15 Sep 2014

Top 5 Home Decor Items to Make it feel like Summer

There are some things I really hate about summer.
These include but are not limited to mosquitoes and sandflies and having to wear shorts even when I don't want to shave my legs.
Then there are things that I really love about summer like fresh cocktails and BBQs and buying summer decor for the house and garden. Some of you may know already that I am looking at moving into somewhere of my own soon so as you can imagine, I swoon at all home decor ideas on Pinterest and cannot go past the homewares aisle in any store without stopping to look. It's driving Michael mad.
Luckily for me, it seems that Freedom Furniture and The Warehouse have beautiful collections in their stores at the moment. Freedom has a new collection for Summer 2014/2015 with a focus on sorbet hues (yeah I also wanted to go get ice cream after that) and The Warehouse has some amazing items on sale.

1// Freedom Furniture's Semaphore Cushion - $39.95
This cushion is beautiful and really goes well with items (4) and (5) in my collection. I would definitely pop this cushion on a pretty chair outside during an evening of BBQing and grilling in the summer and prop it on the couch inside on cooler evenings. The colours are so beautiful, it would make a fantastic centre piece on a vintage chair.

2// Home Essentials Glass Drink Dispenser 8L - $25
This is on sale right now at The Warehouse and oh my word do I want this! Like something bad!
Can you imagine this dispenser with fresh, homemade lemonade in it? Or a sparkling water with lemon and lime slices and a variety of berries? Your guests will love being able to help themselves at picnics, BBQs and outdoor birthday parties.

3// Home Essentials Mason Glass Jar Dots 4 Piece - $7.50
These are also on sale right now so get 'em while you can! I love the idea of filling up a mason jar (perhaps from the glass drink dispenser you also bought on sale) and popping a lid on it. It stops your drink from being tainted by small insects, BBQ ash and falling leaves. It also keeps children and teenagers from accidentally swallowing a bee or getting stung. These are the perfect vessels for cocktails too!

4// Freedom Furniture Miller Dining Chair - $149
Yellow is my favourite colour so this chair would make me happier than a happy thing. I love the style of the chair around a table inside or out and with a cushion attached it could be a thing of wonder. It'll also add a pop of colour to any garden or room and make the sun brighter.

5// Solano Bistro Chair in Blue - $25
While this chair is mainly designed to be used outside, it would fit in quite well in an office or at a dining room table. You could combine it with the Miller Dining Chair for a blue and yellow palette that is incredibly hip right now. Or if you're feeling particularly DIY like, you could add a ribbon to the chair and have it at an outdoor summer wedding.

What is your favourite summer home decor idea? Would you put any of the above in your own home?

10 Sep 2014

Top 5 Tutorials for Improving Your Blog Photography

I spend a lot of time reading other blogs. I spend a lot of time reading tutorials.
I also spend a lot of time reading The Mortal Instruments series but that's not helpful in this particular instance unless you want to hear about my theory behind Jace's insecurities and why Clary is my least favourite character despite being the heroine. Don't get me started on Simon's awesomeness and how much I wish I was Isabelle.

So let's focus on what's important here. I read a lot of blogs because I like to see the different styles and personalities out there. While I try not to out right copy anyone, I do think that this influences my style a little bit (it's natural and everyone does it, don't pretend you don't) and that means that I like to read tutorials on how to achieve different looks and feels. This can be anything from the graphics on my blog to my writing to my photos.
And that got me thinking. I have a Pinterest board on tips and tricks for blogging but I normally don't spread it around so today I'm bringing you a quick list of amazing photography tutorials for your blog photos. Hopefully it'll help you and you can pick up some tips and tricks to try out on your blog.
This is Part I in the Blogging Best Series.

1. The girls over at ABM are just blogging superstars. Let's be real. Those girls know how to use cameras to their advantage and that means that they have some killer tutorials on how you can follow in their footsteps. They cover a wide range of topics so there's something for everyone and every skill level.

2. My Pinterest board offers lots of different tutorials on blogging photos specifically as well as photography in general. There are some general rules you need to get to grips with and some rules of thumb that are handy when you're trying to capture the perfect moment.

3. The SitsGirls have some fantastic ideas on how to get your photography looking good for your blog. They also have a wide range of topics that they cover and it's a great place to be interactive and social with others looking for helpful hints and tips too.

4. Seriously, who doesn't love Mashable? Their photo blogging tips are genius because they're not just instructions but a conversation with the pros. Extracts from photographers give you insight not only into the process but into the mindset of the photographers themselves.

5. This tutorial is specifically aimed at getting your light right. It's something that people take for granted and something that effects your images more than you could ever imagine. Take a leaf out of the Midwest's book and get fantastic lighting in all your photos.

