Wednesday, 31 August 2011

British Pathe

Yesterday whilst I was making a kitchen cabinet for my parents holiday cottage business I was listening to Radio 2 they were talking about British Pathe. As in the past I have watched documentaries about British Pathe I was excited to learn that British Pathe have put their archives on the Internet. So today whilst I was cooking marmalade I decided to take a look... I am now addicted!

I decided to start by typing in "Sexism" - as I had hoped there would be videos from the 50's showing people how not to be sexist. There is no 'how to guide' but there is a lot of sexist comments which made me laugh, so here are my few favourite videos that I found today! Click on the picture to view the video (opens a new window).







Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Why buy it when you can make it?

I recently saw some scented tea cup candles on for £18.99! A couple of years ago I made some similar candles myself for a fraction of the cost, plus I learnt a new craft whilst doing it. I brought my starter pack from Whicks n Whacks, which had everything I needed in it to start. Instead of buying one candle for £18.99, I was able to make 3 candles for less and still have left over to make more...

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Saturday, 27 August 2011

Laura's Handmade Life

So a few weeks ago I received a 1st edition book in the post with no explanation and to add confusion it was signed by the author with the message "happy crafting". I was confused, so I called everyone I knew and asked if they knew the author and sent it to me as scarily this book was very similar to my life: loves crafts, mousey-brown hair and had just moved to deepest darkest Norfolk from the south. After all the people I called couldn't explain it I decided to call the publishers. They hadn't a clue but said they would investigate it, and after a week of them not replying I forgot about it. Then I got an email telling me it was because I won a competition on Crafty Crafty. I am so dyslexic.

Anyway, so I have now completed the book and my verdict is that it was good. I was not captivated by it but I did enjoy reading it. I did feel that the end left a lot in the air but I guess that means there is the availability for a sequel. The story follows Laura who left her life in London to move with her husband to Norfolk, but shes not happy about it. And so after about 100 pages we get to when she learns about sewing and crafts. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to people who life crafts - however if you don't do crafts it doesn't seem much point in reading it. I would give it a three out of five.

This weeks top craft picks from other websites:

Sorry for not doing this on Friday like I always do, but this last week I was away at The Starfish Project, an intensive course for people who stammer. I observed the course and it was amazing but I haven't had time to do the blog, so here I am catching up...
  1. I love this basic quilt, it is made using fat quarters which makes it simple and easy for beginners. The choice of fabrics really make a quilt and I love how these give it a 1930s feel. Have a look how to make it over at Sew4Home
  2. Sadly I could never make this project as was never very good at woodwork at school - I used to get the boys in my class to help me at woodwork and in return I would help them pass cookery. Therefore I am terrible at woodwork, but I love this table... Have a look at Design Sponge to have a go...
  3. This is such a cute light, very girly and vintage. Made from Doily's it is perfect for a clean vintage feel in a room. Have a look at Shannon South's blog for more pictures.
  4. A great way to use up all the old floppy disks that we don't need anymore, geek craft has so many uses for all of these. Have a look at Instructables for details.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Vintage films... Miss Pettigrew lives for a day

Miss Pettigrew lives for a day is a film which takes place over one day (and night) in late 1930's London. Based on the book by Winifred Watson it follows Guinevere Pettigrew (Frances McDormand) after being fired from a governess job in London and the quest of hers to find a new job which as a result she ends up in the glamorous 1930's London we all wish we knew. She becomes a 'Social Security' for Delysia Lafosse, (Amy Adams) an American socialite whose morals are unlike her own.

I love this film as it is quick (in the sense that something is always happening) and it is beautifully shot. This is another film where I own the soundtrack as it is lovely and has empathise on the jazz and swing music from that era. It has a touching rendition of the 1939 classic "If I didn't care" preformed by Amy Adams and Lee Pace. I also love the clothes! The sets are magnificent and transport you back to the 30's where the threat of war was real and the dresses were modest - gosh I sound like my father! The plot and script are brilliant and it is certainly a film I recommend. Love it.

Trailer is available on you tube

Music track stuck in my head...

I love Morecambe and Wise, partly because I know all of their jokes (not from watching the show, but from my dad - they appear to be the only jokes in his repertoire) but also because whilst I was at university my library had a VHS library - where they had Morecambe and Wise tapes. I presume this was for all the media students, but as I had a VHS player (I was the only one who did) I occasionally would rent one out to cheer myself up.

Since discovering Spotify I have been able to listen to all of their tracks and last year I fell back in love with "Bring me sunshine". So I was very excited when I saw the BBC's advert for BBC1... available here.

