Erm… Hello? Excuse me while I shuffle, self-consciously back into the spotlight. It’s been a while! I feel like I should go do a whole passage of time monologue a-la Twilight New Moon but I’ll spare you that and simply insert a relevant gif…
So what’s the craik? Well I’ve been BUSY! Not with anything really blog-able but just my general existence has been one hectic mess. I got a promotion at work towards the end of last year which put me in a bit of a tail-spin-freak-out but things have settled down a bit now and we’re in a calm period. I’ve also been stress-crafting my way through wedding preparations because I GET MARRIED THIS YEAR! True to form, I thought I would recap my thoughts and feelings about that whole thing in a series of gifs (because who has the time to produce original content, right?)
Yeah… That about sums it up.
I’ve made a lot of stuff recently but my one regret is that I’ve had to put sewing on the back burner. I’ve made 3 items since we moved into our new house in April and one of those was a Halloween costume (I was Daenerys Targaryen and it was awesome). All my crafting energy has been directed towards items for the wedding because I’m a cheap ass who refuses to pay for anything I can feasibly make myself, no matter how much time it will cost me. My saving grace is that I’m also a fanatical organiser and list maker. I’ve never been so thankful for these somewhat annoying qualities than I am right at this very moment. The next 33 weeks of my life are mapped out on a Gant chart (shout out to all my project management fellows) and have it constantly to hand. A cursory glance tells me that I have 32 craft projects to complete before the big day and this would seem obscene if I didn’t have chunks of time blacked out for each one on my chart. I’m actually ahead of schedule right now, not to toot my own horn too much.
So that’s what’s going on here. I have a backlog of things to showcase, so if you fancy sticking around for a gratuitous amount of gifs and my rudimentary understanding of what it means to function as an adult in this world, then please do subscribe.
What’s this – 2 blog posts in 2 weeks? That’s almost unheard of round here! You would think I have excess time on my hands. Actually, that’s quite far from the case, in fact things are more hectic than ever! I’ve recently taken on a new role at work which I’m delighted about and we’re focusing more and more time on wedding planning! In among all that, we have a house to fill with furniture to make it look less like a shell… Quite a task when you only started with 2 side tables and a temperamental floor lamp! The good news is that things are coming along and this past week we finally managed to MAKE and INSTALL a headboard for our bed!
I’d like to just take a minute to talk about the bed. This bed is my most favourite purchase for the house. It is the most comfortable thing I’ve ever had the pleasure of flopping my body onto. You don’t appreciate how important a bed really until you have a crap one. In our old house the bed and mattress were brand new but SO uncomfortable to me. The mattress gave me such a sore back on it’s own that we had to invest in a memory foam topper just so I could get some sleep. When we were choosing our bed I was basically prepared to throw ALL THE MONEY at it because it was so important to me. We tried many, many shops and finally settled on this dream king size divan & mattress set. I won’t mention where it’s from as the service I had from the shop was pretty terrible but even that doesn’t dampen my love for this bed. ANYWAY, when we bought the bed we decided to pass on the headboards they had available in the shop because there was no way I was spending another £250 on a piece of covered MDF – thank you very much! We decided we could at least try to make one for a fraction of that cost and I think it turned out pretty well.
The process was pretty simple and the cost of all the materials (including a swish new staple gun) came to under £90 which I’m delighted with. In true blogger style I attempted to document the process. Also this is the first real DIY project that Ian and I ever ever worked on as a team so I thought adding more stress to the situation by stopping every 5 minutes to take a photo would be a good idea 🙂
MDF board (cut to size at B&Q for free)
2 pre-cut wooden posts (also B&Q)
2m of upholstry fabric (from Remnant Kings)
2m of wadding fabric (Remnant Kings)
2inch thick foam (cut to the correct size and bought at the most random little shop in Glasgow city centre that exclusively sells foam products – who knew?)
Staple gun & staples (Amazon)
Sandpaper, nails and other handy DIY tools like a drill
*Gathering the materials for this job was the most difficult part. Not because they were hard to come by, but because we were woefully under-prepared for how big a bit of MDF we would need to fit into Ian’s tiny toy car. Basically, the main thing I’m taking away from this project is that we need a bigger car in our arsenal.
