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31 July 2012

This Month...July


Oh July, you haven't been the happiest of months (see post here) but we have to stay positive and focus on the good things that have happened...

New Movies/TV Shows

« The Amazing Spiderman soooo good! I blogged about it here« Hulk we got into a bit of a comic book movie obsession, so wanted to see this one, but wasn't impressed, so not as good as the more modern comic book movies.  « Wanderlust I do love Jennifer Aniston romcoms, she is quite funny actually.  « Tiny Furniture I LOVED this! Lena Dunham is a genius, of course I loved Girls, so really wanted to see this, which is basically just Girls, but a bit more random.  « Once Upon a Time just discovered this series, it's so good, I think it's quite a celver concept, only a few episodes into series one, can't wait to see what happens (I'm guessing a happy ending, haha!)  « Also I discovered this check it out if you love movies, I could watch these all day!


New Blogs Discovered

« Girl Lost in the City - Nice to see a non standard blog layout! Interesting articles and pretty fashion.
« xoJane - Feminist online magazine (but you can follow it through Bloglovin).
« Tales from the Faraway Tree - love discovering cool UK bloggers, so many things in common too.
« Beth Retro - Wow, Beth's retro inspired photos are amazing!
« Dearest Deer - Pretty new blog, a must read if you like Wish wish wish.


Things That Made me Smile

« New camera.  « Beautiful stately home gardens.  « Graduation ceremonies and inspiring speeches.  « Discovering Hello Cotton.  « iPhone.  « Instagram.  « Ultimate Frisbee on a rare sunny evening with friends in the park.  « New dresses.  « A week off work. « Browsing craft fairs with my mum.  « Booking Marilyn Manson tickets, screeeam! « Changing my bedroom furniture around.  «Reminiscing about 18 lovely years with my perfect cat Mittens.


Right, August, I have high hopes for you... exciting things coming up this month and will Cumbria finally see some sunshine??? Stay tuned for the next exciting installment....


30 July 2012

Crochet iPhone Case


I crocheted last week, the first actual finished crochet project I have done, so pleased with myself!

I was meant to be making granny squares for many blanket projects I'm working on, but I decided to do something a little different.  As you all know by now I got my new iPhone last week so I thought I would crochet it a little present (oh dear!)


I don't really know what I am talking about when it comes to crochet, but I will give it a bash.  It is super easy to make though!  At first I was confused as to how it joined together, but all quickly became clear.

Start with a chain of around 15 (I think) but just keep going until it is the width of your phone (you can of course make these for ipads, Kindles etc too.)  It is better to be shorter than the width than longer, because it will stretch remember, you don't want it baggy!

Then double crochet into the second stitch from hook.  This is where I get confused I think US say double (where you have 2 loops on hook) and UK we should say single?  But I learnt from US YouTube videos so I'm sticking with double!  So simply double crochet into each chain, go round the corner and double crochet into the back side of each chain.

Then simply keep going! It is just a continuous spiral! Super easy!  Just keep trying it on your phone until the desired length.  On the top row stop a few stitches from the middle and do a big long chain, like 20 or so, then loop it over and continue double crocheting, leaving those few middle stitches out, this forms your little loop at the top.

Finish off by tucking in your ends, just pull them through inside to hide them and sew on a button for the loop to hook onto.

This was such an easy, fun and quick project I started another one straight after in blue, for my sister...



I always use YouTube videos to learn new stitches, so I highly recommend going there to learn the stitches mentioned.  But these are super easy, a great first project for the new crocheter, if I can do it , anybody can!

Happy crocheting!

Thanks for popping by, I have LOADS more FREE crochet patterns on my other posts, you can see them all and subscribe via Bloglovin here 

27 July 2012

Blog Buttons

Hi again!

2 blog posts in the same day? Crazy!  I am just dropping by quickly to let you know that I am now considering button swaps for my blog.  If you look at my beautiful right side bar I like to collect buttons for the blogs I love.  These buttons are not sponsors nor have I asked for anything in return, I simply like to put buttons on my blog for the blogs I genuinely like and read.

If you would like me to consider your blog button for inclusion on my right side bar then email me at jothestrange@gmail.com.

If you would like this beautiful, amazing (hehe) button on your blog you simply look at the bottom of my right side bar and copy the code in full and paste it where desired into the layout of your blog. 

You are free to use my blog button as you please, but do let me know so that I can check out your blog too!

New to html and not sure how to make a button, try this handy button generator.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Jo x

This Week...


