Its all about Hermes....

I love a cheeky blog on a Friday, so I'm going to share with you a fabulous job that took place in April of this year! My favourite job to date....

The quality of the paper and ribbon made this job a dream....

The quality of the paper and ribbon made this job a dream....

I was asked to wrap 200 perfumes (100 of the women's fragrance and 100 of the men's). In preparation I asked for the size of the boxes and worked out the paper size needed to wrap each perfume.

Always a good tip to save time on a job. Cutting the paper can be very time consuming!

Stage one and two of wrapping!

Stage one and two of wrapping!

The first batch wrapped and ready for their ribbon!

The first batch wrapped and ready for their ribbon!

The freak in me loves the look of perfect folds on  perfectly wrapped gifts!

Burnt orange paper & the dark brown ribbon compliment each other so well!

Burnt orange paper & the dark brown ribbon compliment each other so well!

Hermes have a particular way of tying their ribbons - after a quick tutorial I was ready to roll!

Packed and ready to transport...

Packed and ready to transport...

Once the perfumes were wrapped and tied with ribbon I slipped in Hermes branded note cards!

That's a wrap!

That's a wrap!

I don't think many words are needed for this blog....the pictures say it all...ENJOY! x

La dolce vita!

If you haven't been to Italy it's definitely worth a visit! There are so many places to see, on our eight day road trip we managed to tackle quite a few! See some of the highlights below....

Dinner in...

Dinner in...

We stayed in hotels when visiting the south of Italy, but in Tuscany we wanted to try an Agriturismo. These were amazing, ours were bed and breakfasts with self catering facilities. The first one we stayed in was nearer to Florance called Relais Villa L'Olmo. It had stunning views and was very central in regards to traveling to Florence - a 20min bus ride away! The second one was nearer to Pisa called Il Selvino. Amazing pool, brilliant food and an owner, Alessio, who was very nice!

Dinner on the last night

Dinner on the last night

Poolside time

Poolside time

Basic but everything you need in an apartment!

Basic but everything you need in an apartment!

We managed to capture some beautiful views from the hill tops of Tuscany to the Island of Capri, and not forgetting the extraordinary buildings representing Italy's history!

Leaning Tower of Pisa - amazing how clean it is!

Leaning Tower of Pisa - amazing how clean it is!

Island of Capri

Island of Capri

With time on my hands I did an impromptu wrap around a glass!

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Hand painted.....

Hand painted.....

There were some hidden treasures tucked away in the streets of Florence, I ended up purchasing these fab hand painted salad utensils. There were also a number of boutique stationary shops where I picked up some cards that had me written all over them - an embossed 'J' as well as some ancient map wrapping paper. I couldn't justify buying the marble wrapping paper they were 25EUROS a sheet!

Since arriving back I used the map wrap for Father's Day.

Since arriving back I used the map wrap for Father's Day.

As always time goes way too fast when holidaying....so back to reality now.

Ciao for now.....

Parisian Style

Every time I go on holiday I tend to bring something back, something for the home. My new 'thing' is to search for anything I can use to wrap a gift with. My recent trip to Paris was no different......

I want to share some wrapping ideas with you using some fab purchases from the city of elegance!

Wrapping Paper

The best word to describe this paper is padded. Its good quality, thick and brilliant to work with. It doesn't crease in the places you don't want it to and just wrapping with this alone makes the gift look extra special. This was tucked away in shop called Drugstore along the Champs El ysees.

Feathers

Feathers always make a gift more impressive - the one I have used here was from our wedding which I sprayed along the tip with gold sparkly paint. I bought these from CelloExpress

Lace

This dainty lace was my favourite purchase! You can get this and a wide range of haberdashery items here at Mercerie Moline. I also purchased the buttons below from the same shop.

Buttons

Buttons are not only used in textiles but are lovely accessories to add to a wrapped gift. I fell in love with these and they complimented the lace- I am still not sure what I will use these for yet!

Tags

Never seen a tag like this  -  purchased from a high end stationary shop called Melodies Graphiques. Was my favourite shop of the trip. On-line this place has amazing reviews. I could have been in there for hours studying the hand calligraphed postcards, the 25 EUROS a sheet handmade wrapping paper (even I couldn't justify that) and the stamps and cute stationary on display. I don't think I will be using this gift tag - it's to beautiful to write on!

Bonjour Paris

There is something about Paris that draws you back again and again and this Easter was no different, so we took a cheeky three day trip….

Selections of note cards

Selections of note cards

Cute chickies!

Cute chickies!

First stop was Merci! Tucked away in the heart of the historic quarter of Paris is a small boutique department store called Merci – be careful not to miss it as it's situated off the main street nestled between its Used Book Café and its restaurant La Cantine. Merci is described as having a ‘village-like charm’ which I think is spot on. As you walk through to the entrance there is a cute mini farm full of beautiful looking chickens and a random rabbit! There is also an old fashioned van covered in overgrown shrubs which is the start of their garden centre. Merci also has a beauty counter, fashion for men and women and a fab home section. 

