To get this exclusive 20% Make it and Mend it discount just visit the Groovebulb online shop and enter MIMIGROOVE on the shopping basket page once you’ve chosen your bulbs.
Groovebulbs come on instantly producing a clear, high quality, 360° light. They’re also long lasting. Use a bulb four hours every day and they’d still continue to shine brightly for up 25 years.
GroovebulbsTM are more energy efficient than traditional incandescent light bulbs because almost all their energy produces light instead of heat. This means you could save up to 85% on your lighting bill by using much less energy. That’s good news for your pocket and the planet.
Groovebulbs are equivalent to a 40w tungsten bulb and dim with standard dimmer switches. Both shades are available in Bayonet (B22) and Edison Screw (E27).
To redeem this special Make it and Mend it 20% discount just visit the Groovebulb online shop and enter MIMIGROOVE on the shopping basket page when you buy.
You’re off on your holidays – yeah! But, unfortunately, we’re in the midst of recession and you’ve spent all your available cash on the actual trip, leaving nothing left to spend on your holiday wardrobe – boo hoo! But wait… what about that overstuffed wardrobe and those boxes of unwanted clothes in the spare room? You probably have the makings of a great new summer wardrobe without even leaving your home.
» We show you how to reinvent last year’s holiday wardrobe
Organised clothes swapping – or swishing – events seem to be springing up all over the place at the moment. They’re a great way to pass on summer items you’ve grown tired of and pick up something new for yourself. Swishing events can have different rules to follow, so if you’re thinking about going to one for the first time here’s a quick overview of the main types.
» The Make it and Mend it guide to swishing
Make a statement this summer with a fabulous chunky necklace. The wonderful and slightly kooky designer Consuela Castiglioni of Marni, filled her catwalk show with big, bold jewellery. The most prominent item was the statement necklace, like the piece on the left.
» This way to DIY summer bling
That summer wardrobe would also benefit from a little needle and thread time. So start sewing on those missing buttons and mending hems. We’ve got the lowdown on all those embarrassing basics about sewing that most of us really won’t confess to not knowing about.
» Sewing school this way – a stitch in time saves a fortune
You’ve found that perfect skirt, but it is just a bit too long. Here’s how to save money on getting it adjusted. Hemming is a simple sewing task that’s easy to learn, and it’s one that will prove invaluable to you. If you know how to hem, you can breathe life into old clothes. You can shorten skirts and trousers and alter tops and dresses and refashion lots of your clothes.
» Let’s get hemming!
Even people who love to whip their sewing machine out at every opportunity, will draw the line at updating their footwear. But you don’t have to sew to give your old shoes a new lease of life. A great deal can be accomplished with fabric pens and spray paints, not to mention the odd accessory. Broken jewellery, odd earrings, bits of ribbon, small pieces of old lace can all be put to work poshing up your feet.
» Updating old shoes – put your best foot forward
Join us – it’s free. Get our newsletter & enter our great competitions.
All you had to do for your chance to win was tell us how you’d spend the £150 B&Q gift card to turn your hallway into a welcoming showcase for your home. Inspired by a trip to the Ideal Home Exhibition, Hilary has been thinking all about hallways and she’s got some great ideas. Even though you’re too late to enter our competition – why not give your hall a makeover anyway?
The Competition is now closed – the winners will be announced shortly
According to the American Cleaning Institute, it seems that 14% of us have dismissed the seasonal big clean completely as an outdated habit belonging in the 1950s. Odd given that 38% women and 24% of men suffer real stress living in a messy environment! So If living in a clean environment makes us feel good, why aren’t more of us cleaning our homes?
Cleaning is the new therapy. Psychologists have found that there’s a marked difference in mood before and after cleaning chores, just as with a therapy session.
Research maintains that a clean house makes people feel happy, satisfied, comfortable and healthy. According to Carol Nemeroff, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Psychology at Arizona State University, spring cleaning may have been in existence for ages. This psychological boost may be derived from a satisfied urge to clean out our nests.
