Sunday, 29 July 2012

If you don't ask you don't get!

So Friday morning me and little L walked into the village to post an Ebay parcel (I'm going to be an ebay millionaire one day err not).  Anyway we walked past a house just up the road and me with my eagle eyes (extreme nosiness) spotted oooh they have had the paths relaid and look a lovely stack of 3 x 2 concrete paving flags ooohh I want those.  But I couldn't see anyone around. 

So we went and did our errands and then on the way back two builders were there so I just asked "What are you doing with the old flags?" them "Why do you want them" me (who wouldn't??) "Yes please, I only live around the corner".  So they said they would ask the lady and see.  So I waited in the afternoon and yes they knocked and lucky me they gave me them all.  And so kind they brought them all round to our house in their van (4 trips worth). 

Look 19 3 x 2 flags and edging stones

And they even gave me the rest of their sand!

So this little lot saved us a lot of time, hassle and money cos we couldn't just order flags from a builders merchant  no we would have to get second hand and we don't have a trailer.  Very kind and they even gave me some pointers about relaying the flags.

So eventually when we have some time we can rectify all this

I have gotten many bargains from walking past houses and thinking are they chucking that out?  Once I got a shed.

Hope you are having a good weekend
Bye for now x

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Upcycled Chair

I think this is an upcycled chair as it was destined for a skip outside somebodies house, my sister J was walking by and spotted the chair (there were two actually) knocked at house "Please can I have these chairs if you don't want them?" and so they came home with her.  She gave me one of them.  When it arrived at my house I could see why it had been destined for the tip as the cover was all ripped, the foam thin, the base all saggy, the joints a bit wobbly and it had obviously been stood in water for some time as the bottom of one of the legs was rotting a bit but hey other than that it was pristine!
Hhhhm lovely???

So first I sanded it all down which took a while cos I couldn't use the electric sander and it had layers of muck and varnish (The dog wouldn't budge and check out the jumperoo, don't worry we don't make little L use her jumperoo in the garage). 

Then I glued some of the joints.  I didn't want to pull the whole thing apart (then it would definitely have ended up in the tip) so I eased the loose pieces out a bit and squeezed wood glue in.  Not the most thorough way but this chair will have a strict weight limit on it.
Glued some more

 Then I rewaxed it, I could have carried on sanding it down forever as the wood it quite water stained, marked etc in places but I was done with sanding.  I just used clear Briwax and put a couple of coats on.

Next I got a big square of 2 inch foam and marked it out and cut it with scissors.  Not the best finish (bit jagged) but it costs to have foam cut to size and I couldn't be bothered with the faff.  Once it is covered it will be fine.

Then to cover it.  I really struggled picking some fabric for it as it was a Sunday morning passing stop off at the fabric shop and I went in on my own.  Little L, her Dad and the dog were left in the roasting hot car, so I was under pressure.  I nearly came out emptied handed but then found these lovely screen printed heavy weight linens.  This one is from John Lewis so a bargain for just £2.50 for 3/4 of a meter.  

I used a stapler and some drawings pins and just pulled the fabric tight and stapled it. 

The underneath is not that neat but not bad considering.

The corners were really difficult too but they look OK.

Overall I'm really pleased.  For less than £10 I have redone a chair, it looks quite good and is perfect for an occasional use chair in our dining room. 

Next must finish the knitting!!

Bye for now   

Excuses excuses

So last night I was ready.  Little L had been woken on time from her afternoon nap and so was due to go to bed at 7pm.  Plus my other half was off to the pictures to see Batman (not my kind of film) so I thought I have the whole evening to myself I will definitely complete said project which I have been working on for the last couple of weeks.

No, little L would not settle so this

Then this

And then three hours of rocking, cuddling etc and she went to bed by which time I was ready for bed.  Fingers crossed for progress tonight.  Must fly now as off for a family day out to the city

Bye for now

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A little walk

So I promise to get a move on with my creative endeavours this week and hopefully will have something to show you all soon.  But to be honest once little L has gone to bed I usually have upto an hour of clearing away toys, washing, dishes, and then a bit of knitting/tv/wine (if I'm lucky) and then I'm off to bed. 

So as a little aside I am trying to get as much walking in as possible at the moment to try to get a bit fitter and allow me to eat cakes occasionally without the guilt.  There are some good walks around here but you are limited a bit with the pram.  So this morning after breakfast and hanging the washing out we headed out to the canal.  An easy hour long circular walk that takes in the locks and some quiet lanes.

The locks

 The ducks came to say Hello which was the highlight as far as little L is concerned (Sorry no bread today)

And the swans with their babies, so cute

And another pic, don't get too near swann's they can break your arm you know!!

We popped into the charity shop on our way back through the village but no bargains today in fact I think a good deal of the stuff needs to go in a skip.

