Tuesday, 31 March 2015

March Reads & Reviews

march reads and reviews 2015

Books marked with a * c/o Netgalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

Popular dystopian tale, and my first read of March, The Maze Runner (James Dashner, 2009) was on my mental list of possible re-reads for the year but after re-watching the film adaptation it jumped straight to the top of the list as I was curious to see how the two versions differed. I wrote about the two earlier this month however if you missed the post first time around you can catch up here.

Next I decided to catch up on a couple of review books I'd recently received from publishers/Netgalley, the first of which was murder mystery novel Rumors* (A.C. Arthur, 2014). The book introduces a group of characters who were close whilst at college ten years ago but have since gone their separate ways after a friend was murdered. Despite the interesting 'whodunnit' format, unfortunately I didn't really like any of the characters and was also disappointed to find that the mystery is not concluded within the novel. Another thing I should note is that although the book was pitched to team BB as part of a YA press release after reading it both myself and Ria felt that it was actually an adult novel - something to keep in mind if you're thinking of picking it up.

The second review book I read this month was We All Looked Up* (Tommy Wallach, 2015), which many bloggers seem to have fallen in love with. The story follows four teens after they learn that an asteroid named Ardor is headed towards the Earth, leaving them with potentially only a few weeks left to live. Unfortunately whilst I loved the thought-provoking concept I didn't really connect with any of the characters and therefore begun to lose interest towards to the middle of the novel. Having said that I'll be talking more about the elements of the novel I did enjoy over on Blogger's Bookshelf next month!

Next up was a short graphic novel, The City Of Ember (Jeanne DuPrau, Dallas Middaugh & Niklas Asker, 2012) which is based on author Jeanne DuPrau's novel of the same name. I thought this one was an interesting little read and am definitely keen to pick up the original novel to find out more about the characters, Ember's origins and all of the other little details left out of the adaptation.

Another graphic novel I picked up this month was Edward Scissorhands: Volume 1 Parts Unknown* (Kate Leth & Drew Rausch, 2015) which I was lucky enough to read prior to it's May release date. Rather than a re-telling of the 1990 Tim Burton film the graphic novel follows Kim's granddaughter Megan as she tries to prove that the stories about Edward are true. I'm going to be talking about this one in a future post so keep an eye out for that if you're intrigued!

My final read of this roundup was Marie Lu's Prodigy (2013), the first sequel in the Legend trilogy. Unfortunately it took me a little while to get through this one as I managed to catch a cold just after I started reading it and don't ever seem to be able to get any reading done when I don't feel well! Overall I did enjoy Prodigy, which continues to follow Day & June's action-packed storyline from the first instalment, and I'll definitely be reading the final book although sadly this series still isn't one of my favourites when it comes to the genre.

Reviews posted in March... The Island, Jen Minkman (2013) | Makery: Sewing, Kate Smith (2015)

What did you read this month?

Sunday, 29 March 2015

#PaperHaul - The Striped One

march paperhaul box review
paperhaul march 2015 005
Disclaimer: I purchased this box using the #paperhaul blogger discount - all opinions are my own.

The latest #paperhaul box has landed at e-elise etc and this month it's full of stripes! For the March instalment of this stationery lover's subscription box the team have handpicked a beautiful selection of items all featuring stripes inspired by nature, fashion and even a mug of tea.

As usual the box is full of top quality stationery goodies, in a variety of styles so there is definitely something to suit everyone. This time the box includes a washi tape with classic ruled paper design, quirky striped tie stickers, cute raccoon gift tags, a top hat-wearing zebra postcard and lots more.

This is traditionally the part of the post where I share my top picks from the box but honestly this time around I pretty much love everything making it far too difficult to choose favourites... In fact, this might just be my favourite box so far!

If you're interested in treating yourself to the next #paperhaul box you can sign up over at Crafty Creatives for just £10 per month.

Don't forget to catch up on my review of last month's box - The Bird One!

paperhaul march 2015 007

Friday, 27 March 2015

5 Celebrity-Inspired Ways To Style Dungarees

Today's post is inspired by a recent purchase as I finally caved and picked myself up a pair of black denim dungarees. Although lots of bloggers have been rocking this trend recently it's also one that some people seem to be shying away from, feeling unsure what to pair them with. Today I thought I would turn to some stylish celebrities for a few more ideas on how to step out of your comfort zone and feel confident to wear this trend. If you're struggling with how to style these comfy all-in-ones here are five looks to help inspire you...

