Wednesday, 30 April 2014

April Reads & Reviews

reads april 2014

April saw my second 5 star read of 2014 in the form of Auralee Wallace's debut Sidekick which I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of. Fun fact - both books I have given 5 stars to this year have  authors with the surname Wallace. Maybe this is how I should choose my reads from now on?! Anyway, here's a very brief look at what else I've been reading & reviewing lately...

Life In Outer Space, Melissa Keil (2013)
Life In Outer Space tells the story of Australian teen and horror movie buff Sam who's life is turned upside down when new girl Camilla joins his school. At first it seems that she will fall in with the popular crowd who have been bullying Sam and his friends for years but he soon learns that she has a geeky side too.
The book is littered with 'geeky' pop culture references, from World of Warcraft to Sweeney Todd and a whole host of horror movies... Pride & Prejudice even gets a mention too! I picked this one up after it was recommended on both Goodreads & Amazon based on other books I enjoyed. At first I wasn't too sure but overall I did quite like it. ✯✯✯


This month I also read...
  • An Abundance Of Katherines, John Green (2006) ✯✯
  • Complicit*, Stephanie Kuehn (2014) ✯✯✯ - review to follow on Blogger's Bookshelf in June
  • Sidekick*, Auralee Wallace (2014) ✯✯✯✯✯ - full review coming up on Blogger's Bookshelf next month
  • Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt*, Kata Golda (2009) ✯✯ - mini review will be on Blogger's Bookshelf tomorrow!

Reviews posted this month...

Favourite read of the month: Definitely Sidekick!
Books marked with a * c/o Netgalley | Images via goodreads.com
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Sunday, 27 April 2014

DIY Felt Card Case

felt card case

Today's project is cute, practical and easy to make - you can even opt for the no-sew version if you like! These little cases are the perfect size for storing your cards (or even your lipstick!) and would also make lovely handmade gifts.

The idea for this tutorial came about when I recently read Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt (mini review to follow over on Blogger's Bookshelf soon). Whilst not all of the projects made it onto my to-do list one of them did stick in mind as a great DIY to share. Although the case I'm sharing with you today doesn't really resemble the style of the ones found in the book, I was definitely inspired by Kata's project. Here's my version...

felt card case

You will need: a sheet of felt, ribbon, a fastening (I've used a popper here but Velcro would be preferable), scissors, a needle and thread (or glue gun if you want to make a no-sew version), cards/business cards

1. Cut a piece of felt approx. 11 x 20cm - if you have a card to hand (or whatever else you wish to store) you can check the sizing is right before you cut!

2. Fold up the bottom of your felt strip so that the section where the cards will go measures approx. 7.5cm tall and the top fold-over section measures approx. 6cm

felt card case

3. Stitch or glue on your fastening as shown in the photograph above, making sure that the two parts will line up when you close the case later on

4. To decorate the outside of the pouch, as well as cover up any visible stitching from where you have attached the fastening, sew or glue on a strip of pretty ribbon

felt card case

5. To close up the felt strip and turn it into a pouch you can run a line of glue along the edges (ash shown in my envelope tutorial) or use a blanket stitch which is simple to do and also looks decorative if done using a contrasting colour

6. Fill with cards, fasten and pop in your bag!

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives - use the hash tag #eelisediys to share your photos with me!
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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

DIY Inspiration - Crowns

So many clever DIY crown ideas and no reason to make one... Instead of a tutorial today I thought I would share some inspiration from other bloggers. These crown projects would be perfect for costumes, kid's parties or even just pretty decor. Here are a few of my favourite ideas for making your own crowns...

1. Recycled Water Bottle Crown (via Handmade Charlotte)
First up is this clever upcycle project that transforms a plastic bottle into a bejewelled crown in no time at all!

2. Lace Crowns (via Smitten On Paper)
These delicate crowns are made using only lace, fabric stiffener and a glue gun - a quick project that looks very effective

3. Personalized Crowns (via Hellobee)
The third idea is a very unique one - words have been created using wire and then turned into crowns that have a professional looking finish

4. Halloween Ready Wire Crown (via A Lion's Nest)
Another project made using wire is this one from A Lion's Nest which takes on a classic crown shape with a simple jewel embellishment - perfect for finishing off a Halloween costume!