Flower/Garden area

Flower/Garden area

Just one of Merci's displays

Just one of Merci's displays

Another beautiful chandelier!

Another beautiful chandelier!

Paris themed material

Paris themed material

Before visiting Paris I did research on the best markets to see. One that came up was a market situated at the bottom of the Sacre Coeur that consists of anything haberdashery. For anyone that loves anything sewing, it's definitely worth a visit. I can only describe it as the fabric district of Paris, there are streets of shops selling material and if you dig deep enough there are some bargain to be had! I managed to find a selection of material that was being sold outside one of the shops for 5 euros, and this was for 3 metres, so I bought two different prints. 

Buttons galore…..

Buttons galore…..

I would have been happy with just the fabric but I scrambled across a shop called Mercerie Moline. Inside I found a treasure trove of anything haberdashery -  ribbon, lace, bias binding, buttons, embroidery thread and much more.  I could have bought the shop but I was happy with some stunning lace trim and beautiful bias binding. 

 

For some reason this visit has turned me into a real foodie, I have loved every meal! The best food by far was in Versaille. I have always thought I was never a big fan of savoury crepes, but now I prefer them. I ordered a blue cheese, potato and fresh cream wheat crepe - it was amazing - completely moorish!!! 

French crepe - potato, blue cheese and fresh cream

French crepe - potato, blue cheese and fresh cream

Oh La La…..one of many pit stops!

Oh La La…..one of many pit stops!

We also tried a french/chinese which was mentioned to us by friends. Tangs was the restaurant, I would highly recommend it, the staff are amazing, extremely friendly and they cater for all your needs. You get a choice of a set menu or an A La Carte. We chose the set menu as you tell them what you do and don’t like and they make it to suit you!

Yummy lunch in the Republique area….

Yummy lunch in the Republique area….

Au Revoir for now! x

Egg-tastic

My DIY ideas for Easter! 

Crate & Barrel in the US is one of my favourite home stores - I asked Stephen to bring me something back on a recent trip to NYC. I said 'surprise me!' and he came back with this fab egg stand! What every household needs :-) I love it and it's timing was perfect, it gave me a chance to experiment this Easter. Here I have tied a range of pastel colour ribbons to it! Dotty, chequer, organza and stitched....

Crate & Barrel in the US is one of my favourite home stores - I asked Stephen to bring me something back on a recent trip to NYC. I said 'surprise me!' and he came back with this fab egg stand! What every household needs :-) I love it and it's timing was perfect, it gave me a chance to experiment this Easter. Here I have tied a range of pastel colour ribbons to it! Dotty, chequer, organza and stitched....

I bought some fake eggs this year and wanted to decorate them for my blog - I decided to go with glitter! This project is super easy for any age and is fast to do, the only downside is it can be rather messy! All you need is PVC glue, a glue brush, a range of glitters and ensure you have some newspaper to protect the area you're working on. I saved this coloured egg box from some yummy Cadburys 'Egg 'n' Spoon eggs but any will do from your regular eggs at home.  + Apply the glue with the brush (even spray glue could work - probably less sticky) + Choose your glitter and sprinkle away - I used a scrap bit of paper to place underneath when sprinkling so I could gather the excess glitter so none was wasted + Place in the box to dry and after 30mins or so give the eggs a shake to remove any excess glitter and they are ready to use as decoration.

I bought some fake eggs this year and wanted to decorate them for my blog - I decided to go with glitter! This project is super easy for any age and is fast to do, the only downside is it can be rather messy! All you need is PVC glue, a glue brush, a range of glitters and ensure you have some newspaper to protect the area you're working on. I saved this coloured egg box from some yummy Cadburys 'Egg 'n' Spoon eggs but any will do from your regular eggs at home. 

+ Apply the glue with the brush (even spray glue could work - probably less sticky)

+ Choose your glitter and sprinkle away - I used a scrap bit of paper to place underneath when sprinkling so I could gather the excess glitter so none was wasted

+ Place in the box to dry and after 30mins or so give the eggs a shake to remove any excess glitter and they are ready to use as decoration.

Another way of displaying your decorated eggs - placed in an egg stand with some shredded paper. 

Another way of displaying your decorated eggs - placed in an egg stand with some shredded paper. 

On a recent trip to Ikea I noticed these large eggs on display - they open up and dinky eggs can be stored inside. To finish them off I simply tied a bow and it's all you need as a perfect Easter gift! Brilliant to use for Easter Egg hunts as the kids final prize! If you're on a budget these are perfect at 99p each and can be bought in a range of colours.

