Sunday, 2 December 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Restoration Cake

As a new feature on my blog I have decided to dedicate Sundays to some truly wonderful, creative and talented people in what I am calling my Sunday Spotlight.

December's Sunday Spotlight is the amazing Restoration Cake!

A couple of months back I was casually reading the latest issue of Vintage Life Magazine when I turned the page to see one of my own creations atop the head of the amazing Charlotte from Restoration Cake, so I sent her a wee message to say thank you and to ask if she's mind doing a little interview for me as part of my Sunday Spotlight.

Lisa: In 100 words or less, tell me a little about yourself.
Charlotte: I am a Cake Designer, living and working in London. I'm a history geek who never grew out of playing 'dress up'. My family motto is 'never knowingly underdressed'. I live in hats, high heels, and red lipstick. I adore Marilyn Monroe and have 'Nobody's Perfect' tattooed on my wrist because it is the last line of Some Like It Hot, my favourite movie. I have an eclectic taste in music and play bass guitar - I even sang and played at my own Wedding!

Lisa: How did you get started in the world of cakes?
Charlotte: As a child I baked with my Nana. I have baked cakes all my life, it is just something that I have always loved to do. I made my first Wedding Cake in 2007 for friends and they then encouraged me to consider cakes as a career. I took evening classes at my local community college and learnt loads of techniques and set up Restoration Cake in 2009.

Lisa: What is you favourite cupcake flavour and why?
Charlotte: It has to be Red Velvet. I make a fabulous Red Velvet cupcake with a cream cheese frosting, which is pretty tasty! It is also hugely popular. I lust admit, I am much more fond of Cake than Cupcakes.

Lisa: Any advice for people who’ve never given baking a try?
Charlotte: Take your time and enjoy it! Baking is a science so you have to really read the recipe and follow it to the letter for the cake to turn out nicely. If you are rushing, this is when you will make a mistake. I cannot recommend the recipes of Nigella Lawson enough for beginners... she really talks you through each stage of the recipe so that you know you are on the right track.

Lisa: You’ve been featured with your amazing cakes in Vintage Life Magazine wearing both the Cherries Jubilee and Monroe Fascinators by Off With Her Head Millinery, so we know you love your hats! How many Hats do you own and do you have a favourite??
Charlotte: I have no idea how many hats I own! Isn't that awful. I am a sucker for a beret. I own them in every colour... black, white, grey, red, royal blue, baby blue, navy, pink, purple and that's just the berets. I love hats in the 1940s style at the moment and I have a ladies trilby in claret with three feathers in the front... I think this one is my favourite this week! I have several 1940s style hats and loads of fascinators too. I love wearing my Monroe fascinator in the summer months when the sun is out.

Lisa: What are your plans/ambitions for the future?
Charlotte: I have lots of lovely Weddings booking in for 2013 so I am looking forward to another year of wonderful Brides and delicious cakes. There are lots of exciting projects in the pipeline and I am excited to be releasing my very first e-book of recipes and cake decorating tricks. This will be available via the website very soon. I will also be announcing more classes and teaching loads of lovely people how to create beautiful cakes.

Lisa: How can people contact you to order your amazing cakes?
Charlotte: All of my contact details can be found on my website

Charlotte from Restoration Cake wear 'Cherries Jubilee' Fascinator by Off With Her Head Millinery 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

We love to read!

When I first found out I was pregnant with Kaylee, one of the first things I started to do was build up a collection of children's books, I wanted to share the ones I remember as a kid and remember reading to my two younger sisters when they we're little. Among these were 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar', 'The Cat in The Hat' and 'Funnybones', all classics I'm sure you'll agree. So I  started to read to the bump from pretty early on! It was fantastic and gave me a real chance to bond with my little bug.

Kaylee is now two and adores her books, she'll read several books over the course of one day and has at least two stories before bedtime each night. Yes, she is a little bookworm!! Now she's 2 I've been busy trying to change her room from the nursery into a little girls room and one of the recent things I've done for her is to create a 'reading' corner. We purchased some paper mache letters from Hobbycraft and decoupaged them with tissue paper to spell out the work READ amounted it on the wall as a piece of art. We also got one of the inflatable Ladybirds from Ikea, but instead of using the air element we've filled it with bean bag beans making it a comfy place for Kaylee to sit with her books while she enjoys reading to herself and her toys! Her bookshelf was made by her Grumps (Grandad) and is filled with all her favourites!

