Sunday, 29 September 2013

Good Mail Day: Todays Suprise Parcel

Today I received a lovely parcel from my uni friend Becca. It's so nice to receive an unexpected letter or parcel in the post and this one was full of lovely crafty delights! I'm so excited that I just have to share the amazing goodies that were inside!

I got through the first layer of the package and it wasn't long until I was laughing! The photo was taken in Liverpool nearly 2 years ago on a trip to see some galleries and we came across Dali's Lobster Phone in the Tate. We thought it was hilarious quite frankly and doing an art course wondered what would happen if we handed this piece of 'art' in to be assessed!

So these are all of the goodies that I got! It's always a shock to receive gifts when you least expect it, especially through the post. I think everything came from Hobbycraft which I have shockingly only been to a few times.

These alphabet stickers or 'thickers' as they're called are chipboard letters covered in a map print. I love everything map covered and can't wait to use these in my travel scrapbooks.

Tiny Dovecraft alphabet stamps...perfect for scrapbooking and a new (and quite big) project that's in the works!

I love post-its and these are some of the best ones I've ever seen! They are motivational and nostalgic all at the same time and I will use these in the day to day diary to remind me for things or in scrapbooking.

Who doesn't love a cute notebook? Again, this is something I've never seen before but it's like a bit luggage label and has a mini one as the actual label. Also, going through a brown paper phase at the moment so this is just lovely.

Finally, some Washi tape! Because you can't have enough Washi tape! This has little phrases on like you can see above and I can't wait to wrap presents with it and use it to highlight certain things in scrapbook and notebooks.

Thank you my lovely friend, it always reminds me that I'm lucky to have people like this in my life. I only wish I could see them more! Will be making lots of things soon :)

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Brussels Street Art

I love spotting good street art here in England so when I'm abroad I'm always on the look out for little gems from their local artists. I first started to really take note of Street Art when I moved to Sheffield, home of Kid Acne and Phlegm. Then on a trip to Berlin with uni in 2010, the current art capital of Europe, I became fascinated.

Brussels was no different. Without dragging my boyfriend on a street art scavenger hunt, I managed to see some of Brussels street art and want to share what I saw! 


So here in England we have Banksy, Belgium have Bonom! Since 2006 he has been picking grey basic buildings to draw his larger than life skeletal characters on. I found these 3 while out and about and they are huge: I have no idea how he does them on that sort of scale. He generally paints skeletal animals and gaunt, sketchy people and the reason I captured them was because I like his style and the locations he picks for them.

A little bit different to the usual spray can or stencil street art that we're used to seeing but non the less this is street art! I started to find these as we went further out of the city centre and I probably saw about 6 overall dotted around the streets. I can't seem to find an artists or a story behind them but they are little mosaics built into the floor depicting everyday scenes. I love coming across little quirks like this and enjoyed finding new ones and seeing what the story was.

Again this is just a random piece that I happened to come across while admiring the view behind it. It's really unfortunate that someones decided to draw over the top of it and it looks like someone has tried to clean it off but taken some of the original gold with it. Anyway the phrase says 'I believe there is an absolute truth' which could mean anything or nothing to different people. It reminded me of Jenny Holzer's work who I admired throughout uni; the presentation of somewhat ambiguous statements in public places. I love stuff like this because it gets me thinking and that's one of the best things about street art.

I saw this piece by chance while going down in a lift from where I took the above photo. I don't think it is Bonom but it potentially could be. Isn't the placing and the monochrome colour scheme striking against all of the rooftops? I love finding pieces like this!

The Comic Book Route

These two wall murals are examples of comic book street art around Brussels. Unfortunately, I didn't know before/while I was there that you could go on tours or get a map that highlighted all 50 of these murals so that's a bit upsetting. However, the ones I did see were great and a really original idea. Because they are only on little parts of walls they're sometimes easy to miss but these two were right in the centre so passed them on a daily basis. The left pictures is an illustration by Francoi Schuiten; a Belgian comic book illustrator known for the drawing series Les Cites Obscures. The one on the right is obviously Herge and Tintin!

