Thursday, 29 August 2013

5 Travel Essentials That I Can't Do Without

I've started to get things out for my holiday that's coming up and there are just some things I can't go without! Other than a really high factor suncream, I always take these 5 things (or some variant!). I also think think that travel accessories are great. Have you ever seen that person on the train with the really nice matching bag, tags and luggage and sighed? Yep, that is what I do all the time so I always try to keep up appearances (even on awfully long journeys!)

1. Passport!

It may sound obvious but I am always paranoid about forgetting my passport or losing it and being stranded in a foreign country. Cue a bright and colourful cover from Paperchase (see all of their latest ranges here as mine is a few years old now!). It's so much easier to look in your bag and see this and  not panic. It's also good to keep tickets and insurance cards tucked in the folds so everything is together.

 2. A notebook

I used to take diaries on holiday and document every activity and place we went which was good at the time but now I just like to have a little book to jot down any info, funny moments or places that I want to remember. It's especially handy if you're into scrapbooking because there's always one place that you wish you could remember the name of when you get home but for the life of you can't remember. This was a present (admitedly for my boyfriend but he kindly donated it to me!) so I don't know where it's from. Any little notebook will do though!

3. Document holder

This is my favourite and the most recent purchase of all for travelling. It links back to the passport thing a little bit and having a small wallet or folder with everything in one place makes it so much easier to keep track of everything. I got this from Accessorize  this summer for the bargain price of £2.50 on sale! I used to just have a little clear plastic wallet that you can get from stationary shops but that started to get a bit tatty and then I found this gem. It has individual sections for documents, tickets and your passport so everything you need when travelling is at hand. I can't tell you how much I love it and wouldn't be without something like this now!

4. Camera

Obviously I take a camera with me; I don't leave without my Canon SLR which takes great photos. But sometimes it's nice to mix things up a bit and have a camera which takes unusual photos - like my Lomography fisheye. So if you arn't into cameras or you've never heard of Lomography, they are a company that specialises in analogue cameras...with a twist. A fisheye camera (or lense) creates a spherical, wide angled image so you can get some pretty cool shots with it. And because it's analogue you get the excitement of getting the film developed when you get home!

5. A good pen...or two!

I rarely go anywhere without a pen anyway let alone on holiday. A little notebook and a couple of pens go hand in hand for jotting down those adventures!

What are you travel essentials that you always take with you?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Week in Pictures

1. Getting on with my scrapbook with a crafternoon
2. New delivery of washi tape...I can't help myself!
3. New motivational cushion. Seeing this everyday really does brighten it up!
4. New post on how to make DIY Gift Tags
5. Organising my blog posts
6. Organising play time with a 3 year old. I used to treasure my crayons as a child
7. Kids crafternoon

DIY Tutorial: 10 Minute Card

When it comes to cards I'm really fussy. It has to be the right card for the right person or I won't buy one just for the sake of buying one. When it comes to buying a card for the men in my life, I am often at a loss. They don't like golf, football or cricket and there's only so many cards you can buy with a bottle of beer on before it gets boring.

So if you want to know how I made this really quick and easy card then follow the instructions below!

Things you will need:

1. A cutting board or something to lean on when you are cutting and sticking
2. A selection of paper and card ( It's up to you what you use but I like plain white card for this)
3. A card decorating set (available at all good craft and stationary stores for as cheap as 99p)
4. Glue - Prit stick or PVA will do
5. Good scissors, pens, pencils and a good rubber for when you make a mistake!

 Sizing your card

Firstly you need to decide what size and shape you want your card to be. I picked a square card because they tend to be my favourite but you can be more imaginative if you like or chose a shape that goes with the theme of your stickers.

 Tip: To avoid spending more money, chose your size and shape based on an envelope you already have. Everyone has an odd envelope lying around!


The stickers that I have got and recommend usually come on a backing so don't be tempted to peel them off too soon. Cut carefully around each shape so they are still attached to the backing. Now you can play with the layout and design of your shapes as many times as you want until you are happy.

