Saturday 31 December 2011

2011: The Summary.

It's been a great year. I've had ups and downs, like everyone else, but I think it's been
the most productive year of my life. I've set so many things in motion that my day has purpose
and meaning now, as opposed to just sitting around all day day-dreaming.

   I've lost my grandfather, my dogs, and Sugar. I never saw my grandfather much, but he was (I know I shouldn't say it) my favourite grandfather. He was funny, so very Bristolian, and very jolly. It was the first funeral I'd ever been to, and I've been told it was one of the best anyone else had been to, as it involved happy stories, some Monty Python music and a slide show.
   It's also been the first year of my life without dogs. I've had dogs for as long as I can remember. Candy was 4 when I was born, and she died when she was 13. We went 6 months without a dog then, until we got Poppy. I don't remember those 6 months, as I was too young, and it wasn't something I enjoyed. But then we had Poppy bouncing around and chewing table legs. Then we got Rosie shortly afterwards, too. A year or so passed then we got Francis, though she wasn't a puppy, she was already three. She'd had a littler of puppies but refused to have any more when they were taken from her by the breeder. She maintained her maternal instincts, though, and would groom a little toy of a cavalier we had (they were all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels). But she passed away in her sleep one day some years ago, she was 10, and Poppy and Rosie both died at the vets a few months ago. Dogs make your life so much brighter.
   Then I lost Sugar. I still won't disclose the species because of such negative responses I get that anger me. I'm not at all ashamed of it, I just don't like getting angry at people for their close-mindedness. It was the first time I ever had to make the decision myself as to whether or not an animal had to be put down. It was horrible, and I won't forget it. It was also the first time I was present in the building when it happened.

   Aside from the losses, however, I've had a great year. As I said, a very productive one.
   I have a habit of saying I'm going to try something, or do something every single day, and then I'll spend the rest of that first day thinking about it - I won't do it as I may not have the materials or equiptment, man-power, money or energy - but then when I wake up the next day I've either forgotten or I can't be bothered anymore.
   In around April I decided I would attend the school fair as a seller. I had made one or two pieces of jewellery at this point, nothing like what I make now, and decided it was fun to do it. So I carried on through the rest of the day and even managed to make a few pieces from clay. Then, remarkably, the next day I was still thinking about it. Though it wasn't impossible, it was still unlikely that I would continue with the plan.
   I'm happy to say that two months later I was sat in the cold wind at the end of June, behind my little table with all of my many pieces of jewellery blu-tacked down to prevent it all being blown away, and I made £50 selling £4 necklaces and bookmarks. I then went on to develop my Etsy shop, and I have since made 10 sales - no small feat, at all! People actually want my jewellery! It's a wonderful feeling.
   I'm so proud of the fact that I didn't give up - in fact the idea to do so never even occurred to me until afterwards! I'm unemployed so all money makes a difference! I don't have plans to shut any of it down, only plans to go further...though I might give the Christmas fairs a miss. They weren't as successful.

   Then there's weightloss. I've tried for years to lose weight; I've dieted, exercised, tried another diet, and given up all in between. This cycle has gone on for about 6 years. Then, my boyfriend got me a Wii for my birthday in January, and after the money he spent on that, I had to use it. I have exercised almost every day since then, and my waistline is actually finally dropping too! It's amazing! I've gone with it now for so long that it wasn't difficult to make myself get up and do it on Boxing Day either! I'm really proud of my own dedication and with what I've achieved with only the support of one person. I've not given up chocolate, but I have recognised that it is actually quite easy to say "no" to food being offered to you. And just because it's a holiday, that doesn't mean you have an excuse to pig out. I did say to myself I'd go easy with Christmas, though, and that didnt exactly go to plan, but I managed to stop myself from continuing on Boxing Day, and did my exercise instead. As a result, I'm back on the horse - I never really fell off. I exercise Monday to Friday - Christmas Day was a Sunday. I'm just pleased and proud that I managed to continue exercising on Boxing Day. If I hadn't, there's always the chance I wouldn't be doing it now.

   I also started this blog! Now, I know it's not very full and it only has about 30 followers, but I know that a few of those followers actually do read it. And I appreciate it so much. I tried blogging in the past, on Tumblr, but I only follow about 17 people who only post pictures, so I've found that my blogging has stopped and instead I'll only really reblog pictures or videos that are cute, funny or stylish, and I rarely say a word about me anymore. I post like one thing a week, 90% of which are reblogs. But no one reads it, and they don't need to. It's just pictures of me, my animals, my boyfriend, and a lot of pictures of other stuff.
   But, I do intend to take this blog further. I'm changing the name, because I've found that it's far too connected to my shop and I need it to stand on its own two feet so it can actually become a blog rather than a poor marketing option. The problem is, I'm synaesthetic. That means that all letters and numbers have their own designated colours. Most synaesthetes find words to be multicoloured, but for me they have their own single colour, which is generally determined by the most dominant letter in the word. This creates a problem because, with titleing my books, I obviously title them depending on the story, but with this blog, there is no story. I know what sort of name I want, but the problem is I can't piece the right words together, and half the words I come up with are ugly colours, and ugly colours will make me dislike the name, and in turn, the blog itself. Not to mention I plan on purchasing a domain name so whatever I choose has to be available on the web too, and will be set in stone for about 2 years.
   I feel like I might be on the verge of finding a name, however, and when I have chosen a name, I will let you all know. I will change the header to a new one, and create an announcement that it will change a month after that date. I'll still be on blogspot so you'll still be following me, but the name will change, and the link will, too.

   What else have I done...I finished my first book, as you know, still final-drafting it; started the second book, it's going all right but I'm struggling a bit...Still looking after my mother, of course, if that ever changes, you'll hear about it...I run an Etsy team, but I am aware that I've neglected it a little bit. I'm trying to juggle quite a lot for what I'm used to (in otherwords, I'm not used to having to juggle anything), but I don't have any intention on giving up. I just need to come up with a plan.

   Also, since opening my shop, I've sold jewellery to Europe and America. It's amazing how small and accessible the world seems now. I sent mere teabags to a friend in Malaysia for goodness sake! Though, I know a lot about space, so of course I know the insignificance of this planet in relation to everything else out there. Why wouldn't it be small and accessible? Opening my shop is one of the best things I've ever done. I'm making money, I'm learning things, I'm creating things again, I'm making friends, and I've found confidence.

