Tuesday, 31 December 2013

A Year In Books (2013)

a year in books 2013

After recently receiving an email from Goodreads with a link to 'view your year in books' I was inspired to share this image. Looking at all eighty (!!) of the books lined up like that is a very strange thing and I can't really believe there are so many!

Some of my 2013 favourites: If You Find Me (Emily Murdoch), Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Robin Sloan), Club Monstrosity (Jesse Petersen), Is It Just Me? (Miranda Hart), Ketchup Clouds (Annabel Pitcher), Cruel Summer (James Dawson), Battle Royale (Koushun Takami), Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell), Thin Space (Jody Casella)

Cover images via Goodreads & Amazon

What were your favourite reads of 2013?
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Sunday, 29 December 2013

Top Ten DIYs Of 2013

toptendiysof2013

For the final Sunday DIY post of the year I thought I would reflect on all of the ideas and tutorials I have shared here during the last twelve months. Over the year I've posted a huge 60 DIYs (!) but these are ten of my favourites...

1. Quote Necklaces (Mean Girls Inspired) - one of my most popular projects of the year were these shrink plastic pendants inspired by one of my favourite films. They were so popular infact that the designs are now also available to purchase over at Sawyer & Scout for those who don't fancy making their own.

2. A Bracelet Of Rings - another popular jewellery project was this bracelet design made up of rings from back in March. This is a great way to give a new lease of life to all of those pretty rings you wouldn't usually be able to wear all at once.

3. Charm Cluster Hair Ties - these pretty hair ties, inspired by designers like Marc Jacobs and Henri Bendel, are simple to make and work just as beautifully as bracelets whilst you're not using them for your hair!

4. Hex Bracelets - these chunky style bracelets made from mini hex nuts and waxed cord are both stylish and simple to create. The design is perfect for any season and can be created in whatever colour combination you want!

5. Tinted Glass Jars - Mod Podge is one of the craft supplies that makes a regular appearance here as it's so versatile. With a few other household supplies you can use it to create these pretty upcycled glass jars for storage or decoration.

6. Custom Spiked Shoes - my favourite thing about this project is that it is totally reversible and won't damage your shoes! By using screw on spikes and placing them through the holes on your shoes where the laces would normally go you can create a whole new, but temporary, look.

7. Recycled Plastic Jewellery - as you know I've been loving shrink plastic crafts and this one in particular is a favourite as it recycles old plastic packaging into unique jewellery pieces. You can create absolutely any design you like with this idea - if you can draw/trace it you can make it!

8. Shaving Foam Prints - the messiest project of the bunch is this marbled printing technique using shaving foam and poster paints. The effect it creates is perfect for cards, gift wrap or any similar items, definitely one to bookmark for birthdays.

9. Ribbon Bracelets - with this project the design possibilities are endless and I even recently posted a festive version of this DIY using Christmas ribbons. This is also another design that is now available over at Sawyer & Scout for those who don't want to DIY.

10. Washer Rings - of the many hardware jewellery DIYs I posted here and saw elsewhere online this year these washer rings were definitely a favourite. I love the simple design and how easy they were to make. If the plain colours aren't your thing you can always jazz them up with your favourite nail polishes!

Here's to lots more DIYs in 2014!
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Saturday, 28 December 2013

This Week #6

this week 6

1. DIY Frosted Snowflake Charm Bracelet - my final festive DIY of 2013 was a pretty charm bracelet with handcut shrink plastic snowflakes

2. The Unintentional Christmas Manicure - an accidental festive manicure featuring my favourite green polish and some glitter

3. December Reads & Reviews - a quick look back at the five books I read this month, most of which I enjoyed!

I hope you've all had a lovely week whether you celebrate Christmas or not! :)

Coming up next week... my top 10 DIYs of 2013, the 2014 reading challenge & a year in books
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Friday, 27 December 2013

December Reads & Reviews

december reads
Cover images via Goodreads

This month I made my way through five books - Cruel Summer (James Dawson), The Elites (Natasha Ngan), Red* (Alison Cherry), Sneak* (Evan Angler), Impostor* (Susanne Winnacker).

First up was Sneak which picks up after the events of previous book Swipe, with main character Logan on the run from DOME. After being pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Swipe I was eager to find out what would happen next and luckily as a sequel Sneak did not disappoint. I'm now looking forward to reading the third book Storm, hopefully sometime next year!

The Elites and Red, both of which I will be reviewing in full over at Blogger's Bookshelf soon, were complete opposite ends of the scale. Predictably, I really enjoyed the dystopian setting and adventure found in The Elites but was extremely disappointed by teen tale Red which takes place in a town where redheads have all the power. Another book I will be reviewing next month on Blogger's Bookshelf is Impostor which tells the story of Tessa, a Variant who works for the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities. After recently hearing a lot of talk about this title amongst the book blogging community I was excited to find out if it would live up to the hype. Although I did enjoy this one I also felt that it did slightly lack something - a comment I also made when briefly reviewing another of Winnacker's novels The Other Life. I hear that this series has already been optioned for TV by WB and would definitely be interested to see how the story would come to life on screen.

Although I enjoyed the majority of books this month my favourite read of December has to be Cruel Summer, a murder mystery tale that resembled a mixture of a reality series and a teen horror movie. James Dawson's writing style was enjoyable to read, littered with pop-culture references and misdirections to keep you guessing who the murder is throughout. I'd highly recommend picking this one up!

Reviews posted this month
- Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle (2008)
- Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher (2012)
- Roomies* by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando (2013)

All books marked with a * c/o Netgalley
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Monday, 23 December 2013

The Unintentional Christmas Manicure

christmas nails 2013

As you can tell from the title of this post I hadn't intended to create a Christmas manicure this year (find previous year's designs here) however when I was bored one evening and decided to add some glitter and gems to my already green base that's exactly what I ended up with! Although not your typical festive design this glitter mix combined with the green definitely reminds me of fairy lights on the tree.

