Tuesday, 25 November 2014

DIY Family Initial Artwork

DIY family initial artwork
I found this large ceramic letter 'P' at a car boot sale, it also happens to be my family's surname initial. Meet the Procters.

As P's go, it was quite cute anyhows, but I did think I could probably do something a bit more creative with it. 

So here's a really quick and simple DIY, it can be done in 30 minutes or less, even if you're not all that crafty.

You'll need:
  • A3 Clip Frame
  • Your letter (mine was ceramic, but you could use a cardboard one, available from places like hobbycraft - and then you can paint/spray it any colour you like)
  • Some strong glue, I used polycell adhesive, and that P ain't budging anywhere!
  • Wallpaper or giftwrap of your choice
  • Scissors/cutting knife
To make it:
    • Simply glue your letter to the outer glass of your clip frame, and hold it in place to dry. I just popped some heavy books of the top and left it while I got on with the rest
    • Cut your chosen paper to size
    • Once your letter is stuck solid to the glass, you can pop your frame back together
    • And voila!
    What I love about this piece, is that I can change it up whenever I fancy, just by changing the paper inside. What a versatile bit of artwork.

    If you decide to give it a go, hope you have fun!

    Monday, 24 November 2014

    4 of the best Christmas Gift Wrap 2014

    4 of my favourite Christmas Gift Wraps available for Christmas 2014
    I have a confession. I'm a gift wrapaholic.

    So much so, that this year, I've not been able to get on with any Christmas shopping yet as I've been held up by my inability to choose the perfect gift wrap theme.

    For me, the wrapping process is almost as important as the present itself. It doesn't matter how many presents I have to wrap, I go the whole yard with each and every single present, full ribbons, bows, you name it, it may take me 75 hours to get it all done, but I still do it... every. single. year.

    If you're like me and can't bear your presents naked, then we should start a club.

    Here are my shortlisted favourite 4 Christmas gift wraps I've seen so far:
    1. Deluxe Polka Dot Wrap from Next
    2. Kraft wild stags 3m roll wrapping paper from Paperchase
    3. Keep Cosy This Christmas Wrapping Paper by SOPHIA VICTORIA JOY
    4. Copenhagen Doors Gift Wrap from John Lewis
    Have you seen any gorgeous wrapping paper I've missed? 

    ps. eek! I think the polka dot gift wrap from Next may have won for me this year... Hope they still have some in stock!

    Sunday, 23 November 2014

    FREE printable rise & shine print

    Download my Rise & Shine poster FREE here

    It hasn't stopped raining here ALL DAY... how miserable.

    But it is England. And rain does happen quite a lot, so to cheer us all up and give us a little bit of motivation on those dull mornings I've designed a Rise & Shine print to raise our spirits. And it's available for you to download and print out for FREE! As a little thank you to you guys :-)

    Simply follow the link below, download the file, open the pdf and print it out.

    I'd suggest using a thin nice bright white card. I can't guarantee exactly how it will print out on your printer as they are all different but it should look something like the one in the image above!

    It's A4, but if you click the box that says 'fit to page' if you have it as an option, that should give you a nice even margin on most desk top printers. (It will enlarge well if you have an A3 printer.)

    And then pop it in a nice simple A4 frame (or whatever size you print it at) and you're good to go.

    Download the file now!

    I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday! If you do download and frame the print, please do tweet me a picture of it in place in your home, I'd love to see it!

    Saturday, 22 November 2014

    How to make your home cosy for Winter

    I use a LOT of candles and lighting around my home to create a warm and cosy feel in Winter

    As the nights draw in and the weather gets a bit crisper, I like to make my home super cosy. I discovered it's quite difficult to photograph candles and lights (as you can see above) but you get the idea. I use a LOT of candles and fairy lights around my home. A mixture of real candles and battery operated ones are ideal.

    And I don't care if my husband refers to the place as looking like a church, which he does, most days. I don't even care that it takes me about 25 minutes to switch everything off every night before I go to bed. It's cosy and that suits me.

    It doesn't suit my 7 year old son however, who I found stripped down to his pants earlier today as he was 'melting' apparently. Okay, maybe I need to reign in the cosiness just a little bit.

