Sunday, 31 January 2010

Sixty Minute Makeover Eat Your Heart Out and The Blogiversary Winner Is ......

Wow what a week it has been.  One of my daughters moves house on Wednesday and she was lucky enough to be given the key so that we could get in and do some decorating .... this time last week when I first saw the house it was like walking into a time-warp .... all 80s terracotta and brown everywhere making it look so dark, full of dust (it hasn't been lived in for around 8 years) and with filthy carpets in every room except the living room.

We rounded up family and friends and between us during the past week we have stripped walls, sanded, cleaned, painted and I finished the wallpaper hanging this morning in Ellie's bedroom.  Another friend has laid new carpets today and the children's bedrooms are all ready for them.  How on earth that TV programme claims to do a makeover in 60 minutes is beyond me!!! There is no way and if it was looked at closely it must look a right minging mess.

The house now looks totally different, although it is mostly magnolia and white paint it is clean and fresh and ready to become their home, hopefully for quite a few years to come.  Princess Ellie Cakes is sleeping over with us till the move so I asked her to do the for my 1st Blogiversary Giveaway. 

I have had a lovely time reading all of your comments and seeing the diverse tastes in music we all have or had at one time .... music opens up the old memory cells and I hope you will all agree it has been fun!

I am now pleased to announce that the winner is

Jak over at Winter Tells

Well done Jak and if you would like to e-mail me on with your name and address I will pack up your parcel and post it off this week.

Thanks to all of you for entering xx

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Nearly didn't make it !!!!

Well of all weekends to have a mishap with the laptop.  Yesterday I foolishly left a part drunk cuppa close to it and puppy came bounding through and you can guess what happened.  I was having palpitations ..... how would I communicate with my virtual world of lovely friends on this my 1st Blogiversary??

Following some drying out I was relieved that it still booted up but the inbuilt mouse was refusing to play.  A quick trip to Argos this morning to purchase a wire free mouse has done the trick and I'm ready to roll again.

On this day exactly one year ago I sat down and contemplated what I should write and wondered whether anyone would want to share my little piece of the planet.  I know there are a few of us who started at the same time with the same thoughts and some of us have since managed to meet in the real world.

I have been listening to the radio a lot this week whilst sitting at my sewing machine putting together the strings for Loft Creations challenge and the station I chose was Gold .... it is amazing that music can stir so many memories stored at the back of our minds.  I was a teenager in the 1970s and my very first music purchase with my pocket money was in 1972 when I bought this

Bit risque I know and I trembled at the thought of what my dad would say.  It was the era of skinheads, reggae and ska and I loved it (wasn't a skinhead myself BTW!)  I used to play it on one of these

A Dansette record player

I still have the old Dansette and LP in the loft along with all my other albums and singles and it is the only thing I have left to play them on.  How we have progressed in 40 years (is it really that long ago????) .... now at the click of a button we can download just about everything.  The only places to buy music in those days was Boots and a little music shop which originally started selling instruments and then progressed to singles and albums.  Off we would trot with our pennies and then you could listen on huge headphones before you purchased.

On this my first blogiversary I am having this giveaway

A mix of handicraft items, some vintage and some new ..... a floral cross stitch that I made last year, some Cath Kidston Oilcloth already cut into bunting size flags, three pretty pink vintage dressing table cloths, one of my handmade heart hangers and a cute print by Faye Whittaker called My Pal ... a gorgeous study of a child and his dog.  I am going to pop them into a vintage look biscuit tin for the lovely winner and the draw shall be at this time next Sunday.

In return I would like to ask you to do a post about what your first album purchase was .... were you a teen of the 60s 70s 80s 90s ...... and will you admit to recording Top of the Pops off the radio at this time on a Sunday afternoon????  It would be lovely if you could place a link to my blog too.

Thank you all for such an enjoyable twelve months and may we all have many more xx

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Mummy's Little Soldier

For those of us of a certain age this TV programme will bring back some memories .... it ran on LWT from 1968 to 1972 and I suppose it is not PC enough to be repeated these days.  One of the characters was Frankie Abbott, who thought he was a tough guy but was really a little pussy cat ruled by his over-protective mother.  'Mummy's little soldier' she used to cry and was always wittering on about her fallopian tubes and other ailments to keep her Frankie at home.

Well my little soldier is flying the nest (again!) and leaves us to move to Nottingham on the 1st February.  It was ten years ago when he first flapped his wings and went to work in France on the PGL Activity Holiday Centre in the Ardeche in France.  I remember well our journey down to Dover with him and I felt just like Mrs Abbott at that time and was worried sick about my little soldier.  He looked so young and forlorn sitting in the ferryport waiting for the rest of the group he was travelling with and it was so hard to tear myself away.  I remember blubbing in the car all the way from Dover until we reached the M.1

Since then he has come and gone ..... my boomerang boy .... the last time I thought great I will gain a room but that was short lived .... DD2 had my lovely Ellie and then when they moved out last year old boomerang boy came back again!

Sounds harsh but this time I am definitely going to reclaim the room .... plans and ideas are whizzing round in my head .... I'm going to turn the house upside down this year .... it is in drastic need of a facelift but it will be on a very tight budget.  I have loads of books for inspiration and of course there is blogland too.  I hope to do it most of it by recycling and buying second hand.  If I slack please feel free to give me a boot up the you know where ;-)

And I've got past my Mrs Abbott stage .... I have to accept that my boy is a man and the apron strings have to be cut.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Question of the day

Conversation with a four year old on the way to school this morning

Child:  What are those birds flying up there?

Me:  Seagulls and crows

Child:  Crows like fish don't they?

Me:  I think it is the seagulls that prefer fish ..... the crows will eat bugs and worms

Child:  What's a bug?

