Sunday, 31 May 2009

Extremely Crafty Button & Giveaway!

After weeks of trying to figure out how to make an Extremely Crafty button, I've finally cracked it. For all of you Extremely Crafty chums who include it on their blog, you will be entered in a raffle to WIN the “How to Sell Greeting Cards 101” 28 page pdf e-book that’s in my shop.

Learn about the top 50 greeting card companies where you can submit your creations for purchase. (If you already own this and your name is picked, I’ll think up another prize.)

Winner to be announced next Sunday!

You'll find the code in the box at the top right corner of my site.

Thanks to Dawniy of A Crafty Blog for the suggestion and finally motivating me to make one.

Ever used candy wrappers in your craft?

This card was made out of chocolate coin wrappers, which a number of you guessed. Last Christmas, I bought chocolate Euros in Belgium, chocolate nickels and dimes in Michigan, and chocolate pence in London. Look closely to see the coin embossing.

To make your own chocolate Babushka sweetie:

1 Eat lots of yummy chocolate coins and save the wrappers.

2 Smooth ridged wrapper edges, then cut off, so you are left with a bunch of flat coins.

3 Cut out babushka template from heavy paper. [Stay tuned -template will be provided in upcoming e-zine]

4 Draw and color face of babushka doll Her face is colored with pastel pencils and black pen for the eyes.

4 Position chocolate coins to cover all babushka body and glue in place.

5 Once dry, cut off any overlapping wrapper edges.

So, have you ever used candy wrappers or recycled anything else strange in your craft?

Tomorrow - a card made with stamps!

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Cannes Surprize!

I forgot to mention that in the apartment I was staying in in Cannes, this lovely lady was right above my bed. For those avid Extremely Crafty blog readers, do you notice it's a sketch in the same series as my post here. And I thought those Nomadic Academy of Fools had done it themselves. No, they'd lifted the photo from someone else's site too.

I post about it and the sketch randomly manifests above my bed. Coincidence or is it a sign? What do you think?

p.s. - If it's a sign, a sign of what?

Friday, 29 May 2009

Another Day, Another Card

Can you guess what this little sweetie is made out of?

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Card Crafting Craze

Inspired by all of the wonderful card making blogger friends I've been making these past few weeks, I went card crazy and made eight different cards this weekend. I plan to reveal them all in my card craft e-zine. It should be out in the beginning of July. Can you wait that long?

I should have the summer at the seaside issue done now, but gosh, I just haven't been inspired to finish it. I'm too into making cards! What's happening to me? I'm being sucked in by another hobby!

Do you ever fight taking up a new hobby because:

a) you are crafting until 3am anyway and don't have any extra time?
b) have already maxed out your Michael's/Hobby Lobby/Hobby Craft credit card? or
c) are eating on the edge of your dining room table because the sewing machine and supplies have taken control?

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

A Race for Life

It was a bank holiday this past weekend in the UK, so I went to a wonderful BBQ one day and the other two spent in crafting bliss. A lot of you know I have recently discovered a wonderful card crafting site, Crafters Kitchen, and many of the new people I've met on that site have been my inspiration to spend all Sunday making cards. I made eight and can't wait to photograph them and put them in the upcoming card craft ezine.
It's dark now, but tomorrow, I will post a little peek at one of the cards. My theme was babushkas gone wild! Just found this cute stamp over at The Crafty Pad (a Crafty Kitchen friend). Part of the proceeds go towards the Race for Life Charity. If you are in no shape to exercise (like moi) then what a great idea to stamp for charity!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Cannes Cannes!

The lawn outside the Carlton. Remember the doll's house I posted about two days ago, well, I woke a few days later to see that the house was gone and in its place was a giant Christmas tree on either end and everything was covered in snow to promote A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey. Whose job is it to spray snow I wonder?
This is La Croisette - the main ocean drag in Cannes. The beach is lined with tents where people eat, drink, and party. That's the glass roof of one of them there.

