Tag Archives: How To

How To: Make a Wall Planner

Running a business can be very expensive, especially when you run one of those ‘kitchen table oh-my-god-all-my-time-and-money-is-poured-into-this’ like mine.
I have managed to step up from my kitchen table and have rented out a little workspace with the lovely Lucy from Lucy Made Me.
We have managed to furnish it on the cheap, using furniture from our own homes and a few bits bought from charity shops….and being creative types we have come up with a few other solutions too.

We don’t always work together at The Dairy (our workspace) as Lucy works 9-5 in London and I work shifts, so we needed some sort of world domination wall planner, and I wasn’t willing to pay for one.

Luckily I watched enough Blue Peter as a child to have a few tricks up my sleeve…

How to make a wall planner (1)
I had one of these super cool freebie calender from a magazine. Normally the calendars I manage to get for free suck, but I love the quirky crochet drawings on this one.

I took it apart and laid all the months in a 4×3 square and then reached for my secret weapon…dancing Pug tape.

 

How to make a wall planner (4) My husband bought me this tape for Christmas….he knows me soooo well.How to make a wall planner (2)I simply overlapped the pages of the calendar slightly and stuck them together. Funky Pug tape makes all the difference.

Now Lucy and I can plan out when all our fairs are and when we will be holding open studios too, and we can mark when we are away on hollybobs so the other knows.

I popped it up on the wall using washi tape so it didn’t mark our rented walls!How to make a wall planner (3)

Have you got a good use for a free calendar?

wpid-signoff2013.png

How to: Make Felt Bread Play Food

How to make play bread felt food tutorial DIY

One of my friends is super talented and has created one of those ratty-old-cabinet to schmazing-dream-playkitchen that you see on Pinterest for her daughter. She sanded and painted and stitched away for weeks on it till it’s looking like something I wish my kitchen looked like.

For Christmas I thought that some felt play food would be in order to add to this little play kitchen of dreams so I grabbed my basket of felt scraps and put my mind to work.

In this post I’m going to show you how I made slices of bread…perfect for little hands to practice making sandwiches and toast.

How to felt bread play food (1)

Firstly I drew a bread slice shape onto a piece of card and used it as a template. I always make templates as I find it so much easier than cutting freehand as I always manage to muck it up! I cut 4 light brown bread slices.

I also cut two really long thin ribbons of darker brown felt for the crust.

I laid two light brown slices together and stitched them together, using the dark brown felt like bias binding, covering the edges. This ensured the bread was nice and thick and not floppy. Who likes floppy bread eh? No-one.

I did this as one process rather than two to save me time as I was handstitching. This could of course be done on a machine, but I liked the rougher look.

How to felt bread play food (2)

I stitched the entire way round, over lapping the felt crust slightly on one edge and stitching it securely.

How to felt bread play food (3)

This barely took any time and was quite theraputic!

How about teaming this with some square slices of yellow felt with holes cut in for Swiss cheese, some circles of pink for ham and some green lettuce leaf shapes?

Anyone else hungry now?

wpid-signoff2013.png

How To: shop for clothes at a car boot

When I challenged myself to buy no ‘shop new’ clothes until next August, I didn’t realise how good the pickings of second-hand clobber at car boots could be!

Car boot sales and selling your stuff quickly is actually quite attractive to a lot of people ranging in size and styles, and there is a lot of great stuff to be had. For me it beats eBay every time as you can touch and feel what you are buying (I’m a  feely toucher ok?!) and you can also avoid paying postage and gauge if it would fit you by eye, also it’s generally cheaper than charity shops.

Mums of Britain…there is a PLETHORA of fancy baby and children’s clothes and goodies being sold for 50p an item (and sometimes much less!!!) so get down there and have a rummage and save yourself a fortune! I cannot stress enough that any children I have in the future are going to barely have ANYTHING shop new, as the secondhand children’s market is blooming marvellous. I mean do people actually buy Moses baskets in the shops? I saw 8 last weekend….8 gorgeous Moses baskets for sale…. all for under £15 and in beautiful condition.

But what about adult clothing?….. I can already feel a few of you wincing at the thought of rummaging on a clothes rail in the middle of a field at 7am on a Sunday morning… but it really is painless…. and actually finding that bargain is one of my most favouritest feelings in the world…parrelled to eating something I have grown myself.

So here are my top five tips to shopping for clothing at car boot sales.

