Tagged: Inspiration

Coming in From The Cold

Photo of a garden covered in snow

It snowed today! I woke up to a blanket of snow covering the garden at my parent’s house. It’s snowed on and off all day, which has made me all wistful for cosy gloves, scarves and blankets. I love going for cold, bracing walks and then coming in and cuddling up under a duvet and watching a film while I thaw out. Heaven! (‘Fargo’ is my favourite film for this activity).

Getting into the spirit of warming up from the snow, here are six beautiful and cosy ideas for keeping warm on Etsy!:

Images of winter-themed hand-made items from Etsy

1. Arrow print jersey scarf, £20.60

Although I do love wool, it can be a bit itchy around the neck. This jersey scarf solves this problem! It wont be quite as warm, but it does look cool, no? You can buy this scarf here: Jersey Scarf with Graphic Arrows on Etsy.

2. Mittens with pearls, £37.34

These are such pretty and simple mittens. The little pearls are such a sweet touch! You can buy these mittens here: Mittens with pearls on Etsy.

3. Colourful crochet blanket, £51.51

I’ve fallen in love with this gorgeous crochet blanket. I love the colours and the shapes. The neon pink is just perfect. You can buy this blanket here: Colourful crochet blanket on Etsy.

4. Antique vintage quilt, £146.32

This is such a perfect quilt, just the right mix of clashing fabrics. I love how the bright yellow fabric sings with the red chevron print. I want to snuggle under this quilt right now with a cat and a big mug of tea. You can buy this quilt here: Spectacular double wedding ring antique quilt on Etsy.

5. Totoro hat, £19.32

Such a cute hat! What Totoro fan wouldn’t love to wear this beauty with pride?! The ear flaps are great for keeping out chilly winds… I think I need to make something like this for my upcoming Iceland adventure. You can buy this hat here: Totoro grey crochet hat on Etsy.

6. Scandinavian socks, £21.98

Handmade socks are one of life’s ultimate luxuries. These Scandinavian styled socks are simple but beautiful and because they are made of wool, will keep feet toasty warm. These are also in a sale at the moment, so they are a bargain. You can buy these socks here: Handmade knitted knee high socks on Etsy.

Have you found that the snowy weather has made you lust after cosy goodies too?

Last Minute Christmas Crafts

Collage of photos of Christmas crafts

With only two sleeps left until Christmas day, I thought it would be the perfect time to share some really quick Christmas craft ideas incase you need to make any last minute gifts. For speed, I’m not going to waffle anymore, lets get down to some super-fast crafting!

Festive hair bands

Photos of hair bands made with elastic and buttons
These hair elastics can be made in SECONDS!

What you need:

  • Glittery hair elastic bands (the skinny ones) – these can be bought in large quantities from the Pound Shop
  • Buttons with shank backs (loop backs) – get them from any craft shops, my metal ones came from a craft fair

All you have to do is push the elastic through the shank on the back of the button, and then loop it into itself, like this:

Photos showing how to attach a deer button to a headband
How easy is that?!

Why not make a whole set as a last minute gift?

Felt Hearts

Photos of hand sewn felt heart decorations

These take a wee bit longer to make, depending on how much decoration you add.

What you need:

  • A sheet of felt
  • Cotton thread or embroidery floss
  • Polyester toy stuffing
  • Paper & pencil
  • Needle
  • Pins
  • Sharp scissors
  • Decorative bits and pieces like ribbons, sequins and beads

On the paper, draw a heart and cut it out (I’m sure you can find templates online if you struggle with this).

Pin the paper heart to the felt and cut out two pieces. If you are going to decorate the heart like I have, do this now before you sew it up as its much easier this way.

Place the two heart shapes together and stitch around the outside in blanket stitch, leaving a small hole at the top. Add the stuffing so the heart is a puffy shape. Sew up the top and add a loop so you can hang it up.

This could be made in about 20 minutes if you don’t decorate it, or about an hour if you do. Add some lavender or other scented oil to the stuffing to make it a scented decoration.

Happy Chocolates

Photo of chocolates in small paper cake cases
Super quick and easy to make, but remember they need chilling time to set!

These little chocolates are really easy to make and can look very festive if you package them up in a pretty box.