1. Emma Watson | Simply Monochrome
Emma's classic look pairs simple black dungarees with a wardrobe staple white cotton blouse. The look is completed with comfortable slip on flats and a pair of stylish sunglasses. If you're unsure of how to wear dungarees Emma's monochrome look is the perfect way to ease yourself into the trend.

Get the look: Dungarees, H&M £29.99 | Python Print Trainers, La Redoute £29 | Cotton Shirt, Topshop Boutique £60 | Tom Ford Wayfarer Sunglasses, Liberty £235

Image of Emma Watson via seventeen.com

alexa chung dungarees
2. Alexa Chung | Perfect Layering
Alexa's take on the trend sees her pair a classic trench coat, plain shirt and comfortable moccasin style shoes with a more statement white pair of dungarees. This option is a perfect example of how layers can be worn both over and under dungarees - another great way to experiment with the trend.

Get the look: Dungarees, Topshop £65 | Belted Trench Coat, New Look £49.99 | Jil Sander Sunglasses, The Outnet £80 | Moccasins, Amazon £27 | Oversized Shirt, New Look £14.99

Image of Alexa Chung via vogue.es

olivia palermo dungarees 3. Olivia Palermo | Embellished Accessories
Olivia's chic but comfortable all-black ensemble layers a sheer top underneath the dungarees for a more feminine touch. The look comes to life with the help of embellished accessories such as bracelets, jewelled shoes and simple sunglasses with a sparkly twist showing that with a few little touches dungarees can be girly too!

Get the look: Dungarees, Topshop £48 | Mesh Top, House Of Fraser £45 | Embellished Flats, Dune £17 | Barry M Bright Red, River Island £3 | Stretch Bracelet Set, Accessorize £10 | Versace Embellished Sunglasses, My Theresa £106 | Tote Bag, Zalando £75

Image of Olivia Palermo via instyle.com

emma stone dungares 4. Emma Stone | Effortlessly Cool
Emma's look is casual yet stylish, teaming a lightwash pair of dungarees with a simple white top, sandals, sunglasses and a handy leather backpack. This take on the trend is perfect for a warm day exploring the city or running errands where comfort is key.

Get the look: Dungarees, House Of Fraser £65 | Essie Red Nouveau, Liberty £10.95 | Phillip Lim Sandals, Saks Fifth Avenue £267 | Leather Backpack, Radley £199 | RayBan Wayfarer Sunglasses, Very £125 | Sleeveless Blouse, Zalando £38

Image of Emma Stone via dailymail.co.uk

gwen stefani dungarees 5. Gwen Stefani | Statement Accessories
Gwen's look stands out from the rest as she's opted to wear the dungarees unfastened - a great idea for anyone a little anxious about rocking the all-in-one look. What really makes Gwen's outfit stand out are the bold accessories from the thick-rimmed glasses and slogan sweatshirt to the red shoelaces that match her signature red lip.

Get the look: Dungarees, House Of Fraser £305 | RayBan Optical Glasses, My Theresa £105 | Slogan Jumper, River Island £15 | Kurt Geiger Shoes, Debenhams £140 | Rimmel Kate Red Nose Lipstick, Superdrug £5.49 | Nails Inc Baker Street, Very £11

Image of Gwen Stefani via whowhatwear.com

So that's my roundup of 5 celebrity-inspired ways to wear the dungaree and overalls trend - which look is your favourite?

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Library Haul #11

library haul the perfectionist sara shepard under my skin james dawson

The Perfectionists, Sara Shepard (2014)
Having made a start on two of Shepard's other series - The Lying Game (which I've really enjoyed so far) and Pretty Little Liars (which I've found a little disappointing) - I was curious to find out more about The Perfectionists. Just like blogger's favourite PLL the story centres around a group of girls who in this case are framed for a murder they planned but didn't commit. I recently heard that this novel is being adapted into a TV series by the team behind PLL so it seemed like a good time to pick it up! As I have had mixed feeling towards Shepard's other series I'm looking forward to finding out where this one will fall on the scale.

