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Holiday Crafting 2011 - Hot Chocolate on a Stick

I made hot chocolates last year for Christmas and they seemed to go down pretty well, so I thought I'd give them another go and up the game on them a little. 
What you will need to make about 10 chocolates;
  • 20grams chocolate - some milk and some a very rich dark chocolate. Broken into small pieces to melt. 
  • 60 grs icing sugar
  • 30 grs cocoa powder

The broken chocolate was added to a bowl for melting. In hind sight I probably should have done it in smaller batches than halving it, and maybe should have used a glass bowl! The bowl was put over boiling water until the chocolate looked like this;
Once the chocolate was melted and looked very swirly, I added the cocoa powder and icing sugar and mixed until it was all fully absorbed. Once it was mixed in I carefully spooned the mixture into silicone moulds. Once the chocolate started to harden I popped a spoon into each block as they wouldn't stand upright until then.   
At this point it was time to embellish - 1/4 of the spoons then got covered in mini marshmallows and another 1/4 had a little pipette of Baileys added to it. (I bought pipettes from ebay in 2 sizes as they were super cheap and they've come in super useful.) I filled them as full as I could with Baileys, chopped off the excess tubing and sealed the end of it by melting it on the hob and clamping it shut. The pipettes were then pushed into the hardening chocolate.
The chocolate spoons were popped in the fridge to harden fully. Once they were they just popped out of the moulds to be packaged. 
{All the red and blue labels were made using these labels as a base from Eat Drink Chic

Tomorrow I'll be showing you my cookie pots!

A little giveaway

Edit: We have a winner
Rosie @ A Rosie Outlook - Congrats Rosie. I'll get a package out to you soon! 

I know Christmas has been and gone, but I may have gone a little overboard in my estimation on what I needed to make {You never know who might pop a little gift round when you just hadn't expected it} Plus, actually measuring and working the exact quantities was never my strong point {of course I meant to make 100 hot chocolates when I only needed 88!}

So rather than these treats go to waste, I thought I'd run my first little giveaway. One lucky winner will get sent a box of belated Christmas cheer containing; 

  • Homemade Bath Bars
  • 50ml Homemade Vanilla
  • A Christmas Cookie pot
  • Some hot chocolates on spoons
  • A Mulled wine sachet. 

All you need to do is leave me a comment below and tell me what your favourite bit about Christmas 2011 was and on the twelfth night {i.e the 6th Jan} I'll pick a winner and send you all the above.  

{All the red and blue labels were made using these labels as a base from Eat Drink Chic}

Holiday Crafting 2011 - Vanilla Essence

As soon as I found out you could make your own vanilla essence it changed my life. Well, maybe thats not quite the truth, but it has saved me a fortune! I keep a bottle of the stuff in my cupboard and regularly top it up as it runs low. 

And it is the simplest recipe ever. Literally. You just need to be patient. I buy my vanilla pods in bulk from t'ebay because the supermarkets are uber expensive for them. This time I bought 100 from here as I needed them for the gift bottles too.

What you will need

  • 750ml vodka.
  • 10-15 vanilla pods.
  • A couple of months to steep. 
Tip a little bit of vodka in to a cup and add some mixer of your choice - you need to make room for the vanilla pods after all. 
Cut the vanilla pods length ways in half and scrape out the seeds with a sharp knife. Add the seeds and the vodka, and then put the cut pods into the bottle. 
Once all of your vanilla pods are in the bottle, replace the cap and shake vigorously. Then leave the bottle in a dark place for about 3 months. You can use it sooner, but it won't be as vanilla-y as it could be. 
I bottled it in to 50ml bottles with a vanilla pod halved and seeded in each bottle so the flavour kept on intensifying. The labels were printed onto the same Avery labels with the writing in clear again, so that the instructions for topping up become clearer as the vanilla  gets used. 

Pop back later for a little giveaway, or tomorrow for my hot chocolates on a stick!


Holiday Crafting 2011 - Limoncello

Limoncello reminds me of ski holidays to Livigno in Italy when I was younger. On the mountain the adults would have one with lunch, and they would always be brought out for us all after dinner in restaurants. I know everyone says to serve it ice ice cold, but I am almost certain it would be served warm to us on the mountain side too. 

