The Foolproof Tree Decorating Guide

In all the years I have been putting up my tree and decorations there is always something I have forgotten to do, whether it be to check the lights work or having to take all the decorations off because I havent added them to the tree, so today I’m going to share a guide on how to decorate the tree.  Unfortunately there are no pics as I was having too much fun and totally forgot about taking any…

  1. Choose where your tree will be placed, check that there is a power socket near by for the lights to run off or add an extension cable to the nearest socket and make sure that it reaches where your tree will be placed.
  2. Assemble the Christmas tree if you are using a fake tree or bring in the real one and make sure it is acclimatised to the indoors temperature and watered before starting.
  3. Get out all the decorations, lights, tinsel and bead strings you want to use, sort into piles – big baubles, small baubles, accent decorations, tinsel, bead strings, lights.
  4. Check that the lights work.
  5. Place lights on the tree, I find it easiest to work top down.  Plug lights in and switch on to check placement, it’s easier to move the lights around and spread them out evenly without other decorations getting in the way! Turn lights off before continuing to the next step.
  6. Add any tinsel or bead strings and check placement.
  7. Now to add baubles, start with the bigger, most plain ones and add to the bottom 2/3 of the tree.  Again check placement is fairly even and spread out.
  8. Add the smaller, more plain baubles to the top 2/3 of the tree, checking placement as you go.
  9. Now you can add the accent decorations, make sure these are evenly spread out with smaller ones to the top of the tree and larger ones to the bottom part.
  10. Pour your favorite tipple, gather around friends and family and hold a “Switch on event” then stand back and admire your hard work!
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DIY Gift Ideas

Most people go out and buy their friends and family gifts but there is something nice about making a gift for someone, and something really touching about receiving a hand-made gift from a loved one.  There are lots of different gifts you can make so today’s post is a little bit of inspiration (along with links to instructions and where to buy things that you may need in order to make the gift.)

  • For someone who loves scented candles…
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Why not make your own to give as gifts?  You can get kits that are reasonably priced in most craft shops (such as this kit for £10 from Hobbycraft)  If you have never made candles before then a kit is the perfect way to start, and should you want to then continue making candles you can buy all the items you need individually both on-line and in craft stores.  I really like these tins that you can use as candle holders.

  • For the one with a sweet tooth…
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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

How about having a go at making your own fudge or toffee?  You can then present it in a cute container, tin or jar.  There are lots of recipes online and heaps of handy instruction videos, but I’m a fan of this one for fudge (its super quick to make and tastes amazing!) and this one for toffee (I could eat this all to myself!).  You can get really pretty tins, jars and other containers in most supermarkets now and its worth checking out the cheaper shops to see what they have as well.  I really like the look of Kilner Jars or these clip lid jars from Wilkinson .

  • For the Fashionista
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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Nothing would be more fabulous than a one of a kind t-shirt.  You can buy plain t-shirts fairly cheaply in most clothing outlets and supermarkets so why not buy one and customise it?  You can use fabric paint from any craft shop (I love the Tulip range as they have lots of different finishes).  You could create a t-shirt with the recipient’s initial on it, a tie dye top, or even add in sewn elements like pockets or a collar depending on their fashion tastes.

  • For the Beauty Lover
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Home made bath bombs are a really lovely gift to make and receive.  You can customise the scent to match the recipients favorite scents or add elements such as popping candy or petals, and make them any colour or shape you choose.  There are some fab tutorials available on-line, my favorite one is this one over on youtube .

  • For the Jewellery Magpie
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Photo by Artem Bali on Pexels.com

A cool necklace or bracelet to match their style or personality always goes down a treat and doesn’t need anything more than some waxed cord and some pretty beads in the recipients favorite colours.  You can add items like small charms or shells, pretty ribbon or chains.  I really like this store for my jewellery making supplies.  The beauty of making a gift like this is that it can be as simple or intricate as you want it to be and can be created regardless of skill level.

  • For the Blogger
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A notebook is always a welcomed gift (talking from experience) and if you know anyone who blogs then why not gift them a customised note-book?  I really like Kraft books for customisation purposes and they are pretty cheap to pick up too, though you could choose any plain hard backed book.  Once you have chosen the book you can let loose with your design, maybe you could personalise with the recipients blog name or a favorite hashtag?  And if the blog has a theme (like recipes or food for example) you could decorate the front and back to match.  The fab thing about a personalised notebook is that you can decorate with any material you want, whether it be painting something onto it, sticking things like feathers and sequins on to it or decopatching it, the possibilities and customisation possibilities are pretty much endless!

  • For the Student
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Here’s one I made a few years ago!

Fabric can be bought in many different places these days and in tons of different designs so why not try your hand at making a pencil-case or zip close pouch for the student in your life?  I really love fat quarter fabric bundles and experimenting with making my own zipped pouches and they are super useful, not just for pens and pencils, you could make smaller ones to gift as coin purses, larger ones for makeup or even to keep an e-reader in.  I love the fat quarter bundles you can get at Hobbycraft though you can buy these at most fabric or craft shops and you can pick up zips there too.  I found the Wikihow tutorial really easy to follow!

