5 Cute Christmas Crafts

So I’m officially in the festive spirit- cracking out the mulled wine and humming Christmas songs ad nauseum. I tend to go a little hyper and the fact that is majorly frosty (and even a little bit snowy) at the moment is making me mega excited for a white Christmas.

I have finished buying and wrapping my Christmas presents (all 18 of them!!) Yay for organisation! So, with that over, I’m looking for another activity to keep me going until Christmas Day. Here are 5 cute crafts to get you in the festive spirit.

1. Felt tree decorations

felt

If you need any inspiration, you should get the Cath Kidston Christmas Decorations book- someone bought it for me and it gives you everything you need to make 12 felt decorations.

make-your-own-christmas-decs

2. Santa beard calendar

santabeard

3. Stawberry Santas!

Strawberry SantasFrom Leanne Bakes

4. Holiday coffee holders

holders

5. Pine cone tree

pinecone

All of these crafts can be found on Vicky S’s Christmas Crafts Pinterest board.

Fabric noticeboard tutorial

Remember that fabric that I used for the sewing stool and was sad that I couldn’t keep? Well, I found a use for the left overs: a new fabric noticeboard. I’m not sure about you but I always have a gazillion bits of paper cluttering the place up and tickets and mementos that I want to hang onto. Well despite already having two noticeboards to cater for this, the paper was mounting again so I thought, why not have a third. And, seeing as cork boards are so darn ugly, it made sense to cover it with that gorgeous fabric.
As you know, I’m never one to spend an hour perfecting something that can be done in 5 minutes flat. This project was no different. I simply stretched the fabric round and used the trusty staple gun (gotta be my favourite thing ever) to attach it to the wooden frame. With some fabrics- like this one- you need to check you’re keeping the pattern straight. After that, I made a ribbon border. As the base is cork, there was no need to glue or staple this on- I just cut it to size and pinned to the board. Then got pinning all my bits and bobs on it. Ta da! No more clutter!

Tutorial: upholstered sewing stool

I’m obviously getting too good at this DIY malarkey.  My mum has set me a ton of  sewing projects to get through.

The first was this manky old moss coloured sewing stool. It’s been sat in a cupboard since I can remember and was in need of a bit of love. We were umming and ahhing about what to do with it. I wanted to recover it with a bold floral print but my mum wanted something plain and oatmeal coloured.

Then, when I was browsing in my local fabric shop I came across this fabric. A compromise if you will: neutral but with a graphic print. I love it and was slightly jealous to be using it for something I can’t keep. Oh well.

Anyway, lazy as I am, I didn’t even bother to take off the old fabric. I simply grabbed my fabric and stapled it over the original stool cover. When it came to the sides I cut four pieces  to length (plus an additional inch for seams) and sewed them together to make a sort of empty box thing (ha- so articulate).

Fortunately my measuring was right and this was a snug fit. I shimmied it up the sides, ensured the seams sat on the corners and stapled the fabric over the top and under the bottom. This required the removal of the feet but they screwed on so it wasn’t tricky.

Then I added the finishing touches in a contrast pink ribbon- a pull tab to open the stool and trim to cover the staples and rough edges of fabric where I’d stapled it on the inside.

Considering this is only my second or third upholstery project, I’m pretty chuffed with how it turned out. I don’t think my staple gun will be in the cupboard for long!

Duck Egg Blue moodboard

As some of you might know, I’m really keen to move out soon. Recently I’ve been having a think about what sort of interior design I’ll want in my new place so that I can try and channel my over the top shopping towards things I’ll actually use.
Polyvore have a great collage tool which is pretty nifty for making moodboards. You just download the ‘clip to Polyvore’ toolbar icon and then you can save any pics you like (just like Pinterest in that respect, and as you can see, I get pretty much all of my images from pinterest- there’s so much I love).  Images without background tend to work best but you can always custom crop them later. When you’ve got a selection of items you can arrange them however you want in the ‘create’ section of Polyvore. Genius really, and so simple to use. For more tips, I found House Tweaking‘s recent blog posts on ‘Making of a mood board’ extremely helpful and easy to understand.
Here’s my moodboard for my future living room. I’m set on plenty of Duck Egg blue and neutrals to balance it out. I want it to be a completely relaxing space that is light but also cosy in the inevitable long British winters.
Duck Egg Blue

Decoupage lampshade tutorial

Well, as you know, I’ve been super excited to get to grips with the Mod Podge I recently bought. First I had a  few trial sessions re-covering the lids of some boring storage boxes. I was actually pretty happy with how it went. Here are the results:

I just slapped the stuff on with a paintbrush and smoothed the paper over it. One word of warning though, the paper does get air pockets in which you have to press out and as the paper is wet with glue it can disintegrate so be gentle!

After this practice I decided I was ready for my first project. I bought this lamp from ASDA (of all places!) for a bargain price but always planned to spruce it up a bit. I also had some very cute floral fabric that I loved but hadn’t yet found the right project for. After seeing this tutorial, I knew I’d found my spruce!


Here’s how I did it:

  1. Unattach shade from lamp- careful with hot bulbs and turn off the power first!
  2. Trace the circumference of the shade onto the back of the fabric. My shade was pitched so the fabric strip was curved.
  3. Cut the fabric carefully. Here’s your cover.
  4. Cover the entire shade with a layer of Mod Podge.
  5. Wait until it is tacky.
  6. Slowly and CAREFULLY smooth the fabric onto the shade- keeping it lined up.
  7. Smooth out air bubbles as you go- fabric is more forgiving than paper as it’s stretchy so you can manipulate it without ripping it.
  8. Leave to dry for 20 mins- I left it on the lamp stand to prevent the wet glue sticking to any surfaces.
  9. When dry, cover the fabric in a layer of Mod Podge- this seals it and prevents the edges from fraying.
  10. Once dry, add another layer if necessary.

