Who’s up for making some eco-friendly Christmas decoration? Christmas is a time of indulgence. Too much food and drink, too many gifts and a house full of decoration. Fun times for sure, but every year tons of plastic tinsel end up in landfill, as well as other stuff like broken fairy lights, plastic baubles and other Christmas decoration. Because stuff is so cheap these days, it is very tempting to go to low cost supermarkets and pound/euro/dollar stores and fill your basket with new glittery pieces every year. I’m no saint, I’ve done it too! Because sometimes temptation gets the better of you and you think, nevermind, it won’t make much of a difference if it’s just me doing it. But it does.
Five DIY alternatives to tinsel
Today I am suggesting some alternative, fun and in most cases far more durable alternatives to plastic tinsel. Let’s get making! No time or skills or too much faff ? Find decorations at your local craft fairs or have a browse on Etsy.
1. Paper Christmas decoration
Last year’s Christmas cards cut into circles, stars or triangles make great garlands and bunting. Paper chains are easy and fun to make too. Get the kids involved on a rainy Sunday afternoon! Possibilities are endless with paper and an ideal way to kick off your eco-friendly Christmas this year. Keep it really simple or turn it into a more complicated project with folds and creases, or sew the pieces onto a string.
2. Christmas decoration with poms
Oooh…do you remember making these at school? Pom poms are so much fun to make and easy enough for little hands to help too. Use up old wool, or unravel an old scarf or jumper if you really want to go down the upcycling route. Tie them onto a string and create a fabulous home-made alternative to tinsel. Hang them in the tree or use as a garland. Read my other blog post about Christmas pom poms here.
3. Eco-friendly Christmas decoration with pine cones
For a nice minimalist, kind-of Scandi look, go and collect pine cones on your next walk in the woods. Add a bit of silver or white paint to the tips if you like for a nice Christmassy touch.
4. Fabric Christmas bunting
Bunting is easy to sew and fun to create from any scrap fabrics lying around or old clothes. Choose reds and whites to make one in Christmas colours. Another easy idea is to cut triangles out of burlap and just sew the tops to a ribbon to create some home-made bunting. Still more fabric lying around? Make a wreath!
5. Beads and buttons
For more delicate looking decoration for your tree or fireplace, try stringing beads or vintage buttons (or remove them from clothes you no longer wear – you could use the fabric for bunting or a fabric scrap wreath!) on a thread at regular intervals for a ‘necklace’. Reusing your old clothes and buttons is a great way to create eco-friendly Christmas decor.
Today I am going to show you how to make an embroidery hoop chandelier. Create some fabulous decor pieces with embroidery hoops. Super easy, but stunning and they are very decorative both indoors and outdoors. Use them in your home interior or as party decoration. Try them as lampshades or as mobiles suspended from the ceiling of a nursery or other room. Add some fairylights for extra sparkle.
An embroidery hoop chandelier with photos
Super simple idea, but looking great: three wooden embroidery hoops in different sizes, suspended and attached to one another with thin metal wire. Glue small wooden pegs onto the hoops at equal distance. Print off your favourite black and white photos and clip them in place around the hoops.
Of course you can do this with all kinds of paper, they don’t have to be photos. Try vintage postcards or book pages as an alternative.
Create an Embroidery hoop chandelier with ribbons
You can go for the three tiered embroidery hoop chandelier for a real statement piece or keep it simple and start with one hoop. Make just a small hoop or fill a hula hoop with long strips of fabric for more impact – the latter would make a stunning center piece in a wedding or summer partymarquee too. All you need is a large batch of similar length ribbons or strips if fabrics in your favourite colours and tie them to the hoop until the circle is full.
Make an Embroidery hoop mobile with felt and paper
The possibilities are endless. You can literally tie anything to a hoop as long as it is secured and not too heavy! How about saving up those wine bottle corks? Doilies? Tiny glass bottles with fresh flowers? Origami crane birds! Paper flowers, felt balls, feathers, little crocheted animals…you name it.
Hang your embroidery hoop chandelier over the dining table, in a corner of the living room or create something cute for in the nursery. You can even hang the hoop sideways and turn it into a bohemian dream catcher… Here are some more ideas.
Disclaimer: In this post I have included affiliate links to Etsy and Craft and Create who will pay me a small percentage of what you spend if you choose to click on the links and buy craft supplies from them. This of course helps me to keep going as a blogger. Your support is much appreciated!
Who doesn’t love a vase filled with fresh flowers on the table? Perhaps it is in my Dutch blood, coming from the land of tulips, but a colourful, fragrant bouquet is one of the little things in life that makes me truly happy. You could buy a bouquet from the shop and put it straight in a vase at home, but try and be a bit more creative when arranging flowers and make your bouquet go further. Not a fan of colourful flowers? Choose greenery from the garden! Here are Five different ways to display fresh flowers in your home.
