Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Gift wrapping on a budget!

I really enjoy making gifts look pretty with lovely paper and ribbon. ( I pretty much start hyperventilating every time I enter the ribbon aisle in Hobby Craft) But buying supplies to create these beautiful packages can be expensive and often add a substantial cost on top of the actual gift. This is fine if you can afford it, but for a poor student like me, it's not ideal. Especially since the alternatives are that rubbishy wrapping paper which tears the moment you touch it...and that horrible shiny ribbon which you have to curl with scissors; I have yet to find a method of use which makes it look nice...(I clearly have not got the technique as I'm sure there are plenty of people who do not have this issue!) 

It's my Mum's birthday today and so whilst I was wrapping her presents yesterday (which evidently, are not as glamorous as the wrapping makes them look) I thought I'd share some of these ideas with you all.

So the first thing is wrapping paper. There are so many different ways that you can save money on wrapping paper (although Primark often have some really pretty paper which is cheap too!) One way is to make your own paper, and there are tons of tutorials and pictures online which can give you inspiration. Pinterest is great for things like this! 

Another way, if you are a real stinge like me and which is possibly a little cheeky (probably should only be done every now and then...when you're really really poor!) is to use wallpaper samples from hardware stores. I went to Homebase at the weekend to get a couple of bits and whilst walking to the checkout I walked passed the wallpaper ailse. There are so many different types of wallpaper with beautiful prints, especially the Laura Ashley wallpaper, and I remembered from when we decorated my room a while back, that you are allowed to take wallpaper samples home with you. So I took a couple of samples home with me, with the intention of using them for crafts! But when it came to wrapping up my Mum's birthday presents today and I realised that I didn't have any wrapping paper, the samples that I had taken from Homebase came in very handy! 

Note: Whoever is opening the present will probably realise pretty much as soon as they start unwrapping that it is wallpaper, as it is much thicker than normal paper. To me this doesn't matter because they still look really beautiful, however if this bothers you then this idea may not be for you!

Adding ribbon to a present can instantly prettify (yep...prettify, I made it up) gifts and make them that little bit extra special, but again they can be expensive! Especially when you are using it for gift wrapping which may just be thrown away by the receiver! So I like to make my own!

Using some cream and deep pink organza that I had leftover from an old craft project (which was around £2 for 2 meters from my local fabric store), I made ribbons of different length and width by making small cuts in the fabric, and ripping it into strips. By ripping the fabric instead of cutting it, you get a lovely frayed edge which creates a really interested texture against the paper. The great thing about this also, is that you can decide how thick or thin you want the ribbon to be! So why don't you give it a try!

I hope you have enjoyed this post! I love finding out little money saving tips like this (especially when it involves ribbon) so if you have any ideas, send them my way!

Have a lovely day!

Zahra x

P.S. Happy Birthday to my lovely Mummy! 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

When the lights go out...

So yesterday we had a power cut which started at 4ish, and didn't stop until...well I don't know when because I went to sleep! Luckily it's working again today though PANIC OVER. But it really made me realise how much we rely on electricity to function properly on a day to day basis! Seriously, I didn't know what to do with myself. I was just happily surfing the web, wasting time on my lappy-t (this is the name that my friend and I occasionally use for our works for other words too - cardy-g...cardigan, facey-b...facebook. Fantastic fun...) when all of a sudden BOOM, the power was out. 

"But what about the battery power on your laptop?!" I hear you cry. Well my laptop is about 4 years old...and the battery is frazzled, so it now relys whole-heartedly on the power cable, to survive. Almost like its on life support. Actually, exactly like its on life support. I tried to resuscitate it (by pressing the 'on' button) but to no avail. 'So' I thought, 'what to do?'. It was at this moment that I realised how reliant I had become on my laptop, and the TV to entertain myself. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy doing other things, like crafts for example, but I always have my laptop playing music while I'm doing those things. Also reading is something that I love, but I generally only read at night before bed!

But reading looked like the best option, and I had just finished the book that I had been reading previously, 'The Buddha of Suburbia' (it was okay, amusing in places, but I wasn't gripped by the story). So I selected the next book on my reading list, which is one of the ones that I have been meaning to read for a long time 'The Great Gatsby'. 

It's one of those classics that everyone always goes on about, and so I thought that now would be the perfect time to read it! And how cool its the cover! I'm quite enjoying it so far though it's completely different to what I thought it would be about; for some reason I was convinced that The Great Gatsby was a ship. Not quite sure why... Anyway, I'm sure it will provide some enjoyable reading over the next few days! 

