Tuesday, 30 December 2014

December Reads & Reviews

december reads

Independent Study & Graduation Day, Joelle Charbonneau (2013-14)
The second and third instalments in The Testing trilogy continue to follow Cia's journey. Now a student at the University Cia is still keeping secrets about what she remembers from the Testing process as well as trying to keep up with all of her classes and an internship. Cia soon discovers that the future of the Testing depends on her and her ability to figure out just who she can trust.
As you may remember from last month's roundup I really enjoyed the first book in the series and was keen to pick up the others and find out how the story would conclude. Similarly to The Testing both books were pretty action-packed with a few interesting twists thrown in along the way. Having said that I didn't enjoy either Independent Study or Graduation Day as much as the first novel but overall I still think this is a pretty good trilogy - perhaps one to pickup if you've enjoyed other YA dystopian tales! ✯✯✯

Killing Mr Griffin, Lois Duncan (1978)
A group of teens, unhappy with their English teacher's tough grading decide to get their revenge by playing a prank on him. With straight-A student Sue distracting Mr Griffin with an after school meeting to discuss her work the rest of the group are poised outside ready to put the plan into action. Tied up and hidden away in the woods Mr Griffin refuses to beg for his life and so the teens decide to leave him there overnight, but things take a turn for the worse when Sue and David return later that evening to find their teacher dead.
Having read Duncan's I Know What You Did Last Summer back in 2013, I decided to pick up this short read. Although only just over 250 pages a fair amount happens in this teen suspense novel but I personally would have preferred it to be a little longer as the ending leaves behind a lot of questions. I found it really interesting to see the story switch between school life, the crime and the home lives of not just the teens but Mr Griffin as well. My only real issue was the unrealistic dialogue, something I had expected after also finding this when reading I Know What You Did Last Summer. I can definitely appreciate how this would be good quick read for anyone who likes mystery/suspense novels. Whilst I did enjoy it, it also wasn't one of my favourites. ✯✯✯

Reviews posted this month...

What have you been reading this month?

Sunday, 28 December 2014

DIY Long Drop Earrings (Perfect for NYE!)

This weekend I've got another quick and simple jewellery tutorial for you, and if you're heading out to a NYE party this week these pretty long drop style earrings would be perfect to make just in time!

DIY NYE Long Drop Earrings

You will need: two beads, two headpins, two earring wires, two lengths of chain (approx. 2" each), round and flat nosed pliers

DIY NYE Long Drop Earrings

1. Start by threading a bead onto one of the headpins and use flat nose pliers to bend the wire at the right angle a little way up from the bead

2. Switch to your round nose pliers to create a hanging loop. To do this clamp the wire in between the two barrels and bend it around creating part of a circle

3. Move this down onto the bottom barrel and continue bending the wire to complete the loop

DIY NYE Long Drop Earrings

4. Clamp your flat nosed pliers onto the loop to hold it in place and wrap the excess length of wire around the space between the loop and the bead

5. Add this onto one end of your length of chain then add an earring wire onto the other end to complete the earring

6. Repeat all of the steps to create a second earring 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 - if you liked this project don't forget to Pin it! Happy DIY-ing!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Eight & Sixteen Projects... December

eands december

Earlier this month I shared two festive projects from Eight & Sixteen (bookmark them for next year if you missed out!), but here's a quick roundup of my other December posts...

- Bloggers Love Hub DIY Booth
- #PaperHaul (Crafty Creatives New Subscription Box!)
- DIY Button Bunting Necklace
- DIY Button Flower Brooch
- PinTest Hama/Perler Bead Spinning Tops

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

DIY Spiral Earrings (Sykes Cottages Simple Crafts)

A few months back I was asked to contribute to a handmade gift guide for holiday company Sykes Cottages. Personally I love handmade gifts and sharing craft ideas so jumped at the chance to be a part of the project! The online guide, which features six simple projects all created by craft bloggers, has been beautifully presented by Leanne and has some great inspiration if you're stuck for last-minute gifts - there's still time to make them in time for Christmas!

As the guide was designed to be used by those on holiday at the cottages the project supplies had to be inexpensive and easily transportable so I came up with a simple pair of beaded earrings with spiral detail. The tutorial uses basic techniques making it perfect for beginners and anyone wanting to try out working with wire for the first time. I sent off my written tutorial and step-by-step photographs which were then transformed into the amazing graphic shown above!

