Tuesday 29 November 2011

The postman always rings twice

As a stay at home mother, you'll understand that I have a finely honed daily routine. So you can imagine that I'm pretty pissed off* when the postman interrupts my designated hour of lounging in lingerie and eating peeled grapes in front of Cash in the Attic by hammering on the front door. Luckily, it wasn't my neighbour's Next Directory delivery again (how many polyester work blouses can one woman need?) but a parcel sent by the delightful Max of Blackbird Has Spoken, all the way from New Zealand. Max has had me glued to her I'm a Giant dolls' house do-up challenge - what she can do with lolly-sticks and ball pool balls is quite unprecedented - so I was really rather excited to get to name the Blythe doll inhabitant of her masterpiece. Go and check out her blog, it's great. 

Anyway, look what I won:

A little cute little house - guess what it's for?
Handmade fabric Christmas tree bauble
Lovely Christmastime Treats book with crafts and recipes
Milk chocolate with feijoa (nope, I'd never heard of it either - it's a fruit)

It houses recipe cards! 

I was also lucky enough to win another gorgeous Christmas book a couple of months ago from Annie at The Felt Fairy, so I basically have no excuse not to have a picture perfect festive home. You know, aside from my general slackness and the fact that we're supposed to be moving house. [Yes, I'm still going on about that]

I also need to say a big thank you to Scarlett, Jem and Miss Tea and Luce, who were lovely enough to send me cards and presents for my birthday. Scarlett was convinced I'd need to know how to fit in with the crazies once I move to the outskirts of Watford wilds of Hertfordshire, and with fellow bloggers like La Dama around she's probably right. Hopefully this guide to country ways will stop me being spurned as a city type. And look - an Operation biro! The only way to write one's poison pen letters about the vicar, or whatever it is they do in rural areas. Jem sent me a lovely little notebook, and also this heart keyring, with uncanny prescience since  the old one I had with photos of the boys was falling apart. Susan aka Miss Tea chose me a gorgeous monochrome enamel bangle, which goes with everything. Apologies for the photos ladies, the light has been terrible so I have made no attempt to stage these properly.

Birthday Pressies

Thank you all very much. You'll be thrilled to know that I'll be repaying you with a craft post shortly. And it involves macaroni. Yes really. Be afraid.

Lakota x

*I jest. I love postmen. And parcels, obviously

Friday 25 November 2011

Paper and Paint - Vintage Christmas decoration finds

I know it's still a little early to be putting decorations up, but these 1950s paper lanterns are so pretty I'm tempted to keep them on display all year. My mum has some which always come out at Christmas, and as she's unlikely to relinquish them any time soon I was pleased to find my own at the Country Living Fair recently. Aren't they beautiful? I think I like the yellow one with the bird best, but I'm always looking for more.

Lovely underneath too

I also picked up these vintage Japanese paper fans from Acorn and Will, I'd seen them in Homes and Antiques and thought they were really pretty. Of course as they fold down to virtually nothing they're also  easy to store, and don't add to the clutter pre-move. [That's my argument and I'm sticking to it!].

I have an ever growing collection of Christmas decorations and baubles and always like to add a couple every year. I'm not usually a great fan of the colour themed Christmas tree, and prefer to mix and match with lots of different colours and textures.The paper lanterns and fans weren't the first decorations I'd bought this year, but when I spotted this box of baubles in the hospice shop yesterday I obviously had to investigate. 

There were ten rather dusty baubles in two designs, mouth blown (I think) and hand-painted with snowy scenes of children in hats and scarves, skiing and snowman making. One bauble had a 50p price sticker on it, but as the shop was having a half price sale I thought I'd get a couple for the tree. I took the whole box up to the counter, whereupon the volunteer took one look and said "That's 25 pence, please". I have no idea how old they are, but I think 2.5p per bauble can safely be considered a bargain!

Someone has written 'mini winter wonderlands' on the lid of the box - perhaps they were made for a craft fair and unsold stock was donated. Or maybe someone else had so many decorations they needed to label them for ease of unearthing them from the attic.

