Wednesday 31 August 2011


We have a number of family birthdays in September - lots of gifts to make. I've managed to finish one today - almost 10 days early! Unheard of for me! I bought the Red Riding Hood linen FQ on ebay some time ago and hadn't cut into it. Are you like me.... I hate cutting into a special fabric, paper or card, but then just the right project comes along. It was time to use Red Riding Hood! My niece has started sewing and I made these two bits and bobs tubs for her sewing table. I've made quite a few now and find them really useful. And I've added a small purse which I found on Rashida's Sew Timeless blog. Her tutorial is excellent! I'm going to add some small sewing essentials such as scissors, needles and pins. I love the way it folds up to keep things safe. And I even managed to add the snap fastening - with only a little cursing! I've ruined a number of projects trying to fix these things in the past.

Saturday 27 August 2011

Getting wet!

The last few days have been weird weather-wise. Its been so changeable- one minute warm sunshine and blue skies, the next torrential rain, then sunshine again 10 minutes later. I imagine this is what monsoon rain is like. I had just walked out the gate of my Mum's house yesterday when the heavens opened and within minutes the rough road was turned into a rushing stream. I had to shelter under a tree - going back to Mum's or carrying on home would have given me a thorough soaking. Can you see I caught our cat jumping the stream and running for home on my video camera!

I only mention this because I'm thinking of all my lovely blog friends over in the US who might be battening down the hatches right now in anticipation of Hurricane Irene arriving. I do hope that the storm is again downgraded before it hits and that you all keep safe over the next 24 hours.
Its a sort of tradition in the UK to moan about the weather but we are lucky that extreme conditions are fairly rare here and I don't ever remember a storm being classed as a hurricane..... correct me if I'm wrong and you have had experience of a hurricane in your neighbourhood!

The heavy showers carried on today and did keep the number of visitors to our craft fair down. However I was pleased with the comments I got on my stall, though cross with myself for forgetting my camera to record what I took and what sold. Here are some of the gift tags I did remember to photograph before leaving home. I sold them all and so much enjoyed making them it won't be any hardship to make more for next time.

Friday 26 August 2011

Last minute!

Oh dear - I've failed! I haven't managed a crafty post today.... well actually I mean yesterday, as its now after midnight on Friday so its officially Saturday! But at least Blogger has dated my post for Friday so I have technically stuck to my post-a-day-for-a-week challenge to myself. But to be fair I've had lots to do for tomorrow's craft fair - I do wish I could get more organised and not be last minute with everything every time.
I've also been last minute in visiting the charity shop (thrift store) that popped up this week. You know the sort, the charity takes a vacant shop for a week to raise funds. One popped up last Saturday but I didn't get round to visiting until this afternoon when it was winding down to close. But I'm pleased with the two books I bought. I can't resist beautifully illustrated children's books and these two fall into the gorgeous category. I love the fabulous 'of the period' illustrations in this French language book published in 1969. I'd never heard of Martine before but I googled her and find there are over 50 titles! Sadly the illustrator Marcel Marlier died in January this year at the age of 80.

My second buy is an old friend published around the same time as Martine but illustrated in a completely different style. You probably know it too, though perhaps you don't recognise the title! Its a Welsh translation of Rosie's Walk but Rosie's been given the Welsh name Magi. Wonderful stylized farmyard illustrations by Pat Hutchins - and aren't those fruit trees are fabulous!
My fingers are itching to try my own versions of the trees and flowers. And wouldn't they make excellent rubber stamps!

Thursday 25 August 2011

Madeleines à la Française

Well I'm still on course to post every day this week. But I was a bit stumped for today's subject as its one of my work days and I have LOADS of stuff to finish for the craft fair on Saturday. I meant to blog about my Madeleines last week when I made them but didn't get down to it - so I'm doing it now instead.

I've been wanting to make Madeleines ever since I bought a lovely orange shell shape silicone cake mould while I was staying with my sister in France last year. I looked at lots of recipes on line but then I saw this really simple one on Artycho's blog AND she had used my mould! What's more she's French! So I had to have a go and although my little cakes don't look quite as light, they tasted fine. Next time I'll use an electric whisk instead of mixing by hand.