Under My Skin, James Dawson (2015)
According to the blurb Under My Skin is the story of Sally & her pin-up tattoo Molly Sue who turns out to be more than just a pretty picture when she begins to take over Sally's life. As I really enjoyed both Cruel Summer and Say Her Name I've been looking forward to Dawson's latest YA horror release and can't wait to find out more!

What new books have you picked up recently?

Monday, 23 March 2015

Top 10 Nashville Duets

About two months ago I decided that I wanted to write a post all about the songs I've been playing on repeat recently... and then I realised the list would be made up exclusively of tracks from the Nashville soundtrack. After changing the format of this post from sorting the songs by volume then season I finally settled on a top 10 list of Nashville duets from the first two season's soundtracks. So, in no particular order here's the lowdown on my top ten Nashville duets!

top 10 nashville duets
Click on the song titles to listen to clips on YouTube!

1. If I Didn't Know Better (Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio as Scarlett & Gunnar)
What better way to kick off a list of duets than with this number from Nashville's pilot episode. The song, which on the show is originally a poem written by Scarlett (but is actually a Civil Wars cover), is performed by the duo in front of a small audience at the Bluebird cafe where they both work and marks the first of many times we hear this pair sing together. This one is best listened to through headphones where you'll be able to hear Clare's vocals in one ear and Sam's in the other.

2. Everything I'll Ever Need (Hayden Panettiere & Jonathan Jackson as Juliette & Avery)
After the world turns against her following a misinterpreted comment, a disheartened and disguised (very poorly I might add!) Juliette takes to the streets to do a little busking with Avery. Together they perform this short but catchy number and go on to collaborate on other songs such as Juliette's most popular track to date; Don't Put Dirt On My Grave Just Yet.

3. Telescope (Lennon & Maisy Stella as Maddie & Daphne)
This acoustic song is the sisters' calmer take on a sassy Juliette Barnes number performed by Hayden Panettiere, complete with dance routine, earlier in the season. On the show the pair choose to perform their version at a talent show with their parents watching proudly in the audience. Whilst Hayden's version of Telescope is upbeat, fun and full of energy - the perfect pop country mix - Lennon and Maisy's acoustic version is my favourite of the two.

4. Fade Into You (Clare Bowen & Sam Palladio as Scarlett & Gunnar)
Although I knew another Gunnar & Scarlett duet would be sneaking into this list I had some trouble deciding which one it should be so took to iTunes to find out which one I had played the most times which happened to be Fade into You. After the pair score a deal with Watty White Scarlett struggles to feel comfortable in the setting of a recording studio. After a little help from Avery the episode ends with the pair successfully recording this song.

top 10 nashville duets

5. Can't Say No To You (Chris Carmack & Hayden Panettiere as Will & Juliette)
Whilst on tour together Will and Juliette team up for this fun duet originally planned for Will to perform with girlfriend Layla and it's definitely one of my season two favourites. I also know for a fact that fifteen year old Erin never thought she'd find herself sitting here eleven years later listening to country songs sang by the actor who played 'golden retriever' Luke on teen drama The O.C. - the show that got me hooked on US dramas in the first place - but hey, sometimes things surprise you.

6. Ho Hey (Lennon & Maisy Stella as Maddie & Daphne)
My next pick is another cover version from this talented pair who perform this Lumineers song at one of their mother Rayna's soundchecks whilst hanging out backstage on her tour. I really loved this moment on the show and think it's a brilliant cover worthy of making the top 10!

7. Wrong Song (Connie Britton & Hayden Panettiere as Rayna & Juliette)
This is the first collab between the two leading ladies of Nashville who are forced by their record label to team up to save their careers. Although the pair are both reluctant to write together, or even be in the same room, the song turns out to be a huge success for these characters and they go on to collaborate again in season two on a track called He Ain't Gonna Change.

top 10 nashville duets

8. Ball & Chain (Connie Britton & Will Chase as Rayna & Luke)
On the show this catchy duet performed by the two country 'superstars' was originally penned by Gunnar (with a little help from Scarlett) who at the time was on tour with Luke as a songwriter. We first hear the song performed acoustically as Gunnar is working on finding the right lyrics, but when Rayna and Luke overhear it, Ball & Chain quickly becomes a hit duet for the pair. At first I wasn't so sure about this one but it's very catchy!

