Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Vintage Box

Believe it or not, we are still trying to sort out our attic! There is so much stuff in the loft space it betrays what terrible hoarders we all are. Stacks of books, toys, magazines and more lie in wait for us in the further reaches of the attic.

But over the course of sorting, I am finding some treasures!
Take this lovely box, for example, which either belonged to my Grandma or my great auntie:

Hmmm, I wonder what’s inside?

 Sewing tools! Perfect!

Plenty of needle books, including some handmade. 

 This perplexed me at first. Then I unscrewed the base…

More needles!

As for this gorgeous little box, well! What a cute way to store pins!

 Of course, with all those sharp objects, an assortment of thimbles are needed.
These are just a few--there are a bunch of plastic ones too.

And right in the bottom of the box?

Cottons galore!

Along with all the things above I found four pairs of scissors in varying sizes (fantastic since my sewing box is missing a smaller pair), elastic, pins, embroidery floss and carded threads for repairing clothes and hosiery!

In particular I was pleased to find the reels of cotton, it means I can make more of these:

I was inspired to make this vintage cotton reel necklace after seeing some on amy is the party and thinking 'I can do that!'
Amy actually just shared a tutorial for making them on OnePearl Button! It's really worth checking out!

Anyway, I made this necklace a couple of weeks back before I came into possession of the sewing box above. I was playing around with some beads I bought from Big Bead Boutique in Brighton (my favourite bead shop!) and some old ribbons and things my Nanny gave me (she also gave me the old reel of cotton).

It isn’t the colours I usually wear but I wanted a change--and now I have all those lovely vintage cottons I can make as many as I want!

We’re still clearing out the attic; who knows what other treasures I’ll find...

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

Hullo Blogland! I know I've been rather quiet over the past couple of weeks but am hoping that will change soon!
During my 'quiet period' (whilst I was away, in fact!) I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by the lovely Rikka J at Ricochet and Away! It was a lovely thing to come home to, so thank you Rikka J!

The rules after accepting the Versatile Blogger Award are:

  1. Thank the person who gave the award and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.

So, here's 7 things about me
  1. I have always had pet cats; my parents had a couple of cats before I was born and we've never stopped adopting new ones! (At one point we had seven cats, right now we have five...yes, they're spoilt!)
  2. I listen to all kinds of music. Language and genre don't matter so long as it sounds good!
  3. My village fair has been running since the 14th Century, excepting during World War I & II. 
  4. Despite textiles class at school, I didn't learn to sew until college when I sat down and figured things out for myself! 
  5. I am a big nerd for Japanese things--cosplay, anime, manga and music especially! 
  6. I love to travel overseas and love to look at old holiday snaps and remember the awesome people and cultures I've experienced.
  7. I love writing stories and won a short-story competition at the age of nine, with my spooky tale 'The Ghost of the Guillotine' (I was also quite a morbid child...Haha)

As for the fabulous blogs I'd like to nominate:
  1. Bohemian Valhalla  
  2. Aunt Peaches
  3. Inspiration & Realisation
  4. Flamingo Toes
  5. Horror Shock Lolipop
  6. A Law Student's Journey
  7. Creative Passage
  8. Homeroad
  9. Hope Studios
  10. I Heart Naptime
  11. Homework
  12. SouthernScraps Happenings
  13. Frou-FruGal
  14. At Home With Mrs H
  15. Hobbies of a Homemaker
These blogs aren't all 'recently discovered' since I have been reading some for a few months and haven't really started looking at any new blogs for a while (saying that, if anyone wants to make recommendations, that would be awesome!)

Picking just fifteen out of all the blogs I follow was difficult! They're all great!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Photography Challenge Week #5

I've been really busy over the past week or two so first off, major apologies for my lack of activity in blogland! I still have a ton of comments and blogs to catch up with, so please forgive me for being slow!

Anyway, here's my photograph for the weekly photography challenge on A Step in the Journey. This week's theme was from a high angle.

Hard Day's Work

When I first saw this theme I thought, 'That should be easy!' 
Boy was I wrong.

I didn't get a chance to take any pictures for this until today; it was raining outside so I ran around looking for a subject! Then I found my newest pair of boots, bought when I went to London recently. (I am a boot fiend, I was actually shopping for shoes!)

Originally I thought of shooting from directly above the object, but that didn't work for me so I chose this angle instead. 

My camera wanted me to use a flash, which I didn't want to do, so out came the tripod! Since the pictures were coming out a little flat without extra lighting, I used a high-wattage lamp to create more light and shadow without getting that horrible dark-and-shiny effect that the flash tends to have.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Travel: Egypt

A blog that I’ve been loving recently is Bohemian Valhalla, run by the lovely Dawn. I found it via Pinterest and have spent a lot of time since drooling over the beautiful pictures!