It's also the little things like boiling the kettle and heating up food which is massively taken for granted on a day to day basis. But as soon as the power is out, making a cup of tea suddenly becomes much more of an activity. I know it probably sounds like I'm making a huge deal out of boiling some water in a pan but I think I sometimes forget that this is what a kettle does. Normally I just press the button and walk away and then when I come back its need to worry if the heat is too high and the water might boil over. Having said this it was quite nice to do things the long way for a change. 

When it got a bit darker, we lit candles everywhere, had our torches ready and sat down for a game of scrabble. It was all very quaint and cosy. And I WON! ....that's a lie, I came second. Still, it was a very enjoyable game, and nice to spend time with the fam!

These were horrible letters to have. I ended up coming second though!
Anyway, that's all for now! Let me know if you have any other fun power cut activities! 

Zahra x

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to my Dad!! Love you lot's and lot's! (He's probably not going to read this, but just in case he does...) Just a quick post today to show you the card that I made for my Dad for Father's day today!I found the idea for this origami shirt on Pinterest, but the tutorial for it can be found on Martha Stewart's website here. The tutorial explains how to make the shirt out of paper, but I have a massive scrap fabric bag which happened to have one of my Dad's old shirts in it so I decided to cover the paper with fabric! I think it turned out quite nicely! We (me and my brothers) have always made cards for birthday's and other occasions such as Mother and Father's day's, but I'm starting to struggle for ideas so if anyone else has made cards for Father's Day, or any other occasion for that matter, send it my way (as in a picture...not the actual card!). 

It's sunny and lovely here, so we decided to go for a walk through the fields, which is something that I miss a lot when I'm at uni! (I can hear the cows mooing when I have my bedroom window open at night at home!) We walked to the local village where I went to school and had a lovely little pub lunch, and on the way we saw a field full of these!!

It went a bit cloudy for a little bit, so the photo is a little dark, but they were SO CUTE! And I'm sure they could understanding me when I was baaaaa-ing to them! We did at one point have to risk our lives and climb over AN ELECTRIC FENCE because the path was too treacherous to walk through (it was a bit muddy..) but it was totally worth it in the end! Anyway, I'm off to go and see what Pop is up to (he hates it when I call him that) but I hope you all enjoy your Sunday afternoon! 

Zahra x

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Moonrise Kingdom

A couple of weeks ago I went to the cinema with a friend to see 'Moonrise Kingdom', the newest of Wes Anderson's wonderful films, and it does not disappoint! 'Moonrise Kingdome' tells the story of a young boy and girl who decide to run away together, prompting a search party to go out and find them. I'm fairly new to  Anderson's films having only seen 'The Darjeeling Limited' and 'I Heart Huckabees' previously, but I love his style and I recognised the familiar cast members Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, and Francis McDormand who appear in many of his other films! He has such a unique way of writing and filming, with unusual camera angles capturing all the little details, and often creating surreal scenarios. Watching his films is such a breath of fresh air.

Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward, who play the young boy and girl, do such a great job at capturing the innocence of the pair, and their naive, but good intentions in trying to escape together!  It made me nostalgic for the days when life was easy and I didn't have a care in the world! (That makes me sound like I have a really tough life....I don't, I just mean, the film makes me long for the days when I was a child with no responsibilty! You know what I mean!) 

It's such a sweet film and genuinely really funny too, so I would definitely recommend this film if you are looking for something that is light hearted and will leave you with a smile on your face! 

Would be interesting to see what others thought of the film, let me know! 

Zahra x

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Quilted phone cover!

I am rather skint right now, and so a new phone case (however cheap you can buy them) is not something that I wish to spend my money on! So, I decided to make one of my own! It was really easy and only took an hour or so to complete! This is one of my first little D.I.Y. tutorials so please be patient with me! Also....stupidly, I got so caught up in making the case that I forgot to take photo's throughout and hence only have a few from the start, sorry!

But let's run with what we've got and pretend its all okay! :)

So for the phone cover you will need:

- A piece of felt. 
- An old jumper (that you don't mind cutting up)
- Some patterned material that will cover the outside of the case. 
- A pair of fabric scissors.
- Some pins (forgot to include these in the photo *slaps wrist*)
- A sewing machine (forgot to include this also! *slaps wrist again*)

1. To begin, cut out two pieces of felt which are roughly 1 inch/ 2.5 cm's bigger than your phone, on all four sides. Do the same for the jumper and the patterned fabric. You should have 6 piece of fabric, all the same size.

