Thursday, 5 November 2009

Super Secret Craft Project - Part 1. Claire & Pauls Wedding Gift

Sometimes I have to work on craft projects in secret for peoples birthdays, weddings, babys etc... Recently I've been learning to crochet again (my Mum had taught me when I was little, but I'd not done any crochet work in so long that I really needed to refresh my skills) and I've got a few books on Amiguri (Japanese Crochet'd Creatures/Animals), in one of them was a pattern for a Skeleton Bride & Groom which were highly appropriate for Claire & Paul. I actually found them very easy to make and was very happy with the result. I made an oval base using some Pink Skull Lace Fabric that I picked up in America, hand embroidered a little banner which I had sewn onto the base and there you have it.

Meet Mr & Mrs Skeleton-Smith!

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

The Common Cold

After my weekend away I've come back with a head cold. You know the kind, started off as a sore throat then moved into my sinuses giving me a runny nose. There is as yet no cure for the common cold, and the advise that you get from NHS 24 or your GP is, get plenty of rest, increase fluid intake and ease symptoms using steam inhalation (but with caution); sucking menthol sweets; gargling with salt water etc...

Often the old-fashioned remedies work best in this kind of situation...
  • Sweat It Out - I used to get myself all wrapped up in my blanket with my hot water bottle and while certainly it seems to be comforting to do this new evidence suggests that light exercise in the fresh air can ease the symptoms of the cold.
  • Vitamin C - increased levels of Vitamin C have shown to reduce the duration of the cold in adults... my drink of choice is hot Ribena!
  • Steam Inhalation - I use a teaspoonful of Vicks Vapour Rub desilved in boiling water, it helps loosen mucus, allowing clearance of the airwaves that can relieve coughs and nasal congestion.
  • Chicken Soup - recent evidence has shown that this cure all really does work... the key is apparently heat, so any soup will work (my favourite is Heinz Tomato). It works to promotes airway secretions and has a calming action on inflamed throats. But chicken soup's combination of fats, spices, and water seems to work best when it comes to breaking up mucus.
One very effective remedy I've found is the following...

1 clove of garlic
1 equal sized piece of fresh ginger
Pinch of cayenne pepper
½ tsp. cinnamon
Juice of 1 freshly squeezed lemon
1 tsp. honey

Crush garlic and ginger and add with the rest of the ingredients to one cup of off-the-boil water. Drink 2- 3 cups a day till symptoms are gone.

Hopefully I will start to feel well again soon!

Of Whitby & Weddings...

This past weekend Alan and I headed south to the small seaside town of Whitby. Now I'm a Whitby Veteran, but Alan is a Whitby Virgin so I introduced him to his very first Whitby Gothic Weekend. He Oooooed and Ahhhhhed at the lovely costumes and was very taken by the Steampunk look. We decided not to tackle the 199 steps up to the Abbey this time round instead saving that for the next visit to Whitby in April 2010 -YES, we will be back!! I'm going to try to get the stall again for next year, but we'll also be having a bit of a holiday too!!

On the Friday however, we had a slight detour and headed further south to Reading for a very special wedding - my friend Claire (who used to run Gothstuff, now runs Design by Claire/Eternal Magpie) and her fiance Paul were tying the knot and we were delighted to be able to share their happy day with them!! Congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs Smith!!

by Regina Hill

Love, trust, and forgiveness are the foundations of marriage. In marriage, many days will bring happiness, while other days may be sad. But together, two hearts can overcome everything...In marriage, all of the moments won't be exciting or romantic, and sometimes worries and anxiety will be overwhelming. But together, two hearts that accept will find comfort together. Recollections of past joys, pains, and shared feelings will be the glue that holds everything together during even the worst and most insecure moments. Reaching out to each other as a friend, and becoming the confidant and companion that the other one needs, is the true magic and beauty of any two people together. It's inspiring in each other a dream or a feeling, and having faith in each other and not giving up... even when all the odds say to quit. It's allowing each other to be vulnerable, to be himself or herself, even when the opinions or thoughts aren't in total agreement or exactly what you'd like them to be. It's getting involved and showing interest in each other, really listening and being available, the way any best friend should be. Exactly three things need to be remembered in a marriage if it is to be a mutual bond of sharing, caring, and loving throughout life: love, trust, and forgiveness.

