Festival of Firsts amazing children’s display


This year Hours of Fun headed into the third year of working with the Festival of Firsts and we were determined to make it bigger and better than previous years.

Partnering up with Regan Shaw from Kaleidoscope Magazine and Pam Sullivan from The Williamson Art Gallery, we worked with the festival to plan how to spend a grant the Festival was successful in securing from the Liverpool One Foundation.

The aim of the project was to get children involved in crafting and raise awareness of the Festival as we travelled around the Wirral working with different groups and running drop in creative sessions.

We worked with some fabulous groups including Hoylake Sea Cadets, Hoylake 1st Guides, Priory Parish Primary, Woodchurch after school club Whizzkids, Wirral Methodist Housing and lots more.  Each group designed and created their own sun catcher windows using craft supplies and sharpie pens.  They decorated a clear transparency sheet which was then fixed into a frame ready for hanging.

We encouraged them to do some creative writing, telling us funny stories or about their favourite day or thing to do.  We had some amazing creations and the children all really enjoyed making them.  We even got them to make two so they could take one home and we could keep one for the display.


We had over 150 frames made which we hung from hula hoops, which were then hung them from the rafters at St John The Baptist Church, Great Meols, from a feature beam at Hoylake Parade Community Centre, in the windows at West Kirby Library and it is currently on display at The Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead.  The display creates a visual spectacle, reflecting light and colours as it dances around in the sunshine.




Handmade bunting, pink and girly for a baby girl

Coming soon to the Hours of Fun website – handmade, personalised bunting made to order.  Hours of Fun can make bunting for any occasion – new baby or baby shower, birthday present or decoration, congratulations, party decorations and much more.

The brief for this order was pink and girly which is always fun to do.  I used fleece for each flag, cutting them out using pinking shears to give a zig zag finish on the edges.  (This also stops any fraying of the material).  Each letter for the name was machine sewn onto the flags and a button was added to each of the loops at the end of the bias, once the bias was sewn onto each flag.

Wrapped in pink tissue paper, with a ribbon and tag it was ready for the baby shower.  I hope the mum to be likes it 🙂



Handmade bunting pink new baby girl (4) Handmade bunting pink new baby girl (5) Handmade bunting pink new baby girl (6)

Packaged and ready to go
Packaged and ready to go

Name cards and vintage jars for a 60th Birthday celebration at the Midland Hotel

Hours of Fun now offer stationary and table decorations for your wedding, party or event.  I have such a love for paper crafts and table name cards are lots of fun to make as I get to use my Sizzix machine and my imagination.

These cards were embossed using my Sizzix machine with a small, cute bow.  The colour scheme was pastel pink and blue, so incorporating a coloured bow fit in with the colour scheme perfectly.

For the centre pieces; jars were decorated using lace ribbon and the pink and blue cord that was used for the bows on the name cards.  I also added a couple of buttons to each jar as the finishing touch.

They looked gorgeous when in place and filled with flowers.  The venue was a beautiful, sunny room and the vintage theme worked really well.


Decorating mission – new curtains

Decorating part 4

Our new colour scheme meant that most of the walls were painted with white, with teal on one wall in each room. As we had reduced the colour on the walls I was keen to get some lovely curtains to make a feature of them and to bring more colour to the rooms. As I mentioned in the last post we have unusually sized windows, so ready-made curtains always need altering to fit. I headed to the local material shops and priced up some fabric I liked, I made a note of the name of it too and when I got home I did a search on the internet to see if I could find it anywhere else for cheaper. It worked out around £10 a metre and we needed a lot! It was quickly adding up to well over £100 and this was before I even started making them and buying lining material.

Whilst I was out and about I kept an eye out for curtains and spotted some on sale in Tasker. I checked the measurements and the largest curtains would fit, they would just need taking up as they would be too long and cover the radiator. I couldn’t believe our luck as they were reduced to £20 a pair and matched our colour scheme.

Curtains before being taken up
Curtains before being taken up


They needed taking up about 15-20cm on both sets of windows, I even hand stitched the new hem using an invisible stitch whereas normally I would use the machine – I was feeling like I should for the best finish and I had plenty of time as I didn’t have to make them from scratch, plus my mum always says I should!

