Sunday, 31 July 2011

Arriving In Style!!

Are you ready for a chuckle? This was me today arriving at mother-in-laws 70th birthday get together:

My sciatica was so bad I had to lay flat out in the car to make the 30 min journey to MIL's!!

Yesterday, whilst at the stables (the first time I had left house in a week!!) I had a terrible shooting spasm from hip to ankle that took my breath away and my leg since has been really, really sore again. 

Even getting ready for the party was tricky but when we set off it became apparent a couple of minutes into the journey that it was too painful and so we turned around to take me home. 

I had a little cry as I didn't want to miss the party and so Mr G came up with the idea for putting the seats down (our front passenger seat goes forward and flat as well as the back) and piling cushions on them to lay me down.

It worked!! Laying flat made the pain bearable and so off we went!! 

Fortunately, I have never been one to worry about what other people think as I was just about level with the top of the doors and there was much hilarity from the Mr G and the boys at some of the odd looks we got and the fact W had to hold my skirts down as they were being buffeted and threatening to go over my head!!

I spent the day installed on a sun lounger (virtually flat!!) while I was waited on hand and foot (Mr G says why change the habit of a lifetime!!)

Here's my frock:

I had my reverse anorexia today, where I look in the mirror and think I look thinner than I actually am!!
Nevertheless, I felt very feminine in my swishy frock & petticoat.

I did get Mr G to take a pic showing my petticoat better (it was peeping out underneath my skirts) but I look dreadful in it so I will spare you!!

The birthday girl:

Lots of family we hadn't seen in a-g-e-s and a-g-e-s:

Mr G's Dad:

My Mum, Stepdad, H & W:

Mmmm, cake!! (There was LOTS of puds and cakes!!):

It was a lovely family day, the weather was glorious and I was very pleased not to have missed it!!

Hope you've all had a nice weekend....

S x

Friday, 29 July 2011

Petticoats And Dressing Table News!!

You may remember way back in January when I was a brand new blogger telling you how I wanted to make a net petticoat and it being a disaster?

Well, since then I found The House Of Olivier that makes the most wonderful cotton petticoats - one day I will treat myself to one of their Voluptuous petticoats but in the meantime money is tight and I had 3m of cotton lawn doing nothing so a couple of months agoI had a go at making one myself.

Unfortunately, it was all a bit wobbly around the bottom and a funny length so it was put to one side to fix later and there it sat until yesterday when my Sis came over and helped me do just that. Her being a perfectionist is very helpful when it comes to getting hems straight and arranging pleats evenly and this is how it turned out:

The dress you see behind (that needs a good iron) is my £5.99 bargain from eBay that I'll wear with the petticoat on Sunday - Mr G's Mum is having a family get together for her 70th birthday. 

Isn't the fabric pretty?:

If I don't look too much like Waynetta Slob in a frock I'll let you see a picture after the event....

Waynetta (Google Images)

Other news is I have gone back to the drawing board for the dressing table fabric - after reupholstering the top (and crippling myself in the process, sciatica still v. present) I have decided I don't like the fabric!!

Mr G thinks I am mad but having lived with the half-finished item for a week I just wasn't feeling it and my Sis made my mind up when she said yesterday she didn't think it was right either. So, I think I have found an alternative fabric and hope I can shift the remaining 6m of what I had on eBay!!

Hope you have a lovely weekend, my lovelies....

S x

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

More Awards = More Facts!!

I have been given two more awards!! I am so thrilled by this as these awards are given by my fellow bloggers who give me so much inspiration and fill me with awe.

First of all Grateful4Crochet has given me the Leibster Blog Award:

I'd like to pass it on to two of my favourites:

I've also been given the Versitile Blog Award by Ashley at Country Rose (do check out her blog, she has a wonderful giveaway running at the moment):

I'd like to pass this onto:

Little Cotton Rabbits
Nelly's Eggs

So now I have to think of more facts for you!!

  • I used to teach antenatal classes for the NCT.
  • H is named after my beloved late Granddad, we adored each other.
  • I can do the Vulcan "Live Long And Prosper" salute with both hands & I can roll my tongue.
  • Today, aged 38, I read "The Velveteen Rabbit" for the first time - loved it!!
  • I am a late person. Late for everything despite trying not to be.
  • I love cheesecake - I am on a quest for the ultimate cheesecake - the type that is cloying and claggy & sticks to the roof of your mouth like the Polish cheesecake we had when we were kids - I find it perhaps once every 10 years.
  • Despite being a pretty good cook, I cannot bake a decent cheesecake, they are either too dry or too moussey.
  • My sister is nothing like me, she is a size 8 pefectionist prefect - I am a size 22/24 "that'll-do-ist" who likes to break the rules!! She is my best friend.
I think that's all I can manage!!

