Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The one about the chicken and the egg

It's been awhile since I last spoke about my chickens.

Since then we have gone from 4 to 5; when Snowdrop (a Bovans Silver) decided that eating was not for her, and had to be replaced with Snowdrop mark 2 (a Coral Reef) and Rosie (a Sussex Ranger).

We are now in-undated with eggs on a daily basis, and as you can see from these photographs, my girls all have their own style. Not only do they look beautiful, but it's nice to be able to match the egg to the chicken, as I can keep tabs on their laying.

From top left anti clockwise: laid by - Snowdrop, Violet, Rosie, Primrose
(Bluebell's egg colour is somewhere in between Snowdrop's and Rosie's colour)

From top left to right: Rosie, Bluebell and Snowdrop
middle: Violet
bottom: Primrose

Even now winter is upon us, we are still getting 4-5 eggs a day. So after initially giving some away, I have started selling them to our neighbours.
It means that the chickens earn their keep, and it keeps the neighbours in yummy 'cheap' free range eggs!

Of course, this offered me a chance to indulge in my new addiction - photoshop.

fonts: marketing script & ball park from dafont.com
starburst and dotty border from puglypixel.com
vintage chicken image from theoldentimes.com

Monday, 1 November 2010

Autumn Days & School Memories

Whilst uploading the photos from our weekend of glamping; I found myself humming what used to be my favourite hymn whilst at primary school, which started me off down memory lane.

From the age of 5 to 11 (1988-1994) I attended a lovely little primary school in the heart of Epping Forest called High Beech. There were only about 11 children in my year group and the school only had three classrooms in total so it was very small and friendly.

As well as a playground we had a school field which sloped downwards, and at the bottom of the field was the Old Man Oak Tree.
We had names for all main trees on the field, which was very useful for playing games.

The most memorable game for me was something we called '1,2,3, Block Home'. One person was 'It' and the had to count to 100 leaning against the oak tree while all the other children scarpered in different directions, each aiming for their chosen hiding place (very similar to hide and seek here).
After the person had finished counting he/she would have to walk away from the their post/home (the oak tree) and try and spy a person hiding.
During this time children who were hiding could decide to make a run for the oak tree, the idea was to get to the oak tree (home) before the person who was 'It' caught you out' by running back to the tree, touching it and shouting "1, 2, 3, I see Steven Edwards running towards me".
You could also be caught out if the person who was 'It' spied you, ran back to the oak tree, and shouted out "1, 2, 3, I see Natalie Morley in Holly Bush No.1" In which case if you were Natalie and hiding behind Holly Bush No.1 you where out.

Now you could see why it was so important to have names for the trees. As I've already mentioned there was the The Old Man Oak Tree, Holly Bushes No.1, 2 and 3 (very large hollies; You could actually go inside No. 2 and 3, the way the branches had grown had left hollows inside the bushes so we would hide and play house inside them, sweeping them 'clean' with little branches of leaves), the Sycamore Bushes, the Magic Tree (I think this was a Hawthorn, it had gnarled bark and at the base was lump of quartz stone embedded in the ground with moss growing on it) Then there was the Rocket Tree (a large Sycamore that had several trunks coming up from the base, so that you could climb into the middle and sit in it like a space ship).

Anyway, the song I was humming was Autumn Days and it was my favourite song to sing during school assemblies. My year group chose to sing it at our leavers assembly, it didn't seem to matter that the leavers assembly was in July!

Autumn Days

Autumn days, when the grass is jewelled
And the silk inside a chestnut shell
Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled
All these things I love so well


So I mustn’t forget
No, I mustn’t forget
To say a great big thank you
I mustn’t forget.

Clouds that look like familiar faces
And a winter’s moon with frosted rings
Smell of bacon as I fasten up my laces
And the song the milkman sings.

Sing Chorus

Whipped-up spray that is rainbow-scattered
And a swallow curving in the sky
Shoes so comfy though they’re worn out and they’re battered
And the taste of apple pie.

Sing Chorus

Scent of gardens when the rain’s been falling
And a minnow darting down a stream
Picked-up engine that’s been stuttering and stalling
And a win for my home team.

Sing Chorus


Aren't the lyrics lovely, it always makes me feel cosy when I sing it to myself and brings back fond childhood memories.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Jolly Days & Cosy Nights

Our tent

I started this post just after we got back from our lovely camping weekend at Jolly Days, but as always, other things need to be done first, and my blogging took a bit of a back seat.

We did some walking......

Some balancing......

some dam building (dam removed afterwards btw).

We built big dens......

.....and little dens.

We hunted for fungi......

gazed up at magnificent trees.....

and bathed in the last few golden rays of the year.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

T52MMMC week 4

Well it seems that I have somewhat trailed behind in the 52 MMM Challenge but I have not been completely idle in the creative sense.

During the summer hols I decided that at the beginning of the new term I wanted to start an after school club; making stuff using affordable materials e.g. secondhand, recycled or just plain cheap (the local pound shop has proved useful for curby grips and hair bands so far!)