OMG! Danielle posted this amazing post about her visit to the Miffy store in Amsterdam, how amazing are these pictures.  I have loved Miffy since I was little, I had all the books and Miffy pictures on my bedroom walls.  I even have a little Miffy sticker on this laptop that I am currently typing on.  I would love to go to this shop, one day...

Yep, I've been supermarket clothes shopping again! I love these lovely little printed pumps just landed in Asda this week.  Bargintastic too, of course.  The strappy ones are £8 and no straps are £6!  You can afford to buy all 6! haha.  Check them out here... www.asda.com 


How pretty is Kaylah's hair in this post? She posted a link to this amazing hair tutorial showing how to make curls that stay put without heat styling! It looks super easy, def my kind of thing.  I am going to try it tonight.  Kaylah's hair always looks pretty to me, the colour of course is fantastic.

This week has been great, mainly because I am off work, wuhu! But I have been quite productive, cleaned my flat, finished crochet projects (more on this next week) been on lovely bike ride and lovely dog walk and just enjoyed not being at work generally!  But how is it Friday already?  Why does time go so fast when you are on holiday? ugh...

Have a lovely weekend x

26 July 2012

Little Home Details


Ooopsie! I forgot to blog yesterday! I'm off work this week so haven't really been sticking to my usual routine.  But I had such a productive day yesterday I cleaned my flat from top to bottom, even scrubbed the windows (which is an effort in a quirky old flat with odd windows) and I changed round the furniture in my bedroom.  I am super excited about this, it feels like I just moved in, all shiny and new!

Anywho, yesterday whilst cleaning there was nice sunlight in my flat so I took the opportunity to take some little pics of some of the details...

1. This little cat person likes to perch here on this teeny chest of drawers.  2.  Little knitted mouse friend in a bowl.  3.  Favourite pretty pebbles from the beach.  4.  When I moved in I found there were loads of picture hooks in random places, so of course I had to hang things, this little person hangs on my ceiling beams.  5.  Hanging stars on the back of the door.  6.  Little Maisy in a jug!  7.  Another little picture hook person!  8.  Pretty painting done by my very talented friend Pam.  9.  Yes, I even have soft toys in the bathroom!


10.  Cute little ornaments.  11.  Pretty Angelina Ballerina frame with treasured pics.  12. Felicity Wishes and 2 Angelina Ballerinas (yes ok I know I should grow up!) 14.  My little painting in pride of place.  15.  Little hanging frog person on the kitchen cupboards.  16.  The television people (They have been on every TV I have had for many many years!  17.  Maisy beakers (what could be better in life!) 18.  My pretty little bowl collection.

I hope you enjoyed my little home details tour.  Please tell me some of you blogger lot have 'silly' childish things in your homes? (or am I on my own there??) eek!

Jo x

24 July 2012

Style Crush - Keira Knightley


This month I am style crushing over Keira Knightley.  Keira's style can quite frankly only be described as 'scruffy student'! I am sure she looks amazing on the red carpet and styled for her movies but whenever she is papped she looks, well, scruffy!


I love the scruffy student look, it is one I have myself been carefully cultivating over the years! haha!  it may be 10 years (eek!) ago that I actually was a 'proper' student.  Well actually, not entirely true, I was a student last year full time too, I went back to uni to do a PGCE and I also work at a uni and have on countless times been mistaken for a student!  So I figure I can get away with this look.  Well actually, the fact that I am mistaken for a student at the age of 31 is possibly a sign I should be developing a new look by now?  Oh no no no!!!!

Anywho, I love Keira's style, she looks so carefree in her pretty summer dresses, sandals and cross body bags.  I would steal her style tomorrow, if only Cumbria was to actually have a summer this year!

What do you think of Keira?  She seems to be a controversial one, and has quite a few haters.  Personally I like her, I have enjoyed all the movies I have seen her in and think she is brilliant (the fact that she mostly does period dramas helps a lot here!)  She maybe pouts a bit too much but she has to have one flaw! haha.

Thanks so much for popping by, you can subscribe to my blog via Bloglovin right here

(All pics from www.look.co.uk)

23 July 2012

I Love my City - in Instagrams!


So as I mentioned on Friday I got an iPhone last week, my first ever one.  The first thing I did, before I even put all my numbers in was to download Instagram! (who actually uses a mobile for ringing people anyway!) My sis and like the world have been raving about it for so long I really wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and yes I am hooked already!

I took my new toy into town this weekend and thought I would do a little Instagramming of the pretty historic part of town! Carlisle is super pretty you know, we have town walls and everything!


I don't often come to this end of town (cos there are no shops!) but when I do I am always astonished at just how nice it is, it is easy to forget to take notice of the any pretty things in your own home town when we go through everyday normal life.

