Inspired, December

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Just like that the first frosts of winter have arrived and so has December. I love this time of year, everything just feels magical. When it comes to inspiration, I like to mix my two favourites - foraged finds and glitter. Perhaps not the most natural bed fellows but the colours of the outdoors are always the best, I love the sharp greens of crab apples and the chartreuse of lichen against shop bought silvers and soft silky creams. I don't believe you have to spend a fortune on decorations, mixing the outside with a few sparkly pieces is always a winner for me. I like to add in my charity shop finds like these glasses to the table - I'm slowing collecting a set, each one different which is part of the charm and they never cost more than 25p which is even better. Whilst it can be tempting to buy a whole look from a shop, I think its better to build your decoration collection slowly. Each year I add a few new things and keep a few back, its always changing but I love how memories and traditions come out along with the decoration box. 
Every year my decorations begin with finding the perfect Christmas stick, I have lucked out this year with the most beautiful piece of silver birch that I intend to decorate with these tiny silver decorations (from the Pound Shop!) and plenty of little fairy lights. The main tree will go up in the next few days ready for a friends Christmas dinner at the weekend - I'm so excited I LOVE decorating the tree and even tested the fairy lights in preparation (last year there were a few light issues)!
I've tried to get a head start on making and wrapping but I do intend to make some new Christmas stockings and perhaps a few more candles as the month goes on. I learnt the hard way last year, trying to do too much with a little one around is impossible, I'm aiming for a slow and steady approach this year. 

I'm also hashtaging all my Christmas makes with  #makingchristmasbeautiful feel free to join in with all your Christmas makes it'll be fun to see what everyone is up to over the month. Have a wonderful December. xx

DIY - Simple Christmas Wreath

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

I shared a couple of wreath making tutorials on Instagram Stories last week, and everyone went crazy for them. I have put a tutorial together so now you can make your very own Christmas wreath. They are really straight forward to make, this one is simple and traditional but I also made a more natural one, quite similar to last year which I will try and post asap. The principles are the same, gather small bunches of foliage and then wrap around a hoop, I've put all the details below...
You'll need - a mix of foliage - I used eucalyptus from a flower stall (try a florist, they normally have loads!), bay, rosemary and ivy from the garden, a wire wreath frame, florist wire (mine was on a roll but this stuff is probably better as you won't need to cut lengths)
Step 1. Cut sprigs of foliage about 10cm long. Keep a length of stem 3 - 4 cm free from leaves at the base of your sprig, this is where you'll wrap onto the frame - too many leaves gets messy. 

Step 2. Taking a length of wire, secure the leaves to the outside of the frame by wrapping the wire two or three times around the frame and stem. Repeat this step mixing different leaf shapes and textures. 

Step 3. You could repeat step 2. if you wanted a really full wreath. I was running out of time so took lengths of ivy and twisted them around the centre frame securing when needed with wire. 
I added a twist of wire to the back so it could be hung on the door and then added a simple cream wired ribbon (you can get wired ribbon everywhere at this time of year, have a look in gift wrapping   sections of shops) to cover the hook and nail. 
1

I ended up giving this to my mum as my front door is too disgusting for a wreath! I think she'll add berries and more foliage as the month goes on. If your wreath is looking a little worse for wear then a quick (gentle) rinse under a cold tap brings it back to life. I really hope you give this tutorial a go or are inspired to make a Christmas wreath this year. Happy making! x 

Flower crowns and cameras

Saturday, 26 November 2016

I can feel the hype of black Friday and cyber Monday swirling all around me but this year I haven't fallen for any of it - I'm getting tired of having stuff for the sake of it and would much rather an experience or something floral. Last weekend my sisters and I had a mini day around East London - Palm Vaults for coffee (such a lovely place), a stroll to Broadway Market (I like it there but don't love it), a dash to  Conservatory Archives (a tiny tropical paradise) and then onto The Flower Appreciation Society for a flower crown course (so many amazing vases). I've been so inspired all week, making wreaths and going a bit photo crazy.  Talking of photo's I took all of these on my Olympus Pen and pancake lens, which I can't recommend enough, it's SO easy to use and the photos always come really well (plus you can transfer them straight to your phone). I know I don't normally talk photography but thought you might be interested!  
 

Moroccan sofa update with Etsy

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

There's not much I miss about my pre baby days but the freedom to travel wherever and whenever (budget depending!) is something that I can't help but long for. I love the sensation of new sights and smells, discovering hidden gems and of course finding treasures to bring home. When the lovely people at Etsy got in touch to give me a voucher to spend on anything, I jumped at the chance to scratch my travel bug and went on a nap time adventure to the souks of Marrakech.
If you haven't come across Etsy before, it's a global online market place full of thousands of independent sellers, selling everything from jewellery to rugs, craft supplies to prints. I have to confess I can sometimes find the whole selection a little overwhelming so over the years I have found ways to streamline my search. If I want something for my home, usually textiles, I think of where I'd like to travel to - it could be India, Turkey or in this case Morocco. Marrakech is top of my travel list so I started looking for Moroccan wedding blankets and then came across this beautiful throw and cushions. I love the thrill of the chase and the rabbit hole of inspiration that can be found, just don't forget to favourite as you go so can remember what you have discovered.
Over the last year our living room has taken quite a battering, from spending most of last winter tucked up with a new born to the summer hiding from building work. It needed some TLC before winter set in again. I cleared all the existing throws and cushions and added a throw, it's so soft. The colour is a perfect grey and the huge tassels keep it fun, I've folded the edge over so they run along the top of the sofa. I was tempted to buy a whole moroccan wedding blanket but glad I stuck with cushions, I feel that these are just the beginning of my collection and can add more over time. 
I'm so in love with these new pieces, sometimes I just sit and admire all the textures and watch candle light bounce off the metal discs! Even though I haven't been on a plane, I still have the same sense of satisfaction of discovery and treasure hunting - thanks Etsy!