Hotel Du Cap - these are the dining and bar terraces. A group of friends and I spent the day there. This is where most of the stars stay while at the festival. It's about a half an hour drive or fifteen minutes by boat. Here's my boat! (one day)
View of the restaurant terrace.
But life isn't all fun and games at the Hotel Du Cap. These are the paparazzi who hang out at the rocks bear the Hotel Du Cap and snap photos of stars on their yachts with super duper long lenses. It's also right near where people disembark from their boats to go ashore at the Hotel Du Cap.
One of the many glamorous hotels on La Croisette in Cannes. If you're a star, you're either staying at the Hotel Du Cap or if you want to be right downtown, you'll stay here. Great for late night star spying. Quentin Tarantino is a regular late nighter.
Palm trees in the moonlight. We have a long weekend in the UK this week, so I'm going to be crafting up a storm and plan to have lots of fun new projects for you to do soon. What is your favourite type of craft?

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Macaroon Love

I absolutely love macarons and I love how this picture turned out. Two macarons on honeymoon. In Cannes, I was staying near a little patisserie and it was heaven. Each morning, I would eatone almond croissant, one pain au chocolate, and one macaron (or maybe two) and once I even had another patastry that looked like a giant potato chip, but it was pastry and so light with almonds on top. Does anyone know what it is called? It was pure delightful. Someone should write a French pastry cookbook.

I was always intrigued by macarons - what do those little colorful cake/cookies taste like? Well, they're crunchy on the outside and moist on the outside and regardless of color, I think they taste like almond.

I've been trying to find the best macaron recipe for all of my Extremely Crafty Chums and found these. If anyone has another good macaron recipe, I would be really grateful if you could leave a link in the comments section. Merci beaucoup!

Strawberry (but recipe uses jam, so not sure about this one)

Gigantic macarons

Chocolate pistachio
Aha! read on the blog vine this is the best recipe at A La Cuisine. Two flavours are listed - Caramel-Fleur de Sel Macarons and Toasted Sesame Macarons. Don't they sound yummy?

If you try any of the recipes, let me know how they turn out. I'll be making some this weekend.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Cannes Craft

While in Cannes, I discovered a brilliant Parisian menswear designer named [I can't find his bloody name! Ack! Will keep searching]. I’ve always thought men’s clothing could benefit from embroidery and the odd flower and this designer is making it.

I met a guy at the Majestic hotel and he was wearing this shirt so I had to speak to him. I eventually asked if I could take photographs of his shirt and whether his wife would mind. Luckily, he’d had a few mojitos, so didn’t mind.

The back of this shirt was decorated with red and orange thickly embroidered star like flowers. Chunky graffiti roses were also printed on with thick black lines. The man was also wearing a white linen jacket that had a subtle shimmer of silver running though it and it was lined with white on white paisley silk. It was wonderfully bold, but I wasn’t cheeky enough to ask for three photos.
On this shirt, he decorated the back, cuffs, and right front side.

The next day, I bumped into the French film agent and he was wearing another shirt by the same designer. This was had quilted cotton patchwork on the right front side of the shirt.
Other than making films, Cannes was void of any other type of craft. I lie - there was a giant dolls house outside the Carlton Hotel to celebrate the opening night movie, Up! the story of an old man who ties balloons to his house and goes on an adventure.
Tomorrow - Tons of photos of Cannes during the film festival.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Lemonade Stand Award - Hooray!

How exciting! I just received this award from my friend, Karen Lee, at A Place to Share My Stuff. She has a really fun blog which I’m sure you’ll enjoy. Thank you! Thank you!

The rules of the Lemonade Stand Awards award are
*comment on this blog
*cut and paste the award logo and use it on your own blog
*nominate 5 to 10 blogs you feel show great attitude and gratitude
*link to your nominees within your blog post
*comment on their blogs to let them know they received the award
*link back to the person who gave you the award to show your appreciation
So now I need to pass it on and the award goes to these cool blogs…
Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
Tomorrow - Cannes Craft!

Monday, 18 May 2009

Ne-Yo's Painting Passion

So as I was writing the other day, I was at the Nikki Beach club in Cannes. Picture a giant white tent erected on the beach. One side of the tent was open with large beige wicker sofas with plump white cushions scattered beneath the stars. In the covered part of the tent, a floor had been erected, on which a dining room, bar, DJ turntables stood. The color palette was white and sand.

