Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Latest Smashbook pages!

On more of a happier note then yesterdays rant I thought I'd show you some more of my finished smshbook pages. It really is becoming a bit of an mixed kind of scrapbook and because of how interested you all were in my first post about Smashbooks I thought I'd show you how I was getting on!

This is my ode to Fallingwater. Fallingwater is a house built over a waterfall in the 1930s by Frank L. Wright in rural southern Pennsylvania and since dating Joe [who's from that region] it's somewhere I've always longed to visit. Hopefully the next time we head to Pittsburgh we'll be able to escape out there to visit.

No scrapbook of mine would be complete without a page dedicated to Chicago and our trip. So after sticking in map I've filled it with museum tickets, a travel card, some random drawing I did to the Hard Rock Cafe burger topper and a list of things we got up too.

To not mention the record beating heatwave currently living over the US would be wrong . Alongside a newspaper clipping that Joe's gran sent us back in March about a tornado in Michigan I've copied out some facts I found online about the intense heat and how recording breaking the weather is. 

Finally for now is my Detroit page with maps and photographs cut out of the Detroit tourist guide. There's more to Detroit then people think or give credit for and Metro Detroit is the first place me and Joe are living together so it'll always have a special meaning wherever we end up going next.

Monday, 30 July 2012

#NBCfail and what you didn't see of the Olympic ceremony if you live in the US

On Friday night all over the world, people were settling down to watch the opening of the 2012 London Olympics. Being British myself it was something I had a natural invested interest in seeing. I was excited about how they'd blow open the ceremony and show off all that is British. Being in America however it wasn't so easy.

While many countries globally regardless of their time zone were streaming coverage of the ceremony live, here in America we couldn't start watching it till 7:30PM [eastern time] a good three hours after they had started in London. Canada literally just over the boarder from sitting here in Detroit were showing it live. NBC, who have the coverage rights justified this with wanting to show it at a time when most people would be home [as they started at 9:30PM in the UK this equated to people still at work across the US]. They wanted a bigger audience.

It turns out perhaps there was another reason behind not streaming it live - NBC didn't want to broadcast the tribute to those who lost their lives during the 7/7 bombings in London - even though it was dedicated to all of those who had lost their lives due to terrorism. Watching the showing it did seem very stop start and I knew something wasn't right to the point I even tweeted about it;

But being far past many British tweeters bedtime nothing more came of my tweet but its interesting that my gut feeling was right. You see in the US the coverage went from the music flash back to an ad break then to an interview with an American swimmer to the athletes coming out. I knew it would never of ended at the music thing - it didn't seem right. They also cut out parts of the Artic Monkeys too, and I can't recall seeing the red arrows and there's probably other things cut out too.

The memorial to the dead tribute during the opening ceremony of London 2012. Source.

This development is something that broke over twitter more then anywhere else and it only came to my attention with NBC trending [also though the hashtag #nbcfail] - I thought it was more people taking the piss out of their poor Olympic commentating - apparently there was more to it. NBC have justified not showing this part of the ceremony because it wasn't geared for their American audience. I'm sorry but shouldn't the American audience of all people know the affects of terrorism? In the UK we constantly see broadcasts and hold minutes of silences and the like to those who died in 9/11, why isn't it two way? Aren't those innocent people who lost their lives in my home country of the UK worthy being noted, marked and remembered too? In fact I would have thought many Americans would have been able to relate to such an part of the ceremony.

I know this may or may not be a big deal to some people but as an expat it's made me very angry and it's shockingly disgusting that a media player can get away and justifying such actions. English lives and English tributes are worthy of being shown just as any one elses. 

Just saying.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Raspberry & Buttercream Butterfly Buns

I had to show you one of my favourite things I use while baking - my plastic spatula headed by a little piggy. We picked it up from Home Goods - it just makes me smile every time I use it. I also like pretty coloured bun cases but I have a thing were the same colour can't be on the same line of the baking tray. I'm odd like that.

I must apologise for the varying outcome of my food photographs - our kitchen has no window and the lighting is beyond poor for photography so I have to try and rescue images as much as I can through editing.

Anyways Fridays seem to be the day were I share with you something tasty I've been baking during the week. This is actually the second batch of these buns I've made after they went out a huge hit with the boy but I ended up eating most of them because they are just oh so tasty. I grew up with butterfly buns because they are really quick to make, however they never had jam in, that was my addition and they are certainly worth a try.

