Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Golden Spider Silk and Oscar at the V&A

Hi everyone!
I just LOVE the V&A museum! It's huge, it's free, it shows mostly creative ideas like theatre costumes, fabrics, and statues, and I always find something new there :)

A few weeks ago I went there again as I had to be in the area for my dentist anyway so I went in. Not having any idea what to see this time, I randomly picked an entrance and started walking. By chance I ended up at the Golden Spider Silk exhibition. The V&A website says:

'This display showcases the world’s largest pieces of cloth made from spider silk. It includes a brocaded shawl made from the silk of more than one million female golden orb-weaver spiders collected in the highlands of Madagascar, as well as a cape on public display for the first time. The display also features background material and a short film revealing the process.'

There were some books about spider silk...

Showing the spider itself and also how to extract the silk from the spider

The spools of thread, which remarkably have not been dyed. This is actually the natural colour of spider silk! I was amazed by this really.

The pattern for the cape, made entirely out of spider silk.

The actual cape. It's displayed behind glass so the picture isnt the best, but this cape is truely amazing. The amount of work that went into it is just unbelievable! This has taken many 1000s of hours and several millions of spiders.

There was a scarf on display also but I couldnt get a good picture of it at all. But there is a video of the process of creating the cape below. It takes about 7 minutes but if you're at all into fabrics, you'll find it extremely interesting. I know I did!

After the surprise visit to the Golden Spider Silk exhibition, I moved on...

...and found these shoes in the 'new items' display case. Just some plain old shoes you may think? Nope, think again! These shoes are from 1877 according to the note on the display (not shown here) and were worn by Sir Henry Irving in the title role of Richard III in 1896. The heel of the left boot was raised to give him an artificial limp , the difference in height carefully masked from the audience by a panel of red suede. I love the fact that things like this have been kept all this time :)

After getting lost some more, I found The House of Annie Lennox, all hidden away in the very back of the museum. Sadly the exhibition ended on the 26th of February and I can no longer show you a video of it, but it was a great surprise to find it here. They had an actual miniature house on display where she could come by any time as a surprise guest and sit and talk. There were also original notes, props, and of course costumes *big smile*

Of course I had to photograph some of them :)

Remember this one, from Right By Your Side?

And of course my ultimate favourite. It's purple, it's velvet, it's the best! The purple velvet corset and cloak from No More I Love Yous. Gorgeous!

OMG OMG OMG! Of course my camera chose exactly this moment to give out so I had to try and make a quick snapshot with my BB for this. See this is the whole reason I wanted to go back to the exhibition and then totally forgot about it... But this is the OSCAR that Annie Lennox won for the song Into the West from LOTR - Return of the King which happens to be one of my favourite movies! Needless to say I was ecstatic :)

So even though none of this was planned, it turned out to be an amazing visit to the V&A once again. Hopefully there will be many more to come... Also, I havent forgotten about the February giveaway but the photo area is currently a bit messy so I need a bit more time to take pics. It should be up tomorrow (let's pretend it's still February then!)

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Oscar Party 2012

Heyhey everyone!
Did you watch the Oscars?? I have to say, I preferred Ricky Gervais last year but this year's show was also very good. Maybe I've just been in England too long, hihi...

Now that I have the time, I really wanted to throw an Oscar party for the bf and me. Only to realise waaaay too late that the show would be on in the middle of the night but we managed to have two dinners so in the end it worked out great :) I got so many ideas off Pinterest and the internet in general and some were even my own ;) I used a lot of things I had in the house already so it was a very creative process. Let's get the party started!

First I made some Oscar teacandle holders. Just like the ones I made for Valentine, I used tissue paper and embellishments (ribbon, cardstock stars and glitter) on jars. I didnt have the nice Nutella ones anymore so normal food jars were used. I chose goldish and black colours for the glam of the Oscars.

I found these fantastic labels here and used them to make bunting. As my printer is currently broken I printed these at the library so they're in black and white, but I used yellow and red paper to give it a bit of colour anyway. The bunting itself is made out ofblack cardstock, and it's tied together with gold ribbon. I printed out one sheet in colour but I had other plans for those labels.