   In conclusion, 2011 was one of the best years ever. I can only hope that in 2012, I can
further everything I've achieved this year. Lose the same amount of weight, finish the
second book, make double the sales, start contacting agents, everything.
I hope 2011 was successful for all of you, and I hope 2012 will be even better. And remember,
when you suffer a loss or worse, there's something awesome waiting around the corner.
   This is, of course, my last post for 2011, and hopefully I can update you all soon on
my Christmas, post some new printables and tutorials, and also remind you all when my
Birthday Sale will start in my shop (9th to the 23rd, 21% off with Etsy On Sale).

Thanks for reading, everyone x

Friday 23 December 2011

5 DIY Present Toppers for All Year Round

   I wanted to make a simple but relevant tutorial for the day before Christmas Eve, and subsequently probably my last post of the year, but I couldn't come up with much. Then, while I was wrapping my boyfriend's presents, whose birthday falls on the 28th December, I found that the brown paper, though quite stylish, seemed a bit empty. I used an entire roll of baker's twine this Christmas, somehow, and I didn't want all his gifts to look the same, either. In fact, because my birthday is on January the 9th, we've been buying eachother birthday presents amongst Christmas presents, so we agreed to wrap all birthday gifts in brown paper and all christmas gifts to eachother in, well, christmas paper.
   But, washi tape can only make presents look so good. They needed embellishments, of some sort. I had a think, and I had seen a tutorial on pinterest for how to make a general gift bow, so I decided to elaborate on it. I am quite pleased with how they came out, actually, given that all of them were my first attempts.
   None of these are difficult, in fact they range from "really really easy" to "easy", and I made sure to use materials that most of you would all have lying around your house. The only thing some of you may not are doilies, but you can pick up packs of them from craft shops easily enough, or ebay, like I did. Plus, they can all easily be made really small, or really massive. All it depends on is how much stuff you have! Now, down to business...

1. Tissue PomPom

   This one is easy enough, as the below picture method shows. All you need is a pair of scissors, a stapler and some tissue paper. Cut a length of it, fold it in half lengthways then in half again, then take your scissors and cut lots of slits along the fold. Once you've done that, roll it up. I found this a bit tedious, because I found that once you'd gotten half way, the middle of the bunch, the point you started folding at, starts to move upwards. If you like it then carry on that way, it looks vaguely tree-ish, but I had to reroll about 3 times, eventually rolling it slowly and pinching the tab that was forming tightly to keep it from spreading upwards.
   Once you're happy with it, staple it in place. I will admit that I'm not sure what to do with the tab now, so I folded it over and used it as a flat piece to stick the pompom to the paper. You could probably cut it off if you stapled high enough, but my stapler was old, so much so that I only used it on this one project before turning to my trusty Podge.
    You don't have to use tissue paper for this, but thicker paper might require more patience to roll up. But, when has wrapping presents creatively ever been easy?

2. Junk Mail Gift Bows

   This is a fun one. I was lucky enough to have a Firebox leaflet lying around, which was made up of colourful pages. I will admit on this, though, that it's not too accurate in response to the number of strips of paper I cut out. I was looking at the original pin for this one, but I ended up only using half of them. I found the quality of paper to be too thick and glossy which really affected how much I was able to fix together, but I think I also cut the strips too wide. Either way, the finished piece actually looks quite jammy, so either way I'm pleased with it. Like I said above, with this one I turned to Mod Podge (didn't have pva glue anyway), which dried in about 30 seconds, so I didn't have to wait long. I spent my time watching Seeg play Assassin's Creed Revelations while waiting so it was all good.

3. Book Page Bow

   This one has a simple finish, but I'm not too keen on it myself. I think it's too bland, but any number of things could be done to spice it up. I just tore one page out of a book (I initially thought I'd need two but I was wrong) and cut one strip wider than the other. Podge the back a bit and stick the ends to the middle, then used the narrower strip and podged that to the middle of the front. I found that the bow looked a bit silly so I trimmed the sides to shape it slightly more curved, like a fuller bow. I'm happy enough with what I did, but like I said, it could be better.

4. Newspaper Poppy

   This is the easiest of all of them, and has one of the best finishes. I originally cut out some large circles, but I was using the local rag so there were more advertisements than stories in there. For a big one, you might be better off buying a broadsheet paper instead. But anyway, in the end I cut out 6 small circles, about 1.5 inches across. They don't need to be exactly the same shape either, which makes it easier. Just fold some paper over a few times and cut the circles out together. Once you've got them, screw them up in your hand. I found it's best to do them individually, and instead of vigorously screwing them up, roll them between your palms so they make a rough ball, then pull them apart. Don't lay them completely flat, though, or it'll ruin the effect.
   Once you've screwed them up and layed them back out, stack them up together, then staple them once in the middle (looks like I lied because I used the stapler here too). Use some sort of embellishment in the middle to hide the staple - some string, some curly streamers, some other paper, anything! I used some small plastic gems that I found while clearing my room the other day. They fill in the place of the anthers, and give it a nicer, classier effect. The fact that they're clear gives it a cleaner look, and though it adds more detail, it also keeps it minimal. It's my favourite, apart from...

5. Doily Flower

   This is the most difficult of the five. And, to make it even more difficult, I forgot to photograph the hardest part. Yay! So you're going to have to grasp my ramblings. This actually took 4 doilies, so I'm sorry for the mistake I made in the beginning. For each doily, apply some glue/podge in a line from the centre to the edge, then pinch the doily in half from the middle, so that the line is running from the middle upwards, and stick it down. Don't fold the doily in half by running your finger right across the bottom because you want the sides to stay open.
   Once you've done this for all four doilies, pinch the centre again so that it's now folded softly into a quarter. Now, this is the tricky part, so bear with me: get some more glue, and apply it in another line, from what is now the right angle corner (what used to be the centre of the flattened doily) to the new middle of the top. Imagine it as a triangle (I am so bad at explaining), and apply a line of glue from the corner to the middle of the top line, or in this case, scalloped curve. Make sure you apply a little more glue to any wide area you come across in this line. The doilies I used have flowers in the detail, so if the glue ran through a flower, I'd coat the whole flower. Then, stick this to the side of another doily.
   Do this with all of them, and then glue the final edge together. You might also want to treat the middle of a doily's fold the same way, so that there are no unusual gaps here and there.
   Once you've done that, you can fix it to your gift. It might look nicer if you add some silver or peach glitter to the scalloped edges, too. I am so sorry for my poor explaining, but I hope the picture of the finished piece will give you the rest of what you need.

