Monday, 20 June 2011

car boots, junk warehouses, and garage sales

doily and vintage buttons

The last few weeks I have cut down on my blogging, days have been busy with school activities, half term holiday outings and general running around like headless chickens. Today I will share with you some of the little treasures I have found in the last few weeks. Some may call this modest hoard junk but it is all bits and pieces of things that I will use to craft dolls, monsters, jewellery and whatever else takes my fancy.

key and cog collection, almost too pretty to craft with

This weekend started with going to Cromford to the little festival that took place on Saturday. After the mystifying and quite frankly terrifying sight of a prancing unicorn-man I spied a sign that read 'Garage Sale' and a little arrow. I blinked twice and we turned around and went to find two little garage sales down the road from each other. I bought some doilies, a vintage chain, an airplane pin (for H) and two bags of toy filler all for the princely sum of £1. I may possibly have been quite giddy at this point as you just don't see garage sales here... ever. From Cromford Mill the previous week I managed to find a lovely letterpress tray that will be going up on the wall in Harrison's room to display lego figures (it was half filled with them about ten minutes after we got it home.

vintage baking tin, watch parts, keys and other treasure from Wirksworth

Last weekend we went to Wirksworth, it was late in the afternoon and we missed out on the farmer's market but still had fun roaming around the antique, chocolate and charity shops. I bought a vintage sea shell cake tin, from the vintage rooms. A little rusty, dusty and there was a bit of burned black cake left in it too, but it sits on my desk full of the bits and pieces that inspire me and I will be working with to create new dolls and monsters. After that Harrison and I explored an antiques shop that looked more of a hoarder's home then a shop, boxes piled high bursting at the seams and a little old chap running the place that I swear walked straight out of and 80s fantasy movie. I found buttons and vintage watch parts that made my little heart sing as they were exactly what I needed to finish the Steampunk Red Riding hood doll.
treasures from Banana junk Warehouse in York

While Harrison was on his half term break we went up to York for the day, we had a ball roaming the walls and streets and I was allowed an hour to rifle through the junk in Banana Warehouse. I found a little wooden box, more vintage buttons, vintage measuring tape, a large spool of orange thread and a mother of pearl belt buckle (which was similar to one in Duttons button shop that cost more than I paid for everything I found.

Lego treasure beyond compare

On rare Sunday morning when the day is clear and Matt isn't rushing off to a wedding or a wedding fair we sometimes go rummage around Tansley Car Boot sale. It's bleak up on the fields where the car boot and market are held but the view is outstanding. On the last trip up we found a stash of lego, vintage ladybird books and a crystal growing kit. Treasure for everyone.
Pork pie tins from Cromford Days

doilies, buttons and vintage chain from a garage sale!!!!

letterpress printer's tray from Cromford Mill

I'm linking to Apron Thrift Girl for her fab Thrift Share Mondays and Her Library Adventures' Flea Market Finds

Now back to the reality of sorting out all of my craft supplies. I'm decluttering and getting rid of various bits of fabric and beads that I won't use, so that I have room for more of the things that I do use. So that totally means I can thrift more right? I'm also hoping that by tidying and sorting things out it will inspire me to get one with crafting, writing and listing said crafts in my poor little etsy shop. I'm hoping I will have a few sales and be able to order some new moo cards and pluck up the courage to exhibit my crafts at a real craft fair. *wibble*

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Dr. Horrible t-shirt

If you have visited my blog before you will know that I am a geek. Utterly. Completely. Geekily so. I love Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, books, movies, tv shows, and web geekery such as Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. We own the movie/video and the soundtrack. Harrison and I listen to the soundtrack when he helps me cook dinner and we watch the blog with sweet popcorn and Harrison sings along with all the songs.

I looked into making a Dr. Horrible lab coat but my sewing skills are not quite up there with following patterns so I thought I would buy a red shirt and add buttons. Job done. Except it wasn't. I looked for weeks for a plain red t-shirt, I had no luck until today when I found a shirt in a thrift/charity shop for .75p! So I dug through my white button jar for eight similar sized buttons, found where I had hidden a spool of red cotton and needle in hand a Dr. Horrible t-shirt was born.
If I could embroider I would add the symbol on the pocket of Dr. Horrible's Lab Coat. I can't, not without getting in a tangle and steam pouring out of my ears. Harrison is playing in the garden with the Dr. Horrible Soundtrack on playing his favourite song 'Brand New Day'.

Monday, 13 June 2011

steampunk strawberry

steampunk strawberry pincushion

A little while ago on twitter the delightful Eirlys of Scrapiana tweeted about her pincushion vintage fabric strawberries on the cover of Mollie Makes magazine issue 2. If you are lucky enough to track down a copy of the magazine inside is a strawberry tutorial, written by Eirlys. I haven't been able to track down a copy of Mollie Makes, there is a dreadful lack of the good craft magazines around here (somebody should do something about that.

