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Beginners Guide to Ready Made Curtains

A handy guide for buying ready made curtains. How to choose the correct size, heading and the right type for your window.

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  • How to hang custom made curtains

    Having invested time and money into having your custom curtains made, it's important to make sure that they look their absolute best in your home.

    If you're hanging your custom curtains yourself, there are a few easy steps to take which will ensure that your curtains hang beautifully and look amazing.

    Here's everything you need to know:

    How to hang your custom made curtains infographic and guide

  • Learn how to care for your fabrics with this guide

    How you care for your fabrics can be the difference between curtain and upholstery that last for years, and ones that are faded and frayed in no time at all. Understanding the washing symbols that come with a fabric is essential.

    By properly washing your curtain, upholstery, and dress fabrics, you're not only elongating their lives, but you're maintaining their texture and colour too! Many fabrics, such as silks and velvets, are dry clean only, so check carefully before beginning to clean your fabric.

    How to care for your fabric - washing instructions and symbols

  • How to choose the right duvet tog and filling for you

     

    Have you ever looked at the huge range of duvets available to purchase and wondered 'What's the difference?'. For many people, it can be difficult to know what type of duvet to look for, and to make a smart purchase.

    To make life a little bit easier, we've put together this handy guide on researching and purchasing the perfect duvet, to keep you warm and cosy on even the coldest of nights.

    Here's what you need to consider when buying your next duvet:

    1. Tog.

    A duvet's tog rating is one of its most important attributes. This tells you how well a duvet will trap warm air. Basically, the higher the tog rating, the warmer the duvet.

    Duvets start at a tog rating of around 3, which would be your lightweight summer duvet. A tog rating of between 7 - 10 is perfect for Spring and Autumn nights. A tog rating of over 10 is perfect for cold Winters, and means you'll be kept warm all night. Duvets with a lower tog rating are generally best for children also, as heavier duvets may well be uncomfortable and too warm for small children.

    Select a tog rating that's perfect for you, based on your own preferences. Anything from your home heating to whether you share a bed or not can affect the tog rating you need, so  make sure you think about your situation before you purchase!

    2. Filling.

    It's not just important that your duvet is filled, it's also important to think about what's filling it!

    There are countless options nowadays when it comes to choosing a duvet filling. From the hypo-allergenic health benefits of synthetic fillings, to the cloud-like comfort of goose down, the options are endless. It's important to consider your own needs when choosing the filling you would prefer. Let's take a look of the pro's and con's of a few varieties of fillings:

    Natural Fillings are best known for being breathable, perfect for keeping you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Duck & Goose Down is a popular natural filling that is used world wide. Down is the soft, insulation feathers found very close to the bird's skin. These feathers are used to stuff both duvets and pillows, with goose being the higher quality, though more expensive, option. This type of filling provides a very warm and comfortable night's sleep. However, it may irritate those who suffer with allergies, and it's important to ensure that your goose or duck down is humanely sourced. Duvets stuffed with down are generally extremely durable, with a lifespan of around 10-20 years.

    Synthetic Fillings have the benefit of being lightweight, hypoallergenic, and faster drying after washing. Most also offer the same level of warmth as naturally filled duvets. Their lifespan is much shorter than that of a naturally filled duvet however, with regular washing diminishing that lifespan even further. Some modern synthetic duvets go so far as to successfully imitatation down duvets, perfect for those looking for the comfort of down, without the price tag!

    Washing your duvet is important in removing dust mites from your bedding. Washing at 60C is ideal for killing dust mites, and keeping your bedding fresh and dust-free.

    3. The Right Pillow.

    Your duvet is only as good as the pillow you rest your head on. A poorly chosen pillow can lead to a variety of back & neck problems, so picking the right one for you is important for maintaining your health.

    You may wish to choose a pillow type based on how you sleep. For example, those who sleep on their backs are recommended to use a pillow of medium firmness, for support and comfort and to maintain the correct alignment of the spine throughout the night. Someone who sleeps on their side might choose a firm pillow, to help support their head, neck and spine as they sleep, while someone who sleeps on their front should probably opt for a soft pillow, to support the head without disrupting spine alignment.

