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Saturday, 19 April 2014

Easter - Much Needed Wreath Improvement

Good morning all!
In 2012, I made my first ever Easter wreath. It came out OK and I did use it for that year, but I was never excited about it and felt it was missing something... Do you remember what it looked like? It was this one:

A little sparse, don't you think? Not to fear, more Easter stuff to the rescue!

I added a better bow. I found rolls of bright colours at Tiger for only £1 each so I got a lot. I also added only one ribbon with bunnies so that really pops I think.

 Then I added another pack of plastic eggs to the whole thing, rearranging some of the existing ones as well. And a little more paper grass that I had leftover from the original wreath.

The result is amazing. I really love it now :) I also left out the large hanging ribbon and replaced it by a simple white one, drawing attention more to the wreath itself.

Would you like a comparison?
Before and After

Yes I like the new one much better! Now it's definitely more Eastery and looks much better. I am very proud of this one :) With some time to spare, I also made some more peasant bread (I love that recipe!) and some pull apart cinnamon bread. There goes my healthy regime!

Now we're all set for Easter and some time of R&R :)

Friday, 18 April 2014

Easter - Gradual Egg Dying

Hi all!
It's Good Friday and that always means one thing: dying Easter eggs! It's been tradition since I was a little girl, and I am still doing this every year. 
 
I found this way of dying Easter eggs in a Martha Stewart magazine (or so I think, I have since given them away so I can't remember exactly, nor can I remember the exact word for this technique), and it's really easy and fun :) The result looks great too!

The instruction are easy. Add you dye and vinegar (or whatever you normally use) to a bowl and add the egg. Let this be for a few minutes, then add more water. Leave this be again, and add more water after a few minutes. Gradually, the egg will be covered in water, but because part of it has already been dyed, it will become lighter and lighter towards the top. It's great fun, check out my results:

It can be seen best on the purple and pink ones. I love this technique!

I made a few, we're only two so why make more? There is one where I tried the elastic technique but that didnt come out well at all so I just continued with the adding water bit.

Nearly time to eat them now!!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Recipe - Chocolate Cinnamon Bread Wreath

Hi again everyone!
A few weeks back I decided to make one of the recipes I found on Pinterest, a chocolate cinnamon bread wreath. It had Nutella and cinnamon, what could go wrong?

The original recipe can be found here and as it has all the step-by-step instructions, I won't repost them all here, but I will show you the end result. The recipe was very promising, but alas my bread making skills are not so it was a bit chewy. Yes I know I need to practice more, I just dont have the time (or the patience, that rising takes all day sometimes!). The idea of having 'cooked' Nutella also was not my favourite suggestion in this, I think maybe next time I will use the cinnamon only and spread the Nutella on top afterwards. I find that it loses its sweetness if it's warmed up too much. Or I've done something completely wrong which is very possible too of course ;)

By all means, I don't mean to criticize the recipe at all and I'm happy I've tried it. I just need to work on the whole baking bread thing a bit more. Oh yes, and getting the wreath to fold over nicely at both ends. Honestly, how do you do that properly? My wreath had a very thick end and a very thin end. I tried to take some nice piccies of it though:




It doesn't look too bad if you look at it from the right angle ;) Hahaha, oh my I really must try this bread thing again soon when I have some more time. Or maybe stick it in the bread maker and have that do the kneading for me? Ooooh idea! 

Anyway, I wanted to share this with you, check out the recipe with its very clear instructions if you like Nutella-cinnamonny goodness :)

Monday, 17 March 2014

Cross Stitch WIP - Further Update

Hi everyone!
It's been a while but I have finally taken some pics of my progress regarding my cross stitch project. It's been almost two years since I started and with all the exercising I haven't really taken a lot of time to work on it in the last six months, but as I'll be going to my sewing group in two weeks I have to have something to show! I was sure I'd taken some pics since I last posted about this last year but I can't find them anywhere so I may be wrong on that one. Anyway, here is my progress of what I've finished this month:

The tree now has roots and grass and is all done

The house now has a fence and a door. Am still working on the stairs... 