For the cupcake mixture I used a basic WHITE CAKE RECIPE which should make 12/15 cupcakes
  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of milk

In a bowl cream together the sugar and butter until nice and creamy, add in both the eggs and the vanilla extract and continue to stir. Separately combine the flour and the baking powder adding slowly to the creamed sugar butter mixture. Finally mix in the milk and mix well. Pour your batter into your cupcake cases and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 20-25 minutes.

  • Jam of your choice
  • 1 cup of confectioners [powdered] sugar
  • 3 tablespoons of butter

Combining the sugar and the butter [you may need to add extra butter to get a nice creamy mixture] and mix thorough. Cutting a well out into each of the cupcakes cutting the cut out cupcake piece in half, add some jam [as much or as little as you like]  top off with the buttercream and replace the two cut out pieces upon the top as decoration. Looking at the images above will probably make more sense then trying to explain it.

PS still time to sign up for blog ad sponsorship for August, just leave your details and I'll be in touch!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Help us to win!

Two collection posts in a matter of hours but this time you can all help us win. The Big Bad Toy Store's facebook page is holding a competition for the best toy collection, so of course we've entered with Joe's Transformer collection. Above is his ENTIRE 125 plus figures which I kindly spent Thursday morning arranging for him to photograph and enter into the draw. 

It would be a massive help if you could log onto the Big Bad Toy Store page via your facebook, click onto the photo contest [you'll have to like the page] and vote for him [either by looking out for the above photograph or going by the name Joe Jenkins]. The more votes we get the more likely we get through to the second round.

Pretty pretty please?!

New Compact Additions

Even though I have a blog now dedicated just to writing about compacts, I always said I was still going to share my compact adventures here on LOTS. The compacts above are both a mixture of ones I've added to my collection and ones that we have or are selling via eBay - as you all know I've been trying to step up my collection to the next level and selling them has been a great way of finding more compacts and learning about them.

1) This pink and gold Rex 5th Avenue compact was an eBay goodie which was in the same lot as the Stratton butterfly compact I last blogged about. It's oversized and unused. You can read more about it here.

2) An adorable black plastic compact came from a lot we brought on eBay to resell. I grabbed this one out for keeps because as you know I'm a cat lady at heart. The figure of a curled up kitty is shaped out of the moulded plastic of the top of the compact. It's probably rather new but it's unused and too cute to sell. You can find more about the kitty here.

3) Additionally out of the aforementioned lot was this Coty Airspun Rogue mini compact which we sold last week on eBay. It came not only with it's original red Coty branded puff but additionally the refill clasp which was patented to 1929. I wrote a blog piece about the history behind the patent.

4) Sunday was the 37th Antique and Garage Sale in Royal Oak and we went for a wander and grabbed these two compacts. The silver and gold circular compact is from the British compact manufacture Kigu and the square blue flowered compact is a double compacted mirror. For $5 and $3 respectively you can't say no and or go wrong - these both are for keeps. 

5) Finally another compact we have on sale via eBay this week - a Dorset 5th Avenue compact. This compact has great little attentions to detail and is unused. As a compact Dorset manufactured compacts between the 1930s to 1950s so it's a great piece of it's era.

Find out more via;

Still chance to advertise on my blog space for August - just leave your details if your interested!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Holding on to Lies to Make the Truth

Band tees are great to be lazy in, granted they aren't the most flattering of clothing items but I love wearing my favourite bands on my back. I use to have loads of band tees that I'd picked up at gigs from The Paddingtons, Razorlight to Trivium but many either got worn out or left back in the UK [I regret leaving my original Trivium tee]. Luckily I can grab at Joe's collection like this Pink Floyd tee - perfect to laze in on a summer day in shorts.  

Musics always been an important part of my life, I read NME religious followed by Metal Hammer. I've grown out of my teenage ways of thinking you can only like one type of music - I love everything from the Backstreet Boys to Maximo Park to Trivium but my heart will always be in the heavier side of rock. In three weeks we get to see System of a Down - who'll probably be the biggest band I've ever seen and one I've longed to see for a while. It's outside too. OMG it's going to be so great!

