Thursday, 28 February 2013

Sharp Pencils

Do you remember at school, all teachers had a large fixed pencil sharpener on their desks with a handle to operate? Teachers today still seem a little obsessed about sharp pencils - Fred is always asked to do his homework with one, and we are always mislaying the sharpener.

So, I bought this baby:
... a battery operated pencil sharpener by Derwent, which works an absolute treat, and will take pencils of all shapes and sizes {even ones with triangular barrels}.
I had such fun sharpening these, maybe I should have been a teacher! 

Love Mrs Jones x

PS. I have been trying to find a link to the brilliant Malcolm in the Middle episode "Clip Show 2" where Hal (the dad) puts off writing a will by sharpening his pencil for ages.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Custard Cream Hearts and Button Biscuits

I came across a recipe in Nigella's Feast {which you can now get in a kindle edition}for Custard Cream Hearts in the Valentines section. Ever since I saw them, I knew I had to make them. I think it was the seduction of the Birds custard powder! They are absolutely pimpsy easy to make in a food processor or kitchenaid.

The recipe is reproduced here by Rolling Pin Tales. I made a couple of adjustments to the recipe:

  • I replaced the 50g of butter and 50g of vegetable shortening with 100g butter
  • I put all the ingredients in the processor at the same time {I misread the recipe} but they seem fine for it.

To make the "button" biscuit I pressed the edge of a medicine dosage thing in and poked either two or four holes with a cocktail stick in the centre.

The hearts that I made are extremely tiny - you can pop it in your mouth whole! I used the cocktail stick to pinprick the edge of the heart, as Nigella herself does.

Love Mrs Jones x

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Small Envelope Tutorial: for seeds, buttons etc.

You will need:
  • Paper or thin card
  • Glue Stick
  • Any embellishments you are likely to use
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
Start by determining the size of your required envelope. If you want a small envelope for collecting seeds or holding small objects, I would suggest 10cm by 6cm. Use this diagram to draw on your paper or card, altering your measurements to fit. You need to draw on what will be the inside of the envelope.
So if your finished width is 6cm, then both A and B need to be 6cm wide. The additional flap to the right of B can be any width - I would suggest it is roughly a third of the finished size, so in this case, 2 cm.

The bottom flap does not need to be very big {1-2 cm} but I would suggest it is a little deeper if you are going to put something heavy in it.

So: A and B should be 6cm x 10cm, the side and bottom flaps around 2cm and the top flap 3-4 cm. 

Once you are happy with your drawing, cut and then gently score all the lines. Fold and press with a fingernail. All the flaps should now face in.
Diagram before lines are scored

Use glue stick on the side flap, press down A over B and press the glued flap so that it overlaps B.

Then glue the bottom flap and press up.

Decorate your envelope as desired.

Pattern inside, pattern outside: both look good!
You can either push the top flap into the envelope or use glue or washi tape to seal. If you made 24 of these little envelopes, you could use them at Christmas as an alternative advent calendar.

Love Mrs Jones x

Monday, 18 February 2013

Day out to the SS Great Britain

Today is the first day back at school for both of my boys. That one week holiday seemed much longer. On one of those rare days when we all happened to be home in the day, we decided to go to Bristol. Our intention was to go to the brilliant @Bristol - a hands on science museum, but we couldn't even park anywhere near it. So, it was a happy accident that we ended up on the other side of the river at the SS Great Britain. This was my first visit in about ten years, and they have done a lot of work on it.

For me, one of the biggest changes was that it looked like it was floating in water. In actual fact it is some clever trickery which gives the illusion of being in water, when it is still in dry dock. We went into the dry dock and had a look at the hull, which is kept in really warm dry air to prevent {further} rusting.
From here, we went into a small museum before heading on board. The view from the deck of the coloured houses of Bristol is really lovely - what a treat. Below deck, there are various reconstructions of what it wouls have been like. You see the difference between classes when you peer into their cabins. The smells are quite realistic too, so you might want to hold your nose in some places {the bathrooms, the sick bay etc.!} 
Things to look out for: the line on the deck beyond which only first class passengers are allowed; the ship's surgeon at work; the horses working deep into the ship.

Love Mrs Jones x

PS. If you sign and keep your ticket you can visit again free within the year.


Thursday, 14 February 2013

Love Food

Happy Valentines Day!

I have been thoroughly spoilt with chocolates, Prosecco and a lovely meal in {which I have been playing with}!

1. Salmon Parcels {Waitrose} with a paprika heart and salad leaves.

2. Origami Heart

3. Chocolate Mousse {Waitrose} and hammered silver heart spoon.

Lots of love
Mrs Jones x


 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pancakes

I wish I could make a perfect pancake! Each Shrove Tuesday I try my very best to produce a batch of panncakes, and although they taste okay, they look dreadful. So, I need all your tips so I can arm myself for next year!!

To jazz up my ruined pancakes we had them with caramalised bananas, ice cream and golden syrup which was delicious {inspired by a recipe in Prima magazine}. 

Love
Mrs Jones x

Monday, 11 February 2013

Fabric Splurge

These are the results of my latest fabric spending splurge  - all from Fabric Rehab. I have gone quite heavily into geometric prints and added in some plains {don't worry they are not all for the same project!}.

1. I must be the last person on earth to have got "into" chevrons! I love this multicoloured chevron {on right} from the Remix Collection by Ann Kelle - so bright and fun.

