Monday, 31 December 2012

happy new year!

As we approach the end of 2012, how was it for you? Mine has had its share of highs and lows. I achieved things I never would have thought possible, including a 10k race and a half marathon!

That's me in the blue top at the front of the photo! During this year I managed to lose some weight and have kept it off.

In September we watched the amazing competitors in the Ironman event. My husband has almost decided to do it next year. I just need to keep nagging encouraging him to enter ;-)

Another thing wich I managed to do this year was to finally get to see The Killers in concert. They were everything I had hoped for, amazing!

I managed to find time to make some fab things this year. I have lots of ideas for new projects for next year. So many things on my 'must try this' list for 2013! Also, I made some fab new crafty friends this year. Even better some of them ran too so we'd chat about Etsy shops etc whilst out on our runs.

2012 also threw me a few curveballs which were testing to deal with. Hopefully they taught me a few lessons on the way and I'm a better person for it.

I hope 2013 is good to you. Let's raise a glass to whatever it may hold!

Happy New Year!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Friday, 24 August 2012

lego straw toppers printable

On my previous post about the Lego straw toppers here I didn't mention where I downloaded the printables. I'm pleased to say I have found the link again and they are available to download here. The Aussie Pumpkin Patch blog has put together a fab download which includes invites, colouring in pages, wrappers for bubbles and raisin boxes and party bag toppers. All available in one download. Awesome, as my 7 year old would say! 

For the Lego heads all you need to do is print off the sheet, cut out the heads, cut two slits on each head and slip over your straws. Easy peasy!

Have you organised a Lego party? I'd love to hear about what you have planned.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

I'm still here!

Just a quick message to say hello & that I'm still here! I hope you're all having a good summer. There's been lots of tv watching here lately - we have all been glued to the Olympics. So proud of Team GB and for London hosting a fabulous games.

I've been doing something quite shocking lately. Running. Yes, you heard right, I've been doing actual exercise. I've found out its actually quite fun if you stick at it. I may be the slowest runner in town but who cares? I've even entered a half marathon in October. Madness, I tell you!

I'll leave you with a gratuitous photo which I took on my iPhone whilst out on a run. I needed evidence that the sun was shining and the rain had actually stopped!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

craft fair, narberth

I'm pleased to announce that I'm taking part in a new craft event in Narberth, Pembrokeshire. Crafts by Design: a weekly market of quality crafters and artisan makers. Every Thursday morning you will find us in the Queen's Hall, Narberth alongside the Country Market.

There will be Damson and Slate with their  beautiful throws, cushions, stoneware, etc.  As seen in lots of magazines such as Country Homes and Interiors, Country Living, Homes & Gardens, etc.

Also attending will be Canvas and Cloth with their wonderful selection of haberdashery. They are a stockist of Hoopla which is a yarn made from a byproduct of the textile industry. Recycling at its best! Canvas and Cloth were recently mentioned on the Homes & Antiques website and also were featured in Handmade Living magazine with a Hoopla rug.

Jeannie from Geranium will be here with her selection of handknitted and sewn toys all made in beautiful natural wools, tweeds, etc.

I'll take some photos tomorrow and come back with details of the other stallholders.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

loving the little paris kitchen

Image from BBC website

Oh my, I love the new cookery show from the BBC 'The Little Paris Kitchen'. Rachel Khoo conjours up amazing food in a truly tiny kitchen. I often watch cookery programmes where they swan around in massive kitchens to die for. Well this kitchen is also to die for but in a teeny tiny way. Rachel even cooks on two tiny gas rings and uses a mini oven. It just goes to show that you don't need a big fancy kitchen to make delicious food.

We are currently up to week 2 and I'm sat there frantically scribbling down the recipes each week. Last week the boeuf bourguignon with baguette dumplings looked lovely, as did the chocolate lava cake (sadly the recipe isn't available online at the moment).

I often get into a food rut and seek out new recipes to try. And we are trying to our 7 year old to try new foods to widen his rather limited food choices. So I will take inspiration from whatever source I can find!

I love Paris. Or rather I love the idea of Paris! I have been twice so far and both trips weren't the best experience I have had! The first one was a business team building freebie trip.  Eurostar from London to Paris, overnight in a lovely hotel and back the next day. Which was fine except one of us got mugged on the Metro, then some of the group witnessed an armed robbery in progress! Then I made another trip some years later with my then boyfriend. He proceeded to spend much of the trip watching football on tv and was more interested in that than exploring the city. And our hotel was on the edge of the red light district which was a bit of an eye opener.

