At it like rabbits…

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Or: the last-minute handmade bunny Easter card how-to.

You know how Kate Middleton gave the Queen a home-made chutney for Christmas? Well that inspired us. And it’s really easy. Not the chutney but this card we made to give to our metaphorical gran this Easter.

So much so, that once you’ve made one you might want to make another one and another one. For your fella perhaps (see, kinky black leather bunny in middle of photo), or your gal (she’ll appreciate all of them). Watch them, though, they multiply.

They’re also zero-calorie, sugar-free and you won’t have to fight anyone for the last one down the Sainsbury’s chocolate aisle this Good Friday.

Basically, all you need is some good quality card, a scrap of nice fabric, a pencil and a pair of scissors, some glue or spray mount and something to tie around your bunny’s neck – optional though, that one.

Here’s goes…

ABUNNYDRAWINGDesign your bunny. Either freestyle like we did or google bunny silhouette, print one off and trace over it. You can always copy ours by drawing a big half-creme egg shape for the body, two long skinny half-eggs for its legs, then drawing around a coin for its head and adding nice ears.

ABUNNYTEMPLATECut out your paper bunny template.

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Now fold your cardboard in half to create traditional greeting card shape. Draw around your bunny template on the front of the card. Make sure you have two areas of bunny that meet the fold of the card. We did the ears and knees. Next, cut round bunny, open up, et voila… as you can see above, a Bugs-shaped card.

ABUNNYFABRICGrab your paper bunny template again and draw around it onto your fabric, using pencil or fabric pen.

ABUNNYCUTOUTCut out your fabric – you only need one piece for the front of the card.

ABUNNYGLUEUse glue or spray mount to stick your fabric on the front of your card. Don’t worry about raw edges – it’s all the rage this season, just ask Pinterest.

ABUNNYBOWFind a stray piece of ribbon and tie it around your bunny’s neck, making sure to only tie it around the front of the card so as not to strangle bunny.

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And there you have it: a bunny card in situ, alongside a bunch of spring blooms and a shelf-full of craft books. (Don’t say we don’t do our best to look Pinterest-appropriate.)

And with that, we’ll bid you a hoppy Easter, full of stuffing your face with too much chocolate, drinking too many Bank Holiday beers and admiring your rabbity handiwork on the mantelpieces of your nearest and dearest.

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Decorating Elsie

Author: Sarah-Louise

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Hey, all. Welcome to a post that’s a bit of a hybrid, like a cronut. It’s both a coffee shop review and the tale of the secret screen prints. Sorted? Right let’s get started… I love nothing more than a piece of cake and a skinny cappuccino in a takeaway cup with a straw.

However, working from home while simultaneously entertaining/making sure my 16-month old doesn’t stick her fingers in plug sockets does not afford much time for cake-baking. And coffee at home is never the same.

So, yay for Elsie, a new cafe-bar and deli, that’s just opened around the corner in my ‘hood, Hornsey. (The bit between Muswell Hill and Crouch End in north London, for those who don’t know.)

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Not only does Elsie do coffee and cakes, it does pastries, savoury muffins, chocolate croissant bread pudding slices (top left), breakfasts, sandwiches, soups, sharing platters and big steaming bowls of chilli. And booze.

Because it’s a deli, it also does takeaway organic loaves, posh chocolate, panettone in glamorous boxes, quirky handmade cookies and chunky chutneys with amusing names.

Owner Claire has also adorned the place with her own quirky artwork, bedecked it in fairy lights and fills the airwaves with a cockle-warming mix of crackly jazz, show tunes, Bowie and James Taylor.
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The result is a twinkly, relaxing little haven. You can eat here, drink here, work here – and take your toddler without causing too much chaos. There’s a mini library for you to help yourself to books, a menu of nighttime events coming up – Time Traveller’s Wife author Audrey Niffenegger is hosting an evening at the end of March –  and a primary-coloured portrait of Jeremy Corbyn in one corner. He’s promised to visit the place soon. He wouldn’t need to do up his top button here. Anything goes. Baby J and I practically live here.

Anyway, one day Claire produced a bulging Ikea bag of fabric from behind the counter and asked if we could do anything creative with it. She explained that it had come from the daughter of a local lady named Irene Kent Gouly, who had sadly recently passed away and left behind a secret stash of gorgeous handmade screen-printed fabrics.

Apparently, screen-printing was Irene’s not-shouted-about hobby rather than her profession – but judging by the sheer volume and array of beautiful, bonkers and brilliant designs she’d left behind, she could have opened her own shop or gallery.

