Beak Up Crafts

I'll craft anything once


Wedded Bliss

Hello everyone, I’m back!

I hope you’re all well. So what did I miss?!

I’ve had a mini-blogging break as I have been otherwise engaged… or should I say, married!

Wayne and I tied the knot last month and then jetted away on honeymoon for 10 nights in Malaysia. The whole wedding whirlwind was amazing and we had such a fantastic day, followed by a brilliant honeymoon on the stunning island of Pangkor Laut. I feel like the luckiest person in the world!

My craft-related posts are going to resume very soon, but first here are some pictures from our wedding if you would like to have a sneaky peak!

Please click here for more professional pics!

Kate x



Monday Morning Matters – Why Sugar leaves a bitter taste

Hello everyone, happy Monday, and here’s hoping this week will be another lovely one!

For me, today is something of a landmark. In exactly a month’s time, I will be getting married!

As a result of this (and the fact I couldn’t quite do up my wedding dress at the last dress fitting just before Christmas) I have been on a diet, and that’s what I wanted to talk about today.


When Sugar isn’t quite so Sweet…

I have put on about a stone in weight over the last couple of years. This is totally down to me being a lazy so-and-so and my absolute love for cake, pizza and everything massively calorific. If only I could love salad in the same way.

Still, the wakeup call came last December, when, all excited to be trying on my almost-completed wedding dress, the realisation hit that I had put on one too many pounds and the zip wouldn’t reach the top.

I was gutted.

I mean, I had (half-heartedly) tried (and briefly succeeded) then failed in losing the odd bit of weight in the previous year, but the amount of time left until the wedding meant I all-too-easily slipped back into my old ways and put it all back on again.

Well not this time. With just over two months until the “I dos” and the prospect of not being able to squeeze my carcass into my wedding dress, I knew I had to do something. The only problem was, it would mean changing the habits of a lifetime.

It was pretty obvious what my problem was – my sweet tooth and the fact I ate so many refined carbohydrates in bread, pasta, noodles, cakes and the like. Oh, and my aversion to doing exercise.

Cupcakes - a major weakness

I did a lot of reading around on the internet and was interested in the research that sugar and not fat is believed to be the thing mostly to blame for expanding waistlines. Not just the obvious sugar in sweets and cakes, but stealth sugar found in other places – like in a slice of bread, in tin of baked beans or in good old “healthy” tomato soup. I won’t bore you with it here, but there is so much research now as to why refined sugar and added sugar is so bad, instead calling for a return to more natural foods in their natural states.

So off I went, cutting out sugar, checking labels and dismissing anything with sugar listed in the first three ingredients or with a high amount of sugar  included.

And do you know what? In the last month I have lost about 10 pounds in weight!

Yes it has meant changes and sacrifices, although I do allow myself to have one “cheat” meal a week where I have whatever I want (last week it was pizza, the week before that it was a burger and a mini chocolate cake). I think that helps as I know I can still have a bit of what I want every week.

The Basic Rules

I kind of distilled a few things that I read and came up with this, which seems to work for me:

  • I only eat when I’m hungry
  • I have porridge or eggs for breakfast. These keep me full, have no sugar and are in their natural state (although I do occasionally have bran flakes, which I know are bad, but then have no more sugar that day).
  • I aim for a total of five teaspoons worth of sugar a day in the food that I eat. This means I’m not eating anything too bad and helps me to keep on track. An easy way to work out how much sugar in something is to divide the number of grams of sugar it says on the packet by four to get the number of teaspoons, eg: There are 35 grams of sugar in a can of Coca Cola. Divided by four this equals 8.75 teaspoons of sugar! I find this helps me to visualise it much better.
  • I don’t have anything which lists sugar (or fructose, glucose, corn syrup or any other sneaky name for sugar) in the first three ingredients
  • I have a few nuts, a banana or some hummus for a snack
  • Soup is my friend! Well, the low sugar vegetable variety. Quick and easy and keeps me full.
  • I use Stevia instead of sugar to put on the top of porridge. It’s a natural sweetener derived from a plant and contains no calories or fructose!

I still have some bad things like potato wedges on “good” days, but not big portions – just enough to fill me without going over the top!

Well, it’s working for me so far. I don’t really need to lose any more for the wedding but I’m determined to stay on track this time.

I just thought I would share this in case anyone else is thinking of going sugar free or at least giving it a try in a bid to drop a few pounds. It need not mean a shopping list filled with a load of expensive items like The Clean and Lean Diet book suggests.