How do you feel about blog awards? I love getting them, it gives me a real buzz to be acknowledged by the ladies who I admire the most. Lately though, I have been surprised to learn that some bloggers don't really "do" them, maybe it's just each to their own?

Now, before I go sciatica news!! Still v. sore though marginally better today - yesterday I had my hair highlighted laying down!! Luckily, my friend does it and so wasn't phased at all, bless her she even gave me a foot massage whilst my foils were cooking!!

S x

Monday, 25 July 2011

All Kinds Of Randomness - And A Giveaway Winner!!

(Do you sometimes struggle with what your post title should be? I do, I try and make it something that will grab a readers attention as well as give a preview to the contents of my post, but I think I am usually way off the mark!!)

I had a hobble around the garden, picked myself some flowers and took some pictures to share with you.

I'll start with the sweet pea saga - you may remember me wondering where are my sweet peas? a few weeks ago? Well, as of last week there were still only a couple of buds on the big bank of them and a couple of blooms on the ones in the pot outside the door.

I contacted The National Sweet Pea Society and the chap replied to basically say I was on a hiding to nothing as:

  • They shouldn't be in a raised bed
  • They shouldn't be in bought compost
  • They shouldn't have been bought at B&Q
  • They should have had their side shoots pinched out
  • They should have been planted out way earlier
Mr G also noticed that they were covered in greenfly and so I Googled what to do and the majority of advice was to spray them with diluted washing-up liquid. So I did - and this is what they look like now:

It fried them!! :0(

I did it on a cloudy day too, so it wasn't as if they were scorched by the sun!! 

They are all dry and crispy but on a brighter note there is no sign of the greenfly!!

Luckily I didn't do my potted ones, although they look a bit tatty at the bottom they are OK:

This is our second year of having flowers (we just had lawn up until last year) and TBH the whole flowerbed is looking a bit crap. I favour the untended, cottagey look but things that are tall have grown at the front, there's big gaps and it's all looking a bit scruffy. Nothing I planted from seed direct to the flowerbed has been a success this year either.

The hollihocks have come back from last year (as did one delphinium, goodness knows where the rest are!!):

Look at Mr Bumblebee!! We have a tiny gap in the path at the front of the house, just below a large buddleia and we think we have a nest (hive?) living in there as we often see bumbles going in the hole.

We have pink ones too (hollihocks not bumblebees!!):

Now on to giveaway news - I used the random number generator and the winner of the Home Sweet Sewn book is:

A Mermaid's Purse - well done!!

I have been really honoured and chuffed to receive a couple of awards, so I'll pop back tomorrow to tell you about them and pass them on. I can't say how much it means to me to receive an award from a fellow blogger - especially as I am in awe of you all!!

Now as for my sciatica - still v. sore. I thought it was marginally better yesterday and gritted my teeth for the short drive to the garden centre but I'm not entirely sure that was a good idea as it's as bad as ever today. The pain has gone from my back and has settled in my leg - it kind of feels like that calf cramp you sometimes get at night - not pleasant.

Mr G did suggest earlier that "I bet your leg is fine now, you're just enjoying being waited on" - and I had to resist the urge to thump him!! Still, I can't complain he has been a star looking after me and the boys.

There's a Hitchcock movie on this afternoon "Dial M For Murder" with Grace Kelly so I am going to settle down in front of that with my knitting....

Hope you have all had a lovely weekend.


S x

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Still Incapacitated :0(

Thanks for all the lovely comments, each and every one is truly appreciated!!
I never realised that sciatica was so painful!! This morning we attempted to go to the car boot sale, but only got to the corner shop before we had to turn back as sitting in the car *hurt*. It's bearable when I am laid virtually flat or stood up but sitting is impossible. I have even been eating my meals laying down!!

As well as missing the car boot sale, I have Stuff To Do. I want to finish the dressing table and want to make a dress for MIL's 70th birthday which is next weekend!! The only thing I can manage is knitting or crochet so I guess I'll have to stick to that.

So, this is where you will find me today, on the conservatory sofa, trying to ignore the mess (yesterday was housework day and because I didn't do it nobody did)!!

What're you up to today? Something more interesting than me I hope!!


S x

Thursday, 21 July 2011

What A Night (and Not In A Good Way)!!

It's 7.30pm and I have just got up. Yep, that's right 7.30 P. M.

I spent much of last night awake with the pain from my sciatica and the associated worry - I suffer from health anxiety and as such think that every ailment I have will be the death of me!! That in itself is exhausting but my back/hip/leg has been so painful - I will confess here that I think I have a pretty low pain threshold - also known as Being A Bit Of A Wuss.

