It’s not about ideas, it’s about making ideas happen.

Well, I managed to get the sports car finished and just to clarify, it’s a Porsche 911 – although when the chap in question requested one for his 50th, I’m fairly sure this isn’t quite what he had in mind!

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So we have had some lovely warmer days of late (not going to mention the more ‘bracing’ ones) and what a difference they make esp for ones balloons! It really makes life so much easier, both generally speaking and in the world of piñata making. On ideal days I can get a shell made and ready to decorate in one day, but these days are few and far between. Now we are well into Spring where the days (although sporadic) can be mild and breezy – the layers of papier mache can dry in no time. Although if too breezy, the paper can wrinkle which can cause problems esp if you require a smooth finish and if it is very breezy, they have been known to fly off the line and onto a freshly clipped hawthorn hedge……

Summer days are the best as they are generally warm, sunny and still (she says hopefully) – but full sun or hot days are not ideal either, as this can cause the balloons to expand and explode – disaster! So as you can imagine Winter can cause all sorts of problems as I have to dry the piñata’s inside. It can be a beautiful cold, clear sunny day, but then bringing the piñata inside to finish off the drying process can then cause the balloon to suddenly expand in the temp difference and explode – I have lost many a snowman and Christmas pudding this way! So as soon as the days turn chilly, I dry them all inside and then we need to have a good rotation system as they then take at least a day to dry each layer (unless I can get the timing and heat right, then it has been known to get a sneaky two layers on in a day) and it is sometimes easy to forget how many layers each one has had – esp when you are adding more to the mix!

Bet you didn’t think mixing up some papier mache paste and slapping some newspaper strips over a balloon would become quite so technical! In truth, it isn’t. Making a piñata is a very simple process and lots of fun to do – children love to do this as it is so messy! It helps if you are a very patient person (which I am not) and have lots of imagination (which again I don’t have much of) but I do have access to the internet, books, magazines or whatever else there is lying around which I can copy to the best of my ability. All you need to start is some old newspapers, some flour and water mixed together until creamy, a balloon and perhaps a pot to stand the balloon in whilst you work on it. Cut the newspaper into strips, dip in the paste and cover the balloon in slightly overlapping layers – allow to dry. When completely dry repeat the process until you have a shell hard enough to hold it’s own shape, then simply pop the balloon and remove. When I first started teaching myself, I took inspiration from the brilliant Joanna Gosling and made some Easter eggs by following this method, decorating the dried ‘egg’ shape and then cutting it in half lengthways so I could fill it whatever I wanted, stuffed in some shredded tissue paper before tying them shut with some brightly coloured ribbon I had picked up in the market. Added a label and t’dah a really lovely handmade Easter gift which cost very little to make!

In other news, here is another shot of the bad fairy tale character, which has now departed to cause goodness knows what mayhem at a charity fundraiser event…….?

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Shall reveal all next time (the piñata that is!)

Karen x