05
Dec 14

A DIY Christmas

Poles Direct Infographic

 

Find out how to make Moral Fibres’ DIY Snowglobe here.

Find out how to make Claireabelle Makes’ No Sew Christmas Wreath here.

Find out how to make The Curators Collection’s Paper Baubles here.

Find out how to make Look What I Made’s Winter Lantern Jar here.

Find out how to make Miss Mamo’s World’s Christmas Star Tree decorations here.

 


05
Dec 14

Blog of the Month: 101 things to do with kids

To celebrate the inspiration and creativity out there in the blogosphere, each month at Poles Direct we are sharing one of our favourite blogs. We hope the series will leave you with endless ideas for bringing crafts and DIY into your own home. You may remember November’s blog of the month with gorgeous crafts and a behind the scenes interview and this month we are excited to introduce another fantastic blog.

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101thingstodowithkids is run by Lindsey, a busy 30-something year old married mum of 2 who makes sure that she always finds time and ways to get her kids crafting. Lindsey’s blog is filled with ideas of fun activities for kids, including arts and crafts, child-friendly recipes, indoor and outdoor games, and great places for families to visit. The easy-to-follow tutorials are designed to help motivate the least artistic, creative or energetic parent to get crafty with their kids.

What motivated you to start your blog?

I started my blog back in April of this year. The idea behind the blog was to show other friends, and fellow parents, the activities that I have done together with my family, in the hope that they would be inspired to do similar activities with their families. I am the least creative or artistic person that I know, so if I can do it, then anyone can give it a go! I also hoped that it would help me to become a better parent, by spending more time, properly focusing on my family, instead of just meandering through parenthood.

Who inspires you?

I think that the person who has inspired me the most, would have to be my mum. She was so creative and always had a project on the go. She made some beautiful handmade cards, as well as turning her hand to knitting, sewing, making dollhouses and so much more. She was such a wonderful granny to my daughter when she was a baby, always trying to engage with her and I hope that she would be proud of me and what we are doing with 101thingstodowithkids.

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Which project are you most proud of?

The project that I am most proud of, that I did myself, would have to be my hallway and in particular the up-cycled pine chest that I turned into a bench seat. It was not, by any means, perfect, but I enjoyed doing it and I think that it looks great, in a shabby chic/French way!

My favourite project completed with the assistance of the children would probably be a handmade tepee we made using a plain white tablecloth and potato printing a simple pattern onto it. We tied it around some bamboo canes and voila!

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Which craft project has been the most popular with your children?

My children love painting, and some of the fab ideas that I have come across and tried out with them, have really inspired them. They loved painting with marbles, and footprint painting, but perhaps their favourite activity was creating these canvas prints using a potato masher and bubble wrap. It was fun and looks great on the wall!

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Why do you think crafting is important for kids?

I think crafting is really important for children for so many reasons. Firstly, it gives you a chance, in these modern times, to turn off the TV and spend some time creating wonderful pieces of work together with them. It helps to inspire and develop their minds, and encourages them to have a go and be creative! As well as this, it also helps to develop their motor skills and co-ordination. And well, it’s just fun!

What would your top tip be to any rookie DIY’ers?

Give it a go! Some things work and some things don’t but you are probably more capable than you think you are. Also take your time for a better finish. I have always been a bit hasty, and never paid attention to the old adage “more speed, less haste”

You can keep up to date with all the Lindsey’s projects on the 101thingstodowithkids blog.

Come back next month for our latest DIY Blog of the Month!

Want to see your blog featured here? Contact us if you would like to be considered for January’s Blog of the Month!


03
Nov 14

Blog of The Month: Eight and Sixteen

At Poles Direct we’re passionate about homes and interiors and love discovering new ideas. The DIY and craft projects published online every day are a great source of inspiration for anyone looking to add a personal touch to their home. To celebrate this blogging community we will be running a monthly feature where we promote our favourite craft and DIY bloggers alongside an interview with the people behind the projects.poles9

Our first post features Eight and Sixteen, a British DIY and craft blog run by kindred craft spirits Erin and Skye. Both ladies have their own personal blogs but joined forces to create weekly craft and recipe posts and encourage their readers to join in too. We spoke to them about their fantastic blog…

 

What motivates you?