The guide also features five other projects that would all make great gifts for your friends and family this Christmas. From crochet to fabric accessories and candle-making there really is something to suit everyone!

You can find my full earring tutorial here and find out more about the other projects here.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

From The Archives: 10 Last-Minute DIY Gift Ideas

Today I thought I would delve into the e-elise etc DIY archives and share some last-minute gift ideas before it's too late! With the right supplies there's still enough time to recreate your own version of any of these projects so I've also listed what you'll need to make them - happy DIY-ing!

1. Monogram Earrings
You will need: alphabet beads, wire, rubber earring backs, pliers & wire cutters

2. Bunny Ear Scrunchies
You will need: fabric, a sewing machine, scissors, an iron, elastic, an erasable pen, wire, a needle & thread

3. Upcycled Glass Jars
You will need: glass jars, white tissue paper, Mod Podge, scissors, a sponge brush, a craft punch, patterned paper

4. Wire Ear Cuff
You will need: round nose pliers, wire cutters, wire, a ruler

5. Charm Cluster Hair Ties
You will need: a hairband, beads, short headpins, a jump ring, pliers

6. Geometric Corkboards
You will need: acrylic paints, corkboards or heat resistant cookware pads, washi tape, a paintbrush & sponge brush, ribbon, a drawing pin

7. Washer Friendship Bracelet
You will need: a washer, waxed cord or thread and scissors

8. Hexagon Keyrings
You will need: fabric, felt, ribbon, three hexagon templates - two 2" and one 3", scissors, erasable pen, a needle & thread, an iron, iron-on hemming web

9. Choker Necklace
You will need: waxed cord, beads/charms, jump rings, a lobster clasp, pliers, a tape measure, an extender chain (optional)

10. Kindle/Tablet Case
You will need: fabrics, wadding, scissors, a sewing machine, a needle & embroidery thread, pins, an iron & a small Velcro strip

Happy DIY-ing!

Friday, 19 December 2014

Style Inspiration - Velvet Headbands

style inspiration velvet headbands

After missing out on them last A/W I recently picked up one of these velvet/velour headbands which once again are on trend for the party season. Although I'm not much of a hair accessory girl I personally love the look and texture of the soft fabric as well as how comfortable it is to wear. With the various designs and colours shown above all available on the high street for under £10 there's definitely a style to suit everyone! Which one is your favourite?

Shop the look: Topshop | Forever 21 | H&M | Miss Selfridge

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Crafting Lately - Candy Cane Mice Treats

DIY Candy Cane Mice e-eliseetc

Today I wanted to share another adorable Christmas project from the Martha Stewart archives. I first came across these cute candy cane treats in a magazine last winter but didn't get a chance to recreate them until now. Simply made from sheets of felt, glue and miniature candy canes they make lovely decorations that can be customised to match your Christmas colour scheme - I also think they would look brilliant used to finish off your gift wrapping too!

If you want to make your own you can find the template and instructions over on marthastewart.com

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Two More Festive DIYs

DIY Festive Miniature Bottle Ornaments by eight and sixteen diy upcycled light bulb snowman ornament by eight & sixteen
Although I usually share all of my Eight & Sixteen projects in a roundup at the end of each month, today I wanted to write a quick post on these two festive projects before it's too late to make them in time for Christmas!

Miniature Bottle Ornaments - these little glass bottles are something I often use for jewellery pieces over at Sawyer & Scout but they can also make lovely decorations. Filled with glitter and finished off with ribbon bows they're simple to make but will add some festive sparkle to your Christmas tree.

Light Bulb Snowman Ornament - this little guy is probably one of my favourite projects I've shared over on E&S so far. The snowman is made from an old light bulb disguised by tissue paper, glitter, nail art gems/beads & felt. I had a lot of fun working on this Pinterest-inspired project and was really pleased with how it turned out!

You can find more DIY ideas over at www.eightandsixteen.co.uk

Sunday, 14 December 2014

DIY Stitched Gift Tags

Today's project is another thrifty but effective idea that would be perfect for a Sunday afternoon activity. Inspired by the stitched notebooks myself and Skye shared at The Bloggers Hub last month this is an easy way to create your own unique handmade tags for family and friends this year.

