Saturday, 31 December 2016

Another Year Over, Another One Begins.

Well, I can't believe it's another year other again, it feels like only yesterday, since I was posting about News Year resolutions, I don't really know how, to begin with describing last year, I feel it has to be one of the worst years on a global perspective. At the beginning of the year, we had the loss of so many talented and beloved celebrities. With artists such as David Bowie, Prince, and one of my favourite actor's Alan Rickman.  The theme has continued throughout the year with recent loss' of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Do I dare mention the recent political changes and turmoil?  I'm not even attempting to discuss that one any further.

For me, this has been one of the best years possible. I've had so many wonderful things happen and met some amazing people. I've purchased my first home thanks to the generosity of my partner and family. Somehow, I've managed to lose half a stone of stubborn weight without, even trying.   


 This year, I haven't really thought about resolutions or lifestyle changes. I always feel  I must immediately implement the changes as soon as the clock strikes 12. I usually fail in the first week of January.  I've been contemplating of new skills, knowledge, and perspective I've gained.

I would like to expand more of these skills and develop further in a more of a sustainable way. Where it'll be permanent change rather than putting all my energy and drive into something that'll I give up within the first few weeks and give up. I want to make changes more permanent  I think the best method is a gentle and gradual approach.  



Some of the things I'm proud of 


DIY 


Since purchasing the house, I've managed to develop a small bit DIY knowledge and skills I've managed to paint most the house and finally learned how to use a drill a few weeks ago. I had a couple pieces of kitchen bench left, I purchased a set of Ikea Adil legs for £2.50  and attached a set to the bench. I'm so fortuitous to have a really generous neighbour whose helped a lot during the house renovations including showing me how to attach the legs with a drill. I also learnt the difference between a hammer and a driver drill. 

Upcycling and Repurposing 

For years, I always wanted to upcycle furniture. This year. I've finally done a couple of projects including my side table and dressing table. Also, I've finally got to grips with transforming charity shops finds with a spray paint. I'm still developing my skills here as a few of them have failed where the paints flaked off. I'm still unsure of the reasons why some have succeed and other haven't.







Crafting 

I've trialled an abundance of new crafts, which was fun.

Quilting



Stained Glass Making.




Printing




Jewellery making

  

Crocheting


Paper Crafts 




Meeting Other Bloggers 

I've had the opportunity to meet some fantastic and lovely bloggers.  I finally got Jane from Breaking the Angel and made an amazing friend. I've also got to attend some amazing  Blogger events and met some lovely local bloggers. Including, Macara Macara Space, and Amy Anchored Teapot.  Beauty bloggers Chloe Hxx and Toni Fashprenuer. I finally met Tim Sinister aka the Blogging Goth, it's a long storey but he owes me a pint.  All the bloggers, I' ve me were just amazingly sweet and friendly. 





I think my aims for this year, is to develop more practical skills and focus on homemaking skills. I want to definitely expand my  DIY skills and learn a few basic joinery skills. I want to improve and learn more culinary skills as most of my dinners involves mashed potatoes, carrots and bean sprouts, sounds healthy but it's can be bland. I want to make more excitement to my cooking. I can bake reasonable biscuits and scones I want to trial more Yorkshire puddings and maybe make a carrot cake or two.  

Since I now have the room, I like to devote more to homemade things from baking, clothing, making preserves, and maybe body products. I'm not sure how it'll go with my home experiments. Since we have a private yard, I would love to try and grow a few potted plants. 

With including the homemade ideas, I've seen some interesting idea on Pinterest on how to repurpose rubbish into useful objects, rather than throwing away. 








For the next few months, I wanna go on a boycott to unnecessary shopping. I'm going to attempt to sew my own clothing and wear what I currently own.  Also, Pinterest has provided ideas on how to alter clothing, I'm going to try altering my old clothes to give them a new look.




Currently, I can sew and even my tutor said I have advanced skills and could potentially do a lot more if I pushed myself more and took my time. I want to focus on improving my skill and particularly finishing garments of to higher standard and make sure my seams are lot neater. 