Well I have to run, I just realised I've started eating my dinner and I forgot to Instagram it first (such a newbie faux pas!) haha! Oh how I crack myself up!

Oh I am @perfecthidingplace on Instagram if you would like a nose at my pics!

20 July 2012

This Week...


This week has been taken over by Graduation!  Not mine, I might add, but the students at the uni I work at.  I have attended 10 ceremonies, spread over 4 days, said congratulations and gave a badge to 1500 graduates, heard the same speech 10 times over, enjoyed the same song sang by the choir ten times over, smiled until my face hurt and clapped until my hands were sore! I need to sleep for a loooong time now....



Tatty Devine posted this awesome video on their Official YouTube page it shows how a name necklace is made, pretty cool!  But makes me want yet more name necklaces, sigh!



HOW pretty is this dress??? When I saw it on the Dorothy Perkins website I gasped.  Birdcage print, a Peter Pan collar and beautiful purple colour, can a dress get prettier? Oh why oh why does it have to be a whole week until payday? so unfair, want it now!!!  Buy it here...
http://www.dorothyperkins.com


I realise I'm a little late to this particular party, but I am soooo excited this week because I ordered my very first iphone! scream!  I haven't actually got it yet, but I am sure you will know about it when I do, expect lots of ramblings about how much I love it and best of all I can finally INSTAGRAM! woo! (Photo source: Apple)


Happy Friday everyone!  Hope u have a splendid weekend x

19 July 2012

A Favourite Weekend Outfit


I am a bit obsessed with this dress at the moment and have been wearing it soooo much!  It is a recent purchase and an Ebay bargain at £10! I am quite new to Ebay, but I am super happy with this dress.  I usually wear it with black leggings and plimsolls for a casual look.


The details above... an old trusty handbag in my favourite green shade.  It used to have a big button detail on the front but it fell off ages ago, it's also a bit scuffed and scruffy but I love it.  My new fave Superga plimsolls, they go with everything, so happy with them.  I love the colour of this cardigan, in fact I am just drawn to anything in this grass green shade.  And my favourite detail of the dress is the pretty lace Peter Pan collar.


Is it Friday yet???? I'm off next week and it can't come soon enough!

18 July 2012

Mittens


Well this week has been pretty crappy!  We had to say goodbye to our family cat Mittens at the weekend, and it has not been easy at all.

I wanted to write a little post to explain what makes Mittens so great...

We got Mittens (or Mitzi for short) when I was 14 (this was a loooong time ago!) She is our longest surviving family pet and quite frankly the BESTEST most perfect cat in the world. 

I remember the day we went to choose her, we got her from the local animal shelter and she was in a big walk in cage with her mum and all her little brothers and sisters (I seem to remember there being hundreds of them!?) When we went in the cage all the little kittens were climbing over us and fighting for our attention but little Mittens was just sat at the back all shy and quiet, it was instant love "we want that one!" and that pretty much sums her up, she was quiet, gentle and never made a fuss.

We brought her home and played and played with little kitten Mittens.  We were all so obsessed with her and didn't leave her alone, she became such a big and important part of the family instantly.

When she grew up she was never one for playing much, she would get bored of catching balls and chasing string long before we did!  Instead Mittens liked to sleep and cuddle.  That's one of the great things about her she has always been such a cuddly cat and loves nothing better than to curl up on your lap, or nuzzle into your neck and go to sleep.  She never went much further than the garden, never caught a bird or mouse in her life, and was very loyal.  She was very odd in that she actually liked wearing a collar!  She would wash her name tag, and looked ever so proud and happy when she got a shiny new one!


Weird Mittens traits are how she liked to lick our hair when it was wet, and she used to get quite tangled up in it too!  She had an instant dislike to our neighbour (he wasn't a cat person!) and every time she saw him out of the window she would chatter her teeth and make funny growly sounds at him! hehe.  The weirdest Mittens story was when our other cat Kitti got stuck up the tall tree in our garden, we had always thought Mitz didn't like him but she climbed up onto the top of our shed roof and was calling to him!  Either she was distressed and worried about him, or she was laughing!

It's not easy writing this, so I'm going to stop now.  But I'm happy that Mitzi is safe, she isn't suffering (she was pretty frail and elderly at the end) and she is with Snowie and Smudge (other dear departed family cats) down at the bottom of the garden, sleeping forever in a favourite shady spot.


I know you shouldn't have favourites, but I've never loved a little fury person as much as I love Mittens.   She was just perfect to me. xxx

17 July 2012

A Few Recent Pins...


