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Glasgow, Underground August 1, 2012

Filed under: Made me laugh — bellsandthistle @ 2:04 am
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Ha! made me laugh

The thing is, it’s totally true.  Glasgow’s “subway” is just one circle line.

Glasgow Tube Map
Here’s the real map…not much difference eh?  And a single use ticket is only $2.  Bargain!
Glasgow Subway Map
 

Vintage crafts, updated

Filed under: Arts & Crafts — bellsandthistle @ 1:21 am
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So, I saw this cute blog on “craft fads through the decades” on Etsy and the macrame crafts soooo reminded me of the house I grew up in.  We had macrame plant holders like these (including wood panelling):

 

…but there are some nice modern interpretations:

and a modern DIY craft

a

and then...String Art!

  

there’s some cool modern string art going on now, like this subway sign.  I’ve pinned a few examples on my Pinterest board.

subway string art

I also liked the 50’s paint by number, very Mad Men-ish.

and here are the modern ones which are pretty interesting.

Pinned Image

This one has a nice tutorial

Paint by numbers

Interesting how crafts have changed throughout the years…and how they haven’t.

 

Tea and Jubilee June 9, 2012

Filed under: Kitchen stuff — bellsandthistle @ 9:48 pm
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So, a friend is having a tea party for our little girls so I wanted to bake something.  I also wanted to do something British, especially in light of the recent Queen’s Jubliee.  I was inspired by these cute teabag-shaped  cookies but the website was in French and just to give you an example of how bad Google Translate is, it called them “Tea Boogies.”  So I took their tutorial with a grain of sel and made it up as I went along.

My first mistake was to actually try to make up a cookie batter.  I mean, they make prepared cookie batter for a reason!  I definitely prefer to keep the actual cooking to a minimum and spend my time coloring or frosting…but I digress.  So, did you know that even if you have the same ingredients in the bowl, if you don’t add them in specifically as the recipe says then they probably won’t bake well?   Well, I was aware of this phenomenon but I just had to do a comparison.  Ok, I got distracted doing a first batch so I did them again.  Tasted the same, but the first one definitely would not have baked well!

Anyway, my second mistake (easily corrected) was thinking that I actually had a retangular cookie cutter in the house.  I mean, puh-lease!  So I took a look at the grocery store (nope) and settled on, well, you’ll see it below – a little plastic red wagon.  Yes, I did clean it before use!

So I just made these little shapes and then snipped off the edges.  Put them on a greased pan and then used a straw to poke a hole in the top.  Best to make a decent size hole, it makes it easier to put the string or ribbon through.  Unless you just love squinting your eyes when threading a needle…same thing.

The fun part was making the “labels.”  That’s where the Jubilee part came in.  I found some cute images on the interweb and sized them to about a 1/2″ and then mirrored the image.    I folded them in half, threaded the thread through the hole and then used a glue stick to seal them together.  Kinda cute, huh?

I decided to not dip them in chocolate as per the example – I had already spent waaay too much time on these – but it would be a nice touch.   A couple of hours is my patience limit.  And my kitchen couldn’t have gotten any dirtier anyway!

 

Don’t be meme June 2, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — bellsandthistle @ 5:47 pm
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So I’ve been cracking up with some memes going around – the one with the guy from Goyte and Condescending Wonka of course. Anyway, I made a couple of my own…Happy weekend!

 

House #1 Revamp: Kitchen May 30, 2012

Filed under: Room Revamps — bellsandthistle @ 8:39 pm
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Our first house was a little townhouse (not very wide, but long), and a major fixer upper.  The kitchen was a very small room with a bedroom* next to it on the ground floor.  So we knocked down that wall and combined the two to make a larger kitchen.

Here was the kitchen initially.  Blue walls, a sink unit and fridge on one wall and an oven and a couple of cupboards from the 1950’s on the other.  Dirty linoleum floors.

Here’s a pic of it during demolition. You can see the wall where the sink unit is, and how small the kitchen was.  We have support posts up here until we could put in a proper support beam.  There’s a side shot, and then a face-on shot where you can see the remainder of the dividing wall on the floor!

 

So we used the ‘bedroom’ to house a U-shaped kitchen with breakfast bar.  Had a mosaic tiled backsplash on top of the countertops, and a stainless steel backsplash behind the stove.  The opposite wall had the same layout as before:  refrigerator and a double cabinet for extra storage (but I can’t seem to to find a pic of that wall!).  The wall with the window also had a frosted glass door to the backyard.

 

For our first home renovation, I’m pretty happy with how it came out!

*technically it was a bedroom but I think it would only have fit a single mattress and not much else! Called a boxroom in the UK.

 

House #3 Revamp: Nursery

Filed under: Kid Stuff,Room Revamps — bellsandthistle @ 8:14 pm
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I knew I was having a girl but didn’t want to go down the pink route. I was inspired by the bright green and white colors and floral imagery of a certain bubbly wine, so I used that as my base and added brown to dampen the effect.