Once we actually had all of the above in our possession, we set up a make-shift work bench (*note to self: Get proper work bench for future DIY projects) from lawn furniture in the garage. Then Ian started brandishing tools.
It may not seem like it, but we know our limitations so went for a very basic square headboard. The MDF is the same width as the bed (152cm) and we figured we would need the height to be 80cm taller than the mattress. We measured the spacing of the holes in the divan meant for the headboard screws and transferred this to the posts, making 2 holes in each one. We then spaced the supporting posts 15cm in from the edge of the MDF and secured them with wood glue and nails for extra stability. This is the basic frame in the crap picture above!
The foam was cut to the same dimensions as the board and is 2 inches deep so it’s nice and cushioned. We attached this with some spray adhesive to the top of the board just to hold it in place for all the yanking that was to come.
We laid our wadding out and placed the frame face down on top of it so that the side with the posts was facing up. Taking it in turns (because it was actually hard work) we then pulled the wadding tightly over it to smooth out the edge of the foam and secured it to the back using the staple gun. Once the wadding was secured we repeated this step with the actual fabric.
This took a fair amount of time and caused more than a little grunting on my part. We found the best way was to pull tightly on the 3 visible edges and then yank with all our might on the bottom edge so that it compressed the foam to the board. It’s kind of hard to explain but hopefully you can see from the picture below what I mean. This taught edge means that the headboard meets the mattress nice and snug.
LOOK HOW DELIGHTED HE IS WITH OUR HANDYWORK!
I paid special attention to the corners and found a way to fold in the fabric so that it was kind of mitred. We cut slits in the wadding and fabric to be able to wrap both around the posts. This but won’t be visible so we weren’t too concerned about how it looked, as long as nothing was poking out! Below you can see how long the posts extend down from the board. We wanted to make the frame as sturdy as possible while making sure it would be flush with the wall. Ideally the posts would go all the way to the floor when the headboard is attached but then they would be hitting the skirting board behind the bed and would angle the board which may cause splintering. (I EVEN SOUND LIKE I KNOW WHAT I’M DOING NOW!)
This is the back of the board and one of the corners. It looks pretty crap but it’s very secure and looks lovely from the front which is the main thing. I also turned under the raw edge of the fabric and stapled that to the board too so we wouldn’t have any fraying.
It’s quite the structure once it was attached to the bed, almost imposing, but it definitely completes the room and makes the bed feel even more luxurious! I’m calling our first joint DIY project a success and now I have about 5 bajillion more things that I want to make 🙂 On to the next one!
Good morning folks! I’ve been a busy little bee recently and have bashed our some major wedding planning during my blog absence. We’ve made a fair bit of progress – mainly booking our Photographer, settling on a theme and also… *drumroll* I SAID YES TO THE DRESS. Obviously I can’t say much more about that but I’m absolutely delighted with all of the above! Speaking of wedding theme, I’ve started making up some of my own decor items for the day, (nothing like being an eager beaver) and thought I’d give you a peek at my new crafty tool.
Pyrography. Every time I say the word, The Prodigy starts playing in my head. Not a bad thing! I spotted this little kit on sale for a tenner in TK Maxx (where else) so I though I’d give it a go. We’re going to be using a lot of wood for our wedding decor so I thought this could be a cute way to add a bit of personalisation to some items. The kit came with the pyrography tool, a little stand for it, 3 different nibs and some wood tags.
The idea is that you use it like a pen but instead of using ink, you burn or char your design onto wood. The pen gets wildly hot so you have to be really careful to only hold the plastic part of the tool but once your get used to it I found it pretty easy. I used the tags to practise on for a while and then when I was quite confident using the tool, I attacked these wooden hearts for a sort of ‘carved-our-names-onto-a-tree’ look.
I think they’re really pretty! This was done with the pointed tip nib which gives the most consistent result with even heat distribution. I’ve engraved 50 of these hearts and glued them to some jute twine and they make really lovely and natural looking bunting. Things are really starting to come together now!