My mum, Maria from We May Be Little, was suitably impressed and very excited by all its creative potential. She carefully opened up each new piece with an ooh, an aah or a wow – her imagination well and truly revved.  “We could do this! And this! And this! Throw! Curtains! Cushion cover! Blouse!”

The upshot of all this was that we’d thank Claire, and Irene’s daughter, back for their generosity and beauteous threads by making something decorative for the cafe. Having Irene’s work on display in a public space, in the area in which she’d always lived, felt a fitting tribute to her secret talents. My mum suggested bunting and Claire decreed it so. “Bunting is just what this place is missing,” she said.

And so, we decided on a huge swathe of abstract print fabric, splashed in neons, pastels and black brushstrokes. It was kind of 80s but kind of 2016-ies too. We figured it’d take the bunting from twee to edgy (c’mon, bunting can be edgy) and that all the random colours and patterns would give each flag its own unique look.

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After knocking up a long piece to festoon the length of the bar, Maria – being the unashamed bunting-basher that she is – whipped up some mini flags for Elsie’s dressers, too. All that was left to do was get it in place.

And happily, Claire seemed chuffed with the results. We must admit, this funky bunting does look right at home in this little joint. It was like it was meant to be. Take a look and see. And if you ever find yourself in this part of north London, treat yourself with a stop-off at Elsie.

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A big thank you to the ridiculously talented Irene and her generous daughter for the inspiration. We think there might be more where this came from.

Elsie, 10 Priory Road, London, N8

 

 

 

 

Sunday Snaps

From hot coffee to a great big neon jelly fish in the sky, it’s our week in pics…

 


Clockwise, from top left…

1.Alice: “This giant light-up sculpture (London by Janet Echelman) greeted me last week as I left my job at Top Shop at 7am, after a busy night shift. It reminded me of a huge jelly fish and looked eerily beautiful floating over a very dark and quiet Oxford Street. It was part of the Lumiere London light festival, which ran for four days last week. The artist’s inspiration was the 2011 Japanese Tsunami and this piece is actually a 3D representation of the effects of the quake, which momentarily sped up the earth’s rotation and shortened the day.”

2.Sarah: “I was taking Jasmine for an afternoon walk through our local park in Crouch End and it was icily cold but the colour of the sky was beautiful and hopeful. I’d also just been reading that this year’s official Pantone colour is Rose Quartz and Serenity – pale pink and blue – and here it ruddy was, out in the natural world.”

3. Sarah: “My ballet shoes on the church hall’s parquet flooring. First Saturday of term and I was more than a little rusty.”

4.Maria: “Sometimes all it takes is a flat white and a good croissant to feel that all’s right with the world. This was at one of my favourite London coffee shops, Coffee Circus in Crouch End.”

5.Maria: “This is a snapshot of some baby name-bunting I made for one of Sarah’s friend’s nieces. I haven’t take a pic of the whole thing as the baby in question hasn’t received it yet and we want it to be a surprise! I used red and white strawberry-print fabric and crocheted some little red flowers to sit on the white cord.”

 

Strictly Sunday 

  
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So it’s bye-bye to Ainsley and an end to all those food dance-puns. After a crazed jive to a backdrop of floating toast, even he must have been thinking this takes the biscuit. 

Jamelia lived to dance another day after an underwhelming waltz. Let’s hope she gets to do the Charleston again next week. 

Elsewhere, Georgia’s disco-salsa was missing the chilis for us, a bit bland and heavy. Nevertheless she snaffled a 31. Weather woman Carol’s Viennese waltz was perfectly nice and elegant but she got mean comments again. Some of the judges want to turn her into another comedy figure along with Jeremy but she’s not playing along. She’s snow joke.

Anita did a dramatic tango to an undramatic song (Sweet Disposition by Temper Trap) and bagged a 32, while Peter’s Rumba hips weren’t nearly as silky as his fetching turquoise shirt. He got 29 and we’re wondering: did he peak in week 1?

A mini fist pump for Kirsty. You can see how badly she wants to be good. There’s a scary intensity in her eyes. And the moment she relaxed a little she became elegant and floaty. Len said lots of things about fleckles and pivots so it must’ve been good and she ended up with 29. 

Katie didn’t get her bum going in the salsa, apparently, and toppled from last week’s top spot to one from the bottom this week, with 21. Jeremy’s waltz wasn’t his best. Ballroom doesn’t have the same comedy potensh as Latin after all. He got a lowly 18 and was lucky to escape the dreaded D.O.

