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Blogger Favourites: Handmade Edition

These are some of my favourite makers of things. Whilst living with my parents and job hunting is not fun in a lot of ways (hello indeterminate future of uncertainty) one benefit is that I have lots of time to learn new skills and make things! These lovely blogs are the one’s that I turn to when I want to learn something new,  gather inspiration, tips, or just look at some beautiful images. And they’re all very different, which I love!

Chiaki Creates

Everything on Chiaki’s blog is beautiful and colourful, and I adore her collection of vintage fabrics. She is a crochet queen, and her fantastic projects have inspired me to learn to crochet! I especially love her scalloped crochet purse – I’d love to make something like that when I’ve had more practice. She also writes beautifully on having a positive attitude, and she has the best taste in films.

Creative bloggers 1Creative bloggers 2Pom Pom Garland / Vintage Fabric Skirt / Oversized Crochet Scallop Stitch Purse / Vintage Fabric Covered Noticeboard

Always Rooney

Courtney posts some really clever DIY’s, and her photos have a wonderful warm tone to them that I love. This lady is super impressive because she MAKES HER OWN FURNITURE! She even made her own bed! This is something I would love to do in the future, and when I do, I know where I’ll be looking for tips.

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Rock Climbing Chalk Bag / Homemade Bed / Homemade Kitchen Table / Scarf Sleeves

Tilly and The Buttons

Tilly’s blog is all about encouraging people to make their own clothes. She has some super helpful posts on sewing basics, and easy projects for beginners, but most of all everything she makes is so gorgeous and wearable. Lots of her dresses and tops are things that I would buy if I saw them in a shop, and sewing should be about making clothes that you love – her cute skirt pattern is definitely on my “want list.” I also love her series on ladies who run their own creative businesses, it’s so inspiring!

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Artists’ Only Dress / Miette Skirt / Nautical Knit Dress / Knickers!

Paper and Stitch

Paper and Stitch is written by Brittni and her team of collaborators. This blog is so full of DIY inspiration and easy projects, especially cute homeware and decoration ideas! One of my favourite series is their weekly roundup of DIY’s – like, how did they know I was wondering which projects I should try on the weekend? 🙂

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No Sew Fabric Banner / Typography Wall Art Decal / Fruit and Veggie Bags / Watercolour Postcard Messages

One of my favourite things about blogging is reading blogs by lovely and talented people like these, who take time to share their ideas. Which are your favourite homemade blogs? Let me know in the comments, I would love to have a read!

(Images used with permission of Chiaki Creates, Always Rooney, Tilly and the Buttons and Paper and Stitch)

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Autumn Stitching Club #4

The third pattern that I’ve stitched for the Autumn Stitching Club is this cute little flower-pot. This is my favourite pattern so far – I love the texture of the stitched flowers! This pattern has made me excited to try some bigger and more intricate embroidery patterns. I think I prefer the way they look with more stitches, although it’s satisfying being able to complete one pattern in an hour or two 🙂

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I hope you’re having the best Friday, and you’ve got a fun weekend planned. I’m looking forward to having one of my favourite people in the world come to stay with me!

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DIY Tree Stump Vase

I have finally sorted through every last cupboard, box and drawer in my room, and I’ve banished everything I don’t need to the attic or a charity bag. My next project is to make it look pretty and homely! I saw this pin of a tree stump vase by Martha Stewart a while ago, and I desperately wanted to make one but I couldn’t find an existing DIY. I knew I wanted to make it in a way that anyone could do at home (i.e. without a lathe). This is the resulting vase!

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You will need:
A log! I found mine when I went for a walk in the woods… If you’re less country than me, try the garden center.
A jam jar
A drill
An auger drill bit
A pencil
An old paintbrush
Wood varnish
Sand paper

In case you’re wondering, my log measure 15 inches tall and 6 1/2 inches wide, and my jar measures 3 inches wide and 4 3/4 inches tall.

Step 1: Use the pencil to draw a circle around your vase (if your vase is larger at the middle than the top and bottom try drawing around the lid).

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Step 2: To make the hole that your jam jar will fit in, first drill a series of holes within the circle that your drew. Make sure you drill a little bit over the circle that you drew to give your vase some wriggle room. Then, to get rid of the wood between your holes and the scalloped edges of your circle, put your drill in each existing hole and angle the drill to one side. Wiggling the drill around in the hole also seemed to work (I’m sure that’s the technical term for it). If, like me, you are not very experienced in using power tools, get someone who is to help you! (Thanks a million dad, you’re a superstar). The hole should be deep enough so that the jar doesn’t poke over the edge – my jar is an inch shorter than the hole.

