Wednesday, 23 July 2014

DIY: Shake Your Pom Pom!

There's nothing more satisfying than creating something from scratch. I say this often, I know, but I stand by it and aim to fill my days with as much crafty shenanigans as I can muster!! This little treat of a post is aimed at fellow makers and craft newbies alike!! All hail, the mighty pom pom!

These little fluffy balls of wonder can be made in no time at all, using barely any resources and can decorate and brighten up just about anything! Trust me, once you get started it's hard to put down your woolly bobbles!

Here are a few tips on how to create the perfect mini pom pom!

Grab a small fork, known to some as a Dinglehopper... And arm yourself with any colour, thickness or texture wool, oh and a pair of scissors too.

Cut a small length of wool and place it between the middle prongs. (This might very well be my new favourite word; prong!) Hold this to one side as you now begin to wind the ball of wool, horizontally, around the fork. I made the epic mistake of wrapping the yarn way too tightly. This must be my unconscious anxieties creeping through, as I tend to be a tight knitter too!!

There aren't any rules, when it comes to how thick you make this // I like projects with little rules, just call me the craft maverick ; ) // So have a go experimenting!! Once you have your little bundle, take the original, loose piece of yarn and use this to tie tightly around the whole thing. Tie this securely, maybe wrapping round a second time for good measure.

Your next step is to slide your almost pom pom off the fork and carefully snip around all edges, to set free your fluffy ends! Make sure you try and get all of the loops and don't worry about making this neat or even, as you're about to get scissor happy! Working your way around the little pom pom, trim all of your ends, aiming for a similar length the whole way around. Take your time with this and again, experiment with desired lengths. Don't be afraid to get in there with the scissors!!

Once you're given your newly made ball of fluff a healthy trim, get rolling. The key to a luscious ball (spoken as Nicole Scherzinger), is to massage your pom pom! Trust me on this friends.

// TOP TIP: Be sure to tie your pom pom up tightly, to avoid any nasty accidents... //

// TOP TIP: To save time and washing up, use your finger instead of cutlery! Works a treat! //

The only hard part of this gorgeous and fun project, is knowing when enough is enough!! Let me know if you have a go at making some of these cute decorations, and if you have any great advice for defining the process or fab ideas of how to use your puffy creation!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

New Music To Live To

Every now and then music gold comes along. A lyrical force to be reckoned with that makes you really take note of the world around you. For me this happened recently, and since then I can't seem to get enough of the folk / country influenced sounds of Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, the duo known as First Aid Kit.

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The haunting harmonies pull you in as their voices blend together within an entanglement of folk instrumentals and beautifully enchanting words. Just one listen will have you wishing yourself away, wandering barefoot through a sunlit forest, riding along a dessert road windows down wind in your hair, laying out on warm summer grass watching clouds stretch across an evening sky.

Having recently discovered and instantly fallen in love with their sound, I was beyond excited to explore their records and videos, finding a treasure trove of information, photographs, interviews and live acoustic sets, all solidly confirming their status as my new crush.

Just for you, my friends and music lovers alike, I present to you, your summer sounds and maybe even style inspirations!

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If you're like me, and have this record firmly on repeat, then you can check out First Aid Kit's tour dates, you can purchase their records and even a band tee or follow their adventures on twitter and instagram, all via their official site.

I'm escaping to my favourite day dream, acoustic voices, swishing around imagining myself at Woodstock with flowers in my hair...

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Grab A Drink, Let's Sit A While

Hey there lovelies! My post today offers the chance to delve a little deeper into the community of blogging, my favourite part of this creative hobby. 

I was recently contacted by two super ladies; Esther from Myrtaceae and Jess of The Rich Wallflower, delivering in all their gorgeous, lots of questions to answer!