When you're happy with your layout, stick them down! Although they already have little sticky pads on them (or double sided tape) you might want to stick down any lose ends with your glue to stop anything bending or breaking.


If you're a dab hand at calligraphy and great fonts then skip ahead! If you're like me though and often think 'I can't write like that!' then I'll show you a really easy font which I think looks pretty good!

Step 1: Draw a basic outline of a  letter.
Step 2: Decide which way you want your shadow, In this case I have taken it to the right of the letter.
Step 3: Join your horizontal shadow lines with vertical

A bit of practice with tricky letters such as G, B, D etc and you are ready to write the front of your card.

Tip: If you really don't want to free hand it, I suggest you type out your greeting onto a programme like Word or Photoshop and trace the letters off the screen. Be careful to get it the right way around when you are tracing it though! You can get some great free fonts online; is particularly good.

Usually I colour the shadows in in black but you can leave them as line drawings or colour them in different colours etc it's up to you and how you want your card to look.

And there you go...finished! I hope you're pleased with your finished product and the reciepent likes it too. Remember, you can use this idea and  develop it further until you feel really confident with making those cards that are tricky to find. I'll be posting more handmade card tutorials so keep checking back for more!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

A Pre-Wedding Gift

 So it's exactly 2 weeks until my first flatmate and university friend gets married and I'm so excited for her! In honour of this little countdown I thought I would share the present I bought her a few weeks ago when she came down to visit me!

Isn't it just so cute?! I bought it from a lady on Ebay who makes all sorts of signs and goes by the username 07monkey (click here for a direct link to the product) and I couldn't recommend her enough. I would have made it myself but I just didn't have the materials to hand so sometimes it's OK to buy not DIY! 

I think things like this just add a little fun to the countdown and they can keep it as a reminder when they get to 0. I can't imagine how excited she is for her big day and I'm excited to see them both (the dress especially of course!) and celebrate with them. I've also been busy putting together what I think it quite a unique wedding gift so I'm hoping they will like it as much as I think they will!

Needles to say when she opened it she loved it, what bride wouldn't?

Friday, 23 August 2013

Whats on my bookshelf?

This weeks feature is what I like to call a coffee table book; one you can just pick up, flick through and then put back for another day and there's plenty to read. Author Kerry Miller has brought together the best selection of notes from, a website where people can submit notes they have left (or been left!) for us all to have a good laugh at!

I was given this book a few Christmas' ago  by one of my best friends and it's definitely my kind of book. Like any coffee table book you are going to get some gems and some bits that are not so good but I often found myself laughing out loud at people's notes. The thing that got me was the length people would go to to put their point across, some were borderline essays!

If you have ever left a note like this, gone to university or lived with people who annoy you I urge you to get this book or at least take a look at the website. And for all of you milk drinking, food stealing, non washing people out there...expect to continue to get notes like this!

To join in with the theme of this post, I thought I would share my flatmate's note that she left in final year of uni for our food thief! Out of a bag of six apples, this was the only one left that hadn't been stolen. I don't know whether it was the Disney post it or the underlining of 'my' but she kept her apple and she enjoyed it thoroughly!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

DIY Tutorial: 5 Really Easy Gift Tags (that will still impress!)

 You could spend a small fortune on gift tags to match the paper you've bought but I have never really seen the point of buying expensive tags. It's far easier and cheaper to make tags and I always think it adds a nice personal touch to a present.

So I'm going to show you 5 really easy, quick ways of making gift tags!

 1. Matchy Matchy

I'm not saying that buying matching tags is always a bad thing, I have done it on occasions and I admit I love having everything nicely co-ordinated. However, many roles of paper don't come with tags so you're left to either find one similar but never quite right or make your own. Here I have just taken an off cut of the paper I used and cut out the age of the person who was receiving it and stuck if to a brown parcel tag (10 for 99p at The Works) If you don't want to do their age, just cut a shape in the paper and you get the same effect

2. Old Postcards

Know someone who is a keen traveller? Waving someone off on their travels? Dig out all of those postcards that you've bought from places over the years and cut them into tags.This may be easier for people like me who at one point when I was younger collected postcards from everywhere I went so I have quite a collection and have no other use for them! Travel catalogues mounted on card would also work just as well!