To see a classic look at Eric and Ernie teaching each other the lyrics look at... you tube

It is a fun, sunny and happy tune and although it is from the 70's I love it anyway.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

And so it begins...

As I want to document my travels to all the amazing places from Enchanted Land a book which I found on a bookshelf in Norwich from The King's England Series, I decided to create a scrapbook with all my travels in it. So this afternoon I spent time making a cover for the brown folder I brought from Paperchase whilst I was in London.

So today I brought my different scrapbooking papers to cover it and then for once I started a project and finished a project in the same day! Miracles do happen.

So here are my pictures from my completed scrapbook - all I need to do is visit the places from Enchanted Land and fill the book! One down, too many to count to go...

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Saturday, 20 August 2011

Wymondham Station Tea Room

So after a pretty rubbish week this week, we decided to go to the tea rooms at Wymondham Station in Norfolk. It doesn't sound exactly exciting when you say it out loud but the tea rooms at Wymondham are supposidbly based on the 1945 film Brief Encounter (one of my favourite films). Brief Encounter is a story of a woman in a un-exciting marriage who one day accidently meets a man at a train station cafe and they have a brief relationship. It is a wonderful and heart breaking story and I love it.

The tea rooms is in the heart of the lovely old station (which is still used) and as we enter it from the platform door we find ourselves in one of the rooms.We were lucky and found ourselves a spot in one of the booths... not like a 50's diner but on seats which were once used in train carriages like Brief Encounter. It all seemed very exciting, yes some of the wallpaper was peeling and there seemed to be a bit of 'renovation' going on but it was also charming. I loved the train carriage style and the photos of Brief Encounter everywhere and train memorabilia.

We decided to order a cuppa and some dessert (as we had a big breakfast) and ordered from their consise menu. My mum and I ordered cinamon apple pie whilst my dad ordered jam roly poly. I can't fault the service as it was quick but we were let down with the food. My dad's dessert had been over cooked whilst my mum and I couldn't taste the cinamon in the apple pie and the custard was watery. We were disapointed.

It seems that this cafe could be something amazing and a tourist attraction if only it had a bit more work done on it. The idea is brillant but the excution needs work.

After our Brief Encounter with Wymondham Station, we then quickly stopped in Wymondham itself as I wanted to get my first tick on my Enchanted Land checklist. The market cross, a picture featured on page 137. So this is my first taste of stepping in Arthur Mee's and his 'recording angels' footsteps and hopefully I will be able to get to more places soon.

Friday, 19 August 2011

This weeks top craft picks from other websites:

1. Martha Stewart has so many different craft ideas and so as I don't watch her show I occasionally look to her website for inspiration. I love these lampshades... cute and fresh and they look relatively cheap to make.2. Another great lampshade idea, cards. I love it but it looks complicated and I don't think my dyslexic brain will be able to cope with working with such a complex idea.
Have a look over at MAKE:

3. My inner geek is amazed and in love with this project. I'm happy to say that over at Crafty Tardis two of loves come together, Crafts and Doctor Who. An amazing Weeping Angels costume:
4. A great how-to on making a laptop bag. Love the easy to follow pictures, so have a go over at Sew, Mama, Sew!
5. And finally a lovely idea of a scrapbook map with different vintage fabrics for the different states: So cute and was made over at My Life and Kids.

Well that's it, my favourite crafty projects for the week...

Thursday, 18 August 2011

I love London...

Two weeks ago I had a lovely day to myself in London and it was a (relatively) free day - the best kind of day.

So, I started my day with breakfast outside St. Paul's Cathedral - I love St. Paul's, it is now on its regeneration after different fires throughout the ages and I love it.

After a lot of photograph taking I did what I always do when I go to London, hopped on a routemaster heritage bus. It almost seems a crime that people don't know our most iconic bus as the routemaster, but luckily for me that lack of care and the fact that tourists usually stay on the street taking photos of the bus rather than realising that they can actually go on it too means that it is usually empty.

So I had hoped to go to Temple Church to look at it because it was in the Enchanted Land, but sadly it has decided to close until September. After I popped to the Twinings shop, I went to a church (St. Clement Dames) which I have passed so many times, it turns out to be an M.O.D church and a very pretty one too!

After hopping back on a routemaster I ended up in Trafalgar Square, where my favourite place in London is. St. Martins in the Fields. After deciding not to stay for a lunchtime concert (as it was only 11am and it was an Organ recital - not my favourite) I decided to go to the parks of London. St James Park, Green Park, Hyde Park I cycled and walked through all of them.