The base coat is Envy by Sinful Colors, the glitter coat is Topshop's Mercury Rising and the black gems can be found on eBay.

Will you be sporting a Christmas manicure this year?
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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Sunday DIY - Frosted Snowflake Charm Bracelet

diy snowflake charm bracelet 5

As you may have noticed (read: how could you not have noticed) I am loving shrink plastic crafts right now so when I saw this idea over at ivillage.com I knew I had to try it out! Instead of making tree ornaments like in the original post I decided to put my own spin on things and created a snowflake charm bracelet. I was actually really pleased with how this one turned out and even though sadly the photographs aren't amazing (thanks poor lighting) I hope you like the idea. Here's the DIY...

You will need:
- frosted shrink plastic
- a craft knife (with a sharp blade) / scissors
- a snowflake template
- tape
- a cutting mat
- a chain bracelet
- small beads
- jewellery findings; headpins & jump rings
- jewellery pliers; flat nosed & round nosed
- glaze (optional)

diy snowflake charm bracelet 2

The first step is to create the snowflake charms using your shrink plastic. For mine I used one of the templates provided in the original ivillage blog post and printed it out in the correct size for bracelet charms (approx. 1.5" to create 1/2" charms).

Stick your templates down onto a cutting mat and secure the sheet of shrink plastic on top so that you can trace over the design with your craft knife. I chose to use frosted Shrinkles as I thought this would give the nicest effect for snowflakes!

Making the snowflakes on a fairly small scale means that you may run into some issues with cutting out the details as it can be quite tricky - just make sure that you are careful with the knife and take your time on this step.

Once you've cut out your charms you will need to pop them in the oven, or use a heat tool, to shrink them down. For this step I would advise following the temperature instructions on the packaging as they vary between brands.

For a more in depth explanation of the baking process take a look at my recycling #6 plastic packaging post.

I would recommend adding a thin layer of glaze to protect the surface of your charms against damage however this step is not completely essential.

diy snowflake charm bracelet 3

Once your charms are finished decide where you want to space them on the bracelet and add them on using jump rings.

Next you'll need to make the little bead charms to place in between the snowflakes. I used some simple frosted white and shimmery plastic circle beads for this as I thought they went well with the winter theme.

Attaching the beads to the bracelet is really simple with some basic jewellery findings and tools. Take a headpin and thread on your bead, take a pair of pliers and bend the headpin at a 90° angle. Next grab your round nosed pliers and use them to bend the end of the headpin round to create a loop. I would recommend using short length headpins for small beads like these, but if you are using standard length ones you will also need wire cutters to trim off any excess.

As I don't have a step by step photo tutorial on this technique I have found this one which has handy images if you need any extra guidance. (Perhaps I should start posting a jewellery basics tutorial series here?!)

To add these onto the bracelet just use your pliers to open up the loop, thread onto the chain and then close up again with the pliers.

Add on as many beads as you'd like and your charm bracelet is done!

diy snowflake charm bracelet 1

Happy DIY-ing! 
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Friday, 20 December 2013

This Week #5

thisweek5

1. DIY Beehive Hat Kit By Toft - for Sunday's post I picked up my knitting needles and tested out one of Toft's lovely DIY hat kits

2. A New Twitter Name - on Monday I shared a quick update on my new Twitter name (@eeliseetc) and how you can now follow my shop on it's very own account (@sawyerandscout)

3. A Very Harry Potter Christmas - Tuesday's post was all about one of my favourite series - Harry Potter! I talked everything from DIY decorations and snacks to Marauder's Map blankets

4. Past Christmas Crafts - on Wednesday I rounded up a little bit of last minute inspiration featuring all of the Christmas DIYs I have posted here to date

5. A Little Book Haul - finishing up this week's posts, yesterday I talked books with a small haul from The Works


Coming up next week... a festive manicure, a snowflake bracelet DIY & my December reading roundup


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Thursday, 19 December 2013

A Little Book Haul

book haul 1.JPG_effected

For today's post I thought I would share this little pile of books I picked up recently (FYI book buying bans never work!). I'm a big fan of The Works instore 3 for £5 deal and often pop in to check if they have any new titles available and these are the latest additions to my collection. Here's why I chose these three...

For a lot of people The Book Thief (Markus Zusak) seems to be one of those 'it changed my life' reads and has received countless five star ratings. With the film adaptation coming out in the UK next year I decided it was definitely time to pick this one up!

Next up is The Stepford Wives (Ira Levin), a book which I have actually read before but have never owned. Back when I was at Uni one of my Critical Studies projects was to write an essay looking at Utopia/Dystopia in books and film and The Stepford Wives was one of the titles I chose to write about. Back then I remember liking the book so I thought it would be nice to revisit it sometime.

The final book I chose was Monument 14 (Emmy Laybourne) as it looked the most interesting of the rest of the available selection - although if I hadn't already read Dash & Lily's Book Of Dares I probably would have gone for that! At the 3 for £5 table I tend to gravitate towards books I've heard of, which I'm sure means I must be missing out on other great reads, but I'm just hopeless at picking out books if I don't. I had seen Monument 14 on Goodreads before so that was what I went with although I'm not convinced it was the right decision... I'll keep you posted. 

Have you read any of these titles?
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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Past Christmas Crafts

christmas crafts roundup

For today's post I thought I would share a list of all the Christmas themed projects I have posted here over the last couple of years. There may only be a few of days left for crafting but don't let that put you off - it's still plenty of time to recreate any of these projects. Click the titles below to go straight to the tutorials!

