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

Buttons September 23, 2007

Filed under: Crafts — lauravw @ 8:04 pm

I went shopping yesterday and saw a necklace in White Stuff that I really wanted to buy – but it’s £22.50, which I think is a bit of a swizz considering the materials it’s made from. (Although it really is VERY nice, and the colours are great, and…)

Anyway, I was fortunate a few years ago to be given my grandmother’s button collection – a jar of buttons collected during the 80+ years of her life, from various items of clothing and sewing/knitting projects for her and the family. I keep it in the kitchen in an old-fashioned glass jar that belonged to a more distant relative, and I have hatched a few plans over the years for projects involving the buttons – most of which I’ve never followed through on because it would be time-consuming to sew dozens of buttons to something.

Back to the White Stuff necklace: it looked so simple to make, with no sewing at all. There was some waxed cord threaded through a couple of the holes on each of the buttons. Not far from White Stuff there is a bead shop, so I set off for that and spent £0.60 on some bead cord. When I got home and chose some buttons from the jar, it took less than 10 minutes to make my own version of the necklace – and I like the idea of being able to switch the buttons around when I feel like trying out some new colours.

If you’re planning to make something like this I would suggest sticking to small to medium sized buttons – I tried a few larger ones and they distorted the shape of the thing.


Space invaders September 18, 2007

Filed under: Travel — lauravw @ 12:29 pm

It seems I have inadvertently stumbled upon something interesting: we went to Manchester for the weekend, and I took a picture of this little guy in West Didsbury (he’s on a wall in Lapwing Lane). We’d seen another similar one in Bern, Switzerland, earlier this summer, which I’ll upload my picture of soon (and we think we may have seen one in Barcelona – I’ll have to check through our photos from that trip to see if we captured it).

I was very curious about what they were, and thankfully Megan was able to tell me the answer: an artist going by the name of Invader has been visiting cities all over the planet putting up these little mosaics, playing his own game of space invaders. I am now even more interested in this, and so happy that we found some of the mosaics. When we were in New York a couple of years ago we went to the Natural History Museum, and later I read that during our stay, there had been some of Banksy’s pieces snuck into display cases, which we had failed to notice – little insects with jet packs stuck to their backs and so on.

I hope I can find more space invaders next time I travel anywhere, but in the meantime there are LOTS of people taking pictures of them and uploading them on Flickr. And there are more pictures on the official website, plus a bit more of an explanation on Wikipedia. And – finally – someone else has been documenting the Manchester ones


More tiramisu, anyone? September 9, 2007

Filed under: Food — lauravw @ 8:04 pm

She’s done it again: this time Amy has made tiramisu ice cream. This sounds delicious – I don’t have a proper freezer so it’s not something I can make, but I’ll add it to my list for when we finally upgrade from our little fridge with an icebox at the top.

I had tiramisu ice cream in Italy a couple of years ago, and it was, of course, delicious. On that trip, I ate tiramisu in one form or another every single day, and still I missed it when we came home.


Nigella Express

Filed under: Books,Food — lauravw @ 11:47 am

I was given a copy of Nigella Express this week (by my current boss – it’s a leaving present; I’m starting a new job soon), and I’ve been enjoying reading it this weekend. And I do mean reading – I can happily sit reading Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks, page by page.

The book has more to offer to carnivores than it does to vegetarians, but I’m still quite happy reading about how to roast a chicken or sear some tuna, even knowing that I will do neither of those things. And some of the recipes are just fantastic: there is a recipe for a custardy pudding made from croissants and bourbon, which she recommends serving as a meal. (I know that won’t win any awards for nutrition, but there are certainly days when that’s exactly the sort of thing you want to eat for dinner.) I’m definitely going to make the homemade instant pancake mix, and I am already looking forward to making the chocolate peanut butter fudge sundae – there is a photo of this in the book that is very tempting.

I was happy to see that there is a chapter on Mexican food – I’ve not read that far yet though, so I don’t know what’s in it.


Window shopping September 7, 2007

Filed under: Shopping — lauravw @ 6:30 pm

The new season’s clothes are appearing in shops, and it’s making me want to go shopping. I have not bought too many clothes for the last year or so because I have found the current fashions to be unflattering and just plain unappealing. But I am now armed with the latest Kew catalogue, and admiring the Great Plains website – and planning a visit to White Stuff


It’s on its way September 6, 2007

Filed under: Halloween — lauravw @ 8:32 pm

I had no idea they made a US version of Country Living, but I’m glad I do now: they have a whole section up on their website about Halloween ideas. (I have already made a few cards for Halloween, and am so looking forward to the start of October, which is when I am officially allowed to start decorating…)


Finding craft ideas for Brownies

Filed under: Paper crafts,Sewing — lauravw @ 8:22 pm

The new school year has started, and that means I’m spending my Tuesday evenings helping out at a local Brownie pack. We have a lot of hours to fill over the course of a term, and so I’m on the lookout for craft ideas – mostly simple tasks, and ones that don’t involve a lot of expensive tools. We do have a bit of money to spend on supplies, so things like felt and glitter are well within our reach.

On the list so far:

  • Mitten magnets, from Martha Stewart Living.
  • Brooches and hairclips covered in felt flowers and other designs made from felt (inspired by these ones Alicia sells, but ours will need to be very simple to make).
  • Jewellery making – I bought some cheap but attractive sets of beads for them to use, but I think I’ll have to return some because a lot of the beads are teeny tiny, and I’m not sure they are going to be feasible for the girls to work with.

At the end of the summer term, we gave the girls notebooks with both lined and plain pages. They decorated the outside of the books, and we asked them to keep a summer holiday diary – which means that this term we can have a session talking about where they went and what they saw. As I walked to Brownies this week, a car passed me, which contained a mother and some of the Brownies. One of them was smiling and waving her summer diary at me through the car window, which made me happy to see that she’d enjoyed using it.