Monday, 8 October 2012

Top Five DIY Projects For The Home

Due to my current state of unemployment (sob) I have spent a lot of my time falling in love again with textiles and crafts. I've actually been having quite a lot of fun and Pinterest is a fantastic source for all kinds of craft projects.

Here are my top five very easy projects that I am definitely going to try this month!

Light & Ribbon Garland.

Looks very pretty and is very easy to do. Just tie colorful and mismatched ribbons onto a string of lights.
Source: Pinterest

Photo Heart Collage.

I have recently bought an old Polaroid from EBay and have been looking for the perfect excuse to get snap happy! Perfect way to celebrate your relationship and have it framed above your bed. I really do heart this! (Excuse the pun).
Source: Pinterest

Book Candle Holders.

All you need is a page from a book, some twine, an old jam jar and a tea light. Simply cut out a heart shape from the book page (or any shape that takes your fancy) and glue it round the jar. Tie a bow with the twine, add the tea light and voila! Cute.
Source: Pinterest

Key Necklace.

I think these are great and look very hippy. You can make a variety of different ones by using colorful ribbon and painting the keys.

Felt Mice.
All you need for this is a small box (cigar box is perfect) and different colored felt. It's my niece's birthday this month and this is perfect to make as a present.

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

To Tattoo Or Not To Tattoo

Recently I've been seriously thinking about getting a tattoo. I don't mean the Hell's Angel kind, I'm not really into arm-sleeves or skulls. So don't worry I haven't gone all biker chic, but I do admire how tattoos can be used not as decoration, but as something meaningful. I like small and dainty designs which have a special meaning to the person. I already have a small tortoise (I know, very random and embarrassing, don't ask) on my inner wrist, but now I feel he is ready for a friend. My favorite kinds are those on the wrist or ankle. I think tattoos can look really feminine on these parts of a woman's body. 
I know its not a choice which should be taken lightly, as you are stuck with it even when you're old and wrinkly. But this is my theory - 

  1. The designs that I like are very small and easy to cover up. Therefore every time I look in the mirror I want have this 'in your face' design of doom staring back at me. Plus I'm not brave enough to get anything bigger than the size of a penny. I'm a coward. I don't like pain. 
  2. If I get something meaningful inked on my skin then surely I'll never regret it? It will only remind me a good moment in my life, or a belief or reminder.
So there, I think it makes perfect sense to get one. I'm twenty one, recently graduated and have the rest of my life ahead of me so why don't I get something to commemorate it? I'm booking an appointment tonight!

Here are a few designs that I think are great...

This Frog tattoo made me laugh for ages. Hilarious!

Source: pinterest

Dandelion Tattoo. So beautiful but a little too big for me. I'm such a coward
Source: pinterest
Writing. I think this is beautiful and tattoos of writing are a really good idea. It would be hard to find something that's not cringy/ridiculous/or just plain stupid though.

Dinosaur Tattoo. Very cute. Never would have it though.
Source: pinterest

Love Hearts. Love hearts on each elbow? Very cool. 
Source: pinterest

Buddha. This excites my inner hippy.
Source: pinterest

Peace man. I really like the peace sign and this is small enough for a coward like me. I am seriously considering this.
Source: pitnerest

Dream-catcher. Pocahontas eat-your-heart-out. 
source: pinterest
Hummingbird tattoo. This is beautiful but I will never get a tattoo of a bird because my Mum is adamant that they are unlucky, and i'm stupid enough to believe her. 

Feather Tattoo. I want this but just a little smaller. 

So many choices! Check out my pinterest page for more: katdzierozynski. I'm obsessed.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A Very English Victoria Sponge

Finally, I am actually quite proud of myself. Today I have managed to bake a cake that, for once, doesn't resemble the back end of a baboon. I decided to try the classic Victoria sponge, with butter-cream and raspberry jam. Very posh darling!

Now all I need is to make little cucumber sandwhiches and a pot of tea, and i've completed the English stereotype! Here is the simple recipe I used...

All you need is...
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g softened butter
  • 4 eggs , beaten
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk

  1. Heat oven to 190C. Butter two sandwich tins (again don't ask me the sizes of these, I have no clue. But I'm sure it will work for you if it works for me!). 
  2. In a large bowl, beat all the cake ingredients together until you have a smooth, soft batter.
  3. Divide the mixture between the tins, smooth the surface with the back of a spoon, then bake for about 20 mins until golden and the cake springs back when pressed. I always insert a sharp knife in the center, if it comes out clean then it is done. Take out of the tins and leave to cool completely.
To make the butter-cream filling you will need...
100g butter , softened
140g icing sugar , sifted
340g jar good-quality raspberry jam 
icing sugar and berries, to decorate

Beat the butter until smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in icing sugar. 

Spread the jam over the top of one of the sponges. 

