Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Best of 2013

Time to say farewell to 2013 and hello to a new year! Lots of fun and exciting things have happened this year, in fact I think it might be one of my favourites. As is customary on New Years Eve, I thought I would take a little look back at some of my favourite posts from the year... 


>>> A look into my design process

>>> I shared some pictures from a very special wedding I designed.

>>> A peek at some wedding invitations I made. 


>>> A few tips for making the most of a small living space

>>> 10 simple photoshop tips

>>> Some essential tips and tools for card making


>>> DIY Flower Hairband

>>> DIY Paper Daisy Chains.

>>> DIY Plastic Taxidermy Plaques

>>> DIY Pom Pom Cake Toppers.

>>> The Beginning of Try it Tuesdays... With many more to come next year I'm sure! 

>>> DIY Applique Moon Art


>>> I shared my shop story so far (it may be time for the next instalment soon...)

>>> I launched Pointless Pretty Party in July! 

>>> I talked through my favourites from Renegade Craft Fair in November. 


>>> My new love - the Ikea Raskog Cart

>>> A lovely weekend at the Southbank Village Fair

>>> I completed my 12 Handmades of Christmas challenge! 

I can't wait to see what 2014 brings.... I hope you a lovely night tonight whatever you may be doing (we're staying in and playing Wii Olympics) and a very very Happy New Year to you all <3

lots of love,

x Rachel 

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

12 Handmades of Christmas: Two for the Table

The last two Handmades of Christmas are a couple of simple ideas to dress up the dinner table tomorrow. The best thing is that you only need a couple of crafty supplies and the rest can come from your garden (or a festive walk)!

This gorgeous centrepiece was made this morning by Jacqueline, Jake's lovely Mum. All you need is a bit of oasis, a long candle and some winter sprigs from the garden. Then you can arrange it however you like! As you can see, this one has a lovely mix of evergreen, white flowers and a few pops of red berries. Super easy and a lovely alternative to a shop bought centrepiece. I can't wait to see it in the middle of lots of lovely Christmas food tomorrow :) 

To go with Jacqueline's lovely centrepiece, I made some place cards with some brown card and a few sprigs of holly. I just stuck the holly to the stamped cards with some double sided sticky tape. 

That's it for my 12 Handmades! Thanks so much for reading, and I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.

Lots of love, 

x Rachel 

12 Handmades of Christmas: Wrapping Ideas

Sometimes I think simple wrapping is best - brown paper has been my favourite for ages. I love how versatile it is, you can dress it up with bows and stamps so easily, and make lovely personalised wrapping that will look great under the Christmas tree. 

Nearly all of our presents are handmade this year, so we wanted to wrap them in a crafty way too. We used my trusty alphabet stamps to label each present, and then finished them off simply with bright red jute string. I love how they all look together! 

You can use this idea and push it further by stamping custom patterns on to brown paper, or cut out book pages and wrap them under the string. 

I have the last two handmades coming up later on today - both table decoration ideas! So keep an eye out if you are looking for last minute ideas for the Christmas lunch table.... 

x Rachel 

Monday, 23 December 2013

12 Handmades of Christmas: Personalised Candle

Is everyone ready and wrapped for Christmas? I'm almost done, but it's always nice to do a few little extras. Here's a great last minute idea that costs next to nothing to make but can make a really lovely personalised gift. 

You will need: A medium sized pillar candle, a small wood slice, a large wood slice, jute string, white paint, decorative moss. 

1// Paint an initial in white on the small wood slice. 

2// Wrap the jute string around the base of the candle twice and secure in a bow. Usually these candles burn quite neatly with not too much wax spill so the string should be fine - but you can always untie it as the candle burns down. 

3// With a little dot of non-solvent glue, attach the small wood slice to the string. You could then very carefully melt a little wax on the side of the candle and use that to keep the wood in place. 

4// Add another blob of glue or hot wax to the middle of the large wood slice to fix the candle in place. Add some decorative moss around the sides to finish it off! 

