Saturday, 26 April 2014

5 minute makeover

It's Josie birthday in a couple of weeks and as a mum against plastic tat, on a budget with a love for the craftier side of life, I thought I would get some cheap party gifts and make them more special.


Tiger, who according to their publicity, are a Danish retail concept, recently opened a store in Canterbury. It's beautiful, filled with my favourite colours, clean, bright and selling lovely stuff.


These little notes books cost £1. I got some paper tape for £2 and some cheap pencils from Wilkinson's, put the tape on the front of the book and around the pencils ...


And I really was done in 5 minutes.



Friday, 18 April 2014

Painted eggs


For the last month or so, every time I've needed an egg for a recipe, I have carefully pierced both ends with a needle and blown the egg out, leaving the shell intact. This is not as easy as it sounds, you really have to blow until your head hurts and that's without the accidental oversized holes and breakages. They were a labour of love.

I actually enjoyed choosing which spring flowers to paint on each egg after I had coated them with a few layers of pastel coloured acrylic.

Cherry blossom is one of my favourite spring flowers: our front garden is currently blanketed with drifts of pink snow.

Altogether I painted eight eggs with my favourites: cowslip, daffodil, primrose, bluebell, forget-me-not, rosemary cherry blossom and a Helen Dardik inspired "Happy Easter" egg. And the best thing about my frugal Easter tree is that everything was reused, rescued or recycled apart from the few pence I spent on matching beads to make them look more like a set.

Wishing you a happy Easter and to get into the holiday party spirit I'm linking with Frugal Friday at The Shabby Nest.



Monday, 14 April 2014


It's been quite a busy morning so far and it's only shortly after 9am. I never dreamt I would be so domesticated when I was younger. I used to watch my mum busying around with her home making and wonder whether there wasn't a million things she'd rather be doing. "I'm going to work when I'm older," I'd think to myself, "you won't find me tidied to the kitchen sink!"

It's funny how we change our opinions as we grow up. I'd much rather stay at home than go to work any day and there a quite a few things that I observed my mum doing that I quite enjoy. For example I love cleaning the windows, especially on bright spring mornings purely to see the grime removed and the sunlight streaming in. (I might do that later).

So far today I've walked Sherlock, taken him to the allotment to water the kale I planted last night, checked and watered all the seedlings in the garden, put on a load of laundry, made some bread dough for our picnic rolls later, juiced some homegrown rhubarb for breakfast and now I'm sitting down with a coffee and a spot of crochet, ready for the craft fair at the weekend.

I hope that Josie and Charlie are taking note of my productivity and one day find themselves pottering around their own homes instead of trapped in their electronic virtual worlds. And thanks mum for all that inspiration you filled my life with, may there never be a time when there isn't some food growing in the garden.


Friday, 11 April 2014

Waste not, want not

I'm still wondering whether the pre-meeting angst is worth the presidential glory. It's not all crystal bells and pink crocheted brooches when you are president of the Pink Ladies WI. There is so much to worry about: will people turn up, will the speaker be any good, will I say loads of daft things? Just because I believe in recycling and making good of the old or pre-loved, it doesn't mean everyone else does. However who wouldn't love Veronica Ashby, with her bags of rubbish transformed into essential lovelies for the home, fabulous treasures and the sewing equivalent of my knitting. I was far too engrossed to take photos apart from this one of my favourite her miniature mice.

It's always difficult to capture the wit of a speaker and the subtle or unsubtle nature ( "up and down like a whore's drawers") of their humour in written words, but I do so want to be like Veronica one day. She produced endless items from giant bags: Victorian style silhouette cushions, peg angels, leaded terrariums from water bottles, lavender hats, fabric covered washing powder boxes, milk carton poop scoops.....the ideas just kept coming.

At the same meeting we also had a cake auction as a highly successful fundraiser for our Pink ladies WI. I was overwhelmed and more than a teaspoon envious of all the fabulous cakes that were provided by guests and members. All in all the meeting was so utterly and completely in the spirit of the WI, I think I did my Great Auntie Joyce proud.


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Ever decreasing circles

When I was at school I studied A level French. I adored French literature but the more I learnt about the language, the more I recognised how much I didn't know. I became reluctant to speak any French at all for fear of making mistakes. This battle against attaining perfection is something that continues to plague my everyday life. After spending time at blog school, reading about blogs and your blogging voice and identity, I began to over think ever possible post, sentence and title. The result was no blog posts. Just as when I was in the 6th form and longing for the days when I thought I was clever because I could count to ten in French, I wished to return to the time when I could simply write my blog for me without worrying about my readership. I mean seriously, what was I thinking? Readership indeed, get over yourself! Of course it's amazingly brilliant that anyone reads my blog, but I really need to stay away from the stats about page views and just get on with the writing.

My main focus over the last few weeks have been my new dog Sherlock and knitting socks. Of course both are equally worthy of their own post but not without me worrying about award winning photography and fretting about how much of the story I should include in the post. So here they both are, in the same post, sitting happily side by side and not a tear shed over my writing style or a schedule to follow.

Our lovely rescue dog


Bad knitting sock style