Top carats – two quick DIY gold jewellery tutorials

Know your way around wire and solder and you’re golden.

DIY jewellery selfie

For various personal, uninteresting and probably inexcusable reasons I have had a lazy weekend, so I chose two tutorials to match my schedule, involving gold wire, solder and substantially more in the way of creative problem solving than effort and patience. It was one of those weekends, so perversely I thought of two tutorials to match, for the following items I happened to be coveting:

C. Wonder Tied Bow Ring

By Philippe 14 Karat Gold Fill Love In Heart Necklace

You will need

DIY toolsNB: You will also need at least one pair of long-nosed pliers or, ideally, two, as you’d be working with thick, stubborn wire.



Quite easy

Unfortunately, these projects weren’t as easy as I thought they would be. Solder and aluminium can be extremely temperamental to work with and although the aluminium wire I worked with was soft, it does help to be a competent modeller.


Hard to say. I’d say the ring and necklace each took me about 20 minutes to complete, excluding the soldering, which can take a while to get right.

To make the necklace…


Using pliers, bend and cut the wire into your intended design.

Attach the chain by opening the jump rings, linking them to the shape and closing them with the pliers. Then, close the top with a thick, generous blob of solder.

Finally, attach the clasp to the chain with jump rings.

DIY By Philippe  Gold Fill Love In Heart Necklace

To make the ring…


Wrap the wire around your finger and twist it to secure it at the top, making sure it’s loose enough to slip off easily. Give it an extra 2-3 twists to stop it from unravelling.

Twist 1-2 loops on either side and cut off the excess wire at the edges.Method2

Fix the ‘knot’ where your twists and loops are with solder at the back, in order to make it look more like a smooth bow and less like a nest of tangled wires.

DIY C.Wonder tied bow ring

The Trends on Thursday: Fur and clothing

Keep warm and catwalk on the wild side.

Card selfie1

Top – Miss Selfridge/ Coat – DIY / Collar – DIY/ Bracelet – DIY

This year has been a fertile harvest of DIY and styling inspiration with clothes that don’t try to skirt the rules of comfort and practicality. I’m proud that I cycle whenever and wherever I can, I live in a cold climate and although my looks apparently deceive many who guess my age, I no longer have the stamina to walk any respectable distance in heels. How grateful I was, then, for a year of flat shoes, trousers and backpacks. Now, for the real acid test of winter, comes  the piece de resistance, certainly for someone whose look is more quirky street style than quintessentially demure: fun faux fur.

card selfie3

From the tasty street photography bait of Shrimps furs to the animalistic opulence of Alexander McQueen, Fendi and Just Cavalli, it’s safe, in the dull, understatement sense of the word to say that there’s something for everyone to snuggle their way into this winter. Fur Insider asserts that “designers are energising conventional codes and redefining the ‘classic’ fur to create the most memorable statement fur pieces for the fall 2014 season.” They hit upon the nub of 2014’s angle on the fur paradigm, especially with faux fur: reinvention. Sure, it’s a dandy way to absolve your conscience of animal cruelty and astronomical expenditure but the space it occupies within fashion’s context of fantasy and extravagance – a realm supposedly unbound by the requirements of everyday practicality – carries more conceptual weight than that. Card selfie7Card selfie5Designers’ experiments with colour, texture and even silhouette have herded the fur medium away from the classic fur coat paradigm towards a young flamboyant vibe for which we surely have street style to thank. Why confine yourself within swathes of mink when you can try a spectrum of pantone hues and dramatic intarsia designs? Fur is not only undergoing a much-needed image (and surely PR if it’s faux) overhaul, but an evolution from conspicuous wealth and conservatism to a a snuggly statement piece of endless possibilities.

fur selfie9


Top and jacquard coat – Topshop / Trousers and necklace – River Island/ Gilet – DIY / Boots – DIY

So, whether it’s patchwork, patterns or vibrant colour; whether it’s a parka, statement coat or knee-length gilet or whether you just want to add some spot colour with a stole, faux fur is your go-to investment for this winter. As an animal-friendly alternative, the trend should make a killing!fur selfie10


That’ll be degradé – how to DIY a flecked Marco De Vincenzo degradé top


An easy-peasy painterly effect? Fleck yeah!

