Best DIY projects for Big (or little) Dogs

If you’ve got a big dog (or even just a dog larger than a pug) and you like to craft then you know the struggle of finding fun DIY things to make for them. It’s like the craft world decided that only small dogs like being dressed up or something! Below is a collection of DIYs I’ve found that are either created with larger breeds in mind or are easily adapted to them.

Let me know your favourites!

Dog Hoody

Build a pet agility course

Dog boredom buster

 

DIY Car Safety Hammock

Busy ball toy

Raised dog dining table

 

DIY Flirt Pole

Sew your own winter dog boots

Or

 

I’ve also got a DIY dog bathrobe tutorial¬†coming soon ūüôā

 

That time I agreed to make a wedding cake…

…and didn’t have a complete breakdown!

Once upon a time, Jade and Dave decided to get married. Jade asked me if I could make their wedding cake. I said yes, I’d love to. I spent several months failing to find a red food colouring that was bake stable (you lucky Americans!) as the original plan was to have a red velvet cake. I spent some time perusing the internet for alternative¬†recipes and found an awesome Madeira cake recipe on Cakes, Bakes & Cookies that included how to scale the recipe for different sized tins which I desperately needed!

I did a test run with my 12 inch cake tin and it turned out OK:

2016-04-09 19.33.40

A little cracked and the mixture wasn’t as light as I wanted it to be. I decided this was down to the fact that I was using my mum’s food mixer that was a wedding gift 37 years ago! I got a new mixer and it made all the difference!

I did a two tier test run using a 10 inch and an 8 inch cake:

I used cheap blue and red fondant from Tesco to test out the bunting. I also tested how sturdy the stacked tiers were:

 

I used jumbo straws instead of dowelling (and failed to get a pic of it) but there is a great YouTube tutorial here

For my two tier test run, the top tier had buttercream and lemon curd sandwiched between the layers while the bottom tier had buttercream and strawberry jam. I took half of the ten inch cake and the whole 8 inch cake into work. Despite my team’s incredible capacity for eating food, I had to enlist people from the wider business to help eat all of it!

So two weeks before the big day I assembled all of my ingredients:

13680966_10154486341316336_4986905921474882553_n

Total ingredients I used for three tiers:

Butter: 948 g

Stork (Margerine): 948 g

Caster sugar: 2,526 g (~2.6 kg)

Vanilla Essence: 13.5 tsp

38¬†eggs (Words cannot describe how difficult I found it to work out how many boxes this worked out to… 1 x 12 egg box, 2 x 10 egg box and 1 x 6 egg box!)

Plain flour: 2,847 g (~2.9 kg)

Baking Powder: 20 tsp

Hot Water: 36 tbsp (640 ml)

4.5 kg of White fondant icing

Note that I made two of the 12 inch cake to make the cake tall enough.

I spent a weekend baking all 4 cakes which became three tiers and then froze all of the cakes. I followed the advice here for freezing the cakes.

The day before the wedding I defrosted, cut, filled, crumb coated and covered the cakes in white fondant. That took about 8 hours! I then cut out all of the bunting using these cutters. I used the largest one for the 12 inch tier and went down a size for each tier up.

I covered the cake board with white fondant and used hessian ribbon around the edge to go with the rustic barn theme.

Obviously Apple helped:

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I love how Bunny is also looking wistfully outside

And here it is:

Image of Wedding Cake

I am so genuinely touched that Jade and Dave would trust me with such a major part of their big day. Which they know because I had a small breakdown during their speeches! I got a gorgeous gift that I will definitely use a lot:

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(T Swiz references win every time!) And I can only hope there is one photo of the speeches on the day that doesn’t have my ugly crying face in the background!

All the stress was totally worth it for this gorgeous pair:

#DavidandJadeWedding

Sneak peek of Chocolates for everyone!!

So I have a massive family. Like huge, my mum is the youngest of 10 and they all have kids and lots of those cousins have had kids now so our family get togethers are always big! Every year we organise a Christmas party and I try to make my presents because I’m too poor to buy everyone something… 

It’s usually food because that’s easy to do in bulk, one year it was biscuits, another it was chilli jam. This year it’s chocolates!

I’ve got myself a chocolate box silicone mould from Lakeland:

  
 
I’ve never done any proper chocolate making (just plenty of chocolate eating!) I decided to get the Thermospatula as well so I can attempt to temper the chocolate and hopefully make them look really good:

  
I’m kinda excited about using this just because I love a good gadget!

I’ve already started making some boxes using this tutorial and some Christmas scrapbook paper that I bought from eBay:

  
(Sorry about the fuzzy photo, working with an iPad is hard!)

  
This was my second attempt after I failed to follow the instructions the first time around…

I’m hoping to make the chocolates this week and post a full tutorial next weekend. Keep an eye out! 

