My first trip to the ballet

26.2.10 - 13:35
Last week I went to the ballet for the first time. I like to try new things and though I enjoy going to the theatre and live music I'd never been to any kind of dance performance before. So I decided it was time for a new experience.

As a novice in these things I choose a classic, Swan Lake to start with (performed by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia). I looked up the story before hand so that I would know what was going on but it tells you about it in the programme anyway. I found it quite enjoyable. I think I enjoyed the swans dancing more than the men, they seemed to have more variety of movement. Although having said that the 'bad guy' was very dynamic.

It was great to hear a live orchestra play too. There wasn't a pit so you could see all the instruments and really feel the music.

I loved the swan skirts! They were pretty much horizontal. The ultimate in uber-poof?

My friend tells me that this is a very traditional presentation of the ballet and that modern dance can be a lot more passionate and creative. I did enjoy the costumes and spectacle of Swan Lake so I wonder if I'd miss that in something more abstract? Maybe I'll try that next.



Valentines creamy fudge hearts

14.2.10 - 23:01
Happy Valentine's Day!

Today I had a go at making fudge. It's one of those recipes that people avoid as it's hard to get right. I wish I'd known that before I set out! ha ha.

I don't think I got it quite right. Everything seemed to go okay - but the texture isn't very creamy it's more like a sugar mouse. (Which is fine but they are way easier to make, you don't have to boil sugar or anything). These are also VERY VERY sweet.

If you'd like to have a go, I got the recipe here: creamy fudge hearts,  it's on the Martha Stewart site.

I only made half the quantity suggested and I'm glad I did as anymore would have bubbled over the top of the pan! To be fair it does say what size pan you need but I don't really get what a quart is. Anyway, you need a BIG pan, a jam/candy thermometer and lots of patience.

The fiancé would like to add at this point that VERY VERY sweet is an understatement.

EDIT: They tasted much better the next day! Still sweet but a lot more creamy.



When buttons aren't really buttons

13.2.10 - 11:00
As someone who likes crafting all kinds of things I was really taken by this cute paper punch.

Not only does it cut out little buttons, it embosses them as well! They'd be lovely in a scrapbook or on cards for people who like to sew.

It's a Martha Stewart product which I've never seen the UK before. They seem popular though - they are sold out on a lot of craft supply sites.

I'll show you the results as soon as I get my hands on one of these little beauties.



Finding interesting materials

7.2.10 - 17:10
Sometimes I feel the kinds of fabrics and notions available are a bit limited. There are lots of online fabric shops but quite often they seem to stock quite similar products. So I've started looking in different directions for interesting materials to make my clothing more unique. Here are few ideas:

Scope out charity shops.
Although there are some ugly things in charity shops they can be a good place to find small amounts of a fabric - say for an applique or a bag. Velvet can be very expensive and you may not need a whole meter so finding a velvet skirt for £1.50 could be a great buy. Recycling is good for the planet too!

Try a flea market.
I find these really good for buttons. I've seen some really cool military style ones and you can usually get a deal if you buy a few, I've even had them thrown in free when I was buying something else!

Fairs for 'other' hobbies and interests.
This weekend I visited a historical reenactors kit fair. It's not a past time in which I partake but they had lots of 'period' dresses for inspiration and a great leather supplier. I got the clasp in the picture which I really like, I'm thinking about putting it on a cape. I had a good chat with a lady about making cloaks as well.

I'm not sure what these are really called, maybe just a cheap antique place? They always have loads of brooches and sometimes vintage lace and ribbon.

Dance wear.
For something a little more spangle-y try the notions sections of dancing fabric shops. You might need sunglasses to get past all their neon Lycra but they tend to have rhinestones and sequins to the nth power.

I think the main point is to look outside the lolita world for supplies in the way we look outside for inspiration!