Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Merry Christmas Blogland

A very Merry and Peaceful Christmas to all of you in blogland

Special thanks to everyone who takes time to read and comment on my ramblings and to those of you who have sent lovely cards and messages.

See you all next year !


Sunday, 19 December 2010

We've been to the North Pole ...... brrrrr

I booked to take the grands to have breakfast with Santa at Barton Watermill this morning but after yesterday's deluge of snow it was looking doubtful that we would make it.

We telephoned to check that they were open and that the roads were passable and took the plunge!

It truly looked like winter wonderland and all the fake snow that was sprayed around the Mill was covered in a thick layer of the real thing.  The mill pond was frozen solid and there was no sign of the ducks.

It was such a shame because they'd got loads of bookings for the breakfast but it turned out there were only three families that made it and one of those was some friend of ours.  We were ushered into the restaurant were the children had a lovely cooked breakfast and there were home baked mince pies for us grown ups and then the man himself joined us and read stories to the children as they ate.

Excuse her rudeness .... I didn't realise she was doing this!

 Ellie then turned the tables and read a story to Santa before we went back to his little cabin to get Charlie's present .... on the way there DD1 remarked that we were going to were Santa lived in his grotto .... Charlie piped up no Lala he lives at the North Pole silly!  Never argue with a 3 year old ;-)

dropped off safely as close to home as I could .... they live at the bottom of a cul-de-sac which is impossible to get in or out of at the moment so the sledge came in really handy.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Pssst ..... don't mention the C word ..............

It seems blogland is split into two camps at the moment ..... those who are laid back and going with the flow and those who are stressing about how much there is to do.  So this post is a 'C' word free zone ! 

This life is not a dress rehearsal dear people so don't worry your socks off about the things you have no control over and concentrate on the things that you can do and changes that you can make.

One of my pet hates is waste.   Waste of any kind really be it food, clothing, possessions and most of all time. 

Since joining the world of blog and visiting crafting forums I have discovered Freecycle, Scrapstores and more recently Ecobees ... each has an ethos of avoiding sending unwanted items to landfill and offer a wonderful opportunity to recycle.  You know what they say about one man's trash being another man's treasure well it is totally true and I love nothing more than rescuing something from the past and giving it a new lease of life.

Over the past couple of weeks I have adopted this little Edwardian sewing cupboard and when the weather improves (we have a light snowfall outside as I write) it shall have a little session with some Nitromors to remove the peach gloss paint and then I shall decide on whether it shall stay as it was intended as a dark oak cupboard or give it a fresh coat of paint and prettify it a little.

A few days ago a vintage Silver Cross Dolls Pram was offered and my heart skipped a beat ..... I hadn't heard anything and presumed that another lucky freecycler was the new owner.  Until this morning that is when I opened my mailbox and there was a message inviting me to arrange collection.  It was described as a restoration project so I was expecting the worst but was delighted to bring home this little baby .....

 She isn't in too bad condition at all and with some TLC and elbow grease she will come up a treat

 The original shop sticker is still attached and the Queensway shopping centre was opened in 1959
 A lovely little Rose cartouche is on both sides of the pram
The hood and cover are in a brown suede-like fabric

I am really looking forward to starting on this one!

Friday, 3 December 2010

How do you like your eggs in the morning ......

My new girls have settled in really well and bless them they are still laying even in this freezing cold.

I've just got back from walking the dogs.  I live on the outskirts of a grot of a town that I try to avoid like the plague but am fortunate that open countryside is just a short walk away.  We've been to Stopsley Common which is on top of a hill and is very exposed to the elements no matter what the season.  Turning in a 180 degree angle you get views of the town then Galley Hill to the north and round to farmland and countryside.  This morning it was strangely eerie but so beautiful at the same time.  The sky was grey and a freezing cold mist hung in the air and none of the above views could be seen.  There was untouched snow in places and just the sound of crows echoing through the mist.  Empty, desolate, peaceful and a touch spooky all at the same time.  Just perfect for clearing the mind and getting life in perspective.

