Feature Friday: Halloween!

Hi All,

Long time no blog! I’ve been terrible! However we’re back this week with a scary bang! Halloween is looming and we’re loving it.

Over here in England it’s not such a big Holiday, but that doesn’t stop us enjoying all the inspiration from across the pond.

Here’s a few categories and a few ideas to try for yourself.

1/ Decorate with a difference – Pumpkin decor.

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I’m a sucker for black and white and I love the idea of painting your pumpkin and making them pretty. They’d be great for table center pieces!

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Add props to make your pumpkin stand out. I love the candle holder idea and the animals are so cute!

2/ Deadly decoration

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Small touches like these are brilliant to add atmosphere to your Halloween party… how great are those candles?

3/ Scary snacks – Halloween food

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Can’t wait to try those black toffee apples!

4/ Deadly drinks – Halloween cocktails

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These cocktails look awesome no? I would love to try them all!

Lots of brilliant and creative finds this week. What are you planning for Halloween?

Look out for our scary Halloween costume/make up finds coming this week!

Take care,

Elisa Signature

 

 

 

Feature Friday: Fun with cement!

Hi all,

It’s that time again! Friday woo! Shamefully I am one of those people who can’t wait until the weekend. When that clock hits 5:30, I’m outta there!

So on my lunch break yesterday, and not when I was procrastinating… I stumbled upon such a cute little project using cement. This obviously isn’t a new material and it’s been creeping around the craft blogs for a while, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to use for ages.

It seems really easy to use and I like the juxtaposition of the industrial connotations the material has compared to the dainty projects I’ve been seeing.

So here are my favorite cement projects:

1// Concrete candlestick by Evenyaru.com

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2// Concrete ring bowl by Land of Nams

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3// Concrete quartz necklace by the uber talented Francesca over at fallfordiy.com

Seriously check out her page – it’s awesome and she has lots of different concrete jewellery tutorials!

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4// Cement Christmas (eek I said it) decorations by fellow fellow

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5// Cement key chain by sayyes.com

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Right so I’m off to buy some cement and some molds!

Enjoy the weekend!

Take care,

Elisa Signature

Tutorial ~ Easy Peasy DIY

Hi all,

So I decided it was about time for a DIY tutorial, don’t you think?

I was so inspired by the hand crafted Jewellery at Black Box Boutique the other week that I went straight home and did some making! Obviously I’m just a hobby crafter so don’t have access to any technical tools so I decided to go simple and use craft clay.

This takes 30mins so get your oven on, wack it on to 130 and start following these simple rules.

You need five things:

  1. Craft clay
  2. A skewer
  3. Hot oven (130 – or whatever temp you craft clay says)
  4. Nail varnish
  5. Jewellery bits – chain, clasp, wire and connecting rings.

Once you have these things simply follow these super easy steps.

1// Portion out your craft clay. Kneed it until soft and roll into a ball.

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2// Once you have the amount of balls you want, at the size you want, start using the skewer to make them into beads:

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3// Bake in the oven for 25 mins (or however long the craft clay packet says) and leave to cool.

4// Once cooled use the nail varnish to paint them. The nail varnish gives a lovely shiny finish. Leave to dry.

5// Once dried use the wire to attach the beads together:

Bend the ends like this from the stackable beads tutorial

Bend the ends like this from the stack-able beads tutorial

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6// Use the connecting rings to attach the bead pendant to your chain. Add the clasp. And boom: you’re done!

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Really easy ay!

Take care,

Elisa Signature

Feature Friday! Interview with Black Box Boutique.

Hi all,

Eeek it feels like I’ve been away  for ages! Victoria has been doing a great job while I’ve been tottering around the Scottish lands. I had a great time, thanks for asking. Lot’s of walking, seeing sandy beaches and fun family times! A much needed break!

I didn’t forget about you guys though! Whilst on my travels I was looking out for things to report back to you all and success! As I was puddle hopping my way around the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh (a place I highly recommend you all go. Now!) I stumbled upon a wondrous, almost magical, find: Black Box Boutique!

Black Box is the wonderful creation of Hannah and Sarah: together they have created this charming boutique shop, almost like a bricks and mortar ETSY shop!

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Situated on the winding West Bow street in Edinburgh’s old town this little treasure trove is stuffed full of imaginative and creative products. Not only was I in awe of the hand crafted jewellery, illustrations, cards and supplies but the interior was magical!