    If you're looking for ways to make your home more cosy this Christmas, here are some of the tricks of the trade that I use:

    Textured soft furnishings
    By using lots of different textures in your soft furnishings, it creates a cosy feel. Think fluffy, furry, velvet, knitted, all look great together and add warmth. And you can never have too many cushions and throws.

    All from Matalan available here
     Quilted Velvet Throw from IDYLL HOME LTD

    Low lighting
    Lights are key to a cosy atmosphere. Low lighting like lamps and my favourite, fairy lights. Remember, fairy lights are not just for Christmas.

    Fairy lights from QVS

    Plush shaggy rugs
    Rugs like the one pictured below are simply gorgeous. How welcoming does that look? I can imagine a nice romantic scene, a roaring log fire, all snuggled up on the rug. Until you realise the sofa is actually more comfortable than the floor, unless you're 4.

    Plush shaggy rugs from therugseller.co.uk

    Scented, non-scented it doesn't really matter. Candles come into their own in the run up to Christmas. And there's no better way to create a cosy home. So long as it's not too cosy, they are quite a fire hazard after all and particularly dangerous with young children around, so another option is battery operated candles. I have loads of these and I love them. The ones I have flicker and glow, just like real candles, I got them from Dunelm Mill for next to nothing.

    ‘Winter’ candles from The White Company

    So before you reach for the dial on your thermostat this year, it's always worth seeing where else you can add some warmth to your home. You'll save some money in the long run.

    Do you use any other tricks to make your home cosy?

    Friday, 21 November 2014

    Chevron Love

    I'm in love with my Chevron rug from Next
    I'm absolutely obsessed with the chevron print but was a bit disappointed that stores in the UK didn't seem to be picking up on the chevron trend quite so much as in other countries.

    Well hats off to Next Home. I couldn't believe my eyes when they tweeted a picture of their chevron rug the other day and I just had to pick one up. It's available in a few different sizes, but I went for the hall runner (pictured above and below in my hallway), at only £40 I thought it was a bit of a bargain!

     If, like me, you're lovin' the chevron, I've done a quick round up for a chevron shopping list:
    1. Chevron cushion covers, Ebay Find them here
    2. Chevron Lampshade, Love Frankie Find it here
    3. Chevron Rug, Next Find it here
    4. Chevron A6 Travel Journal, Sparrow & Wolf Find it here
    5. Chevron mugs, Tonder & Tonder Find them here
    6. Chevron Photo Frame, House of Fraser Find it here
    7. Chevron fabric storage basket, Etsy Find it here
    Happy chevron shopping lovelies!

    Thursday, 20 November 2014

    Christmas Colour Palettes 2014: Mulberry

    Tonight, is our little town's CHRISTMAS LIGHT SWITCH ON!

    Thousands of us turn up, wrapped up all warm and cosy. Beautiful Christmas craft stalls line the streets, chestnuts roast on an open fire… we've even got penguins and reindeer to pet!
    And then it's the build up, a local celebrity appears, there's a big countdown AND BOOM! The lights go on.

    Okay, so it's usually a bit of an anti-climax, sometimes the lights don't even work, but for me and our family it marks the real start of Christmas.

    So whilst I'm in the Christmas spirit, I've been looking at some gorgeous colour palettes for Christmas decorating.

    Starting with this Mulberry Christmas Colour Palette… I'm seriously tempted with this and I LOVE the hanging baubles over the table - what a fab idea! (And I'm sure it would only be slightly annoying when you're talking over the table)

    From housetohome.co.uk
    What colour palette are you thinking of for Christmas 2014?

    Wednesday, 19 November 2014

    How to upcycle a stool for a childs room

    I was on the hunt for a mini-makeover project recently, and came across a perfectly fine, but a 'little bit boring in my book' black stool in my son's bedroom.

    Immediately I knew I wanted to jazz it up a bit, so I set to work and I made this (above) all with my very own actual hands.

    It was so easy to do, I highly recommend giving it a go this weekend.