What you need:

  • Large bar of chocolate (we used 200g of Milka)
  • Chocolate covered honeycomb pieces (we used one pack of white and one of milk chocolate – from a sweet shop)
  • Chocolate buttons (the smiley ones are from Thorntons)
  • Saucepan and plastic bowl
  • Mini cake cases

Break up the chocolate into the plastic bowl, and place it in the pan full of water over a low heat. Do not get any water in with the chocolate or it will go weird! Do not let the water come anywhere near to boiling or it will also make the chocolate go weird!

Once it is melted, carefully spoon a teaspoon of it into each paper cake case. Add 2 – 3 of the honeycomb pieces on top of the chocolate. Cover these with another teaspoon of the melted chocolate and place a smiley chocolate button on the top. Place in the fridge to chill and set and you are done!

Festive Pine Cone Friends!

Photo of pine cones with eyes glued on
These chaps are just a bit of festive-fun!

What you need:

  • Pine cones
  • Googly eyes (you can usually get these in the Pound Shop)
  • Glue
  • String
    • Glue the googly eyes onto each pine cone and tie a length of string or wire to the top – so they can be hung up. Done!

      The beauty of each of these crafty ideas is that they are not just quick, they are super cheap to make too, bonus!

      If you decide to make any of these little projects, do please share them with me, I’d love to see them 🙂

      Signature

Indie Shop Love: 7th Sea Bristol

Photo collage of views of 7th Sea

This is the second in my series of posts about wonderful independent shops, you can read the first about Portabella here.

7th Sea

Address: 198 Cheltenham Road, Bristol, BS6 5QZ
Website: www.7thsea.co.uk
Twitter: @7th_Sea_Bristol
Facebook: 7th Sea

Photo collage of Christmas decorations at 7th Sea

7th Sea is a little treasure-trove of hand-made goodies made in Bristol by local designers and crafty types. At the moment it is brimming with Christmas decorations and gifts. The shop is just a couple of doors up from Portabella and Cox and Baloney on Cheltenham Road – so its really worth making a visit to this corner of Bristol to take all three shops in.

Photo collage of things for sale in 7th Sea

7th Sea sell lots of different hand-made items, including jewellery, cute softies, clothes and art work. Most of the the things they sell would make perfect gifts. Some of the soft toys they have are just BEYOND CUTE – like the owls and the little monsters. Who wouldn’t want to have one of these little chaps in their lives?!

Photo collage of items for sale at 7th Sea

They also sell some very sweet hand-made clothes. I especially love the skirts and shirt collars they have in pretty retro fabrics. They have a range of t-shirts that are hand-printed too. I’ve picked up a lovely grey t-shirt with an amazing print on it:

Photo of a grey tshirt with a drawing of a yeti and a bigfoot o  it
This t-shirt is hand printed by Katy Christianson Illustration. Isn’t it awesome?!

Have you been to 7th Sea? What did you buy?

The Twin Peaks Look in 2012

I’m a huge Twin Peaks fan. I’m an addict: I watch both seasons at least twice a year. If you’ve not seen it, I can’t recommend it enough and its on Netflix, so there really is no excuse not to check out this David Lynch masterpiece!

For those of you who are unfortunate enough not to know about Twin Peaks, its a TV show from the late 1980’s that follows the investigation into the murder of a teenager called Laura Palmer. Its full of dark humour, surprising twists and scary moments.

One of the things I have come to love about Twin Peaks are the ’80’s costumes. The female leading characters really rock knitwear: think fitted jumpers nipped in at the waist, the chunky sweaters and manically-patterned cardigans, worn with knee length skirts, brogues and low heels.

Audrey Horne

Collage of pictures of Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks
Audrey Horne is one of the most glamorous characters in Twin Peaks. She really rocks the fitted jumper and skirt combo, in fact she makes it an art form! She’s always perfectly made up with cherry lips and porcelain skin, like a 1950’s movie star.

Donna Hayward

Collage of pictures of Donna Hayward from Twin Peaks
Donna Hayward isn’t as glamorous as Audrey, but she certainly has an extensive sweater collection! Donna has less fitted clothes, opting for looser and longer jumpers, and fitted shirts. She wears darker, plummy lipstick and shadow to frame her eyes.