1. Festive Ribbon Bracelets | 2. Book Paper Christmas Trees | 3. Felt Snowflake Decorations | 4. Giftwrap With Homemade Stamps | 5. Bauble Updates | 6. Christmas Pegs | 7. Salt Dough Decorations | 8. Homemade Cards | 9. Snowflake Charm Bracelet - tutorial coming up this Sunday! | 10. Cinnamon Wrapped Candles
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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

A Very Harry Potter Christmas

a harry potter christmas

Today's post is something a little different and perhaps the beginning of a new series here at e-elise etc. For a while now I've been thinking about creating a series where I share ideas for literary or movie themed evenings, with suggestions ranging from outfits to food plus lots of other crafts. This post is a little snippet of how those might look - please do let me know in the comments if you'd like to see some similar posts again in the future!

I know that at this festive time of year there is one particular well-loved series that a lot of people like to marathon (either the books or films) and that's the amazing Harry Potter. As you know I'm a big fan of the series myself, so much so that I have crafted many jewellery pieces inspired by this magical world. The following may sound like the contents of a post sponsored by HP, but really its just written out of love for the series - I promise!

Here's what you'll need for a cosy Harry Potter-themed night in this Christmas...

1. Decorate Your Space...
First up are the decorations, you can be as creative as you like here but I've found two really great ideas to share. This Golden Snitch Ornament from Tiny Apartment Crafts is a great idea and looks reasonably easy to make however you could always try making a simpler version using just a plain gold bauble, glitter and some card for the wings. My second decoration idea is to make some winged keys, like those found in The Philosopher's Stone. Just cut out your old-fashioned key shape from cardboard, paint and add wings created as shown in the Snitch tutorial!

I also recently came across an Etsy store called Frostbeard which sells handmade soy candles including this Harry Potter themed double pack with scents named Dumbledore's Office & Butterbeer - both perfect for burning whilst you work on your DIY decorations!

2. Make Some Snacks...
After all that crafting you'll need a magic-themed snack like these Chocolate Covered Pretzel Wands from The Hunger Extinguisher. There are tons of Harry Potter inspired recipes out there but these would be the perfect accompaniment for the drink coming up next...

3. & A Hot Drink!
No Harry Potter themed evening would be complete without a delicious mug of Butterbeer. There are lots of DIY recipes out there for both hot and cold versions including this one from Delightful Delicacies and this one from Chica & Jo. Even if you're not a big fan of the versions available at the theme park/studio tour if you look around online you're sure to find a DIY recipe to suit your taste!

4. Get Cosy...
Now you've got your mug of Butterbeer and pretzel wands ready you'll want to snuggle up on the sofa ready for your book or film marathon. Why not pick yourself up a Harry Potter-themed blanket? - my favourite design has to be the Marauder's Map! Alternatively show some house pride with a themed sweatshirt or scarf.

5. Let The Marathon Commence!
Now you should be wrapped up warm in a blanket/scarf/sweatshirt, surrounded by handmade decorations and have tasty refreshments ready so it's time to grab your favourite Harry Potter book or DVD and enjoy your evening!
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Monday, 16 December 2013

A New Twitter Name!

twitterupdate

Just a super quick post today to let you know that I have changed my Twitter name from @sawyerandscout to @eeliseetc

Sorry if this causes any confusion but my main reason for the change is so that I can use @sawyerandscout for a business Twitter page. My main Twitter account has always been set to protected tweets however this new account is public so hopefully it will mean I can interact more with customers, allow retweets and generally promote the business better!

If you already follow me on Twitter you will now be able to find me under @eeliseetc (of course if you use @sawyerandscout it will still be me!) but if you want to keep up to date with Sawyer & Scout news such as new products and offers you can do so here - I'd really appreciate it!
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Sunday, 15 December 2013

DIY Review - Toft Beehive Hat Kit

*Beehive Hat Kit c/o Toft
toft beehive hat kit review
DSC04106.JPG_effectedDSC04108.JPG_effected

A few weeks back I received an intriguing email asking if I would like to review one of Toft's knitted hat kits. As you know I love to craft and have actually never knitted a hat before so I jumped at the chance to try out one of their designs.

The yarns available from Toft aren't your average quality, instead they create luxury eco-yarns spun in the UK. When I first opened the kit I was impressed by the simple but stylish canvas bag packaging and could definitely feel that the wool was of great quality. The fluffy pom pom which finishes off the design is also amazingly soft (almost as good as Sawyer soft) and reminiscent of a big bunny tail!

One of the great things about Toft's kits is that they are completely customisable. When placing your order you can choose which colour wool and fur pom pom you would like and also have the option to buy needles along with the kit if you don't already have them. Although the kits don't come with needles as standard Toft were kind enough to pop some in the package along with the kit which was lucky as I was eager to begin knitting straight away! 

This unusual beehive style pattern is aimed at beginners and uses 6.5mm circular needles - something I had never tried before. At first I did find them a bit tricky to get used to but once I'd knitted a few rows I found them easy to work with for the most part, although it did become a little difficult on the last few rounds where the number of stitches was decreased. I can safely say that thanks to this kit I will definitely be attempting more projects using circular needles and would also be keen to buy more luxury wools in future as the Aran yarn was lovely to work with and the finished hat is super soft.

In terms of time this is definitely a quick project and can be done in just a few hours even if, like me, you are not a particularly experienced knitter. Alongside the instructions provided within the kit Toft also have a handy section on their website featuring photo and video tips which are great to help out beginners or to refer back to if you do happen to get stuck along the way.

toft beehive hat kit review progress
toft beehive hat kit review

As you may have seen I recently put together a post called 'Give The Gift Of DIY' featuring Christmas gift ideas that were all project kits and Toft's range would fit in perfectly with the rest of my suggestions. Personally I really enjoyed knitting this hat and think it would make a lovely gift for anyone who loves to craft... or just a little treat for yourself!

