Monday, 30 April 2012

{ Over the Weekend }

This weekend was full of the usual activities - shopping, time with family and enjoying the landscape. However, there were a couple of little things that stood out to me:

- Pondering on the colour of these bluebells. Aren't they a strange colour?! They're more mauve instead of blue... it's fantastic. I wondered if it's something in the soil or they're just some kind of special species. Might have to do some research to find an answer.
- Co-ordinating my wardrobe. It was already in a kind of order with the dresses hung up in sections, for example short sleeve and no sleeve, but it still lacked order. Thus, I decided it was time to add a colour theme to it also, just to make it completely rational. I have to admit, I'm not someone who wakes up and knows what colour to wear that day, but it sure does look pretty when you open the door! (This is only a tiny portion of the wardrobe however, I'm too embarrassed to show the whole thing!).
- Loving jewellery. This necklace is by Les Nereides, part of their Dans la Foret range, and it's just too good for words! Mumma bought it for me as a special pre-birthday treat as it was down to £37.50 in Debenhams (75% off the RRP!). I love it so much, the owl is just beautiful and the little pearl and stone add a vintage feel. The whole range is beautiful, along with their other collections too - check it out!

It really has been a great couple of days. I hope you've had fun too!

Love and lacery,

Thursday, 26 April 2012

{ Interior Inspiration } WWII Propaganda Posters

British war posters have always been a fascination of mine, and it seems that they're really making a come back, with the rise of Keep Calm and Carry On items (and modifications on them). With this in mind, it was a real treat to be offered a place in the Duxford branch of the Imperial War Museums, who sell all sorts of war-themed items within their shops. Some such products are postcards depicting various propaganda posters, a whole host of books and reproduction wartime leaflets and models. I picked up a few of the postcards and just had to show them off on the walls of our house!

A little while ago now, I also managed to pick up a book which is based upon recipes produced by the Ministry of Food during world war II. The recipes are all designed to make the most of wartime rations and to help the country remain as healthy and efficient as possible. Having looked at it again recently (to take these photos) it was actually produced in conjunction with the IWM, which will explain why it holds to many of the propaganda posters within its pages.

Here are a selection of my favourites.

There's just something so patriotic about the slogans and images - "Your courage, Your cheerfulness, Your resolution WILL bring us victory". I especially like the jelly eggs and "6 stars from the winter garden". What do you think to war propaganda?

Love and lacery,

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

{ A Snapshot } Puddles

"Tut tut, it looks like rain..." as was said by a certain Christopher Robin, and indeed it did rain today! A lot! It's been dreary all week really, lots of puddles and wrapping up from the droplets.... although wellies and pretty anoraks have always been staples in my wardrobe.

Not that I'm complaining - rain is good for the flowers and crops; and puddles are fun to jump in!

Love and lacery,

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

{ Craft Corner } Jubilee Papers

Whilst at the local supermarket, I decided to have a gander around the magazine section - there are so many genres of publication which take my fancy but on this occasion, it was a crafting magazine that won. I spied this exceptionally cute stamp and just had to make it mine! It also came with a paper pack that appeared to hold lots of promising designs and so the magazine was worth the £5 price tag.

It wasn't until the magazine was home and I was flicking through the paper pack that I realised just how fantastic it really is! All of the papers are wonderful but there are so many that are incredibly adorable and so British as well, I really don't want to use them (and instead horde them and look at them every so often!).

Aren't they all just great?! I especially like the little birds and flowers that are incorporated into the designs. There are a mix of all colours, and even some that could be used for boys.

These papers are just too good for words! Look at all of the teapots and teacups and bunting and stamps! Also, the phrases are excellent. I think that if there were ever papers to sum up my likes, and even this blog, these would be it!

I may have to think about things and potentially use some of these papers, and the pretty stamp, for jubilee themed items. Could be some pretty bunting or cards for the family....... maybe.

Love and lacery,

P.S: The magazine is Crafts Beautiful - I really would recommend it for these special freebies!

Monday, 23 April 2012

{ Over the Weekend }

This weekend was a busy one, which is fantastic. We got up to plenty of different things, some including family and others surrounding interesting places.