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Step 3: Break off any loose bits of bark, and give the log a light sanding to remove splinters and such on the surface.

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Step 4: Varnish your log! I just used the one coat because I wanted it to retain it’s organic look.

Now you’re finished! Just fill the jar with water, add some flowers, and find a good spot for your new vase 🙂

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What do you think? My new vase makes me want to pretty up the rest of my room to match, and I love having plants in the house, I think it’s good for the spirit 🙂

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What I Wore: Mom Jeans

Those of you that know me in real life know that I have issues with trousers. There’s a fair difference between the size of my butt and the size of my waist (In Levi’s, I’m a “bold curve” haha) and I have difficulty finding trousers that fit. That’s partly why these ASOS “Mom” jeans are so great (it’s also partly because they remind me of early seasons of Friends). They took a day or so of wearing in but they are SO comfy, I have been wearing them all the time! (And they are annoyingly now on sale…)

Mom Jeans 1 mom jeans 2mom jeans 7 mom jeans 4I’ve been pinning a lot of 60s and 70s big hair recently (I’m always looking for new things to do with my hair) and I’m experimenting with this mini-beehive / bun up-do. The bun makes for a less polished beehive, so it’s a nice way to work with my hair’s natural scruffiness. What do you think?

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Outfit details: Jeans, ASOS / Boots, Ebay / Jumper, Vintage

Happy Wednesday everyone! Today was my first shift at the World Peace Cafe, and it was so much fun! It has such a lovely atmosphere. What have you been up to?

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Homemade Kimono

I love Paisley. I think I might have a paisley problem – both of my most recent sewing projects have used paisley fabric (see the first here.) I’ve been wanting a kimono jacket for ages, and I realised the most fun way to get one would be to make it! This project was pretty easy – this jacket is only made up of seven pieces of fabric so it didn’t take me too long to make.

kimono 1

I used this pattern and this fabric (don’t you love the fabric?) and some tassels from my local haberdashery. I have to say, I found the instructions on this Simplicity pattern a lot harder to follow than on the Burda one I used before – things weren’t spelled out as much as I’d have liked, but I managed to work it out!

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I began by cutting out the pattern pieces I needed, pinning them onto my fabric, and cutting out my fabric pieces! This time I didn’t worry about marking the pattern markings onto my fabric. If I needed to double-check how the fabric matched up, I just referred back to the pattern pieces.

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6 steps later, it was finished! I changed two things about the pattern. First, I didn’t use the interfacing which the pattern suggested (I wanted my jacket to be flowy, not stiff) and secondly, I added some tassels! What’s a kimono without tassels, right?

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I’m so pleased with this jacket, it’s absolutely going to be an autumn staple for me. Have you done any sewing recently?

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What I Wore: Pastels and Purple

I have had this dress for a while. I love the long slit down the side and I think the pastel patterns is kind of unusual, but it feels too dressy for every day, so I’ve been wearing it with this t-shirt over the top! I’m also still wearing my new Kate Moss Rimmel purple lipstick, although food and this lipstick do not go well together. I have a feeling my purple / dark red lipstick collection might grow over the next few months – I love wearing a super dark lipstick with an otherwise quite girly outfit.

pastel and purple 1pastel and purple 2pastel and purple 3Isn’t my necklace cute? I bought it at The Vagabond Bazaar in York last summer – unfortunately I’m struggling to find out the name of the company that I bought it from. I love the length, and I’d love to get some more necklaces so that I can start layering them – I’ve been eyeing up some of the pendants on the WAISTE website!

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Outfit details: Dress (worn as skirt), Topshop / T-Shirt, H&M / Shoes, Ebay / Necklace, / Earrings, Urban Outfitters

I couldn’t help but include this photos of Archie. It’s a special day when he stays still for long enough to have his photo taken. Hanging out with this bunny is one of the best parts of my day ❤

I hope your week is off to a good start!

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Autumn Stitching Club #3

The third smiley faced autumnal pattern I stitched for the Autumn Stitching Club is this corn shock. I admit that at first I didn’t know what a corn shock was, but it’s just a bundle of corn… I love that all the pattern’s have faces on them, I think it’s so cute! I can’t wait until I have embroidered all my patterns and I can make them into one big autumn themed pillow.

