Friday 24 May 2013

Bye Bye Mr Smiley Face

You may well wonder what I'm going on about now. 

Well, I've only gone and done a little tutorial for you lovely peeps. 

Hell yeah! 

May I present to you the Jumbles and Pompoms first "how to".

How to make a round cushion cover.

I used this little fella (99p from a charity shop) for the cushion

and this supersoft combed cotton material, also from a charity shop (£4.99 for several metres).

Firstly I measured the diameter (width at widest point) and circumference (perimeter or outside edge) of Mr Smiley Face.  Then I cut out a rectangle using the diameter measurement with a couple of centimetres added on for the shorter sides of the rectangle and the circumference measurement (plus a couple of cms extra) for the longer sides of the rectangle.

I then machined stitched the two short ends of the rectangle to form a cylinder.

Gratuitous shot of the sewing machine in action
 I sewed a line of running stitches around one end of the cylinder about 1 cm from the edge and gathered the end of the cylinder by pulling up the thread tightly and then knotting:

The gathered end

I then placed Mr Smiley Face cushion inside the cylinder

Bye bye Mr Smiley Face

trying to ensure that it lied perfectly central

and then gathered up the other end of the cylinder with running stitches as before:

I then picked two large buttons from my rather extensive collection of buttons and sewed one in the centre covering the gathered bit:

I then carefully pushed the needle through the cushion (fortunately Mr Smiley Face cushion is rather lacking in stuffing so it wasn't too difficult a job) to the other side and (hopefully) to its centre and sewed the other button on.  I then pushed the needle back to the other side and pulled the thread tightly so that the buttons sink down into the cushion a bit.  I wound the thread round the button to secure and then snipped the thread.  Lo and behold it's a round cushion cover. 

A work of *er hem* minutes.

Instead of buttons to hide the gathered bits, you could use a doily or some such round thing (a piece of fabric perhaps) if you so desire. 

In other news, the Student Union at the University where I work has organised a Meet the Animals petting session for stressed out students with exams.  Petting animals, apparently, relaxes the frazzled soul (which is something that I hope you won't be if you follow my little cushion cover tutorial!!).  Word has it that there'll be a miniature pony, chicks, rabbits and mini pigs.  Not only that but...wait for it..... it's also planning a Puppy Therapy session where you get to cuddle ickle labrador puppies. *Squeeeeeeal.*  I somethow think that us frazzled adminstrators will be schlepping along to join in the fun.

I'll love you and leave you for a bit as I'm off to the Isle of Wight for half term fun, frolics and fine charity shopping (yes, I've heard that the charity shops are good'uns).    Byeeeee. xx

Saturday 11 May 2013

Corner of my Home (beware LOTS of pics)

This week I'm joining in with Kylie and Donna's   "Retro and Vintage inspired corner of my home" linky party.

Let me present to you our dresser which lives in the corner of the dining room:

A close up:

The dresser (not old at all) houses some of my various collections such as my Meakin coffee pots:

More coffee pots, the red Habitat 70s one on the left and a Palissy "Madeleine" on the right (I've also got coffee cups and saucers to match):

A couple more coffee pots in the background.  The chrome one on the left is Melitta from Germany and the one on the right is another Meakin called "Midnight Star".

Oooh a close-up of my favourite jam pot.  It's soooo cute.

A Hornsea coffee pot on the left and a rabbit teapot.  I bought the rabbit teapot from Liberty as a prezzie for Mr J and P when we first got it together - over 20 years now (egads!).

A rather cluttered shelf with a few Swedish glass vases and some of my collection of salt and pepper sets:

Yes.  My salt and pepper collection.  I've been meaning to bore you with that for a long time.......and here's my chance!

A jumble sale buy from yesteryear:

Another jumble sale buy from yesteryear:

More jumble sale buys:

The  following two sets were bought for me by Mr J and P from Brick Lane market in east London if I remember rightly:

You may well wonder what is peeping behind the ridiculously large pompoms on this lamp?

Recognise the pompoms?  From my failed attempt at making a pompom wreath here.

It's one of Mr J and P's (many) "family heirlooms" (so he likes to call them.  I won't go into what I like to call them.....).  It's a buddha lamp from  Singapore when Mr J and P's granny lived there in the 1940s.

A few of the Mexican tin animals that I've stuck onto the dresser courtesy of Mr J and P's bruv went he went to Mexico some years ago:

On the windowsill next to the dresser are an owlie salt and pepper set and...

wooden chef salt, pepper, paprika and allspice shakers:

On the door nearest the dresser is my lovingly painted knob rack......

with my modest collection of pinnies:

Well that's all folks.  I'm off to Kylie's to slobber over some vintage nooks and crannies.  I do hope you'll be joining me. xx

Friday 3 May 2013

The incident of the pickled peppers

Recently, I found this in our kitchen cupboard. 

A very "innocent" looking jar of pickled peppers with a dainty cloth cover.  I think you can tell how this story is going to end already can't you? 

At first, I couldn't think where I'd got it from because it's not something I would normally buy.  Then I remembered that Mr J and P's bruv and partner make jam and chutneys for their boys' school fete and sometimes give us a jar or two.  So I naturally thought it was one of theirs.  They also have an allotment and I thought aaah yes they'd grown some bell peppers that weren't massively successful (they were on the small side) and so decided to pickle them.

Content with this explanation and knowing that Mr J and P's bruv and partner aren't too keen on spicy food, I popped a few on my plate one lunch time to perk up some plain old pate on toast.

So what happened, dear readers, is this.  I popped a WHOLE of one of the "innocent" looking peppers in my mouth, chomped on it, swallowed and then seconds later, all hell was let loose.  The pepper was beyond HOT.  So goddamn HOT that I ate all the yogurts in the fridge, drank all the milk and attacked the ice-cream in the freezer.  They didn't help.  My mouth was on fire and not only that but my legs wouldn't keep still - so much so that I ran up and down the stairs several times.  I almost hit the streets for a jog - and that is something that I'd never do.

After what felt like an age - a very hot and fiery age - the tingling and the fiery mouth subsided but I didn't feel my normal jolly little self for a long old while.  Dear me, that certainly livened up my Sunday afternoon.

What got me was the label on the offending jar. I mean, all it says is 'Pickled Peppers'. 

No indication of how freaking hot they were. As the chili cognosente among you will, no doubt, have already realised, the peppers weren't of the bell variety at all but the "deadly" Scotch Bonnet.  According to wiki, they are "exceptionally hot" (that, I can vouch for) and rate very highly on the Scoville Scale - which is like the Richter Scale for the chilli pepper world. 

A bell pepper

Bloody scotch bonnets.  In Guyana, they're known as the "ball of fire".  I know!

The odd thing is when I questioned Mr J and P's brother and partner about their mislabelling, it transpires that they weren't responsible for trying to poison me at all.  Where did they come from?  Why am I such a complete nincompoop? 

It's completely baffling.....

Any food-related faux pas as ridiculous as mine?  Feel free to share....xx