COTM: January – Yankee Candle Shea Butter

How is January over?! Where did it go. Time is flying by at the moment, and with the wedding just six months to go, a little panic is beginning to set in. You might have noticed as much by the absence of me posting recently.

However, January did come (and go) and as ever, I like a new, fresher scented candle to kick off the New Year. I usually go for clean cotton type scents but a lovely friend gave me this shea butter candle on my last birthday and I felt this was the best time of year to burn it.

It’s a creamier and cozier scent than I would typically go for in January, but wonderful and clean smelling all the same.

The scent notes are:

Top: Orange, Bergamot, Mixed Berries
Mid: Vanilla Orchid, Jasmine, Shea Cream
Base: White Musk, Vanilla Sugar, Guaiacwood

And it comes with the description, “Pure contentment – indulge yourself in this creamy smooth scent with hints of beautiful fruit blossoms.”

It’s interesting because I don’t get a real sense of fruit, or citrus from this. I’m not saying it’s not there, it’s just well blended and has that complete and complex scent rather than a couple of strong, identifiable notes. Going along with the shea butter name, it has a lot of characteristics of a subtly fragranced body cream – one that doesn’t have a named fragranced as such, but just has a wonderful aroma alongside it’s moisturizing properties.

The burn time was good (these small jars suggest 25-40 hours, and I think I got around 32-ish) but the burn itself wasn’t great. I had to persuade it to burn evenly instead of tunneling, which for a candle this size was unexpected, and come the second half of the jar, it was impossible to keep it up. Towards the end, I had to tip some wax out, which obviously ended up resulting in wastage, and not much burn time left thereafter. I sill got a good length out of it however, so can’t complain. It’s a good size for me for a month-long period, as I like candles for occasional evenings and long baths, but don’t like to keep too many half burned larger jars hanging around.

yankeesheabutter

The pictures for this post are few and far between. Admist the New Year, post Christmas and new phone chaos, I managed to delete all the pictures I’d taken of the candle. Luckily, I had a little rescue from my Instagram page, where I’d posted a picture, and obviously you can see the freshly cleaned empty jar at the start of the post.
Oh well! Live and learn. And import.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Home Decor Trends 2017

I’m a big believer in going with what you like and not necessarily following trends, but if you’re stuck in a rut, need some inspiration, or are simply wondering what might be popping up in the shops this year, then continue reading for the suggested big home decor trends for 2017.

Texture 

STOCKHOLM Sofa, Ikea

This has always been a great way to add interest and intrigue. Textured fabric sofas will be popular, meaning velour and velvets will continue to be on the rise. If you’re not into such heavy fabrics, pleats and folds can add texture to the most lightweight delicate fabrics, and still provide that sumptuous, albeit delicate feeling.

Terracotta and Unglazed Ceramics

Botella White Terracotta Vase, Maisons du Monde

Another thing I keep reading about and seeing is terracotta. Earthy, natural materials will be big this year, with terracotta, natural clays and raw white taking centre stage. No more glossy, glazed ceramics, it’s all about getting back to nature with these rustic items.

Artisan 

Olive Green Drizzle Flower Vase, CatMackGlass on Etsy

There’s a huge shift away from DIY items this year, and more focus on Artisan crafted pieces. Well designed, professionally made quality pieces are key, so perhaps splurge on one bigger, eye-catching piece per room and streamline the look elsewhere so all eyes are on your works of art. If you don’t have the cash to splash, then look in charity shops or eBay, for well made pieces that are a fraction of the cost of new items.

Tropical and Botanical Prints

SANTANA tropical print folding screen, Maisons du Monde

This was big in fashion last year, and will be even bigger still this year. No surprise then, that I’ve been featuring key prints on cushions, wallpaper and decorative items for the past six months then. Now in so many high street stores at such affordable prices, this is a trend everyone can get into.

Green 

Dulux Endurance in Kiwi Crush, B&Q

As I mentioned in Sunday’s post, Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2017 is Greenery, and this fresh, vibrant shade looks set to take off in home décor this year. Perfect for kitchens and bathrooms, where you can take a big hit of colour on the walls, or introduced more subtlely in living areas and bedrooms alongside those tropical elements, it’s a perfect shade for every room of the house. Let the outdoors in.

