Friday, 29 November 2013

crafting: a handmade christmas with not on the high street

all products above c/o not on the high street

it's no secret that wrapping presents is one of my favourite parts of christmas (or birthdays etc.). last year i was helping my brother wrap his presents on christmas eve and he even tried to make me wrap my own! tempting as it was i though that it was crossing a line!

when i was offered a choice of products from the |crafty christmas| section at not on the high street, i got pretty excited. it took me ages to choose from their selection, but i'm so chuffed with my choices and think they all work great together.

i had already started planning my wrapping style for this year, and bought these berries from this |ebay seller| and some cute red polka dot wrapping paper from |butlers| in the sale.

i then used the products from not on the high street in a mix and match style - starting off with the (eco) brown paper, and then layering the gold twine, washi tapes with the gift stickers and tags, and then adding my own dymo labels and berries on top.

i've got lots of presents to wrap yet, so i think it's gonna be really fun to experiment with different looks.

the snowflake wax seal and metallic waxes are definitely one of my favourite products. we all know i'm thinking of harry potter here, but oh man, it is so satisfying sealing christmas cards this way!

the final product featured above is the |stompstamps| personalised cookie cutter set, but i'm going to do a separate blog post about that full of festive baking; stay tuned :)

Saturday, 23 November 2013

duck & duffel: the perfect clutch kit

buy the kit |here|

remember |the perfect clutch| pdf pattern that i made a few months ago?
well, debbie from |duck & duffel| has taken my pattern and created these super amazing kits so that you can make your own clutch using her beautiful fabrics!

i'm so impressed with how good these kits look; debbie has put so much work into them and the fabric choices are totally drool worthy.

duck & duffel will be at |handmade christmas| at the o2 in london on the 13th/14th/15th december, so if you're planning on going then make sure to stop by. and if not, keep an eye on |debbie's blog| as she'll be running a giveaway for a ticket next week :)

Thursday, 14 November 2013

crafting: quilted christmas stockings

and there was me thinking i hadn't caught the quilting bug! after an evening browsing pinterest (as you do), i decided i wanted to try my hand at hand quilting something for my next project.
i'm not insane enough to attempt a whole quilt, but with christmas coming up i thought stockings would be a great start. j and i have always given each other stockings - mainly full of chocolate (me) and coffee (him) but the stockings we have are looking particularly sad; we've had them since we were 18!
the back up design for |my first quilt| was a chevron style that i loved, but was a little intimidated by, so for these stockings that's what i'm aiming for.

i rustled together any scrap fabric that i thought might possibly feel festive once sewn up, and once again was donated some gorgeous fabrics by |sarah| who is my quilty partner in crime.
i made up a little cardboard triangle template, and set to work chopping. i'm now sewing the pieces together whenever i can; the main plus point for me doing this by hand is that i can carry it around with me.

i'm planning on piecing everything together as a big rectangle, and then cutting out the stocking shape afterwards. who knows if that's a good way to do it.
i've also already bought some fabric for the backings - a size 20 knee length skirt in a perfect christmas red - so i'm really hoping that i'll somehow have these finished before christmas eve!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

diy: ways to revive second hand finds

following on from my last post about buying thrifty, i thought i'd show you two easy ways to revive your clothes.

the first is such an easy tip but can be the difference between keeping an item of clothing and getting rid of it, and all you need is a lint shaver. these gadgets are amazing - designed to de-bobble your clothes when they're looking a little worse for wear.

this dress was in the bargain rail of my local charity shop for 50p, and after inspection, the bobbles on one side of the dress were the only issue. it took me about 20 minutes to go over the whole thing, and it's made such a difference. the dress might not get much wear until the summer, but it's totally worth it for under a £1!

i spotted this top straight away because of the stripes (note to self: stop buying stripy things!) and despite it being a size 18-20, i tried it on anyway. i loved the oversized fit of the body, but the sleeves looked a bit stupid, so the
step-by-step below was my solution.

