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Simple Handmade Craft Guide: Fabric Bow Keyring

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
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This craft for a fabric bow is super simple and easy to customise. Once you’ve created a keyring, why not try out different fabric patterns and fastenings to create really unique pieces? You could attach them to zip pulls, hair clips, necklaces or anything else your heart desires!

Sykes-Craft-Guide-Fabric-Bow-Keyring

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What You Need

1.017

Fabric, scissors, fabric glue, a key ring and iron (unpictured)

How to

Step one and two

Step 1: Cut three lengths of fabric measuring 15cm x 4cm

Step 2: For each piece of fabric, neaten the edges and provide structure by making a 1cm fold on either side. Run small dots of glue along the centre of the fabric to stick the folds in place. Leave to dry fully. To further bond the fabric, run a hot iron over the seam.

Steps Three to Five1

 

Step 3: Take a length of fabric, raw edges facing up, and mark the centre with a dot of glue. Bring each end to meet in the centre and hold in place to secure. Allow to dry and do the same with a second piece of fabric. These will be the bows.

Step 4: To create the bow tail, cut 4cm off one end of the remaining length of fabric to make it 11cm long. Keep the bit you cut off as this will be used to hold the design together.

Step 5: As an optional final detail, create triangular cuts at either end of the tail length of fabric. Run glue across the raw edges to neaten and prevent frayed edges.

Steps six and seven1

Step 6: To assemble the bow, layer the two fabric bows on top of the centre of the bow tails. Hold in place by wrapping the final piece of fabric across the centre, leaving a small loop at one side, then fix it in place with glue.

Step 7: Once dried, add the keyring to the loop and you’re done!

For more fantastic crafts from Sophie visit her blog, The Things She Makes or follow her on twitter.

Want to see another craft? Click here to go back to the guide’s main post.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Simple Handmade Craft Guide: Scented Candles

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
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Scented candles are one of life’s little luxuries. They fill rooms with wonderful scents and the flames add a cosy atmosphere to any room. This tutorial from Rebecca at Really Pretty Useful shows you how to create winter scented candles easily and inexpensively.

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Who doesn’t love a scented candle – especially at Christmas? But they can be ridiculously expensive which might put you off buying them. Making them at home, especially if you want to make lots to give as presents, works out much cheaper. And while you might be worried about making a mess, if you use soy wax, which is natural and chemical free, it’s super easy to clean up.

Scented Candles

What you need

Soy wax – widely available online, it comes in flakes.
Essential oils – for the winter spiced scent use cinnamon, clove and orange
Tabbed votive wicks – also available online
Some pretty jars, votives or small glasses
Saucepan
Wooden spoon
Funnel
Scissors

How to

Step 1: To work out how much wax you need for each of your candle, fill your jar with wax flakes – it should be tightly packed – and double it.

Step 2: Put the wax into a pan and melt gently over a low heat until all the flakes have dissolved. Stir to encourage any clumps of wax to break up. Turn the heat off and leave for a minute to cool.

Step 3: Add in your essential oils – to create the ‘winter spiced’ scent, use 18 drops of orange oil, 12 drops of cinnamon and 8 drops of clove. It may smell strong at first but the smell will fade with the heat of the wax. Give it a stir before using a funnel to pour the wax into jars.

Step 4: Allow the wax to cool and turn slightly opaque before putting in the wick. Once the wax is cloudy and thick, but not set, push the wick to the bottom of the jar and it will stand by itself. Leave your candle to harden overnight and trim the wick leaving 1cm above the wax.

Step 5:  Tie the jars with ribbon or twine to give as a gift, or light the candle to fill your home with the wonderful scent you have created.

Tips

If you notice any little splashes of wax on your jar or worktop, just run the hot tap, soak a cloth and wipe the wax away. Soy wax melts at a lower temperature than paraffin wax so it’s much easier to clean.

If you have any left over wax pour it into a paper cup to either use again (cut the cup up so you can get it out and re melt the lump), or pop it in the bin. Don’t pour leftover wax down the sink or you’ll clog the drains.

You can see more from Rebecca and her stunning photography at her blog, Really Pretty Useful.

Want to see another craft? Click here to go back to the guide’s main post.

