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Monthly Archives: May 2010

First second-hand fruits of the summer

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Summer arrived in London in a serious way last week, it was eye-ball wateringly hot, and as we gallivanted around Brighton (we popped down for a day trip to hear about my friend’s recent home birth) I felt just that bit more happy with the world.

I was also pretty happy that, although Tim and I have been trying our hardest not to buy stuff till we get in to our house (on that note our estate agents are setting up a meeting between us and the belligerent vendor next week) we have been very un-self controlled and have therefore managed to stash up some sweet summer goods over the last couple of weeks.

These bits and bobs, collected from street corners, car boots and charity shops have already seen air time, with starring roles in our Regent Park picnics.

Here is the essential summer collection:

  • Tea cups and china saucers: 10p- 70p from the Ashford carboot (we happened to be camping close by the weekend before last. It was still freezing then but made the camp fires more fun)
  • Beautiful strawberry and cherry table cloth: £3:99 from the Dalston Oxfam Shop – well worth a visit if you live within 20 miles!
  • Cream metal picnic hamper: Free from outside a shop having been part of their window display- with many thanks to these high street capitalists with their wasteful ways.
  • Mint green rusty colander: Key item here for rinsing the caterpillars off those just – scrumped blackberries. 5op from one of the many glorious charity shops on Old Kent Road
  • Tea flask: £1:99 also from Old Kent Road charity shops, London’s best kept secret, it is totally second hand heaven.
So here’s to a cracking summer- hope yours is filled with much tea and cake, scrumping and picnicking.

Hey baby, let’s rock and roll…

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Just thought I’d do a quick house/ baby update for kiwis that don’t get to daily witness the progress (or lack of!)
House wise. We put the offer in the first week of March – it’s a delicious little 3 bed Victorian terrace in Camberwell- and it was accepted immediately. And, well, basically, ever since we have been assured that “the contracts are in the post” and they just never arrive! We are getting a bit mad, especially as it needs some serious beautifying and, you know, babies don’t tend to wait until you have a home sorted before bursting on to the scene. Everyone is on the case; lawyers, the estate agents, but apart from nagging all we can do is sit and wait. This is not my style one bit. Waaahhh. London has been filled with glorious sun this week and for every warm day we think “That’s another missed BBQ in our little Camberwell house.”

Meanwhile, my bump is growing, making getting dressed in the morning a bit of an ordeal as everyday I discover another faithful item that doesn’t fit anymore. (Although I think it looks less significant now at 15 weeks then it did at 10 weeks because my first trimester had me full up with wind. Mwahaha. Fart fest. Those days have passed (ha) for the time being.) I have been really lucky with no sickness and now my first trimester tiredness has been given the heave ho I have a new lease of life. Woop!!

So this first picture is me at 8 weeks. It’s the before picture really.

And this is me yesterday. At 15 weeks. (Shivers, that is almost 4 months.)

The difference is a bit naff in these pics but you should see me in the evening after a day of feasting, then I am as rotund as a little Russian Babushka doll. I will make sure the next snap is taken at 10pm just before I roll into bed, then it will be like “Hello Baby!”


Three little birds sat by my doorstep

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A month ago I heard about an art exhibition being held at my work’s atrium, for employees to display their artsy skills to their colleagues. How fabulous, Count me in with bells on. I am really rubbish at getting on with my crafty shenanigans when I’m purposeless, but when there is a “thing” like this I get a huge surge of juicy energy.

Over the last year I have found a proper love for collage on old wood. I used to live with a crowd of people in a big old house in Oxford Circus that had an attic full of old rotting wooden planks. (We had to move out because of fire issues but we still sort of commune there a bit.) When I decided to display at Art Week I clambered up to the attic to choose a few choice cuts but to my dismay saw that I had used up the stores!

I did manage to forage some white tiles though and have tried to do something a little similar…

They are based on the Bob Marley tune about three little birds telling him not to worry but to be happy. I think there is some potential, but do miss the multi-layered look that I can normally create on wood because you have more space. You have to be a bit more deliberate with these tiny tiles. I’m also a bit cross about the varnish yellowing. I am a big fan of varnishing, it gives papery things their mojo, kind of like how laminating did in the early 2000’s. But tiles are much less forgiving then wood when it goes wrong. (Husband Tim had to take charge of the varnishing so as to not intoxicate our unborn!)

This is the first stage- tiles, gel pens, old magazine paper, scissors and glue!

Second stage avec old sewing pattern paper (love this stuff) and bits of cotton threads.

This is them pimped with varnish so the sewing paper goes see through but still adding texture, and mounted on wood. Not too happy with the finished result but feel like there is some future between me and white tiles.

Keep calm and eat cake

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I am pretty lucky with my job (community and activism campaigner with an international development charity) in that it involves as much creativity as I can handle. I get to work with loads of inspirational people- like the Craftivist Collective who are just subversively, cross stitchingly fabulous.

But one of the other top bits of my job is the team I work with who are so crafty and creative, and, as I type, are in the corner of the office baking chocolate cakes in the microwave. Yes, we may have a brand new government, cabinet ministers may be being declared every half an hour, the future of the political landscape shifting every moment, but hey, you know what? Baking is important too.

One mug. One simple cake recipe.* 3 minutes in the mic and then 4 minutes to eat its moist, chocolatey self.

Baking taking place on our special coffee table, a massive round bit of wood left over from the Make Poverty History campaign.

*4 Tablespoons cake flour

4 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa
1 Egg 3 Tablespoons milk
3 Tablespoons oil

Car boot sales rock my world

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Seriously, I just can’t get enough. until about 3 months ago I thought Charity Shops were heaven, but they have been massively usurped in favour of the archaic (I mean really, boot sales and the house moving process are the only two things to remain completely untouched by the internet revolution) wander- around -a -muddy -field -amongst- a- zillion -Mr Bean- VHS’s- Sunday morning experience.
Tea cups for 10p, ammo boxes for two quid (I bought three, not realising their violent original purpose, eek… will plant flowers for peace in them maybe) and a A Dad’s Guide to Having a Baby book for 25p. Brilliant. We also nabbed a bread maker this Sunday and have been munching hearty home backed slices non stop since. It is bargains galore; grannies who have never heard of shabby chic and young men who don’t realise the beauty that rust and flaky paints adds to an item! Ha!
Of course, the other tantalising thing is that they are so rare and hard to find, precious jewels of Kentish surburbia. This also means that Charity Shops won’t miss my custom too much as I need a daily browsing fix that Car Boots will never satisfy. Win Win for everyone.

Get yourself a local paper and look in the Classifieds section ASAP, there is some 1920’s crockery out there for 70p with your name on it!

Crafting babies and homes: a bit about me and what I hope the new blog to be…

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I love creating stuff, I’m not too picky about what, although at the moment I am big into making collages. Oh, and babies. I’m 14 weeks this week, it is our first and we are hand clappingly happy about it. It is pretty cool making something without really doing anything. At the moment I believe I am working on a hearing system to make those ears functionable.

We are half way through moving into a little Victorian terrace in Camberwell, South London. Once in, we (that’s my husband, Tim, and house mate, Shelley) we will be obliterating the worst-of-the-eighties- decor and unleashing our dreams of a recycled, beautiful, best-of-all-era’s design theme. We are just waiting on all those boring bits like land registry checks and all that.

This crafting blog will hopefully document the foetus to new-born, no house to delicious home stage in our lives…

Hello world!

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