But before I even started the club I needed to design a poster. I used this opportunity to have a crack at Photoshop. I don't have the full creative suite, it's out of my budget at the moment, but I did get Photoshop Elements 4.0 free when I bought a Bamboo drawing pad on ebay.
Since I installed it at the beginning of the year it has remained unused, until now that is. Now, I am not one for sitting and reading through tutorials for computer programmes, I just like to fiddle about with it and then perhaps get some useful little tips after I've mastered the basics.
At first it was slow going, it took at a least a couple of hours to work out how to add a image to a layer; it wouldn't let me copy and paste or open and insert, but I eventually discovered that the option "Place..." under the "File" tab was what I was looking for, and after that it was rather easy.

Anyway this is what I came up with, and I was really pleased with the finished article.

Most of the images I have used on it were free downloads from the lovely blog, Pugly Pixel, which I stumbled over a while back, and I am so glad I have finally been able to use them for something. The lace was a download from the Martha Stewart Weddings website.

So the poster is my week 4, and since then I have hosted three weeks of my little Craft Club; in which we have made the bow hair grips from here, the pom-poms from here, and we made a start today on a cute fabric corsage from here (the first blog I ever read). So I think that brings me up to week 7 which isn't as bad I originally thought (Although I need to photograph and blog them to make them count.

On a completely different note; tomorrow, Danny, Ella and I are going away for a long weekend with friends which I'm pretty excited about (it will be my first holiday this year). We are going glamping here. It's 20 mins from York, it's in a forest and has a woodburning stove, real beds, and our own real toilet and shower. To top it all off it looks like that the sun is making and appearance in England this weekend, whoo hoo!

photos from the Jollydays facebook page

Looks lovely doesn't it! It is also Ella's 7th birthday on saturday so hopefully it will be a memorable one for her. I can't wait to get there and see if it is really as lovely as it looks in the photos.

I'll let you all know when we get back.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

T52MMMC week 3

I did make this last week, honest, I just didn't get round to posting until today as I spent most of last week in the beautiful city of Bath, doing lots of shopping. Luckily while I was in Bath the weather was beautiful which is more than what I can say for the weather in Essex recently, we are feeling a bit soggy here at the mo, which is a bit ironic since last weeks make was a garden sunshade!

These pictures where taken in a bit of a hurry in-between rain showers, so aren't the best.
I bought this lovely heavyweight cotton fabric last year in a slightly odd, but pleasing fabric/coffee shop in Maldon (the smell of coffee wafting up your nose while you fondle fabric was quite soothing).

At the time I thought it would be lovely to use it in garden somewhere, either as a giant outdoor floor cushion like this, or some sort of sun shady thing. But it spent over a year taking up precious space on my fabric shelves until now.

The sunshade has garden canes threaded through the back and front to help keep it's shape and is held up with a combination of cup hooks, eyelet screws and some washing line, so it quite easy to take down and roll up when the weather is yucky.

I don't know about you, but all the flowers in garden are starting to look a bit worst for wear now, but these newbies look gorgeous in my french stacking crates I got for the boot sale the other week £10 for 3!

This is one of a pair of deck chairs I got two years ago, I managed to make a new sling for this one last year, but still haven't finished of the other one, so that's another job for the list.

Please pray for a non-rainy morning for me tomorrow, as it car boot day in Marks Tey and I missed it last week while I was in Bath!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

T52MMMC week 2

Yesterday, whilst washing up my latest car boot haul from the Marvellous Marks Tey Car Boot (no, seriously, thats what it's called), I decided that my new-to-me mini jelly mould would make a lovely votive for a candle. Then I thought I'd go one better than that since I'm on 'the make' at the mo and make it into a candle.

Now, I don't have any candle making equipment as such, but in typical me style I just had to make it NOW.

So after locating my stash of Ikea candles, I quickly got down to snapping and chopping them into bits, removing the wick to use for later, and melted all the bits 'bain marie style' directly in the mould over a gentle heat. Once the bits had melted fully, I gingerly removed the mould from it's hot bath and balanced a skewer with the wick tied to it until it all solidified 'et voila!' one candle.

I can see candlemakers around the world covering their face in horror. I've probably used the wrong type of wax, the wrong type of wick and completely the wrong method, but it looks ok to me, and it was fun to do on a whim and I think that's what the 52MMM challenge is all about.

I'm going to visit my Mum & Dad on monday morning for a few days. Ella and I are going by train to Bath where my parents have recently bought an apartment. It's in Sydney Place, which is but a stones throw from the Cath Kidston shop, not to mention a whole host of other lovely places. How exciting!

Friday, 13 August 2010

Cath Kidston fame!

Well not for me..............

But my lovely sister-in-law who, back in June, was sent a load of fabric by a lady at CK HQ and asked to turn it into lampshades. Fast forward to the beginning of this week and imagine her joy when she discovered they had been used in the new catalogue/magazine and on the website

Unfortunately these babies aren't available to buy from Cath Kidston, but lucky for you, you can snap one up over at The Old Lamp Shed. Just don't forget to mention me when you make your order (I have to earn some brownie points to convert into lampshade credits!)

