Up-cycle Empty Glass Beer Bottles, Turn Them Into Something Amazing

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The truth is, unless you’re a seasoned carpenter, it’s probably a lot harder than most people realise. But if you’re a fan of this amazing interior design craze, you can start little and work your way up.

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Okay, so upcycling old furniture is a pretty big project; it takes a lot more than just a few pieces of a wood and a glue gun to create something green and spectacular. Upcycling seems to be the new black at the moment and just about every eco-warrior is doing it right now –but is it really as easy as it looks?

One of the easiest upcycling projects (you’ll be surprised at just how easy) can be done with just some simple leftover beer or wine bottles. So if you’re wading through the rubbish after a house party or cleaning up after a barbeque with friends, be sure to stash away all that unwanted glass.

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Here are some fun and funky ways of upcycling beer and wine bottles:

1. Upcycled Wine Bottle Planters

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This is great news for green-fingered friends. You can easily transform the remnants of your Friday night Sauvignon Blanc into something cute and quirky for your garden or greenhouse. You will need a jig to hold your bottle in place and also a blowtorch to cut the glass bottle in half. This green blogger swears by his crème brulee torch for creating a seamless slice.

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2. Wine Bottle Garden Torches

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Light up your garden with some gorgeous upcycled wine bottle torches. This simple DIY project on Design Sponge shows just how easy it is and there’s absolutely no glass-cutting involved if you’re not so confident with a blowtorch. You’ll need to head to a home improvement store for some basics; Teflon tape, a copper top plate connector, some nuts and bolts, some wood screws (if you’re mounting to wood), a long torch wick, and some torch fuel.

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3. Beer Bottle Chandelier

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The beer bottle chandelier is surprisingly easy to make and a fantastic upcycling project for someone who’s looking to redecorate in the home.

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4. Beer Bottle Lantern Lights

For summer garden parties, a delightfully kitsch way of decorating you garden is using pretty outdoor lanterns. All you will need in terms of fuel or energy are some simple (and inexpensive) tea lights. For this project, you can use any kind of glassware including empty jam jars if you don’t fancy using beer bottles. Simply drill a small hole in the bottles so you can string them together with rope and hang from your wall or from a tree in your garden.

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If you don’t know where to start with using power tools, this video is a great place to start.

Volpe & Volpe's Batty Dinner Plate

A creative collaboration between Volpe and Volpe Founder Trish Scorgie and renowned ceramic artist Robert Dawson, the Last series re-imagines traditional British china designs adding a curious and contemporary twist to create modern day collectibles.

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Highlighting the fragility of nature and drawing on traditional British ceramic manufacturing techniques, the Last series of four preservation plates blend old natural history prints of animals and birds with a floral design from a long forgotten dinner service creating designs which make them relevant for today.

The Last series of four designs is available at £45.00 each or £160.00 for the set of four (one of each design).

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Volpe and Volpe will make a donation of 5% from the sale of each plate to the corresponding supportive charities:-

Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bats

Bat Conservation Trust www.bats.org.uk

The Last series of Preservation Plates also includes Cuckoo, Hedgehog and Wolf designs - available from www.volpeandvolpe.com

Donations from the Cuckoo plate will go to - B.T.O (British Trust for Ornithology) http://www.bto.org/uk

Donations from the hedgehog plate will go to - British Hedgehog Preservation Societywww.britishhedgehogs.org.uk

Donations from the Wolf design will go to - John Muir Trust www.jmt.org

Personalised Party Invitations from TinyMe.co.uk

Tiny Me have taken the hand cramp out of writing dozens of birthday party invitations for me this year. I featured their smartly designed school name tag labels two years ago, and the illustrations to choose from are similarly crisp, clean and professional.

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There are dozens of templates to choose from, boys', girls' or unisex, as well as options to include your own photograph within the design.

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Once you choose the perfect template, you then have a choice of colour swatches to pick, to further customise the invitation.

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Invites are sold in packs of eight, with the option to add envelopes and/or magnets to your order for a little more. They really do look smart and you can avoid the hand cramp of writing out the party address and RSVP telephone number a dozen times.

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My son chose this monkey print design, which matches his school stickers & labels which he loves. Turn around for us was around a week from ordering, so bear this in mind when judging when to place an order. What design would you choose? Check out the Tiny Me full party range online now.

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The Retro Home: Five Bathroom Makeover Ideas

Creating a retro theme in the home is a piece of cake once you have the know-how. Just like Oh So Lovely bloggers, Stef and Erin advocated in their recent post about retro-modern styling, it’s all about prints, patterns and lovely little accessories. But fabrics and pretty accessories just aren’t practical when it comes to your bathroom, so how do you achieve the same look without breaking the bank?

Transforming your bathroom into a luxury retro retreat is simple if you know a few easy tips and tricks. And here are 5 great ideas to get you started.

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1. Get on board with the upcycling trend

It seems that everyone is upcycling at the moment (yawn, right?) but upcycling is great not just because it’s beneficial to the environment and because it’s bang on trend, but also because it’s the cheapest way to inject a little retro styling into the home. For instance, this upcycled bike has been transformed into a one-of-a-kind vanity by designer Benjamin Bullins.

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2. Get retro monochromatic tiles

This look is so chic and so simple to achieve, and it can do wonders for your bathroom in an instant. If you can’t afford to renovate the whole bathroom, start with this simple trick and add an element of drama without having to change anything else other than your tiles (view black and white tiles on this website). Finish off with simple black and white bathroom décor.

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3. Update your bathroom with an art deco mirror

For small decorating budgets, the easiest and most affordable way of updating your bathroom is to add a simple yet effective art deco mirror. You can find art deco mirrors from antique shops, charity shopping sites, flea markets and auctions and you can usually find great bargains if you know where to look. The art deco look is 20s and 30s inspired and can be defined by its application of geometric shapes. For more art deco bathroom inspiration, take a look at this post from HousetoHome.co.uk.