I thought I'd share a couple of those favourites with you! First of all is 'The Gruffalo' by Julia Donaldson. This has been a favourite since she was very little and nowadays she joins in with the story describing the Gruffalo as we go along; with his terrible teeth and terrible claws, his knobbly knees and turned out toes and even his purple prickles!! As a parent I just love Julia Donaldson's stories. They are so imaginative and have a lovely rhyming style to them that makes them so very easy to read! I must confess that we actually have all of her books to date, many in not only hardback/paperback but also in board book format and some even in their 'sound book' format too!!

One of my other favourites by Julia Donaldson is 'Night Monkey, Day Monkey'. As a parent who often works night shift we use this one to help explain that I'm sleeping during the day and quite often when I come home from a shift in the morning I'll be greeted with 'Hello Night Monkey'!

We discovered 'Owl Babies' when we were in holiday in Spain in an english newsagents and it has become a firm favourite with Kaylee ever since. Again its another good story to help explain that I'm off to work at night but just like the Owl Mother will be back in the morning!!!

For reading by herself she can't get enough of the 'That's Not My...' books. She loves all the touchy feely bits and the simple style of them means she's picked up the basic story really easily.

I'm very happy my love of books has rubbed off onto my little girl... she has a whole world of adventures open to her now!!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Treasury Thursday - Happy 2nd Birthday

So It's Thursday (not Tuesday!!), I know I'm a little behind this week with my Etsy Treasury, in fact I meant to post this last week but we got rather tied up with the birthday celebrations.

Yep, that's right, last week Kaylee celebrated her 2nd Birthday. I don't know where the past two years have gone!! She's becoming a proper little girl. She had a great time both on her Birthday and at her party on the Saturday! Family and friends all helped to make it a wonderful celebration. I must admit however to cheating on the bakery front this year with a shop bought Birthday Cake and fairy cakes which we decorated ourselves. Next year I'm going to do the cake from scratch!!

Anyway... here it is Treasury Thursday:  Happy Birthday - 2 Today!

Crown by Glam Hatter

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Sunday Spotlight: Elfwitch Designs

As a new feature on my blog I have decided to dedicate Sundays to some truley wonderful, creative and talented people in what I am calling my Sunday Spotlight.

The first of these is this weeks Crafty Witch, Arielle who runs Elfwitch Designs from her home in Edinburgh, making handcrafted jewellery and home crafts. ElfWitch Designs was created 3 years ago, when Arielle decided to become her own boss for good and run a business which reflected her various passions and talents. The main aspect of the business is the beautiful crafts she designs, makes and sells. It started (and still is now) with hand-made beaded jewellery with an alternative edge, and last year saw the addition of fabric crafts and gothic patchwork in particular. 

I asked Arielle to tell me a little about her personal backround, she said; "I have been suffering from various physical and mental illnesses for years and had to abandon a promising teaching career 10 years ago as a result. I decided to make a success of my life by becoming self-employed through necessity of course, but also thanks to my determination, survival instinct and sheer bloody mindedness!" Elfwitch Designs now have an established Etsy shop (, a popular Facebook page ( and have had stalls at the Whitby Gothic Weekend and the Out Of The Blue Drill Hall Arts Market in Edinburgh. 

I myself own many pieces from Elfwitch Designs, as well as having bought several gifts for family and friends too. I too have been on the receiving end of a few 'Elfwitch' gifts. I received a gorgeous bookmark as a present from my little girl that featured a gorgeous purple turquoise skull and has become my favourite reading companion (that is when reading book rather than my kindle). Her jewellery designs are truley unique, with a quirky alternative edge and a flair for design! I commissioned her to make a set of skull earrings after I was so taken by my bookmark gift, and my bat watch necklace always garners attention whenever it is worn!