3.  Initials

This is the one that probably takes the longest but it's the most personal I think. I dug this photo out from last Christmas as each year I tend to have some sort of theme with my wrapping. This year was oversized letter tags! They are actually made from the year before crackers (I'm painting myself out to be a real hoarder here but I'm not I swear!) so I didn't need to pay for anything. If you aren't as thrifty (and weird) as me you can get metallic card in packs for a few pounds.

4. Recycling cards

I have done this since I was able to have control over my cards and mum didn't stash them away in the baby boxes! Christmas and Birthdays you get lots of lovely cards and more often than not I see people just picking out their nearest and dearest and chucking the rest. STOP! All of these lovely sentiments and pictures can be so easily made into quirky and professional looking tags.  I don't cut all of my cards up, I keep my family and closest friends but I think that if I can put them in the bin then I can definitely cut them up instead. Super easy and quick and you will have tags all year round!

5. The Personal Touch

Again using the trusty brown luggage tags, I dug out some stamps I have had for years (lower case and upper case alphabet for about £10 off amazon. I've had it so long I'm not sure the same one will be around now!) and for this example I showed you my name and a little strip of washi tape (Had to get that in there somewhere!) You don't have to just write names either you could write a whole message or seasonal greeting on it. These are quite rustic looking so look good with thrifty presents and interesting wrapping!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Week in Pictures

The week before last was so busy that I didn't get a chance to sit down and blog! I've been spending my time wrapping presents, scrapbooking and making lists (oh and working, can't forget the bills need paying!) so I missed last weeks week in pictures. Although I was busy doing creative things I didn't really feel inspired to take any photos so I didn't force myself to show a half hearted week in pictures.

This week though captures quite a good week for me (creative wise anyway!) so here it is. If any of you have instagram I take a lot of these photo's from my account so head over there to follow me for photos as they happen.

1. Working on a present for a special event. More sneak peeks in the post below.
2. Gift wrapping a present goes beyond paper and sticky tape.
3. In Vogue We Trust 
4. Favourite type of mail
5. Oh heyy new Ombre hair!
6. Sunday walk with family
7. The coolest kid I know

Monday, 12 August 2013

Sneak Peek

I've been a bit (read: a lot) absent this week because life seems to have gotten in the way. But to redeem myself I've been working away on projects and preparing lots of posts in between my parents visiting and working.

So here's a sneak peek of one of the things I've been working on. I can't give too much away because it's a present but I dug out my scalpel and started doing papercuts again. When I have given it to the recipient I'll post the finished item!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Week in Pictures

I'm very late this week....I've been so busy I've barely been in the house! So here's last week in pictures for you.

1. Cute pug notepad my mum sent me in the post!
2. Feeling like Christmas when a big box of art supplies arrives
3. Trying to ween myself off my eyeliner. Replacing it with red lipstick perhaps.
4. Even at 5am on the way to work I managed to snap a quick photo of the lovely sunrise
5. My entry for Sheffield's International Artists Book Prize. Check out the full post of what I submitted here 
6. Visited my cousins and took the children to a lovely little farm
7. Writing letters to my new pen pal BeccaKellyDraws 

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Whats on my Bookshelf?

Note: The book featured in this weeks Whats on my Bookshelf is of a sensitive nature. If you are sensitive/ don't ever read books about challenging topics I would advise you to read on with caution. I won't be graphic but I thought I would put it out there!

 Ok, so this is different from my usual kind of picture art book. I first got this book in my second year of uni after finally plucking up the courage to read The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. Despite the harrowing nature of the story, I enjoyed her writing so looked into what else she had written and found Lucky, a memoir by Sebold first published in 1999.
I had read the warnings online about it being graphic in places but for some reason I took the plunge and bought it and began to build up the courage to read it. Does anyone else have to do that when you're not sure how you will handle what you read but you feel compelled to read it? I do this a lot. I really shy away from anything gruesome and awful but sometimes I feel compelled to push myself into reading these sorts of books, probably as a way of trying to learn more.