Then spread the butter-cream over the jam. This will do fine, though I decided to add raspberries in the center as well to create more depth.  

Once you have layered the remaining sponge on top you can decorate how you life. I decided to add raspberries and blackberries, and dust with a little icing sugar.

 Oh it brings back memories of the Queen's Jubilee!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Inspiration: Dream Home

Although I'm far from having my dream home - that would require having money and own a house, a girl can dream. Sigh.

I like how this piano has been jazzed up with a lick of paint. I also think using vintage plates as wall hangings is a really crafty idea. 
The prefect office desk
I love the mismatched cushions and photo frames. It creates a really hippy style. 

A perfect country kitchen. I much prefer shabby to modern

My perfect lounge. I love how girly it is, and using vintage suitcases as coffee tables is a great idea.

Yummy Carrot Cake

So I've tried it again. I decided to test my Domestic Goddess abilities by attempting a carrot cake. I've never made one before, as you can probably see by the photo, and the end result was, well, kind of messy. But I've been assured by my family that it tastes scrummy. Hopefully they aren't trying to save my feelings, and secretly feeding it to my Labrador once my back is turned. 
As I've already stated, I'm far from being Nigella Lawson's twin. But I have a love of cake, and so I often try simple recipes to get my sugary fix. I was a bit daunted at first trying to bake carrot cake. I couldn't, and still don't, understand how you really can put carrot into a cake mix. I mean carrot! As in the vegetable! Really? But I guess it works, and this simple recipe was very easy to follow. 
What you will need is:

  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 175ml sunflower oil
  • 3 large eggs , lightly beaten
  • 140g grated carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 100g raisins
  • grated zest of 1 large orange
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg 
  1. Firstly, preheat the oven to 180C. Oil the base and sides of a loaf tin (I won't pretend I know what size tin I used because I don't. Told you I wasn't Mary Berry). I often grease the cake tin with butter. This seems to work. 
  2. Tip the sugar into a large mixing bowl, pour in the oil and add the eggs. Lightly mix with a wooden spoon. Stir in the grated carrots, raisins and orange rind.
  3. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices, then sift into the bowl. Then lightly mix all the ingredients. The mixture will be fairly soft and almost runny.
  4. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 40- 45 minutes, until it feels firm and springy when you press it in the centre. I often use a sharp knife to check the middle too. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out,  and cool on a wire rack.
Make sure the cake is completely cooled before you add the icing. For this you will need:

  • 175g icing sugar
  • 1½-2 tbsp orange juice
Beat together the frosting ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Apparently you want the icing about as runny as single cream. Then drizzle over the cake. I also decided to add some orange and lemon zest.

And Viola!! A scrummy carrot cake

Monday, 17 September 2012

Downton Is Back

Finally! After waiting months and months, Sunday nights have become good again. The fear of Monday Morning Blues have been erased by the good ol' Sunday feeling of snuggling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a Hobnob, and watching the dramas of the Downton household.

The award-winning writer Julian Fellowes has finally gifted us with the third series of ITV1's Downton Abbey, and it fails to disappoint. As it's most avid fan, Sunday nights have become my favourite part of the week. I refuse to leave the house for ANYTHING, and my boyfriend knows not to phone me if he wants a happy relationship.

The third series, set in the 1920s, sees Downton and all it's lovely characters pretty much the same, which is perfect. Mathew is still handsome, Sybil still sweet,  and Edith still spiteful. As always, Carson remains the stern and dutiful head of the staff, and the Dowager Countess still creates moments of hilarity with her sharp retorts and quick wit.

The only difference is, instead of Mathew and Mary's constant bickering, we finally see them in love and planning their wedding (hurrah!). I'm not embarrassed to admit that I have a girl crush on both characters, and literally melted inside when watching their snowy Christmas kiss. Oh the romance! Also, the arrival of Cora's mother played by Shirley MacLaine is a hilarious addition to the household, and a lot of hysterical bickering between her and the Dowager Countess is sure to come.

All in all, the first episode failed to disappoint, my Sunday night feel complete. I'm preparing the tea and hobnobs and counting down the days to this Sunday already! If you haven't watched the first episode already, Mary's wedding dress is sure to make you swoon!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Fisheye

