Monday, 5 December 2016

Tutorial: D.I.Y Christmas Garland




I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I am firmly in the christmas spirit!  I love any excuse to be creative, so I've made a festive winter garland and thought I'd share a tutorial with you, as these are super simple to make and the results are just gorgeous!

I originally had this idea as I have two potted bay trees on either side of my front door and they were in desperate need of a haircut! So two short back and sides later, I had enough bay leaves to make a start. Here's what you'll need;

Bay leaves
Florist wire
Dried Fruit
Cinnamon Sticks
Ribbon
Scissors






 I used well over 100 bay leaves to make this garland, but if you don't have this many you can pack your garland out with pine cones and even fresh sage. I love how green this garland is, but it really is up to you what you put on there, there's no right or wrong - just add what you love.

I bought fresh cinnamon sticks, as the warm spicy fragrance really complimented the fruit and gave it that distinctive Christmas smell - but you can use dried and always spray your finished garland with festive room spray or refresher oil to give it that added oomph. I wound copper wire around two or three sticks of cinnamon and made little secure bundles that I could add to the garland as I went along. (This just made it easier to place them, without them pinging off!)



If you want to dry your fruit yourself, slice a few citrus fruits into about 2cm slices and place on a baking tray in a preheated oven of between 80-100 degrees celsius for around 2 hours. Just keep checking them, and when they are hard, take them out and leave them overnight.
I bought pre dried fruit and spices for ease - oranges, lemon, lime, hot peppers and apple. 
I used a whole dried orange and lime to bookend the garland, just wind your florist wire around the whole fruit and secure.
Then the fun starts! Just start threading your leaves and fruit slices onto the wire, occasionally adding your cinnamon bundles. Work your way up the wire until you've filled it and then secure your wire, so nothing slides off.



I then made two wire hoops, from doubled over florist wire and added these to each end so you can hang it up. Your garland can be any length you fancy, you can always tie ribbon around each wire hoop to make it even longer. Over time, the bay leaves will dry so you can get this garland out every year to enjoy.
String up across your fireplace, over a door, or up your bannister rail and add some festive fun to your home!  




Happy crafting and wishing you all a wonderful Christmas!

Love C x


Follow me on Instagram: @homesweetbabe

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Thrifty Christmas Ideas




Tis the season to be thrifty! Christmas traditionally is the time to indulge, but you can add some festive magic to your home, without adding to that christmas (credit card) bulge! 
I love Christmas - dusting off the decorations and giving my house that extra special festive feeling, driving through streets adorned with fairy lights, counting christmas trees with my toddler as we pass by peoples windows - and if we're lucky that magical dusting of snow on Christmas morning.
If you're like me and like to stage your home for each season, Christmas is the ultimate occasion to put your creativity to good use. Whether you're a traditionalist, or favour a more alternative aesthetic, decorations can be pricey, so I've put together a few ideas that won't break the bank, but will hopefully will inspire a cool yule.


Pomanders

Pomanders evoke the essence of Christmas, with their warm and spicy scents. When my sister and I were little, we'd spend hours pushing cloves into oranges and once they'd dried out in the airing cupboard, we'd tie ribbon around them and hang them on the tree. These make a lovely inexpensive decoration and a really nice craft activity to do with the kids. You can also make your own spice mix by mixing cinnamon sticks, dried orange and cloves with pine cones and a drop of festive fragrance oil. Fill a vase, or a mesh bauble and your home will smell delicious.



Update old baubles.

I have box upon box of baubles, as I'm forever changing my christmas colour scheme (much to the dismay of the Mr!) and as a result, have WAY more decorations than I really need. If you have old baubles hiding away in the loft, then instead of putting up with them, why not update them?! A really simple way to do this is by popping some craft glue on them and wrapping yarn, coloured wool or festive ribbon tightly around them. You can paint them classic white, or even spray them with glitter. Tie some thin ribbon at the top of some natural pine cones and hang these on your tree with your up-cycled baubles to create a new look. 