Alternatively you could snap up one of these vintage style pretties or choose the bespoke service of recovering a old favourite lamp shade in a fabric of your choice.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

The 52MMM Challenge week 1

That stands for 52 marvellous makes madness challenge.

The challenge is to make one thing a week for the next 52 weeks, and that doesn't include dinner!
O.K, so I was a bit slow on making a start, but this week I made my first thing. A cute little blind for the spare room/sewing room. made from a vintage embroidered tablecloth and a bit of lace from my stash.

Very simple, it's unlined, without any rods, and just pinned to the window frame, but I sewed on some rings and threaded it with cord so it goes up and down easily. I'm really pleased with it!

Looking at the photos now, I probably should have given it a bit of an iron, but hey, I'm not known for my ironing skills!

While I was fiddling about I decided that the ikea lamp above the bed need prettifying too, so I tied a ribbon in a bow and clipped on a old china rose earring I had in my box of trinkets.

Kitchen Makeover

This year the possibility of re-doing our little kitchen has arisen. We inherited the old one from the previous owners when we moved in nearly 5 years ago now and although it had been done fairly recently, it was and still isn't to my taste. It has dark wood cupboards with multi coloured tiles in terracotta, dark green, blue, beige and brown.

When we moved in we had to replace the cooker as they had removed the old one (freestanding) and we also replaced the worktop to a solid oak one from Ikea so we could install a built-in cooker. That was the only thing we changed as we just didn't have the money to do anything else.

My plan was to paint the cupboards ivory and change the tiles but that never happened. It looks even worse now as I have a hole in the plaster and a lots of copper piping snaking it's way round the wall when the old boiler was removed and a new one installed on the over side of the wall last year (that still hasn't been re-plastered and boxed in.)

Anyway, this year Danny announced that he was fed up with the freezer being in the outhouse and the tiny built-in under the counter fridge in the kitchen and he wanted a big fridge freezer (which would mean removing the cupboard we keep the saucepans and losing a precious section of worktop space). So I said that if he wanted to do that then we had to move the washing machine to the outhouse and get in plumbed in so we could free up some space (the tumble dryer is in the outhouse so I think that would make sense, creating a separate utility area out there).

So with all this moving about it makes sense to replace the cupboards rather than repaint them. I would like off-white colour cupboards, we will keep the oak worktop and just add ice-cream coloured china and enamelware. Sort of like this........


So when I received an email from Voucher Codes telling me they have just launched a lovely new money-saving lifestyle blog (Most Wanted), and wanted me to suggest 10 gorgeous items under £50, to inject some new life into a room in the house that was looking a bit tired, I knew that I should choose the kitchen.

So here is my top ten.....


Nantes Pendant Light

I have been lusting after this french style pendant light for at least two years and it is definitely top of my list.


Vintage Rose Dinner Service
£4-6 per item

I love collecting floral vintage china from junk shops and boot sales, but this dinner service is so pretty and it's a very reasonable price too!


Cream Metro Wall Tiles
£21.50 per Sq Metre

I love the simplicity of these brick style tiles. They are very fashionable at the moment, on the Fired Earth website they cost over £60 a square metre, but these are a third of the price! I can easily re-tile my kitchen splash backs for under £50 with these.


'Eat Your Greens' Hand Pulled Screen Print

I discovered the Keep Calm Gallery website when I first started blogging and love their collection of quirky screen prints from a talented selection of artists, designers and print-makers. Most of the prints are from limited print runs, so you can easily afford to own a piece of limited edition artwork. This one, by Hayley and Lucas, the sites founders would look perfect in a Kitchen.


Grooved Bone Door Knob

These carved bone door knobs would give a bespoke look to bog standard kitchen cupboards.


American Milk Glass Pitcher

RE is one of my favourite websites, I first discovered the company about 6 years ago when I was sent one of their mail order catalogues, and I've been a fan ever since. I love milk glass, and I love jugs, so this pitcher would fit in a treat in my kitchen on a old painted shelf amongst some pretty china.


Dualit 72402 Kettle in Cream

I need a new kettle, my old one is covered in limescale (we live in a very hard water area) and this one would look lovely in my new kitchen. This was the cheapest I could find it. Good old John Lewis!


Etched Glass Sweet Jar

I love glass jars, and have them filled with things, like shells ribbons and buttons around my home, but they also look good filled with sweet treats like sugared almonds, bon-bons, meringues, and vanilla or cinnamon sugar.


Enamel Ladles
From £7.50

A selection of pastel coloured utensils hung above the hob would add splash of colour as well as being in a useful spot.

Zinc Storage Box

Here this lovely rustic wire storage basket has been used to store magazines. But I can just imagine a group of three hung on a wall in the kitchen to store pots of herbs or glass jars filled with rice, pasta, cous cous and other dry ingredients.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Liberty Print

Wow, I'm so proud.

My little sister Liberty has won the Clothkits Vintage at Goodwood Competition!

and here is her entry, inspired by all the festivals (aviation, motorsport and horseracing) that Goodwood host throughout the year with a fifties twist.
Her fabric design will be printed and turned into a dress that will be shown on the catwalk during the Vintage at Goodwood Festival.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Hipstamatic love