9. You Ain't Dolly (Clare Bowen & Chris Carmack as Scarlett & Will)
This cover version of an Ashley Monroe & Blake Shelton duet is one of my season one favourites. Even though whole song isn't featured on the show I had it stuck in my head for weeks after I first watched the episode! On a night out at a bar Scarlett is joined by Will and Gunnar to celebrate her new record deal when Will goes up on stage and announces her news to the whole bar, inviting her up on stage to sing and this duet is born!

10. Believing (Chip Esten &Lennon Stella as Deacon & Maddie)
My final choice may be a little bit of a cheat as the pair do have a tiny bit of help from Lennon's younger sister Maisy who chips in whilst watching them perform the acoustic song in Deacon's living room. As Deacon and Maddie begin to bond over guitar lessons they end up writing this song together and it's the perfect fit to accompany the final scenes of season 2 episode 11.

What have you been listening to lately?

top 10 nashville duets

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Watching, Reading, Listening #1

Netflix has been treating me well recently with several new additions to their catalogue that all went straight onto my 'to-watch' list. Kicking off with the second season of Bates Motel (just as brilliant as season 1), followed by new comedy show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (with it's unique premise that's a whole lot of fun to watch) and both the third & fourth seasons of Once Upon A Time (honestly just as confusing as ever!).

Of course I've also been keeping up with new episodes of Pretty Little Liars every week, as well as re-watching some of the earlier season five episodes in search of clues. Side note: how is it that almost all of the Big A theories still make sense?! I could spend this whole post talking round in circles about all of the clues, red herrings, big A suspects etc but I'm sure I'd only end up confusing myself even more! Needless to say I'm very much looking forward to the watching the season finale this week - if you have any Big A theories I'd love to hear them!

Over the last couple of weeks I've been catching up on some review books including Rumors (A C Arthur), We All Looked Up (Tommy Wallach), The Jewelry Recipe Book (Nancy Soriano) and an Edward Scissorhands graphic novel (Kate Leth & Drew Rausch) - keep an eye out for reviews coming soon! I'm currently reading Prodigy, the second novel in Marie Lu's popular YA trilogy and am enjoying it so far.

Although I've never been a big podcast listener in the past recently I've found two new favourites that have made walking home from work a little more fun. Back when LOST & Dexter were in their final seasons I used to listen to the weekly wrap up podcasts and really enjoyed hearing all of the theories, clues and interviews. With the fifth season of Pretty Little Liars about to come to an end the #BigAReveal drama has definitely got me on the look out for any hidden clues so I've been catching up on the After Buzz Pretty Little Liars After Show podcast (also available to watch on YouTube) to hear all of the team's theories.

I've also been enjoying listening to comedian April Richardson's Go Bayside! a Saved By The Bell podcast. Each episode April invites a different guest to watch an episode of the show with her which they then discuss (or rather, often rip to shreds) on the podcast. I was a big fan of Saved By The Bell growing up - if you were too you'll probably love Go Bayside!

What have you been watching, reading & listening to lately?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Character Style Inspiration - Emma Swan (Once Upon A Time)

character style inspiration emma swan once upon a time
Images of Jennifer Morrison via imdb.com

Today's Character Style feature is all about Once Upon A Time's leading lady Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison). Although her wardrobe is made up mainly of basic staple pieces Emma's style is far from dull and is perfectly suited to the character.

Her signature outfit of a leather jacket (most notably in red!), skinny jeans, boots and a comfortable tee is perfect for both her role as sheriff of Storybrooke and all of the fairytale adventures she finds herself a part of. Alongside the tough leather jackets, softer staples such as roll neck jumpers and other cosy knits also make frequent appearances.

Emma's wardrobe features a rather muted palette, with greys and earthy tones being the basis for most outfits. Each look is usually topped off with very simple accessories in the form of small silver hoop earrings, a leather wrap bracelet and her signature necklaces - the delicate silver circle and namesake swan pendant.

