Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Last Minute Jubilee Souvenirs


So we're off to a Jubilee party on Saturday and suddenly the text arrives - fancy dress and bunting please! Panic! I've not gotten into the swing of it yet but as the bunting has started to appear around the village, that and the bizarre scarecrows, I've begun to feel like I need souvenirs.

I went to my parents this week and mum had found my old badge collection in the loft. To my surprise I found so many silver jubilee badges. There was a special metal one in a little red box and this was given to every child at school. I wonder if it was just my school or the whole country. Maybe you have one? I wonder if the children will receive a memento this year during these tough times.

I remember going to a street party that was so much fun. The photos show bunting hung across the street and tables decked with so much food that everyone had contributed.


  • for vintage inspired crochet and organics

  • So,  a costume and some souvenirs. I went to my favourite low cost shop and sourced some ridiculous hats, bunting and flags but I think I need a more sensible souvenir or something to wear. I've scoured my favourite shops and come up with some perfect items. If you're quick you can still grab them.



  • Polymer clay Costume Jewelry Rings Brooches Pendants

  • accidentalvix 

    I have made myself one of these fused glass pendants to wear but have a couple extra.I think they would work for the Olympics too. Blog readers don't forget my special code BLOG10 for 10% off at checkout.

    Sunday, 20 May 2012

    Den Building Party.

    How time flies! Rather a cliche I know but on my childrens birthdays it really hits home. It was little ones 6th birthday this week. Obviously he's not that little anymore though! He only wanted three best friends which was a comfortable number for a campfire theme.

    Den building first so we dragged branches around the garden and climbed trees to tie on ropes and hang tarps. The children created perfect little hiding places for the nerf gun battle that followed.

    We used a flint to light the fire and then cooked local sausages from Primrose Pork on the new grill.  The children wrapped bread dough around sticks to make dampers and then each cooked their own.We used a potato peeler to safely shave the bark off the green sticks.

     I made chocolate fairy cakes with flame coloured icing and then the boys turned them into campfires using flakes for the branches. We finished off dessert with a marshmallow toasting session.

    We sandwiched the marshmallows between 2 dark chocolate digestive biscuits for our own version of smores.

    At the end of the party the children completed a nature quiz that led to a final clue in the chicken house to locate their party bags. I buried them in a bin bag in the veggie patch and they had to work as a team to dig them out. Quite a lot of flying mud!

    Continuing with the smores theme I made each child a tea light coaster with their name on, added a tea light, two cocktail sticks and a bag of mini marshmallows. Take home s'more! I made hessian bags to haul the loot home home.

    I think they had a good time. They went home extremely dirty!

    Friday, 18 May 2012

    Folky Friday.

    Picks from this weeks listings in the Crafty Folk daily listing club on ETSY.

    This weeks featured selleris  www.etsy.com/shop/DecoEclectic  I hadn't come across this shop until now and what a find. This shop sells a huge mixture of unique jewellery designs with a vintage & retro twist.

     I love this little blue brooch.

    This pink Bollywood elephant is super fun and really unique .

    I loved this necklace from www.etsy.com/shop/averilpam. The shape is really different. My pendants always seem to be a similar shape. I'll do some wobbly ones next time perhaps. The colours on this pendants are wild. There are stripes in a myriad of colours and sizes that are all united by the background. They work brilliantly.

    Another shop to catch my eye this week is www.etsy.com/shop/ChattyNora. I'm redecorating the boys rooms at the moment and love inspirational type things. (Not sure if they quite understand their significance yet though!)

    This one made me laugh. Apparently it's a quote from Moss from The IT Crowd (a British TV series).I've not heard of this one but that's not suprising really as I'm not much of a TV fan.

    Thursday, 10 May 2012

    Meet the Klips!

    The Klips are a new range of bookmarks designed for children. Each consists of a giant paperclip with a fused glass head at the top. The eyes, nose and mouth have been tack fused on so they are 3D but will not come off. The glass is glossy and shiny and some even dichroic glass. The heads have been securely mounted onto the paperclip with a high strength metal and glass epoxy that will not come off. The glass has been fired at high temperature, this rounds the corners and makes it very strong and durable. These can be dropped and don't tend to break making them suitable for the demands of young children.

    Each member of the Klip Klan is unique.

    Meet Kobalt Klip, the wisest of the Klip Klan. He is deep blue when he is thinking hard. He loves to read and particularly likes mystery stories. He is very good at solving these. He loves to read Nancy Drew Mysteries and The Hardy Boys.