Esther nominated me for the Liebster Award, and after answering her fair share of questions and revealing some great facts about herself (such as her obsession with triangles and aversion to cycling!), she then fired 11 in my directions:

1. What made you want to start blogging?
After making the decision to leave my job and move to the Netherlands, (starting with a three month stay), I wanted to document this exciting new adventure. I created my blog as a place to share my discoveries, thoughts, fears and excitement and as great way for my family and friends to keep updated with my shenanigans. I began to read more and more blogs and just fell in love with the entire concept of blogging and the community that comes with it.

2. What bloggers do you look up to?
Bloggers that stay true to their own voice. Bloggers that write about things they love, people that have passion and enthusiasm. People that grow with their blog. Friendly, interactive and diverse.

3. What is a place you would love to visit one day?
Now this is quite a list! A road trip across the States, North Europe (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland), Hawaii!! Canada, Switzerland, Belgium, more of Germany (Berlin).

4. Are you a tea or coffee person?

5. How would you describe your blog?
Ramblings of an accidental anthropologist. I'm an avid people watcher, I like to observe cultures and varying personalities. My blog is place to share my creative journey via knitting, baking, sewing posts and somewhere like minded folk might stop by for a read and a chat. 

6. What would your dream job be?
Something creative, something with a chance to continue learning, exploring, growing. Something diverse. Something I enjoy and can find happiness in.

7. What do you like about yourself?
Positivity and optimism. Of course, I'm certainly not miss sunshine everyday, but I seem to have bags of enthusiasm- I love everything. Also, I suppose openness, (although that one can get you trampled on), a thirst for knowledge, (always wanting to learn more) and I always try to live with an open mind.

8. What’s a fashion trend you wish you were brave enough to try?
Statement hair. I would love something signature like a bold fringe or stand out colour. Also in my wardrobe more patterns/ print.

9. What’s the last book you’ve read?
Wild by Cheryl Strayed- and I recommend to any adventurers out there! I'm currently reading The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides and for study purposes Oorlogsgeheimen by Jacques Vriens (and enjoying both!)

10. What are something’s you are really passionate about?
Movies! Books! Tv! Costume! Creating things!

11. Do you have any strange talents/quirks?
I am the grand master of head stands and cartwheels, I kid you not! Although a more useful talent would have been swell...

My facts for Esther:
* I recently moved from England to the Netherlands to live with my Dutch boyfriend.
* I am an English girl that hates tea!
* I own a car in England and a bicycle in Holland.
I have a younger brother who is training to become a PE teacher.
* Previously mentioned brother had an imaginary friend as a child, who really didn't like me.
* I love horror movies, but almost always have nightmares afterwards (the screaming, punching, kicking kind!)
* I long for a pen pal! The old fashioned, hand written letter type. (Man I loves me some stationary).
* I recently had a piece of creative writing published in Whim online magazine, which gave me the push to pursuit writing work, and I now freelance!
* I have lost entire weekends to film/ tv marathons (OITNB, Dexter, Supernatural, The Carrie Diary's, Grey's Anatomy, Buffy, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, Grim, New Girl, That 70s Show, American Horror Story, Gossip Girl... I think I need help...)
* I recently got into yoga (via youtube) and am loving it.
* I once played an Arabian princess in a school play.

The babe that is Jess, nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award, which sounds all kinds of wonderful!! Her answers were honest and intriguing and her questions had me thinking hard:

1. When are you at your happiest?
After spending time with loved ones, when creating something, getting lost in a book, laughing so much you fear for your sides, baking something naughty (and then eating it!), having in depth conversations about nonsense, making a den and watching Netflix all weekend!

2. What three things would you say to your younger self?
Be kinder to yourself, give yourself a break and look after yourself. Take more photographs and keep a journal coz your memory get worse and worse!! Enjoy who you are, explore, grow and experience. Lose the centre parting!

3. If you could make one mythological/fairytale creature real, what would it be?
Well, we all know faeries already exist, if you know the right pizza topping to lure them out with, so probably unicorns. Although horses scare me a little... But I'm almost certain my loyal and beloved unicorn would be sweet and not creep me out with it's glassy eyes... Ohh but what about vampires... No probably best to stick with the unicorn.

