Wednesday, 19 September 2007


Avast, it's International Talk Like A Pirate Day today! Have fun me hearties, yarr!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007


I'll be posting another tutorial. Here's a little hint about what it will be.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Lookie what I got today!

We went to Sully car boot again. After wandering around most of it and not buying anything, I came across someone selling bolts of fabric.

Now, as you may have realised, I'm a bit of a collector of fabric, so I went and had a rummage. And found these beauties. Of course, I had to give them a good home!

I've got a feather filled single quilt, so I'm planning on making an eiderdown with some of the fabric, as well as a cushion cover and maybe some lavender filled hearts or something.

My sewing machine's going to be busy!

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Autumn, my love/hate relationship

Yes, I have a love/hate relationship with autumn.

I love the colours, I love the harvest, I love the things that happen between now and the end of December (a few birthdays, our anniversary, guy fawkes night, and christmas/winter solstice).

What I don't love is the fact that it means winter is coming.

Oh, I love crisp, sunny, blue sky winter mornings, but unfortunately they are few and far between.
Normal winter days are grey and cold and often wet to boot.

That, I don't like. And I don't even have a fireplace that I can build a fire in to make it feel better. (there is a fireplace, but apparently the smoke comes out in the bedrooms)

But anyway, I didn't want to moan about the coming of winter, I just wanted to note that the swallows have flown.

They nest in my in-laws garage on the otherside of the motorway, but often fly over here. In-laws said they had flown yesterday, and this morning I saw a couple of stragglers trying to catch up.
This afternoon I heard a bird chattering away and saw that it was a lone swallow.

As is my wont, I turned the chattering into human speak! Like (Johnny Morris)

"Where is everyone? Oi, stop hiding! Look, I just went out for a few bugs. I can't help it if I got up late. My alarm didn't work."

I hope he catches up with the others.

In other news, Dan has got his stuff from his dads now, so we're really cramped (moreso than we were before, and how the hell did that much stuff fit in his small room at his dads, cos it doesn't fit in his small room here?)

Matt has got his start date at work and will be staying with us (until he gets his own place) at the end of this month, and Caroline, my bestest friend, is applying for a job in HR at the same place.
They NEED her. Really. They can't find their arse from their elbows!

And I am so looking forward to having my best friends nearby.

Thankyou to all the new people who have commented on my blog, it's really lovely seeing new *faces*, and of course, thanks to the regulars. It means a lot to me that you you hang around!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Bread Making Tutorial

Making bread is really easy, but people tend to get put off making their own bread because it takes a while. Most of the time involved however, is in waiting for it to prove, rather than the actual making of it.

So, I thought I'd show just how easy it is.
First of all, the ingredients.

500g strong white or wholemeal bread flour
1 Sachet of easy blend yeast
2 teaspoons of salt (I use slightly less, about 1.5 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons of sugar or honey
2 Tablespoons of olive oil.
Just under 300ml of warm water.

Put the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl. This is my KitchenAid bowl because I was feeling lazy and decided to let the mixer do the work of kneading!

Mix the oil, honey/sugar and water together.

If you're using a mixer, you'll need to use the dough hook.

Mix it together, adding the water mix slowly.

When it all comes together, either knead it by hand for about 15 minutes, (that's the hard part, but can also be very therapeutic!) or with the mixer for 5 or 10 minutes. Then cover the bowl with cling film or a damp teatowel.

And wait. For a couple of hours.

Then it should look like this, about twice the size it was.

Punch it down, or if you have kids, get them to do it. They'll love hearing the pffft sound!

Take it out of the bowl and give it a quick knead on a floured surface, then shape and place on a greased baking sheet or loaf tin, cover with a (dry) teatowel and leave it again, this time for about half an hour. Heat the oven to 220C.
Before second proving

After second proving

Pop it in the oven and cook for 10 mins, then turn oven down to 200C and cook for a further 20 minutes or so.

The bread is ready when it's golden brown, and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Turn it out and leave to cool on a wire rack.

To make the walnut loaf, I used wholemeal flour, substituted walnut oil for the olive oil, and added a couple of handfuls of chopped walnuts when the dough was being mixed.

I'll have to show you how to make butter next!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Walnut Bread

I decided to make some bread yesterday. I use a recipe in one of the River Cottage books, but this time I decided to tweak it. I replaced the olive oil with walnut oil, and added a couple of handfuls of walnut pieces and this was the result:

It's rather nice, especially with butter and honey, and I'm sure it will also go well with cheese. The only thing that I think I'll do different next time is use less salt. Hubby didn't think it tasted salty, but I do! Anyway, it was a hit with him, as he's a big fan of walnut bread, so I'll be making it again.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007


My in-laws are away and have told us to help ourselves to stuff from their garden, so today while Dan was mowing their lawns, I was raiding the garden!

Look what a wonderful bounty I got.

Apples, pears, runner beans, (actually, I got those a couple of days ago) a red onion (there are loads of onions and garlic drying in the greenhouse, but as I already have some, I only took one) and a couple of beetroots.

And from the greenhouse, tomatoes.

I've had a quick search to find out what the yellow ones are, and they look like they might be these.

I don't usually eat beetroot (and nobody else in the house does) as although I don't dislike it, I have to fancy it. And I've only ever eaten pickled beetroot. I hear that fresh beetroot is much nicer, so I picked these to try them out (and got royally stung in the process by nettles that were hiding from me!).

