Saturday, 31 July 2010

Sewing Cafes!


Just a quickie today as I should be packing right now. I'm heading home to help my Mam around the house today as her MS has relapsed and she's struggling right now, and then all of Sunday at my grandparents' house where we're clearing out my grandmothers craft room :( so that we can turn it into a downstairs bedroom for her.

When I was in work yesterday my friend pointed out an article in her magazine. I'm not 100% sure which one it was (she gets quite a few, especially now she's moving home and is looking for home decor inspiration). In it [paraphrasing here a little], it said this:

That sewing cafe's are gaining popularity, especially in America, where you can go and rent a sewing machine by the hour (like Internet cafe's but cooler) so that people without sewing machines etc can still craft!

That's an awesome idea and I'm half annoyed I didn't think of it first! The article went on to mention that it hasn't happened over here in the UK yet (there's my chance!!) but that it seems likely to, due to the popularity of craft workshops and groups such as:

The Make Lounge
The London Sewing and Craft Group
I knit.

Apart from The Make Lounge which I mentioned in a previous post, I never knew these places existed and I'm thankful that my friend showed me the article! She's seen me appear with different card magazines etc over the last year and a half I've been working there so she knows my interest in crafting!

I wanna go!!


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The Simple Woman's Day Post

Outside my window… is a new day. I don't really want to get up and go to work early like I did yesterday so today I'm going to pop to the shops and buy some tomatoes and mozarella, then make myself a caprese salad for lunch in work today (I'm working late shift this week).

I am thankful for… generous friends. The last two weeks have been hard due to family health problems, and my friends have kept in touch with me, and stood by me each day. I've also been given a tripod by my boyfriends parents which is also incredibly kind.

I am wearing… a Fun Factory t-shirt. Fun Factory was my favourite night at the university's Union. My boyfriend jumped and caught it for me the last time I ever went. It holds special memories so I wear it rarely as I don't want it to get ruined.

I am remembering… what my grandmother used to be like. She has a form of dementia and is currently in hospital, a shadow of her former self.

A few plans for the week… work! Then on the weekend I'm heading home to help out my family. If my grandmother is to come out of hospital the downstairs front room has to be emptied and turned into a bedroom for her arrival. So I'm heading home to help out.

I am currently reading… Charlaine Harris's True Blood Omnibus. I started watching the show a week or so ago.

I am hoping… that it won't happen this week.

On my mind… I'm wondering how best to ask my manager in advance for extended 'special leave' for when the time comes that I need to head home for a funeral of someone very dear to me.

Hearing… cars drive by. And a plane.

I am praying that… that my mother recovers from her MS relapse quickly, and that my grandfather finds the strength to get through what's happening at the moment.

From the kitchen… a caprese salad. I also tried my hand at making two mushroom and cheese calzones last week. They worked pretty well. Oh and numberous cupcakes for a cake sale to raise extra money after I took part in Race For Life (Cancer Research UK).

Around the house… there are several things that need tidying and putting away. Not today though.

One of my favorite things… is my new Race For Life medal. It isn't perfect, but neither am I.

From my picture journal…


Friday, 23 July 2010



I'm going to go visit the boyfriends parents this weekend in Cornwall. I'm taking both digital and film SLRs, and my digital Point & Shoot camera - I'm ready!! (Oh and film, and about 20 new batteries hehe.)

I hope you have a great weekend, and hopefully I'll be able to post some new photos.

This week has not been great. My grandmother is currently in hospital and her official diagnosis is that she's to receive palliative care. Not great. My mam has also been in hospital as she's had a Multiple Sclerosis relapse, thankfully they have given her some steroidal tablets which should sort that out.

On one hand I really need to get away, and on the other I'm likely to brood and this could lead to some arguments. Fingers crossed it all goes well.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Post Organiser


Thought I'd share my first ever tutorial!

I got the idea for a post box/post organiser when I saw that another blogger had made one. Hers was black with some blue polka ribbon around the top, and even though I've spent hours looking through the blogs to try and find the link I can't find it anywhere. I'm sure I'm not going mad, so if you see it, please let me know so I can link it!

So to begin with I needed a box. Seeing as I'd just bought these I decided that it would be a good enough size, and relatively sturdy too.

(Oh, and if you haven't tried them, try them).

To begin with I cut the side off the box. That way it wouldn't be too high and more likely to topple over. And it can hold bigger sized envelopes. I stuck the end I'd opened closed using double sided tape.

This is what it looked like. I tidied up some of the edges to make it neater.

