The Patio Makeover For Ultimate Relaxation

This post has been sponsored by AXA.

I’m going to start this post with by admitting that I don’t like gardening. It just doesn’t float my boat. Every time my Dad visits, he’s always asking me why I haven’t used the lawn mower he gave me, and checking if I have weeded the patio. After spending Father’s day in Dad’s garden relaxing with him, I realised that he has created the ultimate space for relaxation when he’s not working. He has a hammock, a beautifully painted blue fence, solar lighting and even a shed designed just for his cat with special beds and cosy interiors (now you know where I get my cat crazy from). So even the cats are relaxed in their household.

Succulent-PlanterWhen AXA got in touch to ask me to join in their #GrandShedProject campaign with Grand Designs Live, I realised it was the perfect opportunity to transform this sorry looking patio into a space we can relax in after a hard day’s work. G is pretty stressed with his job lately and I am spending a lot of time on the computer, so I wanted to make the patio a haven for us to take time out in. And by gosh did it need a makeover. Patio-BeforeWe started with a huge amount of weeds (sorry Dad), a second hand table and chairs and a chimnea which hid under a tarp and never saw the light of day. I decided a new dining/seating area was in order and that bold colours were the theme!Patio-Makeover-Dining-Area

The table and chair set was from Homebase and I found these super bright tropical themed cushions in Wilko. I also picked up a cover to keep the dining area dry when not in use. Our trusty old chimnea has had a clean and is getting ready for some BBQs and cosy fire time of an evening. I can’t remember where we got it from, but it’s similar to this oneOutdoor-Table-Decorations-Patio-MakeoverAs we live by the river, bugs are inevitable. I purchased this large citronella candle from Wilko and a pineapple tea light holder from Flying Tiger, to carry on the tropical theme. The pink tray and drinking glasses are also from Tiger.
Garden-Decorations-Paper-GarlandI’m the kind of person who believes that party decorations should be for every day use (have you seen my bike?!), so I added this paper ball garland from Tiger to the external wall for another pop of colour. Waterproof-Garden-Cushions The cushions were just £10 each. They are waterproof and specific for outdoor use. Just gives us a little extra comfort when sitting! Lavender-ShrubI am not a big gardener at all (just about keeping a couple of house plants alive at the moment), but I figured a lavender shrub and some succulents will be enough for now. They will give the patio a bit more greenery and colour and hopefully the lavender will attract some bumble bees too. The plant guy at our local Homebase is so brilliant and always stops to offer me advice about how to care for the plants I buy. I trust him because his actual name is Basil (!) and he sells plants, and he’s been there for years and years. I kept a peace lily alive for almost 5 years because of his advice.Patio-Plants Garden-ChimneaThe chimnea accessories come by way of these easy logs. We love them because all you need to do is light the paper and the wood inside will keep a fire going for a couple of hours. Marshmallow toasting here we come!

The beautiful Denton Check Duck Egg Throw is from Laura Ashley. It’s huge and so cosy, perfect for cooler evenings when we want to stay in the garden.Easy-logs-and-blanket-for-fire

My favourite part of the entire patio makeover is this epic hammock! Ever since I spent the afternoon in my Dad’s garden hammock, I knew it was something we needed for our well being – I felt SO chilled just laying in it. This one can hold two people up to 450lbs. I fear that no evening will ever be productive again and that I might fall asleep on my lunch break if I use it then.

Hammock-in-sun

Hammock-and-Stand-for-gardenI decided to add some solar lights to the adjacent wall to create a cosy and relaxed vibe for this side of the patio.

Solar-string-Lights-for-garden

Patio-AfterPatio makeover costs (for those of you interested!)

Hammock – £116.99 (Amazon)

Solar Lighting – £14.99 (Amazon)

Throw – already owned but it’s on sale for £36 (Laura Ashley)

Bistro Table & Chair set – £49.99 (Homebase)

Table & Chair cover – £24.99 (Homebase)

Easy Logs – £6.82 (Homebase)

Succulent Planter – £14.99 (Homebase in store)

Lavender Shrub – £12.49 (Homebase in store)

Waterproof Cushions – £20 (Wilko)

Citronella Candle – £2.50 (Wilko)

Pineapple Candle Holder – £3 (Flying Tiger in store)

Pink Tray – £2 (Flying Tiger in store)

Paper Garland – £3 (Flying Tiger in store)

TOTAL  COST FOR NEWLY PURCHASED ITEMS – £271.76

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*Thank you to AXA for sponsoring this post.
**Some pages on this site may contain links to outside sites, including paid affiliates.

DIY Tassel Wall Hanging

I’m not going to lie, I have way too many creative supplies in the studio. I’m thinking about having a big Instagram sale again to destash. One of the supplies I have a lot of is yarn! So I decided to make a DIY Tassel Wall Hanging from some really lovely merino wool that I had left over from a knitted hat project.DIY-Tassel-Wall-Hanging

This is a super easy project and you can do it with any yarn or rope material. Find the full DIY on the Homedit blog here. It definitely got me thinking about how I can create projects to use up the rest of my supplies!

What have you been creating lately? I’d love to see your projects.