5. Simple Party Crowns (via Craft & Creativity)
The second upcycle project I've picked out uses cardboard toilet rolls prettified with bright washi tapes to make the perfect kids party crown

6. Sparkle Party Crowns (via Kelli Murray)
This idea jazzes up an old headband with some sparkly gold pipe cleaners by simply wrapping them around the headband and creating triangle shapes to go on top

7. Felt Crown (via Hellobee)
If you'd prefer a soft, simple and comfortable to wear crown then this cute felt version may be the one for you!

8. Wire Birthday Crown (via Ambrosia Creative)
Last but not least is one final wire design. Made similarly to crown idea number 4 this simple, non-embellished design, is perfect for princes as well as princesses!

Which crown is your favourite?
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Thursday, 17 April 2014

Design Ideas For Half Square Triangles

In Tuesday's post I shared a quick tutorial on how to make half square triangles which can be used to create a whole variety of different patterns. Today I thought I would write a quick inspiration post showing some of the photographs I took when deciding what pattern to create with the squares I made. Below are just a small selection of the many patterns you can create using these handy little patchwork squares. Which design is your favourite?

half sqaure triangle ideas

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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

DIY Easy Mini Half Square Triangles

half square triangles diy

I'm currently taking a bit of a break from working on my quilt to try out other sewing projects (hopefully more on those soon!) however today I thought I would go back to the patchwork and share this quick tutorial for some mini 'half square' triangles which I never got around to writing up.

If you're looking to try out a patchwork design featuring triangles this is a great way to make this sometimes tricky shape without having to accurately cut them out individually. The finished patchwork squares can be arranged in various different ways to create lots of pretty patterns including chevrons and windmills.

You will need: various fabrics of your choice (at least two different fabrics), a rotary cutter & mat/scissors, a ruler, a sewing machine & a fabric pen (I used a Pilot FriXion which is erasable using an iron)

Sidenote: Yes, I did photograph this tutorial recently & yes, that is Halloween fabric...!

half sqaure traingles tutorial

1. The first step is to prepare your chosen fabrics. Carefully cut them into 2" squares

half sqaure traingles tutorial

2. Once you have all of your triangles cut to size, pair them up ready for sewing. Use your ruler and a fabric pen to draw a line down the centre, from corner to corner

half sqaure traingles tutorial

3. Line up the centre with the edge of your sewing machine foot and stitch a straight line 1/4" away

half sqaure traingles tutorial

4. Flip the squares around and do the same thing on the side of the centre line, so you're left with something that looks a little like this...

half sqaure triangles tutorial

5. Repeat these steps to stitch together all of your pairs of squares, then move away from your sewing machine back to the cutting mat

half sqaure triangles tutorial

6. Use your rotary cutter or scissors to cut along the central line you drew earlier, leaving you with two triangle shapes

half sqaure triangles tutorial

7. Trim off the corners of your triangles (as shown above) so that they will sit flat once you open them out. You can also check at this point that all of the edges line up, and trim off any excess if they do not

half sqaure triangles tutorial

8. Open out the triangles to reveal your new patchwork squares!

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives - use the hash tag #eelisediys to share your photos with me!
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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Two No-Bake Cheesecakes (Gluten Free)

cheesecake gluten free

I recently made these two no-bake gluten free cheesecakes which although very simple to make also turned out to be rather delicious so today I thought I'd share the recipes with you. The basic method for both cheesecakes is the same with just a few adjustments to the ingredients to create the different flavourings. Here's how to make your own...

Biscuit Base - take a packet of (gluten free) digestives place them in a zip up plastic bag and carefully crush using a rolling pin. For an average sized pack of biscuits heat around 50-60g of butter, bring the pan off of the heat and stir in the crushed biscuits until properly combined. Place the mixture into a lined tin and flatten using a spoon or the bottom of a glass then pop it in the fridge to set.

Cheesecake Filling - beat together cream cheese with caster sugar (optional depending on flavour), then whisk in double cream. Spread over the top of the refrigerated biscuit base and place back into the fridge for a few hours to set.

Simple Lemon Cheesecake - add the juice of 1 lemon to a 300g plain cream cheese, 150g double cream & 75g sugar mixture.

