Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Yummy food.

Yesterday it was my son's day to choose dinner. Always a tense moment as he is a trained chef and so often comes up with complex recipes.  This day was no exception. He told me he wanted Calzones.  "What is that when it's at home?" I asked him.  It turned out they are like folded over pizzas.  So off we tootled to the shops after chef had made the pizza dough and left it to prove.

We bought basil, mozzarella, panchetta and some black olives. When we got back home the dough was divided up and made into small rounds.

Then we chopped olives, ham,sun-dried tomatoes,capers, mozzarella and grated some cheese.

We heaped on the yummies and folded over the pizza bases. Then pressed the edges down firmly and washed with egg-wash.

In the oven till they were nice and brown. Some filling escaped but there was plenty yummy stuff left.

I can promise you they didn't last long!

I haven't got a precise recipe as Chef told me what to do, but here is one I found on the internet. It has different fillings but you can  put in what you like. Give it a try and let me know how you got on. Enjoy!

Monday, 19 August 2013

Ikea coffee table re-vamp

It has been rather busy at home, with people being ill and granny staying, so I haven't had a lot of time to make or blog. Today I managed to do something though, with a little hand from the poorly man.  I have this Ikea coffee table. It came with a glass top but glass top tables and children don't mix so we removed the top years ago and replaced it with a MDF one. I had painted it in a nice cream colour to match the room, but it had started to look well, frankly, disgusting.

As you can see it looked really horrible, no amount of scrubbing made it look better.

So I got some "faux leather" from the Range (£4.50 a meter)
Four brass corner pieces and screws (about £3 from Ebay)
and I used a small drill,a staple gun a small hammer and a pair of scissors.

I started stapling the fabric on one side of the table top and then turned to the opposite site and stretched it as hard and as evenly as I could.
Then I cut the fabric right to the corners and folded them as tightly as I could. Then I stapled the rest, making sure the fabric stayed taut.
I hammered some of the staples in a bit further with the hammer as the staple gun didn't always get them to go in fully.

Then to finish the corners:

This will keep the table top located (which is a huge improvement) and it protects the corners from extra wear and tear.

There it is, the finished and definitely better looking table top.

Being inspected, of course:

Well what do you think? Is it an improvement?  It was less than £10 to do and took maybe 40 minutes. It will look pretty for a while at least. 

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Upcycle no1

Remember that top I bought a few days ago?

I loved the pretty edging on it but I did not like it as a top at all.

  So this is what I did with it:

 I cut off the bottom part of the top

 Then I snipped of the strap,

Gave it a quick press
So I could turn it into a bow

Then I pinned  and stitched the fabric on the bottom of a new vest top I picked up for a few quid

I stitched the bow on and this is the finished dress:

 I think it looks quite smashing on Esmeralda, don't you agree?

 She is even wearing a matching necklace. You can find this one and others like it  here

A little closer up to have a peek at the bow.

Well I hope you agree with me that it is an improvement and that it has given this rather pretty fabric a new lease of life.  Let me know what you think.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Home Sweet Home

I haven't done a "Home Sweet Home" post for ages, sorry about that. Sometimes it is hard to see the special things in your own home.  Even today my "thing" I want to share is not really a household item that I treasure, but a very useful addition to my sewing room.

Meet Esmeralda:

I have recently taken up sewing again ( I used to make a lot of my own clothes, including my  own wedding dress)  So a few weeks ago I decided to purchase a dress form as I thought it would be a lot easier to do my alterations and new projects.  As is normal in our house I gave her a name (even spiders get named before we throw them out) and she is from here on known as Esmeralda.  Hopefully she will be my helper for many years to come.  But for now she is wearing a prototype wedding dress which I can't show you yet for obvious reasons.  I hope to get some sewing done tomorrow but as I have to dentist patients and a poorly hubby to look after that may be just wishful thinking.  You'll find out tomorrow as will I

Busy Sunday

Not much to report as I have had a busy day at a craft fair.


 My little cake stand with  felt baby booties. They were admired a lot, someone even wanted to frame some.

This was the quiet before the storm....well the breeze. Not done too badly as I made my table fee, petrol money and lunch plus a teeny bit extra.  That is what I call a successful  craft fair. And the coffee was good too.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A bit of the Wild West (of Wales, that is)

We went to Oakwood Park with the family and of course I brought my camera as you never know when you get the chance to get a few fun shots. Add a bit of photo editing and you have some lovely memories. So off to jail it is!

Of course the Wild West is not complete without some shooting:

Friday, 9 August 2013

What can I do with these?

I had a rummage through a couple of charity shops in the last few days.  The first one was really dire, drab colours and really old stuff.  The crazy thing was there was not one item I saw that was under £4.  I just walked out. I have noticed this before that items are much more expensive than they used to be.  I often bought things on the off chance as they looked nice and I might please someone with them.  Now I look at items and go "HOW much?"  I realise that it is for charity, but instead of spending maybe £5 or£10 every two/ three weeks I now very rarely buy anything at all.  I presume I am not the only one so takings must be down for all these charities.  I wandered down the road to Store 21 and managed to find some BRAND NEW tops for £1.99 each and a couple of scarves for £4.

Then on Thursday I decided to check one of my local charity shops out to see if it was the same.  I walked in and immediately I could see some nice items.  Unfortunately the prices were higher than they used to be, but at least the clothes were nice. 