  • For the Photographer

 

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I really love the look of this one, unfortunately, I can not credit the source as I can’t find the original post however, the image has been shared on Craftionary – https://www.craftionary.net/decorating-lights-20-diy-string-light-projects/

As a photographer, there is nothing better than taking photos, printing the best ones and displaying them around the home.  A DIY photo display using an old picture frame, some cheap string lights and some tiny pegs would be a lovely gift to receive, especially if you added prints of your favorite photographs that they had taken too.  You can find old picture frames in charity shops, at boot sales and local selling pages and can customise to suit by spraying with a colour of your choice, after removing the glass and back of the frame before adding a string of fairy lights.  Once the frame has been put together add the chosen photos using tiny pegs like these.  If you wanted to, you could add to the back, a piece of fabric or wallpaper with a cool pattern or design on it or just leave the back open.   The beauty of this gift is that new life has been given to something old, its been re-purposed and upcycled, the pegs mean that the images displayed can be switched around easily and there is the flexibility to display anything you want, from photos to lists.

  • For the Book Lover
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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Instead of gifting another book token, how about crafting a customised tote bag for the book lover in your life to carry around their books in?  If you purchase a plain tote bag (like the one here) you could use some printable fabric transfer paper (which you can find in most good stationery, craft or fabric shops) to print out and iron on to the bag a quote from the recipient’s favorite book.  To make the bag extra special you could use beads, buttons or sequins to enhance the quote.

  • For the Foodie
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Dad loves cooking and I have made him flavoured oils a few years running.  You can make almost any flavour of oil that you want but I have found that things like rosemary and thyme, garlic and chilli seem to give the best flavour pay off, not only that but the oils can be used in cooking, as salad dressing, dips and many other things.  The method I use is …

  1. Cut up whatever ingredient you are using to flavour the oil, and bruise it slightly so that it starts to release the flavours.
  2. Warm up some olive oil, you want it to warm, not bubble or boil.
  3. Add the cut up flavorings and stir gently at intervals over about 10 mins while the oil is still warming.
  4. Remove the oil from the heat and leave to cool.
  5. Strain the cooled oil to remove the bits of flavoring.
  6. Before adding to bottles, I always add fresh flavour ingredients, such as a sprig of rosemary and thyme to the bottle that will have the rosemary and thyme oil added to it (this adds a bit of visual interest and lets you know at a glance which oil is which)
  7. Add the oil to the bottle and seal.
  8. Add a tag or sticker with the oil used, flavoring and when it was bottled.

You could give several different flavoured oils to your recipient along with a little leaflet about what you could use the oils for.

  • For the Eco Friendly
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I found this image here https://diyjoy.com/craft-ideas-diy-soap-dispensers/#

How about creating a unique soap dispenser repurposed from an old bottle?  You could choose an empty bottle of their favorite tipple, sauce or an old glass oil bottle.  Just clean out the bottle and use a pump top (I found this but you can find lots via a google search) just make sure that it will fit the bottle you will be using!  There are other ideas here, which is where I found the above image!  You can give the dispenser empty, or why not fill it with a lovely scented hand wash?

  • For Your Partner
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Image from https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/479774166545105449/?lp=true

For a gift that shows you really care how about a 365 Jar?  Write down memories, songs, reasons why you love them, fold them all up small and put into a jar.  The idea is that they get to pick a new note each day to read right from the 1st Jan to the end of the year.  You can get really pretty jars here though any glass jar will do so long as it has a wide mouth to it.

  • For Your Bestie
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Photo by Chwastek on Pexels.com

What would be nicer than a friendship package?  You could include a small hand-made candle, a bath bomb, a CD of both of your favorite songs, a little book with photos printed out of the pair of you along with little notes about the day that they were taken.  Package it all up in a pretty gift box or wicker basket along with some chocolates or treats that you know they would enjoy.

What sort of gifts will you be making?  And what would you love to receive?

Christmas Decorating Ideas

There are so many different Christmas decorations available now, from cute, retro funky baubles to minimalistic metallic ones.  With the array that is on sale its easy to get overwhelmed so I’m here today to give you some ideas with your Christmas decorations!

I think the easiest thing to do when deciding which decorations to choose is to first come up with a theme and colour palette before actually purchasing any decorations. Here are a few that I really love….

Traditional – Green, red, gold.

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Image source https://christmas.365greetings.com/christmas-decoration/beautiful-christmas-trees.html

Minimalistic – Metallic silver and one colour.

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Image from https://www.christmastreeworld.co.uk/blog/

Bright – Pink, blue, yellow, orange, lime green.

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My Bright Themed Christmas Tree

Pastel – Baby pink, baby blue, lemon and soft green.

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Image from http://godfatherstyle.com/22-pastel-christmas-decor-ideas-to-add-glamour-to-your-home-decorations/

Jewel – Red, gold, green, blue, purple.

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My Jewel Theme Christmas Tree

Galaxy – Metallic blue, green, purple and pink.