You can find the Beehive Hat Kit & more on the Toft website

Thank you to Toft for the this lovely kit! 
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Friday, 13 December 2013

This Week #4

thisweek4
Wrapped up warm for... | Winter Wonderland and... | a Wagamama lunch! | Netflix marathoning Powerpuff Girls - just me? | Classic JT | Making TARDIS charms | A little knitting | Pretty sunset | Gluten free cupcake

This week kicked off with a little trip to London with some of my favourite bloggers - Ria, Lauren (& baby Athena!), Katie & Michelle - where we took in Winter Wonderland, Carnaby Street and a lovely meal at Wagamama. Sadly the highlight of the end of my week was Powerpuff Girls being made available on Netflix UK - of course, I have since been reliving the late 90's!

1. DIY Christmas Cards - for this week's DIY I shared a few quick and simple ways to make your own Christmas cards

2. Styling The Capitol Couture Collection - Monday saw fashion return to e-elise etc with a styling post featuring pieces from Trish Summerville's Catching Fire inspired collection

3. Library Haul #2 - once again lots of my library reservations all decided to turn up at the same time so Tuesday's post was another haul (& since then two more have turned up!)

4. DIY Festive Ribbon Bracelets - Wednesday saw my second DIY post of the week featuring a festive twist on the ribbon bracelet tutorial I posted back in May

5. Sawyer & Scout Geeky Gift Guide - finally yesterday's post was a quick Sawyer & Scout gift guide with ideas for those who love all things geeky!

Elsewhere...
1. Over at Blogger's Bookshelf on Wednesday I reviewed Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher, a interesting YA title made up of a series of letters written by teenager Zoe to a stranger on Death Row

2. Sawyer & Scout also had a little feature this week as part of Ria's gift guide with Secret Santa ideas for under £5!

Coming up next week... a book haul, some knitting & a Harry Potter Christmas guide!
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Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Midweek DIY - Festive Ribbon Bracelets

diy festive ribbon bracelets

Today I have an extra DIY post for you. I recently made these little festive bracelets to take along to Winter Wonderland as a token Christmas gift for my lovely blogger friends. As I have already posted a ribbon bracelet tutorial this won't be a step by step but I wanted to share them with you anyway as they are a great little project for gifts or stocking fillers this Christmas.

I picked up my Christmas ribbons from The Range and jewellery findings on eBay. As an edit to the original tutorial post I used lobster clasps and added extender chains as I wasn't sure exactly what size each bracelet needed to be. I also added little silver cube beads to the end of the extenders just to finish them off neatly.

diy festive ribbon bracelets

Happy DIY-ing! 

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Library Haul #2

library haul 2

In my recent TBR post I said that I had a three-book library haul coming up but as you can see there are four here as yet another book turned up the day after! I'm already behind after spending the first few days of the month finishing up a November read (eep!) but am still hoping to get through as many of these as possible. Anyway, here's a rundown of the books...

The Elites, Natasha Ngan (2013)
After seeing lots of great reviews I decided it was about time I picked up this debut YA novel written by fellow blogger Natasha (aka Girl In The Lens). This dystoptian stand-alone sounds very intriguing and I'm looking forward to reading it.

How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff (2004)
I'll admit this isn't necessarily something I would normally choose but after seeing the film trailer a while back I thought I would give it a chance... although I have since seen some not so complimentary reviews of the adaptation!

Cruel Summer, James Dawson (2013)
I'm very intrigued by the style of this book which apparently takes on the format of a screenplay and love the murder mystery idea. Kath gave this one a full five stars over at Blogger's Bookshelf and it has also received some amazing reviews over on Goodreads. I'm just hoping it will live up to expectations!

UnSouled, Neal Shusterman (2013)
This is the third book in the Unwind series which so far I have really enjoyed. I loved the first book and named it one of my favourites of 2012, however I was a little disappointed with the first half of the second instalment. The whole concept of unwinding is very unique and this series has some great characters - I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next! 

Have you read any of these?
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Monday, 9 December 2013

Styling The Capitol Couture Collection

I feel like all I've done recently is talk TV, film and books, and today... well, I'm still talking books/film but I'm also bringing things back around to fashion! When I first heard about the Capitol Couture collection I was looking forward to seeing the pieces which were all designed by Trish Summerville (costume designer for Catching Fire) and last week the collection debuted on Net-A-Porter.

Instead of just posting images of the collection I thought I would create a styling ideas post and share a little inspiration. Although there are some striking evening dresses in the collection including a laser-cut patent leather design and a Mockingjay inspired silk-chiffon number, today I'm focusing on some of the more casual pieces styled for everyday wear.


CATCHINGFIRECLOTHING1


Look One is focused around the Love Stretch-Jersey T-shirt in grey, priced at £60. The oversized style fit of the t-shirt makes it perfect to pair with leggings like this leather panel pair by DKNY. For accessories I've picked out a cosy bobble hat from Topshop and a simple necklace from ASOS. Throw on a causal-yet-structured jacket and some so on trend cutout boots and you're ready to brave the weather!

cfclothing2


Look Two features the Honeycomb-Print Stretch-Jersey Leggings (£90). These leggings, with their honeycomb side panels reminiscent of the 75th games outfits are designed to be super comfortable yet still stylish. Personally my favourite way to wear leggings in Winter is with an oversized jumper like this one from H&M and a snugly snood. Finish off the look with some practical biker boots and a simple piece of jewellery like this bow & arrow cuff which is also part of Trish's collection.

cfclothing3


The final look stars a very cosy looking Girl On Fire Modal- blend Jersey Sweatshirt (£115). Sweatshirts are great for throwing over dresses to keep warm and this on trend tartan tea dress is the perfect colour palette for winter. Team with a pair of cosy black tights, statement red shoes and a generous helping of chunky silver rings for an edgier look.

Which look is your favourite?
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Sunday, 8 December 2013

Sunday DIY - Handmade Christmas/Holiday Card Ideas

christmas card diy

Today's DIY is for those of you who fancy having a go at creating some homemade cards this year. I've made four different designs for this post all of which were put together using basic craft supplies that I already had lying around. They are all very easy to make and you can even use up some of your paper scraps and old buttons! Here's the DIY details...

christmas card diy
christmas card diy

We all know how much I love to use washi tape for crafting and the first Christmas tree card design was created using green washi tapes paired with sequins. I began by drawing a triangle shape onto the card and then cut the strips of tape to size, cutting each one at a slight angle to add to the tree shape. To finish I added a rectangular sequin for the tree trunk, a star at the top of the tree and a few mini sequins as baubles - all from a big bag of mixed sequins I picked up from Poundland a while ago.

