Trying The Knot With A DIY Wintage-style Wedding Day

The quirky affair was a truly memorable occasion for Katie Hall and Samuel Crosby.

The bride and groom had their ceremony at Alnwick’s St Michael’s Church, followed by the reception at Rennington Village Hall, on July 29. Katie, who is from Alnwick but lives in Seaton Burn with Samuel, said: “The wedding was certainly a little unusual. We did absolutely everything ourselves and we used local suppliers where possible. “Rennington Hall was completely empty and over three days we transformed it. “Myself, family and friends hand-crafted all the decorations, such as bunting, and we hired all the tables, chairs, china and glassware, etc.

“In the bar room of the hall, we filled it with all our own furniture and artwork from our home, as we are into antiques and retro furniture. We even took our Chesterfield sofas and coffee table, along with wall mirrors and photographs. “The cake had flamingos and pineapples on, along with images of our two cats and dog. Our sausage dog was there, along with my auntie’s dog – and I had 12 bridesmaids!”

Katie, 28, wore a re-worked original vintage dress from Vintage at Number 18, in Newcastle. Her hair was done by Jenz Hair Salon, at Village Farm, Shilbottle; Plush Beauty, also Shilbottle, did her eye-lashes; and her make-up was done by kellyblickmua and Nikki Louise. Samuel, 27, looked dapper in his suit from Only & Sons.

A friend and one of the bridesmaids helped with the flowers, from Team Valley Flower Market, while Cake Stories, Jesmond, did the cake. Guests were treated to an afternoon tea, by Margaret Smith, from Belford, followed by an evening hogroast, from The Spitting Pig, at Morpeth

The Yellow Taxi, from Alnwick, and coaches from Travelsure were used for transport, while the wedding car was supplied by Brooklands Wedding Cars, in Durham. Entertainment was provided by Martha Hill, who busks in Newcastle, and Manchester-based band, Jive Swings.


How To Cut Plastic

When undertaking a home DIY project, there’s usually no question about the proper techniques for cutting wood. But cutting plastic—particularly acrylic or polycarbonate—is a whole different story. Plastic is trickier to handle for multiple reasons: some types can melt during the cutting process without proper precautions, the surface is prone to scratches, and the edges sometimes need buffing when the project is complete. Here are three different techniques for how to cut plastic, depending on the thickness of the materials and the desired style of cut.

Cutting Thin Sheets of Plastic

If you want a straight cut in a thin acrylic or polycarbonate plastic sheet (up to ⅛ inch thick), rely on a simple utility knife. First, secure the sheet to a large work surface, such as a table, with a clamp. Mark your desired cut line using a straight edge, then score the sheet of plastic with a utility knife, making several passes across the site until you achieve a deep groove. You’ll want the score line to go almost halfway through the plastic. Flip over the sheet and repeat the scoring process on the opposite side, along the same cut line. Reposition the plastic on your work surface so the scored groove is lined up with the edge of your work surface. Secure the plastic in place with a clamp, then snap off the portion that is hanging off of the surface.

Cutting Thick Sheets of Plastic

To make straight cuts on thicker sheets of acrylic and polycarbonate plastic (greater than ⅛ inch thick), you’ll need to use a table saw or circular saw. Look for blades designed specifically to cut plastic, which are often packaged as “No-Melt” blades and available at local home centers and hardware stores. Ideally, the teeth of the blade should be evenly spaced, of uniform height and shape, and spaced close together; teeth spaced wider apart may chip or crack the plastic. Note that if you choose to use a regular blade instead of a “No-Melt” blade,” creating too much heat may melt the plastic. As a precaution, you should pause between cuts to allow the blade to cool.

Mark the line you are cutting along with a permanent or grease marker and secure the plastic safely to the work surface with a clamp before making the cut. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, use the circular saw (or table saw) to cut through the plastic in the same way you’d cut through wood.

Cutting Curves

When you wish to make curved or rounded cuts in plastic, a jigsaw is your best bet, whether you’re working with thin or thick sheets. Ideally, you will use a sharp blade specified for use with plastics, but you can also use a blade marked for wood. However, it’s possible that friction from the blade will create too much heat, meaning the cut plastic can quickly melt back together if it gets warm enough. To prevent this from occurring, you may need to experiment with different jigsaw settings and speeds with a scrap piece of plastic. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for how to use a jigsaw, and you’ll end up with a perfectly cut piece of plastic for your next home repair or DIY project.

Brew Period: The Craft Beer Labels That Are Works Of Art

With its barrel-aged stouts and gooseberry saisons, craft beer has transformed British beer. But that revolution has not solely been about flavour. It has been aesthetic, too. Beer cans are now a canvas for dazzling, cutting-edge design, and this golden age for beer art is celebrated in blogs-cum-books such as, and even at exhibitions.

This makeover of pump clips, bottle labels and packaging has been pivotal to craft’s appeal, says the beer writer and consultant Matthew Curtis: “Craft brewers needed an updated image to match the modern flavours in their beers. Breaking with traditional brewing imagery was essential.”

For Becky Palfery, the co-owner of the Leeds bookshop Colours May Vary – which in May held a beer art exhibition, Pumped – that marketing necessity has facilitated the rise of branding that can be considered art. “We wanted to see if, removed from the bottle and put in a frame, the artwork would stand alone,” she says. The beautiful, often logo-free bottles created by the revered Karl Grandin for the Swedish brewery Omnipollo, she insists, have the “aura” of artworks.