So are you going sugar free? If so how is it going for you? Have you noticed a difference in your weight or anywhere else?

Kate x


How to make… a Teapot table plan

Hello again everyone, I hope you have had a lovely and productive week! So what have you been up to in the past few days?

With a slight fear of causing you to drift off into a snooze, I have to admit that yep, I’ve been doing a bit more wedding DIY. It’s nearly done, I promise!

Die-cut teapots

This week Wayne and I have been very productive on the wedding front (just over a month to go!). We wrote some personal poems to go in each of our favours (well, he wrote most of them), then wrapped them up. I’ve been confirming payments with suppliers while Wayne has been sorting out timings and music choices for the bands and DJ. I’m hoping we will have everything done by the end of the month so come February we can just relax!

Anyway, I have also been working on creating a table plan for the wedding. With our budget stretched to the max, I have made this using things we already had around the house, plus some cute die-cut teapot cut-outs I bought from eBay for £1!

Teapots (and tea) is a bit of a theme at the wedding, but without giving too much away, having them feature on the table plan fitted in really well.

How I made it:

To save money, I decided to use an old IKEA Ribba frame in white for the basis of the table plan, but ditched the glass. I think it’s a great idea to re-use things you already have if they fit the bill, especially if you aren’t currently using them.  The brown backing board of the frame meant I could write guests’ names on white luggage labels and these would show up great with the neutral background – I quite liked the brown as it looks a bit rustic and crafty.

I wrote the guests names on the luggage labels (pencil first, measuring the same gap between the lines) before going over them with a Sharpie.

I then attached the labels to the back of the die-cut cardboard teapot shapes. I thought they looked a bit like teabags dangling down, sort of! I did this using sticky tape.

The next stage was working out how to position them on the board – horizontally or vertically?

Wayne and I decided that vertical looked the best as it allowed the labels to hang better – but you will have to wait to see the finished article after the day. Don’t want to give anything away!

I then measured the board to work out where to place the teapots and stuck them in place using double-sided sticky pads.

And there you go!

I still need to add a bit of something to the top where I will somehow attach a message telling guests how to find their table. Any ideas how I can do this are very much appreciated! Maybe a strip of lace or mini bunting or a ribbon with the message somehow attached?

I hope you enjoyed reading my post. If you are doing any wedding DIY yourself I would especially love to hear from you!

Kate x


Product Review: PlastiKote Fast Dry Project Enamel

Hello again, I hope you’re all having a lovely week and have some nice things planned.

For me, I’m still in full-on wedding mode (36 days to go and counting!), which means my craft projects are still very much wedding-based at the moment. This week it’s been like a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party – with spray paint!

My latest bit of DIY has seen me use product I’ve never used before, and I thought I would share a quick review in case you might be thinking of trying out something like this yourself.

The product I used was PlastiKote Fast Dry Project Enamel, or for want of a better term – fancy spray paint. The purpose? To paint some teapots a different colour.

I needed to find some teapots in different colours for some wedding decor, but after searching high and low on eBay, in charity shops and anywhere else I could think of, the only ones I could find that were perfect for what I wanted were very pricey.

Then Wayne had an idea – we had been given some teapots by the lovely people at Yorkshire Tea (this is another story!) – and why couldn’t I just spray them a different colour? Genius!

Yorkshire Tea tepot

So after a bit of research off I went to our local DIY store, where I bought a small tin of PlastiKote Fast Dry Project Enamel in bright yellow and one in sky blue.

The teapots I was painting were a bold red, with a black logo on the front (above) so I guessed they might take a bit of disguising. However, I had a look on PlastiKote’s Facebook page and there were plenty of examples of the paint being used for different purposes, and thought it would fit the bill.

The instructions on the spray paint say:

  • Several thinner coats of paint are better than one thick coat
  • Make sure you spray in a well-ventilated area (essential as it stinks and I imagine would give you a massive headache and would be dangerous)
  • Spray from a distance of 20-30 centimetres
  • The paint is touch dry in about an hour (when you can do a second coat) and totally dry after three hours
  • Each small tin is enough to cover 1.2 metres square – plenty for one teapot

Round one

I started off with the yellow paint, and I’ve got to say, this did not cover the old colour of the teapot as well as the sky blue did. After the first coat (where I got a bit too close and put too much, causing it to run!) I could still see the old logo peeking through.

This did not seem to happen with the sky blue, which covered it a lot better.