I hope you enjoyed this, I'm thinking of adding something similar to my shop (I always say
that and it never happens), so check back soon! Thanks for reading.
This is probably my last post for 2011, so if I don't see any of you sooner, have a great
Christmas and a great new year! Don't drink or eat too much, I of course won't be drinking
at all because I hate alcohol and the feeling in my legs when I drink it. It's the eating I have
to worry about...anyway, thanks for following, and thanks for everything! I'd love to hear your
resolutions! And remember, there will be a sale in my shop from the 9th to the 31st of January
to celebrate my 21st birthday!

Peace out, peeps!

Wednesday 21 December 2011

Christmas Etsy Favourite Feature #3

The final installment of the Christmas Etsy features! Christmas is only a few days away
now, and all my shopping is done! There may be a few last-minute adjustments,
but all has fallen into place ♥ Enjoy, and catch some post-Christmas sales if you missed
something - you'll only wish you had it when next year rolls around!

Saturday 17 December 2011

Lucky's Just Fine :D

   I got her back yesterday evening. I was sat in the vet all anxious. The only thing that distracted me was this HUUUGE dog (I am not kidding, his head was bigger than mine) sat nearby. He was lush, but he had about a foot-long strand of dribble hanging from his mouth and I promise you that that is not an exaggeration. Just ask my dad.
   I eventually got her back, and I'd been worried all day because when I got Sugar back, despite a successful operation, she was hunched over in the corner of the cage I dropped her off in, and wouldn't lift her head because she was hurting so much, and later that night when we got her home, she squeaked so sadly every now and then. It still makes me cry thinking about it.
   Fortunately, with Lucky, this was not the case. When I got her back, she was moving around the cage, sniffing the air, she looked quite happy, and she didn't hunch over at all. She'd even had a bath! I noticed how clean her tail was right away (she never lets me give it much of a clean, she's not fond of bath time), and her fur was all fluffy with that just-washed-and-dried look, and hadn't settled yet. She's so much softer now, too, but I can only assume they did this when she was still under the general anaesthetic.
   We got her home and instantly put her into the prepared cage - she usually had a huuge palace with 3 platforms, but we don't want her to try to climb just yet, so she went into a medium one instead and removed the one platform - when we brought Sugar home we had to leave her in the small cage through fear of hurting her. She hadn't moved much the next day either, but Lucky was rummaging around the cage all night, moving newspaper into a nest, eating food, drinking and just being her usual self but with a little more care, since it obviously still hurt her. You can tell when she stretches because she doesn't stretch out as far or as long at the moment but you can hardly blame her.
   She has to go back in today for a post-op check, but I don't mind this. I hate taking animals in for the initial consultation, because I have to make sure I get all the info I give them about the problem right or mistakes can be made. I don't like them going in for ops but strangely I'm a little calmer then - I think it's because I know that I can't say or do anything to make the situation worse or better, it's completely out of my hands. Post-op checks are also fine, because, hopefully, the worst is done, and they're merely checking their work and that nothing's going wrong, ie infection, etc. or to give more pain relief if necessary.

   So please, if everyone could keep some fingers crossed - the least used of the 10, if you like - that Lucky will heal up ok, because I don't want to lose her at all, let alone so soon after Sugar. She has Christmas presents under the tree too, which she has to have! The little devil's already seen them, I let her out of the cage and she limped up to the tree which is next to the cage and sniffed at the little food pouch. I don't think she can smell the food in it but she did seem to take an interest in that more than the boxes of chocolates that are also under the tree. She chewed the ribbon I'd tied around it D:

   If there are any problems I'll probably update my facebook and twitter, but if the problems are big I'll update here, too. Just hope it won't come to that. I also forgot to ask how big the tumor was (I was excited to have her back and eager to get her home), but I'm seeing someone today who actually worked on her, rather than the discharge nurse, so hopefully they'll be able to tell me. We thought Sugar's was small but it extended right down to her uterus, but they said they could get behind Lucky's. We'll have to see, today.

Friday 16 December 2011

Mitten Garland Printable

Christmas is just about upon us, we've just put our decorations up, and the Christmas
songs have started playing. I'm all giddy and have spent the last week jumping around the
house squealing nonsense about Father Christmas being on his way. I hope I never grow up.

   And so, I have for you today a simple printable. My head is still boggled by everything that's going on, in fact Lucky has just gone in today for her operation, so I'm quite nervous on top of everything, which is why I made sure to have this ready in advance, this time. However, I still didn't have all the time or patience in the world to do a bang up job, but it'll do for now. I'm really sorry. I'm hoping that I'll have pulled myself together by the new year, but that's not likely since my birthday falls on January the 9th. If anyone's wondering, I would like a dinosaur.

   Everyone loves mittens. Well, I don't, not wearing them anyway. I prefer looking at them. They're cuter than gloves, the same way that teacups are cuter than mugs. I wouldn't use them but I'd like to have more than I know what to do with. I have 3 simple designs for you, I found that too much was too much, but not enough was enough. I would happily clutter these up, otherwise.

   If you don't like the designs then drop me a line and I'll give you a template you can use in much the same way you did with the tags template - print the outline on the back of some cute scrapbook paper and cut it out. As usual, they're best printed onto strong paper, but I printed onto standard paper and glued cardboard to the back of it, and it came out fine.

   As always, click the image to open it, then right click it and save to your PC before printing. You could add more to it than I did, some ribbon, some sparkley circles, some spoons - who knows?! If you do something clever with it do let me know :D

Thursday 15 December 2011

Giveaway Winners and Free Int. Shipping

Free international shipping all day tomorrow, just enter the code ShipToMyLou at the checkout!
Congratulations to the two winners of my Candy Cane Necklace giveaways! Your parcels went
out today. They would have been out sooner but the weather has been a bit vicious even
for Bristol. I hope they find you both well! And you can still enter for the 50% off
coupon for my shop! Just tweet me 3 things you want for Christmas and you'll
be entered - but make sure you start with @peachesnpebbles

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Christmas Etsy Favourite Feature #2

Second Feature from Etsy for Christmas! Have a look in their shops and see if you can't
find some last-minute presents - for someone else or for you! I know that I have! ♥
Also, you can still enter to get 50% off of my shop via twitter! Just tweet
@peachesnpebbles with 3 things you want for Christmas - real or fantasy -
and you'll be entered into the draw!

Monday 12 December 2011

Some Very Pinteresting Christmas Recipes!

Following the first post of presents that you can make that double as gift wrapping,
this is the second post, regarding Christmas recipes. Now, none of them are that amazing,
but at the same time, would you even want to deviate from traditional Christmas dinner?
I wouldn't. So this collection features some of the must-haves for a typical Christmas
dinner, or atleast as far as I'm concerned, with some nice sweet and savoury treats, too!
We'll start off with something gorgeous...

