Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Requested DIY: Floral Headbands

diy floral headbands 01
Floral headbands, garlands and crowns seem to always been in fashion particularly during festival season and whilst there are some beautiful ones available both from the high street and online it's also a great DIY project to try out at home!

To create your own floral headband like the one shown above all you'll need is:
- a basic headband, mine is part of a set of 5 for £1 from Primark
- green washi tape or florist tape, currently 3 for 2 at Hobbycraft
- fabric or paper flowers with wire stems

- a pair of scissors

Cost of supplies: 20p headband, £1.50 roll of tape, 50p's worth of flowers = £2.20

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The first step is to cover your headband with the green tape to create a base for your flowers. I found that the best way to do this was to cut a piece of tape and stick it along the top of the headband, then cut slits along the tape (as shown above) before sticking it down around the headband.

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Continue adding strips of tape until you have covered all the way around the headband & then its time to add the flowers!

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Start by adding a flower to the centre of the band and wrap the wire securely down the band as shown above.

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Add the second flower on the same side as you wrapped the first wire, so it sits over the top of the first wire. Wrap the second wire long in the direction you did the first and repeat this until you have flowers along one half of the headband.

When you add the last flower to that side wrap the wire more closely together (as shown on the right above) for a neater finish.

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Repeat this process for the other half of the headband, this time wrapping the wires in the other direction so you end up with an arrangement that looks something like the one above and your floral headband is finished!

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This technique works perfectly for both small and large flowers so you can tailor the headband to match your style/mood/outfit....or why not make one of each so you'll always have options?!

If you have any DIY requests or challenges for me please leave them in the comments below along with any questions that you might have about this project.

Happy DIY-ing!
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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Sunday DIY: Five 1-Minute Washi Projects

5 1 minute washi projects

For this week's Sunday DIY I wanted to bring you some non-jewellery project ideas that are quick and simple to recreate. So with the help of this stack of washi tapes I've put together a collection of five different project ideas for you to try out!

washi bulldog clips diy

1. Washi Clips - simply cut strips of washi tape, stick them onto the clips and trim off any excess tape from around the edges

washi nail polish tops diy

2. Washi Polishes - jazz up your nail polish collection by wrapping pretty washi tapes around the lids!

washi candles diy

3. Washi Tealights - wrap tape directly around the tealight foils or alternatively wrap the glass holders

washi pencils diy

4. Washi Pencils - who wants those boring old yellow pencils? Add strips of washi tape for pencils that will look much more fun on your desk

washi cake topper flags diy

5. Washi Flags - these little flags look great on top of cupcakes, just wrap a piece of tape around the end of a cocktail stick then shape using scissors

Happy DIY-ing!
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Sunday, 19 May 2013

Sunday DIY: Dip-Dyed Tassel Earrings

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Tassel accessories, particularly earrings, are something I've seen popping up recently on the high street and from designer brands online. As soon as I saw that tassels were becoming a trend I knew I had to base a DIY around them as with a few basic supplies they're super simple to make. I chose to switch things up a little and add a DIY dip-dye effect to the cord too...here's how I did it!

To create your own pair of dip-dyed tassel earrings you will need: thin nylon cord, earring hooks, pliers, wire, cord ends, jump rings, scissors & strong glue (optional)

For the dip-dye you will also need: fabric paint (acrylic may work too), water, a pot to mix in & tissues

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If you want to create the dip-dyed look then the first step is to dye the cord ready to use later.
Cut a piece of cord according to how long you want the tassels to be and fold it as shown in the above photograph. Then mix a little of your paint with some water and dip one end of the cord into it to add the colour.

If you want it to have more of a ombre look, so the colours fade into each other a little rather than just having two tones, take a little fabric paint on your finger or a small brush and add it onto the very ends on top of the watered down dye.

