Saturday, 30 April 2011

Tidy Time

Underneath my desk I have some drawes which I keep all my crafty bits in.  All my beads are kept in an old plastic container from an Indian takeaway, which a while ago I managed to drop everywhere, clever me!! I collected up all the beads and just put the loose in the drawes but they have now stayed this way for several weeks and I'm finding it increasingly uncomfortable when sitting at my desk as I cannot fit my legs underneath.

So while I was out shopping for crafty bits for my Mum's fascinator I decided to purchase some extra storage, I was just going to get a single tray, but at Hobbycraft I found these awesome Really Useful Boxes which have loads of removable trays to keeps all my bits and bobs in and of course I chose purple!!

Look how pretty all my beads and bits are now and so much tidier than before.

I also found the deal of the century at my local market.  At the back of the fabric stall was a rummage bin with lots of off cuts and right at the bottom a load of ex-samples by John Kaldor priced up at 30p each.  I couldn't believe it a fat quarter like this would normally cost £3-£4 and all of this together cost me £1.80, I can't wait to make lots of flowers with these and I will definitely be rummaging around at the back of the fabric stall again!!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Scrabble time!!

Just like most the country and the rest of the world in fact, I spent the morning watching the Royal Wedding.  It was very tastefully done and I did enjoy it,  Kate (or should I say Catherine) looked absolutely beautiful the dress was stunning and it's good to see the country come together and celebrate.  Although I'm very glad I stayed at home to watch it on the TV, I don't really think getting up at 8am to travel to London or even camping out overnight would really have been worth the small glimpse you would have got of the procession.  One thing I didn't necessarily enjoy was some of my friends berating the whole thing on Facebook, I couldn't help but think if you don't like it don't watch it!!

Onto more important things though, last night I challenged Graeme to an intense game of Scrabble.  One, we didn't read the rules and two, I can't spell (sorry G!) but I still insist I won.  I would have totally won if only there had been somewhere to place ZEBRA I was holding onto it for at least 6 turns, it was so unfair.

Graeme had been holding onto the word CHOUX pronounced 'shoe' which I have been told is a type of pastry.  I looked it up and realised it's used to make profiteroles and ├ęclairs, gah now I'm just hungry, I may have to try making some!!

Monday, 25 April 2011

New Neighbours

Last weekend we had some very unfortunate news, not only did we find out that the wildlife sanctuary had so many volunteers for releasing hedgehogs they had run out. I only hope they all go to good homes, we will just have to wait until next year.

Also, just days after my blog post about the Blue Tits in our garden the female went missing and didn't return to roost at night like she had every day previously.  The male stayed for a few days calling out but he never entered the box, we can only presume that the female was killed by a cat or hawk.

Dad left the camera running every day hoping that another family would move in and yesterday we finally captured this.

She hasn't laid any eggs yet but she seems to really like feathers and has brought lots back to the box for bedding.  I loved my friend Sally's suggestion of Old Blue for the male's name, but am still looking for the perfect name for the female, so please comment below with your suggestions.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

A Royal Fascinator

My Mum is a teaching assistant at my old primary school, the children are celebrating the Royal wedding by making and decorating their own hats.  All the teachers are joining in too by wearing big hats on the day, but Mum wanted to do something a little different so she has commissioned me to make a fascinator for her.  At first I was just going to use fabric and scraps of what I had, but after a few mock ups mum decided that she wanted it to be much bigger and more colourful, so I headed down to my local market to source some supplies.

I took inspiration from my Fascinator pin board on Pinterest and decided to try and make a big looped bow out of ribbon with a small veil and some feathers.  This didn't work out quite as I would have liked as the ribbon wouldn't stand up on it's own, I tried finding fabric starch but in the end resorted to threading black wire along the edges of the ribbon so I could shape it.  As I was in a bit of a rush I didn't do this very well and as I am a complete perfectionist decided not to glue anything down so I can take it apart and redo it when I have some more time.

To brighten it up an used some plum coloured feathers and made a small veil in the same colour, I added a few fabric flowers in a multitude of styles to finish it all off and am pretty pleased with the end result.

I hope this big and bold enough for her, I really like the black stripy ribbon, it looks very My Fair Lady, although Eliza's is still a little larger!!