1. Red Velvet Cake

•SR Flour (or all purpose and a bit of baking soda)
•2 Eggs
•Red food colouring

Red Velvet cake. I've never tried it, but I want to. They say it's a must for Christmas. All my family gets is a fruit cake that my nan made. She makes it every year but we -hate- it, and because no one else in the house will eat it, my dad is forced to because he won't throw out food. And he's right not to, it's not fair, but at the same time I suppose it's not fair to make him eat the whole thing either. What I don't like about it is how heavy it is, how it's always covered in a layer of fondant or marzipan (I hate marzipan) and I'm sure it would come to better use to beat a robber away from the house. But, tradition is tradition.
But this cake is truly gorgeous, and doesn't need any decorating beyond how it's shown above to make a statement. Sometimes, less is more, and this is certainly a fine example. Also great for Winter weddings.

2. Hot Chocolate Stirrers

You will need:
•Marshmallows (pre-made or self-made)
•Candy Canes/Candy sticks

Buy premade or use the recipe I posted a few weeks ago and make some lush marshmallow hot chocolate stirrers! You could give the 'mallows a hint of mint, or just stick a peppermint candy stick in them as a stick! Dip in melted chocolate and decorate as desired. Alternatively, if you make them from stratch, you can vary the size or shape for something extra special!

3. North Pole Strawberry Smoothie

(Measurements in cups) You will need:
•Frozen Strawberries
•Vanilla frozen yoghurt
•Vanilla reduced-fat yoghurt
•(Optional) crushed candycane
•(Optional) green decorating food gel

I am a serious sucker for smoothies. I mean, is there anything better? It's cool, it's refreshing, and it's (generally) just fruit! It's amazing! Especially the ones that Millie's Cookies sell - the sour grape flavour is -actually- sour! This is a great recipe that, if I ever own a blender (oh how badly I want one!) I will make again and again and again! But, with things like this (and above, really), it's presentation and name that makes them festive. "North Pole Strawberry Smoothie" with crushed candy cane around the top, and the separation of the smoothie and the yoghurt (yoghurt is amazing ♥). I'm sold to it.

4. Candy Canes

(Measurements in cups) You will need:
•Candy thermometer
•Light corn syrup/golden syrup
•Cream of tartar
•Peppermint extract
•Red food colouring

Make some candy canes! A lot of people don't realise that whatever is made in a factory - nay! Most of what isn't -naturally- made - can be made by anyone! Sometimes it might require some heavy machinery or a crew of ten people, but more often than not, lots of the simplest things are overlooked. Like candy canes. -You can make these-. The only heavy machinery you need for this is a candy thermometor - if you don't have one, get one. Just by purchasing one of these, you open the door to many other wonderful sugary based treats!
The instructions are relatively simple, but you may need another pair of hands - I'm sure siblings, friends or youngsters would be happy to help!

5. Bread Sauce...mmmm...

(Measurements in grams and ml) You will need:
•1 Onion
•1 blade of Mace
•1 bay leaf
•Whole milk
•White breadcrumbs
•Sea salt
•Double cream

Bread sauce is one of my favourite sauces, and if it's not at the Christmas dinner table I'll notice right away. It's thick and it's creamy, and sometimes it's lumpy, but in a really good way! And no, it does not taste of bread, but there is bread in it. So it may not be too friendly on the waist line, but who cares? Christmas isn't! (Though that's no reason to be foolish. Remember, take everything in moderation!)

6. Mince Pies

(Measurements in grams) You will need:
•Plain flour
•Golden Caster Sugar
•Mince meat
•1 egg
•Icing sugar to dust

Mince pies. One of my least favourite christmas foods, but one everyone should know how to make. I did see an alternative on pinterest of mince pie cupcakes,, they might go down a little better with me, but I can't say for certain. But do try to jolly them up a bit!

7. Chocolate Truffles

(Measurements in grams/ounces) You will need:
•Whipping cream
•Dark chocolate (generally the higher the cocoa percentage the better unless you can temper the stuff yourself)
•Cocoa powder

Chocolate is necessary for every Christmas. It just is. As a gift, a stocking filler, in an advent calendar - they all vary in importance and price. But this great little recipe shows you how to make some chocolate truffles! Serve them at a Christmas party or give them as a gift! But don't over decorate, it will take away from the taste, and the overall impression. I particularly love the swirly ones in the middle! I will be trying this myself!

8. Roast Turkey (except this is a specific and lurrvely one) and Stuffing

 (Measurements in grams/ounces) For the Turkey you will need:
•14lb turkey, oven-ready (ie, thawed and room temperature)
•Bacon strips
•Salt and pepper
For the pork, sage and onion stuffing:
•2lb pork sausagemeat or finely minced pure pork
•Dried sage
•White breadcrumbs
•1 egg
•Salt and pepper
For the Gravy:
•Plain flour
•Turkey Giblet Stock

This list would not be complete without a turkey. I'm dribbling just looking at this, though perhaps there's a little too much meat, but we'll worry about that January 1st. The recipe serves 10 to 12 so there will be lots of turkey/bacon/stuffing sandwiches to follow! It might be a good idea to look up what can be done with the left overs :D some form of bubble and squeak is what usually follows our Christmasses. I will keep this in mind for my own Christmas, most definitely!

9. Bûche de Noël

(Measurements inexplicably in tbsp, tbs, cups and ounces) You will need:
•Semi-sweet chocolate and bittersweet chocolate
•Unsalted butter
•Heavy cream
•9 egg whites
•3 egg yolks
•Cream of Tartar
•Vanilla extract
•Cocoa powder
•Confectioner's/icing sugar
•Dark rum

Bûche de Noël, or a yule log. Another of my favourites. I particularly love the little mushrooms here! They give it the -best- touch, and could probably be easily crafted simply from white fondant, though I'm sure there are a couple of tutorials somewhere for making them out of more delicious substances. It's a traditional cake that much exceeds fruit cake, in my opinion, and it's far more decorative!

10. Pork Pie

(Measurements in Grams) You will need:
•Pork shoulder
•Pork fat

I looove pork pies. They're so English, and delicious, and really Christmassy! Generally we buy them premade and eat them cold, but when they're fresh made, they're amazing, especially when they're warm! They are a must as either a post/pre Christmas meal, or in miniature form for a snack!