And I decided last Christmas I wanted to make Limoncello for my friends, but unfortunately I decided this in the middle of December of last year and pretty much every recipe I looked at called for a months steeping, so I pushed the idea to the back of my mind and really did forget about it until this summer. But luckily I did remember in the summer - early enough to get on with it.
The recipe is in two halves. The first that needs to be done at least a month before you intend to drink the liquor and the second can be done as late as the day before you want to drink it. 

Stage 1
You will need;

  • 750ml vodka
  • 10-ish lemons
  • Sharp knife
  • 1 ltr container
Open the vodka and pour it into the larger container. If, like me, you're doing this in the morning, before breakfast, do not lick your fingers - not nice! 

Wash your lemons. Take the sharp knife and start to peel the lemons. Each recipe I read suggested getting as little of the white pith on the peel, and I did try, but it was uber hard to not get any on so some went in with pith, some without. Apparently the pith makes it bitter-er. 

Place the lemon rinds into the large container with the vodka. Seal and put in a dark place. After a few days you'll notice that the liquid is taking on a yellow-y tint so you know it's working. Leave for a month at least {I left mine for 3 because I could, but a month would be fine!} Shake every once in a while just to keep things moving. 

Stage 2
You will need;
  • 750 ml water
  • 700 grams caster sugar
  • A large saucepan or two.
  • bottles to decant in to.
Place the water in your large saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the caster sugar. I know it seems like a lot, but you don't want it to be too tart! Once the sugar has dissolved, take the pan off the heat and let it cool down. I did read that whether your Limoncello comes out cloudy or clear depends on the temperature of the water when you add the vodka - cold and it'll be clear, warm and it'll be cloudy!
Strain the lemon vodka in to the sugar water, making sure none of the lemon rind gets in your pan. 

Stir the mixture and then decant for drinking yourself or giving! 

Labels - I printed these labels onto Avery clear labels, with the background grey and the writing in white so that it wouldn't be printed and would show up clear. 

Check back tomorrow for my vanilla essence instructions. 

Holiday Crafting 2011.

I wanted to show you what I made for my friends for christmas - I've been making these gifts, on and off, for such a long time I feel like I ouught to have mentioned it, but the problem with having your 3d friends reading your blog is that you really can't blog about any of your Christmas crafting, or they'll know exactly what they're getting. Maybe I could find out their IP addresses and block them for a few months before Christmas and their birthdays? That seems a little extreme to me though, so I'll have to make do with not blogging about my gifts until after Christmas. 

But to cut the rambling short, this year I couldn't decide on one gift, so I made a little collection of gifts for my friends. A smorgasbord of DIY's if you will, including;

  • Limoncello
  • Vanilla Essence
  • Mulled Wine Kits
  • Lush style moistursing bath bars
  • Hot chocolates on spoons
  • Christmas cookie boxes
And even though it's waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too late to be used for your 2011 crafting, I thought I'd take the next few days to show you what I made and how I did it. {Unfortunately, like a dunce, I didn't take photo's of the stages, but everything was uber simple so I am sure I'll be able to explain it.}

I made two different sets of gifts - one came in the little gabled box you see above and the other was a duo of a DIY cookie box and the Hot Chocolates on spoons in a little printed bag.

I'll start with the packaging and let you know that I fully 'cheated'. What with all the other stuff I had going on over the last few months, my somewhat lacking photoshop skills and my deep rooted love of the design I decided to use these Holiday Mail Stripe tags, by one of my favourite crafty bloggers Eat Drink Chic, as my starting point and work everything around them. I la-la-love the little reindeer stamp, and the colour scheme. 
So I printed a bunch of the tags for general use, and then set about mixing up the design a little where needed in photoshop. 
For the majority of the labels, I just wrote the text straight on to them, using Scribble Box as my main font and Pea Jenny Script as my secondary font. Once I was happy with the text it was just a case of printing them, cutting them out and rounding the corners - mostly to hide my uneven cutting skills but also because I just think it looks more finished. 
For the larger labels on the cookie box and the gabled kraft box, I had to do a little cutting and shutting as when I stretched the label, it understandable looked odd, so it was a case of piecing together the reds and blues until they were even. 
The gift bags were printed from here. No modification, no nothing. Just a little bad gluing!
So there you have it - my packaging! 
Tomorrow, I'll go through my Limoncello recipe and bottling!

