Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Egg vase....



When I spotted these DIY egg vases on the Instagram-gallery of hundrafyrtioettan, I knew I had to have a go myself...
Perfect for Easter, they look like giant eggshells that you can fill with daffodils, and so easy to make, I had to share...
 All you need is balloons, water and plaster bandage.
 (Paper Mache would probably do the same trick, but the advantage of using plaster bandage is that it cures faster and is fire proof should you want to stick a candle in them instead of flowers...) 
Fill the balloon with water then blow it up to the size you want.(The water is just to weigh it down..)
Wet your plaster bandage (as demonstrated by my assistant , Little Miss Moo, in the picture above..)
Smooth it onto your balloon, until you've covered it, leaving a gap at the top (Obviously!!!)
Leave to dry and cure for 1-2 hours.
Pop the balloon (Upside down over a sink)...and voila!! 
Place some potted daffodils inside for a perfect Easter display...
What do you think?

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Easter crackers....


I spent this morning making these fun Easter crackers for our Easter breakfast table, and I just love how they've turned out!
They are really easy to make, I will show you how:


Use your empty toilet rolls to create the shell of the crackers, and use any napkins, tissues or gift wrap you have to decorate with... There's two other things you will need for this make, the first is THE CRACKER SNAPS...I ordered mine from here
Second, You will need to cut some A4 paper to create those neat cracker ends...I have done the hard work for you and measured out where to cut the paper to fit an average toilet roll:
 I have created this template for you, to make the first step easier:
Cracker, save to your computer and print


First, use a scalpel to cut out the diamonds on the template..
If your toilet roll is extra large, you may have to elongate the diamond shape...

 Step 2

Attach the template to the toilet roll with double sided tape (Or you could use glue, but tape is less messy). The cut out diamond shapes should sit outside the edges of the toilet roll.


Cut a piece of tissue paper, or napkin to fit, about 2-3cm over the edges of the ends of the toilet roll.
Roll it on and secure in place with some double sided tape.
Use some string to tie off one end of the cracker....
Trim off any excess paper.



Place the cracker pull inside, then fill with treats...I chose little Easter stickers, Little chicks and chocolate eggs...
Tie off this end of your cracker as well...


Why not make your crackers extra special and fun for the kids by drawing on little faces and attaching bunny ears or beaks and feathers...

Create some funny characters...get the kids involved!!


I just love the little characters...

And they will look great at the Easter morning breakfast table... 

Cute...don't you think?
I love Easter: Its all about spring, colours, sunshine , good food and lazy days...
In Norway everyone heads to their cabins in the mountains for a spot of skiing...
I do miss those Norwegian Easter traditions her in the UK, but I guess we'll have to create our own....
....and I think I have just found one we can easily do every year...Our very own homemade Easter crackers....


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Easter wish list....

Instantly downloadable artwork from OfCarola

Y for a touch of yellow

Easter is right around the corner....
I'm not sure about you, but Easter always takes me by surprise....every year!
Yesterday I dug out our box of Easter decorations, and realised that bar a few Easter eggs and some feathers, we haven't got a lot to set the mood...
There is no denying the Yellow is THE colour of Easter, and I haven't been a big fan in the past...But I spent last night window shopping online for a few Easter-y décor updates for the home, and I have curated this Seasonal Home accessories collage I just had to share with you all today:
I admit, the subtle touches of yellow has won me over!

1.Yellow linen table cloth from H&M for the Easter breakfast table
2.Remix blanket  from Ferm living for cosy-ing up on the sofa..
3. Set of 3 Normal ceramic easter egg decorations by Lindsay interiors from not on the high street for decoration
4.Large glass vase from House Doctor to display some pussy willow twigs and some daffodils..
5.Hare rabbit head wall trophy   by Clive Roddy from Not on the high street , just because....
6.Little geometry cushion from Ferm living to brighten up the front room.
7. Carla coffee cups and saucers from Bloomingville...I just adore this patterned table ware range!
8.Hexa glazed yellow stoneware bowl from Habitat, for all those Easter treats...
9.Set of 4 Abode egg cups by Mengsel (One of my favourite print makers) for Not on the high street, for the Easter morning breakfast table...
Now, if only I had the money....
I will be back soon with a fun DIY for the Easter breakfast table...

Monday, 7 April 2014

Concrete vase DIY...

....from a plastic bottle.