Photo Via Pinterest


Bare necessities.

Don't under estimate the power of a branch! Bare branches, bunched together in a vase and adorned with baubles make a frugal, but festive centrepiece and the same can be said for hanging a christmas tree branch (a fir branch) or off-cut above a doorway - left bare or scantily dressed with a few hanging decorations can offer a scandi-chic vibe to your home. (I'll be making a homemade garland this month and will post the results on my blog, if you're interested in giving this one a go.)
Garland is such a simple addition, but has a great styling impact. The ultimate christmas swag, keep it natural or dress it up with baubles, fabrics and pine cones. I love this gorgeous garland with non traditional coloured ribbon - it doesn't scream christmas, but it does scream class - love! 

Photo Via Pinterest


What frugal festive ideas have you created in your home? Let me know in the comments below!


Follow me on Instagram: @homesweetbabe


Sunday, 13 November 2016

My Top 3 Picks from The Ideal Home Christmas Show



This weekend I jumped feet first into a winter wonderland and visited The Ideal Home Christmas Show in Manchester with my mum and sister. We were greeted by sparkling 15ft Christmas trees, an awesome choir belting out some carols straight from the Home Alone Soundtrack and of course, a spot of faux snow. I am definitely a christmas countdown kinda girl and could quite happily be a resident of Whoville forever, so to say I was excited to attend this event was an understatement! My amazing friend has recently opened a heavenly interiors shop and comped us a few tickets as she was exhibiting there. 

I love anything to do with homes, interiors, styling and crafts, so I had really high hopes for the event and although it was HUGE and there was plenty available, I was surprised there wasn't more home furnishings or interiors inspiration on offer. I wanted to feast my eyes on some festive home inspo and was hoping to see more of 'Not on the High Street' style products available - unusual accessories, christmas crafts, cute stocking fillers for little ones and was a bit disappointed that Santa didn't quite deliver what I wanted. Despite this though, there were some real festive finds in there and here are my top 3 picks of what was on offer:


STANSFIELDS INTERIORS

Launched by my fab friend a few months ago, this beautiful shop stocks a MASSIVE array of homewares and accessories to give your home that extra sparkle. I loved these classic christmas cushions and the super thick fur throws. Check out the full range here






MUDD & CO

I was drawn to this stand immediately and fell in love with their gorgeous modern country kitchens in a great range of heritage colours. Bespoke and beautiful, I especially love the unique fittings on the cupboard doors. 






JORMAEPOURRI

This stall was just Christmas encapsulated! Their spiced orange and clove baubles smelt divine. I loved their dried fruit and cinnamon wreaths and garlands  - those distinctive spicy scents just really took me back to my childhood. My mum would always do crafty creations with us growing up and me and my sister would spend hours sticking cloves into oranges and wrapping them up in ribbon making tree decorations, whilst we watched The Chronicles of Narnia (our absolute favourite TV show at the time!) 25 years later, my mum still has them (cute face emoji)






Did you stop by The Ideal Home Christmas Show this weekend? If so, please feel free to share your favourite finds below! 


Love, C x



Follow me on Instagram @homesweetbabe
















Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Craft Tutorial: 'No Carve' Pumpkins Ideas




Now I have a toddler, I love celebrating the holidays even more and relish every opportunity to make or create something together. With Halloween approaching, I wanted to decorate the traditional pumpkin a little differently, as the thought of something with an open flame at floor level was just giving me nightmares (I'm such a worry wort these days now I'm a mama!)

So this year I thought I'd have a go at creating some fun no carve pumpkins - which is basically painting and pimping a whole pumpkin - I've christened these 'Pimpkins'! They are super easy to create, either keep it simple and paint them a bright block colour, or if you're good at drawing and designing, you can make yours into any character or design of your choice!