When picking out curtains it is worth checking both ready-made and material prices. Depending on what colour and material type you want, if you can find some ready-made it is always worth comparing prices.

We also needed a new pair of curtains for the middle of our rooms, as we have the option of closing the curtains in between our lounge and dining room, which then makes the lounge cosier. We needed new curtains in the right colour as I had taken the old ones down as they were red. This time it worked out cheaper to buy the material and make them as I picked up material that was perfect and was only £3 per metre and they didn’t need a lining.

Middle curtains

I did do some research into dying curtains, however with the original curtains being quite a deep red, to get them to dye teal or grey we would need to colour strip them first and then dye them. Even after that there were still warnings about colour matching and the difficulty of dying something that is already a dark colour.



Decorating mission – sprucing up a dining table and chairs

Decorating part 2

When we moved into our house we needed a dining room table and chairs. We headed to Ikea and picked up wooden table with black metals legs and four chairs to match. Our dining table is used much more for crafting on than eating on, and over the years it was been scratched, marked and faded in places. The chairs also showed signs of wear and tear. The chair seat design was made up of four pieces of wood, placed to form the seat, with gaps in between each piece. This design had often puzzled me as it was really difficult to clean in between the pieces, which meant the gaps were hoarding all sorts of dirt and crumbs.  I was keen to change this if I could.

Dining room table before photos (1) Dining room table before photos (2)

I cleaned the table top and legs with sugarsoap, rinsed them well and left it to dry. For each of the chairs, I unscrewed the four pieces that made up the seat, gave them a really good clean, rinsed them and then left them to dry. When I put the four pieces of wood back to create the seat I pushed them together and screwed them into new holes. This meant no more silly gaps between each piece and they looked really good like that too. I gave the wooden sections a light sand, and used wood filler on a few of the bigger dints on the chairs and table top. Once the wood filler was dry, I lightly sanded them again. When you have finished sanding always give them a wipe with a slightly damp cloth to remove any dust before painting or staining.

I gave the wooden table top and the wooden seats a coat of Teak Oil, applying it with a varnish brush and then buffing it a little with the lint free cloth. I left it to dry as per the instructions on the Teak Oil tin, then gave it another two coats. The difference it made was amazing. The wood had a lovely shine to it, a much smoother finish and looked like new again. I had used the same Teak Oil on the welsh dresser and on a mirror so they all matched perfectly.

dining table after (2) Dining table chairs after (1) Dining table chairs after (3)

I used Colron refined Teak Oil, for 500ml it is around £9 and one tin did our welsh dresser, table, chairs and mirror with a little left over. You don’t need much oil and you need to spread it out as evenly as you can, which is why it’s good to use a brush to spread the varnish out, then the cloth to ensure there is no excess and to give it a good buff.

I have also made a table protector out of fleece and non-slip mat. When I am crafting at the table I can put my table protector down to make sure I don’t mark our new lovely, shiny table!   I had some cushions in my craft room which matched the colour scheme so they were perfect for the chairs.  It cost us less than £20 and the table and chairs look like new.

Decorating our house – jazzing up a fireplace

Towards the back end of last year we finished decorating our lounge, dining room, stairs and landing and it had been a chore!! It is such a big space with a lot of woodwork that there was no quick way of painting it.   I was keen to do the project on a budget, making and upcycling as much as we could to accessorise. This month I am going to take you through some of the things we made for the lounge and dining room, showing you hints and tips and some fab upcycling techniques you can use to spruce things up on a budget.

Decorating part 1

First up is our fireplace. We had a large, fake stone fire surround which I had officially fallen out of love with, and a small gas fire which we never used. We had the gas people round checking our fire and I chatted with them about the fire surround and that I didn’t like it and I would like to rip it out. They told me that to buy a fire surround like that would be somewhere up to £1000 which shocked me as I had no idea! I then spoke about the idea of removing it and selling it and they advised again that it was very tricky to remove fire surrounds in one piece, depending on how they have been put into place. This left me thinking maybe we needed to keep the fire surround but change the appearance of it.

fireplace before Fireplace before2

Sorry about the pictures, it seems I didn’t take a proper before photo!!


