Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sunday DIY (Inspiration) - Buttons As Embellishments

button embellishments2 
 
Since I've been ill and feeling sorry for myself most of the week (cue violins) I haven't had the chance to create my normal weekly step-by-step DIY tutorial for you. Instead of just skipping today, because Sunday DIY's are my favourite blogging day of the week, I've found a project I completed a long time ago (I'm talking at least five years!) to show you in the hope that it may still give you a little DIY inspiration.

The idea for this cardigan originally came from a piece I saw in the Oxford Circus Topshop where various shapes had been stitched onto tops using buttons. Since we've always had a huge stash of  buttons at home I decided to attempt to make my own version. As you can see from the photographs I created a bow design on the front of this light grey (Primark) cardigan using buttons in all different sizes, shapes and colours stitched on with a variety of coloured threads. 

button embellishments3 
 
This project is a really simple one that anyone can DIY! All you need is a top of some sort, lots of buttons, a needle/threads and an idea of what shape you'd like to create. You can use a fabric pen or chalk to mark out the shape onto the top first, or you can just make it up as you go along like I did. As long as you know the basic technique for sewing on a button then with a little time and patience you will be able to make something similar (but, if you can't stand the thought of sewing then I'm sure a good fabric glue would work too!)

Here are a few ideas to inspire you if you want to make your own...

- add buttons around the neckline of a t-shirt or jumper to create a faux collar
- for a more unusual shape create the outline of your favourite country or state
- think of the buttons as polka dots and stitch them randomly all over the top instead of trying to stick to a set shape
- if you don't fancy shapes at all make a monogram top with your initial or spell out a word
- if you like things a bit more uniform go for an ombre look by choosing buttons within one colour family
- for a more edgy look try studs instead of buttons, for something sparkly try beads or sequins

If I were going to attempt a version 2 of this project I would definitely go for a round-neck jumper and combine the faux collar and ombre ideas, but I'd love to know which design idea you would choose so don't forget to leave a comment below!

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives!
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Thursday, 25 April 2013

April Review Roundup

april reviews 
Images via Goodreads & IMDb
 
This month's book reviews...

Battle Royale, Koushun Takami (1999) - click here for review
Popular but controversial, Battle Royale has been labelled the 'original survival game' and tells the story of the demise of third year class B as they participate in The Program, a cruel experiment where they are forced by the Japanese government to turn on eachother and fight until the death.

Club Monstrosity, Jesse Petersen (2013) - click here for review
A book for geeks everywhere, Club Monstrosity stars some of the world's most well-known literary monsters. The story begins with the monsters attending a regular support group together to help them cope with their secret, but things quickly take a turn for the worst when one of them is found dead. Interestingly the murder replicates the death of the character in the novel he originated from and soon the group realise someone is out to get them.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter, Jeff Lindsay (2004) - click here for review
The popular television show Dexter is loosely based on the original series of crime novels by Jeff Lindsay with Darkly Dreaming Dexter being the first in the series. It tells the story of Dexter, blood spatter analyst for the Miami police department by day and serial killer by night, but what sets him apart is that he's only out to kill the bad guys.

Black Feathers, Joseph D'Lacey (2013) - click here for review
The first book in a new dystopian/fantasy series which chronicles the journeys of two children, Megan and Gordon, who despite living in different time periods are connected by their search for the mysterious Crowman.

This month's film & TV reviews...

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower, dir. Stephen Chbosky (2012) - click here for review
Movie adaptation of the popular 90's novel by Stephen Chbosky which tells the story of teenage wallflower Charlie as he navigates his way through high school and growing up. The film stars Logan Lerman as Charlie with support from Ezra Miller, Paul Rudd, Kate Walsh, Nina Dobrev and Harry Potter actress Emma Watson.

Drop Dead Diva, Seasons 1-4 (2009-2012) - click her for review 
A light-hearted law dramedy from Lifetime with a supernatural twist - our main character is really the soul of an aspiring model trapped in the body of a lawyer!