I think this is such a lovely activity to do with your little monsters, as they can really get stuck in and get involved - with you safe in the knowledge there's no sharp knives around!

Here are a few of my no carve creations! I'd love to see yours, so please feel free to tag me in your finished 'Pimpkins' on Instagram! (@homesweetbabe)



Candy Colour Pop

I love a splash of colour in the house and these are the perfect fun accessory to brighten up your autumn! You could use any colour you fancy, but I think a bold, contrasting colour works well as a statement. My house has a very neutral palette of taupes, greys and stone - so a big pink vibrant pumpkin is a great way to add a temporary pop of fun!



The Pumpkin Princess

This is my favourite of all my 'Pimpkins'! This was so super easy to make and looks amazing - it honestly took no more than 10 minutes! I used Dulux emulsion in Berry Smoothie and decorated with self adhesive strip gems and pearls from Hobbycraft. The Tiara was the final touch to my Cinderella inspired pumpkin - which is my little fun interpretation of what happens if you stay out past midnight! You could also do a blue version of this and add silver sparkles for a Frozen inspired version.






A Simple Squash

These look great in pairs or clusters and are just painted in a simple white shade. I used Jasmine White from Dulux - but you could use any old tester pots you have in storage. These mini munchkins also look cute painted in metallics. Or you could paint them black and add black cardboard bat wings or witches hats for a table decoration.



Mickey Mouse

My little Mouseketeer loves Mickey Mouse and we regularly snuggle up on the sofa to watch the Disney channel together, so I knew he'd love this one. I put tape around the middle of the pumpkin to give a clean line whilst I painted and used black and red acrylic paint from Hobbycraft. I stuck on the oversized yellow buttons with craft glue and lastly added the ears, as I had some in the toy box from  earlier in the year when my babe went to nursery dressed as Mickey for World Book Day.








Happy Halloween!

Love, C x



Follow me on Instagram: @homesweetbabe 


Saturday, 22 October 2016

Autumnal Accents




Halloween is almost upon us and I'm so excited to take my little terror trick or treating this year! I love celebrating all the big occasions in the calendar and there's some lovely ways to decorate your home and table for Halloween in a grown up way - think festive without being frightening! I adore the mini pumpkins, or 'munchkins' as they're known in the supermarkets. Something as simple as displaying a few of these in a bowl on your dining table, or on a rustic chopping board can be a subtle and simple way to acknowledge this lovely season. The same can be said for filling your fruit bowl with pine cones and red apples. If you're feeling particularly crafty, paint pumpkins and other winter squashes in whites or even metallics, for a more arty table display. I also love wreaths made from bracken and fresh berries - you can pick these up in most garden centres and placed around a candle, instead of on your door will give your table an autumnal makeover and I think they make such a nice alternative to flowers at this time of year.






Give your home a warmer feel by adding touches of wood, tartan and wool. I like to have a different range of cushions for winter and opt for heavier fabrics like tweed, faux fur and suede. A simple cable knit throw over a chair, can add a more cosy touch and around this time of year and I swap spring blooms for vases filled with cabbages, twigs or pussy willow. Display logs or throws in wicker baskets for a cabin like feel and opt for low lighting and fairy lights. 



 Photo via Pinterest

  






I love candles and these really are the simplest and chicest way to make any room cosy instantly. My favourite autumn scents are Diptyque's Feu De Bois and Jo Malone's Incense and Embers - these are spicier and headier than the usual floral notes I like, but a deeper toned scent will subtly add another layer of warmth to your room. I tie hessian bows around mason jars and pop a small candle or tea light inside for an autumnal update and think these look really pretty and are also cost effective. 

I've also decorated my doorway (why just style inside?!) and adorned my front step with all these pumpkins and I just love walking up my path and seeing them all there! It's such a simple touch and I think it dresses the door perfectly for the season. Try a mix of traditional pumpkins with gourds of all shapes, sizes and colours for a more eclectic look.



