Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Plantable Paper Bunting

I love stationery; unsurprisingly, perhaps, given that I'm a PA and I love to write.  I have favourite stationery shops in nearly every city I visit - my favourite is a little place in Paris called Melodies Graphiques.  We make a special trip there every time we go so that I can stock up on gorgeous thick creamy paper, vintage-style notebooks and my favourite brown pen ink.

So when Gabrielle of The Green Gables online stationery and gift shop contacted me to let me know that I'd won her giveaway recently I was beyond thrilled:

I have never seen bunting like this before and I love it.  The flags are made from lovely, thick, textured handmade paper and hang from a long piece of thick rough jute string.  I think it's a modern, rustic alternative to the usual bunting and it looks really good in my newly prettified potting shed.  The most unusual thing about the flags are that they are embedded with wildflower seeds so if you get fed up of looking at the bunting (unlikely!) you can plant the paper and watch the flowers grow - genius!

It would make an ideal gift; I am absolutely thrilled with mine and will enjoy moving it into the garden when the weather warms up.

In recognition of National Stationery Day today, Gabrielle is offering a 30% discount on all stationery and free postage over at her  online shop - take a look at The Green Gables, I think you will like it.  Thanks Gabrielle for my such a lovely prize :-)



Thursday, 19 April 2012

Paper crafting for the inept

A little while ago, here, I blogged about some pretty envelopes I was making.  I made a few more this evening.

Then I remembered that I hadn't told you what I use them for.  Want a clue?

Yep, they are pocket money pouches.  For me.  I am 35 years old and weekly pocket money has revolutionised my life.  No kidding. 

I was chatting to the husband a little while ago about how great it was to be paid a weekly wage, back in the day.  Monthly pay days really don't work for me.  I can't make money last; it burns a hole in my pocket and I spend the last half of every month bumming cash off him indoors.  Understandably, he finds this frustrating.  It isn't great for me either because I have to justify why I need £20 for a face wash. ('What's wrong with soap?' says he. Meh.)

So now Andrew has full control of my money.  (I asked him to; he isn't a control freak.)  Each payday, all of my money is transferred to him.  Then, every Friday, I have a set amount of money transferred to one of those pre-paid Mastercards and £30 of cash.  I love it!  I made the pretty envelopes just to be silly (it makes me feel young having pocket money!) but now I keep the actual envelope of cash tucked into my purse and the very sight of it reminds me that I've got to make my money last.  And I do!  Last week, I had £280 in my pocket money account.  That might not sound very much at all, but I was so chuffed with myself.  The fact that it has dwindled significantly now is irrelevant but I have two very nice Chanel nail polishes, a neon pink top and some Mac goodies to show for that little splurge! 

The envelopes are really easy to make. I bought these two templates on eBay - you just draw round them, snip, fold and stick.  

They are wooden and have a lovely vintage utilitarian feel to them.  The smaller one makes my pocket money pouches.  I don't know if there are any more left on eBay but there are definitely some available on Etsy if you fancy one.  There are lots of occasions when I need decorative little envelopes.  I quite often give cash or gift cards to family for birthdays and Christmas and the little ones are the perfect size.  You can use any kind of paper; my stepson loves Manga artwork and Marvel magazines which I think would make pretty cool cash envelopes for boys. 

When I bought the envelope templates, a few packets of stickers and rolls of washi tape seemed to slip into the basket.  I used some of the washi tape recently to make cupcake flags.

I was just messing around really, as you do, but I think these will be lovely for our Jubilee celebration tea in June.  (The cocktail sticks were from the local deli - they are called Posh Pricks.  Ha!) 

So it's pocket money day tomorrow and I'm planning a trip to Birmingham on Saturday for some light exercise...  I'd like to stock up on Muji make-up bags and I've sold a few things on eBay so I'm going to buy myself a pair of Raybans.  I am even going to treat the husband to lunch at Wagamama (he usually pays).  I am seriously craving Edamame and Chicken Kare Lomen.  

Thanks for continuing to visit me here where the chat has become a little random :-)  I've found loads of new lovely blogs recently (hello Claire!) and I thought I'd post the links next time so that I can share some of my new reading material.

Have a great weekend, lovelies. 

Kisses and stuff.



Saturday, 14 April 2012

The Giant Granny: Crochet Loveliness

Woop woop!  My first ever crochet blanket.  The giant granny:

If you are a beginner like me I strongly recommend that you begin with a giant granny square.  In fact, I insist.  It is a superb way to practice and isn't too fiddly.

You gain confidence as you stitch which is half the battle when starting something new.  My first ever project was a load of granny squares (blogged here) and I still haven't joined them.  Can't face it.  There is no worrying about joining squares with the giant granny, you just add row after row after row after row... until you get bored.  Or suffocate.

