Monday, 28 February 2011

This Week's Junk Shop Jewels

I've been nosing around the local charity shops again this week, here are my little gems

pretty glass pyrex pie dish £1.00

glass dessert dish 40p

and this week's favourite, a set of six cut glass dessert dishes for the bargain price of £7.99
Looking forward to my next charity shop hop already!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The Ribbon Is Gonna Get You

I've already posted about my love of buttons, this post is an homage to my love of ribbon.  I can't see a bit of ribbon go to waste, I save it from around the bottom of cakes, off birthday gift wrapping and I even cut out the longer pieces of unused hanging ribbon from clothing.

I've amassed quite a collection

Don't get me wrong, although most my collection is comprised of salvaged ribbon I do actually purchase some too, some of my favourite purchases are...

...this flamingo print ribbon, 

and these ribbons printed with text, 'Goody Goody Gum Drops', 
reindeer names for Christmas
'Coochy Coo' for new arrivals
and 'Happy Valentine's Day'

I love ric-rac, lace and all kinds of braiding and fringing too.  As regular readers will know I suffer from OCD and my ribbon collection, although quite small, troubles me as I have yet to come up with an obsessive friendly way to store them.  At present they are in zip-lock bags sorted into colour and rammed into a pretty box.  

I have been researching the best method of storage and, as I don't have many reels of ribbon, I'm thinking maybe wrapping them round embroidery thread cards and securing them with mini pegs could be a good option or this pretty idea of wrapping ribbons around old wooden pegs.

Any other suggestions would be most welcome!  I also discovered on my internet research travels that you can purchase such a thing as a ribbon iron, it's like a miniature set of hair straighteners for ribbons, whatever next?!  If I don't get my mishmash of ribbons sorted pronto I might just need one.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Cakey, Cakey! - Cake Pops

I made a couple of large celebration cakes for people this week and had quite a lot of sponge off-cuts which, without jam, buttercream and icing, are just lacklustre carbs.  I'd been toying with the idea of trying out some cake pops for a while and had even ordered the sticks off t'internet so this seemed the ideal opportunity to have a go at them.  The method is as follows:

Take your lovingly baked sponge cake and chop the hell out of it.
Make some buttercream icing and combine enough of it with the cake to allow you to roll the mixture into balls
Shove the mixture in the fridge for half an hour
Roll the mixture into balls (or in this case I molded them into cupcake shapes) and refrigerate
Meanwhile melt some chocolate, I used dark chocolate and some white chocolate that I coloured pink

As I was using two types of chocolate I covered one side of the cake with  the dark chocolate first and then inserted the cake pop sticks into each cake and allowed the first lot of chocolate to set before using the pink chocolate on the top.  I decorated each mini cupcake with sprinkles and flowers and rammed the cake pop sticks into some polystyrene to allow them to set. 
When they were set I wrapped them in cellophane and tied with some of my lovely 'Goody Gum Drops' ribbon.
I was quite pleased that I had enough melted chocolate left over to have a go with my metal chocolate molds that have been knocking about in my cupboard for ages
The finished chocs

Friday, 25 February 2011

Recent Activity On Friends Reunited

I've just received one of those emails entitled 'recent activity on Friends Reunited'.  When I opened it this is what it contained

Decoupage; You Can Stick It!

This week I have been busy trying to 'cut it' at decoupage.  I was rummaging around in the loft through a box of Buster's old books trying to look for something a little more interesting to read to Missy over and over and over and over...again when I came across a book that I have owned since I was four years old.  

It's a rather battered copy of Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland and Alice Through The Looking Glass and it contains John Tinneil's beautiful illustrations 
So I did some jiggery-pokery with my scanner, resized my favourite images and printed them onto some cream paper and set to work cutting them out, this is extremely time consuming but a necessary evil.  

I was glad that I had invested in some decoupage scissors as normal scissors would have been a nightmare for this intricate work.  I got my scissors, along with my other decoupage equipment at Wilko's for about a fiver.
I then went on the hunt for a redundant box (I have lots of those in my loft).  Here it is before it's facelift
Even my camera must have thought it required some help in the looks department as it applied its own Angela Lansbury vaseline lens effect to this picture!

And here it is after
I thought it had turned out so well that I have since turned two more useless boxes into useful beauties once again as gifts for like-minded souls and plan to make more decoupage-covered items in the near future so 'stick' with me for the results.

Cakey, Cakey - 60th Birthday Cake

It's my mother in law's 60th birthday this week and I decided to make her a cake as part of the celebrations

I also made her a crochet scarf in her signature colour of lilac.  She's an avid reader and one of her favourite books is Day Of The Triffids and we managed to track down this first edition copy that was printed in 1951 which aptly happens to be the year of her birth.
Just need to sort out flowers and an embarrassingly large helium balloon and we're all set for a family dinner out on the big day.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Power HairCut

I finally did it, after a year of au naturel locks, I found a new hairdresser and got my hair coloured and cut!

The salon, recommended to my by a friend, is tiny with only a couple of unpretentious stylists (I know!) and more importantly it's way cheaper than the over inflated prices that went along with the egos of my salon of the last five years.

I was a little nervous at first as putting your hair in a stranger's scissorhands is always a nail biting experience but I needn't have worried as I'm really pleased with the result, although the power cut halfway through the hair wash was an adventure.  I had images of having to go home with soaking wet hair but the girls thought laterally and got on the blower to the barbers across the car park to see if they could dry my hair over there.  Thankfully they agreed and we dashed over to them with a hairdryer, bottles of product and some trusty ghds and the problem was solved.  