1 – Eye up the seller

The lady that looks like Wurzel Gummidge is very unlikely to by selling a sequin dress from Topshop, so cast your eye across the seller before you get on your knees and rummage to the bottom of the box of old dishcloths. This is also a good way to gauge the sizing of the clothing that the seller are trying to shift. This isn’t the be all and end all I might add, as there are a lot of bargains and lovely vintage to be had by people who are clearing out their wardrobes after 20 or so years. If you are after trendy stuff though, you want to aim for the 20 somethings who are doing the fairs with a friend or with their mums to make a bit of cash for the night out the following weekend.

2- Have a rummage

I once saw a girl literally dump a boot load of clothing onto a sheet on the ground and let people rummage through. £1 a piece she said, and oh lordy did I rummage. I came out with 5 gorgeous pieces, all from Topshop and River Island, all from the very bottom of the pile, threw my money at her and ran before I ended up buying too much (I was there selling at the time!). Rummaging is the fun of a boot fair. Rummaging doesn’t have to be hands on, I do a pretty good eye rummage now, but if something catches your gaze, be it a pattern or a fabric, pull it out and have a look, you can always fold it back up or hang it back up if it isn’t your sort of thing, people won’t be offended….honest!

Car boot finds floral

3 – What do you already own?

Now before you buy that black jacket…how many do you already own? Or will those zany neon hotpants go with anything else you already have? (Yeah… I know…they’ll go great with that rainbow sequinned boob tube you bought at the last table!)

There is no point wasting your money and clogging up your wardrobe with things you aren’t going to wear or that you have 4 of already (cough cough…grey cardigans…I have 3).

Car boot finds leopard print

I’m not saying go with a list, that’s the opposite of what you should do, but go with an open mind and a rough idea of what you DON’T need.

4- Know what it is worth

A Balmain inspired cropped Per Una lined jacket at £4 is an utter bargain. Yes…I know…to some of you I just put loads of words together and threw them in a sentence… but if you are really looking for the bargains, you need to know what you are looking at.

I have a basic working knowledge of fashion and clothing design, no more than the next girl who has watched Devil wears Prada. I do have the benefit of knowing about stitching from my time at my sewing machine and I have a good idea about fabric quality from my love of vintage fabrics and clothing, but most of it is about common sense and looking at labels.

Before you ask how much, think of the number that you would sell it for and think about what you’d be willing to pay for it.

When you ask how much, consider the answer and then have another look at what is in your hand. Before you hand over your money, is it worth what they are asking for it. Has it got any holes in the lining? Has it got any stains? Is the fabric all bobbley? My friends have seen me throw money and run as the item is well under what I feel its worth, and they have also seen me put it down and walk away to think about it as I walk around.

5 – Feel the fear and buy it anyway

I never never try ANYTHING on at the boot fair. I put things up against myself. I have even been known to take a tape measure with me. I have also just bought things because I think the fabric is beautiful despite it being several sizes too small….those things get made into home decor so I can look at the beautiful fabric forever!

Not sure a massive faux fur leopard print coat would suit you? They are selling it for £3…..feel the fear and buy that sucker…because you would look fabulous in faux fur…I mean who doesn’t!

I felt the fear and bought this frock anyway.

mint green lace dress £1 car boot sale

It cost me a £1 (from the bottom of the heap from the £1 an item lady) and it is like NOTHING I normally wear or I own. I wore it out last Saturday night and got so many compliments (in real life and via instagram!) and I felt great in it…. after an initial freak out before I left the house (“I look like an ice cream at a wedding!!”)…. and added more eyeliner and bracelets to rock it up a bit.

I would never have bought a dress like this from River Island at full price (£30 +), I wouldn’t have risked the colour (I like black…a lot) and I wouldn’t have risked the length (it’s a little on the short side…but as long as I don’t bend over I’m decent), but for £1 I had nothing to lose…expect maybe my dignity if it had been gusty out!

It’s the perfect opportunity to play with colours and styles that noramlly you’d be a bit frightened of.

Happy hunting!

wpid-signoff2013.png

How To: DIY a Laundry Bag

Laundry is a bone of contention at our house at the moment…I mean…how can one task take up SOOOO much of my life?

To ease my headache of ‘the dreaded sort’ we purchased two new bins and labelled them whites and darks….I know… how where we living like heathens before only having ONE bin? That simple addition of two bins has shaved at least 15 minutes off sorting time per load…hooray.

What I needed next was a laundry bag for the bathroom (I use a clean flannel daily and I use reuseable cotton pads that need hot washing) and a delicate bag for the bedroom for undies and whatnot.

