Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A Miscellany of Photos....

This post is a mish mash of photos I've taken recently that I keep forgetting to show you, so here goes!!

I treated myself to a lovely vintage eiderdown from eBay:

I have wanted one for ages but didn't know whether one would go with the patchwork but in the end decided to go for it.

It's a wee bit less pink and more peach than it looked in the listing, but I love it anyway (please try and ignore Jasper who thought I was taking pics of him!!) - it's very plump and lovely to snuggle under:

Another recent vintage find is this lovely Christmas tablecloth:

 Look at the perfect, tiny blanket stitch someone has used to hand appliqué:

Am I peculiar because it makes me a little sad that all this hard work ended up in a charity shop for a mere £3.00?

I bought some freezer paper an have been playing making stencils to paint on fabric:

I had a go at the Yorkshire pudding recipe from Kirstie's Handmade Britain:

I made bigos, which is the Polish national dish - my Dad used to make this and I found a recipe here - it was just how I remember it tasting. 

I always joke that you have to have a bit of eastern European blood (my Granddad is Polish) to like these Polish foods as Mr G is never keen (he's not keen on gherkins, rye bread, Polish farmers sausage or dark chocolate covered gingerbread, all things I love), but he liked this one!!:

Excitingly, my new sewing machine arrived this morning, Mr G has got it for me for Christmas but he refuses to let me have it early - he wouldn't even let me have a peep at it!! What a meanie!!


S x

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Wonders of Blogland....

Today I am once again staggered by the wonderful people out there in blogland, not only are my spirits lifted by lovely comments, emails and little gifts from all the lovely ladies that read my humble blog, but I am also overwhelmed by the most wonderful parcel that turned up today for the Advent swap that Hookin' With Laalaa arranged.

We each got assigned a partner and the idea was to send a little gift (preferably handmade) for each of the advent days. My partner is Sandie from Sandie's Patch, and she has sent me the most amazing advent calendar:

Isn't it just gorgeous?!!

 It has pride of place in the conservatory....

So now I am looking forward to the 1st December when I can start opening all the lovely parcels, I'll post a pic everyday to show you what I got.

I sent my parcel for Sandie today by courier so she should get it tomorrow,  I am a a bit anxious now though as my one isn't as pretty as the one Sandie has sent me!! I just hope she likes what I have done for her, I have spent the last few weeks making things (I think about 18 of the 25 I made in the end) and have enjoyed putting it together so much.

Today I've also made a start on decorating for Christmas, I collected some holly and ivy from the stables and when I got home decided to put it straight up so it's beginning to look a bit like Christmas here!!

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


S x

Saturday, 26 November 2011

At Last - Cath Kidston Floor Tile Ta Dah!!

It's been two months since we had them delivered but finally the Cath Kidston tiles are down in the bathroom and I can do the Ta Dah!!:

I must confess I was a teeny bit unsure about them to begin with as they are really Rather Busy, but now they are all cleaned of glue I am really liking them.

It took so long to get them down as when we removed the lino ready for the floor man to do when he did the laminate back at the beginning of October we found the sink had been leaking and we had to let the chipboard floor dry out. 

After it had dried the floor man began to give us the run-around for weeks and we got the impression he would really rather not do it . Mr G was then meant to sort someone out to do it and he was typically lackadaisical about it until I came home and it was done!!

Mr G had done it himself!! He hadn't told me he planned on doing it as he knew I would stop him - he is known as Bodge It B***ett (our surname) and I wasn't going to knowingly let him loose on £200 of CK tiles.

But my misgivings were completely unfounded and he has done a fantastic job!!

Now a little review of them for you:

The tiles are ordered from Harvey Maria and cost £39.99 per pack (which does 1.115 square metres). You need to order the special adhesive too, which is £15.95.

The tiles are large rectangles, which measure 30.5cm x 45.7cm. They feel very good quality and are  thick, not floppy. The underside of the tiles are grey/black and the flowered side has a slight grainy texture.

