Friday, 30 September 2011

My Birthday

Its my Birthday today, i had a cup of tea in bed this morning with my grandchildren sitting in bed with me....lovely!
Louie bought me tea and roses in bed, they are beautiful.
I had beautiful cards that i really love, my family know me so well!
More flowers from Zoe and Jadey,

What a lovely card.

I bought Eva yesterday a French knitting doll, did you have one as a child?
When Eva went to bed last night i sat and practised french knitting, i had forgotten how it works, but it soon came back to me, the little girl in me wanted to hide it away and keep her! Ha!
Days like today show me how lucky i am, we are a family that tell each other everyday that we love one another, but some days i stand back and watch my family from a distance, just for a brief moment and my heart melts. Today is one of those days! x

Thursday, 29 September 2011


Zoe and the grandchildren have come to stay with us for a few days, Zoe is not feeling very well so a few days rest is what the doctor ordered.
We are having our indian summer, mist in the mornings and then by midday scortching sun, our Eva does not like the heat.
Eva wanted to put her feet in cold water today to cool down, this made me laugh as my nan use to love to soak her feet in a bowel of water! Children love bowels and cups of water, leave them to their imagination and they play for hours. Our dog Wizard even got roped into the water fun and had a nice cool bath Ha!
They say we have another hot day tomorrow, more bowels of water to the ready. x

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Here i go again...

Jade has gone abroad on holiday, so i will be cranky all week. I cant cope when my babies go away. x

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

What colour to choose...

I have finished my Homemade Wreath, i decided to hang it on the door leading into my sewing room.
I hung a small wooden heart in the middle and braided some embroidery thread.
I have cut out my bunting templet and now i have to decide on what material to use, this is the difficult bit.
I wanted to make bunting with christmas colours in mind but i cant live with Red in the house, i find it overbearing. Now the rooms that are decorated in the house are very light colours and i like to add colour in the accessories. The colours i am drawn to do not seem to be christmas colours, does that matter?
The christmas tree this year in our home is going to be an artificial white tree, i have read this is the original vintage tree. The white tree was used before the war (2nd world war), the room would have been decorated with Homemade paper chains, some people using newspaper! So here is my idea, i am going to see what paper chains made with christmas pages of magazines look like, with the help of Eva and Lou Lou.
Getting back to bunting, these are my chosen colours;

The bunting is going to be small for the kitchen window, i will sew a few buttons on the ticking.
I think if i use plenty of fairy lights (which i like in the house all year round) this will set the vintage christmas scene.
Nearer christmas i will try to make a garland using cinnamon sticks,oranges and rose hips, then hang this near the woodburner which hopefully will release a christmas scent. Such big ideas i have! Ha! x

Monday, 26 September 2011

Its Finally Arrived!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My long awaited gas cooker arrived this morning, after four years using an electric cooker and the last six months i only have been able to use three rings as the oven died on me.
I chose a Hotpoint classic free standing cooker, i did not want anything fancy but one that warms up quickly. The reviews were excellent and one of Hotpoints all time favourites. The heating engineer comes next week to connect it in, i cant wait.
I promised myself i would make a start at making my Homemade christmas decorations, i saw this wreath in this months c.l. living magazine its on page 120 you can only see half of it displayed in a window.
I made the wreath last night while watching "Downton Abbey" a perfect sunday evening Ha!
Tonight i hope to finish it while watching "Doc Martin", then for my next creation i must make templet for christmas bunting. Baking and sewing i am a happy woman! x

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Conkers an Ice Lollies!

This morning our decorater arrived at 8.00 am to finish painting our doors and windows. No lay in for us this weekend.
Later in the morning i went to pick up Eva and Lou Lou Man as they are staying over tonight, Zoe has spent the day with friends.
La and Jake took them Conkering while i was able to get more organised in the house.
Lou Lou Man has seen something, Jake has one shoe off, this can only mean Conkers!

Yep thats the one he wanted,
Eva was tired today (she has started irish dancing classes this week) so she kept count. I made Eva this skirt, its ideal for holding conkers with its large deep side pockets.

Time to go home now.

Poor Lou Lou found conkering hard work.

No Eva did not want her photo taken anymore.

Back home to Nanies to make ice lollies.

Precious Days x 

Friday, 23 September 2011

Out with the Old in with the New!