Round two

I let the paint dry (went off and had my dinner) then came back to do a second coat, this time turning the teapots upside down as I had missed the bottom in the first coat. I’m not sure why, but the yellow paint still didn’t seem to cover as well, and despite me now knowing how much paint to apply after my earlier mistake, it still seemed to run a lot with the yellow – but weirdly not with the blue. Maybe the yellow paint is a bit thinner?

Sky blue round two

Anyway, I left them to dry, with little trickles running down the side of the yellow teapot. Very annoying, but wiping them just caused more mess.

Round three

The final coat of the blue paint and the new blue teapot looks pretty good. As for the yellow, it didn’t turn out too well in the end, as after yet another coat, you could still see the logo and there are some really annoying paint runs. I’m half thinking about doing it again on another teapot, but it would mean buying more of the stuff and it possibly not working again. Maybe I will just have to try and find a yellow teapot after all…

Blue and yellow teapot

Would I recommend it?

Yes and no. I would recommend the sky blue paint – it covered really well, even the black logo. The yellow paint, on the other hand, did not provide anywhere near as good coverage, seemed to be runny and was much more hard work.

Kate x


Monday Morning Matters

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely weekend? What did you get up to?

So the big news this week is that Wayne and I have WON A HONEYMOON TO MALAYSIA!!

I know, pretty amazing, right?!

It was all a bit of a shock to say the least when I found out last Monday that I was the winner of a competition run by Brides magazine.

Last year I entered a whole stack of competitions on their website but never thought I had any chance of winning them. That’s probably why when an email popped into my inbox entitled “Congratulations on winning your honeymoon!” I almost didn’t open it as I thought it was just spam!

It’s a good job I did, though, as it turns out it was legitimate and I had indeed won a 10-night honeymoon for Wayne and I after our wedding next month.

And breathe!

A lovely lady called Lizzie from Turquoise Holidays then spent last week organising it for us and sent us the itinerary on Friday. It’s pretty unbelievable still to be honest. We will be spending three nights at The Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur before transferring to Pangkor Laut for seven nights where we will be staying in a Sea Villa, which stands on stilts over the sea!

I still can’t believe it. We would never have been able to afford a honeymoon like this ever in a million years – so we’re not going to Spain after all and are booked in to have our travel vaccinations this week.

Blimey – what a start to 2014!

In other news, I had my wedding makeup trial (which went very well), Wayne and I did the table plan (which I just have to make – have got an idea, though!) and we had a great meeting at our wedding venue and with our florist which answered a lot of questions. So all good!

I’m off to go and pinch myself to double check that I’m not dreaming…

So what is your news?

Kate x


Crochet Bird Cake toppers (Two Little Birds)

I’ve had it in my head for a good few months now that I would like to have a go at making two cute little crochet birds to sit on the top of mine and Wayne’s wedding cake.

The only problem – finding a crochet pattern for birds that look *right*

I didn’t want them to be big but they needed to be able to stand up on their own, look like birds and be cute!

After a lot of research (looking at loads of pictures on Pinterest!) I decided to make two of these little birds, as they are small enough to fit on the top of a cake and can stand up on their own.

I did try to make one of the birds which has a more realistic shape (the blue and white one in the picture above) but it ended up being a bit big, so two together wouldn’t have worked.

Here’s the finished result of my second attempt . What do you think?

They didn’t take that long to do and I’m really pleased with them. Hopefully they will perch with pride on the top of our wedding cake. Speaking of which, I had a chat with my mother-in-law to be about the cake last week (as she has kindly offered to make it for us). All very exciting. I think we’re going to have a two-tiered sponge with pale blue icing decorated with white and yellow flowers – and now the two little birds.

Did you make your own cake topper? Would love to see some pictures!

I might start working on some of my own crochet patterns. It would be nice to be able to create something of my own and then share it. Thinking cap on then….!

Kate x


How to Make… Lace-covered Jam Jars

A splash of colour - Lace-covered glass jars
I love the simplicity of glass-covered lace. It’s so elegant and classic with a nod to vintage. Glass jars look stunning with a flickering candle inside, and with Wayne and I having a winter wedding (next month!), I knew this would be something that could work well with our day.

After being inspired by seeing lace-covered jam jars all over Pinterest and my favourite wedding blogs last year, I really wanted to have a go at making them myself. I mean, they are beautiful, environmentally friendly (as it’s effectively upcycling!) and also cheap to make.

Here’s how I made mine…

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