1. Use vintage finds for flower arranging
Who says flowers need to be in a glass vase? Think outside the box (or vase!) when arranging flowers and try an old tin bucket, milk jug, or anything else that looks pretty and can hold water without leaking. Perfect to add that eclectic, bohemian touch and vintage flairto your interior.
2. alternative flower arranging: Oversized branches in a glass vase
For some quick and easy statement pieces in your decor, try putting a large leafy branch in a large glass bottle or vase. Maybe you have some great shrubs or plants in your garden that need pruning anyway, or just buy one or two beautiful big branches from the flower shop. Usually branches like these last a good few weeks too, which is another great thing about them.
3. Hang ’em up high: arrange flowers in tiny bottles
Got a collection of little bottles? Any will do, go through your bathroom cabinet or use small lemonade bottles and start arranging flowers in an original way. Even small jars can be used, such as jam or mustard jars. You may want to do a little hunt down charity shops and flea markets to add to your display. Use metal wire or twine to wrap around the bottle necks and secure them to a hoop or a wooden branch suspended from the ceiling or window frame. Fill them with a bit of water and place small single flowers in them. How unusual, but pretty!
4. arranging flowers by Taking the bouquet apart
I often do this when some of the flowers in my bouquet are old and gone, I take those out and rearrange the ones that are still looking fresh. You can also cut them a bit shorter to make them fit in a different vase – or display them in a group of different size bottles, jugs and vases, together on a tray or table. Ideas for arranging flowers are endless.
5. arranging flowers the minimalist way: Monochrome bouquets for simplicity
Don’t like bold and vibrant colours with lots of different types of flowers? Keep it simple and go for monochrome. Pick a bunch of white roses or tulips, with a little bit of greenery if you want. A perfect, classic and sophisticated way of arranging flowers.
Summer is here, time to throw a garden party! Celebrate the beautiful weather with long tables on the lawn, fairy lights strung in the trees, wild bouquets on the table.
You can choose a theme or just make it as colourful as you want, using whatever you can find. Perhaps you have a fabulous eclectic collection of bowls that would make a great display on the buffet table. Or are you a star at making different punch and cocktails? Display them in large pitchers on a drinks station.
Today I gathered some beautiful ideas to make your garden party extra special.
Vintage furniture at garden parties
Who says you need to sit on plastic chairs at your garden party? If the forecast is good, why not put some comfy seats around the table? Or a sofa on the lawn? Hang a chandelier from a branch! It sure offers a fab look and it’s great for taking photos.
What is a party without a balloon? Try clustering them together for more impact or fill them with helium to make them float above the table.
Paper decorations for your garden party
I always bring out my colourful fabric bunting for any party, as it lasts and looks wonderful, but a good alternative – and not too bad for the environment – are paper decorations. Pom poms, flags, lanterns, paper chains, anything to create that whimsical atmosphere at your summer fiesta. The more colourful the better.
DIY hula hoop chandelier: beautiful for a garden party
How great is this idea? Indoors and outdoors, this hula hoop chandelier makes a beautiful statement. Hang it from the roof of a veranda or from tree branches above your dinner table. This example has ribbons in different colours tied from a large hula hoop, combined with strips of paper, some perforated with circles. There are also strings hanging down with circles sewn onto them to make short garlands. For evening parties, string some fairy lights inside to light it up.
Create furniture and decor with pallets for your garden party
Pallets are a great way to add some cheap extra furniture to your garden party decor. They are practical and look nice and rustic and you can stack ’em up high if needed. Use them to put the cakes and desserts on or turn them into a bar. Another idea is to turn them into a low table across the lawn with blankets and cushions on either side.
And of course…drinks
Last but not least: don’t forget the drinks. Ice lollies only for children? No way! Make a batch of Gin & Tonic lollies and share them out at your party. Guaranteed a hit and pretty too. Mix your gin and tonic together with some lime juice in a pitcher (measured as you would in a glass) and pour it into ice lolly molds. Drop a a few slices of cucumber in it and freeze.
For those looking to make their wine a little bit pinker, create a ‘pimp your prosecco’ bar! Also perfect for sparkling water for the non-alcohol drinkers (just call it ‘pimp your bubbles’!)
