Friday, 31 May 2013

Wreck This Journal Update

Back in March I wrote about the Wreck This Journal that I received as a Christmas present.

It's about time I posted an update on how that's going, right?

Remember how nice and pretty the pages were? After two trips to the shower, inks had run, glue had washed away and pages had wrinkled! Oh, and there were pink stains on it where the colour came out of my hair. :D

This page took me ages. Having looked around the internet, a lot of people picked a word at random and did some fantastic text art. I couldn't think of a word, so I took the instruction, 'Write one word over and over' absolutely literally.
Water damage means my painstakingly-written tiny 'one word' writing got all blurry.

Oddly enough, one page didn't get affected by the water...

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Pinning Inspiration #2

For the first Pinning Inspiration, I wrote about the youngest ever Nobel Peace Price Nominee and education activist, Malala Yousafzai.

Whilst I don’t intend to always write about people for this feature, today is going to be about everyone’s favourite moustached surrealist, Salvador Dali.

I find his work to be very inspiring and interesting to look at. Some of his paintings contain so much extra detail that it’s possible to notice new things each time you look at it!

Monday, 27 May 2013

Marvellous Monday #12

(Slight issues with images on last Monday's post. Don't understand what happened! Sorry about that.)

Rather than pile in the images, this week's Marvellous Monday is somewhat different and instead involves something I happened upon online recently.

One video.
Two dogs.
Playing Bluegrass.

Aren't they cute? (Not to mention funny!)

I hope you have a truly Marvellous Monday!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Jun Machida

Time for another book post!

Today I’ll write about a Japanese author, Jun Machida, and his works Yan and the Pike and Yan and the Christmas Tree.
There is apparently a third book, Yan and the Pike’s Violin, but I can’t get hold of it (even though I pre-ordered it before its publication. Oh Amazon, you made my face sad...)

Anyway, small lamentations aside, these are some fantastic, surreal books. Apparently they began as illustrations (included in the books) that the author had on the walls of his café in Tokyo. The stories came into existence after the illustrations gained a lot of interest from his customers.

Yan and the Pike
Basically this book is about a cat named Yan, who goes to tea with Pike (yes, pike as in fish).
Yan does everything carefully, whether it’s making tea or cleaning his house. One day, there is a knock at his door and when he goes to answer, he finds a pike standing there.
They chat and become friends, and Pike borrows some salt and some butter from Yan. From that day, Pike appears at Yan’s door several times, and borrows several things from Yan. Then winter comes, and spring, summer and autumn...

This is a surreal but cute tale about two very strong characters! There are a number of references to Russian culture in the story, despite it being written by a Japanese author.

Yan and the Pike is a short yet charming book that can be enjoyed by any age group!

Yan and the Christmas Tree
Making a number of journeys to the Steppes of Russia, Yan makes new friends--a rook, and a rat. Once again the thoughtful cat has many adventures, and with the rook and the rat and his friend Pike, Yan find and decorates a fir tree for Christmas.

As with Yan and the Pike, this book makes more references to Russian culture and seems to take it a little more in-depth than before. It seems well-researched and the characters are very lovable.

If you only read one of these books, read: Yan and the Pike. It’s the first book, and is oh-so charming!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Pinning Inspiration #1

Ready for a new feature?
I've been thinking on something fresh to bring you guys, and finally settled on this:

'Pinning Inspiration'.  
Pinning Inspiration will pop up every Wednesday and shall offer all manner of inspiration. Sometimes this feature will focus on craft, sometimes on an inspiring person or story, or sometimes it will showcase some awesome artwork!
Pinning Inspiration aims to provide you with things truly Pin-worthy!
This first Pinning Inspiration focuses on Malala Yousafzai, a young girl that I'm sure you've all heard about (and if you haven't, keep reading!)

Source: via Kei on Pinterest

Malala is a fifteen-year old girl from the Taliban-controlled Swat region of Pakistan--and an 'education activist'. 
She was partly educated by her father Ziauddin, who owns a school and is also an education activist. He encouraged her to speak up about her political views, even taking her to a local press club where, at the tender age of eleven said in a speech, "How dare the Taliban take away my basic right to an education?" 

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Cake Is Marvellous!

Yesterday, I bought a pad of watercolour paper (from Tiger, which is an awesome shop) and today sat down to test it out.
It's glued on all four sides, which makes detaching the pages a bit awkward but on the plus side means no paint getting under the page I'm working on!

Didn't really know what to paint, so I did this:

I don't really know what I'm doing with watercolours, but it makes a change from not knowing what I'm doing with acrylics!

Monday, 20 May 2013

Marvellous Monday #11

Are you having a good Monday?

This week's Marvellous Monday takes us back to the blue ocean of Marvellous Monday #6, but this time we're going under that water!

Here we go!

Saturday, 18 May 2013


Thanks to the wonder of blogger's scheduling function, nobody (except a few friends outside of blogland) would have known that I went to Norway in April!
Which is just as well, as I haven't made a post about travel for ages!

Mum and I headed to Bergen to stay with her friends,18th-22nd April. This is the view from their house on the hillside. Isn't it stunning?

Norway has lots of breathtaking scenery and I was lucky to experience some of it!

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Soup, Continued: Good News!

I was out all day today, but Mum was home and had friends over for lunch. She happened to tell them about the disastrous soup I made and got them both to try it.

One of them loved it so much that she's taken it all home!


I'm glad somebody liked it! :D

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Disaster Day

Do you ever have days that seem to be a complete and total disaster?
I think I'm having one of them.

The first clue was just after lunch, when I was making some no-bake yummies to take with me when I go to volunteer tomorrow (because charity shops and cakes are an excellent combination).


The recipe called for the chocolate to be melted with butter (I used Stork margarine instead) which meant I had to do it on the hob in a glass bowl, over a pan of hot water.
To save time, I boiled water in the kettle first, to pour into the pan. When the kettle was boiled, I lifted it up and managed not only to clobber the top of it on the bottom of the overhead cupboard, but knocked the bowl of the scales flying too! Luckily the bowl was empty, but it made a real clang when it hit the floor!

Anyway, the 'cakes' themselves went well enough, thank goodness.

I went to make another Monstar and managed to sew the arms on the wrong way around...No picture of this, because it's a present for somebody who might read this blog!
...admittedly I rectified the mistake by sewing the legs on backwards too...

Moving on!

This afternoon we heard a loud bang from the back door and Howie (our cat), ran into the kitchen...closely followed by Alfie (another of ours). We could easily guess that Alfie tried to attack Howie through the cat flap...

Alfie has no bothers to give.
...the cat flap which is now in pieces. Alfie clearly does not care (but did know he was in trouble).

I unscrewed the cat flap from the back door, as there were bits of sharp plastic hanging from the flap. Alfie didn't want to pose with it, surprisingly!

As for this evening? This evening, I decided to make soup to take with me tomorrow, too. To be precise, butternut squash and ginger soup. 
I'd read online that using cashew nuts in soup can make it creamy, so I thought I'd try that out! I also had to use a different stock to the one I normally use in soup.

I prepared and boiled up the butternut squash and an onion, and tossed in a load of pre-prepared ginger, the stock, and some herbs for good measure. As the bubbled away and the squash softened, it smelt quite delicious

When I first blended it up, it was too thick. I returned some to the pan and added water to the soup remaining in the blender, put the lid back on...and hadn't put the lid on well enough.

Basically I managed to explode soup all over the place. That soup was hot. Boiling hot. Most of what hit me landed on my clothes, but I have a burn on my wrist now. Owie!

To add insult to injury - quite literally - the soup tastes disgusting. The cashews obliterated the taste of the vegetables, and the stock is so disgustingly salty that the soup tastes of nothing more than liquified, oversalted nuts.

And I have a whole jug of the stuff. :(

(At least the cakes turned out okay...)

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Trippy Owls

One of the first boards I created on Pinterest was 'Crafts to Try'. I pinned loads of tutorials and ideas, but have barely made any of them! Today I decided that had to change. What better craft to start with than the cute felt owl tutorial from My Girlish Whims? Which I pinned a year ago.

Here are my owls:

As per usual, I used what I had to hand rather than buy new stuff to make these. Hence the owls look a little trippy!

Haven't decided which of the pinned tutes I'll try next as it depends on what I have on me. I've been procrastinating when it comes to crafting recently and going through a blogging drought with it. Thank goodness for writing up posts in advance!

Monday, 13 May 2013

Marvellous Monday #10

It's that time of the week again! Are you having a nice Monday?
This week's Marvellous Monday has a theme that I'm surprised I haven't yet posted: cats!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013


What’s better than being out and finding the perfect treasure?

Being in and finding the perfect treasure!

Long-forgotten treasures, packed away into a cupboard or attic, only to be rediscovered once again.

Though old and already owned, they’re just as precious as when they were fresh, new possessions. 

A necklace from a childhood pen-friend in a far-off land...

Tiny ammonites found on a trip to the fossil beach; shining gemstones and minerals...

Little notebooks: half-used, covered with bright oriental fabric...

And wooden friends with happy faces--

It’s all treasure, whether it’s freshly found, or refound!
Somehow, re-finding once-forgotten treasures seems even more special than finding new treasures. Old treasures have memories attached: the friend, the holiday, the school outing or the long-gone favourite shop. 
I can be a real hoarder sometimes. Before I'm tempted to buy more trinkets, I think I'll remember the treasures I already own!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Marvellous Monday #9

It's Monday once again. Are you having a good one?

This week's theme is splendid green. Lush forests, ivy-covered ruins, beautiful landscapes and more!

There is something truly relaxing about being amongst the world's flora. Plants can look so fragile but are strong enough to overcome abandoned man-made structures and reclaim the land as their own!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Customising Clothes: Bottoms

Last week, I posted about customising clothes, focusing on tees and shirts. Here’s part two, which looks at skirts and trousers!

In some ways bottoms can be a little harder to customise, particularly trousers. There may be lots of seams, pockets, zips and goodness knows what else to work around, and if you’ve got a sewing machine like mine, sewing several layers of heavy fabric can be difficult if not impossible!

Plain work skirt gains playful feature

This skirt had already been customised by its previous owner, in that it had been made shorter, which saved me a job!
I injected some fun and colour into the style by sewing on some contrasting trim in a wavy pattern and adding buttons to the peaks and troughs of the wavy line.

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