Sunday, 21 December 2014

Decorating a Small Space for Christmas

Annie Pancake // Decorating Our Small Space for Christmas on a Budget Annie Pancake // Decorating Our Small Space for Christmas on a Budget

Okay, so I have been meaning to take (and post!) these pictures for ages, and I finally got them taken and posted. Here's a last little bit of Christmas decor inspiration. I didn't have a huge budget to spend and it was super difficult to be restrained, but I wanted to decorate the flat, because decorating our house at home is such a big thing about Christmas. Last year in our uni flat, our extent was a string of fairy lights and a tree crafted from some strips of paper painted green, glued to a traffic cone. To be honest it actually looked pretty good, but I imagine you can understand that I was hoping for something a little beyond a traffic cone this year. 

So these decorations have been up for pretty much a month already, but when your term finishes on the 5th of December you have to start early to make the most of it! I purchased all my lights from Wilko this year, including the little jingle bell lights and those in the background of the star ornament below. They have been the best value I have found so far and I wish they sold them all year. They offer lots of little battery operated ones which are good for our bill-conscious household, for only a few pounds. 

Annie Pancake // Decorating Our Small Space for Christmas on a Budget

The gold baubles I bought from ASDA along with some others that keep falling off the stair handrail, the Noel I bought from M&S for one pound each, the berry sprigs were from Wilko and my splurges were the star and the glittery snowflake bauble from TK Maxx. I bought the mistletoe in town already tied up in a pretty bow so I just decorated with sprigs of that and some dried flowers. 

Finally, my mum was sweet enough to send me some little decorations for my bithday, so I hung the white reindeer up with my DIY christmas garland and my sweet geisha/kimono-ed ladies sit awaiting placecards to hold! 

Annie Pancake // Decorating Our Small Space for Christmas on a Budget Annie Pancake // Decorating Our Small Space for Christmas on a Budget

We had no way of getting ourselves to a garden centre this year, and fake trees (and traffic cones) didn't really seem as appealing, so we made a sweet little 'tree' out of some twigs in the garden, decorated with some little cheapy baubles from Wilko. Not only that, but there wasn't really much room for a tree. 

I stuck to just some light, christmassy elements rather than going for huge garlands and baubles everywhere. My house at home is a space that can handle it, but the choices I made for here work much better for the little space and for my bank balance! 

I feel pretty proud of our little festive abode, and all together it didn't cost that much. I'll be sad to pack it all away when I return to Notts after christmas, but I am also going to enjoy packing it away, saving it and adding to it next year.  

Annie Pancake // Decorating Our Small Space for Christmas on a Budget Annie Pancake // Decorating Our Small Space for Christmas on a Budget

Friday, 19 December 2014

DIY // Handmade Christmas Gift Garlands

Annie Pancake // DIY Handmade Christmas Garlands

Last year, as a first year student, I decided I would hand-make everybody a gift for christmas. There were some exceptions - we all have those people who you just know would not appreciate it, and so I got them a little something else instead. Last year I made notebooks. Looking back I'm honestly not sure how I managed it because making these took long enough! I feel like last year I had less stress by this point in the year - no over-christmas work to do like I have at the moment.

So, this year I settled for something a little more uniform (last year the notebooks all had personalised covers, etc!) and crafted these little garlands for people to hang about their house. I thought I'd share how I made them briefly in the hopes that they might inspire somebody who's short of money or inspiration for Christmas this year.

First I designed my decorations - I actually had a Rudolph too but he proved too complicated and difficult to cut out. Then I photographed them (high aperture in bright light) and put the images onto my computer.

Then, I put them into Illustrator and image traced my drawings. This is a simple procedure which turns your image into a vector meaning they are 'tidied up' (no grain from where you rubbed out, or made a mistake) and allows you to make changes to their shape. Another perk of vectorising a drawing is that it can be sized to any size without becoming blurry.

Then, I changed the colour, added several to a page and printed them onto some creamy coloured 250gsm card, and cut them out, I mounted them onto greyboard, (that's the stuff that they put on the back of sketchbooks and notepads to keep them sturdy) and cut them out of that too.

After that it was a simple case of piercing them with a dowel and threading them onto a garland. I used this paper twine simply because I had bought it for gift wrapping and it suited the theme, not to mention I had loads of it. Then I just wrapped them up and handed them out to family members.

So, what do you think? I hope you like them! Let me know in the comments if you borrow this idea at all!

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Uni Christmas Day

Annie Pancake // Christmas Dinner Table Dressing: Vintage Plates and Vintage China

I don't know about you but the first Christmas dinner I had this year was on the 1st of December! Seeing as our term finishes so early here at Trent I realised about two weeks prior how little time my friends and I had left for a get together before we all went home. 