Inspired by the holiday pictures Dawn posted recently, I decided to share some of my own snaps from holidays gone by!

In my teens, I was lucky enough to go on cruise ship holidays and see a little of the world. I am forever thankful that I had this chance, since it’s allowed me to experience so many places!

I’ll start off with a few pictures from a country that has always, inexplicably, been close to my heart--Egypt.

Being a port of call on a cruise, we only spent one day there. But I went on a guided tour with my family. Our coach went from Port Said all the way to Cairo, via Saqqara. This meant travelling along both dessert roads and madly congested highways, where luxury coaches travelled alongside donkeys pulling carts (I kid you not!) 

Saqqara has a number of ancient structures, including this! (I don’t remember what it was...however there are pyramids and other ancient buildings nearby)
I saw a documentary on TV a while ago that showed through satellite imagery how archaeologically significant the area is.

The journey to Cairo seemed to take hours and was somewhat bizarre, since the coach was air conditioned yet it was clear how warm it was outside!
Still, the weather was utterly beautiful!

Heading into the city, all to be seen on the horizon was nothingness...then, out of nothing, those infamous three pyramids materialised.

Up close, the Sphinx was actually smaller than I imagined it to be. 

It is also surprisingly close to the city.

The journey back to the ship was another long one. I had been awake since 3 a.m. and the sun was setting...yet I felt utterly invigorated by this beautiful country!
The sunset itself was amazing - unfortunately I have no photographs - since it happened so suddenly, but so vibrantly. 

I have a lot of other pictures that I'd love to share, but they're all stuck into old photography workbooks from my college days. I went on this trip before I owned such thing as a digital camera and used up multiple rolls of film on this trip alone!

Whilst the revolution has made Egypt appear unstable, it is a beautiful, culturally rich place with friendly people. I sincerely hope to return there in future!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Photography Challenge Week #4

It's week four of the photography challenge at A Step in the Journey!

Though I usually post and link up on Thursday, I'm going away tomorrow so probably won't have time to link up!

Anyway, this week's theme is dinner. Here's my picture:


I'll admit I struggled with this one--in fact this picture was taken just over two hours ago! It's rather uninspired but it's food photography, I guess! Whilst the knife in the background is whited out in the light, I'm pleased with the ovwerall colours and sharpness of this picture.

And yes, it was as delicious as it looks. My Mum wins at cookery!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Carpet and Thread

Remember the interiors samples I posted about recently, along with the big bundle of embroidery thread?
It was the carpet sample that I had more trouble finding a use for, but after a brainwave moment in Poundland, I got out the sample and some of the embroidery thread, and made this simple framed decoration (I think calling it artwork is pushing it a bit!)

The frame came from Poundland; everything else was free!

Putting this together was so easy!
The carpet sample was a little big for the frame, so I cut it down with a Stanley knife, then used scissors to trim about 1cm of the fibres off around the edge:

After that, I simply wound four lengths of embroidery threads around the carpet sample so that they overlapped:

(I secured the ends of the threads at the back with a bit of tape)

This currently sits on the desk in my room, hiding the plugs!

Linking up to the parties in the sidebar!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Photography Challenge Week #3

It's that time of the week again! This week the theme of A Step in the Journey's photography challenge is bold colours.

Here's my entry!

 Flameless Fire

When I took this photo the sun was out so it really highlighted the colours of the plants!

The weather here has been pretty mad lately; sometimes hot and sunny, other timesbucketing down with rain! Of course the flowers have loved it!
These Montbretia are growing in the front garden and have gone pretty wild. They always remind me of holidaying in Cornwall, where I saw whole seas of these flowers growing here and there! 

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

British Riots

(Following in the footsteps of the lovely Samantha at At Home With Mrs H!)

By now, I should think those in countries outside the UK are aware of the riots of the past few nights.

The first riots occurred in Tottenham on Saturday after a peaceful protest over the fatal shooting of a man by police. Since then, there have been nightly riots and looting that have spread across London and into other cities: Croydon, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol...

These riots are not happening as a result of the protest. Some rioters interviewed by the media have no clear reason for rioting; some rioters picked up by police are as young as seven.

People have lost their homes, their businesses, everything.

Many are using these riots as an excuse to complain--about cuts to spending, about David Cameron, about all kinds of things that honestly are irrelevant right now.

On a more positive note, today began a riot cleanup operation! People went voluntarily to the areas affected by the riots and helped to clean up the mess. This is what Britain is all about: community, solidarity and support. People helping because they can, not because they gain anything from it.

I truly believe that such positive action is a thousand times more powerful than the negative actions of the rioters.
So whilst I am unable to go and help with the cleanup, I have done what I can--used twitter and facebook to repost information about relevant groups and sent out positive thoughts that the situation will soon be resolved. 

