Saturday, 30 June 2012

That Friday (OK Saturday) Feeling... Football

Yet again I have failed to update my Friday Feeling post on an actual Friday, but for those of you who have been wondering where it is... better late than never, right?
What with the European Cup final on tomorrow night, there could only really be one theme for this week's post - football. As I'm sure some of you have gleaned already, it's not my favourite sport but hey, millions of people disagree with me so it's definitely worth a mention. As you British readers will know, England got knocked out last week and my other team to support (Germany) is also out of the running. Which means that tomorrow's final is between Italy and Spain. I don't have any close Italian friends but I do have some Spanish ones so, for the sake of friendship, I am supporting Spain in tomorrow's match. Not that I'll be watching it... Sorry for any Italians who I may inadvertently upset by announcing that. Anyway, on with what I found on Etsy today:

Like these football cufflinks by OffTheCuff2010

Viva España! Spanish flag cushion by Mazizmuse

A cute little footie mad penguin by yourpengles

What random little facts can I conjure up? Hmm...

  • Football was actually invented in China and there are writings about it dating back as far a 476 BC
  • Gordon Ramsey, Julio Iglesias and Albert Camus were all nearly professional footballers but due to injury / illness none of them continued their careers. 
  • Aston Villa football club was actually started by cricketers from the Villa Cross cricket team in 1874 - apparently the team were discussing how to keep fit during the winter months when they spotted a football match happening in a nearby field and decided it was a great solution.
  • In 1975 a football match between Uruguay and Chile was abandoned after 19 players were sent off.
  • In 1980 the Liberian team narrowly escaped imprisonment when they drew 0-0 against Gambia. They had been threatened with imprisonment by the Head of State if they lost. Although I've also read that the former Zaire were threatened with exile if they lost by more than 3 goals to Brazil so I'm not sure if I believe either of them!
  • Apparently in 1950 the Indian team withdrew from the world cup when they realised that the team were required to wear boots and were not allowed to play barefoot.
  • The word soccer comes from university slang - it was an abbreviation for association football.
  • In 1990 the entire Albanian team were held in custody at Heathrow airport after a language misunderstanding: they thought that 'duty free' meant help yourself...
  • In 2001 the game of football was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize due to its ability to bring nations together.
  • In 2001 Archie Thompson scored a whopping 13 goals in Australia's 31-0 defeat of American Samoa.
  • And of course the customary youtube clip... 

Friday, 22 June 2012

That Friday Feeling...Accidents

This week has been another accident week for me... I think it's all because I had such a lovely day on Tuesday: awesome kids, watching our cricket team play and get through to the borough play-offs, having a surprise massage/facial thrust in my direction... It was bound to come and get me. I spent 2 hours in A&E on Wednesday evening after a railing fell on me as I cycled past. I've now got a nicely glued up shoulder (yes, glued) and an incredible bruise to show for it and have spent an awful lot of time talking to the construction crew whose railing it was. Bleurgh. But I thought that an accident theme might be appropriate this week as yet again I seem to be in the wars (and for those of you who remember - yes, it's the same arm as I broke last year: I'm going to be one big scar soon)

So here are my finds from Etsy this week. I was slightly tentative as I typed in 'accident' on the front page - I had visions of headless lego prints or something.  But I was relieved to see such lovely things turn up. All these items came about through some form of 'accident' - whether the artist was designing something else and it just happened or they just happened to be in a particular place to capture the moment. What do you think? As always, click on the links in the captions to get full details and visit the makers' Etsy shops.

I like this photo frame by totallytanya

Love the blur and colours in this photo by myndilove

Great effect on these tile coasters by BlythHouseCreations

Some interesting facts for you...

  • Gunpowder was invented in the 9th century by some Chinese alchemists who mixed together saltpeter, sulfur, realgar, and dried honey in the hope of creating an 'elixir of immortality' Ironic that gunpowder does the opposite! 
  • Kevlar, superglue, post-it notes, cellophane and photographs were all 'accidents' and came about when scientists were trying to make something else.
  • Chocolate chip cookies were apparently also discovered by accident: Nestle have it that a Mrs Wakefield was trying to make chocolate cookies but had run out of cocoa so substituted with some broken up chocolate that she thought would melt. Obviously it didn't but the result was pretty awesome! 
  • Popsicles were discovered by an 11 year old who kept them a secret for nearly 18 years. He left a powdered soda-water mix on his veranda one evening with a stirring stick in the cup. When he returned to the veranda the next day, temperatures had plummeted overnight and his drink had turned to ice. And the invention of the ice-lolly was born. I for one don't believe this. Well I believe that the ice-lolly was discovered by mistake but not that it was a secret for 18 years...
  • I'm having issues with my internet today so sadly no YouTube clip - it was going to be a Laurel and Hardy sketch. Or some other comedy duo... Sorry! Hopefully I'll be back with full internet soon, in the meantime enjoy and please drop in to the Etsy shops! 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Craftgawker and Summer Dresses

Oh wow! I have just discovered my new favourite internet website ever! It's called Craftgawker and if you are at all artsy-craftsy and have a love of beautiful, inspirational things then you really really need to get yourself over there RIGHT NOW! I think I'm in love...

