Monday, 31 October 2016


I spent Saturday in Boston browsing the shops for some inspiration for Christmas presents.  I came home a little disappointed I was not enthralled with very much at all.  Even some of the bigger stores were a let down.  I have to admit the price tags were a little off putting too.  Back to the drawing board I think.

Time was also spent finishing the table that was started some months ago.  A chair and cushion have also been added with another one half finished and will be completed today.

The wrought iron singer treadle was purchased sometime ago and was in quite a mess, so it was painted using enamel paint in white.
The table was bought from a car boot sale and the legs taken off.  It was then stripped, painted and sanded back a little to give the shabby chic look.

It was then stamped using archival ink and finished with a thin coat of wax.  I am impressed with it, a wonderful addition to the craft room.

I just need to go in there this morning and rearrange all the furniture, exciting times.  Another project ticked off the list. 
Have you got projects that you never seem to get finished?
See you soon.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Five on Friday

October seems to be disappearing in a flash, we are already coming to its end.  I have enjoyed the very slow process of the change in seasons, a slight shift rather than the usual full on stormy rains and drop in temperatures.  We are still pottering in the garden albeit for short spells, there still seems so much to do.  I even mowed the front lawn this week, which I imagine will be its last until next Spring.   We have even added a few bulbs here and there so that we have some bright colours to look forward to coming out of the gloom of Winter.

I looked through the pictures on the camera last night to establish what I had been doing all week, it appears that most of my time was spent crafting for Christmas.  I thought I would defer my makes until a little later.  The bulk of the remainder of the photos were of Mickey our standard poodle.  So after doing a little research I thought I would share some facts about standard poodles.  I am as usual joining Amy over at Love Made My Home for the weekly get together. Hope you will pop over and see what the others have been up to.

I am just going to wait here until my Mum comes in...
The name poodle comes from the German word 'pudel' which means to splash in water and is believed to have originated in Germany.
Poodles were standardized in France where they were bred as water retrievers and gun dogs.  They went to become the French national dog.
All poodles no matter what their size are considered to be the same breed.  Toy, miniature and standard refer only to the size of the dog.  The standard is the oldest of the three from which the other two were bred down.
As far as intelligence goes the poodle is rated second only to the border collie.  Apparently this means they are easy to train, respond well to commands and house train quickly.
The poodle has a single coat that doesn't appear to shed, it does but gets tangled in the coat instead of falling off.  The coat is a single one unlike most dogs that have double coats.  The fur is often referred to as hair.
I will add that they do take a lot of time to keep on top of their grooming, needing brushing on a daily basis and cutting every three to six weeks.  We don't bother to keep a fancy shape anymore as he likes to have a run about in the back field and often comes in covered in mud as this time of year.  He is wonderful with the Grandchildren and loves to be included in their games.  He does sometimes think he is a lap dog and loves to jump on your knee for a cuddle.  He is a joy and great company.
Do you have a favourite breed?
See you soon.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016


As a family we are all lovers of mince pies.  I have some lovely memories of making mincemeat with my own Mum as a child and also some wonderful treasured memories of making it with my own daughters.  As far back as I can remember it was always made at half term, not sure on the reason behind that.  Maybe, it was something to fill the time I am not sure but is has now become the tradition to make the mincemeat at half term.   This is the first of several batches made.

I make several variations to the same basic recipe adding alcohol to some but not all.  I also use different variations of dried fruit to suit individual taste.  Nuts are added to some but not all again to suit individual taste.

I use:

1 Kg of dried fruit such as sultanas/currants/raisons/cranberries
450g apples (I prefer Bramley) cored and chopped small
225g shredded suet
225g whole candied peel finely chopped
350g soft dark brown sugar
the grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
the grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
4 teaspoons of mixed ground spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
6 tablespoons of alcohol such as brandy/port
50g chopped nuts

All you do is mix all the ingredients together with the exception of the alcohol in a large ovenproof mixing bowl.  This is why it is fun to include the children as it needs to be mixed and stirred thoroughly.

Cover the bowl with a clean cloth and leave overnight so that the flavours combine and marinate together.
Place some foil over the bowl and place in the oven for 3 hours on a very low heat of 120 degree C.  Then leave to cool stirring occasionally.  Once cold add the alcohol and once again give it a good stir and then pack into sterilised jars.

I then like to add a fabric circle and some form of embellishment.  Not forgetting to label the contents.

I made the embellishment using cinnamon sticks tied together with some natural jute twine and added a little bird.  Looks good in the kitchen or makes a wonderful gift.   I hope that you will give it a try and enjoy it as much as we do.
See you soon.


Monday, 24 October 2016

Weekend Magic

A quiet but very nice weekend, spent with good food and good company.  We treated ourselves to a large joint of Scottish beef and enjoyed it with all the trimmings of a roast dinner.  Followed by a sherry trifle, I am still full...

