Tuesday, 25 February 2014

DIY Pyramid Stud Beanie Hat

Spring is almost upon us, though it really doesn't feel like it here in the UK, especially up North. I'm still wrapping up in my warm scarves and gloves which, to be honest, feels like a second skin of late. Having been wearing the same snood/mittens/hat combo for the past few months, I'm getting bored with my outdoor woolly attire, queue new DIY project.

January, and even February, is a great time to invest in some new winter accessories because they're pretty much all on sale! Us Brits are often heard moaning about our lack of summer, yet High Street shops seem to cater for nothing but Spring and Summer come this time of year, hence lots of wintry bargains and wearing clothes that aren't quite in season yet. I guess that's the optimism of us British folk kicking in...we WILL have another summer of '76 and we shall start wearing flip flops as soon as they come in the shops (even if our toes are purple)...We shall have a SUMMER! But until then, I'm quite content to pull off the 'you can't see any part of my body apart from my eyes' look as it's still bloomin' cold!

 So, with that in mind, here's a quick fashion fix for your beanie hat to take you through to warmer climes (whatever they are).

For this DIY you will need:

Pyramid shaped silver beads or studs
Woolly beanie hat (mine is from New Look and you can find similar here)
Needle and Thread

My beads came from this headband that I got for 50p in Primark

I firstly just laid my hat out flat and roughly worked out where I wanted the beads to go, and what kind of look I wanted. I then just began by sewing the beads on one at a time, starting at the centre top of the hat.

I would recommend doubling up your sewing thread to give your beads a bit of extra security.

Just keep going until you :
a) Get the desired look
b) Run out of beads
I fall into both! I wanted the beads to cascade down from the top of the hat, but would've liked maybe 10/15 more just to finish it off...but ran out and seeing as I bought the headband maybe a year or so ago, I can't get any more... so this is my finished hat

The seam running through the centre of the hat seems to give me extra 'flappy' bits when wearing it (or maybe it's just my head?) so it's not the most flattering of hats but, either way, it does the job of keeping my noggin warm and all in all only cost me £3 to make the finished article, so I can't really complain.
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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Healthy Coconut, Fruit, Nut and Seed Bars

These tasty bites are perfect for your 11 o'clock Tea break or for snacking on whilst out for a hike. They're full of flavour and are quick and easy to make. Also, you can play around with the recipe and substitute the things you don't like for the things you do!

For this recipe you will need:

45g Self Raising Flour
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
70g Caster Sugar or Light Brown Sugar
70g Chopped Mixed Nuts
70g Mixed Seeds (Sesame/Sunflower/Pumpkin)
50g  Dried Cranberries
50g Raisins
100g Dried Apricots
100g Dried Figs
75g Dried Dates
100g Dessicated Coconut
3 Medium Free Range Eggs
1tsp Vanilla Extract

This will make approximately 16 x 2" squares, depending on what size tin you bake them in (mine were slightly larger than 2" so I made a few less)

Preheat your oven to 160°C
Line your tin or dish with greaseproof paper or foil, ensuring the bottom and sides of the dish are lined.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and sugar.
Mix together with a wooden spoon.

Next, add the nuts and coconut.

Then add the seeds, cranberries and Raisins

Now you will want to halve or quarter your figs, dates and apricots into smaller pieces.

Once you've done this, just add them to the bowl with the rest of your mixture.
Begin to mix and fold the ingredients to ensure that all the fruit, nuts and seeds have been coated in the flour mixture.

In a separate bowl, beat together the 3 eggs with the vanilla extract until it becomes light coloured and thick.
Then add to the dry mixture.
Combine the dry ingredients with the egg by folding the mixture.

Now the mixture should be thick and fully combined.

Spoon the mixture into your lined tin or tray.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes or until the batter is golden brown.
Leave to cool fully in the tin or dish before removing and cutting into squares or bars.
Et Voila....

These always go down well with friends and family. A sweet treat that's not sickly and satisfies those sugar cravings without having to reach for the Haribo.

I've made these a few times now and they always come out well. Next time I want to try an exotic version, with more coconut and dried pineapple and mango, and a cinnamon spiced version with dried apple.

Now time for a cuppa and finish the last batch off...

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Thursday, 20 February 2014

DIY Sharpie Engraved Leather Bookmarks

So this DIY is a little 'love' themed and was intended as a pre Valentine's Day gift idea. But I kinda put off posting it as I thought they looked a bit 'naff'. However, I've decided to just go ahead with the post anyway, seeing as I put the time and effort into making them I might as well show you how I did it (and you can make yours look way better).

