Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Trash or Treasure Bargains

Yes, I was in Trash or Teasure again and found some beautiful bird plates. They have a lot of vintage plates in all sizes. The little ones start at £1 and the larger ones are a few pounds more. Every time I go there I saw some new wonderful things. At the moment I have my eye on a brown leather bag and also some Mary Jane shoes. And some jewellery cameos..and a hat stand. Ok, I'd really just like to buy the whole shop!

So next time you're in Maidstone...or would like some pretty plates, you know where to go :)

I made some cake balls (cake pops without the hassle of the sticks!) to go with the plates and because I felt like something sweet.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Crocheted Scarf in New Stitch

This is a scarf I crocheted for my sister's Goddaughter's christening. I came across this stitch online and it is supposed to be a crochet equivalent to knitting's moss stitch.

The scarf is cocheted with lovely Debbie Bliss cashmerino yarn in an antique rose colour.

The shell edging I got from a crochet encycopedia I have and is done in a contrasting silvery grey-I had some Salty Seadog from Posh Yarns left from my last project.

Hopefully the scarf is something that the little lady can make use of when she is older!
(P.S. the scarf was of course washed after sitting on the chair!!)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Always, always, always the sea

One of my favourite places is Greenwich. I was last there in November and visited the National Maritime with its beautiful model ships, the Painted Hall and ended the day in Greenwich Park overlooking Canary Wharf at dusk.

There's is a strong maritime theme in Greenwich-anchor and shell motifs, paintings of Neptune, shops selling nautical instruments and so on are everywhere- which I really like.

Here are some photos of things I love in Greenwich, starting with the amazing war ships.

There were a few museum exhibitions missing from the last time I went but it is still a wonderful place to walk around. After the ships, my favourite section of the museum is the one decdicated to artwork inspired by the sea. My favourite painting:

We visited the market, which is interesting to walk around but be warned: the vintage/flea markets have become very popular and the prices reflect that.


Greenwich is full of restaurants. Mexican is particularly well represented, which suits me fine as I love Mexican food. Lunch was had in Cafe Sol.

At dusk we headed to Greenwich park to get some photos of Canary Wharf illuminated.

The lamps on the gates of Greenwich park

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to visit the fan museum which is an excellent museum of hand fans. The is a large display of some beautiful intricate fans. Their website is here

There is an orangery in the museum which does afternoon tea for just £6-good value enough but I would happily pay twice as much to sit in the orangery which looks like this:


Hopefully the summer which present another opportunity to visit Greenwich

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Happy Mothers' Day!!

...to all the mums out there!

I made a phone cover, which my Mum had requested, and completed a cross stitch. I also made my card this year to fit the handmade theme!

The card is in the very popular scrapbook style (I haven't yet learnt to draw!). I don't have many materials so I hope to be able to make some better cards as soon as I get a good collection of scrapbooking materials and stamps :)

The cross stitch is adapted from a C&H pattern (read: I kept screwing the pattern up so improvised) and I changed the colours to make it more red/pink. I was going to add a border but decided the simplicity of the rose and the wooden frame worked well so left it as it was.

My Mum also wanted a cover for her new phone. I happily obliged.

I tried a new stitch called the up and down stitch which creates a really nice texture. A lot of people dismiss crochet in favour of knitting but personally I think crochet has a lot to offer. Admittedly crochet does have its limitations but I actually prefer the range of textured stitches in crochet to those in knitting.

And isn't the yarn beautiful?! It's more blue/grey than it looks in the picture with a sort of pinkish hue. It's Sirdar Click yarn I think. I'm deciding on something special to make using the rest of the yarn ball :)

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Witch Light-a new favourite book

I'm currently reading a book called Witch Light by Susan Fletcher and have been galvanized to write this post because it is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.