Anyone else obsessed with Christmas decorations? What's your approach to decorating the tree?

Lakota x

Linking to Mimi and Tilly's Favourite Thing on a Friday
Flea Market Finds at Her Library Adventures
Magpie Monday at Me and my Shadow
Thrifty Things Friday at The Thrifty Groove

Tuesday 22 November 2011

I could say all this, but he deserves his own post...

Happy birthday Ben. I want to thank you for patiently going upstairs to bed while I'm downstairs on the laptop wrestling with yet another post for the blog. Thank you for laughing at the bits you're supposed to laugh at, and for not minding that our internet history is littered with all my weird searches. [It doesn't matter if the babysitter thinks you're the 'hessian knickers' fan, right?]. Thanks for never complaining when accompanying me to a zillion musty vintage shops / Bon Jovi concerts /terrible not-the-target-demographic films about vampires with boundary issues. Thanks for your hilarious 'compliments' which never come out quite as you'd planned. Thank you for understanding that flowers and wine are an essential part of any weekly shop. You're a consummate child-wrangler, guitarist, and HBO boxset watching partner. I love you a lot. X

Normal sarcastic service to be resumed shortly.

Saturday 19 November 2011

Not Pinterested Part 2...Bored with burlap

So, basically this is where I trawl through Pinterest to see what people are pinning, and discover that I'm apparently living in a parallel universe to everyone else. I'm not quite sure where the obsession with making things out of hessian came from (or burlap, as our friends across the pond call it), but it seems to show no sign of abating, and this loose weave fabric beloved of potato growers everywhere has been elevated from functional to fashionable over the last few years.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that if you have a grain-sack cushion you're a bad person - although you do have a distinctly uncomfortable sofa - but it's a slippery slope, and I'm just trying to save you from the inevitable and all-encompassing addiction which follows. 

It all starts so innocently. Exhibit A: The stylish cushion.  

Vintage grain sack, stylish font [French for extra ponce points] To be found on a neutral white or beige sofa, with rustic accents. Perfect for that Homes & Antiques or Country Living Spread. Slightly malodorous but the smell is easily masked with a Jo Malone candle. 

Acceptable alternative is the brighter version, with pleasing vintage graphics. Rustic but still colourful, perfect for the charmingly retro and eclectic interior. 

Exhibit B: The Unintentionally Ironic Cushion 

This version is available from notonthehighstreet.com. It's ticking a lot of trendy boxes. Typewriter inspired font, dictionary definition, looks like it should contain swedes in a 50s green-grocers. But - is no one else seeing a dichotomy here? A hessian cushion  is not going to be 'snug'. Root vegetables do not need to be 'warmly cosy', hence burlap is not your go-to fabric for comfort. Surely the 'optional 38 x 38cm duck feather filled pad' is pretty much irrelevant once it's put inside the world's least comfortable material?

Exhibit 3: Taking it to the bedroom
Ok, so what we call cushions, Americans call pillows, right? Pillows are what we sleep on here in the UK, so 'burlap pillow' just means cushion, doesn't it? Or not. 

What the hell happened? How have we gone from being advised to keep our faces wrinkle free and our hair shiny by sleeping on silk pillow-cases, to actually thinking "Yes, I'll get some quality shut-eye on that old flour sack. If it's good enough for the dog, it's good enough for me!". Even the teddies look pained.

Obviously once you've accepted burlap beauty sleep it's easy to allow house-room to the following:

 Miss Haversham's house. If she lived in a barn. 

Roman blinds, hillbilly style

Burlap lightshade. With bows.

And of course burlap is for all seasons:

Easter Bunny 

Halloween pumpkins

Christmas nose-bags Stockings. Mmm, festive
Just the ticket once Santa has filled them with oats and barley.