    Like duvets, pillows are also available with synthetic and natural fillings. You might choose a down filled pillow, which will be soft and comfortable. These pillows range in firmness (the more stuffing, the firmer they are). However, they are limited in just how much support they can provide. Synthetically filled pillows are becoming more and more popular, as memory foam options become more available due to their higher levels of support and associated health benefits.

    Again, washing your pillows regularly is of utmost importance. Pillows can usually be washed in a large capacity machine. Washing at 60C is ideal for killing any dust mites that may be residing inside your pillow. Synthetic pillows are useful in this regard due to their quick drying time.

    4. What Size?

    All our duvets come in set sizes of single, double, king, and superking, which are sized as follows:

    • Single: 135 X 200cm
    • Double: 200 X 200cm
    • King: 230 X 220cm
    • Superking: 260 X 220cm

    Knowing your bed size is essential for making the right decision on your new duvet.

    However you sleep, making the right decision on your duvet & pillows can be the difference between a good night's sleep and waking up unrested, with a sore neck and back. Do yourself a favour and invest in some top quality bedding, for a great nights' sleep.

    Shop a huge range of duvets and pillows at Home Focus

  • Your guide to botanical interior design

    Adding botanical elements to your home is quickly becoming one of this year's biggest interior design trends. It's also one of the easiest trends to get involved with! Whether you're planning on going green entirely, or just want to add a few natural touches to your home, everyone can go botanical with their home decor this season.

    If you're dying to go green too, but you're not sure how to get started, here are a few tips to start you on your way:

    1. Green is best.

    While flowers can be a beautiful addition to any home, a truly botanical look focuses on leafy greens, rather than vibrant flowers. This creates a calm, peaceful atmosphere in the home, as green is well renowned as being one of the most calming colours you can choose in home decor. So, when you're picking out the perfect botanical pieces for your home, be sure to opt for leafy and green over colourful and floral.

    2. Size doesn't matter.

    From large statement pieces, to small accents, any botanical element placed in the right space can help you seamlessly achieve the look you desire. Analyse the space you have to devote to this look, and work out what kind of pieces would best help you achieve a botanical theme.

    If you have a lot of space, one large statement piece can be enough to give the room a botanical look. If the space you're in is small, try placing smaller plants off the ground to give them more prominence in the room, and choose plants that are small in size, but leafy and dense to maximize on their effect.

    Any home can benefit from botanical accents

    3. Think beyond plants.

    Once you have added the elements of natural foliage, you can enhance their effect by adding well placed, botanically themed soft furnishing around your home. From curtains, to cushions, throws and rugs, there are countless ways for you to enhance the botanical theme of your home.

    You can match the shades of green you're using for a uniform look, or mix and match a few shades to create a more natural and diverse botanical effect. You can also opt for nature based designs - leaf designs are perfect.

    Why not take a look at our botanical collection for some ideas?

    Shop the botanical collection with Home focus at Hickeys

    4. Use your wall space.

    Empty wall space is the perfect canvas for adding a botanical feature to your room. Whether it's wallpaper that makes a big statement, or some beautiful pieces of art that add a natural element to the room, adding wall art is a great way to complete your botanical masterpiece.

    Identify the kind of space you have and how you want to use it - whether it's a wall segment you want to wallpaper, or an empty wall that would suit a botanically themed painting. Be careful in choosing your colours and patterns when it comes to wallpaper, so as not to make the room appear to be too dreary or dark.

    Here are a few ideas, from wall paper to decals, from around the web that we just loved:

    botanical wall decals are an easy way to get this lookBotanical Wallpaper is perfect for this interior design look.
    Botanical wall art is an easy way to get this trend

    Wall paper, wall decals, and even just some well chosen botanical prints or paintings can go a long way in transforming your room into a botanical wonderland. Small touches are all that's required, so don't go over board - particularly with big statement pieces such as wallpaper!

    Have you introduced a botanical theme to your home? If so, we would love to see how you did it! Get it touch with us and share your interior design creations via email or through our Facebook and Twitter pages.

    Shop the interior decor collections at Home Focus

     

  • Interior design trends for 2017

    The new year is nearly upon us, and as with every New Year's celebration , it comes with a whole new range of trends, predictions, and new looks to introduce into your home in 2017.

