Busywork

Finding work for idle hands: making, baking and more.

Up to February 26, 2008

Filed under: Up to — lauravw @ 7:30 pm

Enjoying: my new dressing gown from the White Company
This is a very early birthday present from my mother – she wanted me to have it while the weather is so cold and frosty. I love it – it’s a pale coffee colour (they call it Smoke), similar to the quilt she got me from there for Christmas (which they don’t seem to stock any more).

Wearing: Gap’s Spun Orange Blossom perfume
I bought this almost two years ago when we visited Seattle, along with a bottle of the peony scented version. I have a tendency to save things up for a rainy day lest they run out, which is a very silly thing to do with perfume because it goes bad after a while. I saw this in my drawer the other day and realised that I have had it two years, and should really just open up the shrink-wrap and enjoy it. I hadn’t realised just how nice it smells, which is a shame because they don’t make it any more… Luckily it seems there is a market for Gap perfume at ebay and other such places, and I’ve read that this one smells similar to a Jo Malone fragrance (I’d better get saving up for that one).

Planning: for a day out in London tomorrow
In the Rough Guide to London, I read that you can visit an enormous roof garden on the top of a private members’ club in Kensington, with views across the city. I rang up to check, and it’s open tomorrow (the public can’t go in when events are on, but because the building/garden are listed, it means they have to let you have access at other times). Very excited about this! We’re also planning to go to the National Portrait Gallery, where we can see the Vanity Fair exhibition.

Learning a bit more about taking pictures
Alicia wrote some easy to understand tips about taking pictures. I don’t think my camera has all the same options as hers, but it’s still going to be filed under ‘will come in handy some day.’

Looking forward to the relaunched Blueprint blog
With more writers and more content – launches in early March, which is only a few days away.

 

Migraines February 24, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 2:13 pm

If you get migraines, you may be interested to know about a new New York Times blog on the subject, called Migraine: Perspectives on a Headache. Plus, you may also be interested to know that one of the authors is Jeff Tweedy from the band Wilco – which in a weird way makes migraines hip.

 

Tuesday night craft club: Kitty Tunnel February 19, 2008

Filed under: Crafts,Sewing,Tuesday Night Craft Club — lauravw @ 10:19 pm

Kitty tunnel. With fake kitty.I made a kitty tunnel! The fabric is from the Sole collection by Valori Wells,* and it’s lined with dark brown faux fur, which I got from John Lewis.

It was all pretty straightforward to make, although I wasn’t able to find faux fur as wide as the one specified in the book. The bolts I looked at were only around 30 inches across. This wasn’t a problem – the tunnel seems plenty big enough.

I should have used sturdier fabric for the outside of the tunnel – it’s floppy like a blanket. I don’t think that’s a disadvantage though, from a cat’s perspective.

After much effort making this I set it out for young Daisy to play with, and was suprised (and a little disappointed) to find that she’s not really interested. Cats are often contrary like that, but she shows so much enthusiasm for all her other toys (cardboard boxes! paper bags! things she has stolen from us!) that I hadn’t stopped to consider the tunnel might not impress her… Oh well – we’ll leave it lying around (at least it looks pretty) and I’m sure some day she’ll realise how spoiled she is to have a fur lined tunnel to hide in.

*This fabric was destined for my duvet cover project. I love it, but now that I’ve seen it with the other fabrics in real life I don’t think it’s the right one to use on this occasion. Which means I need to a) find something good to make from this one, and b) find something that will work with the fabrics I’ve already bought.

 

Bits and bobs February 18, 2008

Filed under: Interiors,Sewing,Shopping — lauravw @ 9:31 pm

Pre-occupied with lots of the little things and thoughts at the moment:

Possibly planning to make a kitty tunnel for our kitten, Daisy, using Amy Butler’s patter in In Stitches (you can see an online version of the same pattern here if you don’t have the book). I’ve been looking on Flickr to see if anyone else has made one, and found this picture of a beaded sash, which reminds me that I want to make one of those too… Anyway, I didn’t find pictures of completed kitty tunnels on Flickr’s In Stitches Sew Along, but I did find someone writing about making one here, and it seems there’s nothing to be daunted by.

Unrelated: I love this wallpaper that looks like a photo of a forest… I wonder if there’s a way I can make it look right in our little 1930s semi-detached house? I doubt it, but I’ll keep thinking about it.

Very helpful links from Craft Magazine: how to use a rotary cutter, and how to make a patchwork skirt.

Heather Bailey has some paper craft items in the works, must look out for those later this year. And there’s a new Lotta Jansdotter book on the way – Lotta Prints. (Also at Chronicle Books, a little kit of recipes, labels and wrapping materials for the sorts of food gifts that belong in jars – it’s called Pretty Pantry Gifts. I think this might be similar to the Christmas packaging set I bought last year – if it is, then it will be very nice.)

How About Orange made a new ironing board cover, using instructions from Marmadaisy. I really should have a go at this – I’m not sure I can bring myself to show you a before picture of our ironing board though. Let’s just say whatever I make would be an improvement.

 

Yay!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lauravw @ 8:48 am

What a great start to the week: Loobylu is BACK!

 

Tuesday Night Craft Club: lavender pillow February 17, 2008

Filed under: Sewing,Tuesday Night Craft Club — lauravw @ 10:03 am

Some time late last summer, I visited my grandfather in York, and he let me have lots of the lavender from his garden. I hung it upside down, bat-like, in the airing cupboard when I got home, and it’s lived there ever since. I think you really only need to hang lavender to dry for a few weeks, but luckily its extended stay in our airing cupboard doesn’t seem to have done it any harm. So on Tuesday night I got it out and removed all the flowers from it – the fragrance from that much lavender will make you sleep well.