Skye: For me, DIY is a huge part of my life, to the point where I’d say it’s totally a part of who I am! I’m motivated by ethical reasons; I want to spend less on mass produced products which often leads to DIY’ing. If I can’t buy something second hand, then I DIY – or as is often the case I buy something second hand and then DIY it to suit me! I’m also motivated by the challenge; I get such a thrill being able to make something and know that it’s unique. There is something immensely satisfying in creating something for yourself or for others, and knowing exactly what has gone into it.

Erin: Creating and crafting is something that I’ve always done – I love learning new crafts and figuring out how to create my own unique versions of things. Blogging has been a huge motivation for me as after starting to write tutorials back in 2012 I now find it difficult to imagine not crafting and sharing the things I make! The idea that someone might stumble upon an online tutorial and that it could lead to them discovering a love of DIY is also really motivating; it’s such a compliment when a reader creates their own version of your project!poles 7

Who inspires you?

Skye: Erin, of course! Having such a great friend and partner to bounce ideas around with is so important! Being a long distance team can be really hard, but sometimes I read back through our emails and can’t help but giggle as to how they must read; to me it’s amazing being able to talk to someone who is on the same level as you, even if you’re talking crafty jibberish!

Erin: Like Skye, one of my biggest inspirations has to be other bloggers (Skye included of course!). There’s a huge community of amazing crafters out there all with unique ideas to share.

poles 8

What project are you most proud of?

Skye: This is such a tough question! As a creative person I know that I will always look at my work and see the imperfections which makes it even harder. The first quilt I made will always be really special to me – there are a lot of mistakes, but it was such a learning curve and was such an amazing project to work on. My favourite e&s project to date is a toss up between my Film & TV Quote banners and my Ping Pong Ball Pumpkin Lights. The former because I think it’s a really fun way to make personalised gifts, and the latter because it’s a great upcycling project that can be customised to suit any occasion.

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Erin: Out of the makes I’ve shared so far on Eight & Sixteen I’d have to say the Cobweb Coasters I created for Halloween. They were my first ever completed quilting project so I was proud to be able to share them having learnt a whole new craft to do so.

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What has been your biggest project?

Skye: I’m afraid I’m gonna have to say my quilt again! On and off it took almost a year for me to make from start to finish, so it’s definitely the most long term project I’ve ever worked on.poles 3

Erin: This is a difficult one for me, I’d love to be able to say my first quilt as it’s the biggest project I’ve taken on to date but it’s still a work in progress! Earlier in the year I made a cushion for one of my friends which was designed to look like a classic Cluedo board. As I had to combine a variety of techniques to achieve the final design it was definitely one of my bigger projects.

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Which tool do you always have at hand?

Skye: Oh, definitely FriXion pens! I have about a dozen strewn around my desk and I can’t sing their praises enough.

Erin: I’d have to agree with Skye on this one – FriXion pens are a firm favourite for both of us! As a lot of the projects I share online are jewellery/accessories I’d also say jewellery pliers are an essential! They’re a really inexpensive tool but are handy for so many basic jewellery techniques and really expand the possibilities of what you can create.

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What would your top tip be to any rookie DIY’ers?

Skye: Never be afraid to get stuck in! It sounds corny, but it really is true. Sometimes you might try a project and it just won’t work out, but that doesn’t matter. You’ll learn something new, and for me that’s the best part. Also, be patient! I’m notoriously bad for rushing through DIY projects, but in pretty much every case, it’s ten times better if you take your time.

Erin: If you want to try a particular project just go for it! And don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t work out, even regular DIY-ers experience craft fails, it’s all part of the learning process. I’d also say don’t let a lack of space put you off! I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past but there are plenty of awesome DIYs and crafts you can do even with limited space.

You can keep up to date with all the latest work on Erin and Skye’s blog Eight and Sixteen.

Erin’s personal blog ‘E-Elise etc.’ and, and Skye’s blog ‘Even Artichokes Have Hearts‘ can be found on the links provided.