Shop the look: Wrap Bracelet, Saks Fifth Avenue £212 | Red Leather Jacket, Zalando £190 | Silk Blend Shirt, Covetique £185 | Dark Vintage Wash Jeans, Topshop £40 | Sleeveless Top, Yoox £18 | Hoop Earrings, Macy's £11.98 | Ankle Boots, MyTheresa £525 | Boyfriend T-Shirt, Stylebop £85 | Tall Boots, Long Tall Sally (sold out) | Boucle Cocoon Cardigan, Tesco £12 | Washed Black Baxter Jeans, Topshop £40 | Tan Leather Jacket, Zalando £250 | Hammered Circle Pendant, Accessorize £12 | Cable Knit Jumper, Coggles £95 | Black Waterfall Jacket, River Island £60 | Coated Biker Jeans, Topshop £45 | Roll Neck, House Of Fraser £65 | Barry M Berry Red Polish, River Island £3 | Eugenia Kim Beanie, Barneys $235 (approx £160) | Swan Talisman Necklace, Pyrrha $166 (approx £112)

Love Once Upon A Time? Check out my other Character Style posts: Dark Swan | Mary Margaret Blanchard

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

2015 Re-Read Challenge #2 - The Maze Runner, James Dashner (2009)

the maze runner novel james dashner
This post may contain spoilers for the plot of both The Maze Runner novel & film!

For my second re-read of the year I took to my bookshelves and picked up my rather battered well-loved copy of The Maze Runner. Inspired by a birthday gift of the film adaptation on DVD, the choice for book two in my 2015 challenge suddenly seemed to be pretty obvious.

As often happens when books become films the plot of the adaptation had quickly become the version of the story that stuck in my mind most prominently having seen it more recently - in this case the film was released around two years after I first read the book. Eager to remember all of the original novel's little details that had since been lost in my mind, and intrigued to take a closer look at just how much the two versions differ I decided to revisit them both this month.

What I found was that there were a lot more differences between the two than I had initially thought including changes to important parts of the original story such as how the Gladers go about solving the maze and attempting their escape. Also omitted from the adaptation were the little details such as Beetle Blades, which in the book are used to spy on the group, and Thomas & Theresa's ability to communicate telepathically. Although the two versions differ on some of the major plot points this adaptation proves that the story certainly doesn't have to stay the same to make sense or to be a success.

I'm really pleased that the film's DVD release pushed me to choose The Maze Runner as my second re-read of the year and hope to find time to revisit both The Scorch Trials & The Death Cure before the release of The Fever Code in 2016. According to reports the new instalment will explore the creation of the maze and how the group came to be there - I can't wait to find out more!

Don't forget to catch up on my first re-read of the challenge; The Stepford Wives!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Library Haul #10

library haul 10 e-eliseetc

You, Austin Grossman (2013)
Having read somewhere that this gaming-themed novel is perfect for fans of Ready Player One (Ernest Cline), which happens to be a favourite of mine, I thought it would be worth picking up. The synopsis sounds very intriguing and I'm looking forward to finding out more!

Unwind, Neal Shusterman (2007)
I first read this book back in 2012 and the Unwind series has remained one of my favourites when it comes to YA dystopian tales. My mum is currently making her way through the series so when she finished with the first installment I thought I'd hold on to it myself with the hope I'll be able to find time to make it my third re-read of the year.

Buy.ology, Martin Lindstrom (2008)
I recently heard about this non-fiction title over on Ahem, It's Emme where Emily recommended it as a great way to learn more about the psychlogy behind how we shop. According to the blurb the author is a branding guru so I think this one could be a very interesting read!

The City Of Ember: The Graphic Novel, Jeanne DuPrau (2012)
This graphic novel is a re-telling of DuPrau's 2003 dystopian novel of the same name which is also on my 'to-read' list. As yet I haven't had much luck with finding any graphic novels that I love (Powerpuff Girls aside!), so I'm hoping this quick read will be one to add to the favourites list.

Don't forget to catch up on my last Library Haul & follow me on Goodreads for more reading updates! 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Character Style Inspiration - Kimmy Schmidt (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)

Character Style Inspiration Kimmy Schmidt (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)
Images of Ellie Kemper via imdb.com

Things are getting colourful today here at e-elise etc for my latest style post! Whilst she may not be a 'stylish' character in the typical sense Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) from Netflix's latest comedy release Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt certainly has a fun and distinctive look worthy of a Character Style post!

After being kidnapped and trapped in a bunker as part of a doomsday cult Kimmy has been stuck in the same drab outfits for the last fifteen years, so understandably once back in the real world beginning her life again in New York, Kimmy can be found sporting nothing but bright, bold ensembles.