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DIY Copper Foil Planter

Guys. I can’t believe I’m typing this but, I KEPT A PLANT ALIVE! And it’s thriving. So I decided to make this DIY Copper Foil Planter so that my one plant to survive can feel special and sparkly. And because I wanted to use copper foil in a project OK?!

A friend gave me a Pilea plant for Christmas too so I’m making this corner of my studio into a little indoor garden. It gets plenty of light but not direct sun so I hope to keep it from dying.

DIY-Copper-Foil-Planter-Claireabellemakes

You can find the full tutorial for this planter (which was once terracotta!) on the Homedit site here. They share a ton of inspiration for DIY projects and interiors.

I hope you’ve all had a good week and have some fun plans ahead for the weekend. I’m off to a water colour class!

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DIY Eucalyptus Star Decoration – Inspired By Disney

Well December has flown by hasn’t it?! It has been a month filled with work and a few days of play, but I’m really pleased I have some time today to share with you a little of what I have been up to!

Before I get to the DIY Eucalyptus Star Decoration, I want to explain where the inspiration for this make came from.

diy-eucalyptus-star-decoration-claireabellemakes

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with a dream brand to deliver some Christmas workshops. Early on Saturday morning I took the train to London to the Disney Store on Oxford Street to celebrate the launch of the Pete’s Dragon DVD.

Pete’s Dragon is a wonderful film about a boy who lives in the forest with his dragon friend. No one in the town believes his dragon Elliot is real, but it’s a great adventure for all when they explore the forest to find out.

disney-workshop

I ran three workshops for children of all ages to make forest inspired Christmas crafts. We painted pine cones to make mini Christmas tree decorations as well as using twine to create 5 point star decorations from sticks. The children also made raw gingerbread cookies and watched the film as they created. One kid did paint his face green too which was all kinds of fun….it was a busy day so I only managed to get a few snaps above.

Today I wanted to share a tutorial for a more grown up version of the DIY Star Decoration we made.

You will need:

  • 5 branches
  • Twine/string
  • String lights on a wire
  • Eucalyptus

For our forest decoration, we created a 5 point star using sticks and twine to hold it together. Wrap around and tie twine each time a stick crosses another one.

eucalyptus-star-decoration-step-1

I added a piece of natural coloured ribbon to hang it. It can be quite useful to have another pair of hands for creating the star, so that the sticks stay in place as you tie. eucalyptus-star-decoration-step-1-stick-star

Next, take your copper wire lights and wrap around the star covering each stick. I did this with the lights switched on to make sure they were evenly spaced.
eucalyptus-star-decoration-step-2

Then, take lengths of eucalyptus (my favourite right now) and wrap around the sticks. You can secure it by tucking it into the areas where the sticks cross. eucalyptus-star-decoration-complete

If you wanted to, you could also hang lengths of eucalyptus from the bottom of the star. It’s really up to you how you add the foliage – it’s such a simple DIY there is definitely room for variations!eucalyptus-star-decoration-step-3

I love how natural the finished star decoration looks! It’s a larger more grown up version of what we made at the Disney Store and I love it.

diy-eucalyptus-star-decoration-claireabellemakesA big thanks to Disney for inviting me to run the children’s workshops – I had so much fun, especially since I am used to teaching adult crafters and this was so different.

Have you been inspired to create any DIY holiday decorations this year?

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DIY Painted Pumpkins With Annie Sloan

Happy Halloween everyone! It’s feeling pretty festive around here with a pumpkin carving session last weekend and lots of seasonal soups and treats. I usually decorate our fireplace for Autumn with lots of warm tones and cosy candles rather than spooky halloween decorations. This year I did just that, but I also had a chance to try a different colour palette with the new Annie Sloan chalk paint colours.  I love the European inspired names – Honfleur, Amsterdam Green and Giverny.

diy-painted-pumpkins-claireabellemakes

I started with local pumpkins from our market in Cambridge. They had the cutest munchkins too – look how teeny! I decided not to paint the grey squash as I am planning to make a soup with that one and I can’t imagine paint is that tasty. I always add a touch of maple syrup and nutmeg to squash soup for a little sweetness. It’s soooo good.

diy-painted-pumpkins

The Annie Sloan chalk paints are definitely my kind of paint. They can be used on so many surfaces and without prep – I’m all for quick crafts! I also love that it is water-based and non-toxic, which means no nasty odour to give me a migraine. You can even dilute the paint to make wood grains, or leave it as it is for a really concentrated coverage.

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I’m really enjoying the scent of eucalyptus at the moment, so incorporated a big vase of it into my display. It feels really natural and homely.

eucalyptus-autumn-decorations

painted-pumpkins-chalk-paint

It’s been a painting couple of weeks here with the new bicycle decorations being hand painted (coming soon) and lots of painting prep for my stand display for markets. This was a nice break to paint something for the home.diy-painted-pumpkins-annie-sloan

I also shared a video on my You Tube channel with the traditional Autumn decorations if you want to take a look!

I’m already thinking about Christmas decorations and I maaaay have been listening to some festive tunes in the studio. Sorry, not sorry!

I hope you enjoyed this decor post today and a big thanks to Annie Sloan for sending me the new chalk paint colours to try.

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*Some pages on this site may contain links to outside sites, including paid affiliates. Read more about my disclosure policy here.