A huge thanks to Etsy for providing the throw and cushions, you can see more from their #DifferenceMakesUs campaign here.  All thoughts, opinions, styling and photos are my own.

Golden beaded hoops for sale!

Friday, 18 November 2016

Here's something pretty for the eyes (and ears!). I made these gold beaded hoops whilst on holiday and never shared. I'm so glad I waited as I think they look rather scrummy on this dark background. 

I've been thinking a lot about jewellery making and am ready to start selling the pieces, an Etsy shop is definitely in the plan but until then I have enough materials to make three pairs of these beautiful earrings. If you would like a pair email me (lottsandlots@gmail.com) they cost £22 each plus p&p. They are gold plated hoops wrapped with gold plated wire and tiny gold seed beads. Each piece is completely handmade to order and will come carefully packaged. 

Have a great weekend. xx

DIY - nature inspired recycled advent calendar

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Hooray, here is the first of my Christmas DIY's, a wonderful nature inspired recycled advent calendar! When it comes to Christmas crafting, using up what I have is really important to me, the biggest DIY of the year has been our home renovations so using up spare wood seemed a natural choice when putting together this project. Normally I'm frantically doing something with sticks on the 30th November but this year I have actually got organised. This is a simple DIY to put together, I did mine over the course of a week in 10 minute blocks but if you have more time I think it'll take just over an hour. 
You'll need - piece of wood (this was 18 x 90cm) wire or twine, nails, acrylic paint, small cotton bags, wrapping paper and foliage.

Step 1. As I mentioned in the intro. I found this piece of wood on the builders chuck out pile - you could always use drift wood or a small plank from a DIY shop as an alternative, both would work equally well. I drilled a hole in the top corners (make sure you use a wood drill bit), gently drill the front when the blade just reaches the back turn over and gently drill through the hole again, this will give you a neat finish. Repeat on the other corner. If drilling isn't an option then you could always add a nail, eye hook or picture hook instead - it doesn't have to be perfect it just needs to hold the weight of the parcels. 

Step 2. Add a row of nails along the base of the wood. I decided on 3cm spacing between my nails. Measure the centre point of the plank from there measure 1.5cm out in either direction and mark. Work along along the wood marking 3cm intervals, stop when you have 12 marks in each direction. If your piece of wood is bigger/smaller then adjust the spacing between your marks. Hammer a nail into each mark, leaving enough length to hang presents.
Step 3. Now it starts to get fun! To mirror the wood I decided on a tree theme but you could paint anything Christmas-y; stars, snowflakes, reindeer etc etc. Using white acrylic paint I painted a trunk then painted swishy curvey branches, I then went over the white paint when it was still wet with green acrylic to create snow capped trees, adding in a bit more white paint if needed. 
Step 4. Fill your little bags with treats and wrap small gifts that won't fit. Last year I went for a sock theme this year I seem to have bought myself a few beauty bits (oops!). You of course can fill these bags with whatever you like; if you're making for little ones I like the idea of adding a surprise days out, I think a good cracker joke or two would be fun and I always include a new tree decoration. For the wrapping I used left over paper from this tutorial and added foliage like I did in this tutorial
Step 5. To hang, thread wire or string through the holes and then hand the bags and parcels to the nails, you might need to jiggle the presents around so that it hangs evenly with the weight of the presents.
I love how this turned out and am so excited to hang in my newly finished hallway over the festive period. Happy making! x

Star lights - Laura Ashely 

La Redoute metal armoire

Friday, 11 November 2016

In a dream world I'd really like the house back together before Christmas arrives, which gives me about two weeks (yikes!). I'm pretty much done with the downstairs rooms including this corner of the dining room where I have installed this perfect metal Hiba armoire from La Redoute. I'm slightly fascinated by flat pack (I think its the product developer in me) and this one is perfectly designed and easy to put together single handed. It took me just over an hour, all the pieces and screws are clearly labelled which makes it a doddle. 
 
My tiny helper was very keen to see what was happening as it was being assembled. Since its construction I've been using it for toy storage which is perfect. The doors are light so Stanley can open them easily and pull out all his toys without the fear of his fingers being caught. In the evenings I can quickly put everything away, I've been using these storage boxes from H&M to collect everything. 

I bought this back in March just as we started building work part two and this wall was still on the outside. I love its simplicity and how it compliments rather than competes with my other turquoise cupboard, unfortunately it looks like this colour has sold out but there are still more to choose from and other styles in the range. I can see this working in so many rooms from bedrooms to office spaces   it really can sit anywhere. I just want to say this isn't a sponsored post, I'm just really excited about this cupboard (forgive me its been a long week)!

Armoire - La Redoute 
Rug - Wayfair
Indian Watering Can - Homesense
Wire bowl - Gift from South Africa (via my sister not from the nation) similar here
Vintage prints - Charity shop



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