Nikki Joy Christmas Craft Stall

So this week is the Christmas craft stall!

My room is covered in ribbons and glitter and fabric and glue 
and I'm bustling around trying to do all the last minute bits and bobs for it.
 I figured it's about time to share what I've been up to lately as a little sneak preview of some of what I'll be selling on the day...

Needle Cases
...which would make just the cutest stocking filler, no?

Christmas Pudding Tree Decorations
...I may sneak a couple of these to keep for myself.

Poinsettia Hair Slides
...for the reserved-but-still-a-little-bit-festive Christmas day outfit.

Novelty Festive Earrings
... for those of us who love a little bit of silly!

What do you think? 
Would you stop by for a chat at the Nikki Joy craft stall this Thursday?


Giveaway Winners

Following my recent giveaway to celebrate my 100th post here on Nikki Joy, 
it's time to announce some winners!

The winner of KV's blog design package is...

Alison of Heavenly Handmades

And the winner of this adorable print from cb is...

Polly Davies

Well done ladies!!
I'll be in touch soon to sort out your lovely prizes.


Wedding Wednesdays - An Early Gift

It's getting seriously close to the wedding now, 
so I'm afraid much of the planning is signing cheques and sending emails, 
with not much to share by way of inspiring ideas and pretty pictures.
So thank goodness for lovely friends to save the day with the just the sweetest wedding gift... 

My friend Michelle, who gifted these to us, is pretty much the most awesome woman I know. She has taught me so much of what it means to be a wife, she is generous and caring, she prays with me and cares for me, makes me huge cups of tea and spends hours listening to me. 
As much as I adore these two little cake forks, 
they are only a small part of what she has gifted me with.

We got chatting (over giant caramel hot chocolates, of course) about the wedding and the plans... and it dawned on me that as much as I am hugely excited for the day itself, 
I'm so much more excited to be married. 

So these two sweet forks won't just be the forks with which we'll tuck into our wedding cake. They will be the forks Samm and I bring out on cake date night when we spend our evenings curled up on our sofa together in our house. Not just a wedding gift but a marriage gift.

Speaking of which, I'm off to the estate agents to sign on the dotted line for our marital home!!


Craft Stall Inspiration *plus display tutorials*

I mentioned recently that at the end of this month, 
I'll be doing my first ever craft stall.

So naturally, I've been doing what all good creative minds do when faced with an exciting new opportunity... I put the kettle on and started a new Pinterest board!

Here's some of my favourite inspiring craft stall displays 
(and some everso clever DIY display ideas at the end)

This gorgeous display from Katie Daisy at The Big Crafty (via Going Home to Roost) is simple and sweet. It's easy to see everything on show and I love the subtle details like the little daisies in tiny little vases so the whole presentation is in keeping with her style.

This cute little display from Mrs Jackson Loves is a great example of why consistent colour scheme is key. Everything just looks so homey and gives you an instant impression of who she is and what her work is about. 

So I love Bramble and Oak's styling. I could have told you a Bramble and Oak craft stall would be no disappointment even before seeing the beautiful pictures.
And the most important thing on display here is a smile. I've been to too many markets where people just don't look like they really want you to approach them. 

I love the clear layout of this stall from Miss Arkaya. The vintage trays, cute bird cages and clear price labelling all make for a stall you'd stop and have a gander at.

But what to do when you just don't have the spare cash to invest in pretty hangers and stands and jewellery busts?? Why, make your own, of course!
These clever tutorials are at the top of my to do list...

How to make your own ring display box with just a tray, some foam and a piece of fabric - from Popko

Or do you make chunky statement necklaces but can't afford to buy the fancy busts? 
This "why did I never think of that" tutorial from Stella and Hodge has the answer!

Still not enough inspiration for you?
Here's a few links to check out for even more craft fair inspiration...

1. Even more lovely craft display examples over at Quiltish 

from Premier Packaging

3. This incredibly inspiring Pinterest board from Life in the Thrifty Lane

I'm so excited to get my own stall all put together!!