Next week I'll be posting another Pinterest piece, though I will admit right now
that only half of it was aided by Pinterest, the rest I had to come up with myself. Enjoy!
And if you make any of these recipes, do let me know how it went!

I do not claim any rights to the photographs or recipes given here. All images link back to the appropriate sources. I've only listed ingredients for the ease of readers.

Friday 9 December 2011

Gift Tag Printable

   I'm quite busy these days. I'm working on my writing, preparing for Christmas, trying to blog, run a shop, create new products, deal with Lucky's mammory tumor, and tidy the house (most of the mess was, in fact, made by me) - so needless to say, some things suffer, and I apologise to everyone now because my book comes before the blog or my shop. In fact, I feel like my blog is suffering the most, despite more work going into that than my shop. I have a couple more products to list, but with the loss of sunlight these days it's quite difficult to find an opportunity to photograph them, especially when these products need to be in use for anyone to get the full effect.
   So this is my excuse for a poor printable. Now, I say "poor" because, well, when you look at it, it looks very half-arsed. In truth, I had something more prepared, where I used the below templates and made proper tags with designs and all, but after about 3 hours and having made 4, and then feeling too tired to continue (I'm the sort of person that, if I don't finish something when I start it, I probably won't pick it up again), I decided to go with my second idea that I was going to post along side it anyway.

   So I give you some templates. To be honest I suppose you could do this with just about anything, but for those of you who it had never occurred to, I've decided to plant the seed. Use scrapbook paper, card, a photograph - anything! I used scrapbook paper, and to make sure I had good examples for you all I used my 8x8 pieces instead of my usual 6x6.

   I used some Dove Craft scrapbook paper, you can pick it up cheap enough on ebay, or buy packs from craft shops. Make sure to feed the paper through so that the lines print on the back of the paper. If you print on the front, it's no big deal, but your cutting will have to be just inside the lines. One the back you can cover the lines with another sheet of paper.

   I'm thinking about adding some tags along with my other new products that are awaiting listing like these, but with more embellishments. I think they came out well enough! But I'll need a bigger array of papers, cards, embellishments and shapes! Any suggestions are welcome ♥ I would try to get them up for Christmas, but there's little point for a number of reasons, the main being that Christmas is 16 days away (OH MY GOODNESS I can't wait) and there's no way I can get them shipped out in time, even if they were purchased the moment they were listed. So I'll keep them suitable for birthdays and graduations for now.

   Click the image, then right click and save to your PC. As I said, print on the back of coloured/printed/patterened paper, and cut accordingly. Add embellishments to make them more showy, or print on muted paper for a more refined yet still playful look ♥ enjoy!

Thursday 8 December 2011

Photography & The Fabulous Animal Rescue Project

   I don't know if it's just the way I've been raised, or just myself in general, but I've never been too interested in people. I know, I run a shop and now I'm blogging - I'm trying to get past my ways! But I have always loved animals. I don't care what the animal is, I'll love it. I've had many different types of animals in my short life, and while most of them have passed on, others remain and get all the more love for it. Lucky, for example. I've never actually said what kind of animal she is, and I'm not going to because I've experienced people's reactions all too frequently, and it annoys me, so I'd rather save myself the hassle and leave it to all of you to decide what she may be.

   I also don't donate to charity that much. When I do, it's my good deed for the day. And more often than not, it's an animal charity. In fact, the only human charity I can recall myself donating to is the MS Society. Otherwise, if they have a nice sticker or a polite money collector, I'll donate elsewhere too. But if it's for animals, count me in. Especially if they have animals with them while they collect - I know it's a dirty way to rope people into donating, but it works, and I don't feel taken advantage of when I do it.

   Some of you may also know that I have a passion for photography, and used to indulge it quite frequently. However, I no longer do it because I seem to have forgotten how my camera works, I have no suitable place to do set-ups, and whenever I go out they never turn out that well despite the fact that I know what to do when outdoors. So, instead of allowing these pictures to collect dust, I've donated them! Yes, to the Fabulous Animal Rescue Project. They sell wonderful cards, buttons and magnets, from which all of the proceeds (aside from the cost of materials and listing fees on Etsy) go to selected charities. I bought a card there myself for my boyfriend's birthday, too, and they are wonderful people ♥

   I donated the pictures recently, and received word today that I have been added as an artist to their website, and there is now a card listing available in their shop with all of my photographs. A listing just for me! The images may soon be available as pocket mirrors, buttons etc, but I'm unsure - it never hurts to ask, though! Also, they were kind enough to include links to my blog, shop, facebook and twitter in the website page, and a link to my shop in their listing - how thoughtful is that?

   Neither myself, nor the project, make any profit from the items sold. There are plenty of artists who have donated their works to the cause, and if you have any worthwhile animal pictures, I suggest you volunteer yourself too! If you're a budding photographer, it could also get you noticed! None of the products will put you out of pocket, either! I'd never bought anything from the front page of Etsy, but when I saw the card - a Crow, the proceeds of which went to Corvid Aid - I knew I had to buy it. Plus, as with any other card on the face of the planet, you can always spruce it up with some embellishments! I was going to add some black feathers I had lying around to it, but I decided it might look better without my inexperienced gluings!

So have a look, and keep them in mind the next time you buy a birthday card - you'd be doing the world a favour.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Christmas Etsy Favourite Feature #1

I've done this a little differently this time. Instead of picking four things from my favourites,
I did a little searching through Etsy for specific Christmas stuff! I only picked out my favourites.
I've got 3 Christmas features lined up for the month to get us into the spirit and beyond
the horrible waiting-in-queues-and-pushing-past-people-who-are-pushing-past-you shopping
experience we usually associate with the holidays! - By the way, there are no queues, or pushing,
on Etsy ;)

Weightloss and How Not to Do It.

Note: I'm speaking from personal experience, and things I've seen that are just plain wrong.
I'm posting this in response to some of the conversations I've had with some of my
followers on the subject, so this goes out to them and anyone else who cares
about their weight and wants to do something about it but doesn't know where to start.

