Saturday, 28 February 2009

The weekend starts here .....

Ended up with a double sleepover last night - Ellie got wind that Charlie was staying and just couldn't be left out - both were very good and slept all night but we were up at 7.30. Thankfully the parentals collected them both at 10.30 - they were all off shopping for my son's wedding in September - Ellie is bridesmaid and she was having a dress fitting and is growing her hair for the special occasion. She was a right baldy as a baby and still doesn't have very much - it grows so slowly and is very fine - not like mine which grows like a weed!

Anyhow, I dragged the old man off to Laura Ashley - he showed a little interest and was very helpful to the assistant who was pregnant and found it difficult to manouvre the rolls of fabric - I managed to get some more Abbeville and Gingham Check for my orders for Alphabet cushions. I was very good and wasn't tempted by anything else. We then went across the road to Dunelm where I purchased some wool - I have been very impressed by the crochet work of some of you bloggers and as I haven't used my crochet skills for years thought it was time to dust off the hooks and get going again. I can handle sewing needles and crochet hooks but find knitting strenuous on my wrists and thumb joints (and also I get bored because it takes so long for anything to take shape!). Purchased these books yesterday in a charity shop - my goodness they take me back - very seventies and I had to chuckle as I am sure I made some of the items back then. There are some nice timeless designs within them so I will pop them on the bookshelf for a later date. Also purchased in Dunelm was the box of braids and trims - all pretty pinks and half price at £2.49 - the felt came from Hobbycraft (half price again at £1.32 per pack). On a roses theme (my mum is a Rose, my nan was a Rose May, Ellie has Rose May as middle names) I found this lovely gift bag in Hobbycraft and also 3 pots of Bush Roses for the garden for a tenner in Homebase. All in all a good start and there is half the weekend to go yet. I must go now to get on with the alphabet cushions - the lady wants 8 and I am getting distracted by the rugby on TV that the old man is watching. Don't know what it is about those big burly ugly buggers - must be the tight shorts!

Friday, 27 February 2009

10 Things that made me smile today :-)

1. My Ellie came for a sleepover last night so I awoke to a lovely cuddle and what day is it Nanny?

2. The sun was shining

3. It's Friday - POET'S day

4. Had a lovely browse around the Flea Market, picked up some crochet cottons, buttons and ribbons and then stopped at Homebase to get a couple of those lovely cake stands mentioned by Sal. Latest of issue of Sew Hip out today.

5. Lovely lunch at the Watermill in Barton le Clay

6. Got a lovely pile of fresh washing dried in the sun and the breeze - one of the best smells on earth.

7. Another bargain at the Hospice Shop - a wooden doll's cot for £2 - just needs a rub down and a fresh coat of paint. I am going to use it to model the doll's patchwork quilts that I make - more later.

8. All the children are going early today so I am free from 4.30

9. My Charlie is coming for sleepover tonight

10. I had my first sale from my own website - I am so excited - it was only a little sewing needle case but it is a start.

Saturday, 21 February 2009

What's Inside???

Back again ... didn't make the auction this morning but have managed the garden tidy up so feeling very pleased with myself. I did manage to pop into our local Hospice Charity Shop before getting stuck into the tidy up and look what I found. I cannot resist opening boxes or baskets no matter how scruffy they are coz you just never know what you might find inside .. got a nice surprise with this one for the princely sum of £2. Now I can't decide whether to let Ellie play with it or add it to my toy china collection. As a rule I stick to 19th and early 2oth century English toy china in blue and white. This harks back to my childhood days visiting our museum. In the toy section there was always a Blue Willow toy set which I coveted with all my heart - so now I indulge myself when I can.

Oh what a beautiful morning !!

The sun is out, the sky is blue, there's not a cloud to spoil the view so it's time to get the wellies on and get out in the garden - you just never know how long it's gonna last. I purchased some rather fetching pink floral gardening gloves and a new pair of secateurs before the white stuff came down and today is their day - I have had a quick reccie round the estate and there are some signs of life - the narcissi, daffs and crocuses are starting to show their pretty little faces and the shrubs and roses are starting to bud. We have had some new visitors to the garden this week which has interested the children - a song thrush pecking at the fat balls we made and a pheasant - bearing in mind we are on the outskirts of the town and have a fifteen minute walk to the nearest open space I don't know how he made it here. My friend down the round saw him last weekend and when I told the old man he said she must have been drinking again - had to eat his words when it was waddling around the bottom of our garden on Wednesday. Just hope the cats don't get their eyes on him - our Oliver has a penchant for wildlife and quite often brings home a present for us (our neighbour saw him last year disappearing over the fence with a magpie!). We also have a fox - the security light came on, all our lot were flat on their backs asleep indoors so my son took a look and saw him peeking through the fence.