Happy weekend everyone!


Wedding Wednesday: The Boys and The Girls

At the top of my mental list of "things you will need to get married" is a group of supportive, excited and generally brilliant people to help you prepare for the greatest day of your life.

As well as the most wonderful families, Samm and I are blessed with some great friends. So during the decision making for Bridesmaids and Groomsmen outfits, we've tried to keep their likes and what will make them feel fab on the day at the heart of it all. 

So... how do you decide what to dress your dearest friends in when you call the shots for the day?

First, we kept our colour scheme at the forefront of our minds.
The last thing you want is great dresses that don't really look like they belong at your wedding.

Here's our main colour palette...

Together with my girls, I chose these beautiful dresses from Monsoon... 
(no longer available... which is a saga in itself!)
And as Samm is Scottish, his boys will be kilted, flashed and sporraned up in the same shades of green that run through his clan's tartan. 

But what's an outfit without some cute accessories?
As our wedding is right in the middle of winter, I want to be sensible about keeping everybody warm and happy, without losing the overall style.

So the girls will be all wrapped up in gorgeous deep purple pashminas and instead of carrying bouquets, will be toasty warm with faux fur muffs and rose corsages I've made for them. 

The boys will be sporting these gorgeous boutonnieres from Cherubino Crafts and if Samm relents, they'll be treated to a cosy cashmere scarf in Campbell tartan... 
(which apparently is a second rate gift idea compared to knives!)

I'm so excited to see them all dressed up on the day. 
And with only 2 months left, I won't have to wait long!!


A week in pictures...

I spent most of this week down South with my parents.
It was a way overdue break from the norm and a lovely chance to get to hang out with two of my favourite people, eat my mum's cooking and go mega wedding shopping.

I don't know about you, 
but I love a chance to have a good nosey at snippets of other peoples' real lives.
So I thought I'd share some highlights of my week in a few photos...

1. A long train journey with the necessary cuppa and peanut butter kit kat and a good book to read. Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin is amazing by the way! 
Some really good tips for my upcoming craft stall!!

2. My brand new tea cup necklace, won from a sweet giveaway from Misty Aurora.

3. Walking upstairs and finding my mum had bought me flowers... what a gem!

4. The most beautiful sunset I've seen in years... with not a proper camera in sight.

5. A small part of a great haul from a craft shopping trip with my mum 
(at a craft warehouse that genuinely had a creche-type room for men 
with a huge TV and a sofa in!)

6. My hilarious feline friend Jynx pulling faces.

7. Doughnuts the size of my head during an immense shopping trip.

8. Another beautiful night sky.

How was everybody else's week?

There's a few more days to enter my giveaway to win 
some beautiful blog redesign or a cute art print from some gorgeous ladies...
Just click... here!


Wedding Wednesday - How to Choose Your Flowers

I'm staying at my parents' place this week, which has been a solid few days of wedding planning. I was joking to my mum last night that we just filled a year's worth of Wedding Wednesday posts in the last 72 hours. 

Today though, I wanted to share some of my tips on how to pick the perfect petals...

1. Keep the overall look of the wedding at the heart of your choices

It's great to be inspired by other peoples' weddings, 
to see sweet tea cups filled with soft pink wildflowers and fall in love, 
but if you've already decided to plan a monochrome city wedding, 
it's a love best kept to the Pinterest board. 

My favourite flowers are ox-eye daisies (or Leucanthemum vulgare - my research tells me)
but Samm and I decided in the early days of engagement that we both really wanted a cozy winter wedding - where daisies just wouldn't work.
We're having a wedding styled largely around his Scottish-ness and my English-ness. 
So lots of tartan with lace, whiskey and tea... 
so logically, thistles and roses!
I believe it really adds something when the flowers are not just beautiful, but also meaningful. 