What have you been reading & watching in April?
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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Saved By The Bell Inspired Nails

saved by the bell nail art

Today's nail art designs are inspired by one of my favourite childhood TV shows - Saved By The Bell. The colours and patterns were taken from the show's opening credits (watch in the video below) and recreated using various techniques and tools from brushes and dotting tools to sponges.
Although most of these would be a bit extreme for everyday wear I actually really like the black/mint ones so they might well make a reappearance in a future nail art post!
 
Where do you find nail art inspiration?
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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sunday DIY: Washer Necklace

diy washer necklace 1
 
This week's DIY is my take on a popular washer necklace design available at Urban Outfitters which lots of crafty bloggers and Pinterest users have taken inspiration from recently.

diy washer necklace 2
 
All you need for this DIY is a long piece of ribbon and some washers

I chose to stick with a simple black and silver theme but you can always use a patterned ribbon, or paint the washers with nail varnish for more of a bright statement necklace 

diy washer necklace 3
 
Start by threading two washers onto your strand of ribbon

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Next, lift up the second washer so it looks like the photo above...

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and thread the ribbon back through the first washer

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Pull tight to secure the two washers in place - you should end up with something that looks like this

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Continue with this technique until you have threaded on as many washers as you'd like for your necklace (or until you run out of washers like I did!)

If you want to you can attach a clasp fastening but for a more simple project just leave the ribbon strands as they are and tie them in a bow to wear!

diy washer necklace 9

Tip - For a more delicate take on this design use a thin piece of ribbon and small jump rings instead of washers - these also make cute bracelets!

I hope you've enjoyed this week's DIY, if you have any questions about it just let me know. 
As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archive.

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Thursday, 18 April 2013

Drop Dead Diva

DropDeadDivaCast 
 Image source
 
 
Thanks to Netflix I’ve recently developed a strange addiction to Lifetime’s supernatural/law firm show Drop Dead Diva. The show follows the life of lawyer Jane Bingum played by Broadway star Brooke Elliott but its not as straightforward as meets the eye. On the same day that Jane was shot and injured at her office a young aspiring model named Deb died in a car accident. When Deb ended up in heaven there was a misunderstanding which resulted in her pressing a button that sent her back down to Earth, to live in Jane’s body. Still with me…?

Unfortunately things get even more complicated as Jane works at Harrison-Parker alongside new employee Grayson who just happened to be Deb’s boyfriend and almost fiance. The only people who know that Jane is really Deb are her (Deb’s) best friend/roommate, the lovable but stereotypical Stacy and her guardian angel Fred, who also works as an assistant at the firm.

Deb struggles on a daily basis with living her new life as Jane, although she now has all of Jane's law knowledge she also still had Deb's memories too. From not recognising any of Jane’s friends or family members to dealing with having a completely different appearance and life goals Deb/Jane has to learn to let go of her previous lifestyle and make the most of her second chance. 

Even though the supernatural element is what makes it unique, I think I would still enjoy this show if it were just a straightforward law dramedy as the characters are what really makes it enjoyable. Jane/Deb in particular is a fantastic protagonist and Brooke Elliott is really the standout star of the show however I also love the characters of Fred and Stacy too.

 I guess for me this is a ‘guilty pleasure’ show, the odds say I shouldn’t like it yet I really do. It’s an easy show to watch, there’s no having to remember complicated information between episodes and there’s lots of humour thrown in there too. There are also plenty of guest stars to be found here from Kelly Osborne, Kim Kardashian and LeAnn Rimes to Brandy Norwood, Mario Lopez and Liza Minnelli. 

It was announced at the beginning of the year that the show would not be returning for a fifth season even though season 4 ends with a big cliffhanger (I mean a really annoying one too!) but a few weeks ago it was confirmed that the show will infact be back later this year with a fifth season - I'll definitely be watching!

The show has little elements of Ugly Betty, Ally McBeal and Legally Blonde, so if you’re a Netflix user and a fan of any of those why not give Drop Dead Diva a chance? You never know, you might also find yourself surprised by how addictive it is! 

3halfstars 

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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Bunny Birthday

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This week Sawyer turned three, which apparently is more like thirty-three in bunny years! 
 
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Either way he and Squidge both had a lot of fun playing with/crunching on his new hay tunnel - his favourite toy - followed by a treat of banana - his favourite fruit.

