Monday, 19 December 2011

Bows, sequins, ribbon and stripes in one heart

Such a cute little fabric heart from my friend Hannah which she popped inside my Christmas card :)

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Season's Greetings from Rudolph and Squirelly

Rather than spend hours labouring over my Christmas cards with prit stick and scraps of paper, glitter and fabric everywhere, I decided to try a different approach, and go with an illustrated design. I had a few others, but these turned out the best when combined with my crappy printer.

Maybe next year I'll even get my act together, sort out decent printing, and get them on Etsy (which was my original plan).

Merry Christmas from Mr Reindeer and Snowy the Squirrel!

Friday, 9 December 2011

Weekend Projects: Tree Hearts & Puddings

Best carried out with a bunch of festive tunes, here's my Spotify playlist if you can't be bothered to compile your own - CHRISTMAS Playlist. Lemme know if I've missed any crackers! (pun intended)

I made these last year and can't wait to get them out again this weekend once we've been to pick out our tree. They're pretty simple and cheap to make, all you need is;
  • Ribbon
  • Brown felt (for the pudding)
  • Cream fabric (the the pudding sauce - I just used the same for the hearts)
  • Gold beads
  • Coloured thread
  • Stuffing
Obviously, use whatever fabric and ribbon patterns you want to match your own decor.

Make yourself a few stencils, something simple like these will do.
Pin them to your fabric, and cut out. Each decoration with need two cut outs, so once you have a pair, pin them together. Pick out your matching thread and start sewing together, I used a blanket stitch around the edges to hold them together a bit better. Once you're need to the end, remember to take a break from the stitching to stuff them before finishing. 

For the puddings I stitched the cream piece onto one side of the pudding before sewing both circles together. I used a few gold beads dotted around, and added a loop of ribbon to the back.

The hearts also have one piece of looped ribbon on the back, and a small bowed stitched onto the front.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Dear Santa

Compling my letter to Santa Claus used to mean sitting for hours at the kitchen table with an Argos catalogue trying to decide which games, dolls and novelty items we wanted. As the illusion of our letters being swept up the chimney with a gust of wind faded, so did the carefully complied wish list. 

Christmas lists turned into a trip to the shops, to a scrap of paper passed around the family, to an email, to a few vague ideas across the phone. So this year I've taken back the fun of making my Christmas list. 

(Of course I'm going by the rule of providing plenty of options, with the expectation of receiving only a few... this is just my wishlist.) You never know, it might even give a few ideas of what to buy your own girlie, crafty friend/ sister/ daughter/ girlfriend/ etc.

Clockwise starting top left;
What's on your list this year?

Monday, 28 November 2011

Sneaky Peek - Chistmas designs

Excited to get my Christmas cards finished in good time for sending out this year. I still have a few more to draw out and pick my card colors, but here's a sneak peek!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Weekend Projects: Re-upholstered dining chairs

This is something I'd never had a reason to try before, but since we recently moved to an unfurnished house, we decided to take a trip to a local antiques & junk yard to find salvageable pieces to fill the dinning room. We thought it'd be fun to have four mismatched chairs and each decorate our own... and here is mine!

Being the cheapo that I am, I picked this one merely for the fact that we could get a pair for £5. Bargain! Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the original, salvaged chair, so you'll have to use your imagination - dark, chipped varnish with a sludgy green patterned seat, which probably wouldn't have been so awful, had it not been sat outside in the junk yard.

First off I sanded the whole thing down, dusted it off, then painted a base coat. I then spent an awfully long time wandering around the paint isles at B&Q, before picking out this Victorian 'Winchester Green'. 

The fabric I used to re-upholster the seat was found after rummaging around in the cut offs bin at my local fabric store - never under estimate the scraps! Luckily the original seat filling was still in good condition, so after pulling out the old staples and fabric, it was pretty simple to cover with my new material, folding the edges under to keep it tidy before stapling down.

We've also just acquired a pair Arts & Crafts style chairs, which I'm in the process of sanding, so stay tuned for the results of those. Enjoy your crafty weekends!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Weekend Projects: 'a' letter tote

My crafty friend, Alex Carruthers, always makes people the cutest birthday cards. So when I left it a little late to start on hers, I decided to make a belated birthday present instead. She's not one for fussy accessories, and lugging things around, so I went for a simple tote bag.

