Sunday, 12 December 2010

Mince Pies?

Did I say I was going to bake mince pies yesterday?  Well, somehow on the way to the kitchen I decided that as we had no biscuits in the house (and C does like a biscuit with his cuppa at the weekend) I would try my hand at making some.  Biscuits are something I have never made, don't know why, I guess I just bake what I know will turn out okay, but I had this urge this morning ... so out came this little book:

Its donkey's years old but in here I found a recipe for Ginger bread men or biscuits.  Perfect!  So I followed the recipe very carefully and ended up with these:

And they tasted as good as they look!  Not very gingery though, so next time I will add a bit more, but all the same for a first attempt they have turned out extremely well.  A little crisper than I had imagined, more like those little italian biscotti that you get in posh coffee shops, but they are so more-ish I don't think they are going to last very long!  This new found success has got me thinking that I will always make my own biscuits; certainly I will be making some over the next few weeks and I may even be giving them away as 'a little something' to friends and family over the festive period.

I really am chuffed to bits about these.  Its the little things in life that make one happy, don't you agree?

Saturday, 11 December 2010

In The Mood

Hello and thanks for stopping by today.  I thought I'd share a few old favourites to get us all in the mood for Christmas.

These have been doing the rounds of email land for many years but they still make me chuckle.

Now I'm off to bake mince pies and other Christmas stuff, write the few remaining cards still left to do and sing my heart out to the Christmas Carols CDs.  TTFN x

Thursday, 2 December 2010

I'll Show You Mine

I thought as everyone else seems to be blogging about the snow and showing photos of their patch, I'd join in!  Here's what my back garden looks like today:

As my garden is quite sheltered, it is not as deep as at the front of the house, and the village in general, helped by the blizzard we encountered last evening, drifting the snow into high banks. The roads are still just passable, but I have rung hubby to say "come home early" as its snowing heavily and I don't know how long the roads will remain okay.  I am fortunate indeed, that the company I work for has recognised the difficulties and has closed the office for today.  It has been stressful this last couple of days deciding whether I should attempt the journey to work or not, and then feeling guilty at my decision to not go in.  So much so that I woke up this morning very down in the dumps and decided that I would go for a walk in the snow.  I put on hubby's wellies (I still don't own a pair yet, having thought about buying a pair during the last two summers, but looking and not finding the 'right' pair and then deciding that they are a waste of money 'cos they'd only be used once or twice!) and I went out.  I discovered that the snow is that lovely dry kind that is a pleasure to walk through, and with wellies on, I walked through the deepest most virgin patches and felt like a child again.  I kicked, I played.  How exhilarating!  I came back indoors a couple of hours later, made a cup of tea and logged on to Blogland.  And, the very first blog I read was Crochet with Raymond.  Alice must have know I was in need of some therapy and her blog post  sent a massive hit of energy and healing through my body.  Thank you so much Alice.  I am fully recharged and can concentrate on finishing writing the last few Christmas cards (most of mine I posted this morning, but have the neighbours and friends ones left to do), tidying up the house, and doing the washing up (as I went out straight after breakfast) and then maybe there'll be time for a little hookiness before C gets home and I need to prepare dinner.  So, TTFN and take great care in this wintry weather.

Saturday, 27 November 2010


Today its cold, staying at 0 degrees all day and to be honest, I'm glad I'm in the warm. This morning I went to the village for the Christmas Market.  I was a little disappointed this year as it didn't seem as good, not as many stall holders and too many of those that were there this morning were tombola or raffle stalls.  I made a mental note to perhaps take a stall myself next year.  My friend and I meet once a month to have a craft day and over the years we've tried many different crafts and have a cupboard full of 'makes' some of which we have sold.  About two years ago I became very despondant a really not interested in crafting, but all that is changing and I find myself full of inspiration with lots of ideas buzzing around in my head.  I'm thinking that maybe next year my friend Betty and I can get back to it.  Its not that we stopped crafting altogether, we just seemed to have sat and chatted for most of the craft days rather than worked.  To be fair to Bet, she has never lost interest and remains keen to get out there and sell stuff.  We did have a web site until late last year when the website host withdraw its services.  Bet's husband, Ron has agreed to set up a new one for us and will get cracking on it in the new year, so watch this space!

One stall at the market was one of those 'bit of this, bit of that' stalls and I found yards of material that I just had to buy.  Look...