Sadly I couldnt find an Oscar poster anywhere or an Oscar statue, or even a Ken doll to spraypaint gold (dont you just love Pinterest for these amazing ideas?) but I did hang some gold balloons for a finishing touch.

And then... the food! Each nominee for Best Picture got a dish. That was much trickier than anticipated, let me tell you! Of course The Help was easy but movies like Hugo or The Decendants were quite difficult to cater for. So let me show you what I made of it:

First, some bubbly for the appetizers, in style of course :) I really wanted to do this but I just ran out of time... But at least I managed a bow-tie. This was actually leftover from Valentine when we forgot to open the bottle LOL.

For The Artist: caviar on blinis in true black and white style. Also, it's a pun on the silent movie because there is no way you can talk while eating this size blini LOL. I tried to shape the caviar into stars which kind of worked though the picture doesnt do it justice. See the food card? Those are the label I printed in colour, stuck on cardstock, and highlighted with a touch of gold. On a side note, people always react shocked when I mention caviar, but this is not the expensive stuff. This is the £2 a jar stuff from the supermarket so in the end it's cheaper than a prawn cocktail! Just to clarify...

For War Horse: carrots and dip. This was more of an all evening snack than an appetizer so it could remain on the table all night long. Not the most original, but horses like carrots right? ;)

Check out these funny Oscar envelopes I made out of napkins for the entree. I also used gold disposable plates to add extra glam and reduce dishes. Super stylish yet practical! The yellow band around the envelope is again cardstock and I cut out a tiny Oscar statue out of gold wrapping paper.

For Hugo: caramalised onion bruschetta. I hadnt seen the movie, and got this via another website with a suggested Hugo menu and thought it was very fitting, and very French. With some yummy French bread, this was super easy to make.

For The Descendants: rumaki. A friend of mine gave my this idea and after scouring the web for some recipes (I had no clue what this was) I found one on eHow that looked like it could work. I have to admit, the ones with the chicken livers were horrible so we didnt really eat those. Sad but true... But the ones with pineapple (pictured) were gorgeous, the coating was very nice. And at least we had pineapple which is about as Hawaiian as you can get hihi...

For Moneyball: mini hotdogs. I put the ketchup on a side dish as the bf is not a fan and I didnt want to have allocated food. Who knew how much of all this food we'd actually finish!

Of course Moneyball also allowed for beer so we had that too. Well, the bf did anyway. I made sure it look the part though and dressed it up in style with another miniature Oscar statue taped to it.

Time for the main course. New 'envelopes' came out with two of the nominees on the band. For me The Help, I just love that movie! And for the bf The Artist, because after all 'ee iz French ;) The golden stars I cut out of gold wrapping paper using a cookie cutter as a template. I wanted to have two large stars but have you ever tried drawing a star? It's so difficult! I know the theory but after about 10 tries, I opted for lots of smaller stars instead.

For The Tree of Life: fried chicken. Now I know what you're going to say, this is a dish for The Help and I kind of agree, but when I looked up recipes on a 50s/60s favourite dishes website, this came up too so I thought I could use it for this as well. Plus it was easy peasy (I used the prepared version) which was beneficial. No hours of cooking for me this time!

For Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: twice baked potato as a side to the chicken. I had this in New York for the first time and since the movie is all about NY it was a perfect fit. Plus I still had these in the freezer from Valentine's Day so this was excellent!

For Midnight in Paris: a posh French salad. I basically only used the vinaigrette and the idea from the recipe, so I cant really use the same name. How much more Paris can you get? Yes, am sure there are better ways but it had to tie in with the rest of the meal. Plus it had a kickass dressing!

For The Help: Minnie's chocolate pie. This was the first dish that popped into my head for this menu and OMG is it delicious!! I even had to take two pictures! Here you can see it while it's cooling down...

And when served... Doesnt this just look divine? I had to look around a bit as there were about 3 or 4 recipes that claimed to be Minnie's chocolate pie, but I chose this one and think it was the perfect one. Quick, easy and oh so good. I now understand Hilly Holbrooks face of delight when she's eating the pie. Although mine didn't have that very special ingredient that caused Hilly's face to change so quickly! Hihi...

