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Monday, 31 October 2011

Crows and Pumpkins

I love crows and pumpkins and as today is Hallowe'en, I thought I would share a few items from my collection with you. This lovely crow rocker is nigh-on life-size. It is wooden and sits happily amongst my homemade felt acorns keeping his beady eye on everything.

Lella Loves... Crows

If you wanted to see how I made those little acorns, here is the link to my blog-make:

I also made the patchwork cushions in the back and here is the link to them:

Lella Loves... Country Chic

Folk art is something which will fit into most homes as it offers that handmade look with effortless country chic. If you see pieces you love to look at, don't leave them behind for the sake of a few pennies. We can all make money but where will you find that piece of folk art again?

These old wooden steps are 60 years old and the wood is so spongey from woodworm holes that once they had been dipped, they are only used as display. I have had them about 10 years and they add dimension to my collections.

Lella Loves... Crows

These crows came as a set, with the carved pumpkin, and I bought it off eBay USA about 4 years ago. Crow items are hard to find in the UK so if you like folky decor, browse and be prepared to fall in love with pretty things on offer from American eBayers.

Lella Loves... Crows

One of my favourite sayings is that if you don't buy something when you see it, maybe simply because you don't like the price, the expression, "You will follow the crows for it." means that you would regret not buying something at the time. 

This delightful chipwood pumpkin was nearly left behind as I thought to myself, "Do I really need another pumpkin ornament?".

Lella Loves... Pumpkins

However, after I put it down and walked away, I saw someone else pick it up and I panicked (even though I had decided it wasn't for me). That sealed the deal and the cheery fellow now sits in my home. It proves that the 300 pennies was not the issue but more so, where would I find another?

The 'follow the crows' saying also means that a person would miss something after it was gone so be extra sure before you put something down in a store - like I did - as it might sell to the next person who comes along.

Lella Loves... Pumpkins

Have things in your home which you love to look at. By displaying your items, you will get a sense of satisfaction every time you look at them. Don't be afraid to mix and match your own collections. This dresser has a couple of pieces of kitchenalia, some vintage pharmacy bottles, little birds and a few pumpkins.

Lella Loves... Pumpkin

I look at this photo and know that it represents me at this time in my life. It shows my loves, my collections: my happy place :)

Enjoy your space and fill it with items which reflect your personality. Decorate with love, using the things you love and it will shine through.

Happy Hallowe'en everybody.

Lella  xx

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Simple Pleasures (Gathering Seeds)

Simple Pleasures is the name for my lovely lazy Sunday activities which are either free or exceptionally low cost. I share with you the things I do, at little or no cost, and which can be enjoyed, usually on a Sunday.

Lella Loves... Simple Pleasures

Today I visited a friend, at her house, and I had the pleasure of walking around her garden. She is very proud of her outdoor space and its ponds, the vegetable patch and a herb garden.

We sat by a pond and Little Robin soon came to visit. He knows she will always share a few mealworms with him. There were plants and pots everywhere and we soon got talking about cuttings and grafting fruit trees.

Lella Loves... Simple Pleasures

As we walked towards the chunky rockery and the herb garden, I saw her huge, billowy 8ft tall Fennel plant which was swaying gently in the breeze and it made me smile. The leaves are linguini-thin and silky and if you crush them gently, they will stir old memories of school days and aniseed balls.

Lella Loves... Simple Pleasures

Fennel seed heads are beautiful: architectural, and so delicate. It was an absolute joy to spend an hour gathering seeds and herb seedlings with her.

Lella Loves... Simple Pleasures

The little Fennel seedling is now planted in compost and the seeds have been scattered on a bare patch of good soil. I spread them all because it's good to remember the farmer's rhyme: One for the blackbird, one for the crow, one for the soil and one to grow.

Lella Loves... Simple Pleasures

We gathered Crocosmia seeds from huge 5ft tall specimens. These seeds are powerhouse balls of joyous blooms just waiting to be sown.

Lella Loves... Simple Pleasures

My friend, secateurs in hand, happily cut off several Clematis seed heads which, at this stage, look like an old dog's whiskers. I will hang these in a cool room and let them dry out as the seed will not be ready until the head is white and fluffy.

We had a good chat, a nice cup of tea and we fed the fish. I helped her to sort a few boxes in her garage. After all, it's give and take and I can't wait to sew all the seeds this week.

There were tubs of strawberries and their runners were the size of a man's hand. My friend is so sweet and so generous and offered me so many cuttings but I could not take them away as I have nowhere to plant them right now.

Such an enjoyable afternoon and all it cost was the petrol to get there.

If you have a few hours to spare and fancy trying something different every Sunday, I hope this post thread will inspire you. I have chosen Sunday as it is the best day for country walks or reading a book but you could set aside a weekday evening and keep those two hours just for you!

