Attn: A memo for the present buyers...

Every year I do one of these: the Christmas wishlist. It's not supposed to be a steadfast list, but more of an inspiration board of what I'm liking at the moment (although if someone wants to buy me those beautiful antler hairpins, I wouldn't complain!)

The more I think about presents, the more I wish I could ask for non-material things. Someone to teach me cross stitch, an extra lie-in a week, more time with Edward, to perfect the perfect pistachio macaron, to have the time to learn how to play piano or guitar or Italian or French. Mostly, more time and more knowledge please.

What are you asking Mr. Claus for this year? And if wishes could be granted, what would you really be asking for?

Handcrafted Christmas: Old paper bunting

I buy alot of books just for their illustrations and my poor bookshelves sigh each time I bring a new one home. I've wanted to show off the pages of this old 1950's Daily Mail Christmas Annual since I bought for 20p at a jumble sale a year ago, so some bunting seemed like a good idea.

To start with- cover your ears book-lovers- I tore out pages of the annual with the illustrations I liked the best. This ended up being nearly every page, over fifty in total.

Next, cut out the triangle shape. I can be as big as you like. I cut out one that I liked the shape and size of and then used this as a template for the rest. You need to remember to leave a good centimetre at the top that can be folded over, so cute out a slight longer triangle than you need.

The good thing with paper bunting is that you can cut out more than one triangle at once to save time.

As you can see, I ended up with alot of triangles! I picked 14 or 15 of my favourite to use for this bunting and I've saved the rest for some wedding bunting.

I used plain string and, one by one, folded over the top of each triangle, lay the string under the flap and sellotaped the flap down.

Et voila! Later on, I also added some sticky-back silver glitter letters to spell out Happy Christmas but they are too fiddly to snap, so try and imagine them until I get a photograph! You could use anything for this, even simple newspaper or wrapping paper. It's possibly the cheapest Christmas decoration I've ever made!

Are you making any of your decorations this year? Or, on top of everything else, is it just too much to ask?

New November loves

There's nothing like a batch of new things to cheer up a dreary November week. I'm trying to be very good with money, seeing as there's only a few weeks left until Christmas, but it's so hard when there are so many pretty things that keep catching my eye! Luckily, my idea of pretty usually consists of something that costs under a fiver so I'm only just approaching skint with a handful of days to go until payday!

My new bedroom light, Ikea.
Brilliant cheap little light, I love thee. Makes beautiful patterns on my walls and provides enough light for us to read our bedtime books by. Apparently, getting into bed at 10pm to read means we are officially old. I can't be alone in loving this?

Four new teacups & saucers, Christmas fair.
My dream jumble scenario usually consists of me assuming something is going to have a hefty price tag, asking just for the hell of it and then being told it's 20p. And there you have the story of these wonderful tea cups. All 4 of them, from St Stephens church fair in Hampstead, for 80p. Possibly the cheapest thing I, or anyone else, has ever bought in Hampstead.

Old hardback books.
I think I mentioned previously about collecting old hardbacks for my wedding for a secret project. Well, I've just hit the 50 mark in just over 2 months of collecting! This is by far my favourite, More About Pixie from 1903. One thing that has struck me about all the books I've found so far is the vast majority of them that have moving and beautiful dedications written in decades-old ink on the inside pages. I think book inscriptions would make a fantastic idea for a tumblr.

Homemade artwork.
Take one Saturday evening, some bad television, a takeaway and some very talented (and naughty) friends and this is what happens. My very own piece of willy-emblazoned artwork. And for free!

P.S I'm off to Bath this weekend! Any tips/recommendations?

PPS. How is everyone getting on with the Secret Santa? Has everyone received their emails ok?

Handcrafted Christmas: Decoupage Hearts

Decoupage Hearts

Plain red heart decorations- Ikea- £1.50 for 4, or make your own using red card and ribbon.

Decoupage sheets- Can be bought on eBay but if you have one of the amazing Tiger shops near you, they have lots of designs for £1.

An alternative to decoupage sheets are old books or magazines. An old Christmas annual would have amazing graphics for you to cut out.

You don't really need any instructions. Cut out pretty pictures, stick onto cardboard hearts, hang on tree. Not rocket science, but I wanted to show you how I personalised these plain red hearts I bought in Ikea the other weekend.

Dogs and cats aren't particularly seasonal, but the Victorian-style decoupage reminds me of those gaslamp-lit movie Christmases: A Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street, It's a Wonderful Life.