You will need: plain gift tags, a pin, a pencil or template, scissors, a needle and embroidery thread, paper, glue & a pen

DIY Stitched Gift Tags by e-eliseetc

1. Decide on a design and draw it onto the tag in pencil. Alternatively print yourself a template like this free snowflake one from Eight & Sixteen

DIY Stitched Gift Tags by e-eliseetc

2. Once you are happy with your design use a pin to punch holes into it making sure they are fairly evenly spaced

DIY Stitched Gift Tags by e-eliseetc

3. Next, use a needle and embroidery thread to fill in the design. I find it's best to use a backstitch and work your way around but use whatever method you are comfortable with - you can always cover up any messy threads on the reverse in the final step!

DIY Stitched Gift Tags by e-eliseetc

4. Finally you'll want to add on the name of the recipient plus a festive message. Write or print this onto a piece of paper, cut out and glue onto the reverse of your tag - this will also cover up the back of your stitching!

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives - if you liked this project don't forget to Pin it! Happy DIY-ing!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

5 Christmas Craft Kits - £10 & Under

5 christmas craft kits

If you're looking for a last-minute Christmas project with all of the supplies included there are tons of festive kits out there this year. From sewing to knitting and felting there really is something for everyone! Today I wanted to share five of my high street favourites which all come in at £10 or under...

1/ Sequin Christmas Pudding Decorations, £2 @ Hobbycraft
2/ Dovecrafts Sew Your Own Christmas Tree, £2.99 @ The Works
3/ Dimensions Snowman Character Needle Felting, £10 @ Hobbycraft
4/ Make Your Own Christmas Stockings, £6 @ The Works
5/Proggy Rag Rugging Susie The Baby Penguin, £10 @ Hobbycraft

Don't forget there's still time to enter my Jolly Journal giveaway!

Friday, 12 December 2014

The Jolly Journal - Giveaway!

*The Jolly Journal c/o Stylefruits
Stylefruits Jolly Journal Stylefruits Jolly Journal
A little while ago I was approached by the team at Stylefruits to contribute to a fun festive project they were working on called The Jolly Journal. The inspirational guide, aimed at first-time hosts, features ideas from a selection of UK bloggers covering both recipes and crafts which are all perfect for those on a tight budget.

Earlier this week I received my printed copy of the journal and was really impressed with how it turned out. I loved reading everyone's ideas and it was awesome to see my own project - Upcycled Tea Light Jars - in print!

If you'd like to find out more about my project or any of the other brilliant ideas featured in the book you can flick through or download the online version of the guide over on the Stylefruits website, however the team were also kind enough to send me two additional copies of the journal to giveaway to my readers!

If you'd like to the chance win one for yourself just use the Rafflecopter form below to submit your entry. As Christmas is fast-approaching the giveaway will be for UK residents only and will be open for just a few days so get your entries in quickly - good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Crafting Lately - Fabric Tree Decorations

These pretty little tree decorations are the perfect way to use up fabric scraps and would be a great project if you're on a budget this Christmas. I came across the idea on Pinterest which led me to Anna's original post where she shared the design as part of a Liberty scrap challenge back in 2012. I loved how they looked so decided to have a go at making some of my own!

Although Anna provided a template for the trees I chose to make my own (our wireless printer doesn't like me very much!) and found a stack of coordinating fabric and felt scraps to use. For the stuffing I used an old pillow and found some short strips of ribbon to use to hang them. These tiny trees were both fun & simple to make and I'm really happy with how they turned out!

For full details and the original tutorial pop over to Noodlehead!

What have you been crafting lately?

Sunday, 7 December 2014

DIY Festive Bunting Necklace

DIY Festive Bunting Necklace tutorial by e-eliseetc

Today's festive project is this cute red, gold and silver beaded bunting necklace - perfect for wearing to a Christmas party. This project can also easily be customised for any time of year, just switch out the festive shades for spring pastels or summer brights!

