Tuesday, 28 June 2011

~More mid-week treasures~

On my day off today I managed to squeeze in a quick trip to (one of) my favourite charity shops in a nearby small town, which never disappoints.  Real vintage gems of bric-a-brac, fabric, table linens and glassware are to be found; and it's all I can do to be ruthless and strict with myself.  Todays gems amongst 3 bags full of linen, fabric, a blanket and vintage scarves, is this rose picture, in a lovely mount and frame for £3 - already on my bedroom wall
 and a huge pair of unlined curtains in this vintage cotton sateen fabric, which was Made in England (hurrah!)again for £3

These will be squirrelled away in my 'Caravan Bottom-Drawer' inspired by the pretty curtains in Curlew Country's gorgeous caravan (see here), where they will wait patiently for my dream to come to fruition!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

~Garlic harvest and alien alliums~

It is so hot here today! I've been pottering in the garden and I decided to dig up my garlic as all the tops had turned yellow and flopped over. I got a decent crop bearing in mind they were grown in a raised bed and not in full sun. I planted them late October, and I was frugal and used shop-bought garlic instead of expensive seed garlic as a trial just to see how it went. Gardening books advise against this and say the crop is likely to be inferior and more prone to disease, but I am impressed with the results. It's drying out in the sun now, and I'll keep some to sow again in autumn.
I've kept the scapes (the twisty garlic flower stalks that hard-necked varieties produce) and I'm going to make garlic scape pesto for the first time. My leeks have also bolted, but I'm loving the flower heads, just like alliums, and I have some unopened ones in a vase in the kitchen just becuse they're so weird and
alien-looking. The bees love them too!
Yes, I think I love the allium family... This is one of my favourite pictures - I bought this limited edition linocut print by Selby-based artist Helen Roddie at an art show a few years ago - it's called 'Onion Watch' .

Thursday, 23 June 2011


I also bought some jam and chutney labels at the Good Food Show from a company called http://www.jamjarshop.com/.  They had many label designs available; I chose the green and red polka dots...

...and they had  polka dot lids and all kinds of other preserving paraphernalia, that can be hard to come by. I've put them to good use already labelling my chutney to add to the storecupboard.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

~Shopping for Essentials~

I try to be frugal in many ways in my daily life, but I do lapse and have a splurge on my dearest favourite things from time to time. I treated myself to some 'essentials' whilst at Gardener's World Live and the BBC Good Food Show this weekend.  First purchase was Thunder Toffee Vodka - absolutely delicious and I can't wait to think of a dessert to use it in next time people come round. Next purchase was a plant for my shady quiet corner of the garden; Heuchera 'Electra' from Heucheraholics in the floral marquee; whose stand I loved.

And finally we visited the David Austin Roses stand; who had an unmissable offer for 2 roses for £25. I chose Rosa 'The Pilgrim', a gorgeous pale yellow rose with scents of tea rose and myrrh.

Rosa 'The Pilgrim'
We came away happy, carrying our purchases in their sturdy David Austin sacks. Roll on next June!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

~Gardener's World Live & BBC Good Food Show~

I've just returned today from a really lovely weekend with the lovely V and J. We went on
our annual jaunt to the NEC Birmingham for the BBC's Gardening and Food shows, though we did miss last year. Compared to the previous 7 or 8 years we were suitably attired; comfort rather than image now being a priority...
and we had the essential wheeley trolley - they are very 'now' so I'm told! We were frugal and equipped ourselves with our own supply of Pimms and the trimmings. We sat in the sunshine and dodged the occasional showers.
The gardens were full of inspiration as always
I loved this 'Grow Your Own' display of course...

And as well as Carol, Monty and Joe, we saw the Masterchef finalists with Greg Wallace & John Torode which was brilliant entertainment
What a great day! More next time...

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

~Food for free (well almost)~

Today I bottled my elderflower cordial, which tastes stronger, more hedgerow-ey and better than anything I've bought. Even 9 year old son likes it declaring I could sell it and make a fortune! I've always been curious about how easy and cheap this was to make; and it is... FREE elderflowers, courtesy of the hedgerows yesterday morning, 3 pints of boiling water, 1kg of sugar, 2 sliced lemons, 50g citric acid (local chemist/pharmacy). Apparently citric acid makes it clearer and less prone to cloudiness. Sum total approx £2 for 3 pints of the lovely stuff.  I used this recipe here but omitted the oranges.
Though I have come to a conclusion that the reason elderflower cordial is sold in green bottles is it's a deadringer for (ahem) urine. Sorry, do forgive me, but I couldn't help musing about that one...

