Archive by Author

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

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!

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.

How does your garden grow?

6 Jun

Are you growing any fruits, vegetables or herbs this summer?

Unfortunately we don’t really have any outdoor space in our flat, so we’re a little bit limited as to what we have space to grow. But I love having fresh vegetables and herbs during the summer months, so I always try to go something!

This year I’m growing tomatoes, peppers and basil. They all seem to be doing well – the tomatoes exploded during the few weeks of nice weather we had recently, which I am incredibly excited about. I have never grown so many – usually each plant gives me 10-15 tomatoes if I’m lucky. This year it looks like we might actually have a glut, something I have always read about but never quite experienced for myself!

The basil is just a supermarket plant, but seems to be surviving quite well. I try to cut it back (and eat it!) once every week or so, as it’s been growing really quickly.

And finally the pepper plant. This is the newest purchase – I bought it from Brixton market around two weeks ago. After a couple of days it transpired that it was infested with green fly, but after washing each leaf carefully with soap and warm water, that appears to have gone away.

I did also have an aubergine plant, but it sadly passed away about a week after I bought it – I think the pot I put it in was too small.

The two things I have done this year which appear to be doing wonders are 1) reusing the water when I boil eggs at the weekend – I let it cool down and then water the plants with it – the egg shells act as a natural fertliser! and 2) I have planted a marigold in with the tomatoes – I heard somewhere that this keeps green and black fly at bay and so far, it’s been working a treat!

Do you have any tips for growing veg indoors?

Jubilations!

5 Jun

I thought I would post a quick photo of the Jubilee cake toppers in action…

We hope you had a wonderful bank holiday weekend and enjoyed some of the celebrations wherever you are.

(PS: the cake was a Walnut and Strawberry recipe from Mary Berry. It would have cost next to nothing as I had all the ingredients at home apart from the strawberries and cream but after one failed batch I realised my self-raising flour was out of date by about six months! Top tip: make sure you check your best before dates before you start baking!!)

Happy Jubilee!

3 Jun

Happy Jubilee weekend! We hope you’re having a brilliant time and enjoying the bank holiday. A big hello to everyone visiting us thanks to Mollie Makes – we’re so excited to be featured – can’t wait to pick up a copy later on this week! We’re also taking part in BYW 2.0 – Great to meet so many new people through the forums there!

I am going to be baking a cake on Tuesday for lunch with Hannah and my parents and I thought I would share these amazing cake toppings, even though the cake is not baked yet.

I spotted them on Pinterest and my friend Laura ordered a set for me and a set for her from a tiny little shop in her home town. How cute are they!? I couldn’t wait until the cake was baked to share them…

They are sitting on one of my two Emma Bridgewater Jubilee tea towels – both my mum and my future mother-in-law bought one for me – luckily they are both different. I love them!

The weather isn’t quite living up to all of my dreams today, but I’m certainly still planning to have a good time – what are you doing over the bank holiday?

One Lovely Blog Award

31 May

What a nice way to brighten up any day – on Monday evening we found out that Sweet Mabel had nominated us for the One Lovely Blog Award! Thank you!!

To accept the award, apparently there are a few things we have to share with you – a thank you and link to Sweet Mabel (done!), a list of 7 things you don’t already know about us and our fifteen favourite blogs. We officially nominate them for the award too. So, here goes!

7 things we don’t think you know about us

  1. We met more than five years ago at work and have been friends ever since
  2. Katie was born in Trinidad
  3. Hannah can never be too warm and is often to be found with a woolen poncho in the depths of summer
  4. If there is a choice between lemon and chocolate flavoured cake, lemon wins every time (Katie)
  5. Between us we have eaten at every restaurant in the Granville Arcade / Brixton Village
  6. Hannah is a highly skilled flat packed furniture maker!
  7. Our karaoke song is Don’t Stop Believing and has been since B.G. (Before Glee)

Fifteen blogs we love

  1. Brixtonia
  2. The Crafty Fox
  3. I get a kick out of you
  4. I Shall Wear Purple
  5. Make and Do with Perri
  6. Tea for Joy
  7. Wit and Whistle
  8. Decor8
  9. Design Sponge
  10. Elephantine (we love her jewellery too)
  11. Hooray blog
  12. Poppytalk
  13. Heart of Light
  14. A Cup of Jo
  15. The Busy Thistle

Thanks so much to Sweet Mabel – make sure you have a look at her blog, which we love!

EAT: Herman the German friendship pizza

26 May

Last week I was given a Herman.

If you haven’t heard of Herman, you can find out lots about him here. Believed to be an Amish tradition, Herman is a yeast culture that gets fed and passed to friends. Sounds a bit like an STI, but I swear, it’s the base of some delicious baked goods…

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