As always I bought a lot more than I needed so I plan to perfect my technique a bit and come up with some different designs.  I may even make a tutorial or two so everyone can make their own fascinators for the summer; although I may look a bit funny wearing this to my local park, Royal Ascot anyone??

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Bag Handle Necklace

I have decided I should do more reusing and recycling in my crafting endeavours and recently I had the perfect opportunity.  I was rooting around my room and found some old cardboard bags with fabric cord handles, I knew I had to make something creative with them and decided on a necklace.

I'm kicking myself for not showing a before and after but this was so quick and easy to make I will probably make more.  I have some more ideas to make a bracelet and ring in the same style so watch this space.  I want to buy some grey fabric to finish this piece off with one of my fabric flowers.  Although I should probably try raiding my wardrobes first as this is supposed to be a recycled necklace.

Oh and if any of you get a bag with a cord handle let me know, it might just become my new signature piece!!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Our Blue Tits

For as long as I can remember we have had resident Blue Tits in the garden.  For the past couple of years my dad has been videoing the blue tits with a special webcam built into the roof of the bird box.  This year is no exception and he has perfected the nesting box and webcam setup and I must say the video he's getting is brilliant and in HD; so make sure to change the quality to 720p and watch them full screen!!

Below are the first few episodes of the saga, you can see the female blue tit settling in, getting the nest ready and looking after her first egg.

Isn't she sweet, I can't wait for the babies to be born, they really do look like little balls of fluff.  So be sure to follow the whole saga on You Tube.  You can subscribe to get regular updates and I will be posting the best videos here too.  So please visit the site and remember to Like our videos.

A little later in the year we hope to be receiving some hedgehogs from the wildlife sanctuary to release into the wild (we do this every year), I will make sure to get some photos and video of that too.  They are so cute although a little spiky, they are also extremely nippy and can escape from anywhere in the blink of an eye.  Last year one escaped in the house and it took us hours to locate it curled up behind and underneath the TV cabinet, it then took a further hour to move everything off the cabinet so we could reach over the top to extract it.  Hopefully this year they will behave, but probably not!!

Now I need your help, if you have any ideas for what to call the blue tit's please leave a comment below, I can't keep calling the female and male so I need lots of ideas!!  There may even be prizes for the best names!!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Beautiful Beading

I have been working on some new pieces of jewellery over the past few weeks, using the new beads I bought from the Make It craft fair.  I didn't want to get too complicated let the beads speak for themselves, here are some of the things I came up with...

I think I'm getting a bit better at photographing jewellery too, but still have a long way to go.  It would have been so much easier to take these in the sunshine instead of my makeshift desk studio.  So I'm praying for another weekend like the last, I'm kicking myself I didn't make the most of the sunshine when we had it.

I only have one issue with the first necklace I made, I may have accidentally worn it to bed and the gold plated chain completely tarnished.  I know it still looks ok but I am a perfectionist so I think I'm going to buy a new chain to replace it.  I can always use this one for earrings!!

I have lots more ideas spinning around in my head, can't wait to try some out soon.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Fish Treatment

This last weekend I went up to London with my work friends Sara and Julie to get the Garra Fish treatment, which is were little fish nibble all the dead skin off of your feet, delightful I know.  We found an excellent deal on Groupon for a half hour session for only £9, and we decided a day trip to Camden would be an excellent idea!!

Now it's hard describe the feeling of lots of little fish nibbling on your toes, but it definitely felt very funny and quite ticklish.  The best way to describe it would be the prickling sensation you get when you have been sitting on your feet for too long, just before the pain of pins and needles sets in.  The most ticklish part was when the fish went in between your toes, I kept getting the giggles.

We weren't really supposed to take photographs, but I sneakily got the phone out to snap a few while pretending to text, that's why they are a bit fuzzy.

When our session ended my feet did feel smoother, but I had a feeling this was more to do with sticking my feet in a bowl of warm water for half an hour than anything that the fish did.  I didn't have that much dry skin to start with so I couldn't really compare, but I'm not really sure if it was that impressive.  Maybe my fish just were already full up already, who knows? I'm glad I went but I don't think it will be an experience I will be repeating.

On the plus side though I bought a beautiful new bag, dress and top from Camden market, and I would have bought a lot more if I hadn't restrained myself.  So all in all it was a fantastic day with the girls, can't wait for our next adventure!! 