One of the apples we picked was huuuge! The tree it came from was an old tree that got broken one winter when it was blown over, severing most of it from the trunk. It looked like it had died, but a couple of years later, shoots sprung out, and now it has lots of new branches full of apples that look far too big and heavy for it. Obviously, it's had a new burst of life and is really happy. I thanked the tree, as I do whenever I take something from plants.

Just to show how big the apple is, I took a photo. Wondering what to use as a point of reference, I thought of a standard baked bean tin.

So, here it is:

A pic of the apple held in a hand would be better, but only my hands were available at the time, and I was holding the camera. But I hope you get some sense of the size.

I do love this time of year, but I do wish it didn't herald the start of the downward slope to winter.


I made chutney for the first time yesterday! I used Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Glutney recipe from his book The River Cottage Year, (marrow, onions, apples and sultanas) but halved the amounts and ended up with 4 jars. More than enough for me, (as I'm the only one who eats it in this house) so when hubby told me he'd mentioned it to a friend at work who'd sounded interested in it, I gave hubby a jar to take in to work with him. I hope it's ok! Matt and Caroline will also get a jar, as it was the marrow they brought up from Matts mums allotment that was used (and there was still enough marrow to have sliced and roasted last night, and enough left to make a chocolate courgette cake).

Hugh says to leave it a couple of weeks before trying it which will be hard. After making it, I had a strong craving for some mature cheddar and crusty bread!

The only downside to making it, was the smell and fumes of the hot vinegar, which made my sons complain all afternoon!

Next on my list is jam. Probably blackberry and apple as we have loads of blackberries growing around our gardens and fields, as well of lots of cooking apples from hubby's parents garden. Yum!

Monday, 3 September 2007

Car Booty

We went to Sully car boot yesterday. It was a good day with decent weather and lots of sellers. Last time we went, I came away empty handed, but this time, boy did I get some goodies!

Some glass dishes for £1.

A couple of cookery books. £1.50

I don't know when the Sensible Cookery book was printed, but one of my favourite bits in it is this section!

There are also pages telling you how to make a haybox cooker, and how to cook using a gas cooker. There are loads of recipes, some sound quite nice, others not so nice, such as Ragout of Cowheel. Also, I noticed that one of the recipes in the vegetarian section included dripping!
It's fascinating reading though.

I also got a preserving pan for a fiver, but the piece de resistance was this:

(not the cat of course, he's just helping to model it!)

and look what's inside

Someones old sewing box, complete with a mix of vintage and newer notions. Just £6. I'm guessing it came from a house clearance. I'm glad I can give it a new home.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Japanese Goodness

Look what the postman brought me yesterday!

I ordered the magazine and fabric from here. Leslie also popped some sweets ( I love Japanese sweets!) and some tape in my parcel. Lovely!

The magazine looks good, and has a dvd with it. I was surprised when I went to open the magazine and found that unlike the books, it starts at the back! I'm really looking forward to spending some time looking through the magazine. So far I've only quickly flicked through it, but there are some nice things in it and it's already filling me with inspiration!

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Good Morning!

Just a quick post today, as Matt and Caroline are due here soon, but I wanted to post this pic. I saw this cobweb when I went outside this morning, and thought it looked so pretty with the dew on it. It looks just like a piece of fine lace.

It looks like it's going to be a lovely day, so we're having the bbq today. I'm also going to be cooking a ham, and making Caroline some fairy cakes as I promised her that next time she came I would make her some! (She posted a comment on my blog when I showed the pics of the cakes I made with my daughter, complaining that I never made any for her!)

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. Thanks for all the comments, and it's lovely to see some new people here.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

This isn't the thrifting post

But I just wanted to post some more pics that I took today!

This shelf is above my monitor. It holds some of my treasures.

Left side, from left to right.

I have a small collection of wizards and witches. The ceramic wizard and witch are by the same artist. I also have another larger wizard by her in another room as he's too big to fit on this shelf.
A pic of J and I taken about 8 years ago, and a bunny he got me at a fair.
A little box I received from DottyCookie in the PIF swap. She also sent me a cute keyring.
A little trinket box. I'll have to get a top down pic of this, cos you can only see the cottage and tree. It also has a pond with a rowing boat in.

And in the bottom, various bits and pieces that get put there to keep them off my desk along with my Powerpuff girl and some music cds.

Right side

Treeman. I love this piece. My dad bought him for me years ago.
The picture is the one I mentioned in an earlier post, that I bought from Simple Sparrow
The turned wood vases were made by my dad. He was brilliant at pretty much everything he turned his hand to. I got my arty crafty genes from him. :)
The origami dragon hubby made me, on our way home from our first night out. He made it from one of the flyers they hand out. It's survived 3 house moves!
The little blue flowerpot has a candle in, and was decorated by J when he was small.
The bottles are I think, old ink bottles. I inherited these from dad.

I love this picture. The artist was my dad, and the model, my mum.

I found it in dads garage when we were going through his stuff after he died. The frame was coming off, so some of the pic had got stained.

And here is a pic of my dad with my daughter when she was about 9.

Did I ever mention that he sold one of his artworks to Sam Wanamaker I'll have to do a post all about my dad sometime!

Ooh Pictures!