Using two 12″ embroidery hoop (yeah…I actually had these lying around), some ribbon and two pillowcases I created two matching laundry bags by trapping the pillowcases in the hoops and attaching a hanging ribbon. These actually lay really flat against the wall so are great for small spaces.

embroidery hoop laundry bag how to pillowcase

This is looped over a hook on the interior of the door so it doesn’t fall down every time we open the airing cupboard.

I tend to take them out of the hoops and whack the whole bag in the wash. It helps keep away nasty pongs…especially from the bathroom one…boys seem to be able to make everything reek….including flannels! How is that possible?

So yeah, we have more laundry bags than people in our house…I’m the same with rubbish bins though…. got to have one in every room! There is probably a name for that right?

wpid-signoff2013.png

 

 

How To: Make a Tea Towel

For all my hand stitched makes and crochet creations, I am still a bit nervy around my sewing machine. The only lessons I have had on it are from my GCSE Textiles (where I scraped a C….silly girl…I think not embracing my GCSE Textiles is deffo one of my biggest regrets). I feel a lot more confident stitching by hand as I feel I can predict how it is going to come out, and I am still to find and follow a simple dress pattern to make myself something pretty to wear.

What I can do however is whack together simple shapes and make owls and whatnot, so when our friends bought a beautiful new house, I thought I’d make them a housewarming gift….tea towels.

How to make a tea towel DIY (2)

Isn’t this fabric bloody gorge? I TOTALLY need to lady up and make a 50’s style frock from the remaining fabric….le sigh….

Firstly I measured up using one of my tea towels from the kitchen, ensuring I cut it large enough to be able to fold the seam allowance on itself to ensure a nice clean finish.

How to make a tea towel DIY (3)

I then ironed…this is the only action my iron ever sees by the way… a sharp crease about 1 cm into the fabric.

How to make a tea towel DIY (5)

I then folded the seams over on themselves again and ironed again, pinning them together ready for stitching.

How to make a tea towel DIY (6)

Using a small straight stitch I ran these bad boys swiftly through the machine.

How to make a tea towel DIY (7)

Ending up with two lovely tea towels with a nice straight edge which took about 15 minutes to make.

How to make a tea towel DIY (1)

I folded them together and wrapped them with a pretty ribbon, because when fabric looks this fab, why cover it in paper?!

How to make a tea towel DIY (4)

I’m tempted to make a dozen more…despite the fact we collect tea towels from our holidays rather than souvenirs, so we have about a million!

Have you ever made tea towels?

wpid-signoff2013.png

How To: clean mug stains with a lemon

How to clean a mug stain with a lemon

If you drink a lot of tea like we do…or if you have a husband who likes to leave about a half-inch of coffee in the bottom of his mug and then leave it on his desk for weeks before bringing it down stairs….then you are likely to have to battle with mug staining.

This…I am aware…is totally a first world problem…but before you bake it on in the dishwasher…oh wait…you already did that? Never mind…thankfully I’m here to save your cups.

All you need is a trusty lemon.

Using a lemon to clean tea coffee stains

Or just some trusty lemon juice…which we buy by the 1.5l bottle for such emergencies…and pancakes.

Just cut your lemon in half and swash it around inside your mug, then leave it to work its magic for a few minutes before cleaning as normal.  For super stubborn stains, give it a little scrub using the lemon and some salt.

if using lemon juice, pop some on a cloth and do the same! (or just pour it in and swash it round…our prefferred method).

Easy peasy lemon squeezey!

wpid-signoff2013.png

How To: Preserve your bouquet after you wed

Bride and Groom big fat pigeon wedding

So you’ve paid for or had someone kindly create you a gorgeous fresh flower bouquet for your wedding….check.

You’ve decided not to chuck it across the room at your reception at your single female friends who do not need or want their singleness highlighted…. check.

You want to keep it to look at for years to come…ahhhh……you’ve come to the right place.

I kept mine in water on my mantelpiece for nearly 3 weeks before I decided to dry it to keep as a keepsake. I loved looking at it each day as I settled into married life and decided that even though this is no longer the 90’s (did anyone else Mum have LOADS of dried flowers in their house? Just me?) a dried wedding bouquet is something special.

I hung it upside down in our home office on the end of a curtain pole for a fortnight, where it naturally dried out. It may take an extra week if you have a monster bouquet and you’ve trained for weeks to be able to lift the thing.

Things that mde m ehappy this weekend my dried wedding bouquet

You can see that some of the colours have changed, but I don’t love it any less!

I hope this has been helpful for those interested ladies who emailed me last week…especially to see the before and after piccies.

Big love!

wpid-signoff2013.png