Friday, 16 October 2015

How To - Make A Woodland Christmas Scene In A Shell

Craft, lovely craft - I thought I was all made out after sending a big box full of stuff to a great Christmas craft shop I am selling in, but I had a fresh burst of inspiration this week, thanks to a delivery from Baker Ross. Time to blog again as they very kindly sent me some items from their naturals collection to try out.

When I first opened the box I wasn't quite sure what to make of it - I was expecting autumn stickers, maybe something seasonal to craft for Halloween or fireworks night - my box had 2 bags of decorative stones, a bag of twigs, wicker balls, craft wreath rings, pine cones, and large shells. Couldn't see how these were going to come together to make some projects, but the shells looked ideal for a base for something so I started with that, then thoughts turned to Christmas, and eventually this was the result. Here's how I made my woodland scene.

Copyright These City Days 2015

- Something to rest your pine cone in while painting
- Pine cone
- Green and white paint, and paint brush
- Decorative stones and small gemstones
- Snowflake flat back
- Glitter glue
- Children's toy stuffing
- Small wooden animal embellishment that can stand upright when glued


The main thing with this make is patience while things are drying - so find a safe place to place things before you start.

  • First step is to get your shell and choose a pine cone to sit in it - it doesn't really matter whether you choose an opened out or closed in cone, just so long as it will stand up straight on the inside of your shell (you can trim the bottom a bit if needed).

  • Next paint the pine cone green, I used a fairly thin paint brush so I could get in all the grooves. Try not to layer it on too thick, and rotate it as you go, leaving areas to dry if needed, so you don't end up with messy paint covered fingers.

  • When the green paint is completely dry, gently paint some of the tips of the pine cone white to make the illusion of snow.

  • When the pine cone is completely dry, use your glue gun to secure it in place on the shell, then stick the snowflake flat back on the top and again leave a little while to dry.
Copyright These City Days 2015

  • Now it's time for decoration - Stick your chosen animal embellishment on the shell, ideal spot is roughly in the middle in front of your pine cone Christmas tree.

  • Play around with some pebbles and stones, to make a wooden floor effect. I chose one bigger pebble, and then some from the smaller bag - so the weight didn't over balance the shell. Once you are happy glue these into place with the glue gun.

  • For a finishing touch arrange small amounts of toy stuffing around the empty spaces in the shell, and then carefully put some glitter glue in places to add some sparkle.
I've never tried making anything like this before, but was really happy with how it turned out. Hope to experiment creating some other scenes soon. Baker Ross really challenged me by sending pebbles and shells, but they are lovely quality, and work well to build other things on or around. Find the full Naturals Collection at Baker Ross.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

City Diversions Street Theatre Festival 2015 - Chelmsford

Street theatre is one of my favourite things, there's normally a lot going on, and watching people's reactions to the unexpected, surprising, and random is great entertainment. It's also fun to photograph, especially for a photography fan like me.

I have however been to see our local City Diversions Street Theatre event a good few times now, so in so I know a little of what to expect, especially with the popular acts. So I went into town on the 19th September concentrating my efforts on finding something new and different and I think I found that this time round. Here's a few of the acts I watched this year.

Dynamogene - The Cymbalobylette (France)
Dynamogene - The Cymbalobylette
This was like stepping back in time to an era where mad cap inventors would gather all they had to produce weird and wonderful machines. Very creative presentation and humour in the performance which demonstrated all the aspects of their weird and wonderful machine.

Musical Ruth (UK)

Has to be seen to fully appreciate how hilarious this act is. Very funny to watch a singing Nun float around the high street, playing the piano, surprising the public with facial contortions, and giving 100% to sing and dance in the most random way possible. I'd heard about this act before, and it didn't disappoint.

The Airship (Spain)

I wish I'd been able to see this act again as it looked really good. Seeing something big go up and down the high street is always a favourite at City Diversions, and this airship was great.

Funny characters acting as airship pioneers, who at one point even rose in the air pulling an audience member behind them. Would like to see what else they have to offer, as it was very entertaining.

Folk Dance Remixed (UK)

I couldn't wait until I was old enough to do maypole dancing at school, and loved it when I did, although that's probably where my interest in traditional English dance ended. I was intrigued to see how this act would perform maypole, and make it modern. They turned out to be one of the best acts I have seen in a long time. Their mix of traditional, and urban (think street, house, hip hop, breakdance) was engaging from start to finish, and the energy that came from having live instruments and beat boxing really carried round the performance space. Unfortunately I missed their other shows (they didn't just do the maypole) but it was a really nice touch that they did a workshop after their maypole show to get the parents and children involved. This is how you get people interested in dance. Would definitely watch these guys perform again. Folk Dance Remixed were a great addition to the line-up this year.


There seemed to be more of an emphasis on static shows or walkabouts with specific performance times this year, and not as much to see in between, wandering about the high street. Perhaps some more workshops, make a take, street food would further add to the atmosphere and entertainment. Otherwise I was diverted by City Diversions.

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