A girl perched herself on the back of our sofa and a bunch of people started asking to take pictures with a guy in a hat. I asked her who he was and she said “Ne-Yo”. I knew he was a singer, so I jumped into action with my camera. I knew this was the first celebrity sighting and I had promised my Extremely Crafty Chums to get the low down.

“So what sort of crafts or hobbies are you interested in?” I asked.

If you guessed, knitting or macramé, you’re wrong. If you guessed painting, you’re right.

Ne-Yo loves to paint and has been painting ever since he’s been singing. He is very passionate about it and likes to paint all subjects. No favourites here. He uses all colors and he’s painted pictures of all sizes – some really big canvases. He hasn’t had a show yet. He’s not sure if his work is really ready for that, but he would love to show his work one day.

I should have said that he could launch his creative pursuits with Extremely Crafty, but I only thought about that now. What a great exclusive. ACK! I missed out on that one. I shall remember that for next time.
About an hour later, my friends and I went to the Nikki Beach Night Club. This one was part of the Palais where they have the red carpet premieres and not on the beach. Here again was Ne-Yo and his group, including the girl who I spoke with. Turns out she’s the girlfriend. How embarrassing asking her who Ne-Yo was and it was her boyfriend. Ne-Yo performed his hit song and was about ten feet away from me. He really is a brilliant singer. He seemed like a totally cool, laid back guy who took the time to speak to myself and other fans. His girlfriend was also really cool and we waved like old friends of an hour previous. When he left the club, Ne-Yo said “Hey” and patted me on the back.

Have any of you had any experiences with either really friendly or really not so friendly celebrities?

Up tomorrow – Crafty in Cannes! I discovered a Parisian men’s clothes designer who embroiders and paints dress shirts. Pictures of his work.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Turkish Delight

Better pics of original underwear set.

Back on Monday from Cannes - check back then!

Second Celebrity Sighting!

Quentin Tarrantino. Said hello as he was running past. Didn't have a chance to ask him about crafts, btu I think we all know what his hobby is - film making! He has a film at the festival - Inglorious Baestards. My friend chased him down the street and learned Quentin is staying until Thursday. We have an actress we'd like him to meet who Quentin has apparently liked her previous work. Said actress was staying with us and gave me swuch a fright that night, I could barely sleep!!! Quentin would love her. She'd Kill Bill, Kill Bob, Kill Just about anyone if her showreel is anything to go by. Quentin was at the Soho House party where I was on Friday, but although I searched, I couldn't find him. I think he was hiding behind the lobsters.

More on that Monday.

Friday, 15 May 2009

My Little Pony

I swear these Icelandic ponies were the inspiration for My Little Pony. They are absolutely adorable. More pictures of Fun in Iceland are finally available. To see some amazing shots, click here.

Back Monday from Cannes, so check back!

Post from Cannes

Found an internet connection. The highlight of yesterday was interviewing singer Neo about his favourite hobby and seeing him perform live in a nightclub where he was partying. When I met him, it was rather embarassing because my friend and I were at the Nikki Beach "Beach" club as opposed to the Nikki Beach Nightclub. The beach beach club is a club that's been erected in a tent on the beach. My friends and I were sat having drinks on their luxiorious white sofas (a beach club has better furniture than I do) and suddenly a group of people passed and a few people started asking for questions. I asked the pretty girl who perched on our sofa who were they taking photos of and she said Neo. My first celebrity sighting. I got in there with my camera and asked "Do you do any sorts of crafts or hobbies?" I was surprized at his answer.

And the girl - it was his girlfriend. How embarassing. Anyway, bumped into her at the next party in the Palais at the Nikki Beach Nightclub and we waved at each other (she from VIP) and I got a pat on the back and a hey from Neo.

Come back on Monday to read what Neo's secret passion is.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

RoaRRR!!! & off to Cannes

This is the matching brazier I made. With help from my mother, we adapted the New Look pattern and just made the top half. The back is stretchy swimsuit fabric (multi colored polka dots no less) because we didn't happen to have any wide elastic in the house. Make use, my mother always says.

Well, folks, I'm off to Cannes in the morning. I'll try to post while at the film fest, but don't think I'll have access to the Internet and anyway, I'm hoping I may be on a yacht with load of celebrities drinking champagne. (Yeah, in my fantasies!) I will let you know how it goes and keep your crafty questions in mind.