4. Favourite memory?
Oh man, this is a toughie. I have such fond memories of childhood family holidays in Devon and Cornwall, camping in all weathers and loving every moment. My first trip to Holland, I'll never know where I got the courage/ stupidity and will never be able to describe the excitement/ nerves. Touring to Japan with the ballet, my friend and I shopping in Harijuku in sheer amazement, and laughing lots during the entire trip- so much laughter!!

5. The strangest thing anyone has ever said to you?
My nan giving me hilarious advice; “Gem, don't marry for love, marry a man with lots of money.” My response: “Wow! How romantic...”, *shock written across my face* to which my nan replies “I didn't say marry an ugly man.”

6.Yes or No?
Heck yeah!

7. Do you have a catch phrase or something you say all the time?
'Mooi!' (means beautiful in Dutch), 'awesomes' 'okie dokie' and I have My Silver Lining by First Aid Kit permanently stuck in my head, so 'gotta keep on keeping on', and I'm known for quoting movies all the time.

8. If  you could spend a year inside a book, which would it be?
My greedy side would say Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, my adventurous side would say The Princess Bride and my nerdy side would say any of the Harry Potter books.

9. Is social media a good or bad thing?
Hmmmm. If used in the right way (and in small doses) then it can be a marvellous tool to connect with people. To keep in touch with old friends, to share your life with people on the other side of the world and to make wonderful friends you may never have stumbled into, in the flesh. But so much of our lives is edited and analysed. There is a fine line between recording vacation snaps and tailoring an particular image of your 'highly exciting' life. Plus, sometimes ain't it just refreshing to switch everything off and go and experience something. First hand. For real.

10. What inspires you?
Everything! People. Personalities. Creativity. Stories. Images.

11. If you could meet one person from history who would it be?
Stevie Knicks!! Orrrr Heath Ledger, Joni Mitchell, Dennis Hopper, Jane Austin, Quentin Tarantino, Anne Rice, Judy Blume.

My facts for Jess:
* I really really don't like flies, or bugs with wings in general.
* Love reading travel literature and share this enthusiasm with my pa!
* In primary school I prided myself on being the queen of arm wrestling, honestly. Did I mention what a pip squeak I was/ am?
* I dream of one day owning a craft room/ attic/ shed/ den!
* My chosen super power would CERTAINLY be the ability to be fluent in any language.
* I am a huge Disney and Dreamworks fan and can watch any of those movies, at any time of day. 
* I really miss my cat Charlie, who lives with my family in England. He is all kinds of awesome (even if I am allergic to his fur/ dribble!) and he gives the best love, and always knows when you're in need of extra fuss.
* I have an excess collection of sunglasses, cardigans and balls of wool.
* I love to bake, and am the proud owner of a super duper sexy stand up mixer, which I am also missing greatly (it lives in England for now).
* Ik ben Nederlands aan het leren. Ja, mijn Nederlands is een beetje slecht MAAR ik probeer het en langzaam gaat het beter en beter!
* The crafts I love include: dress making, knitting, needle work (including embroidery and cross stitch), quilting, sewing ANYTHING, millinery, costume construction... Basically a bit of everything! Although I have never learnt to crochet... YET!

I'm breaking the rules big time, but hey, let's live a little!! I've devised a little list of questions for you lovelies!! Feel free to answer one or all of them, (in the comments box below), I'd love to hear your answers and any random facts you feel compelled to share! Go crazy!!

* Okay, let's begin with a classic- super power of choice? 
* Favourite line from a song?
* Which actor would you choose to play you in a story of your life? (One you'd love to and one more likely to).
* If you could only wear one colour, for a whole week, what would you go for?
* So, I have just put the finishing touches to my time machine, what era shall we visit?
* From your childhood or from today, what is your go to cartoon?
* Most loved season of the year?
* X- Factor audition song? (Don't pretend you haven't figured it out, plus backing dance choreography).

I sure hope you have some fun with these and embarrass yourself to your hearts content, welcome one and all!! I can't wait to read some of your responses : D