i've done this to loads of tops over the years and think it's a super easy way to customise your clothes to a fit you love.
you can also alter wide leg jeans in the same way to make skinny jeans - particularly helpful if standard skinny jeans are too baggy at the knee/too long etc.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

eco thoughts

flow chart image via |the note passer|

i've started, abandoned, deleted and re-started this post so many times i've lost count. it's going to be rambly, but i hope it makes some sort of sense. i'm not trying to rant or preach, and i'm not saying i have any answers, but it's just me thinking aloud.
for the last 2 years, i have had a pact with myself to buy second hand as much as possible and live as thrifty & eco friendly a life as possible. this has grown and changed over time and even though i've briefly touched on it before, i've never really explained myself and would like to try.

studying fashion design opened my eyes to the world of fast fashion, and i consequently interned for some awesome ethical brands which was amazing. i learnt about the processes from the conception of a design all the way through to hand sewing in care labels before they appeared in store. doing all of that ethically, in every aspect you can think of, is really, really hard. but it shouldn't be. these days when i stumble across an eco brand, or someone who actually specifies the manufacture of their clothing openly, i feel elated - but i hate the fact that these companies are in the minority because of the impacts of fast fashion.
but back to uni. so, i realised that i really cared about the impact i was having on the industry, and knew i wanted to change. i stopped shopping in high street stores - though i will openly admit that i didn't go cold turkey. any purchases i did make from the high street i thought about like in the flow chart above. any clothes prior to this decision i kept and wore until they were either threadbare or didn't fit, and from there i sent them to charity shops or recycled the material into craft projects etc.

second hand shopping had already become a huge love of mine at uni as we had to cut up clothing to reconstruct it and super cheap shirts are always a given in charity shops. there is nothing better than finding something in a charity shop or at a car boot sale that fits you perfectly, or that you really love, for such a small price. and then when you consider the fact that you are also giving to charity and recycling an item, it feels even better.
since uni, thrifty shopping has become the norm in my life, and i love nothing better than a saturday morning mooch never knowing what i'll find. some of my favourite clothes, bags and even furniture have been bought second hand, and i love that!

the amount of waste in the clothing industry makes me want to cry. the unfair working conditions and wages is even worse. it's wrong. it shocks me to think that so many people out there think that clothing is disposable - buying a dress for one night out and then binning it - why?! i don't know if people just don't think about where the clothes come from and who makes them, or if they just don't care. the factory collapse in bangladesh this year was another in a long line over recent years, and it's so so sad to see. i cannot even begin to articulate what goes on behind the scenes of fast fashion, but i will (again) recommend |"to die for: is fashion wearing out the world?" by lucy siegle| because it has opened my eyes so much. the consumerist world that we live in has sent the production and manufacture of fashion insane. it's a horrible, vicious cycle and i don't know how it will be solved. all i know is that i care about it, and i want to do whatever i can to change it. i'm aware that i have barely scratched the surface with so many of these issues, but i just wanted to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard?? doesn't quite have the same ring to it!).

if you want some inspiration for ethical shopping, |sadies wardrobe| is an amazing blog full of the best ethical brands and shops.
|moral fibres| is a newly discovered blog for me, but has tips on eco friendly living from the best ethical banks, to choosing the best tights.
and if you want inspiration for recycling and making your own clothes, |so zo, what do you know?| is a seriously inspiring blog. i am always bowled over with zoe's makes, and love how committed she is to having a "me-made" wardrobe.

i'd love to hear anyone else's thoughts on this, and i'm also thinking about compiling lists of my favourite ethical brands as well as favourite second hand shops in brighton. if you're interested in this then let me know :)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

my filofax week: october round up

this month is definitely up there as one of the hardest this year, i'm so relieved to see the end of it!
life got a little bit overwhelming, and after spending about 2 weeks with j trying to make too many decisions and stressing ourselves out, (i'm not trying to be mysterious, just keeping things simple!) we decided to take a break.
so, we booked a little getaway, and will be off to venice for a weekend in a few weeks, yay! here's to a stress free november :)