This morning i had to empty our Pantry as the Insurance Man was coming at 9.00am to access our "wet Rot", yes we have it, no we are not covered on our building insurance! Surprise! Surprise!
Now the new kitchen floor is laid we can put our furniture back in, so this was the picture in our kitchen this morning utter CHAOS!
This is my very sad Pantry,but not for long, i am very attached to this cupboard and have big ideas what i am going to do with it. Nowadays alot of people turn their pantries into downstairs toilets, but not for me, i love how the pantry keeps your food cool and arranged properly saves you alot of space in the
kitchen area.
I wont say to much about the floor tiles, only that i love the colour, its a very gentle grey.
Starting to move food in the new kitchen, exciting stuff!
Yesterday i took Zoe shopping and out to lunch as it will be her birthday on sunday. I bought her a lovely pair of winter boots, we had a lovely day together.
While we were shopping i popped into "Kath Kidson" and bought a new oil cloth for the new kitchen table. I will keep the old oil cloth for when Eva and Lou Lou do their painting and glueing pictures.
I decided i wanted to make a decorative edge to the cloth, so i made a template using a rice crispie cereal box and my favourite tea cup (i like the shape). Using the template i drew round it on the wrong side of the cloth then cut the edge of cloth following my template line.
When you cut out the pattern, you can not do this in a rush, but once i relaxed i found it theraputic!
With the edging the cloth compliments the table. x

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Our friend Terry can go to his bed tonight knowing he is our Hero!
He has worked wonders on our kitchen floor, there are still tiles slightly protruding but he spent most of the day re-grouting the whole floor, its now much easier on the eye to live with.
I have had a lovely surprise this afternoon, recently i have been thinking and planning to make homemade christmas decorations for our home. I ordered Country Livings book" Bright and Merry" which arrived this week, with all whats been going on in the house i have not had time to give it a proper look. This idea of Homemade Decorations has led me thinking about my Lovely Nan, christmas was Nans favourite time of the year. Her baking would start weeks before christmas, there would be little stacks of presents in her bedroom for each member of the family, it was not uncommon to get someone elses present by mistake as she would put wrong labels on presents! Ha!
All Nans decorations were homemade or acquired from jumble sales, but the atmosphere was magical,one that only she could create.
Here comes the surprise, i checked my emails this afternoon and found that my uncle had sent me a couple of photos of myself as a child, one of them i am sitting on my aunts lap in nans house at christmas.
The second picture i am holding my baby cousin with nan over my shoulder.
The days drama of the kitchen floor seemed light years away and looking at these old photos i was transported back as a child sitting in Nans home. What makes this such a surprise is that my immediate family were not people who took a great deal of photos, so there are not many of me in my childhood.
I started my day clouded with the woes of my kitchen floor and i finish my day dreaming of years gone by smiling to myself. This weekend i start my Homemade decorations thinking of my lovely Nan knowing how very lucky i have been in having her as my Nan, and how she always walks with me. x

The Art of being Patient!!

I want to Scream, pull my hair, throw myself down on the floor or sit in the pantry with the spiders and close the door, (i would if i didnt think i would fall through the wooden floor riddled with "wet rot!"). The floor tiler came and layed new kitchen tiles on monday, i have to say i had a nagging feeling with me sunday evening that all was not going to go to plan. Tuesday he came to grout the tiles, now the tiles are a large (french grey) ceramic tile and i choose a dark grey grout.  The kitchen is the heart of our home, i  have my woodburner and a large sitting area in the kitchen so when family is over there is alot of traffic, taking all this into account my home has to be quite robust and easy cleaning. Getting back to the tiler, when he realises i have dark grout he falls to pieces and tells me " how time consuming and difficult this product is to work with", i am fully aware of this thats why i prebooked him weeks ago and told him he would need to allow two working days for this floor.
I should have followed my gut feeling there and then, stopped him in his tracks,paid him for his time and sent him on his way. No miss meek and mild ignored her inner self screaming out "stop,stop" and went outside to work on the garden.
Now without going into a very lengthy saga about he said, i said, the bottom line is he has ruined our new kitchen floor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Tiles are proud, some spaces to big, tiles not in line etc,etc.
I do not have the patience to take up the WHOLE floor, neither the finances to pay for another set of tiles, so i have called a friend of ours to come and try to make another mans wrongs look alittle easier on the eye!!
All this trying to be a better person, deep breathes, there is always someone worse off, its only a kitchen floor, the glass is half full, not half empty well right now i want to TIE HIM UP,COVER HIM IN FAT, ROLL HIM IN ALL THE PIDGEONS FAVOURITE GRUBS, STICK A ROSY RED APPLE IN HIS MOUTH AND THROW HIM TO THE BIRDS!!
Guess i have got abit of work to do on myself, well i have locked myself away upstairs cleaning, not to be disturbed until i can be trusted back into civilization. x

