Sunday, 29 April 2012



Surprising, I learnt a lot about cross stitch from this project and sometimes you just need that little challenge to make you a better crafter. The design was one I found in my grans house when we were clearing out her things. By the sizing of the canvas it appeared to be perhaps intended as a cushion cover but I wanted to give it an update. 

In addition, I believed this project would be relatively easy to do, all I planned to do was reuse a pattern printed onto canvas as a template to sew it upon a piece of material. In reflection I'm a bit of a tight stitcher so pulling out the canvas one line at a time wasn't easy and resulted in picking at times the thread as well as the canvas. Insert at this time a rather unhappy crafty face. I was peed off with this sewing for sure, all the holding and the picking had really dirtied up the piece and I was on the verge of throwing it out. But it's a wonder what a soak in some warm water and washing up liquid will do and I finished the sewing off using an embroidery hoop for framing. While its not the best piece I've ever done, its nice and starts to fill up one of our blank walls with lots of hoops somewhat alike this;

Friday, 27 April 2012

Notes to a former version of me


While I have a love hate relationship with faceache [yes yes I really do call it that], in it's favour its a great way to socially document occasions. I've had a faceache page since 2005 and in hindsight a lot of life changing events have occurred in that seven year space. Yet in 2005 I wasn't an overly happy person, I was in my first year at university trying to find my academic feet while madly enjoying Newcastle and student culture nevertheless wildly unsure of myself and my future. If only I could of told myself these little things;

  1. Seven years down the line while you might have two degrees you still won't know what career you want for the rest of your life but maybe that's okki - at least you're still being honest with yourself, not being pretentious, falling for the first job or being big headed with your degrees.
  2. Be prepared when you're friends ditch you because they get boyfriends or you move be it back home or further afield. You'll learn the hard way who your true friends are. 
  3. Then always remember you are worthy of friends. You always put in the effort with them, it's them who are loosing out.  
  4. When you're bored and meant to be writing out your MA dissertation you'll start what's known as a blog and carry on doing it, and you'll make lots of nice blogger friends.
  5. You'll never be as skinny as you were at university - while all the walking and the pasta paid off on your figure its good to eat. Embrace you're hour glass figure. 
  6. You will still have the same battles with the parents, you're stuck between a rock and a hard place but you'll start to see you have to start doing things for you and learn to live your own life. Yes you both might end up being hurt by actions but life is too short not to start living it.
  7. There are decent men out there, and one of them will change your life around, he'll treat you like a princess, spontaneously buy you flowers, treat you to yummy meals and ask you to marry him.
  8. You are a hell of a lot more stronger then you ever give yourself credit for, your determined and you're strong. You'll get yourself through a two year long distance relationship and deal with all the hassle and misconceptions that come with one. 
  9. One death will create and spur on your addiction for collection vintage powder compacts, you don't need to understand why or how, you just will. 
  10. Going on from that thread, you'll start wanting and collecting old things, things you'd once turn your nose up because it was old.
  11. The Backstreet Boys will still be one of your favourite bands regardless of loving metal and drum and bass. Oh and they'll still be together but you still won't have seen them live even though you've loved them for 16 years. 
  12. Get more tattoos when your at university, you have the spare cash and you have a great tattooist on your doorstep.  
  13. You will still ask too many questions, you'll always want to know why something is like it is. But people like you for that. It's a part of you.
  14. Oh and you'll move countries, to America, but I'm not going to tell you why - I don't want to spoil all the fun. 

If you could tell anything to a version of yourself, what would it be?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Reflection - Long distance relationships

I feel like the luckiest girl in the world getting to wake up with my guy every day. Yet I wasn't always this lucky. It took two and a half years of living in a long distance relationship [LDR] and their challenges to get where we are today. Since overcoming those hurdles I've always wanted to write a reflective piece about LDRs and how we made ours work. I'm never going to say they are easy but their are ways of making them easier.
What I always found hardest are the misconceptions that everyone else apart from the couple seem to have about LDRs. These people become dead set on asking you about how you deal with trust, potential lying and the all too common belief that one person will cheat. I have always held  the belief that if a person is hell bent on cheating they will do so regardless of distance. As for trust - you choose to let someone into your world, it's your decision. Trust comes naturally - when you find the person you want to be with, you trust them no matter what. Predominately I think you can only understand an LDR and the mind set for living in one is to have experienced one personally.