    You will need:
    • A stool (or actually could be any small piece of furniture like a bedside table) This stool was £3 from Dunelm Mill
    • Sand paper
    • Comic
    • Scissors
    • Paintbrush
    • PVA glue
    How to make it:
    • Prep your item, give it a good clean all over and very lightly 'key' with sandpaper so the glue can stick better
    • Cut up your comic in to lots of individual pieces (not too big pieces). I cut out whole strips of the stories to put in the background and then a few things like logos from the comic to put on the top
    • Apply glue to the stool surface using your paintbrush, doing a section at a time so it doesn't dry out too quickly and then stick down each piece of comic, slightly overlapping all the edges
    • Once all the pieces are stuck down, paint over the top with more glue this will help flatten any edges and blend it all together
    • Finally, stick down the comic logos on the top, I used The Beano. Classic.
    • Generously apply another layer or two of PVA, it will dry completely clear but act as a seal.
    • Alternatively once it's all dry you could add a layer of varnish for extra protection
    And ta da! It's done

    Tuesday, 18 November 2014

    Perk of the job: Graphic Design

    Being a graphic designer isn't always quite as glamorous as some people think it is.

    It's ruddy good fun, and I'm so pleased it's what I do for a living, but for many designers, myself included, a lot of the work can be a bit mundane and corporatey.

    A perk of the job though is that your friends think you are 'da best' when you offer to do their personal stationery like wedding stationery. I've done A LOT of my friends wedding invites, here's two that I could lay my hands on – both match the themes of their weddings perfectly.

    I'll no doubt show you some graphic design work as I go along, as well as the home stuff and crafts... in fact I may even produce some free printable prints as that's something I make for my own home all the time. So keep a look out if you like funky prints round the home!

    In other news, I'm having a hair cut tonight. I've had long hair for like ever and tonight I may well be going for the big chop! Wish me luck.

    Monday, 17 November 2014

    How to upcycle a printer tray

    So this happened. 

    One morning I woke up and decided I really needed to upcycle a printer tray... as you do.

    I don't know about you, but once an idea like this hits me, I need to act on it pretty quick or else I lose interest quicker than you can say 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' and not that I'm one for boasting... but I can say that Pretty. Darn. Quick*.

    I jumped on ebay and this little bad boy was bidded on and bought within the hour.

    When it arrived, after I let out a few ermahgerd's and other choice expletives, I set to work:
    • Sanding down (lots of)
    • Hoovering up (lots of)
    • Painting white (lots of)
    • Watching paint dry (...ZZzz...)
    • More painting white
    • More watching paint dry (...ZZzz zzzzzzz...)
    • Yet more painting white
    • Sanding down AGAIN for an aged effect
    • More hoovering
    • PAINSTAKINGLY measuring and cutting out tiny squares of black and white stripey gift wrap
    • Gluing 1 million(ish - I can't be sure but it felt like it) pieces of black and white stripey gift wrap to each individual cubby hole back
    • Stand back and admired handy work (followed by 4 days of back ache and numb fingers)

    It's true. This was hours and hours of my life I'll never get back, but I was really pleased with the result.

    It's a piece for my home that's completely unique to me, and actually trying to fill it with little trinkets is quite fun. It's nowhere near full, but it's getting there.

    Here's how it looks now, semi full:

    Have you ever tried to upcycle a printer tray? Let me know how you got on :-)

    *ps. less than two seconds in case you're wondering!

    Sunday, 16 November 2014

    8 of the best advent calendars for Christmas 2014

    A long, long, long time ago, when I was a child... (okay so we're not talking Bethlehem era, but you get the idea, it was a while back) advent calendars were pretty basic. And there wasn't much choice.

    Roll on a few years (quite a few years if you're being picky) and now there are a whole host of amazing advent calendars. I don't know if people have just got more creative or if it's just that the internet has opened up world of creativity we never knew existed. Either way, we're spoilt for choice for advent calendars.

    Here are 8 of my favourites I've seen this year, actually all of these are available to buy on notonthehighstreet.com, or you can use them as inspiration!









    I hope you enjoy looking through this gorgeous little lot of inspiring advent calendars. I know my kids absolutely love the build up of Christmas which all kicks off with the official opening of day one. Let me know in the comments if you've seen any others that have taken your fancy!