Sunday, August 08, 2010

Looking For Love . . . .

No,  I haven't made anything....apart from a mess.... I am just writing, carelessly writing. I have decided that I don't have to be scared of posting something just for the sake of posting and that I don't always have to be making something just to tell you about it but I can keep in just write a few eaningless rambles, a few letters put together and deciphered into words...who knows these scrawlingS may actually mean something really important to you,...if not maybe they will make you laugh...or cry or smile or it may lead you to something else where ....who knows!

So any ways, I tapped in to goggle...lookingforloie and decided I may just write something utterly useless for you all to see on this dreary Sunday afternoon....and what came up was Looking for Love! (just above lookingforloie) and it made me think, are you looking for Love? have you found it? are you holding tightly on to it, white knuckled in your sweaty palms, have you let it fly free through the sky?  perhaps your looking for it in the darkest corners of the world, you may have all your love cards on the table or maybe you have them held tightly to your chest? maybe you have enough love in your life and you don't need or want any more....Anyway it got me thinking...

I am one of those lucky people (at this particular moment in time) to have love, lots of it, stashed in my pockets, overspilling into every corner of my life....I don't take any of that love for granted as I know that as quickly as it came as quickly it may go...I treasure every moment of it, remember every second and smile with every ounce!

I have lots of love from lots of lovely people, coming from the oldest to the youngest, from the smallest to the shortest, from the wisest to the most foolishest, from the serious to the funniest...I have it from someone in there 70's to someone right down to 1 years of age and even though he can't tell me of his love I can see it in his eyes and giggles and it makes me happy!

I have one type of love that is truly special it is no better, no worse, it has no more value than the others but it is SPECIAL...purely because it is the kind of love that has no guarantees and is given purely because it wants to...... not because it has too! and this love will be going away for a little while (to work!!), I will treasure it at weekends and work hard to work near it so I can be with it every makes me sad to know that this Love will be on its own for a little while but I know it can only shine brighter. I will miss this Love more than anything and I am pretty sure this Love will miss me too!

That's the great thing about Love...It can come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours, can come from the farthest of places or from places so close to you that you couldn't even see it stood in front of you, it sounds and smells different, it can make you laugh and can make you cry (and at the same time) and no one love is ever the same....I am pretty convinced that you can only have one true love on this earth and I know I have found it....I'm not sure whether the hardest part is finding it or holding on to it but I know every second has been fun and will stay planted in my memory for ever...

There is a true saying about love and it goes a little something like this ' if you hold on to it too tightly it will die but if you set it free and it comes back to you..then that love is yours'

Have you ever been in Love? Are you in Love? Are you a believer in there being more than one true love in this world? are you lucky enough to have found it more than once? Have you had the same Love for a long long time?  Do tell, we all Love to hear about Love,

Love Loie x x x

Oh P.s, i have been meaning to tell you, you may see i's like this not like this I, this is because i think that i's like this are much prettier...Occassionaly my computer corrects my i's because the computer likes these I's better but thats what makes my i's likeable.....It's a rebellion....people all over the world are rebelling againts these (I) little blighters! Oh and while im here i don't care too much for spell checker so you will see many a mistake on my blog but we like that...i'm not a writer not really and personally i think a few little mistakes here and there make for better reading....You can sit at home and giggle at my mistakes i don't mind, as long as it makes you giggle and besides i think it makes the page look a lot prettyer ha xxxxx

Monday, August 02, 2010

Oh How I Heart My Rocking Chair... X

I have fallen head over heels for my new rocking chair.... Believe it or not but I found this beauty in a Thrift Store looking quite sad and sorry for itself. As I approached this little gem I immediately saw its potential. Stupidly enough I was so busy and excited restoring it that I didn't take any pictures of it in its sorry little state (Probably for the best it would make the hardest soul shed a teary tear....As I approached it I swear it was rocking back and fourth in a whirlwind of tumble weed).

So anyway one quick trip to the thrift store, £15 out of my pocket, chair shoved in car and home we go...!
As I take the chair into the house I am visualising paint shades, fabric prints for perhaps a cushion, a lifetime of rocking! I am so unbelievably excited and full of wonder at this poor little chair. I get on it straight away and spend the afternoon shedding its skin with a sander and with each stroke I see that this chair is going to be the envy of all chairs.