On a recent trip to Ikea I noticed these large eggs on display - they open up and dinky eggs can be stored inside. To finish them off I simply tied a bow and it's all you need as a perfect Easter gift! Brilliant to use for Easter Egg hunts as the kids final prize! If you're on a budget these are perfect at 99p each and can be bought in a range of colours.

HAPPY DECORATING..... XOXO

The little things in life

I am still in wedding mode even though it's been 52 days since our special day. I secretly miss creating all the little touches so I have decided to share them with you. Maybe it's because I am a perfectionist or even borderline control freak but I wanted everything to be perfect, from the folding of the napkins to the presentation of the food and beverage menus.

Personalised coat hangers

Personalised coat hangers

Hangers -  bridesmaid dress’ we choose were from TopShop and came with black hangers. As black wasn't in our colour scheme I choose to make my own. I contemplated the idea of stitching rows of sequins around the hangers — gold sequins for the bridesmaids as they had gold shoes and accessories and silver sequins for me. I also thought about spray paint the hangers. In the end I decided against both as sequins would have been very time consuming and the paint would have been an accident waiting to happen!!!!  So, I purchased four wooden hangers with gold and silver ribbon (from Mei Flower), and used some paint and silk screen letters I already had. I started by personalising each hanger with the first letter of the names of each bridesmaid in white paint in the centre. After allowing them to dry, I tied a bow around the neck of the silver hook to finish them off. I could have added some floral motifs along the arms of the hangers but decided to leave them simple. I found these were another great way for my bridesmaids to take a little of our wedding home with them!!

Hangers in action

Hangers in action

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Feathers - I knew for months and months before the wedding I wanted to involved feathers somehow. At the start I was convinced I wanted them on my dress...once I regained my grip on reality I settled on feathers accompanying our napkins. I bought 100 feathers from Amazon and gold sparkly spray paint. I wanted them to be tasteful and not over the top so with help from friends (a shout out to Ausilia & Indi!) we sprayed only the tips of the feathers. Unfortunately I picked a windy, rainy day in December to do this which wasn’t ideal; I highly recommend an open space with plenty of fresh air with lots of newspaper protecting surfaces. I left them to dry for around 15-20mins and placed them in a sealed clear bag ready for the big day. (I would suggest if you have the space and time, allow as much time as possible for the feathers to air to remove the spray paint smell.) The feathers were then placed in our folded napkins with our cutlery at the wedding!

Frames - I came across some glam picture frames from The Range which came in white, silver and black. I purchased two of each: two for the drink menus to place at the bar, and the other two for the food menus which would be placed on the buffet area. We then used some fancy font and printed the menu choices on card. This was so simple and cost effective, the frames were £3.99 each and we now have them to re-frame fab moments of the night in question! 

Maple Leaf Wax Seal Stamp

Maple Leaf Wax Seal Stamp

Thank You Cards - We were lucky enough to have a friend take the perfect picture of us walking in on the night which we decided to use as our thank you cards. We used moo.com to print them. Moo.com were amazing, I would highly recommend! To continue the English/Canada theme we used a calligraphy pen to write our messages and ordered a maple leaf wax seal stamp to close the envelopes. The stamp came out amazing. It was ordered from a company in Hong Kong on Etsy, I also ordered gold wax to use. Neither Stephen nor I had used wax to seal a stamp before but it was very easy to do. Just ensure you have plenty of time and don’t rush the process. See below a step by step guide: 

Tilt the wax to the side and drip

Tilt the wax to the side and drip

  1.  Have a scrap of paper to hand and light the wick of one of the wax candles. Turn on its side and hover over the area you want it to drip and hold it around an itch or two above the paper.
  2. Once you have a blob on your envelope around the size of a £1 coin place your scrap of paper under the dripping wax and move away from the envelope. (I found this helped to avoid unwanted drips, which we experienced a few times) If you want more of a ring around the maple leaf allow more wax to drip. 
  3. Place your stamp onto the melted blob of wax and press firmly and hold in place. The wax hardens pretty quickly so no more than 5-10 seconds is needed when holding down the stamp.
  4.  Lift up the stamp and voila!!! A bonus with using this stamp there is no smudges (which you may get if you choose to use ink instead) and it really doesn't matter if they don't come out perfectly and the same, they look grand however they end up!  
Press firmly and hold for 5-10 seconds

Press firmly and hold for 5-10 seconds

Finished wax seal

Finished wax seal

Sweet Table Heaven...

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Sweet tables are guaranteed to be a hit at any wedding! I decided to incorporate the fact that my hubby is Canadian and I’m British as a theme in our sweet table. 

Hiring a sweet table wasn't in our budget. However making our own turned out to be even more fun. We made sure from our recent west coast trip to Canada/USA we picked up some local sweets such as Tootsie Rolls and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and mixed them with some traditional UK sweets. We chose the retro space saucers, jelly babies, white mice and a whole lot more! We also added some handmade popcakes, which were made by the lovely Sweet Crunch (www.sweetcrunch.co.uk). The popcake's were also themed, with handmade maple leafs on some and a selection decorated with English flowers made of popping candy and dried strawberry flakes. 