2. Take one of each piece of material, and layer them in any way that you want, but make sure that the pattered fabric is on the top! Whichever fabric you choose to layer at the bottom will be the lining for the phone cover. 

3. Next, pin all three pieces together on all four sides. Do the same for the other three pieces of fabric also! 

4. This is where the photographs end so its time to use the old imagination! But never fear, the next steps are very simple! So now it is time to create the quilting on the fabric! This is very simple as all it requires is for you to sew straight lines into the three pieces of material you have just pinned together.You can do any design that you like, whether it be vertical lines, or diagonal quilting which is what I chose. Both look nice! Do the same for the other pinned pieces also! 

5. Once you have quilted both pieces of fabric, place them one on top of the other, with the patterned sides facing towards each other and pin on all sides. 

6. Using the sewing machine, sew half a centimetre in from the edge on three sides, leaving the top edge open! 

7. Next fold the top edge of the cover outwards by 1 centimetre and sew the hem, half a centimetre in from the raw edge.

8. Finally, turn your phone cover inside out and VOILA! Easy peasy! If you find that your phone is a little tight in the cover, turn it back the other way and cut away any excess material to create some extra room! (be careful not to cut too close to the stitching or the cover may become weak, and fall apart!)

It's such an easy, cheap and pretty alternative to spending money ordering one online! I hope you have enjoyed this little tutorial and let me know if you would like some more in the future...again, apologies for the lack of appropriate photographs, I got carried away with it all as I'm sure you will too! 

I love money saving D.I.Y.'s like this, so if you know of any, send them my way! 

Talk soon!

Zahra x

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Updates on life.


This is a silly little post really. I just felt like blogging 'cause I haven't in a while and I miss it I do (said in a west country accent). So I thought that perhaps I would do a little 'update on my life' post, to let y'all know what's been going on! (Southern American accent, if you like.)

I've just moved back home after completing my second year at University, and oh my, has it gone fast! I cannot believe that in 3 and a half months time I will be embarking upon my final year at University. It seems only yesterday that I was anxiously unpacking my things, wondering what the next three years would bring me.... I really want to write 'and here we are three years later!'...but I'm not quite there yet, thank GOODNESS! Seriously, people aren't lying when they say your Uni years are the best years of your life! I guess I've only had 20 years and hopefully have many more to come.... but SO FAR, I'd rate the last two years very highly! 

Whilst I was sad to leave uni, I was also very ready to come back home! There's nothing quite like being in the bosom of your family, with your home comforts around you... a shower that actually gets hot, a sofa that you can sit on for more than half an hour. Coming home makes me really appreciate these little things that I had become so used to coping without at university! Really, it's amazing how much happiness I can get out of a pair of curtains that actually keep the light out of my bedroom in the morning! 

I haven't done much since I've been home. I attempted to unpack some of the things which were so crudely shoved into suitcases and boxes before my departure, however after half an hour it all became too much for me and I decided to stop. I will try again tomorrow...

Also, I did my nails innit. (I hope you appreciate the various accents that I cover in this post... it probably seems like some poor attempt to try and reach a wide demographic.... but it's not. I do accents quite a lot in real life. Australian is my favourite, but I'm not sure how to write that except to include 'mate' every now and then? I know it sounds like a stereotype, but I have family there and trust me, they say it a lot! Also, just quickly, 'pavlova' in Australian is really fun to say... 'pev-low-va'. Seriously say it out loud to yourself and you'll probably smile!)

I digress. Back to my nails, though there's not much to say about them to be honest. Here's a picture of what they look like. It was a very last minute decision to include this picture, so I apologise that the lighting is poor and the colours aren't that clear! 

I bought two little nail pen thingys recently and have been desperate to try them out, so I went on Pinterest and typed in nail art/ nail pen, to get some inspiration. 

Hats off to the people who created these designs. It really is not as easy as you think it would be! I'm sure this is partly to do with the fact that I'm not ambidextrous, but still. The quality that my right hand produced was distinctly below average! Next time, I think i'll ask some kind soul to do it for me!  

Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this rambley post! There is more to talk about, but maybe I'll save it for some other posts! I have lots and lots of free time now (for the next two weeks anyway) so there is NO EXCUSE for not posting more regularly! 

I do hope you have you have a glorious day dahlings, and let me know what exciting shenanigans you have been up to recently won't you! (In a plummy English, 'Made in Chelsea' accent...for Mills :) ) 

Zahra x