So what happened really was that we had the Oscar dinner on Sunday night while watching the red carpet event (which was still going at midnight so we couldnt even finish that) and on Monday night we watched the actual ceremony while eating the leftovers (there was so much left!) and playing Oscar Bingo and checking the scores on our Oscar Ballots.

The Bingo was so much fun and kind of the reason I planned this dinner party as the bf loved it last year. I found both the bingo and the ballot here. Last year we were struggling with books underneath the forms so this year I made a clipboard out of cardboard, cardstock, and wrapping paper. Super easy and so glamorous: cut out an A4 piece of cardboard, put black cardstock on one side, gold wrapping paper on the other, tape it all together, and stick the bingo form on top. Very stable and chique. The paper Oscar took about an hour to assemble and is black because I really didnt want to do the same again in gold but it looks quite nice anyway. At least I had a statue!

And the winner is... The bf won the bingo though I realised at the very end that I didnt check my diagonal options and could have had bingo aaaaagggeeesss ago! But alas it was too late. We just kept on playing until the person with the most bingos won which was definitely the bf, he had 4 while I only had 2. But I did win the ballot with 6 correct answers for his 4. So we're both winners, yay! Hihi, yes that sounded a bit sad I realise ;) I did want to take some pics with both of us holding the paper Oscar but it was late already and even though I tried, we both looked so tired and horrible that the world is better off not seeing those pictures. LOL. All in all it was a great party with lovely food and lots of laughter. Although I do need to watch more of the nominated movies next year ;)

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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Rammstein Concert, Oh Yeah!

Hi all,
I've been so busy!!! I kind of spontaneously decided to host an Oscar party/dinner for the bf and myself with a ton of food, decorations, quizzes, the whole shebang, so I've been running around preparing for the last few days. BUT not everything was stress and between the baking and planning and glueing, we went to see Rammstein. Yay!!! I've be
en wanting to see them live for ages, pretty much since I saw the movie XXX where there is a scene from their concert and it just looks amazing!

We were so lucky as one of our best friend's company has a box in the O2 arena, the major local concert venue, and he managed to get tickets. In the beginning I wasnt able to go but in the end there was a ticket for me too, I was so happy!!! I just have to share this with you, their show was great. Even my sister who doesnt like them at all had to admit that it was very cool when she saw the pics and videos :)

Arrival in style: in the box with catered food. This is the way to watch concerts!

The bf checking out the crowds gathering below...

The only picture of me of the night that came out remotely ok. But look, I was really there! In my very cool spider top.

Rammstein arrive in style. Carrying the English flag which I thought was a nice touch.

It's starting!!! And yes, it was sold out...

'Feuerfrei' (this was the part I remembered from XXX, so cool!)

Epic! I am really amazed that a non-English singing band became so famous. I think that really says something. Yes, I'm a fan :)

During 'Haifisch' the keyboard player went crowdsurfing in an inflatable rowing boat! The coolest! The picture is a bit blurry but check out this video I made of it:

I love this!

They also had a tiny stage in the middle of the crowd where they played some songs. I love this pic, it really shows the massive audience...

They dont need a huge stage to be fantastic really. Although I do love the big stage show also hihi :)

The encore with angel wings spouting fire. These wings actually folded when he went off stage at the end. Of course this is the kind of thing I would notice...

'Mein Herz Brent' video. Just to give you an idea ;)

Somewhat phallic looking foam spraying cannon. What do we learn from this? Dont stand in front at a Rammstein concert in your best clothes ;)

The end of The.Best.Concert.Ever!

I am still ecstatic that I was able to see Rammstein live, it was sooooo amazing!!!

Now I have to get back to my Oscar prep. I just realised that due to the time difference, we might not actually able to watch it live which kind of ruins my entire party but I think we may just watch one of the movies instead and then do the rerun tomorrow. I think last year it was later maybe and the time had already changed? I really cant remember... But planning this a bit earlier for us poor Europeans who have to work tomorrow would really help. Mmm, maybe an idea for the Guild? LOL. At least we'll have a fantastic meal tonight, all Oscar based :) Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Bento Car Egg Explained

Hello again :)
Remember my Bento Box post showing the car egg?