Helen (that sweet grin is becoming a little manic now) did an almost flawless quickstep to You Can’t Hurry Love with flashing train imagery. There were lots of train puns from the judges, which is funny considering there is no journey here at all. She got 35. Kellie got the same for a fizzy jive. 

Jay’s 33-scoring Paso Doble got Bruno so over excited he dropped the B-bomb (bollocks) (as in ‘the dog’s’) and got told off. It was a rare moment of excitement in a slightly uninspiring week. Oh well, we’ll keep on dancing. See you next week! 

Halloween your hearth

HAL NIGHT

Author: Sarah-Louise

With just a week to go until All Hallow’s Eve we’ve whipped out our pumpkins and Halloween’d up our hearth.

If, like us, you’re that way inclined (perhaps you too had your spooky button pushed by Scooby Doo as a nipper), then there’s no time to lose. Make a corner of your home look a little haunted with our 10-step how-to today.

Or cover it from head to toe in fake cobwebs from Sainsbury’s if you’d rather. Either or.

This how we Halloweened up the WMBL hearth. It’s understated but does the trick. Plus, it works on hearths and shelves alike. So if the fancy takes you but you don’t have a fireplace, you can simply Halloween up a spare shelf or cabinet.

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1.Clear your fireplace/shelf/cabinet so you have a blank canvas to work on (this canvas would be blank if you ignore the big stain on the hearth…)

2. Add fairy lights to your mantelpiece first, like you do with the Christmas tree. If you don’t have a working fire, add strings of LED lights to your grate to give the illusion of flickering flames.

3. Now for some cat bunting. Based on the same principles as our mini bunting, this one. We May Be Little’s Maria drew a 4 by 4-inch wiggly cat, based on templates she’d seen on the net and in her own imagination.

She pinned the template onto black felt and cut around it. She did 4x cats, as you can see. She glued two little silver sequins on as eyes. She then used thin black cord and threaded ’em on with a needle by their ear and tail.

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4. Now for some sunflowers. That perennial autumn fave. I’m always in two minds about buying these blighters as I feel sad that they’ll never turn to the sun in a big airy field again. But, it’s autumn and we made an exception. These are displayed in a glass pasta jar.

5. Now for the friendly mini pumpkin family to come out. The easiest how-to ever is here. Position so your pumpkins look a little nonchalant and cool.

6. Don’t forget the Scooby snacks (cupcakes, courtesy of the fabulous Dunns Bakery in Crouch End).

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7. Now for a little macrame planter action. But instead of a plant, we’ve popped in a candle holder. The planter is a We May Be Little creation and will be in our shop soon.

7. Add more candle holders and more tea lights.

8. Free-carve a pumpkin. As you can see, the wonky house creation above ain’t going to win no carving competitions. However, low-key and understated is the name of the game here. And look how winning it looks with the addition of LED tea lights and the lights off. Plus, there’s something really satisfying about scooping out the seeds and pumpkin pulp with your bare hands.

9. Wait for night time to fall. Light your candles, switch on your lights. Go “Ahhhh”. Or “Aaargh”.

10. Watch something scary. Twin Peaks box set is our recommendation.

And there you have it. Something to make you feel a little cosy yet bone-chilled on these dark and nippy nights.

How will you be celebrating All Hallows? We’d love to hear from you x

Strictly Sunday

    

At the top of the leaderboard an elegant flamingo (Katie). At the bottom, an “electrocuted stork.”

And yet the stork in question (Jeremy) lived to jive another day – in his own “peculiar” fashion. As did Katie whose Viennese Waltz was as light as a feather. Partner Anton, who’s had his toes fractured by Judy Murray and Jerry Hall in recent years, mustn’t know what to do with himself.

It was Daniel O’Donnell (where were his legion of loyal followers last night, huh?) who faced the dance off – along with a mohawked Kirsty. Who, despite looking like she should be amazing, isn’t really very amazing. Yet. To borrow a phrase, there’s a good dancer lurking in there somewhere. Will it emerge, this lurking dancer of hers, that is the question? And if so, what will it look like?

Anyway, Daniel went. He was a gent. Partner Kristina blubbed. No one feels this show as much as Kristina. She even feels it when she’s dancing with someone she doesn’t want to feel. Love her. 

  
Elsewhere, and the weight of expectation on Jay – after last week’s finale-style fireworks – was just too much to bear for the nervy one. There were mistakes in his Quickstep. Horror. The poor blighter only got 25 points. It was just a stumble, assured the judges. And we think they’re right. The pressure’s off again. Next week, the Travolta toes will be back.