Obviously it goes without saying that this project is not for kids! Be very careful when working with hot wax and flammable materials, and never leave a candle burning unattended. 

Only a few more handmades of Christmas left before the big day. I've got some great ones saved up, including some place cards for the dinner table and some lovely wrapping ideas. 

Happy Christmas Eve Eve 

x Rachel 

Friday, 20 December 2013

12 Handmades of Christmas: Pine Forest Mobile

The idea for this DIY came from this tutorial by the lovely Leanne from Knit me a Cake. She used paint chips to make Christmas tree gift tags, and I loved them so much I couldn't wait to try out the same technique. I made a mobile with my paint chip trees, and I have to say I'm pretty pleased with my little pine forest. 

You will need: Paint chips in a variety of greens, small bells, red thread, green felt needle, scissors. 

1// Cut the tree shapes out of the paint chips. I think I variety of sizes looks best when they are grouped together like that. 

2// Using the red thread, sew the bell on to the bottom of the tree. Take the excess thread up the back of the tree and use some pretty tape to secure it in place. 

3// Cut some green felt double the length you would like your mobile to be. Fix the ends of the threads to it with dots of glue. You want to have the trees hanging at different lengths and widths apart. 

4// Fold the felt in half and glue again to secure the threads in place. 

What do you think? Don't forget to check out Leanne's gift tags too... So much fun to be had with free paint chips :) 

x Rachel 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

12 Handmades of Christmas: Glitter Jars

This next instalment of the 12 Handmades of Christmas. Today my Mum is stepping in to show us these glitter jars. These are obviously all over the place so don't need too much explaining (it is #TryItTuesday after all!)- I just think they are really pretty :) Just coat the inside of the jars in PVA and pour in the glitter. Then shake it about! Finish off with a little red bow and a tea-light inside. They make great easy gifts, especially when you have a lot to make in a short time. If you're having a Christmas or New Year party, you could make lots to decorate with and then everyone can take one home with them as a party favour! I'm sure that the key to a successful night is to come home with a glitter jar... Right? 

x Rachel 

Monday, 16 December 2013

12 Handmades of Christmas: Pinecone Wreath

I've seen loads of lovely pinecone wreaths about this year, so I thought I'd have a go at making my own. The beauty with making wreaths in this way is that you really can just use anything that you have in your garden or around the house - the possibilities are endless! 

You will need: a wire coat hanger, pinecones, dried moss, florist twine, old book pages, red felt, red string, hot glue. 

1// Bend the coat hanger into a circle shape. You can use pliers to help, but I found it easier without. 

2// Firstly, layout all your materials around the hanger to get an idea what the finished wreath will look like. This helps you to get the balance right. Start with the pine cones and build up. 

3// To attach the pinecones, twist the florist twine a few times around both the pinecone and the coat hanger, then wind in the loose ends. They should be able to move around a little bit so you can fix them later. 

4// Once the whole hanger is covered in pinecones, add some moss in some of the gaps. It stays pretty securely on it's own, but I used a bit of hot glue to make sure it wasn't going anywhere. 

5// Make a bow out of the book pages and felt as shown, glueing the pieces together with hot glue. Then fix some red string to the back with some more glue. 

6// Use the string to tie the bow in place in the middle of your wreath. It's probably best to hang it on the inside of your door as it's not really rain friendly! 

Has anyone else made their own wreaths this year? I'd love to see them! 

x Rachel 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

12 Handmades of Christmas: Crochet Heart Tree Topper

I'm so proud of my 5th Handmade of Christmas - a crochet heart tree topper! This is my first attempt at both crocheting around wire and bobble stitching, so I feel that warm fuzzy achievement feeling every time I look at it. I used a variety of youtube videos and picture tutorials to help me do this, so I'll post those at the end. 

You will need: Red and white DK yarn, thin flexible wire, pliers, crochet hook (I used a 3mm, but half way round wished I was using a 4mm!). 

