French Vanilla Coffee?

I love Pinterest, I’ve lost many hours pinning and re-pinning nice photos, crafty ideas, recipes and planning a wedding last year. If you’re familiar with the website you’ll have seen the pins that declare “The best homemade chocolate spread ever”, “The ultimate cleaning detergent”, “The tastiest cookie dough”. I often wonder who declared these superlatives and if they have ever been tested?

Vanilla Coffee CandlesThen this morning I spotted a pin that declared “Place vanilla scented tea lights in a bowl of coffee beans. The warmth of the candles will heat up the coffee beans and make your house smell like french vanilla coffee.” Doesn’t that just sounds divine? But also a tad implausible.

I just happen to have vanilla scented tea lights purchased in Dunnes and coffee beans in the fridge. The coffee beans have been there for a while because I’m not mad on the taste of these particular beans, so they’re probably a bit stale. But sure we’ll give it a go anyway.

Vanilla Coffee CandleI filled two ramekins with the coffee beans and snuggled the tea lights into the beans. They’ve been lighting for a few hours now and the smell, while nice, is a bit underwhelming. I can definitely smell the vanilla but can only kind of smell the coffee. It would seem that the premise that the heat activates the scent doesn’t hold, but they are so pretty and would make a lovely centrepiece so not a total fail.

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DIY: Map quest

My best friend and her husband (still sounds strange that we’re not 17 and heading out to Club Sarah, she has a husband and I have a husband to be) celebrated their first wedding anniversary recently. They really love travelling and have been pretty much all over the world. I had spotted these framed heart maps on Pinterest a while back and knew I wanted to make one for them as a gift.

Map heart frameWhen I was in Ikea a month or so ago I picked up a Ribba photo frame. I was going to just print maps from Google Maps, but then Rossa suggested using an atlas for better quality, which I picked up in a shop in Rathmines. It feels so wrong to cut up a book, I’m still having palpitations at the thought of it, but in this case I feel it’s justified. And I promise to recycle what I don’t use or keep it to make more similar gifts.

I used:

  • Scissors, spray glue, pencil
  • Maps (old maps, old atlases or even printed from online maps)
  • A heart shape to trace around, I used a heart shaped ramekin we happened to have
  • A photo frame
  • Backing card big enough to fit your frame

Map heart frameI asked my friend to name some places she and her husband have happy memories of. These included Hong Kong, Koh Phi Phi, Thailand and Australia. It took some time to pin her down to give me 9 places they had been without explaining to her what I was up to.

Map heart frameOnce I had my 9 places, I traced around the heart shaped ramekin and cut out the shapes. Then I decided what order I wanted them in, sprayed the back of them with glue and glued them onto the backing card. I divided the card into a 3×3 grid (although didn’t mark the paper) and placed each heart into one section of the grid. I did this pretty much freehand, and while they’re not perfect, they’re good enough for me.

Map heart frameI need to give this as a gift later so had to photograph it under artificial light. I would love to have the time to photograph it in all its glory properly, as it’s quite visually impressive, with the green, blue and white. But this will have to do.

FO: Genna cowl

Rossa and I took a sneaky trip to Antwerp back in May. We we’re actually going to get my engagement ring, but didn’t tell anyone. Antwerp is a lovey city, not as pretty as, say, Bruges, but nicer than Brussels. (We’ve been to both, Rossa is a total beer nerd so I could take about all the pubs we visited and beer we drank but I won’t.)

While we were there the Mode Museum were holding an exhibition called Unravel: Knitwear in Fashion. It was a really good exhibition and I even managed to take a few snaps. It was great I have to say to be able to indulge my hobby while there, as sometimes I feel like our trips are hijacked by the pubs we *have* to go to and beer we *have* to try. Even in Antwerp (where we were getting an engagement ring remember) Rossa had a list of pubs and beers to check out. I’m not entirely complaining, but it was nice for things to be a little bit balanced.

We also visited Jilija’s which is just such a gorgeous shop. I gathered that most of the yarns are La Droguerie, but she did have some other brands. She also had buttons and fabrics. As always happens me I felt a little overwhelmed, but came away with a skien of chunky baby alpaca, one of kid mohiar and some pure wool.

The baby alpaca and kid mohair both became cowls. I saw this photo on Pinterest and knew I wanted to make something similar with my mohair. For my Genna cowl [ravelry link] I cast on 110 stitches using 8mm needles, knit four rounds of 1×1 ribbing, then a round of k2tog/yo and five rounds of stocking stitch. I kept going until I felt I was going to run out of yarn, then four more rounds of 1×1 ribbing. Only problem is that I cast off really tightly, even though I went up to 10mm needles for the cast off. But I think it’s still lovely.