I started this blanket late summer last year when we went to stay at our static caravan in Norfolk for the week.  We stayed up late to watch the rioting on the news and it was so chilly that I had to drag the duvet through to the living room.  My blanket will reside at the caravan ready for a whole summer of fun.  I will wrap it around my shoulders as we sit on the beach for the mandatory early evening fish and chip feast.  It will also our picnic blanket, our late-night-car-ride-home blanket and our TV snuggler.  The dog has made a few suggestions of her own.  She remains hopeful.

 I've started my next project - a round cushion for the garden.  I am all about the garden this year.  The seeds I've already sown are looking magnificent (says me) and I have actual shoots from the dahlia bulbs I planted.  *bodypops*  Tomorrow I'll be doing more.  Gardening, that is; not bodypopping.  

Have a great weekend!



Tuesday, 10 April 2012

My big crochet reveal is coming...

Eeek!  Can you wait?   I can't.*

I finally finished my first ever blanket.  It was grey and dreary outside on Sunday but I was still out in the garden holding a photo shoot with the dog!  (Never work with children or animals: so true.)

Have a great week and speak soon.



*disclaimer:  I have only made a giant granny square.  The edging went wrong so it's a bit frilly and I'm not very good at darning in the ends.  Crochet veterans will not be at all impressed but please humour me!!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Baking Frenzy

I have been meaning to upload these photos for a while now but after having my horrid root canal treatment (yay for sedation!) I managed to saddle myself with a cold.  So annoying.  I have just about managed to get through the working days but the second I switched off my laptop I was back in my PJs and into bed.  

I'm on the mend now but the husband has caught it and, obviously, has it much worse than I did.  Whatevs!   I am no nurse and his constant mouth-breathing, throat-clearing and nose-blowing is grossing me out a bit.  I know that sounds really unsympathetic but I'm just super-queasy when it comes to snot.  Ick.

So, let's talk about sugar and spice and all things nice.  Like cake.

I had a bit of a baking frenzy before our holiday to Center Parcs - I really wanted to take some homemade baked goodies for the family.  Having made the doughnut muffins recently I have become a little bit obsessed with injecting things with jam (!).  It's such fun.  These little vanilla cupcakes have a squidge of strawberry jam in the centre and are lush.  In fact, Drew declared them my 'best ever' cupcakes!  I knew this little jam trick would work because my friend's mum runs a gorgeous cupcake business and she sometimes adds a squib of jam to hers.  

I made two dozen muffins too:

Cinnamon & Walnut muffins
Rocky Road muffins
The muffins look delicious but were a bit disappointing.  The cinnamon and walnut ones were a tad dry.  The chocolate muffins were OK but I didn't feel they were nice enough to warrant the calories.  I have this thing about chocolate cake.  I love it, but I rarely find one I absolutely delight in.  I can't bring myself to finish a slice of chocolate cake that's anything less than delicious.  My search for the perfect chocolate cake continues (alongside the search for perfect red lipstick - they all make me look a bit sinister).  Delia's chocolate roulade is amazing but really just for special occasions.  If you can give me a fab chocolate cake recipe I'll be your BFF.

I had to make scones - we've developed a bit of a love affair with the cream tea - but I also made some  coconut tarts:

My mum makes these every Christmas. They are jam tarts with a mixture of sugar, butter and coconut spooned on top before they are baked.  One is never enough! I love them.

And of course I had to make a few mini buns for my niece's dollies to have a tea party with:

Told you it was a frenzy!  I don't know why I made quite so many cakes (there were only seven of us on holiday) but I was just enjoying it all so much I didn't want to stop.  I'm planning more baking this weekend.  I've already made a big plateful of the ubiquitous chocolate crispy bird nest cakes, complete with mini eggs, but I'm also going to make some coffee cupcakes and a batch of iced fingers for our Easter tea tomorrow.  I had a practice run of the buns last weekend and I think they are going to be amazing!

In other news, I've finally finished my granny square blanket, decorated an Easter tree, had a huge sort out of my kitchen cupboards and cleared our barn to create a delightful little potting shed.  It's a work in progress but photos to follow.

Have a great Easter weekend! 



PS -  I just wanted to explain why I've been so rubbish at commenting on blogs lately.  I had an iPad for my birthday which I use all the time now.  I love it.  It isn't great for commenting on blogs though.  I've found that if I type a comment and try to correct a typo the whole thing freezes so I have to scrap it and start again.  Beyond frustrating so I've been reading your blogs and not commenting, which makes me feel a bit rude.  Sorry - I've dug the laptop out of hiding now and I'll be back in full 'gobby' glory!  :-) xx