Japanese crafty goodness - Yozo Craft

25.5.10 - 22:40

I'm a sucker for cute crafty items as you may know from my recent ebullient posts about Happy Tape and Martha Stewart punches. So I was in my element when I came across Yozo Craft. It's jam packed with the cutest Japanese stationery, stickers, buttons and stamps. Check out the great camera stamp and that tape measure ... er.. tape!

Zoyo Craft is run by the same people as Cottonblue on Etsy where they sell some lovely Japanese fabrics. They also have an Etsy shop called 3point5dollars where, you guessed it, everything is $3.50.
I've not purchased anything yet, but it looks like you can choose Airmail or EMS shipping and also pay with Paypal.

These sewing themed stamps are top of my list I think. Anything catch your eye?



Easy flat bread

23.5.10 - 18:44
I've been eating red pepper jelly with everything since the food fair yesterday!

This afternoon I was looking for something else to devour it with and decided to have a go at making some flat breads. It's really easy to make and only has 3 basic ingredients - flour, oil and water.

This amount makes enough for about 4 flat breads which are around 6 inches across (enough for our snacks!) but you could double or triple it up.


1cup self-raising flour (for plain/strong flour add 2tsp baking powder and a pinch of baking soda per 3cups)
1tbsp olive oil
1/3cup cold water
1/2tsp salt
I added a sprinkling of dried thyme and a bit of italian seasoning I found in the cupboard.


- Mix flour, salt and any other flavourings in a bowl
- add the oil and water to form a dough
- knead until it's a bit more shiny
- cut into pieces and roll out each piece
- heat up a griddle or frying pan coated with a little oil
- cook on each side for a minute or two - just watch for when it starts to bubble up on the first side or brown slightly
- enjoy warm with tasty dips - or make it into a mini pizza!



Adventures at Kedleston Hall

22.5.10 - 18:49
Today has been a gloriously sunny day. It's been about 25°C which is pretty warm for round here! In honour of such an auspicious occasion I decided to go on an adventure. Namely, to the food and drink fair at Kedleston Hall.

Kedleston Hall is an amazing country house built in the 1760s. The fair is held annually in the grounds between the house and the river. Very pretty.

I had a good look round the fair and then investigated the church and the grounds. I didn't go into the house this time, but I might go back and check it out one day when it's not so hot.

I sampled quite a few tasty things including these cupcakes (had to be done!) and some red pepper jelly (as in jam, not the dessert!).

I took lots of photos, some on my film camera; so we'll have to wait and see how they come out. If you'd like to see something a bit more instant, I've put some more pictures on my flickr.



Mini scones

16.5.10 - 16:10
Today my finacé is feeling a bit under the weather so I made some scones to cheer him up a bit.

They are great for people who prefer savoury snacks since they are more bread-like than anything. (And a nice change for those of us who consume chocolate like it's going out of fashion...)

My recipe is in ounces for this one, I've made an attempt at a conversion to the US system but it doesn't seem to translate to well.

8oz Self-raising flour(1 3/4cup Plain four + 2 tsp baking powder)
1oz Sugar (3 tbsp)
2oz Butter (4 tbsp)
pinch of salt
1 egg
1/4 pint milk

Delia uses a slightly different recipe but there are some good pictures of the method on her site.
- Preheat oven to 220c/190c fan/425f/gas7 lightly grease and flour a baking tray
- Sieve the flour into a bowl with the salt
- Add the butter (room temp) and rub into crumbs
- Add the sugar and mix together
- Beat the egg together with enough milk to make about 1/4 pint (about 2/3 cup) liquid
- Add about half of the egg/milk to the bowl and mix with a knife - if it is still dry and not starting to stick together add more of the liquid. When it starts to form a dough lightly knead it into a ball
- On a floured surface, roll it out to about 1/2-1 inch thick and cut out circles (or other shapes)
- You can use some of the left over liquid to brush the tops of the scones to make them brown nicely
- Bake for about 10 minutes
- Enjoy with butter and jam, or jam and clotted cream for a real treat.

It's got to be raspberry jam for me! When my Grandad was alive he used to make it; the best kind, with the pips in. I miss my Grandad, and my Granny - I used to cook buns with her when I was little and eat glacé cherries.



Instant photography

14.5.10 - 23:35

I took the film from my Panda Cam in to be developed. Apparently it has to be sent away and it won't be back for three weeks!

So here's something a lot more speedy - instant in fact.
This is just the post box round the corner, but I took it with the Fuji Instax Mini10 which takes these great credit card size photos. (It  uses Instax mini film the same as the 'new' polaroid 300 camera.)

I've never really used a polaroid-type camera before, it's great fun getting your pictures straight away. I like the way they look - very retro. Not so great is that the camera is kinda noisey and the film works out pretty expensive per picture (50-70p each!)



Cupcakes and macarons at Fancie

12.5.10 - 21:36
I wrote a post a couple of years (yes, years!) ago about some luscious cakes we had at an event at my work. At the time the woman who created them was just starting out. Now its a tasty cupcake empire!
The company is called Fancie and is based in Sheffield UK.

They have a really cute little cafe/shop on the outskirts of town and recently opened a kiosk right in the city center.

Check out the cupcake I consumed yesterday and yes...

I tried my first (not made by me) macaron. Chocolate flavour and it was delicious. I require more.

This many will do nicely.

or maybe this many.



Pretty Happy Tape!

10.5.10 - 21:11
I came across these great rolls of tape a little while ago and was really taken by the colours and patterns, especially all lined up in a box like that.

It's a kind of Japanese masking tape called Washi paper tape.
It looks like it would be great for crafts, scrapbooks, notebooks or just taping up parcels and presents!

You can get tonnes of different flavours too. Check out Happy Tape for buying lots of great combinations and JuBella for a collection of lovely ideas.



New toys - Diana Mini and Panda-cam

9.5.10 - 22:21
Remember a little while ago I showed you my Smena Symbol camera and starting talking about Lomography? Well since then I've picked up a couple more cameras.

The top one is the Diana Mini - which takes normal 35mm film but you can take a half picture -so you get twice as many photos per film. It's pretty small, only about four inches across and very light.

The second I call the Panda Cam! It's teeny tiny. The camera is only the middle bit and is about an inch across. The bits on the sides are actually the film sticking out. It takes 110 film like the cameras I had as a kid in the eighties.

You can only take outdoor pictures with this though as it has no flash.

I've not developed any film from the Panda Cam yet, but here is one from the Diana Mini. Well technically one and a half joined together by chance.

I've signed up for a 'film swap' through the Diana Mini Love blog,
so I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens with that.

If you are interested in seeing some more of these kind of pictures - check out the lo-fi sets on my Flickr :)


Other amusements

- 17:43
You may have noticed that there have been rather a lot of 'other amusements' round here recently and not so much 'gothic lolita sewing'. One of the reasons for this is that my sewing machine is broken, *sob sob*. But also I've been doing lots of other things and I want to talk more about them.

So, what I really want to say is;

Dear Lolita,
I'll always love you Lolita, it's not you - it's me. It's true that I've seen some wedding dresses which are much more beautiful than yours; but that's not it, honest. I've changed. I want to persue other interests. I hope we can still be friends.  
Best wishes,
ra_life xxx

From now on I'll be talking about whatever I am currently obsessed with, I think you'll still like it. Lolita will still be a part of things, just in a more healthy balanced way. Hopefully I'll be updating more often too!