This year I asked Arielle to create a patchwork cushion for my tub chair, and to match the colour scheme of our living room: black and green. It would of course have to feature a few elements of our style, gothic tastes and love of music. The piece she created was beautiful and so well made and finished perfectly, as you can see Kaylee really liked it too!!

Now readers... I have a little treat for you all... If you have enjoyed this spotlight and like what you have seen then why not leave me a wee comment. One reader will be picked at random next Sunday and will receive a custom bookmark from Elfwitch Designs just like the one pictured.

Please take a little look at her Etsy shop and pop on by her Facebook page too and tell her I sent you and remember to come back next week for another Sunday Spotlight!

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Parasol Protectorate

The Parasol Protectorate - Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless & Timeless

In my teenage years I devoured fiction... I would spend a whole day engrossed in a new book, often starting and finishing a book in a day! My favourite authors being David Eddings and Neil Gaimen. In my 20's I found myself reading very little outside my sociology, economics and psychology, and then nursing textbooks. In my thirties I've enjoyed reading children's fiction to my soon to be two year old, our favourite being Julia Donaldson and her now famous Gruffalo! But not until recently have I found my way back into reading for myself... and that is thanks to two very special people!!

Those people are my good friend Madeline and the author of the book she lent me one day - Gail Carriger. The books are known as 'The Parasol Protectorate', a series of 5 novels about out heroine Alexia Tarabotti, described as, "a woman with several critical problems: she is still searching for a husband, her late Italian father complicates her social standing in a rigid class system, and she has no soul", She reminds me of Elizabeth Bennett from Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, strong willed and certainly able to take care of herself in a society that demands she finds a good husband to take care of her! In this alternative 'Steampunk' London everyday folk exist alongside a supernatural set which includes Vampires, Werewolves and Ghosts.

These novels are so delightfully written. They grab you from the early pages, tossing you into a world of drama and intrigue that envelops you completely, and keeps you gripped to the very end. I started the series with the copy Madeline gave me, and soon switched to my Kindle (my joint Anniversary and Mothers Day gift from Alan & Kaylee - it was our 1st wedding Anniversary this year and Alan found the idea of the Kindle as my gift appropriately perverse!!). That was in March of this year... by the middle of June I had competed the series. I have never wanted to read so much and so furiously as I have these past few months as I did when I was a teenager. And this new found love of reading hasn't stopped with Gail's novels... I'm currently reading The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.

These books have inspired me with my millinery so very much - the covers of each book picture Alexia dressed in beautiful Victorian finery with the obligatory hat, the descriptions of Ivy's (Alexia's best friend with a flair for the dramatic) 'interesting' choices in millinery and of course the amazing descriptions of Madame LeFoux's hat shop with its hats suspended from the ceilings on chains!! Here are just two of my hats that I think really capture the essence of the series!

Black & White Mini Top Hat by Off With Her Head Millinery
Photography by Pyramid Clicks

Brown & Cream Print Mini Tricorn by Off With Her Head Millinery
Photography by Ange Harper
These books seem to be an inspiration to so very many of Gail's many, many fans... all you have to do is take a look on DeviantArt at the amount of fan pics to see how popular Gail and her heroine have become! This is one of my favourites, and I must confess of my favourite character 'Biffy', by Natalie (Tilwen).

Biffy by Natalie (Tilwen)

Gail herself writes the most charming little blog on Livejournal ( and is very active with her fans: you can find her on Facebook and posting in the Facebook group for the series here:
She has just finished writing Ettiquete & Espionage (a new series of novels entitled 'Finishing School') due to be released in Feb 2013... but can be pre-ordered via Amazon here:
(my copy is already on order).