(photo by Lillian & Leonard)

2. Do your research and know your budget

Sorry to bring up the B word in amongst all the excitement, 
but it will save you on disappointment if you flick through your latest stack of bridal magazines with an awareness of how much it can all add up to. 
A morning spent cruising the internet before you go to visit a florist can really help.
Learn about shapes - knowing the difference between a posey and a pomander will show a florist you know what you're talking about. 
Ask what's in season, as flowers easily available will save you money.
3. Think like a man

Sounds crazy when we're talking flowers, I know, but imagine if you had to
wear things based on his choices (we've all seen the Don't Tell The Bride disasters!!)
When choosing buttonholes, bear in mind what he's going to think of wearing that on his chest all day. It's got to be a good thing if he enjoys wearing his little floral piece, rather than gritting his teeth and putting up with it for fear of unleashing Bridezilla. 

 Samm and his men will be wearing these gorgeous dried boutonnieres  
made by Ann Marie at Cherubino Crafts
They tie in perfectly with the theme and with my tastes and with the rest of the flowers,
but they also have that man-friendly rustic edge, so he loves them too. 

4. Don't be afraid to be different

This probably goes without saying to most people judging by the amazing variety of images out there... But just to reiterate - It's ok to love what you love. In fact, it's not just ok, it's great! 
Sadly, I've spoken to lots of older and wiser women who speak about their wedding day and say "...but I do wish I'd had what I wanted, rather than caving to somebody else's opinions"
So, in fact, if you are planning the monochrome city wedding I mentioned, but you really do want tea cups filled with wild flowers, don't let my suggestions stop you. 
Ultimately, magazines are just a guide, Pinterest is just a tool and your friends' and parents' opinions are secondary to yours.  

My choice to make bridesmaid corsages instead of having bouquets 
has been questioned by a few people, 
 but it's an idea I love and I'm so looking forward to seeing them on the day.

5. Get your DIY on

If you're one for making every detail yourself, 
I've always thought it would be fun to have a go at making your own bouquets. 
It would likely be a much cheaper option and if you live close by to your bridesmaids, why not invite them all over and get them all in on the act too?

This lovely creation from Elsie Larson's wedding was made by hand with her friends at her bouquet making party before the big day. 
She's written some great tips for people who are considering giving this a go.
The results were absolutely stunning and so full of personality!

P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway, 
with great prizes from KV and CB, open until October 31st.


Nikki Joy Craft Stall *plus 100th post GIVEAWAY*

I'm very excited to tell you that I am currently preparing for 
the first ever Nikki Joy Craft Stall!

It's something I've wanted to do for months.
Although I've sold things casually through friends and online, a craft fair just has such a draw for me. I love the community, the chance to meet other creative people and be inspired by one another.

It's going to be a "Late Night Christmas Shopping Gift Fair"
so I'm thinking lots of cute stocking fillers - hair accessories and earrings, as well as some lovely winter-themed goodies like snoods and my fur muffs.

I've already been looking at some pretty inspiration for craft stall ideas in terms of branding and displays and I've been reading up on some tips for running a stall smoothly.

But this is where I need your help oh crafty blogger friends...

You see, I'm not just excited because I'm soon to be a stall holder...
but also because this is my 100th post here on Nikki Joy!

So... In true celebratory style...
It's giveaway time!!

And to add to the excitement,
I've got two of my favourite blogger ladies to kick things off...

The gorgeous Kristen is to thank for the recent makeover of my blog.
Her eye for design is just amazing and she's genuinely the most delightful person to work with... whoever wins this is in for a treat!

Kristen is offering 1 Month "Sidebar Sweetheart" Ad Space with Custom Button Design (200x100) and Custom Blog Signature Design (total $25 value)

Since very early on in my time blogging, cb has been a real encouragement to me.
She always has something  sweet and thoughtful to say and I have learned so much about what it means to be part of the blogging community through this lovely lady.  
Her love of bicycles even inspired me to buy my Priscilla! I digress.

cb is offering this adorable print from her shop of Miss Charollette 
to one lucky winner...

Make sure to check out her shop too for 30% off for the whole of October with the discount code HELLOFALL.