With regards to fitting, Mr G has never fit a tile in his life and has done an excellent job. He Googled for tips on how to cut around for the loo and so on. He says they cut really nicely using a Stanley knife and a metal ruler. It took him about four hours and the only caveat is he was knee deep in the glue!! You spread it with a supplied tool (like a cake icing spatula) but the clean up was easy.

If you have traditional floorboards in your bathroom you will need to put ply down first as otherwise you get all the lines from the boards showing over time. We had chipboard already.

I know a lot of you wanted to know what these tiles look like in a "real" bathroom - the overall finish is very nice and I am really pleased with them,  my only niggle being that you can see the lines where the tiles join rather more than I expected (on the CK website you can barely see a join, which is a bit daft given they're tiles):

So there you have it - I get my tiles down and Mr G earns LOTS of Brownie Points!!

Hope you're having a good weekend....


S x

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Can I Tell You About Claude and Max?

My Mum had had Siamese for years and so when we felt the time was right we started to look for one of our own, but there weren't any to be had nearby. 

I kept searching and I came across an ad for Tonkinese  kittens - Tonkinese are now a breed in their own right but were originally Siamese/Burmese cross and have the good points of both breeds.

We went to see the last remaining kitten in the litter and fell in love:

Six weeks later he came home to live with us and we named him Claudius, after the Burmese in the book "I and Claudius" by Clare de Vries. I even sent a letter to Clare to tell her I had named my Claude after hers and received a lovely card back.

It wasn't long before he needed a friend and a few weeks later I found some Siamese kittens nearby and Maximus came to live with us:

After being introduced to Claude it only took 24 hours before they were best friends and they were soon devoted to each other:

Taken the day after Max came home....

They were both very different characters - Claude was soppy and silly, loved a cuddle and you only had to look his way and he would purr:

Max was far less confident, he adored Claude but was wary of the children and hated being picked up. He was timid and much more aloof. He would sit on your lap on his own terms and would wind himself around your legs wanting to be stroked but didn't do cuddles:

After a few years Claudius began to lose weight and the short story is that he was diagnosed with chronic renal failure and within two days he took any decision we needed to make out of our hands and passed away. He was just five years old:

Max and Claude had been devoted and he really disliked the kids and dogs so when my Mum lost one of her Siamese to old age it was decided he would be happier living with her and my Stepdad in their kitty haven - Stepdad lives to serve the cats and they have a selection of gourmet foods (including best prawns!!) and a house that backs onto a nature trail.

Mum and Stepdad felt they would be able to bring Max out of his shell, but he remained a timid and jumpy little puss. He became very attached to Mum's Siamese Jasmine and in the summer loved to sit on her decking.

Last week he was off his food. This morning he was put to sleep with a twisted gut. He was just 8.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. 

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. 

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. 
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. 

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. 

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. 

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. 

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.... 

Author unknown... 

Max and Claudie - back together again....

S x

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

An Early "Alternative" Christmas....

Hello all - hope you've all had a good weekend?

Ever since my Dad and Stepmum got together we have had "alternative" Christmas day with them when get together and have all the trimmings.

Last year was the first without Dad :0 ( after we lost him to cancer in June 2009 and so I hosted it. Stepmum is moving in a few weeks so this year we had to have it early - yesterday and as I wanted to see Dad's house once more before it was sold she hosted it at hers.

I have a little brother J who is just eight ( I am 31 years older than him!!):

 Why do I have a dodgy left eye in so many pics??!!

Look how much J looks like Dad did:

Spooky, eh?!!

H and W with their Uncle J, lol!!:

W and Uncle J played on the laptop together:

While H slept most of the day, he was off school with a cough and cold all last week and then on Friday was up all night with earache - Saturday morning it was oozing all manner of gunk (sorry TMI) - out of hours GP said painkillers and take him in to be checked after the weekend:

Yesterday, I took H to the GP and after the nurse looked in it she said he has a perforated eardrum, so he has had to have some anitbiotics. It's the yellow pencillin liquid and OMG, one whiff of it and I am about five years old!! Smells are so evocative!!