For a harsh line between the colours use a spray paint - mask off the area you don't want to colour using tape and spray the rest
 
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 Before you can begin to actually make the earrings you'll need to leave the cord on a piece of tissue/kitchen roll to dry thoroughly.

If you want to speed up the process you can use a hairdryer but be careful the cord doesn't fly away as its very lightweight!

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Once your cord is dry take a piece of wire and wrap it around one end of the cord using pliers as shown above (left). You'll need to leave a longer piece of wire to use later so make sure you don't cut it!

Then slide a jump ring over this wire and onto the outside of the bunch of cord and use pliers to clamp it down to keep the cords together as shown above (right).

If your cord ends already have their own hook you can skip the wire step, add on a jump ring so you don't have any gaps in the tassel and just glue the cord into the end.
 
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 Slide a cord end onto the wire so it sits above where you just clamped the cords together and using pliers create a hoop to hang the earring with, as shown above (left). You can add a little glue into the cord end beforehand if you want to make sure its secure and if necessary use your pliers to tighten the cord end around the cords so there's no gaps in the tassel.

Add on a matching earring hook (above right).
 
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The final step is to cut the ends of the cord so that your loop of cords becomes a tassel.
Repeat all of the above steps for your second earring and you're done!

Happy DIY-ing!
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Saturday, 18 May 2013

Great Gatsby Nails (using matte tape!)

great gatsby nails
Inspired by The Great Gatsby movie posters

This post is one of those classic cases where I had a clear idea in my mind of how I wanted the finished design to look but pretty much everything went wrong along the way. The step-by-step photos for this post are a bit of a mess but hopefully the finished image and written instructions will still give you an idea of what I was aiming for!

great gatsby nails
Polishes used - NYX Antique, Topshop Winterfrost

1. Paint on a coat or two of your base colour, gold is perfect for that luxurious feel of the Great Gatsby movie poster
2. If you want to add another colour, like a silver, for a gradient effect use a damp sponge to apply more colour - check out my ombre tutorial for more information on this technique
3. Once that's dry it's time to start on the tape - Cut strips of the matte tape and remove some of the stickiness by tapping them onto your palm before applying them to the nails - this way they'll be easier to remove and are less likely to peel off your basecoat!
4. Carefully place the strips of tape onto the nail to create the design - use tweezers if necessary
5. Paint over the whole nail with black polish and peel off the tape whilst the black polish is still tacky
6. Finish off with a clear topcoat to seal the design
*If you want to you can also add on a few gemstones for a little extra sparkle as shown above!

If the tape method isn't for you (it's pretty fiddly!) try using metallic sharpies to draw your designs onto plain black nails and seal with a clear topcoat

Will you be taking any style inspiration from The Great Gatsby?
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Thursday, 16 May 2013

A Post Of Cuteness.

sawyer and scout

I had planned to post a nail art tutorial inspired by a certain new film release today but I haven't quite managed to finish it yet (look out for it on Saturday). Instead I thought I would share some Sawyer & Squidge cuteness with you because they're just too adorable to keep all to myself...

Happy Thursday!
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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Midweek DIY: Ribbon Bracelets

ribbon bracelet diy 1

Recently I've had lots of really simple bracelet ideas for DIY posts but not wanting to fill up every Sunday DIY slot for the next few months with bracelets I've decided instead to try introducing an additional DIY feature here during the week. Each post will show a simple picture or video tutorial just like the Sunday posts and today I'm starting off this new Midweek DIY series with this cute ribbon bracelet design, I hope you like it!

