Friday, 25 February 2011

Friday Etsy Crushes

Mechanical Animals by Oh My Cavalier

White Grrr By Perfect Children

Francesca Romantic Floral Crown by Gardens of Whimsy

Real Bunny Journal by Sweet Bestiary

I'm having one of those slow, non-starter days today. I had my job interview yesterday and consequently I am left waiting anxiously by the phone today. To pass the time and avoid over-thinking, I've been catching up with some of my favourite sellers on Etsy. Here's a few items that put a smile on my face (yes, even mr grr).

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Ferm Living

5. Ferris Mobile

I've never been a massive fan of minimalist design, I'm too much of a hoarder and a clutterbug to live in any sort of diciplined way. On the other hand, I can't get enough of Scandinavian style. I love the plain dentist-white walls dotted with candy-coloured accessories. Minimal is one thing, but simplicity is another. If you can pair down your colour-schemes, you can let your quirky collections shine.

Danish designers, Ferm Living, are a brilliant source of inspiration for this style. Their bold, unique pieces would be a real talking point in your home, and a guaranteed warm feeling every time you lay eyes on them. Moderation is the key: let these items speak for themselves.

1. I'm in love with thick striped wallpaper at the moment. I usually go for a faded grey stripe, but this jet black would look amazing against a dark plum coloured wall. All Ferm Living wallpaper is part of a new generation of non-woven papers that are easier and faster to hang; you just apply the paste to the wall and line the paper up. My man would be ecstatic.

2. If you don't feel like covering a whole wall with pattern, wall-stickers are a great way to add some interest to a room. This telegraph pole sticker really jumps out at you and would make a huge impact on walking into the room.

3. I love all Ferm Living's kitchen range. Their use of glass and porcelain is so iconic, and yet very fresh. These glass lab jars are perfect for displaying single stem flowers or cooking oils. I'm very tempted to order one as an olive oil pourer.

4. This porcelain dining ware is absolutely adorable. The circus-style bunting really sets off this bowl; child-like but very stylish at the same time. Pair with some coloured melamine cutlery and a crisp white tablecloth and you're good to go.

5. I don't usually get mobiles but this ferris wheel carved plywood number really gets me. And sometimes, when something grabs you, you have to grab it back. This would look great hung on a wall as a decoration next to a shelf full of other curiosites. Very retro.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Lissie - When I'm Alone

My favourite song at the moment. I love the sound of Lissie's voice, it's so full of emotional and grit. Plus, she is an amazing natural beauty. Makes me wish I had more freckles.

If you like this, check out her covers. She does an amazing version of Lady Gaga's 'Bad Romance' and brings a whole different sound to the Metallica classic 'Nothing Else Matters'.

Design Craves

Today has been a day of gentle recuperation from a busy weekend's filming, in conjunction with the receiving of several items of very good news. The first being I have a job interview on Thursday after several weeks of hearing nothing from anywhere I'd applied. Very exciting. The second: I have enrolled upon a diploma course at the National Design Academy and start in 2 weeks!

To celebrate the commencement of my adventure into interior design, I thought I'd share with you a few of my favourite finds in the world of home accessories. Aren't they lovely? I especially like the elephant doorstop, he is so adorably clumsy looking! Which would you love to have in your home?

Friday, 18 February 2011

Burlesque Beauty School

My first attempt at creating victory rolls!

Adding flower accessories

Experimenting with retro bows

Edible lip glitter

Last night I attended a master class led by the notorious queen of the stage Anna Fur Laxis in how to create a classic burlesque look.

We went through all the essentials to creating the glamorous pin-up look:
  • The 1-minute perfect eyebrow secret
  • How to make lips and eyes 'pop'
  • Eyelash application
  • Perfect eyeliner flicks
  • How to cheat your way to victory rolls
  • Using flowers and scarves
I'm amazed how much I learnt in just 2 hours. I don't often wear that much make-up and have never been particularly confident with eyeshadow, but I now feel I can experiment more with my day to day look. Most of the other gals were really amazed at how their look turned out, everyone underwent such a transformation!

Have a look on Anna's website to find out more about the colourful world of burlesque or to book a class.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Stitched Cards

I have been making greetings cards this afternoon, after feeling very inspired by these lovely hand-stitched cards from Ethel and Iris.

Zinc White's Spring Collection

From the Flower Ring Collection

From the Brooch Collection

From the Pebble Ring Collection

Models - Tammy and
Timmy The Sheep
Clothes - Model's own
Photography - Zinc
Stylist - White

Here's a little sneak peek of the Zinc White spring collection pieces! Made using recycled art pencils from the famous Derwent pencil factory in Cumbria, all Zinc White's beautifully hand-crafted jewellery is deliciously colourful and cheerful and, best of all, 100% recycled!