Anyway, Sebold writes this memoir about her rape on the way home at the end of her Freshman year of College. The title Lucky comes from her reporting the incident to the police and the police officer said she was 'lucky' because a girl had previously been murdered in the same spot.

So what did I think? I think it's a really powerful book about an individuals determination to seek justice and make people aware of stories like this. It is tragic in places though and there were several times when I put it down and re-started it another day. The opening of the book is the worst part so if you can get through that (I admit, I skimmed as she goes into quite a lot of detail which isn't something I wanted to really read) then the rest of the book if worth powering through. 

It's definitely not an easy read but you may come away from it thinking and feeling a little bit differently, like I did. I recommend Sebold's books if you like good writing about heart wrenching topics. I thought it was a good read but it won't be for everyone.

Friday, 2 August 2013

DIY Tutorial: Party bags (for adults!)

So although it was my Birthday a while back, I wanted to give my friends something for visiting for the weekend and coming out to celebrate my birthday. So I decided to make a good old fashioned party bag - with a twist!

When my friends and I are celebrating it usually involves plenty of cocktails and dancing in inappropriate shoes so I put together a little rescue bag for the next day when everyone is feeling a little weary from the night before! So here is how I  made them...

 Things you will need :

1. Brown paper lunch bags - I bought them from Ebay for about £2.00 for 10 including postage. Just search for paper bags, or any variant and you get loads of variety.
2. Sellotape and red duct/washi tape  - duct tape is really cheap and you can get the standard 5 colours from shops like Poundland.
3. Twine for your tags - Again I got mine from Ebay which was the cheapest I could find.
4. A Hole Punch
5. Your content -  This is what i put in my bags which I will explain a little later on but it's completely up to you what you want to fill them with!
6. Card - For your tags
7. Good scissors and Pen! - As always a general pencil case of essentials helps

Making the tags

It's quite straighforward really and by the photo above I don't really need to give much explanation! I made my tags in the traditional shape of a luggae label (albeit a bit wide!) but if you have a theme for your bags you could use different colours, paper of shapes. I just wanted to keep mine simple though.

This whole idea is quite tongue in cheek so I decided on using the phrase 'Help is at hand' to decorate the labels. I wanted it to give something away as to what might be inside without being too obvious. 

Finished tags

I wanted to keep it simple so I just used a fine liner and a little red felt tip to illustrate the tags. On the back I gave little hints as to what items were in the bags so as you can see it was all about speeding up our recovery.

What to put in your bag

It's completely up to you how you want to fill your good bags. For me, it was all about key things to make you feel better when you've been partying so I picked practical, yet funny things like the kids plasters. I picked some snacks and a carton of orange juice (got to get that Vitamin C in!) and of course painkillers because no-one likes a headache.

You're having a themed party you need to think about things that reflect your theme. Hen nights and baby showers would also be a good excuse to make these bags and it a nice way of giving back as people are often giving you lots of nice presents at times like that.

Putting it all together

Now you've got all of the components, you need to put it all together. Fill your bag with your goodies and fold the top over just enough so your tag isn't hanging too low. I used regular sellotape first to stick my bag down and label on because Washi tape and duct tape has a habit of not being very sticky so this will prevent everything coming undone.

 Finishing touches

The final part was adding the red cross. I picked this idea because the red cross is synonymous with helping people and the idea of rescue so I thought it was a novel way of decorating the bags. It also quickly decided my theme of being mainly red and white!

I don't mean to blow my own horn here but my friends loved them! Ok, so the snacks didn't even make it until the morning, most of the twirls were devoured quite quickly but they were all suprised as to me giving them presents when it was my Birthday. Want to be my friend huh? This won't be the last time I make 'alternative' party bags because I love the idea and the possabilities are endless!