Sunday, 23 November 2014

Easy Christmas card DIY

These past weeks I've realized that with so much work from college, the idea of posting two blog posts each week is unlikely; even though the last thing I want to be doing is college work. Consequently, my blog posts may have no regular posting schedule, although I have a whole host of Christmassy DIYs to share with you all, in the coming weeks.

My first DIY Christmas post is about making your own cards, this DIY is really easy and would also be good to make with kids.

For this DIY you will need;

  • Acrylic paint in black, white, brown, red and orange (or red and yellow)
  • A paint pallet
  • Paintbrushes in various sizes (I use a multipack of 22 for £2.99 from The Works)
  • Card in your chosen colours
  • A ruler
  • A pencil
  • Glue
  • Pens or a lettering stamp kit 
Step one- to use the black and brown paint to thumbprint ovals onto the card, these will form the bodies of the birds. 
Step two- use your pinky finger to dot white on the black circles, and red on the brown circles, to create the 'belly' of your  robins and penguins.

Step three- using a pen, or a small paintbrush, add the eyes and legs to the 'robins'. I dotted white onto each for the eyes, then added a back pupil when the paint had dried. I also used a very small paintbrush to add legs, which were just 'fork' shapes. With the black paint, I painted little triangle shapes for the beaks as well. 

Step four- Using orange, black and white paint, add the details onto the 'penguins'. I used a small paintbrush to add the orange beaks and flippers, which were just three lines all coming from the same point. I did the eyes the same as before, for the robins.

Step five- I cut around my three birds on each bit of card, this created thinner strips, which I used on my final greetings cards, you can cut them out how you want though. Fold a piece of card in half vertically, then glue the painted birds onto it. Draw lines with a ruler and pencil, marking how tall you want the finished cards to be. Cut along these lines.

Step six- Hand-write or use stamps, like I did, to write a greeting inside. As my cards were small, I couldn't fit the whole word 'Christmas' in, so just abbreviated it to 'merry xmas'.

I really hope you enjoyed this post and will be trying out the DIY for yourself. 
I also have a Christmas Pinterest board here, if you want to see more festive projects. 

Until next time

Holly Olivia x
Sunday, 16 November 2014

Kirkley Hall Christmas market and zoological gardens

There isn't a suitcase upcycling post this Sunday again, I am swapping the posting days around for this week as I haven't had much time to add more to the project. Today me, my mum and my sister headed to Ponteland for the Christmas market at Kirkley Hall. It cost £3 per person to enter and this included free entry to the zoological gardens, where we saw alpacas and lemurs.

The market itself, was set in the grounds of the very pretty Kirkley Hall, there were some stalls in the courtyard and around various other marquees in the premises. It was nice to see so many small businesses selling their makes and bakes, as well as Christmas trees and gifts. I really wanted to buy some of the hog roast for lunch, but the servers were using the same tongs to handle the bread and meat, so I didn't want to risk it, I'd say this was the only downside of today, the only thing I could find for me to eat was a gluten free salted caramel brownie from The Brownie Bar, it was really tasty but didn't have enough of a salted caramel flavour for my liking. I did find gluten free dog treats, which was annoying as there was more choice of food for gluten intolerant dogs, than for people.

The zoological gardens at Kirkley Hall are actually for students who want to work with animals in the future, although they are also open to the public. We saw porcupines, alpacas, donkeys, snakes, lizards and monkeys, among many other animals, As well as this, there was a 'petting barn' for children to be able to see the farm animals more closely. We had a definite soft spot for the guinea-pigs, as we'd kept pet guineas for years until Albert sadly passed away earlier this year. 

Jasmine was up for holding a bird of prey, I did want to hold a Barn Owl, but the queue was basically a free for all, so I decided not to wait. Jasmine and I, also went on the (very fast) ferris wheel,and sang along to the Christmas music at the top of our lungs- which I'm sure was pleasant for everyone nearby!

I wore my coat from Primark which I talked more about here, a woolen A-line skirt from Beyond Retro with a jumper I made last year when I had the flu, the pattern is in Mollie Makes issue 31, which is available to buy digitally on the App Store. My tights are from Marks and Spencer and my boots are new from Primark- they cost only £18 and are so comfortable and warm! My rocket necklace is from the very talented Kate Rowland, and it one of the only pieces of jewelry I wear. I took my oh so loved leather camera bag from Reid and Hamilton with me for the day to carry my camera and hoard of 'just in case' gluten free snacks. 

We left at about 2:30pm with the Christmas tree we bought my dad, as he couldn't be there, and began the trek along the muddy field back to the car. The market was a really fun day out and definitely put me in a Christmassy spirit, now I just want to drink spiced hot apple juice and watch Christmas films. Hope your weekend has been as good!

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Pretty in pink

This post was meant to be up yesterday, but with wifi problems and college work, I couldn't write it in time. During the recent half term holidays, I went to Miss Selfridge to try on a playsuit which I'd had my eye on for a while. It was in the sale for reduced from £45, but with my student discount, I also managed to get an extra £2 off, so the playsuit ending up costing £18- which was an amazing price for such a lovely piece. I try to mainly feature handmade clothing on this blog (the name is Holly Olivia CREATES, after all), but this piece was too lovely not to share.

