Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Eight & Sixteen in December

It's been wonderfully festive over at Eight & Sixteen this month! If you missed out on any of our Christmassy DIY's, don't forget to keep them saved for next year; it's never too early to get organised!

I've taken some time out from the internet over the Christmas period, but to anyone reading, I hope you've had a great time with loved ones and are enjoying some time off. I know I sure needed some time out from everything and being surrounded by my family has been perfect.
Unfortunately I'm now fighting off a terrible cold, so it's going to be a week of rest for me! Here's to a happy and healthy 2015 <3

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Crafting: Handmade Baby Presents

This Christmas will be the first for my beautiful niece, and I've been so excited to make her presents. I wanted to make things to keep, but that would also be practical - and luckily the internet is full to the brim with patterns and tutorials.
All of these presents have been made thanks to the help of the patterns linked above, and I would whole heartedly recommend them; thank you to the wonderful creators for sharing them!

The bibs were really quick to make and I'm hoping that they will prove useful; they have a super soft fleecy back for meal times, and then can be flipped and kept on for maximum cuteness!
The bear hat is a little nod to my sister who pulls off animal hats better than anyone I know, so I thought I'd knit my niece one so that they can match.
And finally the bunny toy is a little keepsake that I'm hoping will stick around for a good few years. I'd love to make some clothes for it too - maybe as my niece grows I can make them matching outfits!

It's been a lot of fun making these presents and I really hope my niece (and let's be honest my brother and partner!) likes them, I'm so excited for Christmas now <3

Friday, 19 December 2014

Crafting: Taking on Upholstery - Behind the Scenes

Firstly, apologies for the dodgy lighting in these photos! As it turns out, J and I became quite obsessed with this chair project, and spent most evenings working on it together resulting in drab winter lighting and hastily taken snaps before we carried on causing chaos!

Anyway, one of the most useful things I found in all my online searching for reupholstering a chair was the abundance of photos. I don't think I found a single DIY or post anywhere that showed the same chair twice, but it turned out that I could piece together a pretty good idea of how to do this chair from several other styles.

So with that in mind, I can only show you these photos and the tips that we learnt along the way, but this is by no means a how to!

1. Don't be overwhelmed! This photo shows the underside of the chair after removing the dust cover, and though it looked like a crazy mess, we just had to take it one step at a time.

2. Have patience, and lots of it. You will remove more staples than you ever thought possible. I read this so many times, and still couldn't quite believe it. Removing the old fabric can be frustrating - especially if you're trying to preserve it to use as a template for your new fabric - no ripping it off willy nilly!

3. I found making the cushion the easiest part of the chair - back in my comfort zone with my beloved sewing machine! I unpicked the original cushion and used the pieces as templates for the new fabric, and even used the original zip as it was still perfectly functional and the colour was neutral.

4. Buy a good staple gun! Ahhh possibly the biggest lesson of all for us! My staple gun just wasn't up to the challenge, and if you were to take the chair apart again now you'd see all sorts of wonky stapling. But, we did get there, and I now know why so many Youtube videos show people using hard core power tools!

5. Double welt piping is pretty neat. I'd already made piping for the cushion cover, so was resentful at having to make more - especially double welt as it takes a while! Saying that though, it comes together really easily, and man it looks good once glued into place! The amount of ugly stapling and general wonkiness it covers is amazing.

6. Tack everything into place before you commit to stapling. We took this part pretty seriously, and even pinned the wadding on perfectly before stapling it into place. It takes time but is worth it - the inside curve of the back was a nightmare to get right and we probably re-pinned it half a dozen times.

7. You know I mentioned more staples than you could imagine? This is the second bowl full of what we removed. If you reupholster a chair, you will hate staples by the end of it. I know I do.

8. And finally, if you own a pet, don't ever expect to enjoy your finished project! As I mentioned at the beginning of this project, Pixel claimed the chair as soon as I got it home, and throughout this DIY she's been pretty grumpy. When the final staple was in place, she wasted no time in taking the chair back, and I can count on one hand the times I've been able to sit in it in peace!

I can't wait to show you the finished chair now - check back soon for a cliched (but totally necessary) before and after post :)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Jolly Journal: Giveaway!

A few months ago I was contacted by Stylefruits to see if I would like to contribute to their festive project "The Jolly Journal".
For anyone spending their first Christmas away from home or on a tight budget, the journal is full of thrifty recipes from starters to desserts, DIY's for the home and alternative wrapping ideas.

There are some great recipes and tips in the journal, including two yummy recipes from Lauren and a cute DIY from my e&s partner Erin. You can check out the online version of the journal HERE, but I'm also giving away two copies just in time for Christmas!

This giveaway is UK only and will be open until Thursday so that I can send the winning copies out on Friday - good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 12 December 2014

Crafting: Christmas Wrapping

It appears to have become a tradition that every year I bring something new to the DIY wrapping table, but this year features a few old favourite ideas too.
As much as I try to convince myself to branch out, I just can't give up on good ol' brown paper; it looks good, it's cheap (you can buy a 10m roll from the stationery section in Poundland!) and it's super easy to customise.