There's enough to make a couple of tablecloths as well as plenty to use for collage.  I've always wanted to try my hand at fabric collage, but having no stash readily available and being unwilling to spend a lot of money, I have til now, been unable to have a go.  This lot cost me just £7!  I came away feeling like the cat who got the cream!  Now I only have to contain myself until after Christmas when I can put this stash to good use.  Christmas must come first as I have presents to finish and there's only a few weeks remaining.  And on that note, I leave you to take up my crochet hook and get hooking!

Til next time, and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Friday Walk to School

Friday mornings are always started by walking with my Goddaughter (K) to school.  Her mum needs to leave for work at 08.30am, but as school is just a five minutes walk away, and K doesn't need to leave until 08.45am, Grandma and Aunty Debra (me) take it in turns to do the "school run".  Grandma comes off worst as she does it four days a week!  I always hate having to get up early to do this, but once I'm up and out I really enjoy the fresh start to the day.

On the way to school this morning, not only did I strike up a conversation with a Grandad who was taking his two grandsons to school, who I strolled with as his two and my K ran ahead with gay abandon, but we saw a rather lovely spiders web glistening in the light and strung with diamonds from the dew.  Look ...

isn't it lovely?  This photo doesn't do it justice, of course, but we all stood there with our noses pressed close for a good look before the boys and K ran off again.

Its a foggy, damp start to the day here, but I can see a glimmer of sunshine and a ray of hope that the day will brighten up.  I struggle to stay positive on these dull winter days, but my spirits have been well and truly lifted by seeing the glittering diamonds and thoughts that nature truly is remarkable and gives us many gifts if only we use our eyes and look.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Saturday Shopping

This morning I popped into a local charity shop for a look around and they have dedicated one window and almost half the shop to Christmas.  Naturally I went to have a rummage through the stuff and found a few bits that I just couldn't say no to, like these lovely place mats:

Sorry about the poor picture quality but the light here is not favourable for taking photos today; very dull and overcast.  There are four of these marked up at £1 each.  They are still starched as though they have never been used.  Not sure if I'll use them as table mats with food around, but I thought I could use them on top of the side board and small cupboard, or even on the top of the chest of drawers that sit on the landing, bringing a festive touch to the upstairs.  I also found these:

Tray cloths!  Two long and two round.  Here's a close up of the picture detail: 

Aren't they just gorgeous?  I saw a set almost identical to these on ebay a couple of weeks ago and was tempted to bid for them, but I'm really glad I didn't as the ebay starting price was £5 and I bought these for just £2.95!  Again I'm not going to let food anywhere near these; they will be used for decoration only - maybe as a base for some fancy candles that will not be lit or for a few of my (many) Christmas decorations.

And then I also bought this towel:

Its a small hand/guest towel that I thought my Godaughter, whose seven, could use for wiping her hands.  Its very thin and cheap but just right for messy children!  It will add a festive touch to the bathroom.  I also found and bought a jigsaw puzzle which is a Christmas bauble to hand on the tree when put together.  Its still in its shrink-wrap so could be given as a present but I'm really tempted to do it myself.  All in all a good morning's shopping.  All these treasures came in at just over £10.

I can't wait til Christmas.  I just LOVE the festive season and go completely over the top! 

Thursday, 11 November 2010

November Already?

Hello and sorry I've been missing for a while.  I had an email from my sister which started 'where has the time gone?' and it got me wondering just what has happening to this year?  I mean it's November already and I've done nothing to speak of this year at all!  It's funny, but when one works full time you think you are so time poor that you really could do with working only part-time and when you do become lucky enough to work part-time, such as myself, after a few months of feeling time rich, you then start to feel time poor again and want to work no-time!  Are we never satisfied?  I have finally realised that I am one of life's muddlers. After ten years of working part-time and so having a few hours each morning to do chores at home, I still cannot get a routine going to ensure everything gets done that needs to be done, like the cleaning, the washing, the ironing.  My house is 'grubby around the edges'.  I'm not proud that it is like this, but I seem to be able to do nothing to keep it any differently.  Many years ago I wrote out a weekly To Do, spreading the housework chores out throughout the week and ensuring I had a little bit of 'me time' in there too and for a while all went swimmingly.  Then something happened to put me out of routine and for ages after, I struggled to get back to what was on the To Do.  And this is how its been ever since.  Weeks of good routine where things seem almost to get done by themselves and then weeks of procrastination and excuses and laziness which puts the home back into grubbiness.