Here are the items I bought, you can see the three new tops (top left and bottom right) and the scarves that I plan to use to turn them into something unique.  I also picked up a cute red blouse that I plan to change into a waistcoat.  I love the teeny heart buttons and the textured flowers. There was a denim skirt too, with loads of pretty details but also a tiny hole. I have got some crafty plans for it too and the hole will not be visible any more. There was a top with a beautiful embroidered edging. No idea what I am going to do with it but it will be something special eventually.  The long dress was given to me and it will take a bit of imagination to make it pretty but I will succeed I am sure to turn it into something much more wearable.  I will keep you posted on the progress on these projects.

I would love to hear your thoughts about charity shops, upcycling and reusing clothes.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

What is better than this?

Ok maybe not for everyone but this, for me, was one of  the highlights of my holiday.  I went to visit a Saxophone shop.  Now there aren't that many of them so it was amazing to find one in a small place called Gorssel.
 This is it, a specialist saxophone shop.  Better than a sweetshop for me.
I wanted to touch them all!  Some are collectors items and others were just very nice brand new saxophones. I imagine them all as different individuals with different voices.

For the uninitiated this may look like a cigarette counter but it is in fact a massive selection of reeds, mouth pieces and some other odds and ends.

And here I am admiring a wonderful selection of other instruments, a couple of flutes and some rather handsome clarinets.

An here is a craftsman I admire. I play the saxophone (not terribly well, but I am trying) but the mechanism is so complex.  I don't think I could put one together again if I took it apart.

So did I buy a new saxophone? I wish. No. I still have my trusted and beautiful sounding Conn.  I did however get to try an artificial reed which I absolutely love and my friends bought me a wonderful new harness, so now I can actuall play for longer without my neck hurting (saxophones are HEAVY).

Well I hope you enjoyed a little look in the shop,you can find out more here

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Trying to get more done in a day.

I have been finding it increasingly difficult to find time to do things. I mean arty/crafty things.  Housework is one of those thankless tasks. You do them, turn around and it is back almost as if by magic.  Then there is the phone. I almost always find that as soon as I start doing something the phone starts ringing and interrupts what you are doing, which in the case of arty/crafty things completely ruins the "flow". I get frustrated, feel it is not worth starting anything and I get an attack of artist block. Then I end up looking at lovely crafty things on the internet and spend ages on Pinterest to overcome this.  Good to get creative juices flowing but bad idea, because it eats into creative time. So I have decided to do something about it. I  am going to put some point of action into place.  I think the fact that I started a 30-day-blog challenge has just helped me clarify things in my mind.
So, what am I going to do? Well this:
  1. get up a little earlier.(for obvious reasons as it is quieter in the mornings)
  2. make lists of things to do.(to prioritise tasks)
  3. use a timer to set a fixed limit to task (helps to focus on task in hand)
  4. finish of works in progress (they have a habit of stifling the creative mind)
  5. tidy a bit of the house/craft room at a time (so it does not overwhelm me)
I will let you know how I get on with this.  Are there any points of action you would recommend? I am open to other suggestions so please leave a comment.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Shhh, Crochet in progress!

Although I have been very busy doing all sorts of non-crafty things and important things like sewing dresses I have actually managed to relax with a bit of crochet.  As you know I am quite new to crochet but I have been attempting several new things. I started with a simple granny square and now I am trying different stitches and patterns. Here are a few pieces I have recently finished and one work-in-progress:

A slightly different take on the granny squares, in a lovely wool mix yarn in purple, pink, sage and dark green. Fully lined with a pink cotton lining.
Hard to think of a cold winter but with this snood you'd be nice and warm. Acrylic yarn, so no itchies right next to your skin.

 The flower in a little more detail.

And a work-in-progress. I usually have a few of these.  This is going to be a small handbag.  I will post a picture of the finished article soon, together with another green one that is lurking at the bottom of my project bag, waiting to be sewn together.

Does anyone have any special requests? Colour combinations or ideas?  Let me know and maybe I cam make you something unique.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Arty Photos

Today was a bit busy. I am sewing something rather special, but I can't share 'cause  it's secret. Did you guess? Yes indeed I am sewing a wedding dress for my daughter but for obvious reasons I can't blog about it yet.  So for today you will get a few more arty photos, hope you like them. Some I hope to turn into paintings and I will of course share that in the future.

Remember those painted shutters in Deventer?  My husband had the idea to put people in front of them as if they are part of the landscape.  It works quite well don't you think?

  (Psst they're the bride and groom )

 And here is the mammas together pretending to stand in a pretty garden.

We also went to a lovely place called Harderwijk, where we visited  the Dolfinarium . We very much enjoyed ourselves.  Apart from enjoying the antics of the obvious dolphins and other sea creatures we also had a walk around Harderwijk harbour. I managed to get some lovely photos of the boats there.  Hopefully I will soon find some time to paint a few... once the Big Dress is done.

Bits of boats. They are so intriguing. I think they are called Botters.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

The Inspirational City of Deventer

 Patient horses waiting for people to take a ride through town.

Picturesque streets

Classy shops

 Cute "Olde fashion" shops.

 Amazing facades (lovely details on buildings if you look up)

 Of course there is the typical street organ.

 Would you believe it, they actually played "Gangnam Style"

 Wall street, but not as you know it.

 Oh and cheese, lots and lots of cheese!