   Personal Past Experience.
   I used to hate the idea of dieting and exercise. I truly did. I also thought that the Wii was a waste of time and that people should just go to the gym. Then I started warming to the idea of games that helped you lose weight and having easy access to exercise and yoga tips without having to leave the house. Going to the gym has never appealed to me. I've never done it, either. All I have to go by is P.E. in school. Physical Education was the worst. Having to undress in front of people who might bully you (fortunately, I don't know if it's generally England or if it was my school, but no one actually tried to bully anyone in the changing rooms. Well, the girls didn't, at least. Even the "popular" and chavvy/slutty types chose to change behind a wall in the changing rooms so no one could see them) then or later about it, and having to go from one lot of unflattering clothes to the next, and worrying because you've worn something embarrassing underneath, it's never fun. And then you have to go out into the cold, acoustic gym and do sports that make no sense, and be separated into teams. Fortunately, I was never picked last (well, once I was), but having to flail about and run like an idiot after a ball that you really just hope doesn't hit you in the Not fun. Not for me at least. Especially due to particular physical features.
   I used P.E. as a sort of basis. That was the first and only time I've ever actually done any sort of physical training around other people, and I didn't like it. Being judged by people who did and did not know you. It was for that reason I never went to a gym. This is why the Wii eventually appealed to me. I saw the adverts for Wii Fit and I went from scoffing at it to wanting one quite badly. My boyfriend took me out on my 20th birthday and bought me one, along with Wii Fit Plus, balance board and everything.

   The Wii.
   Now, I must state, that I've "tried" to get in shape for years. I've always been about 10stone, and while that's not huge, it was overweight as far as my BMI was concerned. I'm also quite short and broad, so from the front I've always looked bigger than from the side. It took me a long time to realise that that was just my build, not fat, and I began hating myself even more once I realised that.
   But now I can say I have completely accepted my build, and I know what I can lose and what I can't. I tried many diets. I tried not eating (for about a day, then I got hungry), then I also tried just eating soup, I tried exercising with dance in my room, nothing ever worked. I kept to my diets for a week or so, then I just got bored - that's, frankly, what stops most of us when it comes to dieting. We need to push past that. Then I only exercised for an hour a week. The rest of the time I'd sit on my bum doing bugger all.
   When I got the Wii, everything changed. For two reasons: one, was that the Wii was flipping expensive - too expensive for me to use it for a week then leave it alone. Two, it genuinely seemed to work. I only ever had a set on manual scales, and I had to get on and off of those several times to get an average weight, and even then it wasn't accurate. And, obviously, going by weight, you see little change. The Wii, on the other hand, records both your weight, and your BMI. By default, it works mosstly in BMI, since that's more important, and because 1lb is about .20 BMI, you really do see if you're making progress since there are more numbers to drop. I went from 26.09 (yikes!) BMI to...well the last time I checked I was 24.42. That's about...good lord that's about a stone:S surely that can't be right...I admittedly don't weigh myself much, but I don't think you should since weight fluctuates. Either way, it might not seem like much, especially since I got the Wii almost a year ago now, but the fact is, that weight has not come back. I can also say that while I used to fail quite quickly, I do 30 minutes to an hour of exercise a day, Monday to Friday when I get up after showering, and I watch what I eat more, and the weight is steadily decreasing. I'm so happy now, and I know that when I get on my step, I am losing weight.
   I will admit, however, that I don't use the Wii as much these days, I actually bought a simple aerobics step a few months before my birthday, and I've been using that instead. It's much higher than the Wii's balance board, and it has extra feet to go beneath it to increase height.

   It doesn't have to be boring.
   I use my simple step now, that cost me £15 from argos, while watching TV (be it Harry Potter, Disney films - at the moment it's the last series of Doctor Who that I have yet to watch). I do 10 minutes on the low step, then I add some height for 10 minutes, then go back to the low step for another 10 minutes. A few weeks ago, it stopped working for me, so I do 10 minutes low then 20 minutes high. Sometimes I'll go on for longer depending on how I feel (or what I'm watching, Doctor Who takes me 45 minutes instead of my usual 30), but I always do it.
   As I said at the beginning, the idea of exercising every day actually frightened me. But, after almost a year straight of exercising, while I do wake up some days and just think I cannot be bothered, I actually realise that I don't know what I'd do with myself if I didn't have exercise to get me up most mornings. The idea of lying in bed for a few hours is gorgeous, but if I knew that I could do that every day, I'd be lost. As it is, Sunday is my only day for lie-ins, despite being self/unemployed (depends how you look at it). Monday to Friday: exercise; Saturday I clean Lucky's cage out, and Sunday I can sleep.

   My suggestions.
• No, it doesn't have to be boring. The fact is, you can easily eliminate the need to exercise all day every day by simply saying "no" to things. Not everything, no no, if someone offers you a chocolate bar, you can take it, just think before you do. Is it worth it? Are you hungry? When and what did you  last eat? Is it your favouritest ever chocolate bar in the whole widest world? Is it a mini, standard, or kingsize? Just weigh all of this in your mind. It would be easier to just automatically shout NOOO but it'll make you feel better about yourself if you come to the conclusion on your own. You also don't always have to eat dessert if you've gone out for a meal.

• You don't have to calorie count or join Weight Watchers, just think before eating anything. As above: are you hungry? When/what did you last eat? What are you likely to eat later? Saturday is a wonderful day because my family always has a lasagne with galric bread and chocolate cake for dessert. I won't cancel this out, I look forward to it, I just ask for less of everything, particularly carbs.

• While the Wii is great and is definitely what set me into the routine of exercising frequently, I will also say that, to be honest, all you really need is a step. They're easy to find in most department or sports stores, and it's only that one-time payment. It's not likely to break and it won't look at you stupidly. You can listen to music while doing it, you can buy special DVDs to work out with, or you can simply watch a movie. As long as you keep a steady rhythm. That's what it's all about.

• Don't force yourself if you really don't have the energy. That's not to say "oh I just woke up and I can't be arsed". It's to say that occasionally, I look out to the field that my bedroom window overlooks (great view, seriously, and my boyfriend loves how you can really see the change of seasons out there) and I see a rather overweight woman out there running laps. While I admire her determination and her confidence to go out and run in public during the middle of the day while she's quite overweight (the bigger you are, the harder it is to find the confidence to do anything), I have noticed that through most of it, she's dragging her feet and struggling. No, it's not supposed to be easy, but it's clear from her movements that she's not giving it 100%. There's no use in doing it if you're going to give it 50%, you have to try your hardest. Try hard and you'll get more done in your alotted time (remember as well, you decide how long to do it for - it can be 10 minutes or an hour and a half!).

• I'm not sure that it's true, but apparently, if you build muscle first, it's harder to lose the fat that's hiding it. So don't bother crunching or working on your abs until you've lost enough weight that you'll be able to see the work you put in. I'm still in the process of losing that squish, and a few years ago, I hadn't heard this, and so built up some good muscle beneath it. If you press my stomach, it's quite hard actually, but if you look at it, it's still squishy, and none of that work can be seen. Fortunately, I've not done any of that work for quite some time and am instead working on the fat, and I think it's more difficult - unfortunately I can't say for certain, obviously. But, I do think, it might take more work to lose the fat now, but what's waiting beneath is hopefully worth it!