One of the blogs I can't stop reading lately is Kiichi - granted it's by the guy that heads Trivium Matt Heafy, but I'd probably be following it regardless. His blog captures the places they go on tour just as any tourist would, with the people they meet and authentic foods they taste and as a reader I get to travel and explore through his daily photographs. Kiichi is certainly worth a view even if you don't like their music.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The other side to emigrating

I actively try and keep LOTS a carefree happy place especially considering all the stressed out posts with regards to the visa and moving process. Nevertheless the whole act of emigrating itself is a huge deal and sometimes I find the outcome of moving hard to deal with. It's not that I regret moving - I love being with Joe it's the trying to fit in part.

Once upon a time I had confidence in both myself and my body - since moving I've noticed this sense of confidence has drastically vanished. Let me tell you why - I've always been shy but I've normally been able to overcome it and dealt with getting myself out there and being me regardless of what people think. In America as soon as I open my mouth with my English accent it feels like people know I'm an outsider. People always remark on my accent and mostly probably mean well but more and more it makes me want to loose my accent. I've come to hate standing out rather then embracing it because I'm often asked to repeat myself. 

American heatwave's have really messed up my body confidence issues too. With the exceedingly warm weather people wear less and less clothing and the people my eyes focus on are the really skinny really pretty girls. I get body envy and wish my body was skinny too. It's even putting me off ever visiting a water park because I just couldn't pull off a swimsuit or a bikini ever. I'm starting to hate my figure more then ever.
My lack of confidence is hindering me in reaching our for opportunities - I've not overly actively looking for employment because of the accent and additionally the assumption that my university name means nothing in the US. Americans are assumed to have some of the best universities in the world so how does my Russell Group [Newcastle University if you're interested] degree and Masters rank up? That and not really knowing what job/career I want bugs me too and I have no idea how to sell myself. 

While it might be a few years off I daydream about which side of the pond would be best for raising children. The UK with the free health service or the US with their overpriced university education? If you're in the UK and you think University fees are high look at American university prices and you'll be gob smacked. Do I want my kids to have a little or a lot of debt? Would I want them to grow up in a country with a huge gun culture - I think not. It's still a hard thing to work out at times.

I guess that's all I have to say for now.

Monday, 23 July 2012

A $4 box of goodness

Summer seems to have occurred with a decreasing amount of estate sales being advertised and noticing our lack of visiting and poking them we took it upon ourselves to take time out on Saturday to go and be nosey. Estate sales can be a treasure chest or an excuse for a junk that people would normally throw away and the sales we visited weren't over run with amazing thing like normal - it's the luck of the draw. Additionally we went much later which may play a part in most of the interesting things already being brought. However - going later the sellers are often left with things they need to get rid of and great deals can be yours - hence coming away with this huge box of random goodies all for four dollars. 

Hidden within this cardboard box of treasure are vintage crochet patterns mostly from the 1940s up to the 1980s, leaning to knit booklets, stamp guides and several 1970s state maps.

The crochet patterns are predominately a mixed bag of doiley or Christmas designs with some fashion and household items thrown in for good measure. I'm not overly interested in crocheting dishcloths or Christmasy things so I'm trying my luck reselling them on ebay - so go have a nosey on there! 

Hidden at the bottom was a mixed selection of 1970s state maps from everywhere from Utah to Michigan to Iowa and many a place in between. For novelty and souvenirs sake I saved the Illinois map for the Chicago reference and city map - the rest I'm not currently sure of their future. Even more odd was a 1972 calender possibly given out by one of the reps of American oil to his customers. With it's cheesey kitsch images it's rather neat and has never been used. Shame it's a little out of date.

And while I might not be the biggest or the best knitter - this pattern book is far too adorable to resell and with really clear images and texts it looks easy enough that even I could teach myself hot to finally get over my knitting complex. We rounded the day off looking at a garage sale and came away with a 1933 "kitchen guide" of which many a page has already been bookmarked - from the picnic spaghetti, stuffed vegetables and a very interesting sounding marshmellow cake.

Have you picked up any vintage goodies lately?

On eBay we have come vintage compacts, Christmas crochet magazines alongside booklets for kitchen ideas [both knitting and crocheting], and a baby Afghan booklet, alongside our normal transformer toys, Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards. Make sure to have a look here! We do ship internationally and combine shipping costs too.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I'm a lover of all things chocolate and Joe loves his peanut butter  so what could be better then combining them both and using this chocolate - peanut butter cupcake recipe? The recipe itself is adapted from a Betty Crocker Cupcake book in which I changed one ingredient and stuck in extra peanut butter.  Not only is it one of the simplest cupcakes recipes I've come across, but it produces light, well risen tasty goodies - they do taste more chocolate like but you do get a good hint and after taste of the peanuts. More so they are tasty and sweet enough that you can get away with not having to ice them - I just topped them with off with confectioners [or as it's called in the US powdered] sugar.

