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!

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Nice Weekend

We had a lovely day Saturday. It started off quite lazily. I read a few blogs, did some window shopping on ebay and a couple of loads of washing, while hubby played Command and Conquer. Then we decided to go out to St Fagans again, as there was a craft fair on this weekend and I knew that Samantha had a stall there and had told her I'd try to pop by to see her.

I was a bit disappointed by the number of stalls there. When I lived in London I always went to the craft fairs organised by Four Seasons at Morden Hall and Hampton Court, which were massive themed fairs, usually medieval with falconry displays, wandering minstrels and the like and 4 or 5 large marquees packed full of stalls, so the fairs I go to now are always a disappointment to me! But what wasn't a disappointment was meeting Samantha. She's as lovely as she sounds in her blog and I could have chatted for ages. I didn't want to come away empty handed and could have bought loads of things from her, but wanted to conserve my pennies so I bought a pinny for my washing up liquid bottle!

After St Fagans, we went on to Penarth to browse the charity shops, and I picked up a lovely Boden top and a skirt and hubby got a couple more books.

On the way home we stopped off at the chinese to pick up a take away as hubby had a craving for chinese food!

On Sunday I got my sewing machine out. We'd bought our nieces a mug and chocolate bunny for Easter, but I felt they looked a bit boring in their cellophane wrapping, so decided to make the girls little tote bags to put the Easter gifts in. I've never made bags before, and totally winged it, not using a pattern or even measuring out the fabric, but just going by eye! I'm really pleased with the way they turned out and love the fabrics I used. Pretty aren't they?

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Fish and Chips for Tea

One of the many things I love about living where I do, is the close proximity of the beach. It's only a 15 minute drive, so on nice evenings we get in the car and head off.

This is what we did last night, stopping en route to pick up some fish and chips. Fish and chips always taste better by the sea, it must be the salty tang in the air and the fresh breeze off the sea that compliments them so well.

We left home as the sun was getting low on the horizon, so by the time we got to the beach, it was almost setting. The sky was a gorgeous colour, all pink and orange, and there were pink and turquoise stripes reflected in the water. The tide was in and the sea was very still, just gently lapping on the rocks, and the gulls were high overhead winging there way towards the north Devon coast.

It was lovely.

Here's a photo hubby took of the sun setting on the beach last year.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Only 3 Days Into The Easter Holidays

And the kids around here are bored already and causing trouble.

When hubby came home, he mentioned that he'd seen some kids climbing over the fence from the motorway embankment. Shortly after that, I noticed smoke blowing across from the common. We decided to take Sheba for a walk and investigate.

As we were crossing the road, a fire engine came and turned up the road to the common. We could see that there were at least a couple of areas on fire. When the police turned up, hubby went and had a chat with them and told them of the kids he'd seen. The police said the fire had been started deliberately and had another report of a boy matching the description that hubby gave.

What is it about boys that makes them do stupid things? Their *bit of fun* has put homes and lives in danger. There are a few houses on the common, one worryingly close to the fires, not to mention the sheep that graze there, most with lambs at this time of year.

One of the boys had a very distinctive hairstyle and the village isn't very large so hopefully they will be found and punished.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Some photos

As my camera needs charging, (and I don't remember where I put the charger) I thought I'd post some pics that I've taken over the years that I've lived here.

When we first moved here, the gate across the common opposite us was broken and we didn't have a dog, so our gate was always open too. This meant that the sheep on the common would often come across the road and visit us.

There was one sheep in particular that we got to know as she was very recognisable by her patchy fleece. She seemed to be the leader, so I named her Mrs.
At first she came on her own. Then she came with a couple of others. Then a couple more, and then a few more.
It didn't get out of hand though. There were only a select few who were in on the secret of the lush grass here.

And then it was lambing time and she brought her twins over here. I felt privileged. She felt safe here.

So, after a long preamble, here are the pics of Mrs and her flock.

And here she is with her lambs, tucked up next to the oil tank.

I haven't seen her for a few years. The gate on the common got fixed, and we got a dog which necessitated closing our gate (and dogproofing all the other bounderies!)

Then there was the squirrel.

I thought there was only one but then realised there were two or three.

I'd fed the squirrels, putting nuts on the windowsill.

I got to know the one that was left, and she got to know me. She knew that I would put food out.

She would tap on the window for if I hadn't left any nuts out, and when she had babies she brought them too.

Doesn't it look like she's smiling?

The squirrels have long gone now that we have cats.

Meet Nibbler and Pixel.