Blue 

Dream Big Collection, H&M

If green really isn’t your scene, thankfully blue is also big for 2017. With a move away from straight up Indigo inkiness, classic navy and vibrant cobalt are key this time around. Lucky for me, I picked cobalt as my main colour alongside all things white as a whole-house scheme, so it’s great to find out it’s on trend this year, as it should make buying key pieces even easier.

Headboards 

Laura Velvet Headboard, Wayfair

Statement headboards are back in too. Plush, quilted velvet styles (very reminiscent of the 90s for me) are back with a vengeance, and add to that sumptuousness we mentioned when talking about texture. This is something I’ve read about quite a lot looking into this year’s key trends, though I had to admit, not one I can envisage fitting into my own home at the moment.

Butterflies 

Graham & Brown Orange Butterflies Printed Wallpaper, House of Fraser

Something else I’ve seen mentioned more than once is butterflies. It’s certainly a print that’s easy to purchase on the highstreet. On cushions, wallpaper, artwork etc. there’s a huge array of butterfly themed products out there. Furthermore, the designs come in almost every colour combination, so whatever your current scheme, you can join in this trend without having to redecorate your whole home.

Hot or Not? Marble and Brass

Beleven August Coffee Table, Barker and Stonehouse

This is not clear cut. Some out there are still claiming marble and brass are still popular, and will continue to be this year, other’s are saying the over saturation and multitude of faux attempts mean it’s on it’s way out. Which for me means only one thing. Do you like it? If you do, fantastic, it’s still all over the high street and easy to purchase. If you love it, you won’t mind whether stylistically it has staying power or not. And if you’re not a fan? Then great, as mentioned in points one through to seven, there’s a whole host of other trends out there for you to try this year.

Ultimately you want to be happy in your home. So I will never advise anyone that they HAVE to have a certain thing or other. We’re all different, and we all like different things, so take your inspiration from what’s around you and create a home you’re proud of, that sometimes you like to show off, but most of all, that you love to be in.

For now, with love,
Ellen

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Top Picks under £10: January

13-jan_mood_boardI think the New Year is a fabulous time for freshening up your décor and streamlining your look. Autumn is so rich and abundant and the following festive season so vividly overindulgent, that by January, a clean slate is necessary.

The Pantone Colour of the Year for 2017 could not be more perfect for this time of year. I think it’s a shade that suits the first half of the year more, though depending on what you pair it with will determine how long it can last in your home and wardrobe.

Greenery. I even love the name. As a nature lover, I’m thrilled to see this vibrant, Spring shade as the Colour of the Year. Over a year ago, we picked ‘green’ as the colour for our wedding, although admittedly more in terms of actual live greenery than just the colour, but there’s something about the freshness and lushness and vitality of the colour that is simply perfect.

pantone-color-of-the-year-2017-color-palette-6For the cooler months of January through to March, I would pair this shade with crisp whites and soft blue and purple toned greys, and from Spring through to mid-Summer, I adore the colour combination Pantone has put together with ‘Fathomless’. I heart every single shade.

Furthermore, seeing as the botanical trend is here to stay another year, what better background than a pure, unadulterated green to set off those darker leaf shades and really make those tropical prints pop.

But back to January, and as a single, stand out month that screams ‘new start’ I’ve paired the greenery shade with cool turquoise and contrasting cobalt touches to say Winter is here, but Spring is on it’s way. It’s fresh, it’s vibrant, it’s seasonally apt, but it’s certainly not boring or monotone. Without further ado then, my Top Picks Under £10 are:

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1. Rundlig Serving Bowl – IKEA – £8.00 
This bamboo bowl from Ikea contrasts the natural bamboo inside and the vibrant green outside for a modern, stylish piece that could be used in multiple ways around the house. As a serving bowl, it’s ideal for that purpose, but also the perfect size for a fruit bowl, as a decorative item for any room, or catch-all bowl for the hallway or bedroom etc.

2. Rasch Palm Leaves Wallpaper – The Range – £8.99
It has palm leaves. It’s turquoise and green. It’s pretty much perfect as far as wallpaper goes. And you can also get the same design with added tropical birds and flowers too! Love!