This is my last post in my little four part series on Brussels. I hope you have enjoyed it and maybe found some parts helpful! If any of you have been or are planning to go please leave some comments, I would love to share our experiences of Brussels! :)

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

DIY Tutorial: How To Make Pompoms And Use Them In Giftwrapping

Does everyone remember making pompoms when they were kids? Wrapping wool around two cardboard doughnuts for what seems likes forever? Well I've noticed that pompom's are cropping up everywhere wedding decorations, garlands and especially in gift wrapping.

So I'm going to show you a really simple and quick way of making pompoms and how I used them to decorate a present I recently gave to a friend who was moving to London.

Begin by wrapping the wool around your hand many times
When you have a good amount of wool wrapped round, carefully take it off your hand so you have something that looks like this

Cut a length of wool and carefully place your wrapped wool onto the new strand
Tie the wool as tight as possible and cut the lose ends off
Cut through each loop so you have lose ends
Trim the ends so you have a nice round pompom and fluff it up. Done!
Because my friend was moving to London and it's her first time moving away from home since uni (it doesn't count!) I wanted to put together a little London inspired packaged with some new home goodies inside.

I covered a shoe box in brown paper and the top in a London underground paper that I got from Tesco. It was a lucky find as it was reduced to something silly like 23p! I then tied some bakers twine around the box and finished it off with the red pompom.

Close up of the paper - love the party words instead of tube stops!

Little extra parcels to open inside

1. Set of plates - Tesco
2. London themed mugs - Tesco
3. Tube pass -Accessorise
4. Tea Towel - Primark

My friend loved her presents and I'm excited to go and visit her and have to London inspired posts on my blog! 

Monday, 23 September 2013

My Top Tips For Saving Money At University

So this week marks the beginning of Freshers week for many people here in the UK. I imagine starting any college or university across the globe in similar - you move to a new place, you're making new friends, partying more than you ever have before and trying to ignore the fact that all of this is costing you thousands.

All joking aside, University was the best time of my life but it was hard not earning any money and having much to spend. Over the 4 years I was there I learnt how to manage my money so that I could still afford new clothes every now and then and more importantly not miss out on anything. So here are a few tips (Maybe obvious ones?) on how to live on a budget.

1. Make a plan

So you know how much everything is going to cost and how much you are able to get through loans or help from family. Now you need to work out how much you have to live on after you've paid your rent and bills (including phone and anything else on direct debit). Then you just need to stick to it. If I felt myself being tempted I used to draw my allotted money out on a Monday and when it was gone it was gone. Try not using your card to pay for things, it's hard!

2. Shop around

I've never been one to buy something that seems expensive straight away. I go away and have a look in a few more shops or even better, online. 9 times out of 10 you can get it cheaper online whether it's books, art supplies or clothes. So plan ahead and then you won't need to panic buy something on your way to a lecture which could cost you twice as much.

3. Work together

You may feel that because you're moving out on your own that you have to do everything on your own now. Wrong. Cooking together is often cheaper than cooking for 1 so sharing the cost of a roast dinner between 6 people could mean £2 each rather than £10 each. I was lucky and had a housemate who instantly became a friend for life so we shared basics like milk and bread and then tried to cook a decent meal together once a week. Needless to say we also did this when we were going out with drinks. Instant money saver!

4. Think ahead

Maybe this won't work for everyone because I'm a bit of an obsessive organiser but planning ahead for Birthdays, Christmas and any other occasion where you have to spend money will help to ease the pain over a longer period of time. If you are lucky you might be able to get things in the sale and keep them for a present in a month or so. After Christmas I always have my 2 best friends birthdays, boyfriends birthday and Valentines day in the space of 2 months so I used to buy things when I saw them (Sometimes months in advance) and then I didn't have to worry so much about not being able to afford 4 lots of presents.

