Monday, 30 November 2009

Sharing a Pause in Advent

What a lovely idea started by Floss ... an opportunity for us to share our experiences and expectations of another Christmas (and this is my 51st!)

I don't know if it is my memory playing tricks on me but I recall cold crisp Decembers with snow on the ground to give it that extra magic .... visiting relations on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day spent at home.  We were a stockings at the bottom of the bed type of family (pillowcases actually) and I can remember trying to keep awake to get a glimpse of Santa who should have eaten his mince pie and drunk his glass of sherry left downstairs at bedtime (I know he shouldn't drink & drive!).  My most vivid memory is the year I really wanted a bike .... I was 10 years old and still believed and was bitterly disappointed that there wasn't one beside my bed that morning.  Then dad said go downstairs and check that the fire hasn't gone out and there in the middle of the living room floor was a purple bike with saddlebag, basket the works!!!  It wasn't brand new but that didn't matter ... dad had walked it home from his friend's house late on Christmas Eve (his daughter had outgrown it) and I can still see myself bombing round the green in front of the house that morning.

Then I grew up .... the magic disappeared for a while till I had my own brood and it all came back again .... and in turn they grew up and it disappeared again for a while.  Now we have grandchildren and I mind other children I can make the extra effort again.  We are not a religious family but do firmly believe that children should be taught that it is not all about receiving, sweets & chocolates and drinking yourself stupid and I feel we are losing the true meaning with the PC ways of local authorities who remove all mention of Christmas from our schools for fear of offending someone (who ????) .... how I used to look forward to the primary school nativity production.  When I ventured into the loft yesterday to get the deccies out I found the video from 1992 when my girls were 4 and 6 ..... little one was an angel and elder was a narrator .... it brought tears to my eyes to see them again   ...... so sweet and innocent.

So tomorrow we start the countdown ...... I will be sprinkling my magic fairy dust at the weekend and can't wait to see the little one's eyes on Monday morning when they come in.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Extravagance or what

Popped over to my small local supermarket this morning and spotted this ...... I don't live in the country, don't have pots of money and don't know anyone in high places but I just loved this Advent Calendar on the cover.  I will browse the magazine itself tomorrow.

Weddings and Butterflies

Better late than never  .... I have finally finished the wedding gift box for my daughter's friend .... her favourite colours are lilac and purple and the theme of butterflies was everywhere at the wedding including the cake.  We racked our brains to think of a suitable gift .... the happy couple had already set up home so really didn't need any more pots, pans etc etc .... so we thought we would give something more personal for them so out came the sewing machine and crochet hook.

With some lovely butterfly fabric from Globaltex I made a lingerie bag, laundry bag, bunting & cushion cover

I appliqued panels of the same fabric to some soft white hand towels and face cloths and made two hanging initial letters in lilac Suffolk Rose & Paisley fabrics

Crocheted some butterflies and a replica of the wedding bouquet

We found a lovely big storage box in the same colours which was covered in hydrangeas and butterflies.

Do you get that butterfly feeling in your stomach when you give something handmade as a gift and have doubts about your creations and wonder whether the recipient will think they are lovely.  Well I do.  However the recipient in this case loved them thankfully and has even asked me to get some more of the same fabric to make some more things for the home!  I am chuffed to bits.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Reasons to be cheerful

I woke up this morning and was still breathing
The sky is blue
The house is quiet (just for a little while at least!)
It's just me and baby Jack today .... feed done and he's sparko in my left arm while I tap this out on the lappie to my right ..... his mother will tell me off for cuddling him while he's sleeping but who cares .... I could stare at a sleeping baby for hours
It's Friday ..... yayyyy
I've started Christmas shopping .... so thankful for the internet and postmen
I finished the wedding gift box that I've been working on for ages
Stew and dumplings for dinner
I've received my lovely cards from Jill over at Third Age Musings ... thank you Jill
The auction is on tomorrow .... will I be able to resist going and buying more junk?
We are getting closer to the shortest day ... a milestone for me because it means the days will be getting longer ..... I hate the dark mornings and evenings and feel like hibernating some days
Not long till the Advent Calendars come out and the countdown begins ....

Sunday, 22 November 2009

How to amuse yourself on a wet Sunday in November .....

A little voice woke me this morning just before 8.00 am with the words "wake up Nanny it's a sunny day" .... we had the grands staying over last night and Charlie ended up snuggled in with me ..... I just love his chubby arms wrapped around my neck just like his dad used to before he grew into a man mountain.  It was sunny at that point but an hour later the grey clouds rolled in and down came the rain ...... nothing like what is happening in other parts of the country at the moment and my hearts go out to the people in Cumbria who have lost everything.