3. Printed Cushion Cover – H&M – £8.99
Yes, yes and yes again. I love H&M for their cushion designs! So good.

4. Photo Frame – H&M – £6.99
While we’re there, here’s another great item from H&M. This pretty pop of turquoise would look amazing with a black and white image in. Photos aren’t just for Instagram, guys!

5. Snowdrops Canvas 48cm x 48cm – Wilko – £5.00
Could they have got this any more right for January? The colours are perfect, the image is perfect, and for the price point, the quality is decent.

6. Dovecote Medium Trinket Box – M&S – £9.50
Keep your dresser tidy with this perfect little trinket box. The colour and shape are simply lovely together.

7. Green Tea & Lime Large Hourglass Wax Melt – WoodWick – £4.49
This is fresh yet comforting all in one go. Ideal for that fresh and clean feeling, but still keeps you feeling cozy despite the weather. And it’s also the perfect shade of green to compliment the overall look we’re going for.

8. Pack of 3 Glass Bottles – Wilko – £8.00
I love blue glass, but the mix of colours here works so well together. Once again, well done Wilko!

9. Swirl Glass Bowl – Wilko – £5.00
Well, I really am crushing on Wilko this season! If you want to stick with an out and out Pantone Greenery theme, then try this decorative bowl, you can’t beat the price point.

So there you have my Top Picks, and an idea you can build on to explore 2017’s Pantone Colour of the Year. What do you think of Greenery? And what would you pair it with? Let me know in the comment section.

For now, with love,
Ellen

 

 

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COTM: November & Decemeber – DW Home Emerald Balsam

What a whirlind December 2016 was! We had a last minute (month long) dash to the finish line in order to get our living and dining room ready for a big family Christmas, and with my working hours also increased, it didn’t leave a single moment to catch up with you guys, and for that I’m so sorry. Lesson learned, in future I’ll be planning ahead for the blog as well as for Christmas itself.

I hope you all had a fantastic festive season however, and that your New Year has started in fine form. I love the New Year for the fresh start feeling, the post holidays clean up and all things new. And so I won’t post belated Christmas posts, except to keep up with my Candle of the Month post for November, and as it happened, December too. And that’s because this candle could easily take you into January and beyond.

I’m talking about DW Home’s Emerald Balsam. I purchased one of these from TK Maxx towards the end of October, and boy-o, does it smell like Christmas! It smells just like Christmas trees. It’s fresh and piney, but it’s rich and warm and simply wonderful. There are a couple of Christmas home scents out there I really like, and I don’t often stray too far away, but I purchased this particularly for that purpose. I wanted something Christmassy, but something that was different to what I usually go for.

Out of the three sizes, Medium Single Wick, Large Double Wick or Large Triple Wick, I opted for the triple wicked. You get less burn time for a candle the same size, but more oomph. As we were still mid-decorating and minus a floor in our living room, there wasn’t much relaxing time and I couldn’t have the candle in there with me whilst I was decorating. But when I did burn it, it was simply lovely, and I feel I got a little more than it’s suggested 26 hour burn time. With such little usage throughout November, it was more the latter half of December I used it, and enjoyed it so much so, I purchased another, which I will probably save for next Christmas.

DW Home describe the fragrance profile as “Fresh-cut balsam fir and Italian cypress enhanced with sage, and a touch wild thyme” and it really is a wonderfully green scent. It certainly enhanced the slight natural perfume of the Nordmann Fir we bought for the living room. With a back up all ready to go, I will certainly be burning this candle again.

January will see me get back on track with the blog, so please stay tuned for that. There’s still a lot to do in terms of redecorating and renovating, and we also have the fine details of the wedding to sort out, but there shouldn’t be any last minute rushes now and I can dedicate my time here accordingly.

Hope you’re all safe and well, and wishing you a great year ahead,

For now, with love,
Ellen

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Four Christmas Decorating Themes and How To Create Them

With less than five weeks to go, you have most likely started thinking about Christmas by now. Which means you’ve probably bought a present or two, or at least made a list. Wondered where you’re going for dinner, or how many you’re cooking for, and if you’re even slightly into home décor, you’ll definitely have imagined your perfect Christmas scene. If you’re drawing a blank and need a little extra inspiration, keep reading for four of my favourite themes, and some tips on how to create them.