The pain settled mostly in my calf accompanied by flutterings, twitching and numb toes and I just couldn't get comfortable despite a horse shaped hot water bottle and an assortment of strong painkillers. So I hardly slept.

The result of the pain, lack of sleep and painkillers meant I have been shattered all day so have spent it in my Cath Kidston rose covered bed, sleeping and this afternoon watching "The Ten Commandments" with Charlton Heston. 

I do love an old movie - unfortunately, I fell asleep just as Moses was persuading the pharaoh to release his people and awoke for the end credits!! 

So because of all this I haven't spent any time today in one of my favourite places, the conservatory sofa (well, I can't leave you without a photo of some sort!!):

S x

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


The dressing table has come to a grinding halt today as my back is really, really sore - I was very hobbly when I got up and then bending over to get a tin of cat food out of the cupboard had me breathing labour style until the spasm passed. I thought I was going to have to cancel my planned shopping trip with my Mum and Sis but fortunately some strong painkillers took the edge off.

I wore my new dress from eBay:

I like it because it is Cath K-esque. Incidentally, I recently wrote to CK to ask why they didn't make clothing larger than a size 16 (I am much bigger than that!!) The reply I got was very sweet, the customer services girl was curvy too and she sympathised but could only say that "hopefully" they would go bigger one day.

We went to shops near Chichester, and this is what I bought:

The three jars on the left were from BHS and were £12 total; the sweetie jar was from Laura Ashley and had 40% off - they are for the bathroom, my Stepdad has made me some shelves for over the bath.

The fabric was the best bargain, it's a bit Cabbages and Roses and was £1.50 per metre.

We also went to The Eternal Maker which is a lovely shop, filled with hundreds of bolts and FQ's of fabric; buttons; trimmings and all manner of gorgeous things. I'd like to go back on my own as my Mum and Sis weren't feeling the love like I was so I couldn't browse for as long as I would have liked - it was a real Aladdin's cave.

While I was out I had to borrow my Mum's walking stick and since I returned my back as been very sore - I really should have cancelled shopping but if I had I would have missed my bargains!!


S x

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Transformation Begins....

Today I went to Fabricland to buy the fabric to cover my vintage dressing table. I had perused their website and there were several possibles although I really fancied stripes so the table looked like the Cath Kidston dressing table that originally inspired me.

Our Fabricland is tiny, crammed full and always busy so I have to confess I don't enjoy shopping in there as much as one would think and typically they didn't have anywhere near as big a selection as online.

After much deliberation I chose this:

I had decided on the pink when I saw it online, but in reality the pink was a bit coral/salmony (not a shade I am fond of) so in the end I went for the blue.

I also selected some other bits and bobs, proffered my debit card and the darn thing was declined. There I stood with everyone eyeing me up and down (they obviously thought I was going to have to do the walk of shame) but I *knew* I had money in there so I telephoned the bank (thank goodness for mobiles).

Yet again the bloomin' bank had put a fraud hold on my card - they seem to do it at least once a month and it drives me mad!! It usually happens because I have made a few small transactions through Paypal and that flags up as suspicious - it's soooooo annoying!!

So I was in the store an hour before I sorted it all out.

I came home and have made a start, the top is re-upholstered and it was a NIGHTMARE!! Really tricky, took ages and now my sciatica is playing up a treat!!

I will hopefully have more piccies to share with you tomorrow....

Don't forget to enter my giveaway here!!

S x

Monday, 18 July 2011

100th Follower Giveaway and Other News....

In fact as of just now I notice I have 117 followers!! I saw I had nearly 100 a week or so ago and started to think about a giveaway and in the meantime the figure has gone well past!! 

May I take this opportunity to thank you all for reading - in the beginning I was ambivalent about blogging as it felt like I was talking to myself a little, but I soon gathered a little band of followers and regular commenters and I really started to enjoy myself.

Blogging has made me stop and take a little time to enjoy the everyday things in life, take more photos and just enjoy "being". 

The lovely Cuckoo hits the nail on the head when she says "Isn't it lovely how the worst part of that day is now the best because it has become a funny story. That's one of the things I love about blogging. Lately when something is totally going wrong and frustration levels rise I think to myself "Oh this will make a funny blog story" and then things feel less difficult."

So a giveaway is in order!! I have a copy of "Home Sweet Sewn" by Alice Butcher & Gillian Farquhar up for grabs:

As well as the lovely tea & egg cosy set there are some lovely things inside to make - look at this apron:

Machine embroidery of your house (I really want to do this one):

Cute heirloom doll:

And lots more!! To enter:

  • You must be/become a follower
  • Leave a comment below
  • A mention of the giveaway on your blog gains another entry
Name out of the hat on Friday wins, simples!!