Yes, you read right. Of all the blog clichés, I’m starting up a Wedding Wednesday feature. You might be reading this and thinking ‘Come off it Amy, where’s that crafty crack I’m after? Hit me up with some of the good stuff.’ To that I say: Don’t worry you addicted internet friend, you’ll get your fix when I’m good and ready.
You see, I have been on a creative mission recently. After the lull of moving into the house I sort of threw myself into wedding planning and then got really caught up in everything. In an effort to slow down and really start to enjoy the process, I figured that sharing what I can here would force me to take a step back and have these posts to look back on after it’s all over and done with (in a very short 13 months time). That brings me to today’s main feature: Wedding Cake.
In the beginning I really couldn’t have cared less about the cake. Cake it cake, right? WRONG. Cake it life.
I mentioned this to my mother and she just about fainted. She is a baker, you see, and a damn good one at that. I hinted that she could make the cake herself and then she broke out in a hot flush. She protested that there was no way that she would manage to make a cake with all the other stress she would be under (who’s the actual bride here?) So we left it at that and I set up a google alert for deals on wedding cakes which spat out a Groupon offer on the daily.
Fast forward a month and Kath (my mum) decided to pull up her big boy pants and offered to make a fruit cake for the big day. Couple of things with that: I don’t like fruit cake. It brings dishonour on all other cakes. Her argument is that she likes fruitcake (again, WHO IS THE BRIDE?) and that it’s basically indestructible and can be made well in advance. That doesn’t make up for it being an abomination. Also after Pinteresting the shit out of wedding cakes, I decided that I NEED a 4 tiered masterpiece. We were at an impasse – Kath’s offering a fruit cake and I have visions of this:
What to do? As with many of my life choices, we decided to go with the old adage, fake it till you make it. Did you know that there’s such a thing as a dummy wedding cake? Some brides actually hire out fake, decorated cakes made out of polystyrene to display at the reception and then just serve a delicious selection of sheet cakes which are much easier to manage and way cheaper to supply. This all sounded wonderful but the thought of cutting into a cake my mum made on my wedding day seemed pretty special so we have ourselves a bit of a compromise… She’ll make a fruit cake as one of the tiers, the rest will be ‘dummies.’ That way we can serve all the delicious flavours without worrying they’ll spoil. We’ll actually be able to cut into the cake for that key photo-op and then also be able to serve fruit cake to all the heathens who want it. We have our solution!
I looked into hiring a dummy cake but decided against this for a couple of reasons:
£175. Just for hire. For a cake that you cannot eat. Sorry, WHAT?
The hire ‘cakes’ were pretty plain (obviously so that they would fit in with many different wedding looks).
They couldn’t be dismantled to insert the desired (ha) fruit cake.
So I’ve decided to have a go at decorating my own dummy cakes. I found a set on amazon for £17.99 and with the right tools, hours of YouTube tutorials and a bit of practice I’m hoping that we can pull together the cake of my dreams. I say ‘we’ because I’ve roped in Kath to help. She took a cake decorating course in the winter of 1997 so I’m sure she’ll be an invaluable source of knowledge.
I mentioned tools, and I think this is the key thing to making this cake a success. I do not possess any raw cake decorating talent, and I take my hat off to you and grovel at your feet if you do, but I believe in this case that specific tools will carry me a long way. You can basically get a tool to do pretty much anything in cake decorating, and while having actual talent would be the ideal, I have enough time to practise something that might actually look quite good. Case in point: I managed to make actual edible, flexible lace at the weekend with a bit of patience and the correct tools:
Obviously I had to buy specific things to make this but here’s the thing… I’ve spent a grand total of £91.33 on all the cake decorating supplies I think I will need to make my ideal cake. I’ll need to add-on the cost of the ingredients for the fruit cake and fondant for covering the tiers but I’m pretty confident I can keep the total under £150. Compared to the £450 I was quoted for a real 4-tier edible cake, I’m calling that a win!