Scandi Ski Lodge

Image from www.pippajamesoninteriors.co.uk

If you’re craving the feeling of a roaring fire in a cozy cabin, chances are you’ll love the Scandinavian look for Christmas. Red, white and grey are your key colours, and felt and wood are your top textures. There’s still plenty of room to play around as well, you can go more traditional and erring on the rustic side, more modern and playful, up the white for a real snowy vibe, and add extra ski imagery for that holiday at home feeling. I think of red and white fairisle knits, snowflakes of course, and also stars. But the odd pair of skiers in a snowglobe wouldn’t go amiss, and neither would a rustic wooden deer or two. Pass the cocoa and marshmallows please!

Rustic Goodness

Image from www.craftaholicsanonymous.net

This is my kind of traditional look. It’s more outdoorsy than a lot of people’s ‘traditional’ Christmas. I love rich fragrant evergreens, pine cones aplenty and deep, glossy red holly berries. I like tartan and hessian and, I guess, a slightly different kind of cabin vibe. Perhaps I’m sensing a theme here, and a desire for that roaring fire, now that we no longer have our fireplace! It’s simply my favourite Christmas look, as I mentioned in my November Top Picks post. The key is keeping it simple – not in terms of quantity, but in terms of variety. Have plenty, have too much, garlands and wreaths and boughs, but keep the non-plant (whether real or artificial) elements to a minimum. Perhaps you’ll pick hessian and plain red, or a tartan and deep green, a stag or a robin theme. Just don’t overdo it and mix in glittery stars and cartoon Santas or you’ll lose the natural outdoorsy tone.

Whimsical Wonderland

Image from www.pier1.com

This was my main rival in my décor contenders for Christmas this year. Sometimes you fancy a change, and again, there are little elements of this that could be shared with the two previous categories. For my idea of the Forest Wonderland, however, you are losing the lushness of the greenery that the Rustic look has, and gaining a lot more wooden and snowy elements. Unlike the Scandinavian look however, the focus is still on more natural imagery, and especially animals, than simple, more graphic styles. Think stags and owls, foxes and squirrels. Lots of bare wood and the odd pine cone, and oodles of snow, or snow themed pieces. White fur trimmed stocking, and feathers and natural elements go hand in hand to create this ethereal, magical wonderland. Maybe next year.

All That Glitters

Image from christmas.365greetings.com

This will always be a popular theme. If you’re not usually into metallics and shiny things, this is certainly the time of year you can overindulge and get your once-a-year fix. I think festive decorations are supposed to do that. Completely transform and take over your home, just until you have chance to get used to them, and then before you know it, it all comes down and everything looks so bare, and your regular old house looks almost unrecognizable for day or two. You’re not limited to gold or silver (I happen to like both together, especially when mixed in with a few white pieces). Red and silver looks particularly festive, but still “metallic” as opposed to the “traditional” look red and gold can have. And of course you can mix blue with silver, or black and gold. This is also great for colour matching your with your décor, and works particularly well with minimalist rooms. Stars and classy, elegant images work best for this theme.

What’s your favourite Christmas decorating style? Leave a comment below and let me know!

For now, with love,
Ellen

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DIY Dip-Dyed Ombre Curtains

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture on Instagram of a practice dye run on a large piece of fabric. I wanted to perfect the technique of dip dying / ombre ahead of making some from-scratch curtains. The lovely people at Dylon saw my post and got in touch, and I was super pleased that they wanted to send some fabric dye my way to help me create these curtains.

Originally, I had been thinking about making some for our in-progress living room, however we found some perfect ones for that room, but I had my heart set on making some now. As we will be having the white and blue theme throughout the whole house, I went ahead and created some curtains for one of the spare rooms.

Fabric dye will always work best and most true to colour on 100% cotton, so I purchased some extra wide (a whopping 110″ wide) pure cotton calico in a medium weight. I’ve never seen such huge fabric! I use hand dye for this technique, but if you’re dying solid colour pieces, I really recommend the machine dye – I’ve had great success in the past. With the hand dye, you’ll need salt to fix the colour. I had some Dylon salt from the previous practice run, and some regular cooking/table salt to make up the quantity.
A measuring tape and my rotary cutter and I was pretty set. (You’ll also need a large container, a jug, something to stir with and a water spray bottle etc. but I’m never that prepared with my photos!)