Corrag is a wild, young girl who has lived the life of a wanderer in the Scottish mountains. The story begins with her imprisoned as a witch, awaiting to be put to death by burning. A Jacobite priest from Ireland realises she witnessed the massacre at Glencoe and may have enough evidence to prove that the current king, William, ordered the massacre. This evidence would be enough to help overthrow the King and restore James, who they believe to be the rightful king, to the throne.

Corrag agrees to tell them everything she witnessed at the massacre. In return she asks permission to tell her side of the story, about her life in the wild, her loves, about the persecution she has endured for being labelled a witch.

The book is incredibly beautiful and the visceral descriptions of the Scottish Highlands have enchanted me from the first page. I love Corrag for her brightness, her passion and her wild nature. I haven't finished the book, I'm putting it off, but it will be hard to not shed a tear if the author chooses Corrag to burn. A highly recommended novel.

Monday, 12 March 2012

20 reasons I am not cool

  1. I have no tattoos/ unusual piercings because I'm a coward when it comes to pain.
  2. I don't drink because it makes me ill. I'm always the quiet one at the party who looks like they're bored. I'm not always, just sober.
  3. Ditto coffee.
  4. There are no photos on Facebook of me pulling faces/being drunk/with a large group of friends-only cool kids have that.
  5. I often prefer to stay in than go out .
  6. I listen to Bollywood and 90s dance music sometimes.
  7. I cannot dance in public, I look like a puppet as soon as I know eyes might be on me.
  8. I don't like being naked/semi clothed in public.
  9. I don't have many close friends in the BFF style.
  10. I don't play computer games and don't even know the difference between an Xbox and a Playstation.
  11. I don't have a television.
  12. I never watch animation like Pixar. More Toy Story/Shrek references have gone over my head than Ryanair planes.
  13. No matter what I wear, I never like that chic.
  14. No matter what I do with my hair, it always looks a mess. I've never mastered cool bedhair or the tousled.
  15. I'm the only 30 year old who still has to occasionally sponge their breakfast off their clothes, like a 3 year old.
  16. I don't go clubbing. Ever.
  17. People come into the shop and say things like "have you got that biography of X from Eastenders". I never have a clue who or what they're going on about.
  18. I seldom get friend requests on Facebook (unless you count strange men over 50).
  19. I only wear sunglasses when I'm on holiday or if it really is sunny.
  20. I'm quite ignorant about topical things as I don't read newspapers and seldom read the BBC news-although I always plan to include it in my routine. Football, politics, the latest scandals-I'm oblivious to most things, unless people mention it on Facebook.

I know there are alternatives to cool, and unique is something to aspire to. Just occasionally though I wonder what it would be like to be like the majority of the population, to be 'in' and know what was going on....

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Day Five-6 Men I Find Attractive

I've spent days avoiding the latest question. I appear to have grown out of crushes. This is an eclectic list and represents my ability to have a crush on someone's brain! In no particular order...

1) Neil Gaiman-because he's intelligent, has a wonderful imagination and I love his books. He's hot too!

2) Faramir. (OK,  perhaps cheating a little as he's a character from Lord of the Rings). Kind, gentle and brave...I imagine he's many women's ideal man.

"He read the hearts of men as shrewdly as his father, but what he read moved him sooner to pity than to scorn. He was gentle in bearing, and a lover of lore and of music, and therefore by many in those days his courage was judged less than his brother's. But it was not so, except that he did not seek glory in danger without a purpose."

3) Neil Oliver-passionate historian with stern eyes, intelligence and, above all, the beautiful Scottish accent. Someone whose attractiveness is not obvious even to myself.

4) Ioan Gruffudd-arguably the most obvious choice for my 'attractive male' list. There's something very neat and symmetrical about his face, like an American film star's. In fact he's from the Welsh valleys and is a native Welsh speaker. The video is of Ioan reciting a poem in Welsh. Enjoy!!

5) Waylander the Slayer. Complex, strong and enigmatic. Ultimately good.

