Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Win a wedding challenge...

Hurrah! We got engaged!

Now begins my super-exciting wedding planning on a budget, and if I can DIY it I will. My absolute dream is to win as much as possible, or at least haggle everything down. This may sound like a pipe-dream, but  low and behold, I've just had an email to say we're shortlisted to win our wedding photography! Amazing!

It was all down to my ever-swelling Pinterest board where most of my wedding planning is manifesting it's crazy little self (along with a few other boards, who can have just one?!)

So far, and only 4 weeks in, we've booked the venue, The Manor Barn in Buriton (just beautiful!), set the date, booked the registrar, the band and (oops) the photographer. This is a different photographer so I feel awful, but we haven't won yet so we may still keep her!

Eeeeek, how exciting!

Many and more of my wedding DIY escapades will be making there way on here in the not-so distant future!
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Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Veggie success

I've been away soooo long, but in that time look what's been growing in my garden! First ever veg plot so the novelty is kicking in... Mmm healthy

The early days of our tiny veg patch can be seen below...

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Wednesday, 28 May 2014

New hobby: Comping!

I recently started comping - the hobby of regularly entering competitions - on the basis that "you don't win if you don't enter" and guess what, it's paid off!

I started in mid-late April and after 2 days had won tickets to a cinema screening [although annoyingly couldn't attend] and on my birthday in early May I received an email telling me I'd won £201.50 worth of meat! And here it is:

This is now officially my favourite hobby! Saying that, I've been so busy at work recently I haven't had the time to enter many more [it can get VERY time consuming], so I think I'll take it up again once we've got through this lot... Mmmm, meat.

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Saturday, 3 May 2014

DIY IKEA Expedit seat cushion

Today I finished one of the items on my Pinterest 'to-do' list, hurrah! I'd seen this done before and wanted to replicate it, however it turns out buying a cut of foam to the full length of IKEA Expedit is EXPENSIVE!

So... I took a shortcut and ordered a garden bench cushion from eBay. It cost around £20 and as a bonus came with a waterproof cover.

I already had an H&M scarf I wanted to use as the top of the seat cushion to give it some personality, so I unpicked the stitching around the cushion cover and re-stitched it with the scarf fabric in place over the top of the waterproof fabric [keeping the waterproof cover means I can use it outside in the summer!]

I had to do a bit of tweaking and cut down the foam as it was a bit wide for the Expedit, and the result is that my cushion is ever so slightly wonky, but we'll call that homemade charm!

The cushion was also a bit shorter than the full length of the Expedit unit, but this worked out great as I now have a surface to put the phone / lamp etc on. So overall, I'm happy with my first attempt. It was a bit rushed and could have turned out neater if I'd had the time, but hey, life's too short!

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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Billy bookcase improvements

2 posts in one day! What the...?

Since moving into the new house, we seem to have accumulated a large number of Ikea Billy bookcases in various sizes. They're just so goddamn useful! We're only actually using 2 of our 5 Billy's for books. The others house our growing DVD collection or are re-purposed as shoe racks.

As much as I love the Billy, it's always annoyed me that the holes are so visible, so I decided to fill them! This is only really worth doing if you're sure you're not going to re-arrange the shelves. I figured they were staying put as we have them so got about filling them... [plus the boyfriend isn't a Billy fan - or even an Ikea fan for that matter! - so we'll probably replace them before ever needing to rearrange the shelves]

Here's what I used:

Decorators interior filler (£3ish from Homebase)
Filling knife or scraper [I just used a stiff piece of card]

Step 1 - fill holes
Step 2 - smooth over
Step 3 - sand down when dry
Step 4 - admire your handiwork



It's not perfect, but it'll do!

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Propagating succulents and cacti

This is purely an experiment. I've never done this before, only seen it on blogs and Pinterest. Some of my plants were looking a bit 'leggy' where they'd been reaching for sunlight, so I took that as a sign to trim them back. This gave me the opportunity to try propagating some more little succulents from leaves taken from the trimmed plant...


1. If pruning a plant that's grown tall, cut the top flower/rosette just below leaving a bit of stem and set aside. Remove lower leaves making sure they come away from the stem intact [if you leave the base of the leaf attached it won't root - apparently!]. Leave the stem in the pot to continue growing.