• If you don't think you're getting anywhere after a little while, try using a tape measure around your waist. I've always had a 33inch waist (like I said, I'm not skinny, but neither am I fat). The other day, I measured and I have finally - for the first time in about 5 years - reached a 30 inch waist. I do not expect to drop beneath that, but of course I hope to. I've never put so much work into exercise before, but I am now, and while I look in the mirror and see little difference, my tape measure tells me other wise. It's not lying either, in my disbelief I measured several times over a few days and it kept saying the same.

• Do not weigh yourself every day. The Wii says so, but in that case, I disagree entirely. I used to, because the Wii told me to. My weight would go up and down and it always felt like I was getting nowhere. So then I decided to weigh myself on Monday and Friday - now let me tell you something interesting and quite important. When I weighed myself on Friday - having gone the last 4 days with an hour of exercise - I always weighed more than on the Monday previous. This always upset me, until I realised that when I weighed myself 3 days later on the following Monday, I was less than both the Friday and the Monday before. I was losing weight! A few days of rest is good - it can settle your body and it'll really help you to get clearer results. Now, I don't weigh myself at all. I've not done so in about 3 months, I think, and I am actually scared to do so. Despite having exercised almost every day since then, for some reason I believe that it's going to have gone up. But when I find my courage, I will update the blog so that you all know what exercising continuously can do, when you don't look at the scales every day expecting to see a difference.

• Don't set yourself stupid goals. If you tell yourself that you have to lose 5lbs in 3 days then you are going to fail, which willknock your confidence. It's generally best if you opt for something doable. I've always gone for 2lbs a week. Sometimes I manage, sometimes I don't. I genuinely have no idea if I'm managing that at the moment, though, but when I go back tomy Wii, it'll be the same, since the Wii asks you to set a goal, and then it'll record it for you, and on your deadline will let you know if you've managed it. If you never manage 2lbs a week, or even 1 (which is likely to be the case if you're already in good shape), then make it 1lb every 2 weeks. The fact is, if you're quite large, you'll lose weight faster to begin with, and when you get much smaller it'll be a challenge to lose 5lbs. I was watching Scrubs the other day, and Carla said she needed to lose 2lbs. I was like "I could knock that in a week, why is she making sad face?" then I remembered it's not that easy when you're smaller, and in fact, when you are in shape and slim already, losing even only a few pounds can make a huge difference to your appearance - and not always for the better.
• Once you've lost the weight, tone up. It's harder to put the fat back on that way, but bear in mind that muscle weighs more than fat. Just because your weight goes up, doesn't mean your waist has. A tape measure is always a good idea in those situations.

   I have seen lots of things over the internet that can really give you simple motivation - pictures of people with the body you crave (whether it's physically possible or not), words, and ideas. I've seen great pieces giving suggestions for 10 minute work outs - most of which you could just get up and do right there and then! - though they'd be best suited if you were already slender and just wanted to tone up. I've also seen pictures of women with slogans like "nothing worth having comes easy" and "Want this? Work for it." - this is all fair enough, and true. You can't expect to have the body of a goddess overnight (and if you do, I hate you for it ♥ but in a nice way! My boyfriend can eat loads and not put anything on. His metabolism is just so much faster than mine, and I have to just accept that and work around it. Atleast when he eventually gets fat he can work out with me :P He's not looking forward to it!).
   But there are some things that are said that are just too extreme, and, while you can follow them, they have to be taken with a pinch of salt and some rational thinking. "Eat to Live, Don't Live to Eat" - this is good advice, but it seems just a little bit too "eat if you're about the throw up, don't gorge yourself until you explode". I can see what they're trying to say, though, you just can't take it too literally. "Eat to keep healthy and give you some energy to do your work outs and go about your daily business, but don't eat just because you're bored." That leads me to another one: "are you hungry, or are you just bored?" A lot of us eat because we're bored. I do it. You do it. She does it, and he does too. It's a common thing, but just because it's common doesn't mean it can't be kicked out.
   The fact is, it's all really very simple. You can make yourself lists and targets, you can count calories, but all you really need to do is exercise, keep healthy, and if someone offers you a snack, just ask yourself if you really need it, and also think about how good you'll feel about yourself after turning it down of your own accord. It can tell you, it feels better than that chocolate bar would make you feel. Yes, chocolate releases chemicals that make you feel happy. But so does exercise. Eating healthier will make you happier for a lot longer than that chocolate bar will.

   Bottom line: enjoy the holidays, but don't eat just because you want to. Also, don't say to yourself you're going to start a diet or exercising as a new year's resolution. Just do it now. The longer you put it off, the higher the pedestal will get, and the further you'll fall when you slip off. And you will slip off. Everyone does. The key is to get back up, brush it off, and carry on right then and there. If you do slip up and allow yourself a chocolate bar when deep down you know you shouldn't have, then make up for it that same day. Eat less of something else nice that you would have had that day anyway, exercise a little longer or take a walk. It's simple, really. It only becomes difficult if you set yourself ridiculous goals.

   I will take my leave here, but I'll also point you in the direction of Undressed Skeleton - If nothing I've said will help you then maybe this blog is. She's speaking from her own personal experience and has a hell of a lot more to show for it than I do. She's spent longer on it, and has come a lot further. She has fantastic recipes and tips to help you lose weight, as well as many before and after pictures, and lots of inspiring stories. Follow her Tumblr, you'll be glad you did ♥

Monday 5 December 2011

Some Very Pinteresting DIY Christmas Gifts that Double as Wrapping

This is the first of three posts that have been aided by Pinterest in the interest of a DIY
Christmas. I won't lie to you, it might prove to be more expensive, but the ideas are certainly
good ones, or I wouldn't have included them, and your friends and family might appreciate them
more than anything anyone else gives them! That's worth it, isn't it? That and the fun of
making them! So do enjoy this lovely collection! Almost all images are linked to
tutorials, and the ones that aren't you can easily figure out.

1. Handmade Pillow Case.

At a glance, for most designs you'll need:
•Scissors/rotary cutting tool
•Sewing Machine
•Tape Measure

Filled with other home or pamper goodies or with a chocolate bar hidden inside! I remember I asked for a big cuddley toy polar bear who had a small christmas sack on his back for my birthday when I was about 14 (it's only 2 weeks after christmas, but that doesn't bother me! No one has any excuses because the sales are on!), and my parents put a HUUUGE chocolate bar in there, it filled the whole thing up! I was very excited xD it doesn't take much to please me sometimes...
The image is linked to other pillow tutorials, not just the bow.