We'd arranged a Secret Santa, so it seemed appropriate to host a little Christmas Day upon which to exchange them. These things are the best things to do amongst friends - I delegated the stuffing, bread sauce, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce, pudding, drinks, potatoes and roast vegetables to guests and housemates, which made everything move a lot smoother.

It's funny because most people come to uni with tableware prepared to feed one or two, so for the most part our table was a glorious mismatch of everything. Me being my mother's daughter though, I had enough matching saucers and vintage tableware collection to tie everything together. Still, some people were sipping their Shloer from martini glasses..!

Just like home, I am always in charge of setting the table (is that just me or is there lots of us who have their Christmas Day role?) so it was my mad collection of tableware weighing down the table. We fashioned a banquet table fit for ten people from our extendable dining table and a desk. We pushed the sofa up to the table to seat three. Needless to say the seating arrangements were very mismatched.

I'm sad that I didn't get any photos of the table groaning with the food, but you know how these things go - everything is all very suddenly ready at once and you're running from kitchen to table to fill the serving bowls before anything goes cold. I have included a little Instagram picture of us all gathered around the table though, stolen from my lovely friend Lydia. It was honestly so good to get everyone together, and so rewarding to hear everyone tell you how nice the food was. Not only that but it totally fed my homemaker-y tendencies by getting to choose a sweet table runner and lay everything out. I'm glad everyone had a good time, and we've vowed to have more dinner parties in the New Year. 

Annie Pancake // Christmas Dinner Table Dressing: Vintage Plates and Vintage China Annie Pancake // Christmas Dinner Table Dressing: Vintage Plates and Vintage China

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

How To // Editing Tips for Blog Photography with Free Action!

Annie Pancake // Editing Photos: Vintage Fade

Hi everyone! Today I wanted to share some tips for editing your blog photos, articulated through these pictures of our sweet little Christmas market in Nottingham. I have been wanting to get some photos of all the beautiful Christmas lights and the faux snow, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to mix the two ideas together. There are two main ways that I edit photos for my blog, so I'm sharing most of my knowledge with you! I almost always edit my photos with Photoshop, so my tips are based off that, but I'm sure they would apply to other image editors. All the images in this post minus the final image are edited in three ways. The middle third is the raw image with only a little contrast/vibrancy adjustment. The left third is edited with the first technique listed, the right third is editing using the second technique listed. 

I also included a nice little photoshop action for you to have at the end of the post!

Annie Pancake // Editing Photos: Vintage Fade
Firstly I like to use a function called Selective Colour. The general idea is that you can edit hues in your image selectively. This is great for making your image match real life more accurately, a great way to mimic the 'cross-processed' or slightly off-colour of film photographs, or simply accentuate certain colours more than others. I mostly alter the blacks, whites and reds of images. It's nice to add a little blue to the reds, or a little blue or red to the blacks. The function is really easy to use, just select the colour and then adjust 

As well as that, I discovered a little technique online at some point, which adds a vintagey 'washed out' effect to my photos. This is the main thing I use when editing blog photos. It's a simple case of adding a block colour layer on top, and setting the layer mode to lighten. The idea is that it alters only the darks of the image, by lightening them along with a hint of colour to give it that old 'film camera' vibe. It works in much the same way as VSCO Camera filters, or the 'highlight tint' adjustment. Depending on the colour layer you add on top, you can change the vibe of the photograph - changing the darks gives the feeling of adding a 'fade' to the entire image even though in actuality, the rest of the hues are left unchanged. 
Annie Pancake // Editing Photos: Vintage Fade Annie Pancake // Free Action: Blue Christmas

Finally, here's a little Photoshop Action I created for you to download for free! It's called Blue Christmas because it's perfect for Christmassy snaps of red and green, gives christmas lights a nostalgic feel, and makes your snow a crisp, icy blue. (and also because I can't get She and Him's cover of the song out of my head at the moment) The left half of the above image is the original image with a little contrast and vibrancy adjustments, and the right half is with the Blue Christmas action added on! Just click below to download the action (potentially also check out a guide for how to add an action to photoshop) I hope my little action spruces up your festive photos. If you use it, please let me know, I'd love to see!

Friday, 5 December 2014

A New Look Christmas Pudding Jumper and Vintage Style Me

Christmas Pudding Jumper and Check Dress with Black Tights and Loafers Fall/Autumn

The other week Martin and I decided to start our Christmas shopping (well, shopping beyond feasting our eyes on Bird in Borrowed Feathers) for real and we devoted a day that I probably oughtn't have to doing a bit of festive hunting. I always prioritize Martin's gift buying because honestly I'm not sure how he'd cope with the sheer levels of festive spirit required for Christmas shopping without me. 

Naturally, I had to dress for the occasion, so I sported my Christmas jumper this year! It's from New Look (and appears to be on sale), it has all the festiveness and quirkiness that you'd expect from a Christmas jumper but was a little more 'wearable', a little step away from the 'Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal' jumpers of last year. 

