Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The sunrise was spectacular this morning, as was the amount of sparkly ice over our cars!

This was the view from our bedroom window, the farm over the way is where we currently get our free range eggs from. I hope to re-introduce chooks to the garden in 2008.

A non crafty day in this household today, instead I attempted to get my Christmas cards done, and made apple sauce with the last of the apples from our ancient tree.

I had a visitor too. We have plenty of pheasants around the garden at the moment, I wonder if they know it is safer in my garden than out in the 'firing line'

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Christmas - The countdown begins!

1st December - the day of our Christmas fete. Lots of the stalls were inside the church and it was too dim and far too crowded for photos. I did manage to get a photo of my lovely friend Rachel striking a very silly pose, she makes 100's of wreaths every year and she had a table in the entrance taking orders.

The Bell Inn Brass Band played jolly festive music, Cath (in the Christmas hat) played and then had to do a quick change in the ladies loo to join in the Crooked Steeple slot. It was sooo cold today!

Poor Rob could hardly play, his hands were numb with cold!
Santa was in his grotto, and was going to turn the lights on at 4pm, we didn't stay this year though. We needed to get in to the warmth.

Here is the view down the street to the Market Hall and church, past the local butchers.

Punch & Judy and various stalls were in the Market Hall, but again I didn't take photos. However, here are a couple of photos of our Millennium Embroidery - isn't it fab? Every organisation in the town took part in supplying something for this piece and it hangs in the Market Hall. I did the black and white paper shop in freestyle cross stitch. Soon afterwards the owners retired and it closed, so it is already a little piece of history. I love the Church and the view underneath.

Did I mention it was cold today? So glad we got a fire in, and just as we got home it started to rain.

And finally, I saw the lady who organized the Christmas box wrapping - she told me the final number we managed to ship was 1,325!!!!!!!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Just a quick post to say two things.

Firstly Happy Thanksgiving to all blogging friends across the pond. May you all be having a wonderful and peaceful day.

Second - I have discovered Tom Baxter! I was sitting in the car yesterday waiting for daughter 2 to get her stuff together before heading for school. This came on the radio and I was smitten. I had to search for the song as soon as I came home, it is soooo lovely. In fact it sums up how I feel about Ian. I'm sure most have experienced that heart thumping knee quaking kind of early love, I couldn't imagine as a young girl what being together for 25 years could possibly be like, I'm sure I thought it would be a little bit mudane actually. How wrong I was! Indulge me and press 'play'

Friday, 9 November 2007

Advent Calendar

This is a photo of my eldest when she was 4, with her Advent Calendar. I cross stitched 24 little pictures and then made bags which hang from brass curtain rings, each year these are filled with Quality Street or Roses, with a tiny present in the 24th. It is stretched over wood and is quite heavy. (Three years later I made another for daughter 2)

Anyway, she asked me how she was going to get it to uni and bring it back with her for the Christmas Hols. I decided that this was impractical, so it will be waiting for her when she gets back, I made her this mini one to take back with her this weekend.

A pretty box (I found a whole set of these - packed like a russian doll - all inside one another, at a Car Boot for £1!!)

24 red felt bags, with gold trim glued and pegged til dry

Cute choccy santas and father Christmasses

Bags decorated and filled, for some reason there was an extra father Christmas at this point, oh well!!

Packed into the box, the final touch was a liberal sprinkling of tiny glittery stars after this photo was taken. I hope she likes it.

Sunday, 4 November 2007


We went to Worcester yesterday and I found these wonderful scales. I have wanted a new set for ages and these were in Cookmate - £25 reduced to £15. I like the big stainless steel bowl and the face is big enough to read really easily - I was one happy girl today when using them for the first time.

I make our bread on a weekly basis. I use 1/2 wholemeal 1/2 strong white and although I have a bread maker I always hand make. Bread is getting more expensive as I am sure alot of you will have noticed. Our local bread shop is on the market, the business has been there since the 1800's, I wonder if customers are going to the supermarkets instead. I get my flour from a local bakery, it comes in small paper sacks (about 15lbs) and the last lot cost me 33p 1lb. I keep my flour stockpile in a second fridge in the utility, wrapped in plastic bags it keeps for ages.

After I have kneaded it, it goes back in the bowl to rise. At this point I put a cereal box 'inner' bag over it. When a cereal box is emptied I take out the inner, pull it apart at the seams and wash it. Then it gets used for breadmaking (below), for wrapping things in the fridge, lining cake tins and wrapping our sandwiches for packed lunches. It can be used over and over again

As well as the weeks bread I also made a traybake, waiting to be iced, for packed lunches this week, and a Weetabix Cake to make the most of the electricity used to heat the oven. Weetabox Cake is really easy - and very very tasty. The receipe is below if you want to try it.