Stopping off briefly in Earls Court to take a picture of a Tardis I then went onto Brompton Cemetery. Most people are creeped out by cemetery's but I don't see why, they are so peaceful.

And finally after a long day I finished my day having dinner with my brother on the South Bank.

Excluding food and my Oyster Card I only spent £1 on a Boris Bike. A brilliant free and lovely day in London.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

DIY Record Bowl

A quick post about how to make a Record Bowl.

My grandad once showed my dad how to make this when he was a child and so one summers day when I was bored last year my dad showed me how to do it.

First I brought a cheap record from a charity shop and then cleaned it with a damp cloth to take off the dust. I sadly forgot to play it on our record player before I melted it, so I don't know what the songs sounded like! Anyway, pre-heat the over to 225 centigrade. Find an oven proof bowl (such as a glass bowl) and place it upside down on a baking tray. Place the record in the centre of the base of the bowl and put it in the oven then bake until the sides have gone floppy (for about 5 minutes).

After the 5 minutes, take it out and flip the record off (carefully, using oven gloves) and put it into the same or another bowl and shape it with your fingers. If it starts to get cold place it back in the oven and re-shape it.

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Friday, 12 August 2011

This weeks top craft picks from other websites:

I like to follow lots of different craft websites, and here are the best ideas I have seen this week:

1. I love this idea for a sewing/craft box from an old book - not sure if I would do it as I am unsure whether I am happy with the idea of destroying books in the name of craft, however this does not destroy any of the text it only takes the cover apart from the book.

On how to make this go to: How About Orange
2. I love to write letters and so I think this is a crafty way of having some nice writing paper which isn't boring. I will certainly give this one a go at some point.

For a quick how to guide go to: Design Sponge
3. Another Design Sponge idea which is brilliant! I have been toying with the idea of creating my own perfume for a while (and it is on my list of crafty things to do). I love how they use an old pocket watch to give the solid perfume a vintage feel.

Have a go at: Design Sponge
4. Sadly I cannot attempt this one before I get a flat/house of my own but I love it! An easy way to get vintage into your bathroom, but you will probably need some DIY skills to do it.
I have only just discovered Poppy Talk but I love it!

Have a look at : Poppy Talk
5. Over at Sew 4 home they have put up a pattern for how to make a travel accessories bag which I would love to have a go at...

Have a go at: Sew 4 Home

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Music track stuck in my head...

It could be because I am traveling a lot on trains recently or it could be because my grandparents are soon to go to Chattanooga but I have had Chattanooga Choo Choo stuck in my head for weeks. Good old Glenn Miller with another classic sampling sounds of the train tracks. I always picture the scene from The Glenn Miller Story where they are recording this.

Technically a cover but a great version: you tube

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


We all do it, walking down a country lane we all have been guilty of picking the odd blackberry along the way. Growing up in the countryside, for years my dad would take us on walks where he knew blackberries would be or stop the car in the middle of a country lane to pick up a few. This problem has been made worse since we moved to Norfolk and recently we traveled 60 miles to go to one car park where we knew there would be plums. This got me thinking, it is a very 1930's-40's sort of thing, in the second world war rationing meant that people couldn't get what they wanted, so roadside bushes were the thing to utilise.

So back to this car park, last year me and dad accidentally found it and decided we would go back. We made 33 jars of yellow and red plum jam last year and as we are now setting up a business (B&B) we could use some more. So after my graduation we popped over the the car park (as it was en-route home) and picked up 28lbs of plums - however we couldn't deal with them quick enough and had to throw many of them in the compost. So on Monday we went back and picked 24lbs of the yellow plums (which were now ready) and since then I have spent the last two days de-stoning them and freezing or making jam with them. I think the lesson I learnt is only pick what you can use...

Plum Jam Recipe:
  • 4lb of plums (stoned)
  • 16 floz of water
  • 3lb of sugar
  1. Tip your stoned plums into a jam making pot or a big casserole dish. Add the water and let the plums simmer - I let this happen for about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Tip in the sugar and stir thoroughly until it has all dissolved. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally. It usually takes at least 20-30 minutes to to get to the stage where you can test it to see if it has set.
  3. Put a saucer in the fridge with a bit of jam on it and leave it to cool for 3-5 minutes. Run your finger through it to check if it is set, you will see it is ready when there is a skin on the top or when both sides don't meet again in the middle.
  4. Ladle into jam jars using a funnel.
  5. And that is how I made 20lbs worth of plums into jam. The best part is all I had to pay for was the sugar!

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