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Simple Handmade Craft Guide: Crochet Tablet Case

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
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Much like mobile phones, tablet screens are liable to scratches especially when they’re rattling about in your bag! To help save your tablet from any unwanted scratches, why not create a crochet cover? Once you’ve mastered the basic crochet stitches, you’ll create this in no time!

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If you’re looking to make a handmade gift for the technology lover in your life then why not try out this crochet tablet cover? It’s really easy to make once you have mastered the basic crochet stitches you will be able to finish one in no time.

Crochet tablet case

What You Will Need

Aran/worsted weight yarn in three different colours. This tutorial uses Stylecraft Special Aran in Lavender (A),
Camel (B) and Black (C)
Crochet hook (4.5mm)
Two big buttons
Embroidery thread and needle
Darning needle

UK Crochet Stitches Terminology

ch – chain
st – stitch
dc – double crochet
htr – half treble crochet
tr – treble crochet
ss – slip stitch

How to

1. Using A, ch 43. This is going to form the bottom of the case and measures the length of the tablet.
2. htr into the third ch from the hook. htr to end, turn and htr back to the beginning. ss to fasten.
3. Now you are ready to begin the granny stripes. ch 3, 2 tr into same st. Skip 3 st and 3tr into next st. Repeat skipping three stitches and 3tr into next until you get back to the start of the row. ss to join, leaving a gap of three st in between the clusters. Fasten off.
4. Join B. ch 3, 2 tr into same st. Skip 3 st and 3tr into next st. Repeat until you get back to the start of the row. ss to join, leaving a gap of three st in between the clusters. Fasten off.
5. Join C. ch 3, 2 tr into same st. Skip 3 st and 3tr into next st. Repeat until you get back to the start of the row. ss to join, leaving a gap of three st in between the clusters. Fasten off.
6. Repeat steps 3-5 four times, alternating the colour in sequence.
7. Now it’s time to make the flap: Starting at one end of the cover in a gap space, join A. tr in each st across. At the end, ch 3.
8. Turn. tr back across to the end. ch 1.
9. Turn. dc across and when you get to the end ss to the previous row. Fasten off.
10. Weave in ends using a darning needle.
11. To make the fastening: ch8, then fasten off, leaving long ends for sewing. Count seven stitches along from the edge of the flap, and with the wool ends, sew the chain into place. Skip two spaces then sew the other end to the flap. Repeat on the other side. Weave in ends.
12. Fold the flap down and work out where the buttons need to be then sew them in place using the embroidery needle and thread.
And that’s it! You’ve just made a lovely, cosy cover for your tablet to help protect it from bumps and scrapes.

If you enjoyed this DIY and would like to see more tutorials and crochet patterns from Kate then head over to her blog Beak Up Crafts. You can also find her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Spotlight on Cottages Still Available for New Year

Saturday, December 6th, 2014
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The end of the year is nigh, and it won’t be long until we bid 2014 a fond farewell and say a big ‘hello’ to 2015! If you still don’t have any New Year’s plans then never fear, as it’s not too late. Whether you want to party your way in to next year or welcome 2015 in a much more subdued manner, we still have a number of properties available that are perfect no matter your intentions this 31st December! Below are just some of the properties still available for booking, but do take a look at our website for the full range of properties still waiting to be snapped up to host your New Year celebrations.

Tyddyn Goronwy

Talybont, Wales – Ref. 4084

4084

Dine in style in the character-filled dining room of Tyddyn Goronwy

The lovely Tyddyn Goronwy in Wales is the perfect New Year hideout for a larger family. Sleeping 10 in six bedrooms, this five tick property is full of character and with it’s huge list of amenities including WiFi, an open fire and six TVs, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.

Norah’s Nook

Kirkbymoorside, North York Moors and Coast – Ref. 911836

Noah's Nook in Farndale

Enjoy a New Years getaway at Norah’s Nook

Ideal for a small group is Norah’s Nook near Kirkbymoorside in Yorkshire. The property is set within the owner’s grounds and offers guests stunning views of the North York Moors National Park; the perfect location for a New Year’s walk to clear that hangover!

Quayside Cottage

Conwy, Wales – Ref. 21843

Quayside Cottage

Countdown to 2015 in luxury at Quayside Cottage

Quayside Cottage is perfect for those couples who want to spend the beginning of the year as they mean to go on; together. This cosy property sleeps two and one dog and is the ideal romantic New Year retreat. With cosy sofas, an open fire and underfloor heating, this property is the ultimate in luxury romance and is a fantastic backdrop for a couple’s New Year celebrations.

