Posts by: Gemma

Maybe it’s just me but I love buying the lottery tickets where you have to scratch off the grey block to reveal your fate. My mind races as I imagine everything I could do (or more likely buy!) with that extra cash; that Chanel dress, a holiday in the Bahamas, a new car, a new house…

I admit, it usually ends in heart-breaking disappointment, you win nothing, or worse, you win 10p. But, what if you could design them yourselves? Admitedly it would lose the ‘what if‘ factor, but then the prizes could be more fun.

For children, home-made scratch cards could be an incentive to tidy their room, gambling on whether they win a Mars Bar or a trip to the zoo. For couples, the concept could be a little naughtier but what a wonderful way of spicing things up. They’re also a great way to aid a secret Santa and can be the decider in an endless ‘what shall we do this weekend?’ saga.

I’m thinking about making a batch and keeping them in a jar in the kitchen – it’ll be an excellent perk-me-up on those rainy days when I just feel like a treat.

So after all that build up, how can we make our own? I found a handy blog post from ArtMind which gives a step by step guide:

Here is what you need:

Cardboard, a print-out of your lottery ticket, glue stick, sticky back plastic (contact paper), metallic acrylic paint (preferably silver) and washing liquid.

Method: (Note: the paper cutting was prepared beforehand so that part of the tutorial has been skipped)

1. Beforehand you print out a design that you want to be on the scratch off lottery tickets. If your printer can take thick paper you can print it directly on the cardboard and skip this part. If you do it in two steps, it is nice to get a fun color background paper and glue the design onto the card.





2. Then you take a piece of sticky back plastic and put it onto the design.







3. Mix some metallic acrylic paint with washing liquid. Try to use 1 part washing liquid and 2 parts of paint. Mix the substance.






4. Paint the plastic part on the ticket and let it dry. Make sure that the picture underneath the paint is hidden. Add another layer if this is not the case.






5. And then… scratch away!



Tagged with:

As leaves drop from the trees we see our world change from summer green to tones of red, yellow, orange and brown; a beautiful combination. As Autum now turns to winter, here are a few ideas about how we can infuse one of my favourite autum colours, mustard yellow, into the home.


Tagged with:

Children are often at their happiest when given the time to simply scribble. Give them a packet of brightly coloured pens, a selection of paint and thrown in some glitter for good measure. Once the initial excitement has passed, the home settles to a gently hum of small creative minds. It may only last half an hour but that’s still something!

The thing is, these scribbles and random lashings of paint, often only clutter a kitchen fridge or pinboard. The sheer volume created can often mean a rotation system is put in place and memories are slowly hidden away in dusty attic boxes. What if there was a way of using your children’s creations to create your own form of art?

I came across a blog post on Putti Prapancha which gives a little incite into how adults can take control and create order in a sea of colourful imagination. Roopa re purposed her daughter’s drawings as Easter cards but the same can be done for Christmas and general art around the home.

Easter bunny

Easter Chick

Easter egg

Why not get creative with your shapes and creative something really abstract. I think this idea would work wonderfully with  silhouettes  of your children as they grow. Whatever your style, this is a great way to make more of your children’s art work.


Tagged with:

As someone who will always be trying to travel my way through life, these lamps really appeal to me. I love travelling and have spent a great deal of time and money backpacking my way around the globe. This is such a simple yet inexpensive way to infuse my passion for all things globe-trotting in my home.

One globe, two lamp shades: genius

This idea got me researching other creative ways in which a traveller can display their passion across their home. Here’s what I came up with:

I love this; time to find myself some clear glue and an abundance of maps!

Old black and white maps can be just as interesting

A brilliant way to remember your most loved places

The door to another world

The adventurous bathroom

Spice up an old chest of drawers with some subtle holiday memories

Home is where the heart is but where is the heart today?

And if you just can't decide, cover everything with maps!


Tagged with:

A short but sweet post; I’ve just come across this fabulous chair on a blog called  Jeri’s Organizing and Decluttering News. I want one of these in my life!

The bookinist from Nils Holger Moormann costs 2,187 euros. I better start saving my pennies!


Tagged with:

Leaving for university can be emotionally tough on a teen, I know that the move away from the family home hit me hard in the first few months. I have been out of university for some years now but a recent chat with my Mum highlighted an issue that, until now, had never occurred to me.

Upon flying the nest, I left my mother at home with only my Dad and a younger brother. The impact of this sudden male-centric change never occurred to me. With rising fees and student protests across London, financial worries often cloud the fact university is a big deal for the entire family and not just the students involved.

Although not totally relevant to this blogs usual area of interest, I think this is a real issue that needs to be talked about. When doing some further research, I found that many universities don’t provide support for parents. I suppose my mum was lucky, she still had her boys to look after her, but what about those single parents who suddenly find themselves alone?

