We’ve moved!

18 Jul

We have moved! Our new web address is www.shoestringsplendour.co.uk. If you have previously followed us on e-mail, you may have noticed you aren’t getting our updates! Please visit the new site and resubscribe by hitting the Follow button in the bottom right hand corner. The content is the same (and we hope it’s always getting better!) but we are now on a self-hosted site. Thank you! x

Thai Recipe Cards Gift

20 Jun

This post comes courtesy of my friend and flatmate Badger.


Her brother’s wife is Thai and the most amazing cook, Badger says going to visit them in Thailand for family holidays is no hardship at all! Last holiday the family were all going to take a Thai cooking course but the price was just too expensive for all of them. Instead, her sister-in-law asked them all what dishes they wanted to learn to cook and took them to the market to buy ingredients.


Back at the house they took turns in the kitchen learning how to cook our chosen dish. Badger wrote down all the recipes and instructions so she could make them later.

When her mother’s birthday came round later that year she wanted to make her something a little more thoughtful and with more effort than the normal present she would buy. She came up with the idea of creating recipe cards using the notes she’d made in Thailand. Using free fonts and images that she found on the internet Badger designed them then printed them out in colour. She covered them all in sticky back plastic to keep clean in the kitchen, punched a hole in the top corner and tied them all together with ribbon.

Hannah: This was the gift that kept giving! Badger’s sister-in-law made a gift of her knowledge and skills and Badger used her creativity to make something out of that experience for her mother. Hopefully Mrs Badger will make us all a gift of dinner using the cards!

Scrabble Picture Bride’s Gift

18 Jun

Here’s another idea from my friend ‘Badger’.

Inspired by something she’d seen on Not on the High Street she created a picture from pictures of scrabble tiles for her friend’s hen party gift. She wanted to create a scrabble board using words that related to things to do with the hen party so she’d have something to remember it by.

She found tiles on this website Fuzzimo and used Paint and Microsoft Excel to create it. It was very simple but took some time to make everything fit in and look like an attractive patten. Finally she bought a frame from ebay and put it all together.

Wooden Cigar Box

16 Jun

I bought this box from a house clearance shop for about £10. It was a bit shabby and so I had the intention of using it to practice decoupage on.


I gave it a good sand, and painted it white inside (I still need to replace the hinges). But then, before I painted it I had a rethink. It had actually scrubbed up quite well and so instead of painting it I varnished with a dark stain.

Now the dilemma is do I leave it as it is or do I still stick on the butterflies I found and cut out of a piece of wrapping paper?

Perhaps just on the side?

What do you think?

Neon DIY projects

14 Jun

Being a child of the 80s, I have always had a not-so-secret love for all things neon. I think it stems from the the first outfit I owned which I loved with a fiery passion – it was a hot pink top with flouro yellow stars on it and a matching skirt with lots of frills and layers which was flouro yellow with hot pink stars on it. Amazing. It made my 7 year old self very happy.

So I’m really happy to see so many neon related DIY projects on my favourite blogs and popping up on Pinterest. If you fancy getting stuck in to a very bright crafty project, here are a few of my favourites:

DIY Colourblock Bag from Say Yes to Hoboken

Wood and Neon Lanyard Necklaces from Martha

Neon and gold notebooks from Eat Sleep Cuddle

DIY neon toe shoes from Green Wedding Shoes

Have you seen or worked on any good neon projects lately? Share them in the comments!

Vintage Fashion Fair London

13 Jun

On Sunday I visited The Vintage Fashion Fair in Camden, London. They run an event once a month with stalls selling clothing and accessories from all eras. This is a fair for dedicated vintage fashionistas. The clothes were excellent quality but also quite pricey so I would have needed to really fall in love with something to put my hand in my pocket.

The Dress Circle had some of my favourite things. I loved this 50s Hawaiian dress and this tortoiseshell handbag and thought very hard about buying them but managed to resist. They can’t be found online but you can catch them at some of the other vintage events around the country (list at the end).

How cool is this hairdryer? I didn’t ask if it works!

Katie’s inner 80s child would probably like this pink leather skirt.

Find some of the vintage fashion stalls mentioned here at the following events:

14-18 June – Rockabilly Rave, Camber Sands – rockabillyrave.co.uk

13 – 15 July The Vintage Music Festival, Northampton – vintagefestival.co.uk

16 – 22 July – War & Peace Show, Kent – thewarandpeaceshow.com (don’t be put off by all the military stuff apparently there’s lots of fashion

25-27 – Twinwood Festival, Bedford – twinwoodevents.com

14-16 September – Goodwood Revival

Win a Set of Lifestyle Books

11 Jun

We’ve reviewed most of these books on the site and now you can win a set for yourself. Just sign up to our mailing list between now and the end of June to be in with the chance of getting your hands on all five books – 82 Modern Style Ideas to Create at Home, A Girl’s Guide to DecoratingHow to Make Jewellery With Tatty DevineMiss Hope’s Teatime Treats and The WAH Nails Book of Nail Art.