The second tree design was made with the same technique but this time I used festive ribbons from The Range instead of the tape. I stuck the ribbons down using a glue gun as I had it to hand but I think PVA would work just as well.

christmas card diy
christmas card diy

The first bauble design was one that I had seen popping up all over Pinterest but had managed to completely forget about. When Ingrid made similar cards last week as part of her DIY December video series I remembered how effective it looked and decided to try it out myself. We happen to have a big box of buttons in our house so luckily I didn't have to buy any supplies. I picked out a selection of red, green and bronze buttons which I attached using a glue gun. The hanging detail was drawn on using a fine permanent marker.

Continuing on with this theme I decided to adapt the idea a little and used various paper scraps instead of buttons. To cut the circles I used craft/paper punches and stuck them down with PVA, then again used a fine permanent marker for the detailing.

Happy DIY-ing! 
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Friday, 6 December 2013

This Week #3

thisweek3
Delicious & gluten free / Working on new designs / Sunset / Currently Reading / Mean Girls Necklaces / Matching mittens with Mum! / Christmas crafting for next Sunday's DIY / Vegetable risotto / Illustrated Owl Earrings

This week I have mostly been crafting and watching Modern Family (via Netflix) on a loop. In between all those episodes of MF I also found the time for another craft fair and added some new products over at Sawyer & Scout including Illustrated Owl Earrings and Mean Girls Quote Necklaces (both shown above) as well as Christmas Bunting Necklaces & a Breaking Bad inspired Heisenberg Necklace!


1. DIY Quote Necklaces (Mean Girls Inspired) - this week's DIY post featured everyone's favourite teen film - Mean Girls - and the response so far has been lovely!

2. December TBR - on Tuesday I shared this month's reading list which is a mix of dystopian YA and non-ficiton - look out for additional books in my library haul next week!

3. Gift Ideas For A Handmade Christmas - on Wednesday I created a list of lovely handmade gift ideas. As great as high street gifts can be why not buy handmade this year and find something really unique for your friends and family?

4. Let It Snow Review - yesterday's post featured a review of my only festive read for 2013, this collection of three short stories was definitely a pleasant surprise!

Elsewhere...
1. Hayley kindly featured my recent post 'Give The Gift Of DIY' over at Bonjour, Blogger! as one of their 'posts we've loved this week'. Don't forget to head on over and check out the other great posts that were also featured

2. This week I was also nominated for the Sunshine Award by Lauren over at OhHay! Blogs. As I've mentioned before I'm pretty terrible with actually doing these posts (and tags in general) but I wanted to thank Lauren for including me. Also, for those of you still looking for gift inspiration Lauren has just opened a lovely Folksy shop selling her own illustrated calendar design - make sure you check that out too!

Coming up next week.... a library haul, a Hunger Games inspired styling post & some DIY Christmas card ideas!
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Thursday, 5 December 2013

Let It Snow

let it snow

John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle (2008) | Find it on Amazon

Let It Snow is a collection of three short stories written by different YA authors. Although separate the stories have a common thread and intertwine through the locations and characters.

Story 1 – The Jubilee Express by Maureen Johnson ✯✯✯✯
After her parents are caught up in a strange set of circumstances involving a festive set of collective ceramics that lands them in jail over Christmas, Jubilee is shipped off to her grandparents in Florida… by train. When the bad weather takes hold Jubilee finds herself stranded in Gracetown and decides to take hold of the situation escaping the train and headed to the local Waffle House. Here she meets a kind stranger and her Christmas Eve takes another unexpected turn.

Story 2 – A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle by John Green ✯✯
In the second of the three stories we meet a trio of James Bond-loving best friends who find themselves on an epic Christmas morning adventure. When a friend calls and tells them to get to the Waffle House as quickly as possible, and to bring Twister the group find themselves in a race through the snow, board game in hand.

Story 3 – The Patron Saint Of Pigs by Lauren Myracle ✯✯
In the final story we meet Addie who is heartbroken after a fight with her boyfriend Jeb. Accused of being selfish by her best friends Addie decides to try and make things right by helping Teagan, as the strange title suggests, offering to collect her new teacup pig from a local pet store. Whilst working her job at Starbucks Addie’s life collides with those of the characters from the other short stories.

For me the book kicked off to a good start with the first story being my favourite of the three. Both Jubilee and Stuart were interesting and likable and the series of events left me intrigued as to how the other stories would follow on from it. Unfortunately I felt it went a little downhill from there with the second story still enjoyable, just a little less so, and the third quite disappointing. The characters found in The Patron Saint Of Pigs were the least appealing and likable of all and I also found the writing style less engaging.

Overall Let It Snow is a bit of a mixed bag however this quick and light read would definitely be a good one for YA fans to pick up for the festive season.
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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Christmas Gift Ideas - Buying Handmade

handmade

After taking Sawyer & Scout to a couple of Christmas craft fairs I was inspired to create this list of gift inspiration made up exclusively of handmade items. Here are some of my favourites...

Personalised Jewellery by shopLUCA - a range of personalised pieces which are stylish but suitable for everyday wear. Customise with names, dates and birthstones for a unique gift.

Kindle/iPad Sleeves by Boutique ID - for gadget lovers these water repellant and eco-friendly wool felt cases would make a great gift. Choose from designs including an owl, a wolf and a penguin. Smart phone & laptop sleeves are also available.

Book Scarves by Storiarts - bookworms can keep cosy this Winter with these jersey circle scarves printed with the pages of their favourite book! Titles available include Pride & Prejudice, Alice In Wonderland and Sherlock Holmes.