I styled the playsuit with a Primark coat from a couple of years ago, I have heard people talk a lot about how they never find that Primark clothing lasts for over a few months however, I've had this piece for two years and it's still good as new. This Debenhams one is similar, if anyone is interested. I also wore white, woolen tights which were also from Primark. I can't find any similar ones, but these socks could be an alternative. My shoes are also a couple of years old, and are sadly falling apart now. I had to wear a vest top under the playsuit as otherwise it was too low, but I think it looks nice with the lace vest peeking out. Overall, the playsuit is really good quality and the fabric feels so soft and not too light or heavy, so it'll be wearable all year round. When I was there I also spotted a few pieces which I'll be looking out for in the New Year sale. 

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Photography open day at the Spanish City

Today's post is a bit different to what I've been posting the past couple of Sundays, I am taking a break from posts about the suitcase sewing box as I haven't managed to do much this week with it. Also I realised that as I'm a photography student I should actually share some of my photos that I've taken for my course on here.
Yesterday, there was an open event for photographers at the Spanish City in Whitley Bay. The building used to attract lots of tourists for the funfair, and there was also a ballroom, which occasionally held concerts. I remember going there when I was younger because there was a dinosaur slide- how cool? In the past ten, or so, years, the building has fallen into disrepair and the council are planning on refurbishing it, although this was announced when I was in year 6, and not much seems to have been done.
For photography, we were given a project about photographing somewhere local to us and, just by chance, I read about the open event in the local paper the day before the event. (I was also featured in said paper- here) The photographs have to be edited into black and white, below are some of my favourite shots from the day.

I didn't manage to get any photos of the outside building which I was happy with, but I love the ghostly feel to these photographs. I found many bird and bat corpses in the building as I was wandering around, which was really creepy, and I also managed to get a little bit lost, but all in all it was a really good morning and I'm looking forward to attending more of these events as they make progress with the restoration.

Until next time

Holly Olivia x
Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Going #bearfaced for BBC Children in Need

Posting a photo or even just going outside without make-up on is a scary thought for most women, and also some men. Mainly because of the media's portrayal of 'perfection' and how stars on magazines are heavily airbrushed to make them seem flawless. Due to this, writing this post was daunting for me, I was worried about the possibility of receiving negative comments and reactions, but Children in Need is such a good charity and I wanted to join their campaign.
I heard about the campaign after I saw the #bearfaced celebrity photos on Twitter and Instagram, with the likes of Rochelle from the Saturdays and beauty blogger/ YouTuber Tanya Burr getting involved. However, I decided to take part after watching the Gareth's All Star Choir on Monday, seeing how the money benefits young people who need help, made me quite tearful and kick started my desire to raise funds for this amazing charity.

Yesterday, I headed to my local branch of Boots to purchase my pawprint tattoos and see what other Children in Need themed things I could buy, to find... they didn't sell anything, unless it was all hidden in a secret password guarded door. Therefore, I made a trip to North Shields Boots, leaving me with only 6 minutes to walk to the store, buy my things and get back for the only Metro which seemed to be running. I tried to spend limited time in the store to avoid being stranded by myself in the cold, but I managed to buy the last 'Fearne bear' which is a limited edition Pudsey designed by the very talented Fearne Cotton, as well as my 'bearfaced' tattoos/stickers. 

In preparation for taking my #bearfaced portraits today, I used some of the tips on this website, just to give me a confidence boost. I found the tips I used really helpful and would recommend the link if you want to take part in the campaign, or if you just want to feel better about your appearance on a make-up free day. 

Posting this was one of the scariest things I have done, but it feels good to be able to help charities and people who aren't as fortunate as myself. (So cliché, I know). I am still deciding what I can actually do to raise more money for them, to hopefully be able to benefit even more people. 

If you don't live near a Boots or don't like going outside, you can buy a Fearne bear here and your bearfaced tattoos here. 

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Vintage suitcase sewing box DIY- Starting the lining

For this part of the DIY you will need:

  • A suitcase
  • 1m of fabric (at the most)
  • A few sheets of newspaper
  • PVA glue
  • Fabric scissors
  • Paper scissors
  • Sewing pins
  • Tape measure 
  • A pen
  • An old paintbrush and an old toothbrush
  • Water
  • Babywipes/ a wet cloth (optional)

As you can see, the inside of the case was scruffy and the lining was tatty and really needed replacing. There was also a lot of dust around the corners of the base and it was covered in scrawls of pen. Here are the steps to how I got along with the base and lid relining.

  1. Remove the current lining (if the case has some). I started by cutting into it but soon discovered that I was able to pull the lining straight away from the edges, this was the easiest method. 
  2. Use a small brush (or old toothbrush) to clean any dirt out of the edges of the case.
  3. I also used a babywipe to clean up the edges of the case, but this is optional depending on the condition of your case.
  4. To make a pattern for the base lining, lie a sheet of the newspaper into the case and draw around the base with the pen. Cut it out and put it back into the case to check it fits perfectly.
  5. Pin the newspaper pattern to the fabric and cut it out, leaving an inch on each edge so the joins aren't visible when you add the side panels of lining.
  6. Mix 'mod podge' to use as an adhesive. The recipe I use to make mod podge is one part PVA glue to a third of a part water, alternatively you can use a hot glue gun.
  7. Spread the glue onto one part of the case bottom and start sticking down the fabric. The glue dries fairly quickly so take your time and glue the lining down part by part. See the below photos for help.

Yes, I did wear a Totoro onesie for the whole of this DIY...

 8. My suitcase lid was the same dimensions as the base, so I used the same pattern and just repeated step 7, but if your case isn't the same size at the base and the lid, then repeat steps 4, 5, and 7.

Here is a photo of my case with the base and lid lining in place. If you have a go at making your own case share it with me on social media! Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

Happy crafting!

Holly Olivia x