- Getting a haircut! This was long overdue and I actually had about 8 inches trimmed from the length! It's a much more manageable length now and I feel so much more content with it. Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy my mega long hair, but it was time for a change. Dave also had his hair cut this weekend too.
- Browsing in the local pet shop. My brother recently treated himself to a fish tank and so we've been on the look out for interesting looking inhabitants to fill its waters. Couldn't help but look at the Guinea Pigs too! They're just so cute.
- Trying new flavours of tea. I've always thought Peppermint tea sounded tasty and so we finally got round to giving them a try. Green tea is always a winner too.
- Ambling around a local boutique. This shop, in Corby old village, is full of the best things - cute trinkets, pretty accessories and awesome jewellery. Mumma and I filled some time on Saturday walking around its treasures.
- Adding to the nail varnish collection. After my success with the purple shade of Collection 2000, I decided to add some more spring shades. And at 2 bottles for £3 it was kind to the purse too.
- Smelling the scents in Boots. I've taken a fancy for Lola by Marc Jacobs (birthday is coming up so it might have to be on the 'wish list').
- Spending monies on pretty dresses in H&M. Their spring / summer collection is wonderful and so I just had to add a couple of pieces to the wardrobe.
- Wearing bright tights. Tights are great for adding a splash of colour to an outfit and ensuring a little extra warmth in this wet UK weather.
- Visiting my Auntie and Uncles as it was Auntie's birthday. We shared an egg custard tart and some tea in their conservatory which was very relaxing.

Did you visit or get up to anything that was long overdue this weekend? Or also been gawking at the spring / summer collections in shop windows?

Love and lacery,

Sunday, 22 April 2012

{ Scrapbook } Clouds

Spring is the season of pretty flowers and boisterous storms, meaning that there is ample opportunity to take lots of interesting photographs. The other day I managed to get a few photos of pretty cloud displays and the sun's rays struggling to control the sky.

I do like to see fantastic cloud collections, especially when there's a brisk wind involved and they're being blustered across the sky.

Did you encounter any storms this week? Or notice any fun shapes in the clouds?

Love and lacery,

Thursday, 19 April 2012

{ Treasures } The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies

Over the past month or so, a couple of people have identified the items within their household that they'd save if a fire took hold, and it got me to thinking. Trinkets and ornaments hold so much thought and personality but there are always some specific items that also incite memories and inspiration and it's usually these pieces that possess most love. I've always been one for having lots and lots of items on shelves and adorning every available space but there are definitely favourites within these: they have stories and snippets of information attached and its this that makes them special. So, I thought I would share some of these treasures and the special place they hold in my heart. I hope this new feature may incite happy thoughts as you relate to or think of your chosen things.

This week, I wanted to start with a treasured book. Now, literature has always been a love of mine and the majority of my print has a special something about it, but, if it really came to it, this item would be a "save me". 

And so, without further ado, I introduce 'The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies'. This copy is a limited edition publishing (number 670 of 1000) and was a Valentines pressie from Dave this year. Publishers often produce limited edition prints of favourite books that include added extras and a real opulence.

The extras for this speciality are two prints of original fairy sketches by Cecily Mary Barker. It includes all of the flower fairies editions and is presented in a beautiful hard case, in the shape of a book, with gold guilded page edges and full-page colour illustrations. 

The flower fairies have always been of inspiration to me, incorporating beautiful florals with whimsical figures, and thus this edition was immediately added to the 'wish list'. I sure was spoilt when it became my V day pressie! Flower fairies also remind me of my Nanna and make me think of evenings sat reading the poems with her or copying the pictures into sketchbooks. 

Receiving a wonderful copy of a favourite book is fantastic and really adds to the excitement as you carefully thumb through the pages. I often think of sitting with our future generations, looking at the fairies and reciting the prose, as I did with my Nanna, along with the thought that this book was a special present from my special someone.

Do you have any special editions of favourite titles? Or have a wish list of new releases?

Love and lacery,

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

{ A Snapshot } Bright Blooms

We've been treated to big pink blooms on the gerbera recently and I can't stop looking at them and smiling. They sure do add a bright flash of colour to the room!

Hope you're having a fantastic week thus far.

Love and lacery,

Monday, 16 April 2012

{ Over the Weekend }

We actually had some plans this weekend so our usual past-times were inter weaved with more structured adventures. 

- Painting my nails a pretty lilac, with a touch of bronze, colour to mark spring. This nail varnish is a Collection 2000 'Hot Looks' one and is so hardy; it's great for everyday use.
- Admiring the pretty flowers in the displays in the local town. Violas again!
- Wearing floral patterns and floaty materials. And making the most of the new sunglasses.
- Meeting close friends for coffee. Laura, one of my closest friends, returned from her adventures around Australia last week so it was fantastic to have a natter and flick through her snaps.
- Dave being lazy with his shaving and thus growing a rather large beard (not that I'm complaining!)
- Playing some more Scrabble. Zil isn't classed as a valid word, unfortunately for me on that round.
- Taking photos of the pretty skies on the way back to Northants. I'll share some more on Friday in a Scrapbook post.