Me:  All the creepy crawlies on the ground like ants

Child:  Is a ladybird a bug?

Me:  Yes

Child:  Are ladybirds all ladies?

Me:  mmmmm ..... well you don't get manbirds so they may  be

So there is the question of the day people ...... are ladybirds all ladies?

Monday, 11 January 2010

Baking, blocking and blogging

How do you cheer yourself up on a cold snowy day when confined to the house???? I found myself in this position yesterday and with the able assistance of GD Ellie we had a mammoth baking session.  Following recipes suggested by fellow bloggers and SCC girls we made

Carrot Cake supplied by the lovely Debbie over at Country Heart & Home

another Rocky Road Mountain adapted from the Domestic Goddess Nigella's recipe

Jam Tarts & Butterfly Cakes

After the children had tea this evening there is not much left !!

The next recipe to try is Chocolate Orange Marble cake from Big Red Hearts blog

My girls have been their usual obliging selves and provided some yummy eggs for these recipes despite the weather conditions.

And to finish the day today I have managed to put together my first four blocks for Loft Creations No Strings Challenge

and here they are made from some mini print FQs that I have in my stash .... a whole bag of them acquired for the princely sum of a fiver at a car boot sale last year

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Job done ....

At the beginning of December I took a look round my little sewing sanctuary and decided it was about time I used some of the vintage textiles that I have accummulated.  I scoured my book collection, websites and blogs for inspiration and finally settled on the idea that I could recycle or upcycle quite a lot of them into a quilt.

Today I am proud to present my circle quilt

Apart from the new polyester wadding inside it everything else is vintage.  The white squares were a damask tablecloth in a previous life which had some stains and holes but still some very useable fabric in it.  The circles were from table mats, runners, tray cloths, seat covers ...... some hand embroidered, Sanderson print, vintage oriental bird .... a multitude of colours all complimenting each other.  The border fabric is very old and was a door curtain from a children's home.  The backing fabric in a gorgeous Liberty print called Corsham was a pair of curtains.  The sewing thread came from an old cantilever sewing box acquired last year too.

I can honestly say I have never felt such satisfaction in one of my makes as I have with this one.  Made with love and I hope you will agree that it has given a new lease of life to some wonderful textiles that most people would bin.

Now comes the hard bit ..... it would make a lovely heirloom but not for this family .... I have decided that this one will be for sale but I haven't decided where or for how much yet. 

I hope I have inspired some of you to try something similar and for my next project I have decided to join Loft Creations No Strings Attached challenge.  Go on give it a go .... you know you want to ;-)

Monday, 4 January 2010

Coldest day so far

Today has to be the coldest so far this winter .... woke up to a very heavy frost this morning and at 10.30 am the temperature was still only -4 degrees .... brrrrrr.  When I went to let the chooks out at half eight I took the camera because the trees and bushes in the garden looked splendid with their white frosting.

I am a great fan of Freecycle.  For those of you who don't know the website it is a fantastic means of keeping loads of unwanted goods out of landfill.  I use it regularly when I am having a clear out of the clutter (a lifetime's work in my case!) and if I am looking for something in particular I always take a look at our local groups.  At the weekend I posted a request for a dog bed for Ruby because she is behaving so well it is time for the cage to go and a very kind lady offered one immediately.  It had been living in her loft for three years and now Ruby is quite at home in it.  Late last night a new batch of postings came online and I couldn't believe my eyes ..... I have been looking for one of these for ages and really wanted one to do up for Ellie at Christmas

Good things come to those who wait so they say

It is teacher training day at our school today so I have three children back with me today ..... we have been making samosas this afternoon .... very warming on such a cold day and a great way to use up leftover veg.

The Recipe

225g plain flour
half tsp salt
2 tbsp cooking oil
warm water to mix

I just bung the lot in the food processor and pour the water in slowly till it forms a soft dough.
Leave for half an hour to rest (have a cuppa ;-)
Roll out and cut into circles then cut the circles in half

For the filling fry a chopped onion in some oil
Then add a Shwartz Bombay Potato Mix, a tin of chopped tomatoes and 100ml water
Add whatever leftover cooked veg you have or just parboil a mix of potato, peas, beans etc (a bag of frozen mixed veg would do the job too)
Leave to cool while you are making the samosa pastry

Dampen the semi circles of pastry, put a blob of filling in centre and fold over and seal.
Deep fry till golden

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Happy New Year everyone

Well there it is all done and dusted for another year .... I've just taken down the tree and everything is back in the loft until next time.  I love the build up to Christmas but always feel tired and stressed on the day itself.  Boxing Day is my favourite day when I can relax.  Always felt the same and don't suppose I will change now.

I thought I would share this with you today .... it is from a book I purchased for the grand total of £1 a couple of years ago in Lyme Regis.  It is a little tatty and forlorn but then so would we all if we were 133 years old.

It is a lovely collection of children's stories and was published by Ward Lock in London in the 1870s  .... this inscription is on the inside cover

What a kind Uncle William he was and I wonder who Dear Little Amy was.

There are stories for each month of the year and this is the one for January

There has been lots of talk on other blogs about plans, targets, resolutions, lists of things to do etc etc

Well my plan is to take each day as it comes and be thankful for that day.  I will not fret about what I haven't achieved and will just concentrate on the things that I can do.  All this list making is useful in its own way but we really run the risk of creating more stress by worrying about it.  An old work friend used to say "if nobody is going to die then it aint worth worrying about"  and I always remind myself of this when I feel the stress levels rising.

On the 24th of this month it will be my 1st blogiversary ..... this time last year I discovered blogland purely by accident and I am so glad that I did .... there are so many lovely people out there and it truly restores your faith in humankind to know this.

To celebrate this nearer the time I will be having a birthday giveaway.