Another Lovely Package

So, following on from my post detailing what I received for the A Lovely Package swap, I thought I would show you what I sent.
First off, I ought to mention that we did get a whole host of likes and hobbies about each person, and I feel kind of bad as I totally ignored the list and put together this package, but in my defence, I thought it was a good idea!

So I started with an idea – Annabel is at uni in Lancashire, I live in Yorkshire. All I saw was a regional divide. For those of you not familiar with this divide, it stretches back to, I imagine, Robin Hood’s era and the War of the Roses. Yorkshire has a white rose and Lancashire has a red one. People fought for their colours. That sort of stuff. More recently it is mostly football based. So any how, this was where my brain went. A war of the roses themed box. But then after a chat with one of my friends, I changed it up a little and focused on Sheffield.
 So my box was a collage {I believe the cool term is decoupage now after Kirstie’s shows} of pages torn from Sheffield magazines and spray mounted onto the box. There was, in a stroke of luck, a map on one of the pages, so that clearly was destined for the top.
Inside, above the tissue paper, we have a small white paper rose {for those of you who don’t understand. Re-read paragraph 2.} and a little note, explaining my decision.
And then, on to the goodies – I searched far and wide* for some of the best Sheffield stuff so we have; 
  • Hendersons Relish – this is my new favourite food stuff. I had always poopoo’d it as it says the word ‘spicy’ on the front. But this is not spicy at all. It is just tangy goodness that ought to be enjoyed on most foods! I also included some recipe suggestions which are tied to the bottle – that’s what the twine is.
  • Pale Rider – from the award winning Kelham Island brewery. I work just round the corn from the brewery, so this was an absolute no-brainer.
  • Sheffield Honey – these guys are at the local farmers market, and have been super helpful in helping me get one of the ingredients for my handmade Christmas gifts too. Plus the honey tastes amazing.
  • Chocolates from Cocoa – this is pretty much the cutest shop on the planet. They have a candy striped awning that shelters just the most amazing shop. Hand made chocolates were a must!
  • Sheffield Brew – not being a tea drinker, I have no idea what this will be like, but I have heard very good things about it. So Annabel you will have to let me know.
  • Pete McKee Card & Jonathan Wilkinson postcards – both of these guys are iconic Sheffield artists. Pete for his depictions of the people in the town, and Jonathan for his ‘cityscapes’. If I am honest, I think I prefer Jonathans style. The cooling towers shot is just Sheffield!
  • A guide to the local area. If you know Sheffield at all you will know that Eccy Rd and Sharowvale are laden with cool, quirky and fun places to shop, eat and drink, so I thought I would finish the box off with a little map showing Annabel, should she ever visit Sheffield, where she ought to visit!
Not a massive amount of making or crafting I know, but I was pretty pleased with my 'taste of Sheffield' box - I just hope Annabel isn't too disappointed that I veered slightly away from her likes and dislikes. 

*took a walk round my local shops - bc they sell everything that I needed. 

A Lovely Package

My A Lovely Package surprise arrived yesterday – and I feel awful as I haven’t even posted mine yet {today – I promise!}. But you have to see the amazing the little collection of gifts I received from Annabel at Fragmented Splendour -                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

She sent me a beautiful little turquoise and gold necklace from her jewellery making – I have it on right now and love it!

A uber cute little boat brooch – these old fashioned sailing boats are my favourite type to see out on the water.
Some crocheted snowflakes – how on earth she knew I’d been lusting after crochet snowflakes since Lizzy bought be a book on them {I know I should have made them myself by now, but they look uber complicated. I started one but it confused me!}
And some pom pom bunting. I think the lacey one might be my favourite. These will definitely be up in the house!

I feel a little self-conscious about the package I have sent her now as it is no where near as cute - in fact it is far from 'cute' but I was really happy with it {And I just hope it arrives in one piece. I did use bubble wrap but after wrapping I could hear some clinking – I am not sure writing fragile on things works does it?}

You would also not believe the strange looks people at work give you when you tell them you’ve done a blog gift swap. 