For example,  I finally used a twin needle this year and want use it more, I want to sew a  Simplicity 8020 blouse. I did attempt but the patterned test me to my limits and even my tutors. The toile, I made was a great learning curve as it had a number of issues. that can be resolved. 



This time I've been using more pattern drafting skill and would love to try more of it. As  I've  had a few projects where I wanted to redraft my current patterns to make something different rather than purchasing a new pattern.  I'm thinking of signing for a new course. For now, I'm going to look on Youtube. 

  I would also try to develop and foster some of my friendships with people, A lot of my friends I  haven't seen in a while,  and I would love to reconnect with them when possible.  

My final one is to learn how to drive, again. Many years ago, I did to the point of almost ready for my theory test. I listened to somebody rather than doing something sticking with it. I regret not listening to myself and going for it 

Happy New Year. 

I've been Been feeling ill most of the day so, looking forward to a quiet night in with the boyfriend. 

happy new year cat animated gif



Wednesday, 28 December 2016

My Christmas

All the preparation is over now. Christmas has been and gone. So, we all can chill out and breathe a sigh of relief. With hindsight everything always seems copious amounts of work for one day, from trolling the shops, stressing about presents and doing the prep work for a sumptuous dinner. 

Like in recent times, my Christmas was very quiet a affairs and done on a budget, For example. I've spent about £5 per a person  for present and spent £2 on my nephews, albeit the boyfriends. Either way all the presents seemed to go down well. . Particularly, my nephews who got excited about their chocolate and Star Wars mugs.That was a nice suprise despite the budget everything went down well. 

I got up at 11 and got ready it took me a silly amount time to get ready to the point of insane. I decided to get dressed up a donning bit of glitter and taffeta. Recently things have been really quiet so I've had no reason to both dressing up, so I've been slobbering out. I think Christmas day warrant some dressing up. 


This was my make-up 



This is a close up of my clothing. 


Top -Ebay 
Skirt - Charity shop 
Shoes= Charity shop 
Necklace Amber - a Maltese jewellaery shop. 

I went to my mams for part of Christmas, while the boyfriend opted to at stay home. On arrival, we did our greeting and exchanged Christmas gifts. My mam had prepared a lamb dinner, as I'm a picky eater, so I had an odd combination of a lamb sandwich with mash potato and a slice of Mediterranean vegetable pizza . For desert a bit more of  a convential ice cream, with fruit. I was trying to avoid over stuffing myself as I still had my Christmas meal with The Boyfriend


. We watched some festive television and head up to my brother's for a couple of hours. Again, we caught up and ending up watching a some Christmas re-runs of  Only Fools and Horse, their most famous episode is where they dress up as Batman and Robin. This stimulates a lot of memories for us as we often watch at Christmas. It's a hilarious classic British comedy. Again, we had a family catch up with everything and all our developments, My Brother and his wife puts on some party food, which was a nightmare for me to resist, however, I was good and kept my appetite for dinner. 





When I got home the boyfriend had prepared our duck and veg. This year,  I attempted to make Yorkshire puddings from scratch, which turned out to be reasonable; they ended up more like dense pancakes'; they're editable I think the issues was I used self-raising flour rather plain flour. Anyway, the duck was deliciously scrumptious, I think we'll be having from now rather than Turkey.



The boyfriend and I had exchanged gift as 11 pm unusually late for us. The Boyfriend got everything I wanted. The first thing is my netbook, Netty has been dysfunctional for the last few month as the keyboard been unresponsive and the battery just seemed to loose power very quickly. So for Christmas, I got a new netbook keyboard and battery, which makes it almost like new, so it's going to make blogging easier as well. I also got a bendable tripod for my camera and a big box of truffles. 





On Boxing day, I found an extra present of a tin of mackerel, which was a jibe at my love of stenchy fish and glasses string hidden in a stocking.    