One idea I unfortunately didn’t see until after the wedding was personalised marshmallows. There is a fairly new company called Boomf (www.boomf.co.uk) who print pictures from your Instagram account onto marshmallows – this would most certainly have made it onto our sweetie table had I known about it!

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Now we had all the contents, the next step was to focus on how to make it look chic. My first reaction was to hunt through my kitchen cupboards for anything I thought would be suitable. I came across some beautiful handmade bowls from Chinatown in Vancouver we had purchased a few months earlier. I also found a bunch of old candle jars which I cleaned out. I then went to the local charity shops where I found the ultimate deals. I wanted to place a selection of the sweets in glassware so I searched for different types of crystal bowls, plates etc. I managed to find a variety which cost from £2.50-£4.50 each! Definitely a bargain and I’m able to keep and use again and again. Another great idea is to use wine glasses and afternoon tea stands for the popcakes, maple cookies and shortbread we had on the table. The wine glasses for example were filled with sugar and some dried strawberry flakes with the popcakes standing up. This was a way to present the sweets on different levels too so the table looked even more exciting!

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We wanted to have some kind of signage on the sweet table so people knew what they were eating. As our venue had minimal lighting mini signs/tags wouldn't work. This is when my hubby came in useful, he came across a site:  www.wordle.net  which we used to create attractive Word Clouds. It randomises naturally so you have to keep clicking until you find one that takes your fancy.  Having found a design I liked, I printed onto card. Lastly I put the card into a frame I found at Wilkinson (www.wilko.co.uk).  

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Finally, to decorate the table I recycled two clear wine bottles I had left over from Christmas, soaked off the labels, (piping hot water in the bath works best) and placed battery LED lights inside. A handy tip is to use double sided tape to stick the battery to the back of the bottle on the outside. This by far is a cost effective way to make anything look extra special.

Helpful tips to creating your own sweet table:

  1. Wilkinson – for picture frames & LED lights
  2. Tescos, Wilkinson, Pound stores & The Range – for sweets
  3. Local Charity shops  - for bowls, plates & containers
  4. Search around the house for empty jars, wine bottles & anything you can use to contribute to your sweet table.
  5. www.sweetcrunch.co.uk – for popcakes and cookies 
  6. www.boomf.co.uk – for personalised marshmallows

Crafty Wedding Tips....

As our wedding preparations are coming to an end, I'm excited to be able to share with you the creations I’ve made for our long awaited celebration on Saturday 8th February 2014. Anyone who has arranged a wedding will know how expensive things can get, especially the finishing touches such as flowers, favors and decorations. I wanted to ensure a personal element was entwined despite being on a budget. I won't post any of my ideas now (I'll wait until post 8th February :-)) but below are some pointers which a crafty bride-to-be may find useful to get thoughts flowing.

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Ideas - A great source of inspiration for me was Pinterest (www.pinterest.com), if you haven't joined then do so ASAP. It’s brilliant for browsing at anything from fashion trends to dream holiday destinations and especially for wedding ideas. You set up your own themed "boards" and then you ‘Pin’ away! People will search and follow some of the ideas you have pinned to your boards and you in turn can follow others. Think of it as an enormous database of inspiration. You can even have secret boards if you are collating inspiration for something special! I must say it’s extremely addictive.

Budget - I honestly didn't realise how much things would cost when planning a wedding until we started ringing around for quotes. Décor was an area I found that where we could save some money. I started by going bargain hunting and using anything I could find from what was in my kitchen cupboards to gems I found in charity shops. Charity shops have some real finds, especially crystal, vases, glasses etc. You will find some that look quite dated but they can easily be made to fit within your scheme. The Range (www.therange.co.uk) was also a fabulous place to visit, they have a wedding section which can be little tacky, but you can pick out some odd bits and pieces such as candles and glassware.

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Little details - It’s very rare you go to a wedding and you don't see ribbons or bows . A company I have used for years for wrapping jobs is MeiFlower (www.meiflower.co.uk); they have a large range of colours and sizes, from satin, organza, grosgrain and come at a very reasonable price. An added bonus is delivery is fast and is only 99p!

 

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Bringing your day to life - I wanted lighting to be a big part of our atmosphere as our venue was a large room to decorate - we went with uplighters, LED lights and candles. I found Wilkinson (www.wilko.com) to be the best priced for lights and had the biggest selection - we managed to buy a row of micro LED lights for £3.50 each which was a lot cheaper than other places I tried. These tend to only be available in the run up to Christmas so be organised and think ahead.....

Good Luck & Happy shopping!!!!