Thursday, 25 June 2009

My Calla Lilies

Before and after

These beauties were being thrown out by my neighbour around 5 years ago .... they never fail
to bloom and have increased in number ever since .... at the moment there are eight stems .... I think they are so elegant.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

I got one !!! I got one !!!!!

I have been looking for a sewing box for months to keep my cottons in and until today it has eluded me. Despite a grey and threatening sky we decided to take a chance at the car boot this morning before going grub shopping ..... it was worth the trip although there were only half the usual number of sellers and every now & then there was a little shower of rain so everybody got the plastic out and covered their stalls. I only usually do one circuit but decided to back track and go round again today in case I had missed something. As we turned the corner to the last row of cars there it was ...... a lady had opened it up and was taking a look at the contents ..... I stood back heart beating ..... a few more drops of rain and she moved on (she was lucky I didn't rugby tackle her!) and I made my move ..... like an eagle I swooped in for the kill and grabbed it before anyone else took a fancy. Why is it that our most base instincts come out at times like these .... I was like a woman possessed ..... how much I asked the seller and she replied a fiver ..... never one to resist a haggle I offered four and she accepted. Now that's what I call a bargain ..... reels and reels of cotton, tins of pins and needles, knitting pins, pinking shears and lots of other little bits of haberdashery which should keep me going for a while. As is customary for a member of the Shabby Chic Cafe it will be getting a makeover with some Laura Ashley chalk pink paint at a later date and I am so pleased I have eventually found one.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Ooh lala !!!!

It is my daughter's birthday today and to celebrate she went off to Paris on Sunday for a couple of days with my mum (75 years young and galavants all over the place with her varicose veins and replacement hip!). On Sunday they had a lovely sunny day to see the sights but by Monday morning it was torrential rain as you will see in the photo taken outside the Louvre. Despite this they had a lovely time and brought me back some goodies.

Friday, 12 June 2009

100 years old

We have had a lovely day. Our school celebrates its centenary this year and today was the main event. The children have been working hard and put on a lovely display in the sunshine this afternoon. Each year had been studying a different decade so we had the war years with Years 3 & 4 singing Run Rabbit Run and the Dad's Army theme playing in the background, Years 5 & 6 did the fifties with a terrific hand jive routine, Year 6 moved on to the days of Rock n Roll, Year 3 did a piece on the presidents of the United States and our babes in Foundation did a simple Winnie the Pooh & Tigger routine. The whole school then sang together, a huge cake was cut and they finished with a good old fashioned street party. This is our Ellie in her Edwardian school costume ..... all the children were able to dress up for the day and they looked fantastic. We had Elvis, Charlie Chaplin, soldiers, Mary Poppins, hippies, punk rockers, flash dancers, evacuees, maids and loads more.
All I did was adapt one of her school summer dresses by adding a broderie anglais length, made a pinny & mop cap from an old table cover and quickly crocheted a little shawl last night. She looked so sweet and kept the whole lot on all day.
I feel absolutely cream crackered now and will have to re-charge my batteries this evening just in case the sun stays with us and the car boot sales start beckoning me this weekend. Have a good one everybody.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Handy household hints and tips number 2

With all of the rain we have had over the past few days everything is sprouting like mad and I will have to get some planting out done. We don't have a greenhouse but hope to get a polytunnel to fill a wild area at the bottom of the garden but in the meantime I having been using these instead.

I was chucking the tins and jars into re-cycling and suddenly thought they would make useful (and free) mini propagators ..... I punched some drainage holes in the bottom of the tin, filled with compost and planted the seeds. The upturned jars sit perfectly in the neck of the tin and act as a mini greenhouse to get the seeds going quicker. So I didn't forget what I had planted I just marked in black permanent the name of the plant on the outside of the tin. They could be tarted up a little with some spray paint I suppose but they have done the job wonderfully and I am about to start off my free Dig-in seeds sent from Gardener's World.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

What have you been doing today??

I like Thursdays. It is the one day of the week when I get a couple of hours of 'me' time when everyone else is at work and the small person I look after is at pre-school. I gave up planning what to do with this time months ago because invariably something would crop up or someone would pop in and all the plans went out the window. I was getting so frustrated. So now I just go with the flow. After the school run this morning I came home for a leisurely breakfast on the patio and just sat and looked at some of the plants in the garden that are now bursting into colour.