I had some acrylic paint left over from a paint-your-own canvas pack I picked up last year. I hoped the white would be thick enough to cover the box seeing as it's a pretty thick consistency.

As it was it still looked like this after 2 coats. It was a little better after the third, but not much. I used up all my paint and it still looked crap. Not good.

I ate one while I tried to think about what to do next.

In the end I found some white paper I had already. I used double sided tape to attach it all the way around the box, and folded the underneath like wrapping a present. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the box once it was done, but it looked a lot whiter.

It was a little on the thin side so I went and bought some patterned tissue paper in WHSmith (which I didn't realise they did). Two of my friends gave me presents wrapped in a similar patterned paper for my birthday, but I couldn't track it down anywhere. This was the closest I could find.

I wrapped the whole box in the tissue paper, and attached it using double sided tape again.

The insides aren't amazingly neat as I didn't want to trim the paper. It's pretty thin, and awkward to get your scissors and hands inside the box.

And here's the finished box :)

I'm pleased with it. It didn't show any sign of toppling over which was my main worry. So that's a good thing. And it fits in with the room well. The table it sits on is normally covered in post (downside of living in a shared house) so now it's a lot neater, and the room looks better.

It also goes pretty well with the paint decor, which as you can see is a pretty strong colour and hard to match to! (Please excuse the sloppy photoshop work!)

Hope that's easy enough to follow, I kinda made it up as I went along!


I'm linking to:

Join us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!

Show and Tell Green


My Craftie Life

Monday, 19 July 2010

Cakes Galore!


As I mentioned, I spent a looooong time yesterday making cakes. Why? Because we organised a cake sale to supplement our fundraising for this:

Yup, I ran 5km for Race For Life (which raises money for Cancer Research UK) on Saturday. I decided to do it on a whim about 3 weeks back, and started my 'training' two weeks before the race. I was pretty pleased with a time of 32 minutes :)

My work has a scheme where you can apply for matched funding if 3 or more employees take part. One person took part in the race with me (and kept me going), and another in a different department completed her race two weeks before. So we decided that between us we'd organise a cake sale.

I made a cupcake mix using this recipe from iVillage. I made 12 large (normal sized) cupcakes, and 16 mini cupcakes using mini silicone moulds. I've never used silicone moulds before but I was rather impressed. I picked them up from a Poundshop, and even if I never use them again I got my worth out of them!

I substituted strawberry flavouring for vanilla as I didn't have any, and used some leftover chocolate icing from a chocolate cupcake kit (see below).

My boyfriend was over and decorated these chocolate cupcakes themselves. They looked (and tasted) yummy. These were the first cakes to sell out when they went on sale! 

There was loads of the icing left over, and it was a fairly runny consistency so I decided it would be a lot easier to just dip the mini cupcakes into the icing rather than trying to spoon it everywhere. It also makes them really smooth. My boyfriend thought I'd accidentally dropped the first one though :) The strawberry flavour wasn't very noticeable, so the chocolate/strawberry combination worked.

These were the 'large' cupcakes made using the same cupcake mix. I made up some icing and used one tiny drop of red food colouring. The whole thing went a perfect shade of pink so I decided not to tempt fate and to leave it as it was!

(The Race For Life encourages women running to take part wearing something pink - which makes for an awesome sight when there are 2500 women in pink running around a park.)

I also made some jammy fair cakes using a victoria sponge mix and some seedless raspberry jam. I iced those with white icing but didn't take any pictures of them. I need to figure out a way of stopping the jam from sinking and pooling in the bottom of the cases...

I decided to stamp some labels for the cakes so that people would know what was what. The jammy fairy cakes and normal cakes looked pretty similar as the pale pink icing wasn't too in-your-face pink.

I used a Papermania stamp from a Birthday themed pack I picked up in Hobby Craft for £2 in a bargain bin. I saw the same stamps on sale in WHSmith on Sunday for £7.99! That's probably what reminded me of this particular stamp and gave me the labels idea. I was going to cut each one out like this but my hand started cramping and I decided it was too fiddly.

So I stamped about 10 on some pale pink paper I already had and trimmed them to size.

I'm really annoyed I didn't take any pictures, but photography isn't allowed at work. Should have sneaked one on my phone though...

My running partner brought in a cool, chirpy multi-coloured polka dot tablecloth and loved the labels idea. She has pretty funky handwriting too, so she wrote the labels and we stuck them to the plates/tupperware the cakes were in.