Come back next month for our next DIY Blog of the Month!


17
Sep 14

Clean Your House in Less Than an Hour

Cleaning the house doesn’t have to be a boring, in fact with the addition of some tunes and the right tools/products anyone can clean their house in under an hour easily. As it is freshers week we thought we would create a visual guide to cleaning to ensure the newest students keep out of trouble with the landlords and their parents. Student Cleaning


28
Aug 14

Working At Home: Making Your Home Office Productive

Image 2

Summer is nearing its end and we all must refocus our attention towards work. Children returning to school must now open up their exercise books and their parents really should send that email. With telecommunications now at the centre of many businesses, we now often have the choice to work from home. In the first three months of 2014 it was estimated nearly 14% of the workforce were working from home. Even if we don’t decide to, we may bring work home out of hours or run a blog or webpage. The need for a work space that allows us to work from home is vital.

1. Make it an officeImage 3 This is your home so you probably won’t opt for the full time secretary and vending machine but you must create an environment separate from the rest of the house. You don’t have to spend the earth but invest in a nice chair so you’re comfortable and a whiteboard so you keep track of ideas and schedules. A pot plant would be nice too.

2. OrganiseImage 4

The most basic and perhaps most vital of steps is to keep things organised. Again, the beauty of a home office is that it is your space and you should decide how to organise things, you may not need a seven foot filing cabinet but try to keep your work tidy and easily accessible. Scrabbling for a report through piles of children’s drawings and newspapers doesn’t scream professionalism.

3. Set RulesImage 1

Set working hours for yourself and try not to break them. A survey from 2013 showed that around one in seven Londoners spent between one and two hours on non-work related sites each day. When you are working. Make sure everyone at home knows. If this is nine to five, then stick to it, if you only have an hour after you get home from your office job then put a note up on the door to remind everyone. If your child needs to do their homework in the office then make sure they adhere to the rules too, there’s nothing worse than a chatty colleague/child when you really need to get some work done.

4. PrioritiseImage 5

Without a manager or superior immediately available you have to prioritise your time, which tasks are most urgent and which can wait. Make a ‘to do’ list each morning and check up on each aim throughout the day. If you complete a task give yourself a reward.

5. Enjoy the Freedom

Having made all of these points it might be worth disregarding all of them at some point. You probably wouldn’t have decided to work at home if you didn’t want to mold your own environment so enjoy being flexible. You can probably afford to take that ten minutes extra for your lunch every once in a while.

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1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27694938

2. http://www.canadalife.co.uk/media/32428/motivationproductivitypr.pdf

 


11
Aug 14

Curtain Pole Hacks

We have dived deep into the depths of Pinterest and Instagram to bring to you the 14 of most creative and of course interesting curtain poles hacks on the web. We’re all familiar with the use of the everyday curtain pole but for those frugal folks a curtain pole can be used in more than just the traditional ways as you you will see in the photos below.

Should you have any hacks that you would like to share on the blog please do leave a comment and we would be more than happy to add them into the post and share it on our Twitter and Facebook page.

Curtain Poles Paper Scroll

Source: pinterest.com/pin/344243965238385601/

Nautical-rope

Source: traditionalhome.com/design/bedrooms/decorating-ideas-beautiful-neutral-bedrooms

ribbon curtain poles

Source: etsy.com/uk/listing/83638474/

Duvet Curtains

Source: blog.studiopebbles.com

no doors hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/242068548695096831/

camping hacks

Source: pinterest.com/pin/194569646374897393/

sink hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/113504853081762880/

garden plant pot

Source: theownerbuildernetwork.co/easy-diy-projects/diy-garden-projects/diy-shoe-storage-vertical-planter/

play

Source: pinterest.com/pin/100768110387673258/

shower hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/131871095313907638/

art hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/288793394828788755/

fashion hack

Source: pinterest.com/pin/214835844699408101/

cushion hack

Source: 1001pallets.com/2013/04/creative-pallet-corner-idea/

hide hack

Source: athoughtfulplaceblog.com


21
Jul 14

My DIY Confession- Win a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3!

