Tuesday 1 July 2014

Beautiful handmade beauty gifts + harvesting lavender

Would you like to make these little bathing beauties for yourself, or as a gift for loved ones? I made these to feature in a craft magazine that's due on the shelves in the autumn / winter. They're so easy and cheap to make, and make beautiful gifts. I can't tell you how to make them now, as the instructions are going to be published but what I can tell you is; harvest your Lavender when it's ready (about now - July) and dry it out! Or if you don't have any growing keep your eye out for dried lavender, so when the time comes in Autumn you can make these (and the pretty labels too) for loved ones at Christmas! though if you do make them I suggest you make a few as some won't be leaving your bathroom ... x

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Friday 27 June 2014

How to make natural wedding confetti: with dried flower petals

handmade rose petal confetti
Photograph by Binky Nixon

A friend bought me these beautiful roses the other day. It took me right back to drying out petals to make our natural wedding confetti. It was so easy to make, and my friends and loved ones enjoyed helping us too. This was our basket of confetti on our wedding morning - we wanted dried rose petals in red, pinks and orange for our guests to throw. It didn't cost us any money to make, as 6 months prior to the wedding day I simply asked my close family and friends to dry out any roses they were given / or had growing in the garden ... and whenever I, or my gal pals bought ourselves flowers (as we girls like to do) we simply chose roses! Then on my wedding morning, my friends all popped in to see me, tipping in their confetti offerings on the way, it was such a lovely joint effort. Here's a simple guide to making your own dried petal confetti.

At the end of our wedding day, Mark the lovely caretaker had swept the confetti into a heart for us ...
Awwww : ) Photograph by Binky Nixon.

How to make dried rose petal confetti: 

I used mostly roses but there are some others in there too! Lavender, Delphiniums and Hydrangea petals all make lovely confetti too ... and a mix of colours really brings it all to life. IMPORTANT NOTE: Air dried petals can stain if wet so I suggest you use freeze dried petals if you plan on throwing confetti in the rain! otherwise they work perfectly. Also note that while fresh petals look beautiful they can also stain, and wouldn't look as pretty in pictures as they're much heavier and will wilt quickly.

handmade rose petal confetti

When you've enjoyed your vase of flowers and it's looking a little tired, pull all the petals off at the flower head in one go (where they attach at the stem) As doing this petal by petal will take an age!

 Lay a piece of kitchen roll (paper towel if you are Stateside) on a large plate or tray and lay the petals out, making sure they're not too overcrowd or overlapping too much as the air needs to get to them.

Then put them somewhere warm and dry - an airing cupboard is perfect. That's it! When each batch is completely dried out, empty them into your basket (keep somewhere dry) and stick a fresh batch in the airing cupboard!

Photograph by Binky Nixon.

To read more, or see more pics from our handmade wedding click here.

JM x

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Wednesday 25 June 2014

Transforming and upcycling your clothes

You don't have to be a super seamstress to update your existing clothes. Here's a few simple changes that will transform your clothes and give them a new lease of life ...

Beautiful buttons!

 Change them. If you've got a pretty-but-plain shirt or cardigan, update it by swapping it's boring old buttons for some pretty colourful ones ... or even some rustic wooden ones! (which also compliment chunky knitwear).

I love collecting buttons ... and I felt these complemented this shirt perfectly.
They turned this regular shirt into something special and original.

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Tuesday 24 June 2014

The AHC guide to clothes shopping ‘vintage’ style

I've had this tea dress for years, its one of my firm
 favourites and works for almost any occasion. 

Entering the world of 'vintage' can be daunting for some. We long to look as elegant as the 'Audrey and Jackies' of this world but where do we start? many would argue that fashion is reserved for youth, well flimsy fashions that might be, but timeless elegance and classic style is not ... heck and blast no! My 83 year old neighbour Ros still dresses with elegance and vintage style, and never leaves the house without her silk scarf. 98% of my clothes are from charity and vintage shops ... (the remaining 2% are undies as one has to draw the line somewhere.) My love of vintage clothing started when I was a shabby student in Liverpool. It had some fantastic vintage shops and opened up a whole new world of shopping and style to me. Now I simply can't pass a charity / thrift shop without being tempted inside and I always manage to find something lovely ...

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Friday 20 June 2014

Vintage tins + vintage tin flower pots

 photo ff.png

I love vintage tins. They're colourful, have vibrant images, and are built to last. These are my tins and they come in handy for a variety of tasks. From left to right they hold pens, dressmaking scissors, fresh coffee, loose leaf tea and Ralphy's bones!

Pretty as a picture vintage tins. Ideal for housing not-so-pretty things.

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Wednesday 18 June 2014

My handmade antique lace wedding dress - Part 1

Like many brides I tried on quite a few dresses before I found 'the perfect dress' but unlike many brides I found my dress hanging up in my front room ... as it was my curtain. This is the story of how my lovely handmade wedding dress 'Rita' came into existence. In Part 1 I'll show you some of the other dresses I tried, and how I went about having a dress made. In Part 2 I'll show you the step-by-step making of, and how this ....

...was transformed from this .....

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Friday 13 June 2014

My crafty dad 'Dellboy'

Me and daddykins on wedding morning. Photo by Binky Nixon. 

My dad is one of my favourite fings. He's lovely, and since it's fathers day soon I'd like to introduce him to you. Everybody calls him 'Dellboy' and you can too. He's a big jolly cockney and the biggest family man I know. Here he is below - being beautified with a clay face mask a week before my wedding ... one of the many things he put up with!

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Monday 9 June 2014

Our handmade wedding album - by Lacuna work

As you know we had a handmade wedding, so I wanted to find a beautiful, rustic photograph album that was also handmade. After much scouring of the net I found Lacuna - books with wooden memory. Hubby designed our wedding invitations, which consisted of our silhouettes in a ring of leaves and flowers. This image became our theme throughout the wedding, and we wanted this design carved into our wedding album too. Hana, the lovely lady who makes these (as well as lots of other things) was so helpful. She adapted our image and sent me sketches throughout the process. I asked if she'd mind taking pictures as she went so we could see how she makes them. She very kindly agreed and talks us through the entire transformation ... from the simple piece of reclaimed wood (below), to this most beautiful photograph album.

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Friday 6 June 2014

How to press flowers ... using books OR flower press

I used to love pressing flowers as a little girl and nothings changed. They're just so darn pretty! My folks would often take a book off the shelf, sit down for a read only to have their laps completely covered in pressed leaves as soon as they opened the book ... so they bought me a flower press. Now hubby's lap is getting covered in leaves ... so when I saw this in the charity shop I snapped it up. I see them in charity shops ALL the time, so keep your eye out.

So what can you do with the pressed flowers / leaves

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Tuesday 3 June 2014

How to make Elderflower cordial & the 'Hugo' cocktail

Before I learned how to make Elderflower cordial I was often put off by long winded instructions and the general 'faff' that often comes with making your own produce. But I do so love Elderflower cordial so I was determined to give it a try and I'm so pleased I did - It is unbelievably easy to make, there is hardly any faff and it also tastes a thousand times better than shop-bought. I now look forward to making it year after year (as does my family) and once made you can also use it to make scrumptious Elderflower cocktails such as the 'Hugo' which I served at our wedding! I've included the recipe for that at the end too ...

How to make Elderflower cordial

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