Before I go and fetch H from school I must show you the cake we (W and I) made yesterday. Mr G and I fancied a plain old-fashioned Victoria sandwich with strawberry jam and whipped cream:

Mr G helpfully pointed out that it wasn't going to win any WI prizes!! 

This is what happens when you underwhip the cream because you hate it too stiff and your husband is too impatient to let the cakes cool properly and persuades you to assemble them forthwith - when your back is turned the top layer slides gracefully off and lands on the table (well, it nearly did we caught it in time and re-positioned it so I could take a pic to show you!!)

It did taste yummy though, despite appearances:


Hope you have a good weekend....


S x

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Another WiP, a Pretty Posy & Naughty Pusses....

Hello, my lovelies - (I have not been loving my usual font so thought I would give Georgia a whirl), hope your weekends are not to wet so far? The sun has come out in our part of Hampshire but I doubt it'll last long.

I've been to the wool shop today and picked up some yarn for a new blanket - I fancy making a hexagon blanket, not sure what type yet, but I have chosen traditional CK colours (so much so that when I showed Mr G he said "Very Cath Kidston":

I also want to show you this little posy I made:

Most unhelpfully I can't find the tutorial I used to make the fabric flowers, but you just tear strips of fabric about 6cm wide x 45cm long, roll into a sausage lengthways securing with the odd stitch and then roll into a rose, twisting the "sausage" and securing with stitches underneath. 

To make the posy ball I rolled newspaper into a ball and taped it (you could use an oasis/polysterene ball but newspaper is cheaper and what I had to hand!!) and then I pinned each flower into place and then my sister who was over for dinner added a few stitches to hide any gaps. I think it's pretty sweet and have hung it on the lounge curtain pole.

I also must tell you about our horrid cat Jasper:

Butter wouldn't melt would it? He has been very naughty this week. I was in bed with my cup of tea as is my custom after sorting the kids out for school (Mr G does the actual school run and I go back to bed for an hour or so as I am nocturnal & rarely go to sleep before 1.30am). 

So, there I was reclining in my lovely, crisp, white, feather bedlinen chatting to Mr G while he dressed and Jasper jumps onto the bed - we often have morning cuddles. However, this morning I feel a drop of something wet and notice him shaking his leg oddly.

The little monster has only gone and wee'd on the bed - with me still in it!!!!!

He was well and truly reprimanded and the quilt stripped before it could soak into the feather mattress topper beneath (which costs £26 to have cleaned). Fortunately, the summer duvet fits in the washing machine.

Jasper & Bear are house cats and so it was clear from this dirty protest that the litter trays must Not Be To Specification. Mr G also reckons Jasper did it to punish me for not giving him breakfast as soon as I got up as we were out of cat food.

What a horror!! Coupled with that, Bears addiction to dragging my yarn around the house the moment my back is turned and the shreds that are what is left of the stair carpet they'll be making a trip to the dogs home if they're not careful!!

Pop back next week as I am having another giveaway - 100 followers!!

S x

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

WOYWW - My Desk....

Gosh it's a mess this week!! I've been repainting my dressing table mirror and I hope to paint some shabby chic roses on it when I've practiced (you can see a couple of my daubs behind the sewing machine).

I've also been painting the photo frames that are usually on the stairs - they were a mismatch of dated frames, so I have painted them in ice-cream colours to go back up when we've painted the stairs and landing white (not looking forward to that one!!)

Pop over to the Stamping Ground to see what other people have on their desks (I do love a nosey!!)

S x

Monday, 11 July 2011

First Dahlias - But Where Are My Sweet Peas?

This year for the first time I planted four dahlia bulbs (are they bulbs or tubers?) anyway, I started them off on the conservatory windowsill and when all chance of frost had passed they were planted out. This week we were rewarded with the first of the flowers:

With some buddleia (sp?) - looks a bit like a jesters hat!!

One of the plants has THOUSANDS of tiny black bugs on it (you can see a couple of the bugs in the pic above) as well as ants coming and going and eating the bugs!! What are they? Do we need to do anything with them?

I planted the dahlias particularly to cut as I understand the more flowers you cut, the more will grow - like sweet peas.

Which brings me on to ask WHERE ARE MY SWEET PEAS? I planted 36 plants in  May and I still don't have flowers. They are are 3' tall and look happy enough but no flowers.