Furansu Jean Sweater

Marco De Vincenzo Blouse


In appreciation of the flecked degradé effect, exemplified in these tops by Furansu and Marco de Vincenzo (the new protégé of LVMH and one to watch, according to the Telegraph), I took on the look in DIY form. The warm, graduating hues and leaf-like dotted textures worked well as an evolution of this year’s art and brushstroke fad, so I’m dubbing it a trend, at least in my mind.

You will need…

Pebeo Setasilk DIY fashion paints

NB: The paints I used were from the ‘Setasilk’ range by Pébéo. I’d recommend a maximum of four colours, as they blend very easily.

The top I used was from Miss Selfridge.

I’d also strongly recommend some white spirit for cleaning up the inevitable resultant mess of the project!



Very easy

It doesn’t get much easier or more straightforward than this. The only challenge this project really presents is cleaning up afterwards and/or engineering it to avoid making a devastating, irreparable mess.


The top cost £25 and the paints cost about £4 each (although you might be luckier if you shop around).


Time spent on the actual project: About 10 minutes.

Time spent scrubbing like a fishwife possessed between each colour: About an hour and a half.

Degradé, yourself

Pour one of the silk paints into the bottle and spray it in the desired area.

Remember to apply the colour on both sides and take care to avoid ‘cross-contamination’ of colours, through smudging or putting the design face-down on wet paint.

When you are finished with a colour, pour the paint back into the container and rinse the spray bottle thoroughly to stop the colours from mixing, unless you want them to (it’s a great effect if you do, especially for ombre graduation). I find that it helps to fill the spray bottle with water a few times and spray it out until the water is completely clear.

Repeat the process with the other colours you intend to use and leave the top to dry. Finally, fix the paint by ironing it.

DIY Degradé top DIY Degradé top

The Trends on Thursday: Culottes of fun

DIY burberry trench coat replica culottes selfie

DIY burberry trench coat replica culottes selfie

Jacket – DIY/ Jumper and shorts – Topshop

I had it on the authority of numerous highly credible sources culottes were to be the statement trouser for this year and I am now finally coming round to the idea that there might, perchance be life for them beyond the proverbial dressing up box.

Fashion’s great insecurity and struggle to be taken seriously as a non-superficial aspect of art and culture is perhaps redeemed by the saving grace that it provides an unconscious extension of the wearer – an armour of illusion or an aura of expression. Granted, we are bound by humdrum logistical issues, whether they’re budget, practicality or occasion (my mother appeared to be from the generation that said “you look like you’re going to a party, people will be dressed casually in jeans and t-shirts!” and “put on something snug, like a fleece!”), but perhaps the reflection of self is in the spaces that we don’t notice. Think about how head shaving and uniform, for instance, are used in prison and the army, for psychological reinforcement of oppressing individual expression. Now, on another subject, think about why you might not go out in a mongoose costume (feel free to disagree but hear me out first) there’s no uniform there but, assuming you’re not one of the world’s most obnoxious or socially inept attention seekers, it isn’t you. What’s more it does not fit within the parameters of acceptability within which you interact. There, you see – interaction – we’ve suddenly got onto the subject of expression and significance within an interpersonal context , not merely of the self.  So, arguably it could be put that clothing, rather than being a conscious outward expression of  a person leaves a trail of discernible clues about them and their life, or at least a handy process of elimination as to what they’re not.