Yep, at long last, my camera has a charged battery and another spare charged battery
for when the first one runs out!
So, be warned, this post is going to be picture heavy! (You can click on the pics to make them bigger)

New Books.

Japanese Craft Books.

New Mary Englebreit Magazine, and the bag that I made.

See the table and chairs? That's the bargain set I got from Tescos.

Some new fabric. I love the print with the cats. It's an Alexander Henry fabric.

While I was in the bedroom taking the pic of the fabric, I thought you might like to see the view from the window.

Here's Nibbler in his favourite place. I have to keep pushing him off my keyboard. I often come back to the pc to see he's brought up the *Find* window, and typed in something like "xxxxxxxxxxfkdsfepgorgk"! Or otherwise I find a box asking if I want to turn caret browsing on. Whatever caret browsing is.

And Pixel, caught as he was about to annoy the fish, hence the guilty look on his face!

Well, that'll do for now. Next post, I'll show you some of my latest thrifted finds.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Well, our friend got the job. Yay! He'll be staying with us for a few weeks when he starts the job, until he's found a house to rent, and I'm not sure how long it will be until my friend comes to join him here. It's going to be a tad crowded in our little house, not to mention that I will be surrounded by males, hubby, 2 sons and Matt! I think I'll have to surround myself with lots of pretty girly things to counteract all the testosterone!
They're both coming here this weekend for a few days. I haven't seen Caroline since christmas, so we'll have lots to catch up on. We're also planning a day trip to Tenby, and if the weather permits, another bbq. Of course, with it being a bank holiday weekend, we're not holding our breath!
Also, J is going to his dads on Friday for a few days. It will be the second time he's travelled down to London on his own. We put him on the coach and his dad meets him at the other end. His dad is the worst time keeper I know, so it's a bit of a worry, and I'll be ringing J at about the time the coach is due into London to make sure he's ok. Although he's 15, he doesn't know his way around London like his brother and sister, and isn't very streetwise.

Ooh, I'll be able to take some photos soon! Hubby finally ordered a new charger as well as a spare battery, so I'm hoping those get here before the weekend. At last, I'll be able to put some photos on the blog!

Anyway, the sun is out and the weather looks like it's staying dry, so I've got a mountain of washing to get through. I'd better get on with it!

Friday, 17 August 2007

So, onto other things!

Two weekends ago, we went down to Windsor. Hubby is going to be a best man in October and needed to go to the suit hire place to be measured. So after that, we had a look in a couple of the charity shops (as we do!). Hubby found another (!) board game to add to the collection, and I got a couple of yards of fabric with a blue rose print for my stash.

We played the game that night with the prospective wedding couple who we were staying with. It's from the 80's and is supposed to see how well you know the other players by deciding what their preferences are. However, the choices were rather random to say the least, not helped by the fact that the preferences were so old and the bride had no idea who a lot of the people mentioned, were! Still, it was fun, but not a game we'll be getting out very often!

Last weekend the sun came out! So, at the last minute, ie, friday, we decided to have a bbq on saturday. (We needed to get rid of some of the bbq meat in the freezer. It was taking up tons of space!) Most of the people we invited had already made plans for the weekend, but some were able to come, and a good time was had by all.
Our first bbq. In August. We normally have our first in April, (wrapped up in fleeces and jackets) but we weren't able to then, the best month, as it turns out.

My knees caught the sun! Just the knees, as I discovered later. Milky white shins and thighs, with red knees, looking like a letter in morse code (if I laid on my side). Dash dot dash!

Chatting to one of our friends at the bbq, I learned about a couple more car boot fairs, so Sunday, guess where we went!
The first one was very small, but the quality of the stuff was good. The second one was big, the biggest we've been to, and had lovely views down to the sea.

Alas, I didn't find anything, but hubby, the videogame console collector, scored a mint, still boxed nintendo NES and a Gamegear with case for £12 for both. He was a very happy bunny!

We won't be going to the boot fairs this sunday as a friend is coming to stay because he has an interview at hubbys workplace on monday. He lives in Kent at the moment, and his fiance (my bestest friend) lives in west London. A job here would enable them to get a home together, and of course, we would be able to see each other more than twice a year, so fingers crossed.

An Award!

An award! I've been given the Nice Matters award. Twice! I'm so chuffed! And in danger of overusing exclamation marks! The lovely girls that gave me the award are Gill and Ruth so I'm giving it to them too, because although we haven't known each other very long, I think they are lovely. :)

The other people I would like to give it to, in no particular order are: Korallin, Lesa, (the friend I met in Chicago) Gemma, Samantha, and Sarah.

There are lots of others who I'd love to give this award to, but the tag asks for 7, and I could probably fill a page with the rest!

8 Things Tag

I've been tagged by Gemma to tell you 8 things about me. Hmm, what to tell?

1. I've been a vegetarian for over 30 years. Actually, I'm not a real veggie, as I do eat fish, and occasionally have been known to take a nibble of meat to taste it (like when I made ham last xmas for the first time. It was too salty for me, but the carnivores loved it!)
Back when I first stopped eating meat, at the age of 11, we were lucky enough to have a Holland and Barrett nearby, so my parents were able to buy meat substitutes such as Sosmix and tvp chunks. It was a bit of a hippy thing though, and getting anything vegetarian elsewhere was tricky. Veggie options in restaurants were generally either an omelette or a cheese salad. It's so much easier to be a veggie now.

