Easy floral cushion DIY

This bright, soft floral cotton caught my eye the other day in a fabric shop. I was planning to make a step-by-step instructional post on how to make this simple cushion cover, but then ended up sewing it inside-out, so my 'instructional' photos will lead you down a very wrong path. This was all due to impatience, but what can I say, when a lady needs a cushion, she needs a cushion. 

Easy floral cushion // Amy MacLeod, Five Kinds of Happy

Tip 1: Choose a distracting, bright pattern that disguises your lumpy cushion inner

Easy floral cushion // Amy MacLeod, Five Kinds of Happy

Tip 2: Overlockers are not forgiving. 

Tip 3: If you sew a seam inside out... just cover it with a sneaky strip of fabric and stitch it right on over the mess-up. 

Easy floral cushion // Amy MacLeod, Five Kinds of Happy
Tip 4: She'll be right, mate.
Just wing it, I say.

Easy floral cushion // Amy MacLeod, Five Kinds of Happy

Really, it's gorgeous fabric. 
The blue room was my room model for the day, but ultimately it will end up somewhere at The Nest (our house) and I'll show you that when I can.

It's Friday here and I plan to stay inside all. day. long. There is a crazy storm outside, as all you Wellingtonians will know! This is one of those days where it is absolutely amazing to have no appointments and lots of jobs to get done inside. What are you up to?


How to dress and pack for a long-haul flight

You know what's hard? Dressing for a long haul flight to a country in a different season on the other side of the world. You know what's harder? Trying to do so whilst looking stylish AND being comfortable.

I've done a fair bit of trans-hemispherical travel in my time and I feel it's time to correct the misconceptions about what you can and can't wear whilst travelling. I've seen some highly impractical 'style guides' for travel and I sense the writer's have never lived in New Zealand and had to fly for a whole day or five to get pretty much anywhere. Hmm... :) Here are my rules and I back them 100%. Save them for your next big trip!

You shall not wear jeans, skirts, or ballet flats whilst flying long-haul. Why? Because jeans don't breathe and get stinky (and they hurt). Skirts are going to leave you with icicles and stalactites where your legs should be. Ballet flats are going to literally cause your feet to drop off from the freezing aircraft temperatures. Also forget jewellery. Really - the pain of setting off the metal detector and getting treated like a terrorist suspect is just not worth it. 

Here's what I'm wearing on our flight to NYC (around 20 hours of travel). We are starting in Winter, and flying into Summer. You can reverse this if you're going the other way. 
Keep in mind that flights are always air-conditioned and slightly too cold especially when you're not moving.

What to wear on a long-haul flight - Amy MacLeod - Five Kinds of Happy

  • Jeggings (leggings that look exactly like jeans but aren't. Saving my life!). Comfier than jeans, but more decent than plain leggings.
  • Long cotton t-shirt - comfy and the fabric breathes. I like it long enough to cover my legging-butt.
  • Warm cosy jumper - I chose a plain colour and style that I'll wear at the destination too.
  • Scarf doubles as a blanket on your (always cold) flight.
  • Watch lets you keep track of time without digging for your phone.
  • Trainers are the bulkiest shoes you'll be taking and will keep your feet warm, unlike flats.
  • Circulation socks - will save your LIFE and keep you feeling comfy with no calf-pain. Amazing!
  • 1 carry-on bag + 1 small clutch with cross-body strap for documents. Easy to get to!
  • Jacket for an extra layer and makes your suitcase lighter.

In your carry-on bag:
I try to take a smallish carry-on so I can keep it on the floor infront of me rather than push past people to get to the lockers. You can take a large one but keep a handbag separate for the flight.

What to wear on a long-haul flight - Amy MacLeod - Five Kinds of Happy
  1. Warm socks, if you aren't already wearing them, to put on during the flight.
  2. Cosmetics etc in a clear bag. I've found even powder foundation can set off the liquid-detectors so now I just chuck it all in the clear bag.
  3. Extras like tissues and gum so you can stay fresh. Also I like to have drops such as Vicks to help with the ear-popping. Earplugs and eye-mask are helpful too.
  4. A small clutch with strap for your documents, that can fit inside your other bag if needed. Keep in mind you will need your passport number during the flight.
  5. A black skirt, folded up. Mine folds up tiny. It will be used when you land (see next step).
  6. A notebook and pen. 
  7. Flat shoes that go with your skirt. I like ballet flats as they are easy to stuff into your bag and will be appropriate for anywhere.

So how does it work when you arrive at your destination?

The quick switch (in the airport toilets when you arrive...)

What to wear on a long-haul flight - Amy MacLeod - Five Kinds of Happy
You slip into the skirt and flats, stuff away your jeggings and socks (yay for easily squishable clothing) and you're off to collect your suitcase from the luggage belt and saunter outside into tropical conditions.
Sunglasses are optional depending how red-eyed and haggard you like to appear in public... ;)

If you're travelling from Summer to Winter, just reverse this process.

I MAY have a few outfit posts coming up over the next little while. I know it's not something I've done much of here so I'm a bit wary of jumping in and talking all about clothes when y'all want to see some interiors. But it IS supposed to be 5 different kinds of happy, and outfits kinda make me happy too. Of course, this all depends whether I can get good pictures whilst in NYC, and from experience I tend to stress the husband out with my photographic demands ('You're making me look all pastey! Stop angling the camera down and making my legs looks stumpy! Why didn't you tell me my hair was doing that?' etc...)

What are your experiences of long-haul flying? Maybe you have your own tips? I'd love to hear!

