Wednesday, 30 April 2014

DIY fantastic: gold votive candles

Things have been a little slow on the blog here for a while and many apologies for this. What with planning and preparing for our wedding and buying a house things have been ever so slightly hectic round these parts! But, on the plus side, we have been experimenting and trialling out all sorts of different diys in preparation for the wedding so I have plenty of things to share with you!

First off we have our gold votive candles. I have been really enamoured with some of the mercury glass diys Ive spotted online, including here and here. We had a shot at something similar, but with a rose gold colour. The effect is actually quite different, as you can see below, but equally beautiful and interesting. I love the textures, the variations and the uniqueness of each candle in this experiment! :)

What we used:

Candles, ours were from Asda, but any candles in a glass holder would work. You could even do a similar project with empty glasses and simply add tea-light for the same effect. Bonus!

I found a fantastic comparison of different gold spray paints here. These guys REALLY know their golds from their golds! But in all honesty, this is super handy when you're trying to decide on one yourself!

Another thing to share - Krylon mirror spray is apparently the key component for mercurised mirror effects. But it is notoriously difficult to get hold of in the UK! I have identified a source over here and to be honest it's not exactly cheap, but hopefully the effects will be worthwhile. Anyhow, I have some more experimenting to do before I blog my progress updates!

Right, where were we?! Back to the steps:

1. First off, as always with spray paints etc. make sure you're working in a well ventilated area, outside ideally, or at least near an open window. Plus, put down a decent layer of newspaper if you're crafting in a room you care about!

2. Once you're all set, get spraying! We starting with the vinegar solution - a few squirts of this, just enough to start creating little droplets, but not quite enough that the droplets run into each other and trickle off the glass altogether. Then spray on the metallic paint in a thin even coat.

3. Wait for it to dry, we waited a good few minutes between sprays. Then repeat the two steps with the vinegar and then the spray paint until you get the level of cover and the dappled effect you desire! You can use a damp cloth (or kitchen roll - classy!) to dab away the vinegar in between sprays. This means that each layer has a different pattern that build up to create a unique effect.

We also mixed it up and experimented with different effects - for example clear polkadots. We did this by cutting out circles from washi tape that we removed once all the gold paint was dry to reveal clear spots all the way round! You can go crazy with patterns and shapes on this one!

I love how the texture is visible as the light shines through. This is where you can really see the character of them, the unique effects created with the vinegar spray, all the quirks and inconsistencies! So when things appear to go slightly wrong at the beginning of this process you can think of it as a blessing rather than a curse - it's these that create the beauty.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

New Covent Garden Flower Market

In the name of a little research, I dragged myself (and Izzy) out of bed at the crack of dawn on a bank holiday and down to Vauxhall to the New Covent Garden flower market. I cycle past this market pretty much every day on my way to work, but until now I had never investigated further. And BOY am I now kicking myself now!!!? This place is amazing, it's a HUGE warehouse of plants and flowers and pretty much my heaven on earth!  If you ever want a whole lotta varied flowers at wholesale prices, this is THE place to go in London.

The early start was well worth it. The flower market is open from 4am till about 10am. We rocked up by about 7:30 and by 8:30 it was already starting to wind down. In fact, it was pretty quiet, something I put down to it being bank holiday and our later arrival time. No worries, all the more flowers for us, mwahahaha!

The venue itself is the epitome of industrial functionality. There is barely a single angle that can turn this warehouse into a thing of beauty. I find this a little tragic to be honest. Compared to the breathtaking beauty of the original Covent Garden market, it's a tragedy. But alas, lets not dwell on this. It's what's inside that counts!!! :)

In addition to all the fresh flowers and plants, there was also a huge section of silk flowers and all the flower condiments you could ever want - oasis, vases, jars, sparkles, tapes and wires, stands, glasses, candles etc etc. It's like a party planners dream. 

We were doing a reckee in advance of the big day this summer! We wanted to try our hand at putting together a little bouquet and some flower display. I had absolutely no idea how hard or easy this would be. I'd mentioned to a few people this plan and generally the response has been 'are you crazy?!' (or something a tad politer, but pretty much along the same lines!!!) But without a little experimentation I had no idea if was do-able or if I really was barking mad...

Without much clue what we really doing we scoped out what was on offer and how the whole thing worked! We spotted a few bunches that caught our eye, I was looking for mostly bright colours with some offsetting neutrals plus some greenery! We ended up with an armful of flowers and as we were leaving a super kind gent who was packing up his wares offered us a few extra bunches that he was leaving behind - SCORE!

The journey home on the bus was hilarious! Just getting on and off with all the flowers was a mission. Izzy and I then proceeded to have THE BEST day. We spent the entire morning out in the garden playing with all the flowers. Practicing bouquets, boutonnières and displays. Filing vases, glasses and watering cans. Dreamy. But that's enough of that...shall save those gems for another post! hehe.

They also had a whole section of plants, trees and shrubs. It too ALL my willpower to walk out of that place without any plants. There were some fabulous hydrangeas, standards, succulents, orchids, the list goes on. As soon as we are settled into our new house, this is the first place I'll be coming back to! I have a long shopping list at the ready.

Leaving with our haul and happy hearts! :)

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Wishes: For a place to call home

I think I first mentioned the begining of our search for a home back in Autumn 2012 and we've been looking ever since! I haven't bored you with shots of all the dreadful flats and houses we've visited in the intervening months, but suffice to say we have finally found one we love in an area we're excited about living in!

I just had to delete a paragraph that I had originally written back in 2013 when we had an offer accepted on a house and were going through the paperwork. Sadly, that place fell through and we went back to the drawing board. But finally, I have some good news to share - we have exchanged on a house!!! :)))) I'm a little superstitious about things and don't like to over think stuff, as I"m convinced it then all conspires against you! After our first knock with house number one we forced ourself to be really hard headed about house number two. I really haven't spent much time thinking about it, making plans for it and imagining our life in it. But suddenly, all that's allowed now!

It's a lovely house, liveable but with plenty of room for improvement, value-adding and DIYs! Can't wait to get cracking with the planning, designing, trial and error, testing, DIYs, renovations, painting, building, decorating etc. I am finally allowing myself to dream wild home watch this space!

It's ever so slightly terrifying! I am one part unbelievably excited - to have our own place where we can do what we want, make it how we want, fill it with the things and people we love, create a haven from the hectic world outside. But I'm also one part totally terrified! It's such a responsibility, such an expense and such a big and unpredictable liability. We will be responsible for forking out every time the boiler goes on the blink, if we spring a leak or if the tiles fall off the roof! :s London houses are pretty old too and that can have all sorts of complexities! Our place has seen some subsidence in it's long past, it's now been underpinned and no longer moving (thank goodness) but the thought that it could shift and move is difficult to comprehend. A number of the doors inside had to be planed to fit in door frames that are quite diagonal!! Eeek!

But all that aside, we are excited about a new start, by exploring a new part of London, our own patch. Excited about putting our own stamp on our small corner of the world to create a place we are proud of and can truly call home.