Chocolate & Strawberry Cheesecake - use 200g of chocolate fudge flavour cream cheese (I got this from ASDA) mixed with 100g of plain cream cheese and 150g of double cream. Adding caster sugar is optional here as the cream cheese has already been sweetened with the flavouring so do a quick taste test to check whether you want additional sugar. Once chilled add chopped strawberries & grated chocolate to the top of the cheesecake before serving.
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Friday, 11 April 2014

A Little Adventure

I've been pretty busy with all things Sawyer & Scout recently which has resulted in e-elise etc looking a little bare, with just a few scheduled DIY tutorials popping up every now and again. So, today I thought I would do a little bit of catching up and share a photo diary - something I haven't done in a long time!

manningtree

Last weekend I headed off to Manningtree with two of my favourite people for a little adventure. We ended up walking to Flatford, stopping at the tea room for a snack (side note: I did manage to find gluten free brownies there which was a nice surprise!), walking on into Dedham and then back to Manningtree station via a slightly different footpath. Since the weather was rather nice I decided to take along my camera, although most of today's snaps are courtesy of Cat who was much better at remembering to use the camera than I was!

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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

DIY Plectrum Necklace

plectrum necklace diy eeliseetc

Today's quick DIY is a classic upcycle project that's perfect for music lovers. Pretty plectrums like this tie-dye style one make great pendants and the design is completely customisable with beads and other charms too. If you want to go all out on this one you can even pick yourself up a punch and create your own plectrums! Here's the (very short!) step-by-step...

You will need: a plectrum, a hole punch or drill (depending on the thickness of the plastic), a jump ring & a chain + (optional) beads/charms of your choice

1. Punch or drill a small hole into the top of your plectrum

2. Carefully use pliers to open up a jump ring and add on the plectrum, chain and any other charms

3. Close up the jump ring and your necklace is done!

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives - use the hashtag #eelisediys to share your photos with me!
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Sunday, 6 April 2014

DIY Felt Fruit Needle Case

diy needle case 1

Today's idea was inspired by this Pinterest image which after completing this project I found out was originally from The Purl Bee. The post there shows how to make these little felt citrus slices to use as coasters however I ran with the fun fruit idea I'd seen in the Pinterest image and made little pouches/needle cases instead. Here's the step-by-step...

diy felt needle case step by step

You will need: white felt, coloured felt, scissors, thread and a needle + some circular things to draw around. Alternatively the post over at The Purl Bee has a great printable template - if only I'd known!

1. First cut your four felt circles - 2 large coloured, 1 slightly smaller white, and 1 even smaller coloured

2. Take the smallest circle and cut into quarters. Then take each of those and cut into two pieces - it's best to do this unevenly

3. To create the 'pips' in the design take a few of the small triangle sections, fold them in half and carefully snip a small triangle out of the felt - just like if you were making paper snowflakes!

4. Arrange the triangles on the white circle and use a simple running stitch to secure them all in place

5. Then, again using a running stitch, sew the white circle onto one of the bigger coloured ones

6. The final step is to add on the little pocket. Cut approx. a third off of your second large coloured circle, stitch this onto the back and you're done!

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives - use the hash tag #eelisediys to share your photos with me!
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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

DIY Gemstone Chip Bracelets

diy gemstone bracelet 0

Today's DIY is a very simple bracelet project that will look great mixed and matched with anything! This project is very similar to the Simple Bead Bracelet I shared back in September but instead of round beads features these beautiful gemstone chips, a definite favourite staple in my bead collection. Here's the quick step-by-step...

To make your own you will need: gemstone chip beads, chain, an eyepin or length of wire, round and flat nosed pliers, two jump rings & a lobster clasp

diy gemstone bracelet 1
diy gemstone bracelet 2

1. Thread your chosen gemstone chips on an eyepin

2. Cut off the excess length of wire and create a second loop at the other end - the centre of your bracelet is now complete!

diy gemstone bracelet 3

diy gemstone bracelet 4

3. Measure around your wrist and cut two short lengths of chain

Remember, you'll be adding on the gemstone section and a clasp so the chain may not need to be as long as you think, it just depends on how you want it to fit. Alternatively, you can add on an extender chain to the bracelet to make it adjustable

4. Use a jump ring to attach your clasp onto one piece of chain, then attach a jump ring to the other length of chain

diy gemstone bracelet 5

5. Use your pliers to open up the loops at either side of your gemstones and hook one length of chain onto each. Carefully close up the loops and your bracelet is done!

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives - use the hash tag #eelisediys to share your photos with me!
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