Thursday, 8 October 2009


To kick start off me getting back into writing I signed up to participate in this years NaNoWriMo.

For those who don't know what NaNoWriMo is about well...

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30. Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved. In 2007, we had over 100,000 participants. More than 15,000 of them crossed the 50k finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

So I've started planning what I want to write about... I'm going to do a historical novel, history has always inspired me and so has a painting that I visit everytime I go anywhere near the Modern Art Gallery in Edinburgh... its called Rabbi with Cat, and I've always wondered about the story behind the painting. Doing my initial research I discovered that its based around the Russian Jewish pograms of the early 20th Century. So my plan is to tell the story of the Rabbi in this painting, as he fleas his native Russia for a better life in America. I'm unsure as yet of whether he says goodbye to his beloved pet cat in Russia or whether he attempts to smuggle the cat onto the boat and into America wrapped in a baby's blanket!!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Robin Cushions - Embroidery & Patchwork

A while ago I asked Claire (Design by Claire) to embroider me two of her little top hat wearing robins with the aim of eventually making them into patchwork cushions. This week I decided it was time to complete that particular craft project. I stumbled at the first hurdle as I discoverd my sewing machine is now missing a part, the foot had gone AWOL since the house move and I fear that it maybe lost in the boot of someone's car or van!! So i decided that my only option was to hand-sew these little cushions. I think (if I remeber what my Mum taught me about patchwork - there was no craft that this woman was capable of mastering!!) the pattern I've used is called 'log cabin'. Fabrics used are a red floral print cotton bought from my local fabric shop and a blue and white print fabric off-cut that I got in Ikea a number of years ago. So, one cushion is finished and the other is on progress. They are going to sit on my bed to complement the big purple cushions I made last year.

Monday, 7 September 2009

True Blood

So I've been indulging my goth side recently and catching up on episodes of True Blood. I have to say I LOVE this series and hope that its not going to get cancelled any time soon! For those of you not in the know it is loosely based on the "The Southern Vampyre Mysteries" series of novels by Charlaine Harris. It details the co-existence of vampyres and humans in Bon Temps, a fictional small town in Louisiana. The series centers on Sookie Stackhouse played by Anna Paquin (My Girl, X-Men), a telepathic waitress at a bar, who falls in love with vampire Bill Compton.

Both the first and second seasons have been so addictive and fantastic to watch... really looking forward to the third season now!!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Race For Life 2009

So its all over now... Race for Life was on Sunday in Callander Park, Falkirk. The weather was scortching and along with 2500 other women myself and my best friend Gemma went for a stroll around the Park!!

We couldn't go too fast round the track as it was all uneven surfaces and the weather was just too damn hot!! But we we're out there in our Fife Flyers Shirts and made it in just over 50 minutes (50mins and 4secs!!!). So far we've raised about £250 from various forms of sponsorship but if you want to help us add to that you can still sponsor us at:

Friday, 22 May 2009

Picking up the Keys!!!

Today's the day we pick up the keys to our new home!! Everything is packed (almost) and we're both very excited about it all, been awake since 7am!!

I looked up moving traditions the other day and these are the ones we're going to be following.

The first things that should be taken into a new house are, salt (for prosperity), a loaf of bread (so that you will never know hunger) and a bottle of red wine (for the sacred life force). This ensures that your future is bright and that you will be well provided for.

Another tradition involved taking the glowing embers of the fire from the old home to start the first fire in the new home. But with central heating nowadays this is mostly impossible. Instead burn half a tea-light candle in the old home and then relight it and allow it to burn down completely in the new home.

I will also be putting my 7 copper coins under the front doormat for prosperity!!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Imortalised in Oil...

My painting arrived from Christine today. I am so pleased with it! Its going to have pride of place in the new living room, although Christine told me it is to go up in my little hat shop (when I have one!).