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...but even the most excitable of bunnies need a rest sometimes.
It's clearly hard work being so cute.

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Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Sunday DIY: Patterned Magnets

magnets diy 2 magnets diy 3 magnets diy 4 magnets diy 5 magnets diy 6 magnets diy 7 magnets diy 8
 
Where to find - Mini Paper Tape Set, Self-Adhesive Magnetic Strip

I hope you've enjoyed this week's DIY, if you have any questions let me know.
 
 Font KBSoThinteresting 
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Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower

perks 
 Image via imdb.com 
 
Directed by Stephen Chbosky (2012) | Runtime 102 minutes, BBFC rating 12A
 
As you may know if you followed my 2012 reading challenge posts I have read The Perks Of Being A Wallflower but unfortunately I found that it wasn’t for me. The thing I disliked most about the novel was the format, the book is written as a series of letters by main character Charlie to a friend. I’m not a huge fan of books that follow this type of format (letters, diary entries etc) so Perks left me disappointed. Of course when a book is adapted into a film it becomes a visual piece as well as a story and therefore does not follow the same format as the book. The letter element is included at a few moments where we see Charlie writing the letters on his typewriter and hear voiceovers of the content. So, as it turned out I really liked the way the letters were incorporated into the film and this meant I could appreciate the story itself much more.

Having author Stephen Chbosky heavily involved both as director and writer of the film made the transition from paper to the big screen seem flawless as evidenced by rave reviews from fans and sceptics alike. Chbosky having control of the adaptation also helped to develop the characters properly and portray the story in the right way as he is clearly invested in these characters and the story he created back in the 90s.

Logan Lerman’s portrayal of Charlie actually made me like him more as a protagonist which leads me to believe that maybe I just needed to see him come to life to appreciate his character. Whilst reading the book we get to know Charlie through his letters but, due to the format, not through the eyes of any other characters. In the film however we get to see him interact with the other characters and also get to hear their thoughts about him whilst he isn’t around which helped to develop the character more. The other two main characters Patrick and Sam, played by Ezra Miller and Emma Watson respectively, were also much more likeable on screen, particularly Sam. The standout performance has to go to Miller however who portrayed the eccentric but sensitive Patrick perfectly.

For me this particular story worked better as a film, as a visual piece rather than a collection of letters it left me pleasantly surprised.

 3halfstars 

 Have you seen The Perks Of Being A Wallflower?
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Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Country Rhubarb & Strawberry Cake (via lowFODMAP.com)

low FODMAP cake

As an email subscriber of lowFODMAP.com I was excited to discover this delicious looking cake recipe which combines rhubarb and strawberry - two of my favourites.

This is a great alternative for anyone who can't eat/doesn't like apples or anyone who has to follow a low FODMAP diet (explained here) which includes gluten free products. The cake is made with a blend of brown rice flour, ground almond and tapioca starch in place of regular wheat flour making it gluten free but still very tasty! The result is like a cross between a pudding, a cake and a crumble, packed with lots of fruit and a great crunchy topping that tastes particularly good with some ice cream on the side. Even if you don't have any special dietary needs it is still a delicious cake to try out!

You can find the recipe for this cake at lowFODMAP.com

*I halved the recipe as the original is for 10-12 people!
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Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Inspired By Fashion - Ikat Nails

Ikat nails
 
Whilst looking around online for items to include in some of my other posts I came across quite a few Ikat print items and thought that they would be perfect for a nail art post.

As these designs don't lend themselves to being very uniform I haven't created any step-by-step tutorials however if you like the look but aren't very confident at nail art this is a great one for you to try out. All four of the designs pictured were created just by using a normal thin paintbrush and the best part is you don't have to be too neat and tidy as it all adds to the effect!
ikat inspiration 
 
 
Are you a fan of the Ikat print trend?
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Monday, 8 April 2013

Black Feathers

*Review of an eARC c/o Netgalley
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 “Black Feathers is a modern fantasy set in two epochs: the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, and generations into the future in its aftermath, the Bright Day. In each era, a child undertakes a perilous journey to find a dark messiah known as The Crowman. In their hands lies the fate of the planet as they attempt to discover whether The Crowman is our saviour… or the final incarnation of evil.” Source

 This apocalyptic book switches backwards and forwards between the stories of two different children, Megan Maurice and Gordon Black. The two exist in different times and are each on their own dangerous journey but are connected by the mysterious Crowman.