INGREDIENTS to make 12 cupcakes
  • 3/4 of a cup of granulated white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 of a cup of plain yoghurt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 of cocoa
  • 1/2 cup of hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate chips
  • Powder sugar for the icing

Beat together the sugar, peanut butter, the egg and egg white and the youghurt until creamy. Add in the remaining ingredients [apart from the icing sugar] and combine well on a low speed. 

Divide your batter between your cupcake cups to about mid way and place in a preheated oven set at 350F. Bake for 15-20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool for a good 30 minutes before sprinkling icing sugar over the top.

Do you like your chocolate and peanut butter in a cupcake?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Opening up LOTS - fancy sticking your ad here?

Nearly three years into blogging and I'm finally opening up LOTS to the opportunity for paid sponsors starting in August. This isn't me selling out, as money will be pulled back into the blog one way or another.

This will start as a trail run over the next couple of months to see if it's worth while and gains enough interest. Each ad [up to a maximum of 200 x 120 in size] will be up and running for the length of the calender month and would cost you only $5 - for my English following that's rounded and converted to about £3.35 - for this you'd also get a mention in a huge group introduction. For a more in-depth sponsorship there's the opportunity for a $10 slot, both will be payable via paypal [you can find more details regarding my stats and ad features here]. There are up to ten slots available for hire, two are [hopefully] reserved already for August so you'll have to be quick!

If you're interested and want to take part for the month of August then leave your contact details below or email me at lo_ts@ymail.com with a reference to sponsoring in the email header and I'll get back to you!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Littlewoods guest post - summer 2012

 Today I have a guest post for you provided by Littlewoods.com - although summer on either side of the pond has been complete polar opposites with the American heatwave and the English monsoon, fashion still has an important part to play.

Update Your Summer Essentials For 2012
If you want to give your summer clothing a fashion-forward twist then read our guide and discover how to update your summer essentials for 2012.

The sundress
This year the catwalks saw a wild array of clashing prints and fabrics. Choose a sundress that will nod to this trend and you’ll have an outfit that will be a go-to for the rest of the season. If your dress has a floral pattern then accessorize with a clashing belt featuring stripes or polka dots. If you want to go the whole hog, try a bold floral waistcoat that picks out a few of the colours from your dress.

The white vest
Most of us buy a couple of white vests at the beginning of the summer because they’re so versatile and can be teamed with a huge range of different outfits. This year’s most popular cut for vests is the racer back, which ties in perfectly with the sporty look. To tick off two trends in one, choose a neon vest that will add a pop of colour to any sports inspired outfit.

The denim short 
Denim cut offs are the perfect way to get your pins out in the summer. They’re comfortable and classic and they can be dressed up or down. If you want to bring your denim shorts into 2012 then adorn then with studs. Studs, beads and other embellishments are big news this year so rough up your cut-offs and embrace the rock chick look. You can buy studs online or from a haberdashery and they will look perfect teamed with black leather wedges.

The maxi dress
The maxi dress has been around for years and there are tonnes of styles and designs to choose from. If you want to hit this year’s hippy trend then team your maxi with plenty of beads and bangles and layer a couple of thin belts. Accessorize with a garland of flowers in your hair and leather flip flops to give an air of casual chic.

The blazer
A good blazer is a summer essential you can wear year after year and one of these classically cut jackets is the perfect way to complete any seaside inspired outfit. Nautical is one of this summer’s top trends and if you want to get the look then team tailored shorts with your blazer and choose red, white or navy accessories.

What are you key summer essentials, whether your home or aboard, rain or shine?

Another take - the LDR

I've been meaning to post this for a while but I've always been interested in hear other couples experiences of being in an undertaking long distance relationships after being in one myself. Jo, who blogs over at Life in a Wendy House did a fabulous write up of her own experiences which I'm sharing with you today and I'm sure it will be of particular interest to those of you who are, or are about to undertake a university based LDR.

Hi, I’m Jo and I’m in a long distance relationship.

They say admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it, but this isn’t a problem.

