Monday 30 January 2012

Minute Make - Valentine Lego necklace

Any any given moment there are usually at least 100 lego pieces scattered somewhere on my floor, so I'm amazed, given my propensity for 'gluing household crap to make jewellery', that it took Desiree's picture of her new lego ring to open my eyes to its possibilities for personal adornment. I had a quick look on Pinterest, a speedy rummage through the ginormous box of bricks, and was able to make this cute heart necklace in a matter of seconds. [And with no glue for once!]

Never lego of your love

It looks like this idea has been around for a while, the image below was originally pinned from Etsy, but the page no longer exists. Hopefully it's ok for me to use the photograph to illustrate the difference between mine and those I've seen for sale. 

So funky. No need for jump rings and pliers though

As a lazy type, it won't come as any surprise to you that I couldn't be bothered to attach jump rings and separate pieces of chain to make my version. Just thread the chain through from the front, pull across the back and out of the front of the other hole again. It hangs perfectly well like this and is a lot quicker. Also you can change the colour any time you want, like those 80s plastic watches which clipped together so you could match the dial to your outfit. Did anyone have one of those?

Anyway, speaking of tacky 80s accessories, who could forget those hideous 'split heart' necklaces that always took up a full page of the Argos catalogue? One half for you, one for your boo. They were next to the page selling the terrifying articulated clown pendants and looked something like this:

Note the heavier, more MANLY chain for Jesus

Who doesn't want the geek-chic crafty version, huh? Huh? Ok, so it's probably only going to work as a Valentine's gift if you met at a legoland or something, but it's good to know the option's there.

If you can get your significant hipster other to wear one of these, I'll be impressed.

Who needs Tiffany's?

They'd make great party favours for little girls at a lego themed party too. 

I spoil you with this stuff, don't I?

Lakota x

Linking up to 

Tuesday 24 January 2012

One year anniversary and retrospective

Hello. Why thank you, yes, I have had my hair done. I thought I should make an effort, what with it being the first anniversary of Faith Hope and Charity Shopping. Whoop! [Ok, actually it was a few days ago, and I'd written most of this post, and then got so distracted by joining Goodreads, and er, reading actual books, that I forgot. But for the purposes of this narrative, it's today!]

Yup, a whole year and a bit since I started this blog, and the only New Year's resolution which I actually stuck to in 2011. Obviously I'm speaking for myself here, but from my point of view it was definitely one worth keeping. The last year has got me firmly back into regular writing, not to mention getting to know so many fantastic, funny and talented bloggers. [Too many to mention individually, but a lot of them are on my sidebar]. If you've been here from the beginning you'll know it's changed a little from the early days of posting where I just chatted about my second hand buys, but I couldn't resist letting a teeny bit of snark in, once I got more comfortable. Tongue is always firmly in cheek though, and of course there'll always a place for talking about charity shop treasure.

You might also have noticed that it takes me a little while to get around to things, but there is a bit of method in my madness as a terminal procrastinator. The lovely Erica Louise of Recycled Fashion challenged me to answer these questions about my blog back in August (oops), but I like to wait for an opportune moment, and now seems like a good time to do a little retrospective of the past 12 months. 

The most beautiful post
Not really my strong suit. I do try but my photographs are far from Etsy-fied. I don't really edit them and you'll rarely see an artfully draped doily or tower of soft focus pastel macaroons on this blog. Sorry. There's some good London street art on this post though. Oh, and I'm still in love with the earring display case I made, which looks beautiful in my bedroom.

The most popular post
Okaay, well this one isn't going to be a big surprise. According to my extremely scientific analysis of my stats, the post with the all time highest page views would be...drumroll...the second Magic and Madness of eBay post, I like big butts! Admittedly I didn't realise when I wrote about eBay sellers who claimed to be able to deliver the body beautiful by sorcery quite how many people would find the post. And just how many of them would be typing with one hand. Aah, 'Booty'. It's the magic word for page hits. Work it in there somewhere! 

But alright, whilst I really love that post, I admit it garnered most of the page hits from random admirers of the female form, not from regular readers. So, second to that in page views - but with many many more comments, was the post I wrote on Mollie Makes magazine, and its overwhelming tweeness editorial obsession with fake food.