We managed to have tonnes of fun together. We found ways of having fun "dates" by watching the same films together, swapping funny videos and playing games on MSN. You don't have to stop having fun because you're not together physically, and I always kicked butt at 3D tic tack toe. 

You should also come friends with your post office. I always loved sending Joe surprises in the mail, although trying to keep surprises for upwards of two weeks because of the slowness of international mail was testing. We'd send random things - books, postcards to Joe sending me flowers. Again I had to deal with negativity - my mother always thinks something has to be up for a guy to send you flowers. I despair. 

At the heart of an LDR is communication, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION. Which I know for guys is sometimes hard. You both need to be open and willing to talk about the situation and how you're feeling. Its OK to tell your partner you miss them, hell it's even OK to cry. We text'd constantly during our LDR, we talked on MSN daily and skyped every so often. But that's what we needed for us - I needed that level of communication. Some people need lots of communication, some people need only a little. You need to find the balance for you.

Ultimately you'll have to make plans for an LDR to end. Either one or both of you will move and you'll live happily ever after together. Although it's rarely that easy. For us, we had to make the decision who would be willing to move countries. It came down to money and practicality. I was in a job that I wasn't happy in and living at home, Joe had an apartment, a career, a cat and a car. Yeap I moved. We had the extra challenge of visas but the process of making the jump to living together is the same. 

Every day will feel like a holiday, I often felt nervy that I'd wake up and it was a dream. You'll feel the luckiest person in the world because you knew how hard it was being apart. But you have to learn to respect the other person and their space pretty quickly, being in an LDR we all become use to doing things in our own time, at our own speed, and to have someone jumping into your life is daunting. I knew all about Joe's gaming habit but being in his apartment and seeing how many hours he plays was a shock. You'll see their habits, how they leave their socks on the floor, ask you to always get his Pepsi. You'll either love their habits or you'll hate them. Luckily for me I see Joe's habits as part of him and I wouldn't change them - he spends hours gaming so I spend the same hours crafting.
It took us over two years to live together, at times it was horrid, I missed him like crazy and I was scared of loosing him to an American girl. Nevertheless I loved him and I was determined to get us to this point and I'm glad we took the risk. 

Now its your turn - have you ever had an LDR and would you like to talk about you're experiences here on my blog? What helped me was reading stories about other people who were going through what I did. Or do you have any questions about how to deal with an LDR? Leave them in the comment box and I'll do and answer post soon!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

My somewhat rustic crafty UK map

So on Monday I left you with the hint of me drawing out maps of the UK for a spur of the moment project. I get a lot of my inspiration through the Crafts and DIY pages on HelloCotton, and a lot of projects on there have been featuring wall art based around a persons state like these gorgeous pieces that the Rookie Seamstress made. I thought I'd take it a step further by personalising it for myself into creating a map of the UK with a few extra details.

The project is easy to complete after spending most of Monday afternoon playing with it, additionally you only need a few bits and bobs [two pieces of material, buttons and thread] and you don't need to be a sewing wiz. I started off drawing out a map of the UK, simplifying the edges somewhat to make it a little easier to cut out, in turn you could print a map. 

Crafty UK map

After giving your pieces of material a quick iron, cut around your map and use the paper as a template to cut out your country/state. Once you're done with the cutting, lay your landmass over your background material and position as you want it, either tack or pin the two in place. Now you can either be neat and use a sewing machine, or do what I did just sewing with a haphazard running stitch around the countries coastline in a complementary thread - I choose yellow to bring out some of the flowers.

Crafty UK map
Crafty UK map

Once you've sewn all the way around you could finish your project here, but I wanted to make my map a little more personalised and here is how the buttons come in. You can use as many or as little as you like [although the size of your map will effect how many looks good]. I choose to mark were I was raised, my university city, the capitals and some of the places we're I've been on holiday using a separate style and coloured button for each. I then finished it off with a little key to explain them.


And that is pretty much it.  I finished mine using a canvas reusing the method of glue gunning the material like I did with the memory board project. But you could additionally frame it.