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4. Use retro colours to celebrate the decades

Bold reds and blues just cry the fifties, and bright pantone shades such as hot pink or vermillon orange signify the screaming sixties. Injecting colour into your bathroom is easy and this can be done with a simple vase of pretty flowers, a new lick of paint on a feature wall, or by painting your bathtub or bathroom vanity.

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5. Opt for antique gold or bronze for bathroom taps

For the ultimate retro look, steer clear from modern taps and finishes. Stainless steel and chrome are uber-modern in the home, so for a more vintage or retro look, choosea stylish antique gold finish, brass or bronze taps. You can tie the look together with a gold, brass or bronze soap dish or soap dispenser, or some nice antique door handles.

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Wall Décor Ideas : Decorating, Without Decorating

You’re likely to have come across this problem if you’re a renter (or not so keen on DIY): how do I decorate without having to do anything drastic? It might seem like an impossible task and it’s understandable that you’re desperate to give your home a retro makeover – and why wouldn’t you?

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You may not realise it straight away, but there are so many things you can do that doesn’t involve making any major changes, or at least any that can’t be easily changed back, and no, they don’t involve paint.

From hanging artwork to washi-tape walls, there are literally hundreds of easy-to-do ideas that even those who hate decorating canachieve. Here are just a few simple ideas for you to try at home yourself.

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Create a Feature Wall with Frames

From walls pasted with conversational-patterned wall paper to walls neatly painted with 50s inspired pastel colours, it seems the world has gone feature wall mad. Yes, these walls can add a kitsch charm to a room but unfortunately you’re likely to have a hard time convincing your landlord to allow you to do the same – some people just don’t understand your amazing taste! But fear not: a feature wall doesn’t mean that you have to go all out with a roll of wallpaper.

Collecting frames, especially frames that do not match, and filling them with anything from old love letters, black and white photos and even wallpaper samples and then hanging them from your walls can be a fantastic way of injecting colour into a wall and giving your home a more personal touch. 

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If you’re struggling to source enough vintage frames for this kind of project, then simple black frames such as those available in shops such as Ikea hung against white walls not only give your room an instant retro look, but is super striking too.

Try using frames in a variety of shapes and sizes too as this will create a strong vintage-inspired look. Luckily, small holes in your wall are easy to rectify – just make sure you double check with your landlord first. 

This are two old photographs from the year we moved into our house. I'd made a Dallas Simpson gypsy kid wall, and another of general, 1970s' ugly art. All these prints are now stored under our bed as I ran out of room from my collecting.

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Clever Wall Décor on a Budget

This clever little trick could not be simpler to do and will cost you next to nothing, great for those who have a tight budget to adhere to. Paper tapes are all the rage at the moment and are around £3-£6 brand dependent (it’s worth doing some research as some brands are much better quality than others), and can be used for a whole host of things from creating temporary wallpapers to hanging photos and postcards without damaging the walls. Take a look at websites such as Pinterest for ideas and inspiration – there’s plenty out there.

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Colourful Canvas

You might associate canvases with your high-school art classes, but they have made a comeback in recent years and are a great way to brighten up a room and will compliment your kitsch décor just perfectly. Whether you opt to design your own, have one printed with your favourite photos or artwork, or buy a pre-made design, there are plenty of options available. 

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It’s easier than you might think to give your walls a retro look, even if you’re unable to paint the walls. Let me know your retro décor ideas on Twitter.

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The Hello Kitty Collection at The Pet Hut

My lovely friend Laura invited us over to the huge new Poundstretcher and Pet Hut store that opened last month here in Bangor. She helps manage the quite frankly gigantic superstore, and Michael & I called over to check out the bargains.

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We loved the Hello Kitty collection they have for your own little kitty cat. I want to buy the bed for Mrs Meow.

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The collection also has pet bowl mats for just £1.99 to help keep your kitchen floor clean, as well as scratching posts and boxes.

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There are lots of other designs if you want something more chic....

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... or seafaring.

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Or just silly.

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The Pet Hut also has bargain pet foods, treats, and basics for all types of animal, even princess hamsters.

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The Poundstretcher half of the store has a massive selection of groceries and homewares as well as toys, stationary, clothing, and seasonal products. Here are some fun items we spotted.

Lots of gorgeous, chunky wool as well as other crafting supplies.

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A whole row of kitchen brights. Great to jazz up your parlour this dull autumn.

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We found tonnes of great Christmas present ideas at super prices. These cuddly cushions were just £3.99

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And these flapping slippers are only £4.99 compared to the tv advertised ones which cost at least twice that.

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Cute reindeer print bobble hats, I wouldn't mind one myself but I have a notoriously huge head that doesn't fit normal person hats. Shush- it's a seriously ailment!!!

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Super cute stocking filler hot water bottles. Perfect present for grannies. Reduced to £3.99

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Very Cath Kidston without having to spend £25

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There are lots of little gift sets too at great prices. Good presents for teachers, Sunday School leaders, aunties etc.

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Put a fox on anything and I'll want it. These felt bags for £2.99 are a steal.

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Lastly some kitschy Christmas decorations. They've a whole aisle of your usual tinsel, baubles etc at great prices, but these couple of items stuck out as I've never seen them elsewhere even at a higher price. 

In love with these candy cane solar lights. Going to get myself some for the front garden and four of them for £5 is grand.

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Lastly these 3D decorations caught my eye as they are so tacky and kitsch (sorry, Laura!) but in the best way. Proper, old school 1970s' style over the top Christmas. I love them.

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Happy, shiny Santa.

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Opening times, latest products and store finder all online at their website.

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