One day I might be lucky to go back and have a nice time!

spring lamb stew

There are currently 4 of Rachel's recipes available online here and you can watch previous programmes on iPlayer here.

Monday, 19 March 2012

rolled fabric roses

I love rolled fabric flowers and I have been busy making new brooches using the technique. I'm really pleased with how they have come out. The first ones were made in a cream linen to give a shabby chic look. I think they'd look great attached to a coat or cardigan or even pinned onto a bag for a pretty touch.  

The centre of the flowers have been finished off with a selection of beads, pearls and sequins in co-ordinating neutral colours. These first ones are brooches but I have plans to make smaller versions as hairclips, leaves are going to be added and also some in other colours. The possibilities are endless!

I have added a brooch to my Folksy shop, which has been sadly neglected for a while!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

auction style

Plant stand bought at auction £5
Blue glass jars from antique fair

I love to visit auction houses, car boot sales, antique fairs and charity shops, mixing the vintage finds in with more modern furniture, invariably from IKEA or wherever. I'm not a fan of identikit houses which all look the same because they have all bought items from the same store.

Local vintage bottles from auction

As a child I remember visiting auction houses on their preview days with my mum. I used to follow her around the dusty old room as she poked around the furnite and nic nacks. We didn't have a great deal of money but in my bedroom I had an Edwardian gentleman's wardrobe and antique Victorian shelf edge lace along the cast iron fireplace. My mum also handstitched a hexagon quilt made from my old clothes. It must have taken her hours to hand sew all of the hexies! I loved that quilt and would spend ages looking at all the different fabrics and remembering what clothes they had been cut up from. Unfortunately, my mum isn't around now and I have no idea where the quilt went.

I always thought I was nothing like my mum, maybe I'm more like her than I'd like to admit!

Pine table £2 at auction 

When I look around the house I see more and more old and vintage items sneaking in. Each piece tells a tale; a car boot find, charity shop visited on holiday or a hard fought auction bidding battle. For instance, the table in the above photo came from an auction for the princely sum of £2. It is really rough looking and needs a good sand and repaint but the husband snaffled it straightaway and it is now covered in papers in his office. One day it might get painted!

Oak cupboard from auction £36

Here is my supplies cupboard which I bought at auction. It is an oak glazed bookcase with drawers underneath. One of the doors needs new glass but apart from that it is perfect. I'm undecided whether or not to paint it so for the time being it is dark oak. I think pieces like this are lovely but then again I keep looking at Expedit bookcases at Ikea and nearly ordering one of those. Mix and match maybe?

Bakelite rotary dial telephone bought at an antique fair

I need to get braver at auctions though. I keep missing out on things because I'm too nervous to bid or stop bidding because I think the item is too expensive then kick myself when I get home. I have got some of my best buys from auctions: vintage leather suitcase, stoneware jar with local brewery names printed on it, plant stands, display shelves for use at craft fairs, etc. I even bought my car at an auction. Now that was scary bidding!

Although I have a love of auctions I don't really get much from Ebay. I never seem to find those 99p bargain pieces of furniture or vintage goodies. I have a wish list of things I'd love to get (red fire bucket, shop scales, Singer table, etc) and every now and then I'll see if there is anything I like for sale but not much turns up locally. I'll keep looking though.

I think my ultimate buy at auction would be a house. How scary would that bidding process be?!

Do you go to auctions? Tell me your best buy!

Monday, 5 March 2012

celebrating all things london

The momentum is starting to build and things are getting exciting for the UK with the forthcoming Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics. It is promising to be a summer of celebration of all things British. To be honest, I never really got the Union Jack obsession that seemed to be all over products over the last few years but I'm definitely embracing the patriotic look now!

What does 'London' mean to you? To me it is all about London buses, black cabs, Big Ben, red postboxes and telephone boxes.  I love the red telephone boxes; the iconic design, the cast iron materials and the history of them. Did you know that many of the boxes are classified as listed buildings? Listing status doesn't just apply to buildings, as the name suggests, but can also be applied to structures too. So telephone boxes, post boxes, milestones, etc can all have protection of listed building status. I think it is important to protect what we can!


These are my new designs which I have worked hard to make unique and in a nellie dean style. Hand printed iconic designs onto linen with carefully selected co-ordinating buttons and trims. Here are my first items: small hanging decorations and bagcharms/keyrings. I'm working on more items which I will share with you soon.