Many thanks for reading.

Lella  xx

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Hallowe'en Lanterns

I made these Hallowe'en lanterns by recycling old lampshades and I printed the bird templates off the internet. You could make your own in less than ten minutes using a few basic supplies.

Kids love to be scared by them and adults always want to know how I made them!

Lella Loves... Hallowe'en

They were so easy to do and all you need to make your own is:

White gift bags
Craft knife or scissors
Dry sand

Lella Loves... Hallowe'en

I recycled two paper lampshades, removed the internal fixings and pasted my bird cut-outs to the main shades. However, I suggest that you can achieve the same look but, instead of using lampshades, you should use the far more available option of small white gift bags.

Lella Loves... Hallowe'en

Simply print off your chosen designs or search for Hallowe'en silhouettes.

After printing them on plain paper, I used a craft knife to cut each one out. If you do this, take care not to rush as the detail is what makes the end result.

Search with single keywords such as:


Lella Loves... Hallowe'en

I found the bird templates online and resized them to fit the shades. I did only make these two using the old shades as my porch is tiny but you could go wild and have all the Hallowe'en designs you can think of, if you have the space.

Depending on the size of your gift bags, you might want to try a bat shape and simply reduce the size by 20% on each print out. Paste them on a bag and have them all flying upwards from one corner.

Another fabulous and spooky look is the cobweb. Find a spider template or draw the web straight on to the white gift bag using a wide nib marker pen.

Lella Loves... Hallowe'en

Light your front porch with similar black silhouettes and have eight or ten different designs lighting up your garden path. Pour dry sand to weight the bag down and to hold the candle in place.

The options are endless and if you don't want to use the computer, all you need are the white bags, glue, black craft card and scissors. Let your creativity flow and freehand yourself a few ghouls, a tombstone and a witch's hat.

Kids will love to take part so, using a white tailor's pencil, draw the designs, cut them out and let the kids glue them inside the white bags.

Have fun and Happy Hallowe'en.

Lella  xx

Oh... and here is the PDF to the Scary Birds silhouettes I used off Martha Stewart's website.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Silk Flowers (Single Stems)

These single flower heads (in a mini tank vase) are £6.00 each in any good floral gift department but they are so easy to make and in today's post, I want to show you how.

I used purple glass votive holders as vases and I chose small white everlasting Ranunculus flower heads as the bloom in each vase so you are able to clearly see which are the blog-make.

Lella Loves... Silk Flowers

You are able to create the look for a fraction of the cost by shopping around. Go to Wilkinsons for the tealight holders and look in Dunelm for the silk flowers.

Lella Loves... Silk Flowers

To make a triple centrepiece, you will need:

Three glass votive holders
Posy of silk flowers
Wire snips

Lella Loves... Silk Flowers

To start, simply snip all the blooms off the posy. Don't worry too much about the remaining foliage as it is not necessary for this project.

Lella Loves... Silk Flowers

The second and last step of this oh-so-simple blog-make is to pop a bloom inside a votive holder. The flowers depend entirely upon your choice of bloom and the whole look can be achieved for approximately £1 each.

Lella Loves... Silk Flowers

And there you have it! It really is as easy as 1, 2 and now display your creation of pretty purple vases with single blooms.

You could make two and put them beside the bed or, better still, why not create a few for your neighbours as they make perfect thank you gifts without having to spend a fortune.

As weddings and all the associated costs can spiral out of control, try and make enough of these in advance and use as place settings. As a lovely twist on tradition, let each guest take theirs home as a keepsake of your big day. I would suggest using clear resin 'water' in the bottom of each glass, if you are giving as gifts as it will secure the flower in place.

Have a busy and fun weekend.

Pop back soon.

Lella  xx

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Handbag Scarves

I am passionate about handbags and I hope you are too. A new handbag can brighten any girl's day and by adding charms or scarves to our bags, we are able to lift them from an ordinary high street item and make them bespoke. Try adding a chic accessory to your everyday bag and develop your own style.

Today's post just so happens to feature two purple handbags as I have, unwittingly, been rotating the two and not realising that I am obviously having a purple moment :)

Lella Loves... Handbag Scarves

This lovely little bag is a suede bucket bag and the jewel tones of this silk scarf add a pop of turquoise to the light-absorbing plum suede.

Lella Loves... Handbag Scarves

Express yourself by simply knotting a scarf around the handle link of your handbag. Choose brights and preferably one which is opposite on the colour wheel. 

Be creative and use bold patterns with a plain bag or maybe big florals with a darker leather.

Lella Loves... Handbag Scarves

This delicious purple Bertie is not ostrich skin but embossed leather. The hide is very rigid and I added the long polka dot scarf to give movement to the bag.

