Wednesday, 31 October 2012

diy tealight jars

here's a super simple diy project perfect for the darker evenings! i was collecting some jars for a project that has since been abandoned, but thought that this would be a great way to recycle them and add to the flat. they are also great because pixel can't try and attack the flame! 

so if you'd like to make your own diy tealight jars, here's how i did it :)





Sunday, 28 October 2012

the october diy challenge- halloween nail art

the final week in the diy october challenge is here! this week erin and i challenged each other to come up with some halloween nail art, and even though the internet is crammed with hundreds of ideas and tutorials, here are my own versions. 
i've tried to break my designs up into difficulty levels, with these first five being the easiest. all you need to achieve any of these looks is your chosen varnishes, a sponge for the gradient nails, and either a nail art pen or dotting tool for the spots and stripes. the blood spatter is my favourite design (& obviously very dexter inspired!) and all i did here was soak a cotton bud in nail varnish remover and swirled it over the top of a layer of red nail varnish. 

the second five designs are supposed to represent a spooky night time scene, and took the longest out of all the designs. i have this nail dotting/brush set which is great, and mainly used the smallest brush for each design. these were really hard to photograph as it's meant to be a night time scene, so in case you can't make them out, from left to right we have: a cat in a tree, a ghost, two vampire bats, a full moon and starry sky, and some gravestones. 

these final five are probably my favourite; they aren't too tricky and are all really effective- i haven't decided which ones to go for on my nails yet though! 
i again used a very fine brush for the pumpkin/skull features and the cobweb, though i think you could easily just use a cuticle stick or pin head if you don't have nail art tools. i posted about the technique for marbled nails here, and it's by far the best way i've ever done it- so easy! i also used my glitter gal holographic nail varnish for the cobweb which i think works really well- i think it would also look great for the skull. 

and there we have it, the last in our month of diy challenges! i hope you've enjoyed mine and erin's collaboration, it's been so much fun coming up with different challenges, and has definitely kept me inspired. thank you erin! and click here to see what she has come up with this week!



Thursday, 25 October 2012

today

a beautiful gift that i was lucky enough to win from olivia's amazing blog
currently hanging in pride of place on my bedroom wall, though i feel a little sorry for all my other bags that have been put to one side (i love you all really bags, promise).

i've been having a pretty melancholy week- hence the lack of blog posts- but hopefully i'll perk up in time for my last october diy challenge this weekend, and get myself back into the swing of things. 

i'll leave you all with this little phone shot of pixel i took at the weekend. 
she's now 6 months old, has just been spayed (it didn't bother her one little bit!) and is the cheekiest, most loving kitten i've ever known. i honestly can't imagine my life without her. i also can't believe how much she's changed! 




Sunday, 21 October 2012

the october diy challenge- halloween cupcakes

after possibly the worst day of baking i've ever had, here are my halloween cupcakes! thankfully they taste amazing, but you know when you have those days where it just feels like one thing after another? it has been like that! 

anyway, for this week's challenge, i wanted to create three different designs for my cupcakes- monster themed, death by chocolate, and meringue ghosts. the basic cupcake recipe is my holy grail recipe, and then i just edited each design accordingly. 

cupcake ingredients:
(makes 12 cupcakes)
125g butter
125g caster sugar
125 self-raising flour 
2 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk
pinch of salt

to make:
beat the butter until softened, then add the sugar and combine. then add the flour, salt, eggs, milk and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. divide the mixture between 12 cupcake cases and bake for 10-15 minutes at 190c until golden and springy. 

for these meringue ghost cupcakes, simply divide your cake mixture and add orange colouring to one half and cocoa powder to the other. spoon alternate mixtures into the cupcake cases (and swirl for a more marbled effect!)
the meringue ghosts were made using a standard meringue recipe, then piped in circles onto baking paper. i then stuck two pieces together using melted chocolate, and added some chocolate drop eyes. the chocolate frosting is amazing, and the recipe can be found here

for the monster cupcakes, simply add green food colouring to your cupcake mixture. once baked, scoop out a small hole in the top of the cupcakes and fill with jam. then top with buttercream coloured with orange food colouring. the edible toppers are simply made from melted chocolate piped onto baking paper with cocktail sticks placed underneath.

the death by chocolate cupcakes are definitely my favourite, but beware they really are intense! for these, add cocoa powder to your cupcake mixture; you may need to add more milk to get a smoother consistency. then top with the same chocolate frosting as used above, and finish with white chocolate cobwebs and a spider made in the same way as the edible toppers. 

next week is the last week for the diy october challenge and erin and i are challenging each other to create halloween nail art ideas! click here to see what erin has made this week, and don't forget to tweet/comment with any photos if you try the diy's out :)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

filofax

anyone who has been reading my blog for a while might remember this post about the diary i was given last christmas. it has been a bloody good diary and i have clearly overstretched its limits- i only admitted defeat a few weeks ago when half of the (bound) pages fell out. oops.
so, i needed a replacement diary, and i don't say need lightly- i can't remember anything anymore unless i write it down. i re-read that particular post and found the line about hating the filofax i'd been using the previous year. oh how wrong i was (and to be fair, it wasn't actually a filofax, just a similar organiser).



i became a little obsessed searching for a new diary and discovered a world of filofax/organisational/stationery obsessed bloggers who pretty much sold the filofax to me there and then. through the philofaxy blog, i managed to find someone selling their filofax pocket finchley, so i bit the bullet and bought it.

when it arrived, i spent a while making some of my own inserts for it (i knew all those indesign workshops at uni would come in handy!) my own tabs, and dymo-labelling as much of it as i possibly could.

and here it is! i think i've rambled on for long enough now so i'm going to let the photos do the talking :)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

the october diy challenge- halloween crackers

for this weeks challenge, erin asked me to make trick or treat sweet bags inspired by all things spooky.
i decided to twist the idea of trick or treat bags with good old crackers! i love crackers at christmas, and thought having halloween themed ones would be a really nice trick or treat prize; i'd love to give these out to kids!

i tried to keep the design of these quite simple and spooky, but there is really no limit to what you come up with, the possibilities literally are endless. 





