I've scheduled to post some further pics twice while I'm away, but will be back Monday with loads of photos so check back then! xox

Wild Nights Start with Leopard...

So back to the underwear. I made this set using a New Look pattern #6443. The only one I could find with French knickers. Actually it was almost the only one I could find period. I had made a lovely mess of my first attempt which I posted about here (scroll to bottom of page), so I thought I had to try set 2 to see if I had learned anything.

I am happy to report I didn't burn any holes through fabric. I didn't cut out three left sides for the knickers or two for the bodice. I tried to match all of the leopard print stripes. This was a heavier fabric with more polyester in it rather than working with pure silk which made it much easier. The instructions in this pattern were much clearer (except the back still gaped open so elastic was again a necessary last minute addition).

Extremely Crafty recommendation - You'll be happy with the pattern.

So what do you think of this knicker set?

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Cannes Count Down

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

I'm off to Cannes on Thursday. I'm going with a film producer friend and hope to make it to the red carpet.
Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia
I won't be doing any of the above, but I'm sure there will be lots of others to take my place. Well, of course unless I'm offered a million dollars and a film contract and yellow only M&M's. She doesn't look as if she eats many M&M's, does she? Hmm, must remember to take white bathing suit for lying around ont he streets. Just in case of course.

Photo courtesy of mundomiss.blogspot
My goal for the trip is if I meet any celebrities, I will ask them about what their favourite craft is. How cool would that be if I could get mini interviews with celebrities on the Croisette. In years past, I bumped into Michael Moore a few times, Eddie Murphy, and Bollywood star, Aishwarya Rai.
If I do bump into any stars, who do you hope I meet and what questions do you want me to ask?

Monday, 11 May 2009

Burlesque Life Drawing Sketch Night - I kid you not!

(photo courtesy of Nomadic Academy of Fools)
Tonight, the Nomadic Academy of Fools is hosting a Burlesque Life Drawing Sketch Night in London. What a wickedly wonderful idea and a great way to meet other people. The Nomadic Fools are a wandering band of theatrical performers. The confirmed acts so far are the Bavarian Slappers, the Bearded Beauty and the Strong Ladies. I can hardly wait.

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Knickers to this!

I've been on a kick to make my own underwear since everything I want to buy is at least $50 or 50 pounds sterling. I bought McCall's M5651 underwear pattern. It is one of a small selection of underwear patterns on the market at the moment. There's more patterns available for dog clothes! Anyway, this was one of their diy style range and promises to help make it your own style. Almost every suggestion they have is - add rhinestones. Well, I think anyone of us could have told them that.

Rhinestones are not going to fix the fact that the pattern doesn't even tell you how to make a proper crotch. The instructions tell you to cut out a piece of jersey fabric against the template, lay it on the underwear and stitch in place. The result is that all of the hems and the raw edges show.
One of my other issues with this pattern is that one of the knicker patterns is shown with scallops. You are supposed to buy fabric with scallops that perfectly matches the pattern. I used lacy scallop fabric, but had to improvise on the pattern because theirs just didn't work.

The knickers ended up turning out nice as I took extra care to match the lace stripes in the behind view and carefully cut out the lacy scallops, but especially with the advised crotch construction, I can't see how these will last more than a few washes.

Extremely Crafty suggestion - Don't buy this pattern.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The 13 Yule Lads

Yes, I did keep the boyfriend (he's not one of the guys pictured above) although I could have wrung his neck as the tires of the jeep crunched farther and father up the glacier. Also when the guide drover our jeep into a river and water submerged us half way up the doors. Other than times like these, he is pretty wonderful, so I must keep him and hopefully, he’ll keep me too!

So as we were being toured by our guide across the wilds of Iceland I asked the two questions that intrigue me the most about other countries – do the children here believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy? These are very important questions obviously.
At first, I think the guide and the other travelers thought I was mad, but then the guide composed himself and began to tell us about the gruesome Gryla and her thirteen Yule Lads. There’s no Santa story here. She is a hideous ogress who loves to eat stewed naughty or lazy children. She gets particularly hungry at Christmas time and sets off with a sack to find a bunch of naughty ones to gobble up.
Gryla was married to a couple of trolls and had 13 children to one of them. (Apparently trolls like hideous ogresses.) In Icelandic tradition, this family of trolls was used to scare cheeky children and motivate the lazy ones. Each Yule Lad has a very strong character – usually a rascal or a thief. Their names depict their character.