When good crafting intentions go very very bad. These are apparently 'burlap eggs' - no, I don't know why either - although they look more like they were left in the corner of his hutch by the burlap Easter Bunny


So, your home looks like Wurzel Gummidge has taken up residence, but you're just not finished with burlap. Having toughed up your skin nicely on your hessian cushions, it's but a short skip and a jump to allowing jute into your wardrobe. I understand, I do. I mean, there's a new film out about Marilyn Monroe, the original poster girl for the potato sack dress:

and maybe you saw Project Runway when they had their budding designers send burlap dresses down the catwalk. Even Demi Moore wore a hessian style bustier on the cover of Elle last year:

Ashton, you're an idiot

Yup, you're going to rock the flour sack look like a farm-girl during the Great Depression. Let's just see what's available shall we?

$120 by Gretchen Elsner. It's got pom-poms!

Gosh, it's like Katharine Hepburn never left us.
These trousers will 'never die'. Not even if stabbed repeatedly with a pitchfork.

The 'Fatale' by Gee Wa Wa. A mere $264.95
Gok Wan appears to have gone mad with a glue-gun again.
I am undecided as to whether these were more hideous before or after the 'be-burlapping'

Vintage WW2 novelty 'sugar and spice' knickers
[apologies to the person who saw 'burlap panties' come up in their stats as a result of this post]


Whoop! You went out in your finery and snagged a hot guy [literally, those trousers catch on everything] with similar interests. 

Hubba hubba

You've dated a while, you're buying a yurt home together, and finally he pops the all important question. Will you be my burlap bride? Yes, there's no reason why the most important day of your life and the most scratchy fabric of your life shouldn't also be joined together in holy matrimony. In fact there are entire Pinterest boards devoted to this very scenario. [Disclaimer: many of these rustic chic ideas are indeed very lovely, I agree. I'm just trying to point out that not EVERYTHING needs to be made from a sack]


Buttonholes. Burlap and thistle. "What an interesting combination of textures" says the wedding writer. Yes, prickly and scratchy just screams 'wedding' to me [nettles optional]

Who is getting married here? Daisy the Cow and Fergus the Bull?

Wedding cake, with extra fibre.

Available from Etsy
"Perfect for that romantic bohemian bride who's going for a
 breath-taking and romantic look on her special day"
[Doubles up as an eco-friendly nest for your chickens afterwards]

Get me to the Church on time...Arrive in style in a burlap pick-up

No need to press or preserve your bouquet afterwards

The blushing burlap bride and her hessian husband

So, what's the verdict - am I swimming against the tide here? Should I be planning my sister's burlap baby shower? Or are you also over the stinky sacking? Let me know...

Lakota x

PS. Thanks so much to everyone who has voted for me so far, I really appreciate it. And hello to all my new followers, do say hi and I'll try to check out your blogs.

Friday 11 November 2011

Perverts, vamps and voting...

Blogging is a marvellous thing. Not only do you get to connect with lunatics crafty/stylish/literary geniuses all round the globe - but there's the dubious bonus of discovering the ways in which people use and abuse Google. And indeed the English language. Yes, I speak of the peculiar pleasure of trawling the 'search keywords' section of your blog stats.

If you read 'How to drive traffic to your blog' type posts you'll be told to keep a keen eye on your keywords, work out what's popular and tailor your writing accordingly. I suppose if you're a fashion blogger and continually get hits for 'Topshop' or '70s style flares' this could be helpful. However my keywords range from the perverse to the ridiculous, and quite frankly, I'll decide what to write, not the work-shy bloke from Doncaster* who googles 'plump luscious booty' every single bloody morning. Besides, what my stats have told me is that whilst many people are keen (and specific) in their admiration of ladies' nether parts, there was a reason for the original photo which I assume led to all this, which is unlikely to be repeated. I had thought I was justified in continuing the Magic and Madness of Ebay series, given the number of people searching for 'dark magic priestesses' and all kinds of cosmetic procedures with 'spell' tacked on the end, but then it dawned on me that they'd be unlikely to appreciate my slant on it. It continues regardless.

Here's my search keywords from earlier today, pretty standard really, although the djinns are recent addition following the genie post.

