Downloadable awesomeness – how to make your own scratch card

There is a wall at work on which someone has put up a bunch of cards, probably from past birthdays and occasions. So I was staring at it and there was this japanese card with a scratch-able area. Personally, I am a big fan of scratch cards so I thought, wouldn’t just be so awesome if I could make my own scratch card?

DIY mystical scratch card - Irene loves crafts

Lucky for me, after a bit of research, I found out they’re actually incredibly easy to make!

DIY scratch card - materials

This is what you’ll need:

  • A card. I made my own and left it blank so it can be customisable. It’s a bit silly, Mystical Cards lovers edition, good if you are planning on giving it to your other half. You can download it here.
  • Normal tape and masking tape
  • Acrylic paint and a brush
  • Washing up liquid

DIY scratch card - scratchable area

Make or print your card. Put normal tape on the area you want it to be scratch-able. If you are using my design, write down the message in the shaded squares and proceed to tape the squares with normal tape as that will be the scratch-able area.

DIY scratch card - taped area

Now take the masking tape and tape around the scratch-able area so no paint goes over the rest of your card. Make sure you press down on the tape so there are no gaps where the paint can sneak down under the tape. I didn’t do that enough so my squares were not so square afterwards.

DIY scratch card - applying paint

Once you have achieved the colour you want by mixing the acrylics, mix two parts of acrylic paint with one part of washing up liquid. The washing up liquid is important as it’s what it will make it scratch-able. Paint what will be the scratch-able area.

DIY scratch card - painted squares DIY scratch card - Irene loves crafts

Let it dry and carefully remove the masking tape. It is ready to be scratched!

Out with the blues, in through the letter box

Already two weeks into 2013 and detox is not going very well, it’s too cold and dark to go running and, chances are that, you have the January blues. If you don’t have it then you probably know someone that does or just have that little friend that needs a bit of cheering up.

Out with the blues box - insideSo why not send them a surprise packet through the post to say – hey dude, here’s this box with some pampering bits and bobs, especially for you!

Out with the blues box - materials

Out with the blues box - what's in it

This is what you’ll need

  • Some bits from the store
  • String
  • Tissue paper
  • A small box to post things through

Out with the blues box - goodiesOut with the blues box - inside the box

In the box I put in a detox smoothie – to help with the January detox, a face mask and a hair mask – to look as beautiful as ever for the year ahead, a Home is where the craftstation is temporary tattoo – because they are awesome, and an instant hot chocolate and a bag with marshmallows to go with it – because the body could also do with a treat!

Out with the blues box - the packet

Out with the blues box - posting

Wrap it all with some tissue and add a note, just because getting letters AND packets rules. Add a bit of string to the box so it’s super special and you are ready to post it! You are awesome.

Cool prints to own, give or wish for

Living in a very limited space has proved a difficult challenge but for a print lover like me it also means limited wall space. Me and my other half are entertaining the idea of “upgrading” to a 1 bedroom flat instead of the cute tiny studio we now live in. So I have allowed myself to look around, print-dreaming of that near future in which once again I have a blank wall to fill.

Iris - Conrad Roset

I actually own this beauty. It is one of my most loved possessions and I thought it definitely deserved a place here. I saved to buy myself an original and it makes me very happy every time I look at it! It is made by the very talented Conrad Roset. If you want to grab one for yourself you can visit his shop here.

Bad hair day - Doodling a smile

And how big is your smile right now? Funny print with a sun on it will bright up your day. Bad Hair Day from Doodling a smile is to give and to wish for.

Boats - Maddison Graphic

Black and white, check. Simple lines, check. Awesome boats, check. In my list, Boats from Maddison Graphic has it all. One for the future home office, or the bedroom, or the bathroom.

Bowl Stack - Strawberry luna

Super colourful print Bowl Stack from Strawberry Luna would be an awesome housewarming present. You know, in case you want to send me something when we eventually move house  : )

I print - Yeah No Yeah

I have allowed myself to sneak this one in here even though we also own it. George gave it to me for my birthday this year and I think it’s ace. It’s part of a series of a very graphic-y alphabet from Yeah No Yeah. Find your initial!

During the time that I have been writing this post, something funny happened. I was remembering out loud how much I like the boat print and wishing we had more wall space. I thought I had already shown it to George but apparently I hadn’t. He loved it as well so we have now purchased it so we aresure it definitely has a space on our next home. Yay!