After taking these pics I was rubbish and forgot to get any of the lovely Kirstie Allsopp sewing box Stepmum got me or the fab shabby chic frame set my Stepgranny got me or a proper one of the chunky jumper Mr G got:

Hiding his "chins" (his word!!) behind his new knitwear....

We had Christmas dinner with lashings of sausagemeat stuffing (my fave!!) and warm chocolate cake with vanilla and chocolate custards, mmmmmmmmmm....

I was a little sad as I looked around the house knowing that it would be the last time we were there, we spent a lot of time there with Dad when he was ill and so it was odd to know the next time we visited Stepmum and J the house would have nothing to do with Dad. 

However, I understand why Stepmum needs to sell the house, as it was not long after they moved there that Dad became ill and so the majority of the memories tied to the house are for Stepmum not so good ones. 

I confess I did shed a few tears as we drove away....


S x

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Like Mother, Like Son; A Pretty Table and Cath Kidston Redeem Themselves....

Hello my lovelies!! I hope your week is going OK?

I've been busy making things for the advent swap I've signed up for as I have to post next week so have been frantically knitting/sewing/crocheting!! I can't even show you as I don't want to spoil the surprise for my partner.

I did have some company the other evening:

How could I refuse when W asked if he could sew something? He made a case for his phone and now wants to help me make felt Christmas decorations - maybe he'll get hooked and become a famous fashion designer?!!

I've also finished a pretty little demi-lune table:

If I had anywhere for it go I'd keep this one as I really love the shape and I've done it in one of my fave Annie Sloan combos "Old White" and "Paris Grey". It's for sale here on eBay....

My friend L and I are booked to do an Annie Sloan painting workshop in December so I am looking forward to learning new techniques, although I am pretty confident with painting & distressing I want to learn how to do a crackle finish, gilding and decoupage - my decoupage always looks pants!!

Following my battle with Cath Kidston over the cracked mugs they have sent me five new ones:

 - it only took 6 weeks of wrangling before they gave in so although it was a case of "better late than never" they have redeemed themselves somewhat!!

Mr G has had to into the office today (he works from home 99% of the time) and I am really missing him!! We do spend virtually 24/7 together and I hate it when he's not around, I guess we're lucky as I know a lot of people wouldn't cope with being together constantly - he has his Man Cave (the garage) and I have my Girl Cave (sewing room) which helps I think. 

Catch up again soon....


S x

Monday, 14 November 2011

Our Weekend Away....

Hello dear readers!! I hope you all had a nice weekend?

We had a lovely one, it was Mr G's 40th birthday on Saturday so on Friday we left sans children for a relaxing weekend away. 

Money is always tight this close to Christmas and so I had collected the tokens that appeared a few weeks ago in the Telegraph and got the hotel for £20 per night. This did mean though we ended up in Farnham which wasn't perhaps my first choice for a romantic weekend but just the fact I had Mr G all to myself made it wonderful - when we have a weekend away together like this we fall in love all over again....

It was the smallest hotel room ever:

This is all I could fit in it was so tiny, there was only 8" between the right side of the bed and the wall!!

Still it was clean and comfortable, if a little cramped and who's complaining for £40 for the weekend?

We arrived at lunchtime on Friday and found a lovely little Chinese restaurant that did and all-you-can-eat banquet - you basically ordered whatever you liked and as long as you ate it all you could then order more - Mr G was in his element. 

On Friday afternoon Mr G persuaded me to let him have his watch "So I can enjoy it ALL weekend" - he said. He was thrilled to bits with it:

Vintage Tag Hueur, bought by me, Mr G's parents and my Mum....

That night we went into Camberley to the pictures and saw "Contagion" - these virus disaster movies alway terrify me with my health anxiety but strangely I really enjoy them!!

On Saturday we had a lazy day and went along to Bourne Mill Antiques for a mooch around, it's the most amazing higgledy-piggledy old building:

It has antiques and bric-a-brac literally piled into the rafters:

I was good an although tempted by many baskets of vintage embroidered cloths and other lovelies, good sense (and lack of funds) prevailed.