Getting Audrey & Donna’s look for 2012

I’ve been looking for some up-to-date versions of the clothes the Twin Peaks ladies wear, and I have struck gold with one of my all-time favourite brands this season – Louche. Louche are available from several smaller boutiques in Bristol, including the wonderful Fox and Feather on Gloucester Road, who are currently stocking these awesome Twin Peaks-like clothes:

Gianna Cardigan by Louche

Photo of a red and black cardigan
Available from Fox and Feather £39
I *adore* this cardigan so much, I’m going to struggle not to rush up the road and buy this – its so perfectly Twin Peaks! Even the pattern plays homage to the Red Room.

Eden Skirt by Louche

Photo of a black and white skirt
Available from Fox and Feather £39

Juno Top by Goldie Boutique

Photo of a white blouse
Available from Fox and Feather £35 (ON SALE NOW!)
I can just see Audrey wearing this, while she wafts around the Great Northern Hotel causing trouble.

Sheri Skirt by Louche

Photo of a skirt with red hearts on it
Available from Fox and Feather £39

Luca Penguin Cardigan by Louche

Photo of a cardigan with penguins on it
Available from Fox and Feather £48
This is a Donna cardigan with a modern twist – I can’t see Donna wearing a cardi with penguins on it, but the shape is perfect.

So what do you think of this modern take on the Twin Peaks look? Are there any TV shows you’d like to emulate with contemporary fashion?

A beautiful blog

Even though I work in digital full-time, I still feel a bit lost when it comes to blogging. Ask me about digital strategy, SEO, user centered design… and I can talk for hours. I advise clients on a daily basis about how to optimise their website, make their users happier, and ultimately have a more successful digital presence. But, when it comes to my own site, and my own blog, somehow its different. I’m just not sure where to start.

Today I had an epiphany!

The answer to my problem dropped into my Bloglovin’ feed via A Beautiful Mess. They posted about their Blog Love e-course, an online course where you work through a series of sessions to help develop your own blog. This sounded just perfect for me, so I signed up straight away!

The course is one that you work through at your own pace (great for fitting around work and life etc!). I’m hoping to work on this mainly over Christmas, but I might get something done sooner… watch this space.

The course costs $32 (but today its just $24 as there is a “Cyber Monday” offer on!).

Blog love course advert

I’ll review the course once I have completed it, however I hope you can start to see the benefits sooner than this of course 🙂

Do you know of any other courses like this? Have you tried them? What did you think?

Illustrated Me

Over the past week or so I have been getting back into playing with Adobe Illustrator. This is mainly because I am spending a lot of time in hotels for work, and I get lonely and bored, so it seams like a worth-while distraction. For those of you that are not familiar with this, Illustrator is a vector based drawing tool used by many designers to create things like logos, digital art and illustrations.

Illustrator is one of the most frustrating and liberating programmes I have ever used. When I first started using it several years ago, I thought it would be easy as I’m used to using Photoshop… I was very wrong! Illustrator is a completely different beast, and needs a completely different approach. I am by no means an expert or even very accomplished at using it, but I am gradually learning more from following tutorials and videos online.

Self portrait

I have long admired the blogger illustrations done by EssBeeVee however they are not really ‘me’. I’ve also just discovered the cute blogger portraits by Carly Watts, but again, still not me. So, like any sort of crafty-type, I decided to have a go myself…and here we are:

Illustration of Bonny Colville-Hyde

How I did it

In Illustrator, I traced my face from a photo using the pen tool.I then coloured in the face and hair, and added some minimal shading using transparency and gaussian blur. Areas like the blusher were done using a radial gradient fill, transparency and gaussian blur – this helps to keep the effect soft and light.

The photo I had traced was a portrait so it didn’t have a body to trace. I found a picture of a mannequin on Google images and traced the arms off that. I then drew a t-shirt to tie it all together. The photo in the background is one I Instagrammed at Longleat Center Parcs earlier this month.

Its not perfect, but I’m quite happy with how this turned out. I’m planning on doing more illustrations like this – I like the combination of the real background and the illustrated foreground. What do you think?

How to make felt flowers tutorial

Photo of four felt flower decorations

These felt flower decorations are really quick and easy to make (they are super cheap too!). I’ve made these in Spring time colours, but I think they would look equally good in white and red for Christmas.