And most of the right hand side of the house is done :)

So good progress so far! Am trying to get more done as I have another project that needs finishing by July so I really have to hurry with this one. The back stitching will come, as long as all the cross stitching is done. But it's looking good don't you think? *huge smile*

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Shiny New Yoga Bag

Hi everyone!
I FINALLY have a new yoga bag :) 


My class provides yoga mats but I wanted my own (in purple of course) which I got last winter. But I didn't have a bag so I just carried it around like that. Very inconvenient. Then I was given a yoga bag which I consequently also managed to break, the bottom came apart and no matter how many times I sewed it back up it just wouldnt stay together! I guess it was the sewing gods telling me I should really get started on that bag... I still had all the fabric from the tote bag I made for my teacher so it was really just a matter of sitting down and start sewing.

A few years ago, I made this bag for someone else who then never collected it so I gave it away for my one-year blogaversary. It's an Amy Butler pattern and can be downloaded for free here. AND... I was so impressed with myself because when I made the first bag many years ago, I was still much more organised and I made patterns for everything, even plain squares. Oh my how things have changed ;) Not that I don't need the patterns anymore, I just don't make them anymore ;) But with this one I actually had a pattern and it made such a difference! I made this bag in 3.5 hours, completely lined and everything :) Well it did help that my machine didn't have a crisis and managed to run smoothly all the way through. See? Sewing gods, am telling you. Let me show you:


The original pattern doesn't have a closure on the top, but I just made the top a bit longer, folded it over and stitched it closed creating a tube. I used laces from some boots (really who wears yellow shoe laces) and one of those squeezy things to stop it from moving.

I only had one choice for the strap and I only had one piece long enough for this. I love the little frog in the Lotus pose but alas it didn't end up on the strap. 

I made sure it ended up on the bottom though! 

The inside has a layer of linen and this printed cotton. Black with grey swirls to match the yoga fabric. Even if you don't really see it, I know it's there :) And with all these layers, this bag is bound to be sturdy and not break in the near future!

The bag has three pockets which are super handy for things like my mini towel, yoga socks, tissues, keys etc. The pockets are of course also lined.

Random picture of the fabric, this is just so cute! Sadly the girly yoga mouse fabric was sold out, but this is a good second. :)

The bag can be worn on the shoulder or across the back. I think across the back is super comfy (and it doesn't cause my dummy to fall over when taking pictures!) so I wear it like that all the time.

Impromptu photo at yoga class. This would be the one occasion where I should have worn the bag just over one shoulder, but it was already done. Oh well...

And just one more thing, I finally managed to grab my feet! Whoohoo! Yes, it had to be photographed as evidence hihi... It's far from perfect but it's great progress for me, when I started I couldn't even touch my ankles :)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Pancake Day 2014

Hello again!
This year, Pancake Day was the day after the Oscar Party. Ouch! I actually wanted to skip yoga and just eat a ton of pancakes, but after all that food and drink at the Oscar party, I really needed to go. So we had pancakes afterwards :) 

I didn't go to any races again this year, my lunch break isn't long enough to cross half the city to see one. But someone posted a hilarious video on Youtube of the Parliamentary Pancake Race this year so check it out here:



It's so funny!


My pancakes are far from great so the bf made them. I sadly didn't catch him when he flipped the pancake in the air, but when he caught it in the pan I managed to get it :)

There were so good! And much better than my quite bad piccie shows. It's really quite wonderful to have pancakes after yoga, I could get used to that!

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Oscar Party 2014

Heyhey again everyone!
The Oscars were on again! Having pretty much ignored Halloween and not done a huge amount for Christmas, I really wanted to make a lot of effort for the party this year. Dishes were cooked, ballots completed, and a LOT of champagne was drunk. In short: it was great!