Lella Loves... Handbag Scarves

I chose a spotty scarf as a nod to the pattern but I was going for movement and not aiming for matchy-matchy.

Lella Loves... Handbag Scarves

The flower is a handmade leather flower keyring by Radley and they are available in various colours.

*Tip: If you had always wondered, the large convex pock marks are distinctive of ostrich skin as they are the vacant quill follicles where the bird's feathers were plucked but do look for good quality imitations - such as this Vanilla Bertie - if you like unusual handbags.

Here is a link to my favourite online handbag store:

Enjoy your handbags, ladies.

Have a lovely day.

Lella  xx

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Collecting Kitchenalia (Cake)

Many of us will happily sit down to a nice slice of angel cake and a cup of tea but there is great pleasure to be had in collecting cake related items for your kitchen. This post has some of my favourite cake items which I have collected over the past 12 years.

Lella Loves... Kitchenalia

The options are wide when it comes to collecting and you might prefer old bowls, cake stands, measuring jugs or vintage churns. The choice is yours. Discovering a new hobby is always a joy and collecting items from your grannie's day is a happy and sentimental pastime.

Lella Loves... Kitchenalia

Old advertising is very desirable so you might be asked £25 - £50 for promotional counter stands similar to this Banquet Cake from Lyon's. I bought this very board for £10 in 1998: the water damage and nibbled corners don't worry me as the overall piece sits well with my old cake tins.

Lella Loves... Kitchenalia

I chanced upon this delightful little tin, still with cutters intact, and I knew it was going to come home with me. The dealer was not asking a lot and they cost me less than a large pizza.

Lella Loves... Kitchenalia

Mmm... c-a-k-e :)

This huge old tin from the 1950s is lovely to look at and the hinge is still in good working order.

How many of you recall going to your nan's for Sunday lunch and there would always be a freshly baked Victoria sponge on the table? Ah! Such lovely memories just waiting to be unlocked with a few old tins and a rusty wire cake rack.

All grannies were such good bakers. I loved cooking with my nan and she made huge fruity Dundee cakes, sponges and scones so I guess that's why I love old cake tins and the pastry cutters.

Lella Loves... Kitchenalia

If you quite fancy the idea of having a few select pieces of cake collectables, start off by browsing eBay's Kitchenalia category and visit a few centres where they sell antiques from many dealers.

Have fun collecting and buy things you love to look at.

Best wishes

Lella  xx

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Fabric Letters

Fabric is one of my favourite things and you don't need much to complete this project. Many people find fabulous things at salvage yards and if you like old shop signage, you will want to try this.

Lella Loves... Fabric Letters

I chose 'O' as O is for October but you should find your own initial and make your first wrapped letter for yourself. If you visit a reclaim yard, you will need to ask for old shop signage. I have found letters in skips, outside pub renovations and at car boot fairs.

Lella Loves... Fabric Letters

Have a rummage in your scraps box and select your fabric, making sure there is enough to be able to wrap around the whole letter.

You could blend fabrics by using various florals which have a common thread, such as pink roses or green leaves, and simply patchwork your letter. However, the choice is yours so be creative and if you love clashing checks with polka dots then you go for it!

For the 'O', I used an old scarf which I cut longways into 1 inch strips. The fraying will happen as you wrap but don't worry too much as it adds to the overall homemade look. You want your creations to look charming and primitive, not all perfect and store-ready.

Have fun and if you enjoyed it, make your pennies stretch over the upcoming season and tell friends that it is handmade and homemade this Christmas. 

Fabric wrapped letters are a very personal gift which are permanently relevant to the receiver so choose the correct fabric and make your gift perfect for each person. 

Pop back soon, 

Lella  xx

Monday, 24 October 2011

Bib Necklaces (Bonzie)

Today's post is all about bib necklaces which have been a big fashion trend since S/S 2009, and still seen today on fashionable celebs, but an aunt and niece duo over in Waterford, Ireland, have been making neck adornments for years before our favourite fashion houses sent their versions down the runways of Paris and Milan.

Lella Loves... Neck Adornments

This is a handmade piece from the ladies' independent Irish design label called Bonzie. Their look is all about romance created with vintage and recycled fabrics. They make the most dreamy, one-off statement pieces and I love browsing their photos.

Lella Loves... Neck Adornments

A few years ago, they made this piece as a special commission but I did not pay the £120 asking price. Instead, I traded it from the lady who had bought it for a wedding and then never wore it. If I recall, it cost me a pair of shoes, three tops and the postage, over at:

Lella Loves... Neck Adornments

What I did do though, is to alter it to blend with my own personal style. I am a firm believer in making a statement if you wear a statement piece. However, just because it's designer, it doesn't make it perfect.