This month I seem to have been pinning a lot of cakes!  They are just so pretty and mouthwatering I cannot help it.  But all the cakes and cookies I am drawn to are always silly childish ones and full of ridiculous e-numbers!  They may not appeal to some people, but if you are going to the effort to make a cake, you simply must make it colourful!


What's better than drooling over pretty cakes and cookies on a dreary Tuesday afternoon, ugh, it's sooooo long until the weekend.

I have a rumbly in my tummy now, oh dear! Must. have. Sugar! (If only I could make anything remotely as good as these!).

Check out my Baking board on Pinterest here... http://pinterest.com/perfecthiding/baking/

Here are the picture details...

1. http://www.meaningfulmama.com/2012/03/day-84-rainbow-birthday-cake.html
2. http://www.yourcupofcake.com/2012/03/homemade-mint-oreos.html
3. http://www.bakersroyale.com/cakes/cake-batter-rice-krispie-treat/#more-9268
4. No original source, sorry!
5. http://sweetapolita.com/2011/09/cake-batter-sprinkle-bark/
6. http://www.flickr.com/photos/41132251@N06/4863407822/in/photostream/
7. http://www.polkadotbirthday.com/2008/07/birthday-party-favor-cookies.html
8. http://www.soudersstudios.com/recipes/rainbow-pinwheel-cookies.php

Happy baking! x

16 July 2012

Mag-o-holic!


I have a little problem... I am rather addicted to magazines!  Trashy celeb, fashion, craft magazines anything really! I buy sooo many each month (and then wonder where all my money goes to!)


My very favourite magazine and the one I get most excited about buying is Mollie Makes.  It is just over a year old but shot to the top of my favourites list after only a few issues.   I have every single issue so far, and they are so beautiful that I plan on keeping them all too.   All other magazines get thrown out after reading and cutting up for scrapbooks but not Mollie, I would never cut her up!


I can't remember where I first heard about Mollie Makes, it was probably twitter or a blog, but there was a buzz about it, and I was excited about it before I even saw the first issue.

Every page is a delight and I find it super inspiring.  Stories about incredibly cool designers and crafters, pretty websites to check out, beautiful books and such incredibly cool things to make.  How can you not love a magazine that has a pattern to make a crochet carrot and the teeniest cutest felted bear?

I also love how each contributor has their own blog, and the magazine actively supports these and publishes the addresses, so even once you have read the issue from cover to cover you end up with a huge list of amazing new blogs to check out!  I can't count how many of my favourite blogs and crafty people I have discovered through Mollie.


If you are a blogger/crafter and you haven't heard of Mollie Makes yet, then firstly what planet have you been living on! haha and secondly you absolutely MUST!!!

You can buy it here... http://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/stitch-craft/mollie-makes-magazine-subscription/  It's also available in most WH Smith and supermarkets, although the latest issue tends to sell out fast, so snap it up quickly.

Also bookmark the Mollie blog, daily snippets of Mollie prettiness... yeah!  http://molliemakes.themakingspot.com/

Are you a mag-o-holic?  What are your faves???

13 July 2012

This Week...


So I have become a little obsessed with Supermarket dresses this week.  Being on a tight clothes budget I am forced to be creative, I thought I would have a wee peak at some of the clothing delights that my local supermarkets have to offer and I was very pleasantly surprised!  I think these are super pretty!  Here are the details...

1. Asda £12      2. Tesco £16      3. Tesco £18      4. Tesco £10      5. Asda £16      6. Tesco £16

Those prices are shocking, in a good way! I treated myself to number 4 and 6 and actually the quality isn't that bad! For summer dresses that you perhaps only expect to wear for one season, bargintastic!!!  I am planning to snap up number 1 and 2 on next payday.  Buy them here Tesco and Asda.




Jenny and the Magic Feather, my most favouritest blog ever, had a make-over, HOW exciting.  Check it out now, so pretty!



This little girl was all over the news this week! I have fallen in love!  I am such a sucker for a cute animal story, even though they always upset me and make me cry (and fill me with rage and hatred of course for the evil, despicable people who do these horrid things).  This story has a happy ending though, she was rescued and is doing great and obviously after being all over the news she will find a loving new home in no time. aw! http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2172059/UK-weather-Bald-puppy-needs-new-home-cruel-owners-abandoned-weeks-floods.html



I discovered a cool new blog this week. Influence is such a good read and her blog layout is super pretty, as you can see from the banner above.

How can it be Friday already???  (not that I am complaining) It's come round so soon I haven't even thought about any weekend plans yet.  I hope you have a good one, whatever it is you are doing. x


12 July 2012

Hero - Nancy Mitford


This month for my hero post I want to introduce you to Nancy Mitford.  Her novels Love in a Cold Cimate and the Pursuit of love are two of my absolute favourite books.


