Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Ta-Dah Tuesday - school case clean up

I had my gall bladder removed yesterday, I forgot to ask the surgeon for a photo of said gall bladder so that i could have the mother of all posts for Ta-Dah Tuesday. Shame.

I am feeling very tender today but glad to be home after just needing keyhole surgery. 

Looking on bright side of things, the morphine was great, and i am hoping to get back to eating copious amounts of cheese and chocolate cake real soon.

I had already prepared some pics i did a week or so ago, of a vintage school case that needed some lovin.

I chose an old Irish song book that i bought at a car boot sale and have already used for crafting, 

The pages are nicely yellowing

using homemade mod podge

and left to dry on the range.


I only did the lid because it was damaged. Do you think i should do the inside?

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Pretty handy.

I'm always drawn to pieces that can be useful for display or storage or both. A couple of recent thrifted finds manage to fall into both categories. 

The wooden left hand mannequin with 15 joints can be shaped into many life like poses, it's intended use is for life drawing and they can fetch around €25. This one cost me €2 and I thought it would be perfect for displaying rings.

Which meant I could justify rooting around in boxes of tangled jewelry looking for a few new sparklers.

I don't think I ever really went to school with a case like this, so why is this one so familiar? Perhaps my older sister or brother had one, but as soon as I saw it I new it would be mine. Old style hard school case €2 

Made in Ireland, Portarlington Co. Laois, whats so interesting about compressed fibre? Isn't that just hard cardboard?

The last kid who owned this little baby got a bit handy with the felt tip markers. 
Mmmmm......I feel a bit of a makeover coming on?

Sunday, 8 July 2012


During the week I visited an auction that I hadn't been to in quite some time.  It takes place every Thursday and is well attended. The first half of the sale is a mixture of bric-a-brac, household items and second hand furniture, and usually go for reasonably affordable prices. The second half of the sale is a little more 'upmarket', artwork, rugs and fancy furniture.  I really enjoy an auction, and i had the afternoon to myself to have a good look around, pick a few things to bid on, and sit back and listen to the wide assortment of characters that this sort of event attracts. Dealers and traders, newbies and dabblers, old geezers and total nutjobs, they're all there.

I bought this trunk, for a little more than i had intended. I had decided a maximum price I would pay. I don't always stick to the sensible rule of never getting carried away during the bidding, and I had already broken the rule of really examining the item closely before you bid.  I had successfully bid on a mixed box of bric-a-brac, and would have to wait until auction end to pick it up, so in for a penny in for a pound, i was going to fill the car up! 

The bidding started very low, and moves very fast. You can't always see who is bidding against you, this is sometimes because you are bidding against a bid that has been left with the autioneer prior to the sale. When the auctioneer reached my top price, I shook my head and pulled out, pleased with my self for being professional and stopping at my limit. The price went up by a further €4 and then down came the gavel, and he pointed it at me to take my name! Now it does move fast, but i was clearly out, and i was a bit put out at him upping the price on me, but he's the sort of guy that would happily embarrass you in front of the crowd, so i went with it. 

When i went to pick my things up at the end of the auction, I had a chance to examine the trunk in more detail. It was probably made from plywood, covered in red vinyl with a sort 60's crazed pattern on it. It was very sturdy with strong wooded ribs on top and all sides, had two leather handles and metal bound edges. Both latches worked, even though they looked a bit rusted, inside was lined in a printed paper. There was a whiff of damp and mothballs. It would need a good clean and an even better airing.

It was sunny when I got home and I set about cleaning it up straight away, and letting it air in the sunshine. It looked good when I was finished.

The sun shone at the car boot sale, and the trunk aired some more. A young couple pitched up beside me. They too had a trunk for sale, different to mine. She came to have a look at my trunk to compare. When she saw it she squealed at her boyfriend "It's Isobels trunk" and asked me excitedly if I'd found a note inside it. 

They had been at the same auction several weeks before and had seen the trunk where Isobel had fallen for it, but they had missed the bidding. They tried to convince the auctioneer to give them the number of the buyer, but he wouldn't. They ended up putting a note into the trunk with Isobel's number saying if the new owner changed their mind and wanted to sell it, please call.

Whoever bought the trunk then, either didn't collect, or changed their mind, but i ended up bring it home ...noteless, and brought it to the car boot sale which is not even  in the same county as the auction house.

Isobel was phoned and came and collected her prized possession. I hope it lives up to her expectations. Sometimes the one that got away becomes a much more desirable piece. I know that feeling very well.

It felt like it was going to a good home, and a good excuse to have a post with a nice title. 

Serendipity ....'unexpected good fortune' or 'a happy accident' for both me and Isobel'. 

Linking with Her Library Adventures, The Penny Worthy Project and Magpie Monday

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Home Made Easy Thrifty Chicken Pie

I know some people are afraid of making pastry and sleb chefs are forever saying there is no shame in buying frozen pastry, but since i discovered a few pastry making tips and combined them in my own process,    to BUY pastry is now far more hassle, more expensive and not nearly as tasty as making my own. The pastry on this pie costs less than 50c and the contents of the pie are left overs from Sunday dinner. It takes me about 20 minutes to put together for a Monday dinner. 

As usual I make twice this quantity and freeze half for another pie or quiche. Saves on the washing up!( The two leftover egg whites get kept to be made into meringues for a quick dessert with greek yoghurt and squished berries.)

Shortcrust Pastry in the food processor.

125g plain flour
60g cold butter cubed
1 egg yolk
pinch of salt
1-2 tablespoons of cold water.

Put flour and cubed butter in food processor, buzz for 30 secs until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs, add egg and pulse a couple of times, add water one spoon at a time and pulse until the mixture is starting to form one big lump. Tip onto cling film, flatten into a circle, wrap and put in fridge for 20 mins. 
When rolling out, i always roll between 2 pieces of cling film. It makes it really easy to handle and lift into place, and make very little mess on the countertop (no need for flouring surfaces which only adds too much flour into the pastry) As long as the oven is hot enough, (180) this pastry is perfect every time.

On a Sunday when we are having a roast chicken,  I like to make a large amount of gravy so i always have a lot left over, the same with any steamed veg, carrots/brocolli. The carcass of the chicken is picked clean on Monday and all I have to do is fry off a little onion and garlic in a saucpan then make a bit of white sauce(in the same pan), throw in the leftover gravy, veg and chicken and top with easy pastry!

 Home Made Easy Thrifty Chicken Pie. Ta - Dah! linking to Lakota