I decided to paint the chair in a bright white satin paint (I contemplated a Devonshire cream but I feel a bright white shade would bring this chair out and make any room that graced it look lovely and fresh and full of spring!) I’m thinking Shabby Chic!

I also spent hours trawling the internet looking for a suitable fabric for the cushion...I wanted something in a Laura Ashley / Cath Kidston style print but clearly not one to follow the herd I wanted something completely different and to almost give the impression that I had broken in to granny's house, stolen her curtains and made a delightful cushion out of it! And I think the globaltex fabric I choose completely works. I purchased this beautiful medium weight fabric for £3.99 per meter. This unique print incorporates large floral clusters consisting of a pair of peonies, with small clusters of flowers and leaves on a gorgeous duck egg blue back ground and just looks exactly like what I envisioned...actually I tell a fib, having bought this online and being too cocky to read the measurement of the print in the description I expected exactly what I saw in the photo and was slightly shocked when the postman bought a package with my fabric wrapped up nicely and the print was x10000 bigger hehe but all is ok because luckily I quite like this style just the same.

So I bought some thick foam from the foam shop..(I'm not sure if everyone is lucky enough to have a foam shop or whether we are the lucky ones or whether it is a national, international, multi national thing. for everyone to have a foam shop....I just don't know so if you haven't seen one in your local town than have a look on the internet as there are lots of places selling foam.) For a bargain at £5 (+ 50p charge for using card as I had no cash...Eeek!!)

So with everything I needed at the ready and the chair all prepped and ready to go...I set about making this chair beautiful again. I slapped a white coat on the chair and left to dry in the garden, whilst I broke into grannies not to steal her curtains but to beg her to help me make a professional looking cushion with zip. Luckily enough for me she wasn't too alarmed, she put the kettle one and set about showing me how to make my cushion. Now I can use my sewing machine and quite well but I am a beginner and tend to do things unconventionally and yes most of the time muff it up, I am an experimenter, extraordinaire, alchemist trying to make something out of nothing so on this occasion I thought it only sensible to get Nan to show me the ropes and hopefully make me a gorgeous, mind blowing, most comfortable, well fitting, pretty cushion.... and she did...within minutes! She cut the template out of newspaper for the foam, worked out a few seam allowances, and clippty clapped a zip in!!! I was so impressed and I have taken what I have learnt (from the best.... She used to make shoes for Clarke’s, she does loads of alterations for people in the town and she started off stitching up dead bodies in the morgue...I tell no lies, she is Pro-Fesh!) And promise in the near future to make one of my own with all the gold dust advice she gave to me!! But I think this is fine, this is what life is all about, learning from others, taking what you need, giving what you have and adapting it in your own little way...this is what make the world go don't be down hearted if you need a little help, feel lucky that you can learn and are not scared to.

So Walla, shazam, puff…...Here is my Rocker....I am so happy...She is called Robyn...Robyn the Rocker....and she is perfect in her own pre loved way...She is by no means perfect but who is? She is just lovely and that is all that matters! (For the more technical bit all in all she cost a grand total of £25 to buy and make all in all.....BARGAIN!!

(P.s As Robyn has obvious signs of previous Loving…Like a few dents and dings here and there I cleverly distressed her with a bit of sand paper after I had painted her (Crazy?!) so she looks old and worn yet fresh and lovely…this all adds to the shabby chic charm I was going for!)

After having taken on this project I have been wondering who would ever want to buy something from a catalogue, something that is exactly the same as everyone else’s, something that is off a conveyor belt, out of the factory, mass made for the masses when you can adapt, adjust, refurbish, restore, renovate to make something one off, something that ONLY YOU will have and something that will make everyone come in to your home slightly envious and Say...Where did you buy this, where can I get one?


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cry Baby Bunting..

And I could because I have just finished making my own bunting and it looks A.M.A.Z.I.N.G if I don't say so myself...and it couldn't be easier!!

