Thursday, 30 July 2015

My Living Room Tour

Grey and Yellow Living Room
Hey chaps, long time no see!

Way back in November 2013 I showed you what our Living Room was like when we first moved in. Here's a link back to that old post. It was looking pretty sad and bare, and since then I have been working hard to re-decorate.  It has taken me ages to find everything that would fit, but I think I'm pretty much there now, so today I've decided to finally do a living room tour! 

As I mentioned in my first post, I decided to go for a yellow and grey colour scheme. Eventually I also decided to give it a bit of a botanical/natural history museum feel, which you might notice a little bit more in the close up photos.

The first things we bought were the sofa, the armchair and the rug. The sofa came from Next, and the armchair and rug were both from Ikea.

The cushions came from H&M Home, except for the little grey ones which I made myself from off-cuts from the curtains (They were crazy long!)

I hunted for quite a while to find an old botanical encyclopaedia which had pretty pictures in it that I could hang, and in the end we found one at an antique shop which I mentioned in this post. I chose Kiko frames to hang them in as I liked the simplistic look.
lounge tour
kiko frame with botanical print
My absolute favourite buy was my hexagon shelves, which I had specially made and shipped from the US. I think they make a really nice focal piece in the room, and I was really pleased with the way they turned out.  The birds on display are actually made of lego, you can find the kit here . I like the fact that they have their latin names on little plaques below them, I feel like it fits with the museum theme pretty well!
hexagonal yellow shelves
lego birdlego humming bird
succulent in terrarium
So just to compare, this is what the lounge looked like before...
before of lounge
...and here it is after!  A great improvement I'm sure you will agree!  The curtains were also from Ikea. I think having less heavy curtains has made a huge difference to the room. And I think painting the walls grey makes it look a little bit more homely.
Yellow and gray styled lounge
I made the butterfly chart hanging above the fireplace using a pretty poster, you can find my No-Saw DIY here.

I also made a little trio of pictures using another botanical book that my friends Mum bought for me. I couldn't decide which pictures to use as there were quite a few good ones, but the great thing about the Kiko frames is that I can swap them whenever I want!
kiko frames
agate coaster
I bought these agate slices when I was on holiday in Majorca, I thought they would make great coasters to go on the table, and they are so pretty! I might buy some more of these just to put on display on the shelves.
agate slice coasters
I re-painted this little side table to match my colour scheme, since it used to be blue. The phone is another of my favourite things in the room, it was given to us as a wedding gift!
yellow phonehoneycomb magazine rack diy
This magazine rack started out life as a yarn holder which came free with a knitting magazine. I decided I wanted to re-cover it to match the room, and I found some awesome honeycomb fabric from Zazzle which I thought would work really well. The amount of choices of fabric patterns and fabric types on Zazzle is insane, so it took me ages to decide.  You can also design your own fabric, which I would love to try at some point!
DIY Zazzle honeycomb fabric magazine rack
zazzle honeycomb fabric
All I did to make it was to unpick the old fabric from the frame, then I used this as a template, and tried to make an exact copy of it with my honeycomb fabric.  The only tricky bit was attaching it securely back onto the frame. In the end I had to do this by hand which was a little bit difficult  as the canvas fabric which I ordered is quite thick, but I got there in the end and I think it looks fab!

I also used the same fabric to make a little table cloth for the coffee table which you can see in the earlier pictures. I think that they really match my hexagon shelves beautifully .  honeycomb diy magazine rack
Another good buy was my Oliver Bonas shelves/drawers. I was pining after them for a long time since they were pretty expensive, but in the end I decided I had to have them! They definitely help bring the room together. 
oliver bonas shelves
books and oberyn
lego robin
This TV cabinet, as well as the coffee table were both things that I found at the dump. They cost me £5 each and were both a little worse for wear when I found them. But after a good sanding down and a few coats of grey paint they looked good as new! This cabinet is actually the perfect size and we can fit the X-Box in the little cubby hole and all of our games inside.
DIY TV cabinet

There are still a couple of things I would like to do before I will feel the whole room is complete, but I am much happier with it now that I feel there is some sort of decor going on, rather than random furniture thrown into a room.