Anyone who has ever tried to decorate a rental apartment or house knows it is quite a challenge to make it completely to your taste. Not too bad if you’re only going to live there briefly, but if you are planning to stay longer term, then what do you do? Today I am sharing some great ideas on how to decorate a rental without making your landlord go mad.
from magnolia to magnificent
Rules about decorating rentals vary per country, as in the Netherlands, where most rentals are unfurnished, it is usually OK to paint walls. You are usually allowed to change other things around the house, as long as it’s put back to what it was before. If it is improving the place somehow you may be able to negotiate a discount on a month’s rent. Laying new flooring for example.
In Britain I have seen that many rentals are furnished and have magnolia (ugh) walls and often are a bit trickier to make you feel at home. In Spain, where we recently moved to, we were lucky to find a house that was unfurnished, which again is not always the case – many rentals are full of other people’s stuff. Unfurnished meant that at least all our own furniture could move in too. But how much can you change in terms of wall colours….hanging pictures, the look of the kitchen and bathroom?
Here are a few tips and ideas on how to jazz up that rental without losing your deposit!
Removable wallpaper to decorate your rental
I have not tried this, but I have heard these wallpapers are as easy to put up as they are to take back down again. Doesn’t this wall look amazing? The shop Betapet on Etsy sells a fantastic collection of self adhesive wallpapers in a wide range of patterns and prints, from subtle geometrics to bold florals.
Tile decals to decorate your rental
Nothing worse than ugly dated tiles in the kitchen or bathroom, to clash with any nice modern kitchenware or towels you may own. There are many companies nowadays selling tile stickers, self adhesive and easy to stick on and take back off. HomeArtStickerson Etsy has hundreds of different stickers for both floor and wall tiles, so take your pick.
Curtains…and using fabric as wall covering
Don’t like the curtains in your rental? Fold them up nicely and store them away. Replace them with your own. Job done. But have you ever thought about using fabric as wall covering? Yes! Attaching fabric to the wall can be done in a variety of renter-friendly ways: staple gun, upholstery tacks, upholstery strips, liquid starch and some drawing pins to name a few. When it is time to move out, simply remove the fabric and take it with you. Check out this blog by Sincerely, Sara D, where you can find a handy tutorial on how to DIY a fabric wall.
decorate your rental with Washi tape
I have seen this done on Pinterest and I love how versatile this stuff is. You can decorate virtually anything with washi tape and it doesn’t leave any damage. Create a confetti wall, a chevron pattern, words, lines, mountain shapes, the options are endless. Decorate walls, but don’t forget the doors, the edges of shelves, the back of cupboards or create ‘picture frames’ with the tape. In kids rooms you can really go to town with this stuff. How about a house? Or a road? Or a bear? With the geometric trend still going strong, your rental flat will look very modern in a flash. To find washi tape try your favourite stationary shop for some or order them in sets from Etsy.
Change the light shades in your rental
You probably thought of this one yourself, but if not, go and change out your light shades. We arrived in an unfurnished house in Spain, which meant bare wires hanging from the ceiling, so we have to do even more than just changing out a shade (!), but mostly you’ll find dusty old shades or other light fittings that are easily replaceable while you are living there. A nice shade can really set the mood for a room, so pick wisely to make an impact. Try Artisanti for some elegant, quality lighting.
decorate your rental: Cover the floor
Cream carpet? Ugly tiles? Invest in a nice big rug to cover that up. Check Kukoon for some regular offers and free delivery in the UK.
Self adhesive picture hooks
You may find a few conveniently placed screws in the walls of your rental already, in which case, just hang up your framed artwork straight away. If not, and the landlord doesn’t want you to add any more holes to the walls, try heavy duty self adhesive hooks. There are plenty available fromAmazon.
Choosing art for your home can be quite a challenge. How do you buy art online? Where do you find affordable art in your local area?
art: an essential ingredient in interior design
Art is a funny thing. I absolutely love art and have always been interested in it, from when I was very little. Art needs to be around me, whether it is paintings, photographs, sculpture or ceramics. I yearn for the handmade, original qualities of a piece of art. Problem is, I keep buying it, even though I have long run out of wall and shelf space to display anything.
I find it amazing how art just seems to have the ability to ‘grab’ you and you feel you need to own it, probably because it is such a one-off, unique piece and you adore it. Well, that has happened to me more than once. Even though I sometimes couldn’t justify it and it was not in my budget. Choosing art for your home often happens by chance, rather than research.
art is personal, buy what you love
One time I was working at the Glasgow Art Fair for a previous employer and during a little wander around suddenly this big orange Rothko-like painting stared me right in the face and drew me closer. I couldn’t walk away. It was as if the devil himself had taken over my sanity and before I knew it I took my card out and spent every last penny of my hard earned savings. Utter madness. But it is still my favourite painting and it has pride of place in my house.