My families presents.  Mam bought me a top from Primark, I Iove the top as I've been looking for something with a criss cross top with bell sleeves that's made of natruel fabrics.  Also, a smokey eyeshadow palette,  My younger sister give me money, yay. 



My Brother surprised me with a fragent candle of midnight poppy and saffron that's smells goregous. I'm not sure where to put this. 

Saturday, 24 December 2016

My Attempts of a Homemade Christmas

Sorry for not keeping up the Christmas spirit and cheer. It's a combo of busy, feeling lethargic and a bout of the Christmas blues. So I can only apologise for my absence and countdown lateness. Recently, I've a little a bit like Mrs Beeton and wanted to craft and make some Christmas goodies. This is part of the inspiration has been watching Kirsty's Handmade Christmas. 


This Christmas I've been glued to the television watching my favourite Christmas programming host presented by Kristy Allsop. Who originally started her career on a property a TV show and expanded her into home decor programming. I really enjoy her programs as they appeal to my love of old stuff (I occasionally use the word vintage I now detest this the overuse of this word), crafting, and quirky decor.  I fell in love with her first programming focused on re venerating her Cornwall Property with second-hand finds, decor and British crafting.  She presents her first Christmas programming on to do a Homemade Christmas, and I fell in love this concept and aspire to do this at some point. Her shows have expanded to the point where you can still they show are so varied and often include competitions. I can understand that they need to expand into different crafts and not repeat the same ones but I feel the latter programs have lost their simple charm of her original Christmas program. It still makes it feel like Christmas and stimulate a bit Christmas spirit I feel. 





My homemade wreath. 

I mentioned this one last week and was so simple. A while ago, I purchased a styrofoam circle with intention of making a Halloween wreath but I never came to fruition. I've made a black and white wreath as I'm not one for following traditions, and I like things that can have multiple uses.  


I used some old wrapping paper from a previous project.





  I mixed part water and part PVC glue and applied to the wreath or paper, I waited for it dry 






The final product I sprayed with lacquer to protect and give it a glossy look. I tried a damask ribbon and a made a small flower by sewing making a small loop and sewing it each piece together, Then I sewed the button. I can't and love being a bit different. My favourite colours are black and purple add a dash of white and grey it makes for a great colour combo. 




Christmas Stocking 

I've set up my sewing machine and crafting area in what will be our guest bedroom for a temporary stay until I sort what will be my crafting room. I've been catching up with some overdue sewing and finishing projects off. For the last couple of weeks, I've had the hankering to sew a stocking and finally I've sewed one. It's not bad but a bit wonky donkey, as I've never made one before and didn't read any instructions until it was too late.  I'm not going to suggest how I did mine I found this great tutorial that helped salvaged my stocking. 





Christmas Book tree and Origami star. 


I don't how long I've wanted to do this but I finally made a Christmas book tree, glee and little star. The Library I've volunteered for opted to have Christmas crafty morning with a cuppa and nibbles, which suited me down the ground. I swear I was a gentile lady in a past life with ladies craft and a cuppa.  So we made Christmas book trees and an origami star, which I anticipated to be incredibly difficult it turned out to be rather simple. Again, I'll recommend a tuition rather than explaining it.






This my final version, and I couldn't resist the black bit of black sparkle by adding black tinsel. 






Cooking


A few week ago, I attended a local cookery morning to make Christmas sweets which seemed interesting and proved to stimulate some inspiration.  Below were the recipes we used to make to make the Christmas treats. 


Spiced Christmas Biscuits

  • 100g Butter 
  • 175g dark muscovado sugar 
  • 85g golden syrup 
  • 350g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger 
  • 1 tsp mix spice 
  • 1 egg beaten

Method



Gently melt the butter, muscovado sugar and syrup in a large pan until the sugar dissolves. Mix the flour, spices and ½ tsp salt. Cool the butter mixture a little, then stir in the baking powder. Immediately add half the spiced flour and beat well. Add the egg and the rest of the spiced flour, then beat well again until the mixture comes together as a soft dough. Tip onto a sheet of foil, flatten into a large disc, then cool and chill until firm. Will freeze for up to 6 weeks. 



Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Halve the dough and roll out on a floured surface. Stamp out using a cutter and arrange, well spaced apart, on baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 mins until golden. Leave to harden, then lift onto a rack. Repeat with the remaining dough. Decorate with icing 




Peppermint Creams

85 grams cream cheese (softened)
1 teaspoon mint extract 
360 grams icing sugar (sifted)
Food Colouring (optional)

Method

Fold the icing sugar in carefully into the cheese carefully so it doesn’t billow, add colouring and extract till everything is added, shaped into 2 cm balls and flatten slightly and place onto greaseproof, and place into fridge in airtight container.



Coconut Ice
  • 397g tin condensed milk
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 350 g desiccated coconut
  • red food colouring
  • Mix condensed milk and icing sugar together add coconut, the mixture will be quite stiff, divide in half.
  • Colour half the mix a pale pink.
  • Shape two halves into identical shapes and press firmly together, dust work surface with icing sugar and allow coconut ice to rest and firm, Curt into pieces and store in an airtight container will keep 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator.





Florentines

  • 100g butter
  • 125g sugar
  • 125g flaked almonds
  • 50g sultanas
  • 50 g glace cherries
  • 15ml single cream
  • 25 g cranberries
  • 200g chocolate
Method
  • Line baking tray with greaseproof paper, Melt butter on low heat, add sugar, eat gently until dissolved, then boil for 1 minute, add remaining ingredients except chocolate and mix well.
  • Drop mixture into small rounded heaps spaced well apart, bake at 180c mark 4 for 10 mins or until golden brown.
  • Remove from oven and shape with palette knife if required to leave for 5 mins to firm and place onto wire rack, melt chocolate in bowl over a pan of simmering water. tll smooth dip florentines and allow to set



 Below is my attempt at making ginger biscuits I slightly adapted the recipe with a few things and used self-raising flour. I think, I need further practice but a good excuse for baking something new. 



Christmas Cards

This year, I've even attempted to make homemade Christmas cards for my family using a combination of trims, cards, premade card appliques and stickers with buttons. I've always wanted to make handmade cards, Just I found it hard to know what to do or design to create and paranoid about their ascetic not being good enough. I've just stopped and thought go for it. 



In my neighbourhood there something called The Time Exchange which allows people to gain time credits by swapping either their time for aeons or skills. So one afternoon, I pop along and made upcycled Christmas cards. It was really fun and gave some interesting ideas. These aren't all mine but some of our produce.




Homemade presents

The only success was a homemade scarf, which only required the edges to be overlooked so a non-fail even for me.
I had the idea to make bath bombs, which ended in complete failure. I substituted Epsom salts for sea salt, as recommend by numerous recipes.Turned out to be. wrong. My boyfriend gives me a basic chemistry lesson explaining that the Epsom salts were magnesium sulphate and the sea salt is sodium chloride. to completely different compounds, a complete fail. Instead of throwing away I'm going to use them bath salts. Not a complete loss.    






Sunday, 11 December 2016

My Christmas Decor.

Sorry for the late post this weekend has been busy and turbulent, so best left unsaid.  This week I wanted to post my Christmas Decor. But I have to mention Ms Misantropia post it feels as though she kicked off this week's countdown with her wonderful post on decor and crafts.  

This year, I wasn't sure if I wanted to decorate after  watching a couple of episodes of Kirstie's Homemade Christmas and attending a couple of Christmas event in my local area I've  succumbed to the Christmas spirit and wanted to decorated. What can I say you  wave  the home crafts carrot in front of me, no matter the season I'm going to be persuaded.  I know other bloggers are doing the Creepmas, which I think is a great idea for us spooky people but it doesn't really appeal to me. I don't really do a spooky Christmas and I'm not a Christmas enthusiast either. I do like a quiet and a simple Christmas and I think it reflected in my decor. Also, the boyfriend stated he didn't want to come into  Santa's Grotto, so I've had to consider his feelings.  