Here are the before photos:

  

And here are the after photos. I want to mention that I worked for this company at the time, so I had access to some branded materials. But I didn’t want bottles of Champagne all over the nursery either!

I painted most of the room green and one wall brown to balance it out. There was an existing closet so I used 2 patterened banners and had my mom sew fabric to the bottom to achieve the correct length. I ordered green valances and crib bedding from Carousel Designs.  And put up floating IKEA shelves for books and toys.

I just loved the Tord Boontje lamp and thought it fit well with the floral theme.

I took some creative liberties with the floral motif and had a vinyl sticker printed with the baby’s name.

Continuing around the room…

And finally the crib furniture and brown feature wall with floral motif. I used an “avocado”-type lampshade for the ceiling fan.

Yes, lime green is a bold choice for any room but I think it made this room more cheery and exciting for the baby!

 

Patriotic Cake Trials

Filed under: Uncategorized — bellsandthistle @ 6:39 pm
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Let’s just start with no, I am not a chef by any standard. I mean, I get dinner on the table but just barely.  So I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I’m even less of a baker. But, I figure I might as well start getting some practice in for all the Bake Sales I’ll have in my future. (Ok we’re a  few years out, but…)

So, I wanted to try making a pretty multilayered cake.  And an easy one at that, I mean, who has all day for this stuff?  I really like all the ombre stuff we see floating around, and I liked this rather patriotic one that looked easy to frost.

I didn’t have a fancy bundt pan so I kinda did my own thing, which can either result in culinary genius or just some extra leftovers for the dog.  This one worked out ok though. Simple tutorial:

1. I used a box vanilla cake mix.  Divided it into 3 bowls and added food coloring.  I only had 2 x9″ pans so I baked 2 first and then let the pan cool down and did the 3rd cake.  I didn’t think the 3rd would take as long to bake as having 2 pans in the oven, but what do I know.

2. The irony is that I forgot to spray Pam on my 1st 2 cakes and they came out ok, but I sprayed it on my Blue cake and it fell to pieces…go figure.  So I had to stick the blue layer in the middle.  I cooled the cakes and then stuck them in the freezer for a bit, because, ya know, that’s what you’re supposed to do.  I guess it makes frosting easier?  Anyway, in the UK they often make a white cake with strawberry jam in between the layers and so I thought that might be tasty.

3. I thought I divided the frosting into thirds (1/3 per color) but either I didn’t or it wasn’t enough.  So I would suggest at least 1/2 is white, as you don’t need as much of the other two colors that you ‘fling on’.  I was a little heavy-handed with the blue but got my act together with the red frosting.  Put some strawberries around the side to hide the fact that my white frosting was running out.

 

4. Et Voila! Some dessert for dinner which took no time at all. Got a lot of nice comments and it was yummy and not burnt!

 

Dear Men, please leave Pinterest to us girls. Thanks.

Filed under: Uncategorized — bellsandthistle @ 6:02 pm
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Dear Male Facebook Friends,*
You’re following me on Pinterest?  Really?  I mean, umm, ok….but actually,uh, no!  Pinterest is a girls’ playland, full of wedding dresses and cute puppies and pictures of babies in tutus.  Is this really where you belong?  I know,  I know,  Pinterest is the latest Social Media Phenomenon and you had to see what it’s all about.  But now that you’ve requested – and waited for – the invite, don’t you see what I mean?  Really, us gals don’t want to see pics of Joe Namath in the 80s or Land Rovers or Men’s shoes.  Most of you guys don’t even have multiple pinboards!  Hrrrrmph.  Let us get back to looking at pictures of crafts we’ll never have time to make, recipes that don’t work and signs that say “I never finish anyth

*Except Gay Male Friends. Some of you have interesting pins and are actually funny! Except for my friend M who is taking a pic of all of his coffees…erm, not so much.

 

House #2 Revamp: Hallway April 14, 2012

Filed under: Room Revamps — bellsandthistle @ 5:33 am
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The hallway was painted a really dark wine color which was…unfortunate. This is a composite picture which is why it looks a bit wonky.

It was painted-on wallpaper so we had to strip it all off back to the bare walls to start with.

Painted it a nice cheery yellow color. Hung some chandeliers which were gold with orange bead accents. Sanded and stained the floors, and warmed it up with a soft rug.

 

House #2 Revamp: Bathroom 2

Filed under: Room Revamps — bellsandthistle @ 5:17 am
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So this is a basic bathroom with toilet, sink, and shower stall. Wasn’t as bad as avocado hell but pink isn’t really my color either. Shower stall/curtain was behind the door (pink of course). Wall tiles had a floral motif, but it wasn’t much to talk about. Flooring? Why, carpet, of course! yuk

So, we gutted it. Put in tongue and groove paneling and Victorian ceramic units and taps.  Slate floors. Tiled the shower stall with a shimmery aqua mosaic tile and put in a glass shower door.  Put in a ladder radiator for warmth and towel warming purposes. Painted the walls white for a crisp, clean look in such a small space.