That is certainly how Textbook Studio would like its work with the Manchester brewery Cloudwater to be regarded – as art that, although shown on cans, would work in a gallery. The Salford design agency commissions and curates original art (about 130 pieces annually), which it then works into labelling for Cloudwater’s seasonal beers. It is a serious endeavour, as the notes for the current campaign explain: “Mariel Osborn worked with tactile fabrics and materials with a feminine aesthetic to create site-specific responses to the Cloudwater brewery.”

Last year, Anglia Ruskin University’s pubLAB research centre found that snazzy label designs were more important than shelf-space in catching consumers’ eyes. That may explain why craft has embraced such bold packaging. In a crowded marketplace, craft breweries want to stand out – particularly online. “A beautiful can goes a long way,” says Textbook’s Chris Shearston. “A lot of US bloggers get the cans, photograph them and it becomes part of the experience. People do collect them.”

The radical, tangential and aesthetically purist way in which many craft breweries approach branding has confounded big breweries. Larger businesses design product packaging to strict “brand guidelines” for specific demographics, whereas, initially, UK craft beer had no defined audience or marketing budget. It just made it up on the hoof, often differentiating itself not with the obvious signifiers of authenticity (retro printing styles, images of hops), but with wild, abstract designs that utilise everything from voguish hand-drawn illustration to landscape photography. When established breweries attempt to tap into this market (see the generic hipster branding for Beardo from the north-west brewery Robinsons), they often look, says Curtis, “Like your weird uncle trying to dance to Taylor Swift at a wedding.”

“The big guys are fascinated by it to the point of confusion,” says Nick Dwyer, the creative director at Beavertown in north London, where he executes all aspects of the brewery’s trashy, B-movie aesthetic. Dwyer talks of his illustrations building trust and intimacy with an audience of a similar age (he is 27) through a shared visual language of graphic novels, old Star Wars comics and cult movies: “This generation is not ashamed of nostalgia.”

Over at Partizan Brewing in south London, label artist Alec Doherty wasn’t “thinking about being distinctive. But do your own thing and you will be.” His work (a fusion of Soviet, modern European design and 1960s US counterculture influences) might reference a beer’s ingredients or its style, but obliquely (eg a wise old man to represent the herb sage). Doherty sees himself as cultivating a likeminded audience who might decode his artwork in the way rock fans once scrutinised album sleeves. Beer, he says, encourages such “nerdiness”. “We wanted to add to the experience in a visual sense. You might taste something unusual, look at the label and it would have these reference points.”

“If a product makes you feel sophisticated, you’ll keep buying it,” says Palfery. “In a way, it’s a clever strategy.” But, says Design Week editor Tom Banks, there must be an essential truth to such marketing: “Craft breweries see themselves as anti-establishment agitators, and people are buying into that. I don’t think that branding is disingenuous, and if the drinks weren’t nice they wouldn’t be selling.”

Naturally, a hardcore of drinkers regard any sharp design as suspect – a gimmick to shift substandard beer. But craft is a flavour-focused scene. A cool label may get a beer noticed, but if it is a lacklustre liquid, interest will wane. Conversely, says Curtis, an “awful” label (“It even uses the dreaded Comic Sans”) has not stopped Russian River’s Pliny the Elder from becoming one of the world’s most sought-after IPAs.

Nor is every new brewery compelled to spend big on design. The Kernel’s vintage labelling (black type on brown wrapping paper) is simple, instantly recognisable and conceptually fitting for a brewery obsessed with historic beer recipes. In Yorkshire, Bad Seed brewery’s inexpensive branding – a DIY effort based on the swing tags homebrewers use to identify bottles – works for a brewery pushing a handcrafted ethos. “It’s unique and comes from our story,” says co-owner Chris Waplington. “You need something eye-catching but it doesn’t need to be perfect. An honest reflection of you is more important.”

“There are a lot of old farts out there who don’t like change and complain about anything,” says Doherty. “Essentially, the label is inconsequential.” Except that this new wave of design is not entirely frivolous. Rewind to 2007 and real ale packaging was, as Palfery recalls, “ludicrous”. Its lingua franca of craggy moors, steam trains, adolescent fantasy imagery and lazy sexism (blond pinups on blond ales etc) defined good beer as a middle-aged, male pursuit. In contrast, craft beer’s aesthetic is asexual, inclusive, urban. “With skeletons and aliens you don’t have to think about gender, race, age,” says Dwyer. “It is what it is.”

Craft beer may look cool, but that stylistic shift is cultural, too. Beer is now in a far more progressive place.

Fall Crafts And Decorating Ideas

Fall is just around the corner—or, at least, I’m hoping it is. Seeing fall décor in stores and mums at garden centers just gets me in the mood for fall. I’m ready to throw some pumpkins around the house.

Here are a few fall crafts that might get you in the fall spirit, if you aren’t already there.

Glittery fall garland

This is an easy fall craft that the kids will enjoy as well. Find some fall-themed wood or foam cutouts, then glitter them up. Here’s how I made mine.

Ampersand pumpkin

Instead of just regular ol’ pumpkins, why not add a bit of embellishment to those faux ones you can find at craft stores? I made an ampersand pumpkin a couple of years back, and it’s one of my favorite fall decorations to date. The tutorial is here.

Go colorful

Instead of just decorating with orange and white pumpkins this fall, why not paint some in colors that reflect your taste and décor? I love painting pumpkins in kelly green or pink and then glittering the stems.