I am back!
Feels like I've been on blogging holiday for ever, not just 1 week...but now I'm back!
I have lots to tell you all about, like the furniture painting commissions I have been doing and Our bedroom  makeover progress, amongst other things... But just to ease myself back into it, I wanted to share another quick little concrete project tutorial with you today...
This one all starts with a plastic bottle...
When my mum and dad went back to Norway last week, they left behind this beautiful faceted plastic water bottle...(That's how my mind works...see beauty in everything!!)
I immediately knew what to do with it!!
I'd seen Ben Ueyda''s concrete bottle vases a few weeks ago, and knew that the shape of this humble plastic bottle would make a fantastic concrete vase...
This is so easy to do, so keep your eyes peeled for lovely shaped bottles next time you are shopping, and you can make your very own concrete vase...
Here's how:

You will need:
Plastic bottle
Quick setting concrete mix
mixing vessel/ mixing stick
dinner candle (or anything else you may have to create a long tubular cavity in your vase, such as a thick pen...)
Marker pen
The first thing to do is to work out how much concrete mix you will need, and to what level you want to fill your bottle:
The easiest way to work this out, is to fill your bottle with water, then push  the candle into the bottle through the top....add or remove water until you are happy that the level in the bottle will work for your vase...Remove the candle, and mark the level of the water off with the marker pen on the bottle...Now you have determined the volume of the cavity left by the candle, and to where you want to fill the bottle with the concrete mix.
TIP: Use approximately half of the water left in the bottle to mix up the concrete for a "governors geige" (A decent estimation of how much you will need to mix up to fill the volume)...
1. Mix up the concrete...not too thick, just runny enough to pour into the bottle. Pour it into the bottle and tap a few times to get rid of any air bubbles in the mix...
2. Push the candle in, and leave to set.
TIP: Try to twist the candle out when the concrete has just set, but don't worry if you don't catch it in time...
3. When the concrete has fully set (approx. 1-2 hours), use your scalpel to cut the top off the bottle...
4. Rip off the plastic bottle.
5. Leave your concrete vase to cure for a couple of hours.

If, like me, you didn't manage to twist the candle out in time, simply light the candle and let it burn down...Use the hot liquid wax to coat the inside of your vase to water-proof the cavity..
This worked for me, but if you find that the flame keeps going out towards the bottom, use a knife to cut out the remnants of the wax, and coat the inside with PVA to waterproof instead...
Sand back any rough edges on the top of your vase...

...and there you have it: A concrete vase, perfect for displaying a single flower...make more than one and group together, or you can always just stick a candle in it instead...
Not only is it a unique and unusual item of home décor....that you have made yourself, but you have also re-used a throwaway item, a humble plastic bottle, to make something that will last a lifetime!!
So next time your recycling bin is full of empty plastic bottles, pick up a bag of concrete (about £5) and make some vases or candlesticks, before taking all that plastic to the dump!


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Talk about inspiring....

One of the questions people most frequently ask me, is where do I get my inspiration for all my projects from?
I can honestly say, that sometimes I don't even know!!
I'll wake up in the night with an idea...sometimes that idea will mature in the back of my mind for a while and other times I will get up the next day, and "just do it"!!
But I do always keep an eye out for things that inspire me:
Whether that be on a walk in the woods, out and about in shops or looking through magazines and books!
But today I want to share with you all some of my favourite online sources of inspiration:
The internet is a wonderful place, and probably my top source of inspiration!! There are so many beautiful and creative people and projects out there!
Like these Geoballs from the French blog zugalerie ...head over there for the free printable...then all you have to do, is fold them up!!


I have recently updated my reading list (You can find it in my sidebar), so that you can check out some of my favourite creative blogs:
There is of course the BIG ones, like Apartment therapy and Design Sponge where I can keep up on design trends and find endless inspiration for my home as well as projects..
Since Christmas I have become more and more drawn to Scandinavian interior design blogs, like My Scandinavian home and Emma's design blog ,that is full of beautiful images of Scandinavian style homes and décor...with professional guides to the latest in design and home ware! I also like designer and stylist Emily Henderson's blog for the same reason, but she also posts some awesome DIY projects that are worth noting!!
But also blogs like Deuce cities henhouse , that are more about the personal journey of creating a home, a bit like mine, and is a perfect example of what I aspire to do with Nostalgiecat!
Stained glass artist Flora Jamieson from Through the round window inspires me with her funny little post about her idyllic coastal life and her gorgeous work in progress shots from her workshop...and I just love her little "doodles"!
I recently started following Persia Lou for all her little and large DIY projects and her fantastic sense of style ...and last but not least I want to mention Ben Uyeda's creative blog Home made modern, that posts "smart and affordable DIY ideas for cool people that like modern furnishings"...Ben is solely responsible for my Concrete obsession!!
This easy, but gorgeous Tangram bunny art from Persia Lou  would be a great little project for easter!
There are loads more blogs that I would love for you all to discover, but I'll leave it at that for time being!!