We then decided to have a nip around Guildford Cathedral - I should be saying here that we wanted to go and experience the spirituality of the church (and I do love churches and their peace) but sheepishly I must confess we have always been a bit fascinated with it as it features in a scene in one of our favourite horror (we love horror!!) movies "The Omen", so naturally we had to take a shot of it the way you see it in the film:

It was built in 1931 and the bricks were made of the clay dug out of the hill for the foundations....

 Inside you would be forgiven for thinking the Cathedral was much more ancient....

We lit a candle for my late Dad and my Uncle who is poorly....

As an agnostic I really wish I could find true faith, as I feel it must be such a great comfort and I hope that one day something will "click" and I will suddenly just believe completely....

We returned to the hotel and went for a swim in the hotel pool which was unfortunately full of children (my tolerance for other children when I am without my own is embarrassingly low!!) so we adjourned back to the room for a snooze before nipping out for a curry later on.

Most embarassingly (but perhaps fittingly for a birthday that makes you both feel a bit old) we were in bed (both with our spectacles perched on the ends of our noses) in time to watch the end of the X-Factor - how rock and roll are we?!!

Yesterday we pootled home late morning and stopped at the Devil's Punch Bowl for breakfast (which we gobbled before I could take a pic!!):

 With more chins than a Chinese phone book and my Willy Wonka sunnies....

Gorgeous autumn colours....

We were welcomed home by the boys, animals and CAKE:

Happy birthday my darling Mr G - here's hoping with all my heart for another 40 (at least?!!)....


S x

Friday, 11 November 2011

The Big Four-Oh....

Mr G is the big 4-0 tomorrow so he and I are off for the weekend. 

Here we are not long after we first met (on my 16th birthday) - so it seems impossible that we are now 40 (well he is, I'm 10mths younger!!):


We're not going anywhere exciting as money is tight this close to Christmas, I saved the tokens from The Telegraph for a cheap deal and the only vacancies this weekend were Farnham!! Still, I've heard it's pretty and there's an antiques centre.

We've all chipped in and bought Mr G a Tag Hueur watch which he has always wanted, so that is packed and ready to give him tomorrow.

Grandma and Granddad are coming to house/animal/baby sit and it'll be nice to just have some time to ourselves, even if it is in a somewhat impersonal businessman's hotel!!

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, will see you after with pics....


S x

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Bad At Choosing Colours and Other Ponderings....

Hello my lovelies!! I hope you are all well?

Today I received some yarn I ordered as I would like to make a granny square blanket - making a blanket like this poses two problems for me - firstly I get bored very easily and have never yet crocheted anything larger than a cardi.

And secondly, I seem to be quite bad at choosing colours. More often than not I will start crocheting something and decide I hate the colours - I just can't seem to do the lovely random colour thing that I admire so much in crochet.

So, I had a plan - I decided to order yarn in shades of one of my favourite CK prints:

The shop I ordered the yarn from had a shopping basket in which you could see all the shades  you had added and they looked pretty good together so I eagerly awaited their arrival:

And in reality they don't look good together at all >:0(

Do you think without the neon pale pink they'd be better? Or should I ditch the blue on the bottom far right too? Vanessa - your crochet always looks fab, what do you think?

This is the granny square I want to do:

From Ravelry

But I'd like to either join them with white or have the outer rounds done with white to make the middles pop.

And do I do truly random? Or organised random? Decisions, decisions, not good for a Libra!!

Yesterday we had a visit from Ashley at Country Rose - she doesn't live too far away and having all the same interests we thought it would be nice to meet in person. It was as though we had known each other ages and we had a lovely afternoon with lots of crafty chat and cheesecake (I finished the rest after dinner Ashley, I am officially A. Pig.)

Ashley brought her gorgeous daughter Rose with her and it has done me no good at all, making me incredibly broody - even Mr G confesses to a tiny twinge of broodiness as Rose is so sweet!!

Today I have had my hair done - no pics as I am make-up less and would scare the horses but it's lovely to get rid of the grey stripe I get in the front!! 

Mr G is 40 on Saturday and so we are feeling our age but a recent quote I found on the fabulous Pinterest has helped me to put things in perspective:


S x

PS If you'd like to follow me on Pinterest you can find me here....