What else. Helen needed to “earth her grind”, according to Craig (answers on a postcard…), but other than that predictably got 32 for her salsa. And Anita did well with hers while looking like she was trying a little too hard, again. 

  
Jamelia “found” her dance. It was the Charleston. Doesn’t everyone do well with the Charleston? Kirsty needs to do the Charleston. We’re happy for Jamelia, anyway. Like us, she’s a Brummie, her mouth gets her into trouble and she’s a bit more rubbish at dancing than she should be. This was hopefully the turning point.

Kellie did a lovely (read: boring) foxtrot inspired by her nan. The sentiment was sweet but it wasn’t a patch on last week’s Star Wars jig. Technically, however, that last statement isn’t true as she got exactly the same amount of points as she did last week. Her finger placement also got Craig excited.

  
Ainsley did a waltz quite proficiently. Georgia looked sweet hopping around the floor with her Quick Step. She’ll be in the final, that one.
Probably alongside Pete, who did a tango to Blue Monday. After last week’s bad panto performance, he was “back”. However he has a tendency to over-dance, according to Len. We agree. Easy there, Pete. 

 
The last word goes to lovely Carol, who is quite the heartthrob amongst men of a certain age. I know this because my uncle, who is of a certain age, signed up to Twitter just so he could contact her. (She didn’t reply). Apparently he and his friends discuss her merits over pints of ale down the local. This weekend she got all mean and moody in the Paso Doble and danced well. And she looked rather fetching. Her merits are probably being discussed right now.

  
See you next week. And until then, keeeep…

STRICTLY SUNDAY

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Movie night – and, dance off aside, it was a tale of two Travoltas. The be-quiffed teenage heartthrob version and the middle-aged man with middle-age spread version…

Let’s just talk about Jay for a minute, who, for his jive, was channeling fat druggy gangster Vincent Vega from Pulp Fiction. Who himself was channeling, albeit in a totally meta way, disco king Tony Manero  from Saturday Night Fever.

Now for anyone who wasn’t a The Wanted fan, erstwhile member Jay and his crew prided themselves on their inability to dance. They revelled in looking like ‘normal lads staggering through the pub’ on stage. So where – where??? – did this come from? 

Little nervy Jay was a revelation. Those flicks! Those spot turns! Those swivels! His trademark stony/scared stiff gaze fitted the brief brilliantly. Go on – YouTube it if you didn’t watch it or you’re based outside of the UK. Oh, go on…

The best bit? That he started the dance in the same slightly embarrassed, half-arsed fashion JT did in the film. You know, where you think he’s going to unleash the dad dancing only to surprise you with a thunderbolt of silky-hipped, feather-footed rhythmic brilliance. Yippee!

The studio erupted! They were on their feet! The pros didn’t know where to look! Jay’s mum blubbered stoically. Jay was even better than Travolta according to Bruno, who quickly despatched the first 10 of the series. Craig Revel-Horwood, who’d been on particularly mean form all night, said he’d never seen technical ability of its like on Strictly before. Whoa.

Oh, and Daniel O’Donnel pretended to be Danny Zuko from Grease.

Back to the dance-off and it was a sad farewell to Anthony, he of the poorly shoulder. It’s a shame; he and Oti had potential. They were showing week-on-week improvement, if not knock-out performances yet (ber-dum) and they just looked so pretty together. But despite getting in a flap with his penguin moves, it was fellow dance-off contestant Ainsley who lived to waddle around for another week.

Elsewhere, Anton failed Katie by creating a dance routine that had no dancing in it; Helen looked sweet, floaty and elegant as usz (zzzz…); Georgianni did a super-sexy but slightly stiff-hipped Rumba; Carol smiled her way through a Quick Step; Jamelia looked like she was thinking about it all too much and Kirstie was better than last week but still less than paw-fect in her Lady and The Tramp dance. She was the prettiest pretend dog we think we’ve ever seen, though…



  

There were some pre-Jay show-stoppers, too. Kellie and Kevin, as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, looked handy with their lightsabers during their Charleston and lolloping Jeremy made everyone, bar R-H, smile with his. (His Charleston not his lightsaber.)

Fan favourite Peter Andre, doing his best Jack Sparrow, was outshone. He suffered from a too-bulky costume and thumpy choreography and looked a bit more panto character than Paso Doble don. Better luck next week, Pete.

Finally, Anita channeled Demi Moore in a Moira Stewart wig for her Ghost-themed dance. At times she looked lovely and ethereal; at others her wayward twirls made her look like a tiny lump of clay spinning out of control on a potter’s wheel.

Until next Sunday!