Altogether we had a multitude of cupcakes, jam tarts, an iced banana & sultana bread loaf, coconut macaroons, 'dream cakes' (caramel shortbread) and chocolate brownies. We laid out the cakes at 10am, and by 5pm the coffee mug we put out for the donations was full! Looking forward to counting it tomorrow :)


Sunday, 18 July 2010

I Did it, I Did it! (Properly)


Just a quick post as I've been busy making cakes for the last 6 hours (pics to follow).

Yesterday I ran the Race For Life 5km run. I completed it in 32 minutes :)


Thursday, 15 July 2010

Some Cards


I walked home from work today and got home pretty tired and weary. I didn't fancy sitting in front of the laptop immediately (like usual) so I decided to actually start making some of the LMC cards from the LMC magazine I bought a week or so ago.

Just these two to begin with :)


Wednesday, 14 July 2010

I Can Crochet! (Badly)


On Monday I took a wrong turn and came out of an exit I'd never been out of before. Next to it is a big Poundshop, so I went in and picked up a crochet kit.

I was expecting it to be badly made and it kinda is - the hooks and needles are plastic, the instructions barely legible and full of typos - BUT there's 5 balls of wool, it has plastic hooks and you gotta start somewhere right? Besides, no point spending lots of money to find out you hate something!

I couldn't resist :)

It's taken me 3 nights but I've finally made some progress. The instructions were quite confusing, the pictures aren't great and I even had a google to see where I was going wrong but couldn't quite put everything together in my head.

Eventually I watched a video and saw the step in action and realised where I was going wrong. Basically, I wasn't trusting myself to repeat a step because it looked hopeless - but after doing it a few times it turned into the chain shown in the instructions, yay! I was so excited I stopped immediately, took a picture and thought I'd share it :)

So now I have to continue following the instructions. It appears to promise that I'll end up with a flower if I follow all of the steps in the correct order.

[The fact that the steps start on D and progress to E, F, H and J hopefully won't be an issue.]


Thursday, 8 July 2010

I'm Running, I'm Running!


I went to the gym last night! I have now done 5k. I don't hurt too badly this morning either which is a huge relief. I'm working late shift tonight so won't be walking back from work, and it's probably best to give my legs a breather today anyway.

Out of the 5k I managed to run 2.5k of it. I ran the first km then found I got out of breath quite quickly (most exercise I've done since being in school) so I walked 0.5km then ran 0.5k and carried on alternating.

I have never spent 41 minutes on a treadmill before, not entirely sure I want to do it again! Anyways, it's for a very good cause as all the money raised is going to Cancer Research UK and I'm hoping to apply for matched funding with work to double the total amount raised. If you can, please dig deep :)

Thank you,


Tuesday, 6 July 2010



I got kinda hungry and bored. And I had a rather large, rather ripe avocado that needed eating or throwing. The solution? Sushi!! Not the kind of thing I normally make on a 'school night' but I was feeling alert and awake after walking home from work.

It went with my mushroom miso soup quite nicely :) And I finished the rest off in work the next day, yum yum yum!


Monday, 5 July 2010



I picked up a copy of the latest Let's Make Cards this morning. I'm looking forward oto using it, there are lots of bright, summery colours, and it looks like it should be fun to use.

BUT I am unhappy that I have only just found out about Bust's Summer Craftacular London that is being held on Saturday. I'm working the weekend and it's probably going to be too short notice to get anyone to swap with me, especially as the girl I would normally swap with is already signed up to work the weekend instead of another. I'd love to go, and I think the Fascinator workshops and Tatty Devine jewellery would have been fantastic to see.

If you're interested in going (and can attend) the website describes the fair as

An indie shopping mall in York Hall! With DJs, drinks, DIY and an alternative food court of sweet and savoury treats.

There are goodie bags(!) for the first 100 through the door, raffle and more. Admission: £2. You need to sign up for the fascinator-making workshops (1pm-2.30pm and 4pm-5.30pm) on the day and places are limited so get there early!

There's also this (which I love the idea of)

DANCE to DJs The A-Maisonettes, The Vinyl Vendettas, She Runs With Wolves (Ladyfest Ten); learn to Lindy Hop and Jitterbug with a special beginner's class by Swing Patrol from 5.30pm to 7pm.

There don't seem to be very many craft fairs in the Berkshire/London area, I wonder why?


The Simple Woman's Day Post

Outside my window… is another house. I live in a street of terraced houses. Not very inspiring, but at the bottom of the road is the Thames river, and on a sunny day it's gorgeous.

I am thankful for… having seen my Dad today. The older I get the better we get on, and he popped in today to take me to lunch (tapas) and a catch up.