Bryn Meirion

Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales – Ref. 21899

Bryn Meirion

Enjoy New Year in this delightful Welsh holiday cottage

Not only does Bryn Meirion provide a great base for families or groups of friends to explore the surrounding area, it also provides a great place to bring in the New Year. Enjoy nibbles and drinks in the open plan living area before heading out onto the property’s enclosed patio area to watch the fireworks. Perfect!

Bryn Meirion is currently offering a huge £322 discount on stays over the festive period. Stay here over New Year for a week beginning the 29th December for just £400! 

Singing Heart Cottage

Lochgilphead, Scotland – Ref. 914763

Singing Heart Cottage in Scotland

Get away from it all for New Years in Singing Heart Cottage

If your New Year’s resolution is to cut back on the television and be a little more switched off, why not start 2015 as you mean to go on in Singing Heart Cottage? This delightful property sleeping four and two dogs is perfect for getting the family together this New Year without the distractions of emails, social media or online games.

Book Yourself a New Year Break

Hogmanay Celebration Fireworks

image via Flickr

Our New Year’s breaks begin on the 29th December, so there is still time to book a getaway! Head over to our website to see all of the properties that are still available for New Year, whether you will be staying on your own, as a twosome or bringing the whole brood along!

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.

Winter Beach Activity Ideas

Thursday, December 4th, 2014
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When you think of the beach, what is the first thing that comes to mind? I bet it’s clear blue skies, sun bathing and eating ice cream. At least that’s what would come to mind for many of us, but there is no need to ignore the lovely beaches of the British coastline when the skies aren’t so clear, the sun isn’t as hot and you’d much prefer a warm mug of tea than an ice cream cone! With this in mind we’ve come up with some ideas of things to do on the beach when it isn’t exactly bikini weather.

Have Fun in an Arcade

Brighton Pier Arcades

Some of the Sykes online marketing team heading into the Brighton Pier arcade.

Whether you’re a high flyer on those 2p machines or a break dancing whizz on dance machines (like a few members of the Sykes’ online team…) seaside arcades are too much fun to pass up and any trip to the beach isn’t complete without trying your luck at winning a few strips of tickets and trading them in for a souvenir of your trip.

Take Your Dog To The Beach

Westie dog on a beach

image via flickr

Throughout the summer months, many beaches have a restriction on when dogs can be brought onto the beach. In winter, these restrictions are mostly lifted so why not take your best friend for a day trip to the beach? It may be a tad chilly but wrap yourself up, take your dog’s favourite ball and play a game of catch! You’ll soon warm up and your furry friends’ tail won’t stop wagging.

Beach Games

Kite Flying on Bridlington Beach, Yorkshire

image via flickr

In the summer, our beaches are full to the brim with sunbathers, paddlers and budding architects building fantastic sandcastles so there often isn’t much room for playing beach games. The off-peak months are the ideal time to make the most of how quiet the beach is. Pack up a flask of tea, wear an extra layer and head down to the quiet seaside to play a game of volleyball, football, beach cricket or try your hand at flying a kite.

Go Fossil Hunting

Fossils

image via flickr

Quieter seasons at the beach are perfect for spending a morning or afternoon on the hunt for fossils. Without groups of people hiding up potential fossil hideaways, there is much more space to hunt for something prehistoric – who knows what you might find? For more information and tips on fossil hunting take a look at this post on the Sykes Cottages blog from last year.

Partake in Water Sports

Surfer

image via flickr

When the temperature drops it might not seem like a good idea to head into the sea but actually the colder months can often provide ideal conditions for partaking in water sports. The beach is quieter and there aren’t often any paddlers to worry about, plus the breeze can make activities such as kite surfing an absolute, well, breeze.

If these ideas have got you inspired to be beside the seaside this winter, take a look at our selection of properties near a beach and book yourself a little getaway!

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Leanne Dempsey

By Leanne Dempsey

A lover of reading, eating and shopping Leanne will often be found spending time with her two pugs or snapping away on instagram. A big fan of the city, She likes nothing more than getting away for a weekend break in the UK, her favourite places being London and Bath.