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Toddler Christmas Crafting

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Speaking as an aunty, and a lover of crafting, it is a great feeling when the two are brought together. Not a room full of aunties crafting, I mean creating and crafting with the toddler. And throw Christmas in the mix too and it’s pure magic and excitement!

This is the first post of a ‘Toddler Crafting’ series on this blog, and we start with these hanging stars. The little man in my life is only 18 months old, so he isn’t that capable, nor too interested, but is that going to stop me? So of course it’s very simple, and it’s the adults job of creating something from their art.IMG_0574 1 4

The most important part is to let the toddler go to town on the card. Keep encouraging more paint, more paint, more paint! Like a mad scientist. It’s cool, children don’t judge.

And then it comes to a point when the painting is over and done with, off on to the next task for him, and it’s your job of creating it into something for him to admire.

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Next I used my star cutter, but you could easily just cut out shapes yourself. I arranged them out onto a table and sewed them together with gold metallic thread, creating a hoop at the top and a knot at the bottom. The card I used is fairly thick so when it’s hanging the stars stay where they are, but you could use some clear tape over the thread on the back to keep them in place.

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Experiment away with shapes and combinations!

They’re great to hang near a window so the sunlight glints off the glitter. Or near a door so they twirl in the wind. And the enjoyment from the toddler as they twirl or shine tops it all off.

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IMG_0628 2Over and out, Emily x

Storage Without Spending

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Jars can be wonderful storage – once cleaned, obviously. I like to use them with everyday items that I have lots of, such as make-up brushes, paint brushes, pens, and nail varnishes, but the list is endless. You could even re-use them to store food, if you’re into making your own jams and stuff, or rice, or sweets. You could make snow globes, candle holders, oh my God you could do ANYTHING!.. I believe in you.. But I won’t be doing ‘anything’, all I need is some storage.

My lids aren’t pretty – I don’t particularly want ‘Dolmio’ to represent my nail varnishes. I like pasta, but not that much. So I took a quick trip to my nearest DIY store and took a few free samples of wallpaper. I wanted bright colours, but I suppose people don’t really want those sorts of colours on their walls :(, but doesn’t matter, seeing as it was free I can’t really complain. This is what I did.

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I cut a square in the wallpaper. You can be really particular in deciding how to position it, but I’m a bit more of a free spirit I suppose. I used this decoupage glue to stick the lid to the paper, but I’m sure you could use PVA or even a hot glue gun – the wallpaper is thick and is meant to be covered in glue, so it won’t seep through. There were some ridges on all my lids, so I had to make sure not to push down into them, because very much like wallpapering a wall, it could go uneven and create bubbles.

Then I cut around the lid, making sure there was enough room to cover the sides, and cut lots of little slits. After that I painted glue around the sides and carefully flapped the slits one over the other, and as my glue dries clear I painted a very thin coat around the edge, just to keep it in place.

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I like to organise them into brands rather than colours or seasons. I decorated them with bits of ribbon and twine I had and made little labels. I have three other jars too – it’s good to like colours.. I tell myself every time I buy another varnish.

Another quick DIY here;

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As I was cooking the labels off lots of wine bottles (not all mine!) (not that it matters) I was admiring these two wine bottles – aren’t they stunning! I think these were from Christmas as my uncle had some expensive wine, and they look like they were expensive, don’t they? Even their wine labels were stunning. The glue used for most wine labels never dries (which is why you have to cook it off), so I started to wrap string around it and it stuck, without me adding any more glue. And I think they are very pretty indeed.
I like to change things up around the house, so it may not stay here, it may move, or I may throw them away. But it doesn’t matter when it’s free, that’s the beauty in it. In my opinion anyway.

Over and out, Emily x

Raising Rent

So, what do you do when your rent has gone up?! What springs to mind first isn’t worth a blog post. Example;

1. Angrily phone your Mum to vent your anger and let them know you’re angry, then hang up and phone someone else to vent your anger and let them know you’re angry, and so on. It’s okay, I have 500 free minutes, and clearly I only phone people if I’m angry.

2. Try to calculate in your mind how you’re going to pay the extra money, then realise your maths is awful, and get flustered. Though, now the anger has changed to frustration towards your lack of maths ability, which is almost positive.

3. Dramatically fall to the floor in tears.

See? Useless. Not only do they make me feel worse but they don’t solve anything. (Seriously though, you are a mean old landlord to put up someone’s rent in December)

Noooww, some positivity, because at the end of the day there are worse things in the world. I’m alive. (Ahaha, the way I wrote that makes it seem like that’s the worse thing, that I’m alive. It amuses me so I’m keeping it in.) When ever I’m in a situation where I’m so angry or emotional that I want to stand on Mount Everest and scream my lungs empty, I tell myself ‘but I’m alive’, and it calms me down. Also, for the moment, I have a roof over my head.
If you’re in a similar situation, I’m sorry. It can be scary.

Solution time. But first, here’s a photo of my rabbit to brighten the mood.

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Aww, so cute, all my worries have disappeared.

Unfortunately my boyfriend won’t allow me to be a hooker, so that idea is crossed off my list. I joke.

I assume you don’t spend a lot of money on luxury’s to be in this situation, otherwise gurl, what you doing?? That’s number one on your list.

What’s your biggest spends? Example, your travel to work, or electric bill?
Try to cut these down if possible. Do you need your heating on all the time? Come on, being down to Earth and saving money is so in right now.. And you could buy some fabulous blankets to have on your sofa. A bargain fabulous blanket of course!! Ohh, all the cool kids will be talking about you!.. What cool kids? Sorry, there’s only one – YOU! (what the hell am I on about?)