Temporary tattoos are back and they are ridiculously easy to make

A few days ago I was admiring some of Tattly‘s new tattoos. And then, randomly, I thought – wouldn’t it be so cool if I could just make my own temporary tattoo. So I did.

DIY temporary tattoo arm - Irene loves craftsI proceeded to design this cute crafty tattoo. You can download Home is where the craftstation is and make your own at home! Temporary tattoos are super easy to make. All you need is a design or drawing that you like and some temporary tattoo paper (for either inkjet or laser printers, they’re different!). If you do a quick search online you’ll be able find a provider in your country.

DIY temporary tattoo chest - Irene loves crafts

This is how you make it:

  • Choose your design and flip it sideways so once it’s transferred is readable and the right way round – if you download my tattoo you’ll see I’ve already done that for you
  • Print it on the temporary tattoo paper following the brand’s instructions
  • Cut out the tattoo as close to the design as possible. This will stop areas of skin where there’s no design appearing shiny
  • Apply as per instructions and show off!

Mexican inspired cardigan chain

Well hello there trendy world of cardigan chains. I have recently discovered this wonderful accessory, probably brought back to the public eye by actress Jayma Mays playing guidance counselor Emma in the TV series Glee, and I gotta say it is so old school that it’s totally back in fashion. I haven’t really seen them in stores but, the good news is that they are incredibly easy to make.

Cardigan chain detail - Irene loves crafts

So I thought – this is really ace but hey, in all honesty, I am probably not going to wear this. So I made a really cool one anyway as I know a few friends that would love one. It’s seems like a much bigger project that it actually is but, if you have some basic crafting supplies, you won’t need a lot more.


I made a Mexican inspired cardigan chain. Used some Sculpey to make two skulls and I decorated them Mexican styley with colouring pens. You could also use some pretty vintage clip on earrings and you could save yourself a whole lot of trouble. To make this cardigan chain you will need:

  • Chain
  • Two sculpey skulls
  • Two clips – I used blank clip-on earrings
  • Two metallic loops that mach the chain
  • Scissors, pliers and tweezers
  • Colouring pens
  • Glue gun or superglue

Cardigan-chain---sculpey-skulls Cardigan-chain---mexican-skullMake a couple of skulls – or your desired shape – out of Sculpey following package instructions. Decorate with colouring pens in awesome Mexican style.


Use some scissors to cut the chain to the length you like and attach to the clips with a metallic loop. Some plier action will ease things up.


I opted for the double chain look. With the chains and clips set up and my skulls decorated I am ready to go.

Cardigan chain - glue gun

Carefully glue the skulls to the clip. Keep in mind the clip has to open and close easily so make sure not to glue the clasp.

Cardigan chain - skull detail Cardigan chain - Irene loves crafts

You are now ready to rock that awesome chain or to give it away as a great homemade present!

Abuela’s Rosco. My grannie’s lemon cake

I don’t go home to Spain very often and I get to see my nan even less. But whenever I manage to go down there, whether I get to see her or not, she gives me a lemon Rosco or sends me one through a family member. They are delicious and she knows I devour them instantly. I have asked her for the recipe and now I share it with you, so you may also enjoy her Roscos.

Abuela's rosco - lemon cake Irene loves crafts

It could easily just be called lemon cake but my grannie cooks it in those flan tins which make cakes look like oversized doughnuts – round and with a hole in the middle which is exactly what a Rosco is. This is what you’ll need:

  • 3 eggs
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 lemon flavoured yogurt (keep the packaging – this will count as 1 measure)
  • 1 measure of sunflower oil
  • 2 measures of sugar
  • 3 measures of flour
  • 1 & 1/2 packets of instant yeast


And this is how to make it:

  1. Pre-heat the oven at 175 degrees
  2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. At the same time. While you imagine my grannie (or yours) rocking it like you are doing right now.
  3. Butter up your tin and flour it. Pour the cake batter into it.
  4. Now, if you have a fan oven, place on the lowest shelf until it’s bronze, then move up to the middle. But if your oven happens to have bottom and top heat settings then instead you need to place it in a middle shelf, turn on the bottom heat and  once the cake is bronze then turn on the top heat as well.

