Autumn is one of my favourite seasons; I love the red-tinged light that washes over everything, and it gets me thinking about two of my favourite festive events – Halloween, and Christmas! Usually I like to carve a pumpkin for Halloween, but if you hate the goo and the mess, or you just fancy doing something a little bit different, here’s my round-up of the best DIY no-carve (painted) pumpkins.
For full DIY tutorials, check out these blogs:
1. DIY Pun-Kins, Studio DIY | 2. DIY Donut Pumpkins, Studio DIY | 3. DIY Emoji Pumpkins, Brit + Co | 4. Hand Painted Floral Pumpkin, Craftberry Bush | 5. DIY Tiny Message Pumpkins, Lovely Indeed | 6. DIY Hand-Painted Pumpkins, Simple as That | 7. DIY Paint Pen Pattern No Carve Pumpkins, Lovely Indeed | 8. DIY Mud Cloth Pumpkins, Homey Oh My | 9. Decoupage Paper Pumpkin, Brit + Co | 10. Balloon Dipped Pumpkin DIY, Paper & Stitch | 11. DIY Pumpkin Ice Cream Cone, Sugar and Charm
If you follow me on Instagram you might have already seen a few snaps of my latest DIY – a wooden planter for the dahlia on my front doorstep! My neighbour actually gave me the idea for the planter – she has an almost identical one in a dark lavender colour on her doorstep, and I got jealous.
Looking for something similar that would make my plastic-potted dahlia feel a little more welcome (and suave), I went on the hunt. On my first stop I found a ready-made wooden planter in Homebase. It looked great, but with a £24.99 price tag, I wasn’t quite prepared to part with the cash.
With a few hours left in the afternoon, I put the question to my boyfriend – “Can we make this?” In typical Jack style, he replied, “Yea”, and so we went around Homebase picking up the bits and pieces we needed to make it ourselves instead. We found cladding for £5.99, and some spruce for £6.
To make your own DIY wooden planter, you will need:
- 2x lengths whitewood spruce (33mm x 33mm x 1.8m)
- A pack of tongue-and-groove cladding
- Saw (for cutting the wood to length)
- Table saw / router (for creating the grooves)
- Screws and a screwdriver
- Some clamps
- Outdoor paint (We used Cuprinol Garden Shades in Malted Barley)
As it’s my birthday tomorrow (and I’ve got cake on the brain), I thought I would celebrate on the blog by sharing some of my favourite DIY cupcake toppers! From pin-wheels to pom-poms to clowns, these four toppers are bound to make your recipient smile, and you get to eat yummy cupcakes too!
For full DIY tutorials, check out these blogs:
1. Better Homes & Gardens, Upcycled Book-Page Pinwheel Cupcake Topper | 2. 6 Bittersweets, DIP Pom Pom Cupcake Topper | 3. Studio DIY, DIY Balloon Cupcake Toppers | 4. Oh Happy Day, DIY Clown Cupcake Topper
Three weeks ago I was delighted to attend my very first Paperchase event! This was actually one of my New Year blogging goals back in January. As a massive stationery fiend, I was chuffed to be invited to explore the brand new ‘Back to School’ range during the Paperchase BTS Press Bus Tour.
The event was hosted on board a shiny red vintage bus, parked outside Paperchase’s Head Office in London. The bus immediately brought back old school memories, particularly as it was raining outside, and steamed up on the inside! I immediately wanted to draw on the windows, for old times’ sake.
The Paperchase team had laid out their four new school collections on the seats of both decks for our perusal. This consisted of the adorable Monsterosity range, featuring pixelated dinosaur designs in blue camouflage colours. My favourite item is probably the wooden dinosaur pen pot (£6) in the centre.
As well as the usual notebooks and pens, the range features a tonne of different back-packs, flasks, lunch boxes, and pencil cases, so you really can send your kids to school with everything they could possibly need. I can’t pretend that I was this cool or organised when I was at school! I wish.
Today is the last day of this year’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, and what a show it has been. I had the pleasure of visiting on Tuesday with my sister, Grandma, and our family friend Andy. You might recognise Kayleigh and Andy from previous flower show posts, as they usually let me tag along.
We explored Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year, and have been visiting the Hampton Court Flower Show together since 2014, but this was the first year that my Grandma (whose garden is divine) joined us on the venture. We hope she’ll now be a permanent fixture to the RHS Flower Show Gang!