6) Brian Cox-ridiculously intelligent...and nice too! Thanks for bringing astronomy to the masses and for proving that not all professors are dusty old men in tweed jackets and mismatching socks.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Day Four-7 Things I Think of Often

This will be a strange list. I think of much and little. It also depends what is going on in my life at that time.

1) Food. I walk around fantasizing about lunch/dinner/new recipes. Nachos, takeaway curry and anything with crispy potatoes and cheese dominate my fantasies.

2) Book characters. I try to imagine what Claudia Hampton, to give one example of a character, would do if she were me or I were her .Somebody once said they could see me as a heroine in a book. Sometimes I wander around and pretend I'm in a book and wonder how I would be described at that moment in time , or how situations I am in would be written.

3) I'm trying to watch more films so at the moment I'm often remembering a film I need to add to my Lovefilm Rental List.

4) Other people. I wonder what X who is nearby is doing, and Y who is far away is doing. I look for clues about customer's lives-make of clothes to guess class and level of fashion consciousness, wedding ring, jewellery and other indicators of character and personal taste.

5) Music. I always have a song in my head and one of the highlights of my day, every day, is sitting on the bus and listening to music.

6) Places I've been and places I want to visit. I often imagine myself arriving by boat in Venice at dusk again. Or in Park Guell listening to a busker. On top of a bus in Oxford. Sometimes I imagine sitting on an Asian train, Palin style, writing something wonderful in a notebook. The list is infinite.

7) Things I must google when I get home. What year did that battle happen in? How do you make earrings? At what time of year would it be best to plant that flower? What are EVIL lenses and so forth. Again, another endless list. I'm full of questions

I think of a million things a day, most of which I can't even try to make sound interesting. I hope the next question is better....

Arriving in Venice

Monday, 5 March 2012

Day Three-8 Ways to My Heart

If I have translated correctly, the next challenge is to list 8 ways to win my heart....

1) Tolerate my habit to want to take photographs constantly. A trip out with me will take twice as long as it would with everybody else because I will constantly be stopping to look/photograph.

2) Forgive my frequent lateness. I try, really I do but I am easily waylaid. Those who know me well may have realised that while I am often late, the extra minutes are often used to make sure I have packed everything we might possibly need-including babywipes and a cd to play in the car...even an extra cardigan for you because you must surely have forgotten something if you rushed to get here on time.

3) Make mix cds/tapes for me and introduce me to new bands

4) Do not always say "I agree" and "me too". I am happy to enter into an open minded and intelligent discussion with somebody of a differing opinion. In fact, I like people who are different to me.

5) Have an interest in languages/speak a second language.

6) Nothing makes me love more than kindness/thoughtfulness. Offer me a sweet or a lift, pick a daisy for me, remember my favourite breakfast, say something nice about me or something I've done. I never forget a little kindness.

7) If you cook for me, you might be able to just skip all of the above.

8) If you have a strange passion that I do not understand, I am all yours. I love people who are a little enigmatic, a little puzzle for me to work out.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Sweet Saturday and a Dreary Sunday!

In contrast to today, yesterday was a day of energy, sunshine and sweetmaking.

First up was Victorian creams, which I have been wanting to try for ages, but had to wait to find some rose water.
They are very simple to make and require no cooking as such. You literally mix sugar paste icing with golden syrup, food colouring (if colouring) and some flavouring. I chose rose but the flavour was so subtle as to be indiscernible. You shape the mixture into balls and leave them for a few hours to dry.

I suppose you could leave them like this if you wanted to. I coated mine in melted chocolate. Luckily, I accidentally bought mint flavoured chocolate and that made up for the lack of rose flavouring. Just before the chocolate solidified, I decorated the balls with a sugar flower.

Next up. I realised I had the right ingredients to make honeycomb. Dangerous. It's very easy to make-you just melt caster sugar and some golden syrup together and after they've simmered for 5-10 minutes, you take it off the heat and add sodium bicarb which makes the mixture fizz (this creates the aerated texture!). You quickly pour the mixture into a dish to set and then you can break it into pieces when it's set.