I took my camera with me but the flipping battery was flat so these photos were taken on my phone and I have know idea if there is a zoom function (make that homework for later)

 One scatty cocker spaniel and choc labrador oblivious to the cold !
I really must get on with some tidying up if I have any hope of getting the deccies and tree up this weekend.
Bye for now x


Monday, 29 November 2010

Keeping up appearances .....

No I've not turned into Hyacinth Bucket ..... there is some mega crap affecting my life at the moment and my menobrain keeps replaying it like an old record with the needle stuck so this morning I decided to keep focused and carry on as usual ..... mostly to keep sane and the rest to protect the small children that surround me.

I am following several useful blogs at the moment ..... Floss has started her Pause in Advent posts and these never fail to provoke deep thought and lift the spirits ...... Tracey just makes me laugh which is always a good thing ..... Frugal Queen has an abundance of fantastic budgeting tips and is well worth a visit especially at this time of year when the pressure is on.

What have I been doing today??? 
  Trying to keep warm although we have been extremely lucky and only have a dusting of snow at the moment and keeping busy making the Mary costume for my grand-daughter's Nativity next week (I'll take some photo tomorrow when I get madam to model it for me).  Yes, I did say Nativity, that naughty word that has seemed to disappear from schools and playgroups over recent years.  I am not a churchgoer nor religious person but I do hold core beliefs and wholeheartedly support traditions.  Something has stirred and our school is putting on a Christmas production with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, sheep and all ..... hurrah!  In honour of this we dug out the old video of our girls in the school Nativity in 1992 and it brought tears to the eyes.  Life seems to have gone full circle again and here I am getting ready to watch my two eldest grandchildren .... man size Kleenex at the ready !

I have also been adding to my Lillian Rowles collection .... you will recall that this Lillian is the artist responsible for my beautiful baby avatar and relation of Julie over at The Cloth Shed.

These are pages from Punch Summer 1923 and Punch's Almanack for 1924 ...... the Aspreys and Mobiloil ads are on on the back of the Hovis ads ..... take a close look at the Asprey's Christmas novelties available that year.
I am also working on another upcycled quilt .... this one is in the Granny's Garden design and when I can get some decent photos taken in good light I will try to post a tutorial.  It is basically a series of 6 hexagons sewn around a central hex which is then appliqued to a backing square of plain fabric.  When all joined together it gives the appearance of lovely big daisy like flower heads. 

Keep warm and keep safe x

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Where does the time go ?????

Looking at my diary this morning I was scared to death when I saw that the children only have four more weeks at school till the Christmas holidays ..... how the heck did that happen???

I did my last craft market for 2010 at the weekend and although I could do some more I have decided to take some time out to a) tidy up b) reflect c) plan.

I do have some handmade Christmas decorations left and if anyone would like to purchase them they are £3.00 each or 4 for £10.00 which includes p & p within the UK ..... there are

hand sewn felt gingerbread men with vintage buttons and gingham ribbon

hand sewn felt Christmas puddings with vintage buttons and ribbon hangers

an assortment of heart & bird hangers in ditsy Christmas print fabric with felt backings ... decorated with shiny buttons and ribbon .... the embroidered heart has a gingham backing and lavender filling

Crazy patch mini stocking hangers with felt backing, jingle bells or Christmas  buttons and green velvet ric rac hangers

Winter Spice heart hanger backed with felt and filled with cinnamon/clove/mandarin scented rice

Crochet white cotton & metallic silver thread icicle garland (1.2m) which is £10 including p & p

Tartan fabric bunting with jingle bells .... each pennant (there are 15) is backed with felt and they hang on a 3.5m length of gingham binding.... this is also £10 incl p & p

if anyone is interested please contact me through my website here

There's always time for bargain hunting though and Ellie came with me on Sunday to the car boot.  She came home with a bag of books and I found this lovely photo in a frame

and this bag

which contained

all these  .... bargainous at £3 !