And I have to show you where I bought the mould. Isn't this a fabulous shop? I'm not sure what you'd call it, but as well as kitchen equipment, baskets, and shopping trolleys (which everyone uses in Nice) you could buy just about any shape and size of glass bottle or jar, choose between dozens of different shaped corks and stoppers to seal them with, and those interesting cardboard boxes behind the counter were full of the most delicious vintage labels to stick on your preserves. Oh, I could have spent a fortune there but when one's limited to a single piece of luggage on the plane one needs to be sensible! But I'd love to visit again.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Christmas Corner

I've started my Christmas Pinterest board and made today my version of this sweet folksy felt tree so that I can have a Christmas Corner on my table at the Craft Fair this Saturday. I know, I know, most people groan and complain when they see Christmas stuff come into the shops at this time of year, but we crafters know this is the time to start our preparations if we don't want to be gift-making until dawn during the last frantic days of Christmas week - tell me about it, I'm there most years!
As you can see I utilised that cute pyramid favor box again for the base of my tree as I couldn't find anything else suitable lying around the house. And then I thought how excellent this would be as an advent calender - make 24 numbered trees with the advent treat inside and line them up over the fireplace, on a sideboard or in a window. I'd love to do this but there's nobody in the family to make a calender for - so if anyone reading this has the same idea and does make one, I'd LOVE to see.
I'm hoping to have time to make some more Christmas peg fairies, snowmen and angels for the weekend - but as usual time is again running out and my Christmas Corner will probably be very small! But I hope to have some tags and cards on sale. I'll report back!

Oops! Edit! You are right Mrs A - I did mean the Advent treats would go INSIDE the pyramid boxes!

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Down the lane again

Although the long range forecast for this week said rain, rain, rain, today started warm and sunny, so I thought I would take my favourite walk - in case it does turn wet for the rest of the week. Would you like to come too? The footpath starts through this field. In a month or so I will be able to pick sloes in the hedgerow to make my Sloe Gin for Christmas.

Through the gateway and into the next field which has been left to grass this year. I've often picked up bits of broken pottery in this field and wondered why there was so much of it. A TV programme on Victorian farming methods gave me the answer earlier this year - the contents of household middens (rubbish heaps) was a valuable resource and collected to spread on the surrounding fields as a fertiliser - including the bits of broken pottery and china.
I climb over the stile into the next field. There are lots of rabbit holes along the hedgerows here but all I see are white bobtails disappearing into their burrows. I wonder who lives here!

The next stile gets me back onto the road but as the sun is still out I decide to take another path down the farm track.

When my son was small we would come down here to play by the stream.

Although its late in the year there are still many wild plants in flower down here for the bees and butterflies.....

......... though I've only seen Gatekeepers today.

But its getting near teatime now and the sky is starting to cloud over so I decide not to disturb the sheep in the next field and turn for home......

..... passing this wonderful Monkey Puzzle tree and on into town.
Flipping heck I haven't blogged this many photos before. If you've managed to get to the end of this post I congratulate you and hope you enjoyed seeing my bit of Wales and my walk - I did!

I'm trying to post every day this week and this was supposed to be Tuesday's post but I've gone into Wednesday now! Hope to post again today - in daylight!

Monday 22 August 2011

Pretty Pyramid Favours

These little favour boxes are so sweet. They are small - 2 and a half inches wide and about 1 and three quarters tall - but there are lots of little gifts that will fit inside. For this one I was thinking of some poppy seeds from the garden with planting instructions.

A very special chocolate and folded up birthday money for this......

Some beautiful buttons for a friend who knits or sews for this one.....

And of course they are perfect for the special holidays - Halloween, Christmas, Easter. I want to try some for the Christmas tree and I've also an image in my head of a pyramid Advent Calendar!

If you are the sort that gives dinner parties they would make cute favours for your guests. Oh, and what about wedding favours!

Get the idea I like this die? Its really easy - one pass through my Cuttlebug, fold on the score lines and the box just comes together. And you get two boxes from one A4 sheet of cardstock. There are dies for the two triangles mats too so no measuring or cutting at all! Easy peasy!

Dies: Papertrey Ink Favor It Box 5, Two Triangles Collection

Sunday 21 August 2011

Bad blogger!