They are all available on my website.  Please let me know what you think. I love all feedback!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

get the london look

Don't you just love working on new things? I have a million and one things to do but when some new supplies arrived in the post so I just had to have a play. With the forthcoming the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympic Games I'm embracing all things London! I'm designing a little range of new product around the theme - all with a nellie dean twist of course!

I'll show you the new products once everything is finished and photographed. Can't wait!

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

easy valentine's tutorial

Here is an easy Valentine's Day tutorial to do with the kids. You don't need much in the way of supplies or equipment and it is quick to do. In only a few steps you will have this garland to hang on a shelf for Valentine's Day.

You will need pink and red card, heart template, pencil, scissors, hole punch and string or twine.

Lightly draw around the heart template with pencil onto the card.

Cut out your heart. I used deckle edged scissors to get a wavy line but you can use normal ones if you prefer.

Hole punch a hole on either side.  You could take more time than us and get the holes to line up of course. My 7 year old did the punching on this one.

Cut out 2 pink hearts and 2 of the red.

You are nearly finished, just need to decide what to thread the hearts on to. You could use thin ribbon, twine or string. I have used bakers twine in a beautiful aqua colour. I love bakers twine and it comes in loads of colours. It doesn't fray, so that is definitely a bonus! You can buy it from all sorts of places now, I bought mine from Etsy.

Your garland is now finished, all ready to hang!

I told you it was easy, and quick enough project for the kids to do without getting bored.  You could make it more detailed by embellishing each heart or writing 'L O V E' on each one. I left ours just plain.

Let me know if you make a heart garland, I'd love to see your creations.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, 13 February 2012

corners of my home

Come in, the fire is lit and the kettle is on! It is miserable weather out there so I thought I'd show you a few corners of my home. Coming up we have a Lego Minifigure display shelf DIY in progress, vintage French magazine adverts and a fab way to stop nosey parkers peering into your house.

Starting off with the woodburner stove. As you can see it is a proper stove which is used regularly so there's plenty of dust and newspapers lying around. In the summer it looks alot prettier when it is not in use! There's nothing better than loading it up and lighting it.

This rather abract photo is of one side of the bay window. As we have no front garden, the bay window is positioned right on the pavement for all passers by to nosey in. I'm not a fan of net curtains and wanted something to give us some privacy. I made some voile panels to hang but wasn't totally happy with them. I then found Brume film featured in a magazine. It is a great product - enter in your window measurements and decide what pattern or shape you'd like and they send you made to measure film to attach to your window. It was a bit hair raising attaching it, especially to the larger window as you have to ensure that there are no air bubbles at all. We attached the film to the 3 windows and I think it looks great. No more passers by nosing in on us in our lounge. Well, apart from one man who pressed his nose right up to the little squares and peered through. Cheeky so and so!

Moving up the stairs we have a series of vintage French magazine pages which we bought from a brocante street market in Brittany. They only cost 60 cents each and I have no idea what most of them say as my French vocabularly is somewhat limited. I really need to learn more French though because if I'm to visit another brocante again I need to be able to at least ask the stall holder how much things cost! I think the above magazine page is an advert for soap? This one is my favourite - I think these ladies look fab.

This is a project in waiting. A nic nack shelf bought from a car boot sale last summer for £2 which I'm going to paint and turn into a display shelf for my son's Lego. At the moment it is looking a little unloved and full of dust with a Lego Star Wars stormtrooper taking residence. There is also a pebble which my son has decorated to turn into an owl. He did loads of these last summer but not just owls, there were dogs too. I don't know where he got the idea from, on tv I expect.

Watch this space as I will post a photo of the Lego Minifigure display shelf when it is completed. One day, I promise!

So there we go, a few photos of my home which I wanted to share with you. I'll do some more once I have tidied up!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

winter walks, thrifty finds and a burst of sunshine

Whilst the rest of the UK was covered in a blanket of snow, here in west Wales we had none. It rained all day Saturday and then on Sunday it promised to stay dry so we headed out to the local woods.

It was lovely down there, nice and cold with no wind or rain. Not many other dog walkers out either so lovely and quiet. After the walk we had to dash back home so the other half could watch the rugby.

Look what greeted us on our return? Yes folks, the sun made a rare appearance. Rather fleetingly it must be said but I have photographic proof that it happened. I also have photographic proof that the hallway was clear of piles of school paperwork, odd gloves and other random odds and sods of family life.

The mirror is a fab thrifted find: a vintage bevelled edge mirror and only £3 at the car boot sale. The chain is a little short though and the mirror hangs a little high for my short legs. I can only see my eyebrows and above when I stand in front of it. Maybe I should look for a little stool at the next car boot sale?

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