Be back soon .... my tea bread is just about to explode out of the breadmaker ;-)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Remembrance, preparations and a mystery .....

Lest we forget

These are photos from my family tree research .... the first young man belongs on my husband's side of the family and all that we know is that he was in the Bedfordshire Regiment but we have no idea of his name and there is nobody left now to ask. 

The second is Thomas Duffy from my maternal grandmother's family in Newcastle .... he served in France from 1914 to 1915 as a Private in the 3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry and was lucky to survive and return home to his wife and children.

The third is Thomas's brother James and I am still researching him and that rather fetching uniform that he is wearing.

If we all dig deep enough we will find ancestors with military service and it is them and the brave servicemen and women still laying down their lives for us today that we remember today.

When I took time out this morning for the two minutes silence at 11.00 am I was in the middle of preparing for a Christmas Craft Market this coming weekend .... I've been sewing and crocheting and here is a sample of what I will be taking

and just look what I found in the charity shop this afternoon for a whole 25p

and finally my mystery ...... a few weeks ago whilst out on a day out with Serenata I came across this .... the stallholder was holding it up and asked if we knew what it was.  My first thought was a tea infuser that had come off its chain but when he opened it up just look what was inside.  It is only a couple of inches long with a maker's stamp of Mayer & Co. London impressed on it and its very tactile.

It's a tiny little string holder with the original spool inside but alas the central pin that holds it in place is missing.  Not bad for £2 is it.

Saturday, 6 November 2010

We've been to London ........

and now I'm in my chair with feet up and a cuppa!

Our first stop was the Spirit of Christmas Fair at Olympia .... packed with a huge variety of stalls with some very high end gift ideas down to some really good value items.  It is a spacious venue with lots of room to move around to browse comfortably without getting crushed.  Last year's Country Living Fair at the London Business Centre although good had a very claustrophobic atmosphere in some parts with very little room to  manoeuvre.  No photos inside the Fair I am afraid and I did notice that some stalls had notices stating 'no photography' so I didn't want to upset anyone.  One thing I did notice is that a lot of the goods do seem to be mass produced and most likely imported 'handcrafted' items with quite a bit of repetition  and dare I say copy cats ..... there is a lot more originality & quality in blog shops on here and my local craft markets so I think I know where I will be spending my hard earned this year.

Next stop was Covent Garden and thank goodness the trains back in weren't as crushed as our journey down .... so much room in fact that you could swing a ....

a daft daughter who has never grown up !!  Can't blame her for having a bit of fun .... she devotes so much of her time to the children and doesn't get out much.

I'd told Ellie that in Covent Garden there would be musicians and some special statues .... I don't really think so Nanny she said but she had to eat her words

he looked fantastic and took her totally by surprise!

After a lovely lunch in TGIs we headed for Leicester Square

excuse the quality of the photos but I only had my mobile with me ..... this is the Hippodrome (formerly The Talk of the Town)  which has a magnificent chariot & horses on the roof.

then on through Piccadilly with the statue of Eros against the early evening sky

then just at the start of our walk up Regent Street we looked down towards Trafalgar Square with Nelson's Column standing proudly in the centre.  As we continued up Regent Street we were greeted with the magnificent sight of a parade of vintage motor cars and then I remembered it was the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run today and this was the finale.

Our final stop was here .....

The top floor is the Christmas Department which looked magical with lots of twinkly lights and some beautiful decorations and of course I couldn't leave without taking a peek at the Haberdashery & Fabric department  ..... and a peek it was after turning over some of the price tags!   Beautiful nevertheless.

We then hit Oxford Circus which was absolutely heaving ..... people dashing here and there and so many of them ..... London is a place I could never live in, far too busy and overcrowded, but I do like to visit occasionally if only to admire the history and magnificent old architecture of the place.

Now my poor old legs and tootsies are having a well earned rest .... have a lovely weekend all x