I wanted my pencil pleat curtains to be very full, so would be using 90″ width for each curtain panel, for my 72″ (or 180cm) window. First step then, was to cut 20″ inches off of the width of my huge fabric. I measured, made a small snip with some scissors, and was able to tear a nice straight line down the length of the fabric. My finished curtains would be around 48″ (122cm) long, and so I had purchased three metres, and left this as one piece. By keeping the fabric folded in half, I could dip dye the ends of the fabric together in one go, and end up with two very evenly dyed pieces.

Before we get ahead of ourselves though, it’s important to weigh your fabric to work out how much dye and salt you will need. One sachet of hand dye will colour 250g fabric to the full, pictured shade, or result in a more subtle effect on something larger. I wanted to dye around a third of my fabric, so ended up using two sachets.

It’s also important to pre-wash the fabric, especially if you’re using brand new. Any potential shrinkage will occur here instead of with the final product, and as you need to start the dyeing process with wet fabric, it’s a great time to do it. In the machine it goes.

Each sachet of dye needs mixing with 500ml of warm water. I used one navy and one ocean blue dye to give me a more medium toned blue. In the big box it went. I used an ‘under the bed’ storage box as it’s wide opening meant I had more control for dip dying such a wide width.

Next up, salt. 250g of the stuff per sachet of dye. In the box that goes too. Next was 12 litres of warm (hot tap) water, and we’re pretty good to go. Just stir it really well to dissolve the salt and dye, and make sure it’s all thoroughly mixed.

I also used a clothes airer to peg my fabric to, which worked perfectly. I’m lucky in that, as our living room is currently a work space / building site, I could do this indoors, however I would recommend tackling such a big project outdoors to prevent any mishaps. You’ll notice dye on the floor in one of my photos, but that’s because I knew I could afford to be a little carefree!

So, you’re ready to dip your damp fabric! This first bit is so exciting. I had pegged the fold of the fabric to the top of the airer, giving me the two free ends to dip. It’s a little tricky to get a perfectly even dip line with something so wide, but don’t worry.

After the first initial dip and swish (this is to the highest point you want your dye to be) spray it like crazy with a water bottle. The extra water will run down the fabric and create a much smoother gradient or ombre effect.

Agitate the fabric often, but steadily (every 5-10 minutes) lift more and more of the fabric out of the dye. Make sure the front and back are equally saturated (especially if your fabric is two layers like mine) and that there are no undyed spots. Leave the last few inches of fabric in for another 15-30 minutes, and hey presto! you’ve dip dyed your first curtain panel.

Next you need to rinse it in cold water. Off to the bathroom we go. I couldn’t take a photo of this as I only have the two arms, but I ended up placing the dyed section of the fabric into a polythene bag to help carry it up to the bathroom. You may find it easier to rinse in the kitchen, but I preferred the bath for it’s size. You don’t want to run any loose dye into your undyed white fabric, so it’s important to hold your fabric up as you rinse, and run the water down the fabric. The shower head was really helpful for this. The white you see at the bottom of the tub is the plastic bag I mentioned, not the fabric.

Rinse, rinse, and rinse again until the water is running clear. Next, it was back into the washing machine for a final rinse and spin. The reason you need to rinse with the cold water so well is to really fix the dye, but also prevent any mishaps in the machine. Any loose dye could mark your undyed sections, so take the time to do it properly and you’ll be happier in the long run.

Pop it on the line, ignore the crazy overgrown grass, and admire your handiwork. You’re a dip-dyeing genius! Ombre queen!

Once dry, you can start thinking about turning your fabric into actual curtains. Finally, you can cut across the fold line, and turn your one piece of very long fabric into your two curtain lengths. And now you’re going to get very well acquainted with your iron. Go over the whole fabric to give yourself a nice smooth piece to work with, and then prepare your hems. Starting with the sides of your fabric, fold over once, about 1.5cm and press well.

Turn this over again, and re-press.

And finally you’re ready to sew. Pop it under the machine and stitch a lovely long seam across both of your freshly pressed edges.