Crafty UK map

I'm geekily really pleased with this project and I'd love to do some more in the future, perhaps of my home county, Joe's home state or life here in Michigan. Such a fun way to mark where you're from.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Lin Bren - for the 1940s lady

Let me introduce one of the rare occurrences of buying a compact and actually being able to find enough information to date it. Thankfully that information comes from the compact itself - not only do we know the manufacturer as Lin Bren but through the patent number we can find it's approximate date. The patent number [2425540] which is engraved beneath the mirror dates to 1947-8. So here we have a compact for the post war American lady. 

Lin Bren in turn was a leading American manufacturer, not only of compacts but an array of matching fashion accessories. Predominately creating matching sets which this compact no doubt was a part of - these sets normally consisted of a purse or clutch bag. Appearing to be produced of leather, it's made of broadcloth material and came in a section of colours [of course matching the bag] of at least green and black.

This compact came to us at a steel of $6.50 on eBay - especially for it's condition which in intact, clean and complete with it's original branded puff [I just love the chosen font they used for Lin Bren across the ribbon] and sift. Its has a fair substantial weight and build to it, it was defiantly made to last and most of all, I love that right deep red colour.

Collectors Club - Polo Shirts

Another Tuesday another great addition to the bloggers who collect series. Today we have one of blogspheres great writers - Melissa who writes over at So About What I Just Said. I've been following and reading Melissa's blog ever since I started blogging myself in 2009, so I'm more then over the moon that she asked to partake. 

I'm not even sure when my obsession with polo shirts began. A few years ago, I was shopping at The Salvation Army one day. My eyes fell upon an entire rack filled with every kind of polo shirt you could imagine. I was smitten. Right there. Just like that. A mere 30 minutes later, I stood in the check-out line with a mountain of 12 polo shirts in my wheelchair basket. My little red head barely peeked out over the stack of polo goodness. It was, hands-down, one of the happiest days of my life. I can't really explain their allure or their tight hold over me. Polos just give me a certain swagger. The colors pop just like my personality, and they make me feel sort of sophisticated.

Imelda Marcos had shoes. I have polo shirts. It just works. I've learned not to question it. My polo collection stands at around 20 currently, in every color and design, from red to blue to purple to orange to stripes; I hope to find some polka dotted ones soon. There is no limit to my shame, or, I suppose, lack thereof), to just merely marvel at the artistry that went into producing such a magnificent garment. I now have enough that I can wear a new one every day of the week if I want. Sometimes, much to the chagrin of my family, I do. I display my polo pride proudly. 

But shouldn’t we all be like that? When we find a piece of clothing that suits us (no pun intended), we owe it to ourselves to revel in it. Because it’s not often that we can get so happy, so purely giddy over a piece of fabric. Clothes may make the person, but in the end, we end up putting our own spin on them. Our clothes ultimately become reflections of our personality. So tell me ... what’s your fashion passion? If I of all people was able to discover mine, I’m sure you are too. I’d love to hear about it.

*  *  *

Remember if you too want to feature your own collection, old or new however large or small just leave a message in the comment box below with a way to contact you!

Monday, 23 April 2012

LIFE: A Weekend in April

Generation one transformer

For us, we had a bit of a lazy weekend, watching too much telly, playing too many games on the Wii, eating take outs and drinking margaritas. I think how windy and cool it was made us pretty much stay in, plus it was a pretty quiet week on the estate sales front so we're saving our energy for next weekend.

But the weekend started off amazingly well when Joe came home with a huge bunch of roses for me as a total random act of loving. They are some of the most gorgeous roses I've ever seen - pinks, reds, oranges and yellows and they actually have a smell to them. He even brought a vase seeing we lack common homely items. On the note of love i'm getting sick and bored of some of the issues of having to deal with [say family members] when it comes to me moving - apparently moving for love isn't the thing to do. I'm just getting to the verge of just wanting to remove that hassle for good. They always have the ability of making me feel shit for moving to be with Joe. What would my Monday be like on LOTS without a rant?!

Anyway .... I've been drawing out maps of the homeland to create my next crafting project which I can't wait to show and tell you all about. Finally getting word from the Student Loans company that they finally understand why I'm not earning money yet in America [seriously they have been one of the biggest hassles since moving]. On Sunday we went for a wander to Target which then became another trawl for the newest editions of Transformers [yes yes those toys again]. There's even websites which allow people to upload their latest sightings of the newest toys - it's a big craze. Saying that I don't mind Transformers to a point, merely because I enjoy selling the spares on eBay like the photographed generation one from 1985, complete some of these figures can go sky high on prices. 