    The year ahead is tipped to be filled with DIY projects, natural colours and textures, and a move away from technology. Get ready for a few months of auction trawling for unusual pieces, upcycling, and creating your own unique haven at home. A return to rustic features, combined with warm colours, is on the cards, as well as maintaining some principles of the 2016 craze Hygge, with escapism and meditation featuring heavily in design features for the year.

    So what can we expect to see in the design world in 2017? Here are the features we're tipping to be big this year:

    1. Greenery - Pantone's Colour of the Year.

    Pantone have named 'Greenery' as the colour of the year, suggesting a big focus on this vibrant shade to come in 2017. This fresh shade of green is sure to highlight the arrival of spring, and keep your home vibrant and lively throughout the year.

    Accents of this shade are perfect for creating splashes of colour in a room, so keep an eye out for cushions, curtains and throws in that perfect shade of green!

    Greenery Pantone Colour is a big interior trend for 2017

    2. Escapism

    Technology has made its way into every aspect of our lives, and now as we reach 2017, people are trying to move away and create spaces for meditation and relaxation. This means comfy nooks and crannies, designed for getting cosy with a cup of tea and a book.

    This follows on from one of 2016's big trends, Hygge, celebrating everything warm, comfy, and cosy.

    Escapism and hygge go hand in hand as a trend for 2017

    3. Terracotta

    Rustic, warm, and inviting - Terracotta is set to be one of the biggest trends of 2017. Whether it's updating your flooring, or adding terracotta accents with flower pots, this warm reddish tone is set to feature heavily in home design throughout 2017.

    Even soft furnishings can play into this trend. By adopting the warm tones of terracotta for your cushions, curtains or throws, you can make the most of this warm, subtle shade.

    Terracotta is tipped to be on trend for 2017

    4. Rustic Charm

    From farmhouses to distressed furniture, the rustic look is making a comeback. Whether it's cheap and cheerful pieces you picked up from a local auction or sale, or that old cabinet hidden away in the attic, if it's old and a little battered, it's the perfect piece for your home in 2017.

    Exposed beams and brickwork are certain to become even more popular, as the 'old farmhouse' look re-emerges as one of the favoured interior design trends of the year. So for 2017, whatever you're decorating, make sure to add that rustic element!

    Rustic interiors are a great look for your home

    5. Recycled Pieces

    As everyone looks towards creating a sustainable future, recycling is starting to make an impression on the world of interior design. By reclaiming old, unloved pieces, you could do more than just save yourself a fortune - you could also end up with some beautiful, unique pieces to place around your home.

    Whether it's upcycling pieces you already own, or salvaging furniture, tiles, or wooden beams to make your own pieces, this is the year to get creative, cut costs, and think sustainability.

    Why not recycle something as part of your home decor?

    Have you made any interior design predictions for the coming year? Or will you be renovating your home in line with one of these fantastic trends? Let us know in the comments!

  • 5 Christmas Gifts for craft crazed people

    Christmas is growing ever closer, and each year we are left with the dilemma: what do I get for my nearest and dearest?

    Thankfully, some people have such a vast range of interests that you can always find them a quirky, fun, and useful gift. Crafters are one such group of people! If you have someone who loves to work with their hands in your family, what better way to show your love this Christmas than to give them the gift of creativity? Craft gifts come with all the joy of creating your own project, whether it's a jumper, a dress, or some beautiful cards, as well as the pleasure of enjoying your creation for years after it's finished!

    Whether your loved one is an experienced dressmaker, or a beginner paper crafter, you're sure to find a crafty gift that's going to suit them. There are loads of different options available, so let's take a look at a few gift ideas:

    1. A Sewing Machine

     

    Anyone who's interested in creating their own fashion design and making their own clothes will absolutely love a sewing machine this Christmas. Even a very basic model can let you create amazing and unique fashion pieces! This gift comes with hours of enjoyment, fun, and creativity, so it really is the gift that keeps on giving. The Brother LS14 model is a flexible and versatile machine, suitable for all skill levels.