A stay at home day it was to be then, split between the kitchen preparing a roast dinner for the tribal gathering this afternoon with a little crochet in between.

I love watching the River Cottage TV series and often try out HFW recipes .... his Yorkshire Pudding recipe is the best and today I tried his Pear & Almond Cake from the current series ... the results here have now been demolished!

We are fortunate to have our own chickens and I strongly recommend that fresh free range eggs should be used ..... you can really taste the difference

The crochet Beanie and Trapper style hats are coming off the production line like nobody's business!!!  I have listed some for sale in the Aunty Wainwright's Blogshop

Now it's that time of day when everyone has gone home and I can settle down in the chair with a glass of wine, my yarn and crochet hook.  Have a lovely evening whatever you are doing.

Thursday, 19 November 2009


I picked up the old crochet hook this week and I'm hooked again !!   Pardon the pun.  Following a plea for help on SCC for a little crochet beanie hat I took up the challenge and with the help of the Happy Hooker produced these ..... modelled by my grandson getting in touch with his feminine side .... his dad will kill me!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Freecycle and finds

The weekend before last was bright and sunny round these parts and there was just a small car boot sale at a local school .... couldn't resist could I ???

The very first seller had mountains of children's toys and baby activities so I dived in ..... I came away with some lovely toys including the Fisher Price Peek a Blocks Press and Go Train, Tomy Discovery Stack, Pop n Tumble, wooden puzzles and a gift set from Emma Bridgewater in the Men at Work series.

They were all in perfect condition and still in the boxes .... all for a grand total of £15 ..... the train on it's own is £29.99 in Toys R US  and we all know how much the Bridgewater costs so I was well pleased.

On the next stall I spied a print from one of my favourite artists Faye Whittaker .... her studies of Edwardian children are charming. I was just about to buy it when the stall holder said she had two more so I came away with 3 for a fiver and one of them is a limited edition signed by the artist.

My final bargain that day was a boxed set of game, DVD and book of Going on a Bear Hunt (one of our favourites) and for the first time in my life I haggled upwards, if such a thing is possible, the lady only asked £1 and it is pristine .... even I couldn't take it for that price and gave her £3 instead.

Then yesterday on Freecycle someone was offering some old embroidery and crochet magazines and I was very lucky to be selected to give them a new home.  Just take a look at these

They are almost 100 years old ..... the blue competition slip in one of them states that entries have to be in by 10th June 1916 ..... how marvelous is that and what a prize ..... £130 in 400 awards which is the equivalent of almost £37,000 today measured against average earnings.
I love old textiles so I'm really going to enjoy reading through these ... the advertisements are fantastic too.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London

Yesterday was the day of our visit to the Country Living Fair at the London Business Centre in Islington ..... number one daughter and grandchild and me set off at 8.00 am with an extremely grey sky looming overhead.  This was Ellie's first visit to London and as you would expect of a 5 year old she was so excited.  We arrived at St Pancras station and I have to say that they have done a magnificent job of upgrading this old station .... I can remember sitting on the old station years ago waiting for the milk train home after an early hours flight into Gatwick  .... it was grotty.

We arrived in Islington just in time for the door opening at 9.30 and she was thrilled to bits to be given her own CL carrier bag with some free samples as we went in.  Inside was an array of loveliness and expensiveness in some cases ...... my only criticism is that it was a little squashed together and as the morning went on and it got busier it was very difficult to browse all the stalls properly.  Last year we went to the Spirit of Christmas Fair at Olympia which was very similar but much bigger and seemed to be less crowded.

It would be so easy to spend an absolute fortune but I make it a rule that I don't buy anything that I could make myself.  I did treat Ellie to some pretties for her bedroom and bought some Christmas pressies for the littlies too.

By lunchtime we had seen everything and Ellie was getting a little bored so we packed all our goodies into the big Dotcom Shop bag and headed back to the Angel station and to our surprise there was a bit of blue sky and sunshine.  We headed down to Waterloo so that we could take a ride on the London Eye and when we came out of the underground the weather was horrendous but hey ho why let a bit of good old English weather get you down!   As we turned the corner by the I-Max cinema there it was ...

Even on dull wet day it still looked good and we didn't have to wait long in the queue and as a bonus there was a 4-D experience to see before the ride which was amazing .... it brought the whole experience to life and made us jump a few times!