1// Using the pliers, make a heart shape out of the wire. It can be reshaped as you go so don't worry about making it perfect. Be sure to wind the loose end back around the shape of the heart, and leave some excess at the bottom - that's what you use to fix it on top of the tree. 

2// With the red yarn, go over the whole heart with chain stitch. This is just the same as a normal chain stitch, but keep wrapping the yarn over and under the wire as you work. 

3// Now that you have a base to work from, you can add a bobble edge with the white yarn. I used this great free pattern to help me do this, and put each bobble in every third stitch rather than every second. 

4// Finish off and weave in any loose ends. Then use the excess wire at the bottom to wind around the top of the tree. Feel that achievement feeling! 

Here's some tutorials and videos that might help along the way:

How to: Chain Stitch

Crocheting around a coat hanger (not exactly what we're doing but the same basic principal). 

- Bobble edge pattern by Heidi Bears. 

I'm determined to really hone my knitting and crochet skills in 2014... I'd like to be able to say that I am a pro in both rather than dabbling. I am such a dabbler. 

x Rachel 

Friday, 13 December 2013

Dream Interiors: Rustic Christmas Decor


While I love a bit of colourful tackiness at Christmas time, my favourite festive decorations are usually of the more rustic variety. I love deep natural colour schemes and plenty of greenery - basically if I could swap my East London flat for a cosy log cabin I would!

I am absolutely in love with those little tin houses! They are so sweet and look lovely in a group like that. 

What's your favourite Christmas decorating style? 

x Rachel 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

12 Handmades of Christmas: Felt Bow Earrings

As promised, here is how to make the matching earrings to the little bow brooch I posted the other day. These are super cute and even easier than the brooch - no sewing required! 

You will need: Red felt, earring stud blanks, glue (I used UHU but hot glue also works fine), scissors. 

1// Cut out the unfolded bow shapes (as shown), this is a little fiddly as they are so small. I made mine so that the finished bow is just 2cm across. 

2// Fold the edges of the felt to the centre and glue in place, then cut a tiny square for the centre and glue this down too. 

3// Turn your bows over and use a dot of glue to fix the blank studs in place. 

I'm definitely wearing these on Christmas day - but the best part is that they don't have to be packed away in a box once that "bleugh no more Christmas" feeling sets in... They are definitely appropriate all year round, don't you think? 

x Rachel 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Great Set Design Moments: Where the Wild Things Are

I recently had a lovely email from blinkbox that was a little different from the usual promotional mail outs I receive. They offered to send me some vouchers to try out the service, but rather than asking for a review they encouraged me to write about film from the perspective of a set and costume designer. I realised that I don't actually write about set design that much here on the blog - despite it being my job! This inspired me to start a new series: Great Set Design Moments. I'm going to start with one of my recent favourites, Where the Wild Things Are. 

I love the style of this film throughout, and I think production designer K.K. Barrett did a fantastic job at staying true to the original illustrations by Maurice Sendak. I think the greatest achievement of the design is that it captures magic and imagination while staying very true to the woodsy setting, creating a world that you can really invest in visually. 

My favourite design moment of the film is Carol's model city. It's so beautiful and completely incapsulates that woodsy magic that runs through the film. I think this also comes from my love of miniature things... Take a look at the online portfolio of one of the set and model makers on the film, Nick Pledge - he has some amazing behind the scenes shots of the sets and miniatures! 

What films do you love for their designs? 

x Rachel 

ps. Although I was not required to write a review for this post, let me just say that I was really impressed with blinkbox. So much so that I cancelled my Netflix subscription... Big move! 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

12 Handmades of Christmas: Jingle Bow Brooch

For today's Handmade of Christmas I'll be showing you how to make this festive bow brooch. It's the perfect way to make any outfit look instantly Christmassy and you can make it in under an hour! 

You will need: red felt, a bell, glue, blank badge back, needle and thread and scissors. 

1// Cut out an unfolded bow shape (as above) - I made mine so that my finished bow was about 5cm across. You'll need the bow shape, plus a strip for the middle. 