To make your own you will need: jewellery wire, red and gold seed beads, round and flat nose pliers, wire cutters, jump rings, a necklace chain

DIY Christmas Bunting Necklace | e-elise etc

1. Cut a strip of wire approx. 3.5" long and use your flat nosed pliers to bend into a V shape

2. Next, thread seed beads onto each side of the V - make sure you use the same amount on each side!
DIY Christmas Bunting Necklace | e-elise etc

3. To secure the beads in place, bend the wire ends inwards creating a triangle shape

4. Take one end of the wire and thread on a few more beads, then bend the wire at a right angle away from the beads - this should line up with the point of your triangle

DIY Christmas Bunting Necklace | e-elise etc

5.  Bend the wire at a right angle again, then trim down the end and use your round nose pliers to create a loop

DIY Christmas Bunting Necklace | e-elise etc

6. Now take the other end of your wire and thread on a few more beads so it will meet up with the other side. Then wrap this end of wire around the first wire below the loop to secure everything together in a triangle shape. Trim off any excess wire if necessary and you have a completed triangle pendant!

Repeat these steps until you have your desired amount of triangle pendants

7. Finally use jump rings to attach the pendants onto your chain, making sure they are evenly spaced apart and your necklace will be ready to wear!

DIY Christmas Bunting Necklace | e-elise etc

As always I'd love to hear from you if you try out this or any other project from my DIY Archives - if you liked this project don't forget to Pin it!

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Eight & Sixteen Projects... November

e&s november

It's been another good month over at Eight & Sixteen with an upcycle challenge, a Hunger Games themed week and the introduction of some festive projects and inspiration. Here's a quick roundup just in case you missed out...

- Tea Towel Upcycle Challenge Results: DIY Apron
- Book Review: Glitterville's Handmade Christmas
- DIY Hunger Games Garland
- 5 Simple Gift Wrap Ideas
- 20 Festive Decorations To DIY

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Character Style Inspiration - Madison Montgomery vs Zoe Benson (AHS Coven)

American Horror Story's third season Coven, which aired in 2013, was probably the most stylish to date. Focusing on a coven of modern day witches, the series follows the group as they try to figure out who is the next supreme. In true AHS tradition there are of course many weird and wonderful twists and turns along the way however at the centre of it all are two of the show's most stylish characters. Unable to choose which wardrobe to focus on first I've decided to look at both Madison and Zoe's styles in one post - which is your favourite?

Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts)
The more 'glamorous' of the two young witches has to be Madison who's wardrobe contains faux fur, leather, gold, knee high boots and a whole host of accessories. As a famous actress Madison doesn't seem used to dressing down although when she does - pairing a checked shirt, slogan tee and high waisted denim shorts - still manages to look stylish.

Shop the look: Alfie Douglas Black Leather Medium Backpack, Avenue 32 £260 | Metallic Cracked Print Cropped Shorts, Topshop £26 | Faux Fur Cossack Hat, Dune £35 | Velvet Choker Bauble, Topshop £5 | Bobble Lace Crop Tee, Topshop £16 | Pink Crop Faux Fur Jacket, Warehouse £65 | Kensington Over The Knee Boot, Miss Selfridge £59 | Ganni Leather Skirt, Zalando £160

Character Style Inspiration - Madison Montgomery vs Zoe Benson (American Horror Story Coven)
Zoe Benson (Taissa Farmiga)
Although still chic Zoe's style is much more laid back and tailored with a less girly vibe from dungarees, waistcoats, brogues and hats. Unlike Madison, girl-next-door Zoe doesn't sport much in the way of makeup or brand names and prefers to dress in a comfortable but fashionable way, often choosing dark colours and keeping accessories to a minimum. Zoe's wardrobe is also similar in some ways to that of season 1's Violet Harmon, also portrayed by Taissa Farmiga.

Shop the look: Toga Pulla Embossed Black Suede Buckled Boots, Avenue 32 £325 | Wool Hat, H&M £12.99 | Tori Velvet Leggings, Boohoo £12 | Sleeveless Crepe Duster, Topshop £40 | Leather Look Dungaree, Topshop £55 | Red Herring Black Patent Lace Up Brogues, Debenhams £32.50 | A.L.C. Crepe Bomber Jacket, Harrods £550 | Satin Wrap Board Shorts, Topshop £18

*Font used for graphics - Jenna Sue

Who's wardrobe do you prefer?

Love American Horror Story? Check out my other Character Style posts: Violet Harmon | Maggie Esmerelda
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