Saturday, 30 July 2011

Medieval Day at Skirmish 2011

After having completely failed to go to the Festival of History, we managed to go to Skirmish 2011 with some friends for a day out. It was a 2-hour drive but well worth it, we had a blast! In total the bf and I took about 300 photos but I made a small selection for you to share this lovely day. The weather was perfect (it should be 28C at least tomorrow which is way too warm, today was a nice 22C) and it wasnt too crowded which was bad for the merchants but great for us Londoners who wanted some nature and peace and quiet. And jousting and fighting hihi...

A bit of history on Skirmish. It used to be called Joust and be organised by the Mediaeval Baebes together with the owners of Berkeley Castle until the big flood a few years back which bankrupted the entire thing(click here for a hilarious video of someone waterskiing behind a horse across the flooded fields). About two years after said flood, a new group took over and started organising Skirmish. It is still relatively small compared to Joust but still a lovely festival to attend. Joust will always remain special to me as it was the first ever medieval festival I went to (wearing velours! *cringe*) and it was great being back on site.

Arriving on site. We had already been told a rude medieval joke on entry so the day started well. The English... hahaha

Straight to the market for me, where lots of nice items were on sale...

Plenty of swords for the kids too

Martin's stall (from Martin's Jerked Meat) was covered in these felted flowers which the crafter in me could totally appreciate. He didnt make them but he bought them at another fair. There were hundreds!

Lots of reenactors were there, prepared in many ways...

Some (like our friends) brought their own stoves...

And set the table...

Me talking with a friend and sneakily admitting am not entirely medieval but have the modern stuff cleverly hidden in my wicker basket... LOL

There was jousting too of course but too many pictures didnt come out right. Knights are good too though :)

These kids were so cute while waiting for the battle to start!

The forces approach...

Shots are fired... the guns were ok, the canons were loud! But on the other side of the battlefield so too far for my little camera.

Preparing to fight...

And away we go! It all looked very warm and tiring...

Even with their fallen lying all over the place, they still wanted to insult the enemy...

After the battle was done everyone went with their flags risen high back to their camps...

Which had been left quite empty during the battle so we could take this lovely shot :) It's the only shot of my in my kit for today so I had to include this hihi.

The camps slowly refilling...

One final shot of Berkeley Castle.
Unfortunately with the new organisation this is no longer open to the festival public and you need a separate ticket but I've seen the inside many times and it is amazing, they even have an oubliette! Which is not a dungeon as an oubliette doesnt have a door. The castle is still being used today (probably not the oubliette though hihi).

If you're interested in Berkeley Castle, please follow this link and it will tell you all about it. For example, did you know that King Edward II was murdered in this castle in 1327? Or that Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream was written for a Berkeley wedding? Or that the first American Thanksgiving was held by Berkeley men? Or that William Berkeley became the first governor of Virginia in 1641? Really, I love this castle :) If you're ever around you must visit this! Or go tomorrow when Skirmish is on again :)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Mod Podge Shoes

Once upon a time, in a country far far away... Australia to be precise in the year 2001. I bought a pair of black officey shoes for work. Over the years, as I moved from country to country, these shoes somehow always followed. They werent the most comfortable, or the prettiest shoes, but they served their purpose.

Then suddenly they started to look really bad and dishevelled and I was actually quite embarrassed to wear them but they were the only completely black dressy shoes I owned (I hate shoe-shopping). You see, I always lock my heels underneath my desk chair, and when I then move the chair, the ridges drill into the heel and scrape off the leather. My current office shoes are Docs and they have a wooden heel, much better LOL.

See what I mean? It looks awful... I was really quite embarrassed... In this state they were quite ready for the bin. I only realised this afternoon that I had kept them for the Sally Dress as they were perfect for that! Well, not anymore because...

I pimped them! A little while ago I found a post in blogland about someone added fabric to their Wellies or something with Fabric MP. Well, I only had Outdoor MP but had a go anyway :) OK this picture is really bad, but just look when I am wearing them...

I covered the heels completely in the skull and roses fabric I had leftover from my jeans project, and added single roses to the front of the shoes as an extra touch.

I wore them to work today, it was their first outing :) Check out that heel! I love it!

From the other side also where you can see some of the rose detail on the heel too. By the way, these were taking during my lunch break much to the amusement of passers by LOL

And they even match my jeans! I got so many compliments at work today :)

So basically what I did was cut out the fabric as I needed it, covered the part of the shoe I wanted to cover in MP, stuck on the fabric, and MPd them again 3 times, waiting in between layers.