 

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I love these sort of finds; I love being transported into the world independent shops like these create. But rather than me gab on about it why don’t we hear from the lovely ladies themselves! I was able to ask Hannah and Sarah a few questions so I hope you enjoy!

1/ Please introduce yourselves and your business.
Hello, I am Hannah, and I run Black Box with my good friend Sarah. Black Box is an independent design boutique based in the heart of Edinburghs Old Town. We stock a wide range of stationery, illustration, homeware and gifts, but at the heart of it we are a jewellery boutique. All of our products are made by British-based independent designers and small companies, with a few from a bit further afield. Both myself and Sarah are jewellers, and we have our workshop at the back of the shop so our customers can peek at jewellery being made.

2/ How did you start out and how did black box boutique evolve?
Black Box is a family run business, but to begin with we were starting from scratch. Our initial vision for Black Box was to be a sort of wonderland with the jewellery displayed in unusual ways, enabling the customer to feel like they were discovering hidden treasures throughout the boutique. So often jewellery stores are rows of endless glass cabinets, where the jewellery almost becomes lost. We wanted to have each cabinet tell it’s own story, and in turn the jewellery comes to life!

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We’ve come a long way from when we opened, and our designer base has risen from 25 to begin with, up to around 100 at the moment. It’s a constant learning curve, so we continually update our displays, and strive to deliver something fresh.

3/ You have so many amazing handmade goodies in your shop; what are you loving right now?
It’s so hard to choose, we love all of our designers! Wolf & Moon and AndSmile are going down a storm with our customers, as is the new collection from DeeLyn made from recycled guitar strings. Both myself and Sarah are totally in love with Yasmin Everley’s Entomology collection, and I might just have to treat myself to one of Myia Bonner’s new initial necklaces…!

4/ What or who inspires you most?
Black Box grew from a love of fairytales and secret things, childhood curiosities and particularly books like The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. It’s always been important for our boutique to mix the old with the new, so we source old furniture and objects to include in our displays. I’ve collected ‘antiques’ for years, not for their value (which is little) but for a love of imagining what sort of history the item could have had; who owned it, what sort of life did they lead, if the object could speak what tales would it tell? etc. There is such value in history, it’s all so fascinating, and really the only limit is your imagination!

5/ Do you have any advice for those creative people out there looking to open up a crafty business?
Make sure that your craft is your passion. Being a creative and a business owner is often difficult, as the two tend to be at crossed purposes in terms of motivation, but it can definitely work. I’d say that feedback is invaluable, because it’s always vital to gain a fresh perspective. Listen to your customers, and don’t give up. Persevere and believe in yourself – You can do it!

A huge thank you to Black Box Boutique for answering all of our questions! We hope you all enjoyed hearing what they had to say and if you’re in the Edinburgh area get your Google maps out, type in this address: 98 WEST BOW, EDINBURGH, MIDLOTHIAN, EH1 2HH, and get your behinds down there!

Take care,

Elisa Signature

Tutorial ~ Fruity Smoothies and Milkshakes

Don’t you love the fruit variety available in the summer? If you’re anything like me and try to eat seasonal then you’ll understand why I find the summer months so fruitlicious (yes I did just use a made up word).

On occasions I have an abundance of fruit in the fridge, some picked, some store bought. Either way I’ve had times when I’ve not managed to eat it or freeze it before it has started to turn. The simple solution – fruit smoothies and milkshakes.

My two ideas were really simple to make, great for making with the kids (that I borrow from my sister-in-law on occasions).

1) Berry Blitz

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To recreate your own you will need

Summer berries – I used strawberries and raspberries
Sparkling Mineral Water
Ice – both for cooling and decoration
Blender of some kind – I used a handblender

These are so easy I won’t bother with step by step instructions.
Just pop your fruit in the blender and whizz until smooth. if you don’t like the pips heres your chance to sieve the fruity gloop and pour it back into the blender. Pop some ice cubes in and give it a little whizz to crumble them. Finally add a drop of sparkling spring water and give it a little whizz to mix it all together. And serve with a straw and cute ice cubes.

2) Blueberry Milkshake

A few weeks ago I had some blueberry yogurt close to it’s use by date, rather than try to use it up I decided to turn it into frozen yogurt after searching and finding this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie. To sweeten it I simply added some honey, this worked really well.