2 weetabix

1 cup raisins or sultanas - whichever you have

1 cup sugar

2 cups self raising flour

1 cup milk

Mix all ingredients together, put in a loaf tin and cook! I told you it was easy!!

(Notice no fat or eggs in this one).

Well I am off to watch Top Gear with Ian - and wrap the last 1/2 dozen Christmas boxes. I told my friend that they were last, but she gave me a wicked grin and said - 'yeah - until next year!!'

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Christmas Boxes

For a couple of weeks now my house been in a production line of Christmas boxes. You see after a very pleasant meal and a couple of glasses of wine I got into conversation with a dynamo of a woman who every year organises a local push for the Operation Christmas Child campaign. She was bemoaning the fact that this year she had lost one of her 'wrapping ladies.' Well feeling very mellow (after the aforesaid meal) I said - 'Oh I can wrap a few boxes for you' - AAArgh! This woman is wonderful but relentless! I have lost count of the boxes I have wrapped but I keep getting a bin liner of new ones to do every few days!! Even so I am sure I am not doing an adequate amount, there were 1090 filled last year!

Operation Christmas Child is a very worthwhile cause. My two daughters have for years filled one every year, just to reinforce the true spirit of Christmas. I am sure everyone has heard of it by now -http://www.samaritanspurse.uk.com/ there is a page on the site that takes you to knitting patterns for beanies and puppets. I think I will do a few throughout the year next year so that I have a 'stock' done in time. Goodness knows I have enough spare balls of wool and oddments.

The only other thing of note around here is that I have been painting the front lawn! Actually its the colour of our downstairs loo - but I only used it to mark out where we are going to make new beds. We have decided that the front lawn has to go. For one thing it is a pain getting the mower round to the front all the time, and also we are cutting down on electricity usage. There will be four corner beds, a central circle and gravel paths inbetween.

Thank you to those who kindly left encouraging comments about my eldest leaving home. I am pleased to say she is doing very well, cooking lots of nourishing and frugal meals and studying hard already. She is coming home for Armistice weekend, she said she couldn't not go to the memorial with her dad. Awwwww!

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Hello, I have ventured back into my blog after a somewhat longer than anticipated absence.

Initially I had some computer issues, and then after eldest daughter departed for uni I threw myself into 'other things' to take my mind off her leaving. Well, busy though I am it didn't work and I am missing her very much!

Anyway, I shall be emailing one or two of you later to thank you for your concern, how nice the blogosphere is with women like you in it!!!!!

Just to show you I have been a little bit busy.... a few photos......

6lbs of blackberries picked on a beautiful summers afternoon. I mashed them and made them into a large demijohn of wine. This was busily fermenting away and we were looking forward to a glass or two at Christmas but it was not to be. Someone (not me!!!!!!) managed to smash the aforesaid demijohn and it took me ages to get a gallon of sticky liquid up off the laundry floor!

Then eldest daughter left for uni.... here are the two best friends come to say goodbye, they have been with her since the age of 5. They have been through thick and thin together but are now across the country from Southampton to Manchester. I sneaked this photo - one for the album I am keeping for her.

I have managed to get to one carboot - there is another this weekend which I hope to get to. I got a lovely mixing bowl and this cute pyrex to add to the collection!

A week last Sunday we went to Upton on Severn . Some of you might know that it was severely flooded back in the summer. They organized a 'Cheer Up Upton' weekend and we went to show our support. I think we definitely need a 'blue' in our side, don't you??

I hope to post regularly now, I can't wait to see what you are all doing for Christmas and I am sure there will be some glorious posts coming soon from you all about that.

Sunday, 26 August 2007


The summer holidays will soon be at an end and already there is a hint of autumn in the air, especially in the mornings, yesterday was quite misty until the sun burnt through. Hopefully we will have an Indian Summer through September, I think we need one after the wet summer.

Finding time to blog is difficult ~ and I often find that I have forgotten to take the camera with me on our days out! On Thursday I went with daughter number 2 to Shrewsbury for a day out. We let the train take the strain - only a 1/2 hour journey - and spent a really enjoyable time together. She is getting serious one to one at the moment with daughter number one on holiday in Paris.

As you can see, Shrewsbury is well worth a visit, although too much to see in one day with a wonderful Abbey (do any of you remember the Cadfael series on TV?), Castle, Museums, a gorgeous park and some smashing shops.

The photo above is of Castle Street, the walk up into town from the station, it's only a couple of minutes.

This is Grope Lane (I think were the Butchers used to trade), there's a Fish Street as well - one can't imagine how smelly these places would have been in medieval days!