2. I love Japanese things. The craft books are gorgeous. Full of inspiration and beautiful photography. Anime. My all time favourite animes are Ghost in The Shell and the series GITS Stand Alone Complex. They look beautiful, the music is lovely, the characters are great and the Tachikomas are so cute! Oh, and of course, the storylines are very good. Some are quite complex, but there is a great episode following one of the Tachikomas when it escapes for the day and befriends a little girl. We've watched the series in both Japanese (with fansubs) and dubbed in English.
I also love another Japanese tv series called 1 Litre of Tears (which can be found on youtube with subtitles) which is a true story about a 15 year old girl who has a terminal disease, and is based on the diaries she wrote. You need a big box of tissues for that one, but it's very heartwarming at the same time as being incredibly sad, and the acting is very good. I wish it was available on dvd with subtitles, or as a download, as it's one I'd like to keep.

3. I went to a grammar school, which meant I had to learn not only French, but Latin as well. I hated learning those languages at the time, so I also went to evening classes at 14 to learn German, which I loved and had some knowledge of, as one of my Godmothers was German and would speak in a mix of English and German. My mum had also gone to German classes when I was little, and took me along sometimes. She got on well with her tutor who was German, so his sons came from Germany to stay with us during the summer holidays. Later, my dad was told by a detective he became friendly with, that he'd been under surveillance by the authorities, because the boys were members of the Bader Meinhoff gang!

4. I met hubby on the interweb!

5. I love living in Wales. I first came to Wales when I was 9 and my dad was organising the Post Office art exhibition which was in Cardiff that year. I remember thinking it was beautiful. I didn't come back until the mid 90's, but when I did, it felt like home and I hated leaving. I was still with J's dad at the time, and we did look into moving here, but fate had other plans (!) and it didn't happen.

6. There are only a few things I miss about London now I'm not living there. My friends and family, Camden Market, alternative nightclubs, good public transport, and the close proximity of Brighton. There are a few alternative clubs in Cardiff and Swansea, but the only transport home is by cab which costs at least £40. Consequently, the last time we went clubbing was on our first anniversary almost 2 years ago.

7. I've been to America and loved it! We went on our honeymoon and spent the first week in Chicago. What a great city. I'd love to go back. We also met up with one of my longest internet friends while we were there which was great. Then we flew to Connecticut and stayed a night with another net friend, before flying on to Boston where we spent the remainder of the fortnight. We were staying just over the river from Cambridge, so we enjoyed walking around there looking at the lovely houses. We also visited an alternative club and had a good night dancing!

8. I love the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts movement. That period in art history is definitely my favourite. I love a lot of other periods and styles too, but I hate a lot of modern *art*. Tracy Emin, Damien Hurst et al. That room that she did. That's not art, that's my sons bedroom (kind of, minus the condoms and stuff like that, but you get what I mean.) The modern art I see on blogs and etsy however, is art. And I wish I could buy everything I loved!

hmm, almost there, this is tricky!

9. I don't drive. In London, there was no need to learn, although J's dad did insist I start learning and started to teach me, (he's a driving instructor) but then passed me onto his partner because I kept arguing with him about things he wanted me to do! Then we split up and I didn't carry on. To be honest, I don't like driving. Didn't want to learn, and still don't.
I did love riding a motorbike though! Again, I was only a learner, but I had a great little bike before I had kids and loved going up to Box Hill with my friends in the evening for a hot chocolate from Rykers, which at that time was a static mobile cafe at the top of the hill. (Now, it's a proper building at the bottom.)
When I got married, (the first time) I'd go pillion with my ex-hubby. I do miss biking. You just don't get the camaraderie driving a car like you do on a bike.

10. Books. I love books and I love looking at peoples bookcases! The first time I visit someones home, I have to have a nosy to see what books they've got! I remember the first time I visited an ex's home, being really disappointed to see that the few books they had, didn't even fill one shelf of the bookcase. And I remember when I first came online about 10 years ago, the net filled me with wonder, because it was like a gigantic library! Which it still is, but you just can't beat having a book in your hand, whether you're reading a story, or perusing lovely pictures.

Phew, this has taken me ages!

I'll have to write another post with everything else I was going to post about, like the fact that I've been given an award, twice! How nice is that?!

Monday, 6 August 2007

Just a quick post

I was away at the weekend, so I've been catching up on stuff today.

I see that I've been tagged a couple of times, so I'll do a couple of posts tomorrow.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Hooray Sunshine!

Now, I'm not the sort of girl that likes sunbathing. Spending hours marinating while prostrate on a beach is not my idea of fun, but I do need to catch some rays each day, and we've been seriously lacking in the ray department over the last few months that were meant to be summer months. So, I've been popping outside these last couple of days and just swinging for 10, 15, 30 mins or so. And it's LOVELY!


I don't think I suffer from SAD, (but having said that, I've not really looked into it) but I do need some sun. All winter I long for spring and summer. Autumn is nice with its colours and warmish days, and we're usually busy with birthdays, hallowe'en, bonfire night, anniversary and the run up to christmas. Still, at the back of my mind is almost a count down to when the warm sun comes back.

So, please excuse me if I post lots of *yay, the sun's out!* posts.