“The urge we have to clean may be a trait that is biologically programmed into us,” says Nemeroff. “And, because we know that good hygiene leads to good health, cleaning may ultimately be related to a basic survival instinct.”
Brian Sansoni, Vice President of Communication for The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA), which examines cleaning habits and behaviours through its National Cleaning Surveys, agrees. He says
“Let’s face it, most of us get an emotional kick out of having a cleaner, de-cluttered home.”
>> Spring cleaning – any time of the year
>> Make your own natural household cleaners
>> How to de-clutter your home
>> How to clean paintwork
>> How to clean kitchen appliances
>> How to clean drawers and cupboards (without losing your mind)
>> How to clean carpets and curtains]]>
We’ve teamed up with B&Q to run a competition to win a £150 gift card - check it out now, the competition runs during April 2013.
Hallways are the first impression people have of your home. In a way it showcases how you live. If your hall’s cluttered, dark and littered with kids shoes, you’re probably not creating the impression you’d like. This is especially true if you’re thinking of selling your home. In a struggling market you want viewers to walk into the wow factor.
Making over your hall needn’t cost the earth… with a little effort and imagination there are many cheap and easy ways to create a real effect. Here are some thoughts and then why not have a go at our £150 B&Q competition.
A hallway cluttered with shoes, coats, buggies and bikes isn’t a warm welcome. Your home is meant to be your stress-free retreat from the world, but dodging toys and skateboards everyday will only make you feel more stressed. So rule number one….clear the clutter.
Discard anything you no longer use or need – sell it on eBay or Freecyle… or give it away, but don’t hold on to it.
Give your hallway a really good clean up.
Scrub the woodwork with sugar soap to remove any marks. You may find that this is all you need and you don’t need to repaint. And wash the carpets and floors! Your carpet may be a little worn and past its best, but rather than shell out on a new one, think about a less expensive runner or rug to freshen it all up. Or just get rid of it completely and sand or paint the floorboards. If they’re not smart enough to expose, cover them with lino for some great effects.
Tips on spring cleaning
In the old days hallways were expensive rooms to decorate because it was so difficult to reach all the way up the walls of the stairwell, which meant creating lots of complex contraptions to cover the stairs. But these days telescopic paint rollers make it a doddle to freshen up your hallway, however high the walls.
Unless you really want to create a strong impression, it’s probably best to stick to light, neutral colours that allow in as much light as possible – Dulux even do a range designed to increase the light.
Start researching your paint on the B&Q site
We’re still loving wallpaper and no wonder… you can use it very sparingly for stunning effects. So you can even invest in single rolls of £15 or more which may be all you need to make a feature of a single wall or just below the dado. And why not think of less conventional things to paper – cupboard doors, perhaps? B&Q’s online wallpaper range is pretty impressive.
Tips on wallpapering from the Make it and Mend it blog
Use your wallspace to show-off family photographs or other images that you love. Picture frames are surprisingly inexpensive and you can paint, decoupage or finish them to suit any style you have in mind.
Pictures on the wall can help to turn a house into a home. Group them together to create overall effects – you don’t need to spend a fortune on artwork. You can buy cheap frames and paint them up or cover them with decoupage to create a stunning effect. Use pictures from magazines, book pages, fabric remnants or even pieces of left over wall paper to create artwork.
Mirrors are a great way to give the impression of space and light and they don’t have to be huge. Mix and match styles. Again, boot sales are great places to find real gems.
Make artwork from remnants
Decoupage a photo frame
Get a verdigris effect on wooden frames
A well placed chair, a stunning lamp, or beautiful mirror can really draw the eye and add drama to your entrance hall. Gussy up some old furniture and see what you can achieve.
Mend, refurbish, renovate and upcycle old dinning chairs
Renovate an old chair
How to paint a table with chalk paint
Decoupage a chest of drawers
But fear not, we have some great tips and fantastic projects to help you get your garden furniture back into tip top condition and ready for those summer parties.