I’ve put together a PDF instruction sheet so you can learn how to make these cute felt flower decorations too, click on the image or the link below to download the PDF:

Illustration of the sewing steps needed to sew felt flowers

>How to make felt flowers PDF

I think these flowers cost about £1 each to make, as sheets of felt cost about 40 – 50p from craft shops, plus the other bits and pieces which you probably already have to hand. With the ribbon, I bought a discounted roll of spotty ribbon at HobbyCraft which cost about a £1 and is 3 meters long. As with most things, eBay will have all of these goodies 😉

Have you tried making felt flowers like these before? What colours did you make?

I’m on Pinterest

Like everyone else and their grandmothers, I’m also on Pinterest, so lets share pins and neat stuff yeah?

>> Follow me on Pinterest here

Here is a taster of some of my favourite boards:

Inspiring Nails board

Screenshot of a pinterest board of nail art pictures

Felt board

Screen shot of Pinterest board with felt crafts

Fabric Wonderland board

Screen shot of pinterest board featuring fabric

I’ve been really enjoying browsing all the great stuff people find and share, especially the craft projects and nail art. There are some seriously talented people out there on the internet!

What are the best things you’ve found on Pinterest?

The wonder of nail wheels

Photo of two painted nail wheels

I’m probably very late to this party, but I’m certainly pleased to be here now. Nail wheels are the future!

I picked up a couple of wheels from eBay for £1.50 on a whim, and was initially very underwhelmed as they seemed very static and plasticky, and not exciting at all. However, oh my. Once I started painting them it became clear that just buying two was not sufficient at all. They make testing new nail polishes quick and mess-free. They are also great for trying nail art design ideas, to see what they look like before the faff of painting my own nails.

Here are some of my current favourite colours collected together:

Photo of a nail wheel painted with lots of colours

From the top:

  • Bluebelle by Nails Inc for InStyle magazine, 2 coats
  • Candy Shop by Deborah Lippmann, 3 coats + 1 coat NYC in a New York Minute top coat
  • Forget You by Deborah Lippmann, 3 coats + top coat
  • Happy Birthday by Deborah Lippmann, 3 coats + top coat
  • Cyan Blue by Barry M, 2 coats
  • Blue Moon by Barry M, 2 coats
  • Techno by China Glaze, 2 coats + top coat
  • The Cassette Society II by Bloom, 2 coats
  • Totally Teal by No7, 2 coats
  • Betty Blues by No7, 2 coats
  • Paris by Nails Inc, 2 coats
  • Russian Roulette by Essie, 2 coats
  • Watermelon by Essie, 2 coats
  • Status Symbol by Essie, 2 coats
  • Jelly Bean by Ciate, 2 coats
  • Lovie Dovie by Essie, 2 coats
  • Bon Bon by Ciate, 2 coats
  • Porchester Square by Nails Inc, 2 coats

Here are my latest nail polish buys from the terribly dangerous Boots 3 for 2 deal immortalised on a nail wheel:

Photo of a nail wheel painted with Christmas colours

As you can see, I’ve had fun trying out different combinations of colours and effects. Nail wheels offer a cheap way to practice techniques and experiment with combinations. I’m loving the combo of Revlon’s Rain Forest with Deborah Lippmann’s Happy Birthday – it looks like a decorated Christmas tree!

Nail wheel painted green with multicoloured glitter

Have you tried using nail wheels before? What did you think?

Crafting for Christmas

I’m all about craft fairs at this time of year: there is so much lovely stuff to look at and get inspiration from! Today I went to a small craft fair in Langford Budville (what a name!), near Wellington in Somerset. The fair was in aid of Children’s Hospice South West who do some amazing work supporting children and their families going through tough times.

The craft fair had about 30 stalls, all selling very different goodies, from handcrafted patchwork items through to driftwood sculptures, needle felting supplies and vintage tea sets. Here are my highlights:

Photo of multicoloured rolls of felt
Don’t these rolls of felt look delicious?! I thought so…I had to get three of them 🙂

Photo of bundles of colourful felt

Photo of a hand felted border collie
This little chap is part of a commission the felt artist was working on for a client: it’s a portrait of their pet border collie! I’ve not tried needle felting before, but seeing the lovely creatures on show has made me want to try.

Photo of a tree made from pieces of driftwood
These driftwood Christmas trees look stunning. I’d love to have a go at making one, and I think the driftwood collecting would be fun too.

Photo of several pairs of pastel coloured children's slippers
Its a shame these slippers didn’t come in adults sizes otherwise I would have had to get a pair!