I’ve wanted to join in with Littlegreenshed’s Nature In The Home series for so long,but somehow have never quite got my act together. A quiet home-based weekend gave me the opportunity to have a go at this week’s challenge – a Christmas table centrepiece. I haven’t been very well,so going out to forage for something beautiful or popping to the florist wasn’t really an option – instead I made do with what we had to hand,grabbing my secateurs and heading into the garden to snip a few twigs.
Our Christmas tree and decorations won’t be up for another week yet (although my IG feed is full of beautiful,sparkling trees,I’m sticking to my guns and not putting our tree up until we’re past the middle of the month),but I felt the twigs needed a bit of a festive touch,so I opted for some simple white stars.
The fact there’s now a small nod to Christmas on our kitchen table has cheered me up,and I think a few more jars of twigs will be appearing around our house over the next week while I gear up for the explosion of decorations next weekend.
This post is a bit of a case of better late than never,but after I posted my 25 favourite homemade advent calendar ideas a couple of weeks ago,I could hardly fail to show you my own attempt,could I?
I used my Cricut mini (my electronic cutting machine) to cut out the advent numbers,and tied a loop (made from some baker’s twine I had left over from last year’s Christmas stash) to each number. 24 wooden pegs were given a quick update with red and white striped washi tape,and then I added a blob of blue tack to the back of each peg,ready for attaching them to the wall.
I wanted some little envelopes,and these ones from Pipii were perfect. I cut out 24 simple tag shapes,wrote a different advent activity on each and slotted them into the envelopes. At the last minute I also added a marble for each of the twins to each envelope,so that they can collect these over advent until Christmas Day when we’ll give them a cute wooden marble run we picked up on eBay.
I popped one envelope on each peg,hooked the corresponding number over the top of the peg,and stuck the pegs to the wall in a tree arrangement (it took a bit of tweaking to get the tree looking just right) on the landing at the top of our stairs.
I love that the calendar adds a decorative element to an otherwise plain wall (I have plans for this wall in 2014),it’s been a hit with the twins,and I’ll definitely be packing this carefully away at the end of the holidays ready to bring out again next year.
I have Christmas craft projects stacking up,and it’s probably time to face the fact that I’m not going to have time to make them all this year. Luckily I can head over to Etsy to buy decorations that are still handmade,just not made by my fair hand. All of these ten decorations are things I’d choose to adorn my own home with over the festive season.
Etsy product details
1. Merry Christmas vintage card banner by AmyKristineVintage,£6.31 plus postage (from US)
2. Felt Christmas tree decoration by JessQuinnSmallArt,£14.50 plus postage
3. Winter Christmas town paper decoration by GreenCaligo,£10 plus postage
4. Vintage book decorative Christmas stars by BeneathTheWeather, £5 for five plus postage
5. Christmas printable ornament set by SamOsborneShop, £2.75 for four
6. Retro fabric Christmas light ornaments by bluesandbranches,£15.14 for six plus postage
7. 20 2″Vintage Reindeer Kraft Christmas or Favor Stickers,Gift Wrap,Envelope Seals by StudioFourSeventeen, £2.84 plus postage (from US)
8. Peace Christmas wreath by knitsnbits,£22 plus postage
9. Crochet mistletoe Christmas decoration by TealandMustard,£5 each plus postage
10. Owl Christmas ornaments by PrinceDesignUk,£8.83 for three plus postage
The days are drawing in,and the lights are going on earlier and earlier in the day. To me,fairy lights are for life,not just for Christmas and in our house our string lights are up all year round. We have them strung up around the kitchen window,and on the shelving unit in the living room and I use them as an extra layer of lighting to add warmth and fun to the spaces.
There are so many creative ways to use string lights around the home – they work in every room in the house and are a quick and easy way to add impact to a dull corner. Check out these clever light garland ideas – I’ve been lusting over hollywood light letters for ages,so I’m definitely going to be trying the DIY illuminated monogram very soon..
For more ideas for light garlands check out my For The Love Of Fairy Lights Pinterest board…
Eat Drink Chic
Polka Dot Bride
As anyone with young children knows only too well,sleep is the holy grail. I can’t think of any time in the last four years that I haven’t craved more of it,and I probably spend a good proportion of my waking hours moaning about not having had enough of it and dreaming about when I can get some more.
Because of this obsession with all things sleep-related,I reckon I have become rather an expert about how to optimise my chances of a good night’s kip. I even compare notes with friends so I can store up their sleep tips to implement into my own routine. How you like to arrange your sleeping space is a very personal thing –some people need complete darkness,others like to wake up to natural light –but these are the top ten things that help me see myself off to the land of nod:
- Get the bedroom space right
- Keep on top of clutter
- Use blackout fabric for window dressings
- Invest in good bedding and bed linen
- Turn the phone off in the bedroom
- Read before going to sleep
- Make earplugs your friend
- Go to loo before settling down for the night
- Make sure you’re warm enough
- Keep an eye mask by your bed to put on if you wake at dawn
When The Fine Bedding Company offered me some help with number 4 on my list,‘Invest in good bedding and bed linen’,I couldn’t wait to get their advice. After answering some questions about my sleep experience,their sleep expert recommended a duvet they thought would help me get a better night’s sleep. The biggest problem with our old duvet was that I was generally cold in bed,whereas my husband Ben was always too warm. He used to throw off the duvet and it would end up bunched up,annoying both of us. Plus,Ben works nights so regularly has to sleep during the day and finding a duvet to suit both daytime and night-time sleep is tricky.