To make these bracelets you will need: ribbons, scissors, toggle clasps, flat-nosed pliers, small jump rings & ribbon crimp ends

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Start by cutting your ribbon to size - it's best to measure around your wrist and then add on half an inch or so to allow for the ends to be folded over later

If you want to make sure that the ends of your ribbon don't fray paint on a little clear nail polish before moving on to the next step!

 ribbon bracelet diy 3 

Next you will need to add a crimp onto each end of the ribbon - to do this fold over the end of your ribbon and slide it into the crimp then close the crimp down tightly using your pliers

If you want to you can add a little glue inside the crimp before clamping it together but this isn't essential

 ribbon bracelet diy 4 

Now that you have the base of your bracelet its time to add a fastening - I like to use toggle clasps as they are easy to use but also look stylish and come in lots of different designs

Open up a jump ring, add one part of the toggle clasp, hook both onto one of the crimps and use pliers to close up the ring. Repeat these steps for the other end of the bracelet/clasp & you're done!
 
 ribbon bracelet diy 5 

 ribbon bracelet diy 6

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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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

High Street vs. High End - Cut Out Shoes

cutout shoes
One spring trend that has caught my eye this year is cut out shoes, in particular cut out brogues and flats. Today I've picked out a selection showing what's available from both designers and high street stores - which pair are your favourite?
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Sunday, 12 May 2013

Sunday DIY: The Ideas Jar

ideas jar diy 1

These handy little jars can be used for deciding what to do on a rainy day, choosing a fun activity for kids, breaking out of your comfort zone with challenges or even deciding what to wear!

I hadn't been able to decide what kind I wanted to make until I saw Heather's recent video and then I knew exactly what to do with my jar. Heather, aka Bookables (click here to read my interview with her), showed a great version of the ideas jar where she added in the names of books from her TBR list so that each month she can pick one out at random to read. Since I have lots of unread books myself I thought this would be the perfect version of this DIY for me.

Whether you want to use it to cross some books off of your TBR list or something completely different here's how it works...
1. First you'll need to choose a jar and decorate it if you wish. I used washi tape and and Dymo label on this small storage jar. 

2. Next you'll need to cut strips of paper and write on the different options. Alternatively you could type them out, print and cut into strips.

3. Finally fold up the strips of paper and pop them into the jar & you're done!
 
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Thursday, 9 May 2013

Release Day Review & Giveaway: Icons by Margaret Stohl

*Review of an eARC c/o Netgalley

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Everything changed on The Day. The day the windows shattered. The day the power stopped. The day Dol's family dropped dead. The day Earth lost a war it didn't know it was fighting. Since then, Dol has lived a simple life in the countryside -- safe from the shadow of the Icon and its terrifying power. Hiding from the one truth she can't avoid. She's different. She survived. Why?...
 Within the Icon's reach, Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas discover that their uncontrollable emotions -- which they've always thought to be their greatest weaknesses -- may actually be their greatest strengths.” Edited from source

Icons is the first solo release from Beautiful Creatures co-author Maragret Stohl. The story kicks off to an intriguing start with a prologue detailing Dol’s experience of what is now referred to as The Day, when the Icons arrived over the world’s main cities. Baby Dol’s last moments with her mother are documented and it soon becomes very clear that she is special.

The idea of the Icons existence and the intimidating way they have chosen to remain poised over the world’s most famous cities is a truly scary concept (very Independence Day if you ask me!). Although there is a fair amount of information to take in initially I didn’t feel overwhelmed and the writing style made it easy to follow. The first few chapters definitely leave you wanting to find out more about the Icons and their purpose. The book trailer (view below) is also a great additional tool in explaining the setup of the story and showing the state of the world that it takes place in. 

Our main character Dol (or Doloria) has been raised in the Grass, the countryside area away from where the Icon looms over the city, alongside lifelong best friend and fellow Icon Child Ro. Dol is a very emotional character who has experienced a lot of tragedy in her short life and her personality is complimented well by Ro’s fiery nature and softer core. Completing the group we have Lucas, who as the son of the Ambassador has allegiances to both sides, and my personal favourite of the four Tima who is quiet and sometimes devious but most of all very intelligent. The relationship between the four teens is a rocky but also very interesting one as they embark on an important journey as a team. Although they are tied together by their special abilities their strong personality traits are also what causes them to disagree and to be wary of each other which makes their interactions interesting to read. 