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Migrant Mother

I love this photo of "Florence Owens Thompson", a 32 year old mother of seven children.This picture was taken in march 1936 in California. The photographer who has taken the photo claims she came across the migrant mother with her family on the side of the road in a pea picking farm, Dorothea Langes (the photographer) says the family had sold the tyres of their motorcar to buy food for the children.
This claim is denied by Florences son, Florence says she agreed to the photo on the condition that it must not be published and that she would recieve a copy, (Which she never did) her identitiy was not identified until 40 years after this photo was taken. Florence explains she never wanted the photo published as she was ashamed of her poverty.
When i look at this photo it saddens me that Florence felt shamed, i look at her and even though i can see the toil of her hard life etched on her face, i think she is absolutely beautiful.
Florence is obviously a very loving and proud mother, the children do not look under nourished albeit the clothes well worn, she is proud enough to give them homemade haircuts, well children in my childhood were having homemade haircuts and the Amish still do.
Florence holds her chubby baby close to her heart and the child is so content to lay in the warmth of her fold, her two other children stay close to mama.
How hard is it to be a mother? my daughter zoe says " all you have to do is feed them and love them"
How hard can this be? I do not mean to minimise how tiring motherhood can be, but when you peel the layers back and get to the core of surviving its about feeding and loving them. This picture shows great love from mother to children and children to their ma.
I see no shame on Florence owens Thompson surviving the depression in the 1930s and a canvas to call home. The child that Florence is holding in her arms never got to know her father as cleo passed away with fever when Florence had five children, expecting her sixth!
Florence lived until she was 80 years old, passed away in 1983. She died a Heroine. x


I have been up most of the night with Louie, himself still not feeling well. I think the last lot of antibiotics have been alittle to strong and upsetting his stomach. A couple of years ago Louie had stomach surgery and he must not allow himself to be sick due to his surgery.Last night he woke me feeling sick with stomach cramps ( this always worries him) so i sat with him for a couple of hours but in the end we had to ring the emergency out of ours surgery. Luckily i had some of the anti acid tablets in the draw that the doctor advised Louie to take. This saved a trip to the surgery in the early hours. I then settled Louie made him comfortable and gradually his stomach settled, next thing he was snoreing contently ( i was so thankful). I just got comfortable in bed and closed my eyes and the alarm went off, time to get up!
Knowing we had our floor tiler coming to tile the kitchen floor, i could not allow myself to give in to fatigue, so up to make a cup of tea and see to my patient who was still sleeping like a baby Ha!!!
 After Louie left for work i set about making an apple pie and apple and blackberry crumble. I am starting to realise i am not going to be able to use all my apples off our tree as very soon i am going to have a freezer full of just apple pies!

I have always baked for some reason when the house is in utter chaos Ha! x

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Haggis for Tea!

Last week i bought two Haggis from our butchers, they are very tasty and make a good subsitute for the ones we have eaten in Scotland. My cousin Patsy ( we call her woo) cooked louie and i Haggis a couple of years ago when we went up to visit. We were hooked straight away, tonight i have served Haggis with mashed potatoes and mashed swede, plenty of butter and pepper on them, i also served my homemade gravy i made last week. The recipe for the gravy was by "octoberfarm" and tasted delicious.
I lit a candle for the table and enjoyed our sunday night tea, bed early tonight i think with a book.

We have a busy week this week in the house, the new kitchen floor is to be tiled and our carpenter to replace my Pantry floor as we have wet rot!! x