So I end this blog post by simply saying thank you ladies, thank you indeed!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Race for Life 2012

Since I lost my Mum to Cancer in 1994 I've always been active in raising funds for Cancer Research, and once again this year I took part in the Race for Life. This year I decided to come back to Kirkcaldy and took part in the race in Beveridge Park on the 24th June. My best time to date was 40mins and 40 seconds when I walked/ran at Holyrood in Edinburgh. I had made it my goal to beat that time and raise at least £100 in the process.
Self Portrait - just before the warm up!
Well I am really pleased to report that I came across the finish line at a time of 40 minutes dead!! So very happy with that result as my training time had been very limited by parental responsibilities and work commitments! As well as achieving that target, my final fundraising target (including gift aid donations) came to £187.25, which I will be personally be bringing up to £200!! So thank you to all the family and friends who supported me, donated their hard earned cash and kept me going to the finish line! Donations are still welcome though and can be made via my Just Giving page here:

I will, of course, be taking part again next year, not sure which venue yet though (I really liked the Holyrood course).

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

House of Pinheiro - Pincushion Swap

A couple of months ago this fabulous pincushion swap was brought to my attention and I couldn't resist taking part. Hosted by the 'House of Pinheiro' Blog (, I was matched and paired with Jenny for our swap!

I knew straight away that I wanted to make a pincushion hat... after all millinery is my thing! And as the project was to be shipped by Jubilee Day I decided to go with a red, white and blue theme!!

My package arrived shortly after having sent mine and was full of vintage goodies. The pincushion was a sweet vintage egg cup, perfect for sitting on my desk while I sew. As well as that I received some vintage sewing accessories, scrabble tiles that spelled out my name and a swirly lolly pop, all wrapped in tissue paper and tied up with some gorgeous ribbon!!

Jenny is a fellow crafting Mum, and writes The Gingerbread House Blog ( Please pop over and take a look, especially for the Lego cookies... think I'm going to give those a go with Kaylee as a surprise for her Daddy who is Lego daft!

Treasury Tuesday

So this is the first in a new feature on my blog. Bringing you the best of Etsy (and mostly featuring the work of British sellers), every Tuesday!

This week I've decided to create my Treasury based around the theme of 'Rainy Day'... we've had so much rain this past week that its felt more like September than June/July that I felt it was only appropriate to search out some rain themed pieces to cheer us all up! There's something for everyone in my treasury from artwork to jewellery, housewares to patterns for the creative among us and a few things in between.

I hope you enjoy this weeks treasury... any suggestions for following weeks themes, then please leave a wee comment!
Here Comes The Rain Print by Sparklehen £7.85 (plus postage)

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Bridal Fascinator for Sonia

Back in February I met with Bride-to Be Sonia to discuss creating a special fascinator for her Big Day. She was having a Vintage/Scottish style wedding and wanted me to create a piece that would fit with the style of the event and her gorgeous dress!!

At our first consultation we spent a lot of time talking about her plans for the wedding, so that I could get a feel for her day and we discussed the style of fascinators that she had been looking at. Luckily for me Sonia also had been documenting her search for inspiration through Pintrest so I was really able to see the kind of thing she had in mind. After this meeting a drew up three different designs based on the styles she had liked and presented these to her at our second consultation. The piece she chose was my favourite by far... a circular ivory sinamay base trimmed with diamantés, sequins and pearls all echoing the design in her dress. One of the things Sonia was certain about was having a birdcage veil and this she wanted to be detachable so that she could wear the simple fascinator for the evening reception. We agreed to decorate the veil with diamantés for added sparkle!!

Then work began on the piece. First I had to block the base. This was done using 3 layers of sinamay, stretched over my vintage head block, coated with stiffener and allowed to dry for a full 24 hours. Next the base was cut to shape and trimmed with matching bias binding. Then began the task of trimming the base with diamantés, sequins and pearls in ivory and blue... each sewn on by hand... the process took 3 hours to complete but the effect was stunning and very organic.

A bow was created from ivory shot satin and a lucky silver sixpence hidden in its centre. The veil was spotted with diamantés and attached  to the underside of the bow with a couple of ivory buttons.

I was so happy to be involved in creating this special piece and I'm sure you'll agree that Sonia looked stunning on her Big Day! Congratulations to Mr & Mrs Kerr!!

Queens Jubilee Pillbox by Lisa Jones (Off With Her Head Millinery)

Back at the start of the year I was invited to participate in a new design competition on Talenthouse. The brief was to make a hat to celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee. I knew straight away that I wanted to create something that celebrated Britishness, and used red, white and blue as my colour scheme. I came across a lovely cream and gold crown print cotton and knew this would be perfect for creating my hat base. I decided on a pillbox as it is simple and elegant and I feel this style is really something that is associated with the Queen.