The most controversial post
Hmm, see above! I actually got a comment from the editor of Mollie Makes on that post, which was pretty exciting. Otherwise maybe the post I wrote about finding a Galliano dress, not long after he was convicted of racial abuse.

The most helpful post
Er, not sure about this one. Obviously if you'd been thinking about giving all your money to a charlatan with an  paypal account then maybe I'd have been of some assistance with the eBay posts. Or if you had a ton of wild plums and no idea what to do with them then the homemade vodka post might have been your saviour. I'm not sure I'm massively helpful otherwise. Hopefully I've given you a laugh occasionally.

The post that was surprisingly successful
The Faith Hope and Charity swapping posts, definitely. I didn't really realise quite how popular the idea of swapping was in blog land, despite having seen them advertised elsewhere. I expected a handful of responses from regular commenters, so I was amazed at how many people wanted to take part.

The post that did not get the attention it deserved
Probably this one. Who doesn't want a genie to create them a clone? I know I do.

The post that I am most proud of
I don't want to play favourites - they're ALL my babies! - but maybe Memento Mori. Art, death and the cross-dressing Edwardian childhood of my Great-Grandad George.

Anyway, if you've got this far, thanks for humouring me. Whether you're a long time reader or a new follower I'm really glad you're here. [And if you're new, say hi]. I'll be doing a giveaway or two soon, it's been too long and this seems like as good a reason as any. And consider yourself tagged, if you want to answer these questions yourself.

Lakota x

Monday 16 January 2012

In which we raid the lost ark

I was up in the loft yesterday - something I try to avoid - as Mr FHCS insisted we start sorting out the cardboard city up there prior to the move. [I'd prefer to just ferry the boxes unopened to our new loft, like we did last time we moved. It's cold up there, and there might be spiders]. However, it was worth it, because in a corner of the eaves and covered in filth, was this suitcase, presumably left by the previous owners of the house. Or their predecessors' predecessors. We'd never seen it before anyway. Obviously I spotted it and went 'oooh, what's that?' whereas Mr FHCS rolled his eyes and attempted to dissuade me from making him open it with dire mutterings about tarantulas and dead bodies and wasn't it too grimy to bother with?

Grot of ages

It was a tense moment, but no bats or mummified corpses fell out a la Indiana Jones, just some rather anti-climatic bits of sawdust. Therefore I got my way and was allowed to take it downstairs to clean up.

Baby wipes to the rescue once again!

I gave it a bit of leather spray too, although sadly I don't think it's actually leather. It's quite nice though, don't you think? Especially for free.

So now we have more to put in the removal lorry than we thought. But it comes under the useful heading as I can pack things in it! Score!

Lakota x

Linking up to Magpie Monday
                     Flea Market Finds
                     Thrift Share Monday

Friday 13 January 2012

Very superstitious...

So, who's using today as an excuse to stay in their pyjamas, doors and windows locked, watching Kirsty and Phil re-runs and eating crunchy nut cornflakes for every meal? [You can't risk cooking anything, you could flamb√© yourself on the gas hob]. Just me then? 

This must be an American Lolcat - black cats are considered lucky in the UK

Ok, I don't really suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia  - morbid fear of Friday the 13th - but I do have my charm bracelet with the horseshoe on, just in case. Mind you, the peacock feathers in the house probably negate that. [The pattern relates to the evil eye, and the shriek of a peacock suggests souls tormented in hell. Nice]

Peacock feathers, walking on cracks in the pavement, dropped scissors  - these hold no fear for me, but I have to admit I'd be less happy about breaking a mirror or seeing a lone magpie and not saluting it. Irrational I know, but what I was taught as a child - I had several superstitious relatives and neighbours - has stayed with me. I bet even those who wouldn't consider themselves superstitious have at some point found themselves saying  "touch wood" or "fingers crossed" when hoping for a particular outcome, or "bless you" when someone sneezes. To most people they're now little more than a linguistic tic, but all have their root in rituals thought to ward off death and disaster. 

My dad was always insistent that we did not 'cross on the stairs' - good advice in a small house with rampaging children, although none of us carried swords, so there was no problem with keeping our weapon arm free - and I still don't put new shoes on a table. [dumping out bags full of Topshop sale bargains is presumably considered to be fine, despite the superstition relating to the laying out of corpses in new clothes]. My great-grandmother apparently always refused to wear green as it was "the colour of the fairies", but being a myth and folklore obsessed child I was quite happy to take my chances. Sadly I was never whisked away to the otherworld, although I was convinced fairies lived in my dolls' house. This theory has still not been entirely disproved.