A wonderful place to get inspired, and to find new blogs to follow, is of course Pinterest :
I am assuming you have all discovered this treasure-trove of inspirational images, links and possible projects already, but if you haven't, then you really should check it out!!
You can curate your own inspirational boards, in any category imaginable, from home décor to pets or travel to food, hair and fashion to art....anything: Just check out my board Projects, to see probably the biggest pool of my inspiration!!

 The other place in web-world where I get totally inspired by beautiful images is Instagram!
I follow tons of beautiful instagram accounts, but I want to share 6  (I was going to do a top5 , but couldn't quite whittle it down to 5....)of my favourites with you here today:
 LA based Bri Emery, founder of Design love fest, a lifestyleblog, has an eye for design and style, and her instagram gallery is bursting with colourful snapshots from her creative life.
 Diana's istagram account is the epitome of Scandinavian style: Beautiful shots of her bright and airy home...She has an eye for details and showcases her little and large DIY projects with a definite personal style. You can also visit her blog here.
 Jacqui Fink is a Sydney based maker of hand knitted luscious textiles from wool, linen and cotton rope. There is a wonderful aesthetic beauty in her instagram shots of the textures of her makes that inspires me..
American painter and all round artist, Alisa Burke is inspired by street art and graffiti, and has become her own brand with her distinct style, collaborating with Demdaco to create a range of fashion accessories...Her instagram gallery is chuck-a-block with lovely snaps of her laid back , creative family life and inspiring in-process shots of her work!
I particular love her colourful "doodles".
 Australian based ,Kim Wallace makes gorgeous ,handmade, functional and decorative ceramics for her boutique shop . Her instagram account consists of behind the scenes shots from her workshop, showcasing her beautiful ceramics collections.
Charlotte Wangstedt is a Swedish photographer with a keen interest in interior design and Styling.
She shares her beautiful photos of her Scandinavian style home (he has a penchant for the monochrome look) as well as her DIY projects on her instagram account.
That is it ...for now!
My inspirations are ever changing and evolving, but rubbernecking with other creative in blog-sphere is truly what keeps those creative juices flowing! 
The internet is a maze of inspiration for all kinds of just need to know where to look!
I hope these suggestions will help set you off on the right track....because once you start looking around, you will probably find that Inspiration is everywhere!!
I've just realised that my 1 year anniversary as a blogger quietly passed me by in the week, I have been so busy with my Concrete collection, and various other commissions...
And last night my mum and Dad came over from Norway to spend a week with us...
So I am going to take a little blogging break next week, and leave you with this reminder of my
I hope you will all feel inspired to come up with some fabulous project suggestions!!
You can tell me about your ideas on my Facebook page...maybe post a picture or a link to something you'd like me to make for you!!
I will be back in about a weeks time with a fantastic new project tutorial!!
Ta ta for now!!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The day I became an "artist"...

This is the story of how I became an "artist"...
It all started on Valentines day!
Mr had been shopping for a romantic gift for me, in a local art shop, Art at 88..
He had chosen a beautiful fused glass red!
How sweet, I hear you all say!
After 8 years of marriage , you'd think he knew??
Normally I would've probably smiled sweetly, thanked him and shoved it in a drawer, and reminded my self that it's the thought that counts!
How-ever....having just spent best part of January de-cluttering and purging the house of un-wantables , whilst doing The January cure...I was determined not to start filling it with more stuff I didn't really want....
So here's the bit where you are all going to think that I am a wicked cow:
I took it back to the shop and exchanged it for something not red!!
The lady in the shop was shocked: How could I?? "He spent ages choosing that!"
I felt a twinge of guilt!...But it soon passed as I chatted away to the owner of the shop, Jenni...
I tentatively asked where they got all their marvellous art from, and Jenni told me that people would send them an e-mail with pictures of their makes, and that they would contact them if interested....
Courage failed me at the time, but I took their card and later that evening I sent them an e-mail with loads of pictures of my makes....
So that's how it all started....
...turns out they were interested in my concrete work....
Those of you who are "regulars" here at Nostalgiecat will know by now that Concrete is one of my favourite materials to work with...I just love it! (See my other concrete projects, such as my concrete stool , concrete and gold planters and tealight votives and concrete lampshade )
And I had just recently started experimenting with folding origami shapes to use as moulds to cast up in that really suited me fine!
You may even say: It was meant to be!!
I'd also been playing around with the idea of making bowls out of concrete, and trying to push the material to its limits with regards to the thickness....and then gold-leafing the insides of the bowl....
I made some samples and took them in to the shop the following week, and met the other half of Art at 88, Malcolm.  He really liked the bowls, and thought that my origami shaped candlesticks had a masculine appeal...Whilst I was there the telephone rang, and Malcolm politely told the person on the other end of the phone that he would call back, as he was currently "with an artist"...AN ARTIST?? ...ME?? I can honestly say: That made my day!! 
So off I went with an order for more stuff to make....practically skipping down the road with excitement!!
Just over 2 weeks , and a garden full of concrete mess, later, I finally brought my finished collection into the shop last Sunday!
Malcolm and Jenni started Art at 88 in 2011 to showcase work by local artists as well as their own art: Malcolm Gorrie is a fused glass artist (I think he probably made my original valentines gift....ahem!!) and Jenni Cator works in pastels.. They've created a thriving art-space selling affordable and original art.
I am very excited to now have my collection of concrete home accessories for sale in their shop!
So this is the new venture I've been hinting at in the last few weeks, and I can now reveal my collection of concrete home accessories, exclusively for sale at Art at 88 in Berkhamstead:
This morning I visited the shop to take some pictures of my stuff in there...
...and was delighted to see my concrete bowls, with gold or copper leaves , along with other local artists work, on display as soon as I walked in!
And my origami concrete candlesticks , although not in such a prominent position in the shop, stood out for being so different from the rest of the shops handmade merchandise...
I hope "the ladies who lunch" of Berkhamstead are ready for my concrete home accessories, and that Malcolm and Jenni has luck in selling my collection!
In the mean time, I will bask in the glory of now being an "artist"!
(Still makes me smile....)
Just goes to show: You never know what life's got in store for you!
(And if you don't don't get!)

