Paper lanterns

I had so much fun making these paper lanterns with my children. They have been asking me about Chinese New Year and apart from confirming that it was going to happen soon and that it is also the year of the horse my mind was totally blank. I remembered making paper lanterns as a child, so before their attention had moved onto something else I quickly got out some patterned paper, scissors and glue. I got them to cut the paper but they had no idea what they were making. The look on their faces when I showed them a finished lantern was as if I had performed an amazing magic trick. The children were so pleased with them and they looked so pretty I hung them up. We then went off, of course and researched (o.k, quickly googled) Chinese New Year.

How-to upcycle a bangle with fabric

Last week I fancied dressing up a plain outfit with some jewellery. This will be easy I thought, I will go get my jewellery box. It is kept in the back of my wardrobe (and hadn't seen the light of day for years). Inside though I found a sad collection of broken costume jewellery, single earrings and tarnished rings, the majority of which purchased when I was a teenager. It was like a little time capsule to my youth. The items inside had only been kept for sentimental reasons or due to their upcycling potential. 

Needless to say my outfit stayed plain that day. It did give me the impetus however, to add some new jewellery pieces to my box so that if an occasion arouse again to dress up an outfit I would have at least a couple of options. 

I hit the sales in search of a nice bracelet and/or necklace to add to my (very sad) jewellery collection. I went into one shop though, saw a lot of people inside with a very long que at the till and walked out again. With two small children in tow shopping can be somewhat of an ordeal. That along with the fact I rarely find anything I like due to my unusual taste meant my shopping trip was over before it had even begun. I prefer jewellery and accessories made from fabric, felt or beads and that is not always easy to find. I would, I resolved, just make the sort of thing I like instead.

I was lacking somewhat in the inspiration department until I came across these secondhand wooden bangles below. I knew they had potential and decided to brighten them up with some scraps of nice fabric that I already had. 
All you need to make fabric covered bangles are: bangles, fabric, modge podge glue, small brush and scissors. I started off by cutting long strips of fabric approximately two inches wide. I then applied a thin layer of modge podge glue directly onto the fabric (if you apply too much it will seep through and leave a glue stain) a couple of inches at a time and wrapped it around the bangle. I then let it dry overnight. Done. A great way of using up those scraps of fabric you just can't throw away and have your own unique jewellery. 


Pretty sewing pins

These sewing pins keep me cheerful, even when I seem to spend most of my time unpicking what I have sewn. 

Upcycled lamp


If like me you have trouble finding lamps in the colour or pattern you like (or can afford), you could try recovering a lampshade with fabric instead. I livened up my lamp above with some fabric that I adore by Amy Butler called Blush, Peacock Feathers . I love bright colours so it's perfect for me. There are lots of lovely fabrics out there, so your bound to find one that suits your taste and budget. If you are after a how-to on recovering a lamp there are plenty of tutorials online such as on the house to home website.  I recommend giving it a go, I really enjoyed this project.   

Homemade natural deodorant

I found this easy recipe for natural deodorant that I wanted to try on wellnessmama.com. I decided to make some up for myself and a bit extra for my mum (the only person I know who would not be offended at receiving deodorant as a gift!). It only uses a few ingredients and I had all but one of those already. All you need for the basic version (the second recipe) is baking soda, arrow root, coconut oil, an essential oil (this one is optional) and a container (nutella jar in my case). 

Putting something completely natural and chemical free on my skin felt quite liberating. It is slightly strange at first if you are not used to applying deodorant with your fingers but I soon got used to it. The deodorant is more of a solid paste in cooler temperatures, but on hot days it will become liquid so may need to go in the fridge for a little while before you plan on putting it on. 

I have been using it mainly on days I'm at home and it works quite well. The real test however, would be to wear it on days where activity or stress is anticipated (this shouldn't be anytime soon in my case if all my avoidance strategies for stress and exercise continue to pay off!). 

Whilst I have bought some beauty products from health/organic shops before it can end up being a bit pricey. So I like finding cheaper (but still natural) alternatives. Wellnessmama.com is a lovely website for those wanting a more natural and chemical free life. It has lots or food recipes, natural cleaning tips as well as homemade how-to's. I plan on trying the recipe for foaming handsoap next as my family gets through so much of the shop bought stuff. 

Another good website I have found on natural living is thankyourbody.com. I am eager to try this recipe for homemade mascara. Just waiting for my current one to run out to wash and re-use the mascara tube container.

Anyone know of other good places on the web for homemade beauty products or do you have your own recipes that work well? I would love to hear about them.

Collector or hoarder?

I am not a collector of buttons. Or rather I thought I wasn't until I rearranged some craft supplies and realised I actually have loads of them! A lot have been cut off garments that I have upcycled or are the spares you get sewn inside tops etc (I do love a free button! Is that sad?). I have kept them, just in case they were needed. 

Seeing the variety of buttons I have reminded me of my Grandmas big jar of buttons I used to like looking through as a child. Funny how a memory can come out of looking at random objects. As yet no occasion has come up for me to use any of these buttons, but if one does I will be well prepared.

You could say that I am more of a hoarder than a collector. Of buttons that is. I am definitely a collector of books.The difference? I think it comes down to how much enjoyment you get from adding to your collection. Whilst I like looking at all my pretty buttons (I will be putting mine in a jar later to show them off and have as a nostalgic reminder) I rarely buy them and it doesn't compare to the excitement I feel when I get a book I want through the post. Do you hoard or collect anything? Is there a fine line between the two?

How-to: Recipe box

Happy new year! A new year always feels like a fresh start for me and a time to refocus on my goals. One of my goals this year (and most years if I am honest) is it to get organised. Starting small, I wanted to put all my loose recipes that were on bits of paper scattered in a cupboard on to cards and then kept in a box. For the box I decided to use an empty chocolate box and upcycle it with wrapping paper. 
Here is how to do the box
All you need is: a cardboard box, decorative paper, sticky-back plastic, scissors and glue.
1, Open up the box and lay it out flat. 
2, With the box facing down on top of the patterned paper (also face down), draw around the box leaving an extra margin for the paper to be folded over the edges and glued down.
3, Cut out.
4, The next steps are if you want to cover your patterned paper with sticky back plastic (which makes it a bit easier to clean and ensures the decorative paper does not rip off). Using the patterned paper you just cut out as a template place on top of your sticky back plastic and draw around (I left an extra margin all around on the sticky back plastic to help secure it to the box). 

5, Lay the sticky side of the plastic carefully onto the top of patterned side of paper so there are no bubbles.
6, Apply glue onto the front of your box and stick down the patterned paper. Fold over the extra margins and glue down. Reassemble the box back into its original shape gluing down the sides. Then leave to dry. All done, now just add a label if you wish.

I made another one below out of a tea box.
Not sure what to use it for yet.

                                                                      
                                                                                                                       

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