Festive Tea Wreath

Featured Image

So in my continued quest to DIY as many of my presents as possible I made a tea wreath!

I was originally inspired by this tea wreath but decided that I couldn’t be bothered with all the clothes pegs! I went with double sided sticky tape instead.

I used a 20 bag box of Pukka Organic Peppermint Licorice Tea Bags and a 20 bag box of Taylors of Harrogate Spiced Apple Tea Bags; I confess mainly for the colours, though the spiced Apple one is nicely festive too!

You can use any tea you like to make this, just make sure you buy tea that comes in individually wrapped packets (usually this means buying the nicer, more expensive ones).

You will need:

40 teabags in any combination of colours and flavours

Thick cardboard or foam board

Double sided sticky tape

Colour coordinated ribbon

A glue gun (optional)

Steps:

  1. Cut out your wreath from your cardboard or foam board.

I started by putting a standard dinner plate on the back of some flimsy cardboard from a pizza and drawing around it. I cut this out and then marked the inner circle with the base of a bowl. I used a wooden clothes peg at this stage to make sure there was enough cardboard for a decent layer of teabags.

I then used double sided sticky tape to attach my cardboard doughnut to some foam board I had lying around:

tea wreath1

Then carefully* cut the foam board to match the cardboard using a craft knife.

*Confession: Not that carefully because I did this really late at night and I’m an idiot so I thought I’d nick my finger:

Cutyoself

2. Lay your teabags around the wreath and work out where they look best:

Teaplacement

3. This would be a good time to attach your ribbon to the wreath (I didn’t consider this until later and had to attach it to the back.)

Start sticking your teabags down using double sided sticky tape, working from the outer layer inwards:

tapeplacement

first two rounds

4. Attach a ribbon to the back of the foam board using staples and a glue gun if you haven’t attached it at step 3!

Finished Wreath

And you’re done!

This probably took me about an hour and a half from start to finish but makes a gorgeous and thoughtful present.

 

 

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! 

The Innocent Big Knit 2015

I’ve finally managed to knit something!! I’ve knitted three hats for the Innocent Big Knit event which aims to raise awareness and money for the charity Age UK

IMG-20151105-WA0005

These were made using Innocent’s basic hat pattern

I’m hoping to make at least another three before the deadline in December. These hats are then put on Innocent Smoothie bottles in shops and a donation is made to Age UK for every bottle sold with a little hat on them. Follow Innocent Smoothies on Facebook to see some of the amazing and creative other hats they’ve received!

Foolproof American Pancakes in the UK

I’m mega excited because one of my friends is moving to LA next year so this weekend I booked flights to go and visit her for two whole weeks at the end of Feb!!!

One of the things I love about America is the pancakes, they’re light and fluffy, filling and have so many options for accompaniments! So I decided to make it my mission to make perfect American style pancakes here in the UK before I go to LA so that I can boss it while I’m there.

These are the pancakes I had to live up to:

NYPancakes

These are the ones I had at The Tick Tock diner in New York earlier this year and they were absolutely DIVINE.

So I headed off to Pinterest to find myself a recipe. I chose this one from Candace Davenport at Somewhat Simple.

I halved the amounts since I was only making them for two people.

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups sifted plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup of milk
2 tbs. olive oil

This made 8 pancakes – 4 per person which was more than enough.

Ingrediants

Utensils:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Smaller bowl
  • Whisk
  • Frying pan
  • Large flat spatula (this is a good one)

Directions:

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and use a whisk to mix together
  2. dryingrediants

  3. In another bowl, crack the eggs and beat together with a fork, add the milk and mix
  4. wetingrediants

    Around this time, someone set off a firework nearby so Apple came to make sure I was ok:
    AppleSpooked

  5. Add the olive oil to the egg & milk mixture and mix well
  6. oil

  7. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined (don’t overdo it, lumps are ok!)
  8. mixwetanddry

  9. Get your frying pan on to warm up on a medium heat on the smallest ring of the hob
  10. Hobandpan

  11. Add a 1/3 cup of batter to the hot pan
  12. batter

  13. Check your pan position, you want to ensure that wherever you’ve dropped the batter, the heat from the burner is centred directly below the pancake.
  14. Panposition
    Please be SENSIBLE with this! Don’t put your pan in an unbalanced or dangerous position, make sure handles are away from the edge at all times.
  15. Now it’s time to look for BUBBLES
  16. bubbles-fish-o
    Couldn’t resist!

    Serious talk though, bubbles are very important at this stage. You want the whole pancake to have popped bubbles all over before you flip it over. That’s how you’ll know it’s the perfect amount done on the other side.

    Check out the picture below, the top one is not quite done, there’s a patch in the bottom left that’s still quite wet with bubbles still below the surface of the batter.

    The bottom picture shows the perfect amount of bubbles evenly distributed across the pancake
    Lookingforbubbles

  17. Once you see perfect bubbles all over, flip it over with your big spatula, it should look like below:
  18. perfect

  19. Give it at least thirty seconds on the other side before you check it. Keep checking until it’s lightly done on the other side.
  20. Repeat steps 6-10 until you run out of batter. You should be able to make at least 8 large pancakes
  21. Add your topping of choice, we went for plain ole Maple Syrup but experiment with different kinds of fruit and definitely try bacon and maple syrup if you haven’t had it before!

final

Serve with a big icy Coca Cola and pretend you’re on Venice Beach already!

coke

Let me know how you get on with these foolproof instructions! I’m super proud of myself because I can usually barely make any food from scratch!

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.