This year I've kept things really simple and used a few of my favourite stamps to decorate my paper and gift tags, and then thrown some washi tape in for good measure. I've found a rhythm to stamping the paper and cut off large sections at a time to stamp, and then wrap back up until I need them.
To finish, I've got a mixture of green and black & white striped twines, and then finally some classic candy canes to adorn the twine bow.

It's funny, I absolutely love putting Christmas wrapping ideas together and spending time making customised paper etc. but in the end it all gets ripped off and thrown away! I've never understood expensive wrapping paper for that reason - this way might take a little longer, but it's much thriftier, much more fun and hopefully will bring a smile to peoples faces :)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Brighton Craftaganza & Hillarys Craft Event

The weekend before last I spent my Saturday doing all things crafty. First I headed down to Craftaganza to be swept away by the talent of local makers. I discovered loads of new goodies and caught up with some old favourites, above is just a small snippet of what was on offer!
I adore everything by Oh Someday and have made a little Christmas purchase from Kate for someone special who won't be named! It was also great to chat to Rosa of Katze Shop who's jewellery is a long time favourite of mine, and of course to catch up with the lovely Super+Super girls.
New (to me) makers included Lawrence Lathem who makes awesome upcycled lights, I like Cats because, well, cats, Beetle Cherry who has the most stunning prints and Rogue Saddler whose leather offerings were incredible.

Thanks to Lauren for the action shot!

After all that inspirational browsing (& shopping!) I headed off to Taj's Tea Parlour to spend the afternoon with lots of lovely bloggers. We had been invited along by Hillarys to get into the festive swing by making some Christmas decorations with the help of Make Do & Trend.
We started off simple with some bunting which was made by folding diamond shaped fabric pieces in half over string and glued into place. A great way to make bunting if you're not a fan of sewing! After a tea and biscuit break (big thanks to the Taj girls for the gluten free biscuits!), we then moved on to Christmas Baubles which were definitely a step up from the bunting! The amount of pins we used to create the fabric baubles was mad, but it was awesome learning a new technique and I got really into making mine!
The afternoon was so lovely and it was great catching up with bloggers old and new, though I didn't get to chat to half as many people as I'd have liked! To me there's nothing better than a crafting session with friends so this was a perfect afternoon for me.

Thank you to JoeBlogs and Hillarys for inviting me along, you guys are awesome :)

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

1Wall - Creative Collage Typography Wallpaper

This post is sponsored by 1Wall.
1Wall Creative Collage Typography Wallpaper c/o 1Wall HERE.

As someone who is a little obsessed with home interiors, I was pretty excited when I was offered the chance to try out this 1Wall Typography wallpaper.
Although J and I are currently renting, I think it's really important to try and make our living space as homely and "us" as possible, so this seemed like a great challenge.

Due to renting and owning a much smaller space than the examples that 1Wall provide, I had to compromise on a few things. First, using the wallpaper paste included was unfortunately not an option, and second, covering an entire wall just wouldn't work with the space I had.
So, I started brainstorming. The idea of using the wallpaper pieces as decals seemed like the best option - I could create a temporary feature wall that if I got bored of I could change, and I could also spread the wallpaper throughout the flat as opposed to sticking to one wall.

Luckily, the 1Wall wallpaper is perfect for these kinds of modifications. The set of 64 pieces contains the alphabet, numerals and punctuation that are all already cut to size and ready to work with.
I adore the layered collage style of this Typography set, and think that 1Wall have done really well in not creating something tacky. It's a bit of a bug bare of mine (and J's!) so I was relieved to see the detail and high quality of the wallpaper.

I decided to create this "Sweet Dreams" piece in the bedroom as this wall was completely bare and has always needed something. I tried not to be too pedantic about the positioning of the letters as I think it adds to the overall impact of the piece. You might not be able to tell from the photos, but the wallpaper pieces are big! This one phrase takes up most of the wall, and it really does pack a punch when you walk into the room.

I actually think that the wallpaper pieces could be used individually to create really stunning framed prints too - maybe your loved ones initials or a favourite expression!
The only issue I had with the set was the lack of duplicate letters - there are a few multiples (for example three T's) but only two E's which meant that I had to use the Euro sign for the E in Dreams. Not a huge deal, but depending on how you're using the set you might have to stock up on individual letters; luckily they can be bought separately from 1Wall.

I think my next room to tackle will be the kitchen - perhaps a nice cheesy pun to adorn the space above the dining table?! Despite the fact that this set is supposed to be used in a more permanent way, I've had great fun working around that to suit my situation, and think that I'll continue to create different features depending on my mood - I'm very tempted to buy a few duplicate letters to create a "Merry Christmas" piece for next month!

For the Typography range and all others available from 1Wall check out their site here, and you can use the code 'nuffnang15' until the end of January 2015 to receive 15% off your order!