Major kudos to all those who helped with the cleanup, all those who have added to the positivity, be it through prayer, positive thought, forwarding on links and information, making tea for the hardworking police officers trying to control these riots, spreading positivity in the face of these negative acts, and showing the good old British solidarity!  

And I would like to request that all you lovely people reading this might do the same: whatever your faith, please send out a positive thought or a prayer that the riots here in Britain will be resolved, that the innocents affected by these events are given the support they need to get their lives back on track. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Tutorial: Wire-Wrapped Crystal Bracelet

Crystal jewellery is everywhere at the moment, be it agate slice pendants, geode cluster rings or polished cabochon earrings!
With so much around, I’ve a wish-list a mile long and a lot of inspiration!

I know, I know, I’ve already done wrapped crystal necklaces aplenty!

The latest of my crystal jewellery endeavours is this wire-wrapped crystal cuff:

The inspiration was this bracelet from Diva at Miss Selfridge:

Swirl Centre Stone Cuff, RRP £15, Miss Selfridge

It took me a while to figure out how to put this bracelet together and I messed up a couple of times!
Read on to find out how I did it. 

Time needed: approx 20-30 minutes

You need:
Thin gauge wire
Thick gauge wire
Wire cutters
Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers

1. Cut a length of thicker gauge wire a few centimetres wider than your crystal. Using round nose pliers, curl one end over to make a looped bail.

Hold this piece of wire against the back of your crystal and wrap the crystal with the thinner gauge wire. Tuck in the ends at the back of the crystal.
This process is really similar to that used my Chicken andEgg Necklace, so I reused the pictures! 

2.  Using the thick gauge wire again, bend over the end with the round nose pliers.

3. Start bending the wire back and forth in a cuff shape, bending around the round nose pliers when you get to the ends. I used an existing cuff as a guide for size and shape. Slide on the crystal once you have around three strands of wire on your cuff and twist to hold the strands together.

4. Continue bending the wire as in step 3 until you have three more strands. Use round nose pliers to curl the other end of the wire you cut in step 1 in a loop around one of these strands, cutting off any excess. Again, twist the strands together.

5. Before cutting off excess wire from the main part of the bracelet, wrap it around the bottom of the cuff. Cut off another short piece of wire to wrap around the other side. Use flat-nose pliers to bend the ends in.

Linking up at The More The Merrier Monday @ The DIY Home Sweet Home Project, and all the fab link parties in my sidebar!


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Photography Challenge Week #2

It's week two of the photography challenge over at A Step in the Journey!

This week, the theme is 'What makes you smile?'

Here's my shot for this week:

Cat and Mousie

This is my oldest cat, Tippy. He's around 15 years old, a real scaredy-cat and he has arthritis in his shoulders.
However, he doesn't let that stop him!
Tippy loves playing with his 'mousie'; as he throws the toy up into the air and catches it he seems nothing like a geriatric, arthritic cat and more like a kitten again!
Seeing him play - and playing games with him - always makes me smile :)
(At time of writing, Tippy is crashed out on the sofa. It's a hard life, being a cat!)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

London Never Sleeps...

Yesterday, my Mum, youngest sister and I went into London. My sister - a beauty consultant - had a training day, but knows nothing of London nor how to get to where she needed to go. My Mum - a wonderfully supportive, awesome, best-mum-in-the-world type - said she would accompany my sister up to our bustling captial, and asked me to go along too, partly to keep her company whilst my sister was training and partly because I know how to get about on the Underground!

It has been almost a year since I last ventured into London!
After dropping my sister off, we headed into the infamous Oxford Street. Believe it or not, I have never been there before! I was utterly astounded by the fact that several of the high street brands have more than one store in the same street!

Nevertheless, I was very impressed by the shops we went into. The staff were all very friendly and helpful and the shops were really tidy, too--a far cry from the shops in my native shopping grounds!

Surprisingly, I didn't buy that much, but I did pop into the relatively new Forever 21! I am so happy that shop has opened here in the UK!

We also nipped along to Covent Garden on the Underground, but it was absolutely packed. However, the Covent Garden Market area reminded me of Spain with its columns and arches and cafes spilling out onto the pavements. Beautiful!

I could ramble on for ages about this tiring but satisfying trip, but here is a summary of things I have learnt:

1. Don't go to London during the holiday season.
2. The Underground is unbearably hot in August!
3. Taxis are not that expensive
4. Garfunkel's at Victoria Station do an amazing all day breakfast
5. LOOK UP! There is so much amazing architecture to be seen, but we tend to miss it because the ground floor is all modern shop-fronts and signage.

How about you guys? Have you been to London? Do you have any tips, or things you have learned in going there?

The picture at the top of this post is the clock above the main entrance of Selfridges. Isn't it stunning!
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