In other news, we've helped out another two people via freecycle over the last couple of days. We had a couple of shelving units that we didn't have room for which have now gone to new homes.
If you haven't joined your local freecycle group, go and do it now! You'll be amazed at what gets given, and it stops this stuff going into landfill.
Also, a lot of freecycle groups have a community/cafe group where you can get to know other people in your area.

Oh, post!
I got a new book today. Ripple Stitches

I think I'm going to have to do a book review section on this blog!

Monday, 30 July 2007

Aah, bliss!

A dry, warm day. Catching the last rays of the sun on my new (to me) swing.

(Had to borrow hubby's phone camera to get the pic.)

Friday, 27 July 2007

How to annoy your cat

Buy this and make the cat wear it.

As much as I love Hello Kitty, I don't think I would subject my cats to this indignity. The pictures are fun though, as is the google translation. What does " "Foppery" to be delightful is potato excessively for the cat" mean?

New book and a poorly pet

Meet Sheba. This photo was taken when she was feeling happy. At the moment she's feeling a little sorry for herself as she's just come back from the vets after an overnight stay. She'd managed to dislocate her knee and torn her ligaments, so she had to have an operation and now sports a natty blue dressing. We think she did it on our laminate floor as she finds it very slippery to walk on, so we've now got some rugs down to avoid it happening again.
She was very happy to be back home, and is now having a nap.

Onto the new book, Simple Crochet by Erika Knight. It was kindly sent to me by Ruthanne/Kittythimble after I'd posted a comment on her blog about it. She'd bought a few copies from The Book People when they were selling it for just £1, and I'd missed the offer. It's an inspiring book with some lovely projects in it and the *how to crochet* photography is nice and clear. Ruth's a lovely lady, so pop on over and say hi. Thank you Ruth, the book's great!

Oh yes, the postman also brought me some bamboo crochet hooks that I got from ebay, so I now have a range of sizes to play with! Now I've got my eye on some Debbie Bliss yarn. I can see I'll end up with a yarn stash to go along with my fabric stash!

Sunday, 22 July 2007


So, while we were waiting for Dan to get home, we popped into Porthcawl. I wanted to go to the alladdins cave (sewing/haberdashery/knitting etc) to have a look at and feel the Debbie Bliss yarns and also to get another crochet hook.

First stops were the charity shops. (of course!)

We went to one that we hadn't been to before as it was off the main street and I found that they had loads and loads of china. So I got a sandwich plate and a gravy/sauce boat with saucer, and 3 balls of yarn that will probably become my first crocheted item.

They were also very in need of someone to help organise the shop. I would have helped them at the drop of a hat, but I'm not near them and don't drive.

I can see the gravy/sauce boat being used for raspberry couli rather than gravy (tis too pretty for gravy) except, I've never made couli, and if I do, it will be a one off!

In one of the other shops we got some books for Dan and hubby, and a couple of skirts for me (it was buy one, get one free on clothing and books).

One of the books was a Michael Moore book signed by him. We like this guy, with a whole load of sceptisism, which is what I think he would want.
So that was a score, and Dan has almost finished it.

So, I also got a crochet hook and a couple of skirts.

Pay it forward gift swap

I'm taking part in the Pay it Forward Gift Swap as I was lucky enough to be one of the first 3 to reply on DottieCookies post about this, so now it's my turn to pay it forward.

Here are the details.

I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog
requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet
and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week… LOL… but you will receive it
within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is
pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog.

So, if you'd like to take part, please leave a comment on this post.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

A quick update

Well, we won't be driving up to Birmingham (we wouldn't have been able to get through anyway) because Dan is on his way down to London, then onto Bristol Temple Meads, then Bristol Parkway and onto Cardiff. Bit of a long detour!
He's not alone now as he's hooked up with the rest of the Welsh contingent!

So, hopefully, he'll be here later this afternoon.

*An update*

He's back home safe and sound at last, and is currently catching up on sleep on the sofa! Apparently he got the last train leaving London for Bristol!

Friday, 20 July 2007

More weather chaos

My blog is just like busses. No posts for ages, then 2 come along together!

My son chose to visit his girlfriend in Brum today. He got a cheap day return train ticket and off he went. Except, now it's turning out not to be cheap, or a return on the same day as he's stuck there with no trains running due to flooding. It looks like we might have to go and drive up there to pick him up tomorrow as apparently Bristol Parkway is going to be closed for 3 days. His girlfriend is stuck too and is waiting for her uncle to pick her up and take her to his house for the night (she's travelled to Brum from Northampton and can't get back there either!). Dan is going to see if he can stay with her uncle too, and we'll have to pick him up from there.

Fun fun fun!

So, while I was checking things out on the BBC site, I noticed that a lot of South London has been flooded too, including where my mum lives, so a quick call to her was made to check that she was ok. She's fine, but she said that at one point there was water bubbling up through the plughole in the bath. Luckily it didn't get any further, and now everything has dried up where she is.

Fortunately, we're at the top of a hill (hence the blog name!) so we don't have to worry about flooding here.

Another wet miserable day

But I've been cheered up by a delivery from Tescos and the postman brought my latest ebay win.

Last week I was browsing the Tesco Direct site and saw a cast iron table and chairs set that I'd had my eye on, had been reduced. Twice. From £64 to £32 to £16! I ordered it straight away and it was delivered today. Now, I just hope that we have some nice weather for me to use it (along with my swing seat).