How were your weekends? 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

LIFE: What Cat's Do When You're Out

Ever wondered what your cats get up to when you leave the house? I've often wanted to set up a web cam to watch our two terrors to see what they do for entertainment. Lately I've come into the living room to find Ed has pulled old crisp packets from the bin, she's sitting in a tote bag or my hair ties are all over the place because Smokey loves to play with them. Yet I didn't even have to leave the apartment for this secret habit of Ed's to come out. Apparently she surfs the internet and I'm pretty sure Ed's surfing for a mail order kitty husband.

Friday, 20 April 2012

PROJECTS: Current and Completed

So I waste my mornings on the internet, working on my blog and catching up with everyone else's while checking up on our eBay auctions and generally poking things while thinking about thinking about doing the housework. On my afternoons I productively waste my hours either reading or crafting. So I thought I'd show you a little round up of what I've been making lately;


This was an embroidery transfer I picked up on the cheap from JoAnns featuring dog roses, butterflies and dragonflies. I ironed the transfer onto some linen which possibly wasn't the best material to be doing it on, I think evenweave may have been a better choice. I couldn't get the hang of doing "proper" embroidery on this material so I made up my own version, doing mostly back stitch outlining everything then adding some lazy daisy chain stitches in the butterflies and French knots in all the flower centers. It's not the best sewing project I've ever completed but it's pretty all the same and I even managed to frame it myself again. 


What I'm currently working upon is a circular flower piece which I brought over from the UK. It was once my grans which appeared without any colour guides or threads so I've made the colour choices as I've gone along. Because of it's size I'm figuring the canvas was probably intended as a cushion cover but after cutting it down I'm using the printed canvas as what's known as waste canvas to cross stitch the design onto a piece of fabric. Although the design is really simple I'm hoping sewing it onto fabric will add a little something and I'm aiming to frame it in a sewing hoop.

Crochet blanket

After finishing the first crochet blanket I really wanted to make us another to throw in the car to use for picnics when we go out on our drives. After getting really into it I stumbled back into cross stitch and it's sadly taken a back seat returning back in my knitting bag. I think I'll have to befriend it in the forth coming weeks seeing we have some plans for BBQs in May and being summer soon I hope to be outside a lot more, although it's way off being finished.


This was a freebie needle case from Cross Stitcher magazine with roses and leaves in blue and red, I was really excited about this because I needed somewhere to store all my needles and what's better then a freebie?! Said freebie didn't include enough thread, so as the image shows it's come to a halt. A few emails back and forth with the magazine and some threads are on their way over to the states. Fingers crossed. Saying that it's the first project I've done sewing onto felt through soluble canvas which makes it a little tricky to know if your restitching into the correct hole.


Another design from Cross Stitcher magazine which I'm longing to start. I'm constantly attracted to dragonflies after having one tattooed on my shoulder [they are a totem symbol for good luck]. The actual pattern is called Libellule which is French for dragonfly which is so cute! I love the simplicity of this piece and I have all my materials lined up with some sandy coloured aida and metallic brown/red thread. Now just need to finish off everything else first!

I'm also saving up all the glass jars we come across while cooking for storing our home made jam [or jelly as they call it in the States. My mum makes strawberry and raspberry jam throughout the year and it's something I'm determined to do myself especially because the boy loves a good peanut butter and jam/jelly sandwich. Plus home-made jam always tastes so much better especially when all you're using is the fruit and sugar.

What are you all busy crafting at the moment? 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

VINTAGE: Emrich Compact

I'm a lucky girl in having a guy that has an amazing eye for finding compacts. He often finds ones that are different, rare or plain lovely. He became a regularly in a store near us in metropolitan Detroit and I've been told he pretty much brought everyone they had so we went for a visit back in January. While there was a lot of pill boxes there was only this powder compact to be had, so of course it had to come home with us. Its a rather small [2 x 3 inch] yet sturdy golden brushed fabric like coated compact. 

Opening it up reveals a bright golden metal colour with the brand mark EMRICH marked under the mirror. As a brand EMRICH is rather hard to investigate, only after having a great look around the compact did I see the marking of "Germany" on the underside of the opening clasp. A google search reveals suggestions of a possible manufacture in West Germany yet no details of age or manufacturing history exists, at least not online.For now this is another mystery compact.

