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Well crafters, there’s good news and there’s bad news.
The good news is, the zipper flower is done. Ish.
The bad news is that it just about defeated me and I’ve finished this project with one zipper amoeba and a whole new appreciation for Velcro, snaps and ties.
Zippers are a tricky business, and to turn one into a flower, well, I think that takes a little more dexterity than your correspondent here could muster. Only those who play fast and loose with the whole representational thing are likely to call my little craft a flower. It is a zipper amoeba.
Here’s how I did it, along with a few tips on how NOT to do yours.
First, I consulted a very handy tutorial on craftster.org. Once I had an idea of what I was doing (or thought I did), I gathered my crafting components: needle, thread, scissors and zipper. I had run out of black thread and so had to buy more, which nudged my costs above the £5 mark, but not too far out of reach: all in, my bill was £6.30.
If there’s one thing you can rely on, it’s the fact that every December, most women buy a new dress for the Christmas-New Year party season… and most of us buy it in black.
But this year, I’ve got a bit of a problem. You see, I did a bit of a closet re-org last weekend and I counted EIGHT black dresses… none of which I’m prepared to part with. I also counted a great deal of non-black dresses, leading me directly to the conclusion that this year I will NOT buy a new dress.
What to do? Accessorise, my dears, I must accessorise… and happily enough, I know just how: with a zipper flower.
Over the past few months, I’ve spotted zipper flowers on a few well-accessorised fashionistas around town. They’ve also been featured on some crafty/style blogs, like The Best of DIY and Chictopia. I even spotted a couple for sale in Topshop, but they don’t come cheap — the one I liked was £25!
Clearly, a bit of craftiness is in order if I want to update my party wardrobe on the cheap (and chic).
Can it be done? Absolutely, and I’m setting a spend limit of £5. I’ll post back with my results and the official OolaMoola zipper flower how-to.
Last weekend I (and two lucky ticket winners, though not as a power-shopping trio) took a seasonal spin round the Spirit of Christmas Fair (hereafter referred to as the SoCF).
I wanted to kick off my Christmas shopping early this year, hopefully with a few inexpensive and unique gifts. Every year I end up needing more hostess/thank-you gifts than I expect to, so I had my eyes open for suitable fare.
Let there be fairy lights
The SoCF was just as billed – a glittering, twinkling celebration of gifts, crafts and all things consumable. There was nary a high street label in sight, and most stalls were staffed by, if not the people who made the goods, certainly the people who ran the business. This made shopping a little easier, as you could get a bit of information about the goods for sale and where they come from.
Of course, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that my favourite bit was the little cafe at the centre of things. My shopping sidekick E and I headed there first for some mulled wine and mince tarts – sustenance, you see – before braving the crowds and wading into the melee…
Time to hit the list
Calling to mind an earlier OolaMoola challenge, E’s handbag budget was £100. She was looking for something pretty, big enough to hold a Mac and some paperwork, and, most importantly, “grown-up and professional”. Tall order.
Luckily for us, the SoCF was teeming with handbags that fit the bill. The event attracts a lot of small businesses and artisans, so the goods on offer tended towards the unique and high-quality, but fortunately lacked the hefty price tags similar bags sport on the high street.
E bought a beautiful pink and black handbag from Timepieces, a brand that specialises in Italian imports. Leather-lined, many-pocketed and multi-strapped, it fit the bill and came in at £5 under budget. Success – and a fiver for the mulled wine fund.
I tried on, but didn’t buy, a gorgeous silver butterfly ring by jeweller Kimberley Selwood. I loved her stuff, especially this delicate piece, but alas jewellery was not on my list.
I’ve read that velvet is *the* fabric this year, so when saw a Jane Means ribbon stand I took a minute to look for some lush velvet ribbon I could use to tie my hair back. I spent £5 on four lengths of ribbon (two of them velvet – score!).
I also found a few packets of festive napkins and similar items to set aside until the inevitable hostess gift panic moment.
All in, the SoCF provided a refreshing alternative to high street Christmas shopping, though it was a more chaotic experience than the tried and tried wine-and-a-laptop online shopping special (a favourite of mine). Worth a visit next year? Absolutely – even with the £15 ticket price.
Posted in Uncategorized
It’s 6 November, which means Christmas is a mere 48 days away. If you’re a last-minute sort, Christmas shopping won’t have graced your retail radar yet, but if you’re someone who likes to get it done sooner (all the more time to quaff mulled wine, you see), your ship has come in…
Let the Christmas shopping commence
OolaMoola is giving away four weekend tickets to the Spirit of Christmas Fair in Olympia this weekend. The event has been featured in Home & Garden magazine and is stacked with gifts, glitter, and all manner of delicious Christmas treats.