2. Handmade Scarf

At a glance, for most scarves you'll need:
•Sewing machine/just a needle and thread (for this specific scarf)

Cute handmade scarf used perhaps as a wrapping embellishment, a way to tie a few things already wrapped, or as wrapping itself for something small and equally stylish! Perhaps a necklace you bought from Etsy? Or maybe a nice pair of flat shoes! Or make several (there are -many- tutorials on Pinterest) if they're crazy about scarves (like me!) and wrap all their gifts in them! It's a twofer!

3. Tank Top Totes

At a glance, you will need:
•Sewing machine
•Tank top

Following the same ideas as above, turn a pretty but too small tank top into a cute bag (this would be -perfect- for my dear friend Catherine, except I'd have to actually go to her house to even use a sewing machine! And then I'd also need her help xD) and fill it with cute things - like scarves! Oh, Kim, stop it!

4. Cork Board

At a glance, you will need:
•Hot glue gun (although I have a suspicion that Podge might actually work too)
•Cork board
•Staple Gun (or something similar - thumbtacks or short nails might work! I am also afraid of staple guns)

This would be great for me since my Etsy shop is essentially my notice board (proof of postage receipts, finished and unfinished necklaces, business cards and packaging etc) - get a cute frame, cork board and some cute paper and spray paint, put it all together, and include a few simple gifts pinned to it! Be they wrapped or unwrapped! Though if they are wrappe, make sure the scarf--paper! The paper works with the colour of the board. I promise I won't mention scarves again.

5. Decoupage Hangers

You will need:
•Mod Podge
•Wooden hanger

If you've bought someone some new clothes like a really cute dress, Mod Podge a hanger to go with it! Mod Podge will fix fabric to most surfaces (including plastic and pennies!) -very- securely, so have a look on ebay or some fabric stores and get some gorgeous vintage fabric! There's a fabulous seller on ebay, I absolutely love the fabrics, though they are a tad pricey. You can keep the fabricy feel as well (which, it has just occurred to me, will also help to prevent clothes from slipping off it and finding them at the bottom of the waradrobe the next time you bravely peer inside) if you don't put any mod podge on top of the fabric. Podge is great sometimes as just a glue!

6. Decoupage Journal

At a glance you will need:
•Desired items (images, words, papers, ribbon, etc)
•Mod Podge

If your friend is an avid journal writer and you consider yourself an artist, you could always buy a nice hardback journal and mod podge it up too (I like my 'podging :D), then also do some nice sketches inside on odd pages through the book that they would appreciate, and perhaps write a lovely note to them on the first page!

7. Earring Display

You will need:
•Strong wire
•Staple gun/nails, tacks, etc
•Paint if you don't like the colour of the frame you've chosen

A really cute jewellery stand that I intend to make a couple of for my fairs, it would be great with some pieces of jewellery accompanying it! Adjust the space between wires for the jewellery of your intention, or make a set in some complimenting colours!

8. Pillow Mattress

At a glance, you will need:
•Fabric or pre-made pillow cases
•Sewing machine (you could hand stitch if you're using pre-mades but it might take a while)

Make these! Seriously! Get some good quality pillows, then get lots (and lots) of luffly fabric and make some pillow cases, then stitch them all together! You could even do two layers for extra comfiness, but you'll need to buy the actually pillow insides yourself - I don't know anyone with so many pillows lying around!Alternatively, you could buy some premade and gorgeous pillow cases (remove the tags and they'd never know!) with not-so-faulty stitching and then sew them together! If you feel guilty for that, you could always add a few personal touches - perhaps edge them with lace, or add some lace panels, or buy some of that previously mentioned luffly fabric and add some of those as panels instead, down the middle or something. If you don't trust your stitching, stitch them on top of the fabric that's already there.
THEN, when you've made however many you want (one, two, four, seven - is it for an individual, or a family?), buy a DVD or two and some lush movie-night treats and drop them into the pillow cases, or place them all on the middle pillow and fold the others on top and use a sca--ribbon to tie it together! It could be a great family or couple gift!

9.  Canvas Box

At a glance, you will need:
•Photos the same size as canvas/wooden letters/paints - it depends what you want to do
•Matte Mod Podge

Get 4 or 6 canvasses and then a box. 4 canvasses must be the same size as the sides of the box, the other two are optional, depending on if you want all surfaces of the box covered. Then either paint some nice words (or do something more awesome with wooden letters - see pinterest, as usual), paint a picture, or transfer some photos to the canvasses, then fix them to the box. It'd be best to use blue tack, probably, and use it to fix the corners of the pictures to the corners of the box, so that they can be easily removed with no damage. You could always tie some nice  wide ribbon around the outside to surreptitiously hold them in place if you're worried they might pop off, and if you've covered the top and bottom of the box, then just either use double the length of ribbon, a second piece of ribbon, or trust your blue tacking skills. Then you can use the disguiesd box to safely house another gift, be it another home decor piece or something fragile. Or something you want to be such a surprise that the box itself is too big or the wrong shape so as to avoid giving it away. Perhaps fill it with tissue paper and a couple of weights or something and have some tickets to a show or something on the surface inside.

10. Jewellery Box/Cup

For a standard box, you will need:
•A pre-made box (craft shops)
•Some embellishments
For a tea cup box, you will need:
•Smarts and some ideas of how you're going to fix the lid to it
•A cute teacup
•Something for a lit - some sturdy cardboard cut to size and covered in scrapbook paper that compliments the design of the cup

While I admittedly have no idea how to -actually- expand on the above image, I have some ideas that would be worth a try. You could simple buy an old jewellery box, or get a nice box from a craft shop and simple embellish it, but if you're awesome, and seriously smart, you can try and expand on what I came up with. I am going to try a tutorial on this at some point once I find some nice teacups that I also wouldn't cry for too long over after accidentally destroying them with failed attempts, so hopefully you can check back then. I will update this post at that point :D You can do this, as long as it'll look great on a shelf and really suit the recipient, then add some jewellery inside it as other gifts!

Next Monday I'll be posting a selection of Pinterested Christmas Recipes! So
do check back for some help with Christmas dinner!

Please note that I take no credit for these images, or the tutorials they offer. The only tutorials I take credit for are the ones I've gone as far as to write beneath them, and those are generally simpler methods using pre-made pieces. I've tried to link all images to their original sources.