Prim and proper with Ernest Jones

I've always been a bracelet girl more then any other kind of jewellery girl, so when Earnest Jones gifted me this shiny sterling silver hallmarked bracelet how was I ever going to decline? What's more LOTS is even etched into the side - not large enough to see unless you're close up but meaningful all the same. It is however a set up from my normal pieces of jewellery - I'm typically a cheap bead bracelet kinda girl and the posh jewellery I have remains my engagement and wedding rings and a couple of inherited pieces. Nevertheless its a cute, simple little piece and it's already made a couple of outings. Maybe I'm growing up?


Ernest Jones is a jewelers that we always kept in mind when considering the rings for our engagement and wedding and their range of products is always expectational. The busy bees there are currently busy launching their 2012 Spring/Summer themed range of products which in part is a collaboration between H.Samuel and Ernest Jones. Smashing and mashing up the past with the future, taking old designs and remaking them, the new ranges from Mighty Brights to Twirling Twenties features something for everyone.

It's this sense of theme that I love the most nevertheless you can rebel and run between the categories. What's more, they are aiding the internet savvy among us with their new Facebook Ap in creating virtual wishlists. Anyone that knows me, knows my eBay account is filled with huge lists of wish lists of vintage powder compacts. Wish lists really are an amazing aid to help pick gifts, especially for those among us who aren't the easiest of people to buy for. Not only does the Facebook Ap allow you to virtually store your wish list, but it also offers you the chance of winning your five selected items so it's certainly worth a little play.

But what would I choose?! Considering my buys from the estate sale at the weekend regarding sewing and etiquette it would have to be the 1950s. So here's my pick of the Flirty Fifties theme, an era of "all things prim and proper". 

9ct white gold diamond swirl pendant
Pequignet ladies' two toned bracelet watch
Jubilee cultured freshwater pearl bracelet
Silver pearl heart pendant
18ct yellow and white gold lemon diamond halo ring

Nevertheless I'm not sure what the etiquette police of the 1950s would say of my choices!

This is a sponsored post.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

DETROIT: Riverwalk

The Detroit Riverwalk runs for five and a half miles, and will eventually run from the Ambassador Bridge through downtown to Belle Isle. It's purpose is to help with the ongoing reinvention of Detroit by drawing people into the city. To a point it works - people are certainly spending time there, but whether they are then going downtown is another matter. We spent Saturday afternoon there, walking around the state park [the only park in the USA located in an urban area] spied a lighthouse, saw fancy arty maps, the RenCen building [the General Motors world head quarters] to the Hart Plaza. It was nice seeing a river that was greeny-blue in colour rather then the normal brown river water colour of the River Humber that I grew up with, it also seems a good place to go fishing with the amount of fishermen perched over the fences or going up and down in boats.

This river in fact has a key place in Detroit and American history. With the introduction of prohibition in 1920, smugglers took advantage of the location of the motor city to Canada. In places the river is less then half a mile wide and with the adjoining lake of St Clair, 75% of all liquor entering the USA came across the Detroit River into America from Canada. And how did it come over - well through many ingenious ways including a pipeline, dragged under boats, through cable systems and even one daring skater pulling a sledge full during a rather cold winter when the river froze. By 1929, illegal liquor was worth $219 million dollars to Detroit. If you're interested here's a pretty interesting article about the river's role during prohibition.

With parking free there's no excuse to blow off some cobwebs with a walk along the river and see a different view of the city. There is also a place to hire bikes which we're certainly hoping to do once it gets a little warmer - we're even thinking of hiring a tandem which would be interesting to see us on!

Where are your favourite places to go for a breath of fresh air?

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Collectors Club - Cameos

Firstly before I introduce you today's edition of the collectors club I want to say a HUGE HUGE thank you to everyone that took the time out to comment on my earlier rant from this morning. I never imagined so many thoughtful responses and they have all helped me rethink the situation with "friends" back in the UK.

On a happier note as it's a Tuesday it's another post in the Collectors Club featuring Emily and her gorgeous collection of cameos - an assortment which comes to show how you can collect old alongside new. Remember if you want to share you own collection, either pop a comment in the box below or email [].