How to enter

You need to be a follower of Nikki Joy via GFC to enter this giveaway.

In keeping with my upcoming craft stall,
I want to know at least one of the following things from you...

1. What's your favourite handmade item you've ever bought?
2. What's the best handmade gift you've ever received?

Simply leave a comment below to enter.

Additional entries

1. Follow KV on GFC.
2. Follow cb on GFC. 
3. Follow Nikki Joy on Twitter @NikkiJoy_ 
(and give me a Tweet to say hello!)
...and while you're at it, why not follow and say hi to my ladies too?
6. Blog / Tweet about the giveaway.

That's 7 whole entries you can have!!
There will be two winners... so that's kind of 14 chances to win!
And they say nothing good comes for free.

Entries close on October 31st and winners announced shortly after.

Good luck everyone.

Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry.


Wedding Wednesday - Favour Inspiration

One of the little wedding details I've been really looking forward to planning is the favours. 
It's such a great chance to get creative 
and say a little thank you to all the people who have 
come to celebrate the day with you.

I've been collecting ideas for months and months 
for the perfect favour and here's a few that I love...

Cake in a Jar
Kim from Oh, Sweet Joy shared this great tutorial including recipe a while back 
for these adorable cake-in-a-jar favours. 
I love how these look when their all lined up
and they sound like they'd taste delicious.

Coffee Bean Pouches
This great idea is from Miss Alyssa
I wish I had more coffee drinker friends so that this would go down a storm. 
I think it's lovely and I adore the personal touch of the stamping.
I imagine the room would smell great with these as well. 

Hot Chocolate Kits
For a winter wedding, I think it's nice to embrace the cold with seasonal favours.
Design Sponge features this sweet idea for festive DIY hot chocolate kits.
Why have sugared almonds when you could have sugar in liquid chocolate form??

 Style Me Pretty shared this beautiful image of mismatched scarves 
for those lovely ladies who may well sacrifice warmth for the perfect outfit. 
I love the idea of doing this for the evening when it gets cold, but you'd need the budget for it. 

Honey Jars
Because jam is so Summertime, 
but I just love stuff  in jars... 
and winter is best with honey on toast. 
These beauties are available on Etsy from Pam Powell of Melys Favours
(from her very own honey bees' honey!!)

I'm spending this weekend at my parents' house, 
where we'll be making my favours ready for my fast-approaching big day (thanks, Mum!)
I'll make sure I share photos and maybe even a tutorial when we're done! 


Sketchbook Sunday

It has been one of those crazy busy weeks around here, 
celebrating friends' birthdays and doing the latest bits and pieces of wedding planning.
So this afternoon, I took a break to listen to some of my favourite music 
and to paint and draw and have a bit of alone time.

I'm really enjoying doodling away at the moment. 
I feel like I've been apart from an old friend for years and we're just reconnecting.
I'm thinking of doing a couple of big pieces soon, 
now that I'm a little more back in practice. 

As a counsellor, I've also been doing a lot of reading 
about therapeutic writing and journal keeping, 
and it's totally changed the way I keep my journal.

And it gave me this cool photo!

I hope you're having a lovely weekend x


Wedding Wednesday - A Weatherproof Wedding

I've been at the sewing machine again!
After gathering lots of lovely inspiration for ideas for projects using faux fur,
I've set to work on winter-proofing my New Year's Eve wedding.

Instead of bouquets, my bridesmaids will be adorned 
with a handmade cream rose corsage each...
...and to keep their little hands warm, 
they will each have a cosy faux fur muff. 

I've been practicing with this lovely pale brown colour, 
but the final versions will be a delicate cream.
(and yeah, I have dyed my hair... thanks for noticing!!)

What do you think?

Anyway, I thought - being Wedding Wednesday and all,
 I'd share some of my ideas for a Weatherproof Wedding...

1. Keep everybody warm

The fur muff idea is one of the little styling touches I'm most excited for on my big day.
Any younger wedding party members?
This hooded cape from Monsoon is stunning for a little flower girl!