Next up is the bottom hem (the darkest edge). This should be much deeper than the side hems. It’s how professional curtains are done, and just looks right. I went for about 6cm in total. Fold over once, press, fold again, re-press. And now, shock horror, we’re going to hand-sew.
I mean, I actually love hand-sewing, I feel I have maximum control, but I know many hate it. Well, suck it up, because this is really going to be worth it. If you don’t already know how, google Blind Stitch, and then spend the next three hours hand hemming and perfecting it.

To see the finished result of those tiny itty bitty nearly invisble stitches from the front is so worth it.

And the back of it is pretty damn neat too. So, three hems down and now we just need to make a curtain out of the damn thing!

Fold over the top edge once, approximately 2cm, and press with the iron. I’d purchased some curtain header tape online that arrived just in time, cut it to size, allowing a little extra to tuck underneath for neat edges, pinned, and sewed with the sewing machine. Once on the top edge of the curtain tape…

…and once on the bottom.

Next up, iron the whole thing AGAIN. Ironing before you gather the tape will be much easier. But then, with the help of a tape measure, gather and knot the panel to size in the same way you would with any pencil pleat curtain. Pop in your curtain hooks and ta-da!

A curtain! Stand up, admire, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself. You did it. And then take that iron out again, because you have a second curtain to make.

Once we get around to decorating the spare room I’ll show you photos of the curtains up in more detail. For now, I popped this one up in our bedroom so I could show you how it turned out, and I have to say, I couldn’t be more pleased.

A big thank you to Dylon for the dye, which gave me the kick I needed to get this project done! Check out the different products in the range for yourself at www.dylon.co.uk. And check back here soon too, because I’m going to have another fabric dyeing post for you in the next couple of weeks, and more Christmas posts even sooner than that.

For now, with love,
Ellen

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Top Picks Under £10: November

11-november_mood_boardWe’ve had Halloween, we’ve had Bonfire Night, and now it seems the whole country is in Christmas mode. You won’t be ready to put decorations up yet (at least, you shouldn’t be!) but it’s definitely a good time to start thinking about them. A lot happens at Christmas. The more you can prepare in advance, the easier the festive period becomes, and decorations start popping into shops mid-October, and as something you can buy and put away for a month or two, there’s no reason not to get home décor accessories ticked off the list.

Besides, it’s so much less stressful than present shopping.

There’s so many themes to pick from these days, Nordic, Traditional, Vintage, Luxe, Retro, Metallics, Red, White, Blue, Gold Green or Pink, there’s a Christmas theme to fit every single taste.

I have to say I prefer more traditional tastes and colours – they just feel the most Christmassy to me. I do vary from one year to another, but it’s usually on a similar note. I like outdoorsy, rustic, traditional colours. Red, green, lots of wicker and berries and pinecones. Sometimes I may go for a slightly more metallic red gold and green look, or maybe more woodland with lots of animals, but that general idea just suits my personal tastes.

And so, along that theme, I have my Top Picks for the month of rustic Christmas décor. Think hessian and tartan, wood and green firs with red berries. There’s plenty out there to pick for this theme, and here are a few favourites I’ve noticed:

1. George Home Stag’s Head Ornament – George – £10.00
I really like this wooden stag head. It could also work well within a Nordic or Ski Lodge theme, but the carved wood effect (it’s actually resin) looks super rustic and outdoorsy.

2. 10in Mini Red Berry Wreath – M&S – £10.00
There are wreaths available within budget for this Top Picks, but for a lovely large outdoor one, you may want to spend a little more. For the price though, this mini one is super cute, and would make a great indoor accessory.

3. Tartan Decoration Set- The Range – £1.99
This set of 9 tree decorations are so cute, and a total bargain. I love tartan for this Christmas theme as it adds red and green but again, in a more rustic way. I think I’m going to have to pick some of these up, although I already have something very similar, so will check first that they don’t clash!

4. Tartan Tree Garland Reel – Dunelm – £4.00
I’m not a fan of tinsel. It’s one childhood Christmas decoration that I feel hasn’t really made a comeback. Some people still love it, and good for them – always go with what you enjoy. Personally, I usually just got for baubles on my tree, but this tartan ribbon garland would look super cute, and at £4.00 for 4 metres, it’s also a bargain. And doesn’t have to be limited to the tree!