     

     

    2. A Bodyform

     

    What dressmaker doesn't dream of a model who can't fidget, complain, or leave? The Adjustoform Sewdeluxe Leg Body Form is a perfect gift for anyone who loves to create their own designs. You can easily alter it to a huge variety of dress sizes, perfect for making clothes for other people.

    A bodyform is the perfect way to measure and create designs, without bribing a friend to stand for you while you get to work! A dressmaking model who can't complain about getting poked with needles? Sign me up!

     

    3. Amazing Craft Kits

     

    Craft is taking the world by storm. From adult colouring books, to a resurge in knitting, people are starting to come back to creating home accents with their own hands, for truly unique pieces (as well as a new skill!).

    Give someone you love the gift of creativity and fun with a craft kit, whether it's therapeutic zenbroidery or knitting up a storm!

     

     

    4. A Beautiful Craft Box

     

    What do you get for the crafter who has everything? Somewhere to put it all!

    Delight the craft fanatic in your family with a beautiful sewing or craft basket - perfect for keeping all those small bits and bobs that are essential for craft neatly tidied away and easy to find!

    For a little extra treat, why not fill the box before you give it as a gift? There are countless craft and dressmaking items that are perfect for filling up these basket - and they're sure to give the recipient a wonderful surprise!

     

     

    5. Something Different!

     

    Craft Kits are great fun and can give someone endless enjoyment! We have a brilliant range of craft kits for both kids and adults.

     

     

    Whatever their interests, you're sure to find a meaningful, fun, and crafty gift for any friend or family member at Hickeys! Why not take a look at all of our fantastic Christmas stock?

    Find the perfect Christmas gift at Home Focus at Hickeys

  • Adorn your home with a rustic mini pine cone tree this Christmas! Simple yet so effective... It's as easy as 1, 2, 3!ub5ornso-xlarge

    1. Decorate the tips of your pine cone with gems and embellishment to look like baubles.

    2. Make the base from a polystyrene ball. Trim the top and bottom so the edges are flat. Decorate the ball by painting red and adding ribbons and bows.

    3. Stick the pine cone to the top of the polystyrene base with glue and top the tree with a festive bead or bow!

  • How to make a christmas stocking

     

    Christmas Stocking:

    We all dream of creating the perfect Christmas - with hot chocolate, beautifully wrapped gifts, milk out for Santa Clause, and of course stocking hung over the fireplace.

    What better way to create a fairytale Christmas than with your own personalised, handmade Christmas stocking? Make one for everyone in the family, and pack them full of fun Christmas gifts just in time for Christmas morning!

    Here's how you can create your very own beautiful Christmas stocking. Just download our free stocking pattern, and get started!

    You will need:

     

    Method:

    • Using toe shape from this pattern, trace the shape onto the bondaweb. Iron the bondaweb shapes onto the red fabric & cut out.
    • Press the toes in place on to the craft fabric. Lay the lace across the join & sew in to position.
    • Right sides together, sew one craft fabric front to one red lining at the top only. Repeat for the back.
    • Press the seams open.
    • Layer & pin 1 batting, back and front (right sides together), matching the seams at the top & the toes.
    • Sew all around, leaving a 4" opening in the red lining, approximately 5" down from the top join seam.
    • Trim & turn the right sides out through the opening, and press.
    • Sew the opening closed. Push the lining into the main foot between the 2 battings,
    • Sew the lace around the top on the red side. Fold the ribbon in half and sew in to position, 5" down from the top, on the inside of the stocking.
    • Fold down the cuff to batting level to finish.

     

  • How to make a Christmas Tree Skirt

    Reversible Christmas Tree Skirt:

     

    You've gone through all the effort of choosing a tree and decorating, but the look still isn't finished. It's easy to complete the look with a beautiful Reversible Christmas Tree Skirt.

    The fun Scandi Christmas design is perfect for adding a subtle additional decoration to your tree!