Anyway have a happy Saturday, must go and knit.
Bye for now 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Little L's Bedroom Ta-dah

OK, so this post would have been a whole lot better if I’d thought to take some before photos duh!  But you’ll have to use your imagination.  So this room was pretty bad.  We had been in the house for 6 months and I just felt like little L was a bit like a lodger as her bedroom was this awful dances with wolves type wallpaper.  I’m serious it was all blue and green feather swirly pattern straight from the early 80’s.  Not very little baby girlish.  So we had the sensible discussion “we won’t decorate in there till next year when we can get the re-wiring done”  That’s OK, I’ve tons of other stuff to be getting on with.  But I just kept thinking about pink walls with cute pictures ???
I wonder shall I just paint the wallpaper, so one afternoon with “Are you sure this is a good idea we are really busy at the moment (1st birthday and christening coming up)?” ringing in my ears I just started. 
So some filling and sticking then three, yes three, coats of white paint for the ceiling (I hate painting ceilings).  Two coats of white, followed by two coats of pink on the walls covered the hideous pattern.  Two days of extreme workout with a rug doctor (the carpet was a bit grubby and was cream) the room was done virtually. 
Dream sign - I bought the letters from B&M Bargains and you were supposed to attach them all separately to the wall, no chance too much drilling.  So I found a piece of plywood, got my Dad to cut it (I can saw wood but not very neatly and it takes ages with a hand saw), then painted it and used double sided padded tape to attach the letters and then just one hole needed in the wall.

Bunting - I made this using offcuts from the curtains and some old sleepsuits.  Each flag has a letter of her name on.  I found the bunting itself easy but it was a bit tricky trying to get the letters to look ok and level.

Lovely animal prints - Love these they remind me of the Wind in the Willows.  They are by an local artist called Sally Anne Lambert who illustrates children's books and sells paintings.  I couldn't really afford the bigger prints so we bought a couple of the A4 ish sized cards and framed them myself. 

Beautiful quilt made by my Mum for little L.  I love the green and pink together.  And gifted cot from sister S (unless she goes mad, decides to have another baby and wants it back!!).  Oh and heart made my me and filled with lavender from my garden to help her sleep (fingers crossed and Calpol is probably more effective).

Thrifted set of drawers (thankyou sister J) which I sanded a bit and re-waxed, gifted bedside drawers, and old chair, originally my Grandma's, which I remember being in different rooms when I was growing up and it was blue but I painted it cream about 9 years ago (when me and P moved in together) and re-did the seat in some cream fabric.

Old cupboard which was at my Nana's house when my Mum was little.  It came to me when I was a teenager with matching drawers painted white and pink.  I stripped them and waxed them.  Since then they have been in my bedroom at home then in the three houses me and P have lived in and now finally little L has the cupboard in her bedroom.

I love the fact that a lot of the furniture in our house has come from family, friends, parents and grandparents.  The furniture has been given a new life over the years by fixing, painting, stripping off paint, waxing etc.  These bits of furniture aren't antiques and lots of people wouldn't give them house space but they mean a lot to me.  It's almost like a little bit of my Grandparents, sadly long since gone, are still with me watching over me and my little family.

Small child on a rocking snail!

Bye for now x

A Grand Day Out

Well we had another early start on Sunday as we all set off to my parents for a day out at Great Eccleston Show in Lancashire.  There is nothing better, I think, during the summer months than a day out at an agricultural show.   They are full of crafty inspiration, lovely food, gardening stuff, animals and all sorts in the main ring from cattle judging to a bit of tug of war.  So if you've never been to one you should give it a go.  And we really should support them as they are starting to dwindle in number.  We used to attend the Royal Lancashire show as children but after a change of venue and difficulties with the weather it hasn't been on since 2006 which is a real shame. 

So we packed into a couple of cars with my parents and sister plus her family and off we went.  The sun was shining honestly (it doesn't look like it in that photo) but little L still needed a blanket!  

It is a great show not too big or small.  There's lots of animal's which little L was enthralled by and she wanted to touch everything.  I must admit even though I grew up surrounded by farms and animals I didn't get too near the cows with her.  Little L just loves animals especially our dog (a big soft Golden retriever) who puts up with endless patting, pulling and prodding.

Beef cow judging (Limousins I think)

Super cute goats

The local hunt showing off their hounds

And there's the tractor pulling which is great to watch and really attracts a lot of people

And a bit of sitting in the sun for me

It was lovely to have a day out all togged up in waterproofs, wellies etc and not need them.  I think I actually caught a bit of sun!  I really hope the weather picks up generally as we are going camping in a few weeks and whilst we have endured many wet and windy camping trips before we have never had a baby crawling around with us (not that we crawl!).

The next show we will go to hopefully is the Westmorland show in September which is a lovely show in the lake district, but that's ages off!

Bye for now   

Monday, 16 July 2012

Ebay Postage Costs

Over the years I have sold lots of things on Ebay from furniture and even a car to small things like clothes but recently I have got a bit fed up with it.  Firstly, I don't think things are selling as well, even with really low starting prices.  I sell clothes much cheaper than the charity shops and always in very good condition but still things don't sell.  But what is really making me question "Is it worth it?" are the ever rising postage costs. 