The duvet that The Fine Bedding Company sent to me to review was their brand new Breathe product (available instore now and online from April 2014), from their range of synthetic duvets. It’s billed as “clever climate control bedding”and is designed to regular a person’s temperature to their optimum throughout the night for the best sleep. The 10.5 tog duvet turned up at the perfect time – just as the nights were getting colder. I was really impressed with the fact that the duvet arrived in a smart bag,rather than a box. This meant I could stuff my old duvet into the bag and store it away more easily.
The duvet itself is like those plush duvets you get in good hotels. Gorgeously fluffy and luxurious,without being so heavy it pins you to the bed. It makes it a real pleasure to climb into bed in the evening (in fact,I can frequently be found sneaking into bed to check my emails during the day,too). But did the Breathe duvet live up to it’s “climate control”claims? Both Ben and I have definitely noticed that we haven’t been too hot or too cold overnight. The duvet hasn’t been thrown off by Ben,and I adore snuggling into it,thanks to the fluffiness of the filling. It would appear that the temperature-regulating properties are doing their job.
One of our first big purchases together when we bought our first house was investing in a good-quality mattress. That made a huge difference to my quality of sleep,and I think that getting the duvet right is another major element that shouldn’t be overlooked. In retrospect,we haven’t hit the mark before,but I think the Breathe duvet has made us realise how much the right bedding can improve your sleep. It gets a major thumbs up from us,and I can’t wait to be able to spend a leisurely morning reading the papers in bed,instead of being woken before it’s even light by two full-of-energy four-year-olds. I’ll keep on dreaming.
In the meantime,I highly recommend you head over to consult the sleep expert on The Fine Bedding Company’s website to find out what duvet they’d advise for you.
I was sent the Breathe duvet by The Fine Bedding Company free of charge for the purposes of this review,but my opinions remain completely honest.
We’ve used plywood plenty of times in projects around our house,but its always been hidden away rather than left on show in its natural state. I keep coming across fantastic home design ideas using plywood in all its glory,and I love the clean and modern look it gives to a space. Plywood – a manufactured wood panel made from layers of wood veneer which is available in a number of different thicknesses – is cheap,easy to work with and offers huge design potential,making it perfect for experimenting with ideas for kids’rooms (and grown-up spaces,too).
Here are a few that would work brilliantly in a child’s room…
Lolita Lo via Pinterest
I’m not quite sure what got me thinking about churros today,but once I got them in my head I wasn’t going to be able to forget them in a hurry! It’s probably something to do with all the funfairs around at local firework displays –I always associate a funfair with a wonderful paper bag full of freshly fried mini donuts,still warm and covered in sugar. The mouth-watering combination of warm dough,cinnamon sugar and hot dipping chocolate make churros a difficult treat to beat for me,and yet I’ve never tried to make them myself. I probably won’t get the chance to correct that this weekend,but if there was something I’d love to be left alone in the kitchen to cook,this recipe
from Just A Taste would be it.
Recipe and photographs from Just A Taste
This week I jumped on a train into London to attend a workshop with Cricut,where I got let loose on one of their electronic cutting machines. After a quick tutorial on the Cricut Mini
,fellow blogger Elizabeth from Rosalilium
and I were chomping at the bit to have a go,although we were more than a little overwhelmed with the scope of what there was we could try. Rather than focusing on paper cutting,we had access to Cricut’s vinyl and iron-on vinyl so we could try out ideas for home decor. There were some cushion covers we could use,so I decided to make the twins one each for their beds.
Using the selection of images on the online image gallery,I found my cloud and raindrop designs,and set the machine cutting. The workshop was held in the truly fantastic sewing cafe and workshop space Homemade London (how much do I want to open my very own workshop space near me?!),so there was an iron and ironing board to hand so I could transfer the image straight onto the cushion covers. I thought I was finished but then Cricut’s design guru suggested I add the twins’initials to the clouds (you can layer the vinyl),so I grabbed the chance to try out the fantastic glitter iron-on vinyl (especially after seeing Elizabeth’s amazing glittered cushion cover).
I was really pleased with how they turned out considering how quick they were to do and I got to take a present back to the twins which made me rather popular on my return.
All the way home my head was buzzing with ideas of things I could make using the Cricut mini and I’d started a paper-cutting Pinterest board within an hour of walking through the door.
Somehow I think more projects will be coming soon!
I know I’ve shared my pompom garland before,but garlands in general are totally rocking my world at the moment. An easy craft project that can make a big impact,garlands are so versatile they can be used all over the home,from strung across shelves,headboards and mirrors,to adding colour to a case of branches or the back of a door. And of course,festive garlands are an absolute must once the holiday season descends.
I’m always on the lookout for garlands that look simple to make and these are a few that have caught my eye recently and could be done in an evening whilst sat watching telly.
1. Pompom garland,Growing Spaces
2. Paper cone garland from Oh Happy Day
3. Miniature fabric flower garland from Once Wed
4. Knotted rope garland from Paper &Stitch