     Klever Klip is very clever (obviously). In his spare time he loves to read dictionaries and eat spelling lists. (Some Klan members may have been inspired by my own family!)

    Klever Klip
    These are the first two members of the Klan ready for listing on ETSY. I have a lot more to add daily. They were inspired by my sons who are avid readers and consume books by the truckload.Instead of those scrappy bits of paper they use to mark pages they now have the first members of the Klan. I hope to design some girlier members in the next batch! 

    Each Klan member comes with a notecard telling the child which kind of books he/she likes and perhaps a recommendation for one they might like to try.

    No 1 son helped to take the photographs this week and he came up with all sorts of ideas for uses(some more sensible than others!) He has one to clip his pokemon cards together. No 2 uses his to hold his paper birthday money.  I think they would make great stocking fillers.

    What about a graduation gift with a favourite book? The clip could mark a inspirational quote.

    These have been great fun to design and make.I have a section in my shop dedicated to the Klan. There are also some more sensible designs for book reading adults. I am adding to this daily.


    Tuesday, 8 May 2012

    Berber Pharmacie

    We were met at the door of the pharmacy by a man in a white medical coat and ushered into a room with benches around the walls. The walls above us were lined with shelves. Each shelf was heaving with jars. Some were filled with coloured liquids, some lipstick style pots and some seemed to be filled with odd looking animal parts. The smell of the room was intense and sent a few of the children into couging fits. I tried to focus on the rose smell which was one of the more pleasant aromas wafting around.

    The berber pharmacist opened packets of dried herbs and spices and insisted that berber saffron was both the best and the cheapest. He had a cure for everything. The snoring potion was a favourite. This was a muslin square with crunched up cumin seeds inside. He took great delight in taking it to each person and shoving it up one nostril whilst pinching shut the other. Eventually you had to inhale the vile concoction. I preferred the rose perfume and cooking spices. We had to rub in samples of lotions until our arms could absorb no more and our noses had been overdosed.

    Black olive soap, arnica, mint tea, natural oils, excema cures, natural viagra, deodorants, and the famous Argan oil were just a few more of packages to be sampled.

    I started to get a bit tedious and the children were starting to get bored until a new game was invented.  It was time to divulge your parents hidden medical secrets. "Well my Dad has got... " The pharmacist was delighted with dodgy knees and bald patches for a while until it started getting a bit more personal!

    We particularly enjoyed the magic Berber lipstick. My youngest son found this highly amusing. It was a clear lipstick that when you put it on turned red after a few minutes. A lot of skin can be drawn on in a few minutes and suddenly the magic worked. His face and arms had Adam Ant stripes for a couple of days.

    In Morocco Argan oil is known as liquid gold.It is golden in colour and very expensive. The local people use it in both cosmetics and culinary forms. It can also help rheumatism, high cholesterol and even diabetes.
    The two ladies above were demonstrating the labour intensive process required to produce the oil. I have found this informative video showing the process in a bit more detail. I like it because it's a co-operative so in theory the profits go to the ladies.

    I really enjoyed the visit to the phamacie and would thoroughly recommend it. I bought a variety of potions and spices and the lipstick has provided hours of amusement.

    I did a quick search and found Argan oil and other Moroccan inspired items on ETSY.

  • Handmade Skin Care and Natural Beauty Products

  • HilarysBazaar

    Thursday, 3 May 2012

    New fused glass bookmarks.

    Finally the new bookmarks are finished. Well, the first two! I've made glass cabochons and attached them to giant paperclips. I've called them bookmarks but I'm sure they'll have more uses than that.

    Did you know that paperclips were first patented in 1867 by Samuel B. Fay.

    The giant paper clip in Sandvika, Norway

    A recent survey by Lloyds bank of London revealed that of 100,000 paper clips only 20,000 were used for paper.The others were used for lock picking, stress relief,
    cleaning fingernails etc!

    On a more pleasant note these may be helpful holding fabric instead of pins or to close bags such as cornflakes or the unhealthy chocolate rubbish that my children seem to favour!

     As the end of the school year approaches I think they will make great teachers gifts with a notebook or mini graduation gifts perhaps alongside a favourite or inspirational book.

    Eclectic Vintage Finds

    Digital Stamps, Handmade Cards and Gifts

    Tuesday, 1 May 2012

    Aït Benhaddou and flash floods!