If you're hosting a Halloween party this year, there's some fun ways to make the traditional pumpkin into something other than a jack o lantern. Hollow one out and fill with ice to make a fun wine cooler and party prop. This is super easy to do and will look really effective when your ghoulish guests arrive! Or put a seasonal spin on displaying your flowers, and pop them in a pumpkin, instead of a vase. I used this lovely white pumpkin the Mr brought home from Booths. (If you would like to have a go at making this, I would place a tin can of water inside the pumpkin to ensure no leaks!)





Talking of pumpkins, if you have little girls, give your pumpkin a princess makeover! Paint them pink, gold or pastel colours and decorate them with gems, stick on pearls and even a tiara! Got boys? Why not try making a Minion or monster?! No carving, no mess and happy kids - what could be better?! I'm just off to get some supplies and I'll post my attempts at a no carve pumpkin soon!


Love, C x



Follow me on Instagram @homesweetbabe



Tuesday, 20 September 2016

A spot of Autumnal Organizing




I don't know about you, but now Autumn has arrived, I'm already starting to nest for winter; getting my house super organised and ready to hibernate!  (And by hibernate I mostly mean wearing pyjamas in front of the fire every night.) I like to change the look and feel of my home with the seasons and now the nights are starting to get longer, this is the time I like get my cottage all cosy in the run up to winter and tackle a clear out.

Decluttering can seem like a daunting task. You don't have to be ruthless and throw everything up into the loft, but just by looking at what you actually use in a room and what you don't can help you make decisions about how to design the room better to work for you. Just start by organising one space, so it doesn't feel too overwhelming and once you've tackled that one, move on to the next - you never know, you might even start to enjoy it! (I love any opportunity to use my label maker!)

In case any of you are thinking of having a clear out, I'm sharing the 3 simple rules that I live by that seem to make decluttering a bit less stressful!

1. Store it!

How we use storage can make a huge difference to how we live our lives. I know that sounds so dramatic, but personally I think finding the perfect storage is the key to a tidy mind and a tidy home. I love baskets and think they are a great multi use storage solution. I use baskets all over and they house everything from logs and kindling, magazines and even hair products and electricals. It's amazing how much tidier any room can look with some clever storage in play. For a uniformed look on shelves and in kitchen cupboards, consider storing dry goods in mason jars and label accordingly. Paperwork and letters can quickly get out of hand, I think it's essential to organise post as it comes in; don't let it pile up - have labelled boxes ready and separate bills, menus and miscellaneous from recycling.

photo Via Pinterest

photo Via Pinterest



2. Question it!

I usually ask myself a couple of questions when I'm having a clear out. 1. When did I last use this item? And 2. Would I buy it again? Generally, if I've not used something for 12 months - then out it goes! But, don't just throw things away - before you take that trip to the tip - consider what other options you have - you can always donate, sell, recycle, or even up-cycle. You might find you fall in love with an old item or piece of furniture all over again, just by restoring, repairing, or even repainting it.


3. Shelve it!

Declutter shelves and give your room an instant makeover and fresh look. Everyone can be guilty of neglecting shelving, but there are tricks you can use that will make your shelf both functional and stylish. Instead of piling every book you own on there, just display your favourite titles alongside beloved ornaments, candles and plants. Project some of your personality on there and give guests something interesting and unique to look at. If your bookshelf is heaving with books that you don't really read but can't bear to part with, consider placing the spines facing the back of the shelves, for a more uniformed and neutral look. Keep an accent colour running through any accessories you place on your shelves to compliment and echo the colour scheme in your room.


photo via Pinterest


Just remember, don't put too much pressure on yourself you get everything done in one day. I find itmakes things easier if I set little targets for myself, like Monday; organise shelving, Tuesday, Declutter the fridge etc. You'll be surprised how much you actually get done by breaking it down into bite size chores!

Good luck and happy sorting!


Love, C x