The travel to work is a sticky situation as the houses closer to your work may be more expensive, but if your travel is so expensive maybe you could spend more on rent and still save on travel.. Ahh, maths, my brain.. Luckily it would be cheaper for us to move, so that is something we have to consider.

Now that your house is like a freezer, and the bargain blanket that you bought from Primark isn’t doing it’s job, do your housework. That sounds extremely boring, but housework honestly warms you up. Washing the dishes in hot water, walking back and forth with a vacuum, scrubbing a toilet – sounds like a party to me!!

After I cook the dinner I always leave the oven door open till it’s cold again. It’s wasted heat otherwise.

Instead of buying things new, have a look in a charity shop and transform them into something else. I do this, and I think maybe I would do this even if I had lots of money because I find it so much fun. I recently bought a big wooden mirror for £6 – I will post another blog to show what I do to it.

I have made over £150 at car boot sales.

My best friend recommends signing up to http://www.moneysavingexpert.co.uk. They tell you the latest discounts going on, if energy prices are going up and where the best prices for suppliers are to be found. Thanks, I will do that. She’s such a babe.

Go eat at other peoples houses! It’s genius. You save and don’t have to cook! Yay for being poor!

Start an etsy account. Etsy account you say, funny you should ask. From Miles With Love are fantastic I hear… … …

Most of all, try not to fall in. It can be overwhelming, scary, frustrating and you can get completely lost with worry. Just don’t loose sight of yourself, okay? Do all you can, but make sure you keep on the track you want to be on. You are still you, still aim for your dreams. Because there ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough… I completely made that up myself.

Over and out, Emily x

My Top Tips For Living in Rented Accommodation

When I moved into my rented house I had high hopes to change everything. I’m one of those whose heart and ideas run ahead of my head, which usually means I learn things the hard way. Luckily I didn’t have the money to do much, so although I may have planned to do things, I couldn’t (phew). You may be old and wise, I on the other hand am young and stupid.. not to put you off reading.. So I am a twenty something year old girl trying to give basic tips to help moving in easier for you.

Tip 1: Some walls are ugly. Really ugly, who decided yellow or cream is good? Who, please? Ask your landlord if you can paint your walls white. If they say no.. too bad.. but usually they don’t mind, as you are doing them a favour! White is a blank canvas. And clean. Always want to appear clean. And how much is a pot of paint? Not much, it’s worth it.

Tip 2: Don’t spend money on the place because it’s not yours! ..other than that pot of paint I mentioned.. Spend it on your belongings, they are yours. How much do you pay for rent every month? On top of that you are giving your landlord that lovely wallpaper you just put up, and that floor you just laid. When you move it cant come with you. Maybe buy a big frame and put a free sample of some quirky, fun wallpaper in it. And when you leave you can grab it and run away with it, laughing and shouting ‘you can’t have it, it’s mine!’ Yeah? Cool.

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Tip 3: I’m assuming you have no money like me, we are all poor nowadays, which means we are all rich. Yay win! Create stuff without even knowing you had that stuff! I found a misused frame, an old PJ top, a barbie hat and a teeny tiny hat I knitted when I was teeny tiny. And I created this thing. This only exists because I was going through boxes out of my Nan’s loft and came across these hats. Have a rummage through old stuff, and something new may come of it. Super cute! And all free-ish.

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Tip 4: Most of my furniture is second hand. Actually, all of it may be, or there abouts. Either given from friends and family, or bought in a charity shop. My best friend always comments that my house is so nice as all my furniture matches – only because I’ve decorated it that way. My coffee table was from the YMCA for £10.. Young man, there’s no need to feel down.. It was a bedside table, brown and ugly with graffiti on the top about how much Kez luvz Ryan or something. It also had a drawer in, but I measured it before buying it and realised without the drawer in it would fit my big books that wouldn’t fit in my book shelve.
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I sanded it down forever, but Kez’ luv for Ryan would not come off. It was really scratched in, she really luved him. Anyway, I painted it with primer, then white paint. (I did the same to the drawer and painted it light brown, and it is now being used like a basket for my Xbox stuff) And Kez’ luv was still visible! True luv. I was going to cover the top with something anyway, I knew this when I bought it. So then on impulse one day this happened, my coffee rings. Then I varnished it and Kez’ luv was never seen again. The end.

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Tip 5: Pictures, photos and anything on the wall! Again, it depends if your landlord allows you to hammer a few nails in your walls. When I moved in there were a few nails up already, so I put a few more up. If not you could always use stick on hooks, which I have done also. They aren’t usually strong enough for frames, but you can hang light things like dream catchers on them. Or a fabric banner of your Hogwarts house, as we all know that is a true determination of someone’s personality. More so than star signs.
My best friend has a vinyl wall quote on her wall, which looks really good too. And I believe it isn’t too difficult to remove if your landlord gets angry when you move.

Tip 6: Old toys are now cool! In the last photo you can see a yellow submarine. That was my Dad’s when he was a young boy. My Nan gave it to me a few years ago as it had been sitting unloved in a box forever. She is surprised I still have it, and that it’s on display, but it’s so cool! John, Paul, George and Ringo even pop out if you press a button. So have a look at old toys you still have and maybe display them? (I also have a Pokemon tamagotchi on display that is like 15 years old)

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Tip 7: Plant pots look super duper! If you remember to water the plants. Hence the only alive plant is a cactus.

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Tip 8: Make over old items! Like my coffee table I showed you, I painted this bathroom storage box. It was donated from my Mum and looked rather tatty. And now it looks a lot better if I do say so myself!

These are just a few simple tips from a girl who doesn’t know what she’s doing, to people who don’t know what they’re doing (I assume this of you, as you wouldn’t keep reading if you knew everything) (sorry if I am wrong). This is all for now.

Over and out, Emily x