*  *  *

Hello, I'm Emily from and I collect anything cameo related! :) I even have a cameo duvet set, which is posing as the background of the images in this post.

group shot

My Nan wears a large blue cameo necklace almost every day, and apparently I was fascinated by it from a young age. I guess this is where my love for cameos comes from. I like how every cameo is unique, but still elegant and classic!

necklaces 1

The necklace on the left is my first cameo necklace, and believe it or not, it's from Primark! It was only cheap and the metal on the back is starting to discolour but I don't care, I love it :) It goes with pretty much everything and is my first choice necklace most of the time! The necklace on the right was given to me by my Boyfriend's Mom, she found it at a tabletop sale. The chain can be removed and there is a brooch fastening on the back, so it can be used for either a necklace or a brooch :)


This is a cute heart shaped cameo that I wear on a lot of coats and jackets. My boyfriend bought this from a vintage store, I think. I think the lady in this one is the prettiest of my collection.

necklaces 2

My Dad bought me the necklace on the left for my 21st birthday, he got it from the Birmingham Jewellery Quarter, UK - an area famous for good quality antique jewellery. I love this one, but try to keep it safe and only wear it on special occasions because I'm scared of losing it! The necklace on the right was from a high-street shop called Accessorize, bought by my boyfriend (he spoils me too much!), this is another one that goes with a lot of outfits.


The ring on the left was my Nan's and she said I could have it, it's a little bit too big for me so I keep it displayed on my dressing table. The one on the right is again from Primark, it's way too over the top to wear so I just keep it for decoration!

If you're interested in buying cameos, you can buy them in high-street shops as they're quite fashionable at the moment. However, other great places to look for them are vintage stores, tabletop sales and carboots! 

I'm going to carry on collecting cameos for the rest of my life as I think they're timeless and, even if I don't wear them, they're beautiful to look at.
I'd like to say thank you to Rachael for letting me ramble on about cameos and I hope everyone enjoyed reading!

I'd love to hear your comments on my collection :)
Emily x 

LIFE: Move Countries and You Realise ...

.... just who your friends are. Sad but true. I also apologise if this ends up being a long unreadable rant but it's been bugging me a little on the inside and it's time to let it out. I want to have the guts to post the title of this post on my facebook so the so called "friends" could see. Could see that all their apparent promises to keep in touch etc were just literally nothing. While I ranted here on LOTS many a time about my old work "mates" a fair few of them commented on my leaving how we'll all stay in touch. The actual amount that has - one. Should I really be surprised? Probably not, but I am upset that one of the girls that I actually thought was my friend hasn't bothered for months. 

Although moving countries is all new and exciting, I got to be with my guy, I got married and we did a fair bit of traveling in that first two months. But I always made the time to comment on people's facebook status and send them emails etc. I know it's two way but I'm sure I always took the time to still be in touch. While moving is exciting, when you don't really know people, you still want to know about and be in touch with the people that matter to you no matter where you are in the world.

This is were I feel like my blogger/twitter friends are some of the most thoughtful and amazing people I've ever met. All the food parcels and best wishes, all the comments of good lucks and questions about settling into American life has always comes from blogger friends. There's not been one offer of a food parcel from my in real life friends, no asking how life is, no Christmas cards even though they asked for my address. Nothing. Not a single thing. 

I'm not sure what this says about me or my friends to be honest. Maybe I'm not worthy of proper friends? It sure makes me feel that way. Maybe I need to stop taking people on their word and/or trusting people.

But while I'm bitter about them, this is a post to say thank you for all the love, best wishes, offers of food swaps and general inquires about how a Yorkshire gal is doing in the old Michigan land.

Monday, 16 April 2012

VINTAGE: The Household Guides

Retro 1950 sewing book
Retro 1950 sewing book
Retro 1950s sewing book

If you all remember one of the things we were really looking forward to about the weekend was getting back out to some of the local estate sales [the trip to the Eastern Market got rained off] which we went out to in earnest. A few big things caught our eye, from a chaise lounge which needed totally reupholstering and possibly had damp from sitting in an unfinished basement to a rather old, mirrored cabinet for my compacts [if you clicky the links it'll take you the estate agents photographs of said items]. Sadly they were asking a lot for both for us to really consider when we need to save pennies so we let them go.

