Monday, 20 January 2014

Handmade Bath Essentials

I keep finding myself back inside my new favourite gift shop that opened in my hometown fairly recently - Luna Blue
Its a brilliant go-to for birthdays, new babies, or if you simply fancy treating yourself. I think that its important to support shops like this as you don't see them around that often anymore. They are stockists of gift items from Dora Designs, Frith and Disaster to name a few names. Luna Blue also do framing and framed my lovely piece by Gemma Austen beautifully.
I have noticed, that one thing I have invested in time and time again from here is bath bombs. Although sold by Luna Blue, these particular ones are made by Bomb Cosmetics. They pride themselves on supplying handmade, natural and beautiful bath bombs and bath melts. 

Through following a certain pre-wedding 'beauty regime', it is apparent that Sunday night is my bath night and I have developed a liking for sinking into a lovely warm, scented bath. Funnily enough, this is something I never used to enjoy - now I look forward to it every week! After buying many of these as gifts for friends and family, I decided to visit Luna Blue and treat myself this weekend. The image above shows a range of bath creamers by Bomb Cosmetics. The creamers are handmade and filled with cocoa and Shea butters - leaving skin delightfully soft. They also contain essential oils and perfumes, allowing the bath to smell gorgeous.

Almost too beautiful to fizz away in the bath, here is the Harajuku Girl Bath Creamer and the Rosie Heart Creamer. 
I love picking a selection of these to display in boxes as pretty gifts. They look so appealing!

Here is the Blackberry Bath Creamer, the Flower Bazaar Bath Creamer and the Feel the Love Bath Creamer. I can't wait to try these out and see how they smell. To find out what is in each one, and for a description of their scents, I suggest visiting their website for a full description on each. There is a vast array of bath essentials to browse through. 

I also bought what Bomb Cosmetics call a Bath Mallow and used it straight away. It looked like a delicious tiny cupcake good enough to eat!... but don't. Also containing cocoa butter, they're great for leaving skin silky soft. Bomb Cosmetics blend many ingredients and scents together in their mallows to create a beautifully fragrant bath.
Alongside Bath Creamers and Bath Mallows, Bomb Cosmetics also create what they call Butter Loops, Cocoa Swirls, Bath Tulips, Bath Buttercups and Bath Brulees - delicious!

I also adore bath bombs that colour the water. My most favourite coloured bath so far has been created by a cone-shaped bath bomb by the more well-known Lush - who also pride themselves on creating 'fresh handmade cosmetics'. It turned the water this gorgeous bright pink and smelled absolutely divine! 

Now there is a point to this post! I am actually going to add 'attempt to make my own bath bombs and melts' to the ever-growing list of things to do after the wedding.
If I could create something that looks good enough to eat, turns the water a beautiful colour, smells great, and doesn't leave you with a burning rash(!) then I will be one happy bunny.
Is this something any of you have thought about doing? If so... have you ever? And how did it go?
I need to do some research - maybe look into classes or invest in a couple of books. But it would be brilliant to make something by hand that would make an ideal gift. I would love to know your thoughts on this.
Next time you plan on taking a nice hot bubble bath - make sure you have a pretty bath mallow to hand - its so worth it!

Keep watching this space!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Handmade Christmas Cards

Hello my lovely people and welcome to 2014! I know this is probably not the best time to publish a festive-themed post, but (to put it simply) I have just not had the time to sit down and type away!
I have always been one of those people who isn't happy unless I am so busy that I want to cry. That is why this Christmas I decided to make my own Christmas cards. When I told people about this idea, they mentioned how expensive this process could be. Now seeing as I am trying to look after the pennies, I made it my mission to do this as cheaply as possible. I already had some blank cards and envelopes, so this was a good start! 

To make the above cards, I simply rummaged around my bedroom to see what I could find. I managed to find use for the following items:
- Blank cards and envelopes (5x7") by Papermania - available at most craft stores
- Black and white paper from old sketch books - sketch book paper is very good quality and lovely to work with
- Leftover Christmas wrapping paper found in the loft
- Christmas ribbon left over from last year's gift-wrapping
- Buttons from my sewing box (accumulated over the years)
- Festive Washi Tape (I admit this was a new buy, but was used for this year's gift-wrapping originally)
- A range of patterned papers from inside craft magazines
- Tissue paper
- Stamps and ink
- Cat biscuit boxes used as cardboard for mounting and backing
- Paint charts
- Festive-themed templates (stockings, bells etc.) I printed off from the internet

We are all guilty of hoarding a little - whether it be hanging onto glittery wine bottle bags to re-use on your Aunt's next birthday, or keeping hold of that pair of jeans you will fit into again one day. 
My point is, if you are thinking of making your own festive stationary next Christmas then have a mooch around to see what materials you can find in your own home. 
For example, the background to this card on the left is left over wrapping paper. The black paper is from an old sketch book. The brown paper is left over gift-wrap and I used my stamp set to spell out 'Merry Christmas'. Both the Christmas tree and its background are made up of colourful papers that I ripped out of craft magazines. Mags such as Craftseller usually include tear-out papers that are great for card making and other projects. They also include many card-making ideas for inspiration if you're not sure where to start.
I put it all together using double-sided sticky tape and finished off with some festive Washi Tape. To give a little depth to the card, I adhered the Christmas tree using 3D foam adhesives (a must have for card making).
It is always worth cutting out bits and pieces and having a play around first before sticking everything down. This way you can see which arrangement looks best for each card. 
Don't be scared to go bold and colourful! As you can probably see, I love mixing patterns and for some of my cards, I wanted to go a little less obvious on the colour scheme. 

With this card I went a little more traditional in theme and colour. I also played with different textures, incorporating ribbon, fabric, card and paper. 
The background is made up from robin themed wrapping paper. The central panels are made up of sketch book paper and brown parcel paper. All of these components were secured with double-sided sticky tape. To make the bauble, I drew around a template onto cardboard from a cat biscuit box! In-keeping with the bird theme, I mounted some scrap fabric from my sewing box onto the bauble shape. The bow was also in my sewing box. I think it fell off some clothing a few years back. I finished off the look with some Christmas ribbon I saved from the year before. I mounted the bauble with the 3D foam adhesives. To stick down the fabric, ribbon and bow, I used Bostik Glu&Fix all purpose extra strong glue. This can be found in most craft and stationary shops.

On this card, I used more wrapping paper and papers from craft magazines. I stuck with my stamp kit to spell out a seasonal message - I just love the playful charm stamps add to a craft project! The denim tree has been cut out of an old magazine and the button baubles are from my sewing box.

This design is one of my favourites purely for how simple it is and how well it worked. I had an old Sanderson paint chart in one of the drawers under my desk and from it, I collected up a range of the paint sample squares in green hues to create a Christmas tree. 
To top it off, I added a large star in a contrasting pattern and colour. 

The beauty of this project was how little it cost. It was so satisfactory to hand make unique Christmas cards from everyday items and them hand them out to family and friends.
If you have any questions on how any of them were made or have any general feedback, please feel free to post a comment below. I would love to know your thoughts. 

I love handmade cards of any sort so please share your crafts too!
For images of each of my finished Christmas cards, visit my Facebook Page.

I hope I have inspired some of you to make your own seasonal stationary and that you enjoyed the read.
Keep watching this space!