Then the postman came with my ebay win. A pyrex *Gaiety* lidded dish complete with a warming stand, still in it's original box. And it's pink, so it will match my kitchen perfectly! I love it already, and I think I will keep this one out on display instead of hidden away in a cupboard.

We didn't do any thrifting at the weekend, so I decided to learn how to crochet. My nan showed me how to make (appropriately enough) a granny square when I was a child, but I never remembered how to do it. I've been wanting to have something to do whilst I'm sitting with the family while they watch tv, and thought that it was about time I tried to learn to crochet. I'm not very good at knitting, the only stitches I know are garter stitch and, with a reminder of how to purl, stocking stitch, and I'm always either dropping stitches or somehow, adding stitches. Over the years I've tried many times, but I just can't seem to get in the groove, so maybe just having one hook instead of two needles will be easier.

I first tried learning from a book, but found it awkward to hold the yarn the way it said, and also found that there were a couple of bits that I felt weren't shown or explained very clearly, so then I had a look at the tutorials over at Crafty Daisies and found the videos were more helpful and I started to *get* it.
I've had a few goes at the various stitches, and then discovered another video tutorial on youtube that shows how to ripple, so I've had a go at that too, and it worked! So now I'm on the hunt for some nice yarn!

In other craftyness, I whipped up a new cover for my ironing board out of that thrifted curtain, so now it has a pretty pink flowery cover instead of the horrible blue abstract cover that it came with (that was also a pain to get on and off).

Now I'm planning on making a couple of cushion covers with a mix of vintage and new fabrics.

Still no photos I'm afraid, the camera charger still hasn't been found and it looks like I might have to buy a new charger. It's all hubby's fault, he was the last one to use it and he's really bad for losing things. He can pay for the new charger!

Friday, 13 July 2007

Oh Blimey

Has it been over a month since I last posted?

Well, I guess this might be a long post. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin!

About a month ago, my eldest son came to live with us. He didn't like living where he was in Essex and wanted to move to Wales. So we've been adjusting to having another person in the house, (not too hard, and he's been a great help with keeping his 15 year old hormonal brother in check!) and I've been getting used to having someone around all day while he looks for a job, which is one of the reason's I haven't blogged for a while.

It's lovely having him here. Hubby now has someone to play with and chat to about computer games and other *boy* stuff, and at the moment they're trying to better each other at Guitar Hero 2. Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd being a favourite!

(I play computer games too, but I'm picky! The Burnout games I love, as well as some multiplayer fps games . But I don't fancy Guitar Hero, so I leave that to the boys to have fun with.)

Hmm, so what else have I been up to?

Been to a couple of car boot sales. There's one near us that's on all year round which seems to be going downhill. We went there very early in the year and there were 3 rows of sellers, but the last couple of times we've been, there have been less. The last time we went, there were only about 5 sellers! So after reading about Samanthas finds at one near to her, we decided to give that one a try and it was much better. I got a vintage pinny (75p) to add to my collection, and an old box of Fuzzy Felt (40p). Anyone remember that? Hubby got a trouser press for a fiver and Dan (eldest son) got a wrestling figure. I also saw a woven (like Lloyd Loom) bedroom chair, bedside table and ottoman that I loved, but I wasn't allowed to get them! Both hubby and son were adamant that they were far too horrible (read that as chintzy and girly!) and grubby, despite my protestations that once I'd repainted and recovered they would look fab. Hey ho, you win some, you lose some.

I'm trying to remember what goodies I've found in the charity shops recently. More books, an odd curtain (odd because there was only one, not a pair) that has a pretty pink flower design on it, (that's destined to become my new ironing board cover.) a Porkert mincer (the plastic mincer which I also got in a charity shop turned out to be not very good) a couple of new summer tops and a summer dress (unworn so far thanks to the weather), ooh, and I'm sure there's more, just can't remember them offhand.

What else?
Oh, hubby and I went to Samanthas open house and I bought some bunting which now decorates the shelf above my kitchen window, and some lovely ceramic buttons from her friend Gill.

I've bought more fabric for my stash, and rediscovered some of my old fabric stash.
My old stash includes a lot of swatches of Anna French fabrics that I've had since the 90's, an 80's Habitat fabric, a seersucker fabric that mum gave me from I'd guess, the 70's, and other bits and pieces that I've picked up over the years. (I wanted to be a textile designer when I was at school, so I've always had a fabric stash.)
My new stash (not including stuff I've picked up in charity shops) is mainly from Sis-Boom. I love Jennifers fabrics and I feel that she doesn't get enough credit. Everybody raves about Amy Butler and Heather Bailey, and I think that Jennifer Paganelli should be up there on that pedestal too. So, I'm planning a funky bag for my laptop with the largest piece.

Also on the crafty front, I finally got one of my Mothers Day presents from J. It's not his fault they're late. I asked for a couple of books from Amazon. The Cute Book and The Bad Book which I didn't realise hadn't been published yet. So, I've now got The Cute Book, but I'm still waiting for the other one, which apparently Amazon have in stock, but there hasn't been any email to say it's on its way. grr. But the Cute Book is very good. I'd recommend it to children because it has very easy and fun instructions, and to adults who want something quick and lighthearted and kawaii to make.