Crafter-evening {That's not quite got the same ring to it as Crafternoon, has it.....}

Last week I held the second of the crafting groups with my friends - we attempted a little wreath making {but this time for various reasons, I was about a thousand times less organised and took no pictures. For one we had it on a Thursday evening, so there was no time for me to prep really. It was all a bit of a rush. Two, evening lighting is bad. And three, it really didn't look as pretty - there was stuff everywhere}
There were two types of wreaths available - vine wreaths and foam ones. The foams ones - wrapped in wool proved the most popular, but there were still a few takers for the vine ones. We had a table full of holly, expertly half-inched from the bush in my parents garden, some evergreen tree, ribbons, pinecones, felt, wool, glitter, buttons and bells - not to mention the food. 
Having looked at Pinterest I knew I wanted to do a grey wreath, but i envisaged it with a whole heap of balls of wool and pinwheels and things on it - in reality it's grey, with a few glittery balls, a pinwheel and a woollen ball! I may add to it yet, but it's not a quick process wrapping that wool round foam. And it appears to have a bit of a kink in it where I might not have taped the foam tight enough, but what do you think? 

And here is a little glimpse of the type of wreath the people who did the vine wreaths created.  


Happy December

This might be the best advent calendar ever.

Best laid plans and all.

About 3 months ago, after a particularly vigorous pinning session, I started my handmade Christmas present planning. I figured it all out, on a spread sheet and everything {Lizzy, you would be proud!}, what needed to be done when, when I wanted things completed by, which month I would pay for things, and how they’d be packaged. I even started on a couple of the projects that needed a while to, hmmmm, cure.
But that is pretty much where I stopped. The plan was to create about 8 different things and package them all up prettily and have all, bar one, done by the start of December so I didn't have the stress and rush that the old housemate and I had last year when we decided to hand make a load of gifts and didn't really give ourselves enough time.
Well, as it stands I have two gifts finished, and another is half made, but nowhere near ‘done’, the craft room/dressing room/junk room is a mess of bits of twine and scraps of fabric and I am fast running out of time to get them completed by ‘fake christmas’ at the boy’s family in a few weeks.
Plus I still have a crafting afternoon to host, a baby gift to make for my friend Sammy, and the Pretty package exchange to do. What with a few weekends away planned in and my evenings quickly filling up, I think it might be time to re-evaluate the plans I had and scale back slightly.

And I haven’t even started thinking about bought Christmas gifts, decorating a tree, or the boys birthday at the start of January! Yikes. 

Just the two of us {almost, nearly}

The housemate gave us some fantastic news last week. He is moving out. And of his own accord {well almost, he may have had some subtle hints from our friends, but shhhhhhhh}. He moves out at the end of December, but I wont go into where he is moving to too much as I think it might be a crack den,and it scares me.  

And not only does it mean that the boy and I get to live together, just us, but it means we get more space in the kitchen cupboards {say hello, baking cupboard}, we I get one less person to nag into cleaning, all of his habits will leave with him and, most most most importantly, we get a spare room, which means we can have more friends to stay and they won't have to sleep in the living room!
A, quirky, attic spare room. But a room that I get to decorate, 'how ever I want' I am told. Can you see where I may be going with it by that image above? Think white and turquoise and wood. I can't wait to get started up there, and it'll give me a project whilst the boy is away in India again in February and March. All I have been told is that it needs to house a desk for his computer!

I've only been up there once, but if I recall the {steeeeeeeeep} stairs come up in the middle of one wall, the bed fits against the one opposite, it's got a little alcove where the window is, which I am hoping will fit a desk perfectly, and on the other side of the room there are a couple of odd cupboardy, wardrobey things with a cubby behind them, which would be great for storing all our big things that probably shouldn't be in the cellar - I bet it would look fab with a pretty curtain in front of it. It needs a new floor {one day} and maybe a carpet - although some white painted floorboards would do me fine. And definitely a lick of paint. And the thing it'll need more than anything else, especially as I am guessing it hasn't been cleaned in about 3 years, is a very good disinfecting and airing! 