On the thirteen days leading up to Christmas, each Yule Lad has his day during which he sets off from the family home and travels over the mountains, glaciers, ravines, and caves, to visit each child across the country and deliver small gifts into their shoes. (Shoes are left by the windowsill here, no stockings over the fire.)
There’s the Sheep Worrier (I kid you not), the Gully Gawk, Stubby, the Spoon Licker, Pot Licker, Door Slammer, Bowl Licker, Skyr Glutton (delicious yoghurty treat), Sausage Stealer (pic above), Window Peeper, Door Sniffer, Mr. Meat Hook, and the Candle Beggar.

If the child has been naughty that day, the child receives a potato in his or her shoe. Kind of like our lump of coal, only worse. You do not want a potato in your shoe. Many adults boast they never had a potato in their shoe as a child.

While there, I bought the book The Yule Lads by Brian Pilkington. All photos are from this book. I always love to collect children’s books and this one is a delight.

As for the tooth fairy, some families tell their children about the fairy. Some don’t. Doesn’t seem to be as big a deal as the 13 Yule Lads.
Coming up – my underwear! Here’s a sneaky look at two sets of knickers I recently made. Check back tomorrow for adventures in knicker making!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Crafting & Cod in Iceland

There were two crafty shops I fell in love with in Iceland. One was a knitting shop on the main shopping drag. They have knitting classes on Saturday mornings, so if you happen to be there on time, drop on in. The selection of yarns was absolutely amazing. The colors and textures and weight of the wool were divine. It was only the cost that kept me from going mad and spending all my money. If I lived in this country, I'd have to have my own sheep so I could make my own wool. The ladies ranged in age from 13 to about 76 and were knitting the usual socks, sweaters, etc. Didn't see any boobie warmers, but I did see these cool pouf ball hats. They remind me of something a Dr. Seuss creature would wear. The fashions in Iceland mainly included hats, scarves, jumpers, boots, anything to keep warm, but yet, there were these pouf ball dresses in the window. Where anyone would wear these, I have no idea. August is their hottest month, but I don't even think the temperature gets to 80F.
Below is the typical dress (notice the pointy elf like hat again) and this woman must be absolutely freezing because she is practically naked in comparison to all of the clothes I was trudging around in. (Photo compliments of The Viking shop)
There were numerous other craft shops selling bits of everything, but my favourite was what seemed to be the largest. Litir og Fondur had everything from black lava beads (which I bought) to pelts of fur in a multitude of colors (which I did not buy). If anyone happens to be going to Iceland and would like the address, do let me know.

As for food - whale kebabs were on the menu at my most favourite ever restaurant - Saegreifinn (The Sea Barron). I didn't try this however and opted for the lobster soup which was absolutely to die for. Huge chunks of lobster meat in a creamy, buttery sauce. I was a glutton and added a lobster kebab to this. The thick, juicy pieces of lobster fell off the skewer and actually did melt in my mouth. I was in heaven. I could eat there every day of my life...

Take a raw kebab from the counter - scallop, whale, cod, haddock, shrimp, salmon, lobster, pay for it at the register and they'll cook it for you. Oh yes, back to I was in love with this place...
...until I found the Icelandic fish and chip restaurant and I was in love all over again only with a different fish. This time it was the huge chunks of haddock lightly battered in an almost tempura light batter topped with large crystals of sea salt and garlic rosemary chunky chips on the side, all slathered with lashings of a gloopy malt vinegar which was so delightful, I could have guzzled the entire bottle.
And of course, wash it all down with an ice cold Polar Beer (get it, polar bear?), that is if you like beer. I tried their endless assortment of mineral waters.
And here's a photo of breakfast in our guest house. This pig is everywhere in Iceland. It's the logo of the piggy back saver grocery store. I find it rather obscene and revolting, don't you? p.s. - we did manage to get off the glacier , but had to reverse out of the ditch we'd spun ourselves into and apparently everyone has GPS now, so if one system breaks, there's always a back up.

Tomorrow - Does Santa Claus exist in Iceland?