5. Hessian Stag Christmas Stocking – Matalan – £6.00
Hessian – check. Tartan – check. Stags – Check. This just screams rustic Christmas. I adore it.

6. 8m Hessian Jute Roll – B&Q – £6.00
This would also look great draped around the tree. Or to make your own bows from. Or to tie around your dining chairs, or twirl around fireplace garlands. If you’ve found the perfect green wreath, that just needs an extra touch, items like this are perfect to add that rustic charm.

7. 3 Pack Red Berry Tree Picks – M&S – £5.00
Along with the jute roll, these berry picks are perfect to add into plain wreaths and fireplace garlands, onto presents and other decorations to add a little colour and texture in a lovely natural (at least in style) way.

8. Rattan Noel Hanging Sign – Wilko – £6.00
Adding little signs and decorations around your home really adds to the atmosphere. This small Noel hanging sign would be perfect in the hallway or kitchen, to continue your chosen theme around the house.

9. Red Flocked Bell with Floristry Detail – B&Q – £3.00
There are so many baubles that fit this theme and come in under budget. Literally, hundreds. But I chose this one for my Top Picks because it ticks so many boxes – the colour, the flocked finish, the design, the little needles and pine cone detail. Perfect.

So there’s just a little taster of what’s available for this Outdoorsy Rustic theme. I can’t wait to share photos of our décor this Christmas. There haven’t been a lot of house updates as progress has been slow, but it should all come together for Christmas, and I can’t wait to share.

There will be more Christmas posts coming up, so stay tuned for those.

For now, with love,
Ellen

Upcycled Cable Knit Jumper Cushion Cover Tutorial

The clocks recently went back here in the UK, and now the nights seem darker and colder, it’s time to amp up the cozy in your home. If candles alone aren’t adding that snuggly feeling, it’s time to bring out the blankets, and double up on cushions and pillows.

I love the look of cable knit cushions come Autumn/Winter. I saw this Ralph Lauren one online, with it’s simple cable design, and minus the cashmere blend, knew I could create something very similar for a fraction of it’s £89 price tag.

I decided to look for a cream cable knit jumper I could upcycle, and scored the jackpot, when in the first charity shop I looked in, I found this cricket style jumper for a mere £1. Although the collar looked a little worn, the body of the garment is in excellent condition, and although it’s acrylic rather than cashmere, at least I have the added bonus of being able to chuck it in the washing machine, which is the very first step.

You will ideally need an overlocker for this tutorial. It is possible you could make it work with a couple of rows of zig zag stitches instead, but as that isn’t a method I’ve tried, I’ll let you make your own mind up on that one.

If you have a sweater without such a large V, you could make two simply rectangles or squares, insert a zip and have a nice straightforward cushion cover, not unlike the basic design of the Ralph Lauren one.

As my jumper had the deep V neck, I didn’t have the length I wanted in the front, and the back wasn’t large enough to create two squares from, so I knew I’d be doing a fold over design.

You want to overlock your pieces straight from the jumper. With a knitted piece like this, the chances are if you cut it first, it will be part way unravelled before you get it through your machine. I carefully serged up the sides, and across the top. Be careful to pay attention to the direction of your sewing, and that you are serging/overlocking your centre pieces, and not the edges around them.

imag3455imag3457Once you have your two rectangular pieces, you can play around with where you want to fold them, and work out if and how much excess you’ll need to overlock and cut off to give you your desired shape.

The next step is to sew the two wide, overlocked edges together (right sides facing). I recommend using pins to keep the two pieces in place, and try and line up the cables as best you can for the most professional finish.

Next, fold down the top, and then fold up the bottom section, and pin together. Where they overlap, in the middle, you will have a section that is three layers deep. Be careful with your machine, pin everything, and sew slowly.

imag3461Because of the deep folded over section, there is no need to add a closure, however if you want to, you could always add buttons and button holes, a zipper, velcro, whatever you fancy. I left mine as is because it worked fine, and kept the final cushion nice and soft with no harsh bits in the centre back.

Et voila! Your very own cable knit jumper cushion. I’m really pleased with how it turned it. If you decide to try it out, please let me know in the comments below!

For now, with love,
Ellen

Most Disappointing Autumn Candle of the Season

imag3189 I don’t like to post negative things, and so I was going to give this a miss, but then I realised that was unfair – this was such a bad experience, I’d like to advise you against the same.