Lella Loves... Neck Adornments

I love the detail and the ruffled roses but the lacy petals had to go. If you buy something and it's not quite right, you might have to tweak it to fit your look. Don't be afraid to get your scissors out if you feel the need.

Lella Loves... Neck Adornments

Using scissors, I snipped away at the underside of the flowers and gently unpicked the lace petals.

Lella Loves... Neck Adornments

This is what the bib looked like after I had removed all of the green lace trims. The handmade roses are so lovely that they were doing nowhere.

Lella Loves... Neck Adornments

Taking one large £4 flower brooch in olive green, I then attached it to the bib in the space left by the lace petals.

Lella Loves... Neck Adornments

I was careful not to break through the back as the satin lining and the free-form hand-embroidery is too fabulous to spoil.

Lella Loves... Neck Adornments

Oscar de le Renta and Chanel all made jewelled versions and I will show you my take on those in another post. One at a time  :)

Lella Loves... Neck Adornments

And low and behold, my re-worked designer bib necklace which I hope to wear on Christmas Day with a plain cream blouse and chocolate brown slacks.

I love fashion but I am not a slave to it.

From Cartier to Vera Wang, all the designers have had their version of a bib necklace but why not try and make your own? I was lucky to be able to swap the Bonzie bib but there are lots of smaller versions on the high street.

Buy a plain beaded bid from TopShop or Primark and then add a few flower brooches. It should cost no more than £10 for you to update a trend if you enjoy the look.

To see more of Bonzie, why not visit their Etsy shop:

I hope you enjoyed that post as much as I did.

Lella  x

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Flea Markets

Staying with the table-top theme for the weekend, today's post shows a few other stalls which I have found on my travels. The joining thread of these photos is that the stallholders had set a price and stuck to it.

Lella Loves... Flea Markets

If you only have a few pounds to create a look which you have seen in a magazine, go to your local flea market. Look up local listings for antiques and collectables fairs but stay away from any event which is either charging an entrance fee or is listed as 'datelined' - you will rarely find a £1 bargain at those types of events.

Here is the link to my post regarding the Antique Trade Calendar. This little book has 3 months' worth of listings for all UK antiques and collectables fairs as well as flea markets and emporiums//multi-dealer centres.

Lella Loves... Flea Markets

The stallholder was very reasonable as his weekday business is house clearances. He had priced everything at £1 or less and even said to me, "Make me an offer." after I had picked up 11 of his books. 

£6 later and the deal was done!

Lella Loves... Flea Markets

The bargains are out there! Make your pennies s-t-r-e-t-c-h this Christmas.

If you are looking for a large plate to put pine cones on, why not choose a £1 metal wall plaque or an embossed charger? These examples were less than a coffee from any high street coffee house.

Lella Loves... Flea Markets

This stall had some super items and pretty things. The set of six glasses would make lovely bowls for melon balls or prawn cocktail. Glasses can be dishes and dishes can be candle platters.

The set of six tea cups and saucers also make rather cute serving alternatives for figgy pudding. After all, you don't need much.

Lella Loves... Flea Markets

I love finding a stall where everything you see is £1. This huge gravy boat would also make a great custard jug. Why pay £12 for a new one in a store when this was new but on a stall.

Charity shops welcome donations so pass it on after you are finished with it. 

The little ceramic ginger jar would make a great gift for a neighbour if you filled it with pot pourri and wrapped it beautifully.

The huge Wedgewood tureen would be super for seasonal nuts, clementines and even wrapped sweeties. A trifle bowl is not just for trifle so use a tureen with a decorator's eye.  :)

Lella Loves... Flea Markets

More brand new glassware was to be found on this stall. Those six lovely glass dishes at the back, still in their store wrap, were only £1.

Don't think that pudding bowls are just for pudding.  No, think Christmas pudding but then think Simnel cake at Easter, think strawberries and cream in July and think hummus and veggie dips before fireworks.

Lella Loves... Flea Markets

£2 stalls can, and do, offer some super finds. This table had a good mix of really old ceramics, glassware and some other smalls. Sellers who are happy to offer all their goods at a flat rate tend to be much busier as people like the idea of not having to ask the prices.

I enjoyed looking at these photos as they reminded me of the days out and the lovely finds I came home with. Naturally, I always ask the stallholder's permission to take a photo of their stall and they love to know that I try to spread the sunshine regarding the way they earn a living.

Remember, creativity includes upcycling, recycling and reworking to fit your own decor and lifestyle.

I encourage you to go and, take coins not just notes and go and have a fabulous couple of hours at a fair.

Have a peaceful day and feel free to leave me any comments.

Lella  xx

Lella Loves... Books

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