It is going to kill me but I must not touch the sewing basket till the job is done - here are some bits I finished yesterday - lovely rosettes made from scraps and free samples (I don't waste a thing!) which I am using to decorate bags and for hair scrunchies. The bags can be used for pegs but I think they look good hanging on the back of a door - my mum uses one for her tights and I am going to put my 'ladies things' (our pet name for STs & Tampax) as my Ellie tends to poke around the bedside cupboard and re-arrange them for me - thankfully she hasn't asked what they are for yet!!

Thursday, 19 February 2009

The Penultimate Day !!!!

The last but one day of the hols and as much as I love them I am starting to wilt !! A dry morning so we took Molly our choc lab to the park to blow the cobwebs away and to feed the ducks on the lake. They were a noisy lot (kids too) - three swans stood on the weir with their heads in the air and wings a flapping and honking like mad. We all stood and da da'd the tune to the Viennese Waltz in time with the honking - it was quite a sight and we got a few queer looks from passers by but what the heck we were having fun.

Came home for lunch and then made some new playdough - even the 8 year olds love to mess with this stuff - it is quite theraputic - I use a really easy microwave recipe as follows:

2 cups plain flour

2 cups salt

2 cups water

4 tsp cream of tartar

2 tsp cooking oil

food colouring (flavouring can also be used to give it a nice whiff - the little ones shouldn't want to eat it as it is so salty and if they taste it once they won't try a second time!)

Just mix it all up in a large bowl and nuke for 1 minute - give it a stir and keep repeating till it thickens and drys out enough to knead. Remember to leave to cool for a while - I use rubber gloves at this point coz it is a little tacky but as soon as it cools it is fine. It will store in a plastic bag for a couple of months.

An exciting day on a blogging level - I have 2 followers - thank you so much to LittleGem and Thoughts and Ideas. I am quite getting the hang of this blogging lark and it is so nice to sit at the end of a busy day and take a peak at what everyone has been up to.

I am hoping to visit a local auction on Saturday - the first time I have been there for ages - must leave the plastic at home so I don't get too carried away !!!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Half Term

Things are looking up - the snow has gone and it's half term holidays - shame the timing wasn't a little later and don't get me wrong I love the snow when it first comes down. Everything looks so clean and pretty but the past week of slush and black ice has been horrible. I have four of my after school club staying all day this week. I have been a registered childminder for 5 years and unofficial carer of small people for the past 27 years. My eldest hits his 27th birthday in a couple of weeks and my youngest reaches the grand old age of 21. There are two more in between - one is the father to my Charlie and my other daughter is a midwife so we are never too far away from babies and children.

We spent this morning sorting through all my papercraft bits and pieces and making collages - glitter, sparkly bits and scraps of fabric and paper stuck everywhere. Following lunch we chilled and watched Willy Wonka (the original - as much as I love Johnny Depp he just looks like a pervy Michael Jackson in the re-make) and it has been board games this afternoon. We are having an early Pancake Day as a trial run for next week coz making pancakes for six children plus the grown ups keeps me tied to the griddle for quite a while!! A busy day but I like to keep everybody occupied as it makes life much easier all round - there is nothing worse than bored 8 year olds. I would love to post some photos but am unable to because of child protection issues - although I have parental permission to take photos they cannot be used on the internet.

All this business has curtailed my bargain hunting quests this week but look what I found at the weekend - a lovely glass cake dome (£2), a pair of pretty floral cornucopia vases (£1), Painted Furniture book (75p), two beautiful white linen table cloths plus hand sewn Willow pattern embroidered tray cloth, napkins and teapot cover (the whole lot for £2). I then came over all queer and actually paid shop price at Waterstones for this lovely book by Emma Hardy called Sewing in No Time - it has some lovely projects so I thought I would treat myself. Can't wait till the weekend when I will be off again.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Past Times

Just thought I would share this with you. It comes from a children's book from the 1880s which I found in a little antiques fair in Lyme Regis last year - a bit tatty but it was only two quid and it just cried out for a new home. There are some lovely illustrations inside and this one is for February. I was at first sorely tempted to dismantle it completely to frame some of the prints but I have always felt this is sacrilege so it still hangs together (only just!).

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Sore Finger !!

Oh my poor pinkie!! Have finally finished another project - a Laura Ashley fabric patchwork quilt and I have hand sewn all the hexagons together - lost count of the number of times I have stabbed myself or attached myself to the thread and now have a very crusty middle finger to show for it. However I do feel that it was worth the effort and the finished article is now available at

I have been looking at many blogs of fellow crafty people and am gobsmacked at the number of beautiful pictures of all things vintage. So have now decided to dedicate this weekend to sorting out my clutter and begin putting together an organised work area in my box room. I currently work in the organised chaos way and must mend my ways.