When my dad asked if me and my boyfriend, of then two years, were going to stay together when I moved down South for Uni and he studied at home, my response was “Of course, why wouldn’t we?”. He raised his eyebrows, obviously expecting us to split up and forget one another in our fresher’s haze, but it didn’t happen. We’re now 2 years into our LDR and still together. Why? Because we make it work despite what everybody else’s preconceptions are.

There are nearly 200 miles between us, it’s a 3 and a half hour train journey, and because we both have university commitments I see him normally around once every ten week term. I’m not going to say it’s a walk in the park, because there are difficult times. I get annoyed when I want to ring him but he’s busy, he gets annoyed when I go out and forget to text him when I get home, but they’re problems that are easily solvable. In fact, I think it’s a lot less difficult to have an argument when your miles apart from each other because you instantly just want to forget about it and make up rather than continue a long, pointless argument via phone or text.

It’s all about making time for one another and making sure that the time you do manage to spend together is the very best it can be. After those ten weeks have passed I know I’ll have a month at home when I can spend time with him and do the things we both miss when we’re apart, and that’s what I try and remember when I’m crying over how much I want to go home and how much I need a hug.

We make the effort to talk every day. We text daily, updating each other on the little things in life and speak on the phone or skype occasionally when we have more time to spare, but just because we’re not in contact 24/7 or seeing each other every day doesn’t mean our relationship is a failure, far from it. I honestly believe that moving away from each other has improved us as a couple; the space an LDR offers gives you a chance to reflect on all the good and bad within your relationship and work with that knowledge to improve your relationship and yourself when you’re apart, so that when you are together it’s almost perfection.

I have one more year apart from him and then who knows what will happen. I can’t predict the future but what I do hope is that we’ll still be together even then. After almost 5 years together it’s difficult to see your relationship going in any other direction than together and I’d really like to have the happy ending that many others achieve despite the miles.

So, I’m Jo. And I’m proof that a long distance relationship can work.

If you're in a long distance relationship and want to share your story, get in touch!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Pecan And White Chocolate Brittle

I don't often get the chance to blog about some of the goodies I win through blogs but I knew I had to make the time to tell you about this prize I won via Caked Vintage of some pecan and white chocolate brittle. I received it from the lovely Happy Place Products who I had a great time emailing back and forth about Michigan.

While it had got a little melted [the chocolate was at least] in the postal journey to Michigan due to that crazy American summer weather a quick pop into the fridge and it was perfect for munching. Brittle itself is broken pieces of hard candy and often embedded with nuts with a bit of a resemblance to toffee. I love all the extra detailing in the packaging and the ingredients list - that really finishes it off perfectly. And oh my is it good - it's lovely, crunchy and sweet, nutty and the white chocolate finishes it off lovely.

You can find their shop - Happy Place Products on Etsy and make sure to check out their other brittle flavours - they have everything from washbi peas to peppermints and cashews.

Monday, 16 July 2012

FOOD: Red Fox English Pub

Firstly I want to thank everyone that took place in the blog hop I organised on Friday - it's great to see so many people taking part and I hope you all found some new interesting reads along the way. Our weekend ended up being busier then I had imagined with finding new places and antique sales, so I'm only finding the time today to check out all those of you who got involved.

We've been eying up one of the newer bars the Red Fox in Royal Oak for a while - why so? Because it called itself an English Pub [its actually more bar like then an English pub]. Crediting itself as serving up British beers and ales [as well some of Michigan's finest booze] alongside traditional British food it was time the British girl was requited with a hint of her homeland and it certainly seems a hit with the Royal Oak residents too. Getting myself a Newcastle Brown - yes I'm an ale girl [served on tap I might add as it is in a lot of bars in the US] we sat out in the evening heat on the rooftop patio. 

I eyed up the menu but we only grabbed some "British" chips this time - served on a reprinted and made up version of a London newspaper. They weren't British in the sense of being fat, greasy and chunky but they were more then tasty. Also on the menu were British favourites of fish n chips, chicken tikka malasa, various roasts, mushy peas as a side and trifles. Some of the items weren't necessarily British like the chicken fingers but there was a nice enough mix. We're certainly going back to check out the food at some point.

It made an English girl rather happy.

You can find the Red Fox English Pub along;
100 South Main Street,
Royal Oak, MI

Friday, 13 July 2012

A find new friends/blogs blog hop

Last week after sticking out a plea via twitter for some new blogs to read to cure my boredom, Bex kindly tweeted back her favourites to read. From there I found some great new blogs to follow. So, I had this whirlwind unoriginal idea of hosting a blog hop so we could all find new, interesting reads and meet some new bloggers as a way of furthering this act of kindness.