The shoes are a tad big now that I am no longer in Australia where is was soooo warm! But I'll fix that somehow... I just need some new shoes for the Sally dress but these will definitely be worn a lot more now :) Hopefully I get a better pic sometime soon but I was just too impatient to post about this! I've been waiting for these to dry since Saturday... LOL, do you like them?

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Homemade Sushi!

At Saturday's HYPER JAPAN, I bought a make-your-own-sushi kit as a souvenir to myself. Today I had this massive craving for sushi and just had to try :) So I went online and checked some recipes and instructions and tips and bought some last minute stuff at Tesco. The fish monger there assured me that their salmon is sushi grade which was excellent as my backup was crab sticks (salmon sounded better LOL). The bf was away so this was my chance to see if I could do that and possible only poison myself if anything went wrong. *grin*

So after two hours (!) of making rice and moulding sushi, I finally have a plateful :) I am so proud! Not hungry anymore due to constant nibbling but so proud! And it tastes yummy too if I say so myself. The egg sushi (keep forgetting the name) still needs perfecting and not turn out quite so brown but the taste is great!

Yes very pleased :) I didnt make the dress I was supposed to make but at least I have fresh sushi, hihi. Curious? Check this out:

LOL this is way too much for little me but the bf is on the way and when I sent him this picture he already claimed half the plate! hahaha, let's hope he likes it then :)

I found great instructions here:
How to make salmon nigiri
Sushi rice

Plus this lot has cost me about £5-6 instead of £30 which is even better!

Next time I will try more fillings, but this a lot of sushi already. Mmm, must have another piece *munch munch*...

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Stains On My Top? Where?

Hi all! I just love fixing stuff that doesnt take long ;)
A few years back, my mother gave me a top that she no longer wanted. It was white (not really a colour I wear a lot) and had some sparkling details on the side (OMG...) but it was comfy and I was cold so I kept it. And for years I've been wearing said top at home to veg. Until it became so dirty that I just couldnt get the stains out anymore. Dont ask me what it was that made it so dirty but all the washing in the world didnt help... I was about to throw it away when I thought I could fix these stains in another way :)

Remember the Halloween tea towels? I am keeping all my Halloween fabrics for the Halloween quilt (that I really must start one day, it's been 3 years and counting...) but I had a few small pieces leftover from the towels. So I just covered the stains :) Well, the worst of them anyway... So now I can wear this top again and look cool to boot. What do you think?

This is it :)

The worst stains were near the neckline where the big patch is (it's a teensy bit crooked) but I doubt anyone will notice...

I added one patch on each sleeve and also one to cover the sparkly bit. The other sleeve not shown here has the candy corn patch as well.

I like it :) And it now matched my PJ pants also. Taadaa, a whole new set for free :)

Should anyone have any tips to get the remaining stains out other than bleech please feel free to share... I might be able to have it 100% clean one day *grin*

Oh yes I nearly forgot... I have been working on a very cool project but it's taking a little longer to dry than planned. Hopefully pics will come soon!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

EVEN MORE Boy Baby Clothes!

Really, someone needs to start having a girl so I can make something in pink! LOL... Another present was required for someone at work and once again it was for a baby boy. Specific request: blue. It took me a while to get an idea but here is what I ended up with:

I chose several different fabrics and designs and pulled it all together with blue/white striped cotton details.

I made another tie onesie like I made for the twins.

Combined with baby trousers with a lovely edge. The leg on the right should have had to detail the other way around but by the time I noticed it was already too late... It looks assymmetrical but I measured and I can guarantee that it is not :) UPDATE: I just realised that I sewed the wrong sides together making the legs really long and the 'bum' bit smaller than intended. Oops... should still for a newborn right? First time this has happened but then I did make this close to midnight...

I really wanted to make the booties again and bought some blue fleece to make them. Got overcharged but just couldnt be bothered to make a big deal out of it until I came home and saw that the fabric wasnt cut straight. So annoyed! I guess I wont be going to that shop again... As these booties are for a boy, I couldnt add bows, and I couldnt find the right buttons so I made my own fabric covered buttons with my shiny new fabric-covered-button-making-thingy. I love it! Also think that I will now be making lots of fabric covered buttons ;)

I think it turned out to be a cute little set :) What do you think?

