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

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Weird and wonderful Wednesday ....

What a beautiful start to the day .... brilliant autumn sunshine and some warmth in it too while I walked Molly and Ruby around the park this morning .... I don't know if the colours of autumn are more vivid this year or whether is it just me noticing and appreciating them more as I get older.

I stashed the Halloween resources back in the loft when I got home and had a quick look at the Christmas bits and pieces up there .... then remembered I had been quite organised last year and had Freecycled quite a lot of stuff that gets brought down from the loft each year but never used.  I'm quite pleased really because that means I can spend some money on Saturday at the Spirit of Christmas Fair at Olympia.

The fireplace has been cleaned and dressed for the winter .... and despite what Miss Allsopp thinks she has not just invented upcycling, re-using and thrifting .... the Victorian cast iron insert was acquired from a junk shop around 15 years ago for the princely sum of twenty quid.  It was covered in a coat of cream paint and after an application of stripper and some good old fashioned elbow grease she came up a treat.  The reclaimed Pine surround was in a sale and I think we paid around £75 for it, the Victorian style blue & white tiles were £1 each and the slate tiles on the hearth were from Wickes for around a tenner.

The brass candlesticks and my mantel clock are from a general auction sale, the glass lustre from the charity shop and my lovely stained glass wotnot was in a mixed box of junk from the auction too.  It is original Victorian in Art Nouveau style and I think it must have been two small window panes in a former life which have been joined together in a triangular shape ..... with a tealight behind it on a dark winter night it looks really effective. So again Miss A stained glass is not something new for you to twitter on about.  Sorry to sound so cynical but are you getting my drift?  She may well be a lovely lady but I somewhat doubt that she has ever had to thrift in her very privileged life and I do take exception to being instructed on the benefits of thrifting and make do and mend and I refuse to worship at her altar.

Right off my soapbox now ..... where was I??? .... oh yes the decorations hanging from the mantel are stock for the Christmas Fair that I am selling at in a couple of weeks.  My crochet icicle garland and some tartan bunting with little jingly bells.

A little bit more thrifting in the charity shop yesterday ....

Vintage glass bottle and cheese dome which is extremely heavy

Delightful Beatrix Potter postcards

It's our 31st wedding anniversary today and Mr Lala has surprised me with these young ladies ...

this was them arriving as it got dark this evening so I will take some better photos tomorrow (weather permitting .... the forecast has just been on and it looks like rain)

Five Rhode Island Reds who in no particular order will be known as Matilda, Sophie, Trunchbowl, Honey and Veruca ..... Ellie is besotted with Roald Dahl stories at the moment so this will please her no end!

He knows that I have really missed my girls since Mr Fox got them back in the Spring and one of them kindly laid an egg in the transit box for me on the way here so I think we are going to get on famously.

Mum sent me some lovely flowers too

All in all a weird and wonderful day which I am going to finish perfectly with a glass of red and my crochet hook to finish this ....

The yarn is by Katia .... a Spanish company and it is sold in that favourite little yarn shop of mine in Baldock .... it is a cotton/acrylic mix and is so soft and so reasonably priced too at £2.90 a ball

Have a good evening all xx

Monday, 1 November 2010

It's just a number

Today is the 53rd birthday of Mr Lala and on Wednesday we have our 31st Wedding Anniversary .... how the flipping heck did that happen.

We had Jack for the day so toddled off to Harpenden this morning where there is a good selection of charity shops.  I did bag a couple of bargains but I was absolutely gobsmacked by some of the prices being asked.  I know it is for charity and perhaps I shouldn't grumble but an extremely tatty old Mrs Beetons for £30 ...... winter coats for £30 ...... an old Singer sewing machine in a very tatty wooden cabinet for £100 .... eek !!!

I did pick up these for £4

and they are now living in here

These drawers have been living in a dusty shed for at least 2 years and having seen the vintage Sylko/Dewhurst thread storage drawers that seem to be selling for megabucks these days, I thought they would be just the job for thread & bobbin storage.  I purchased them at auction for around a tenner and then forgot all about them .... they are in fact old office filing drawers and this is what is printed on the inside of the top drawer in each set.

My other little bargain at £1.50 was this book which should come in very handy.

DD1 found the perfect gift for her father and following our navigational exploits recently this was hilarious ... even made him smile

and Ellie just loved the birthday cake

and yes it was exceedingly good ;-)