I first came across Nancy and her sisters when I happened upon the 2000 BBC series Love in a Cold Climate which is actually the story of The Pursuit of Love as well combined into a one series.  I was hooked from the first few moments.  I love a period drama, especially about the British aristocracy, I find everything about that lifestyle and time absolutely fascinating.  I did my research after watching the series and bought and read the original novels and was delighted to discover the characters in the novels were semi autobiographical and she took her own life and that of her 5 sisters as inspiration.


Nancy was the eldest of the Mitford Sisters, who each went on to be famous or perhaps rather more notorious in their own right.  One sister, Unity, was close the Nazi party and Hitler! Another sister, Jessica was quite the opposite, and became heavily involved in Communism and Deborah, the youngest, became the Duchess of Devonshire and lives at Chatsworth House.

Nancy is admired for being a very talented and popular novelist and my love of her stories is primarily why she is on my Hero list.  Her characters are wonderful, I love the relationships between the sisters, the silly names they have for each other, the teasing and the little secret inside jokes.  She describes their games, their adventures and their lifestyles so well.  Of course being aristocratic the main characters in her books Linda, Fanny and Polly have nothing much to do but wait around until they get married, and they are all debutantes and have their coming out parties, which is a tradition I find so interesting and lovely.


If you would like to find out more about Nancy Mitford, check out these links...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Mitford
http://www.nancymitford.com/

Read her novels...

Love in a Cold Climate
The Pursuit of Love
Don't Tell Alfred
The Blessing
Wigs on the Green

Which you can read in one collection, here... http://www.amazon.co.uk/Penguin-Complete-Novels-Nancy-Mitford/dp/1905490895

Also check out her biographies and books of letters, which are absolutely fascinating....

Nancy Mitford - Diana Moseley
The House of Mitford - Jonathan Guinness
The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters - Charlotte Moseley
The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh - Charlotte Moseley

There are loads of books written about the Mitford Sisters, just type in 'Mitford' to Amazon, I am sure you will quickly become as obsessed as I am and want to read more and more!

All photos from http://www.npg.org.uk/

11 July 2012

Outdoor Adventures - Dalemain Gardens



Whilst visiting Dalemain Fair on Saturday mum and I took the time to visit the beautiful gardens, and it was the perfect first outing for my new camera!


We were sooo excited to discover this little door in the wall to a secret little woodland garden!





No idea what this plant is called, and it is'nt the prettiest but if you see them, you must feel them, the leaves are soooo soft! They feel like baby rabbits!

LOVE oak leaves! these ones were sooo green.


Huuuuge leaves! I was standing under them to take the photos, they were super spikey too.

What do you think of the photos with the new camera then?  I think the image quality is way better, not sure about the skill though, haha!


10 July 2012

This Week's Nails...


This week my nails are yellow!  I am always drawn to yellow nail varnish in the shops because it is such a nice bright colour, however I have yet to find a decent yellow varnish, they are always really poor colours and require at least 3 coats.


Unfortunately this yellow isn't that great and required 3 coats and is still a bit streaky.  The colour is really good though.  I will probably use it in the future for polka dots or the base for patterned designs.

Can anyone recommend a decent yellow varnish?

9 July 2012

Crafty Adventures - Trip to Dalemain Fair


On Saturday Mum and I went to a little local craft fair at Dalemain there were so many great little crafts, I thought I would share some of my favourite finds.

These little knitted finger puppets and mice are so cute, I love little hand knitted toys.  Of course I bought one, the little mouse guy at the front with the blue shorts and red scarf is now proudly sitting on top of my bookcase. (Don't worry he isn't lonely without his friends, I have a collection of other little people there too!)


Teeny doll outfits! aw! Makes me wish I still had my dolly, so I could dress her up!

These little outfits and knitted toys were made by Sheila Bailey, but unfortunately she doesn't appear to have a website.


I am a bit obsessed with handmade pottery, I have a little collection of locally made bowls.
Loved these ones, top pic pottery can be found at http://www.wetheriggs-pottery.co.uk/ and the hedgehog pottery can be found at www.jennybell.co.uk


And lastly I purchased this sheep noticeboard.  I love this sheep material, I found it in a shop recently and bought a fat quarter, which I am yet to use, so I fell in love with this pinboard.  As you can see I have put it up already and started to store my little collection of crafty business cards.   The noticeboards can be found here www.beechcroftboards.co.uk.

I love visiting craft fairs, here's hoping that the weather finally gets a bit nicer and I can enjoy making more crafty discoveries this summer.