Gingerbread house!

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Yup, that’s this years gingerbread house done.  😀

I used the receipe over at BBC Good Food, but I used a little bit less ginger, and added cinnamon and allspice instead.

Now – I’m not that great with measurement, and generally just wing it, instead of measure… but I must have gone absolutely crazy with the bi-carb soda as mine rose like it was bread!

Nevermind, I wasn’t looking for perfection, I was looking for charm… and for it to smell awesome as it was baking.  😀

As you can see, there’s not a straight wall in sight, as it rose a lot more than I expected.  I did however stick two roof parts in the oven first… which was good, as I had planned to do checkered windows, but that plan went out the… eh… window, when I realised it wasn’t gonna work with it rising as much as it was.  Instead I just used heart shaped cookie cutters for the windows.

And I wanted “glass” in the windows… quick google, and it tells me to use “hard candy”.  Grrrr.  No hard candy in the house, not even a forlorn lolly.  But I spot the Tangfastic (how can I not – we got a huge giant box of it), and figure “why not?”.  Sour sweeties washed and cut, and then placed into the window openings.  And back into the oven!  If you’re gonna give this a go, keep an eye on it, as it melts so quickly!  Stick it in the fridge works wonders to cool it afterwards, so it can be removed from the tray.

The house took me forever and a day… well, that’s a lie… more like forever and a week.  Not doing so good at the moment, and doing any little thing really knocks me out… so baked one day, stuck together a different day, yet another day for the roof, and finally a different day again for the decorating.

I used caramelised sugar to stick it together (as I don’t have the patience for any icing to set), and the cheapest wheat cereal I could find for the roof (hey – I don’t eat cereal, wasn’t gonna spend a bomb).  I just mixed icing sugar with lemon juice to stick the roof decorations on.

The “snow” was however made with whisked egg whites, icing sugar and lemon juice, and it was great fun to to use, as it was just the right consistency for it to drip a wee bit.

I was looking for a rustic charm, not covered in sweeties and all colourful… and I think it worked out just perfect.  😀

Perfection is way over-rated, and with it’s wonky walls, cracks and gaps, I think it’s doing just fine…  and even better than that when it’s lit up:

(sorry… had to stick copyright onto it… otherwise I will just see people trying to pass it off as their own in Christmas competitions next year.  *sigh*  Shouldn’t be necessary, but it is, I see people use other peoples creations and claim them as their own all the time)

The Tangfastic windows came out ace!  With fun little bubbles, that makes them look even more cosy than they would have otherwise.

Sorry, I got no template… I just winged it from the fifth one down here (isn’t it adorable?).  I didn’t do too badly… only thing I had to trim was the porch fences, as I’d made them way too high.

As I’m not decorating this year (as the kitties would break everything), it’s been a lovely Christmassy edition to the kitchen (and it smells heavenly).  The leftover dough was made into cookies and eaten (they were very yum!).

DIY bra eye patch?

I figure the title would be read with a question mark on the end, so I added one.  😀

WTF is a bra eye patch?  Well – an eye patch made out of a bra, of course!

My eyes have been shagged for months now, with giant floaters in the right eye, and tiny floaters in the left eye (and I’ve also developed some mysterious “mist” the last week.  Whatever I’m looking at will completely disappear… it’s like someone’s taken airbrushing a few steps too far in my sight).  Have had them tested, and my eyes are “remarkable” (due to my prescription not having changed since I was 19), and nothing happening in my eyes are causing the floaters.

Only thing the optician could suggest was that I am so fatigued, my eyes would be too… so I figured until I see the specialist end of July, I had to take action as the blasted floaters is making me paranoid as fuck.  I keep thinking I’m seeing spiders!!!

So, went to pharmacy a couple of days ago – wanting an eye patch.  Surely the pirate look must be in this summer.  To my major disappointment – they had none!  Instead I came out with some shitty stick on pads, which cost a bomb, and falls off after about 8 hours.  If I do try to remove them before they start falling off themselves, it’s like someone’s stuck them on with superglue.  Grrrr.

So, last night I figured I’d google eye patches… and frankly, even with my dodgy eyes and arthritic fingers I’d figured I’d be able to whack something up.

Question was – with what?  I got no fabric… and it’s not that long ago that I took all unwanted clothes to charity.

And then the lightbulb came on – a bra!  I know I got a heap of old bras, stuck in the back of the wardrobe somewhere… so then decided to see if anyone had made one… but only found that bras are great as an eye patch for horses!  Well, if it’s good enough for the horses, it’s good enough for me. 🙂

And here’s the results:

One pirate patch, and one that slips over the glasses.  No more annoying pads that either falls off, or refuse to come off.  😀

Cool and fresh Mediterranean…

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As soon as I hear Mediterranean, I think warm colours… so what to do when you’re to “bring the colours of the Mediterranean into your home”, and you’re looking for cool and fresh colours?  Well, then you pick the Azores!  😀

I’ve never been to the Azores, but I’ve heard so much about these magic little islands, as my other half has spent 9 years of his life living there.  And as soon as I spotted the competition over at Cunard, I thought “Aaaaaaaargh – they’re not gonna have the Azores listed!” – but how wrong I was.  Horta is indeed listed as one of the destinations!  😀

Aaaaaand, as I’m about to start redoing the kitchen (oh how I wish it was just decorating… but we’re gutting the whole thing, and starting afresh)… this was the perfect kick up the backside I needed to actually start planning how I want the kitchen to look.

So, here’s my pinterest board for my cool and fresh Mediterranean inspired kitchen:

Inspired by the gorgeous black vulcanic sand, the soothing grey and blues by the sea, the white of the waves, and the lush hydrangeas and greenery, and the style of Horta itself.

  • Black vinyl flooring
    White panelled walls
    Simple rustic looking table, chairs and bench
    A couple of striped cushions, picking up on both the blue, green and bold lines
    Am so loving the pebble placemats!  Nearly as fab as the footpaths in Horta
    Fresh flowers for the table, in a simple light blue jar
    A splash of colour with a hydrangea painting
    New plates – love the bold black stripes
    A simple shelf with a few ornaments:  A wave sculpture, a whale sculpture and a really sweet oldfashioned kettle

Alright… you might think having a wave and whale sculpture a little odd for a kitchen.  Clearly you should see my bathroom – where I got 4 crystal decanters and an icebucket that works as the pot for my aloe vera plant!!!

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Posted for the superb competition hosted over at Cunard (ends 20th of June – so still plenty of time to enter!), who’s teamed up with Love Chic Living & The Swelle Life to bring us all a little bit of Mediterranean love.  😀

I’m all done – now where’s the sun?

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Other half was complaining that our oh so yellow chairs weren’t comfy enough to snooze on, so I went online to shop for a sun lounger…

And found them either very pricy, or cheap and naff looking (thin fabric). So, instead I figured I’m make one.  😀

Got saw, wood, nails and screws – what could go wrong?

Actually – nothing did.  Hahahahahah!  Oh yes, it won’t win a prize for best looking (or most symmetrical!) sun lounger – but it’ll do.  Other half was well amused as I was swearing and grunting… but in the end all I needed help with was to get a handful of screws properly screwed in.

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It’s got foDSC_0013ur different settings for the back, plus flat… and as I figured it would be so heavy (and I’m just about as strong as 5 year old girl), I made it in two sections, so I can move it myself.

 

Stained it to make it look like it’s been there for a while.  If it had been nicely done and with sanded wood, I would have liked it white, but as it stands I don’t want to notice it too much!  😀

Of course I couldn’t leave it just brown-ish… so I added a couple of “speed stripes”.

The four-legged ones absolutely love it… and to be honest so do I.  And even the other half, after having had a rest on it, had no choice but to agree it’s actually quite fab.

DSC_0017And hopefully we’ll spot a nice sun lounger cushion for it on sale (the ones I want are so pricey).

Aaaaaaand – I have to say – the little brush I used on it did amazing!  I used a small Daler-Rowney brush (from a set) not just for the stripes (both acrylic and oil based paint)… but I also used it to stain the whole blooming sun lounger!  The brush didn’t loose a single hair – and that’s not nicely sanded wood.  Well impressed.

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My tree’s making babies!!! (and various other stuff)

DSC_0010My beautiful tree is reproducing!!!  I know… seeds on a tree, how exciting can it be?  Well – very exciting to me.  😀

First time it’s ever done so, so I’m kind of feeling like a proud grandma.  😀

 

And the gate for the pergola is done, and my wee cross road sign for the path is not just finished, but also up.

A few more flowers, and chuffed that my half dead plants (middle pic) in the hanging baskets seem to be very happy indeed.

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Of course my two canine girls came to help me take pics….

And then all my girls game to help out (or sniff the grass):

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And then playtime started:

Neighbour of the Year award goes to:

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That dude that used to live on the corner!!!