Aside from the main group there are various other interesting characters to be found in the form of Fortis, rebellion leader and Merk, and lovable computer system Doc who despite being a piece of technology has great presence as a supporting character with secrets of his own. The main disappointment character-wise was the cold and distant Ambassador Amadre, Lucas’ mother. As she represents evil in the story from afar, most of the time her character is not explored as fully as a book of this length could allow but hopefully we will get to see more of her character in the next instalment. 

Similarly to many titles that fall into the YA category there is predictably a love triangle within the story (reminiscent of that found in Ally Condie’s Matched) which seemed quite unnecessary and didn’t help in progressing the plot. Fortunately there wasn’t too much emphasis on this element so it didn’t manage to distract too much from the sci-fi and paranormal side of things however there is a danger that this successful balance may not carry through into the second book. 

Moving onto a more positive point, one of my favourite things about the book was the beautiful layout. Each chapter ends with a top secret Embassy memo in the form of a letter, poster, cutting etc in a format reminiscent of both the successful Maze Runner and Ender’s Game series. These extra little snippets allow the reader an insight into what the main characters don’t know and explore the actions and objectives of the less accessible characters, in this case the Ambassador and others at the Embassy. 

Being the first in a series I was hoping for a bit of a twist ending that would build up my excitement for the next book however I did feel that the ending presented was rather disappointing. Overall I enjoyed the story and found the concept very interesting but I also didn’t quite have that ‘I can’t put this book down’ feeling. Having said that I will definitely be picking up the second book to find out what happens next! The book has also already been optioned for a movie adaptation which I hope goes ahead as I think it would be well-suited to the big screen. 


If Icons sounds like your kind of read you’re in luck as the lovely people at Harper Collins have sent me a copy of the book to giveaway to one of you! 

The giveaway is UK only (sorry international readers!) & will be open for one week.
For your chance to win a paperback copy of the novel just fill out the Rafflecopter form below – Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 


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Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Style Inspiration #89

style inspiration 92
Find it...
- Pop Pointelle Halter Dress
- Spring Colour Block Satchel
- Hacienda Vintage T-Bar Shoes
(Jumper & top no longer available)
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Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Following (Season 1)

thefollowing
Image via imdb.com

Today I wanted to write a post about my favourite new show of the 2012/13 season, The Following.

The series stars Kevin Bacon as ex-FBI agent Ryan Hardy who retired after ending up with a pacemaker whilst helping to bring down a serial killer who murdered several young women. That killer was a man named Joe Carrol, played by British actor James Purefoy, a teacher and writer who has an unhealthy obsession with the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The premise of the series revolves around Carrol’s new master plan involving a loyal a cult of serial killers willing to do just about anything he asks of them. Carrol is turning this real-life horror story into a novel with ex-wife Claire (Natalie Zea), Ryan, and of course himself playing the main characters.

Aside from the aforementioned trio the show is full of other complex characters, none of which it seems can be trusted as we learn that Carrol’s people are hidden just about everywhere. Carrol’s followers come from all walks of life with a variety of motives and we get to see glimpses of how they came to join the cult via short flashback sequences scattered throughout the series. Well-known actors Bacon and Purefoy are joined by a whole host of new faces as well as a few recognisable ones. Shawn Ashmore and Annie Parisse star as FBI agents Weston and Parker who are sort-of sidekicks to Ryan, whilst Valorie Curry portrays Emma a dedicated follower of Carrol. 

Right from the first episode this series is gripping and intense with each episode full of twists and turns and a suspense that’s guaranteed to have you on the edge of your seat. Throughout the series the tension, twists and crazy characters remain a constant with surprises around every corner, all leading up to the big season finale which definitely ended with a bang. 

Overall The Following is a refreshing and exciting series – here’s hoping season two will be equally as engaging and shocking with a whole host of new complex characters thrown into the mix. Season one will be available to own on DVD later in the year (December 2nd) so, if you’re looking for something new to watch I would highly recommend picking it up… but be prepared to become addicted!