Still on the crafty front, I finally got around to finishing a bag I've been making for myself. It's a tote bag, but bigger in the width than the length. I used a bag that I use all the time for the dimensions, and cut up my coveted Ikea Rosali fabric to make it. (I've seen how much a metre of that can go for on ebay!) I'd made the body of the bag (lined with red and white polka dot poplin) and just needed to make the straps, so I did those today. I'm pretty pleased with the results, but I should have used some interfacing to stiffen it and stop the pattern of the lining showing.
Also while I had the machine out (my sewing machine isn't named) I ran up a curtain (also in the Rosali fabric) to hang in front of my washing machine. Now I have enough Rosali fabric left for a cushion cover and something small.

Oh, and Freecycle! I love freecycle. I've been longing for a swinging bench/hammock, but haven't been able to afford a decent new one, but one came up on freecycle and I was lucky enough to get it. It's in better condition than I was expecting, (just a small patch of rust that can be sorted) and I also got some celtic design stepping stones with it. I'm thrilled to bits with it. Now I'm just hoping that we have some nice days so that I can fix the rust, put it together and swing in it. (Other than that and the earlier brief mention of the bloody weather, I'm not going to go on about the lack of a summer.)

A bit of a down note, remember I mentioned having a miscarriage back in January? Well, about 3 weeks ago I got a phone call from a midwife on the team that I was assigned to when I was pregnant. She said there was a place in the ante-natal classes and asked if I was interested. I told her no, and then why, and she apologised, saying they didn't know.

So, I thought, ok, now she will make a note of it.

But last week I got an invite. Ooh, an invite, I thought as I saw those first words, wondering who would be inviting me to what. It was an invite to a *Preparing for your baby* thing.

FFS, is there NO communication?

I showed it to Dan (after having a bit of a cry outside) and he asked what the phone number was. He was ready to rip them a new one. I told him it was ok.

So, on that down note, I think that's pretty much it, except to say, a big THANK YOU to Suzie Sews for asking if I was ok, and thank you Love Boxes and Country Girl and everyone else who has posted comments. They mean a lot to me.

Thursday, 31 May 2007

It's been an intense week

and it's still going, so i haven't even thought of taking pics or looking for the camera charger, but as I'm at the pc, i thought i'd do a quick post (hence the lack of caps).

one of the thrifted things that i've wanted to post a pic of was a tablecloth that i found in a charity shop. whilst trying to catch up with my 400 odd feeds(!) i found that dottie angel had just bought the same tablecloth (different colour) in the states!
so, imagine that in pink, with red roses. :)

the good thing about having a mega clearout (which is one of the things that i've been doing) is that you rediscover treasures, and one of the things i found is like a pirates chest of treasures. a biscuit tin (a danish butter cookies tin. i put the tin on the coffee table so i could have a rummage later and son saw it and thought it was biscuits. he was disappointed when i told him it wasn't! it's not like he doesn't have biscuits...we have a big tin full of them, just not danish butter cookies.) full of buttons, beads and sparkly bits. (this is a tin that i inherited from my dad so i didn't go through it properly when i got it along with all his other stuff)

so, (when i get back on track) expect to see lots of goodies.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Sorry it's been so long

I've been feeling down a lot lately and haven't felt like chatting.
Go make a pot of tea, this is going to be a long post, with no pics unfortunately. (camera battery has died, can't find the charger)

Back in January I had a miscarriage. It had taken us 4 years to get pregnant, only to lose the baby at just over 9 weeks. :(

So, I have good days and not so good days, and it seems that this month has been mostly not so good days, so please bear with me if it takes me a while to post/reply/email.

On top of that, these last few weeks, I've been worried about my eldest son D. He's currently living with his dad, but their relationship has deteriorated and the plan is for D to come here to live, but he's trying to earn enough money to pay his dad some of what he owes him, and get his ticket to come here.

Anyway, that's enough of the miserable stuff. I've been tagged by Gill at Lucy Locket! My first ever tag!

So here are my 7 weird things:

1. I'm left handed, but mostly use my right hand (we live in a right handed world). I use a knife left handed, write left handed, eat left handed, sew left handed.
Learned to play guitar right handed, as well as knit (which might explain why I have so many problems with knitting!)
oh, I use a saw left handed too. Well, that's like a knife innit?

2. I'm an old goth, tho nowadays most people think goths are the same as emos. We're not.
I started off as a punk at the end of the 70's, and evolved.
My parents thought for a moment that I was going through a phase, but they knew me better than that. My mum always thought I would be a hippy, this was back in the 60's, and she was pretty much right, I do hug trees. Which leads me nicely on to the next one.

3. I talk to trees (and sometimes they talk back to me.)
Honestly, some do! I was surprised myself the first time it happened!
I was sitting in my future in-laws garden, my back against a young eucalyptus tree, reading a book. It was getting a bit too hot so I decided to go in.
When I got up, I had this really strong feeling that the tree didn't wan't me to go, and it was like a petulant child, stamping it's feet and sulking. It was kind of freaky! Now I always say hello to him when I'm round there and give him a stroke.