Laura xXx

Disclaimer - The honeycomb fabric was gifted to me by Zazzle. I was really pleased with the quality of the fabric and service and I would recommend to those that are looking to add a unique touch to their decor.

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Wednesday, 3 June 2015

My Wedding Album - Made using Blurb Book Smart

blurb wedding album
Hi Guys, I want to share something with you today that I have been working on for aaages!

Since our wedding I have been planning to make a wedding album, but it seemed such a huge undertaking as we had over 600 photos, and I just didn't know where to start! In the end I managed to get a book made and delivered just before our 1 year anniversary, but it took a whole lot of effort! I thought I'd share my experience making the book with you, incase you are thinking of making your own wedding album, or any other album for that matter!
I wasn't sure what company to get the book printed with, so I did some research online and found that people were pleased with their Blurb books, and it looked the best option for what I wanted. I have to say, I was a little worried when I saw their page templates for the first time. The wedding album templates included a lot of text for some reason, and the boxes meant for pictures seemed to be strangely off centre and not in the dimensions I wanted. Fortunately Blub has a function whereby you can build your own template, and once I figured this out I was more than happy! I built the book using a program you can download from their website called 'Book Smart'.

I pretty much designed each page dependant upon the photos I had to go on it, which is one of the reasons it all took so long.  I think I was probably working on the book for about 4 months in total, as it was something I found I had to do a little bit at a time. 

wedding book by blurb
As well as picking which photos were going where, I spent a lot of time making sure the boxes were even as well as the gaps in between and centralising the photos.

Once I had pretty much completed the album I found that to get the best quality the photos should be resized to the same dimensions as the box they were going into. Obviously this was another job that took a really long time, especially since nearly all of my pages were different, but I think it was worthwhile in the end.
bridesmaids wedding album blurb
The above and below pictures are two of my favourite layouts which I designed. I found it immensely satisfying when the pages finally 'came together', it did take rather a lot of trial and error in most cases!
photo wedding album portraits blurb
blurb wedding album
blurb wedding photo book
wedding photo book blurbphoto book table setting
On the back of the book I chose a picture of our confetti cones, which I think looks rather pretty!

I'd definitely recommend Blurb, and I'd say that the more time you put into it the better it will look! Picking the right photos to go together, and positioning them in a complementary way, as well as knowing when a picture deserves its own page, are all really important in creating a quality product.  I am really pleased with the way that my album turned out.

I chose the 'large square' sized book, as I wanted the pictures to be as big as possible! It has 116 pages in total (probably containing around 300 photos) and I chose one of the most expensive papers, as well as 'image wrap'. Since I had spent so much time on it I didn't mind spending a little bit extra to make it as high quality as possible.

This album would normally have cost me £100, but I managed to get a 30% discount from Voucher Codes. I probably would have ended up spending a few hundred if I had asked the photographers to do it, so I think that is pretty good!
blurb photo book
Have you used Blurb or another site to create a photo book? What have your experiences been like?

Laura xXx
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Friday, 24 April 2015

Things To See And Do - Lewes

Lewes Flea Market
This week we went to Lewes for our weekly date!  I used to go to University at Sussex, so it was a bit of a blast from the past, and it was good to explore again.

Lewes is great if you are on the hunt for Antiques, and quirky old stuff! The first place we found was Lewes Flea Market, which is a treasure trove of weird and wonderful things!
lewes flea market sign
antiques at lewes flea market
Next we stopped in on a lovely little shop called Mary's which stocked some really cute items, as well as sweets! I bought some pretty cards here as I felt I couldn't leave with nothing!  
mary's in lewes
I remembered from previous visits that there was a Bill's here, so we decided to head there for lunch! Chris picked a beautiful, if rather effeminate, drink.
pink lemonade at bills in lewes
We both had ham hock and pea terrine with caramelised onions as a starter, which was really nice! Then we had sea bass with potato rosti and tomato and avocado salsa. I ate that too quickly before I remembered to take a photo, but it looked great and was equally delicious! Aside from the food, Bills has such a fun atmosphere,  and I'd really recommend going to one if you haven't been before.
lunch at bills in lewes
display at bills in lewes
We wandered around some more antiques shops located near to Bills, and then decided it was time for a drink in the sunshine!  On our way we found a really awesome shop called Closet and Botts, which had a bit of a rustic feel and had some really interesting bits and bobs!
We found a pub called The Rights of Man which had a roof terrace garden, so we decided to stay a while and enjoy a drink. It felt like summer!
After we had finished our drinks we decided to take a walk near Lewes Castle. We decided not to go in this time but maybe we will on another adventure, it was still a really nice walk seeing it from a distance.
lewes castle
Have you been to Lewes before? What were your favourite things to see and do?