Thanks to the publishers Ebury Publishing, Hardie Grant and Murdoch Books for the review copies and thanks to Katie for donating one of her own.

Q&A with Hannah and Katie

10 Jun

Back in March we did a Q&A with a new eco and upcycling magazine, due out later on this year. There are a few more questions in the full interview, but we wanted to share some of the questions and answers with you on the site. We’ll post a photo of the interview in the magazine as soon as we get a copy!

Tell us about your background

Hannah: I’m from Buckinghamshire via Yorkshire. My parents are both creative people and luckily some of it has rubbed off on me. My sister and I were always making things as children from shrinky crisp packet badges to papier mache bowls using balloons as moulds. My mum taught me to sew at an early age and I made my first dress for a school dance at age 15. I studied art at school and university and these days try to use my skills as regularly as possible around the home.

Katie: After moving around a bit as a child (I was born in Trinidad, then lived in Mexico and New York), I have settled in London, which I absolutely love. I work in publishing and live in Brixton.

How did you come together to create Shoestring Splendour?

H: We worked together in reasonably creative jobs but discovered that we were both looking for a more practical outlet for our creative urges and interests. I’d been idly collecting vintage china but I was in need of a push to get back into making things. Working together and having a bit of pressure to keep up the blog was the kick I needed.

K: We wanted to work on a project together, so we sat and brainstormed some ideas. We realised that we both loved crafty projects like home-made art and making our own cards, we also love design and home projects, and we also love exploring markets in London. So the website has evolved out of that. A big part of what we are writing about is how to make the most of what you already have and about not spending a huge amount to make your home look great. We also incorporate all the other things we love into the site so you’ll see a lot of crafty projects, things that inspire us, book reviews, market reviews, etc.

What are a few of your ideas to save some pennies in the home?

H: It’s surprisingly expensive to buy bunches of herbs from the supermarket and they can really can add up if you use them a lot. I love gardening and so I keep a herb garden outside but If you only have a window sill you can still keep a few plants. I find basil, thyme and rosemary are easiest to keep alive.

K: Prepare food on a Sunday night to take to work during the week. People always tell me they can’t be bothered to prepare food for the week, but, for example, I make a great mixed bean salad with spring onions, olives and herbs with a lemony dressing on Sunday night. It takes around 10 minutes, costs less than £5 and saves me about £12-15 a week. It really adds up and tastes amazing. Why wouldn’t you do it?

If you had an extra hour in the day, what would you do with it?

H: I’m a cupboard geek and love to organise and reorganise drawers and cupboards to save space and time in the future. An hour spent reorganising my sock drawer means time saved each morning from looking for a matching pair!

K: I would love to paint or draw for an hour every day, but I am still working on doing up my flat and with all the DIY that needs doing right now, I am not sure when I’m next going to be able to do it!

We’re in Mollie Makes!

8 Jun

We’re in this month’s Mollie Makes alongside some of our favourite crafters, including Perri Lewis and Mr X Stitch!

Hannah emailed me this morning to say that she had her copy, and then my sister-in-law to be e-mailed me a photo of the features. All of which got me so excited! I wasn’t sure I would be able to find a copy as I’m on holiday in Cornwall but we found one (in fact, all TWO of the newsagents in Wadebridge stock it so there was no need to worry).

There is lots of other great content in this month’s edition, which I can’t wait to read properly on the train ride home, so make sure you pick up a copy!

Shoestring Splendour Magazine: Summer 2012

8 Jun

I am taking the Blogging Your Way course with Holly Becker, and one of the courses, with the wonderful Jeanette Lunde from By Fryd, was centred around creating your own e-mag. It can be a way of highlighting key content from the blog and showing it off in a different way, as well as being a way to learn a new skill – laying out pages.

I don’t have InDesign, and I thought that creating this would be a realy struggle, but Jeanette made a couple of recommendations for alternatives and one of them Page Plus, is absolutely brilliant! It is so easy to use. There is a limited free version, but I decided to splash out and upgrade to the full version. It cost £50 – FAR less than the Adobe software and with all the functionality that I need.  I really struggled with Scribus for my wedding invitations, and I have a few things coming up that I want to use it for, so I figured it was worth the expense.

So – after playing around with it for a day or so, I pulled the e-mag together and.. here it is!

We are thinking about putting one of these together every six months or so, and future issues with contain photography and content not featured on the blog. This first issue is a bit of a test so it’s very short, but I think it came together quite well!

What do you think? What kind of content would you be interested in seeing in the next one? Do you read any e-mags? Which ones and why do you love them? Let us know in the comments! We would love to hear from you.

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