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Ideal Home Show

I love the Ideal Home Show, I have been going with my parents for as long as I remember, since finishing Uni it has become an annual trip for dad and I and this year didn't disappoint.  I think my favourite part of the show has to be the Ideal Food so we hit that section first and sampled as many foods as possible, including Wild Boar and Apple sausages from Supreme Sausages they were so yummy.  There was also so much cheese this year and I love cheese so we tried quite a bit, in the end we bought some extra mature Little Black Bomber and herby Green Thunder from the Snowdonia Cheese Company they are great with crackers!!

The best stand is always Vitamix I know it's not a food but they always demonstrate all the types of food you can make with this blender, you will be amazed!!  In the same machine with no different settings, you can make soup, smoothies and ice cream along with about a million other things.  It it wasn't so ridiculously expensive I would have bought one years ago, but we did pinch the recipe for ice cream and made it in our smoothie maker, it was awesome I will share the secret later in the month.

In Ideal Woman I picked up my favourite mineral powder from Beauty Glow which can be used as a blusher, eye shadow and bronzer when mixed with a moisturiser.  It also suits any facial colour which is great because I normal find bronzers far to dark for my ghostly white complexion.  We also spotted a Garra Fish stand where you could have a 10minute feet treatment session.  I'm actually going to Camden with my work friends to get this done next week but it was good to take some pictures.  One woman was absolutely terrified of putting her feet in but the fish were hardly going to bite her toes off they are tiny.

Downstairs we headed towards Ideal Gadgets and came across a very stylish stand selling classy and retro game tables.  I loved this side table with a built in Screen and joystick to play all your retro games, Space invaders was awesome although I completely sucked at it.  What I want most of all is this coffee table along the same idea, how much would Graeme love me if I bought this for our living room!!

Ok so I couldn't figure out how to work it, but you get the idea!!

Passing some sheep on a staircase (I'm not sure what this was trying to demonstrate?) we found our way to the Dyson stand.  They had their new super cool blade-less fans, but Dad spoilt the illusion and told me they still have a bog standard fan in the neck that just blows air into the circle rim.  The reason the make them a circle is because people expect fans to be circular, which I suppose is true.

At Ideal Interiors I spotted a stand devoted to designer wallpaper called Wallpaper Direct, they had such wonderful designs, some were a bit too weird but others looked so pretty and would really stand out as a feature wall.  I just love these birds in Quentin Blake style and of course the peacock feathers which I blogged about last week. I quite like the idea of having a forest wall and I love these sunflowers so bright and sunny!!

I also spotted an embroidery stand by King's Embroidery Inc, these pictures looked so realistic I actually thought they were paintings at first.  It's incredible how fine the thread is and ho it must take thousands of stitches to build up the image, it must take hours to complete.

In Ideal Show Homes was a fluorescent jazz band and a recreation of the pub from Coronation Street.  I don't really watch the program but I couldn't miss out on the photo opptunity; although the queue was huge so we didn't wait to look inside.

Lastly we headed back up to Ideal Food to pick up a snack before we headed home. We bought a huge banoffee ice cream and a Nutella and banana crepe.  I made a bit of a mess with this, but I was so hungry, and  this crepe was amazing!! (I do have a picture of me devouring it, but it's so dreadful I'm not going to share it!!)

On the way out we spotted a table of wedding cakes designed for the royal wedding.  The first place winner looked so realistic that dad actually thought it was draped in material and had to sneakily touch it before he believed it was all made of icing.

There was also this monstrosity, what happened to her arm? This has to be the cheesiest cake ever, would you really have this as your wedding cake?

I forgot to include the cute cup cakes I bought for Gemma and Nathan to congratulate them on their new home, yummy yummy!!!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Bottle Top Cans

Now I was told I wasn't allowed to post about this marvellous find by my friend Sara because she wanted to, but she hasn't, so hopefully she will forgive me because they are awesome and I have to share them!!  (Check out her blog Doodle Dandy here)

It is a bottle top that fits perfectly onto a can, amazing!!  I quite often open a can in the car and only drink half so this is perfect; it is also a lot easier to drink out of.

I don't know why anyone didn't think of it before? Find them at your local pound shop!!

P.S. I love Apple Tango!!!!!