How many of us have spent our evenings and weekends hopelessly attempting to finally put together that flat-pack cabinet for the bedroom, or somehow get that shelf up on the wall? Unfortunately not all of us have the know-how to make every DIY project perfect, but here at Poles Direct we believe we shouldn’t be ashamed of it.

What we’re looking for from you

Poles Direct are looking for bloggers from a wide range of backgrounds to confess to their DIY disasters.

We want you to write a confession detailing how and why you failed to complete a home-based DIY project properly. We then want you to take a photo of your failed DIY project with your confession in plain sight and upload it onto your blog for your followers and the whole world to see, with the title, ‘My DIY Confession.

MY DIY CONFESSION

What’s in it for you?

The winning entrant will receive a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 and two lucky runners up will get to select a new set of blinds for their homes!

Not only will you get the chance to win some great prizes but you also get the chance to talk about something different and hopefully make a few people smile and feel better about their own failed DIY and decorating projects.

How to get Involved…

 Create a blog post and add the title “My DIY Confession.

Take a photo of a written or printed confession detailing why you failed the project (what’s wrong with it) next to your failed project.

Upload the photo to your blog and add it into your post.

Give your readers the background to the DIY fail.

Include a do-follow hyperlink to Polesdirect.com in the following or similar text:

“This is my entry for my DIY confession to Polesdirect.com’s ‘Changing Attitudes and Values DIY Blogger Challenge.’Publish the post and share it via twitter – be sure to include the hashtag #DIYconfession – don’t be afraid to post your confession on twitter as well!

Once you have blogged and tweeted drop me an email with the link to your entry.

Once the deadline passes (August the 31st), the winners will be selected based on the following criteria:

Best failed project

Best excuse

Most hilarious fail

Contact 

Remember to send your completed entries to:

Sean McMahon

polespr@interiorgoodsdirect.com

Good luck!


27
Jun 14

When Thieves Go Window Shopping: A Guide to Student Security

It’s summer, and A level students are pouring out of schools and colleges across the UK. For those heading to university, this could be their final summer of freedom. But when summer winds up and Freshers’ Week begins, they’ll receive a barrage of counsel from concerned parents and earnest lecturers alike. It’s true that your bedding needs to be washed, and it’s important that you buy the requisite textbooks (even if they bankrupt you), but one freshers fundamental that often falls by the wayside is home security.

The National Union of Students (NUS) recently estimated that 90% of student burglaries are caused by insecure doors and windows. A large proportion of these burglaries are entirely avoidable, and so we have put together this cheap and easy guide to house security.

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The facts

Student houses and halls of residence are often located in high-crime areas. Whilst this makes rent more affordable, it means students are targets for opportunistic burglars – with a startling one in three students falling victim to crime during their time at university. Student houses are easy targets for the following reasons:

  • Occupants are often in class or asleep during the daytime;
  • Similarly, occupants are often out until the early hours;
  • Houses are likely to contain portable electronics such as laptops and consoles;
  • Cost-cutting landlords may use the cheapest and bare minimum of locks;
  • Student houses are rarely equipped with alarm systems;
  • Bedrooms are often located downstairs, meaning quick access to belongings.

How can students deter theft?

Choose carefully: If you haven’t already chosen your accommodation, opt for a place with sturdy locks, doors and windows. Deadbolts and Yale-style nightlatches (the kind that automatically lock when the door is closed – see picture below) provide an extra layer of security. Double-glazed PVCU windows and doors provide the best security, but if doors or windows are wooden then check for rot and loose fittings.

Make a pact: Twice as many private renters fall victim to burglary as those in halls, so make a pact with housemates to ensure that everyone is on board. It only takes one sloppy housemate to leave your house open to thieves.

Lock up: Thieves rely on students being careless, with propped-open windows and unlocked back doors providing the simplest routes of entry for spur-of-the-moment burglaries. For this reason, it is important to keep windows and doors locked at all times unless absolutely necessary for ventilation.