Today spring seemed further away than it has done recently. Grey skies, rain and a general feeling of malaise have dominated my day. I have however had a chance to nearly complete two more crochet projects so perhaps today has not been a total waste of time. The flowers I received last weekend look as alive and cheerful as ever and helped lift my spirits. Now to prepare for a busy week before a few days holiday at the start of next week.

Taken with my iPhone. I never tire of experimenting with the camera :)

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Yankee Wax Tarts-One of My Favourite Things

This is a post dedicated to one of my absolute favourite things: the Yankee Candle Wax Tart.

Anybody who knows me well will probably already know how much I love these things, and indeed may well have been presented with one at Christmas or some other gift-giving occasion. My aim is to spread these as far and as wide as I can!

I remember smelling some of Yankee candles in a garden centre and thought Midnight Jasmine was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever smellt. They were quite pricey though so I noted instead for my Christmas list. Fast forward a few months and I'm in Broadstairs. I go into a shop where they sold the wax tarts. I thought they were mini candles at first, and I'm sure I'm not the only person who's done this, looked for a wick and thought I'd got a damaged candle. Further investigation and I realise I have a wax tart in my hand!

To use you place the tart in a dedicated wax tart burner, or I just use an old oil burner which can be cheaply obtained, then light an unscented tealight below.

I've experimented with oils, incense sticks and countless scented candles...but Yankee tarts are by far the best way I've found to scent a room. The frangrances are so lovely and the fragrance is strong enough to scent a room. When I had Midnight Jasmine in my burner, I might briefly leave the room and return and it was literally like walking into a summer's garden. They'd be excellent to add atmosphere to parties, weddings, dinner parties...

Their scents are updated seasonally so there are also new ones to try. I love browsing the list and reading the description of the scent, even though it makes me want to buy them ALL!! My favourites at the moment are Nature's Paintbrish (which was my Christmas fragrance) and Clean Cotton. They only cost 99p-£1.25 (depending on where you get them from) so are definitely easy to treat yourself to one...or ten.


Friday, 2 March 2012

Nine Things About Me

I started something similar a while ago here, then my laptop left me to be repaired so I didn't complete it. This version I have borrowed fromYvonne. Let's see if my laptop lasts long enough for me to complete the challenge.

Nine Things about me

1) I'm obsessed with dogs, even though I've never owned one. I once abandoned my sister in the middle of Broadstairs to follow three Border Collies. Apparently she turned around and I had "just vanished".
2) I love crisps and roast beef Monster Munch have been my favourite crisps since I was young.
3) I'm a crochet addict and take crochet with me everywhere. I will crochet in tea breaks, at the bus stop (now it's light!), after dinner at people's houses. I feel weird if I'm sitting still and don't have a hook in my hand.
4) I have never grown out of car sickness and the worst thing about being without a car is that I now have to take travel sickness tablets everywhere.
5) My favourite words are halcyon, ethereal, efflorescence and plethora.
6) Unless I'm kept awake by noise (or the occasional disrupted routine) I sleep like a baby.
7) I read travel brochures.
8) I like to spend time in cemetaries because they always have wonderful trees.
9) I have visited quite a few places, some of which I really loved and will visit again (Venice, Barcelona)...but my favourite place in the world is actually my home, Kent. I do not think I will live anywhere else. Kent has more castles than any other county in England. It has the sea, lighthouses, cliffs, picturesque towns and villages, forts, ruins, woods, a little forest, twisty-turny country lanes, rivers, bridges, a Paladian church, a Gothic cathedral, hills, orchards and marshes. It has the most beautiful gardens. It never gets too cold. In 30 minutes you can be in london, in 2.5 hours you can be in Paris. Kent has green, green grass, white cliffs, gardens of pink, red, purple and yellow, golden sand and grey stone castles....