seats come in different shapes and sizes, I decided to make it all up as I went along.

I started off by drawing the rough shape of the seat to use as a template for the shape I needed to create then got crocheting from the narrow end.
Miss Chaela Boo

Every couple of rows I matched up the crochet with the template and added increases at the end of the rows to widened it when needed. Once the shape of the top was complete, I worked one row of double crochet around the entire edge. I then switched to trebles to speed things up and added three rows. I wanted a tight fit, so added decreases in each row, there was a lot of trial and error; testing it out on the saddle, ripping back and going again. In the end I was left with a snug fitting cover with a hole just big enough to get over the seat.
Miss Chaela Boo: Crochet bike seat cover
Miss Chaela Boo: Crochet bike seat cover

I'll be adding a couple of cable ties to secure it to the seat so that it can't be removed.

Miss Chaela Boo: Crochet bike seat cover

Miss Chaela Boo: Crochet bike seat cover

Tutorials for crochet or knitted bike seats can be tricky since the pattern will depend on the shape of your seat but you'll find a great tutorial for this cover on Carina's Craft Blog.
A seat cover made of yarn is not so practical in the wet weather so I needed another cover to protect it from getting soggy. The plastic coated fabric from a previous Crafty Creatives box was always destined to become a waterproof seat cover. I found an amazingly simple tutorial via Pinterest and you can find the original here. The tutorial is originally written in Swedish but there is a handy translator widget and the photos are really good. This is a super quick make since this version involves no sewing.
Miss Chaela Boo: Waterproof bike seat cover
My one tip is that when making the holes you position as on my diagram below, you can add more but if you position the holes in the centre of the front and back (indicated by the blue crosses) the whole thing will end up a little wonky.
Miss Chaela Boo: Waterproof bike seat cover

So there we are! Two great ways to personalise your bicycle seat. I'll be bringing you plenty more tips to accessorise your bicycle later in the week!
Miss Chaela Boo: Waterproof bike seat cover

In the mean time check out the beautiful yarn bombed wheel that Claireabellemakes has made for CamBikeFest.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Bike Week 2013

It's Bike Week 2013 in the UK this week which is a great excuse to share with you some bike themed blog posts. Before I get on to that, here's a bit about what bike week is all about from the Bike Week website.
Source: Bike Week 2013
"Bike Week is an annual opportunity to promote cycling, and show how cycling can easily be part of everyday life by encouraging ‘everyday cycling for everyone’. Demonstrating the social, health and environmental benefits of cycling, the week aims to get people to give cycling a go all over the UK, whether this be for fun, as a means of getting around to the local shops, school, the library or just to visit friends."

There are lots of events taking place all over the UK aimed at getting more people cycling and there's a handy event search on the Bike Week website which is well worth a look. The event I'm most looking forward to is CamBikeFest which takes place on Saturday 22nd June at Milton Country Park. The event boasts a carnival of bikes, stalls, crafting and a yarn bombed treasure trail, and I can't wait to find out what bicycle music is all about.

After taking delivery of my shiney new bike last month, I'll be taking the opportunity to share some great ways to accessorise your bike with two ideas for saddle covers and then I'll round everything up with my picks of the best bike DIYs and accessories from around the web. 
Miss Chaela Boo: Bike Week 2013
I'm not the only one who's excited about Bike Week, claireabellemakes will also be sharing a sereis of bike related posts during Bike Week 2013, so do pop over and say hello to Claire.

Thursday, 13 June 2013


This is a re-write of an upcycle that I originally shared over a year ago over on my previous blog. At the time I wasn't very good at sharing my blog posts, because I was actually a bit nervous about what people thought, so not many people saw it. Hopefully that means this is new to most of you but apologies to those who may have come across this one before in the craftypainter archives.

Here's how I pimped my LACK.