5. eBay

Ebay became my best friend in uni. I can't quite believe that I had never heard of it in first year. I think I first discovered how cheap it was when searching for fancy dress online and the selection and price was better than any shop I could find. Having jokily been called the eBay queen, I have learnt how to bag the best bargain and find that Topshop dress, complete with tags on for a fiver. I will be doing a post on eBay bargains and how to get the best deals very soon so keep checking back.

I hope these are helpful to any new students. It may seem boring but these little things stopped me from having to stay in because I had no money, A line I heard a lot! 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Week in Pictures

1. Wedding presents wrapped and delivered for lovely friends
2. Autumn fashion is in
3. Uni scrapbook is finally complete (Post coming soon about the inside!)
4. Cutest tape ever (Stationary haul coming soon!)
5. Lovely travel stickers ready for my Brussels scrapbook
6. Meticulous organisation
7. Sunday walks

Friday, 20 September 2013

My Top 5 Places to Visit in Brussels

Continuing on with my mini series of posts on my recent trip to Brussels, my penultimate post will be on my favourite things that we visited while there. So I have shortened it down to my Top 5 even though we did so many more things in the 5 days we were there.

I will mentioned a thing called the Brussels Card quite a lot, it's a card that you can buy for 1, 2 or 3 days and gives you unlimited travel on all buses and metro's as well as discounted or free entry to attractions and museums. We got the 3 day card which was 40 Euros and it saved us so much money! Definitely recommend it, I think most European countries do a similar scheme to this.

1. Mini Europe!

Cost: 12.20 Euros (Small discount with Brussels Card)

We stumbled across this by accident when we went to visit the Atomium (they're next to each other) and I don't know about you, but for some reason we love model towns! This may not be your cup of tea but we spent quite a long time here and each country in Europe is represented by a famous landmark or a collection of buildings. It was really fun to walk around and see places that we had visited and the detail was really good. This would also be great if you've got kids (or are a big kid like we are!)

 2. The Musical Instrument Museum 

Cost: Free! (with Brussels Card)

This is one of the best museums I have ever been to! We went because we're both musical and have an interest in instruments but it was still so much better than we had expected. When you arrive you buy your ticket and get given a little black device that you hang round your neck and as you walk round the exhibition you will hear the different sounds the instruments play. So you hold the little black box up to your ear, walk in front of a piano and all of a sudden a piano will begin to play through the device. We still have no idea how the technology works but it was really interesting and would recommend it even if you aren't that into musical instruments.

3. The Comic Book Museum

Cost: Free! (With Brussels Card)

Belgium is home to more than 700 comic strip authors so it's only natural that there is a whole museum dedicated to comic strips and characters! I am not a comic book reader but I am quite fascinated by them. As a child I always tried to make my own comic strips (and failed) so it was really good to see original drawings from Herge and how he built up his ideas and illustrations to make a final comic strip. It's also in a really beautiful building so walking around is a pleasure. If you're a particular comic fan or enjoy the Smurfs, Tintin or Bob and Bobette etc then the gift shop is also pretty amazing. You'll be able to find every sort of comic and memorabilia that you desire!

4.  Atomium

Cost: 8.00 Euro (Discount with Brussels Card)

This is named as Brussels biggest attraction and is one of the things you will see on most of the postcards. Built in 1958 for the Brussels World Fair, it houses exhibitions in each sphere varying from the building and history of the Atomium through to some art installations near the top. Right at the top is an observation level so you get really good views of the whole of Brussels. It's a bit cheesy and if 50s architecture isn't your thing I would stay away because it is 1950s in every way! Although we felt a little bit obliged to visit it, we did like looking round it and had a nice day there.