Research has suggested that with university fees set to rise, many will have to limit their education choices to those local to home. However for others, like myself, home didn’t offer me a huge range of options. On Monday I read a parenting and education survey called Degrees of Separation. Conducted by the University of Sheffield, the results have shown that 70% of parents will find their child leaving for university “emotionally difficult” with 40% believing that they will miss their child more than their child will miss them. With teens around the country stretching their wings and flying the nest, it is difficult for the parents who have put a roof over their head for all those years. I can admit that I didn’t consider the effect my departure would have on the family rhythm as much as I should have. 

So what can we do about this? I think more support is needed for families from universities themselves, especially smaller families who really feel the gap of a child. It is also important to get this talked about within the media and the education system; the more informed parents and teens feel, the better they can adapt to radical family change. I didn’t realise the toll it tool on my own mother until she told me. I hope that by writing this blog piece more parents will know that it is ok to worry and they are not alone. The University of Sheffield actually provided tips (copied in below) for parents in their survey, which although relatively generic, is a really good start. Let’s just hope more universities use this example and continue the conversation.Happy households can only help towards a balanced society right?


Hints and tips from University of Sheffield:

  • Take practical steps with your children to ensure you are confident they are prepared. Whether it’s shopping with them for basic kitchen equipment or making sure they have the right stationery, it can help your peace of mind.        
  • If the student has had health or psychological difficulties (e.g. depression, an eating disorder) in their teens or ever been diagnosed with dyslexia, dyspraxia etc, DO encourage them to share this information with the relevant service in the University. Starting university can be stressful and old issues can recur.  There will be lots of help available, provided in confidential settings.      
  • Stay in contact with your children – but don’t overdo it. You want them to feel they have all your support if they need it, but you need to recognise they need space to go it alone.        
  • Help out your children with practical tools they can use: a printed weekly budget sheet for example – see our online money planner They may not use it all the time, but you’ll be confident you’ve helped them out as much as you can. If you haven’t already taught them how to shop economically, now’s the time!      
  • Make sure that they know how to cook at least two dishes that they like – at least then you know they can look after their stomach.        
  • Remember that universities invest in lots of services to help students: at Sheffield we have a university health service, residential mentoring support, a counselling service, front line information and advice based in the Students’ Union building, a multi-faith chaplaincy and personal tutoring support… It’s hard to let go, but they are in safe hands.        
Tagged with:

This year Christmas has crept up on me. Suddenly there are lights on Oxford Street and it’s dark at 5.00pm. So before I’m too late it’s time to get those cards done and sent.

With money on the mind, many people will be getting crafty and creating their own cards this year. I’ve collected some great examples of how you can put a bit of yourself into your Christmas this year.

Tagged with:

So it’s that time of year again and the pumpkins are out in force. Instead of carving this year, why not take some hints from an amazing blog post I found on hellogiggles! I particularly love the first one, simply melted crayons!

Tagged with:

Following my post about getting creative with pizza boxes, I though it best to give further excuse to wash down those pizza’s with a couple of boxes of wine… yes I meant boxes!

This floor is not only a great way of displaying your true taste, it’s also recycling and, to a certain extent, money saving (depending how nice you like you wine!). The trick is to find as many different wines as possible, maybe even add in some port and whiskey boxes for variety.

This is definitely one for the wine lovers out there and for all those just starting, here’s a fantastic reason to drink as much as you can! Cheers!

Tagged with:

I first saw glass floats used as home decoration in Australia… after seeing this image I am now definitely getting some… I love it!

If you want to find out more about glass floats then visit this great blog: Glass Float Junkie.

Tagged with:

Need something interesting and unique for a empty wall in your home? Want to make more of your family photos? How about this…

You could start off as a mere sapling and nurture your very own giant oak as your family grows. Even better, make use of those lovely old sepia photos that are gathering dust in the loft. However you choose to do it, this is a wonderfully visual addition to any home!

I found this image on Fresh Paint Artist, a website dedicated to the artisitc works of Linnette Lee in Kansas.

Tagged with:

A few weeks ago I spent an afternoon at Highclere Castle in Berkshire, the set of the very popular British TV series, Downton Abbey. I spent the majority of the time captivated by the ceilings, resulting not only in severe neck ache but also inspiration. The intricate paintings were beautifully framed by cornicing and medallions and got me thinking, how could I make art out of those?

Once home, I began my hunt on Google and found this image on Apartment Now that I see it here, it seems such a wonderfully simple idea. Why strain your eyes and ruin your neck to see these beautifully detailed pieces?Made to be painted you can keep it simple with muted tones that don’t distract from the detail or maybe even be a bit creative and highlight certain points . I’d far rather have these on the wall than the traditional plates.

These medallions are very detailed and quite old fashioned in style, a reason why I love them. However for the more modern home you could try a contemporary design. I found a great selection on UK Home Interiors ranging from the traditional through to art deco and contemporary. Whatever your style, this is a creative and artistic way to decorate your walls.

Tagged with:
Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.