A quick and unofficial poll amongst my Facebook friends suggests that the most common superstitions in every day life relate to magpies, ladders, umbrellas, and ambulances. Friday the 13th doesn't seem to bother anyone I know, and is in fact a relatively recent (last century or so) combination of myths about Friday as an unlucky day and 13 as a number to avoid.  

The odd superstition which does seem to have taken hold of many people my age involves manhole covers for drains, and the suggestion that it's bad luck to walk across three in a row. I remember this from school and have since met other people who go into contortions on the pavement as a result. Ridiculous, but a recent phenomenon - I've tried to research an explanation, but as far as I can tell this idea has only been around for 20 years or so. Where could this have possibly started? Was there a book or film which seeded the idea? [It appears a popular at the time but now obscure novel published in 1907 called 'Friday the Thirteenth' may have had a lot to do with any current misgivings about the unlucky date. Oh, and that guy in the hockey mask]

Jason really hated that Rebecca Black song

Still, I guess the amorphous concept of good or bad luck being determined by black cats, pennies and clover is preferable to the multitude of superstitions which people used to presage deaths. Pretty much animal going about its business in days of yore was liable to be seen as a harbinger of doom. Wales has some particularly fascinating and gloomy archaic superstitions:

Birds entering a house - foretell a death (an elderly neighbour got into a complete panic when a pigeon came down her chimney). Some people consider even ornaments and pictures of them unlucky. 

Pigeon, Dove or Robin near a mine entrance - like sailors, and others with dangerous professions, miners were generally superstitious folk. The above were apparently considered 'corpse birds' and made the men very uneasy about continuing below ground

It's nuthin' personal mind, I'd just 'ave been 'appier if yew'd  'ad Batman with 'ew see...

A pig - a miner seeing a pig on his way to work would also see this as an ill-omen. Bacon sandwiches notwithstanding.

A bee entering a house suggests a visitor, but death will be following if a whole swarm enters. If they nest in the roof  it's an indication that your house will burn down, which isn't a whole lot better.

A white weasel - death of a close family member

Doom, doom...mwahahahaha!

A white mole - You're pretty unlikely to ever see a regular mole, so the odds are in your favour that you won't see a white one. Lucky, because you 'might expect your own death'. Sooner rather than later, one assumes.

A mole hill in the cabbages in the garden - the master of the house will die before the year is out. This probably explains the popularity of the Abel and Cole organic veg box.

And finally, a new one on me. When you hear the first cuckoo of the Spring, take a second to check what you're standing on. If it's grass, or any green leaves you'll live to hear it next season. If's white mole time. Luckily, "blessed are the dead that the rain rains on". Well, that's everybody in Wales. 

Happy trails everybody!

Lakota x

Tuesday 10 January 2012

Nail inc. Trafalgar Square Magnetic Polish - Review

Since seeing these new magnetic polishes advertised I'd been desperate to try one out, and put the Trafalgar Square shade - described as a 'metallic chrome' on the Nails inc site - on my Christmas list. I went for this as I don't really have any other silver shades, but the teal (Whitehall) and  purple (Houses of Parliament) are also calling to me! My nails haven't been in the best shape this winter and have been breaking quite a bit, so whilst Santa did come through for me, I still had a frustrating wait trying to get them to a suitable length to make a manicure worth while. They're not at their best even now, but you'll get the idea.

I removed the outer cap, which has the magnet set into the top, applied a base coat, and then a thin coat of the polish to all ten nails as per the instructions. I waited only a couple of minutes - it seemed pretty much touch dry by then, which is fast - and then applied a thicker second coat to one nail. At this point you are ready to create the swooshy effect using the magnet. There is a small plastic lip at one side of the lid, and it's here you position the edge of your cuticle so that the length of the nail is over the magnet. I held it in place for 15 seconds and an airbrushed looking chevron design had appeared. Ta-dah!