Here’s what you’ll find at the Fair
This year, more than 600 companies will have some sort of food, drink, gift or service on display. The list of who’s coming features lots of local, ethical and handmade brands like Chameleon Earth Fair Trade leather goods, luscious Cowshed body products and Gwendolyn Carrie handmade shoes.
Even if you’re not up for shopping just yet, the Spirit of Christmas Fair is the perfect place to take in your first taste of festive spirit, with wines (mulled and otherwise!), chocolates and all manner of seasonal treats to be had.
Our tickets come courtesy of jewellery designer Kimberley Selwood, whose gorgeous new Plume range will be on display. Here’s one of her cuff bracelets — I think it’s really delicate and unique… something for the stocking, perhaps? (One can only hope!)
How to get in on the action
Tickets are valued at £15 each and are good for admission on Saturday or Sunday. We’ll give the tickets away in pairs so you can take a friend with you to soak up all the seasonal festivity.
To win yours, hop onto Twitter and be the first (or second!) to retweet our Spirit of Christmas Fair tweet. Good luck… and happy shopping!
This week’s challenge comes from Petunia, who asks us to “Find me a cheap (NY cheap) manicure in central London, please!”
Fair enough – I would love to solve this challenge! The low-cost, high-gloss New York manicure has got to be one of my top 25 favourite things about New York. Finding one in London would be an OolaMoola coup!
Here I am, back for instalment two of my manly clothing challenge. Today I’m going to look at a few trends to embrace – and a few faux-pas to avoid – before flagging up my first menswear shopping destination.
The not-so-fine line between fashion and faux-pas
I think it’s fair to say that some men tend to be a little more wary of fashion than they need to be.
Posted in Fashion
Last night I attended my first Stitch & Bitch meeting where I met some very friendly and interesting people, including founding member Deadly Knitshade, who was to be my teacher for the evening.
I took part in a knitting lesson over a gin and tonic, and even managed a few stitches on my own (the bitching part comes naturally to me, so no pointers required there).
I showed up at the National Theatre’s Long Bar at about six o’clock. Deadly Knitshade (I really can’t get enough of the name!) told me she was expecting a crowd, as the South Bank venue was very popular with knitters… and she was right.
Posted in Crafting
Hot on the heels of our recent (and so successful!) Mulberry handbag challenge, we’ve received another fashion test, this one from an OolaMoola reader named Roberto.
Roberto has asked us to “find a top class and top condition man bag from Mulberry… and a classic Mac… or anything male-centric”.
From fashion week to the high street, men’s fashion tends to take a backseat to women’s fashion. This challenge provides me with an opportunity to try to redress that balance, or at least offer a little hope to the menfolk out there who are still wearing last, last, last season’s tired threads.
Posted in Fashion
Earlier this week I set myself a challenge: make three homemade beauty treatments for under £5 (I’m allowed to use a few things from the cupboard) and in under 30 minutes, from mixing to rinsing.
I have completed my challenge, and although I’m not certain I’m all that much more naturally beautiful now it’s done, I did enjoy the process (most of it) and I do have a few tips to pass on to any other natural beauties in need of a radiance top-up…
Step one: preparation
I made the face masque first. My morale suffered a setback when I cut the avocado open to find that lame, stringy avocado flesh you sometimes get when the fruit has just gone past its peak.
Several months ago, BirdyMoola challenged herself to create an at-home day spa – and she succeeded beautifully.
Birdy’s retreat looked gorgeous and relaxing and perfect for the Moola with plenty of time on her hands… but that Moola isn’t me. I’m off to a wedding this weekend and I’ve got about the busiest week in history between now and the I-do’s.
Even if I did find spa music relaxing (rather the opposite; I find it weirdly agitating), setting aside several hours to zen out to Enya and the cetaceans before Sunday would be next to impossible. But time-crunch or no, my skin, face and hair need some love before the wedding… and my wallet needs a break.
Here’s the plan, my pretties
Rather than shell out for a fancy new exfoliating gel, a face masque and a tub of deep conditioner, I’ve set myself a challenge. I’m going to make three all-natural beauty treatments for under £5. What’s more, given my sticky schedule, I’m going to do it in less than thirty minutes – from measuring and mixing to slathering and rinsing.