This quirky character's wardrobe consists of colourful and fun pieces perfect for a mix and matched look. Kimmy can often be found layering jumpers and cardigans over shirts or pairing plain tees with bold printed skirts and trousers. Accessory-wise jewellery makes an appearance in every outfit from simple silver necklaces to colourful friendship bracelets and sparkly hairclips. Another key element is the addition of a bright crossbody handbag or colourful yet practical backpack!

Pink features prominently within many of her looks particularly in the earlier episodes, with stripes and florals also often popping up later in the series. She even treats herself to a pair of sparkly light up trainers in the first episode!

Shop the look: Cashmere Crew Neck Jumper, Boden £99 | Silver Cubist Necklace, Links Of London £170 | Skater Skirt, New Look £12.99 | Nudie Jeans - Light Blue, Liberty £115 | Ottoman Stripe Cardigan, House Of Fraser £65 | Floral Print Prom Skirt, Tesco £17 | Glitter Converse, Schuh £50 | The Forever Cardigan, Oasis £25 | Slim Fit Pink Jeans, Zalando £34 | Trance Light Up Trainers, Topshop £55 | Denim Jacket, Zalando £25 | Jersey Dress, Zalando £14 | Floral Bomber Jacket, The Hut £22 | Leafy Lace Top, House Of Fraser £19 | Floral Print Trousers, Browns £225 | Striped Backpack, O'Neill £31.88 | Friendship Bracelets, River Island £15 | Chiffon Sleeve Top, John Lewis £15 | Mini Cable Jumper, House Of Fraser £29.90 | Espadrilles, Yoox £53 | Print Cotton Shirt, Liberty £95 | Faux Leather Crossbody Bag, Forever 21 £13.90 | Barry M Lipstick, Superdrug £4.49

Monday, 9 March 2015

2015 Re-Read Challenge #1 - The Stepford Wives, Ira Levin (1972)

When I planned to challenge myself to re-read five books throughout 2015 I definitely thought about which titles I might choose but ultimately, after discovering last year that making lists of specific books just doesn't work for me, decided not to select them all in advance. Although I do have a few titles in mind I'm hoping that the final lineup of re-reads will be a nice surprise... even to me!

February saw me pick up my first re-read of the challenge; The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin (1972). Whilst I can't deny the fact that this was in part down to the small pagecount, which I thought would make the book a nice break in between longer reads, I also wanted to revisit the novel I 'speed-read' but enjoyed over 6 years ago as part of a project at university.

The book follows photographer Joanna who moves with her family, husband Walter and their two young children, to the seemingly perfect town of Stepford which in reality is hiding a huge secret. Soon Joanna begins to suspect that all is not what it seems in the town of Stepford, but can she expose the town's secrets and get out before it's too late?

Of course The Stepford Wives is one of those famous stories that everyone has heard about and I actually think it's a real shame that I wasn't able to pick up this book (on either read) without any knowledge of how the story would end and what the twist would be. Having said that I did enjoy revisiting the idea and filling in any details and gaps in the story that I might have missed first time around. Overall I'm glad I chose to re-read the book and am hoping to revisit the film adaptation (original 1975 version) again at some point too.

So far I'm feeling really positive about the re-reading challenge and at the time of writing this post I'm currently onto my second re-read of the year - at this rate maybe I'll be able to find time for more than five re-reads in 2015!

Have you set any reading goals for 2015?

Sunday, 8 March 2015

DIY Beaded Wrap Bracelets

As you may have noticed the DIYs have been a little sparse around here lately as to be honest I haven't been feeling inspired to craft. Today I thought I'd grab a few jewellery supplies from my stash and attempt to get back into the spirit with this simple but effective project. These bracelets are really easy to make as well as customise to suit your style, plus they make brilliant gifts for friends and family!

You will need: thin waxed cord, crimp beads/other small beads, a clasp, cord ends/crimps (I've used 'calotte' style crimps), scissors, flat jewellery pliers

1. First take your waxed cord and cut a length around 3.5-4 times the size of your wrist, then thread on as many beads as you like.

2. Once you are happy with the amount of beads you'll need to add on the cord or crimp ends. If you're using calottes thread these onto the ends of your bracelet cord. Tie knots or add on crimp beads to secure the ends of the bracelet then close the crimp ends over this to fix in place. Then add on a small clasp to fasten the bracelet.