The time passed by so quickly but much fun was had by all. Did you have any plans this weekend?

Love and lacery,

Thursday, 12 April 2012

{ Interior Inspiration } Banoffee Fudge Cake

Over the Easter weekend, I tried out a new recipe in the hope of finding a cake that tasted sufficiently fudge-esque. Loaf cakes are also a favourite of myself and the family (aren't they just so perfect sliced up to accompany a cup of tea) and so this seemed like a perfect candidate!

~ Banoffee Fudge Cake ~

To make a large loaf cake...
- 150g butter, softened
- 300g plain flour
- 175g light muscovado sugar
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 150ml semi-skimmed milk
- 3 medium, ripe bananas, mashed
- 75g vanilla fudge, cut into small pieces

1 - Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180oC, fan160oC. Butter / flour your loaf tin if required.
2 - Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating all the time. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda, then gradually add the milk, until smooth.
3 - Fold in the mashed bananas with the chopped fudge. Spoon the mixture into the loaf tin and smooth the top.
4 - Bake for an hour or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. After 30 minutes of cooking, take the loaf out of the oven and cover with tin foil (to stop the top from burning), then return to the oven for the remaning cooking time. Leave to cool for 5 - 10 minutes once cooked before turning out.
5 - To decorate, use whipped cream, extra fudge pieces and slices of banana. Alternatively you could use Carnation caramel.

It's as simple as that! I ended up using a silicon loaf tin which is why the cake came out a little misshapen. Also, we didn't decorate it in the end as it was so tasty on its own! It's super moist and has a strong banana flavour but it's not too sweet to enjoy. One suggestion is to use more fudge pieces if you really want the flavour to come through. I hope you enjoy this recipe - it's a good way of using up those ripening bananas. I'd love to hear of any other loaf tine recipes that you'd recommend.

Love and lacery,

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

{ A Snapshot } Light Skies

As spring really begins to set in, we're treated to lighter skies and more hours of daylight. Killer displays of clouds and sharp sweet showers are also on the agenda this season!

I'm hoping to get some pretty photos of clouds later on in the week, but this is the shot I got a couple of hours ago whilst admiring the light skies.

Have you been noticing the nights drawing out?

Love and lacery,

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

{ Craft Corner } Embroidery Hoop Fun

After looking around at the beautiful embroidery and hoop wall art that is to be found on the interweb, I had to give it a go! Scouting around in one of Nanna's drawers produced a couple of embroidery hoops and some white linen and thus, it was embroidery time! There are plenty of images and tutorials around the internet so it was very simple to just get stitching... and here's what I produced.

I didn't follow any patterns but instead freehanded some blooms as and when I fancied, using a selection of silk threads. In the end, I went with a countryside theme, putting in the field with the fence and the Tiger Moth leaving a smoke trail after filling the bottom half with flowers.

I've used a whole host of stitches including the more usual ones like lazy daisy, cross stitch, French knot and backstitch. However, a lot of the flowers are just singular lines converging on one central point, such as the orange and pink blossoms. The rose-like flowers are made using bullion knot stitch, where, alike French knot, you wrap the thread around the needle before passing it back through the fabric (although a lot more times to give the longer knot). The hoop now resides on the wall above the sideboard with the other pictures we've got hung up. I must admit, I'm rather pleased with how it's turned out and can't wait to fill the available two  hoops.

I hope this gives you a little inspiration to try embroidery! I've never had any tuition in stitching and this is my first attempt at proper embroidery... and if I can do it, then you can too!

Love and lacery,

Monday, 9 April 2012

{ Over the Weekend }

I didn't take quite as many photos as I'd have liked this weekend but nevertheless it was full of:

- Enjoying time with family. The weather was pretty dreary which meant that we spent our time indoors, allowing us to really enjoy each other's company.
- Eastery treats! 
- Indulging in a little shopping time with Mumma. We both got some sunglasses ready for our summer holidays (mine are by an Indian designer called Manish Arora, from TKMaxx, naturally) along with some pretty flowers for the garden. I'm quite excited to see how the oriental poppy and peonies turn out! I also got these cute tealight holders - aren't they just so original in their design?! The cones remind me of those you get chips in from the Fish and Chip shop. 
- Playing Scrabble with Dave. This really is a game which we both enjoy and helps to exercise our minds at the same time. I won (yay!) with a score of 381. 
- Talking embroidery with Nanna. She managed to find another hoop for me, a bigger one this time, along with a whole host of silky threads to use in my next project. I'll post photos of my first hoop art attempt tomorrow in Craft Corner. I was able to teach her a new stitch which was very exciting. 
- Relishing a four day weekend, even if the weather was being very 'English'. 
- Studying this Comma butterfly. Mumma found it in the conservatory but it's sadly not survived its hibernation. I think I might put it into a frame though, like those taxidermy butterflies you see in vintage photographs. I've never seen one in the wild before - it's such a shame that this little guy didn't make it through the winter. 
- Baking. I'll share the recipe for this bannoffee fudge cake on Thursday - it's scrummy!