It's a bit like that with my craft work too.  I have thousands of ideas all jamming up my brain and I feel desperate to get at least some of them made, but for one reason or another I sabbotage those good intentions too and end up doing nothing.  This blog also was a good intention that was supposed to be updated at least weekly, as I know I have the time. But, as is usual for me, it doesn't happen. Why?  Why am I like this?  Anyone out there got any ideas?

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

I'm So Excited!

I've got TEN people watching my very first item I'm selling on ebay!  Being an ebay virgin, this is all VERY EXCITING for me.  Of course I know that of these TEN watchers, there will be some who are simply doing their homework and seeing what price they will be able to get for their similar items, but hopefully there is at least ONE person out there watching who wants it!  The item closes at the weekend and I know from watching a couple of things myself, that the action all happens in the last couple of hours with a frenzy of activity in the last remaining minute.  It will be interesting to see how my item goes as its a small table and not a beautiful, designer handbag!  I'll keep you posted. TTFN.

Saturday, 23 October 2010


I am content.  I LOVE my life just as it is.  I am GRATEFUL for all I have. I have realised that there is no point in wishing for things that are unattainable and never going to happen, 'cos that is just using up energy; energy I don't have.  There is also no point in harbouring resentment or being jealous of others as this will eat away at you and bring illness and unhappiness.  After many years of feeling down in the dumps and having therapy and reading self-help books I have FINALLY realised that life is just TOO SHORT!  Perhaps its because I have nearly reached my half-century, I don't know.  I have managed until recently to live the whole of this year in positivity, that is until a couple of weeks back when I allowed myself to become very stressed at work bringing health-related consequenses from which I am still recovering.  I was doing soooo well but something snapped inside of me and I let in the doom and gloom.  It is very hard for me to climb back out of the dark hole once I've fallen in.  I am struggling to get a grip on the slippery slope to slowly haul myself back to the top.  However, I feel an air of optimism that is telling me all will be well again.  I just need to keep reminding myself that I am content with my life and that all is good.  As I sit here I am thinking of all that I am grateful for: a loving partner who has shared my life for over twenty years; a cosy little house that is stuffed full of dreams and memories; the freedom of working part-time; a plethora of wildlife on my doorstep in which to delight; enough money to not want or need for anything; indeed I am blessed. 

Monday, 11 October 2010

Orange and Pink

Aren't these lovely?  We have several Sedums (Ice Plants) dotted around the garden, most of which are self-sown.  They are the most intense pink colour and with their light, almost lime green leaves, the contrast is incredible and makes one's heart go skippety skip just looking at them.  They positively glow in the early evening sunlight.

It struck me as I was thinking of what to write about today, that October is the month of Pink and Orange; support for Cancer patients by wearing and  buying all things pink; the shades of orange of the leaves before they fall from the trees; Pumpkins ...

This is my very first attempt at pumpkin carving done last Halloween.  We never had pumpkins as children and I've always wanted to try my hand at carving a lantern, but the price of pumpkins and the thought that I was perhaps a wee bit too old to be doing such things had stopped me until my friend BB said she was going to be carving one (and she's older than me!) and suggested we make a day of it and do one each.  WE had so much FUN and laughed and LAUGHED.  We're going to be doing it again this year on Saturday 30th.  I'm supplying the pumpkins (Tesco usually have them on sale for around £1 these days - perhaps I'll carve two!) and we will be making pumpkin soup for lunch.

Monday, 4 October 2010

The Weekend

My weekend was somewhat scuppered by a Migraine attack.  I had allowed myself to become VERY STRESSED at work last week, particularly Thursday and Friday which resulted in THE MIGRAINE.  I had great plans for this weekend too, as I was feeling unusually full of energy and wanting to GET THINGS DONE.  C was back in the bathroom putting up more tiles (one wall finished top to bottom, yeah) as I sat and rested.  The migraine tablets took away the pain, but left me feeling like a zombie, as always, and I had the usual blurred vision in my right eye and so was unable to read, or watch TV or do anything, really.

Saturday did start out OK with a trip to the bank and a looksy in the local charity shops but by the time I had arrived home I knew I had to sit still for the rest of the day, otherwise the attack would be severe.  So, Saturday and Sunday saw me 'resting', although by Sunday afternoon I was feeling better and able to see OK and so I decided I would start on my next project :: a blanket for the living room.  Remember the cushion I made earlier?  The wool I used goes so well with the other furnishings that I'm going to use it again for the blanket. I cast on 200 stitches and managed two rows.  I am aiming to do at least one row every day so it grows at a reasonable pace.  I'll keep you posted with its progress.