Essentially it's a bit like Pinterest in that it a list of links to other beautiful things but the slight twist is that it's just jam-packed with fabulous tutorials to try at home. How great is that? So guess what I've been doing?

Well, having found myself over there and having spent the past few days wondering at my lack of cute summer dresses that fit me (the problem with losing a stone is that none of your clothes fit anymore and some of them I'm just not up to altering myself - I'm not that experienced at tailoring) I found myself totally drawn to this tutorial...

Click on the picture to go directly to the tutorial on Trinket in Bloom's site

And I discovered another gem of a website! I'm in love with Trinkets in Bloom's fashion D.I.Y tutorials and I suspect you'll be seeing some more bits and pieces appearing over the next few months. But for this week I thought I'd stick to just one thing... a new t-shirt dress.

I pretty much ran out the flat to go and find some t-shirts to get stuck into this. I was super excited about it... And then my excitement turned to despair. I couldn't find any nice t-shirts! You see, I had envisaged a really cute loose stripy navy and white dress and my local shop didn't have anything like that on offer. After some sad minutes looking through all the very unsuitable t-shirts I did however get a glimmer of hope: a t-shirt in a sort of minted-green/aquamarine colour. And even better - there was one a few sizes bigger too! It wasn't as long a t-shirt as I'd hoped and I was very worried about having such a bold colour as a dress - I'm usually all for the demure, cutesy things instead of the statements. But I bought them and got stuck in right away...

And here is the result! A really cute dress, super simple and easy to make. I'm not a dressmaker but I had this done and dusted within an hour of starting it and that included coming back into the other room to check instructions every 5 minutes. What a fabulous tutorial - easy to follow, quick to make, and the possibilities of variations are pretty great too: why not up-cycle some old t-shirts and make a more eclectic / varied dress with different colours and patterns?

My initial concerns about the colour being a little too much were, it turned out, well-founded. I am just not the person to be wandering around in such a bold statement colour with nothing to break it up. So I did a little re-vamping and had a look at what I could find...

... and now I am much happier with the result! What do you think? I definitely have plans to make another one of these. So if anyone sees any super cute stripy t-shirts in navy and white, or even better navy with white polka dots,  give me a shout. And if you are at all arts-&-craftsy then I suggest you go and look at Trinkets In Bloom's website now! Who knows what little gem you will be making this evening?

Friday, 8 June 2012

That Friday Feeling... Oceans

Did you know that today, June 8th is World Ocean Day? I didn't but I do now! You can find out more about World Ocean Day and some things you can do to support / participate here: I thought I'd go with an ocean theme this week, although obviously oceans are fairly vast so... I went with some ocean-inspired colours and ideas. What do you think of this week's Etsy finds?

Love the swirling in this pendant by flaminglily

This skein of embroidery yarn would look great in any number of projects. By therainbowgirl
Love these ocean-themed beads by LampworkJewels. So pretty!

What little facts can I find for you today?

  • The oceans provide most of the earth's oxygen that we breathe.
  • 94% of life on earth is aquatic. We are still learning about species that live in the oceans but one thing we can thank them for is pharmaceuticals. A lot of modern day medicines have their origins in plant and mineral extracts from the oceans.
  • The largest ocean is the Pacific - it covers about 30% of the world's surface. The Atlantic covers about 21%  and in total the oceans cover about 70% of the world's surface.
  • The largest mountain range on Earth lies under the oceans - and we had sent men onto the moon before we discovered the Mid-Ocean Ridge in 1973.
  • There are more human artifacts of history in the oceans than there are in any of the museums of the world all combined. 
  • The average depth of the oceans is about 12,400 feet. Photons (light) can't travel further than 330 feet under water which means that a huge amount of life in the oceans is always in the dark.
  • Sadly I've already used Under the Sea from the The Little Mermaid in a previous post (see here) so this week you get Dory from Finding Nemo speaking whale... Enjoy! 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Mosaics for Men?

At both of the craft fairs I've been to recently people have asked whether I make any other kinds of jewellery with mosaics as well as pendants. The one that people keep coming back to is cufflinks - can I make some mosaic cufflinks as it's really hard getting presents for men?