Nevertheless we didn't leave empty handed. Often if you go on Saturdays [often the second sale day] they start dropping prices. So books had dropped form $1 each to 50cents. How could you resist?! There as a set of books that really caught my eye all under the subtitle of Household Guides published in the 1950s. I just had to grab the sewing guide and the how to about etiquette.  Sewing guides never date and it's always good to have a variety of books explaining how to do things, I think I might start a mini collection of sewing book, their drawings alone are gorgeous and I've included some above for you to look at.

I could never do justice trying to describe to you about the New Book of Etiquette, the best thing would be to share some of the quotes with you;

Men should take the curb side of the pavement whether he is walking with one woman, or with several ... if they [men] come to a puddle of water, he crosses first, and from the other side offers her his hand to help her across. 

No gentleman will insists upon paying a fare when the women has indicated her intention of paying it herself.

Any public display of attention is ill breed. Love is sacred and beautiful and it should not be thrown open to the rude comments of strangers.

It is always wise to consult the young lady is determining the choice of the [engagement] ring, and it is her privilege to choose whatever kind she wants regardless of tradition or convention. 

It is by far the best plan for the young people to be married as soon as they have come to know each other well enough - which should be three or four months after their engagement.

No later then fifteen days and not earlier than four weeks before the date set for the marriage, wedding invitations are sent.

If you talk constantly about yourself and about things that interest you, it will not be long before you are regarded as a bore.

Don't talk about the weather, unless it has been so phenomenally bad or good that people are eager to discuss it [that will teach us the English to constantly talk about the weather right?!]

Originally I had intended to sell this guide to etiquette but after reading it, it's too hard to give away. While it's old fashioned and I'm glad times have moved on, it's a must to keep.

Have you found any interesting goodies lately?

Friday, 13 April 2012

FOOD: An Investigation Into American sweets

From the huge amount of suggestions for doing this adventure into American candy it's been super fun getting to taste them all. Although I must add as as if I need an excuse! I'll run it over a couple of posts rather them bombarding them all at you in one go.


Almond Joy

Almond Joy [part of the Hersey brand] can be described as a Bounty Bar with a twist. A coconut bar covered in milk chocolate it's even presented in two mini sized portions - but with an additional helping of almonds. I say helping - I mean two almonds are placed on each bar like mini mountains. It comes out of the wrapper on a cute little cardboard tray [I'm all for details] and really does look like a rough version a Bounty. The coconut isn't as white and it's more gooey but the addition of the almonds offers an added crunch. Apparently Bounty Bars are released in America under the name Mounds [all this renaming gets a girl confused] although I've never come across them, at least not yet.


Cupcake bites

These are one of the goodies found in the dollar store, like the pound shop you can find some amazingly different things in there and these are one of them. Boxed candy seems to be rather common and I love the cheesy, cheap packaging. Cupcake Bites are described as "bite sized cupcake morsels coated with sprinkles and white frosting!". Not only are they really sweet, but they are really additive. The mini bites taste of vanilla are certainly on the small size yet the sprinkles give an extra crunch and have a strong butter cream frosting smell. They look as cheap as they are - somewhat like the play dough you played with as a child that's got messed up a little with the other colours. They are fun and you can't go wrong with them, but have more than a few and they can be sickly.


I first heard about Tootsie Rolls while watching Modern Marvels [basically a geeky History Channel show which tells the story how things are made] and we won these at the arcade. It's one of America's oldest candy and one of the first penny candies to be wrapped individually and they consist of a hard chewy chocolate mixture, tastes kinda like very cheap fudge but nice all the same. While they have been introduced to the UK market I'm not sure of their success outside of the USA. Because of their age and not being as visual appealing in comparison to many of their sweet counterparts, Tootsie Rolls are rather over looked but they are tasty all the same especially if you just want a quick sugar fix.


Although they are a must eat American food, tracking down a Twinkie was harder then you would have thought. Granted they aren't really a sweet - it's a snack cake but its worthy of a mention. Twinkies come with the tag line of being a "golden sponge cake with a creamy filling" which it pretty much is, and it's rather basic as a cake. Saying that, they are tasty if not sickly. I could only manage eating one of the two cakes in a sitting because they are that rich. It seems a weird creamy filling too - a little marshmallow like - or at least that kind of consistency wrapped in a light sponge. While Twinkies have been a staple of America since the 1930s its future is in jeopardy as it's sales decrease and it's manufacturers file for bankruptcy. Yes my experience of them was nice but I think I'll stick to more traditional chocolate based snacks.

