DIY - simple seasonal projects

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

As usual Christmas is sneaking up on me so I thought its time to stop today and get any Christmas making plans in place. If my last post got you ready to host a Christmas making party then I hope todays post will give you a little inspiration. I have rounded up some of my favourite Christmas tutorials, some for your home and some for you!

Air dry clay stars - I think air dry clay has become the bunting of Christmas but I still love it. It's easy to work with and you get so many decorations from one pack. I have made some new versions this year that just need a bit of gold leaf magic and they'll be ready.

Embellished Lace Necklace - These are still a favourite of mine and would make a perfect gift.

Liberty flower garland - this is the simplest of all tutorials and perfect for making in a hurry, add in some metallic fabric and watch it sparkle.

Jewelled brooch necklace - look at the sparkle, who wouldn't want this?!

Christmas stocking - stockings are so easy make and easy to customise. I can't wait to get these out again this year.

Simple statement earrings - If you have a lot of gifts to give, then these really simple earrings would be perfect to make en masse and given to your best girls.

I'd love to see and hear about your Christmas makes, do you have anything exciting planned?

Host a Christmas making party

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

It's been so wonderful to see all the Crafting The Seasons posts following our event earlier this month, it was such a magical day. One thing I have taken from reading the posts and speaking to all the lovely attendees is how infectious crafting as a group can be. When you're working full time and have a lot of commitments, making can be pushed right to the bottom of the list but it shouldn't it so so good for you.
The more I teach the more I believe in the power of using your hands and creating something unique. Christmas is hurtling towards us so I want to prompt everyone today to try and get a group* together and hold your own making party. I promise it'll be so much more rewarding than trudging around the shops. 
I have been running workshops for a good year now and learnt so much along the way. If the thought of hosting an afternoon is a bit intimidating then take a look at my handy hints to get you started. 

Keep your making table clear when you start, an overloaded table can be counter productive. Its best if you keep your materials on another table if you can. 

Choose a few simple projects so you can work and chat with at the same time.

You don't need much - this is the biggest lesson I have learnt. Its surprising how little you need in materials. Select a simple colour palette to work with, you really don't need all the colours. 

Want to use a something special like Liberty Print fabric, then split the cost with a friend half a metre can go a really long way! 

Provide refreshments - making is thirsty work so a little mulled wine never goes a miss!

* you don't have to have a group, just scheduling a an afternoon to make alone can be just as inspiring. 

All Photos - Katharine Peachey

jewel haul no.1

Friday, 21 November 2014

One of my guilty pleasures is looking at beauty bloggers on You Tube, I spent three hours one evening trying to learn how to contour my face! Whilst I never mastered the art of giving myself cheekbones it did give me an idea of for a new post - the jewel haul. Every so often I'll give you all a run done down of what I have been stocking up on and running out of. Here are the past two months treasures.

Stocking up on...
Copper wire (20ga) - I bought this copper wire for a ring tutorial I wrote for Jewelery from home. I have't used cooper wire before but I like it!

Vintage chain - I try and go to local charity shops every few months to find interesting bits and pieces. These chains immediately caught my eye. 

Plastic flower - another charity shop find, it needs a bit of TLC but I am confident I can rescue it.

Beads - whenever I go to a new village/town/city I'm on the look out for a bead shop. These beads are from Bijoux Beads in Bath. I have been before but not for a long time and was really impressed by the usual selection and great prices. I can wait to work these into a new piece and if you're in Bath make sure you pay them a visit.

Lace - The flowers were from the charity shop and the turquoise edged was a shop in Sherbourne, Dorset, I'm planning on using it to fix some curtains which are too short. 

Ring mandrel - I don't really make many rings as I think they should be made by a jeweller but it's a handy tool to have in the tool kit and it has given me a new idea for a simple ring tutorial I'll be sharing soon.