This incredibly talented duo can take any old thing you might find lying around your home, neglected and lonesome, and transform it into something totally fresh, unique and wearable.

Their primary aim is to 'radically change the way society thinks about waste and fashion', and I think I can safely say they are very much on their way to doing so!

Visit their Facebook Page to find out more.

Stockists: Thunderbug Art Collective, Byram Arcade, Huddersfield.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Gary the Octopus

A piece of embroidery art created for my loverly man this valentines. He has christened him 'Gary'. What can I say?

Hunting for Valentines

On Sunday I was treated to a very nice surprise my by lovely man, who had been preparing for the last week, in secret, a little valentine's treasure hunt! He had written 10 little poems which acted as clues to hidden locations around our house where he had stashed 10 reasons he loves me along with little presents. This was so much more thoughtful than your usual bunch of flowers and box of choccies, and more of a laugh too (more at me than anything, I'm not so good at disciphering clues it seems!)

My flowers were hidden under our coffee table.

Edible kittens were a bit of a surprise! I was a bit hesitant about eating them, they're so cute. But after tasting the chocolate, my reservations were forgotten!

The first clue was hidden in my card. Complete with two little bamboo bears :)

These are the clues!

Last year, I prepared him an indoor picnic complete with pop-up tent, chocolate dipped strawberries and love tokens for special treats. I thought I could never be beaten. I just might have to admit defeat on this one. Damn.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Lemony Love

If you're looking for a scrumptious pud to impress your love this valentine's, have a go at this delectable Baked Lemon Cheesecake.

First, weigh out 250g of biscuits. I usually use digestive biscuits, but you could use anything really, depending on how you want your base to be. You could use ginger nuts to add more flavor, or hobnobs for a crunchier base.

Put your chosen biscuits into a food bag and use a rolling pin to bash (yes, this is the technical term!) the biscuits until they resemble fine breadcrumbs.

Et voile! They should look like this. This can be done in a food processor (if you have one) as crunching manually does take a while.

Now weigh 100g butter and melt on a low heat, taking care not to let it burn.

Once your butter is lovely liquid gold, pour into your biscuit crumbs and give it a good mix around until all the crumbs are well coated.

Reserve a little of your melted butter to spread around the bottom of a 23cm spring form cake tin. Cut out a circle of greaseproof paper and stick this on top of your buttery glue. This will make it easier to get your cheesecake out when it is cooked. Now spoon your mixture into the tin and use the back of a metal spoon to compress and smooth the biscuits.

I then baked my base in the oven at 15o for 10 minutes to crisp it up a bit. Alternatively, you could chill in the fridge until you have prepared your cheesecake mixture. Now, assemble the troops!

You will need: 1 tub of mascarpone (250g), 2 tubs of cream cheese (600g), 3 eggs, 175g of caster sugar, 4 tbsp of plain flour, the zest of 2 lemons and the juice of 1.

Now, combine the ingredients using an electric whisk. Use the lowest setting possible and whizz until smooth but still thick. Take care not to over-whisk as the mixture can become too watery.

If you have cooked your base, leave it to cool completely before pouring the cheesecake mixture into the cake tin and giving it a little wiggle so it settles.

Bake your cheesecake in your pre-heated oven for 45mins-1 hour. I checked mine after 45 mins and the middle wasn't quite set so I let it have the full hour. It should still have a little movement but be solid throughout.

Tada! You can top your finished desert with a little lemon curd, which can be used to fill any cracks that might occur during the cooling period. Make sure it is completely cool before you start to top it. Your cheesecake can be topped with any kind of fresh fruit, but blueberries and raspberries are particularly nice!

No matter what, you're sure to have a lot of fun making it, as well as putting a smile on that special person's face.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

July Flame

I love a happy ending.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Stitched Gold Dust

It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to these embroidered wonders from Jaclyn Rose, at holidaytart. She uses all recycled fabrics and frames to create hand-drawn machine embroidered gems. I love the idea of drawing with a needle and thread; for someone who is no good with a pen and paper it has a massive appeal. The mixture of pattern, texture and colour used in these pieces just...well, it speaks for itself really.

Hop over to Mr X Stitch, the number one contemporary embroidery and needlecraft site, to see their recent feature of holidaytart's work and other stitching talent. It is a veritable feast for the eyes, I promise.