2. Choose surroundings to fit the season

We had to realise that having a winter wedding was going to mean sacrificing beautiful outdoorsy running-through-fields-of-daisies type photos.
So instead of planning despite the weather, plan to embrace it.
Our reception venue is going to have an open fire, 
and a lounge area where people can curl up 
in comfy couches with a glass of red or a cup of tea.

3. Turn your concerns into hopes

Positive mental attitude will get you far in this life.
So many people have said to me "Oooh but what if it snows? What will you do??"
Umm snow would save me a bomb in confetti costs!
And who wouldn't genuinely love a Friends-esque Phoebe and Mike wedding?
"What about rain though? Surely rain would ruin everything!"
Sounds just lovely to me!
Some of my favourite wedding photos are those of couples cuddling up under a giant brolly.
Also a perfect way to avoid the rain smearing your bridal make up all down your cheeks.

4. Recreate your favourite chilly days

Winter is not the time for outdoor lawn games or sky lantern releases,
but it is the time for cosy board games, hot chocolates and blankets. 
Have a word with your venue, most will be ok with you spending the day before designing your space to be exactly how you'd like it.

5. Use the "traditional" bits to do something different

We're swapping champers on arrival for mulled wine.
Instead of confetti as we come out of the church, why not hand out sparklers?
(These heart shaped sparklers from Confetti are just too adorable)
Instead of a guest book, we're opting for a bare white tree which guests can adorn with their messages of love to us (more on that in a later post!)

Any other ideas for a perfect chilly day wedding?
I'm always open to last minute additions to my own plan!


Inspired by Portraits

I'm obsessing at the moment over beautiful portraits.
Nothing inspires me quite so much as a soft simplistic sketch with a gorgeous splash of colour.

Here's just a few pieces I've found myself in love with recently... 

Is it just me who wants to grab my sketchbook and start doodling at the sight of these?

Seeing gorgeous art really inspires me to draw more often and develop my style.
How about you?


Getting back into sketching

I've always loved art, but I find it a funny thing.
Some of the world's most celebrated artists nowadays can barely draw,
while sites like Etsy are full of incredibly talented people who you've never heard of. 

The trick, of course, is to stand out from the crowd. 
To have a thang.

At the start of this year, I decided to keep an art / sketch / written journal, 
to track what is probably the most exciting and busy year of my life. 

I set myself a rule to not get rid of any "mistakes" in my journal. 
Something that makes it difficult to share pieces in which I can see the clear flaws, 
but that also forces me to appreciate the beauty of something raw.

As well as documenting the incredible journey that 2012 has turned out to be, 
I feel that it has helped me to reconnect with parts of me that I'd forgotten about. 
When I was a teenager, I used to stay awake all hours of the night just sketching and sketching.
And over the years, I just kind of forgot to do it.  

I've always loved trying out new things, 
dabbling in whatever the latest craze is,
but give me a biro and a sketch pad...
that's my thang.

And even if it never makes me famous,
if my scribbles never make it onto a mug or a mouse mat,
it keeps me true to myself.


A New Look Nikki Joy

Not long ago, I found myself as a "plus 1" at a swanky London fashion type launch party, 
and it astonished me how many people there are out there who, 
when asked what they do, will introduce themselves as bloggers.

It got me thinking though and ultimately led me to resolve to take my blog more seriously, to be proud of it and turn it into something that I'm excited to share with people.

Having resolved this, the first step was to enlist some help...
Kristen from KV's confessions popped into my mind in a flash.
Not only does she always have a gorgeous blog, but she's fun and honest and so real in her posts that I just knew it would be a great process to work with her.

Next, I spent a Saturday afternoon cruising around for colour pallets I liked.
Here are some that inspired me... 

This image from Design Seeds grabbed my attention in a flash. 
I loved it for the rich greys and tones of blue and green

These kimonos by Abraxas Rex via Simple Things are beautiful 
in their combination of warm greys and the pops of bright colours. 
I was totally inspired by the watercolour effect of these images as well.