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To recreate your own you will need

Frozen Yogurt – I used the blueberry yogurt mentioned above but plain would work just as well
Blueberries – a good handful
Semi-skimmed Milk – I used about half a cup

Pop your fruit in the blender, whizz until smooth. Add a few scoops of your frozen yogurt (more if you want to treat yourself) and then add the milk. Give it a whizz with the blender just to mix it together and serve. So simple.

Do you have any fruity recipes you enjoy? Leave a link to your suggestions in the comments below.

Enjoy!

Victoria Signature

Inspiration ~ Dip Dyed T-shirt

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This summer as I’m sure you’re aware by now I am hooked on dying. I’ve tried creating natural dyes  out of black beans, elderberries, strawberries, raspberries and even spinach leaves. After our recent post on dip dye ideas and my failure with my attempt at using natural dyes for dip dying I resorted to having a  go using manufactured dye. It was really easy to do, in fact I did it at the same time as making a dip dyed tablecloth (that’s a future post).

To make my t-shirt I simply created the dye bath with the salt fixant as instructed on the packet. Laid the t-shirt over the side up to the highest point I wanted to dye to reach then every 15 minutes I lifted the t-shirt out. Unfortunately the photos don’t show the variation in colour quite as well as the real thing, but I reckon it looks good all the same. What do you think? tshirtcollage

It definitely turned out better than the natural dye, was it the material I used or the dye itself I wonder? I really love how it turned out, plus it looked great on (I hate having photos taken and this was the best of a bad bunch my boyfriend took 🙂 ).
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Anyway have you had a go at dip dying yet? Been inspired to have a go yourself?

Share with us your ideas and creations in the comments below.

Enjoy!

Victoria Signature

Tutorial ~ Stackable Beaded Wire Bracelets

You know that obsession I mentioned recently about beaded jewellery? Well it’s getting worse.

Check out these quirky bracelets, they’re really easy to make and look great stacked.

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To make these darlings you need just two materials, how great is that?

tools (2)

You will need
Wire ( I used 0.9mm black coloured wire)
Round beads
Pliers ( I used round nosed and chain nose)
Wire cutters

Step 1. Cut your wire to size, I measured my wrist and cut the wire  to the same size.
Step 2. Using the round nose pliers, create a hoop at the end of the wire.
Step 3. Feed your beads onto the wire, leave about 8mm.
Step 4. At the end of the wire make another hoop using the round nose pliers to close off the wire, ensuring none of the beads will fall off.
Step 5. Wrap the beaded wire around your wrist to shape and you’re done!

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Easy? Why not make many more, use a variety of beads. Share them or stack them.

Enjoy!

Victoria Signature

Feature Friday ~ DIY outdoor party ideas!

Hi all,

I’m so chuffed at the response to my previous Feature Friday: Fun with Fruits! Thank you all so much for the likes and the comments, it’s so nice that people are reading our blog and liking it!

I thought I’d carry on with the summery theme (even though it’s raining today) and concentrate on outdoor parties. I know Victoria has done some ideas on Summer BBQ’s and I wanted to add a few bits.

You see it’s the manfriend’s birthday coming up and we’re headed to an empty field for a camping/BBQ party and I wanted to make it a bit more special. So this week I’ve been looking into some budget ways to do that!

Here’s what I’ve found:

1// DIY party sign.

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Loving this simple and easy to do idea. You just need some wood and some paint! I’d have it directing people to the games, BBQ, restroom, tents etc. I think it would make a really nice touch to the entrance of the party.

2// DIY games

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3/ Handy DIY ideas for the table.

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Love this idea! I think it’s so messy having the bottles and pots of sauces so this is a great, neater dispenser idea! A must!

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4/ FOOOOD!

 

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Again a definite must! This is the one I’m most excited about!

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Loving this idea for the soft drinks. Why should the soft drinks be so boring when you can sproose them up like this! Amazing.

5/ DIY lighting.

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As well as the standard candles in jars I wanted to look at other ideas and found some really nice glow stick ideas. Loving the balloons!

I will definitely be taking some of these inspiring ideas for the party… I’ve already started collecting tins!