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Our Home x

The Story so far....when the children were young we didnt stop to think about buying our own Home, we were raising our children struggling to keep our heads above water. Rent,food,clothes,bills,petrol,running two cars and holidays abroad. I have always valued money; if i am honest; i have always been alittle afraid of money yet at the same time i believe later on when we did buy our first house i grew to become a wiser person with money.
The chance came for us to buy our first House and i was terrified of  the thought,  strangely i felt life was going to change as i knew it.We went ahead with our first morgage and i guess this was the start of my Thrifting. What does this mean? This meant a check in the food cupboards before a food shop as to what was needed not browsing around supermarkets tempted by quick fix meals.
Following the laundry labels and making clothes last, mending them when they get alittle wear and tear, i like alittle vanity as i am no saint but there was no room for the latest fashions in my wardrobe, a little imagination in how i wanted to dress and furnish our home saved money.
Three years later we sold our house to the first people that viewed it and went on to buy our second House, another four years of hard work, dust,rubble,periods of time with no hot water,leaking roofs,rotten windows,draughts,mud and mice! Then there is the garden to plan!
Once again the first person to view our Home bought it after three weeks of people viewing. The dream in me was stirring inside, if i dared to dream, it was to live in a quite location with an element of countryside with alittle piece of land that i could plant fruit trees and live a private life where the world did not notice me but where i could learn to be myself and walk with my eyes wide open.Now by this time i had built up trust in my estate agent and he in me, so when he called to say" a house had come on the market but needed an awful lot of vision" curositiy got the better of us. It was a block viewing one saturday, "open house" for all to view at the same time; just turn up between 9.30 am untill 2.00 pm no appointment needed.
We arrive at miday, pulled up in Louies old battered works van, to see cars parked all along the verge, people walking away shaking their heads in disbelief of the work they could only visualize.
Now the renovation of three houses under my belt i am thinking i am a hardy old girl and never one to shy away from a challange if i have vision but this house made me feel i wanted to hold my breath! There were people everywhere, i needed to get some fresh air and made my way into the back garden to interupt a couple having an argument, the woman of the couple pleading with her husband to take her home as she could not cope with the work that would be needed. I walked down the garden away from the crowd and waited for Louie to find me and tell me "this is the one" i know him so well. Ha!
Somehow the bidding war fell in my lap, there was six of us bidding ALL cash buyers".Ten days later our offer accepted.We are four years into building our dream and work is still on going, but i walk every day with my eyes wide open loving every precious moment and grateful that i was given the pleasure of turning this house into our much loved Home. x
These next pictures are of our old home.

Friday, 16 September 2011

More Apples!

I am rushing today, i have made a very quick apple pie; presentation is not brillant so this one will be for La and Louie midweek when i my new cooker arrives!
I am going to pick our Eva up from school with Zoe today and then Zoe and children are staying with us tonight.
I am looking forward to tonight just having dinner with them and testing my Homemade Lollies on them, a child will always give you an honest answer!
On a more serious note i went to bed last night thinking and hopeing that the Four miners trapped 90 metres down a shaft in cardiff would have been rescued by morning. During the night rescuers managed to go 30 metres into the shaft and had to turn back, this morning these poor men are still trapped.
Prayers are needed for these men and their families, hopefully they will be rescued soon and return to their famillies x

Thursday, 15 September 2011

I asked For Apples and i got Apples!

Started work early this morning, prepared vegtables for Homemade gravy and put this on the hob for cooking.Thought i would walk down the bottom of our garden as i do most mornings, what a surprise so many of our cooking apples fallen to the ground. Now this has taken us four years to rid these apples of a Black spot virus without using any chemicals so i feel they are like natures chosen fruit!
I did not have any intention of having a great baking day today but i could feel my plans were about to change.  No oven; so i thought i will make Crumbles as this is alittle quicker than pies, i picked up two bag fulls thinking " i wish i could get these up to Terri in scotland in the blink of an eye" herself being a Homebaker. Now this hob of mine is very small and does not quite fit two very large pans on it at the same time, so a bit of a juggling act.
I made an Apple Crumble and a Blackberry and Apple Crumble, i found my Crumble mix recipe so of course i made to much but that was a bonus today as i put the extra in the freezer! I used my vanilla castor sugar that i always make by popping a vanilla pod in a large jar of natural castor sugar, this just gets better the longer you leave it. I use all natural sugars, its slightly golden in colour but i feel it tastes better and gives a golden colour to baking.
After much washing up today my gravy came out to be a lovely rich gravy, quite intense in taste, will be lovely on winter meats. My crumbles look lovely, i simmered the apples gently with alittle golden castor sugar, they are the nicest apple, worth waiting four years. After apples cooled down i put crumble mix on top, in a freezer bag and labelled them. I dare not go down the garden this afternoon to see the rest of the apples that await my culinery skills, its afternoon now and i am feeling alittle slow, so off to make the beds! x