Sunday, 26 September 2010


Autumn has well and truly arrived and I'm LOVING it!  I LOVE the colours, the crisp air, the cosy jumpers, the berries, the nuts.  All in all I would be inclined to say that Autumn is my favourite time of the year, except I don't like the cold.  In fact, I HATE being cold.  Its great when you are cosy indoors and have nowhere to go, but when you have to go to work, go food shopping, get on with DAILY LIFE, then I struggle to find any joy in a dripping nose and numb fingers and toes.

Its at this time of year I remind myself daily of all the lovely things that Autumn and Winter bring, and take comfort in the fact that after Winter there's Spring and new hope for a warm Summer.  I collect conkers and display them in a dish ...

lovely, arent they?

And I collect all the Philberts that fall from our nut tree and save them for Christmas and for making C nut and choc chip buns for his lunch box ...

And this year I've managed to get a bine or two of hops to decorate the kitchen

curtesy of our neighbour, Betty.

I've been freezing the hedgerow harvest of Blackberries too over the last few weeks.  All finished now, but I've been offered a couple of pounds of Damsons as well, so my freezer will be full to bursting.  I told C it wouldn't be big enough when we bought it, and with all this hedgerow foraging, I'm being proved right!  I hope to be making jam in the very near future (that'll make some space) but must first make more Whisky Marmalade for His Nibs, as he's on the last jar of the previous batch.  I cheat when making marmalade and use MaMade ready prepared oranges - there's no way I could stand there and peel and pith a pound or two of oranges.  The end result is superb and I can highly recommend MaMade and their instructions.  Soft fruits used for jam making are very easy, you just pop into the pan and heat, no peeling necessary.

The Sunday Roast today was finished off by a lovely Blackberry crumble ...


See you all again soon, XXX

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Its Been A While

Time flies round these parts. Didn't realise how long I'd been away.
I thought I'd show you some of the encaustic art I've done which I want to make into note cards.

I love doing this. Its so therapautic, much better than ironing clothes!

Saturday, 24 July 2010


My latest WiP (work in progress) is a cushion cover. Earlier this year we bought two new armchairs and they looked a little bland sitting without any cushions on, so I turfed out a few cushion covers I had put aside for a rainy day and decided only one would be suitable.
After a comment from my husband along the lines of "something you've made would look good" I decided I would crochet the second one. So off I went on a trip to the Post Office for wool, not really thinking there would be anything suitable colour-wise, and was surprised to find this lovely ball ...

Isn't it just gorgeous? There were several colours in it that would match in with the existing decor of the front room and new chair fabric, so I bought it and started to crochet :: I wasn't sure how it would knit up, but thought simple double-crochet would show off the colours without competing and now I've done a chunk I absolutely LOVE it and it matches well with the chair fabric.

Re-Kindled Love

A year or so ago I decided to pick up the crochet hook once more. I had been seduced by the newly emerged interest in knitting and all things made of wool. I had done a bit of crocheting years ago and still had a crochet hook in my sewing box. I found a bit of wool (probably left over from all those years ago!) and soon rediscovered how much I had enjoyed doing it back then. So, having got 'the bug' again I bought a few cheap balls of wool, from the local Post Office no less, and started to play. Could I remember how to do a granny square? Yes, I could, albeit a little wonky. My creative juices were flowing and I was having fun. How about if I change colour? And what if I change the stitch? Soon my first piece was done. A smallish blanket that wasn't very flat! Made a mental note to work on tension on the next piece. Now what could I use this for? I didn't want to undo it, nor throw it away. Then, suddenly it hit me! I remembered my computer chair was a little too blue for my liking and didn't look very welcoming. Would this blanket give it a lift? Yes, look. It fits perfectly as if it were made for it! Of course I tell every one I did make it to fit this chair.

Looks good, huh?

Thursday, 15 July 2010

The Final Countdown

I have grown to love these tiles in my bathroom, more from necessity than perhaps a genuine love, but not having the money to revamp has meant a long wait for the bathroom of my dreams. Well, I'm waiting no more. Early this year my husband started to strip off the old tiles and today we've gone from this ...

to this!
I thought I'd go for a simple white with black Edwardian look with white suite as I can then put any colour towel with it and it will look good. One wall will stay painted but I've yet to decide what colour that will be. Watch this space. I'm just so excited I can't tell you!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Old Jars

I've had these jars lurking in the cupboard for years. They originally had jam in them and were bought on my first trip to Scotland to visit my sister. I always knew that one day I would find a good use for them and I have!

I've turned one into a soap dispenser for the kitchen. Looks good huh?

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