You then repeat the process with each nail in turn, and I finished off with a glossy topcoat to seal it. You do have to be careful not to touch the magnet, or the polish will smear and the effect won't work. I did do this a couple of times on my right hand - I'm used to painting with my left hand now, manoeuvring the magnet was different matter - but another coat of polish and another go at the magnet seemed to do the trick, it's fairly forgiving. Despite sounding rather gimmicky (anyone remember coloured hair mascara?) the 'science bit' - iron particles in the polish which are drawn up towards the magnetic charge - really does work. I'm really pleased with the look and it's been commented on already this morning.

As to the price - well, it's not a budget polish. Nails inc is never the cheapest, but it's one of my favourites for the shades and ease of application. When used with a basecoat and topcoat, they also last very well. The magnetic polishes are £13 from their website (free delivery) and from Amazon, although if you're prepared to do battle on Ebay you will be able to find them cheaper. There are budget brands offering their own versions, although I have heard  mixed reviews of these. Besides, as I already have base and topcoats, I was able to get a airbrushed look for a fraction of the price of going to a salon.

I love it. What do you think?

Lakota x

Not a sponsored post. All views are my own.

Sunday 8 January 2012

I've been an awful good girl...

Hello again, apparently I scared some of you with my last post [hey, I just find these people, I'm normal] and lovely Loo was traumatised enough to request 'a nice cosy post about charity shop finds'. I've actually yet to set foot in one this year - I know, the restraint - but luckily a lot of my Christmas presents this year were of the vintage variety, so I'll share those instead.

My lovely aunt and uncle are keen antique hunters and spend a lot of time going to fairs. They're always happy to have things to look out for, and when they heard I'd found some homemaker china at a boot sale they started tracking down some other pieces for me. When I got down to Wales I had a birthday present of cereal bowls waiting for me, then unwrapped this very cute pair of espresso cups on Christmas day. 

For when I'm in a girlier mood, I also received some pink floral china (various cups, saucers, sugar bowl and cake plates) which my mum had picked up at a flea market and bought for me on behalf of my Grandad. Mr FHCS had an attack of apoplexy at the prospect of a) stuffing this much china into our already dangerously overladen car to bring home again b) only to have to immediately pack it for the move, so it's still at my parents' house for now. It'll be perfect for when I finally throw a Vintage Tea Party using the Angel Adoree book MADQ bought me for my birthday. 

Also from my Grandad via my Mum (she'd be a great personal shopper) was this amazing dark wood box, which I love. It's designed like a louvred sewing box, but we think it is an 'apprentice piece' made by a  trainee carpenter to showcase his skills. It's not showy or fancy but Mr FHCS can vouch for its solid construction, having walked into it in the dark. I'm undecided what to keep in it yet.

Amongst the presents from my sister and her beloved (they got engaged just a few days before Christmas at their favourite Welsh beach) was this Pierre Cardin silk scarf:

and my sister in law picked out these beautiful unworn vintage kid leather evening gloves for me. They're gorgeous, but do leave black smears all over everything - including my face - which does slightly lessen the glamour factor. Does anyone have any suggestions? Would dry-cleaning them help?

Oh, and I should mention this gorgeous bulb atomiser of Vol de Nuit shimmer powder (from my parents). How glamorous is this for a dressing table? The original Guerlain fragrance was released in the 30s, but the powder has a light enough scent that you can wear it in addition to your usual perfume. I now have a glittering d√©colletage, Bella Cullen style.

I won't go into all my gifts as I feel horribly spoilt as it is, but suffice to say that this month I will also be having lots of fun with a variety of nail polish colours whilst finally watching the full first series of Mad Men. Rock and/or Roll. 

Lakota x

Friday 6 January 2012

Not Pinterested Part 3...Bye resolution

Happy New Year, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda, Selamat Tahun Baru and all that jazz. Hope you all had a great Christmas and new year break - I've pretty much been offline for 10 days and somehow managed without Facebook, Twitter, blogging and knowing all the ins and outs of the Katy Perry / Russell Brand divorce. In fact, once the palpitations and tremors subsided, the hiatus from the keyboard was surprisingly refreshing. I almost considered resolving to cut down on my screen time. [Reading the entire Hunger Games trilogy over the weekend on my kindle doesn't count]

And then I thought...naah. January? The time of abstinence? It's bad enough that I'm not drinking and that stepping outside the front door requires wardrobe choices last made by Bruce Parry when he lived with the Inuit. My laptop gives me a connection to the wider world and warms my legs. It's win-win. Once this hellish month is over I will be able to properly address goals for the year. Such as the fact that I do not have a 'signature beauty look' and still poke myself in the eye on the rare occasions I attempt to apply mascara. Also, that my clothes have mysteriously shrunk and the scales are not my friend. [We're at that stage in the fallout where we studiously ignore each other in the playground but are still acutely conscious of the other's whereabouts.] Oh, and debating the relative merits of 'cellulite' vs 'drinking more water'. Is it so bad to prefer water as nature intended it? With aspartame and caramel colouring and chemicals? And labelled Diet Coke? These are issues all better addressed when January is over. Sometime around mid May perhaps.