Last year I didn't bother with a Christmas tree exactly upcycled my Halloween Tree and the results still look great. It did lead to some hilarious comments from my family and friends. 




So this year it seemed only fitting to purchase a proper a tree. I really wanted a small black Christmas so I found one on Asda's website for a fiver it included lights and small, so I ordered it last week. 





I always had this idea for my Christmas should be unique, individual and would have a storey of its own. Mostly everything on my tree has come from some craft fair, Christmas fair, Christmas market and even a church fete. It's all been hand crafted in some way. I'm a bit of sucker for something handcrafted as I like to support independent vendors where possible.













These two. I got a local Christmas Fair on the weekend; I fell in love with the little polar bear.  




After coming back on Friday night the boyfriend thought the Christmas tree would look good with a Santa's hat I have to agree. Since the lights are now it's been taken off. . 



I recently made this on the weekend as I wanted a wreath so I decoupaged a wreath using left over wrapping paper. I also made a damask flower a sewn a button on. 


On my fire place I created a small garland with purple star from Christmas tree boubbles with black string. I've got my advent calander on thte mantle piece. Recently, I had wood delivered so I'm look forward to having a real log fire for Christmas. 


I know it's not a lot but what can I say I like it quite simple and sometimes that's just nice. Maybe  the more Christmas' I'll spend the here  the more adventious I may get. 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

November's Outfits

The last outfit post I wrote, was very popular, which was surprising for me as I never would consider them being interesting. I thought I would do another one. November was just an insanely busy months with so many things occurring. I tend to find I'm either ridiculously busy or very quiet. It's nice having a busy time but it does get tiring. I love having a relaxing quiet time but sometimes it can get mountainous.  I wish I could find the right balance not it never seems to happen. Last month the weather took a drastic drop in temperature meaning my I'm wearing my puffy marshmallow coat for the winter  and to adjust to the temperature change  


My first outfit was just what I wore for volunteering at the library. The top was a cheap Ebay find for £4, it's not bad quality for the money. The only things are arms are slightly tight on my biceps, this is nothing unusual for me. The black lower body is a high polyester content making uncomfortable for me to wear so I need to wear a vest top underneath, so good for the winter.  This skirt has become my favourite at the moment and I can't enough of short skirts at the moment.  

 


This was another outfit I wore for volunteering in the library. I love the ruffled blouse, it has a gothic but understated aesthetic I like. It was charity find. and the skirt thrift find. I love this skirt as it's really basic has a bouncy quality. With hindsight, I don't think the two work well together but I think if I opted to don it would of have improved the outfit.  




The next few outfits include my favourite corset as pulls me in but is so easy to fasten myself. I only own two but I fancy getting 

This outfit was meant to be a bit of costume as I dressed up as a witch for the Bensham Grove Midnight Market. I got so many compliments, I find this underbust seems to attract so many people to it. This was the first time I've worn the top I found on eBay literally had years. I wore with my Sinster skirt again I've had years and only worn a few times. It really elaborated detail with all the lace and ribbons but still really flattering to my shape. I need to get it out more. 




This outfit is from the first night of Leeds City festival. I wore my favourite mesh top by Hobbs and a mesh Chicka skirt with ruffles of mesh that worked really well with this outfit. The clothing really easy to fit into my backpack for the weekend. 


I apologise in advanced about the rubbish condition of  the photo. This outfit I wore to see Lacuna Coil play. The band were phenomenal. For a while, I feel out love with the band and the course their music was taking. After seeing them live, I've fallen in love with them again, listening to their new album and pleases they've gone back to their original roots but still sound different.  I had just dyed my hair black; I wore a lace top with flounce sleeves sewn by me. A skirt I definitely I'm getting too fat to wear but I love it refuse to stop wearing, so it's really short on me requires thick tights or leggings.  I really don't care. You guessed it a corset. 










Catching up, Coffee and Steam Punk

Last Month, I met up with Jane aka Breaking the Angel . We have been promising to meet up for ages but life gets in the way. Jane suggested...