The time involved will depend on the method you choose but it’s around 45min baking time. The fan method is less reliable and might cause the cake not to rise as much. Either way, keep your eye on it the first time you bake it, I assure you it’s worth it!

If you were planning on adopting some sort of diet I would recommend you to bake first and start dieting once your belly is full!

Gracias abuela!

Pretty things to look at: New Year’s eve mood-board inspiration

That last and first night of the year is round the corner. For those of you who are lucky enough to not be working on New Year’s eve, here are some pretty things to look at from around the web to get you in the party mood. If you are throwing your own party, they might help you out with those last loose bits you needed to sort out. Personally, I am not gonna be hosting a party this year, but I will surely be using these awesome ideas at some point in 2013.

DIY confetti sling

This DIY confetti slingshot from Green Wedding Shoes is my super-fave. So cool and easy to make.

Shiny stars drink stir sticks

How adorable are these shiny star drink stir sticks. You can find the tutorial and loads of other great ideas over at Somewhere Splendid.

DIY fringe garland

I love this DIY tissue paper tassel garland from Ruffled. It makes me want to have it up all year round.

Mini celebration milkshakes

Got some spare small-ish glasses that you aren’t planning on using? Or maybe you got a bit over-excited buying shot glasses? Why not make this adult-only tiny White Russian milkshakes from Camille Styles?

DIY pinecone placeholder

Oh handy pine cones, how I love you so. To me, they are a bit like pumpkin. A seasonal star that I look forward to all year and once it’s here I try to use it as much as I can. A bit of a random comparison but it works for me! Use them as these cute neon name tags also from Camille Styles.

Champagne and swizzle sticks

If, like me, you love a bit of fizz for any sort of celebration, you need these bad boys in your life. Rock candy and sugar swizzle sticks, picture from Sensationally Sweet Events, you can easily get them online.

Sparkling cranberry brie bites

These sparkling cranberry and brie bites from Annie’s Eats look delicious. I can’t wait to try them.

Glamorous and inexpensive table runner

Lastly, if you are still pondering on how to decorate your table, Bright Bazaar has some wonderful easy ideas which might suit your  adopted “last minute decorating policy”.

But for now, let me wish you all a great end and start of the year. Enjoy your celebrations, whether they’re wild or mild, and see you on the new year! Happy 2013 to you all!

All image credits belong to the links above

Awesome free calendars for 2013

Fully stuffed, several sugar commas and chilled sofa time could easily sum up my Christmas holidays. On my last attempts to do something productive before the end of 2012, I have made a round up of several awesome free calendars for the fast approaching 2013. I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday and that you are preparing for some great new year’s eve celebrations!

2013 Calendar freebie - Mibo 2013 Calendar freebie -  Ellinee 2013 Calendar freebie - Impulso creativo 2013 Calendar freebie - My Owl barn 2013 Calendar freebie - Eat drink chic 2013 Calendar freebie - Lau's notebook

2013 Calendar freebie - Design love fest

  1. Minimal animal calendar by Mibo
  2. Typography calendar by Ellinee
  3. Whimsical pattern calendar by Impulso Creativo
  4. Customizable or pre-made calendar from My Owl Barn
  5. Bold and funky “Sweet New Year” calendar by Eat Drink Chic
  6. One page calendar by Lau’s Notebook
  7. Mood-board calendar by Design Love Fest

All image credits belong to the links above

Six ace Christmas food leftover recipes

If you haven’t yet started the Christmas eating frenzy you won’t be able to escape it for much longer. If, like me, you like to prepare tones of delicious food no matter the occasion, you will probably encounter the inevitable leftovers. I have found six easy recipes so the tasty uneaten food can be put to good use.

Christmas leftover recipes - Irene loves craftsHere is my list of ace leftover Christmas recipes, find them all through the links:

  1. Turkey and parsnip curry, no-fuss comfort food, can all be cooked in one pan
  2. Awesome dill roast chicken salad sandwich. An awesome snack anytime and a goodie for your work lunchbox, especially those working over the Christmas period
  3. Christmas pudding trifle. Yes, more dessert, because otherwise you’ll get sugar withdrawn symptoms😉
  4. Salmon Kedgeree with butternut squash, parsnip and fennel. Have it with mimosas. Bringing the glam to your home a meal at a time
  5. Check out these mouth-watering ham-stuffed toms. A sure fave for picky eaters, apparently.
  6. Finally, I firmly believe a bit of baking is always good for the soul. Give it a go with this leftover veg and orange cake

But for now, let me just wish you all a very merry Christmas and an excellent time with your friends and family. Enjoy that Christmas banquet, it only comes once a year!

