Thursday, 30 June 2011

Pay It Forward? Anybody?!?

Alrighty. I first posted about this in February... Now, I am going to pimp out my craft 'skills' once more, and then I give up. I just do so really, really want to make you something. Won't anybody play with me? 

Pay It Forward is about making things and then giving them to somebody else. Anything, really. You could sew it, stitch it, paint it, write it, photograph it or cook it. Or whatever else floats your boat. All you have to commit to is to post the button and the instructions on your blog and to send a little crafty goodness to the first three commenters on that post. And you've got A YEAR to do it. Simple!

So read the 6 points below and make me happy. One comment and you're in! I got my first comment from Julia, who started me up on the whole thing, so two of you is all I need to spread some more handmade love. 

Come on, you know you want to! Please? Pretty please? And if you'd really rather not, then maybe a friend would?

1. Important! You have to have a blog.

2. I will make a little something for the first 3 blog owners who comment on this post. It will be a surprise and I will make it and send it to you some time during the next 365 days after you have commented.

3. Make sure you let me know your email address, so that I can get your contact details.

4. To get a handmade present from me, you have to play too! This means YOU pledge to send a little handmade something to 3 readers of your blog. It doesn't matter what you give, as long as it is handmade by you!

5. Once you comment here, you need to post about your Pay It Forward on your blog to keep the fun going - you can just copy the rules from me and please include the Pay It Forward badge in your post. Also, feel free to join the Flickr group to see what else is being sent!

6. Follow my blog. (That would be nice!)


Yay! I have now found three people to craft for, so I closed the comments on both posts.  

Thank you, my three commenters!

If anybody is still interested in doing this, you can possibly still join at one of their blogs:

Fourteen Countess 
Blue-J Cottage 
The Corner Of The Internet I Call Home 
© All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated)

Photo Bookmark Tutorial

I thought I would try and write a tutorial for a photo book mark like the one I gave my friend last week. If anybody tries to make one, please let me know if the instructions were easy to follow or what I could do better next time. Or if you read through it and think that something is not clear to understand, give me a shout. Cheers!

You Will Need:

a large photo
some pretty paper
a cutting mat
craft knife
double sided tape
self-adhesive clear plastic foil
a ruler
eyelet setter

First, cut your photo to the size and shape you want your bookmark to be. You can make it oval, round the edges, use a punch to make a decorative border, anything goes.

Then cut a piece of your pretty paper to a size slightly larger than the bookmark. This will become the back. If your edges are an uneven pattern, you might want to cut the photo and the paper the same size and at the same time, to achieve an even fit.

Run two strips of double sided tape down the back of your photo, one down each long side. Peel off the covering and attach the paper.

Trim the overhang.

Cut to pieces of self-adhesive clear plastic foil to a size slighlty larger than your bookmark.

Remove the backing and smooth the foil over the photo carefylly, from top to bottom. Do this slowly and press the foil down with your fingers bit by bit to avoid any creases or air bubbles.

Use the backing of the foil or a soft cloth to smooth down the foil after it is fully attached.

Repeat for the other side.

When both sides of the bookmark are covered with the foil, go around the edges and make sure the two layers of foil adhere properly to each other, pushing down with the tip of your finger.

Use the knife to trim the foil neatly all around the bookmark, leaving a slight overhang.

Use your eyelet tool to punch a hole and set the eyelet for the ribbon. You could also simply use a hole punch and omit the metal eyelet.

Attach the ribbon. Done.

Here's another bookmark that I made Marco for Christmas last year, using one of our wedding photos.


© All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Three Kinds Of Jam

After ticking one item of my to-do list for this summer and visiting our local PYO Farm last Sunday morning, I spent the whole afternoon in the kitchen, topping and tailing fruit and making jam. 

I made three different kinds, and it was a bit of a learning curve. First was the strawberry jam, and I just followed the recipe that I found on the back of the jam sugar packet. The recipe suggested a ratio of 800g berries to 1kg sugar, but the resulting jam was far too sweet for my liking. You still got the strawberry taste shining through, but I decided I prefer my jam more tart.

