Friday, 18 December 2009
It just about fitted in the car and we spent quite some time dressing it. It made me think about how Christmas when I was little and how exciting it was unwrapping the baubles that you hadn't seen for a year and carefully picking a branch to hang them on. I'm lucky enough to have quite a few baubles which were on my mums trees when she was little. As well as an ever growing collection of vintage ones from charity shops and markets. We also treated ourselves this year to some lovely ones which look old but aren't. I'm not one for themed trees, or people who end up buying a new tree colour scheme every year. Christmas is all about nostalgia for me and I treasure these decorations. They are so nice I thought I'd share my favourites with you.
I love this decoration, it always makes me smile. Half gnome half fir cone.
This one is about 70 years old, I love the shade of pink and the drop shape to it. It's so delicate and dainty.
This was one I was always wowed by, it's an Arabian palace made from glass. It's very old and I can remember there being more of these when I was little.
This is a very very old one that was my mums, it's a little basket with brightly coloured flowers in.
Probably my favourite one, it's quite large and again dates back to my mums childhood trees. It had to have a bit of a silver tape repair on the top as it had cracked and the wire loop wouldn't stay put. I hope to see this bauble every Christmas.
This funny little fella came from a charity shop and only cost 10p, he's made from a bauble and is playing a fiddle. I think he is American vintage. Cute.
Phillipa gave me two of these little fir cone people. They had been made for a church fair and the outer hoop is made from some recycled strips of plastic packaging tape. Ingenious.
Just to finish the room off we pinned up my Tunnocks tea cakes bunting. Fantastic. A real home made treat.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
'Second Floor, Heavens to Betsy'- This year I started selling as Heavens to Betsy rather than Miss Pussycat (which I have sold under for the last 9 years) I showed a collection of necklaces and brooches made from Liberty prints, vintage lace trims and vintage buttons. They had all been made during my Wednesday Knit, Natter, Stitch and Chatter sessions as they were a nice small transportable project, perfect for pub sewing.
Mrs Anderson's craft kits to get novices started on the road to creative stitchery. Resistance is futile!
Patchwork bag kit made up, each of the Liberty prints have been labelled. I think I'm in love with 'Lucy's Farm' print and must buy some this weekend.
We all sold pretty well but best of all was chatting to people about sewing and crafting and telling people about the Knit, Natter group.
Only thing is now the craft fair is over what shall I make on Wednesdays? Is now the time to start on some of the more traditional projects I've had in mind? A patchwork quilt? Some Crewel work? Christmas gifts? Decisions decisions.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Monday, 30 November 2009
Bearsac and Debra get just about everywhere and although some people, like me, don't like to chat with them at the time (well who would know what to do when faced with a talking bear asking for a sip of your drink or telling you about his recent bearmitzvah?) these same people then go home and blog about them or comment on forums and community boards. Seems they are causing quite a stir wherever they go.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
It's not a colour you see painted on houses very often and I always thought it looked so lovely and vintage. Sort of like the colour of a twin set, a matching handbag and shoes, a pair of cats eyes sunglasses or a Triumph Herald motor. Most days a different vintage peachy something would enter my mind as I hurried past to and from work.
So imagine my worry when a few weeks ago (just before the weather turned) the house had ladders against it and sheets down with a pair of decorators stripping back the paint work! I considered intervening, making my colour recommendations to them as they scraped away with fags in mouths and radio blaring. I resisted giving exterior design advice and thought as I walked on 'Well it was inspirational while it lasted' teamed with 'Why didn't I take a picture of it???'.
Imagine my surprise when the next day I saw it had been repainted in the exact same colour choice!! I wanted to knock on the door and congratulate them on making such a fine choice in the face of new trends, colour mix machines and (the worst ever) plastic windows.
It reminded me of when I used to work in an interiors shop, how often older couples would come in clutching a sample of worn out but well loved fabric looking for it's exact replacement. So attached to their colour scheme as though it were an old friend, setting the tone in albums worth of photos of the festive family, the Jubilee buffet, any old knees ups and get together. Always there at the end of a long day, their choice, and they will stick by it. Lovely.
Friday, 13 November 2009
Lizzie recently made the bold step to leave her job as a journalist to pursue a career as a freelance fashion writer and features writer. I think she made a smart move, her blog is the perfect place to visit to hear about fashion trends, must haves and her witty musings on style and the world of fashion. I just love her style of writing, especially her nod to the twin sets and pearls brigade.
Myrtle wasn't sure what all the fuss was about but took a look anyway. She looks a bit like a shaggy sheep in this picture.
Whilst all this was going on Joey had helped himself to another blue tit, it's so sad and is the one thing about cats that I do not like. There are mice a plenty around here but he prefers these brightly coloured little fellas. He doesn't even eat them, just enjoys the rush of the kill.
Did you know that for every bird a cat kills it means there are seven less next year. This was his third (that we know of) so that's twenty one less little blue bods at Oakbank next year.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
I am experiencing trouble posting comments on any blog, ours or others, and have done for some time. It's very frustrating, there seems to be endless amounts of bloggers reporting this in forums but no one seems to be able to fix it.