    You will need:

     

    Method:

    • Make a template by folding the paper in half. Draw 2 curved lines, one 1.5" down and another 18" down from folded corner.
    • Cut along the lines.
    • Open the template out & place the straight edge (with neck opening) on the fold of the main fabric. Cut & repeat for the batting.
    • Cut an opening section from outer edge to neck in each piece.
    • Fold the template in half & half again to give a segment template. Cut 2 of each x4 fabrics, adding a 1/4" seam allowance. Sew the fabric segments together in alternating patterns & press the seams open.
    • Pin the batting and back together.
    • Sew the lace in position around the bottom edge, raw edge to raw edge using a 1/8" seam allowance.
    • Pin the segmented front on top of the back, right sides together, making sure the lace is tucked in sew around, on the batting side, leaving a 6" gap on one side of the opening section.
    • Trim the excess & make notches in the neck before turning right side out through the 6" gap.
    • Press, and sew down the joins between each segment, then stitch the opening closed.
    • Cut the ribbon into 6 equal lengths and space down the opening section, with 3 on each side.
    • Sew in to position to finish.

     

  • How to make an advent calendar

    Advent Calendar

    It's never too early or late to indulge in some Christmas crafting! What better way to mark the excitement of Christmas than to count down each day with a hidden treat or secret message from an Advent Calendar?! Simply follow our easy steps below to create your own!

    YOU WILL NEED:

    1. Scandi Reindeer Natural
    2. Scandi Snowman Red
    3. Scandi Robins Natural
    4. Scandi Gingerbread Men Natural
    5. Scandi Reindeer Red
    6. Scandi Robins Red

    METHOD:

    1. Cut 2 pieces of 7" x 22" Ecru and 1 piece of 27" x 22" batting. Cut 4 pieces of each of the 6 Christmas cotton fabric (5" x 5").
    2. Cut 4" x 26" of the lace and 6" x 8" of the ribbon.
    3. Make numbers 1 to 24 by tracing numbers onto Bondaweb. Iron onto red felt and cut. Alternatively, you can use our Pre-cut Christmas Advent Calendar Numbers.
    4. Sew 6 squares together using 0.5" seam allowance x 4 times. Press open the seams and press 0.5" hem along the bottom and sides. Press 0.25" twice across the top pockets. Sew lace in place across top of all 4 rows.
    5. Iron numbers in place on lace on each pocket.
    6. Layer back, batting, and front, and tack together. Place first row 1.5" down from the top and in from sides. Sew around 3 sides and down each pocket join. Sew second, third, fourth row 1" below the previous row.
    7. Fold 6 lengths of ribbon in half and pin raw edges to top and back, spacing evenly. Sew in place 1/8" from edge. Fold remaining ribbon in lengthwise and sew around all four side, encasing raw edges and overlapping ends.
    8. Point hanging loops up, making sure they are the same length and sew again to secure.
    9. Thread a pole through loops and hang your calendar.
  • What is Hygge? We explore the concept from Denmark

    The Danish concept of 'Hygge' is taking the world of interior design by storm, and for good reason.

    But what is Hygge? And should you care? 

    Hygge, pronounced 'hoo-gah', is the Danish idea of comfy and cosy living. This includes enjoying down-time with family and friends, as well as taking that hour to yourself to wrap up in a blanket with a hot cup of tea with a good book, guilt free. This idea has made its way into interior design, with warm throws and blankets with chunky wool knits and comforting candles dominating idea-sharing networks such as Pinterest & Instagram in the last few weeks and months.

    Unlike some other interior trends, however, Hygge isn't hard to achieve. Plus, it promotes DIY crafts such as knitting and sewing, which are perfect for down-time and meditation.

    Hygge is one of the easiest trends to achieve at home, so it's perfect for anyone to try. Here's how you can get started:

    1. Start crafting!

    Crafting is the perfect activity when you're looking for some alone time. What's better for promoting a peaceful outlook than sitting down and spending an hour quietly knitting or sewing? No distractions, no multi-tasking, just you and your craft. After all, in this busy, non-stop world, we all need some time to switch off and relax. So get knitting or crafting today!

    Craft is a great way to promote Hygge

    2. Promote warmth & comfort at home.

    Many interior design trends don't list comfort as a priority. This is not the case with Hygge. If it's not warm and comfortable, it's not Hygge. If you want to get in on this trend, you need to create a home that's a haven for the weary. Place warm throws on your couches and arm chairs. Ensure scented candles are adding an ambiance in the evening. Prepare decluttered spaces for hobbies, such as a quiet reading corner with a comfortable chair, nice blanket, and a convenient space for your cup of tea. Before you know it, your home will be the living embodiment of Hygge!