There is something really lovely and special about bunting and I think it has something to do with my childhood.
Whenever something special was happening in our little town the bunting strung up from lamp post to lamp post would send out a silent alarm screaming....something special is happening!! Whether it would be the town market, or the outdoor swimming pool gala, or the flower show (Yes, it all went down in our town ha), roller disco and even the good old V.E.Day rendition – that went horribly wrong!
(I think the V.E Day rendition needs to be explained and could possibly explain a lot .... I don't know whose idea it was or why they did it but it was organised that the street in our main square would be closed and the roads lined with trestle tables, full of cake, sandwiches, and drinks to celebrate/ Commemorate V.E Day. Mum dressed us all up in Evacuee outfits (Which involved a brown hessian type coat and black shoes) and tagged us with a pin and a brown label that proudly displayed our names in big black ink!!
We arrived at the square only to find a sense of hysteria with children crying and wailing and mums trying to calm everyone, it seems the faux evacuee send off had gone horribly wrong and the children had actually assumed we were all being sent away.
After a few crisps (yes mum said we should only eat food that had come from a packet, because there were a few undesirable types in the town whose hygiene needed to be questioned) we left rather excited that we were going home, to OUR homes, to play with OUR toys and to sleep in Our own bed! I can still remember blinking up in to the evening sun at the white, red and blue bunting flapping around in the breeze and to this day you will never see Royal blue in my bunting ...Oh no!)

So anyway, Bunting...Bunting is a brilliant way of signifying an occasion, for celebrating the seasons or for just cheering up a room! You can have all kinds of bunting, all different size, colours, textures...It is never ending! I have chosen medium weight cotton fabrics with a medium sized triangle and have deliberately chosen mine to contemplate and yet clash... (as you will see in the photos). You could use really clashing fabric prints for instance, dots, stripes, cheques, florals .....or colours for instance, Pink and Reds, Blues and Greens. You could break all the rules and have different size triangles or shapes, and if that isn't enough to think about try using paper....The possibilities are endless!

Fabric Bunting

What You Will Need:

Bias Binding (Or ribbon)
Card / Paper Template
Pinking Shears
Sewing Machine Or Needle and thread


Cut out a triangle template on to card or paper or even better baking paper. I drew my own up and each triangle roughly measures 7.5" Width by 7.5" straight down the centre. But play around and decide on a size that suits you.

Pin template to fabric and cut round with pinking shears. (Pinking shears are a handy jaggady edge scissors that cut the fabric to prevent it from fraying) Ensure fabric is right side up if it has a print. I have used 10 triangles on a 3 mtr length or bias binding but do more or less according to the length you want your bunting.
I also only did one sided triangles as they are strung up on my wall and no one will see the other side but if are hanging the bunting outside from tree to tree for example, or in a window it might be pretty to see both sides so you will need to either use double sided fabric or double your amount, pair them up and stitch / whizz them together on your sewing machine.

Lay bias binding out and place triangle where you want them, I have measured the gap between my fabric triangles and have done 3" between each but you can do it however way you want it....! It's also important to remember to leave enough room at the ends so it can be tied or pinned to tree or wall for example...I have left 12" free. Then when you love your layout fold the bias binding over the top of the triangles so that the fabric is tucked in and pin along. Or you can do opposite and fold the fabric over the binding...This is more time consuming as you will have to keep measuring the length of fabric so it all hangs well but again it’s completely up to you.

Now finally stitch / sew along bias binding to secure triangle to binding! I used a small straight stitch but zigzag looks good. Either stitch along whole length or just on triangles. Remember to remove pins as you go and there you have it!

Now let the addiction begin...Not content with my gorgeous shabby chic red dotty bunting I now have walls and walls layered with all different types of bunting....There is so much fun to be had with this and it is so easy...I made mine in about 30 mins! The most time consuming bit was picking out the fabric...!! My second attempt I decided to do a bit of a lucky dip in my fabric drawer and picked out whatever my hand (not head) chose!

Hope you love it.

Love, Loie x x

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Day I Baked A Cake ....