Best DIY gifts for Teenagers

Teenagers… they can be a nightmare to buy for let alone make things for! My advice is to not DIY gifts for teens you don’t know that well!

  1. DIY Gold Leaf Jewellery Tray
Jewelry Tray Display

Credit: Homey Oh My

I mean, I would love this now just as much as I would if I were 16!

2. DIY Galaxy Print T-Shirt

Galaxyshirts

Credit: byhandlondon

Fun and cute. Their friends will ask where they got it, you will be cool forever.

3. A Starbucks Cup gift

Credit: somuchtodew

Obviously include a Starbucks gift card but you can tailor this to your teen. Add little Lego toys for boys, think small beauty items like nail varnish for girls.

4. Chalkboard Coasters

Credit: westermanfam

These are a great present for slightly older teens (think 17+) who are about to head off into the wilderness of real life. Everyone needs coasters!

5. DIY Passport Holder

Credit: AlwaysRooney

Feed their wanderlust with a custom passport holder!

6. Soda pop candy bottles

Credit: kmckaydesigns

Technically a father’s day gift but I know a lot of teenage boys who would love this!

7. Lip Balm Locket

Credit: beautylish

Just love everything about this, I am forever without lip balm, anyone want to make this for me?

8. Lounge Pants

Picture of How to Sew Your Own Pajama Pants

Credit: compwalla

Make these in an appropriate fabric, the more aligned with their interests the better! Think Comic Books, Superheroes, Video games, Disney etc. Find out what they like!

9. Heat-resistant Hair Straightener Cozy

Credit: gatheringtwigs

This is a brilliant DIY and parents will thank you for not allowing their house to burn down!

10. DIY giant chevron floor pillows

pin

Credit: OverLovin’

Teenagers will LOVE these floor pillows, brilliant for lounging about with their friends. Try and match the fabrics to their room decor if possible!

Pin this for the future:

TeenOval

Ariel “Kiss the Girl” Skirt & Hair Bow

My housemate’s Halloween costume this year was Ariel from the Little Mermaid when she goes on her date with Eric:kiss

She already had a white top and corset but asked if I could make the long blue skirt for her. Of course I said yes and then procrastinated about doing it until the weekend before it was needed!

Luckily, I’d been proactive about getting the fabric and zip! I ordered a couple of swatches from myfabrics.com and decided that their Cotton Twill Stretch in Turquoise was the best option:

81_2887_104

I ordered 2 metres of it and a 22″ blue invisible zip.

I measured Lucy’s waist and used it to calculate the measurements for a half circle skirt using this calculator by Patty over at The SnugBug Collective. I subtracted¬†4 inches for bias stretch as it is a stretchy material.

I took my half circle skirt measurements and drew my pattern on pattern paper and worked out that I would need to have three panels to fit the pieces onto the fabric while keeping the length that I needed. I made the front of the skirt from one panel (i.e. half of the skirt) and then split the other half into two pieces. I didn’t have enough pattern paper to create the full length so I had to wing it while I was marking out the fabric:

PatternArielKissTheGirlCostumeTutorialCosplay

What I also realised quite quickly was that my fabric wouldn’t be wide enough to use the angles you see in the photo above so I adjusted my pattern pieces to bring the skirt in a little on each side while keeping the waist measurement the same.

Once I’d cut out my pieces, I sewed the front piece to the two back pieces and attached a waistband:

SkirtArielKissTheGirlCostumeTutorialCosplay

I then attempted my first invisible zip for the back seam! It wasn’t as invisible as I might like but since it would mostly be hidden by the corset, I wasn’t too fussed. I have decided to invest in an invisible zipper foot for my sewing machine though!

I finished the back seam and then left the skirt to hang¬†for 48 hours in case the fabric dropped. I’ve heard that can happen with circle skirts if you hem them straight away.

I then hemmed the skirt and was pretty happy with the finished piece:

FinishedSkirtArielKissTheGirlCostumeTutorialCosplay

I then made a bow for Lucy’s hair using this tutorial from the scrap skirt fabric (I used felt instead of interfacing¬†as that’s what I had to hand at the time):

HairBowArielKissTheGirlCostumeTutorialCosplay

Lucy gave the skirt a good press before she wore it for Halloween at the office and the final costume was awesome:

FinishedcostumeArielKissTheGirlCostumeTutorialCosplay

Glitter Tipped Nails

Nails

To go with my Halloween outfit, I decided to crack the glitter out and create glitter tipped nails. To do this, I used Rimmel Metal Rush and Rimmel Precious Stones polishes:

MetalRush

Rimmel Metal Rush – Pearly Queen

Preciousstones

Rimmel Precious Stones – Diamond Dust

I started with a clear base coat, then did two coats of the Metal Rush polish. This is a great nail polish in it’s own right, people always comment on it when I wear it as it’s quite unusual. In fact, my boss asked me about it at the end of my job interview!