Take care,

Elisa Signature

 

Inspiration ~ Natural Dyes

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Last week I mentioned I had plans to experiment with natural dyes and well sure enough that’s exactly what I did on Friday.

For many years I’ve wanted to try using natural dyes but never seemed to find the right time. My love for dip dying and ombre crafts at the moment, kind of made it feel like the right time to give it ago. I saw this great post on Free People recently about Dying with Black Beans. Instantly I knew I had to use them, I loved the colour they gave to the lace, beautiful!

My intentions had been to create a natural blue dye to create a hanging dip dyed ombre piece, however as you will soon see my intentions were not achieved this time around.

The Process

Making a natural dye was much easier than I had anticipated it would be. Honestly it was really simple.
All I needed was an old saucepan (or bucket or bowl), water, dried black beans and a fabric suitable for dying (I used linen).

You simply pop your black beans into your pot, cover with water and allow to soak for around 12-15 hours. Make sure there is plenty of water to cover the beans as they soak it up, if need be add a drop more water a few hours before you plan to use your dye, that’s what I did and it turned out okay.

 

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Once I had allowed the black beans to soak overnight, they had created a murky brown liquid. I panicked at this point, this wasn’t the blue I envisaged. I gave it a go any way.

I decided to do the dying process in the bathtub just in case of spillages. Since I was attempting a dip dye effect I put about 1/3 of the material into the dye bath and every 15 minutes pulled a few inches out of the dye bath.

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During this part of the process, the fabric took on a beautiful blue and the ombre effect was working. Whoo!

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I loved the effect shown in this picture. I can promise you there are no filters on this photo or any of the photos today, this is the natural look.

Once I reached the end of the length of linen I squeezed any excess water out and hung it out to dry.

This is where I wanted to cry. You see as the linen dried the ombre effect disappeared. It was clearly down to the concentration of water remaining in the fabric that allowed for this effect to be created. But never mind, as it dried the concentration reduced and thus the single colour resulted.

I did create a beautiful blue piece of linen perfect for working with on a future project however so I don’t really mind.

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I’m eager now to create natrual dyes in other colours. I’m already eyeing up the blackberries that are growing along side the railway track.
For more inspiration on natural dying check out this post over at Free People – DIY Natural Dyes.

Inspired? Ever tried it yourself? Tell us your ideas or tips in the comments below.

Enjoy!

Victoria Signature

 

 

Tutorial ~ Beaded ‘U’ Necklace

Hi all,

Is it just me or does anyone  else get really hooked on particular crafts or ideas? At the moment I’m captivated by beaded jewellery and dip dye crafts.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon making loads of beautiful beaded bracelets. I love them.

Today I’m going to share a tutorial with you on how to make your own Beaded ‘U’ Necklace. I love these and have been making a few recently with the seed beads I discovered the other week. Don’t you just love the colour of these beads?

tools and materials

You will need the following

~ Wire cutters
~ Round nose pliers
~ Chain nose pliers
~ Chain
~ Wire (I used 4mm)
~ 3 jump rings
~ 1 larger jump ring
~ Trigger clasp
~ Beautiful beads (around 10g)
~ 2 decorative beads for the ends (optional)

Step 1. Cut your wire to your preferred length. I cut mine to about 15cm.

Bead and wire

Step 2. Create a hoop at the end of your wire using the round nose pliers

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Step 3. If using an alternative bead for the end, thread this onto your wire. Ensure it is secure and it doesn’t come off the end. If your hoop was tight enough it should be secure
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Step 4. Thread the other beads onto the wire, leaving about 2cm.

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Step 5. You should now have about 2cm left. Add the second of the alternative beads if you are using them. Then using the round nose pliers create another hoop with the wire ensuring it closes tight next to the bead at the end. Once complete it should look something like this.

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Step 6. Now to turn it into a necklace. Cut two strips of chain of equal length. I made mine 20cm again but this was too long. I would recommend 15cm so that it doesn’t hang too low.

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Step 7. Using the jump rings nd the pliers attach one end of the chain to the hoops on the wire. add chain

Step 8. Using the pliers and a small jump ring attach the trigger clasp to the end of a piece of chain. connector

Step 9. Again using the pliers attach the larger of the jump ring to the end of the other piece of chain. I added a bead for decoration. end of chainStep 10 . It’s complete. necklace

Enjoy!

Victoria Signature