On another note, I only have one more baby present to make and still a month to do it so with a bit of luck there will be a lot less baby stuff on here ;) Although it's great forusing up my stash! Hihihi

Monday, 25 July 2011

HYPER JAPAN 2011 at London Olympia

A few weeks ago, I found vouchers on Groupon for Hyper Japan at the London Olympia. I'd never been at this paticular fair and since the bf really wants to visit Japan, I thought we'd go here as we cant really afford the real thing right now ;)

So after a super busy crafty day yesterday (more on that in later posts), we got up early today and arrived the London Olympia at around 10.30pm. There was a bit of a queue but we only had to wait for about 5 minutes and that only because the people in front of us couldnt locate their ticket LOL. Even so it was definitely a record for London!

Anyway, back to the event. We got in, we walked around, we saw a TON of cool things and had a blast :) We took so many photos but here is a small selection that describes most of the day:

Being the Hobbit that I am, I spotted the candy stand first. Check it out, coconut M&Ms! Have never seen these before... Didnt try them as hate coconut, but still very cool :)

I just love this photo, it's so purple! Ice cream Oreos :) Sadly at £4.50 a pack (!!!) a little pricey, but they sure looked cool!

We went a floor lower after quickly cruising past the stall on the ground floor, and I spotted this stand with tons of plush! I love plush animals but fnd they take up so much space that I dont buy them anymore. There was a tiny plush ghost here which I loved but didnt buy in the end. Maybe I'll make one similar to it one day ;)

I also saw this chocolate hat, very nifty idea and made me feel very creative.

The lower ground floor also displayed a lot of computer games, comics, and videos. This photo needs some explanation: a few years back we went to Disneyland Paris where we saw a girl in tears after the park closed for the day. The little girl was unconsolable and the mother didnt know what to do. She asked the girl what happened to make her cry so hard, upon which the girl replied: 'I didnt see Yu-Gi-Oh!' OMG it was so funny! Not for the girl of course but since we were actually in Disney... anyway, the photo above was made because of this as I FOUND YU-GI-OH! Hahahaha...

The 'Make A Wish for Japan' Foundation had a workshop to learn how to make Japanese paper flowers, and since the bf was happily wandering I had to sit down and learn this...

Some help with the tying...

Taadaa! I made my first ever Japanese paper (napkin) flower :) Dont worry, I didnt wear this in my hair in the end, but the posing was fun LOL

We then saw a Cosplay show with this girl, she was so cute! I took so many pictures but couldnt upload them all...

After the performance we wandered around the stalls a bit more and I saw this gorgeous kimono

As well as some proper Japanese slippers and boots

This bag was so cute! Mmm, maybe sometime soon ;) Not I dont have enough bags already...

I took this photo for all of you in blogland, fabric teacups! So creative! They were advertised as sugar bowls (little bags of sugar of course) to add to your tea table. But very well made :) I asked first if I could take a photo of course.

Totoro and Co were of course very well represented also. Do you see the bus on the side as well? And Kiki's cat on the other? So cool!

This was the cutest! Had to take a pic as couldnt buy it. It's Jack :)

As we went back upstairs for some food, the bf found the Asahi stand with this massive bottle of Asahi. I just had to get him to pose ;)

We saw the end of the Cosplay competition and stood all the way in the back. These costumes were very cool though. Who knew there was a NBC manga/cosplay??

But this guy was (for me) the best by far. Of the 5 costumes I ended up seeing, this guy was the coolest. Check out his weapon! I have about 3 pics (this one is courtesy of the bf who has much longer arms than I do and therefore could aim over all the other people much better), and this one was the most complete of the set. I have no idea who won as we left before the end but I hope it's him!

The Groupon voucher I bought included participation in the UK Sushi Championships (yay!) so we had to queue (for an hour!) and got to taste 5 different pieces of sushi by 5 restaurants and then we had to vote for out favourite. Except for the queueing, this was fun! These guys (I called them the Kill Bill guys LOL) made the one that I liked the most).

We happened to be standing in the queue right in front of these guys so saw the entire process. Very interesting to see :)

You might have noticed the lack of bags in the pictures? No, the one in the first picture is the goody bag we received on entry. In the end, we bought some food, and we each bought one thing only. We only had a small amount of cash with us and most stands didnt take cards. The bf bought a bottle of sake (with our very last money LOL) and I bought a sushi making kit (luckily that stall accepted cards). More on that once I'll try it out hihi...

We had a really nice day, especially since I paid £9 for each ticket instead of £20! :) Keep your eyes peeled for any sushi news, am thinking I will start by the end of the week and any tips will be more than welcome!
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