The next night I sewed a small pouch to put all the dried flowers in, and now we have a little lavender scented pillow to put on the bed during the day. (Picture here – the fabric is a swatch of something I don’t recall the name of, but it’s from John Lewis)
Notes for next time: what looks like a huge amount of lavender doesn’t go as far as you’d expect, so this summer I plan to harvest even more of the stuff.

 

Up to February 12, 2008

Filed under: Up to — lauravw @ 1:18 pm

Waiting for my Ocado/Waitrose delivery to arrive

This is a once in a blue moon treat, and should arrive tonight between 7 and 8. I’ve been doing my grocery shopping online for the past few years and I’ve been starting to take it for granted a bit, but it is a wonderful thing: no queuing, no need to contend with other people doing their shopping, no venturing out in the cold. We usually get Sainsburys deliveries – there’s no Waitrose near us, but they have a giant UK distribution centre that they do their deliveries from. That makes me feel a little uneasy (the thought of my groceries coming from near London doesn’t sound too green to me), but they use environmentally friendly vehicles and claim it’s greener to have one distribution centre…

Thinking about buying some more Rosti homewares

I have five mixing bowls made by Rosti, and I’m very attached to them. The first two I bought came from Paris – there was a small cookware shop opposite a hotel we stayed in there several years ago, and each time we passed it I would peer through the window and covet the bowls. I bought two (one pink, one green) and had to carry them on my lap all the way back to England. It was totally worth it. Since then I’ve bought three more from Amazon (yellow, blue and a huge orange bowl). I’ve now found that, in addition to the selection of Rosti products on the Amazon UK site, you can buy them at a German site called Cookfunky.

 

Tuesday night craft club: it’s all in the preparation… February 7, 2008

Filed under: Tuesday Night Craft Club — lauravw @ 9:38 pm

Letters.A rather passive Tuesday Night Craft Club this week: I admired and then laundered a couple of the new fabrics that have arrived for the duvet cover project of ’08. The three I’ve ordered have now arrived, but I still need to order the Joel Dewberry one with the birds on (the one that got me started on this whole extravagant idea)…

That was followed by some preparation work for another project: I am lucky enough to have collected, over many years, a couple of boxes full of the nice cards and letters I’ve been sent. Most of these are from my mother, including various funny things she’s sent me over the years (photos of her holding a giant lemon that fell from a tree near where they were staying in Palm Springs; photos of the toy Bagpuss I gave her in various holiday resorts; cards sent from the cat to us; stickers with her picture on – these came out of a passport photo machine, when she was trying to get her very serious passport photo taken. The machine also took novelty photos, and malfunctioned – the set of stickers she sent us shows her looking very serious, with Ali G superimposed in the background.) I don’t really feel I’m getting the best use of all this stuff by keeping it in a box, so my plan is to make a collage of some of my favourite messages. I’ve bought a little wooden picture frame, and spent an hour or two reading through letters to find some highlights to frame. I have a little pile of letters now to use – some of which I’m not willing to cut up, so I’ll have to make copies of those. I’m not creating the collage quite yet either, because I know I have another similar box at my parents house that might contain things I want to incorporate. But it feels good to have made a start.

 

Pancake day February 5, 2008

Filed under: Food — lauravw @ 1:19 pm

What are you putting on your pancakes today? I’m planning to use some of the instant pancake mix I made last week (from Nigella Express) to whip up a few pancakes for pudding tonight, but I’m not sure what to put on them. I usually have maple syrup, and I like a few slices of cold banana on them too – but I’d like to try something new.

I’ve found a few suggestions here - like Nutella (excellent idea), and there’s a very traditional Delia Smith recipe at the BBC.

The BBC also delivers the goods on the history and traditions of Shrove Tuesday. I checked the Martha Stewart website for ideas but there’s nothing on the homepage, which makes me think this is more of a British thing. I didn’t know Martha had a blog though – where she is currently seeking votes on seven new ideas for the company to try out. Notably absent from the list of things to vote for is the the return of Blueprint magazine.

 

Tuesday night craft club: cupcakes February 4, 2008

Filed under: Tuesday Night Craft Club — lauravw @ 8:21 pm

Cupcakes.This post relates to last Tuesday – I’ve been away since then and was determined to post this before this week’s Tuesday Night Craft Club, which is tomorrow…

Time was in short supply for this week’s effort, and I stayed up rather later than I’d planned, icing these cakes. They were all delivered the next morning (by me) to my grandfather up in Yorkshire, who has reported back to say they are delicious. What he actually said was that I ‘bake a great cake’, which I’m taking as high praise, since my gandmother, his wife, was a prolific baker.

I made up a batch of cake mix for butterfly cakes, which was a minor error on my part. I used half of it to make butterfly cakes (no mistake in that half), but the other half I poured into heart-shaped silicone moulds (a very welcome Christmas present). This was where it was a mistake: butterfly cake mix has extra raising agent in it, to form the peaks, which you then cut off to form wings. Except I wanted the hearts to have little flat tops, and they came out all pointy, like little heart-shaped mountains. No matter: I just cut the tops off and ate them, and then iced the remainder of each cake. But still, lesson learned for next time.

 

 
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