5. The Last Remaining Gate Tower

Cost: 1.50 Euro (With Brussels Card)

Formally know as La Porte de Hal De Hallepoort, we didn't actually plan on going here or did we know it existed until we got there. We were looking for somewhere else and when we gave up it was still quite early in the day so we got the map our and Jamie suggested we go to see the gate tower from the second walls of Brussels. Built in 1381, it's a pretty impressive sight standing on it's own in a park surrounded by roads and shops. We went straight to the top which had brilliant views (worth going up there just for the view in my opinion) and then worked our way down the other floors which had some exhibitions on. Jamie is more interested in this sort of stuff than me but even I was impressed that it's still standing and that it's survived all this time. If you love history, definitely worth a visit.

Hope you enjoyed some of the places we enjoyed visiting!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Handmade Wedding Present

If you're a regular visitor to my blog (or timed it just right on your one off visit!) then you might remember this post giving you all a sneak peak into a secret project I was working on. Well I can finally share it with you all now because it was a gift for my friends wedding (the the post below) and they loved it!

I am quite nifty with a scalpel after cutting an entire dictionary up at uni (don't ask) and I've been in love with Papercuts since I discovered the wonderful world of Rob Ryan in 2007 so I figured I would give it a go myself. I dug out a pencil and some paper and got to work on a design which was a lot easier than I thought considering I've never been good at drawing off the top of my head. I then managed to write in a half decent font, began cutting and hey presto - Bespoke wedding present for the happy couple!

Drawing my design

Adding the wedding day date into the design

Starting cutting

All cut out!

The finished present

So there you have it. I'm thinking of doing custom cut outs as gifts and commissions if people are interested. Let me know what you all think :)

Monday, 16 September 2013

Wedding Gifts and The Special Day

 The Gifts...

 So just over a week ago I attended my friends wedding reception and it was lovely! They were engaged for nearly 2 years and the big day finally was upon us after many conversations over colours, cake and her dress (which was just as amazing as she described!)

We met at university, on the first day of moving in we both walked out of our dorm rooms and were face to face with each other. Not knowing at this point that we would be really good friends and 5 years on I would be attending her wedding! Oh the lovelyness. She's also my first friend to get married so I spent quite a long time picking and wrapping the perfect presents.

 Everyone knows I love wrapping presents but weddings are especially fun because you can add extra hearts and love (anyone feeling sick yet?) I'm going through a brown paper phase at the moment so when I found this paper with added silver holographic spots in Marks & Spencers, It made my mind up that colour wasn't going to feature in this wrapping. 

Does anyone else think of wrapping themes here or do I take things way too far?

Anyway, I kept it really simple and used paper doilies as the gift tags and did one with each of their initials on. This present won't be featured in this post because it's pretty special so will be posting about it separately soon!

How amazing is this card?! Again Marks and Spencers (for all you Non-Brits, it's not a very cool shop and your mum is more likely to shop there than you. But in recent years they have really upped their game and the cards and gift wrapping they do are some of the best!) have delivered some lovely and I think pretty cool cards. Wedding cards can sometimes look a little old and dated but I saw this and had to have it. The illustrations are just the cutest and the detail is great. There's quite a few cards in this style for different occasions so if anyone knows me, expect a card of this style soon.

This is one of the presents (the other one I'm being very cloak and dagger about at the moment!) and it's a fun set of mugs for the new Mr and Mrs. I knew she would like these because it's no secret that the Bride knows what she wants so I thought they would find it quite funny. Plus every newlyweds need Mr and Mrs novelty gifts don't they? Again these were from Marks & Spencers, I swear I don't usually buy everything from the same shop.

The Wedding!

 I wanted to share a few pictures of the reception and all of the little details they put into their decorations. My favourite part was a Wish Tree which was a lovely alternative to a guestbook where guests were invited to write a message to the happy couple of the back of little hearts and hang them on one of the lit up tree's in the room. Such a great idea and I loved leaving a message (or 2!) on the tree for them to find later on.  I couldn't complete this post without featuring a picture of the lovely bride so you can all marvel at how beautiful and glowing she is...oh and that's me with her!