Cover it up: The simplest and cheapest precaution is ensuring windows are kept covered by curtains or blinds when rooms are not in use. By preventing would-be thieves from being able to see into the house, “chancers” will be unable to see valuables on display. Ensure small items such as cash and car keys are kept in a designated safe place.

latch

Insurance: The average cost of a student burglary is £900. Insurance is a cheaper alternative. At the very least, consider cover for big-ticket items such as bikes, laptops and TVs.

UV pens and serial numbers: Use an ultraviolet pen to mark your stuff with your address. Most student unions stock them but they’re often given out for free at Freshers’ Week, so keep an eye out for the police stall. Keep note of the makes, models and serial numbers of your valuables so that police can return them to you in the unlikely event that they are recovered.

Safety first: If you suspect a break-in, stay out of the house and call the police. If burglary is obvious – for example a broken window – then 999 should be used in case the offender is still on the scene. If you are unsure, call the 101 non-emergency number and ask for advice.

Home for the holidays: If you can’t take valuables with you during the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays, arrange for them to be held in secure storage (simply do an online search for ‘online student storage’) or leave them with a friend.

Recommended reading:

Interview with a former burglar on what makes a house vulnerable

NUS advice on securing your property


16
May 14

Top 10 home decorating and interior design apps

The re-designing and decorating of a room is something we all think about but, often, it can be hard to envisage what will work well in the space or what colour would fit best with what we already own. Luckily there are thousands of useful tools to aid us on our DIY journey , available at the touch of a button.

So, whether you’re planning a new project, measuring for new bay window curtain poles, renovating your loft or redecorating your kitchen, we’ve rounded up some of the best home interior design and decorating apps to help you plan and complete your next DIY home improvements with ease.

Top 10 home decorating and interior design apps

 

Digital Dimensions (£5.99)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=si.sis.mymeasures

Udecore  (Free)

http://www.viutek.com/udecore.html

Homestyler (Free)

http://www.homestyler.com/

Colorchange (£0.69)

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/colorchange/id307846333?mt=8

 myPANTONE (£6.99)

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/mypantone/id329515634?mt=8

Sun Seeker (£3.79)

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ajnaware.sunseeker

Craftgawker (Free)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/craftgawker/id436672425?mt=8

Home DIY with Craig Phillips (Free)

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/home-diy-with-craig-phillips/id463802097?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

iHandy Carpenter (£1.49)

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/ihandy-carpenter/id293621500?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Houzz Interior Design Ideas (Free)

https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/houzz-interior-design-ideas/id399563465?mt=8


22
Apr 14

Attitudes & Values: A Visual Guide to DIY

The UK has a historic passion for home improvement. Whether this is redoing dated décor, piecing together a bookcase or building a new birdhouse from scratch, Brits love getting stuck into home DIY home improvement projects.

One of the reasons us Brits have become so passionate about doing DIY is that we want our homes to not only look fantastic but to also increase in value. Through recent economic uncertainty many  – thus seeing the love affair with DIY flourish.

Here at Poles Direct we often have customers purchasing new curtain poles and accessories for a room they have just updated. Since many of you will be diving into a DIY project this year we thought we would give you an idea of what the UK’s attitudes and values were towards home improvement:

Attitudes & Values -  A Visual Guide to DIY in the UK

 Key Statistics

Men’s attitudes towards DIY:

  • 90% of men are happy to use a power tool
  • 77% of men will finish any DIY jobs that they’ve started
  • 70% of men aged 25 to 33 years are happy to undertake DIY projects in the home

DIY is no longer the sole domain for men only:

  • 25% of women aged 25 to 33 years would do any DIY work themselves
  • 62% of women would finish any DIY projects they started
  • 49% of women are happy to use a power tool

Statistically, Britain is still a nation of DIY lovers:

  • 59% of people are happy to take on any DIY projects themselves
  • 33% of people have spent £500 or more on DIY

DIY injuries and disasters

  • More than 200,000 people end up in hospital each year from DIY accidents
  • 80,000 people have open wound injuries
  • 25,000 people break one or more bones in their bodies
  • 17,000 people complain of sprains or strains