Although Autumn/Fall is coming to an end, I’ll still leave my thoughts here, should you be buying out of season, or pick this post up a year from now.

So, back at the start of September, I was really ready for some Autumnal scents, and was particularly enjoying my Yankee Famer’s Market at the time, and thinking of more pumpkin noted fragrances ahead of Halloween. Cue, seeing these little lovelies from TK Maxx. The brand is Chesapeake Bay, which appears to be much more widely available in the US than here in the UK. I saw these tealight candles in ‘Creamy Pumpkin’ and the pillar in ‘Wild Pumpkin’ and knew I had to buy both.

On cold sniff, they seemed gorgeous. Not overpoweringly strong, but delightful scents. The creamy pumpkin was very much of a cream cheese and cinnamon noted, almost carrot cake vibe, whereas the wild pumpkin was much more of that Autumnal vegetable scent, but with a hint of spice. Both super lovely. I took plenty of photos assuming I’d be blogging about all their great features.

And then I burned a tealight. And another. And another. Such a huge disappointment! The smell was completely non-existent when being burned. If I got really close, I got the scent of the wick burning, and that was it. No delicate, cakey goodness, no sugar and spice, no pumpkin, no nothing. And not only that, the burn on them was terrible.

They are in plastic containers as opposed to metal, as I’ve always been used to with tealights, but they burned so unevenly, and never to the very end. Either the wick would drown and go out, or they’d burn so unevenly, the surrounding wax would melt away whilst one side was very much full. Very wasteful, and resulted in a pitifully short burn time.

I ended up returning the Wild Pumpkin pillar candle without trying it out, as I was certain it would be of similar quality and didn’t fancy wasting any more money. I paid the discounted TK Maxx prices of £4.99 for the tealights, and the pillar was £3.99. I would say that I’d use up the tealights with my melt warmers, but to be honest, the IKEA tealights I normally use burn so much better, I’m not sure I’ll even bother.

I appreciate I may just have had a single bad experience from this brand, however, it’s put me off enough that I won’t be trying them again any time soon. Oh well, you win some, you lose some!

See you soon for some more positive talk!!

For now, with love,
Ellen

Candle of the Month: October – WoodWick’s Autumn

A little later than expected (no thanks to illness, bleurgh!) but today is Halloween, and I’m getting my Candle of the Month post in just in time.

I was out browsing Autumn scented candles and wax melts after a disappointing purchase (post to follow) when I came across the WoodWick stand in one of my favourite shops to buy candles from. I’ve known about WoodWick candles for years, and yet for some reason, never tried them out. The small display I was looking at on this particular day had a very seasonal trend to it – almost everything was of a cozy, Autumnal scent, and I decided to ease myself into the brand, I’d pick up a couple of mini hourglass wax melts.

I couldn’t resist Pear Cider, as there just aren’t enough pear scented candles around, and this one also has notes of ginger, clove and vanilla – it smells delicious. And of course, I had to pick up the appropriately named Autumn. It was, after all, exactly what I’d come to buy – an Autumn scented candle.
On cold sniff, I couldn’t quite put my finger on the notes. It one hundred percent smells like the season, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. There are juicy, almost overripe apples, and something that made me think of golden crunchy leaves. It isn’t as sweet as I usually find with these fragrances.

To learn that the notes are: “Fresh apples and spices, infused with juicy currant and cranberries for a sweet and tart sensation” made a lot of sense. Although there is some sweetness from the apple, there’s also that tartness, which the berries add. I wouldn’t have guessed currant and cranberry at all, but as I sit here with it melting, I do get a strong clove scent, which is wonderful.

Overall, I am fantastically impressed. The throw is fantastic, and the scent more complex than a lot of Autumn home fragrances.

I will definitely purchase from WoodWick in the future, and look forward to trying some candles from them. If you’d like the try this scent, it’s available in the UK in an array of sizes from woodwickcandleshop.co.uk. I can’t recommend it enough.

For a candle that didn’t quite live up to it’s promise, stay tuned for a final Autumn candle post coming tomorrow, and then I will have that upcycled cushion cover tutorial I promised you up on Sunday.

For now, with love,
Ellen

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