I had some leather pieces that I bought from my (then) local scrap store, for about 15p a piece, and was wondering how to put them to good use, and having recently purchased a few books, bookmarks seemed like a good idea! Also, I though they would be good as gifts, or to go with a book that you're giving as a gift to someone, something you can really personalise.

For this DIY you will need:

Leather pieces or scraps
Sharpie permanent markers in your chosen colours
fabric scissors
Air erasable pen

I purchased my Engraving Pen from JosyRose for £8.95. Now, it's probably not something you'll want to buy for just this, but as it has a replacement nib and can be used on metal, glass, mirrors, wood, plastic and leather...it's would be a worthwhile investment for future projects...and it's super easy to use.

Start by cutting your leather to the size of the bookmarks that you want, remember to cut them slightly longer than the length of the book.
Using an air erasable pen will prevent any marks remaining during your measuring process

Once you have your bookmark(s) cut, you're ready to add a fringed bottom and etched design

Simply work out the thickness that you want your fringed pieces to be, and how high up you want the fringing to go, then mark and cut

Now you can start engraving. I drew a quick design on paper before etching the leather, just as a guide, but I veered off a little anyway.
It can take a little while to get through the top layer of the leather, but using small, back and forwards, circular motions the tool is easy to control and works really well.

Once you're happy with your design, it's time to fill in the etched marks with your chosen Sharpies

You can get Sharpie Markers which are designed for fabric but I just used regular markers.

Continue until all the etched areas are filled and then you're done!

Here are some of the other bookmarks I did

The end.

P.S. I really recommend searching out your nearest scrap store, click here for more details on what they're about and how to find one near you, you never know what you will find!
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Thursday, 6 February 2014

DIY Heart shaped Jazzles

To me, the kind of gifts I'd love to receive on Valentine's Day are those that have a heart-felt meaning, something that sparks up a memory or has been hand made. It doesn't have to cost the earth and certainly doesn't have to be a grand gesture, after all, if you love someone, you love them for the whole year, not just for that one day. With this in mind, I've come up with a little sweet treat to make for your Valentine this year. It's super simple and quick but has that 'made with love' look that'll surely earn you a kiss or two!

One of my Husband's favourite childhood sweets are white chocolate Jazzles (sometimes known as snowies) and I've decided to make him a batch.

For this DIY you will need:

White Chocolate 200g bar
Milk Chocolate 200g bar
100's and 1000's Sprinkles
Greaseproof paper
Presentation bags or gift box
Doilies (optional)

Start by melting the chocolate slowly in a bowl over a saucepan with lightly steaming water.

Once the chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and leave to cool a little for a minute or two
Then simply grab a teaspoon of melted chocolate and draw a heart shape onto your greaseproof paper

While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle on your 100's and 1000's
I did about 3 hearts at a time then added the sprinkles

Once you've done all your hearts leave them to cool and harden, pop them in the fridge to speed up the process

Once hardened, you're ready to package them up.
I picked up some doilies and presentation bags from Poundland and simply stacked and displayed my hearts in these.


It's as simple as that!

If you're not keen on heart shapes then you could opt for flowers or perhaps bow-ties...or even just in their traditional retro shaped circle selves. 

I'd advise making a few extra than you plan on giving....just in case...you know....you happen to drop a few.... (in your mouth).

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Monday, 3 February 2014

Quick-Fix Fashion//iDye Poly Product Review

Having recently had a much needed wardrobe clear-out, I came across a couple of items that I'd not worn in a very long time. One of them was this blush pink top from ASOS. I love the shape and style of the top, but the colour really does little for my English Rose complexion and well, kinda just blends in. Not thinking creatively enough to re-purpose it, and being made of 100% Polyester, I thought it had probably come to the end of it's life and off to the Charity shop it should go, but put it back in the wardrobe just in case. 

I then discovered this gem in the crafting crown, iDye Poly by Jacquard Products. With a dissolvable dye pack, it's easy and with relatively no mess (or none if you're not me!).

This open up a whole new level of up-cycling and re-purposing in my eyes. So next time you're in that second hand or vintage shop and a sweet poly blouse catches your eye, but not you're not too smitten with the colour, you can transform it into something fresh and new.

 I used iDye Poly in Crimson, and I'm pretty pleased with the results. As the top was 100% Polyester, it dyed the labels and even the plastic rings on the adjustable straps. The colour came out really even and is a lovely dark red/burgundy colour. It suits my skin tone much more and can vamp it up with a dark plum lip and nail polish.

Go for it! (just don't use your fave wooden spoon or cooking pot....oops!)

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