Running out of...
Bolt rings - I normally buy mine by the 200 but was short and needed them for a class. I went for these 6mm bolt rings from Beadworks in gold and silver and have to say the quality is lovely even though they are more expensive than I normally buy.

Home - colourful, simple and budget friendly room updates

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Let's talk simple home DIY's today. The turquoise cabinet has taken on a life of its own since posting here. I thought it's only fair to share its story along side another of my favourite ways to get colour into your home without spending a fortune. Starting with the cabinet...

Here it is, all sad in the secondhand furniture shop but with a bargain price tag of £35, I couldn't resist. I fell for its curvy details large shelves and handy drawers - it's perfect for housing my best china (yes that's what a grown up I am) and tablecloths.

The walls in the dining room are a soft turquoise (Farrow and Ball - Pavilion Blue) so I wanted something with a bit of life to sit along side. After much deliberation I went with Little Greene - Greene Vertider . I outsourced the painting to my mum as I was busy ripping up carpets. Her tips for painting are; prep the surface with a thorough but gentle sanding and apply thin coats, she did three. I have since used a Little Greene to paint a wardrobe and can verify that it is gorgeous to work with and the colours are really vibrant. I used a small roller which gives a really smooth finish so will only use rollers in the future.
The second DIY is this framed vintage Uzbekistani wall hanging I picked up in Turkey for about £10. I only ever buy pieces that I love so this is where you have to use your own taste and judgement. I know what colours get me all a flutter (yellow, pink, turquoise...) so bought knowing I'd find a place for it one day and it just happened to work perfectly with the wall and cabinet.
To frame I purchased a standard Ribba frame from Ikea, after much searching this was the best price and quality I could afford. I cut a piece of foam board the exactly the same size and the fabric, stuck it to the frame mount with as much double sided tape as I could use and then pinned the fabric to the board. I love how the metal discs and edging hang free.
To stop everything look so borrowed I found this great light from Habitat with 25% off, which made it under £20! I think the yellow ties everything together perfectly. If you're looking for well priced modern lighting then head straight to Habitat they have some great pieces at great prices ( I can't wait to show you my kitchen lights).

I know painting furniture is nothing new but when you're on a budget it's such a great way to get a bit of life into a room without spending a fortune. The same goes for framing fabric, I have framed a really pretty silk hanky in my bedroom it's totally unique and adds colour and texture for under £20 which is amazing.

All the details 
Cabinet - secondhand - try Gumtree 
Frame - Ikea
Textile - vintage Uzbekistani bought in Turkey but try this place online
Lamp - Habitat
Soda bottle - found in a flea market Barcelona
Basket - gift from South Africa
Fabric bobbin - India via Anthropologie (last Christmas)

PS - The chair and fringed shawl are both charity shop finds. The chair was £45 and shawl about £12. 

Inspiration - gift wrapping

Monday, 17 November 2014

I think after last weekends fun at Liberty, its safe to say I have been bitten by the Christmas bug and all I want to do is only make Christmas inspired things. One of my favourite parts of Christmas is gift wrapping, the thought of spending hours wrapping gifts gets me seriously excited (I wish I was joking). 

This year I'm inspired by mixing prints, pattern and textures. I'll probably make some more of these fabric bags to put handmade pieces in. Using up the last bits of wrapping paper from my stash is high on my agenda so I'll be making patchwork presents mixed with brown paper and and maybe a print to tie everything together. I love the idea of making tassels and embellishments to add to the front of gifts, I'm not sure what I'll make yet, I'm currently thinking a few pouffy corsages with leather mixed in..? Ahhh, there are so many idea's to try! 

Am I completely mad or do you start planning the wrapping before the gift buying has even commenced too?! 

You can find past Christmas wrapping posts here and here 

Images  - Bag/ Letter / Gifts/ Decorated 

Crafting The Seasons

Friday, 14 November 2014

There are certain places in London that are sprinkled with magic, Liberty of London is most definitely one of those places. There is something deeply engrained within it's walls that casts a spell on you as soon as you step through its doors. Imagine mine and Katy's delight when Liberty kindly offered to host our very first Crafting The Seasons event. As a thank you to all the bloggers that helped us launch Styling The Seasons we held an afternoon of tea and festive crafting.