Yes, my Neighbour of the Year award would have to go to the guy (and his family… pretty certain he had a wife and a nipper or two) who used to live on the corner of the street.  A dude I didn’t even know the name of.  😀

And here’s the reasons why he wasn’t just nominated – but won hands down:

  • He never talked to me
  • He never talked to anyone about me
  • We were on friendly “nodding” terms, if we happened to see eachother from a distance
  • His kid(s) never invaded our front garden
  • He never had loud parties in his garden
  • He didn’t have friends honk their horns outside his house
  • He gave me an amazing shed!
  • He moved away

Ok, so you might ask why I’m happy he moved?  I’m not, but I would prefer not to have any neighbours at all, so not living here anymore is clearly a plus in my book.  🙂

I really don’t know the guy’s name… he lived there for a year or two.  He wasn’t a next door neighbour, he lived 4 houses down (by the way, my next door neighbours are fantastic, although I do feel the pressure to “small talk” with them).  I’m pretty certain he had a wife or girlfriend, as sometimes I’d see a woman there, and sometimes a nipper or two (heck – it could have been 7 for all I know… however many it was – they were no hassle).  We’d nod to eachother if we spotted each other, kind of a “good to see you, and very pleased we don’t have the need to talk” nod.

And then he decided to move.  I would have been none the wiser, unless whomever will move in is gonna be of the chatty type.  I would have kept on nodding, and probably thinking something like “hmmmm… didn’t he use to have dark hair?”.  But, as he was to move, he told one of the neighbours he was gonna scrap his sheds… and this particular neighbour told another neighbour, who in turn came knocking at our door and asked if we wanted a shed!

Yes – please!!!  As some of you know… I’ve wanted a new shed for a wee while.

There was only one “small” problem… the shed we were given was a 12foot by 16foot shed!  Sadly I can barely carry a plank, let alone help dismantle massive walls… so the other half and a neighbour dismanted not just our massive shed, but also a smaller one that went to the neighbour.

 

And this is what we ended up with:

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We had no need for a shed the size it used to be, so then it was measuring and planning to do… and we found the ideal size would be a 7foot by 8foot shed, as it fits in nicely next to our other shed, and gave us plenty of room for all the gardening stuff (lawnmovers, rakes, spades, etc).

It took some cutting, swearing and quite a bit of time… but suddenly we had a shed the size we wanted (try to ignore the giant Aerobin that’s taking up a bit of the pic):

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Aaaaaaand – this is the finished shed – just put up the fascias today:

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(Ignore the two plastic trays in the bottom left corner of the pic… they will be moved soon, as soon as the next project starts.) All that’s needed now is a couple of small hanging baskets (and I want an oldfashioned door handle).  😀

All in all the shed ended up costing us £58… and that was for the roof felt, tar, and the paint (black and brown that I mix to get it to what I want)… everything else needed we had.  Perfection is way over-rated:  What we have, we make do with – and although the results aren’t “perfect”, they’re just right for us.  And yes, that included picking an ugly fabric flower off an equally ugly hairband, and sticking it onto my watering can for a wee bit of colour.  Suddenly the fabric flower as gone from something ugly, to something that brings a smile on my face.  😀

 

And, as a bonus – we had plenty of wood left, so we also built a small “shack” for the bins… and one neighbour took one of the 8foot by 8foot walls we had spare to fix his daughters shed, and another neighour got three 4foot by 8foot plywood boards that were spare as a new roof for his shed… so this one shed, didn’t just end up as two “sheds” in our garden, but also helped out two other sheds!

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Sorry, paint still wet on one of the doors, as only got it up last night.  It’s not pretty, but it’s functional and hides the ugly rubbish bins.  I’ve ordered fake (!!!) ivy to stick on the roof, don’t want real ones, as the roof is a massive hit with the cats, but figured I could use some fake, as I can then place it so that it won’t be in the way of the kitties enjoying their new look-out tower.

 

My other half did an amazing job.  He really did.  I was as useless as chocolate teapot, so he had to do all the hard work himself, I was just helping making sure all measuring was correct.  It wasn’t until it was finished that I could help, took me three days, but I managed to get it painted (something that should have just taken a few hours), and cut out the fascias.  So all the glory goes to the other half, but I’m still just as proud as if I’d done it myself!  😀

I want to win a new shed…

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I do have a shed, I got a very nice shed indeed.  I got the shed shown above, by my gorgeous feline girl (sweet dreams).  However, it is a work shed.  It’s filled with saws and tools and various sorts of crap I wouldn’t have a clue what it’s being used for.  It’s got a 3 meter counter running at the back, and there’s not a space on it for a fly to rest.  I have to say the shed looks prettier in summer (pic was taken in spring) when there’s flowers in the window boxes.

So, due to the shed being used for wood and stone work, and all the various tools that comes with that, we have for a few months been talking about getting a new shed, a new one for gardening tools.  One where we can store the rakes, the seeds, the leaf blower, the lawn mover, and all the various other stuff that we use in the garden.