Did you get up to anything special for Easter? I hope you all got a whole host of indulgent treats!

Love and lacery,

Friday, 6 April 2012

{ Easter DIY }

Hello all! As Easter is just around the corner, I thought I would share a DIY with you. It's a small project that may come in handy if you've left the Easter decorating 'til the last minute and now fancy a small garland to adorn your household.

You'll need:
- Some paper (I've gone for artist's thickness as it gives a little more support)
- Colouring materials (I'm using water colour pencils as I really like the texture they create, but you really could use anything you fancied)
- A pencil
- Thin-liners or or coloured pens
- Additional items include scissors, sellotape and ribbon.

Okay, once you've collected your things, follow these instructions:
1 - Draw your chosen Eastery themed item onto the paper, I've chosen an egg shape. You could either freehand, as I did, or trace around a cookie cutter or chipboard shape if you have one handy.
2 - Cut this shape out.
3 - Use your cut out as a template to create a few more of your chosen shape. I made six in total.
4 - Cut all of your shapes out and discard the excess paper.

5 - Sketch some designs onto your shapes using a light pencil mark. You could skip this step if you wished to freehand your colours instead.
6 - Colour your shapes in! I've stuck to Easter themed colours (yellow, pink, peach, violet, light blue and green)
7 - If you're using water colour pencils, the next step will be to use your little paint brush, or your finger, to add water to the colour. I choose to colour in the shape and then apply the water as I feel it gives more control, but you could alternatively dip your pencil into the water and colour this way.
8 - Once your shapes have dried, use your fineliners to add some extra details. Ideas include Easter phrases and marking around your colour patches, but it's completely up to you!

9 - Take a length of ribbon or string and attach your shapes in equal distances. I've used sellotape as I like to keep things reusable....and I didn't have enough little wooden pegs. You could always staple or sew your shapes to the ribbon if you wanted to make it more sturdy.

And voila! You've made an Easter garland! This idea could easily be adapted to include any shapes you fancied to correspond to whichever holiday is paramount, or birthdays or whatever else you fancied. You could even make letters instead of shapes for a christening or special someone.

I hope you all have a fantastic Easter holiday. 

Love and lacery,

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

{ A Snapshot } Cucumber

I've rediscovered my love for cucumber! It's such a refreshing and cleansing flavour; really perfect for snacking on and healthy too (which is a definite bonus).

Do you know of any fun and adventurous recipes using cucumber? I might take a look into drinks which include it, somewhat like a summer Pimms, to enjoy these warm spring days.

Love and lacery,

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

{ Craft Corner } and { Over the Weekend }

On Sunday I managed to make a visit to our local crafty store and found a real treat! Dovecraft always seem to make pretty papers, stickers and other papercraft items that are just so adorable. One of my favourite ranges, of theirs, is Neighbourwood. It's based, as you'd probably guess from the title, around woodland animals and flowers and has the cutest watercolour drawings. It's been a range I've had my eye on since before Christmas but have only just invested in, with the thanks to a papercraft bundle!

This bundle included some pretty glitter stickers, 3D stickers, a range of papers and a decoupage set in the Neighbourwood range, along with a few other items in a couple of other Dovecraft themes. Aren't the owls, foxes and deer just so cute! And the butterlies, foxgloves and other woodland flowers! I can't wait to make up some projects using these pretty items!

Here's my Over the Weekend post too, a bit later than usual but including some fun photos.

- Attending a local dance show. Dave's sister was performing and it was lovely to watch on a Saturday afternoon.
- Eating far too many sweet things, although iced buns are my favourite, as are French Fancies and 99 cornets! These French Fancies are patriotically themed for the upcoming jubilee.
- Studying the Lillies - aren't their stamen a little strange?!
- Doing the tea round for the family.
- Preparing for Easter celebrations! Fluffy chicks and foil eggs are on the agenda, as well as chocolate egg nest cakes and other themed baking.
- Watching Brindle keeping an eye on the birds in the garden. All she does is tilt her head, move her ears around and watch their movements - I always wonder what she thinks about them.

Do you have a favourite papercraft provider or themed items?

Hope you weekend was filled with fun and exciting things too!

Love and lacery,