Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Tea in Halloween Land

This pumpkin was inspired by Heart Handmade UK .Claire has been posting the most beautifully decorated pumpkins all week and barely a scary face in sight.

Poison ivy, homegrown Jack be Little Pumpkins and corn on the cob, pumpkin soup recipe, conker characters, crochet pumpkin and miniature book of spells - our Halloween center piece.

This was one of my first attempts crochet toys three years ago.

Happy Halloween

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Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The little things

Discovering Shopping Lives, a blog which simply concerns itself with found shopping lists, has had quite a profound effect on me. It was possibly intensified by a chat with my sprightly neighbour (age 76) and her quaintly old fashioned view of life. She talked of going into town to get out of the house and how meeting or visiting friends takes up a good part of  the day. She lives alone in the house she was brought up in which was bought as a new build by her father in the 1930s.
Just like the author of Shopping Lives I wonder about the lives of the writers of shopping lists and can't help but think that many must belong to ladies who were raised in a different era. My Grandmother would not dream of going shopping without a list and one of her collection of shopping bags.

Then today in a charity shop I discovered a little thing that I felt was so poignant and representative of these ladies of the past that I had to buy it for the princely sum of 1p. It's no secret that I have a love of buttons: jars of buttons, tins of buttons, small wooden drawers filled with buttons so a button attached to a tiny hand written note was a complete delight.

Although the practise of saving of spare buttons has the sentiment reminiscent of  make do and mend necessity of war time Britain, I am guessing this little scrap of history is not as old (it's written in biro and the button is attached with purple polyester thread). I am not an expert on buttons attached to hand written notes but do think that it would be rather a lovely thing to be. What a life this button could have led? Has it always just been a spare or did it once play a very important role attached to the cream tie neck blouse long sleeve? Where is that blouse now and what has happened to it's owner? Were there other buttons attached to scraps of paper that once lived together in a work box or sewing drawer with this one, of is this one of a kind? I am very grateful to whoever it was at the charity shop who decided to keep it attached to it's note and feel that this would make the ideal starting point for a cabinet of curiosities.

Are there little things that you notice that the rest of the world simply pass by?

Monday, 29 October 2012

Welcome to Halloween Land

For some reason (possibly my love of pumpkins and autumn delights), my children love Halloween and every year, our house is transformed into Halloween Land. All things spooky take over for about a week, which is usually around the half term holidays and a great deal of Halloween themed crafting, making and doing occurs. I like it, it's a lot of fun so here's what we've been up to today.

Lime jelly pumpkin with edible red glitter

Conker characters

Mod Podge sequin pumpkins

Pumpkin soup with spooky swirled cream ghosts
 Call back again this week for more scary shenanigans.

Thank you for dropping by and it has been very lovely to have your here :)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

The colour rust

It would not be autumn without the colour rust.

At the end of the garden, shaded by an over hanging tree and camouflaged by ivy is our old corrugated iron garage.

I walk past it every day and barely notice it's spectrum of peeling rust coloured paint.

It is ancient, slightly decrepit and most definitely unique.

But I do love it in all its flakey, distressed rust coloured glory.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 27 October 2012


It's been a day of firsts. I have been feeling a little bit under the weather and after being sick this morning I did not want to sit in the car for hours. So my husband and children have gone to visit my family without me. This did make me so sad but as there was nothing I could do about it, I thought I would just do my best to enjoy having time completely to myself. I have never been alone in the house over night. People have been away and I've been away but I have never had the whole place to myself for the whole night.

I've finally got to grips with instagram and how the liking and the following and the whole thing works. I even got my first ever like which was so exciting. I'm guessing it's pretty addictive. Who should I follow? Where do I find people who love the same things as me? I think I still need a bit of help.

And for the first time ever, an ironing board has been the object of my desire. I don't think that it even crossed my mind that ironing boards could even be likeable, but this yellow enamel vintage one that I picked up today from the charity shop is just gorgeous.