1. what you need- black & white a4 paper, 3 toilet tubes (per one cracker) doilies and cracker snaps (i bought mine here).
2. wrap the black sheet of paper around a toilet tube and find your centre front point- mark with a pencil and then sketch out your chosen design. 
3. cut out your design remembering to keep any centre pieces- in this case the eyes and teeth.
4. cut a piece of the doily edging to the size of your design, and cut to the same shape. 
5. lay your black paper over the white piece and trace the design onto the white paper. glue your doily piece into place.
6. glue the black paper onto the white piece, and then glue the centre pieces on. 
7. use masking tape to secure your cracker snap in place to one of the toilet tubes.
8. line the toilet tubes up to the edge of your paper, making sure the cracker snap is tucked into the outer tubes. glue the paper edge the width of the centre tube only.
9. wrap the paper around your tubes and glue in place at the end. 
10. tie one end of your cracker- pull the outer toilet tube out slightly so that you can feel for the groove between that and the centre tube. using ribbon/string tie in place until the end is closed and the outer tube is removed.
11. now it's time to add your sweets/prizes; i went for some spooky (& very tasty) sweets and of course some chocolate buttons. i also added some "cobwebs" at each end.
12. tie the other end in place in the same way as step 10, and that's it! i also added a little orange tag with trick or treat on it as a finishing touch.



i gave the cobweb design to j and his brother to test and it went down very well! the cracker snap was brilliant and i think the cobwebs definitely added to the effect. click here to see what erin has made this week :)

next week our challenge is based around baking, and erin and i have decided to challenge each other to create spooky halloween cupcakes! 

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

olive

top:h&m skirt:f&f tights:gift hat:charity shop necklaces:sawyer&scout/gift

i bought this hat on my last visit to the isle of wight. i love it, though it still hasn't seen a successful outing thanks to the crazy winds in brighton. 
does anyone have any tips for hat wearing in super blustery weeather?! or are hat pins still the best way forward? i'd love to hear any tips!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

the october diy challenge- halloween wreath

so here it is, my first diy for the october diy challenge! erin challenged me to make a halloween wreath and it was so much fun! i've never made a wreath before but love the variety of ways you can make them. 
to add to erin's challenge, i personally wanted to spend as little as possible on the project (thrifty until the end!) and i think i've done pretty well at using loads of different materials. 

my diy for this wreath is probably best to be used as a guideline- it will obviously depend on what materials you have lying around or what you'd like to buy. 
i'm hoping that the photos will speak for themselves, but if you need to know any more then just leave me a comment and i'll try to help :)

what you need & tips: 
- a foam craft hoop (remember these swimming tubes? i bought one from the 99p store when we first got pixel for her to chew on, so i used what was left to create my hoop!)
- base fabric to cover the hoop; i used the hessian i received in the crafty creatives box two for a natural, autumnal look.
- potpourri; from the wreaths i looked at for inspiration, i saw a lot of potpourri used amongst ivy and other greenery. the best thing about the potpourri i used is that it was again from the 99p store and also contained super appropriate pieces for this wreath- a (poison) apple and a skull shaped piece that i painted eyes and teeth onto.
- fabric scraps; these can be anything, and a good way to inject colour to the wreath- i went for green and black netting cut into thin strips, some gold cotton, paper twine and orange wool. i also used white netting and lace for the ghost (the ghost is as simple as covering a cotton ball/bouncy ball etc. with the lace and tying with an elastic band!).
- cobwebs; i swear you can buy cobweb decorations every year, but this year i couldn't find any! i improvised and pulled apart some scraps of very fluffy white wool i had.
- cocktail sticks; i painted some of these black to attach to the paper bats and also used them to attach the potpourri pieces to the wreath- it helps to stick a piece of foam to the potpourri if the cocktail stick won't go through! 

i hope you like the results of my first challenge! click here to see what erin made :)

next week our challenge is based around papercrafts, so i challenge erin to create origami trick-or-treat goodie boxes. 
click here to see what erin has challenged me to make!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

the october diy challenge



for a while now, erin and i have been talking about working together on some diy projects.
we decided to set each other diy challenges, and as it's now october, what better way to start this venture than to use halloween as our inspiration.

each week throughout october we will announce a new challenge on each of our blogs and then post about our creations including the step-by-step diy at the end of the week so you can make your own versions.

we're hoping to learn some new crafty skills whilst sharing our halloween inspiration with you all- and don't forget, if you decide to make any of our diy's, tweet or email us a pic as we'd love to see them!

for week one we will be making decorations and i am challenging erin to create some spooky ghosts made using only recycled materials!
click here to see what erin has challenged me to make!

(for my cobweb nail art diy from 2011 click here, and to purchase erin's skull necklace click here)