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

~Speedy Delivery~

My package arrived from Wool & Buttons yesterday; super-speedy I have to say as I only ordered the evening before! Everything was wrapped in brown paper tied with twine, and I love the complimentary garment label to sew into my baby cardigan when completed.
The pattern I'm using is this vintage Hayfield one, the cardigan with the moss stitch collar on the bottom left.
 and I've made a start! Next project will be this cardigan from the Hebe pattern book by Louisa Harding. Gorgeous photographs and some pretty vintage-looking designs.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

~Car Boot Sale~

This morning at 8am, before the rain set in, it was glorious and sunny and a lovely morning for a quick walk around the village car boot sale. My excuse was dog walking my little pooch; but hubby saw through my plan.  Despite it's small size (the car boot sale, not my dog) I got some bargains...
I know, I know; another jug and more teacups and saucers. I am seriously considering renting out my vintage china, it's definitely an idea to explore. And this lovely garish half-apron for 50p. I may even wear it to make some smokey tomato chutney this afternoon!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

~Emily's Tea Party~

My Mum and I had a lovely couple of hours yesterday at a Vintage Tea Party for Emily's 21st birthday.
The homemade cakes were delicious, so many to choose from - carrot cake, blueberry and lime drizzle cake, simnel cake, cupcakes... I opted for the chocolate and beetroot cake and a generous slice of the creamiest custard tart I have ever tasted (it's on the right of the photo)

The attention to detail was lovely; beautiful vintage china and bunting and a gorgeous Cath Kidston-esque polka dot 2-tier birthday cake, decorated with strawberries.
I really like this cup and saucer in my favourite shade of green.
Thankyou Em, we had a lovely time, and Happy Birthday!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

~Mid-week treasure & pleasure~

Some people have a penchant for shoes or handbags; it appears my vice is bric-a-brac. I admit it.
I've found that sometimes you spot the best thrifted things if you aren't really looking. I was in a rush this outing but I did well - this week's finds that have made me smile are this ribbed jug with the roses motif that I absolutely love, and the Meakin bowls will be put to one side for my (aspirational) vintage caravan bottom-drawer. The fabrics were blouses, very cheap as that particular thrift shop were about to have a refit and had a sale.  They will go on the patchwork cushion pile of hexagons-in-waiting.
This gorgeous flanelette sheet was only £2.75.  It will be lovely in winter; I have such cosy childhood memories of flanelette sheets, heavy blankets and eiderdowns at my Nana's house.
And to top it all off with a cherry, my July Country Life was waiting on the doormat when I got home. Get the kettle on and the ginger nuts out!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

~More from Cornwall~

After some camera problems, I've uploaded some more holiday photos...Tiny mussels on Padstow beach happily growing together in huge groups. I love all seashells, but the colours of mussels are a favourite.

Rick Stein's divine Bread & Butter Pickle, absolutely gorgeous with bread, cheese and olives - a bit like a more refined and sweeter version of my own piccalilli.
...And one small very cute dog (almost) wearing sunglasses hanging out in the beach shelter at Harlyn Bay

Sunday, 5 June 2011

~Recent projects and finds~

Here is the first finished patchwork cushion I made; I'm on a roll with this at the moment, dreaming of fitting out a caravan or campervan with lovely cushions and throws.
I found time for a quick rummage in a couple of my favourite charity shops yesterday and couldn't believe it when I found this Brora jersey dress - unfortunately too big for me, but I will put it on eBay later today.

Also at a recent auction where I often buy boxes of odds and ends to rummage through I found this old sewing box and needlecase. The needlecase looks very like a new Cath Kidston one, but cost me pennies and I prefer it because it is old! The sewing box is a renovation project, as it's stained inside.
Funny though that I misheard the auctioneer who announced "A box of Misc."  In my head he said "A box of Mizz" and I wondered what he was on about, was he trying to say "mixed"? My mistake- and one I regularly also make with song lyrics.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Back from Cornwall

Can you get jet-lag from a car journey? No? Are you sure? Nine hours in a hot car with 2 kids, husband and a dog were not my idea of a relaxing end to a lovely week in Padstow. We stayed here, have only good things to say about the cottage and the company that manages the rental. Lovely furniture and decoration. Excellent. The test of a good holiday home is when you almost nearly prefer it to your own; and I did! This was the view of the Camel estuary from our bedroom, where I sat and did my patchwork and read this great book as the sun went down.
It was on the same street as Rick Stein's St Petroc Hotel and Bistro, a stone's throw from the harbour where I saw this and felt it was a sign that I should stay here forever...
I can but dream - that costs nothing...