Introduced to me by Lou Cox and inspired by Shopping Lives, I picked up someone else's shopping list, my first and only glimpse into a stranger's life. I don't know anything about them other than what's on this list.

oh no, trying to blog in Blogsy and have no idea how to add links. I may need to edit I dream about other people's lives and the shopping lists that accompany them. I wonder if I will ever be able to walk past a shopping list again, without picking it up? I wonder if shopping list fascination is contagious?

Friday, 26 October 2012

Cooking disasters

This morning I have had a cooking disaster. I was thinking about my blog school homework and how wonderful it would be to blog about a delicious recipe each week so I tried to make a healthy Halloween style recipe. I do already know that replacing baking powder with bicarbonate of soda in a recipe will only end in tears but that did not put me off giving it another go. It was my husband after all who when making my birthday cake a couple of years ago, discovered just how revolting the finished product tastes.

I was so excited and had my new skull and pumpkin silicon muffin mold but I did not have any self raising flour or baking powder. Please let this be a lesson to myself ....Do not ever, never ever use bicarbonate of soda instead of baking powder ever, ever, ever again. I even made some little mini ones with olives as eyes and extra cheese.

They look delicious but sadly they are completely disgusting. I have wasted my time, ingredients and morning and now have nothing homemade, healthy and Halloweeny to take with us to visit family at the weekend, well apart from jam and pickled beetroot.

At least our healthy lunch for today has turned out well and is worthy of a Ridgeway recipe post, especially seeing as I grew the kale and chard myself on my allotment.

I was considering popping to the shops to get the right ingredients and having another go at the carrot and cheese muffins but I've used the muffin mold to make some spooky green jelly with edible red glitter.

Fingers crossed 
  • They make it to my brother's safely
  • The turn out beautifully when I tip them out of the molds
  • Most important, all the little ones like them
(Thank goodness for apple bobbing!)

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Thursday, 25 October 2012

Simple things

Amongst the chaos and the roller coaster ride of every day life, there are simple things that make me smile. My head always seems to be such a whirl of information, spilling out in all directions like a tangled web of confusion. The simple things in life give me to time to focus and clear my head of complications, contradictions and complexities. It allows me a moment to just stop and appreciate how amazing simplicity can be.

I did get a copy of a vintage  Penguin publication of Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh and the classic design is perfection. It arrived wrapped in brown paper and everything about this book makes me happy.

There's the imprint of someone's hand written notes on the cover and I love that I can't really read what it says or will never know who wrote them or when. This book has a secret history, that will remain forever hidden and I may even add to that mystery, if in the future this book is passed on to someone else.

This reprint is from 1953 and as a result the pages are delightfully yellowed in colour, coarse and thick to the touch. I love this book for it's look, it's age, the story it hides and the one that it tells. Held within the pages are an escape route to days gone by where life was so wonderfully fabulous and filled with parties, telegrams and luncheons. The written and moreover the printed word are the simple things in life that have made people happy forever and will continue to do so.

Thanks for reading my words, it would love it if you could leave me a couple.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Autumn studies no.1

I am passionate about education and I love to learn and inspire and support learning. It's my day job but it's also the way I live my life. Learning new skills and finding out more about blogging is such  a delight for me.

This week the weather has turned truly autumnal and not only the mornings but the whole days have been filled with swirling mists. This is mushroom weather and with that dampness in the air which clings to the delicate spider webs like diamonds and looks stunning. I am unable to walk past a web without admiring nature's perfect crafters. Imagine being able to produce your own yarn and spin your own house / food trap.

I left for work early especially to take photos of these treasures of fog and drizzle for fear that the sun will be out again by my next day off. I could not  bear to miss the opportunity to study the intricacies and uniqueness of each web. The collage above has been made using a few of the new apps I have learnt about thanks to blog school.

Vintique  - for adding the vintage filters, making the photos square and completing adjustments to the picture quality.

Pic Stitch - for letting me pop all the photos together in a smashing collage style

Labelbox - for letting me add a label because I do like to label things

Monday, 22 October 2012


There are so many things that I would like to spend time doing that I often think I don't really have time to go to work. I have asked, on several occasions whether I can become a stay at home mum but this occupation is not conducive to our current life style, beside I like my financial independence and I did have to do years of studying and hard work for my career. The grass is always greener but there is no harm in dreaming.