So what of sagging gaucho pants? It could be put that they’re one among many comfort-centred, boyish paradigms that set the feminist tone of 2014. That in itself, is a contrasting reinterpretation from their association with the upper classes during the middle ages and late renaissance, or indeed the disassociation with their haughty aesthetic, adopted by the sans culottes during the French revolution. Of course, time and style march on and culottes have seen numerous incarnations from ladies’ riding shorts in the Victorian era to the more contemporary skort. Essentially, if you want a skirt that won’t flash your knickers while you’re cycling and will drape with subtle elegance around a bottom-heavy frame you can’t go far wrong.

My culotte shorts were definitely the latter, although I’m more of a bicycle than a horse girl these days. The flowers found their place because things were just going that way, as they always are in fashion, whether they’re in the form of winter gardens or acid brights. Mine were more of a painterly drizzle and I’m sure there’ll be a trend for that someday.

DIY burberry trench and culotte shorts DIY burberry trench and culotte shorts DIY burberry trench and culotte shorts


Sweet Burberry – How to DIY a Burberry hand-painted trench coat

Burberry’s hand-painted coats inspired me to set myself a bit of a watercolour challenge.

Burberry Prorsum Hand-Painted Cotton & Silk Trench

BURBERRY PRORSUM Hand-painted Sheepskin Trench Coat

One of the season’s most high-end and, at the same time coveted items, as Hunting in Heels asserts, it bucks the trend for cheap, mass-produced, breakneck-speed fashion that’s sold across the high street. The label that’s one of the most steeped in heritage and guaranteed A-list fashion darlings at the front row of every show made their statement of exclusivity through luxury fabrics and painstaking handiwork.

The handiwork part recalls an artistic romance of fashion that’s perhaps most vividly associated with the 1970s – dubbed the ‘me decade’ by Tom Wolfe – a time when fashion adopted handicrafts as an expressively individualistic paradigm. It also, in this case, provides a nice, convenient paradox for me: the labour-intensive part for which at least a part of the premium is paid becomes the part you can make at home for nothing. Sure, the trench I used was from New Look and, unsurprisingly, wasn’t real silk but the design that set it apart could be emulated, alright – or at least the idea.

In short…

Pebeo setasilk fabric paints and trench coat

DIY burberry hand painted trench coat replica


NB: I used Pebeo’s liquid fabric paints from the Setasilk range.




It’s very hard to guarantee it because you do need a degree of painting ability but if you’re not especially confident in your  ability to paint neatly or well, I’d recommend choosing a simple design and not worrying about perfection as Burberry’s designs tend to use a messy style.


It can only take an hour or two or, if you chose quite a complex design like I did, it could take 3-5 hours. It shouldn’t take any longer than an evening.

Just paint

DIY burberry painted trench coat replica

DIY burberry painted trench coat replica

#FBF – Halloween Special

Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater street


Street art of the east end is the first subject of my festively-themed Facebook Friend… nay, Foul Batchelor Frog… nay for it be Flashback Friday today of course, silly! I couldn’t ignore exactly where we are on the calendar today, however, I thought that rather than trawl out the obvious costume-themed fashion round-ups and spooky make-up and photography fare, I’d go maverick with some tasty. toothy tagging from street artist, Sweet Toof.

The story that sets the scene for this entry happened back in January 2008 (two whole years before the person responsible would rise to the echelons of international recognition), a time of idyllic calm when we weren’t yet in recession, dreams were dreams and it was just about considered socially acceptable to listen to emo, when I came across a striking and terrifying apparition down the east end – and no I’m not talking about those obnoxiously pretentious art urchins they call hipsters!

Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater street


Your eyes are not deceiving you if you look closely at this towering warehouse and notice a teddy bear on a cross – just one feature among this monolithic facade of ominous boarded windows, snaking ivy and artwork skirting the extremes of visual nightmare fuel.


But Mr. Toof’s aesthetic of sunken-eyed cadavers and mangled gums is not so much a paradigm of gratuitous horror as a quirky, conceptual angle on our treasured gnashers. According to an article by Jess Holland in The London Paper, Sweet Toof is quoted as saying:

“Teeth can be really sexy, or aggressive, but they’re also constant reminders of death. They’re how we get recognised by police when there’s nothing else left.”