New Look has actually been very good for Christmas jumpers so far, or indeed jumpers in general and they have lots of cute ones that I wanted, including tiny embroidered polar bears. I stuck with my Christmas puddings though. I paired it with this check smock from Vintage Style Me which I am absolutely loving, which is new as well. You can tell I have been off my outfit post game when two outfits in a row are featuring virtually an entirely new outfit! I want to do another post soon where I get to show it off a little bit more. It fits so nicely and I love it. 

I added red lipstick, red glitter nails (very festive, obvs) and my red satchel to emphasize the christmassy-ness and match the little berries on my jumper. I've also been wearing this pale purple benefit eyeshadow more often, I like how cool (that's temperature, not street cred) it makes my face look. I feel like it fits the wintery vibe without looking too 'whats wrong with your eyes?' (!!) Happy beginning of December everyone, hope you've found this year's Christmas jumper! 

Christmas Pudding Jumper and Check Dress with Black Tights and Loafers Fall/Autumn Christmas Pudding Jumper and Check Dress with Black Tights and Loafers Fall/Autumn

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Autumn New Look Jumper and A New Pinafore

Orange Jumper and A Check Pinafore : Fall/Autumn

So! We're saying goodbye to autumn! I wish I'd photographed this jumper a little more as it's super autumn-y and I feel like now it's becoming too christmassy to fully appreciate it as an autumn jumper. A while back I was talking about that little shopping spree I went on with my friend Amy and this orange New Look jumper and the pinafore were both also part of that spree! 

I also said a while ago that I needed more jumpers so obviously this was completely justified. The pinafore wasn't, but it was primark and I couldn't resist it. I have so many smocky pinafores already but I loved how this one was really fitted and looked sort of like the ones people wore at school.

I took these photos ages ago now, I've been working away, then handed in, and then it was my birthday week, so I have been super preoccupied and I didn't even move them off my camera. I'm not 100% happy with them, so that's why there's only one - I hope you'll excuse the lack of today! The jumper was hard to photograph under the pinafore, but I promise it looked nice in real life. 

I'm sad to be saying goodbye to all these crunchy leaves as the winter inevitably turns them dark and slimy, but I am so excited for christmas!! My posts will probably be mostly christmassy from now on, so now I'm working away getting them up! 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

In Nottingham //My Day at Bird in Borrowed Feathers Christmas Craft Fair

AnniePancake: Bird in Borrowed Feathers Christmas Market Handmade banner, drawn type

AnniePancake: Bird in Borrowed Feathers Christmas Market

So, craft fairs. I, like probably a lot of people, had a preconception of what craft fairs involved and what was available to buy. You all know what i'm talking about. I'd heard of Renegade Craft Fair, but I kind of thought that beyond that they were all very samey. Very church fete-y. I dreamed of a fair filled with pure, undiluted beautiful prints and illustrations, type, acessories, notebooks and modern, handmade wonder. It was a feeling I sometimes get with Etsy too, often the sort of thing you know is out there is just drowned by the things you're not interested in. It makes it hard to browse without knowing exactly what you're looking for. 

AnniePancake: Bird in Borrowed Feathers Christmas Market Beautiful Habadashery

I saw flyers for Bird in Borrowed Feathers in, probably, October, put it in my calendar and then promptly forgot about it until Tori mentioned it on twitter. The pictures I'd seen were a glint of hope that my prayers were answered and then I actually attended and it was amazing. It was set up in the currently-being-renovated Cobden Place here in Nottingham. The area is a little haven of vintage and handmade loveliness a it is, and the prospect of there being a huge building permanently dedicated to local craft makes me so excited

AnniePancake: Bird in Borrowed Feathers Christmas Market

Honestly, I was so blown away by the talent. I was a blur of want and business cards and flyers and I-only-have-2-tenners and christmas presents and inspiration. Martin patiently followed me around and actually, found lots of things he thought were lovely too. He particularly liked the Doge cards. I can't emphasize enough the concentrated goodness of talent here - I wanted pretty much everything and there was so many things I badly wanted to get that I just didn't have the money for. I tried to get as many business cards that I could, so that I could purchase in the future. I bought myself some sweet little christmas decorations and some gifts for people that I cannot reveal! 

Here's some of my favourites that I managed to find afterwards:

AnniePancake: Bird in Borrowed Feathers Christmas Market AnniePancake: Bird in Borrowed Feathers Christmas Market Handmade Doge Cards AnniePancake: Bird in Borrowed Feathers Christmas Craft Market AnniePancake: Bird in Borrowed Feathers Christmas Market Handmade Illustrated Pattern Notebooks AnniePancake: Bird in Borrowed Feathers Christmas Market Handmade Collars AnniePancake: Bird in Borrowed Feathers Christmas Craft Market