I used a lot of decoration from last year, but some things changed as well. For example, the golden plates are great for serving cold light dishes. Anything heavy or warm is a bit problematic so I used normal plates instead. More dishes in the end, but safer for everyone. 

I used the same bunting again but as the lady who normally makes these wonderful labels didn't make any this year, I just stuck the new nominees on the old bunting. It worked as well :) And of course we also had gold and black balloons around the living room.

I got these great decorations from LA when I was there. I had three (Lights, Camera, Action) and they were great. The little golden statue came from my office where it was just standing around. Perfect to borrow for tonight!

This sign also came from LA. I just loved the cheesy souvenir shops there!

I actually forgot to put the candles on the table as they are currently elsewhere but I still have them!

I also made my own Oscar statues this year. Ken dolls are majorly expensive, no luck in the charity shops here so I went on ebay and found GI Joes for fairly cheap. There were all drawn on and stuff but as they would be spray painted anyway that didnt matter. Once I had painted them though they were just in the box for a while until I found two flower pots I bought a while back for something else. Some more paint, a bf who known how to put it all together and voila, cool Oscar statues! I tried to get some good pics with the Oscar symbol on tv as well but sadly didn't manage. Maybe next year!

 I also couldnt find red or black napkins anywhere (I was a bit last minute with some things) so I settled for white ones with a golden band

As is tradition, I made one dish for each movie. That was a challenge let me tell you! Only on the day before did I manage to have a set menu! As mentioned before, due to lack of pretty labels, I had to make my own with black paper, sticky labels, and glitter. I just used a pen though, so sometimes the writing is a little light. The menu was:

The Wolf of Wall Street: Champagne and lumpfish caviar on blinis. Yes, the bottle in the previous picture was at least 1.5 liter and it was even a Moet & Chandon who sponsor the Oscar broadcast!

Captain Philips: Cantaloupe Melon wrapped in Parma Ham

Her: Mini Pizzas. With all the food I had these were just frozen pizzas. I just didnt have time to make everything from scratch. But as they were the 'in-between' course, they were very much welcome.

Nebraska: Crowder Pea Succotash. I have no idea what crowder peas are but a quick search told me it was lots of peas in a pod. Petit pois have that so I used those instead. So good!

Dallas Buyers Club: Drunken Steak. OMG this was amazing! I can't cook a steak to save my life so thankfully the bf took over here. It was so good! We used rump steak as even my butcher didnt know what flank steak was but it was heaven.

American Hustle: Brussels Sprout Gratin. I had chopped everything the day before so this just had to be popped in the oven quickly.

Philomena: Colcannon. Simple, yummy, and Irish. There was just no way I could incorporate an omelette anywhere in this menu.

Dessert was a combination of 12 Years A Slave and Gravity: Apple and Blackberry Cobbler and Blue Moon Ice Cream. I will post the recipe for the cobbler separately later as I actually didn't use the above recipe exactly but combined two recipes. Also the ice cream ended up purple LOL

I had never made ice cream before and had borrowed my friend's ice cream maker but just in case I needed a backup for Gravity which were these Cauliflower Poppers. The website was hilarious, it basically said when you're in space there is no gravity and this dish has no calories. Yes indeed a stretch but they were really good actually. Plus in the end my ice cream was divine!
We watched the Red Carpet while eating as you can't play Oscar Bingo when eating, you might miss something! Here you can see Lupita Nyong'o being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest ;)

After all the food, we watched the ceremony, played Oscar Bingo and checked the ballots everyone completed. As we're in the UK, I had to avoid any media to not have everything spoiled and I asked everyone to give me their forms before Sunday night. I won the Ballot with 12 out of 24 correct :) The prizes for everyone was Ferrero Rocher which with the gold was quite matching (even if my friend said it was not the Golden Globes LOL)

 Yes we clearly had a LOT of champagne! We finished the bottled, opened another one and just had a lovely party. And then there was work the next day... but it was so worth it!
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