The Lovely Package Exchange

The other week, in a surprisingly on-the-ball moment, I managed to make the sign-up list for the Oh, Hello Friend Lovely Package Exchange.
The plan is to swap something wonderfully wrapped and bundled up with another blogger, who themselves likes pretty packages. The swaps are happening country by country to help with postage, which I guess means you can be even more creative with both what and how you send your gift. I'm super excited as I am pretty sure that packaging your gift is almost as important as the gift itself. {Granted sometimes I will be at the last minute and I am sorry if you've received one of those gifts, but on the whole, pretty wins every time.} 

The swapee’s were announced on Monday and I thought I would introduce you to mine - Annabel at Fragmented Splendour. We all filled in a little questionnaire and from hers I know that these are her likes and hobbies;
5 favorite things: I adore cats, sweet vintage items, Anything purple or mustard, lace and crochet items and anything at all that is hand made! :)
5 words to describe you or your style: Quirky, unique, colourful, lovely, avid book&blog reader.
Anything else you'd like to mention: I LOVE packaging & getting post, I make jewellery, I'm a student, I study Fine art & my favourite piece of clothing is a dress covered in cats!

So I will try and weave those likes into my gift collating/making {I just have to be honest though, I don't really 'do' cats, so it might not contain them!} and now I have a couple of weeks to get my ass in gear and send her something that not only is fun but looks pretty when she receives it. 

I have about 5 different theme ideas racing around my head so I guess the best bet would be to pop them all in a hat and stick to one, or it’ll be a whole mish-mash of ideas and probably turn out horribly.
But it is fab to know I am going to not only be making something pretty but receiving something nice too! 

A little baby shower

I just wanted to share a little peek at the baby shower Jess of Mama Doreen's and I hosted for our friend Sammy. It was held at Jess's beautiful home {just look at that those chairs and the colour of that wall. Swoon, swoon, swoon.}
Jess and her mum made the cakes, and jess did a huge array of yummy food - loaded potatoes, chilli, toasted panini's followed by cake pops, an amazing sticky toffee cake and a chocolate cake that was to die for.
And I made some decorations - tissue pompoms and a cupcake liner pompom {that involved me busting out the glue gun!} did the favours - a little 'cute as a button' cookie set, made 'wishes for baby' cards for us to all fill in and put together a little afternoon crafting activity, where by we all sewed a little ornament for a mobile.

how cute?
  cake pops
 little girls love cake
 cake. mmmm. cake.
 Jess, not posing at all. 
 time for gifts

wishes for baby
cute as a button

Knowingly Undersold?

Forgive me - this is a massive rant! But if you follow me on Twitter you might have seen my debarkle, what, maybe 4 weeks ago, with John Lewis and their shocking customer service as I ordered my dining table. Well, I have the table, but it's taken me 4 weeks to get an apology {of sorts} for the way their staff spoke to me and I just seem to have been passed around different people, so I am putting it in writing and on the internet to see if anyone else has managed to be ‘undersold’ by John Lewis.

So, the story is, I found the table of my dreams in the JL in Sheffield, the sales assistants told me it was always in stock and the best thing to do would be to order the week before I wanted it and so left the dream table in the store until I had decorated. Later, when my dining room was almost done I went back to order it with my mum. Unfortunately the table was out of stock, as were the chairs, so we had to order them. Having a little event planned on the 30th I told the nice, but slightly useless, Sales Assistant that I needed the table for then, and she told me no problem, everything would be back in stock the following Monday, the 24th.

Fast forward 4 days and I get an email from the online side of the business telling me that the chairs were back in stock, so as instructed I gave them a little call. This is where the problems start – I got put through to the furniture dept. in the Sheffield store to enquire about getting the chairs delivered {I was told they’d be delivered separately} but unfortunately the woman I ended up speaking to must have been having the worst day ever. Either that or she is just uber grumpy all the time. But in the snottiest I-am-better-than-you tone she proceeded to tell me that yes my order had come in, but not to be so stupid as why would they deliver them without the table {erm, because you said you would, duh!}  and she also told me that ‘even if my table did arrive the following week, I definitely wouldn’t have it for the weekend. I explained I’d been told it would be with me for then, as I had an event I need the table for but she went on to tell me that I should have ordered it sooner, my event was no concern of hers and she didn’t really care what I did but my table wouldn’t be with me. then asked me if I wanted to cancel my order. At that point I was mighty close, but having spent 4 months looking at tables and knowing this was the one I wanted, I didn’t. I know after that I should have. I mean, I worked in retail for a long time and I know sometimes it gets you down – I really understand that- but if I’d have spoken to a customer, especially one actually spending a decent amount of cash with them, like that I’d have expected to at least get some sort of comeuppance.