So on to gooseberries I moved. For this, I used the same amount of sugar to berries, and also added a splash of elderflower cordial into the mix. The jam turned out okay, but set quite thickly and still tasted way to sugary. 

(During the making of this particular batch I also learned that you have to keep stirring, stirring, stirring constantly while your jam is boiling, otherwise you might end up with an unwanted, but not entirely unpleasant burnt caramel taste to it all....)

I think I finally got lucky with my third attempt, the blackcurrants. For this, I decided to be brave and cooked two parts of fruit with one part sugar. With an addition of star anise, which gave the jam an ever so subtle but interesting additional depth. 

It did not set as thickly as the other two, but it will still not run off my toast. And it has the full-on, slightly sour berry taste that I was hoping for. You can find the very simple recipe below.

(The jam labels in these pictures are courtesy of Free Pretty Things.)

Blackcurrant & Anise Jam
(makes about 4 medium jars)

Need To Have:

1kg blackcurrants
500g preserving sugar
1 star anise

Need To Do:

First, place a saucer or a small plate in your fridge. You will need this later to test if your jam is ready.

Add sugar and blackcurrants to a large saucepan. Tie the star anise up in a piece if cheesecloth and add to the fruit and sugar. 

Over a low heat, stir everything until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for about 10  minutes, stirring constantly. Then take the cold saucer out of the fridge and spoon a bit of jam onto it. Once the jam starts setting, slowly push your finger into it from the side. If the surface throws wrinkles, the jam is ready and should set in the jars. If not, you will need to cook it for a little longer. Test again after 5 more minutes or so. 

Once the jam is at the correct stage for setting, remove the star anise. Ladle the jam into sterilized jars and close the lids tightly. The jam should keep for months in a cool, dark place.


© All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated)


Field Trip

Some more photos from the farm. Some were taken with Marco's phone, some with my camera.


© All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated)

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Mirror & Music Or: Bangers & Mash

I love going to Sadler's Wells dance theatre in London. They book the most inspiring performers, and tickets are cheaper than a visit to the movies if you don't mind sitting up high under the rafters. I go and see a few shows during the Flamenco Festival every February, and because the theatre offers a 20% discount on tickets when you book for more than one show at a time, I always make sure to browse the calender of events for the rest of the year. This is how Marco and I ended up going to see the amazing Mirror And Music by Japanese dancer and choreographer Saburo Teshigawara a few days ago. 

Before the show, we had dinner at S&M (that's for Sausages & Mash, people!). They serve all kinds of classic British food that has a home-cooked vibe and huge comfort appeal. 

I went for the eponymous bangers & mash and chose the London Traditional and a vegetarian mushroom-and-tarragon variety from the pick'n'mix sausage menu. Eating this with copious amounts of gravy while sitting in the sun by the open diner window and drinking the bottle of wine that came in a special offer bundle made for two happy campers.

Thus fortified, we went on to take our seats at the theatre. I did not really know what to expect and was completely blown away by the talent of the 8 dancers. They performed ever so precisely and graciously in a surreal environment of shadow and light, white noise and classical music. I was emotionally touched by their dance and mesmerized by their movement. I could not describe what it was exactly that moved me about the performance, but I admired the sense of fluidity and fragility that I felt the piece conveyed. I felt like I was going through a series of dreams. Here is a short video excerpt of the show: 


© All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated)

Monday, 27 June 2011

What Made Me Happy This Weekend

Driving with the windows down and the music up.

Meeting my friend Gesche's beautiful son Nicholas for the first time.

The colour of the sky on the hottest day of the year.

6 people finishing a whole loaf of cake.

Meeting my new forever hairdresser. My, was she lovely!

Matchy-matchy fingers and toes.

Finding this awesome strawberry jug abandoned by the side of the road.

Marco getting his hands dirty.

What about you?


© All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated)