6th March 2014
Ever wondered why your beautiful bunch of roses lasted a mere day and a half once you got them home? I know I have! On a recent trip to source flowers for our DIYs, floral artist Gemma gave me the lowdown on what to do (i.e. all the things I’ve been doing wrong) to make sure I get the freshest, and thus most long lasting, bunch of florals.
Floral buying tips:
- This one’s pretty well known, but make sure to choose flowers with some unopened buds (although there is the odd flower that should be bought fully open so ask your florist). However, make sure to avoid flowers with tightly shut green buds, which were not given enough time to mature before cutting and probably won’t open before they die in your vase (doh!).
- Try to buy in season or locally sourced flowers. Ask your florist about this – chances are that if your flowers have had to travel from further away they’re more likely to be older and have been knocked around.
- Make sure you check the cut stem ends. Super fresh flowers will look freshly cut (they should be white/green), if they’re split, dark or curling on the ends, they’ve most likely been sitting around for a while. Slight discolouration may be fixed with a trim when you get home, but if they are rotten all the way up the stem – keep on walkin’.
- On the same token, if the stem is bent anywhere along it, it will have problems absorbing water, so avoid those too.
- If the flowers are sitting in water (they should be!) check what the water looks like. If it’s muddy or look slimy, chances are the flowers aren’t that fresh, and will have probably started rotting. Rotting = you’ll get half an hour out of them.
- The first thing to die is the leaves of a flower, so they act as a sort of ‘canary in the mine’ – if they’re looking a bit sad and yellow, that means the flowers are going to follow suit shortly.
- The flower petals themselves should be firm and not wilting or squishy, so make sure you look at the petals before you hand over your cash.
- Last but not least, make friends with your florist or flower stall owner, be nice and smile and they’ll be more likely to give you flowers they know will last longer.
24th December 2013
There’s nothing better than overindulging during the holiday season, I mean, it’s practically a requirement. Food, wine, presents, all designed to fill up our stomachs and empty our purses. So it’s nice to save where you can, in both a fiscal sense, and a general earthly sense, wouldn’t you agree?
With us today is the crafty goddess Gemma Patford, here to demonstrate how to create homemade gift wrap, super cute and made from bits and bobs that you’re sure to have around the house, so virtually recycled! So you can save on the wrapping and spend on the wine… or chocolate.
Brown paper / any paper / paper scraps
Paint & Paint pens
Polka dot stickers
Pretty much just pull out anything remotely crafty you have. EVERYTHING!
1. Cleanse. Empty out your draws and cupboards. Pull out everything. Puff paint, craft glue, ribbons, EVERYTHING!
2. Pompoms. Make a few pompoms. Seriously, a few pompoms go along way. I got my yellow plastic pompom maker from my local craft store, but really, a fork would do the same thing.
3. Keep gift bags. Paper bags are great for those gifts which are hard to wrap, but still have a wonderful surface to paint, decorate and hang stuff from. When someone gives you a gift bag, don’t throw it away with the bath water. Keep it. Hoard it for a rainy day. I have a entire box full of paper gift bags from shops. Keep them! They are super handy. Paint. I love bright wrapping paper. Paint a few sheets of A3 paper. Splotch them up and make them a muted or as bright as you like. Take out your weekly frustrations on the paper. It will thank-you for it.
4. Stickers. Polkadot stickers from your local stationary shop go along way when you are wrapping. They last for ever too and make a cheap wrapping look a million dollars.
5. Fringing. Fringing is easy. Take a few sheets of paper and cut it into strips leaving 2cm spare at one end. Layer it up and glue it into any flat surface for a textured effect.
Thanks Gemma for your lovely wrapping ideas, make sure you check out her site here for more fun crafty ideas!
3rd November 2013
Those of you who have been tuning into the Do What You Love series will no doubt have fallen a little bit in love with Jasmine Dowling’s typography. She recently offered to show us exactly how she creates these masterpieces, and I jumped at the chance to see her work in action. The funny thing is that before she walked me through it I had no idea it would be so artistic, for some reason I thought most things like this are done on the computer. I guess I should have known, because in many ways it’s similar to the process typography pro Gemma O’brien uses to teach first time typographers (remember?). I was so happy to see that so much of Jasmine goes into each and every one. Read on to see how she does it! I’m also giving away one print from her recent collab with Molten Store so head to the bottom to enter!
My Typography – by Jamine Dowling
The little story of how I got started on my typography band wagon actually started because of college holidays. Naturally being a stress head, who constantly likes to remain busy it got to holidays where uni students around the world breathe a sigh of relief and hit the pillow for most of their days. I did do that for the first day I admit, but after day that I needed something to do asap between work. After studying a typography class a semester earlier I realised my passion for it, I decided to get back into it but this time without the computer.
I was always amazed by those with extreme hand craft skills and wanted to teach myself the skill of hand lettered typography. A few things I learnt quite quickly was that a) you can not do this stressed b) you can’t drink too much coffee before doing it and c) it takes longer than you think.
Anyway, I started off dabbling in a calligraphy-like treatment without calligraphy pens. Then later falling in love with ink. For those who ask what my tools of the trade are, they aren’t anything fancy. All I use is: paper, indian ink / regular ink pot, a fine brush (I am not sure the type I use, I just picked the one that felt right?), pencil, eraser, oh and water.
Now that I am set, I am ready to create ..
I start by picking an expression, I write it out in pencil making sure it all fits nicely for an A4 print. Personally my favourite thing about doing these, is that it is my own handwriting, that no one else has so try to make it yours as much as you can. After that I mix 2 parts water to 1 part ink into your palette. You can change this depending on if you want it really dark or light. Then I go over my writing, changing the pressure of my brush to paper making sure my brush is always wet. Once I am finished I leave it to dry before rubbing out the pencil underneath. To clean it up I then scan it onto my mac, then touch up the colour and line in Photoshop if I need to.
After it is printed it is put into a frame or taped to the wall surrounded by other treasures and of course flowers!
As I mentioned Jasmine has recently launched a line of limited edition prints in collab with Molten Store (you can get your hands on them here and here), and I’m super excited to be giving away one to a lucky reader!
To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below with what you would ask Jasmine to put in a quote if you had the choice! Make sure to leave your email in the email box so we can contact you if you’re the lucky winner. Contest closes Friday the 8th November.
I almost forgot to mention, Jasmine also does freelance designs, so if you want anything made up click through to her website and get in touch with her. You won’t be disappointed!
Update: Thank you for entering everyone, so much food for thought in the quotes you’ve chosen! The winner, picked at random is Bethan. xx