Nail Polishes by Oopsie Daisies Nails - why not treat the nail polish addict in your life to some custom polishes this Christmas? With over 30 sparkly shades to choose from you're bound to find the perfect one.

Felt Accessories by Polka Dot Dreams - these cute felt accessories made by blogger Sam would be perfect for a unique gift this year. From brooches to collar tips and even shoe clips all featuring adorable animals there's something for everyone here.

Handspun Yarns by The Woolly Workshop - these beautiful yarns would make a lovely gift for anyone who loves to knit but can also be used for felting. The eye-catching colours are achieved by hand dyeing creating some vibrant combinations perfect for keeping warm this Winter.
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Tuesday, 3 December 2013

December TBR

december tbr
Images via goodreads.com

First up this month I have three books c/o Netgalley - Impostor (Susanne Winnacker) & Red (Alison Cherry) which have both been receiving good reviews online already, and The Sowing (Steven dos Santos) the second book in The Culling series.
Red has a very strange premise revolving around the idea of a town where redheads hold all the power, whilst Impostor focuses on a girl who has the ability to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and can then mimic their appearance.

I read and reviewed The Culling earlier this year so am looking forward to reading The Sowing and finding out where this series is heading. Similarly to The Hunger Games the first book followed a group of candidates as they were put through a series of 'to the death' tests, which if they failed resulted in their family members or friends being brutally killed. As I said in my review I am very intrigued to find out what the bigger picture is in this series.

The final book rounding up this month's TBR post is Quiet (Susan Cain), a non-fiction title which explores the value of introverts. Ria recently reviewed this one over at Blogger's Bookshelf so definitely head on over and check out her post if you're intrigued.

In addition I have a three book library haul coming up, all of which I'm hoping to read this month... more on those next week!

What will you be reading in December?
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Sunday, 1 December 2013

Sunday DIY - Quote Necklaces (Mean Girls Inspired)

diy mean girls necklace1

Last week I shared some Christmas gift inspiration featuring DIY kits but today I'm going to share one of my own ideas. If you're looking to make a DIY gift for your bestie why not try creating your own quote necklace? These are cute, easy to make and completely customisable.

For this tutorial I've used Mean Girls quotes because... well, who doesn't love Mean Girls?! But of course you could use any quote you like. Here's how its done...

You will need:
shrink plastic - any brand is fine, alternatively recycle and use #6 plastic
a permanent pen - I used an OHP pen with a fine nib
+ scissors, a hole punch, paper, a chain/jewellery findings, pliers, & an oven or heat tool

Optional...
coloured pens - if you want to add colour I would recommend Promarkers which work well on both clear & white shrink plastic, or coloured pencils on white shrink plastic
glaze - if you want to protect the pendant and make it longer-lasting

diy mean girls necklace2

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1. Draw out your design on a piece of paper and once you are happy with how it looks trace it onto your plastic using a permanent marker

2. Carefully cut around the design and punch holes so that you will be able to attach it to a chain later on

3. Cook your plastic as directed on the instructions:

If you are using #6 plastic or have no instructions here is a basic outline - grab a baking tray and line it with either foil or greaseproof paper. Pop the plastic onto the tray and place in a hot oven. Keep an eye on it - as it shrinks the plastic will completely curl up, don't worry this is supposed to happen! Once the plastic has flattened out again it's ready to come out of the oven

4. If you want to protect the design now is the time to add a layer or two of glaze. Remember to let it dry fully before moving on to the final step

5. Add your finished plastic pendant to a necklace using pliers/jump rings and you're done!

diy mean girls necklace6

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives.

Happy DIY-ing! 
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Friday, 29 November 2013

This Week #2

thisweek2
Can't resist 3 for £5 / Catching Fire! / First read of the week / Wrapped up warm / Second read of the week / Restocking Sawyer & Scout's most popular designs
 
1. Give The Gift Of DIY - in my first post of the week I shared some gift inspiration in the form of craft kits

2. Five... TV Shows I Would Love To See On Netflix UK - on Wednesday I talked TV shows with a list of 5 I would love to see come to Netflix UK

3. November Reads - yesterday I posted a (rather lengthly) roundup of the books I've read this month including Eleanor & Park, Gossip Girl, Paper Towns and Roomies


Elsewhere...
1. Over at Blogger's Bookshelf I reviewed an (unofficial) Taylor Swift biography just in time for Christmas. We also talked book to film adaptations in this month's group post titled 'If We Made The Movies'

2. I also talked independent jewellery sellers vs. big companies over at Blogging By Sophie. After recently completing a custom order for Sophie she kindly asked me to contribute to a post - head on over, I'm sure you'll love her blog!

3. Finally, I shared my bunnies' story over at Gold Dust as part of Katie's Perfect Pets series. Each week she features a different blogger and their pet - definitely one to check out if you're an animal lover!

Coming up next week... handmade gift ideas, a festive book review, my December TBR and a Mean Girls inspired DIY.
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Thursday, 28 November 2013

November Reads & Reviews

nov reads

November was a pretty good reading month as I managed to make my way through seven books. Here's the rundown...

Kindle Reads
First up I'm pleased to say that I finally read Paper Towns (John Green) after putting it on my TBR list... well, most months. When Margo suddenly goes missing Quentin starts looking for clues, believing that he is the only one who will be able to find her, and so the mystery begins. I actually really loved the beginning of the book and thought it could potentially become a favourite but unfortunately as I read on a wasn't so keen on the later chapters. Overall I'd give it a 3.5/5, and am glad I finally got around to reading it!

Next up is Roomies* (Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando) which tells the story of two teens who have never met but find out they are about to be college roommates. The girls start to get to know each other via email and end up sharing the stories of their last summer before college. My full review of Roomies will be posted over at Blogger's Bookshelf after Christmas to tie in with the festive release date.