According to an account by Olly Beck, Toof’s work resonates conceptually with the Vanitas paintings of the 16th Century – a movement highlighting the transience of life and actual meaninglessness of the material goods we hold dear in the process, which was typically signified by juxtaposing ornate items with skulls. Also, Sweet Toof’s skulls are rather close to the Mexican skull iconography about the honour and celebration of death, much like halloween is to the Mexican skullfest, Day of the Dead.
Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater street Sweet Toof shoreditch sclater streetSo, there you have it: skulls, teeth, mortality, transience, conceptual craziness, beauty of death and nature and a sugary high that sends gums into a frenzy. Perhaps this Friday flashback isn’t so off-topic, after all!




OMG-SM – How to DIY an MGSM fur motif coat

Fur and clothing in the craft room.

MSGM Rabbit Fur Motif Coat

With high fashion straddling the areas of having the need for snuggly winter comfort covered and not taking itself too seriously, it has chosen to make both statements with brilliantly coloured fur. While there are plenty of examples to choose from, particularly in the Lolcore category, in my opinion, there’s no example so fine as this MSGM rabbit fur motif coat.

You will need…

DIY tools

grey faux fur jacket

Not pictured: scalpel and silver marker pen.

Tip: Sniff around your local market for cheap faux fur and the internet for the jacket, as you can get some good deals (mine was only £25, which included the postage).




Very easy

This is one among many projects I’ve done that would fit under the category of very-easy-to-make-but-impossible-not-to-make-a-mess-in-so-doing if the laws of tagging were to permit it. It’s quick, straightforward and – dare I say – almost therapeutic. Sadly, the latter isn’t true of cleaning up afterwards.


I wasn’t counting but I’m going to say somewhere between an afternoon’s work and five hours, if that makes sense.

Get your coat…


Cut shapes into your card to make templates. I decided to use card suits for my design, whilst keeping the lips and hearts (which are, kind of, also a card suit, as I fully appreciate). I’d recommend using a scalpel for clean lines and precision.


Trace shapes onto the back of the faux fur and cut them out.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPin the stencils to the jacket and cut the faux fur as flat as possible inside the shapes.

One you have cut out all the areas where you intend to put the shapes, attach them with craft mount.

DIY MGSM fur motif jacket

DIY MGSM fur motif jacket

Chain DIY action – How to DIY a Joomi Lim spiked chain bracelet

Joomi Lim Monochrome Mania Spike Bracelet - Mixed Spikes


Joomi Lim’s got a monochrome magic touch for garnering celebrity endorsement with her spiked bracelet designs, with avid approval from Miley Cyrus, Leighton Meester and Jessica Alba.

Miley Cyrus, Leighton Meester and Jessica Alba in Joomi Lim

Ingenious though these designs may be, it, thankfully, doesn’t take a magic touch to recreate the look, just a touch of patience, a soldering iron and a little bit of DIY know-how.

You will need

DIY tools

*Optional extras.

Also needed

Black, white and clear nail polish

Araldite glue




Pretty easy

This one has its fiddly moments, although I’d say the biggest challenge was to avoid being scalded by the soldering iron.



About an hour.


Soldering on



Fill in chain links with solder at regular intervals. Also, if your studs are hollow, fill in the interiors and make sure the bases are all completely flat.Method3


Attach the studs using solder or araldite (I found that the araldite worked better but you need to tidy it up after sticking by wiping the excess glue away from the edges with scissors or something with a fine tip).

Method4Depending on the design you intend to copy, you can add a row of pearls by threading them onto a wire and attaching the wire to either end of the bracelet by using jump rings.