You could use anything to decoupage, pretty recycled wrapping paper, tear outs from old magazines, photos etc. I think lace would make a perfect addition, either glued around the edges, or covering the hearts and secured with a couple of staples on the back.

Next: some fuss-free paper bunting...

Project Take 10: Company Magazine/ASOS

Dress: ASOS c/o Company Magazine

Shirt: Hobbs via Oxfam (£3!)
Bag: Vintage via eBay
Boots: c/o Bertie

Susie (Take-out in Couture) Sherin (Hi-Fashion) Vicki (Magpie Girl) Sarah (We Shop) Harriet (Where's Harriet) Sabine (Psynopsis) Jen (A Little Bird) MJ (Dreaming Spires).

Why, hello there! The Take 10 girls have been featured on the pages of a glossy and in none other than blogger favourite, Company magazine!

It's a bit weird, this having your photo in a magazine lark. People at work were lovely and put it in the company-wide newsletter and the parents went and bought copies for the rest of the family. It's the first time my mug has ever been in print, apart from the time I was 11 and wrote to the local recycling plant asking if I could visit for a school project. The Luton News turned up, for some absurd reason, to document my groundbreaking visit, which was made all the more humiliating by the fact I was stung on the eyelid by a wasp the night before.

At least I can be grateful that these photos came out slightly better than those...

Anyway, back to the challenge itself. Company's December issue is dedicated to that elusive, mythical creature- the perfect Little Black Dress. Courtesy of ASOS, they decked us all out in a simple fit and flare black mini dress and asked us to style it our way, à la Take 10. Being a girl who hates her arms, I chose my thrifted Hobbs shirt, a ribbon necktie, my old favourite Bertie platform boots and a plaited belt.
This for me is safe dressing. I feel comfortable, happy and
me. Exactly how I want a LBD to make me feel. It was a tad short for me, so the opaques made it a bit less daring.

Thank you to Company and ASOS for having us. Take 10 has brought with it some brilliant opportunities and I love working with the other girls each month, be sure to get clicking above to check out their blogs.

So, come on, how do you think we all did for our published debut? And have you spotted us on the shelves of your local newsagent? It's only £2 this month, so off you pop down to WH Smiths...

Good times, Goodfibres.

I like things with animals on. This Goodfibres t-shirt, the horse print hair scarf, my amazing vintage beaded bambi bag. I also like posing like a douche, as you can also tell from these photos.

Goodfibres kindly sent me the Owl & the Pussycat t-shirt, designed by Tom Newell, to play around with and it's a total winner in my book. I could go on about how much I love owls and pussycats but I won't and instead tell you that all their t-shirts that come with an ethical stamp of approval.

They aim to use only FairWear suppliers, give 10% of each sale to the original print designer and donate, like for like, to a charitable cause voted for by customers. If you're an illustrator/artist who fancies having their work splashed across the chest of a discerning t-shirt buyer, you can even submit your designs. Everyone can then vote on a huge selection of new designs and the most popular will be put through the printing press.

I like animals, I like ethically produced garms and now I like

Innocent: The Big Knit & a giveaway.

When Innocent emailed me a few weeks ago asking if I would be one of thirteen bloggers to design one of their familiar wooly hats, I was thrilled. Their yearly project, The Big Knit, helps a charity very close to my heart: Age UK, the newly-merged Help the Aged and Age Concern.

Every year thousands of people in the UK knit the mini hats and send them to Innocent. Then Innocent package them up with their smoothies and transport them to every Boots and Sainsbury's up and down the UK. For every be-hatted bottle sold, Innocent donate 25p to Age UK to help keep older people warmer in winter. And the best bit? Of all the hats Innocent receive, 80% per cent of them are knitted by people who will directly benefit from the help of Age UK. I love a good fact.

I sat down and got my wooly thinking cap on and came up with a simple black and white polkadot design with a bow and a pompom. A perfect winter warmer!

I really wish I could keep this for myself, but the twist is I get to give away the full size version of my design to one of you lucky lot. I'm not revealing the hat though, as that will be up to the winner. 'Tis the season of surprises afterall!

Instead of running a regular giveaway, I'm going to send it out as an extra gift to whomever gets randomly picked as the recipient of my Secondhand Secret Santa. So to be in with a chance of receiving it, just make sure you've signed up by this evening! The deadline is tonight and so far, I've had over 40 people sign up, so thank you to everyone, I'm a bit overwhelmed by the response!