Since posting this, I've received some emails asking me how I actually created the Bento car egg, so I thought I'd write a short blog post about it so you all can learn about this too. It's really very simple. All you need is an egg mould like this. Ebay might be one of the cheaper options. My purchase came with only two mould but you can get as many as six different ones. The combinations you can get are the vertical ones, so the pig with the bunny, the fish with the car, and the heart with the star. The colours can change, my fish is actually green while the car is blue but in the end they are all the same. When finding these, just Google 'Bento Egg' and some things should come up. On ebay these babies go for about £3 plus shipping which is totally acceptable :)

Someone in blogland posted about the car egg and I just had to have one. The instructions on how to use the mould I found here. I wont bother posting the instructions here as the pictures and explanations on the Just Bento website are amazing and I'm sure you'll agree with me once you've clicked the link above.

Basically all you do is boil the egg, peel the egg while it's warm, put the egg into the mould, submerge them in cold water for about 20mins (I prefer overnight in the fridge though) and your egg has a lovely new shape :)

I hope this answered your question about the car egg, otherwise just let me know :) Happy Bento-ing!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Recipe - Frikandel Speciaal

Hi everyone :)LinkAs you might know from reading my blog, I am originally Dutch. Having not lived in Holland for a while, I still miss the food sometimes. Of course we have De Hems, the only Dutch pub in London but it's usually busy and while the food is excellent, it can take a while before it actually arrives. Plus I'd have to get there first. So to make things easier, I wanted to make my own. Which of course I only knew was possible once I read a great blog called The Dutch Table. It has so many recipes of things that you would normally buy in the shop in NL but cant find here. Oh wait, I already told you about this blog... Remember my Valentine Dinner? Anyway, it is a great site. There I also found the recipe for frikandellen.

First, you might want to know what a frikandel is for starters. Well, Wikipedia says: A frikandel (plural frikandellen) is a Dutch snack, a sort of minced-meat hotdog, developed either in 1954 or in 1958/1959 in the Netherlands, depending on the source.

This is what an actual frikandel looks like when you buy it in the shop.
(image found here)

After trying the recipe for frikandellen from scratch on The Dutch Table, below is the result. I wont go into the recipe as the original has everything you need. I didnt have a sausage making thingy, so I had to use a bottle as requested in the recipe. It was quite easy once I had managed to find all the right stuff. The frikandellen curles a bit though and broke when they were too long, but I think it went well for the first time trying :)

This is what the frikandellen looked like after boiling (I did 6 mins, maybe 4-5 mins would have been better and a bit less dry)

Frying in the pan since I dont have a deepfryer.

And taadaa! Proper frikandel speciaal :)

Ok so I didnt cut them open etc but I prefer it this way. The onions are under the sauce so they're definitely there. On the right you see my apple sauce which is also very Dutch and made by me. Even the bf liked them! Next time I will boil them a bit shorter though as they were a teensy bit dry. Still, we had result, we had homemade frikandellen!! Whoohoo! And I used the nice fries and not the chunky yukky English ones. For drinks we had Grolsch beer and for dessert German chocolate cook pudding from Dr Oetker. It was similar to vla...

I still have a few things to finish today and then we're off to the Rammstein concert, yes! I'll make sure to post a pic later :)

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Beaded Semi-Precious Gemstone Bracelets

Hi all,
I havent actually sewn anything but I'm slowly starting to craft again which is always nice :) The other I found my bead box. Oh my, I had no idea I had this many unused beads! So it was time to make something :) I had lots of semi-precious gemstones, a whole lot of amethyst, rose quartz, moonstone, and even a mixed bunch. What did I make? Bracelets!!

It was definitely one of those crafts that are not noisy and could be done while watching tv so it was perfect for something to do in the evenings :) I think they came out quite well!

I made four of them, one from each part of the bead box, and I can wear them mixed or just one. I just love the amethyst one, it's totally my favourite :)

So hopefully I'll be making more stuff soon, though I also have some posts ready about visits since I really never get the time for that usually. I hope you dont mind!! :)
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