The chooks were fed with some succulent dandelions and another egg added to the basket ... can you see Snapdragon's gorgeous little chicken badge?
Then a knock at the door ...... it was DHL with my parcel from Abakhan .... and another surprise the driver was a face from the past who used to do a daily collection from an office I once worked in and he remembered my name! This was my first order with this company and I am very pleased with my purchase ... some soft white fleece fabric, cottons for crochet, star fabric for a cushion order and some bags of webbing and lace oddments (these were a bargain at only 49p a bag).

I then went mad and had a baking spree ..... jam tarts, scones, fairy cakes ..... how come it takes ages to make them and they are demolished in minutes! We have some lovely goosegogs growing in the garden at the moment and I am the only one who likes them so following a tip from one of the SCC girls I looked out my WI cook book for some ideas on how to preserve them. I found two really easy recipes for Goosebury Curd and Gooseberry Chutney .... here they are picked and ready for their transformation tomorrow morning.

We've just been out to vote ........ got to do our bit and give these flaming politicians the kick up the pants they deserve ...... I unfortunately live in the constituency of one of the most prolific expenses offenders who thankfully will not be selected next time but seems to have now gone into hiding and doesn't have the decency to resign ..... according to the local press today she stands to walk away with another 200K! Alright for some isn't it while the rest of us try to make ends meet and worry about keeping our jobs. Question Time should be interesting tonight.

One more cute photo for you today ...... the chooks have an afternoon treat of sweetcorn kernels .... look at this .... eating our of our hands and they've only been here for four weeks ..... already part of the family

Monday, 1 June 2009

Handy household hints and tips

One of my bargains from yesterday's boot sale was a useful little book called Vinegar - Nature's Secret Weapon. It is packed full with interesting old recipes that have been updated on a modern theme and a section on the properties & history of vinegar. Vinegar has been around it seems for some 7,000 years and was first mentioned for its preservation and healing powers in Babylon at this time. Vinegar brewing was big business in England as far back as the 17th century. It is a versatile ingredient in cooking and flavoured vinegars can easily be made at home, here is Lemon Vinegar:
2 large unwaxed lemons
570 ml (20 fl oz) white wine
a few lemon balm leaves
Wash and dry the lemons and pare the skin thinly without removing any of the pith with the rind. Squeeze the lemons and then measure 150 ml (6 fl oz) of the lemon juice and pour into a prepared clean wine bottle. Add the lemond rind and top up with white wine. Wash the lemon balm leaves and discard the stalks the add to the wine. Lightly cork the bottle and shake to mix the ingredients and then leave to stand in a cool dark cupboard for 10 days. Strain the lemon vinegar through a clean muslin cloth into a clean dry bottle and cork tightly.
This makes a lovely dressing for salads and a tasty seasoning for all types of fish and avocados.
Of course there are the usual recipes for pickling, chutneys, sauces but it can also be used in sweet recipes .... in meringues, chocolate cake, apple bread but did you know it can be used as an egg substitute. When baking a cake and you need an extra egg, as long as you are using self raising flour or a raising agent then 15 ml of vinegar is a good substitute and will not effect the finished result of the cake.
Healing with vinegar
Vinegar is a bactericide suitable for minor cuts and abrasions, it is also an anti-imflammatory agent suitable for wasp stings, insect bites and sunburn, cider vinegar is suited as a mouth wash for healing mouth ulcers and for strengthening the gums. Use as a gargle for sore throats and for ticklish coughs. Add to the rinsing water when you wash your hair for a long lasting shine. It can be used for acne, anxiety attacks, athlete's foot, chapped skin, fatigue, cold sores, corns, cramp, dandruff, ear infections, hiccups, impetigo, indigestion, nausea, ringworm, shingles and the list goes on.
Household cleaning
Air freshener .... 1 tsp baking soda in spray bottle with 2 tbsp white vinegar and 2 cups water
Clean brass, copper, chrome, pewter, cutlery, shower heads, crystal, drains
Stain removal including scorch marks, rust, tea, coffee
The book includes sections on honey and garlic ..... more on these at a later date
I hope I haven't bored you too much but I do find these old remedies useful and effective.