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Are you working on any projects at the moment?

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What I Wore: Paris Day 6

Tuesday was our last day in Paris. We went back to the Hotel Du Ville to visit the vintage shops that I had missed the first time around, including my favourite Parisian vintage shop, Hippy Market. I bought two pairs of crazy patterned trousers, which will make an appearance on the blog soon! We spent our afternoon visiting the Sacre Coeur, the Place du Tertre and wandering around the small hilly streets of Montmatre. In the evening, we packed up, grabbed a Ghandi pizza from our favourite pizza place and sadly got on the Eurostar back home.

paris 28paris 29paris 30paris 31I bought this dress because I felt like I needed an everyday strappy black dress in my wardrobe. It’s an easy way of feeling dressed up without actually putting in any effort! I’ve had this jacket for a while, and I’m surprised I haven’t featured it before. it has crochet, velvet AND tassels – three of my favourite things in one item of clothing!

paris 32paris 33paris 34paris 35paris 36Outfit details: Dress, ASOS / Jacket, Topshop / Shoes, Ebay / Sunglasses, H&M

This is my last Paris post. Sigh, Paris I miss you! Thank you for letting me share.

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What I Wore: Paris Day 5

We spent our 5th day in Paris wandering around the Louvre. Well, a tiny proportion of The Louvre. That place is huge! By Day 5 we had learnt to pack a picnic instead of buying lunch near the tourist attractions (6 euros for a bottle of water? No thanks) so we had some cheese and baguette in-between art viewing. I’m glad we did – it’s too tiring to see even one exhibition at The Louvre in one go.

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I found this jacket in a Parisian vintage shop. It’s so feathery I like to think it was once worn by a dancer at the cabaret. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be lingerie or not, but it works great as a lightweight jacket. I just love items of clothing that are over the top like this. I tried to keep the rest of my outfit simple, so I wore my trusty black crop top, and this skirt of my mum’s that I found in the attic.

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These furry little guys were everywhere! They were chilling outside The Louvre, and walking down the street next to the Eiffel Tower. When we were walking along The Seine in the evening, we would hear an occasional scream, and know that someone had just tripped over a rat. On Monday evening we went for cocktails at this bar called The Comptoir General. We had to pay an entrance fee which was weird but it’s because it’s part bar, part museum of found objects. There are so many cool and interesting items scattered around this jungley barn. We had “T Punch” without the mixer (they had run out) so it was strong stuff! That evening we took a boat ride along The Seine and then sat on the Ile St Louis with wine and cheesy crisps.

paris 28paris29Outfit details: Jacket, Vintage / Skirt, Stolen from my mum / Top, Ebay / Sunglasses, H&M / Sandals, Tesco

I hope you’re having a fantastic Wednesday 🙂

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Carrot and Pomegranate Cake

I have been trying and failing to bake a good cake for what feels like weeks – every time I put a cake in the aga (our oven) the oven goes out! That happened with this cake, but although it was still a little gooey, it was really tasty. I love the crunch that the pomegranate seeds give to the cake, and I love the grated carrot decoration! This recipe is adapted from The Vintage Tea Party Book  (which is full of beautiful photographs and recipes) although I’ve kept it mostly the same.

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You will need:
125ml vegetable oil
150g flower
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
250g caster sugar
2 large eggs
3 tbsp greek yoghurt
350ml of shredded carrot
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp diced ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
115g pomegranate seeds (from two pomegranates)
15ml water
100g  cream cheese
2 tbsp icing sugar

Step 1: Remove the pomegranate seeds from the pomegranates. Melt the butter in a pan on a low heat and add the ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. After two minutes, add the pomegranate seeds, 2 tbsps of sugar, and gradually add the water, stirring, until the mixture is a sticky syrup consistency, at which point take it off the heat.

carrot and pomegranate cake 4Step 2: In a large bowl, combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt and the rest of the sugar. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs and yoghurt. Then, combine the flour mixture with the eggs mixture, the pomegranate syrup, and the grated carrot.

Step 3: Grease a baking tin, and pour in the mixture. Bake for 1 hour at 180 degrees C.

Step 4: Leave the cake to cool for twenty minutes, and then decorate with blobs of cream cheese, swirls of grated carrot, and icing sugar!ginger and pomegranate cake 3

Bon appetit 🙂 Have you done any baking recently? The chilly weather makes me want to bake lots of cake, but that isn’t helping my goal to eat more healthily. Carrot cake is one of your five a day, right?