Kate from The Homemakery kindly supplied us with some wonderful goodies, I went for one of these, Liberty provided the tea and fabulous Liberty print fabric to play with (there wasn't a scrap left at the end) and Katharine Peachey took these beautiful photos of the event. It was such a fun filled afternoon full of inspiration and creativity, being nosey it was great seeing what everyone made throughout the afternoon. Creativity is so infectious, I have spent the rest of the week bursting with ideas after spending time with such a lovely bunch of ladies.

Be sure to look at the blogs of all the wonderful bloggers that attended and help us launch Styling the Seasons - keep an eye out for all the wonderful Liberty Print creations they made for December.

Jeska at Lobster and Swan/ Lisa Levis at Betty and Walter / Emily Quinton at Makelight / Lou at Littlegreenshed / Sarah-Lou at Lapin Blu / Heather at Growing Spaces / Teri at The Lovely Drawer / Hannah at Hannah in the House / Tamsyn at The Villa on Mount Pleasant /Ruth at The Planned Adventure / Soumaya at Made By Molu / Emma at A Quiet Style / Amy at Daisy Fay / Lori at Wild and Grizzly / Melanie at Geoffrey and Grace / Tina at Colourliving/ Jo at The Only Place / Laura at Circle of Pine Trees / Alexis at Something I Made

As always a huge thank you to everyone who has taken part in Styling The Seasons so far. It is open to anyone who wants to join in, all you need to do is style a surface in your home to reflect what the month means to you and let Katy and myself know so we can see it.

Have a super weekend. xx

All photographs - Katharine Peachey

DIY - jewel brooch necklace

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

I think this jewel brooch necklace might just be one of my favourite tutorials ever! Made from brooches found on two lucky charity shop trips its a perfect way to give old treasures a new lease of life. Despite looking complicated it is relatively easy to put together you just need a bit of patience and some very strong glue. If you don't want to break up your brooches like I've done here you could always fix them onto a pretty piece of ribbon and get a similar effect. Here's how I did it...
Step 1. Select your brooches, go for a mix of sizes and tonal colours. Cut all the backs off with pliers. 

Step 2. Work out your shape, I drew a rough neckline on a piece of paper so I could work out how my necklace was going to lay when worn - make sure you put the heaviest brooch in the centre for balance. Prepare small cord ends by flattening them out with pliers. 

Step 3. Using the strongest glue you can get your hands on - I recommend Araldite. Glue your flattened cord ends to the back of your brooches and leave to dry, ideally over night. If you have access to a soldering iron, then I'd definitely recommend this method too. These are heavy beasts so you want the fixtures to be as strong as possible. 

Step 4. Once dry join your pieces together with jump-rings , go for a 5mm for a neat finish. 
Step 5. Cut two pieces of cord 13cm long(I think this was 1cm thick). Of course this measurement will vary depending the length of your centre piece. It's worth double checking the measurement from the end of the central piece to the centre of neck, this will be the correct measurement.

Add a cord end to each end using strong glue.

Step 6. Attach your cord to the centre piece using jump rings. Its worth having a mix of 5mm and 7mm handy.

Step 7. To finish attach a lobster clasp and connector chain to the end of the cord, I added a little bead to really finish off, using 5mm jump rings .

I just love this so much, its a really special piece that I just can't wait to wear over the upcoming festive season. The trouble is now I've made one I want to keep going, my sparkle radar is firmly on and I have been scouring charity shops for more and more brooches to turn into these beauties. I'll keep you posted with creations as they happen, until then happy making! x 

Necklace accessorised with top - New Look, trousers - Boden and nails - Essie, Watermelon 

All final images the talented Siobhan Watts, Bless the Weather
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