Monday, 26 April 2010

New books

I ordered some books from The Book Depository - to be honest the Whoopie Pies and Macaron books are probably more to drool over than actually do anything with! To make any Whoopie pies, apparently I need some Crisco  - errrrrr Whaaaat?

To make macarons, I mostly need patience as lots can and probably will go wrong - still, I might give them a go as I really do love eating them.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Renovations and improvements

I've done a bit of tarting up on my blog and also some table renovations.
Earlier in the year, I won bought a gorgeous solid wood coffee table on e-Bay*. Chic Girl and I collected it from Bristol and it's been sat here waiting for me to tart it up ever since. Miraculously there's nothing wrong with the top (I suspect they had kept it covered), but the rest was just a little scruffy.
Here is the table 'Before':
 After a sanding and the undercoat:
 The drawers showing the tarnished brass back plates, which I have removed now:
 The finished article:

Another e-Bay buy - A Laura Ashley side table that had some serious water marking on the top and was filthy:

After a good sanding, but before painting:
 The finished table:
* Hint - you often can buy stuff for a better price and with fewer bidders, if you can find 'collect only' furniture local to you.
Oh and we finally went to see Alice In Wonderland, in 3D, no less. The chap at our local cinema was very excited to tell us that 'they' only got 3D installed a couple of weeks ago, but he was then most apologetic about the fact that we had to pay an extra 80p each for our 3D glasses, we were expecting a couple of cardboard pairs, but surprisingly we got these:

Which we can keep apparently - errrr, woo hoo I think..... but we mustn't use them as sunglasses!
Himself didn't think it was as good a film as Avatar for the 'FX' and I can see his point. But I still enjoyed it. Helena Bonham-Carter stole the show as the red queen, The Mad hatter was OK, but I found the white queens bushy eyebrows and dark lips extremely distracting. I think it's another one of those films that when the DVD comes out, I will enjoy looking at the textures in more detail.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Birthday weekend (2)

Sorry folks, that was a long time coming and I'm not especially sure it will be worth the wait either!
Here are lots more photos:
Cafe Uno - The whole building was covered in tiles with an Egyptian theme:
Cycling skeleton in Libertys pharmacy - a comment on models these days perhaps?


Himself had booked tickets for 'The Infidel' with  Omid Djalili (bloke from the ads), Richard Schiff (Toby in The West Wing) and Matt Lucas playing a Rabbi at the Empire Leicester Square cinema - somewhere we used to (easily and quickly) drive to and park just around the corner, on the street, for free, before we were married - We would  nip into 'town' for the Saturday midnight movie - the seats reclined and it was rather nice after the then somewhat scruffy provincial Ealing or Wembley cinemas.
Considering the price of our tickets I would have expected more, true we were on the back row with plenty of leg room and true the seats still reclined, but since the seats in front also reclined, Himself and I had a couple who insisted on bouncing back and forth on their chair backs throughout the entire film - thus spoiling our comfort value by 99.9%, looking around other tall people suffered the same way. However the film was both enjoyable and funny, just a shame about the cinema seats.
Inside Libertys (Oh how I love this shop):
We went to the V&A as we had tickets for the Quilt show. Sadly no photos allowed, so I've scanned in some of the postcards I bought afterwards, (experience has taught me that to buy the accompanying book is pointless as I so rarely look at it again!) I enjoyed the exhibition much more than I thought I would. The old quilts really did steal the show and the opportunity to see them up close was great. The 'Changi quilt' bought a lump to my throat and I felt for the 'convict' women stitching the 'Rajah quilt' on the ship to Australia (sorry no postcards of those) I agree with many other quilters views in that I too think the curators missed a trick with the choice contemporary quilts. What a shame they didn't choose quilts from the many fine quilters we have in this country. I gave most of them no more than a passing glance - I thought it was sad that they chose to exhibit modern work by a group of prisoners from Wandsworth and yet the work by so many ordinary (and extraordinary) women was completly ignored.  One of the few contemporary quilts I liked (and stupidly I didn't note down who made it,) was made of 38,000 x 1cm squares of plain newspaper, to represent the number of civilians and 100 x 1cm square photos to represent military personell who had died (up to that point in time) in the Iraqi war. I found it very moving.

I'm sure I've either seen this quilt before or something similar to this idea before....... Liberty Jack by Janey Forgan:

Small Cot quilt - Welsh wool -1860's Red diamonds in the centre are satin and the hearts are a fine knitted fabric, they may have once been stockings.
Patchwork by Elisabeth Chapman - 1829. Unfinished, all the tacking threads and paper backings were still in place - we were allowed to see portions of the back showing the papers, many with beautiful copperplate writing.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Birthday weekend (1)

Woah, what a jam packed weekend! So here are lots of photos - but not too much waffle.....
I'd never been to the National Gallery before: One of my gifts were tickets to a special exhibition of Paul Delaroche paintings. Himself also bought us the audio guides (well worth the two quid extra, as you get so much more from the exhibition) so off we set plugged into our machines. Wow what an exhibition. Many huge paintings that seeing photos in a book (or a blog!) can never convey the size, texture or richness of the real thing. Each time we go to a gallery or museum, I forget how much I enjoy looking at the real thing. This was one of my favourites in the Delaroche exhibition, The Excecution of Lady Jane Grey (246cm x297cm:The Two Princes in The Tower (181cm x 215cm):
We spent hours looking at the 13th - 15th century paintings and then started getting Art fatigue (I know, aren't we phillistines?!) so decided to make a point of seeking out the more famous18th -20th Century ones on this, our first visit: Sunflowers by Van Gogh, The Suerats, Constables, Turners, Gainsboroughs, Stubbs, Hogarth etc. Some bigger and some smaller than I imagined, but all so much better in the flesh and we were able to get within a foot to see them too. Splendid. We are definately coming back here again.
As the weather was so pleasant we also did quite a bit of walking around outside taking photos like a couple of tourists (oh, hang on, we *were* tourists!)
Night time trees in Leicester Square:
Iron Lampost:Trafalger Square: Me standing in front of some London buses in Trafalger Square:

Ginger hair (yes really!) coming out of a window in Beak Street (no, we didn't why know either):
Himself in Trafalger Square:
Carnaby Street:
A Duck (DUKW WW2 amphibious vehicle) tours bus complete with tourists quacking loudly on their duck whistles:
Egyptian design tiling all over this building:
The closest us mere mortals can get to 10 Downing Street nowadays:
A Coldstream guard, on his own just before another eager tourist stood next to him for a photo:and no I wasn't one of the ones who wanted my photo stood next to a guard.
Typical Whitehall view:Me, standing on the edge of Trafalger Square with Big Ben in the background:
Waiting for Big Ben to chime: