Vintage Finds and Funnies

Vintage Finds and Funnies

My Mum has sold her house (hooray!) and we are madly scrambling to find her another house to move to.  No easy task.  My Mum is not what you’d call fussy, but she really wants to find a place that she can call her own and that is new without being super modern, older-style but not falling to pieces or in need of lots of TLC.  We have been viewing lots of properties but none have been suitable yet.  Or in the right price range (ie cheap) or in the right suburb.  So for now, we are just trying to get her own house sorted out and packed up so that she is ready to go when the time comes to actually lock the door for the final time and wave goodbye.

Helping her clear out a bedroom this weekend I came across some vintage books that had seen better days.  Most of them were falling to pieces so weren’t really worth saving (as much as it pains me to throw books out – they were practically disintegrating) and many of them were encyclopaedia type books where the information in them was incorrect, outdated and in some instances very racist and wrong!  I did however keep a few pages where I could, to use in craft work and card-making.  There was a nice children’s encyclopaedia that had a few colour plates in it :

 

 

The Alphabet pages were charming but also quite funny in places.  For instance:

 

I’m not sure what “spending a penny” means in your country but in England and Australia it is a colloquialism for having a pee!

 

 

Poor Winifred…I’m not quite sure why she’s having to drink out of a drain pipe!

 

 

I don’t think Keith is particularly big or jolly.  He’s not Santa!  He’s a rather effeminate little boy…not that there’s anything wrong with that, I am quick to point out.  Love the bathers!

 

 

I also managed to salvage a few pages of sheet music and lovely, colourful maps.

 

 

 

Hiding in a cupboard was a little gingham pony I had made years ago.  I’d like to say I was only a kid when I made it, hence the rubbish sewing, but it was only a couple of years back so I’ve no excuse.  The dear little thing is a bit deformed – I haven’t got the heart to throw him out 🙂

 

So, Mum and I are unearthing a few treasures and a lot of junk.  It’s amazing the stuff we accumulate (I know where I inherited my hoarding from!).  It’s nice to find old treasures though, and have a good old clear out.  Maybe it will take having to move out to get me to tidy up my place!

Nutcracker Sweet Shadow Box

Nutcracker Sweet Shadow Box

Just quick posts this weekend – sorry.  We’re so busy and I’m going here, there and everywhere looking at houses with my Mum.  It’s kinda exhausting but nice to spend lots of time with Mum.  The weather is gorgeous (too hot for some but I like it!) and Summer is just around the corner.

This weekend I finished the Nutcracker Sweet Shadow box I’ve been working on.  It took ages – lots of cutting out and rearranging but I finally finished it (in other words I decided to stop fiddling with it and just leave it alone!).  I used an old shadow box I had lying around that I had never found the right project for.  I spray-painted it off-white and left the harlequin-diamond patterned paper in the recesses of the box for contrast.  Then it was just a case of cutting out all the delicate little pieces from the Graphic 45 Nutcracker Sweet range and sticking them on (I used mounting tape).  Cutting out all the candy cane and sticking it on drove me a little nuts but it was worth the effort.  I added little dots of glitter glue here and there to highlight the shine and sparkle of the pictures.  It was hard to photograph though…  I was pretty pleased with it and hope the shop likes it too – maybe it will inspire someone else to give a shadow box a try.  Hope you like it too!

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Adventure (Anniversary) Time!

Adventure (Anniversary) Time!

My hubby and I are going to be celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary next week (on Halloween!) and I thought I’d better make the customary anniversary card.  We usually make gifts for each other, if we do anything at all.  Hubby loves the cartoon series “Adventure Time” and this year I have bought him a couple of plush “Finn” and “Jake” toys so I wanted make a card to go with them.  I started off sketching out a couple of designs and ended up with these ones :

Then I coloured them in as close to the real thing as I could.  I didn’t have all the colours in my marker box…so poor Finn is a little bit pasty but otherwise they’re ok.

Hope hubby likes it.  Inside I wrote “Life with you is always an adventure!”  which is true.  If only because I am constantly having to compete with a legion of cartoon characters for a little attention!

Interview with a Dufus

Interview with a Dufus

Ugh.  I just had a job interview for a Library Officer position at a local college.  I sucked!  I was so embarrassed, I couldn’t get out of the room fast enough!  I normally do well at interviews.  Even though I am a pretty timid and nervous person normally, I can usually pull it together at an interview.  But apparently not today.  I will say it again – I sucked!  BIG TIME!  I wouldn’t employ me!

I’m not even sure I want this job – I didn’t like the hours (lots of evenings) and the Librarian seemed a bit, well, cranky.  Maybe it was just because she was having to sit and listening to a huge dufus (ie me!) and when she had more important things she could be doing.  Sigh.  I hate leaving a bad impression on anyone, particularly when I’m trying to put my name out there and find a new, better job.

To make matters worse, I put my neck out yesterday so today I look like a weirdo, hunchback creature who can’t turn their head.  I couldn’t have been more un-employable if I drooled or passed wind (neither of which I actually did, I will just point out) and I’m pretty sure they metaphorically stamped a big “REJECT” stamp on my forehead before I was half-way through the interview.

So, if I do get offered the job, I will be very surprised.  I think my brain sabotaged my efforts because I knew, deep down, I wasn’t suitable for the job and didn’t want it anyway.  Maybe that’s it.  Maybe I just really do suck…maybe I’ve lost my mojo. Did I ever have Mojo?  Maybe I am mojo-less.  Maybe working in a sucky job for almost two years has rendered me sans mojo.  Dammit.

If you are having a job interview this week, I wish you good luck.  May your answers be thought-provoking, intelligent and coherent.  May you leave a good impression with the interviewers so that you are the preferred candidate.  If all else fails, just remember you CANNOT suck as much as I did today.

A Geisha and a Nutcracker…

A Geisha and a Nutcracker…

So, I am working on lots of things for this month’s Design Team requirements.  I have been able to make a few cards – the Simple Stories paper and stickers are great to use, especially on those days you’re not feeling particularly inspired and just want to make something easy.  I don’t generally use stickers on my cards – I don’t like the one-dimensional look of them.  They’re so flat and look like stickers, if you know what I mean.  So for these projects I stuck them on to card and painstakingly cut them out again so I could use padded tape on the back of them and give them more “oomph” and definition.  I like the little snowman – he’s kinda cute.  The “Handmade Holidays” sticker sheet is really good value – it has loads on it and you could make a bundle of cards with it (and just a couple of sheets of co-ordinating cardstock or papers). I’m still working on some more cards from those papers so stay tuned…

I’m also using a couple of pieces from the Graphic 45 “Birdsong” range.  So pretty!   All those cherry blossoms and gorgeous vintage-y Japanese ladies.

I attempted to make an ornate picture frame with a geisha hair pin as decoration.  The frame was an ugly little plastic IKEA one I had stored away.  It came with it’s own little stand too.  I spray painted them both with a high gloss enamel (black) and they came up pretty nice. I also rubbed a little bit of red metallic buffing creme to the edges and details, just to add a bit of contrast and definition.

I agonised over the hair pin – I did have one that a friend brought me back from Japan but I didn’t want to glue that on, I wanted to make my own.  So I tried a few different things – chopsticks, skewers, nylon wire and string.  In the end I used a cut-down chopstick that I painted a rich crimson colour, added a bead to the end and wound some string (painted black) around it and added some other black and red beads for the “dangly bit”.  It didn’t turn out exactly as I wanted…but hopefully it gives people some ideas (that they can then execute better than I have!).  Anyway, it makes a change from cards and it shows a different way of using scrapbooking paper.

Now I am starting another project using the Graphic 45’s “Nutcracker Sweet” range – lots of purple and green and sugar plum fairies!  But before I attempt anything with those lovely papers, I had better clear up my mess, rediscover my table and plan what I am going to do.  Or I could just push everything to one side and work in a little tiny corner of the table like I usually do…that sounds more like me!

Blogging Blah…and some ideas to try

Blogging Blah…and some ideas to try

I’ve hit a roadblock, a blogging “no thru road” if you will.  I have been trying to write a blog post that is worth reading but they’ve all been blah.  I don’t have an amazingly thrilling life, my art/craft-work is slow to materialise some weeks and then sometimes not even worth showing.  I have ideas in my head but when I put them down on paper, or, in this case, the screen, they’re just lame.  My last few posts have had barely (if any) photos and I didn’t start off wanting to be like that.  Sigh.  My problem is I have a propensity for verbosity.  See?  Even that statement is overdone and too long.  Basically I waffle on too much and take a while to get to the point.  But I’m gonna try harder to be succinct and make my posts short and sweet.  Fingers crossed.

I recently saw an article about journaling and it gave a few ideas for when you are stumped or lacking creativity and need some inspiration.  Here are some of their starting points (which I’m going to steal for blogging rather than scrapbooking…):

IDEAS (Thank you Creating Keepsakes, Jan 2006)

  • What’s your favourite colour and what does it say about you?
  • List three dreams for your future.
  • How did you spend your last $10.00?
  • Describe your best and worst character traits
  • What’s the best gift you’ve ever given?
  • Have you ever had a wish come true and then wished it hadn’t?
  • What’s your favourite songs(s) and why?
  • What song lyrics best describe your life at this very moment?
  • Describe the contents of your purse at this moment.
  • If you could choose one makeover show to be on, which would you choose and why?
  • Describe how your daily routine has changed from the time you were a teenager to your life as it is today.
  • What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done?

So, there’s a few things to try if I ever get really stuck and need to write something.  Hope they come in handy for you too.

 

 

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

It is really hot today.  Like, yesterday was cool and you still needed to wear a jumper, but, today, is hot and summery (despite it being Spring) and t-shirt & shorts kind of weather.  This makes me happy because I hate the cold with a passion.  Everyone is walking around going “Phew, it’s hot!” and wiping their brow and that sort of thing.  Roderick the guinea pig had to have a little mini-bath to cool him down (or at least to stop me worrying about him succumbing to heat stress) and hubby laid on the couch all day reading comics and drinking ginger ale.  I, for one, love the heat and am looking forward to Summer, so, instead of sitting about in bathers or running under the sprinkler, I decided to do what all people should do in hot weather – make pie!  That’s right, pie… Now, as all sane cooks know, pastry does not like hot or humid weather.  It prefers cool climates and, most importantly, cool hands for kneading and rolling out.  Pah!  It will do as it’s told and behave, I say!

I am a fan of pie.  I do not have it often – pastry is not my tummy’s friend – and I admit to not being great at pastry-making either.  But I felt like apple pie today (probably due to the fact I wanted ice cream as well…) and so I set about making a home-style, sweet, golden brown, tasty pie.  Here is my pastry recipe – it’s an easy one and always turns out even if you are completely cack-handed like me and prone to kitchen failure.  I haven’t given the apple filling recipe because I don’t use one – I just bung some cooked apple in with a bit of sugar and lemon juice, some spices (cinnamon & cloves) and a little water mixed with a teaspoon or so of cornflour (helps to thicken the apple mixture but isn’t essential).  If you’ve not made pastry before, try this one – it really is quite easy and you can use it to make jam tarts if you’ve got some left over (and who doesn’t love a few tarts in the pantry?…) Ahem, recipe as follows…

Basic Sweet Crust Pastry (enough for a small pie)

1 1/2 cups plain flour

125g butter chilled & cubed

1/3 cup caster sugar (I always use raw as it has a nicer flavour but use white if you like)

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon of chilled water

Put first three ingredients (ie flour, butter & sugar) into a food processor.  Process until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Chuck in the egg yolk and water and process again until the mixture comes together.  Form a ball and wrap it up in cling wrap or baking paper and pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes so it can chill out 🙂

When you’re ready to use the pastry, roll it out on a lightly floured board or counter and cut out desired amount to cover a pie dish.  I usually line my pie pan with baking paper but it you have a decent non-stick one, go right ahead and bung it in as is.  Pour in your desired filling, roll out some more dough for the top and place it on, pinching the edges as you go round.  Any leftover bits of pastry can be cut into little leaves or other shapes to decorate the top if you like.  Brush top with beaten egg/milk wash and sprinkle with a little extra sugar.  Bake at 200 c for about 25-30 mins depending on your oven.  Let it cool a bit before you serve it up (nothing is nastier than hot-sugar/fruit filling – ouch!) and add a dollop of icecream or custard or whatever you like.  Yum!

Sadly, I was a bit brain-dead when baking the pie and kinda let it burn a little in the oven…so the picture here just features the non-singed bit in the middle…just imagine it burnt-bits free and know that it was yummy regardless of my slack attendance in the kitchen…