I am just astonished at how many great creatives are roaming around Dubai, Singapore and Perth. I met Sangeeta from Paper Couture online when she started following me on Twitter. Later, at one of my DIY workshops, she introduced herself and gave me a whole bunch of free printables which she had designed. I was so impressed that I am still using some of these today.

Sangeeta is a graphic designer/art director by profession, and a self claimed writer! She’s also a busy wife and mother who loves creative print design, interior design, DIY, contemporary dance, fashion, and Dubai.

After having her little girl she realised there was a niche in the market for classy, stylish and fun designs for wedding invites, birthday parties and more.

Like many talented DIY-ers, Sangeeta had been designing all of the above for friends for the past 12 years, so she finally decided to go ahead and offer her services to a wider audience? And voila! Paper Couture was born.
Her work was so gorgeous that when I needed to get tags and stickers for DIYnamicstyle.com, I knew exactly where to go. I finally met Sangeeta on my last trip to Dubai and there she was, heavily pregnant and still dishing out her beloved printables. I love when I see that passion in people.
You can see her tag on my latest bag which is on sale at Neon Pony.
If you want some amazing work for your next party or wedding you can contact Sangeeta below. Even if you are not in Dubai, she can do the design work for you from overseas.

Sangeeta Kumar D’souza

It’s been chaos at the moment. If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest, you will know that things are being cooked up at www.DIYnamicstyle.com headquarters. Thanks to the lovely Vanessa at All Things Indulgent for also letting me know my new-look logo went up! She’s a doll.

We (my lovely Aussie intern Mica and myself) are about to launch videos onto a mobile app provider in the Middle East and something wonderful is in the pipeline with Wander and Hunt. The same great DIY tutorials will still be here.

I was in Singapore shooting a South East Asia-wide campaign for Sephora.

I then flew direct to Dubai (exhausting) working in my role as Dove hair ambassador and styling at the C.Wonder store launch (that’s me below with fash-billionaire Chris Burch, creator of C.Wonder and Tory’s ex-hubby):

Then I returned back to Perth and presented the Runway Model of the Year Award at the West Australian Fashion Awards:

Now, while all this was happening, I was laying the plans to re-launch this site as www.DIYnamicstyle.com and my little side business.

Why the re-branding? Well, turns out, unlike Dubai, doing DIY in Australia isn’t really “cheap.” The name “Cheapnchic.net” didn’t seem to apply any longer plus I decided to launch a range of products from the blog and I didn’t want them to be labelled as “cheap.” Makes sense, no?

I love the new logo and packaging. Thanks to Paper Couture Dubai (full blog on them soon) for the great tags and cards.

DIYnamic Style will be hosting Thriftspirational Op Shop Events. I’ll be producing bespoke party decorations and favours in the Perth area (check my DIY Body Scrub and Oat Mask below):

I’ll be doing crafting stations at event launches and baby showers (just like I did in Dubai). More photos of these to come at the end of April, plus my workshops with readers will stay. Stay tuned if you’re reading in Perth.

And now the part of www.DIYnamicstyle.com that has been keeping me very very busy: Handmade fashion, beauty products and gifts.

My hand painted bags are now on sale at Neon Pony in Northbridge. The Toucan bag has already sold. If you are anywhere in the world and would like to have a bespoke bag painted for your requirements, simply email me through the site on the contact fields on the right.

I will continue to balance my media work with my hand made passion. So stay tuned for more and bookmark www.DIYnamicstyle.com now!

I always wanted to volunteer more when I was living in Dubai, I was so busy with work. When I left Dubai, I gave all of my art and craft supplies to START and got to know the charity quite well.

START hosts workshops for children with special needs including Autism and Down Syndrome. START’s programme aims to help children augment their critical thinking, problem solving and cognitive development. The workshops are taught by practicing artists who volunteer their time to create lesson plans and directly engage with the children. I love to paint, so volunteering seemed perfect to me.

On my latest trip to Dubai for Dove, I blocked off an afternoon to volunteering and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. To combine my love of creativity with a great cause was amazing. The workshop was run out of the Jam Jar in Al Quoz.

If you’d like to volunteer or to get more information, you can go to www.STARTworld.org. Thank you so much to the team at START for having me that day.

This has got to be one of the most exciting chapters for Cheapnchic.net. I can’t say much more besides that some cool things are happening with the blog in the Australian market.

In 2014, one of my resolutions besides delivering even better projects to you was to watermark all my images properly and start doing videos. I also wanted to put more fashion into the posts, so from now on, where possible, I will model the craft projects “street style” and credit the labels I wear. So here is the first blog with watermarked pictures.

These bags are fresh off the Spring Summer 2014 runway at Prada:

I wanted to jump on this project because I know how soon the DIY sector will respond. In fact within days of me having photographed this, American craft kit company, Darby Smart started promoting their version. If you’re in North America and can’t paint, here is a fool proof way to emulate this bag, just buy the box online and modge podge the portrait.

Here is my hand-painted take however:

Here’s what you will need: Old vintage bag, acrylic paints, image of what you’d like to paint, palette, brushes, jar of water, cloth to wipe brushes, masking tape, pencil, scrap paper to line your work surface and PVA glue.

I got unbelievably lucky with my bag! It’s a vintage Bally. Just 9 bucks and it’s box shaped and full leather:

Begin by lining your surface and then taping the bag with masking tape to stop the rest of the bag getting painted.

Prime the base of where you will paint with white acrylic paint. This will take several coats. Use a flat and broad brush for this. Make sure it’s completely dry and as smooth as possible before taking the next step:

From here sketch out the design you’d like to paint:

I always block out the base colours of each element before getting into the details:

I was able to finish this project in a few hours because the sun is so hot in Perth at the moment and means I can move on to each new element. When the base colours are blocked, then start layering the details:

Finally you will end up with your finished design:

The last step is to varnish and seal by coating the whole back in white PVA glue which dries clear. Use a smooth and broad brush:

This is how I wear it!

Bag: DIY from Cheapnchic.net, Shoes: H&M, Jeans: GAP, T-Shirt: Sportsgirl, Blazer: BYSI.

Hope you liked this post and please do leave me some comments!

If you love art and design then my fave city is currently under siege by art lovers from around the globe. This year Design Days Dubai has included craft under that umbrella.

Design Days Dubai is the first fair in the Middle East and South Asia dedicated to collectible and limited edition furniture and design objects. Their goal is to present, both regional and internationally, the best of design to collectors and a wide audience of design enthusiasts.

The British Craft Council was invited to take part this year. The Crafts Council’s goal is to make the UK the best place to make, see, collect and learn about contemporary craft. For the first time, the British Crafts Council brough a group of leading UK-based contemporary craft makers to Design Days Dubai.

One of the craftsmen Max Lamb ran a workshop on  a DIY Chair, making craft accessible to all. I went along, check out the pics below.

The workshop started with a demonstration: how to use a drill, read a piece of wood, to know which way to use it and if its got grain running in a certain way or a knot then you should turn it around so you’re not misusing the wood.  As soon he showed us how to do it, everyone was so keen to get on. Nobody wanted to leave at the end of the workshop.

So how can you get involved with the British Craft Council at Design Days Dubai?

To find out everything you need to know about where to make, see, collect and learn about contemporary craft visit www.craftscouncil.org.uk and follow on Facebook and Twitter