Being more of a photo lover rather than a photographer, I am always trying to find easy methods of jazzing up ordinary photographs. However no matter what I do, my ordinary, and rather tacky, pink Fuiji never quite delivers the professionalism you get from a high-tech and snazzy SLR Canon. However, being ever the optimist I persevere, and after instagraming many photos of my dog, and food, and the sky, I begin to feel quite chuffed with myself. That's the wonderful thing about instagram, it makes Paul walkers out of all of us. We can suddenly stand up and say 'Hey look how cool I am. I can take good photos which are bright and snazzy, and fade around the edges!'. Sure it may just be a close up of my Labrador's head, or the Nicoise salad I had for lunch, but it still looks pretty Arty Farty.  
But my only problem is I'm beginning to feel like a cheat. It's not like using a real camera is it? After I've chosen my theme on instagram, the finishing product looks nothing like the photo I took. And I miss the buzz of really taking the time to try to capture a good shot, (though I fail miserably). So recently I decided to invest in the Fisheye 2 which takes unusual photos through it's funky fisheye lens. The latest edition is a bargain at £60, and is perfect for amateurs such as myself who just love a good photograph, as it's so easy to use. 
I decided to take it with me on my recent trip to Europe with my boyfriend and we both had such a laugh using it. It was exciting to be using good old fashioned film again, and although the Fisheye 2 has a special view finder, we really didn't know how our photos would turn out, and isn't that such a thrill?! The sadness that enveloped us once the trip was over, was overpowered by the giddiness we felt as we handed in our film to be developed. It only occurred to me as I was handing it over, that I hadn't done it for years! I even felt silly doing it. How crazy is that? I'm sure the woman was eyeing me up suspiciously. 
However it was pure pleasure picking up our developed photographs in the morning and discovering a handful of absolute treasures. Looking through them together made us remember our trip. They were also a great way to share our experiences with our families. Of course there were a couple of blanks, and maybe a few thumbs in the corner (yes, what a surprise, they were mine), but most of them were good, and made us remember little things which we had forgotten. 
Don't get me wrong, I think digital cameras and smartphones are fantastic for taking fast and easy photos, but I think I've made a good investment in my little Fisheye. Sure my photos may not be as pristine as the many instagrammers that I follow, but they were fun taking them, and I must admit, they are a lot more meaningful than my frequent instagram of what I had for lunch. 

Recipe For The Ultimate Chocolate Cake

I'm not going to pretend I'm the next Mary Berry of the baking world because frankly, I'm not that great. However, due to my love affair with cake and, anything else mildly sugary, I have spent many hours in the kitchen trying to make concoctions that kind of resemble what you would find on the set of Marie Antoinette. As like any girl, I am a lover of chocolate, so I have attempted to make chocolate cake hundreds of times, and believe with this recipe I have finally achieved a sponge which is edible and, (wait for it!) enjoyable! Get in! So if your like me and you wouldn't exactly call yourself a Domestic Goddess, this simple recipe is both easy and scrumptious!
chocolate + cake = heaven!
What you are going to need is:
  • 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • A little milk
  1. Firstly preheat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins with a little butter (I never bother with grease-proof paper, far too technical for me). In a bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.
  2.  Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Sift in the flour, baking powder and cocoa, then lightly fold into the mixture.
  3. Add a little milk until you have a dropping consistency, then divide between the tins.
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. I normally check if its done by inserting a sharp knife through the middle. If it comes out clean it is ready! Though sometimes its better to take it out when its not entirely finished as it makes the sponge stay soft and a little gooey.
For the icing:
  1. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, or alternatively in a microwave. Leave to cool slightly.
  2. In a bowl, beat the butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy, then slowly fold in the melted chocolate.
  3. Make sure both sponges are completely cooled before spreading the icing sugar on top of both. Then sandwich together!
Finally you can decorate the cake however you like! This time I decided to simply add a packet of Maltesers and sprinkle a pinch of cocoa powder over them. Pure chocolate heaven!
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!

Hello... Right! Well I'm just going to come out and say it...I'm a blogger virgin. There I said it. I've never attempted to write a blog before. And haven't got the faintest idea about the 'Dos' and 'Don'ts' of the blogging world. But as a recent graduate and currently *gulp* unemployed I realized I had a lot of free time on my hands. So I thought why not. The purpose of this blog is just to share my love of beautiful things, and all that interests me. This mainly being recipes, crafts, decor, travel and literature. So I guess this site comes under the category of 'Lifestyle'...whatever that means.

However, for me, this blog shall come under the category of 'Therapy' or 'Self-Help'. Hopefully it will distract me enough so as in my current job-less desperation, I won't go running down to the local park to seek sympathy, smoke fags and drink Red Stripe with my fellow unemployed. I don't want it to come to that. I don't like cigarettes or the taste of beer...or being smelly.

I wish I paid more attention to the newspapers about the rubbish employment opportunities for graduates. They did try to warn me. But like other care-free students I never thought it would effect me. All I had to do was click my fingers, maybe exchange my grubby student jogging bottoms fro some high heels, and walk straight into an office. Well, as i'm starting to realize the older I get, I was wrong. Again. To make matters worse I read today that the graduate job situation in England is only getting worse, and there has been a boom of twenty-somethings seeking medication for depression. Talk about kicking a girl when she's down.

Hopefully this blog will keep me distracted from the gruesome application process and ruthless rejections long enough so I don't have to seek medical help. I just have to stay productive...

So this site will function as a scrapbook of all my projects and pretty things that I love! Welcome and enjoy!