Friday, July 26, 2013

Christmas in July Swap - What I Made for Manu

Yay, it is Friday evening in New Zealand and my weekend is just beginning.

Yesterday I wrote about the lovely swap gifts I received from Manu. Tonight I am going to write about the items I made for Manu.

Below is a few of the items I set before myself in an attempt to come up with some ideas for making miniatures from recycled items. I spread all sorts in front of me hoping something would come to mind - it took a while but eventually I came up with a few ideas.

These are the items I sent to Manu.

Starting from the top left, I made a large outdoor planter (2" x 2").

This started life as the centre of a cardboard drinks holder from a takeaway food place.

I sealed the planter with Gesso and then painted it with a textured railway paint. I followed this with a wash of what was supposed to be grey paint but which turned out to be green. After it was dry I lightly went over the top with some sandpaper to remove some of the green paint.

Next is a little woven box of Christmas decorations. The box itself is made of pieces of card from the 1996 calendar you can see on the top photo. I had no design, I just wove paper and played around until I had something resembling a box. I am quite pleased with the way it turned out. I hope I can make another one for myself.

The Christmas tree is simply a tinsel pipecleaner wound around in a tight circle and then you grab the centre and the end and pull them away from each other. It is finished off by placing the bottom end in a piece of wood so it can stand. I glued a little glass star on the top.

Inside the box is also a miniature paper chain made from little strips of paper approx. 3mm x 16mm linked through each other and a folder paper decoration made from two lengths of 3mm wide paper folder over each other at right angles.

The next item was a little coffee table. The table is made of a small scrap of wood for the table top with patterned paper glued on top from the inside of an envelope. Over this I poured some resin I had left over from a kit to give it a nice glazed look.

The legs are made from two plastic spacers that we get in boxes of takeaway pizza. You can see the pizza spacers in the top photo (the three pronged things). I cut one prong off each spacer and glued the rest of each spacer under the table to give it four legs.

The next item is a little coat rack to hang on the wall. This I made out of a scrap of wallpaper, which I sanded to give a worn look, an ice block stick, some haberdashery hooks & eyes and a gold pen. I have previously blogged about this item:

I initially wasn't going to send this to Manu as I wasn't very happy with it but I did decide to enclose it with the swap items in the end.

Also in the above picture is a little bread board. This is a very thin piece of wood covered with strips of inlay in two different colours.

The plate is made from an old New Zealand Christmas stamp depicting Christmas time in New Zealand (below left). We have a summertime Christmas in New Zealand. The picture was simply glued on thin card and shaped into the shape of a plate and then sealed with varnish.

I also enclosed a few old New Zealand Christmas stamps. Old stamps can be great for framed pictures, miniature plates, miniature photo album covers and I am sure a whole lot more.

Finally the cushion was made from a piece of embroidery cut from an old table napkin, which can be seen in the top picture. I know Manu likes pink so I wanted to include something pink amongst the swap gifts.

With much relief I had finished the items for the swap in time and I packaged them into a recycled box with a blue napkin wrapped around them.  I covered the box with scraps of wallpaper left over from a project, wrote a note in a handmade card and sent it on its way from New Zealand to Italy.

Have a fun and creative weekend everyone.


  1. Ciao Sharee, grazie per i tuoi doni e per le relative spiegazioni che qui hai scritto. Se leggi il mio blog avevo indovinato alcuni materiali con i quali hai realizzato i tuoi lavori su altri ho letto qui.
    Bellissimi ancora tutti i lavori e grazie di♥

  2. These gifts for Manu are wonderful and original.
    Greetings, Faby

  3. Gorgeous gifts! You have made some beautiful treasures for her to enjoy.

    well done

  4. Such creative gifts, thank you for sharing how you did them. I love the stamps, great mini artwork.
    A Big Mini Hug

  5. Awesome job of recycling and reusing found items! Thanks for sharing what you and how it all!

  6. Really ingenious, and also beautifully made! I love the woven box and the use of the inside of an envelope for a table top particularly.

    1. I was quite surprised when I looked inside some old envelopes just what nice papers backed them. I will have to keep an eye on the rubbish bin in the mail room at my place of work.

  7. Wonderfully creative items - lucky Manu!

  8. You´ve donde a great job with these (those? this?... arrrggghhh... sorry for my bad English again) gifts. I´m sure Manu was over the moon when she was allowed to unpack it!
    Hugs Melli

  9. Hello Sharee! I am so impressed with your Creativity! I have seen you use those pizza spacers before and yet I cannot get over how you have repurposed them to look so good after you get finished with them! I never before have fully appreciated the usefulness of them until you showed me! That goes for all the little wonders that you sent to Manu! I love the old-fashioned paper chains and I will have to remember to make one for the Victorian Christmas tree for the Arthur, when the time gets nearer. Well done Sharee and Manu and have fun!


    1. Thanks Elizabeth. I really enjoyed making the paper chain. Fiddly but a satisfying result. Will have to make some more for myself for my mini houses at Christmas. It took me back to my childhood when I made large chains at Christmas time, now my daughter makes them.

  10. Thanks everyone for your lovely comments. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the swap, especially as I made contact with Manu and established a new blog friend.

  11. Hi Sharee, I have been away for some days, so I am a bit late :D!
    You have been very creative and did an awesome job to make beautiful gifts for Manu from scraps, well done!
    Hugs, Ilona