They're a bit weird, but I can see how they all led to my blog. Same with 'Felt asparagus' which popped up recently. Some poor crafty type was innocently searching for fake food patterns and got me in a belligerent mood. Thing is, I was joking, naively thinking that making fabric aphrodisiacs was a pretty unlikely pastime. I've since Googled it myself  (thus perpetuating the madness). It isn't. I apologise.

However, occasionally there's a really random one. Whilst I do have an admitted fondness for vintage children's books, I'm not sure I ever reviewed this particular tome:

Aah, who doesn't remember this tale from their childhood?
'The Little Blue Gray Kitten Old Lady Saucer', an absolute classic.
Good luck with that, Googler. 

And 'malt coloured eyes'? WTF is that about? That's the colour you've set your heart on? Malt? As in beer or that sticky fruit loaf your mum used to buy which welds itself to your soft palette? Weirdo. [If you meant multi-coloured, then you're just stupid].

The thing is, even when it isn't the semi naked picture search luring people to my blog, the keywords are somehow pornographic. 'Cock and Testicles earrings' for example. Yes, I like earrings. I have been on a hen night or two in my time. I have never eulogised about genital themed jewellery. This search does not help me write posts that normal people want to read. As for whoever was searching for 'plump nude grannies', one can only guess at the many many pages of geriatric exhibitionists which must have come before the fateful click where he discovered me discussing crochet blankets. That shows true dedication to niche pornography. I'm so sorry for the inevitable disappointment. At least fans of 'Eric Northman Nude' get what they're looking for here. I am tempted to post something ridiculous like 'velvet onion etching', just to see if anyone ever searches the term. Any suggestions? There'll be a prize if it ever turns up in my stats!

Anyway, occasionally the stats tab brings a pleasant surprise, which occurred when I realised a couple of people had been referred here by the Dorset Cereals website, which run a 'little blog awards'. Someone (and by that I mean my husband, presumably) has nominated me, and as there is cereal and an egg-cup (yes, seriously) up for grabs - why wouldn't I want to win? Why, it's virtually the Oscars! Just with healthy oat and wheat flakes and without the Tom Hanks bias. If you like the blog and would be kind enough to vote for me, you can click the link below or see picture on my sidebar. You could win cereals too, just by voting!


Do let me know about your oddest searches.

Lakota x

*I admit this may be extrapolation on my part

Monday 7 November 2011

Printer's Tray to Earring Display

Hello. Sorry I've been a bit quiet for the last week, it's been a busy one. I'll catch up with all your blogs soon. Incidentally, yesterday's Silent Sunday post was my 100th - I'm amazed I've made it this far. Thank you to  everyone whose comments and feedback have made it so much fun.

Anyhow - remember the printer's tray (or type case) I bought recently? It's far better made than a lot I've seen, with dovetail joints and a solid wood back rather than plywood, but it had several years' worth of filth and dead spiders which needed removing before I could do anything else with it. It was a harder task than I'd anticipated cleaning each little compartment - 95 of the grimy things in all. Dust and dessicated arachnids removed, I gave it a light sanding and then applied a couple of coats of Danish Oil with a paintbrush. The colour came up beautifully.

Mr FHCS manfully took on the task of attaching two 'screw eyes' (closed loops) to each compartment save the tiniest ones; not an easy job. We discovered the best way was to part hammer in a thin tack to make the initial hole, then get the screw eyes in place by holding and twisting them using needle nose pliers. Strangely he's not thrilled at the idea of making any more and going into business on Etsy, muttering darkly under his breath about callouses and where was his tea? A couple of decades later, I screwed some fittings to the back and it's ready to be hung on the wall.

Here's the finished article, with a selection of my finest earrings hanging happily from it. I had thought about backing some of the compartments with vintage map paper, but I'm not sure it needs it. Another option would be to back a few compartments at random with mirror cut to size - I've seen this done and it adds definite glamour, but it might look better against darker wood?

I've put in one pair per compartment, but you could easily fit one pair per loop in most cases.

And here's a reminder of what it looked like before - pretty good transformation don't you think?

I'm really quite in love with it now, and it's my Flea Market Find of the Year. Anyone want to come over and play jewellery shop?

Lakota x

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