The idea is to just link up your blog[s] and while you're at it why not click on some other peoples blogs and share some love?  There's no rules, you don't have to follow me, you don't have to follow five others, just add or not add. Simples. You never know you might find your new favourite blog this way! I'll start the hop rolling and you can just follow my lead by either using the link set up below or leaving your blog in the comments box!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Introducing The VintageSearch Website

I recently [as in this afternoon] received an email about a brand spanking new addition to those jolly old websites that love compiling blogs and like minded folk called VintageSearch. What got me particularly interested enough to share this in a blog post totally off my own back was the word VINTAGE featuring in the title. I was excited enough to even write that in capitals. Within a minute I'd signed my vintage powder compact blog up to the service and I can't wait to dig deeper and connect with like minded people. But it's not only for bloggers - its linked up to vintage stores too. What more could you want?! So if vintage is your thing, your blog thing or you're just nosey make sure to have a peek and sign up!

Cupcake painted embroidery hoop

DIY cupcake hoop featuring DecoArt Ink Effects

I love an excuse to add to my embroidery hoop wall, so when I was chosen to receive the new range of DecoArt Ink Effects I was really excited to give them a try. The DecoArt ink effects allow you to paint and then transfer your design onto material. I love all things cupcakes - both eating and making them so I knew I wanted them to feature, but before we get to the project, lets see what's available and what the product is all about.

The DecoArt Ink Effects is a range of 12 colours formulated to be painted onto paper then transferred using an iron onto material. In addition the basecoat allows you to work with cotton materials [any material with more than a 30% blend of cotton the basecoat is required] enhancing the colouring and quality of the transfer. More so even after transferring, the material remains soft and flexible, they even survive a cold wash making them perfect for adding details to white and/or light coloured clothing or home decor.

DecoArt Ink Effect Products

So onto the project - redrawing a design from ones found in the internet I took to painting. Because your transferring your painting you need to paint everything you want to transfer - be it the tiniest detail to outlining. After you've painted your design you need to wait at least 45 minutes for it to dry.

As my material was 100% cotton I had to use the basecoat - it took a while to get the hang of how to apply this product and you need to give it a good shake prior to application and spray liberally. When you're ready to transfer make sure to place something under your material so it doesn't additionally copy onto your ironing board. Place your painting face down over the material, cover with another piece of paper and you're ready for ironing! Set it to the cotton setting and keep a constant firm moving motion over the design for a good minute to make sure the full colour is being absorb into your material.

DecoArt effects transfer

As you can see from the image this product is one that you learn by trail and error [and that's what you come to learn through using this product - it something you teach yourself how to do which is part of the fun of using it]. The image on the left was my first attempt and my cupcake on the right is the final image. You can see the difference in colour quality and the original basecoat problems and comes to show why you should test your images on scrap material beforehand. Once you get it right - it's really worth all the hard work getting there!


I did find outlining with the paint difficult so I wanted to add embroidery detailing. With the transfer leaving a lot of life in the fabric - it's still soft and flexible enough to embroider straight onto the transfer.

Overall I'm pretty impressed with this DecoArt Ink Effect paints -  although you really do need to have the patience to practical and make sure you're getting it right. Once you do - the results are mighty impressive and there's tonnes of projects you could make with this product.  For me they worked really well as a basis to then go on an add extra detail.

You can find out more about DecoArt Inks via; Facebook  // Pinterest // YouTube // Twitter

Would this be a product you'd be wanting to try out? What projects would create with the ink effects?

These items were provided for my consideration and I have been compensated for this review. Nevertheless all thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Skip pickings

skip pickings
skip pickings
skip pickings
skip pickings

They say one persons rubbish is another's treasure and who would have ever thought I'd be writing a post about skip raiding. Well not so much raiding just taking what was sat next to one. Being in an apartment complex we all take our rubbish out to huge skips and on my particular wander on Tuesday night was a pile just sat there - my eyes zoomed in on the vases. It was only with Joe's encouragement that I went back to grab them after telling him about the goodies. I came back with two vases, a serving dish and a glass cutting board - score! Do I care that the vases are slightly kitsch and probably rather cheap? No. Do I love having something to stick on our window still with a splash of colour? Very much.

Have you ever skip picked?