My final Kindle read of the month was Evan Angler's Swipe, the first book in the Swipe series which follows 12 year old Logan Langley. In this world children are given 'the Mark' at 13 which allows them freedom to do things such as get a job, pay for items or use public transport. For months Logan has had a feeling that he is being watched and when new girl Erin moves to town they team up to investigate the mystery. In the end I actually quite enjoyed this one, definitely more than I had expected to and I am now reading the second book of the series - Sneak*.

Library Books
From my recent library haul I read four books - Ketchup Clouds (Annabel Pitcher), Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell), Gossip Girl (Cecily von Ziegesar) and Let It Snow (John Green, Maureen Johnson & Lauren Myracle).

In Ketchup Clouds we meet Zoe, a girl who is writing letters to an inmate on death row to confess a huge secret; she killed her boyfriend. As the story of what really happened unfolds will Zoe be able to forgive herself? This one surprised me, although it sounded intriguing and had received great reviews I was unsure because of the letter format, something I usually don't enjoy. Keep an eye out over at Blogger's Bookshelf next month to find out what I thought!

Next up was Eleanor & Park, a book I had avoided for a while as I thought it wouldn't be for me. After reading Rowell's latest novel Fangirl I was encouraged to give Eleanor & Park a chance and I'm really glad I did. I won't be writing a full post on this one but Michelle recently shared a great review over at Daisybutter.

Gossip Girl on the other hand was definitely not worth me picking up. I decided to read it as I was intrigued to see how it compared to the TV adaptation and although I hadn't expected to enjoy it very much I was still disappointed. Unfortunately I found it quite boring and didn't love the writing style. Perhaps for big fans of the TV show it would be a good read but it just wasn't the book for me.

My final library read this month was Let It Snow, a collection of three festive short stories intertwined by the characters and locations. The tales are each written by a different YA author and all take place at Christmas time making it a great read for the holiday season. If you want to know more about this one keep an eye out for a full review here next week!

Extras
Finally this month I read the first chapter of Cress* (Marissa Meyer) which is due for release next year. Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series which are all loosely based on classic fairytale characters within a futuristic setting. Cress joins Cinder (Cinderella) and Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood) as the lead of the third book which is meant to be based on Rapunzel. Of course it's difficult to say much from just one chapter but I have a feeling Cress is going to be a fantastic lead, perhaps even the best of the series so far.

Reviews posted this month
- A Really Awesome Mess* by Trish Cook & Brendan Halpin (2013)
- Taylor Swift: The Platinum Edition* by Liv Spencer (2013)
- Helen & Troy's Epic Road Quest* by A. Lee Martinez (2013)
- Lets Eat Out Around The World Gluten Free & Allergy Free* by Kim Koeller & Robert La France (2013)
- The $7.50 Bunny That Changed The World* by Gretta Parker (2012)

Books marked with a * c/o Netgalley 

Don't forget you can find me at goodreads.com/erineliseetc 
What did you read this month?
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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

5 TV Shows I Wish Were On Netflix UK

netflix 5
Images via imdb.com & Wikipedia

What they say about Netflix is true - it is addictive. In the last year I've watched my way through a lot of the available shows including Dexter, Drop Dead Diva, 10 Things I Hate About You, Modern Family, Life Unexpected, Lead Balloon, Orange Is The New Black and Breaking Bad.

After recently watching all 6 series of Gossip Girl over the space of a couple of weeks (thanks to my broken TV) I realised that I'm quickly running out of TV shows to watch on Netflix. This led me to think about which shows I would love to see make it into the catalogue. Here's 5 shows I'd like to see made available...

Gilmore Girls (7 seasons, 2000-2007)
Although I've never been a huge Gilmore Girls fan I do think its a great 'background show' - something that's perfect to have on whilst I work. I kind of miss being able to turn on E4 in the middle of the afternoon and find things like this to watch.

Clarissa Explains It All (5 seasons 1991-1994)
I would love to see more 90's shows like Clarissa come to Netflix. Again, I think this would be a great show to have on whilst I'm working at home and I can imagine a few Clarissa inspired fashion blog posts would appear here too!

Tucker (1 season 2000-2001)
Another blast from the past is Tucker, which despite only having 1 season (that seems to have been forgotten by most people) was one of my Nickelodeon favourites. As it isn't available on DVD (even outside the UK) I would love to be able to rewatch it all on Netflix. If anyone else remembers this one let me know in the comments!

Bones (9 seasons, 2005-present)
I gave up on watching Bones last year but I would love to catch up sometime as well as rewatch the whole series from the beginning. I love the mix of humour and mystery that Bones has and would enjoy a Netflix marathon!

Grey's Anatomy (10 seasons, 2005-present)
After only becoming a fan about 3 years ago I still keep up to date with Greys now. Since there are so many seasons I can't afford to buy all of the DVDs but it would be great to have somewhere to watch all of the older series again.

Which shows would you like to see added to the collection?
Let me know in the comments if you have any Netflix recommendations!
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Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sunday DIY Inspiration - Give The Gift Of DIY

diy inspiration craft kits

Originally I had planned to share a tutorial with you today but unfortunately I'm currently having problems with my laptop and am unable to get the photos properly edited. So instead I'm going to share the post I had planned for next Sunday; 10 DIY kits that would make great gifts this Christmas for any friends and family who love to craft!