Last year (my first year of growing them) we had just three plants which were planted later and we had flowers from the first week of July. Does this mean that this years ones are duff? I do hope not - I love sweet peas.

Hope you've had a lovely weekend....


S x

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Vintage Gorgeousness!!

A few weeks ago I was perusing HenHouse, one of my favourite blogs when I saw a picture of the most gorgeous kidney shaped dressing table (here, fifth photo down).

Well, the lust began and so I scoured eBay for something similar and yesterday took delivery of this little baby (pics from the eBay listing as camera flat yet again!!):

Isn't it just gorgeous? Apparently it was purchased in Harrods in the late '50's/early '60's so is probably the poshest item of furniture in the whole house even though it cost me just £61.

And look at all this storage:

It's now in pride of place in our bedroom. I do intend to recover it, Cath fabric would be lovely but not at £18 per metre (I'll need 8m!!) so I have found this alternative at Fabricland:

At £3.29 per metre it's a bit more reasonable!!

I hope to remove the braid and reupholster the top and drawer fronts (which on inspection look as they have already been redone at some point) and then use the existing skirts as lining for the cotton above (to give them enough poufiness!!)

May I just say before I go, thank you so much for all your kind and supportive words regarding the post about my dream - you ladies really are fabulous and mean a whole lot to me!!


S x

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Recurring Dreams....

Ever since my Dad died two years ago I have had a recurring dream. The main "story" of the dream is always different but intertwined within there is the fact that "they" got it wrong and my Dad is not dead. He is back with us, but is still ill and is going to die again.

In the dream I wonder how "they" could have got something so wrong, and how it was discovered that Dad is not dead. The overwhelming emotions are relief that he is back and great sadness that I have to watch him die again.

I wonder what this dream means? I think that it might be because I feel that there were unresolved, unsaid things between us - more specifically from him to me.

A month or so before Dad died he was taken to hospital and I took that opportunity to give him a letter in which I told him what a wonderful childhood I had had, shared some memories with him and told him how much I loved him. I know he read this letter as my Stepmum told me, but he never mentioned it. Apart from saying to my sister and I "You are good girls" he never opened his heart to us before he went.

I hoped maybe he would leave us a letter but he didn't and I think this is the reason that I have this upsetting dream.

Apologies for being so solemn, I did think twice about sharing this but I want this blog to be *me* - completely not the edited version.

I do have something lighter to share with you though - another homemade bag:

OMG, it was a PIG to make!! I broke 12 needles as some of the layers were so thick and although my machine is pretty sturdy it did not want to play!!

I really like it now though, I just love the Cath Kidston print (and another CK tea towel label to make it look authentic!!)

S x

Monday, 4 July 2011

Another Busy Weekend - Painting & Papering....

Hello, my lovelies!! I hope you have all had a nice weekend?

We've had another weekend of DIY - well, I have Mr G was out all day yesterday RC car racing so he only had a few hours of it.

We went to a car boot on Saturday and I got a lovely large ceramic lamp base (which I have forgotton to photograph for you) for a £1 and Mr G got a couple of bits so he is rapidly becoming a fan of the old car boot sales.

Then in the afternoon while Mr G was out playing with his motorbike I made a start on painting the lounge white - it was a pale biscuit colour and I ummed and ahhed over various creams until I decided that plain old white was the way forward due to so many of the gorgeous shabby chic interiors having a white base and the colour added with soft furnishings and a splash of wallpaper.

Now, please remind me if I ever consider buying cheap paint again that IT'S NOT WORTH THE SAVING - I foolishly fell for the Wickes ad that says that professional decorators reckon their paint is super. It is not. It is thin and patchy and going from pale biscuit to white took several coats. Had I stuck to my gut feeling and bought Dulux or Crown it would have been a one coat job.



Do you think it looks better? I'm much happier with it.

The cupboard we made over is fitting right in - I forgot to tell you that when we got the cupboard home I realised what I was that it reminded me of - The Marvellous Mechanical Mouseorgan off Bagpuss!!:

See?!! It just needs a set of pipes on the top!!

I have been having trouble sleeping lately and that is when I come up with all kinds of ideas, some of which are still good ideas in the morning, the majority of which are not but it was Saturday evening I thought of doing the old patchwork wallpaper routine in the porch which until now has been dull, dull, dull:

Now I love, love, love it!! You may remember I have done a similar effect over the bath  - this time I chose different papers. The beauty of this method of papering is it is free - I just waltz into B&Q bold as brass and take 3' "samples" of all the papers I like!! Does that make me a bit naughty?

S x

Edited to add: The wallpaper I took was from the rolls that are already open to enable you to take a sample, I wasn't just opening random rolls and helping myself!!