A beautiful garden is therapy in itself. Take some time out to see what you can do to make your garden into a real sanctuary… » Create a restorative garden
Have you got your garden furniture out yet? Is it looking less than happy? You don’t need to worry about buying new furniture. With some TLC and little elbow grease you can have those chairs looking like new.
»Restoring plastic furniture
»Caring for wooden furniture
»How to refurbish rattan and wicker furniture
Sometimes we all have to admit defeat and sometimes that furniture is simply past redemption. But don’t worry if it is. Don’t think that you have to go and spend a fortune of new chairs etc. These clever projects will help you to create the garden of your dreams at a fraction of the price of buying new
»Recycling chairs from the rubbish tip – a step by step tutorial for bringing old chairs back to life.
»Making unusual garden furniture – Stop! Don’t throw that old bed away. It’s just crying out to be made into a glamorous garden day bed.
»How to make a three tiered planter – more ways to recycle those unwanted garden pots.
»Making garden candle holders – recycle your old garden pots into these fab candle holders for the garden
»How to make a herb planter from an old grate – Clare F shows us how to create an unusual herb garden from an old fire grate.
»Make your own barbeque – You don’t need to spend a fortune on a barbecue. Anne has some great ideas and inspiration for making your own Barbie.
»Get creative with containers - from old bras to old boots – we’ve got tons of inspiration for recycling household objects into fantastic plant containers.
Fancy growing your own food for you barbecue? Imagine the ooh and aahs that your food will get when you tell your friends that you grown your own dinner.
»How to grow your own strawberries
Join us – it’s free. Get our newsletter & enter our great competitions.
One thing that’s certain: Easter doesn’t have to hinge on buying chocolate wrapped in an awful lot of packaging and shaped like an egg.
An egg can be put to a number of uses during Easter.
Egg painting, for instance. Gently blow out the contents, convert those into scrambled egg, omelettes, cakes… then paint your shells, and for added effect, hang them on cut branches for an Easter tree!
But our Hilary’s a mine of information on eggs – her ideas just require you to be a little bit more careful when you crack open your boiled egg. You can then turn the shells into mini flower arrangements, or decorative candles. You can also use them as gardening aids and a food supplement.
» More on making eggshell candles – this time with painted linings
» More of Hilary’s eggy inspirations
But I think we should all aspire to the hen’s approach to egg packaging – keep it simple. One option is to buy eggs that have been simply wrapped in foil (which can be reused and recycled). If you want a little extra ‘bling’ you can pop them in a re-useable Easter egg gift box.
Smaller foil wrapped eggs are great for Easter egg hunts. We used to organise an annual one in the garden for my daughter when she was little and then moved into the park once the children were a little older.
» Clare F’s got some great tips for organising an Easter egg hunt
You could also put small chocolate eggs in a home made box. » Download the templates for our little giftboxes and use them for Easter
Hot Cross Buns are another Easter favourite and we’ve got a really easy recipe for you to try and make your own – and at anytime, because they are so tasty – why only eat them at Easter? » Recipe for Hot Cross Buns
I have a personal passion for Simnel cake. Everybody here at MIAMI Towers knows I can’t bake for toffee but I’ve sampled enough cake made by other people in my time to have a favourite Simnel recipe, which I slip to more proficient friends, on the basis that they’ll give me a slice of the finished product. » Delia Smith’s Simnel cake recipe
And let’s not forget chocolate! » Easter egg mould
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The lovely Caroline in Clare OB’s office was handing out a few of these to colleagues and we just had to share the idea. So as well as Easter greetings cards and yummy chocolate, get out those knitting needles! These chicks are so simple to make, you could knock several of these out in time for Easter and they’d make a Easter holiday activity if the weather’s rotten. Children to small to knit can help with stuffing the head and adding the eyes and beak. And you need so little wool for each one it’s a great way to use up your left overs.
Thanks to Caroline’s mum, we have have knitting pattern which has been tried and tested for years in their house.