There was one real stand-out garden for me – A Dog’s Life Garden by The Dog’s Trust, which was designed to mark the charity’s 125th anniversary. The garden featured a gorgeous colour palette of purples and yellows, with bright origami-style dog figurines dotted around the flower beds.
The garden also featured a long clear stretch of water, perfect for doggy paddling, as well as tunnels and sniffer tracks for dog’s to explore. The garden wasn’t the only thing that wowed me however, as The Dog’s Trust had also brought along some of their trusty four-legged friends.
This is Evie, the most adorable (and soft) greyhound that I’ve ever met. I quickly became besotted with Evie, and would have liked to take her home with me there and then. Alas, Evie is already reserved, and my current circumstances wouldn’t really allow me to have a dog, but maybe one day…!
Last Sunday, Jack and I went to the christening of a baby boy named Carl. We made a paper-cut card for Carl’s big sister Lauren when she was christened a few years ago, so we thought we’d stick to the same style for her little brother, but this time using my Silhouette cutting machine, instead of a scalpel!
Jack designed the paper-cut image using InkScape (free downloadable vector graphics software), which allows you to import images and convert them to line art, as well as draw various shapes. Jack imported three free line-art images from Google – a heart, a church, and a balloon. After importing and embedding the images, he traced the bitmaps and converted the images into two colours (black and white), so that he could see which sections would be cut out, and which would stay connected.
Once the vector had been generated, Jack modified the image using the node tool, which allowed him to remove unwanted features (such as complicated details on the windows), as well as change certain design elements (such as the door archway). He also created a cute picket fence and bunting.
Oh ‘Hi’ there! If you’ve been hanging around the blogosphere lately, you might have spotted a fair few posts about Blogtacular – an annual blogging conference which was held recently in London. This year was my first ever Blogtacular, and I was not disappointed – just check out this crowd…
This year’s conference was held at 200 Aldergate, a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral, opposite the Museum of London. A very kind security guard helpfully beckoned us all inside before we wandered blindly past. Once inside however, and it was clear that we’d reached our destination!
I thoroughly enjoyed the event, and wanted to use this first blog post to share some of the important lessons that I took away from this year’s opening keynote speaker – Lisa Congdon – author, artist and illustrator, who delivered a truly inspiring talk on the realities of blogging.
Re-evaluate the meaning of “success”
A few months back one of my good pals from university got engaged! Both her and her partner are in the navy, so they often have to go a few months without seeing each other when they are posted out to sea. I wanted to make them an engagement present that would make their time apart a little easier.
I found these cute 2 x 2″ gold and glass double-sided square photo-frames at Oliver Bonas (one of my favourite shops), and thought they’d fit the bill perfectly, so bought two – so they can have one each.
I felt like a bit of a stalker finding photos of the two of them to use – thank goodness for Facebook! Apparently I chose well though, as they have print-outs of these photos already in their house.
The Chelsea Flower Show is one of my favourite annual events – what better excuse to abandon your desk, and head into the sunshine with your pals? This year I went along with my sister and one of her ex-colleagues, Andy. Not only are these guys great ‘bants’ (and they like Pimms), but they also know a thing or two about gardens (being garden designers), so they’re the perfect Chelsea buddies!
I loved a lot of the gardens this year, but there were two clear winners for me. The first, a small Artisan Garden called ‘Together We Can’, was a Silver Gilt medal winner, and was designed for the disability charity Papworth Trust. I really should have filmed this garden because its beauty, aside from its bold use of purple and running water, was in its peaceful and playful water percussion.
My second favourite garden was called The Garden of Potential and it featured huge rugged boulders balanced on top of clean oak beams. I liked the juxtaposition between the ancient weathered boulders, and the ordered composition of the garden. There was also a fun water feature in the form of a level-changing gutter which zig-zagged through the garden, and a fence that tipped over to form a path.
Craft lovers will be delighted to learn that tickets for The Handmade Fair are now on sale for September 2016! Having gone from strength to strength, Kirstie Allsopp’s three-day fair is back for its third consecutive year between 16-18th September on The Green at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey.
I’ve gone along with my sister for the last two years, and it is invariably always a fun day out. You can read about my experiences at the inaugural event in 2014 here, and also at last year’s event here.
As with previous years, your ticket price (£32) grants you access to 1x Grand Makes, 1x Skill Workshop, and 1x Super Theatre session, and additional Skills workshops (spanning Accessories, Celebrations, Home & Garden, and Upcycling) can be purchased on the day (subject to availability). You can also roam the shopping tents that are not to be missed – especially if you’re a sucker for crafts like me.