I've typed countless comments out for Flying Eagle Woman, Jill and Sharon (I look at your blogs almost every day) to name a few but they have all just disappeared into the ether, like lost texts circling the earth forever.
So whether you are a faithful Heavens follower (you know who you are) or you occasionally stop by thank you, thank you, thank you for your lovely comments. It's amazing to think of people all around the world reading about our adventures.
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
All the way along our walk I could hear what sounded like dogs, but really far away. Maybe a hunt or a trail? I kept Myrtle on the lead as I wasn't sure where they were.
Its amazing how much everything has changed here in just a week, we have had strong winds and heavy rain which has stripped lots of the leaves off trees and bushes, everything seems so open. The nice thing about it is that the bareness reveals little secret things that we've walked past every day before but never noticed. These bright red berries curling around a tree branch like a fruit vine had been obscured by a lovely thick Beech bush.
The River Sprint was so full today that the redundant overflow section (which would have once been used to channel off water to the farm) was overflowing. It's the first time I've seen it like this. Myrtle wasn't interested as you can see. She wanted to go in the river but it was too fast for her, I just can't bear the thought of her getting swept off so am always on the cautious side where swimming is concerned.
Oh yeah and the dogs I could hear, it was only on the home stretch I realised it was actually a weird squeaky noise from my new boots!
Saturday, 31 October 2009
The window has a distinctly seasonal feel with exquisitely upholstered floor cushions in fabric printed with squash and pumpkin design.
On the way back to the car I sampled some of South Lakeland Orchard Groups freshly squeezed apple juice. They were hosting a stall with the local Action on Climate Change group to show what can be done with all the windfalls this time of year using manually powered machines, just like what has been used for hundreds of years.
First the apples (a local mixture from orchards as far north in the county as Tebay) were chopped by Edward (who owns Sprint Mill, which I blogged about in my first ever post)
Then the chopped apples are transferred into a press where all the juice flows out and into a big vat.
The juice tasted fresher than fresh, deliciously tangy and heavenly scented. A real taste of the Cumbrian autumn. I love living here.
Friday, 30 October 2009
Still not herself today, here she is, a poor brown shaggy dog, recovering in 'her chair'. Please note an envious Joey at the window.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
There are cows in Myrtles field so I've been walking some different routes. I feel apprehensive about being near cows with her, even on a lead. I am the type of person to get chased by cows, as that's the same type of person who gets hit on the head with a football whilst walking through the park.
Anyway so back to the walks, since the clocks went back on Saturday the season seems to have really kicked in.
The trees are all fantastic colours.
It rained quite heavily overnight so the river was very fast flowing but it didn't put Myrtle off going in for a swim. She loved swimming against the current and was so proud of finding her stick .
This is my favourite tree, it's a Larch. I love the way it looks so feathery and soft, it has little cones growing all over it now.
I love this time of year. It makes me feel excited to know everything is changing and Halloween, Bonfire night and Christmas are all on their way!
One of the best things about being off work is making breakfast, I generally don't like eating before 10am so on work days I don't bother, so having the time to make it is a real treat. The neighbours are away so I popped round to check on the chucks and got myself four eggy weggs. I'm going to send the feather to Jill, she sends me fantastic postcards.
A few minutes later breakfast was ready; scrambled eggs, wholemeal toast, orange juice and earl grey tea (loose of course). Served on my favourite tray from when I was a child (it has a design of gardening tools and plants on it with a wicker edge). It's so nice having my special things around me again.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
.....went to Kirby Stephen to look at Rayburns and freestanding kitchen units (not an easy thing to find) while we were there we spotted this bunting and some very inventive signage to entice people into a fundraiser. It made us smile, I hope it does for you too.
Soup is hot.
Did you know the word sweet is often misused to describe a pudding or dessert?
Massive spoons ahoy, there's some charity eating to do!
After much searching online I found this simple recipe for just the right quantity of pickle.
1.5kilos of pickling onions
1.5 litres of water
50 grams of pickling spices
1 litre of malt vinegar
Joey was of course on hand to help, which just means oversee to cats, so it was left to Mr B and I to peel the onions. A fiddly job to say the least but we managed to get them done without shedding too many tears.
Boil up the water and salt until the salt has dissolved. Once cooled the onions soaked in this for two nights to make them extra crunchy (make sure they stay below the surface by weighting them down with a plate)
Two days later sit a glass bowl over a pan of boiling water with the vinegar and pickling spice in it. Gently heating it through, take off the heat and leave to steep for about 3 hours (keep a lid or plate over the top to hold the flavours in)
While this cools sterilise the jars (difficult to say how many are needed as we re-used an assortment of old ones)
Rinse the onions and fill the jars with them, pouring the now cold, sieved vinegar over the top.
Then lids and labels on and they are good to go in about 2 months.
Perfect timing for Christmas presents x