2. Put the leaves and rosette to one side for a couple of days [or longer] until the ends have dried and calloused over.

3. Place the leaves on top of some fast draining cactus soil and put the stem of the rosette in the soil. I used a little bit of hormone rooting powder too just for luck, but I don't think it's essential.

I also experimented a bit with cacti and aloe plants. I have no idea if these will work...! For the cacti I cut a stem away from the bigger plant and let it callus, then planted it in the soil. For the aloe I wasn't sure of the best approach so I've cut a few leaves and lay a few on the soil and a couple standing upright. We'll have to see which are most successful...

I forgot to take some progress shots, so here's a few pics of what I have on the go at the moment:

As you can see, where I cut the cacti stem from is already growing little roots [it's only been 2 days!], so I'm hoping that the cut bit will grow some too! I'll be back with an update in a couple of weeks to see how things are progressing... Eeek!

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Saturday, 29 March 2014

DIY Fruit [/cake] Stand

I've been meaning to get around to making this fruit stand for ages now... I hate our current fruit bowl and the boyfriend likes to keep all his fruits separate [apparently some fruits ripen other fruits when touching them] so most bowls don't do the job. This is where I thought a cake-stand could work well, with different fruits on each tier. I don't eat a lot of cake, but if I ever have a tea party I can use it for that too!

I bought 3 different sized plates from Ikea [black and white theme going on here], and I had previously bought the stand pieces from eBay for a few £s. The stand isn't the nicest I admit, so I will probably replace it at some point, but it will do for now...

I also had to invest in some special ceramic tile drill bits, which I think I bought from Amazon. They weren't expensive from what I remember, and now if I need to drill through more plates or tiles I'm sorted!
I stuck masking tape down where I was drilling for 3 reasons: it protects the surface and helps to avoid cracks whilst drilling, stops the drill slipping, and gives me a surface to mark the center point on. It's a good idea to do the drilling outside as drilling through the plates creates a lot of dust.

Once I'd drilled the holes [with a piece of spare wood placed behind to avoid drilling through my decking in the garden] I assembled the stand, which took no time at all! Voila, one fruit [/cake] stand... I can't believe I didn't break anything!!!


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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

DIY open terrarium

Hello! Been away a while, getting the house sorted [a never-ending task!] and the sunny weather has made me even more plant-crazed than usual. I finally got around to re-filling my glass dish left over from an earlier post: DIY bottle garden.

The dish is Blomster [£12] and the pebbles are Knaster [75p] from Ikea.

The pebbles create a drainage layer, and cactus compost is a sandy mix so the plants don't get water-logged. I had some succulent and cacti plants left over from my post DIY re-purposed vintage light terrarium and a few other little ones around the house. These types of plant are perfect for an open terrarium as they thrive in dry conditions and don't require constant moisture like ferns and other closed terrarium or bottle garden plants. This also makes them a lot harder to kill! They also don't have very deep roots so are perfect for a decorative arrangement like this in a shallow container...

After loosening up the roots, I arranged them on top of the pebbles and filled the gaps with soil. I like the finished product but think it needs some sand or stones on top to hide the soil. Once I've found something suitable I'll post a picture. In the meantime I'm just going to see if the plants spread out a bit!

I've also bought one of these fun Sky Planters by Boskke [after running out of worktop space!!!] and have put a spider plant in it; when it's grown a bit I'll take some photos...

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Monday, 24 February 2014

DIY re-purposed vintage light terrarium

This is one of my favourite DIYs so far... And sadly I no longer have it looking beautiful in my house as it was a gift for a friend.

I'm determined to make one for myself in the future, but getting hold of these great vintage pendant lights for only a few £££s can be tricky!

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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Moss knit blankets

Watching the chilly Winter Olympics has prompted me to knit another warm and cosy blanket. I finished the first one [pictured below] just before Christmas last year and it took me AGES so this time, in the pursuit of laziness, I went for a thicker wool, bigger needles, and a simpler pattern!!!

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Monday, 10 February 2014

DIY bottle terrarium

I spent the day yesterday up to my elbows in mud and dirt, relocating some of my sad looking plants into a lovely new home...
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Monday, 3 February 2014

Abode by Magpie and Mengsel

Tomorrow sees the launch of a new range Abode by Magpie, which I absolutely love. And if you really can't wait, the prints and tea towels are available to buy NOW!