1. Cast on 26 stitches.
2. Work 1 row through the back of the stitches.
3. Increase 1 stich at the beginning of the next 16 rows until you get to 42 stitches.
4. Cast off 11 stitches and knit to the end of the row (31 stiches).
5. Then cast off another 11 stiches and knit to the end of the row so you have 20 stitches left.
6. Increase by 1 stich at the start of every row for the next 4 rows (until 24 stitches).
7. Knit 4 rows normally.
8. Next row knit 2 stitches then 2 together, then 2 together… until the last 2 which you knit normally (14 stiches). Repeat for the last row (9 stitche).
9. Loop a long thread through the remaining stitches and pull the thread tightly this forms the top of the head.
10. Sew the row ends of the head together to start of cast off stitches.
11. Stuff the head with a cotton wool ball (or similar).
12. Then wind wool tightly around the neck and pull tight (this should create a ball shape for the head).
13. Sew the cast-off stitches together then the row-ends down to the tail. Leave a gap at the bottom for the egg to go in.
14. Sew eyes with black or brown wool/thread and cut of a scrap of orange felt for the beak and stitch into place.
Finally, insert your egg… and start another. Caroline reckons her Mum knocks one of these out in 30 minutes! Happy Easter knitting.
NB Never use a fluorescent bulb for this project-The powder used to coat the inside of them is made from phosphor and is toxic
Put on your safety glasses and locate the solder point – a little silver plug on the bottom of the bulb. Grip this with your pliers and give it a good twist. This should break the contact and break the wires attached to the filament
Once the contact has been pulled out, take your screwdriver and carefully crack the ceramic insulator. The metal bit, you’ve just dealt with makes contact with the electricity supply. The ceramic bit you’re tackling now stops us getting an electric shock when we touch a plugged in bulb. Break the ceramic material a bit at a time. Don’t rush.
After the ceramic insulator has been removed you’ll be able to see the insides of the bulb. You’ll now need to use the screwdriver, again to break the glass. This doesn’t need much force as it is quite delicate, but do be careful of any flying chips of glass (why safety glasses are essential). You may have to shake the broken bits out of the light bulb to clear it out thoroughly.
See the video below for more details on this process, but you should now have an empty lightbulb.
Attach wire to the neck of the bulb so that you can hang it up. You can also add beads etc for decoration at this stage.
Carefully fill with water and add small flowers.
There’s something special about making your own hot cross buns and filling the house with the smell of spice, citrus and warm, yeasty baking. Like most bread baking, it’s not hard, you just need to plan time for raising the dough. So have a go! This recipe for home made hot cross buns is delicious – and not just for Easter.
You also need 1 large baking tray lined with parchment paper or even better, Bake O Glide (excellent stuff)
Measure the flour, salt, spices, sugar and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Mix and add the orange zest and currants. Make a well in the centre.
Measure and combine your water and milk. Beat the egg and melted butter into the liquid.
Pour the liquid into the well in the flour mix. Use your hands to combine everything into a sticky dough. Turn it out and knead until smooth and elastic – about 5-10 minutes.
Rest the dough in the bowl for about an hour, or until it’s doubled in size.
‘Knock-back’ the dough to its original size and shape it into 12 equal sized balls. Place them on a lined baking tray and flatten them slightly with the palm of your hand. Cover and place in a warm place to rise for about 40 minutes.
Mix the 2tbs flour with 2 tbs water. The consistency you’re after is a wet paste, so you may need a little more water.
Heat your oven to 220C / Gas Mark 7 / 425F.
When your hot cross buns have risen, put the flour and water mix into a piping bag and gently pipe a cross onto each bun.
Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Keep checking. Just a minute too long could start burning the buns – sugar content means they turn faster than standard bread.
Gently warm the golden syrup and as soon as you take out the baked buns (they will probably be touching each other), quickly brush with the hot syrup.
Leave to cool, tear apart and eat fresh with butter. Delicious toasted as well!]]>