Thursday, October 27, 2016

Personalised Last Minute Presents for Your Loved Ones

Are you one of those people that leaves everything until the last minute? If you are then you’re probably just like me - hopeless at any form of organization. It’s not that I mean to be, I always plan to turn up on time and I always plan to be prepared…but life gets in the way sometimes and very often things just don’t go to plan! Yes, it is a flaw that I’m working on but there are things out there to help us Slow Joes pick up the pace!

Gifting companies realized a long time ago that more often than we like to admit, we forget very important occasions and need last minute fixes that aren’t just a ‘trip to the local supermarket to grab whatever you can find’. I’ve been stuck in that situation far too many times and after I exhausted all our garage garden centres and local convenience stores for those really predictable flowers and chocolates, I came to the conclusion that I needed to seriously up my game. So thus began the quest for special gifts for those special people who really deserved more of my attention!

However, what I actually found was a whole world of lovely personalised gifts, that have a quick turn around - it was like it was designed with me in mind! Anyway, for all you last minute buyers, here are a couple of customised gift ideas that will ensure you don’t end up in the dog house…

Engraved Jewellery

This was definitely my favourite find! Hold Upon Heart create qualityfingerprint jewellery that you can have engraved with yours or your loved one’s finger, hand or footprints on! Usually they create Foundry Cast jewellery that can take a couple of weeks to design and complete, but lo and behold this family-run business has answered my prayers with a delivery service for personalised engraved jewellery that takes only 7 days - bingo. The engraved jewellery option is lighter and takes less time to make than the Foundry Cast, though they are still made with the same love and precision, and put onto silver necklaces, bracelets, charms, key rings and cufflinks. The ideal gift for a loved one or close family member - you can even have your pet’s pawprints engraved onto them!

Homemade Gifts

Ok, so if you’re thrifty you could definitely give DIY present-making a go. Unfortunately I am not much of a creative genius, but there are hundreds of wonderful ideas on the net - I found the best ones on Pinterest! One of the gifts I thought was completely adorable was (a little bit cheesy but very sweet) a book made out of a deck of playing cards and on the back of every card was a reason why you loved that person, or a memory. There’s 52 cards in a deck so on the front it was labelled ’52 reasons why I love you’, you could also do ’52 times you made me laugh’ or tailor it appropriately to the person you’re gifting! Using ring binders, a hole punch, a pack of cards and a sharpie pen, you could easily whip this up in an hour or two! And it’ll make such an impact.

Night In Hamper Basket

Another DIYer, this gift is great for saying ‘congratulations!’ or ‘I’m sorry’… you know, one those nice gestures you can create within the hour. Grab a box or basket and fill it with treats for your loved one - one the ideas I saw online was a ‘night in hamper’; complete with a choice of new DVDs, the person’s favourite sweet treats and a bottle of bubbly - it’s a lovely personalised gift that’ll cost pennies

Name a Star

If you want something special for a partner or perhaps even a youngster, the name a star gift is perfect for last minute panics! The registration can either be sent in the post which takes around 4 days or they can email you the paperwork to print and gift yourself! You get to register your name or a loved one’s name (for life) to either a single star, a binary star or a whole constellation that is visible from the UK. Imagine gazing up into the night sky and seeing the ‘Samuel’ star or the ‘Catherine’ constellation…

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The 5 Best Ways to Make Use of Discarded Fabric and Bits & Bobs

There are so many ways to cleverly up-cycle old bits of fabric and all those bits and bobs you've kept aside for all these years, in the hope that they’ll be useful one day! Well now it’s the summer holidays you may want some side projects for yourself or your children to get creative with, so here is a list of ways you can finally use up those hoarded haberdashery craft pieces!

1.) Patchwork Pillow Cases and Bedding

Using patchwork squares of selected prints and colours, stitch them together to form a beautiful handcrafted pillow case! It’s one of the simplest things to create using old craps of fabric and you can embellish them with lace, ribbons, buttons, sequins and beads to make them as extravagant or as simple as you wish.

Blankets and bedding are just as easy - so you can make a whole set! If you’re into your design, sit and draw out plans and ideas of colour schemes before you get sewing, then when your ready stitch up a storm that the whole family can enjoy snuggling up in!

2.) Brooches

A great little craft that will make lovely presents for friends and family! Brooches can be created from scrap fabrics, buttons and beads with the help of a ready made pin. You don’t even have to be good with a needle to create brooches - a simple cut and stick with some strong craft glue can have any pin looking splendid.

Pins can get a bit fiddly so aim to make slightly oversized ones for statement looks and the ease of getting it all together! Recreate looks you’ve seen on the high street or make up your own unique badge.

3.) Button Jewellery

I find it funny that both me and my mother (from a very young age) have stored and collected buttons of all shapes and sizesover the years and kept them in a tub in our craft cupboard. I’m rather proud of the amount I’ve managed to harbour and now I’m looking to finally use them on a project! A friend of mine suggested making my own jewellery line using the distinguished buttons I’ve found over a lifetime of hoarding.

Necklaces, bracelets, key-rings, stud earrings, charms and rings can all be crafted from threading, glueing and stitching your buttons onto either already bought ring backs/chains or by making the whole thing from fabric like the one pictured!

4.) Tote Bags

 Or any kind of bag in fact: clutches, shoppers, duffles, gym bags, satchels etc… Jazz up any dying breed with iron on patches, suffolk puffs, buttons, broken jewellery, bits of lace and crochet and whatever else you can find.

These are super cute for summer walks, picnics and festivals - reaping that homemade, organic vibe. You won’t find anything this unique in a store. This is also a great project to get the kids involved with - give them some colouring pencils and help them to design their ideal fashion bag that you can then replicate!

5.) Useful Craft Accessories

 I’m always needing bookmarks, pins, paperclips and magnets… the silly little things that you detest spending money on in high street stores, but that would make your life a bit more organised. Well, make your own! There’s dozens of online tutorials showing you how to turn boring metallic paperclips into funky bookmarks using buttons etc. Just use your imagination!

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