Keep your eyes peeled for a part two of this girls sweet adventures in the coming weeks ...

What's your favourite kind of sweets, American or otherwise? Any candy recommendation for me to try on my sweetie adventures?

*  *  *

On a side note LOTS is featuring over one Jess's Live Life, Save Money blog on my feature about visiting York on a budget and free things to do so go have a peek!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

MICHIGAN: Sunset at Stony Creek

Last night [Wednesday] we took out to driving to Stony Creek again to enjoy the sunset over the lake stopping by at a different picnic site to our last visit. Granted we were slightly fooled by the sunshine with it being colder then it looked, but seeing it still light at 8.30PM is something I always miss in the winter months. Sunsets, reflections on water, spotting five deer, the orange of the sky, nearly being the weekend, buying stock for our little eBay adventure and hinting to the husband about forthcoming estate sales at the weekend makes me happy.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

LIFE: Happy Looks Good On You

After the adventure of spending 13 hours in ER with the husband last week, there's times when you really remember what's important to you and makes you happy. Rather then turning this into a super mushy post about love, here's some other goodies that have been making me happy over the past week or two alongside the husband. Thankfully the boy is fine now and thank you for all your kind messages.

Homemade bread

Smokey - she's just growing so much into her personality, she's little but she's feisty but you have to be around Ed. She has such a tiny meow and loves to sleep on her cardboard claw scratcher. Other kitty news is that while taking Ed to the vets for conjunctivitis, she's also lost 8lb and has now reached her target weight, although the vet wants to keep her on the diet. She's now just a slightly overweight 16lb cat. She just declares she's big boned and who's to tell her otherwise?!

Char nicely sent me a goodie box filled with my favourite crisps - Quavers! After eating them all the time with every sarnie possible going five months without their cheesiness made me crave them no end! Of all English things, it's Quavers I miss the most and these will keep me going - I'm rationing myself with them.

Date nights with the boy have been fun too, after burgers at Red Robin we went bowling [winning a game each] and played on the arcades on which I won us over 200 tokens and grabbed us a Detroit Tigers inflatable baseball. Perfect for annoying each other with.

Baking with me can be really hit and miss, often I bake way off the mark. While I often find the easiest things the hardest to bake, I've taken making bread like a duck to water. After the success of the naan bread I thought I'd try my hand at more normal breads, and what a success they were - although a little salty. I even tried baking some milk scones and even they turned out well - even better with a load of jam coating the top! I'm now saving all the glass jars I come across for making some jam.

All this and investigating into growing our eBay into selling compacts - which we already do with Transformer Toys. I think it's time I grow from being a collector but also into selling and get my name out in the field a little. Talking of compacts, I have a HUGE backlog of compact posts and really not sure about what to do with them all - SUGGESTIONS PLEASE!! Maybe it's time to create their own little web page although the idea of creating another blog from scratch scares me. This girl could do with your ideas about what to do with them!

 It's exciting times.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Michigan State Compact

Some say the one thing you should do when collecting is to collect around a theme. I say no you don't. As you can tell I collect all kinds of compacts and the only "theme" I really have is collecting vintage souvenir compacts of places we've been. So to add to my Pennsylvania and Chicago compacts is this squared map of Michigan. This style with a silver backdrop and gold mapping is one familiar with a lot of American city and state compact souvenirs and is typical of the 1950s. They often feature main cities, the state capital marked with a star [in this case Lansing] with depictions of items representing the state - here we see the car [Detroit being Motor City] with fishing and sailing in Lake Michigan and Huron.

It may be daring but I'd suggest this compact was produced before 1957 since its missing the construction of the Mackinac Bridge linking the Upper and Lower Peninsulas by Mackinaw City. Merely because it's the third longest suspension bridge in the USA if it had been standing at the same time the compact was made, I would have imagined it would have made it's mark on the map.

This compact may not be in the best of condition with some scuffs and marks around the edges it is still a compact that hasn't been used and is complete with a sift and a puff. As many people say you should only buy compacts in mint condition if your collecting, I say you don't have to if you find pleasure even in the most marked of compacts.