4. I can dowse (as long as it's not anything I'm trying to find , or need an answer to for myself).
This ability was discovered one day at school when I was about 10.
The headmaster was taking our class while our teacher was away on a course and he ushered us down to the playground where we took it in turns to be blindfolded and spun around before trying to find where the drains and waterpipes where using a forked stick.
Only a handfull of us were able to do this. When I told my parents that evening, my dad went out and cut me a forked branch from the lilac tree. Later, they bought me a dowsing kit with a pendulum, rods and a forked rod.
My mum and dad are/were so cool!

5. I hate plasters (*band aids* for my american visitors) and sticky labels. Don't know why, because I can deal with other sticky things. So, I very rarely put a plaster on a cut, hate peeling off labels, and if I get a price label on me cos the adhesive wasn't very strong, I very quickly get it off me. It's almost a phobia.

And talking of phobias...

6. I hate being splashed on my face. I stop breathing and it scares me. I have no idea where this comes from. Maybe I was a witch that was dunked in a village pond in a former life, or maybe it's just that I'm not a good swimmer (tho I can swim under water quite happily).
If you splash me in fun while we're swimming, I won't be a happy bunny. Seriously. You have been warned! (just on the off chance that we might end up in water together somewhere, sometime) Really, I hate being splashed in the face. Don't do it.

I believe in ghosts.
When I was a child, I had a friend called Peter. He lived in the closet in my bedroom. My parents thought he was an imaginary friend, but one night I woke them up asking to get a glass of water for him. They asked if he was *in my eyes* that meant dreaming. No, he wasn't I said.

A few years later, we moved house. The house we lived in became 2 flats (appartments) and the lady that got the bottom flat was a friend of my parents, and my mum had started work collecting the rents for the landlords.
So she heard from the lady on the bottom flat that she had come home one day to find all the things on her mantelpiece on the floor, as if they'd been swept off.
And there were other goings on after that, but that was the most dramatic.

I think Peter was a bit miffed.

oh, and in the garden of that house, we had fairies.

are you still here? ,)

In my next post, I hope to show you pictures of some of the loverly stuff I've found in the charity shops, as well as a gorgeous picture that I bought from Simplesparrow.
As soon as I saw it, I fell in love with it, (told hubby that I REALLY WANTED IT, but I didn't have enough money in my paypal acct, and now, it's sitting above my desk where I gaze at it lovingly!

ok, so I think that's enough for now.

Thankyou for listening, reading, posting comments.

Saturday, 14 April 2007


It's been an absolutely gorgeous day today. So warm that I was able to wear my linen pinafore dress (one of my great charity shop finds) without a t-shirt underneath, and that's saying something for me, because I feel the cold really easily!

We went to Porthcawl this afternoon. There's a haberdashers there that's an aladdins cave, and I needed to get some D-rings for a belt I'm going to make. Of course, I couldn't just get the D-rings, and spotted some fun green bobble braid that I just know I can find a use for!

We also had a look in the charity shops (of course!) and I found these.
This pretty embroidered linen tablecloth

This fleece fabric which is so soft and tactile, it's destined to become a throw

This lambswool and angora jumper which I'm going to felt. Haven't decided what I'm going to make with it yet though.

I also got a skirt, which if it doesn't fit me, will make a great fabric for a bag.

And now it's dusk and I've just been outside for a bit, watching the bats dance a few feet above my head, and listened to the robin sing his evening song. A perfect ending to a lovely day.

Friday, 13 April 2007


For the last few years I've been making soaps and bath and body stuff. It's been one hell of a learning curve. I've discovered I quite like learning chemistry, (I hated it in school and dropped it when I took my options) I love looking at packaging magazines, (I'm half expecting to see one of the magazines featured on Have I Got News For You!) and I hate the EU Cosmetic Regulations!

To be fair though, the regulations are in place to protect the consumer, but trying to wade through them in order to be able to sell any of my soaps and stuff is a nightmare. As it stands, I only have one soap recipe safety assessed and none of my other things, so most of what I make I can't sell.

What most people don't realise is that any soaps/bath body items that are sold have to have a safety assessment, (and that's just the start, then there's the weights and measures, labelling and allergen info regulations) so a lot of people who discover that they like making soaps and bath bombs plunge right in and sell their items illegally. This annoys me because if you're going to make something that people are going to put on their skin, you want to make sure it's safe for them to do so. This is especially important if you're making soap from oils and lye, rather than melt and pour glycerine soap, because it's easy to make a caustic soap if you don't use the correct amount of lye.
I was once horrified to read a post on a forum where the poster had substituted an oil in the recipe she was following without recalculating the amount of lye needed (she didn't realise that different oils need different amounts).

So, if you're buying a handmade soap, check out the label. It should have the correct terms for the oils, such as sodium palmate (not listed as *palm oil*) sodium tallowate (not listed as *tallow*) other items (such as herbs or other botanicals) should be listed in latin. It should also list any of the allergens such as linalool, citral, coumarin etc. Fragrance should be listed as *parfum*, the weight of the soap should be on there, as well as a contact address (a post code with house number and street is ok) and a batch number.

Now I'll get off my soapbox (pun not really intended!) and show you some of the soaps I've made over the years.

Lavender Glycerine Soap

Chocolate Turkish Delight

Indian Spice


Marshmallow Bath Melt

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

First Al Fresco Meal of the Year

Asparagus and wild mushroom quiche (sausage rolls for J), new potatoes with butter and garlic chives and salad.

Yay, summer's coming!