When I began reading Black Feathers I soon found out that it wasn’t at all what I had expected. Sadly I couldn’t really connect to any of the characters and therefore wasn’t invested in their journeys but I definitely found more enthusiasm for the story after it hit the halfway point. Because of the format (split between the two journeys) the story did get a little confusing at times and at first, before you learn more about their individual journeys, it was hard to keep up with just who you were following. Throughout the book I found Gordon’s story more intriguing than Megan’s although both had their share of fairly interesting events.

Although it is of a reasonable length I wouldn’t consider Black Feathers to be a fast-paced book as it didn’t feel like too much actually happened. Being the first in a series it is understandable that more time would be put into the world-building, introduction of characters and development of the mystery particularly with D’Lacey’s descriptive and detailed writing style.

Unfortunately even though it included some interesting ideas, this story overall just wasn’t for me and I currently have no plans to continue with the series. However if you are a fan of mysterious fantasy adventure stories that are well-written then this may be the book for you!
2halfstars 

Find it on Amazon & Goodreads
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Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sunday DIY: Cluster Hair Ties

cluster hair tie diy cluster inspiration 
 
This week's DIY was inspired by these designer embellished hair ties by Marc Jacobs & Henri Bendel. I have used this technique many times in the past for making jewellery so why not use it for hair accessories too?!
Read on to find out how to make your own...
 
cluster hair tie diy1 cluster hair tie diy 4 cluster hair tie diy 5 cluster hair tie diy 2

Remember to be extra careful when using these to make sure you don't get the charms caught in your hair!

I hope you've enjoyed this week's DIY!
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Thursday, 4 April 2013

Club Monstrosity

*Review of an eARC c/o Netgalley
 
club monstrosity review 
Image via Goodreads

Club Monstrosity has a unique premise that sounded like too much fun for me to ignore, you see the story begins at a support group…for monsters. Our main characters are Frankenstein’s monster Natalie, werewolf Alec, Mummy Kai, Invisible Man Ellis, Bob aka the Blob, Jekyll, Hyde, Drake or Dracula as he is better known as and a swamp dweller named Linda. When Ellis is found to have been murdered in a way that directly reflects the death of the invisible man in the H. G . Wells novel the monsters start to realise that this is no coincidence, someone is out to get them. 

This incredibly clever, unique and slightly geeky concept drew me in and luckily I wasn’t disappointed. Essentially this book falls into the Crime genre as well as Sci-Fi due to the murder mystery plot and trying to figure out, along side the characters, just who is after them and why played a part in my enjoyment of the book. The variety of characters and personalities worked well together and I loved the idea of basing them on well-known fictional characters from other stories. Because of their literary and cinematic fame as individuals it was especially interesting to see how they interacted with each other when placed into a group. 

Although I am aware of author Jesse Petersen’s other works, most notably the ‘Living With The Dead’ zombie series, I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet so I was unsure what to expect from her writing style. Fortunately I found that Club Monstrosity was well-written with good pacing and well-developed characters particularly within such a short novel and this had definitely encouraged me to read her other books. 

Club Monstrosity is a short, fun and refreshing read written with a lot of humour and interesting characters which I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of monster stories or just enjoys a bit of a mystery to solve. The sequel titled ‘The Monsters In Your Neighborhood’ is due for release later in the year and after the way Club Monstrosity ended I am already looking forward to finding out what will happen to these characters next. 4/5

4stars 

 Club Monstrosity is due for release on April 29th - find it here
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Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Style Inspiration #87

style inspiration 87

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After a four month break from these regular style posts I've decided to bring them back. Putting together style 'inspiration' posts when I wasn't feeling very inspired by what the high street had to offer became difficult but recently with the new season collections I've started to see more things I like popping up again.

As I'm sitting down to write this outside the window behind me is the first glimpse of warmth and sunshine I've seen in weeks which makes it feel much appropriate to be showng some S/S items!

What are your favourite trends for Spring?
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