Scrapiana/Eirlys challenged me to make a strawberry on the darker side, something zombified or steampunk or dripping in blood... honestly what do people think I am?... *looks at books, dvds and dolls and monsters*Never mind don't answer that. ;o)


Friday, 10 June 2011

A Clockwork tale of Red Riding Hood (Part the first)

I know I'm a little bit behind on blogging (read as 'hugely immensely behind on blogging, writing and crafting') but I'm working on it...honestly.... I offer you the beginning of the fairy tale I am writing for the Red Riding Hood doll I finished making the other day with the addition of a few well placed cogs I managed to dig up in a antiques shop Wirksworth. I'm hoping that if I share the first few paragraphs of the story it will encourage me to finish writing Red's fairy tale and list the doll and figure out how I will print out her story in zine form. So here goes...
A Clockwork Tale of Red Riding Hood (Part the First)
by Apryl Lowe

My name is Rowan but most people call me Red. I live in a village in the heart of the forest. There is no silence here, the forest is filled with clanking and ticking of steam driven machinery cutting down trees. Vibrations shake the earth beneath my feet as the miners drill deeper and deeper under the ground, searching out new veins of precious metal. The sound of metal against metal fills the air near the blacksmith’s forge, ribbons of black smoke curl as they rise from the rooftops.

Today is my eighteenth birthday. Mother says I shall leave now to visit Grandmother in the Cottage. Mother has been up all night sewing me a hooded cloak, the colour of ripe red berries, the colour of my left eye. The one the villagers say is cursed and evil. Mother says it’s nonsense, that it means I will always see the truth of things. I have always been the finder of things, keys, coins, cogs and jewellery. Mother says I could find a diamond in a snow storm or weed out all the lies the peddlers spout and find the truth hidden in pretty words.

Today I leave the forest forever. I leave Mother, our small house and head to the city like my father did before I was born. I have been chosen to go to Grandmother as Father was before me, as so many were. Mother refuses to talk about it, she will only say that those chosen go to serve Grandmother in the Cottage and never return. She fears the truth I will see no matter how honeyed the lies she might speak.

Mother refused to walk with me to the platform. I stand with three other villagers, two girls and a boy, each of us carrying a basket filled with gifts for Grandmother, shiny copper and brass springs and cogs with decorative scrollwork, some with tiny chips of precious gems, and golden threads. I grip my cloak tightly around me the basket heavy over my arms. Leaning against my boots is a worn leather satchel, filled with what few belongings I own. The train whistles before pulling to a stop at the platform, plums of steam bubble around the black engine as the breaks sigh.

A man leaps out from the train a book and pen in his hands. Brass goggles obscure his eyes, he is smartly dressed in a navy uniform with highly polished scrollwork and gears decorating his chest. His left hand is mechanical, a clockwork construction of brass. I tilt my head to catch the faint sound of gears turning as the man examines the clockwork pendants each of us wear. The pendants are the sign of the chosen grandchildren. I am forbidden to tinker with mine though it lies warm against my skin and makes my teeth itch.

to be continued....


Ok that's the first half, I have another paragraph written and extensive notes for the rest of the story I just need a harpy on my back to get me writing again.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Tangerine Sweet Rolls

Tangerine Sweet Rolls

1 1/4 oz. pckg. Yeast
1 c. warm milk
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/3 c. melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup sugar
2-3 tablespoons tangerine juice
grated tangerine zest

7 tbs. butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz.) cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon tangerine zest
2-3 tablespoons tangerine juice


Disolve yeast in milk. Mix in sugar, butter, salt, eggs, flour. Mix well.

Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead into a large ball (the dough is a very wet dough and very sticky and messy). Cover; let rise 1 hour.

Roll dough into a 21 x 16 wide rectangle.

Mix the filling ingredients together and spread over the dough rectangle. I just use my fingers to spread it generously over the dough.

Carefully roll up the dough. Using very sharp knife cut into 1 inch wide rolls, making sixteen. (If you want fewer, bigger rolls, cut them wider.)

Grease (butter) your preferred baking pan (11x 15 pan.) or use grease-proof baking paper as I did. . Let the rolls rise for at least 30 minutes (they will double in size).

Preheat oven to 400F (205 C)

Bake until the rolls are golden brown. .

Remove the rolls from the oven and let them cool slightly before covering them in icing*.

*Icing: Cream together butter, icing sugar, cream cheese, tangerine zest and juice with an electric mixer. Spread onto the warm rolls. They can be eaten warm but I think they taste better once completely cooled.

Cooks notes: I had been wanting to make some orange sweet rolls since I first had one at the Blackbird Bakery on Bainbridge Island off of Seattle. We visited there again in April and I had another Orange Baby Roll and knew that I would have to bake my own once I was home again and in a baking mood. I used tangerine instead of orange as I knew I wouldn't get any argument from the peanut gallery about them being too zesty. I researched recipes then went with the same dough I use for cinnamon rolls (I like the recipe and I wasn't about to start fiddling about with lard). I zested 5 tangerines and Boy helped squeeze the juice out and drank the few tablespoons left after I used what was needed for the rolls. I Also pressed the rolls down once in the pan so they were more flat to spread out instead of up.