The gas people checked our gas supply to the fire and then capped it off as we had decided to remove the gas fire as part of our decorating mission. You need to get a professional in to do this for you, the great thing is they leave the pipe there, so if you change your mind later down the line or if you are selling your house, you can let people know there is a gas pipe to connect to if they want.

Fireplace being cleaned out

I left Kev to clean it out once we had removed the fire!


We then cut a piece of plaster board to fit the hole, glued it in place and then sealed the edge with decorators caulk, giving it a little sand down ready for painting

I headed down to The Painted Chair in Liverpool where they sell Annie Sloan paint and had a chat with the lady who runs the shop. I came away with a 1 litre pot of Paris Grey chalk paint and was super excited to get started.

I washed down the fire surround using sugarsoap and a cloth, then rinsed it well with clean water. I then left it to dry overnight. The following day I gave it one coat of paint using the new chalk paint I had bought. The tin of paint has full instructions on the side for getting the best from the paint and it is a pleasure to use. I ended up giving the fire surround three coats of paint over three days.

I was so so happy with the results. It transformed the fire surround and I fell in love with it straight away. I couldn’t get over what a different a coat of paint did to it. I had gone from wanting to rip it out, to being proud to have it as a feature in our living room. It now also fit the colour scheme we were planning for the rooms.

It is advised when using chalk paint to varnish it, as over time the paint may start to peel/fade. Giving it a coat or two of varnish makes it much more durable and it also makes dusting the fire surround easier as the varnish provides a smooth finish. I gave the fire surround two coats of varnish, using a shaped varnish brush. I didn’t use Annie Sloan varnish as I couldn’t get back down to the shop in the time I had. I ended up using DecoArt – Americana Décor Varnish – Soft Touch. I found it easy to use and gave the fire surround a lovely protective coat.

In total, including the varnish brush, I spent £28.45 and the results were amazing. The fire surround had been transformed and I loved it.  We decided not to put a fire there at this time as it’s not something we use and it was a cost we didn’t need to spend at the time. Instead I picked up some flowers from Wilkinson’s in shades of black, white and teal and popped them in a vase, which was then placed in the centre of the fire surround.

fireplace Fireplace after 1 Fireplace after 2

Any type of fire surround can be painted, sanded, varnished etc. so before you rip anything out see what you could do to your fire surround to jazz it up, freshen it up or transform it.   If you don’t have a fire surround and are looking for one as part of your decorating, try local free/cheap sites such as Gumtree and Freecycle, or head down to a local reclamation yard or second hand furniture shop and see what they have, as you can often pick up one for a fab price.  Just make sure you measure the minimum/maximum size of the space to ensure it will fit!

Don’t forget to keep any paint you have left over too. It comes in handy for a quick touch up if needed and also can be used on other items to colour match. I used the Annie Sloan paint on a photo frame and plant pot.


Halloween crafting fun

Starting the New Year with some Halloween fun – bit late I know!!

We headed to Walton Sports Centre on Mischief Night to run a craft stall as part of the Merseyside Police event, working hard to keep children off the streets and out of Mischief.  This was a jam packed night with so much on offer (and all for free) I didn’t even get chance to see it all!  The sports hall was full of inflatables, a buck-a-roo and lots more, football on the all-weather pitch and the workshop room had cupcake decorating, scar painting, scarecrow making by My Outdoor Classroom and the craft stall where we were making plant pot Halloween characters and lantern bags.


Mischief night crafting fun

Mischief night fun


Hours of Fun also headed to Newsham Park that week for a family fun day run by ‘Leap Into’ and ‘Targeted Service for Young People’ based at Walton Adventure Playground.  We set the gazebo up and spread out all the crafting fun, face painting, orienteering, badge making and lots more.  Sadly the weather was a little miserable, but this made us a lovely surprise for anyone in the park with their children and wishing for some shelter and rest bite!


Family fun day in Newsham Park

12 Crafts of Christmas – Pine Cone Christmas fun

Yesterday Hours of Fun published the 3rd craft of Christmas, this time it was crafting fun with pine cones.

The download shows you how to make a glitter Christmas tree from a large pine cone, you can get the free download here.

At Hours of Fun we have been having more fun with pine cones, although not as much fun as I would like as I am still patiently waiting for some of the pine cones I collected a few weeks ago to dry out.