So I turned to twitter and told them about how horrible the service had been  and @JLcustserv suggested that I email them, so I did and got a little message back to say someone would be back in touch in 24 hours.

So here the customer service journey goes 2 ways – one way where my table comes in stock, and when I phone to chase the delivery {I know, surely I shouldn’t be chasing it!} I get told that I have to go and collect it from their depot, and then it changes to no, it won’t be with me on time on a number of occasions until I spoke to a lovely guy called Chris in their Manchester call centre. He did some magic and got me a Saturday delivery slot so the table arrived just in time.

But then there is the other side – 5 days go past and I still haven’t heard anything after this promise of contact in 24hrs, which has kind of pissed me off more - at least do what you say you will, so I called them, and got told it’d be another 24hrs before someone called me. Guess what, 7 days later and nothing.  So I called again and this time I hit the escalated complaints department and the lady there assures me I will get a call, and gives me her number in case I hear nothing. And yes, you’ve guessed it – they didn’t make any contact. So now it’s taken another call and another email – at their request - to get some acknowledgement from the Sheffield store. The woman who called me was lovely, but it has to be said her apology was a bit wishy washy. First off she said she thought someone had emailed me back already, or they should have a month ago {yes, yes they should have, or maybe 2 weeks ago when I chased them}, that I shouldn't have been spoken to like that {you think?} and 'we'll look into it' {it was a month ago. If you thought I had been replied to and you were actually going to look into it, maybe you should have done that when you first got the email?} and her offer to send me a voucher for a free coffee next time I am in store is, well, slight annoying as I don’t even drink coffee and maybe a little offensive! 

When I sent my first email all I wanted was I was my table on time like I was promised, and maybe a sorry. But now, as they have made me work for it, have consistently let me down and have made me chase them for some contact I thought I’d let the world {well, my few readers} know. And it’s made me feel a little less mad about the whole affair by getting it out in the open. 


You have no idea how happy it made me this weekend when I saw that Creature Comforts had brought out a Gifted 2011 magazine. And even though half the stuff isn't available in the UK, oh, the ideas, oh, the ideas. My brain is overflowing.

Open publication - Free publishing - More christmas

Bring on the plethora of Christmas magazines to make me question all the lifts I am making and make me even more chubs with all their delicious recipes. 

Gifts to myself

You know I posted about the Besotted Brand shop I mentioned a few weeks ago? Well, you should know that when payday arrived the first thing that I did was place an order {in fact I placed the order the night BEFORE payday because Paypal always take their sweet time to get the money}. And 9 days later, which from the US of A is pretty fast I think, my little present to myself arrived. And don't presents to yourself feel much more like pressies when they are wrapped up like them? 

Of course I got the anchor. And the 'hello' and 'handmade' also made their way into my basket. I mean if I am already paying the postage, I might as well make use of it right? And they will be super useful, what with all the gifts I am making.
And Miss B threw in some other unexpected goodies - i beautiful stamped gift tag, craft heart stickers, 2 more little stamps {'thank you' and a 'just a little note'} and importantly, some ink so I could play right away.

People in my life, you ought to expect pretty much everything you receive from now on to have the shit stamped out of it. So what if I have made you nothing. So what if you hate the ocean and anchors {more fool you btw}. EVERYTHING will be stamped. Get used to it!

*Please forgive the images, there appears to be no natural light during my at home hours any more, so they are all orange and yellow. 

What would you do?