The pinks and purples of this gorgeous print by Susan O'Connor at Pretty Petal Studio captured my heart and I knew these colours had to feature in my new layout. 

From there, Kristen was so good at making sure every last detail was exactly to my liking.
Right down to the watercolour effect header, inspired by my favourite piece of artwork 
and the "tea stain" accent on the top menu links, 
to pay homage to my undying love for a good old fashioned cuppa.

She even helped me to make difficult bits easy. 
Am I the only one who finds it near impossible to write a decent "about me" section?

You can read about her design process on her blog here.

Thanks Kristen!

I hope you all love the new look as much as I do?


6 things to make with Faux Fur

I don't know about the rest of the world, 
but in East Yorkshire, England, 
the warm weather has waved a fond farewell.

Thankfully, I'm a total Autumn lover.
I love walking through crunchy leaves, warming up over bowls of homemade roast vegetable soup and sitting in coffee shops until after dark drinking caramel hot chocolate.
Most of all though, I love cold weather dressing - bobble hats, chunky knit scarves, cute mittens, thick colourful tights... Who needs the sunshine?

In my recent attempts to clear out before moving house this winter, 
I came across some leftover faux fur from some projects I was working on last time the frost was here, and it got me all excited for cold weather crafting 
and in a flash I was at my laptop searching for some ideas.

So here's six things to make with faux fur...
(including some great tutorials!)

(Tutorial from Love Maegan)

I always find it best to start with a simple project when using an unfamiliar medium - and fur can be really fussy to work with. 
Thankfully the first time I gave it a go, I was staying at my mum's, who taught me all about nap and pile... and then got the duct tape out!

This neckwarmer / snood / whatever they'll get called this year is so simple and cute and would look great with any outfit. 

Personally I'm thinking perfect for chilly bike rides. All the warmth, none of the "death by long scarf caught in wheel spokes"

(Tutorial from Colette Patterns)

I made this sweet collar for my best friend last Christmas and I must say, I was really happy with how it turned out.

The tutorial is so easy to follow and the peter pan collar trend is still all over Etsy, so I'm happy to bring this one out again.

One tip though from experience - I used a sateen type fabric for the lining last time, which I won't be doing again because this type of collar can be prone to travel. Next time I'll use a lining with less sheen, because nobody likes to spend all their time adjusting their outfit. 

(Tutorial from Cotton & Curls)

So I'm a total sucker for bobble hats...
I'm also a massive fan of looking at something in a shop and saying "I could make that!"

Thank you Lizzie from C&C!

This is just about the simplest DIY out there, but such a great idea. I think it looks adorable.
Now to go and spend all my money on slightly boring woolly hats to spruce up with pom poms.

(Tutorial from Adventures in Dressmaking)

Last year, Suzannah was inspired by the fur trend and came up with this lovely tutorial for turning a plain sweater vest into a beautiful winter weather staple.

You can see her outfit post linked at the bottom of the tutorial for a sweet idea on how to wear faux fur casually.

This is a slightly more complex tutorial than some of the others, but the results look totally worth it.

Maybe I'll work my way up to this one after a day or too of pom poms!

(Tutorial from DIY network)

Ignore the granny-cardi pink-and-brown combo shown in the image and see the potential.

This tutorial looks mega easy, and I imagine that in a delicate cream coloured fur (of which I just happen to have a big old bag ready for some winter wedding DIY goodness... ) this could look really beautiful.

(Tutorial from Cotton & Curls)

I'm well aware that "five faux fur projects" would have made a much better blog post title... everybody loves a bit of alliteration - but I simply couldn't resist this one...

Another awesome tutorial from C&C... because let's be honest, she's a superhero when it comes to DIYs!

I don't know if I'd be brave enough to rock this much faux fur but I think it looks great on the right person

And it does look toasty warm in that thing!

Supposedly this project only took her 20 minutes too, so you could have one by the time you reach the bottom of that cup of tea you're drinking!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to the sewing machine!!
...via the kettle.