Sunday, September 19, 2010

A baker I am not

For my birthday I got a food processor and a book on making novelty cakes. I also got a giant cupcake silicon mold. Eager to try them out I spent this afternoon in the kitchen. I have also volunteered to make something for the Macmillan charity coffee morning on Friday so I needed to practice.

The actual sponge didn't turn out too badly - but co-op didn't have any ready made icing and didn't have any liquid glucose either. So I did the best I could with what I had but the icing was a bit too crumbly and just kept getting stuck to my work surface. Plus I hadn't cut the sponge quite flat on the bottom so the top half kept sliding off the bottom where the jam had got runny.

Anyway, here is Doris the dragon...

And my giant cupcake, which I don't think I trimmed quite enough so it looks more like a toadstool.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010


Mum and Dad had today off work and I had said they were welcome to visit us to celebrate my birthday. My initial thoughts were just to go out for lunch, but Mum suggested that we went out somewhere for the day.

After much debate, rejected ideas from either side we finally agreed to go to Oxford. After sitting in M25 traffic we got to Oxford at about 11 only to find the first park and ride was full so we had to go around the ring round to the next one.

We had time to climb the stairs up the church tower before lunch so Dad, Ollie and I set off while mum wondered around the church (She doesn't do towers, heights or stairs!) The view from the top was very good and Ollie pointed out all of the main sights and you could catch a glance into his college's quad.
Brasenose college
We had already decided on Pizza Hut buffet for lunch so headed there after a brief look in the University shop where I was very tempted by a college hoodie, but thought it a bit cheeky as I went to the University of London!

After lunch we spent a good couple of hours looking round the natural history museum. Mum had never been to a natural history museum before, preferring to frequent the Science Museum whenever we headed into London. I did learn that Tuna are about 50 times bigger than I had previously thought. I now understand how the people who fish for the tins that I buy that say "caught one by one by pole and line in the Maldives" actually earn any profit! (I had thought several fish make one tin rather than 1 fish making lots of tins!)

I also didn't realise that Tortoises spine bones are attached to their shells. We also saw some Samurai swords which were very cool!

Then it was time for the main attraction, G & D ice cream! They make it on the premises and it's the best ice cream I've ever had (and that includes Italian ice cream in Italy!). They also do hot chocolate fudge sauce and it really is divine. I did get laughed at for ordering tea with my ice cream but I thought it was quite a good combination!

After a quick look around the shops it was time to head back to the car to sit in M25 traffic again on the way home.

Radcliffe Camera

My finished craft cupboard

Ollie put all the shelves up yesterday morning and I spent all afternoon emptying the boxes of stash and sorting all my bits and pieces out into boxes. 

Empty Shelves waiting for stash
Many hours later...
Top shelf for magazines completed cards and albums
Embellishments in Ikea tupperware
Really funky IKEA clear storage
Fibres, brads, beads and space for the ribbon box
Hanging bag full of plastic bags!
Still to sort
A clear desk to work on!

 I am really pleased with the finished result. All of my stash is now accessible and I know where it is. I still need to sort out the bits and pieces that are stored in my door hanger (Ollie wants to secure it to the door rather than use the over door hangers) and I may exchange a few bits that are in my Tote at the moment.

I spent last night (with mum's help) making a ribbon box (photos to follow). I was much berated by my family for not drawing a grid for the holes or making smaller holes for the smaller ribbon! Still I finished it, all the ribbons fit and it does a job!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Chicken Soup for the soul Recipe 10

I've done some scrapping!

I was inspired by chicken soup for the soul's recipe 10 and thought that I'd dig some stash out of the boxes. I don't think it turned out too badly considering the fact that I could only get to stash at the top of the box and in my Tote!

chicken soup recipe 10

My shelves are hopefully going up tomorrow so I can spend the rest of the week taking stash out the boxes and onto the shelves where I can use it!

Before photos

I now have shelves, brackets and hinges for my scrap cupboard. All I need is for them to be screwed to the wall.

This is the cupboard before the transformation...