I then used the Precious Stones polish and started at the tip of my nail, dabbing it along the edge and then gently sweeping it down towards the nail bed. The idea is for the glitter to get lighter towards the bottom of your nail.

Once all of that’s dry, a final clear coat will help it all stay on a bit longer!

I did this for my fairy costume but I think it’ll look great for Christmas parties as well.

Best DIY gifts for Best Friends

Continuing my posts on DIY gifts for different people in your life, I’ve compiled my favourite gifts for best friends. Besties can be hard to buy for, especially if you don’t see them as often as you’d like to!

1. Teacup Lights

Teacup Lights

This is a super cute DIY, that’s gentle on the purse but looks awesome when given to someone.

2. Mini Book Necklace

I love this DIY, I’ve made two of these for my besties¬†in the past and will likely make another for myself soon!

3. Scrabble Coasters

I love all things scrabble themed and these would make a gorgeous gift.

4. DIY Gold Flutes

DIY Painted Glass

I love how elegant these glasses are and how easy they are to do!

5. Homemade coffee syrups

Coffee-Syrups-ChaosServedDa

Perfect for your caffeine addicted bestie!

6. Cute make-up bag

IMG_6560

I for one am always in need of a new makeup bag and this DIY is super easy. Pick fabric to suit their personality and go to town!

7. Earlier this year I posted my monogrammed mugs DIY made for a couple of my besties:

Finished Mugs

I really enjoyed making these mugs and I’m tempted to make some more this year!

8. DIY Mini Spa Kit

For your stressed out bestie, pair with slippers and a hot water bottle so they can pamper themselves and relax.

9.¬†30 Minute Infinity Scarf (You don’t even need knitting needles!)

30-minute-infinity-scarf-gaba

Ok, I’m going to have to make this even if I don’t give it to anyone else, it looks so snuggly and so easy to make.

10. Emergency Chocolate

Emergency Chocolate Craft on 30 Minute Crafts

When in doubt, chocolate is the answer and this is an awesome way to give it!

These are my top 10, let me know in the comments which are your faves…

Pin this for later:

BFFOval

10 Best DIY Gifts for Men

It’s October, that means there are only 11 weekends until the big C word… Christmas! If like me, you prefer to make gifts rather than buy them, then that means starting now. Unfortunately, my full time job gets in the way of crafting all day, every day so every weekend between now and then will need to involve some craftiness to get everything ready by Christmas. The last couple of years I have been horribly disorganised so this year will be different!

I’ll be posting DIY gift lists for different people in your life over the next couple of weeks as inspiration!

Here are my 10 best DIY gifts for the men in your life:

  1. Make a handmade leather catch-all tray:
Make a leather valet tray tutorial

Credit: 17Again

I’ll be attempting this one soon, check out Facebook to see how it goes!

2. The Story of Us:

Image

Credit: The Unengaged Undergrad

This one is so good, I pinned it twice… I’ve been saving things to scrapbook for ages so this one might be on the cards for Christmas or possibly our anniversary since that’s in January!

3. Lego Key Holder:

Credit: Felix Grauer

Because organisation is more fun with Lego!

4. Bacon infused Whiskey:

Credit: Modern Wife Style

Because literally everything is better with bacon.

5. Comic Book Coasters:

DIY comic book coasters

Credit: Modpodge Rocks Blog

For the Comic Book lover in your life. This principle is easily applied to other fandoms/geekiness ūüôā

6. CD Photo Cube:

Credit: Paper Jewels

I made this one for my Dad using old mini-disc cases (who remembers mini discs?!)

7. Make him a Nut and Bolts Chessboard:

Credit: Reddit user shama_lama_ding_dong / WonderHowTo

Does he love chess? Take a trip to your local DIY store to get everything you need.

8. Paracord Lanyard:

Credit: Storm Dranes

This project is the perfect amount of fun for you and cool for him!

9. Grill Rubs:

Credit: Kojo Designs

For the chef in your life, these rubs look great! This tutorial even includes free printable labels. Ikea have some great spice jars for this project.

10. Home Made Chocolate Fudge Gift:

Credit: What’s Gaby Cooking

And finally if you’re strapped for cash, one of the best home made gifts is the gift of food! It’s easy to make it look nice with ribbon or these pretty bags¬†from Lakeland.

Pin this post for future reference:

Picture1

Now I’m off to indulge in a Lakeland spree to so I can make chocolates for my extended family!

Build a Fort Kit (UK style)

Build a Fort Pic

A long time ago, or so it seems, I talked about making a “Build a Fort” kit using UK sourced items but based on this DIY¬†here.