All images through links above. Credits to:

1. BBC Good Food, 2. Small Kitchen Chronicles, 3. Con Poulos, 4. Meeta K. Wolff Photography, 5. Taste of home, 6. BBC Good Food

Show off with Furoshiki, the lovely japanese scarf giftwrap technique

The countdown to Christmas has now properly started. Soon, the last weekend before gift-giving day will be here. If you are still planning on how to giftwrap your presents, have you considered the super ancient but also mega cool japanese art of wrapping with scarves also known as Furoshiki?

Scarf Giftwrap Furoshiki - Irene loves crafts

Much easier than it looks and it’s two presents in one. Pop down to your local charity shop (if on a budget) or any clothing store (if not) and pick a few nice scarves, your presents will definitely stand out! I have tested out 4 wrapping styles which are suitable for four different shapes. Find the written tutorial after the  pictures


Kouse Tsutsumi – or the slender object carry wrap

Suitable for small piles of books of similar shape, a shoe box, a box of chocolates or any sort of rectangular shape.

Scarf giftwrap - Kousa Tsutsumi 1 Scarf giftwrap - Kousa Tsutsumi 2 Scarf giftwrap - Kousa Tsutsumi 3 Scarf giftwrap - Kousa Tsutsumi 4 Scarf giftwrap - Kousa Tsutsumi 5

How you do it:

  1. Put the item in the centre of the scarf. 
  2. Take the top and right corners of the scarf and tie them
  3. Take the bottom corner of the scarf and slip it under the knot, it’ll now be between the two other bits
  4. The same corner you just slipped under the knot, tie it together with the left over corner going above the existing knot – sounds complicated but it’s not, the picture should help
  5. You now have a super quirky pressie 

Otsukai Tsutsumi – or the basic carry wrap

Ideal for big books or boxes

Scarf giftwrap - Otsukai Tsutsumi 1 Scarf giftwrap - Otsukai Tsutsumi 2 Scarf giftwrap - Otsukai Tsutsumi 3 Scarf giftwrap - Otsukai Tsutsumi 4

How you do it:

  1. Put the item near one of the corners and fold the scarf over it
  2. “Roll it” so it’s about half way down to the scarf
  3. Fold the bottom corner towards the centre so you only have the left and right corners. Tie them up 

Bin Tsutsumi – or bottle carry wrap

Ideal for two bottles or similar shaped items, even if it’s small scented oil bottles like these, you’ll just need a smaller scarf.

Scarf giftwrap - Bin Tsutsumi 1 Scarf giftwrap - Bin Tsutsumi 2 Scarf giftwrap - Bin Tsutsumi 3 Scarf giftwrap - Bin Tsutsumi 4

How you do it:

  1. Make the two bottles/ items stand up in the middle of the scarf with about 1cm of separation. Tumble them over to their sides so they are laying horizontally on the scarf.
  2. Fold the bottom corner over the bottles
  3. Starting on the bottom side, roll the scarf and bottles towards the top corner
  4. Get both left and right corners together as you make the bottles stand up. Tie them up 

Yotsu Musubi – or 4 tie wrap

Ideal for square boxes. (note – the scarf I used was actually too big for the box, bare those proportions in mind if you decide to go for it)

Scarf giftwrap - Yotsu Musubi 1 Scarf giftwrap - Yotsu Musubi 2 Scarf giftwrap - Yotsu Musubi 3 Scarf giftwrap - Yotsu Musubi 4

How you do it:

  1. Put the box in the centre of the scarf
  2. Take the top and bottom corners and tie a knot on the top of the box
  3. Take the left and right corners and tie a knot on top of the previos know
  4. If necessary, re-tie the first (and bottom) knot over the new knot – so essentially it’s tied 3 times

After all this wonderful Furoshiki you can still decorate this lovely presents with some cool name tags, pine cones, baubles, anything you like really. Go crazy!

These tutorials and many more can be found at

If you want to find out more about Furoshiki, check out it’s Wikipedia page here