    Placing throws and blankets around your home is essential for Hygge

    3. Decorate with calming colours.

    When decorating your home for comfort, it's important to utilise colours that you find calming. Try choosing neutral, natural or pastel shades to maintain a relaxed atmosphere. Whether it's cushions, throws, or pictures around the room, promoting calmness and peacefulness when decorating should always be front of mind.

    4. Use the right textures

    What creates a comforting and warm effect better than wool, felt, and other cosy textures? Choose knitted throws, velvet cushions, and other textures you might like. Pick what suits you too - use materials that may have a nostalgic value to you, and create your own personalised refuge from the stresses of life within your home.Wool textures are perfect for creating Hygge

    5. Keep it up outside the home

    Hygge isn't just for weekends, it's for life! Promote calmness and balance on a day to day basis too. This means spending time with friends and family, taking a walk, enjoying a guilt-free slice of cake, or taking a long, uninterrupted bath. Generally, just take time to stop and smell the roses. Make sure you take some time to yourself on a daily basis, and indulge in the activities that make you happy!

    Understanding Hygge, the key to Danish life

    There's good reason why residents of Denmark are noted as being the happiest in the world. It's a country where peacefulness and self-care are widely promoted, and the world is starting to take note as countries and communities across the world begin to mimic this ideology - from the world of fashion, to food.

    Add Hyyge to your home with ease:

     

    Hygge is easy to achieve with Home Focus

    Get involved in one of the world's healthiest trends, and let us know your best Hygge tips and tricks, for creating a peaceful, balanced life!

  • Untitled design (4)

    Halloween is just around the corner, and what better way to prepare your children's costumes than to make them yourself!

    It's easy to create a beautiful and unique Halloween costume with Hickey's Easy Sew Witch's Dress - which goes perfectly with the Easy Sew Witch's Hat  to complete the look.

     

    witch-white500x700

    How to make a Witch's Dress

    You will need:

    Method:

    1. Tie the elastic around the back of a chair to keep it taut while you work.
    2. Cut all the netting into 3" strips.
    3. Fold each net strip in half to form a loop, and slip the loop under the elastic.
    4. Thread the ends of the strips through the loop over the elastic, pulling tight to secure. Attach all the strips of netting to the elastic in this manner, leaving 6 strips aside to use for the shoulder straps.
    5. Tie the elastic around the chest to determine the size required, and tie in a bow at the back.
    6. To make the shoulder straps, attach 3 strips to either side of the front of the dress by tacking on or tying them to the elastic.
    7. Drape the strips over the shoulders and attach them to the back on the dress. Trim off any excess netting.
    8. Finish the costume by decorating the top of the dress with flower corsages or other decorations.

    How to make a Witch's Hat

    You will need:

    Method:

    1. Download the hat pattern here.
    2. Trace and cut out the pattern pieces so you have 2 brim pieces and 1 cone piece in felt, and 1 brim piece and 1 cone piece in the Halloween fabric.
    3. For the cone shape,  place the Halloween fabric over the felt and tac in place.
    4. Fold over the fabric with the Halloween fabric inside and sew the cone pieces together down the side with a 1/4" seam. Turn right side out.
    5. For the brim, place the Halloween fabric over one brim piece and tac in place. This will be the top brim.
    6. Sew the top and bottom brim pieces together.
    7. With the Halloween fabric facing out, sew around the entire outer edge using a 1/8" seam.
    8. Place the cone piece inside the inner circle of the brim and pin the cone to the brim.
    9. Sew around the entire opening of the hat.
    10. Decorate the hat by wrapping the swansdown trim around the base of the cone where it meets the brim, and hand sew in to place.

    Create something truly unique this Halloween for a night of trick or treating that you'll never forget. Plus, when it's so easy to create a memorable costume, you can get the kids involved and make creating this Witch's dress a family activity!

    Looking for more ideas? Check out our Halloween Wooki Costume and Spooky Cape!

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