3. Finally, slide the beads around the bracelet to arrange them however you'd like. If you're using crimp beads you can also secure them in place using pliers if you wish or alternatively leave the beads to move freely around the bracelet.

Happy DIY-ing!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

40 Awesome Book-Inspired Craft Projects

As today is World Book Day I thought it might be nice to celebrate by sharing a roundup of some book-inspired DIY & craft projects. I've scoured Pinterest and other sites to find some of the best ideas for crafting all things book-related, from actual bookshelves and storage to bookmarks, jewellery and more! Don't forget, if you don't want to use old books for your projects you can always use photocopied pages or craft boxes designed to look like books instead!

Home Decor & Homewares
1. Stacked Books Table Lamp
2. Repurposed Book Coat Rack
3. Book Headboard
4. Book Page Ornament
5. 'The Grim' Mug (inspired by Harry Potter)
6. Written Mural
7. Palette Coffee Table
8. Book Page Bunting
9. Poetry Pillows
10. Book Planters

Bookshelves & Storage
1. Anthro Bookcase
2. Geometric Concrete Bookends
3. Wallpapered Bookshelves
4. Washi Tape Shelf Edging
5. Fabric Book Basket
6. Ladder Bookshelf
7. License Plate Bookends
8. Picture Frame Bookshelves
9. Book Slings
10. Drawer Bookshelf

Bookmarks & Book Covers
1. Linen Bookmarks
2. Paper Book Covers 
3. Arrow Bookmarks
4. Upcycled Bookmarks
5. Fabric Covered Books
6. Pom Pom Bookmarks
7. Magnetic Washi Tape Bookmark
8. Bookmarks & Journal Wraps
9. Felt Heart Bookmark
10. Cat Bookmark

Jewellery & Accessories
1. Vintage Book Clutch
2. Miniature Book Bracelet (inspired by John Green)
3. Decoupage Book Shoes
4. Skirt With Pockets (inspired by Red Riding Hood)
5. Storybook Paper Rose Bouquet
6. Mini Book Necklace
7. Tote Bag (inspired by Dr Seuss)
8. Wire Arrow Necklace (inspired by The Hunger Games)
9. Quote Scarf
10. Book Bangle (inspired by Pride & Prejudice)

Happy World Book Day!

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Makery: Sewing

*Review copy c/o Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, image via Goodreads
makery sewing kate smith

Makery: Sewing is the second crafty title from The Makery founder Kate Smith who's passion for creating shines through in the book which includes over 30 sewing projects to inspire readers to get sewing!

Similarly to the original book simply titled Makery (which is also a brilliant one to have in your collection) the design is beautiful with a colour-themed cover and stylish layout. The full page colour photographs are really lovely and showcase the projects well with additional line illustrations also included to help with some of the trickier tutorial steps. The final section of the book shares details and illustrations demonstrating different types of stitches and techniques that will come in handy along the way, perfect for those who may be new to sewing or some of the processes used. Speaking of which, don't be put off if you're not an expert sewer, the projects found in this book are varied and there's some great ideas for beginners.

The projects are split into three categories - Fashion, Gifts and Home - making it easy to find exactly what you're looking for. My personal favourites from each category would have to be the Vintage Belt Bag, a pretty embroidered linen tote with upcycled leather belt handles, the Book Covers made from bold patterned fabrics and the Sweet Tin Foot Stool another upcycle which uses an old tin to create a modern and unique piece of furniture.

Sewing would be the perfect gift for any experienced or aspiring crafter in your life, or even as a little treat for yourself. Once again The Makery's Kate Smith has managed to come up with some wonderful ideas which are presented beautifully and are sure to inspire readers - I for one hope to see more books from her in future!

Makery: Sewing is available now!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Character Style Inspiration - Melissa Joan Hart's Most Famous Roles

Images of Melissa Joan Hart via imdb.com
Today's Character Style post in a 3-in-1 special featuring Melissa Joan Hart's most famous roles. After reading her autobiography Melissa Explains It All earlier this year, and as a fan of all three of these shows, I was inspired to take a look at how the famous character's wardrobes compare.