If you would also like to do this, you will need the following:

РA lantern (I got this wind-up and solar powered LED lantern from Tesco for about £5)Build a Fort Kit 8

– Two single sheets or blankets (I used these, also from Tesco)

Р4 metres of ribbon for creating loops (I bought mine from Wilkinsons around Xmas but any haberdashery type shop or even pound shop should have some ribbon, mine was pale blue to match my colour theme)

РPegs (I used the blue ones from this pack from Wilkinsons and covered them with decorative tape)

– Suction cups (I used these from Wilkinsons and removed the hooks)

– a sewing machine or you could hand sew this, it’s just a matter of time.

– a bag to put everything in (I used a cloth shopping bag)

First step is to decorate your pegs if you would like them to be a bit more interesting:

Build a Fort Kit 6

I used two different kids of decorative tape, one with chevrons, one with stars and then left some plain blue. This probably took me half an hour to do one evening in front of the tv.

I cut 12 ribbons to 20 inches in length:

Build a Fort Kit 2

You will also need a length of ribbon roughly twice the length of your blankets.

Some were a little shorter but it doesn’t matter. I pinned a¬†20 inch ribbon in a loop to the corners of both of the blankets:

Build a Fort Kit 3

And then one to each edge in the centre of the blankets:

Build a Fort Kit 5

However, knowing that the boys I was making this for have large built in cupboards in their playroom with sheer surfaces, I wanted to give them another option for making a fort, which is where the suction cups came in.

I took the bag of suction hooks and pulled each hook off which left me with a load of suction cups with a convenient hole in the middle:

Build a Fort Kit 9

I then threaded¬†a suction cup to each of the loops I’d added to the blankets:

Build a Fort Kit 11

I then took the extra long length of ribbon that was left over, attached a suction cups at each end and tied a knot to keep it on.

Build a Fort Kit 12

The I popped everything into the cloth bag and tied the handles together with the ribbon that came with the two blankets:

Build a Fort Kit 14

My cousin came over the next day and we visited Didcot Railway Centre for their Thomas Day. I gave the boys their present just before they left and they were both very excited to get home and start using it!

Lost in the midsts of work…

Has it really been three months since I posted anything? It feels like 5 minutes ago! It’s been a pretty crazy three months, I’ve been on three¬†holidays (yes, you read that right, I’m not sure how it happened either!) and a trip to Portugal with work. Between that, actual work, helping my brother prep for his GCSEs and trying to have a social life, everything else has fallen by the wayside. However, I have squeezed some crafting in even if I haven’t managed to post about it!

One of my favourite people departed our team at work in February, I’m lucky enough to be friends with her outside of work so it’s not the end of the world but I still miss her face. I wanted to get her a present but I knew the team were covering that with some amazing gifts (a Rainbow light anyone?) In the end I went with a framed photo of us and another work/life friend. I had an Ikea Ribba frame already but it seemed a bit boring as it was just plain white. I found a gold sharpie and coloured the¬†corners on it to make it look a bit more fancy:

JadeFrame

Quick, easy and relatively risk free, my kind of crafting!

About two weeks later, we were off on a girls holiday to Disneyland Paris and, of course, we decided that having matching t-shirts was a great idea. In hindsight, matching hoodies would have been more weather appropriate for early March! We also failed to get a photo of the four of us in those t-shirts but mainly because we were too busy having fun!

Here’s me, in mine, at the hotel before I put two jumpers on for the day (Yes those are Minnie Mouse ears…):

Disney Tshirt

This was made using Powerpoint to create the design which was then saved as a JPEG. I Googled for the Disney Castle logo and used a Disney font from here¬†to write Disneyland Paris 2015 and each person’s name underneath.We each found¬†a silhouette of our favourite character for¬†the back of the shirts as well. These were then printed onto Iron-On transfer paper from Amazon. For some reason this paper is really hard to come by in high street shops or even Hobbycraft. In fact, the girl who worked at Hobbycraft told me it had been discontinued by which I presume she means that Hobbycraft have discontinued it because you can definitely get it on Amazon! We messed up one of the transfers and I had to buy some more at the last minute, I managed to get some from Rymans but it was much lower quality than the stuff we had from Amazon so I won’t link to it as I don’t recommend it!

I also finally got around to making that Build a Fort Kit for my cousin’s kids that I talked about here. This is going to be a post of it’s own here.

I managed to finish a project that I’d had going for more than 9 months, back in April last year I found this tutorial for a Shark bag. My lovely housemate got very excited about it and I offered to make it for her birthday in July. Clearly that didn’t happen! I totally lost my mind when I was sewing and didn’t follow the instructions properly (I basically sewed the middle up completely and this made putting the zip in totally impossible rather than just mildly difficult.) Rather than unpick the most ridiculous amount of stitching, I asked Lucy how she felt about having a shark shaped pillow/cuddly toy instead of a shark bag. I’m pleased to say this went far better than the whole bag concept and I found a use for some of the leftover stuffing from this dog bed project!

Shark Pillow