This sodding quote keeps taunting almost every time I hit the 'everything' button on PinterestIts a stupid, simple question, but somehow it has got in my brain and planted some crazy seed which makes me wonder what would I do? Or, maybe, what would I do if failure didn't mean there would be something bad waiting for me at the other side, like massive debts and not being able to pay the bills. It almost makes me mad to see people doing the things they love and managing to make a life doing it {for instance, my brother and his bar - he's doing what he's always wanted to do, and doing it well apparently.  I am very proud of him and his fiancĂ©e, but also a little pissed off that he's the 'sorted' one now!} 

Honestly, if I didn't have money to worry about - paying debts and bills and the likes - what I would love to do is Events. Smaller ones, like parties and weddings, where the attention to detail is the thing that makes it work, where we could talk about that perfect shade of blue and arrange a colour scheme around it and in this dream job I’d definitely be working for people who would notice when I used a certain font. I just don’t think Sheffield is calling out for me to do this. My bank balance certainly isn’t. And do nice fonts make other people smile, or it it just me?

I used to think I would like a boutique-y/crafty shop with a little cafe on the side - my friend and I discussed it at length during our time together at Quiksilver, we would have sold women's clothes in the brands we love but struggle to get hold of and she would have had an uber cool cafe that opened late and had bands playing. We'd sell artwork from the walls and hold exhibitions. We even knew how it would look and once upon a time costed up the gear, but it was just a little too far away from our grasp. 

Or I would quit it all and go do another snow season, but at 30, I think I am too old. I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the kids and their partying and I couldn’t snowboard every day anymore, what with my cheese knees – but would it matter if I was living in the mountains? And if I took the boy, we could chalet host. He could cook and I could clean and bake. Doesn’t it sound great. If only. And if I couldn’t fail, I’d give a massive kicker a go again, and a kinked rail. If I couldn’t fail on the mountain I would be the snowboarder I always wanted to be – I would be badass! Trust me, even Jake Burton would be knocking on my door. And then I would give surfing a go.  

Or maybe I would push the boy to look into an opportunity a little more. Take a leap.  Maybe I will anyway. 

What, if you couldn't fail, would you do? 

DIY Glitter Shoes

This weekend we have a friends 30th birthday to attend. The dresscode is 'Black, Bling and Ting'. The black I can do, no probs, and the bling - well, I had a little Pinned project I wanted to try. Glitter Pumps {actually, I really wanted to give these sequinned numbers or these diamond encrusted platforms a go, but I don't have the patience for that amount of sticking and sewing and we all know I could never walk in a pair of those heels!}

I had a pair of H&M shoes I bought ages ago because the heel is little, but have never worn as they seem a little mum-sy in their height {go figure - low enough for me & my heel phobia to wear, but too mumsy in height to wear!} so they seemed perfect to glitter in case it all went wrong. 
This meant I just needed Glitter. The tutorial over at Pixie in Pumps says use super fine glitter, but the stuff in pots in Hobbycraft didn't look that fine, so I bought their pre-mixed glitter glue - in silver and also in a black with reds and blues in it to give the colour of the shoes a little pop. 

The tutorial calls for sanding your shoes down. All I could find was some medium weight sandpaper, but I think it might have been a little rough as it made bits stick up - so maybe a fine sandpaper would work better. I did get some odd looks from my housemate whilst I was sanding my shoes down - he definitely does not get craft/DIY-ing!

The shoes half way though - after one coat. 

Once I had mixed the two glitters I set about painting my shoes. I think in hindsight the glitter mix could have done with being more glittery as there was a lot of shoe showing though after the first coat. But I left the shoes over night to dry and did another coat the next day and they have a much better coverage of glitter now. I was undecided whether to do another coat but I think it might get too thick and crack, plus they are just for a party so I think I might leave it.

This is the coverage after two coats and a little touching up around the edges. What do you think? I think I might like them and you can just about make out the reds and blues in the sparkles too. The colours work quite well with the silver lining H&M had so kindly provided too don't they, it's almost as if they knew how they'd end up!

I am not sure how well they'll hold up to a night of partying but there doesn't appear to be any glitter coming off them when I rubbed my hands on them. And I have loads of the glitter mix left so I might throw it over some old irregular choice pumps I have that are looking pretty worse for wear now!

what I used;

  • Old pair of shoes
  • Sandpaper - a fine one. 
  • Hobbycraft pre-mixed glitter glue. 120ml bottle would be plenty. {or use PVA glue and glitter.}
  • A small-ish paint brush
  • A little bowl for mixing in
  • Tin foil to cover everything in.