5stars

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Monday, 6 May 2013

Sawyer & Scout Giveaway!

snitchnecklace

Just a quick post today to let you know that UK-based book blogger Laura is hosting a Sawyer & Scout necklace giveaway this week over at The Book Habit.

The prize is a 'Golden Snitch' locket necklace just like the one pictured above inspired by the Harry Potter series and handmade by me.

If you are interested in finding out more about Laura and her blog I also recently interviewed her over at Blogger's Bookshelf as part of the Being A Book Blogger series. 

You can find the interview post here and the giveaway here - good luck!
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Sunday, 5 May 2013

Sunday DIY: American Eagle Inspired Earrings

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Thursday, 2 May 2013

The 5th Wave

*Review of an eARC c/o Netgalley/Penguin
5th wave

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.Source

The 5th Wave is the first in a new YA Science Fiction series by Rick Yancey which takes place in a world where aliens have destroyed life as we know it. Although the term sci-fi can be off-putting for some I would say that this is very ‘accessible sci-fi’ in that there isn’t a lot of technology talk or too much of a complicated plot to follow. Of course the book has a lot of the typical elements you would expect to find within this genre however it also manages to bring something fresh amongst the clich├ęs. As science fiction goes it is one of the slightly more plausible situations (think books like Teri Terry’s Slated), making it all the more unnerving to read. 

In part one we meet sixteen year old Cassie who’s story-telling style instantly won me over. Cassie is a realist, she’s honest, smart and most importantly she manages to speak with a humour that you wouldn’t expect from someone in her situation. A little later in the book we are introduced to Zombie, another teen who has been hit hard by surviving the first four waves and has ended up being forced to become a soldier. If I’m being completely honest at first I was disappointed, at this point I had grown used to Cassie’s voice and was enjoying the way she told her story so I wasn’t keen on the idea of a change in narrator. Luckily I soon found out that Zombie’s point of view was just as interesting as Cassie’s and the way his story played out reminded me a lot of books I’ve enjoyed in the past such as Unwind (Neal Shusterman) and Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card). As well as Cassie and Zombie we also get to hear what is happening with Sammy, Cassie’s younger brother, and at one point even the outside view of a Silencer (alien). In the end the alternating of narrators and different voices actually played an important part in preventing the story from becoming a little boring and repetitive. 

Of course there is another main character to this story in the form of the aliens themselves who have cleverly worked their way into the human’s lives. These guys are no weak opponents, they’ve already managed to take out the majority of the human population without being discovered before this story even begins! Cassie makes references throughout to how different her experience with alien invasion has been to that she had expected from watching endless Hollywood movies that depict aliens as easily vanquished. Somewhat ironically though this book seems like it would be well-suited to it’s own film adaptation - I wonder what Cassie would think of that!?

Overall I enjoyed the book, from it’s intriguing premise to Cassie’s honest approach and the secrets of Camp Haven, there was enough to keep me interested throughout despite the pacing dragging a little. There were twists and turns which were definitely necessary but not always terribly surprising and for me personally it just didn’t quite hit the mark that other books of a similar genre have done. As far as the ending goes there was no real cliffhanger but still enough to encourage me to pick up the sequel and find out how the story will progress. 

I would recommend this book for fans of the novels and series mentioned within the review (Unwind, Ender’s Game, Slated) as well as television shows/films such as V that depict human-like aliens. 

3halfstars 

The 5th Wave is released next week (May 7th) and is available to pre-order now.

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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Style Spotlight - Cobalt

cobalt blue style spotlight 

Cobalt blue is a huge trend this season and whilst the usual spring and summer trends of neons and pastels aren't for me I'm pleased to say it's a colour that I am on board with. These are a few of my top picks from the high street and designers. Which is your favourite?

Find it...
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