Today I posted three new items of clothes (OK yes I should have returned them to the shop for a refund) they all sold for less than a pound which I don't mind but I had to charge £2.30 for 2nd class postage (actual price £2.20).  That's a lot.  One item was a 3-6 mth swimsuit in a small A5 size jiffy envelope yet the post office lady said nope it is classed as a parcel??? what how.  Maybe its our post office but they just say everything is a parcel.  So I think it would cost the same to post the tiny swimsuit as a full size adults suit???? 

Maybe collection only is the way to go? 
How do other people keep the postage costs down for their Ebay customers?
Sorry rant over  

Sunday, 15 July 2012

An early start!

So Saturday morning me, little L and my other half dragged ourselves out of the house super early in order to partake in the phenomenon that is the NEXT SALE.  I'd heard rumours that it would be starting on Saturday and thought this year I wouldn't miss all the bargains and would go early on the first day. 

What a surprise though when we got into Liverpool there was tons of people loaded down with bags of stuff and this was only half seven!  It was pretty mad in the children's section so little L went off with her Daddy to look at men's clothes whilst I found the bargains.  There was a lot of current season summer clothes and it was all half price so we got quite a bit.  After all the rummaging in children's clothes I couldn't be bothered looking for myself.

So me and little L left Daddy to go to work and we went off to meet my good friend L, who I used to work with.  We had a lovely day in Liverpool, not much shopping as we went to see a Rolf Harris exhibition at the Walker Art Gallery

For a not very arty/museumy person (I have fallen asleep in museums in the past!) it was very good and Rolf was only there on Saturday!!! but we couldn't see him.  He was signing books and I did consider buying one but the queue was massive and little L was suffering with her gums a bit.

So a very good day was had by all, lots of catching up and reminiscing.  And a very tired baby slept all the way home!
Bye for now x

Thursday, 12 July 2012

I can cook!

Sorry I’ve watched too much Cbeebies.  But anyway I can, it turns out, decorate a cake.  A few weeks ago we had a very special occasion in our house as we got little L baptised.  We went to the classes at church (yes I was a bit surprised) and then two months later we got our date in June. We wanted it to be a small celebration (not the trend nowadays it seems) with just the people that do and will play a big part in little L’s life there.  And as we have moved to a slightly bigger house we decided we would have the party at our house.

So I got my thinking cap on and planned to make various homemade decorations, invites, bunting, and lots of delicious food.  After having been to other christenings/naming days etc and seeing various cakes that had been bought I started to think maybe I could give it a go myself.  Add to that I had been watching “Ace of Cakes” on Really (fab programme Freeview 25).  Then finally add to that the price of these cakes, £100 upwards for a sponge cake, omg not even fruit cake,  my mind was made up I'd do it myself.
Now I’m not the greatest of bakers.  I mainly love eating cakes and looking at cakes in cook books.  But with planning and some help I had my iced fruitcake ready to decorate.  I got some butterfly cutters and flower plunger cutters from Ebay (much cheaper than in real shops, OK they did come from Hong Kong so took a few weeks to arrive but hey I ordered them months before). 
So I used ready to roll fondant icing and dyed it, using food colouring and a little/lot of icing sugar to stop the fondant becoming too wet.  You can do this in advance and keep it in the fridge wrapped in cling film.  I made probably over a hundred flowers, shaped them and then dried them in the airing cupboard (fondant icing doesn’t set that well so you need to roll it thinly and place decorations to dry in a warm place for a couple of days).  I also made butterflies which I dried on a V shaped piece of cardboard covered in greaseproof paper.  I made bunting with the letters of little L’s name on as these tied in with the invites.
So then to the assembly, the fun part, well a bit stressful really as if I bodged I had no backup cake or plan.  I used icing sugar and water mix as an edible glue and just started with the bunting, then glued all the flowers and butterflies on.  I stuck white and pink pearls (edible) in the centre of the flowers.  I also dusted edible shimmer dust on some of the flowers and butterflies. 

It looked brilliant, I think, and meant a lot more as I had made it myself for my beautiful girl! 

Bye for now  

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Amigurumi ……….. Love it or hate it?

Well I have crocheted a lot of these animals and other random things over the years.  I have bought the books, and oohed and arghed over the photos of cute little animals.  Then given it a go but boy are they hard to do.  Maybe my hands are just too big.  I’ve found you have to work with such tight tension, really dig out stitches and count a lot.  Then you gather the teeny tiny pieces that have taken hours on end to make, stuff them and sew them together and what have you got?? Not sure is usually the response.  They often just don’t look much like the book shows. 

Now I made a huge amount of these things and thankfully sold most of them at a crafty thing some time ago.  Some of the real howlers went to new homes but here are some that just wouldn’t sell. 
Not sure why???
Sorry for the poor photos.  Its a bird! (Magpie to be exact)

It's an owl!

A cupcake!

A bear, really it is a bear

But this one I do love.  It took a while but it does look like an elephant and it sits in little L’s bedroom (she can’t play with it though …… mean, I know).

Off to playgroup now, bye
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