So I started off with my shabby six year old LACK coffee table which originally cost about £15 from IKEA. I thought it would lend itself well to being mosaic tiled and I was right. I found a great tutorial on IKEA Hackers which is a brilliant website full of ideas and tutorials of ways to personalise and re-purpose IKEA furniture.
craftypainter: Ikea coffee table up-cycle
I found exactly what I was looking for in this tutorial (a more detailed version is available here). My only issues were finding UK versions of some of the materials required and good old Ebay didn't let me down. I found sheets of mosaic tiles for around £3 each as well as two in one adhesive and grout, and grouting tool. Since my LACK was battered beach effect I decided to spray paint it white. Tins of spray paint and plastic primer (one of each) came to around £8 per can from Homebase. After sanding down so the paint would stick nicely, it was time to get painting. I had never done this before but found a video on YouTube. The most important thing is to make sure you apply thin layers and don't overs spray otherwise the paint will dribble. After a long bank holiday weekend the preparation and painting was finished and looked like this...
craftypainter: Ikea coffee table up-cycle
The tiles were added the following weekend, a layer of grout was applied to the table top and then the tiles were stuck on top. The tiles come on a mesh sheet and are really easy to trim to size. The adhesive takes around 24 hours to dry before the grouting can begin, since I needed to order a second pot of grout I had to wait a bit longer. I really enjoyed squidging the grout into the gaps and after a few more hours of drying the excess grout was cleaned off.
craftypainter: up-cycled Ikea coffee table, mosaic tiled
I love how the table turned out, it's so satisfying when things work just as your imagined and one year on it has worn really well. 

There are lots of really great ideas on IKEA hackers for bringing the best out of your IKEA furniture. Just look at this amazing LACK planter!
Miss Chaela Boo: Pimp my LACK
Source: IKEA Hackers
Have you experiemented with upcycling furniture (IKEA or otherwise)?

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Crafty Creatives - Box 11

The theme for the Crafty Creatives box 11 was Glamour and while I got straight into the kit while watching Eurovision I had a bit of thinking to do with some of the other bits and pieces.
Miss Chaela Boo: Crafty Creatives Box 11
The Glamour box was accompanied by the very pretty lady on the art card by Lianne Williams. Here's a quick run down of the box contents.
  • The Kit - beaded hair clasp
  • Beaded fluffy trim
  • 10 Swarovski crystal beads
  • Photo glue
  • 8 stardust beads
  • Lace stamp
  • Ink pad
  • Metallic star dust
  • Fat quarter of black velvet
  • Red rose pendant
  • 2 Rhinestone teardrops
  • Earring findings
Miss Chaela Boo: Crafty Creatives Box 11
I absolutely love the rose pendant and had plans for making it into a ring or a hair slide but in the end it became a brooch (see below). The stardust beads are like tiny glitter balls and the lace stamp has a beautiful intricate pattern.
Miss Chaela Boo: Crafty Creatives Box 11
The kit came with everything necessary for a beaded hair clasp, while the finished article isn't really my style I really enjoyed making it and learning how to do the beading, something I will definitely try again.
Miss Chaela Boo: Crafty Creatives Box 11 - beaded hair clasp
I was determined to do something with the beaded trim since I knew if it went into my stash I might never get around to actually using it. I went about the house looking for things to stick it to but it wasn't quite long enough to decorate the lamp in my living room and it was a bit too frilly for the front of a notebook. I eventually decided to stitch it to a slash neck t-shirt, I wasn't keen on this idea at first since I'm not sure how washable the trim is and wasn't sure if I would even wear the finished t-shirt. However, I'm really happy with the results and despite my reservations I ended up wearing the t-shirt for the rest of the evening.
Miss Chaela Boo: Crafty Creatives Box 11 - beaded trim t-shirt
Once I'd finished with the t-shirt, I had a short piece of trim left over and here comes the rose pendant. I cut a small circle of felt and stitched the trim onto it in a spiral then glued the rose onto the front. A brooch clasp on the back finished things off.
Miss Chaela Boo: Crafty Creatives Box 11 - Beaded rose brooch
I had lots of fun with the lace stamp and again took to scouting the house for things to stamp. I stamped on these blue gift tags as well as tissue paper, cotton fabric and a couple silk scarves. The ink was lovely and I was glad to discover it was oil based so that I can print on fabric and it should be washable. Of course that means it takes forever to dry and the carpet will never will never be the same again after a dropped the ink pad on the floor! Ooops!
Miss Chaela Boo: Crafty Creatives Box 11 - Lace stamped tags
Of course, I still have plenty of work to do with the beads and the fabric so if you have any ideas let me know and if you've blogged your makes from the box, leave me your links so I can come and have a look. 

It's been a while, but this week I'll be linking up with Handmade Monday so do pop over and discover some great new blogs.