But, as most things go, we still haven’t gotten around to it.  Lack of dosh means we would have built it ourselves (just like we did with the work-shed), but lack of time, enthusiasm and bodies that aren’t falling apart means we’ve still not started.

 

So imagine my joy when I spotted *drumroll, please* that there’s a shed up for grabs!!!  Oh, yes, please, I do want a shed!!!  But… and here’s the big but… most companies want you to praise their product to high heaven, and they’re also looking for a marvellous story of what you will do with your shed.  Hmmm… I don’t intend to make it into a something exciting at all.  I want to store my gardening shite in it.  And as for praising – it’s a butt ugly shed!!!

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Yes – as you can see… it’s exceedingly ugly.  I shudder with the thought of something like that in my garden… but its got potential.  😀

A lick of paint, some fascias and window frames, stick on a door handle (no, doesn’t need to be functional – but it’s amazing what a simple handle can do to a door that’s lacking one), a welcome sign on the door, and a flower box under the windows – and suddenly you would have transformed a butt ugly shed into  a charming little hut for gardening tools to live.  😀

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Well, no matter what – I still got my fingers crossed for a new shed… or B&Q vouchers!  😀

And if you want to enter – hop on over to Beast Sheds Blog for more details, or if you want to buy a shed, hop on over to Beast Sheds.  Comp open to Uk only, closes 30th of April.  Good luck!!!

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Update:

I did not win the shed – it went to someone with thousands of twitter followers, who just happens to write gardening books.  😉

Not that I thought I should have won – someone wanted to use it for a BBQ shed – which I thought was a brilliant idea.  Sorry, got no idea who won the B&Q vouchers.

But – I got my shed anyway!  And as this post seems quite popular with google searches, I thought I’d update so you can see my new 7×8 foot shed that ended up costing me a measly £58 altogether!

New shed

 

 

The wonders of a sheet of paper

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I still get amazed what single white piece of paper can do – here illustrated with a tiny owl, made by yours truly.  I’m not one for picking flowers, but sometimes I bring an A4 sheet of paper with me into the garden, just to stick behind flowers as I’m snapping pics of them.

Below is the journey of this pic, editing it in PSP took less than a couple of minutes.

As you can see – the light was rubbish as I was taking the picture, as I did it specific for this post, and the sun was just about setting, and the natural light was barely there.  I would have prefered to have taken it in full natural light.

With the image still in colour I used +25 brightness and +33 contrast, but I felt it could do with a wee bit more of a boost after making it black and white, so did +11 brightness and +42 contrast when turned monochrome.

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Posted for Cee’s Black and White Challenge:  Man-made objects – http://ceenphotography.com/2014/02/26/cees-black-white-challenge-made-made-objects/

The stuff I do for love…

As I’ve been moaning about…  I’m currently in agony… and the other half had the nerve to ask if I’d do him a card!

Really – you want me to log out all my paint and various other stuff, lay on the floor (I only craft/paint on the floor) and do you a card?  Sure – why not stub out a few cigarettes on me while you’re at it.  *sigh*

Anywy, turned out it was for a giveaway, so I gave in knowing how much he loves to play slots (and you could win credits for Jackpotjoy)… but no way was I gonna drag out my proper paint.

Instead I got my watercolour paint.  I hate watercolour.  Hate it with a passion.  I hate not having control, and watercolour is as far from controlled as you can get it.  I know how to use it, I’ve been trained in the techniques, and still I hate it.

So… the result was me sitting on the sofa, dog on the lap, and a wee watercolour pad on top of the dog.  It was a quick card, no build up of colours.  And I kind of secretly enjoyed it.  I was as comfy as I can currently get, propped up in a corset, and filled up on painkillers, and it was a mindless little thing to do… but it was something I could do.  And that made me well chuffed.  So what if it’s just a naff card – I did for a few minutes have a purpose… as I can barely get up and down the stairs at the moment I was over the moon actually having accomplished something… even if it was something as trivial as a monkey card.  🙂Image

Old treasures

I love finding old treasures… and sometimes the treasure is just a picture of an item!

Was looking though old pics the other day, and found a picture of a painting I did years ago… made me so happy!  Made me happy, even though I’m pretty certain the original is in the loft somewhere.  I painted it a few years ago to have something to hang on the wall in the flat we were staying in (already had the house we live in, but due to work commitments couldn’t live here).  Sadly there’s no room for it on my bathroom wall now, so in the loft it stays.  I’m awfully tempted to get a shower curtain done of it though… might treat myself for my birthday.  😀

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And by gorry I wish I could relax in the bath like that at the moment… just getting into the bathtub is a massive task. However, have eased the pulled muscle situation a wee bit – dragged out an old corset, and stuck that on,  Seems to help a little bit.