Last year saw my first forays into local Craft Fairs - they were great fun and met some very nice people and obviously spent all that I made on buying other people's handmades. What a great way of recycling and supporting each other. I am so pleased to have been asked to take part in the Delapre Abbey event in Northampton at the end of April and must get my head around formulating a theme and new ideas. Easier said than done !!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Love Letters

Still confined to barracks due to weather conditions - I am heartbroken (not). Grandchild number 2 Charlie Brown came for sleepover last night - he is such a cuddle bunny and is good as gold - went straight to bed and you wouldn't have known he was here till 8.30 this morning. Then grandchild number 1 breezed in - Ellie the bouncing bomb who doesn't know the meaning of keeping still. She is a whirlwind but keeps us on our toes and makes us laugh. Anyhow, she has just departed for home before the next snowfall descends - some more forecast in our area tonight and tomorrow.

In between entertaining them and clearing up I have been finishing yesterday's project - some pretty Love Letter Valentine Cushions spelling out L O V E which are now available in my online shop

Lovely telly evening for me tonight - Time Team, Antiques Roadshow, Larkrise to Candleford and then Lost - my eyes will be watching but my fingers will be busy creating something new. I am not a big telly watcher and hate all that reality crap but when I do settle down I have to be doing something else I can't just sit watching.

Time now to put the kettle on and have a read of the Sundays.

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Time for bed zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

I don't know what has come over me today - strange side effects of all this pretty white stuff engulfing us again. My small people have again spent some quality fun time at home with mum after a false start this morning when her employers decided at 6.30 am it was safe to travel in (a fool could have looked out of the window and decided not a good idea!!). The boys were walked to my house with dad in thick snow and by the time they arrived mum had received another call from work to say don't bother (she was stuck by now in one of the horrendous traffic log jams shown on the Eastern region news). I know Luton is a dump at the best of times but even the local Council told people to stay away today which I found amusing. Anyhow they returned home at 10 so I had the day to myself again - deep joy - I hastily dragged out the sewing basket and finished the needle cases I started yesterday. It's now nearly 1.00 am and feeling a little guilty at neglecting the housework I had a power surge and have had a good tidy up. Completely knackered now so off up the stairs to Bedfordshire .. hope the old man isn't snoring his brains out again.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

One small step for womankind !!!

Praise be for the inclement weather - heavy snow overnight has ended in the usual chaos around these parts of darkest Bedfordshire. I am close to Luton Airport and everything just ground to a halt this morning. My darling midwife daughter had a 2.5 hour journey home from the hospital after a busy night shift - this journey should take 20 minutes. All of the small people I usually look after and take to school had a day at home with their parents due to school closure and chaos so I used this precious piece of me time to create a website of my very own. I have been using Ebay for years now but have been getting a little fed up with their increasing charges so have decided to take a new route via the good old interweb and local craft fairs. Please take a look at - the name is derived from the nickname of my midwife child Lala and of course the new life she helps bring into this strange old world.

I have had a pleasant evening with the sewing box once again and watched Victorian Farm - yes times were hard then but we could learn a lot from that time. Just watching Question Time now to remind myself of how much we have progressed !!! I think the best images of this week have been watching families finding time to spend together and having carefree fun in the snow - it is amazing how many people stopped to say good morning when I look my Molly for a walk to the park this morning - the challenge of getting through the past few days seem to bring the best out in some people. The worst in others - for example the idiots driving too fast having only cleaned a porthole in the windscreen with no lights on in thick fog whilst chatting on their mobile phone.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Sunshine, snowdrops and snow !!!!

Just when you thought it was safe to venture out here comes the Arctic weather again. Oh well batten down the hatches and back to the sofa - time today to complete yesterdays sewing project - a bright patchwork throw and cushion and to pick up on another incomplete one. I have a habit of starting something, getting a little bored and moving onto something else - they do all get finished eventually. I have just joined some fantastic Craft websites in order to sell my little creations and am now contemplating the next big step of starting my own website shop. I have been using Ebay but find that it is now getting harder to attain a reasonable price for anything - will have to blame the credit crunch again. I see myself as a domestic re-cycler - I use fabrics both old and new together with ribbons, buttons and trimmings reclaimed from old garments. It is most satisfying to complete a project and even more so when somebody likes it enough to part with some money. Perhaps we should all move to buying more hand made goods to help the economy at the bottom end and give the big boys a boot up the bum for their mass produced rubbish.