Above photos from http://www.pbase.com/
One of the main shopping areas. Just along from here was the cafe we went to for lunch. It was very 'Victorian' with flowery wallpaper, a dresser full of china knick knacks, lacy table cloths and pretty pictures. The food was not so dainty - a chicken tikka baguette for daughter and a BLT for me, together with a pint of coke each!!
On our way to lunch I suggested I showed her the oldest building known as Bear Steps (1300's). It is now a little gallery and tea rooms. I was very pleased to discover that they had an exhibition taking place by the Shrewsbury Spinners and Weavers. Lunch was slightly delayed whilst I had a brief chat with the ladies, and purchased a drop spindle from them for £2.50.

Above is the Bear Steps front and back.

One place we did not have time to visit was the Dingle. The Dingle. set in the park is a 'quarry' which many years ago was turned into a spectacular floral garden. This is a picture taken in Spring but it is an amazing place year round

Alas on our way back to the train station I noticed a shop that stocks Cath Kidston, I think a return visit is necessary.

So anyway, today I got the drop spindle out and had a go, amazingly I managed to produce a passable yarn - finer than I can on my Ashford for sure! Daughter 2 took this 'action' shot.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

O Dear, back to work today after a wonderful week off. We didn't go away, just days out, but what beautiful days they were. After Aberdovey we went to the Stiperstones to pick Whinberries.

Now you may have gathered that I do not like my photo being taken, but Ian managed to catch me with my bottom in the air! Click on the photo for a lovely view = ha! ha!

Whinberries (Bilberries) quite simply make the most delicious pie. They are small, fiddly and take an age to pick, but in this sort of surrounding that is ok.

Back home I sorted out all the little bits of twig and dried leaf, and found I had enough for 2 pies and one crumble. As a kiddie I loved to stick my tongue out after eating pie as it turns purple for a while!

I am soooo pleased to have been given this award by Gill at Lucy Locket.

Started by Bella-Enchanted, the award is to be "awarded to those that are just nice people , good blog friends and those that inspire good feelings and inspiration! Those that care about others that are there to lend support or those that are just a positive influence in our blogging world". Thank you so much Gill for thinking of me, and I agree with you in that I am also in awe of many blogs I have found in recent months, there really are some inspirational, kind and lovely ladies out there.

The following 7 blogs are being awarded the 'Nice Matters Award' by me. I only wish I could choose more!








These ladies all have lovely blogs for different reasons, be they gardening, craft, thrift or interesting hobbies, but as well as this they are all nice people, I visit frequently!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Aberdovey Lovely

Our annual day on the beach. Aberdovey has a nice beach, some nice shops and some very nice Bora Brith!

Glorious views of the hills across the Dovey estuary

My girl is 15 on Sunday, but one is never too old to dig holes!

And her mum will never be too old to fly a kite!

Saturday, 4 August 2007

I like to shop as locally as possible. This has not been as a result of the new trend in sustainable living, traceability, air miles, carbon footprints etc, it's just how I have always done it, as did my mother and hers before her.

My fruit and veg come from a small farmshop, Richard there stocks produce as locally as possible. Milk comes from our nearest farm (which is wonderful enough to do a whole post on!). Any groceries come from a small independent grocery store in Tenbury. I try to stay out of supermarkets as I do not generally like the way they operate (~of course I do understand that others do use them, each to their own).

Today I did my meat shopping and Clive kindly let me take some photos.......

Here is Heath Farm Meats in Bagginswood (sounds like something out of 'The Shire'!) . Clive and Clare own it, they produce all the beef, lamb and pork themselves, the chickens come from another local producer, and their dad provides the eggs. The 'shop' is in the farmyard and opens 4 days a week. Nothing is too much trouble for these lovely people and their meat is superb. They take their animals to the abbatoir one or two at a time and send them off with as little stress as possible, this improves the texture of the meat.

It's nice to pull up a chair and have a natter while they are preparing your meat, it makes an occasion out of shopping.

This is the rebatched soap (well some of it, I couldn't wait!) mentioned in my last post. It is very, very easy to make. I got the recipe from Rhonda at Down to Earth. I have been really impressed with this lady's blog, lots of sensible thinking going on over there! Anyway here is the post soap

They look a little 'rough' but I like them. I used lavender oil and next time I shall use more because the scent is not that strong. The hearts were cut using a biscuit cutter. I have some nice cellophane bags and ribbon so later in the year I will be making Christmas presents!

Another blog I have discovered recently is bean-sprouts, I like this girls attitude! One day I shall keep bees and her accounts of bee keeping have had me in stitches.

Have a lovely weekend everyone.