I've been a bit dubious about making things like cufflinks or earrings as it involves making the exact same design twice. This doesn't sound that hard but sadly glass has it's own mind and will do what it wants, not necessarily what I want it to do! Even when I make a design more than once, it is always slightly different so I worried that it wouldn't look right. However, I finally came to the conclusion that people don't walk around with their wrists together comparing whether they are exactly the same and it's a hand-made, unique gift so... why not? 

It took a fair amount of sourcing to find suitable bezels for the cufflinks, but I think I have finally found some. I only got five pairs to start with as I wasn't sure how they would turn out and I obviously haven't made all of them yet - it takes a fair amount of time to make a design, cut the glass, make sure it's the right size, cut another piece because the first piece wasn't the right size, go and find a plaster as you've cut yourself again... sand down the pieces so they are smooth, attach them, wait 24 hours for them to dry, grout them, polish etc etc... and even longer to make two of the same! What do you think of those that I have made?

I can't quite get the colours right on the photo - these are a deep red with gold

Art-Deco Black and White

My personal favourites - shades of green with gold

I'm really happy how they have turned out. I'll be taking these ones with me to my craft fair this weekend where they'll be available for £20 a pair. If you'd like a pair yourself, just send me a message through the contact form saying which pair you would like. I also do custom orders so if you would like different colours / a different design, please just let me know and I'll see what we can come up with! 

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Wonder Hill Market

Roll up, roll up for this Sunday's Wonder Hill Market. It is normally held on the last Saturday of the month near Borough Market at London Bridge but... they are also holding fairs over the next few months at Keston Lodge in Islington. And guess what? I'm going to be at Keston Lodge this Sunday (10th June) from 12 - 5pm for the Wonder Hill Market. It's all about supporting local artists, ethical shopping, vintage and upcycling and I'm really happy to be a part of it. So, if you're free this Sunday please, please come along and say hello to me and the other artisans.

Click on the picture to go to the Wonder Hill's website to find out more

Details are:
Sunday 10th June
12 - 5pm

Keston Lodge
131 Upper Street
N1 1QP

Looking forward to seeing you there... 

Friday, 1 June 2012

That Friday Feeling...Diamond Jubilee

There could only be one theme for today's Friday Feeling: the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. 60 years on the throne is a pretty long time to be a head of state so congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II. We've just celebrated at work by holding a Jubilee party in the playground with parents, children and local residents alike all invited for food, music and a chance to catch up. We had a raffle and a quiz and... I won the quiz!!! (well, I came third, but still, I'm impressed with myself) It was a commemorative spoon, but as I had the help of one of my year 6 boys, I gave it to him to keep. It was a nice afternoon - the children had all made bunting and table decorations and our year 6s (my year-group) all acted as hosts and servers. They did a fantastic job (Thank you to any of them who may be reading!)

Like all of the rest of the country, Etsy is a little jubilee mad at present. Interestingly a lot of the items there tagged 'Jubilee' or 'British' are actually made by people in the US. And lovely items they were too. However, I'm being patriotic this weekend so I'm afraid one of the criteria for making it into today's Etsy shout out post was that you had to be a British or Commonwealth seller. Here are today's picks:

Some very cute British badges by KaelaMills

Jubilee bunting by whiteacacia - love the range of materials here

And I LOVE this VW campervan cushion with a Jubilee theme by TheSewingCroft
Are you doing anything for the Jubilee weekend festivities? I actually don't know what I will be doing as my plans seem to keep getting scuppered by people left, right and centre. If it's nice I might go on a long bike ride somewhere, but there are some street parties quite close to me so I might go and see some of those. I'd quite like to see the flotilla on Sunday but I actually don't know where I'd go to watch it... maybe I'll cycle down to the Isle of Dogs and watch from near Canary Wharf (if it passes that way!)

What little snippets can I find for you today?

  • Elizabeth was the elder daughter of King George VI and was born on April 21st 1926.
  • She was 25 when she became Queen Elizabeth II in 1952
  • When she was born, Elizabeth was third in line to the throne, although it was not expected that either she or her father would ever succeed to it.
  • Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in November 1947 in Westminster Abbey. The UK was still recovering from the war so it was a fairly simple affair - and Princess Elizabeth had to collect clothing coupons for her dress as there was rationing for the royal family as well as the rest of the country.
  • Elizabeth II is the 40th monarch since William the Conqueror and is Queen Victoria's great-great-granddaughter.
  • The first regional tour that the Queen made was to Northern Ireland, after which she toured all of her Kingdom. 
  • Two videos this week... God Save the Queen is not the most exciting song ever so thought I'd add a party themed one too!!


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