    After our Sahara experience we drove back through the Draa valley to Ourzazarte. It was raining intermittently but we still managed to stop to catch frogs in a stream and play with strange lizards at the side of the road.

    After lunch the rain was continous and quite hard. The journey then got much more exciting. The bridge over the dry river bed that we had crossed two days ago was now buried 2 feet deep under water! Flash floods! The traffic stopped and one at a time each vehicle tried to cross. The cars didn't even try and turned back. The children were so excited, personally I saw my life flash past my eyes!

    View through the emergency exit as we crossed the raging river.

    Our destination was Aït Benhaddou, a UNESCO world heritage site. It's a fortified city in Souss-Massa-Draa. It stands proudly on a hill alongside the calm Ounila river, now a raging torrent.

    It's famous for it's kasbahs constructed of mud. Apparently each rainstorm washes a bit more away! We crossed a bridge into the town and snaked through narrow alleyways.

    Most families have moved to the new town but ten still live there amidst the crumbling mud. The children were fascinated by a donkey living in the downstairs of one of the houses while I prefered to watch a lady weaving on a loom. We climbed to the top of the hill to the old granary where the wind was so strong we had to hold onto the children. Breathtaking!

    The town has become more famous recently as it is frequently used as a film location.The Prince of Persia and Gladiator have both been filmed there.  

    Friday, 27 April 2012

    Crafty Folk Congratulations.

    Congratulations to Polly from http://www.etsy.com/shop/PollyKrafts  for her first ETSY sale. Check out this fabulous crochet bunting from her shop that will add some handmade class to your jubilee celebrations.

    Congratulations to Dave from http://www.etsy.com/shop/GelertDesign  for hitting the 200 sales mark. I love these Tolkien keepsake boxes.

    And finally to Shirley from  http://www.etsy.com/shop/whimsywoodesigns  who has had a great month. These fabric book covers would make great presents for Father's Day. 

    Thursday, 26 April 2012

    Hama Beads - The Next Step


    A long time ago I wrote a post about a rainy Sunday afternoon in our house. As a lover of statistics I am suprised when this post keeps coming up as a favourite. Delving deeper it seems that 'superman hama' is a keyword that has made this into the 'sticky' post that it is.

    So today I am experimenting with my statistics!

    I have done some research into Hama beads. There's a whole Hama world out there and it moves pretty fast. 

    It seems popular with fans of Pokemon. The eternally popular Pikachu but now in 3D!

    Alexandra Jauhiainen

    Hama useful objects too such as these Pokeball coasters.

    Pokeball Perler Bead Coasters Set of 4
    Beki Harrison

    1up Mushroom Perler Bead Lighter Case/Sleeve

    You may have noticed this new word 'Perler bead' in the descriptions above. This is a rival brand to the Hamas and is popular due to the different colours it produces. More colours mean more options. These Perler pictures are incredible.

    Perler Samuel L. Jackson
     Last picture has to be of the eternally sticky 'superman hama'! On sale too!


    Tuesday, 24 April 2012

    Sunday, 22 April 2012

    The Ships of the Desert.

    Did you know that the name camel comes from the Arabic word for 'beauty'?
    Apart from some very long eyelashes my camel didn't seem particularly beautiful.She was smelly and covered in flies!

    I also found out that one of the reasons camels can go long periods without water is due to the oval shape of their blood cells. These can flow when dehydrated unlike our round ones that clump together.

    We rode on camels across a varied landscape. We started in a palmerie shaded from the sun then passed through an area of sand dunes before heading along a river bank back to our camp. The children loved the sand dunes. They dug holes, rolled and generally threw a lot of sand about. I seem to have brought half the desert home in my suitcase.

    Mid roll!

    We spent two nights camping in Bedouin style tents. These are long, low, thick brown tents made from goat and camel hair. They are supported by tall central poles and then have lower poles around the sides. Traditionally more poles represent greater wealth of the owner. The tents are designed to cope with desert life. I can't speak about the cooling properties but in the freezing night temperatures the tent kept me warm. During rare desert rain showers the tent is supposed to be waterproof as the wool and hair expand when wet filling the gaps. During the freak torrential rainstorms and flash floods that we encountered we took the added precaution of tarpaulins over the tents. Not very authentic perhaps but we kept fairly dry. It was a bit noisy though. Add to that the call to prayer, motorbikes, drumming and dogs let's say I didn't get my full 8 hours!