2// Fold the edges of the bow into the middle and secure with a dot of glue. Pinch the middle in with another dot of glue, and cover this with the middle strip (glue in place). This forms the main part of your bow. 

3// Sew the bell so that it is dangling a little below the middle (see picture). You don't want to make it too tight so that it still has a bit of movement. Then sew the badge back securely to the reverse of the bow. 

4// Cut the tails to your bow and glue them in place as shown. Then turn the bow over and cut the edges into a slanted shape. 

5// Wear from now until Christmas Day! 

What do you think? I go into bow overdrive at this time of year... As if I need an excuse! Keep an eye out this week as my next tutorial will be for some matching earrings :) 

x Rachel 

Friday, 6 December 2013

12 Handmades of Christmas: Cut-Out Sheet Music Tags

For my second Handmade of Christmas I made some sweet little gift tags. These were so easy, and way cheaper than buying a pre-made pack! 

You will need: Some thick Kraft paper or brown card, a hole punch, bakers twine, craft knife, sheet music printed on tracing paper. 

1// Cut the tag shapes - they can be whatever size you like really. I made mine to look a bit like luggage tags. 

2// Punch a hole through the top of the tag and thread some bakers twine through. I think red would look lovely too and probably a bit more festive... 

3// Mark out your hearts with pencil (using a stencil if you need to) and cut out the shapes with a craft knife. 

4// Print some sheet music on to tracing paper (you can feed it through your printer as normal). Cut strips as wide as the tag to cover the back of the heart - glue these in place. On one side you should have a musical heart and on the other a pretty strip of musical notes. 

Here's what they look like held up to the light - like a pretty little stained glass window! This would look great with different shapes and colours... You could even print on acetate sheets to get an even clearer window. 

Do you make your own tags at Christmas? 

x Rachel 

Elegant Vintage Inpirations: The Wedding Boutique


Today I'm teaming up with my spotlight sponsor for the month The Wedding Boutique to share some gorgeous vintage style wedding inspirations. 

I am so in love with the beautifully intricate tiaras - and those lace up shoes! The barefoot jewel sandals would be perfect for a beach wedding, I love the glitzy bohemian feel they have to them.

The Wedding Boutique is a UK based wedding wonderland with an amazing stock of everything from dresses to tiaras, shoes, and other finishing touches in a huge range of styles. All the beautiful pieces above can be found on their online store. They also have a new bridal blog page with the latest news and tips from the frontline of the UK wedding industry. It is an absolute pleasure to have such a wonderful company on my sidebar for the month! 

Any Brides-to-be out there? Let me know what you think. 

x Rachel 

This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

12 Handmades of Christmas: Clear Baubles, 3 Ways

It's the first handmade of Christmas! I've been wanting to try adapting some clear baubles for ages, so when I found a set in the 99p Store (score) I knew it was time. There are so many things you can do with these beauties, and loads of tutorials on Pinterest, but here's some ideas that I was playing with today:

For my first bauble I chose some neon pink spray paint to coat the inside. I wrapped the outside of the bauble in a plastic bag, took off the silver cap and directed the nozzle straight into the top. The hole is quite small so it was quite hard to direct the paint in any specific way, but I really like the messy, splatter effect it has. I'd love to make a set in a whole range of neons! 

This one is pretty self explanatory. I just cut thin strips of decoupage paper and fed them through the top until the bauble looked full. I love how it turned out! I think it would look great with some really bright shreds of paper, maybe gold and silver?  

Well, I had to get some moss in there somewhere didn't I? When will my obsession end.... This particular moss is dried norwegian reindeer moss, which you can buy from craft shops. It is preserved so it doesn't rot or lose it's colour - it is so fun to play with! I think this one is my secret favourite, but I think it would be better hanging on the mantlepiece, as it would just blend in with the green of a Christmas tree. 

What would you use to customise some of these? I'd like to try something with paper cutting next... 

x Rachel 


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