So I blocked my pillbox in buckram and cotton interfacing, covered it with the cotton print fabric and lined it with cream wool felt. For decoration I decided to create a birdcage veil, spotted with diamantes and handmade a trio of shot satin roses each finished with a heart shaped union jack button in the centre. I finished the piece with a flourish of feathers.

Voting is currently underway as I’m sitting in the Top 50 at the moment!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Kinky Knickers

For those of you in the UK, you may have like me just finished watching The Bottom Line with Mary Portas. Well I'm a big fan and when I heard that she was planning to try and bring back British-made knickers in her new show I was hooked on the idea. I love what Mary stands for and her work ethic is second to none! What she achieves in her shows is just amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the show. 

I was lucky enough to grab myself 3 pairs (one in each colour!) of her brand of 'Kinky Knickers' from John Lewis priced at £10.00 each, which I know may sound like a lot when compared to Primarks £1 a pair... BUT... these knickers are well worth their higher price point. Mary wanted to create a pair if knickers that were not only pretty but functional... comfortable to wear and with no VPL! Well she succeeded. The Nottingham Lace is so very beautiful and makes each pair special. They are amazingly comfortable to wear...  to be honest they were so nice it felt as if I were going commando!!

Kinky Knickers in Pink (Size M)
And the packaging... well I love vintage anyway but the little boxes that you knickers nestle in are just so sweet. The packaging reads, "Best worn when the Sun's up but the blinds are down, you're on top of your day (or under the milkman) and you're feeling just a little bit naughty underneath... Top Knickers for the Finest Bottoms", And proudly states MADE IN BRITAIN!! Simply adorable.

Adorable Vintage Style Packaging... and its recyclable too!!

The quirkiness of the product doesn't stop there as hidden away in the gusset of each pair you'll find a little ribbon label telling you exactly which one of Mary's recruits lovingly made you pair... two of mine were made by James and one by Adrian... thank you Boys!!

My Knickers, Proudly Made in Britain By Adrian

So I highly recommend that you go out a buy yourself at least one pair of these fabulous knickers... say knickers to the others and show Mary and her team your support!!

Buy British!!

A family holiday in Nerja.

March and time for a family holiday! We'd been saving for a well deserved break from the everyday and booked ourselves a 5 night stay in Nerja, Andalucia.

What a fantastic time we had! The weather was fantastic, temperatures of between 19 - 23 degrees, just nice with a pleasant sea breeze and not too warm overnight to be uncomfortable. The views in this unspoiled part of Spain were simply stunning and the old cobbled streets with white washed terraced homes were just beautiful.

Balcon de Europa

C/ Caraebo

Kaylee was well catered for almost everywhere we went, the only downside was the lack of high-chairs even in some family friendly establishments, however she weathered this by showing what a big girl she is becoming and sat on a grown up chair in most places! As for things to do, we all highly recommend the Nerja Donkey Sanctuary who do a fantastic job of looking after the Donkeys, Horses, Pigs, Sheep and Dogs in their care. We adopted Ginny and Ozzie, a Mum and her 5 day old baby! 

Ginny the Donkey
The land train was also a favourite for us, Kaylee loved being taken round the old streets waving to everyone who we passed. There was also no shortage of toddler friendly play areas dotted around the town! 

The Little Blue Train
 I must also highly recommend the traditional 'Chocolate Y Churros', well worth the calories!!

Churros - sweet doughnuts best served dunked in think Hot Chocolate!!

I was very pleased to see lots of little shops with independent crafters selling their wares instead of mass market tacky tourist trinkets!! Kaylee bought me a lovely bracelet from jewellery designer Isolda Navarro and I treated myself to a gorgeous little leather coin purse sculpted into the shape of a scallop shell!

Bracelet by Isolda Navarro
Isolda's Studio on C/ Carabeo
Scallop Shell Purse

A lovely place, and we'll certainly be going back some day!