Knitted Mohair Cowl

DIY: Old frames the new

More DIY wedding stuff. taking inspiration from this photo on Style Me Pretty I wanted to create a funky frame for using for our table layout. The day before the wedding I can print out our final table plan and stick it in the frame. I also want to print the table plan onto A4 card to leave around during the drinks reception, so people can be having a look to see where they are sitting before we go into the marquee. After the wedding I’ll use the frame after the wedding to hang our Thumbprint guest book.

I picked up an old framed painting in a funky little shop just of Frances Street in Dublin. I wanted something with lots of grooves and ridges. It cost me the grand total of €20.

I used:

  • Old photo frame
  • Toothbrush and white spirits for cleaning the frame
  • Primer
  • Spray paint in silver
  • Hard board, 3.5mm, craft knife
  • Wallpaper and double sided tape

I set up a tarp against a wall in the garden and proceeded to dismantle the painting from the frame. I then cleaned it using white spirits and a toothbrush. *A lot* of dirt came off. Then I used a spray primer to cover the frame back & front. I followed this with 2 coats of metalic silver spray paint over the course of an afternoon.

Then I cut the hard board to fit the back of the frame. I covered the hard board in a wallpaper sample and stuck it down with the double sided tape.

I got such a response when I posted the finished photos on Twitter, I decided to go ahead with this post, even though my proper camera battery went before I could take proper ‘after’ photos. As soon as I’m home again in the daylight I’ll take some and post them here.

DIY: Cute as a button

Pinterest has a lot to answer for. Once again I spotted a crafty tutorial I just knew I had to try. American Craft Studio posted a tutorial for an Element Monogram. A friend of mine had a baby recently so in her honour I decided to create a H.

I used:

  • Printer, scissors, paper, pencil, glue, double sided tape
  • A photo frame, without the glass (I’m using more Ribba from Ikea)
  • Card large enough to fit the photo frame (I’m using some lovely shimmery grey card to go with the white frame)
  • Buttons, lots and lots of buttons and beads (I used some from my stash, was donated some and bought some from eBay)

The original tutorial suggests printing out a letter, cutting around it and using this as a template. I really wanted a nice curly letter but it took a bit of time to find one that was chunky enough to allow for larger buttons. Eventually I settled on Angel Tears in size 850. When cutting out the letter I made it a bit chunkier again. Although I can see the logic in tracing around a letter with straight edges, I think if you are doing something a bit curvier freehand would be ok.

You then start sticking down the buttons, starting with the larger ones and then filling in the gaps with smaller ones, and layering them up. I used beads when I needed to fill smaller gaps.

I may have gone a bit overboard with the chunkyness and curlyness because Rossa looked over my shoulder and said “Oh, that’s beautiful” but identified it as a bird. I realised too late you also need to keep it simple, as something that is too curvy can become unrecognisable (my bird!)

I ended up cutting around the buttons I had glued so I could make the shape more recognisable, which is not an ideal solution. But now it looks more like a H than a bird so I’m happy. The buttons are quite heavy so I used double sided tape to stick the card first to the backing board and then to the mount before fitting it into the glass-less frame.

DIY: Tied up with string

I’m getting married to the love of my life next April and I am very excited to be planning our wedding. I’m hoping to make and do as much of the decorations and extra touches myself for three reasons. First I feel it makes it very personal, second simply because I want to. A distant third, for me anyway, is saving money, although this is undoubtedly a nice bonus.

I spotted these table numbers propped up by corks on Pinterest, and immediately fell in love with the rustic feel of the corks and twine. Aren’t they fab? They were originally posted on the website of a Melbourne Wedding Planner and Event Manager, A Lavish Affair.

As a DIY bride I couldn’t resist giving these a go myself.

I used:

  • Glue & scissors
  • String
  • Wine corks (I have a collection of these just waiting for a project to come along, a huge thanks also to Elana and UnderMeOxter for donating wine corks)

The first thing to do is sort the corks into sets of 6, you’re looking for corks of similar height and shape.

The next step is to glue the corks together. You only want to put the glue on the bottom half of the corks so that the paper can still slip between them. I found that gluing them in pairs, and then gluing the pairs together worked best.

Finally, wrap the string around the corks around three times and tie in a bow. When you are happy with the placement of the string and I would suggest adding a few more drops of glue to hold everything in place. You’re now ready to pop your card into place.

I also spotted these really cute table decorations on Pinterest  – 5 things his side should know about her/ 5 things her side should know about him. The originals come from Etsy shop La Belle Vie Design. Jenn from La Belle Vie has loads of super cute, customisable stationary for weddings and some really unique ideas. I’m going to have to tie Rossa down to persuade him to write 5 things about me, but I think it will be a really personal touch, especially for those guests that don’t know one of us very well.