The craft room is starting to look a lot like Christmas, with signs of the season all over.  I really must go in there today and make a start of storing some of these things away.  It is a lovely feeling to know that each gift is made filled with love, however small.  I have a large family which now include great nephews and nieces, so we took the decision to stop buying gifts several years ago.  Only cards are exchanged along with a  preserve or such.  This year I am going to pop tissues and cover into some envelopes.

A nice addition to your handbag for the month of December.  I see most of my family early in the month and so will be a useful addition.
I  made each of the Grandchildren a Christmas sack for their first Christmas and they are brought out each year and lovingly filled by the family.  Santa leaves gifts under the tree.  It will be Hectors and Honeys first Christmas so consequently I made their sacks yesterday.  All ready to be filled with love.

I used a stencil to make the letters out of felt and then hand stitched them onto the Christmas fabric.  All ready for those magical moments.    Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and you too had some magical moments.
See you soon.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Five on Friday

I have had a lovely morning visiting my dear Mum and Dad, it is my Dad's birthday.  It is a joy to see all the cards and gifts that the family have sent him.  He also received a lot of emails with lots of wonderful messages and photos of the children, making it a memorable day.  Each year now more special as illness takes hold.  I am thankful for the additional time that we have with him and feel blessed that we live so close and can help despite my weariness at times. 

Friday has come around so quickly this week time seems to be flying by at the moment.  Friday means linking to Amy over at Love Made My Home for the weekly Five on Friday meme.


I have had rather an unusual visitor to the garden this week.  A young Badger, yes you are reading this correctly a BADGER.  I was as surprised as I am sure you are.  The quality of the picture is not good as I didn't want to startle it.

A badger hiding in the undergrowth by the side of the shed, seeing is believing.
It must be the pheasant season as we seem to have one constantly perched on the fence or the stile at the back of the garden.

Work continues on some little token gifts I send overseas to old friends, just to let them know I am thinking of them.  One friend is into recycling and lives a frugal lifestyle so I have made her some stitch markers out of old jewellery that she will love.  The sewing machine is new and will go to another friend who also loves to sew.
My husband and I have spent some quality time together trying to do a jigsaw.  It makes us both laugh how long they take for us to do these days, but we still enjoy the process and chat whilst looking for the pieces.

Finally I have been busy in the craft room daily, spending a lot of time in there as one of Santa's helpers.  I have made a start on some little felt owls that are filled with lavender dried from the garden to top some of my gifts.

I do so wish you could smell this room at the moment it is beautiful.  The scent of a season gone lingering on and reminding us of what to look forward to.  I hope you pop over and see what everyone has been up to this week.
See you soon.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Duel Purpose Gifts

I have had to put the slippers to one side until I get the measurements of the children's feet.  I don't want to be responsible for any disappointment if they don't fit.  In the meantime never one to sit around without a project on the go I made a start with some padded hangars to go with clothing items that I have bought.  I was inspired by a lovely book  Made from memories and consequently made brooches to attach to the hangar which can be taken off and used on the item of clothing.  A duel purpose gift.

Oddments of  wadding were used to pad the hangar and just tied with cotton.
I then made the crochet cover in a selection of colours.  The yarn was stunning a dream to use oddments left over from the flower wreaths I made for my daughters wedding.  They work up really quickly so would make great last minute gifts.
I then made up the brooches using remnants of Harris Tweed, one of my favourite fabrics.  They look wonderful frayed a little at the edges to give the brooch some depth.  The perfect addition to any outfit.


Another set of gifts already to be sent off to Santa.
Note to Daughters.  No girls they are not for you, I will not be putting anything for you on the blog.  Have you made much progress on your gift making?
See you soon.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Santa's Little Helper

We woke this morning to dark overcast skies and rain, a good day to get some housework done.  I did get a little carried away with the woodland creatures so coat hangers and a little owl have been added to the pile.

My husband paints the hangers for me, two coats and then using a little sand paper strip some back before finishing off with a stamp and a little wax.
The stamp used was from a set of Cath Kidston stamps that are well loved and used a  lot.  They have been painted in a beautiful shade of green that the light is not showing and finished with a strip of polka dot fabric.
The owl is the perfect addition to the pile, a nursery should always have toys made with love.
I have also made a start on the children's slippers using Crochet at Play book.
Beastie feet for the boys and glass slippers for the girls.

The glass slippers are taking a little working out.  I am not using the correct yarn and I also need to adjust the sizes for the perfect Princess fit.  I am having fun with the process, but it is taking some time to get it right.   They will make a lovely addition to their Christmas stockings.  I love this time of year when my Christmas crafting kicks in and  I like the idea of me been one of Santa's little helpers.  Have you made a start on your Christmas crafting?
See you soon.