Making your home work for you: Kitchen

Welcome to today's post: Making your kitchen work for you!

We have an old kitchen. Like, original to the 1940's with no dishwasher, type of old. It also has the challenge of very limited bench space, and no real pantry (but many small cupboards).
You can see our kitchen in it's entirety here, but for now here are just a few tips for making your kitchen, regardless of the size, as functional as possible.

1. Herb pots

These herb pots were a cheap find at Ikea in Australia (we don't have Ikea in New Zealand so it's still a novelty) and they are a super easy way to keep herbs. You can buy the herbs in little pottles at the supermarket or garden centre, and then just place a whole pottle into one of these larger pots - no messy soil transfer required. We keep ours on the windowsill over the cooking space so they are always right there to snip from. It doesn't hurt that they function as decor, too.

2. Ladder as shelves

Making your Kitchen work for YOU || Amy MacLeod
 Or in our case, 'tiny step ladder as shelf'.
This works if you have a small area of floor-space that's free. If you don't need anywhere for books, you could get creative and place herb pots (or other plants) here.

3. A hot beverage station
I've found that keeping all our hot drinks supplies including cups behind the same cupboard door, is awesome.

Making your Kitchen work for YOU || Amy MacLeod

We have mugs on the top shelf, coffee on one shelf, teas on the other.
When you live in a kitchen with a zillion small cupboards (really, look at our kitchen, they are everywhere) it makes sense to group these things - and guests can find everything in one go.

4. Just one more thing...
We put up a chalkboard thinking it would be practical for writing lists on etc. If you are considering doing the same, I'd just have to put in my honest 2 cents and say it's probably not worth your bother. I personally find it 4 times more time-consuming, and in reality it never gets used because chalk is messy on your hands, and the board is a pain to wipe down. 
Making your Kitchen work for YOU || Amy MacLeod

But if you just want it for decorative purposes and for kids to doodle on... go ahead!

Hope you had a great weekend! I spent mine being wickedly domestic, which I secretly love. How bout you?

Making your home work for you: Entryway

Welcome to the next tip for making your home WORK for you.

Today, we're looking at simple ways to work your entryway ... especially if you don't actually have a real entryway and your front door opens straight into the living room, like ours does. (You can see the whole of our entryway area here.)

(P.S I have shared a version of this at Live Simple by Annie, but I want to share it here too :)

Making your home work FOR you: easy entryway organization

Simple, right?

1. Coat hooks.
It doesn't get much simpler, but these hooks have changed our lives and I want to riddle the entire house with them. I never knew how handy they could be. (We have virtually the exact same set-up at the top of the stairs, where the scarves are replaced with 'bum clothes' for home-days, and the shoes are replaced with slippers. I recommend it!)

Making your home work FOR you: easy entryway organization

2.  Two bowls.
Yes two. In our case, a key bowl for keys and cards, and a tiny bowl for cuff-links and small-change. In reality they are both overflowing (we could use even more bowls I guess?!), but I tidied for you. 

Making your home work FOR you: easy entryway organization

3. A shoe rack
Ours was horribly cheap and it does tend to flop to one side, but whatever, it works!

Making your home work FOR you: easy entryway organization
You'll notice these photos were taken on a different day... a pinker day. :)

Do you have any tips of your own? Share in the comments!

Other Making Your Home Work for You posts:

Positive Friday: Do YOU.

Today (and this week... this year... probably this whole lifetime) I'm learning again about the concept of individuality and having unique gifts. You've heard it said that comparison is the thief of joy - and I don't believe it could be more true for me this past week!

Sunflowers || Positive Friday || Amy MacLeod

If you get one thing from visiting this blog today, get this:

You don't need to be creative in the same way as everyone else.


Happy Positive Friday!

Making your home work for you: office desktop organization


I loved reading some of the responses to my last post. For the record, today I ran 25 minutes in the rain without stopping. It hurt and I wanted to vom. Which I hear the sign of a truly incredible run...?

Moving on...

Making your home work FOR YOU. 
Don't you love when something/someone works for you?!

Here's a secret: our office is tiny, and it gets messy really easily. You can see the whole of our office here. 
Husband and I are both those creative, ideas-ridden type of people who always have a new project we're working on... and we both base our projects out of this tiny room with one desk. You can imagine the chaos when half-painted canvases meet stacks of paperwork, notebooks, etc.

Here's what has been working for us in terms of desktop organization. It's quite simple really:

making your home work FOR you series: office desktop organization

1. Folder files on the desk top

This would seem to be the only way we can remotely organize our 'in-progress' things. Each file is labelled, we have:
  • 'to file' (pretty self-explanatory)
  • 'Amy' - I have about 4 notebooks for various topics (Motivation Book, Business Ideas, Project records, etc), AND about 5 manilla folders to each hold a different category of loose papers. (Fabric orders, Client file, official business docs)
  • 'Calum' - the same, but with his stuff
  • other /reading - business books and magazines that we are currently/nearly reading, and spare notepads so they are always there to grab.
(oh and those black chords poking out are part of my Bamboo drawing tablet that happens to live in the 'to file' box. #smallhouseproblems )

making your home work FOR you series: office desktop organization
It's nothing revolutionary, but it's a whole lot better than having literal stacks of paper on the desk and makes each item more accessible.

2. A big fat pen holder
Doesn't hurt if it's good-looking.

making your home work FOR you series: office desktop organization

I bet you already have one of these, but what I've found is that having ONE is best. Previously we had 3 separate compartments for different things, and it got kinda ridiculous.... now we just stick everything including USBs in here, and then we know its all in the one place.

Simple fixes. Very simple.