Countless visitors have looked at be baffled and don’t see why on earth I love the painting so much. That is the thing about art: it is not about what other people think – it is very personal. If you love it and it means something to you, it is worth buying. Even if you have to live on porridge oats and water for the rest of the month.
If you spot something you like – or even more than one piece, don’t be put off buying it because of lack of wall space. Group pictures together to create an interesting gallery wall. And don’t be scared to buy something large either. Nothing worse than a tiny picture frame on a massive wall. Here’s a great website explaining you how to create a gallery wall: decorationchannel.com
If you are not too familiar with art buying, you might feel a bit at a loss when finding something great for your walls. You may choose to be safe, going for a picture that matches the colour of the curtains rather than that it evokes any emotion at all. Such a missed opportunity, because why not make your home a place that inspires you? Fill it with things that are meaningful, not mass-produced.
Still, if you feel you know very little about art or claim you are “not really into art”, then where do you look for something that ticks those boxes? Here are a few ideas.
First of all
Don’t care about what everyone else may think about your choice of artwork or whether it is by someone famous. If you love looking at it, it is meaningful.
Pick something that ‘speaks’ to you. Does it make you happy? Does the subject have significance? Or do you just really love the colours or composition? You’re onto a winner.
Set yourself a budget if you don’t want to be swept away by crazy impulse buying tendencies. Yup – I am talking from experience.
Sleep on it. Do you still think about that artwork in the morning as worth it? Get it.
Where to find art?
Visit the degree show of the local Art School
Those fresh graduates are dying to make it big and have their art out there. You are bound to discover some pretty cool pieces. The artist will also be incredibly grateful if you go home with one of their works.
Go to local art fairs and markets
There must be some in your city or area. Stroll around, speak to the artists. These events are usually very lively and informal and feel less daunting than shopping for art in a quiet gallery.
Buy art online
There are a growing number of online galleries selling original artworks at various prices. An easy way to familiarise yourself with different styles and see what you like. Rise Art or Artfinder are good places to start. They have some more great tips on what to look out for when buying art. Oh, and if you don’t want to buy, you can rent! How cool is that?
Be brave! Dive into an actual gallery!
Galleries may look scary for someone who doesn’t usually go to these kind of places, but trust me, gallery owners want to sell art and you are customer just like anyone else. You’ll probably find there are pieces of art at different price levels. You may not be a regular, but you have every right to go in and have a look around. Many galleries in the UK now have a scheme called Own Art, which let you buy an artwork with a 0% loan, so worth popping in for.
buying art On a budget? on the hunt for something vintage?
The local auction house
Your local auction house will have plenty of artworks too. Have a look in their online catalogue of items to see if it is worth bidding. You’d be surprised how often you could pick up a framed original for less than £50. Of course, as with markets and charity shops: it is hit or miss, but certainly a good way of buying quirky art on a budget.
Browse the second-hand shops
Charity shops, car-boot sales or flea markets for original paintings, etchings and vintage posters.
Make something yourself. Paint, draw, sew, print or take photos. Frame a piece of fabric or wallpaper you love. Get the kids involved and let them go crazy with their felt pens and finger paint. It is amazing how good things look in a frame.
A lot of people choose natural colours like beiges or browns when opting for a ‘neutral’ and safe colour scheme for their homes. Grey is often seen as too cold or depressing and not on every person’s radar when standing in the paint pot alley of the DIY store. But grey colour schemes can really make your interior look great.
Grey accents in your home interior
I’ve collected some examples today of grey colour schemes where grey actually looks rather sophisticated and stylish, when used in combination with the right colour accents and accessories. Much better than beige (or worse even, magnolia…). And hey, you can start off simple – try one bit of wall for starters. Perhaps around the fire place or in the hallway to make a mirror, painting or piece of furniture stand out.
Grey teams very well with yellow, teal and mustard. Imagine if these splashes of colour weren’t added to the decor pictured below… They really lift the room. I also love those knitted floor cushions.
Feminine colours and grey
Grey is also excellent with more ‘girly’ colours like red and pink – if yellow is not your cup of tea. That grey becomes the perfect background for your favourite pink accessories – just add cushions, throws, curtains or just a bouquet of roses to the room.
Loving this chesterfield sofa… http://pinterest.com/pin/259027416037591995/
Neutral, rustic decor: grey meets beige
And if you really can’t detach yourself from your beiges and browns, why not combine grey with a bit of ‘neutral’ after all – and add accessories in natural materials like wood, wicker and jute? Add some natural wooden furniture, pieces of driftwood as accessories and of course don’t forget that lovely natural wooden floor as a basis.
Oh my – now THAT looks like a cosy seat! http://pinterest.com/pin/259027416037593612/