St Paul's Cathedral dwarfed by the buildings surrounding it

I am a hopeless photographer but I love how the rainspots beating down on the pod created this 'snowscene' over the Houses of Parliament and below the red London buses on Westminster Bridge

You can just about make out The Mall and Bucket House as Ellie called it ..... she thought that the queen was probably out visiting friends !

When our ride finished we battled the elements again and headed for Piccadilly for lunch at Planet Hollywood on the Haymarket.  Ellie loved it and entertained the other diners with her moonwalk when a Michael Jackson video came on and then a rendition of Beyonce and All the Single Ladies.  She is such a little poser.  After lunch we headed up Regent Street to that toy shops ..... you know the one ..... the one where you should never really take children ;-)

On the way, whether you love it or hate it, we found a Marmite Shop!  All things Marmitey and even a Marmite Cafe upstairs.

We eventually got to Hamleys and this was one of their window displays ..... I couldn't get to the others it was heaving.

And to meet us on the door was Cooking Mama and a fairy queen

We soon gave up (well I did) it was jam packed and unbearable so we headed on up Regent Street to Oxford Circus taking a detour round Carnaby Street.  The Christmas lights on Regent Street were somewhat pathetic .... just nets strung across the road at intervals and nothing special for the centre of our capital city.  Carnaby Street was something else ....

It was the Lord Mayor's Parade and at 5 o'clock there was to be a firework display on the Thames but time was getting on, it was still piddling down and we were cream crackered so we headed back to St Pancras.  I forgot to mention earlier that there were a few cyber friends from the Shabby Chic Cafe also visiting the Country Living Fair and we had swapped phone numbers and arranged to be wearing a Little Gem brooch hoping to meet at some point during the day.  Sadly our paths didn't cross at the Fair but it's a funny old world. 

We stopped to get a drink at W H Smith at St Pancras and while I was waiting outside I got a tap on the shoulder and there stood a lady wearing a Little Gem brooch .... we were like a daft pair of secret agents ..... it was Ellieweb and The Crafty Trundler was in WHS too.  How spooky was that????  We were just destined to meet yesterday and of all the places in that big city what was it that brought us together at the same place at the same time????  Like I said it's a funny old world.

We had a quick chat on the way to the train and hopefully we will be able to meet again another day.

Hope you've enjoyed my little journey and hope I haven't bored you too much .... early night for me tonight as it's all catching up with me now!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

What was in the suitcase????

Please may I take this opportunity of thanking all of you who take time to read my little old  blog and leave very kind comments.  It is lovely to know that there are like minded people out there in the ether that don't mind listening to my ramblings!

You will remember that last week I went to the auction for the first time in ages.  This particular auction house has several rooms with differing quality goods and in the middle room it is the general sale with mostly house clearance items.  I find it so sad that someone's life's possessions end up in dusty boxes unwanted and unloved by their descendents and of course there are the poor souls who have no-one to claim them.  Underneath the tables are boxes full of ornaments, kitchenalia, glassware, china and the ones I like the most are closed boxes, I just have to open them to see what is inside and it is amazing how many auction visitors do not bother.  This large old suitcase was just begging to be opened and I was thrilled to see a collection of old dolls and dolls clothes and even more thrilled when nobody else placed a bid.

The case itself is very interesting .... a vintage Revelation and a few old luggage labels are just about visible .... I am going to use this to store some of my stash but at the moment it is a bit musty ..... some nice fragranced drawer liners are needed I think.

Anyhow, look what was inside .... a collection of dolls mostly dating to the 1960s I should think .... all of their clothes are handmade and we all love handmade don't we.

A lovely handmade golly .... not terribly PC I know but they are loveable and part of our heritage whatever colour our skin is .... he has a handmade shirt, jacket and trousers with little felt shoes which match the pocket on the jacket.

This little lady has a polkadot dress, lacey undies and a blue coat with matching bonnet ... apologies for the unladylike pose but she wouldn't sit up any other way!

This cute trio are all wearing hand knit clothes

This little lady has to be the oldest of the lot ... her clothes are all handmade even down to her pettitcoat and bloomers

I can't make my mind up whether this is an old Sindy or just a lookalike .... she has a light plastic body and again her collection of clothes are all hand made .... here are some more

Two pairs of fabric flairs, a green knitted jumpsuit, Fairisle sweater and matching  hat, another pair of black knitted trousers, jazzy blouse and a very Sergeant Pepper style jacket.

These two girlies in Welsh national costume ... again hand knitted and the larger one is actually a tea cosy

and finally a hand knitted coat and hat