The letter 'a' is embroidered using crimson and dark plum coloured cotton, and is backed with two layers of fabric and appliqued onto the bag. I also made a little bow with left over fabric from my re-upholstered chair.

Monday, 31 October 2011

October Obsessions

Thought Catalog
So many honestly written articles which make me realise how I'm not alone in my twentysomething worries. Particularly 'How to make friends after you graduate' and 'Why everyone needs to just accept that they're a creeper on the internet'

The Grundy Art Gallery's current exhibition 'Mass Photography: Blackpool through the camera' is so worth a visit if you're in the area. Full of nostalgic images from the early 20th century British seaside to present day stag and hen hotspot, it makes Blackpool feel a lot more interesting.

Tim Brown - Blackpool Tram (1990)
Which leads me to...

I loved everything from the silky scorpion jacket to the brutal head crushing and synth pop soundtrack.

Decor Insipration
Apartment Therapy is so full of beautifully decorated rooms and jazzed up furniture. It's pretty much impossible to not find home interiors inspiration.

Getting cosy for winter with my new chunky knits courtesy of the Topshop sale. I'm going heavy on the darks and wine red.

I love these movie poster designs by Alien Corset, which I came across in the Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester.
Nosferatu seems rather fitting.

Tea of the Month
Roobios - OK I only bought it the other day, so it was a late entry to the month, but I feel it was a good purchase.

Happy Halloween!

Determined to make a decent effort this Halloween, I've gone all out on my pumpkin carving, with a full graveyard scene. I will be sad when the time comes to throw this baby out. 


As self entitled 'head of decorations' for our Halloween party, I also made a huge family of bats and mice cut from bin liners to invade the house, along with plenty of spiderwebs and creepies for the bookshelves.

I'm now looking forward to cooking up a treat from all the leftover pumpkin insides...Pumpkin and pecan pie?!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Apparently it's National Cupcake Week. I had big plans to bake a batch of Earl Grey & lemon cupcakes, but alas, I no longer have a cake tray/tin thing, so I've had to settle on a measly - but oh so tasty - stash of cornflake cakes. The lack of hassle and longer life actually makes them all the better.

BUT, I thought this is a pretty good excuse to share the perfect cupcake recipe which I discovered after a trip to St. Andrews a few months back, where Hannah took my to Bibi's Bakery. I try to make an effort to sample cakes on every visit to a new place - mearly in the interest of research purposes of course - and have to say, this place currently takes first spot on my list.

Bibi's Vanilla Cupcakes, Butter Cream and Chocolate Orange recipe - pay attention to the tips as well, always handy for future baking sessions!

Vanilla Rose Cupcakes

P.s. The butter cream is insanely good. I could eat it alone. No lie. 

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Fear and Loathing

...Marina & the Diamonds.

When I was in early high school, maybe Yr 7, we were asked to write about our ambitions and how we saw our future.

Amongst other things, I wrote about a bakery that I was going to open. I was going to pay my workers £10 an hour. I thought that was pretty reasonable, all things considered. I would smell fresh cake an bread all day every day, and wear a pretty litter bakers hat and pinny.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Been Better

She's quickly becoming a new fave.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Walk Through Walls

...Kyla La Grange.

I always appreciate photos of other peoples homes, seeing all the little nic-nacs they've accumulated, lovingly displayed as part of the décor. It generally fills me with a mix of envy and inspiration, along with a gentle reassurance, knowing that my favourites are a combination of cheap finds and a bit of D.I.Y. that I can copy.

While I don't have the cute country cottage, or rough walled NYC style loft, we've spend the past few months trying to make a modern Ikea furnished flat feel a bit more like a home, with a touch of floral, a few antique finds and hand made bits and bobs.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Lady Daydream

...Twin Sister

I've been having a bit of a play around with various materials lately, taking inspiration from the likes of illustrators Kelly Smith aka Birdy & Me and Caroline Andrieu of Do you like my tight sweater?. Armed with a pencil, copy of Lula and a scanner, I started with the beautiful Eva Mendes, attacking her with a paintbrush and sewing machine.

Scans are a bit naff, but then my scanner is from last century. Literally.




Friday, 15 April 2011

I'm Sleeping in a Submarine

...Arcade Fire

I may be a bit late here, but hey, why break a life long tradition. Submarine may well have stopped showing in cinemas, as it only had a limited release, but if you get chance I'd say give it a watch. I liked it a lot. Particularly the sparklers.