Well I have been a bad blogger for the past couple of weeks. For some reason I just haven't had the enthusiasm or inclination to post anything and have been working out a couple of crafty obsessions. The first was sparked by this post at Apple Juice. Like Celine, once I'd made my first Bits and Bobs Pocket I had to make a whole set! I've a huge stash of fabric remnants collected over the past 40 or so years and I really enjoyed picking out different scraps for each pocket. Some I'll be keeping and some will make cute gifts. They are perfect for beside the bed (as Celine says) but they are also great for carrying round a small craft project - or some other activity that entails lots of bits and bobs being gathered together. You can fold over the top, drop in your bag and off you go into the garden or down to the beach or even into bed. Love them!I've had a week off work and have indulged myself with other crafty projects which I will post during this week - as I've been so quiet lately I thought I would make myself post every day for the next 7 days to make up. Its back to work today and a normal routine will resume :o( - so to cheer myself up I picked a small bunch of flowers from the garden - aren't they pretty!

Saturday 6 August 2011

Mary-Go-Round and the beginning of the end!

I'd seen these cute crochet frames on Lola Nova's blog some time ago but hadn't got round (no pun intended!) to trying them as I couldn't find a suitable bangle round the house - though I'm sure I've got some somewhere - and didn't really want to buy one specially. Then I was reading my copy of the latest Mollie Makes and there they were again. I happened to be at Mum's and she said she had some on her dressing table! She had three so I promptly got out my hook and crocheted three in no time at all!

I used a natural cotton yarn for my first one, expensive cashmerino for the yellow and very cheap acrylic for the red one - I have to say the acrylic yarn is fine for a project like this and as the yarn stretches it does look rather neater than the unstretchy cotton yarn version.

I gave the cotton one to my niece. I added a die cut card back and a plastic hanging ring so she can put in her own (more grown up!) image and hang in her new sewing corner.

Finally, I just want to record that as far as I'm concerned, yesterday was the beginning of the end of summer - the swifts have left town. As I write this they are on their hazardous journey back to Africa. We won't again hear their excited screaming as they streak through the sky until next May. I'm so glad I managed to take a short video of them on my way to work last week when they were flying low around their nest site. Its only 200 yards or so away and I so wish they would nest on my house! Maybe next year....

Thursday 4 August 2011

NF Winged #6

Here's my photo for Nature Footstep Winged collection this week. Its a Comma butterfly and if you look carefully you can see the white mark on its under-wings from which it gets its name. Its easy to identify a Comma, even from a distance, as they have a very distinctive gliding flight - at least they do in my garden. They love to bask in the sheltered sunshine of a large laurel hedge in the back garden either on a leaf or even on the grass - where they are in danger of becoming the plaything of one of the local cats that frequent the same sunny spots.

I made another notebook for my great niece today and used some stamps I bought at Art Stamp Wales in Wrexham last week. I really like these delicate dragonfly images. We do occasionally see them in the garden as the neighbours have a pool. They are usually hunting and zoom around the grass plat at high speed. I caught one on camera a few years ago (2006 to be exact) - a complete fluke - it just landed in front of me. Never happened again! Sadly it wasn't one of the beautiful iridescent blue varieties - its a Common Darter, but just look at those gorgeous transparent wings.

Notebook recipe:
Stamps: - Lavinia Stamps' (our own very local stamp designer!) Bugs & Group of Poppies, Papertrey's Garden Variety, sentimen:t Papertrey's Botanical Silhouettes
Dies: Papertrey's Garden Variety and Picket Fence

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Cherry ripe, cherry ripe.....

The tree at the bottom of the garden has been groaning under the weight of its fruit this year. Its an ancient tree, already full grown when we moved to the house 40 years ago. Now I've alway thought these were small plums because of the way they grow on the tree, but they also taste like cherries. However it doesn't really matter either way, whatever they are I still have the problem of picking, using and preserving them before they go over. The wasps are already eyeing them up and the birds are feasting on the ones I can't reach - so nature will have its share.We've eaten probably too many than are good for us fresh, I've made crumble puddings, frozen some, given lots away, and my latest effort has been bottling. I've not tried this form of preserving before and I don't think I've been completely successful as at the end of the session there has been so much syrup left I feel I must have done something wrong.
But we tried them today as one jar's seal had failed and needed to be used first. I'm pleased to report they were delicious with some greek yogurt - so my sister will get a jar when she visits on Friday. Of course I have to pretty up the jar and decided this was the perfect opportunity to use my Lunchbox Note die (for the first time!). Inside the note I've written serving suggestions copied from the book. And yes, you've guessed it, the recipe came from Sensational Preserves by Hilaire Walden. Where would I be without this wonderful book!


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