I am wearing… a 'new' jumper that I picked up for 50p last year but never wore. I decided that I do like it after all, even though my BF said he didn't like it.

I am remembering… that I really need to take my library books back!

A few plans for the week… several trips to the gym, and some more crafting.

I am currently reading… nothing, but I intend to pick up more books from the library after work on Tuesday.

I am hoping… that the pictures I have taken on my new film camera will come out okay.

On my mind… that I need to sort out my bank account and ISA, and each day I delay it hurts me in the long run.

Hearing… old songs from 1956. I grew up listening to all kinds of music in the car with my parents, which means I have a rather eclectic taste.

I am praying that… that my Dad doesn't get made redundant as he fears he might.

From the kitchen… nothing today! I had a late lunch and then had some malteasers in the evening. My lunch filled me up. I intend to make a home made pizza this week though.

Around the house… several bugs are flying, they don't normally bother me though. I'd rather have the windows open than bake.

One of my favorite things… sushi, I could quite happily eat sushi every day for the rest of my life. And at some point I intend to try!

From my picture journal…


Sunday, 4 July 2010



I didn't sleep much last night. Just didn't feel tired, so I tried to lull myself to sleep by watching an episode of Caprica while stamping. I recently bought some Derwent water colour pencils for a new challenge, and found out too late that Versa colour Black doesn't like getting wet. So I bought myself some Staz On ink which is a solvent ink that can be used on plastics, metals, ceramics etc.

I tend to buy card magazines for the gifts, so I can go for several months without buying any and then buy about 5 in the space of 2-3 weeks. I picked up some Bumble the Bear stamps that came free with a recent issue of Papercraft Inspirations. They are a decent size for colouring in, so I thought I'd spend a little while stamping each image out to see them better, and colour in a few if I wasn't feeling tired.

I also started a new project but it won't be finished for another few days :)

Not sure about this one, but I was just trying out different ways of using watercolours as I've never used them before.

The balloons and candle was part of a separate pack of rubber stamps I picked up in the sale in Hobbycraft for £1.99. The stamps have a birthday theme and I was a bit low on decent sized Birthday stamps (as freebies from magazines tend to be on the small side).

What have you been up to this weekend?


Saturday, 3 July 2010

A 'New' Toy!


I have a new toy I'm quite proud of. A while ago while at a friends house I spied a rather old 35mm film camera. My friend told me I could have it, as he didn't use it any more. He was the President of the Photographic Society I'm a member of. He's now graduated and moved back home but was in Reading last night and I picked up my toy.

I managed to find a website with a full manual on how to use it, so I've been reading that today while playing. I love taking pictures and then winding it on to the next frame. Spent a long time playing with that :) It's also really cool as once you take the lens off, and take a picture you can poke your finger straight through the camera! Which I've also spent a fair amount of time doing. My boyfriend thought I was a bit nuts for that but there's no way that it's possible to do it with a digital SLR and while I'd always vaguely known how SLRs work after doing it as part of a course I completed, I know definitely know and could quite happily explain it to anyone. Which I did, to my housemate :)

Anything that improves knowledge has to be a good thing, right?

Here he is!! My 'new' 1979 Canon AV-1 camera.

I'll hopefully be able to upload some of my film pictures when I buy a printer/scanner which is a pipeline dream. The Photosoc has it's own darkroom, so I'm going to have some lessons in how to use it so I can develop the film myself. I bought 3 rolls of film off the internet this morning, which are due to arrive on Tuesday.

I see an interesting summer ahead!!


Friday, 2 July 2010



It was my parent's anniversary a few weeks ago. Their 24th anniversary was on the 14th of June, and my birthday was on the 17th. My Uncle also has his birthday on the 14th of June. My family mostly has birthdays in June and October, with one in February and 3 in December. Odd how it's all clustered.

The week before I'd gone to visit Hobbycraft. It's only the second time I've been as I find it expensive and I don't have a car. It's about a 15-20 minute walk away, which if you've got a lot of stuff is a long way to carry a hefty stash!

I made this card out of two number toppers I bought there. The cardstock and papers have been in my stash for 2 years now. I originally bought the papers in a huge lot off Ebay so I can't say who made them sorry.


Thursday, 1 July 2010



I've been wondering how best to use this blog. I already have a blog that I use to post about day-to-day things, adventures, musings, ramblings etc. I like to take pictures and it links to my Flickr account etc. Should I also duplicate those posts on here, or go into more detail on here? There are things that I wouldn't consider crafting but others do...