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Friday, 31 January 2014

Bed edit [ Zzzzzz... ]

It's Friday, I'm tired, and my NEW BED arrives tomorrow so I am looking forward to a weekend of rest and sleep [she says hopefully]. I thought I'd pin up a few of the lovely bed frames I came across in my search for a new one for myself.

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Wednesday, 29 January 2014

[sneak peek]

As the rest of the house is a bit of a tip I can only show a sneak peak of some of the bits I've already made for our home. Our lovely new sofa is in, with a few cushions [made and bought], along with the plain wooden clock that I'm itching to customise. Got some ideas in mind but no time [excuse the pun]!

My favourite is the pine trees cushion, which I saw on Sylizimo's blog and just had to copy. I love By Nord's cushions but at £45 a pop I can't justify buying one. So the idea to use their £13[ish] tea towels as the cushion front is genius! I bought a couple of other tea towels in the sale that I haven't gotten around to sewing up yet, so check back soon for that...I also got the inspiration for the elephant cushion from Stylizimo and made one in black as well. The yellow cushions are a mix of tie-dye and dip dye. They were plain canvas cushion covers from H&M that I dyed using Dylon hand-dye. They turned out pretty well I think, it was hard not to get carried away tie-dying everything I own! If you want to give it a go, there's a nice dip dying tutorial here. It takes a bit of patience and my top tip is to wet the fabric first so that the colour seeps up it gradually; dip it in bit by bit, a little at a time, until you've reached the line you want the colour to stop. Tie-dying is a lot simpler and instructions to do 'stripes' can be found here.P.S. The throw shown here is actually a scarf from H&M [currently in stores for £9.99] but I have too many scarves and had to justify buying it as a 'throw' in order to feel less guilty about taking it home!
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WARNING, too many [Brazil] nuts!

Image courtesy of רנדום / commons.Wikimedia.org

Last week I found out that eating too many Brazil nuts on a regular basis can be toxic. This is apparently due to the levels of Selenium found in the nuts, an important trace mineral high in antioxidants.

Like vitamin C, this is a mineral that our body has to consume, i.e. we cannot produce it ourselves, so we get it from food. It just so happens that as well as the multitude of health benefits Brazil nuts offer, being high in protein, calcium, magnesium, thiamine and zinc, they are also one of the best natural sources for selenium, which has been shown to help fight cancer, heart disease and ageing, as well as improve immune function and reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis.

So it seems they are a wonder-nut... But not if you have too many!

Last week I had been feeling nauseous on a daily basis and my nails were weak and splitting, which is unusual, they're usually pretty strong. I had to wonder what I had been doing differently, when my eye caught my big bag of brazil nuts that I'd been snacking on for a few days. I'm not talking a bag a day, more like a handful (6-10) a day, as I'd recently read that eating nuts regularly can have great health benefits. I knew that you shouldn't eat too many Brazil nuts a day, but I had always just assumed that was because they are high in saturated fat. I did a bit of research and, little did I know, the real reason there is a recommended limit is because consuming too many Brazil nuts can cause an overdose of selenium in your system, which can be toxic.

Apparently, just 1 Brazil nut contains 100% of your daily recommended selenium allowance. Eating too many, and increasing your selenium intake, can result in skin rash, brittle hair and nails, garlic-breath, nausea and nerve damage! Scary stuff!

Needless to say, I promptly stopped eating my bag of Brazils, and from now on will only dip into them once or twice a week for one or two a day max. I also checked my daily ABC Vitamins and I'm already getting 45% of my RDA of selenium, so one or two nuts is more than enough!
I can't be 100% sure if it was the cause of my stomach upset and brittle nails but since I stopped eating them my nails are looking a lot better and the nausea has stopped. I could experiment a bit more to prove / disprove, but I don't particularly want to!!!

Hope this helps someone. These nuts should come with a warning!
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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Time for wall clocks...

^^^^^ This made my day. I love Society6 and we recently ordered a print for the new house [with FREE DELIVERY to the UK!] that I'm VERY excited about receiving, but I am now pretty certain that I need to order a clock. We have 5 rooms in our little house, and each one will need a clock. Before I get carried away ordering clocks, I need to remember not to forget about customising my Bloomingville wooden clock from my post Home, Sweet Home

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Perfect rainbow

Something to distract me from work...!

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