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Image from https://secretgram.me/black-christmas-decorations-36-super-elegant-black-and-gold-christmas-decor-ideas/38-black-christmas-tree-decorations-ideas-decoration-love-black-christmas-decorations/

Retro – Bronze, gold and metallic brown.

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Image from https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/294634000619291224/

Elegant – Black, white and silver.

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Image from https://www.lushome.com/black-white-christmas-tree-decorating-ideas/128351

Once you have chosen your theme and colour palette you can then choose the colour of your tree, and with so many different colours and styles to choose from sometimes it can be hard to know which colour to go for.

Once you have decided on the best tree for your theme the next thing to decide upon is the lights for your tree.  There are 4 main ones to choose from – coloured, cool white, warm white and bright white.  Coloured are the more traditional sort of fairy lights with bulb colours of red, green, blue and yellow, cool white give off a blue tinged light, warm white lights are yellow toned and bright white lights give off a brilliant white light.

I would choose Coloured lights for the Bright and Retro Theme

Cool White lights work well with the Pastel and Galaxy Theme

Warm White lights work well with the Traditional Theme

Bright White lights work well with the Minimalistic, Jewel and Elegant Themes.

Now that you have chosen your theme, tree and lights we can now look at the fun stuff – all the shiny baubles and other decorations to hang on the tree!!!!  First though, you should decide whether you want tinsel on the tree or not?  I personally dislike tinsel, having Aspergers means I can be hyper-sensitive to certain smells and tinsel is one of those things that I don’t do well with smell wise so I choose not to use it at all.  However, there are alternatives to tinsel including beaded ropes which come in many different colours, marabou feather trim, ribbons and other haberdashery trims works well too and you can buy that in many fabric or craft shops.  Whatever you decide on pick out one colour from your colour palette so as not to overwhelm the other decorations.

Choose big baubles in one colour from your palette and add smaller ones in either the same colour or another from your colour scheme, mix up finishes to add interest (choose shiny ones, matte ones, glitter finish, dimpled etc) and if you want, mix up the shapes of the baubles – tear drop ones work really well for the bottom of the tree where as I find round ones work well for the middle.

Select smaller baubles in differing colours (that match the colour palette of your chosen theme), again you can choose different finishes and textures.  Smaller baubles work well for the middle of the tree and top. Most of the large and small baubles can be bought in multi packs and are fairly cheap to buy so you can add as many or as few as you wish to your tree!

Now for the extra fun bit, choosing the eye-catching elements!  These elements are things like bows, shaped baubles, clear baubles, and baubles with special finishes.  Most of this type of decoration are the ones that are sold as single decorations (and are a bit more expensive than the regular baubles) and are designed so that you only add one or 2 of the same one to the tree, this means that the eye will be drawn to them, add a fun element and are a way to really personalise your theme.  Most places that sell trees will sell this type of decoration, I have found Asda and B&Q to be good places to have a look as they carry a good range!  Whatever you choose, have fun with these decorations and add as many or as few as you wish!

What sort of theme are you choosing for your decorations?

Pantone Colour Of The Year 2019

Pantone have just released their colour for 2019…. Living Coral (16-1546)!

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Taken from the Pantone website

“Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.

In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy. Sociable and spirited, the engaging nature of PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral welcomes and encourages lighthearted activity. Symbolizing our innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits, PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embodies our desire for playful expression.

Representing the fusion of modern life, PANTONE Living Coral is a nurturing color that appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media.”

What this means for fashion, beauty, interior design, home furnishings, accessories….

Be prepared to see this shade incorporated into every day life, wether it be a splash of this colour gracing our sofa in the form of cushions or a blanket in this hue, in the kitchen with accessories matching the colour, in our outfits with patterns displaying the tone or in our make up with lip, cheek and eye colours matching the colour.  This colour will add impact to anyones room that is already painted a trendy shade of grey, add a pop of colour to a workspace, add interest to an outfit and so much more!  I’m really excited to see where people take this colour!

My thoughts on Living Coral – the Pantone Colour of the Year

As soon as I saw the colour, before even knowing what it was called I loved it.  It is a colour that evokes happy memories from childhood, is comforting and warm, bright without being too loud or overpowering.  I really love it and am already thinking of ways I can use the colour in my day-to-day life.

What are your thoughts on the Pantone Colour of the year?

What Is Maximalism?

Maximalism is a reaction to minimalism and is pretty much the opposite of what we have visions of when we think about minimalism.

Maximalism is an abundance of colour, of ornaments and a way of styling our homes to show off our belongings all at once.

Maximalism is about embracing colour and texture, clashing patterns, colours and textures to create a visually interesting home.

Maximalism is about focusing on the big items and the small, adding detail that is rich in tone, never boring.

Maximalism is a host of cushions placed on the sofa along with throws to create a cozy sitting area.

Maximalism is about creating warmth with lamps and candles placed strategically around the room.

Maximalism is embracing the unique, quirky, and unexpected and adding them in unexpected places.

Maximalism is upcycling furniture and other objects to create something fun.

Maximalism is stand out, strong, independent and fun.

Maximalism is everything that I love.

I am a maximalist.