You could try making a pine cone reindeer.

Hours of fun free christmas downloads pine cone crafts (16)

For this you will need  – a drawing pin, a piece of ribbon, a pipe cleaner, 2 googly eyes, a piece of material or paper, a pompom and some glue.

I used the drawing pin to secure the ribbon in place, be gentle when pushing it in to the pine cone (see the picture below).

I shaped the pipe cleaner for the antlers then pushed it into the pine cone.  I rolled the material into a cone shape for the ears and placed them inside the pine cone, with a little glue to secure them in place.  I then stuck on the eyes and the nose to create this super cute reindeer.


Hours of fun free christmas downloads pine cone crafts (7)  Here he is hiding in our tree 🙂


You could also try making a more decorative pine cone, which you could design to match your decorations.  For this you will need a length of ribbon, a drawing pin, a button, a needle and thread.

Hours of fun free christmas downloads pine cone crafts (9)

I cut a piece of ribbon to hang the pine cone and again secured it in place using a drawing pin.

Hours of fun free christmas downloads pine cone crafts (10)

I then tied a bow using another length of ribbon, then placed in position with a button.  To secure the button to the bow and the bow to the hanging ribbon, I used a needle and thread and made a few stitches to hold it all in place.

Check out my Pinterst board for more ideas on pine cone Christmas crafting and dont forget to download our FREE crafts of Christmas download.

As always we would love to ssee pictures of any of your creations, share them on here,  or Facebook or Twitter or drop me an email to rachel@hoursoffun.co.uk.

Happy crafting.

12 crafts of Christmas – Santa cardboard Tube

12 Craft of Christmas download number 2 went out on Friday, this time you can download,for free, a quick and easy children’s craft to make a santa from a cardboard tube – super easy and cheap craft using a cardboard tube and some basic craft supplies.

Again I wanted to share some more ideas around this craft for those of you who may want to get creative and make some other cardboard characters.

Visit the Pinterst Board I create with more ideas for those of you wanting to try something else or challange yourself a little more!

Pinterest board – Cardboard tube Christmas crafts

Santa Cardboard Tube free download

Cardboard tube Christmas crafts santa, snowman and penguin


For the penguin I wrapped the tube in black crepe paper, stuck lots of cotton wool on the front for the Penguin’s belly, then cut out 2 wings and a base shaped like feet from black card.  Once these are stuck on you can again full it with some Christmas delights.

Penguin cardboard tube christmas craft download

For the snowman I wrapped the tube in white printer paper and stuck pompoms on the front for the snowman’s buttons.

I then wrapped a piece of ribbon around for the snowman’s scarf and glued it in place.  Using a pipe cleaner which I cut in half, I bent the ends to look like hands and stuck the pipe cleaners through the sides of the tube (once through the tube, give them a little bend inside to help them stay in position).

Finally I cut out a piece of black card for the base and glued the snowman in position, I then covered the black card with cotton wool to create a snow effect around the snowman’s feet.

Snowman cardboard tube christmas craft download

Happy crafting and don’t forget to share your creations by sending in photos.

12 Crafts of Christmas – Tea Light Snowmen

Hours of Fun’s first craft of Christmas went out on the 1st, a quick and easy download to make tea light snowmen.

Hope some of you have already got crafting and made some super cute snowmen to light up your tree – don’t forget to share your pictures as I would love to see your creations.

I wanted to share some more inspiration around tea light charactors for those of you who may wish to get more creative making different characters such as reindeer or Santa.

Santa and reindeer lit tea light christmas crafts downloadFor the Santa I used wide red ribbon and created a hat shape with the loop to hang him with.  Cotton wool for the beard, googly eyes and a white pompom for the tip of his hat


For the Reindeer I used ribbon to hang him, a pipe cleaner for his antlers, a bell – just because I love to add bells where I can!  Brown card for his face and ears which I coloured in using a marker pen and googly eyes.

Tea light reindeer and santa (2)   Tea light reindeer and santa (3)


Check out the Pinterest board I have set up for Tea Light Christmas decorations for further inspiration, including more challenging projects for those of you who want to try something a little more advanced.

Pinterest board – Tea Light Christmas Crafts

Hours of Fun Tea Light Snowmen download