1. Needlepoint iPhone Case (Not So Modern Millie)
With this kit you can create your own unique cross stitch design phone case. The kit comes complete with 4 embroidery threads in the colours of your choice. (Ships worldwide)

2. Apothecary Moss Terrarium Kit (Makers Kit)
I've seen so many DIY terrariums online recently and they always look like so much fun to make. This kit includes everything you need to get you started for a low-maintenance project. (US only)

3. Needle Felting Owl Kit (Fairyfolk)
Felting also seems to be a bit of a trend right now and this little kit would be the perfect way to try your hand at the craft and create an adorable owl. (Ships worldwide)

4. Konstruktor DIY Kit (Lomography)
DIY camera kits are always a lot of fun and this one in particular looks pretty amazing! With this kit you can make your own 35mm SLR camera and take your own Christmas snapshots. (Ships worldwide)

5. Gourmet Popcorn Kit (Dell Cove Spice Company)
For foodie friends and family why not try this popcorn kit with flavouring options including Chocolate Mocha, Gingerbread, White Cheddar and even Ketchup. These kits are customisable so you can choose which types of popcorn and seasonings make the perfect mix! (US only)

6. Amigurumi Bunny (Toft)
One of many cute DIY toy kits from Toft is this adorable big-eared bunny. The kit requires crochet skills however is listed as beginner level and looks like a good starter project. (Ships worldwide)

7. You Go Glen Coco Cross Stitch (A Manic Monday)
Know a crafter who also loves their films? These cross stitch kits will be perfect! This one inspired by Mean Girls is also rather festive with a border of green & red metallic threads. (Ships worldwide)

Keep an eye out here next weekend for a Mean Girls inspired DIY tutorial!

8. Hamster Basket (Midori Crafts)
For something a little different this Hamster Basket kit may be the perfect craft. The finished design is created by weaving together paper bands. (Ships worldwide)

9. Felt Purse (Hobbycraft)
This cute 'orange slice' felt purse kit would be a great stocking filler for children and adults alike. An apple slice, owl and plain square shape designs are also available. (UK only)

10. Hot Air Balloon Kit (Craft Schmaft)
For something a little more extravagant this hot air balloon mobile kit is beautiful. The kit includes fabrics, wool felt, ribbons, webbing, threads and wood for hanging. (Ships worldwide)

Which kit would you most like to receive?
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Friday, 22 November 2013

This Week #1

this week 1
A bright blue morning sky / Geeking out / Working on new designs / Sawyer thinks I'm a chair / Gluten free waffles & Nutella / First read of the week / Pretty sunset / Third book of the week / Fox mittens are awesome

For the last few months I've introduced a once a month roundup post featuring all of my DIYs & reviews. Since I am no longer posting a DIY tutorial every week and have decided to include links to book reviews within my 'Reads' posts (also once per month) I thought I would introduce a weekly roundup instead - sharing links to posts from the last week, plus a few Instagram snaps!

1. Winter Wardrobe Updates - on Sunday I shared the second post in my new DIY Inspiration series, this time looking at thrifty ways to update last year's knitwear/sweatshirts

2. An Evening With Veronica Roth - on Tuesday I talked about this event I attended a couple of weeks ago - the full post can be found over at Blogger's Bookshelf

3. Family Weekend Film Review - on Wednesday I shared a mini review of this quirky title which was recently made available on Netflix in the UK

4. Sawyer & Scout Discount Code - yesterday I shared a Sawyer & Scout discount code as I am celebrating the release of Catching Fire with a 20% off promotion!

What did you blog about this week?
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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Family Weekend

family weekend
Image via Amazon

Dir. Benjamin Epps (2013), Cert. 15 | Find it on Amazon

This kooky comedy drama revolves around teenager Emily (Olesya Rulin) a high school jump rope champion. When her parents, businesswoman mother (Kristin Chenoworth) and artist father (Matthew Modine) fail to attend her competition, Emily hatches an unexpected plan.

Drugging her ‘imperfect’ parents and taking them hostage, Emily plans to both punish and retrain them in time for her next big competition. With the help of her siblings she puts her plan into action and chaos ensues. Although it seems like a sinister approach, this film ultimately has a message and Emily’s efforts begin to have a positive effect on the whole family.

If you’re looking for a well-acted, unique and strangely interesting comedy this might just be the one for you.

3stareee

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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

An Evening With Veronica Roth

veronica roth london

A couple of weeks ago I headed to London for an event hosted by Waterstones. As part of the promotional tour for Allegiant, the final book in the Divergent trilogy, author Veronica Roth came to the UK for a couple of events and appearances. The evening consisted of a short reading, a Q&A portion, a signing and a guest appearance from actress Shailene Woodley who portrays Tris in the upcoming film.

If you want to read more about what both Veronica & Shailene had to say head on over to Blogger's Bookshelf for the full post!
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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sunday DIY Inspiration - Winter Wardrobe Updates

winter wardrobe updates diy

This week I thought I would share some great DIY ideas for updating last year's jumpers and sweatshirts. Here are some of my favourite projects...

1. A Cosy Pom-Pom-Sleeved Sweater (via Refinery29)
If you're looking for a fun project this might be the one for you. Jenni over at Refinery29 has used small pom poms to add 3D embellishment to the sleeves of an old jumper. With some basic sewing skills your refreshed jumper will be ready in no time!

2. Embellished Sweater (via DeSmitten)
Still dreaming about all of the extravagant jewels in The Great Gatsby? Adding clusters of stones to plain knitwear can give a more lavish look.

3. Elbow Patch (via Honestly WTF)
Elbow patches are a favourite of mine, and luckily they're easy to DIY. These heart shaped felt patches are one of the more unusual and interesting designs I've seen so far, however if the hearts aren't your thing don't worry - there are tons of tutorials out there to suit your style.

4. Embroidered Fairisle Sweater (via Paper & Stitch)
Another Winter favourite of mine is fairisle. This guest tutorial shows how you can add a pretty fairisle design to your knitwear and even provides a free printable pattern.

5. Zip Jumper (via Fall For DIY)
A style I've been sporting myself this year is knitwear with exposed zips. I picked mine up from Next however if you have an old jumper lying around you can easily make your own version with Francesca's great tutorial.

6. Block Printed Sweater (via Fine Little Day)
If sewing isn't your thing why not try out this DIY stamp idea from Fine Little Day? You hardly need any supplies to create your own stamps and fabric paints can simply be set in place with an iron. The design possibilities here are endless, you can be as ambitious as you like!

Which idea is your favourite?
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