So Mum and I have a cake-date set for this weekend and I’m so looking forward to it. There will probably be tiers (hahahahahaha I’m so funny) but it will all be worth it when it comes to the big day and we can say that we made it together. Even if it does look like a dog’s dinner 🙂
Oh look. Here I am showing off a basic cushion. Blogging has hit new and exciting heights, people.
Looks like a cushion, smells like a cushion, acts like a cushion but it is so much more. This is an urgent reminder that I can actually sew. This mere cushion is a symbol of the end of my hibernation period. I’m back, bitches*.
My triumphant return began with a desperate need for curtains in the new house. Let me set the scene: New house. No curtain poles. Crippling fear of drilling holes in new walls. Lack of skills to install curtain poles, even if I wanted to. ‘Temporary’ solution of tension curtain rod in the bedroom that could only hold the weight of 2 sheer voiles before crashing to the ground. Daylight streaming through the window at 4.30am. Waking up at 4.30am every single morning. Fixing that problem by buying 2 SUPER ATTRACTIVE sleep masks. ‘Temporary’ solution remaining for 8 weeks. Finally caving and admitting that we need actual curtains. Charging the drill and assembling all the parts necessary for curtain pole installation. Chickening out and calling my dad for help. Make my dad do the job while I critique his work. Finally have functioning, light-blocking curtains. Halle-freaking-lujah.
After hemming the curtains to fit the window I had some left-over fabric and this was the outcome. A very simple cushion, zip and all, will an appliqued heart motif because I’m so original.
I basted the heart to the cushion first then used a really tight zig-zag stitch to enclose all the edges to make sure it wouldn’t fray. I think this is probably the first time I’ve done any proper applique-ing and I actually found it pretty therapeutic.
I padded it with a cheap Ikea pillow form and it’s now happily residing on our cloud-like bed. Thank goodness for simple and satisfying projects!
In January 2015, I decided to start scrapbooking using the Project Life system and it was the best decision I made that year. Without even realising it I managed to document some of the best trips I’ve ever been on and our pretty spectacular engagement, so there was no way I was giving it up in 2016. I still really love scrapbooking but have found I’ve settled into a style with my layouts which really makes things a lot easier (and I’m not hoarding supplies like a crazy person).
At the start of the year I bought the Liz Tamanaha Everyday Edition kit which is just the most perfect selection of cards to suite my style. I loved the challenge last year of creating layouts using a different colour theme every month, but there’s something about the cohesiveness of this year’s pages that just gives me old big heart eyes.
Can you tell I like black, white & gold? I love how this kit has those colours in abundance as well as some key accent colours which I can use when the mood strikes me. Here’s some of my favourite cards from the past few months.
I probably won’t be sharing my Project Life spreads every month like I did last year, but maybe every now and again I’ll pop in a post to share some of my favourite moments throughout the year. The main thing is, I love Project Life and there is absolutely no stopping me!
I have 100001 other things I could be getting up to right now but instead I spent some time recently learning how to bead. I need another craft like I need a gaping hole in my tiny brain but there I was, getting tied into knots with jewellery wire and poking myself in the hand with pliers. It wasn’t a complete disaster though! I did manage to make something that resembles my initial inspiration … A bridal hair vine.
So I know I’m not getting married for another 16 months (465 days, but who’s counting) but this idea kept bobbing about my brain and I just wanted to see if it was something I could make. I first seen the idea on Pinterest (obviously) and sourced the image back to a company based in Australia. Taking into account shipping and taxes, getting a hair vine made by them would cost me close to £500… I know wedding stuff is expensive but spending that much on a piece for my hair is completely out of the question! Thankfully I really like my first attempt so I’ll definitely be making one myself for my wedding.
This version was just a test as I’ve never attempted to make jewellery before. For the real deal I’ll probably do it in silver with pearl accents but I wanted to make a copper version because I’m actually obsessed with that colour right now! It’s a lot smaller than the one for the wedding too. For the real deal I’ll be looking to make it about 20 inches long and this one is only 7… Gonna need a lot of wire!