As I write this I giggle and squeak because finally I can hand on my heart say that summer is officially here in all its glory...and you know what that means... It means sitting out in the garden with your best china tea cups and saucers and a big (I mean mahooosssivvee) wedge of cake.... I'm talking door stop proportions that you struggle to get your mouth round and end up in a fit of giggles and excitement with fresh cream and jam round your chin...... I just love tea parties...With tea pots and cake stands and pretty table clothes!

Lucky for you I have the BEST most easiest Victoria sponge recipe in the world and what’s more... It's pretty much foolproof unless of course you don't have an oven, but I'm pretty positive this recipe is so good you could bake it over hot coals! Ha I am joking! If anyone is stupid enough to try this then please send me a picture!
This recipe should serve 8 but I won’t tell if you fancy a slice the slice of 4 is that good!
Cooking and Prep:
This takes only 15 minutes to whisk up
But a lonnnnggg 20 Minutes to cook in the oven!

Ingredients You Will Need:

225g / 8oz Butter (Pref softened...Unless you fancy a work out)
225g / 8oz Caster Sugar
(Normal sugar works fine if you are caught short)
4 Large FREE RANGE eggs (Please have a heart for the chickens....Eggs from a poor old hen stuck in a cage makes me feel sad plus free range tastes worlds better!!)
225g / 8oz Self Raising Flour

For The Filling:
6 tbsp of lovely Strawberry Jam (Or Raspberry if you’re a bit of a rebel)
300 ml / 10 ½ fl oz of Lightly Whipped Double Cream (This is what is my old tea stained recipe says but I usually go by eye and put on a bit less)

Purely For Decoration:
A light dusting of Icing Sugar

(My very creative big sister was distraught as she watched my carelessly chuck icing sugar over the top of my cake...She says the only reason she would make the cake would be so that she could stencil a nice heart shaped Icing sugar of love to the sponge....So go for it...Hell even put pink icing
and hundreds of thousands on the top....this really is up to you but personally I HEART a classic Country Sponge!)

P.S You’ll need two 15cm – 17.5cm / 6”-7” Cake tins!

Anyway... Make sure kitchen is clean and hands are washed....Important! No one wants to find dirt and dead skin in there slice...YUCK! I also recommend (and this is a clever little tip) filling up the kitchen sink with some warm water and washing up liquid so you can let your utensils soak as you go along and you can dip your hands in when you want to rinse off all the mixture....or you can just lick it off! Whom I kidding (just wash your lick off after!)

Firstly you will need to find someone to enjoy it with so ring around some friends, make sure your some family are gonna be around in about an hour’s time, or even make a prompt spontaneous visit to your local old people's home and turn up on the door step with this boxed beauty, ring the bells and leave it on the step....Old people just LOVE cake! I think this part of the recipe is important as I have been caught short without anyone to share with before and of course I just had to eat it...I still haven't walked off all the guilt as of yet!

Preheat the Oven to 180c / 350F / Gas 4
Grease your tins! Do this by ripping up a corner of grease proof paper, smothering it in butter and smudging it all around the tin. A precious little tip my mum passed on is to take a pinch a bit of flour and sprinkle it in the tin and then gently pat it around the tin so it sticks to the butter (I’m not quite sure why we do this but this most definitely works when it comes to getting the sponge out at the end!)
In a big bowl add your butter and sugar and mash it together so it creams in a bit. You can use an electric whisk to do this (After spending a good 40 minutes looking for my whisk bit I found it in the bathroom, attached to my dads drill in which he ingeniously bodged together to make a miniture cement mixer... I marvel at his initiative but I think its best mum doesn’t find out!) or a wooden spoon (I also have no idea where the wooden spoon has gone. If you are using a wooden spoon then make sure you beat lots of air into the mixture as this will help it rise. The best method to use is ‘fold and cut’; all you have to do is fold the mixture in a circle at cut through it with a spoon down the middle. The mixture will become a lot lighter and fluffy!

Beat in all four eggs, one at a time and if the mixture looks as though it's curdling then add a tablespoon of flour after each egg if needed just to keep it happy!

Now the bit I love, time to add the flour. Add all the flour and give it a mix with a metal spoon but don't get carried away as you can over mix it and we don't want that. Just mix up until it looks smoothish and creamy.

