Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Life's a Picnic

I spent this weekend down in West Sussex, where Mr Crafty hails from. The sun was out in all its glory on Sunday which was a miracle as we had scheduled in a picnic with some friends a couple of months ago and that is usually like a red rag to a bull for the gods to play havoc with the weather. Instead we got brilliant sunshine and spent the day enjoying a heady mix of orange and lavender cake, prosecco with wild strawberry liquer and rounders.

Here are the chocolate truffle torte with fresh raspberries and afore-mentioned orange and lavender cake that I baked for the occasion (please imagine for a moment that these are resplendant on pretty vintage cake stands rather than in tupperware boxes).

I was reminded that when I was growing up my Father always coveted a proper picnic hamper complete with china, cloth napkins and metal cutlery, the sort that is synonymous with Glyndebourne, punting on the Cam and Pimms i.e. quintessentially British. I have inhereted a similar longing from him but these days most picnic sets come in the form of rucksacks with non-breakable, far too sensible plastic crockery and cutlery. What I hanker after is totally a impractical willow basket lined with lovely linens and stocked with patterned china and glasses you can clink.

I was, therefore, delighted to find the hampers of my dreams at Life's A Picnic. They assemble gorgeous hampers from vintage crockery and cutlery and do all the sewing and leather work themselves. At around £180 - £260 a hamper they are not cheap but no two hampers are the same and they are the sort of investment that you could pass down through the generations:

Is it Pimms O'Clock already? Must dash. TTFN...

Monday, 18 May 2009

Familiar Faces

We originally created this display of family portraits for our wedding:

I found the frames at a carboot sale and not one of them cost more than 20p. For the wedding I painted the frames green and yellow to match our scheme and hung them on wide white satin ribbons on the wall of the village hall. The photos are of our grandparents, parents and ourselves as littl'uns. We mananged to get wedding photos from Mr Crafty's side of the family although it proved a little tricky to do the same with my more bohemian relations who were less given to conventional nuptuals.

None of our gradparents are still with us so I loved having them on the wall watching over our day and the display was one of my favourite details at the reception. After the wedding I really wanted to give the photos a permanent home so I repainted the frames in white and now our photographic family tree has pride of place on our bedroom wall which means our family, both living and departed, can now watch over us as we sleep.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

The best things in life are free...

I am sure that most of you are well acquainted with the wonders of Freecycle by now but if not then I urge you to join your local group. The principle is that if you have something that you no longer need be it a piece of furniture or even a cardboard box then instead of throwing it away and adding to landfill sites you can offer it to your local community. That cardboard box might come in very handy to someone moving home for example. We list bits and pieces on there regularly and even freecycled our old Micra rather than scrapping it when the cost of the repairs it needed were more than the value of the car. It went to a budding mechanic who could do the work himself and voila everyone was happy escpecially the environment! It isn't a failsafe system. Some people obviously abuse it and sell goods on and some people ask for things and then never turn up to collect which can be very frustrating if you have waited in. Nonetheless in the balance it is definitely more good than bad.

We have received a number of really useful things from kind freecyclers and I got a number of bits for our wedding from there. This weekend's find was a bit of a coup! We managed to bag four of these Danish style teak chairs.

They need a good sand and re-oiling but I love the shape and they are very comfy. It means we can finally retire the folding wooden Ikea chairs we bought when we moved into our first rented flat together.

My one quandary is the upholstery. I know the black vinyl is very period but I am pretty sure I want to re-cover the seats although I am unusually stumped as to what fabric to chose. We have a through lounge and the dining area is at one end. We have predominantly white walls with the splash of wallpaper on the chimney breast and on one wall by the dining table so it would need to work with this already rather busy pattern. It will definitely require a bit of thought but if anyone has any brainwaves on pattern or colour then please comment away!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

And the winners are...

Thank you again to Conversation Pieces and Eden Rose for my Lemonade Award!

As promised I am now passing it on. A number of my daily reads who I would have instinctively nominated have been recent recipients of this award (including the lovely ladies above who sent the award my way) so I decided to include some blogs that I have only just discovered but that I am sure I will be visiting regularly from now on alongside some that are already firm favourites of mine.

So without more ado here are my nominees...

le petit oiseau
Paper Leaf Studio
What Katie Does
Tales of a jUnkaholic
Moments Of Pleasure....
Grant-Riley Weddings
A(nother) Rennovation Blog
Slices of Beauty
Kay Loves Vintage
Katy Elliott

For the winners, share the love and pass it on… here’s what to do….
1)Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post


2) Nominate at least 10 blogs that show great attitude or gratitude
3) Link to your nominees within your post
4) Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog
5)Link to the person from who you received your award

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Of Kitchens, Chairs and Lemonade

After a productive Sunday testing out some melamine primer on one of our kitchen cabinet doors and scoring four Danish style teak chairs on freecycle (more of them soon) I logged on to find out that I had been given not one but two Lemonade awards from two of my favourite bloggers Eden Rose and Conversation Pieces. Thanks so much ladies!! I only started this blog in Feb so I feel like a relative young'un in blogging terms so I am truly touched to recieve these. I will be back with my nominees before too long.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Bank Holiday Baby Shower

I spent part of the lovely sunny bank holiday weekend just gone celebrating the joint baby shower for two of my very good friends from primary school. It means a huge amount to me that we are all still in touch after all these years and I am so looking forward to meeting the two new junior additions to our clan.

I am planning to make each new arrival some little shoes when I know their genders and can pick out a nice fabric for them but in the meantime I thought some basic white babygrows, scratch mittens and blankets would be useful for their mums when they are newborns. I spent a while looking for nice gift bags to put the bits and pieces in and couldn't find anything I liked so instead, on a whim, I decided to make some from some leftover yellow striped wallpaper that I used for our wedding. Now I know how easy it is to make gift bags from scratch I shan't ever be buying one again!

I made these by wrapping the paper round a shallow carboard box as a guide. The next time I make some I will take some step by step photos and put a proper tutorial on here as it is so easy there is just no need to buy ready made bags which are always so overpriced for what they are. I finished the bags off with some buff luggage tags which I stamped with a pretty green swallow print. I tied all the individual babygrows and mittens etc with sheer yellow, green polka dot and green gingham ribbons and popped them inside. I hope it made some rather boring but useful Mothercare basics a lot more personal.

And as no baby shower is complete without cupcakes I made a batch to take along:

Hundreds and thousands take me right back to the parties that we all used to go to together when we were five years old. I love the fact that here we all are, two of us about to be mums and another a mum twice over already, still eating cupcakes topped with hundreds and thousands and enjoying each others company just as we always did.