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

DETROIT: Greektown

I hope your enjoying my occasional posts about things in and around us here in south east Michigan - this is a bit of an old post so I thought it was about time I through it out into the blogging world. Greeektown is one of downtown Detroit's historic areas. Originally settled by German immigrants in the 1830s, they were replaced with a strong Greek populace, even with their outward migration the area remained highly influenced as an ode to all things Greek. It's an area not only home to Greek restaurants, with Greek music playing onto the streets but one of Detroit's three casinos - the Greeektown Casino Hotel.

At 25 I'd admit to never having stepped inside a casino so it was an experience seeing rows of one arm bandits [well their contemporary versions], endless streams of people and the huge scale of the place and had a play on some of the one cent machines. Afterwards we headed to one of the culinary highlights of Greektown - Pizza Papalis were the pizzas are HUGE and oh so very yum and they have a great reputation.

What culture areas of your city/town do you love? 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Crocheted Blanket in a Heatwave

Crochet blanket

America may be having it's warmest year on record and we're constantly hitting the high 30s [even getting into the 40s at the end of last week] but to me that is apparently the best time to sit under a blanket while crocheting. I've never been one for logic. I started this project earlier this year as a blanket to throw in the car, and finally got determined enough at the weekend to finish it off with a border. I've always loved the ripple crochet effect which is achieved by repeatedly adding and taking treble stitches away at the same point. There's no true scheme to the colours either because I was just using up all the balls of wool I already add - although the purple was repeated every seven colours. I have a yearning for another blanket with granny squares but I'm not sure how many blankets a girl can get away with having ... this is already the second.

Now this has to be the perfect excuse to go on a picnic, right?!

Friday, 6 July 2012

A Banana Bread Recipe

Banana Bread
Banana Bread
Banana Bread Slice

So back to a post you might be interested in other then powder compacts  .... I've been eyeing up the idea of making banana bread for a while but being somewhat new to baking especially loafs/cakes I thought I'd wait till I had a little more experience under my rolling pin. Then we had four overly ripped bananas left and the opportunity arose to make some use out of them! For a first attempt it came out rather well and being a recipe that's very simple, quick to make and uses up fruit you might of otherwise have thrown out I thought I'd pass it along. 

3 ripped bananas all smashed and mashed up
1/3 of a cup of melted butter
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 beaten egg
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 and a half cups of all purpose flour. 

You start off by smashing and mashing the life out of your bananas. I guess you could blend them but I hacked them to death with a fork against the edge of a bowl. Once they look like baby food add in your melted butter. 

Mix in the sugar, an egg and the vanilla extract. Then add in the baking soda and lastly the flour.

Pour into a pre-lined loaf tin and bake on 350F/175C for an hour. 

There are plenty of recipes out there with different takes on it - some even chocolate based. Next time I'm thinking of perhaps throwing in some raisins and/or nuts too. I've been eating it with butter but I'm sure it tastes grand even without that. I do have to hide it though because it's rather tasty and if I didn't I'd munch my way through it before the boy got home.

Are you a fan of the olde banana bread?

LAUNCHING - Vintage Powder Compacts blog

It's actually got to the point where I'm into my collection enough to want to create a brand new blog all about powder compacts. Nearly three years into collecting, with fifty or so compacts to speak off things are going to the next level. I'm slowly starting to up my game in the world of collecting compacts through not only selling the occasional one but through sharing my tiny bit of knowledge. I want to try and make a mark in the vintage compact world. I have no illusion that I'll become a BIG name but I do have the illusion that my collection should be shared. As a collector I try and hunt out information on the internet all the time, but I struggle and run into dead ends constantly - that's something I want to change and perhaps why I want to branch out into a new blog.

Don't get me wrong - compacts will still be a feature here [that's never going to stop] and there will be links flying here there and everywhere for new posts over on the blog. Nevertheless I have so much more I'd love to write and post about that I don't get chance because of the huge backlog I already have here on LOTS [trust me I have compacts I brought in March that haven't made their way out], not to mention the fear of boring you all about them. The recent poll I had running did come to show that although you all love hearing/reading about my vintage finds more posts on compacts didn't rank highly. To me they deserve a blog of their own so that's what they're getting.