The picture is based on the photos taken by Gothindulgence and Davefish in Brighton last May, they were promotional shots for the website . It was a fantastic sunny weekend by the sea with friends, only marred by the realisation that my marriage was coming to an end, and the death of my beloved kitty, Casper on the day we returned home. Brighton is such a lovely place, very vibrant, lots of good shopping and pubs. We found a fantastic flea market where I picked up a vintage wicker handbag! I really want to back and visit again!

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Vintage 1960's Dress

Found this amazing white vintage crocheted dress on eBay today, very tempted by it... but don't generally wear white... I'm sure I could wear it for Made In The Shade markets and make a very sweet little pill box hat to go with it!! But at £30 can I justify it??

Night Shift beckons...

So today I switch rotations at work and start on three weeks of night shift. I'm one of the lucky few who really enjoy night shift. The pace of a night shift can be much more relaxed, you don't have the constant interruptions of Doctor's rounds, clinics, x-ray and other investigations, constant telephone calls and visits from friends and family. However I don't think the role of the night shift should not be minimised. What happens during the night shift is as important to the recovery of the patient as the activities that occur on any shift. The main goal of night shift is the promotion of sleep which is essential in order for the body to recover and regenerate. The sometimes quieter routine of night provides opportunities for close patient communication, with more one-on-one time with patients who are wakeful or fearful. Clinical skills and expertise are even more necessary at night when working with fewer back-up resources available.

So how do I cope with Night Shift...

* Sleep as soon as possible after the night shift. If you delay sleep after the night shift, your body will begin to warm up and prepare for the day's activity.

* Ideally, have one block of sleep only; if this is not possible, two blocks of sleep are preferable to a scattered sleep pattern.

* Night workers will sleep better during the clay if they can simulate night-time sleeping conditions.

* Sleep in a dark room or wear an eye mask. This is vital, as melatonin, the hormone of sleep which increases drowsiness, is suppressed by daylight even through closed eyelids.

* Sleep in a quiet part of the house, away from traffic noise and household activity.

* Tell family and friends about your schedule and ask them to call you only during waking hours. Give them a copy of your roster.

* Avoid caffeine three to four hours prior to sleep. Caffeine intake delays sleep onset and impairs sleep quality.

* Feel safe and comfortable. Lock doors and windows for a feeling of security.

* Eat a banana or drink some warm milk before going to bed. Both these foods contain L-Tryptophan, which is known to be a natural sleep inducer. L-Tryptophan releases serotonin, a sleep-inducing brain chemical.

* Avoid alcohol prior to sleep. It is a diuretic and interferes with the quality of sleep.

* If you cannot sleep, stay in bed and rest. Avoid negative thoughts and assure yourself that you are at least getting needed rest.

(Tips courtesy of Whitireia Nursing Journal)

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Rain, Rain go away...

Its been raining here all afternoon now, very heavy rain... not the kind you want to go out in, and its windy too which makes it even worse!

So I thought I'd blog a bit about specific weather phases and their magical correspondences.

Lightening Storms - periods of intense energy so any spells cas during this time will be empowered by the weather and may prove to be more effective, protection rituals are ideal at these times.

Rain - excellent for purification rites, spells for love, compassion and friendship, beauty rituals and for washing away jealousy and guilt.

Heavy Winds - windy weather is a perfect time to empower rites designed to break addictions, for spells to aid in studying and for travel magick.

"Gods of power, Gods of might,
I bid you now, stop this plight,
Stop the rain, we need no more,
Let it fall, nevermore." - Keven Sevuktekin

Introducing Mowgli...

This is Mowgli... he's a grey Siamese, 6 years old, cross-eyed and he's Alan & my baby, sometimes he can be an absolute sweetheart, very affectionate and loving. Other times he can be a terror, currently he's been climbing the boxes and empty bookcases as we are packing boxes in preparation for the house move. Mowgli is going to go and stay with Alan's parents during the move so that he's not got to deal with the stress. We're quite curious as to what he's going to make of the new house. He's been a house cat all his life and only ever known the second floor flat as home!! I guess we'll just have to wait and see, perhaps he'll want to go outside and explore!