Time for you to get cracking- I’d love to know what you’ve been decoupaging, get in touch or leave a comment!

Decoupage Dreams

I apologise for being completely MIA for over a week now. In my defence I’ve been mega busy with jobs. Organising our art collection, re-upholstering headboards, sewing table runners, buying supplies for my stall at a boutique fair (more on this later) and looking after a sister with a broken wrist- all whilst holding down a full-time job. Phew! No wonder I’ve been stretched for time!

I had two VERY exciting deliveries this week, the first was some Annie Sloan chalk paint. So excited about this- I’ve wanted some for a while and only just discovered that there’s a stockist in our little town, hidden at the back of an antique shop- result!! I can’t wait to get crackign when I can find a spare evening. I found a DIVINE mirror in a charity shop that will be my first chalk paint project and also a little shelving unit and blackboard I want to spruce up. I’ve heard that a pot goes a long way- just as well it seems!
My second exciting delivery was Mod Podge. I’ve joined the fold.  I couldn’t take being surrounded by amazing decoupage projects any longer without joining in. My friend made me the cutest decoupage notebook for my birthday (it has Russian dolls on it, need I say more) and that was the last straw.

Now I have it, I want to cover everything in sight, the only problem is now that I can’t decide which project to start on first, I’m having inspiration overload. Should it be map coasters, a photo canvas, revamping an old wooden box or fancifying my lampshade. Too many options! Whilst I decide I thought I’d share some of the best projects using Mod Podge that the web (ok, Pinterest- but that all that matters really isn’t it?) has to offer…

For sources see my Pinterest board. And whilst you’re there, why not take a look around and follow me!

Awesome August thrifty finds

Don’t you just love it when you find something great when you weren’t even looking for it? I’ve been scanning the (many) charity shops in my town for mismatched teacups to make into beautiful candle gifts (as seen here) to no avail. I usually see them all the time but, sod’s law, when I want to buy a couple, I can’t find one anywhere! I’m not too upset though as, in the last shop I visited, I bagged a load of different things.

These vintage red kitchen scales were the first to catch my eye. Very industrial and they’ve seen a fair bit of use but they’re so solid and sturdy and I love the idea that they have been (and will continue to be) passed down generations. They cost me £20 which is loads cheaper than the reproduction models you can buy.

I also nabbed an authentic retro tin sign (only £4) to go with the scales. Together with my beloved amaretto tin from Milan, they’ll make for a lovely red-themed kitchen when I get my own place. For the time being they’re occupying a corner of my bedroom and the scales have even become storage for my hair nik naks, clips and bands.


Other bits that i picked up include a lovely mercury glass tealight holder (£2!) , some adorable floral boxes (also £2) and a circa 1900 map of China (£5).

I love the feeling of getting something that is good-quality for a fraction of the cost that you’d buy it new or even from a vintage shop. You can get some really great stuff from charity shops, you just have to be prepared to trawl through some not-so-great stuff to find it. My biggest tip is to be patient. Sometimes you won’t find anything at all but other times you’ll leave with bulging bags.

What’s your greatest charity shop find?

10 ways to display your photos

I’m a bit of a happy snapper and nowadays with digital photography, we can take thousands of pictures without having to worry about storage space or developing costs. If like me you actually end up paying to have many of these photos printed, you’ll find yourself at a loss for what to do with all those precious keepsakes.

There’s only ever so many surfaces that can take my large number of photo frames so I’ve been scanning the web for ideas of what to do with my vast collection.

Here are 10 of the best solutions I found:

1. This gigantic frame found on Shelterness would certainly take a lot of my loose photos!

2. Absolutely gorgeous photo wall also found on Shelterness. No idea how they do it but I want it!

3. Very cute and practical organised display via pinterest

4. Another beautiful large frame seen on pinterest

5. Lovely use of an old wooden pallet seen on Shelterness

6. My favourite: Photo table runner spotted on the Ruffled blog

7. Sweet washing-line photo display from Shelterness

8. Grown-up photo display from Shelterness

9. Super cute washing-board photo frames from amylucy

10. Brilliant idea! Snowglobe-esque mason jar display from A Beautiful Mess

Now, that should be enough to get your creative juices flowing and your fingers itching to do something with all those boxes and albums of precious memories that have until now been gathering dust.

I’d love to see your favourite photo displays too!

Pottery Barn crosses the pond

Pottery Barn has been a long standing favourite with the yanks and I have looked on jealously whilst other US bloggers showcase their pottery barn spoils.
But, no more! Pottery Barn is now delivering to the UK and other countries. It’s taking all of my self restraint to not buy everything on the website. Delivery costs aren’t bad either although you’ll still have to contend with customs. Here are my favourite pieces. Love, love, LOVE the cubby storage unit.

Chevrons: pretty in pink

Chevron patterns are everywhere at the moment and I’m loving them. They make for really striking accents in a room and can pop with colour. I love the pattern in pink as it’s pretty but bold at the same time. I’m really tempted by the cushion below but have a policy of making not buying when it comes to cushions. Armed with a sewing machine they’re so easy it seems silly to buy the things. I’m yet to find any good pink chevron fabric though so I may have to make an exception…