Next time I'll bring you handy places to get free stock images for your blog when everything has gone wrong and there's no light whatsoever!

1 Sep 2014

Disney Tag

There have seriously been so many amazing tags floating around lately that I sort of jumped on the band wagon. So I hope no one on the band wagon has a problem with me because I intend to be riding with this thing for quite a while.
So without further ado, here's my Disney Tag.

Also, I took this tag from Laura and you should go check out her blog because she's awesome and she makes the best chilli nachos in the world. FACT.

1// Favourite Disney film?

The Little Mermaid. Hands down.
When I was little I wore out the VHS because I watched it so often. For my 18th birthday I was gifted The Little Mermaid soundtrack and a keyring. For my 21st birthday I was gifted The Little Mermaid on DVD.
I have always wanted to be Ariel and insisted on visiting her grotto at Disney World despite there being a raging storm outside and we nearly missed our flight. Regrets? No way.

2// Favourite Disney princess?

I can't say Ariel again cos...BORING. So I'm totally going to go with Mulan cos girl kicked ass long before her time. Seriously people, she fought for a dynasty. And she carried that armour with her small frame. She's hardcore.

3// Aurora or Cinderella?

Aurora every time. That hair, my gosh it's beautiful. Plus I really like Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. They were fantastic. I have been known to have a nap quite often during the day if I'm given half the chance so I think Aurora is probably my spirit animal.

4// Hercules or Tarzan?

This question technically says "Would you rather be Tarzan or Hercules?" but I'm not going to answer it as if it's asking me who I fancy more. And the answer is Hercules. Have you seen that Ferro Roche advert where they say the Gods had a party on a starless night so they threw Ferro Roche into the night? Yeah well Hercules' dad is Zeus. Zeus is a God. LIFETIME SUPPLY OF FERRO ROCHE!
Think about it.

5// Rather be Lizzie MacGuire or Raven Baxter?

I actually never watched That's So Raven! to be honest and I'm kind of glad about that. I didn't really watch Lizzie either but I did see a photo of Ethan the other day and boy got hotter. So on that premise, Lizzie it is.

6// Favourite Disney song?

I Just Can't Wait to Be King from The Lion King. There is no explanation needed.

7//Which Disney character would be your best friend?

Flounder. I said that without floundering. Oh the hilarity!

8// Which Disney character would be your pet?

Maximus. Dude is badass!

9// Have you ever been to Disneyland?

Nope! But I've been to Disney World Florida twice. It was the best thing ever and honestly I would suggest every single person goes when they can. It doesn't matter about your age, you are made to feel special and amazing.

I'm not tagging anyone in this because it's been forever since I was tagged and because no one needs that kind of pressure in their lives.

12 Aug 2014

DIY Salt Dough Gift Tags

I first made salt dough gift tags for Christmas this year when I wanted to make cheap decorations for our tree. I wanted something handmade and pretty. Nothing with felt or cotton or material or anything with cotton wool thanks. Our tree is artifical and we have beautiful silver and gold baubles to go with it so I wanted something that would fit in well with that. I started off by making decorations for the tree but by the end of the activity I had gotten a bit carried away and I'd made table tags, gift tags and even a pretty dish to pop candy canes in.
This got me thinking, surely gift tags are not reserved for Christmas time?
And so that is why today I bring you these DIY salt dough gift tags for all year round! You can make them as an activity with kids of all ages, personalise them and wrap them around a beautifully decorated gift. They can also be used at lunches to show people where they're sitting or made into decorations to hang from tree branches if you're taking advantage of good weather.

The dough is super easy to make. As long as you keep the ratio of 1:1:2 you can make the batch as large or as small as you like.
You can also add food colouring to your dough or paint the ornaments later if you want a bit of colour. I've chosen to keep mine white so I can choose a brightly coloured wrapping paper as a background.

1C Salt
1C Water
2C Flour

1// Pop the salt and flour into a bowl and whisk together.
2// Slowly add the water while mixing. You want a stiff consistency so if you feel you've used enough water then don't feel like you have to add it all.
3// Knead the dough softly until it's pliable.

Then you want to roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface and cut into the shapes you desire. I've used rounds because they're the easiest to produce.
I've used letter cookie cutters to get names and words but you can also engrave them into the salt dough or use a shaped cutter instead.

Using the end of a wooden spoon, I poked holes into my salt dough. You can pop these holes anywhere on the shape, it just depends on what you're wrapping. You can also hang these with a hole at the top or wrap them with a hole at the top and the bottom. It's up to you!
You can let the dough dry out in a sunny place until it's hard or you can bake these at 50 degrees C for 30 minutes. You must keep checking these so they do not brown or burn and if they need a little longer to harden up then make sure you keep a close eye on them.

What's your favourite way to personalise wrapped gifts?