Add the mixture to the greased tins one spoonful at a time! I say this as it’s very important to ensure equal measures in each tin else you will have one huge top and one small bottom. Try to get it spoon for spoon! Once all the mixtures is in the tins, give it a bit of a smooth over (Don't be meticulous....The heat will even it out in the oven...I didn't know this until I was caught by gran practically in tears because I couldn’t get it level) and then do a imaginary magic pat (in your head)as you would a sandcastle, just for good luck.

Nearly there now, Place both tins in the oven on the same shelf (if you can) roughly in the middle on gas mark 4 for roughly 20 minutes, this may take longer! You will know when the sponge is ready when you can press the cake gently and it springs back. The colour of the sponge should be pale and golden and another useful tip passed down to me is that cake has its own very useful way of telling you when it's cooked.....You can start to smell it wafting out of the oven! it’s TRUE! But in case your cake isn't much of a talker make sure you keep checking it.....Try not to open the oven too much though. Whoooa, its all such a balance, it's really not that hard though. Wait 20 minutess have a peek in the oven and go from there.

Now your cake is cooked and is looking magnificent if not a little naked it’s time to gently pat the cake out of the tin (Cut round the cake with a knife in the tin just to loosen it) and then pat and gently nudge it out! Let it rest on a cooling rack and while we wait for it to cool down we can make the filling...Yummmm!

Whisk the double cream up until light and fluffy (DO NOT OVER WHISK - ELSE YOU'LL HAVE A CHEESE CAKE! )let the cream sit in the fridge until cake has cooled down.

Make sure the sponge is not warm else the filling will slip and slide all over the place, the cake needs to be completely cool...Room temp! Now spread the jam on to one sandwhich and spoon the cream out to the other sandwhich and then gently sandwhich together....Yippee!

Dust / stencil / graffitti or whatever else you fancy doing to the cake with icing sugar......

And voila you have your own lovely country Victoria Sponge Cake.....Easy Peasy!

Hope you love it,

Love Loie x

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Hello x

This is the question I ask myself daily and I'm yet to find the answer but I CAN answer your question relating to this blog.

My name is Lauren, I am known as Loie to all those that know me. I live in a small town in the middle of nowhere surrounded by beautiful country side and not too far away from the beach.

I love pretty things such as bows, buttons and lace, I love flowery perfumes, old books, taking pictures. I love eating tomatoes like you would an apple, I love baking, and sewing and eating food. I love the ocean and beaches, and sand on my toes (long before I have left the beach), I love wooden things and tin things and sparkly things, I love to collect, and to treasure and to share! I love the sun and the rain, I love summer and winter equally too. I love thunder, and snow and windy nights, I love my family and friends very muchly! I love love letters and being in love and happy endings, I heart making things from nothing or from something. I love sewing and stiching, sticking and knitting, I love baking and cooking, I love recycling, upcycling, downcycling, cycling.... I love travelling and exploring, sitting and sleeping. I love anything Kitsch, shabby or retro. I love finding things!

I don't like animals so much, or people that don't care for anything. I don't believe in love at first sight, I don't like Tuna, or clowns or sirens. I don't like it when people cry and I don't like watching old people eat as it makes me feel sad, I don't like quiz, or spiders or headaches. I don't like it when time passes by and I really don't like it when you loose something....

You may now ask who is Loie and why is she lost? Well Loie is me, it's actually my nickname given to me by my amazing daddy, it always has been and always will be.

But I like to think that Loie represents every woman before me in my huge family of colourful, beautiful, strong girls who mastered the art of 'making do' and passed tips and secrets down to each generation! I am the 5th generation of an 'all girl' creative bunch it has been this way for 100 years! (well until my beautiful baby boy nephew was born this year...and sent us all in to a sublime state of shock!!)

So I thought how nice it would be if I could post here (perhaps?) weekly bits and pieces I have made and share how I have done so for you all to do and pass on....from cakes to hankerchiefs! Bunting to growing veg! and anything and everything in between!

I hope you'll check back from time to time and get some inpiration to make bake and share! The idea is to produce one off boutique style bits and pieces for a fraction of the price...using bits and pieces you already have hidden away.

Love Loie x