One thing I would like to do is to work harder at my blog, mostly because it's something that I enjoy and secondly because I am a bit of a wannabe writer / full time crafter. Pip Lincolne is someone I would love to be, if she ever felt like a life swap and as part of her blog school, this post is my over due and late homework.
The task was to list your favourite blogs in a post which for me was just too numerous to even start to think about. Instead I am listing my favourite blogs by women that I would like to swap lives with in order to discover whether the grass really is greener.

Jane Brocket Yarnstorm -  she writes the books I would like to write, her blog is fabulous and I want to make quilts, cakes and take amazing photos just like her. I did actually meet her the other day and felt completely humbled by her loveliness.

Especially for Jane if she should ever be kind enough to look at my blog

Tif Fussell Dottie Angel - she has her own chickens, works in a shed, has recently written a book called Granny Chic (I can't wait for my copy to arrive). Her world is crammed full of doilies and lace and just pure vintage prettiness.

Totally Dottie Angel inspired
 Amy Anderson - Mod Podge Rocks - Amy gave me so much advice when I was starting out with the whole blogging thing, it was brilliant. When I contacted her not only did she reply but she was so helpful and very supportive. She has even featured my menu planner update on her blog which was like the best thing! I was so honoured. One of my favourite things about blogging is that if you are inspired by someone, you can actually communicate with them and even though you might never actually meet them in person, they feel like they are your friend.

I seriously do Mod Podge everything - check out the labels on my side bar

Alicia Paulson - Rosie gets Cozy - This lady has written the most amazing embroidery book and is incredibly talented at stitching. I love her embroidered felt ornament patterns so much that I bought one and made my own.

And of course I am a massive fan of Pip Lincolne from Meet me at Mike's. I don't think that it is a coincidence that she is also an author of brilliant books and my blog school teacher. I love her style, the fact that there was a Mike's at all or could still be and that there is, in my imagination. Even better is that this Mike's would be a lot closer to my sister (she lives in Australia) than I am at the moment and I could meet her there and Pip and have the most wonderful time.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Awaiting the chrysanthemums

 I'm getting the hang of this growing flowers business now. For years I have watched Gardener's World and wondered just how these gardeners manage their succession of flowers. Their gardens always look spectacular all year round. The amount of time this must take. The planning, the planting and the reviewing of successes and failures has always been completely perplexing.

When I say, I'm getting it, I actually mean that I have flowers to pick for a large chunk of the year which is not quite the same as a stunning garden / allotment but flowers make me happy so I'm pleased.

As the sunflowers fade at the allotment, my dahlia collection is glorious in my garden (albeit a touch bedraggled today) but I am waiting for the chrysanthemums. I love how they take just seem to take forever. I have lots of chrysanthemums all over the place that I have grown from cuttings and they all have tiny little buds. November isn't really known for it's abundance of garden flowers but I am waiting patiently for my chrysanthemums.

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Friday, 19 October 2012

Settee Life

As I enter my third day with my foot up on the settee, I reflect on what I have learnt whilst having all this time imposed on me to reflect and rest. The first thing is that I am totally rubbish at sitting still. I am up and down and up and down, just getting this, wanting to just quickly do that... I know that I am not sitting still because it takes a lot of organising and comfort making to sit on a settee with your foot and ice pack resting on a pile of cushion. (Fortunately ice becomes less effective after 48 hours which I am pleased about because it is such a faff).

 My second observation will come as no surprise to my husband (he did tell me last night to just sit and watch TV and stop doing lots of other things.) I do overload myself with things to do. I am sitting on the settee, but I have two crochet projects with me, the laptop, a book, wires and electronic devices all over the place. I am writing this blog, intermittently crocheting, popping into the kitchen to do the odd job, downloading / uploading photos and trying to learn all about blogging from the fabulous Pip Lincolne (Meet me at Mike's) and her Blog School.

I have however finished my before and after / upcycling project from last week. It's a wonderfully cheap frilly pillowcase transformed into a petticoat because there can't ever be too much pretty stuff in my world, even if it has shrunk to the size of the settee.