I would be thrilled if you'd love to come over and additionally follow me on my Vintage Powder Compact blog!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

My first July 4th

Everyone knows that in America July 4th is a big deal, but what's it like experiencing these celebrations for the first time? Well Americans get all into it. In historical terms the date marks the point in 1776 when the 13 waring colonies declared themselves as independent from the British Empire [isn't Wiki great for learning all this?!]. We, the British were basically taxing the life out of the American colony - while the British thought America was and should pay its fair share the Americans started to disagree - the tax measures were a push too far in the political control coming from London. Now it's celebrated with fireworks and a fist full of patriotism.

So many toffee apples 

Food stuffs

Corn Dogs - random American food whereby you get a hotdog wrapped in a corn bread served on a stick.

Snow Cones - literally crushed ice with syrup flavorings poured on. Mine was lime and grape

I managed to do something I always wanted to do as a child - sand art! I may have been the oldest "kid" partaking but my that was that fun.

Our city had their July 4th celebrations the Sunday before hand in the Civic Park - filled with the typical festival greasy food. Luckily I got to try some new American food [well new to me] in a corn dog and a snow cone. There was bouncy castles and live music and plenty of people were sitting out having a BBQ before the fireworks started. We actually had a great view from our apartment so we headed back and saw the display from our doorstep but you'll have to excuse the light from the other apartment block in the photographs.


The last image is totally Photoshopped [I'm rather pleased with myself that I managed to edit it like that using this guide] but you could see it has capturing many of the fireworks that they had for the celebrations all thrown into one image.  My camera struggled with capturing the end of the display because of the imense light being thrown off - so this is my huge ending via editing. I wish the UK would get over their health and safety line and get back to doing displays for bonfire night. The way they bring a community together in celebrations can only be a good thing.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Detroit Institute of Arts Inside/Out in Royal Oak

Joe kept coming last week mentioning he'd seen random pieces of framed artwork on walls around downtown Royal Oak - little did we know that this was part of Detroit Institute of Arts [DIA] Inside/Out summer exhibition taking place around metro Detroit. It's now in it's third year of bringing framed high quality reproductions from the DIA collection out onto the streets. So on Saturday we took a short drive over to our next town Royal Oak to see the six pieces they had hanging up. Here's what we found;

Royal Oak Public Library - The Recitation by Thomas Wilmer Dewing. 

 The gardens around the library

Ariana Gallery, Main St - Eleanora of Toledo and Her Son by Agnolo Bronizo

Qdoba Mexican Grille, Main St - Staunch Friends by William Fredrick Yeamas 

Noir Leather, W. 4th St - Selene and Endymion by Nicolas Poussin

Pronto, S. Washington St - Warrior With Two Pages by Peter Paul Rubens

Decorations in the flower pots for the 4th of July. 

Comedy Castle - Corner of S. Troy and 4th St. - Cotopaxi by Frederic Edwin Church

Close up of the the Cotopaxi frame.

All the artwork are within walking distance of each other and not only do you get to see some artwork but you get to see some of the downtown areas too. Hopefully we'll get to check out the pieces in Ferndale another weekend. 

Inside/Out exhibition map [Source].

The exhibition runs across Detroit and many of it's metro cities until the end of September in; Canton, Clawson, Clinton Township, Dearborn, Detroit, Ferndale, Gordeu City, Harrison Township, Northville, Royal Oak, Trenton, Troy and Waterford.

Would something like this interest you?

Monday, 2 July 2012

Photograph an hour: 28th June

I always love "a photo an hour" posts particularly those by the ultra cool Kaylah at The Danity Squid. I wanted to do something similar to actually prove to myself that although I'm not working I do actually do stuff. While I'm hunting for a job I don't search the net for one everyday - that would get at me too much and make me too depressed about trying to find something and not getting anywhere. I kinda forgot to take a photograph at tea time but you'll get the idea!

Day in photos
8.30 - Waking up and finishing off a brew in my fav mug. 

Day in photos
9.30 - Make up time.

Day in photos
10.30 - Baking peanut butter cookies.

Day in photos
11.30 - Writing out online recipes.

Day in photos
12.30 Dinner covered in brown sauce!

Day in photos
1.30 Checking the insane 36 degree heat

Day in photos
2.30 Taking the recycling out

3.30 Editing photographs for blog posts

Day in photos
4.30 Embroidering

Day in photos
6.30 Cross stitching

7.30 Walking our friends one eyed dog, Lugi

Day in photos
8.30 Chilling with Edmund

Day in photos
9.30 Reading the mail

Have you ever done a photograph an hour post? Leave me your links!