The bracelet

it’s up to you whether you want to keep to one row…

DIY Joomi Lim Spike chain bracelet


…or add a second row of pearls. DIY Joomi Lim Spike chain bracelet


#TBT – Winterlude

DIY Dries van noten jumper

Jumper – DIY/ collar – DIY/ Jeans – River Island/ Boots – River Island/ Earrings and Gauntlet – Freedom @ Topshop

Autumn, the idyllic lull between the intense summer heat (this year, anyway) and the breathtaking winter freeze. A solitary season of transitional calm. A melancholia of rich, earthy colour before the darkness sets in. Am I waxing too lyrical about the time we have to crank the heating up and pay handsomely for the privilege; come home from school, work or related institutions in darkness and spend our evenings in the confinement of our living rooms, huddled beneath a haze of yellow light and lukewarm tea? Come on, for a British person talking about the weather I can’t be doing too badly!

DIY Dries van noten jumperAs a matter of fact, I used to love the winter as an older child and teenager. I loved the escapism of the darkness, especially while I looked out onto it from the warmth and light of my bedroom, in spite of how mad people thought I was and the opprobrium I faced for expressing such a passion. I mean, to actually look forward to four months of arduous weather conditions and perpetual dusk? I could only be one of two things: a vampire or just egregiously middle class! I can see how my New Rocks and solitary bedroom-friendly rock music collection could cause me to be misconstrued as the former but I was just spoilt for choice with my home comforts and the stunning home town of Kenilworth, where I grew up.  DIY Dries van noten jumperI had this outfit in mind, with the baroque opulence of the jeans print and mythical fantasy of the fire bird design in my DIY Dries Van Noten tribute, when I decided to shoot a selfie against the backdrop of the Kenilworth castle ruins – the perfect scene to envelop in a cloud of fog or a transcendent dusky horizon. For fear of clichés and predictability, I threw in some punky paradigms of studs, metallic prism earrings and spiky hair because, well, things were just going that way. It was possibly because all this talk and mood-setting of myth and fantasy needed a bit of an edge and a distraction, so that the final look was less Game Of Thrones and more game face. Or something. It was a while ago. It’s Throwback Thursday. I’m tired. I remember that I liked it and hopefully you do too! DIY Dries van noten jumper

Train in tweed – how to upcycle trainers in the style of Chanel


Revamp old running shoes with some runway chic!
DIY Chanel tweed trainers

You will need..

DIY tools and fabricNot pictured

Neon yellow and green tape

Clear lacquer


Tailor’s chalk



Pretty easy

I’d hesitate on categorising this as 100% technique-free, so in the interests of diplomatic backside-covering, I’d rate it as moderately easy. You’ll be pleased to know that I can’t think of anything especially taxing about this exercise.


About ten hours if, like me, you like to get your measurements precise.



Trending on tweed




Take the laces out.

I find that it helps to get a mixture of bouclé wool fabrics. You don’t need much, so it’s worth sniffing around fabric shops for samples and minimum quantities (most shops don’t cut less than half a metre but some do and asking nicely enough can earn you a respectable handful of free samples!) You need enough of one fabric to cover your trainers. I’d recommend pinning it to the side, tracing around the edges with tailor’s chalk and cutting around the lines you have drawn.

Design and cut out the other panels you intend to use, ensuring they’re symmetrical and the same on both shoes, so that the designs are the same on the outer sides and inner sides of both shoes.

Method3Don’t stick your tweed in place yet. Cover the desired parts of the sole with neon tape and add a coat or two of clear lacquer, for extra protection. I actually used acrylic paint and resin, but lived to regret it, as it was so messy. Going on my bad experience, I’d recommend tape as an alternative; it doesn’t require painstaking effort to get straight lines.


I painted bronze borders on some of the bits of fabric. Again, if you want to add borders and detailing, just make sure they’re consistent on both shoes.
Method5Cover your trainers in fabric and then add panels. Stick them in place with craft mount.

Re-thread the laces.

DIY Chanel tweed trainers






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