In her role as Nickelodeon's first female lead Clarissa Darling (Clarissa Explains It All 1991-1994), Melissa's wardrobe was full of quirky, mis-matched early 90's ensembles which broke away from the trend of matching sets. In a behind-the-scenes feature a sixteen year old Melissa Joan Hart sums up her character's style as 'fun, imaginative' with 'no boundaries' and even shows off the small padlocks that adorned every pair of her shoes. Clashing colours, bold patterns, oversized pieces and lots of jewellery make Clarissa's statement wardrobe unique and perfect for the sassy teen.

Next up in her role as Sabrina Spellman on another Nickelodeon show Sabrina The Teenage Witch (1996-2003), her everyday outfits reflected those found in other US high school based TV shows of the era - making UK teens in their uniforms envious! Her wardrobe even played a key part in the opening credits sequence during the earlier seasons which featured many fancy dress ensembles, and with the magic ability to change an outfit in seconds, why not have a little fun?! Cosy fine knit tops, mini skirts, collared shirts, choker necklaces, a trusty leather backpack and a whole lot of velvet all feature heavily - most of which are firm features in every high street shop and magazine today, over ten years later.

Finally Melissa's current role as town council woman Mel Burke (Melissa & Joey 2010-present) comes with it's own unique wardrobe, this time full of tailored pieces, designer heels and statement jewellery. In a backstage tour video Melissa shows the audience a sneak peek of the wardrobe department naming Karen Millen, Kate Spade and the Olsen twins brand Elizabeth & James as some of her favourite designers to wear on the show. Although she does seem to favour the occasional floral print or stripe, Mel's outfits often consist of more plain coloured items without the bolder prints we saw on both Clarissa and Sabrina.

Which MJH character's wardrobe is your favourite?

Monday, 2 March 2015

February Reads & Reviews

Considering it's the shortest month of the year February wasn't bad on the reading front. Not only did I manage to make a start on my 2015 re-reads challenge but I also finally got to finish a series that's been a favourite since I started blogging about books over two years ago. Undivided (2014), is the fourth and final novel in Neal Shusterman's Unwind series which follows a trio of teens set to be 'unwound', a process where all of their organs are transplanted into different donors leaving them technically alive but no longer whole. I won't say anything about the actual plot of the final book as I don't want to spoil the conclusion for anyone who might be planning on reading the series but I will say it was definitely my favourite read of the month!

I followed up with the second title in another series I recently started, Flawless (Sara Shepard, 2006), which follows the group best known as the Pretty Little Liars. The story picks up where the first book left off with the girls still trying to solve the mystery of A, and of course there were a few more twists and turns thrown in along the way. Just like the previous book I thought it was a nice quick read however I'm still firmly more of a fan of the show than the original novels.

Next up I read The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting (Holly Bourne, 2014) a YA novel which I felt had definite Mean Girls vibes. Set in the UK the book tells the story of seventeen year old Bree a wannabe author looking to lead a more interesting life that will inspire her next novel. As part of the plan Bree gets a makeover and works her way into the popular clique whilst secretly blogging about the whole experience. I picked up this title from my local library based on the many positive reviews I'd read online however it didn't turn out to be a favourite for me and I think it would perhaps be better suited to readers around Bree's age.

Another title I'd seen great reviews for was Love Letters To The Dead (Ava Dellaira, 2014) an epistolary novel with an intriguing plot focusing on teenager Laurel and the mystery of what happened to her older sister May. What starts out as an English assignment to write a letter to a dead person turns into a comforting way for Laurel to deal with her feelings and tell her story, filling a whole book with letters to various celebrities. Along the way we learn not just about Laurel's story but also snippets of the lives of those she is addressing the letters to which I thought was an interesting addition.

The final book in this roundup was also my first re-read of the year (and only my fourth re-read ever!) The Stepford Wives (Ira Levin, 1972). I'm sure most of you will already be familiar with the unique plot of The Stepford Wives but I'll be posting more about this one as part of the first update on my 2015 challenge so keep an eye out for that if you're intrigued to hear more about the classic title.

Reviews posted in February...
- Beaded Jewelry: Wire Work Techniques, Carson Eddy, Rachael Evans & Kate Feld (2015)
- Beaded Jewelry: Knotting Techniques, Carson Eddy, Rachael Evans & Kate Feld (2015)
- Pretty Little Liars, Sara Shepard (2006)
- The Bookshop Book, Jen Campbell (2014) 
- Cut Out + Keep: Around The USA In 50 Craft Projects, Cat Morley & Tom Waddington (2015)

What did you read this month?
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