2. The quilt blocks fabric{from left, 5th fabric) is by Ellen Luckett Baker and is currently in the sale section at Fabric Rehab so snatch it up now!

3. The leaf fabric is adorable and is in several different colourways - such a vibrant green - and by V & Co.

4. Finally there is Hope Chest Soiree Olive Stripe by Josephine Kimberling.

Added to that are the plain fabrics in Pigeon, Mustard and Chartreuse Green.

Can't wait to get started on using these new fabrics. 

Love Mrs Jones x




Friday, 8 February 2013

Campervan Cushion

I fell in love with this campervan fabric from Fryetts - it's such a gorgeous fabric and nice and thick for home decorating. A colleague is getting married at the end of February and she loves campervans, and so this is for her {I am hoping she isn't reading}. I'm really pleased with how it has turned out - I have never quite got the covering flap over the zip quite right until this time.
 
For a little embellishment, I have added in a tiny red heart button on one of the vans. I am anticipating my boys snaffling up the remains of this fabric for various projects!
 
This fabric is also available in a pink colourway, but that didn't appeal to me at all.

Love Mrs Jones x

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Geometric Kindle Case

I love the latest trend for geometric prints. This fabric is part of David Butler's Curious Nature - similar to the fabric I made this quilt from. I was tempted to use this fabric in a cushion but as I seem to be selling a few Kindle cases lately, I have made another in this fabric.

I have got some more geometric fabric coming in another fabric consignment from Fabric Rehab and I can't wait to get my hands on it!

This particular fabric is quite masculine and would make a great gift for Valentines Day or Fathers Day.

Love Mrs Jones x




Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Half Century

My husband is 50 today! For once, he was quite excited about his birthday - 50 is definitely something to celebrate. I ordered a chocolate cake from M&S and have arranged it on the table surrounded by masses of tea lights for his return from work.

I am a little worried about creating a fire with all these tealights!

Love Mrs Jones x

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Pop!

First there was Space Dust:

Then there was Terry's Chocolate Orange with popping candy:
And finally, Mrs Jones got hold of some chocolate coated popping candy and sprinkled it on her cupcakes:
{I bought mine from Waitrose, but I imagine that most major supermarkets sell them}

Love Mrs Jones x

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Midnight Tango

On Saturday, I travelled up to London to watch the magnificent Flavia & Vincent {of Strictly} fame in Midnight Tango. The dancers were amazing to watch, and of course Flavia & Vincent are outstanding. I could watch it all over again. It is set in a bar in Buenos Aires and the owners of the bar provide lots of comedic moments - you just don't know where to look next - there is so much going on. Sorry that I have no photos - it was not allowed in the theatre.

We also had a great lunch at PJs in Wellington Street, near Covent Garden: lemon sole with potato rosti and spinach followed by sticky toffee pudding in a warm toffee sauce, and with a complimentary glass of prosecco.

Midnight Tango is on for another month at the Phoenix Theatre in London and then tours the UK.

I found a couple of great apps for travelling in London, and will mean you not constantly rummaging in your handbag for the tube map; the first is the London Underground which is a free app for android {not sure about apple} :

and the other is a paid app, but is London A-Z. You can buy different versions, depending on whether you need the full A-Z or just Visitors London. The Visitors London costs £1.49 whereas the full version is a little under £5.00

Love Mrs Jones x

Saturday, 2 February 2013

February Lust List

A distinctly Valentine's Lust List this month! I am in love with the stone bowl from The White Company and nearly bought it as a gift at Christmas, but I was a little put off by the reviews that it was "smaller than we thought"!

My ultimate indulgence here would be the Valrhona chocolate mousse in the heart shaped Le Cresuet dish from Fortnum and Mason - and I would happily forego any elaborate Valentine dinner for a posh choccy mousse!

With enough of the paper heart decorations (centre), and a little bit of crafting magic these could make a lovely bunting for a wedding.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Blogging

When I tell people what I do {working in a "real" job/ having a small business/blogging} I am asked where I find the time. I don't really know the answer, because my children are loved and fed and I still do have time to do housework and watch TV and sew something now and again. The root of the answer is that I love sewing , and general crafts, and I also love blogging and so I find time for it. 

My routine is trying to blog every day but Sunday. I don't always succeed, but this is my aim. I plan my blogging by writing a rough schedule which spans a month and a half on a continuous basis. Obviously, it doesn't always work out this way, and I do a lot of switching things around, and sometimes I abandon a post altogether. I start by putting any events in especially if I am planning to make something to do with this, for example, the school were having a book related cake competition. I had planned to make some cakes and blog about them, and then it snowed!

As I have a day off "real" work on Wednesdays, I try to do the majority of my making on a Wednesday, and I also schedule in at least a couple of posts so I'm not too stretched for the rest of the week. I try to mix my schedule up so there aren't too many similar posts in the same week, for example, the first few days of February are planned as: sewing fabric hearts, popping candy cakes, watching Midnight Tango and February Lust List. 

The popularity of certain blog posts is something I am thinking about at the moment. Tutorials and recipes seem to get the most views and comments, but it isn't achieveable for me to concentrate solely on those. I would like my little blog to grow a little more.

Do you want to ask me any questions about what I do, blogging or anything at all? Here is your chance, and I will have a little question and answer post at some point in February.

Love Mrs Jones x