Also - since I've been rather slacking with my blogging, I missed mentioning a lot of other films that I saw around the beginning of the year which were also rather great. So yeah, if you like good stuff (defined by the same as what I like) Alex also recommends;

Blue Valentine - yeah, it's kinda depressing, but it depends who you're empathising with. I watched it with the view that, yeah she [Michelle Williams' character] is right and justified. When I'd finished debating this with Sherree (who thought she was a bitch), I had a realisation that he [Ryan Gosling's character] may have unknowingly slipped into this situation, which can also easily be done. I hope I do not also slip into that accidental comfort. (This will make sense once watched)

The Kings Speech - it was genuinely a good film. Aside from which, I particularly liked the composition of the shots in the speech therapist's room. Yes, this was one of my actual thoughts while watching it - can't shake off those film analysis classes just yet!

127 Hours - I saw two grown men who were sat separately in the theatre turn away as he attacks his arm. I saw this because I was also half watching through my fingers. But that was really the only gorey part, the sunny setting, little stories and funky soundtrack made it much more bright and enjoyable than I was expecting. (I hadn't watched any trailers)

True Grit - MATT DAMON. It's cool, he can carry off the southern accent.

The Fighter - I just like Mark Wahlberg okay? I think he's good. His character was a bit quieter than his usual, which is fine, I particularly liked all the white trash talk from the female family members.

The end. Can you tell I don't read many film reviews?

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Sometimes I tie a hair to a piece of lint and I drag it around.

Marcel the Shell with shoes on. Dir. by Dean Fleischer-Camp

I saw this the other day along with a collection of other shorts one evening at Flatpack Festival. By far my favourite, I watched it again last night and I. Just. Love. It.

Thursday, 3 March 2011


... Warpaint.

Last post... 5 January!? Insanee.

This no internet thing is not doing my blog any favours. Add to those New Year resolutions - write drafts in Word ready to post. It's not like I don't have anything to say, I'm just writing them in my head and forgetting that I haven't actually posted anything.

In the meantime, here are a few photos from a recent trip to Brighton (it was our 1 year, awwww). Weather was v. windy and grey and cold - but it was great. Being used to miserable looking seaside towns I was quite prepared to get wrapped up, plus the fact that Brighton is so cute with all its independent shops, antique stores and cafes in pastel painted town houses made the greyness irrelevant.

(warning, there are no cute pastel pictures just yet, only grey. Little Dianna still needs to finish her film.)

Brighton Pier
Brighton lanterns

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

I Belive in Nothing

...Vivian Girls

As the last post suggests, I had intended to carry on with my homemade Christmassy crafts, with my tree decorations, snowflake and candy cane wrapping and cards, buuuut I kept forgetting and before I knew it, Christmas had been and gone, so to post now would seem rather wasted. Still, it means I have a nice dose of fresh material to crack out next year. Boom.

After a brief trip home for Christmas and catching up with old friends, I was back in B'ham in time for NYE celebrations. A change from the usual disappointment offered by new years in Blackpool, this year I opted to let the evening sort itself, and so I entered 2011 doing shots of tequila in a cosy tapas restaurant in Kings Heath before heading over to Selly Oak for party times.

At this point there is the inevitable question of new years resolutions, which I've never really made a habit of making, since I know that if we're really truly honest, I will break them. All my years in education I began the year with 'do work as soon as you get it', yet there I was with my final ever handin, left until last minute in the most spectacular fashion to date.

Now with a life free from deadlines and essays I'm making a few resolutions/ general things to make the most of being young.
  • Spend less. Seems obvious, but this definitely needs to happen in order for the others to even have a shot...
  • Learn to drive. Figured waiting for the right time might mean I'll be married with kids living in the suburbs before I can drive myself around.
  • Start a new course. Just because I'm no longer a full time student, doesn't mean I want to give up learning. In my quest to make up for ditching art, I have enrolled on a weekly textiles class. I start next week.
  • Sunbathe. I want a sun, sea, sand & pool holiday, it's been too long.
  • Travel to more UK cities. Bristol & Brighton are top of my list. Also must make use of student friends while they last. Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield & St. Andrews - I'm coming for you.
  • Travel someplace new and interesting. 2009 I did Toronto & NY, 2010 I manged Beijing. Where next??
  • Paris. There was talk of a group hosteling trip to Paris over summer. I would like this to happen.
  • Take more photos & learn to develop.