Tax Discs & Tea

Yesterday was a bit stressful, had to go to the DVLA office in Dundee to deal with the issue of still not having recieved my new tax disc. I've had a temporary one for 2 months now, and as it approached the end of the month I called them up to find out when my new one would arrive (the temporary one was only valid til the end of April). I was told it would be out in the post within a couple of days... a couple of days later I recieved someone elses Tax Disc, V5 document, Insurance Cover Note and MOT Certificate... so I called, they appologised and said my dic was going to be sent out later that day. By yesterday morning it still hadn't arrived, so yesterday afternoon I drove to Dundee and sat in the waiting room for half an hour, and then explained the situation to the women behind the counter. She was appologetic, and said that my tax disc had gone out in the post that morning. Well I wanst happy, told her this was unacceptable as I'd been promised this disc for over two weeks now, and wasn't going home until I got my disc. A few minutes later I had my new disc in hand!!

Went home and made myself a nice pot of Stress Tea - this is a great tea for when stress seems overwhelming!!

Ingredients: water for enough cups as you want to make, 1 tsp English Breakfast Tea, 1 tsp Chamomile, 1 tsp Elder Flower, 2 tsp Hops, 2 tsp Rose Hips, 1 tsp Valerian Root

Gently bring the tea, herbs and water to boil and simmer gently for about 5 minutes. Before you pour the tea, stir 3 times and say; "Chase away all duress, Chase away negativity, Chase away the negativity, Open up the positive." Now find a quiet place to sit and enjoy your cup of tea!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Came across this adorable little vintage bird figure today ( Its a carved wooden lacquered and hand-painted bird perched on a section of a branch. Immediately I thought of my friend Claire, I'm sure she'd love this little bird! I might think about them (there's 4 different little birds) as a wedding present for her!!

Vintage Hat

I'm coveting this hat which is currently up for auction on eBay. Its made of a rich pink straw, with tulle and velvet roses around the crown, is about 1940's in date and is stunning! Its certainly one I want to try and recreate. I haven't done any work with straw before but I know I can get straw braid from my millinery supplier. Think I may have to give it a try at some point! And I many yet buy the vintage original!!

Moving House

It would appear that I have taken the first step on the property ladder with my partner Alan and bought a little 2 bedroom house. So the place is now a mess of boxes and things are starting to be packed away. We got the mortgage approval this morning and went and put up our little signs on the house. We'll be moving the end of the month if everything goes through with the Lawyers and such OK. AND... we have a garden!!! My plan is to plant lots of Budlia bushes so we can attract butterflies to the garden. I really want to get an archway and plant honeysuckle to grow over it... really reminds me of my childhood, there was an arch that my Dad built covered in honeysuckle at the back garden gate and I remember getting a huge waft of the honeysuckle as I came in from school!!

Looks like I'm going to have to have a bit of a clear out again... may be doing a car boot sale this weekend!!

Welcome to my blog...

Welcome to my blog... where I post about everything I love in my life...

I'm such a busy girl, working hard as a Nurse in a small community hospital in the East of Fife and running my own little business creating vintage inspired hats and fascinators - Off With Her Head, its a really catchy name, or so I've been told! When I'm not working as a nurse or milliner I can be found singing with a rock band called Dirty Prospect, my partner Alan plays guitar with the band, and we dabble in songwriting together! I love to read and am often found curled up on the couch with a good book, a cup of coffee and a bar of chocolate. I'm also a pagan, been a practicing 'witch' for over 10 years, my passion is Tarot Cards and I have a collection of different themed decks!! Alan and I have just bought a house together... we're busy packing boxes at the moment and are really looking forward to the move at the end of the month! We have a grey siamese cat called Mowgli, who is both a sweetheart and a terror!!

So what can you expect from my blog... well everything really, from the latest hat creations that I'm working on to little side craft projects, book reviews and recommendations, pagan related information... anything and everything thats going on in my life right now!!

Hope you enjoy reading!!

Brightest Blessings!

Lisa x