Motel Press Event: 10/11/11

Along with possibly every other South-based fashion blogger, I went down to the Motel press day event last night. It was positively heaving, hence the low number of photos- I couldn't actually manoeuvre my camera out of my bag more than once. It was great to see so many faces I recognised (Sarah, Harriet, Florrie above!) although I didn't manage to say hello to everyone, so I'm sorry if I missed you! I turn into a bit of rambler when meeting new faces, so equal apologies if I talked you to death.

I managed to get a look at the new Motel collection through the crowds and they had some really nice pieces. The body-con look isn't really for me, the results would be too hilarious, so I adored their new Heidi dress. They had some really sparkly, fun pieces for Christmas parties and such and I love their new look-book photos. I spy a red Heidi dress in that first photo, which looks incredible!

Roll up, roll up! Bloggers Secret Santa now open!

After the Christmas card swap I organised last year and a mini-Twitter survey that I conducted the other night, I’ve decided to organise a Blogger’s Secret Santa this year. The card swap had a really fantastic reception and even though this will require slightly more effort, I hope people fancy getting involved!

So, without further delay, I now introduce you to the Secret Santa with a twist:

I wanted to organise something that didn’t cost people a lot (if any) money and a second-hand Santa seemed to be the way to go. Maybe it’s a vintage brooch, a pretty scarf you don’t wear any more, something you’ve made or drawn or some curio you’ve picked up from a car boot or jumble sale. Just remember it should be anything you'd love to receive yourself!

Here are the details:

1) Please email me at with your name, address, blog URL and any information you think might be relevant to your Secret Santa.

2) The deadline for sign ups will be one week from today, Sunday 13th November and you will receive details of your Secret Santa by Monday 14th November.

3) The deadline for posting gifts off will be the Wednesday 14th December so you'll have 1 month to find something!

4) You can include a card if you like but remember it's secret! I'll reveal the list after Christmas.

5) Make sure your present is wrapped and labelled so that your giftee knows it's from their Secret Santa

6) Your item must be sent by recorded delivery. For an extra 75p, it can be tracked and traced if needed. When you've posted it off, please email me with the tracking number.

7) I'm afraid this Secret Santa is only open for UK residents as the presents can be easily tracked.

If you have any queries, you can either leave a comment here or email me at the address above!

Finds from across the pond...

After a month of forgetfulness, I finally got around to photographing the few things I bought in America. Since being home, things have been scattered around the flat and organised into their rightful places, so trying to remember everything is a significant task in itself!
Frankie Magazine: a couple of issues old now I think, but a fantastic issue with an emphasis on the art of making (a strangely timely issue which coincides with the V&A Museum's Power of Making exhibit- something currently on my to-do list!)

Gold Gate postcard: I tried in vain to find more of these vintage style postcards as a set would look great alongside each other in frames.
Frankie magazine included an amazing tear-out map of the world poster which I've placed in one of my cheapo Ikea frames for now. I wish I had more wall space as I think I'd cover it all in pretty pictures and ephemera and posters of Ryan Gosling being a feminist.
And yes, another pretty picture. How could I go to the Tim Burton exhibition and not buy a print? Untitled (Romeo & Juliet) is the name of this odd little drawing and I absolutely love it. If you haven't read The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy, Burton's little book of dark stories about outcast children and their strange afflictions, I highly recommend it. It's the sort of book I wish I could have discovered as a child instead of an adult who's not supposed to read books with pictures.

Remember my post about Hidden Treasures? Well this is the dress I bought there. A sheer 1950/60's shift dress which my hips need to lose a couple of inches to accommodate. For $12 though I couldn't leave it behind.
And remember how I said I loved vintage souvenir scarves? I found a couple of Tijuana (party central!) printed ones in the huge scarf bin at Hidden Treasures for a few dollars each. I plan to make these into cushions for a Christmas present for someone I know who adores everything Mexican.
But the best thing I found all holiday was this big bag of vintage lace. I've never had much luck with finding vintage lace in this country, it's either very expensive or in appalling condition. This bag was $10 from a thrift store and includes collars, cuffs, hems and ribbons of lace cut from old dresses and blouses. Some of it is extremely intricate and must be close to a century old. It's purpose is a secret for now, but let's just say it will be making an appearance at the future wedding!

And now a question for you all: would you be interested in some DIY Christmas present/decoration ideas? I did a few last year and they seemed to be well received so just wondered what you all thought on the matter? Any thoughts appreciated.