Friday, 21 March 2014

How to...

...remove rust from a cast iron fireplace 

When we first viewed our terraced Victorian cottage just over 2 years ago, one of the things that made us choose the house was the cast iron fireplace in the bedroom...
...however, this was one of the first things I "ruined" after moving in: I cleaned it with a wet(??) rag!!
Stupid, I know!!
Rule number 1 when it comes to cast iron fireplaces: Never EVER clean it with a WET rag!!
(In my defence: I had never lived anywhere that had a cast iron fireplace before)
To be honest, at the time, I put it down to one of life's little lessons and soon forgot about it...I mean: Our bedroom had some bigger, and more obvious the lack of storage!
It wasn't really until the other day, when I had finished painting the walls and was taking pictures of my concrete stool , that it started to nag me!!
So, I asked my mother-in-law what to do....
And today I want to share with you her wisdom!
 My mother in law said what I needed was something called !zeebrite
But a quick google search revealed that Zeebrite had been discontinued, as it contained led...But a new (and led-free) version of black grate polish, called Hotspot serves the same purpose..
So I got some of that!!
I also got some fine wire wool to remove most of the rust with before using the magic stuff...

So armed with wire-wool , willpower and elbow grease I set to work!
I scrubbed off most of the rust..
I put an old towel on the floor first, which was good as there was a lot of black dust...that went everywhere!!
Note: You should be wearing a dust-mask and gloves...or you risk ending up looking like a chimney sweep!! (Not a good look when you are going out with friends that night...let me tell you!! LOL)

So much so that I actually ended up getting the hoover at the ready, sucking up the dust as I went along...

The wire-wool was great at removing the dust on the surfaces, but even after a good scrubbing there was still rust in the details...
 Time to get "hotspotting":
I used an old, clean paint brush, and applied the grate polish sparingly...brushing it into the details with circular motions..

This really was a miracle cure for my beautiful, but rusty cast iron fireplace!!

I then used an old tea-towel to polish off any excess...I didn't want Little Miss Moo to get black fingers, should she happen to touch the fireplace! (We can all guess what the result would be: Black fingers and white painted walls = not good!!)

...But actually by buffing off the excess grate polish, the detail got a lovely highlighted sheen to it!

Let me just remind you how rusty and horrible looking the fireplace was before: The picture below is of the exact same spot before the treatment:

I am so pleased I managed to clean up my beautiful cast iron fireplace...
And it only took me about 40 minutes in total!
Maybe using grate polish to remove rust from cast iron is common knowledge, but to me it was a eureka I had to share!
And I can already think of a few more uses for my tube of Hotspot....

I think I have fallen in love...all over again, with my fireplace!!

My bedroom makeover is moving along nicely: The walls are painted and our new curtains and bedspread is on their way (thanks mum!) The custom made built in wardrobes should be with us soon and this weekend we are getting started on putting up wood panelling on the wall behind our bed...
I am so excited about all the changes we are (finally) making to our house this year!
We have some BIG changes planned in the near future, that I am really itching to tell you all about!
...all in good time!
I hope you find this post useful!
I Wish you all a great weekend!