I am rather pleased with it and of course it would go much better with my vintage ox blood boots than with my crochet cushions but then that's settee life for you!

My lovely flowers from the brilliant WI Ladies - Thank you for you kindness and thoughts.

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Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Other people's lives

 When one has suffered depression, unhelpful thoughts are rather like an over stuffed cupboard, ready to spill all over the floor at any given moment. For most people, an injured foot is just an inconvenience which can easily be resolved by some rest and ice, but for me it's another battle against the ghosts and difficulties that linger, casting shadows over my attempts to be upbeat and dismissive about a simple accident.
So as I sit here with my ice pack on my swollen and bruised foot, with my tear stained face in a fog of doom and gloom, I am wondering to myself, "What would Audrey do?". After all, if I am to be sitting around all day with my foot on pillows, I should really consider trying to make the most of my time. Moreover as my life today is not going to be a thrilling whirl of society events (I'm not even going to make it to the WI AGM tonight), then I shall look to elegant inspirational figures such as Audrey Hepburn, visit all my favourite blogs and explore other people's lives in order to escape my own.

A couple of today's most delightfully distracting discoveries from the settee

  1. Photography Tuesday - Jane Brocket's Yarnstorm - Jane's blog is always such a joy and this post had all the right elements for escapism as it comments on Cecil Beaton's current photography exhibition at the Imperial War Museum and includes what must be one of my favourites distractions ever, The Bright Young Things. This has of course improved my outlook greatly as I am now listening to Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies and wondering whether I can really live without a vintage copy of the original Penguin issue.

2. Vintage Ceramics by Bloesem Vintage - How could I ever be down in the dumps when there are vintage ceramics to look at and daydream of a time when my house can be filled with the most beautiful of beautiful? And then when I was all done with ceramics there were the posts about children's illustrations.

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Monday, 15 October 2012

More knitting and stitching show photos

There were so many brilliant textile artists, it will take me a while to research all my favourites but here are a few. Click on any of the photos for more information.

 This is a spot of embroidered graffiti by Sarah Greaves.

Very lovely and incredibly delicate embroidery by Diem Chau

A stunning chandelier by Sue Walton as part of the deliciously bizarre Jabberwocky  collaboration.

Barbara Jeremiah's floral bowl

Wafer Thin: A Study on the role of Fat is an amazing embroidery project by Caren Garfen -totally incredible detail and a fabulous documentation of the diet and the extremes that some will go to to become stick thin.

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Sunday, 14 October 2012


As if I didn't spend enough time already, visiting other people's fabulous blogs and scrolling through beautiful things on Pinterest, I have now discovered bloglovin. I have lots of new favourite blogs and especially like those with a crochet flavour.

Crochet concupiscence - There are sections on crochet art, 1970s crochet design, crochet news from around the world and crochet saved my life. I could be lost in this blog for sometime.

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Friday, 12 October 2012

Knitting and Stitching at Alexandra Palace

I enjoyed the knitting and stitching show at my beloved Ally Pally in North London, my old home town, so much that I would not even know where to start. My head is still spinning with all the inspiration and ideas that got crammed in there yesterday, that I do in fact have a headache from an overload of beautiful things. The place was packed with people, wonderful stuff and knitting and stitching.
So as I am struggling to put my hundreds of thoughts on my day out in order, here are some photos and my five favourite things about the show.

 No. 1 Going by myself - sitting on the train by myself, walking at my own pace, eating when I wanted, seeing what I liked and pleasing myself (you appreciate this luxury if you have children)

 No. 2 Meeting the Jane Brocket, the amazing lady who inspired me to write a blog and follow the gentle arts of domesticity. Both the wonderfully personable Jane, her beautiful books and words and the crafting have helped me so much in recovering from loosing my baby son. I was able to thank her in person for her inspiration and get a signed copy of her latest book The Gentle Art of Stitching

No. 3 Crochet - I love everything crochet, I think that is definitely my favourite out of all the knitting and stitching crafts.

No. 4 The Knitted Village -what's not to like? My favourite part though was the veg in the veg patch.

No.5 The call out over the tannoy for a missing husband. Brilliant!

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