However, there are still foolish souls out there who insist on making life difficult for themselves. And yes, they're pinning away on Pinterest making the rest of us feel bad too. A quick browse of the boards reveals an awful lot of pins related to health and fitness. This is nothing new, there are any number of fitness freaks who do nothing but pin humourless motivational stuff, but it's definitely more prevalent at this time of year.

OK, but your boobs shouldn't be on a level with your shoulders either...

Yeah yeah, and someone fatter is eating

Sir! Yes Sir! [Although I'm pretty sure it's a stitch]

You can tell who the serious ones are - in addition to 'Fitspiration' pictures they also have boards called things like 'Inspirational Women' and 'Vegan Life'. The fly-by-nights have another board called 'Noms' devoted to a gazillion pictures of peanut butter and/or melted cheese related edibles. 

How to get skinny: Eat fewer of these

I love that the fact that the pinner of the above has a lonesome 'Health and Fitness' board in amongst the following:

Candies...fudge, indulge
Butters, sauces and more
Desserts 2 Die 4
Cupcakes and wrappers
Frozen Desserts
Breads, Muffins and rolls
Puddings and Custards
Smack me with a SNACK
Life is like a box of chocolates
I'll drink to that

Is anyone else sensing the problem? 

The same lady has a 'Bucket List' board of resolutions - formerly 'things to do before you die', though the annoying new phrase has become prevalent since the film of the same name. Her lists are more specific to particular seasons - eg. A Fall Bucket list with 'press leaves' [Woo, aim high before you shuffle off this mortal coil] but  the idea got me searching for other people's resolutions. They've been popular for a while on blogs in the guise of '30 before 30' style posts, and are now taking over Pinterest too. I'm working on one myself, but am not sure it's ever going to meet the dizzy heights of the bucket list I'm about to share. I should point out  that while an anthropomorphised giant rodent features heavily, this is an adult's list of goals, not that of a 5 year old girl:

It's a toss up between her and Selena Gomez apparently

Yeah, screw you Minnie

It's my guess that this is how you spend EVERY day, but it's always good 
to have one thing on the to-do list you can tick off straight away

Oh dear God. No. Just no.

Hi, welcome to the Disney Store. Can I interest you in lining our pockets?

Gosh, however will you fit all this into one trip to Florida lifetime? What with taxing resolutions such as 'Own a pair of Ugg Boots' as well? If it wasn't for the fact that 'Have a Daughter' has already been ticked off, I would be convinced that she was reception age, as she has also tasked herself with 'Getting an ice-cream from the ice-cream Truck'. I'm pretty sure it's now frowned on to 'Ride a Dolphin' - unless this is an uncharacteristically adult American football team reference: 

Giddy up Flipper! Let's go visit Ariel and Nemo

but she would 'die happy' if she achieves just one final thing of all the goals on her list. Having a book published and seeing the Northern lights are pretty mundane I guess. Maybe I should go for flightless bird fondling too. Yes, her main aim to achieve in life is to 'Hug a Penguin'. Was Happy Feet actually a documentary?

Get reconstructive surgery post facial pecking incident

But back to New Year resolutions. It's easy to make a list of of things you're going to achieve with three score years and ten ahead of you - but goals for the year ahead need specific focus. I searched '2012' and came up a number of rather alarming tattoo suggestions - if you're still undecided pinners, I'd vote no - and several boards with inspiring ideas for the year ahead. My favourite board was this one, simply titled 2012 and with just the two pins:

Yeah, a new hobby could be good... might keep you out of prison

Good luck with the year klepto trapeze girl!

Lakota x

PS. If you need more stuff I've dredged up from the internet / the recesses of my mind, you could always check my Facebook page.