Laura xXx

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Monday, 20 April 2015

DIY Hanging Wall Chart Tutorial - No Saw!

DIY No Saw Wall Hanging Chart
Hey guys, you might have noticed I've had a cheeky week off blogging this week. I've been trying to put together the finishing touches on our wedding album using Blurb, and it seems to be taking up a huge amount of time! Nevertheless, it shall be perfect when it is finished!

Anyway, I have had time to complete a project for the lounge which I have been meaning to do for some time, hurrah!  In this post I talked about how I planned to make a wall hanging out of a beautiful piece of wrapping paper I bought. I wasn't looking forward to it to be honest, mainly because the DIY I had planned to follow involved sawing, staining and screwing, none of which I have the equipment for!

But thanks to a trip to the Hobbycraft shop, I figured out a way to do it without any of that stuff at all! Namely, the discovery of balsa wood! And so, with this revelation, I thought I would share the 'no saw' (get it!?) process with you!

If you want to give it a go here is what you will need;
  • Poster/Wrapping Paper - I got mine here
  • Double sided sticky tape (good quality)
  • 4 strips of Balsa Wood. ( I used a thinner piece for the back so that it would hang more flush against the wall - 0.4 x 2.5cm balsa wood, and a thicker piece for the front - 0.6 x 2.5cm balsa wood)
  • String
  • Brown watercolour paint
  • Craft Knife and ruler
butterfly frame DIY
Ok, so the great thing about balsa wood is that it is so lightweight, and can therefor be cut using a regular craft knife! I started by measuring all of my pieces carefully, marking them all slightly longer than the poster edges, then cutting them all to size.

The other great thing is that the wood is so soft, you can sand the rough edges once this is done using a nail file! Or if you are more prepared you can just use sand paper ;)
balsa wood frame DIY
I wanted to make the wood look more expensive, but I didnt have any wood stain, so I simply mixed some dark brown watercolour paint with water, and painted it that way. I think it came out really well!
Once the wood is completely dry (I used a hair dryer to hurry this process along) you need to put your double sided sticky tape along both pieces of the wood that will go on the bottom. Make sure you put the sticky on the side you don't want facing out.
Then you will need to pull the top coat off of the sticky on your thinnest piece of wood, and line it up under the back of the bottom of the page. You do have to be quite careful here and it is a bit tricky.  I marked on my piece of wood where is should come to so that it wouldn't end up wonky. Then peel the top coat of sticky off the other piece of wood, and again, line this up really carefully on top of the other piece, with the poster sandwiched in between.

The top of the hanging is a little more tricky because you need to include your string in it.  I wanted to use yellow string, but I didn't have any, so again I used my trusty watercolours to dye the string!

I took a length of string and made sure that it would be the right length to hang at the height I wanted it.  Then I tied a knot at each end so that when it was sandwiched in between both pieces of wood it would make it a bit more sturdy.  

I then repeated the process of putting sticky tape on the wood for the top, and I worked out how my string would sit on the thinner piece of wood (because you want the knot to come out of the back), when I was happy with it I added another layer of double sided sticky tape on top.

Then I just stuck the wood to the poster as I had done on the bottom!
And Tadaa, it was finished!
DIY Wall Chart Tutorial - No Saw! This cost me less than £20 in total, which I think is pretty decent.  Unfortunately the Balsa wood is quite expensive, but its still cheaper and much easier than using proper wood, so I think it is a winner! I'm chuffed that I have now hung the first picture in my lounge, I can't wait to get the rest up and show you them!

Laura xXx
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