We are removing the existing shelves at the top and the bottom to make more room. So all of this can fit inside!

Just a couple of boxes of stash
Oh and another box and a Tote
But I have got a few funky storage options including some Tupperware and these funky storage boxes from IKEA.

I've been trawling UKS and blog sites for ingenious and inexpensive storage ideas and have a good idea for a shoebox ribbon case.  I can't wait to start unpacking the stash!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Progress on the hall

After we had taken all of the awful wallpaper off the walls we had a kaleidoscope of paint colours that had been there at some point in the last 70 years. We had pink, light green and dark green. I still thought that was an improvement on the wallpaper though!

Unfortunately it also meant that the walls needed re plastering. That meant that I had to score the walls ready for the plasterer. This was done using several runs of craft knife blades, 2 aching arms and several weekends of hard work. It's worth it though as the final finish is much better. We've also replaced all the doors, the orange carpet, the light switches and plug sockets, the radiator and the banister. 

After plastering and base coat of paint
Old front door
Old banisters
New Front door
New Radiator
New banisters and carpet
New doors
We still need to replace the 3 way light switch by the front door but the hole in the wall needs expanding, box in the gas meter, varnish the front door and the door to the dining room and also put up the stair rail.

Our new house

I need to start by showing the photos of the house before we started. Look away if you are of a sensitive disposition that can't deal with pink and orange in the same room!

We'll start with the outside. That's not too bad. There's not a lot you can do to the outside that clashes!

We then move inside, the lounge is ok, apart from the swirly artex on the ceiling and the manky blue carpet tiles. The windows are the whole of 2 and a bit sides of the room and it's lovelly and bright. Especially with all the blinds up and the patio doors open, it feels like you are sitting right in the garden. The previous owners left the red sofa and chair set which will do us until we can get around to decorating. Besides, the cats find them quite cosy!

Moving into the kitchen, it's not the best designed kitchen ever. There's a cupboard in the corner which doesn't open because the other cupboard is in the way. I have a feeling that a new kitchen is several bonuses down the road though!

The dining room and the hall shared the same manky orange carpet and wallpaper combo when we moved in, teamed with red curtains and pink paintwork it's hideous! It made the hall really dark and so that's the first room we've started on. 

Close up of the really nice flocked wallpaper

Wallpaper curtain combo - nice!
It doesn't look too bad in the photo, but believe me the woodwork really is a dusky pink!
Moving upstairs, the bathroom with more peachy orange, this time on the tiles (Bathroom is number 2 on the list for replacement!)

And yes it was that filthy when we moved in too
Our room is yes another example of the hideous taste of the people who were here before. I'm pretty certian they must have been colourblind! Our ceiling is yellow. Yes yellow. Not yellow as in was white and has got a bit stained over time by cigarette smoke and general dirt but actually painted sunny yellow! Complete with 80s throwback fitted cupboards. The cupboards lasted a week before they were ripped out. Not by choice, but because Brian had managed to find a tiny hole at the top to jump down and got himself stuck behind them. There was no other option but to rip them all out (plus half the wall as they were superglued with silicon) while a very frighted (and stupid) cat cowered in a corner.

Close up of the wallpaper to match the yellow ceiling

The other bedrooms are thankfully neutral with fairly decent laminate flooring. The Arsenal stickers in what will be the guest room stayed approximately 10 minutes after us getting the keys!

So that's our new house. Lots and lots of work to do. We've already started the hallway so I've some photos of that to go in the next post.

Blog revived!

Ok, I know it's been well over a year since I last blogged and to be honest a lot has happened!

We moved house, so there's going to be a whole lot of DIY posts to make. Plus I've passed the last of my accountancy exams so I'm free from studying to spend more time scrapping and general crafting. I'm also trying to work out how to blog from my phone so hopefully I will be able to keep up to date a bit better!

I do have to write a dissertation for my accountancy degree, but that's going ok and it's got to be done by November. I'm really looking forward to actually having a Christmas this year and not worrying about exams!