I was pleased to discover that they also cut kid's hair too which is a bonus as Missy will need her first haircut soon.

My haircut was an electrifying experience!

Cakey, Cakey! - Home 'Sweet' Home

The B family moved house this week, so I wanted to make them a cake as part of their housewarming gift so it just had to be house shaped (thankfully their new house is a lot more sturdy than this one!)
The rest of the gift consisted of an Alice In Wonderland decoupage box that I had made for Mrs B
And this little gem for their cocktail bar that I spotted on a recent charity shop hop
I hope they settle in quickly and will be happy bunnies in their new pad.

This Week's Junk Shop Jewels

I've been out charity shop shopping again.  This week's finds are as follows
A heavy glass tray, probably part of a dressing table set but I'm going to use it for cakes (what else?!)
A small pressed glass plate with Father Christmas on his sleigh above a wintery rooftop scene, ideal for the kids to put a mince pie on for the man himself on Christmas Eve
Two Mary Quant logo-esque flower shaped bowls, they go beautifully with the floral mural I painted on our bedroom wall a few years ago
Two books.  A patisserie book, I can never resist a book about cakes and a cocktail book, with cocktail recipes for every day of the year, loved the 80s style cover and the subtitle '365 Happy Hours'.  The cocktail book is part of a housewarming gift for The B family, they moved house this week and they have an old skool cocktail bar, complete with pineapple shaped ice bucket, so I thought it would be ideal, hopefully they will have more than 365 happy hours with it.

This post is featured as part of Magpie Monday , fly on over to Me & My Shadow and search out the other jewels
Me and My Shadow

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

This Coffee Tastes Like Shit

Mr Right and I had a rare child-free day together today, so we decided to head off for some retail therapy at Westfield.  We had a lovely leisurely nose round the shops without the usual vocal accompaniments of either Missy crying or a whining Buster asking 'how many more shops do we have to go in?'

We stopped off for lunch in the food court and chose Pho, a Vietnamese street food restaurant.  I had the Cha Gio Chay (vegetable spring rolls) and Pho Ga (chicken noodle soup), Mr Right enjoyed the Goi Cuon Ga (chicken summer rolls) and Pho Xau Thit Ga (chicken and prawn noodles), it all looked and tasted amazing and was sin-free as it's all made while you wait from simple, fresh ingredients.
My lunch
Regular readers of my blog might recall my 'Coffee Is For Mugs' post last year in which I mention Mr Right's desire to try Kopi Luwak (a coffee made from beans previously eaten and excreted by monkeys).  Well Mr Right was excited to see that Pho actually served a variety of this beverage
There's shit coffee on the menu
and he simply had to try it
Mr Right takes his first sip
I was a little disappointed that it didn't arrive in a weasel shaped cup but had a sip never the less, just to satisfy my curiosity but, as I'm not a huge fan of coffee anyway, it just tasted like any other bitter black coffee.  

Mr Right seemed to enjoy it enough, although I don't think he felt the flavour was amazing enough to justify the £5.95 price tag and 10 minute wait for it to be prepared but at least he's fulfilled a teeny ambition and never has to drink shit coffee again, unless of course I'm making it!

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Vintage Vixens

I received a text a while back from Mrs Z asking me if I fancied accompanying her to a vintage clothes and accessories sale that was taking place locally, does the Devil wear Prada?!

We hatched a plan to get there for opening as we wanted to bag the best stuff but to our slight dismay there was already a queue when we arrived.  We paid our £2.50 entry fee, Jack Dee's words 'I can get into Harrods for free!' ringing in our ears and made our way into the civic hall.
We decided to do a tactical circuit of the stalls and scope out the ones we really wanted to nose around, there was lots to see...
 ...Mod phones?! (for those all important calls to Paul Weller)...
 ...'luxury' luggage...
 ...hat pins...
 ...and shoes.

Once we had done our circuit we started making some purchases.  Mrs Z got a couple of beaded necklaces, one with lovely cream deco-style beads and the other we nicknamed the pear as it had some cute diddy pale green pear shaped beads hanging down.  She also bought an umbrella brooch in, what we initially suspected to be, Bakelite but now we're not so sure as the stall holder told us it was only thirty-odd years old.  She was interested in some granny square crochet blankets but we decided they were a bit pricey.

As we initially walked through the doors Mrs Z had spotted a beautiful pink 50s dress with a full petticoat suspended from the ceiling, when she inquired as to the price the buxom stallholder looked her up and down and said 'oh it is quite small', talk about the pot calling the kettle fat, Mrs Z is quite small and was quite rightly insulted, we decided to boycott the stall altogether.  Sales lesson one, if you want people to buy stuff don't insult them! 

Anyway, my purchases were as follows
a scarf clip in tribute to Jack and Vera Duckworth
a hat pin for £1!...
...a bumper bag of buttons for £2.50 and some Mod roundel buttons...
...a bunny girl ornament...

...and my piece de resistance, this beautiful kimono that I actually haggled for with purse-pleasing results.

I was a little saddened to see quite a lot of fox furs for sale, 
Mrs Z and I should have been the only vintage vixens at the civic hall today.

All in all we had a great time and can't wait for the next one where we can rummage through the old and, in some cases, not so old stuff, perhaps get insulted by the odd stall holder, haggle with others and hopefully come home with some great items that nobody else will have.
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