Thursday, 27 October 2011

It's raining, it's pouring....

it's raining, it's pouring...

are you like me dear reader?  do you secretly look forward to Mr Time stepping forward one hour this weekend?  even though perhaps like me, come the middle of february you long for daffodils and easter bunnies to make an appearance again?

the thought of it getting dark outside earlier fills me with that warm, cosy feeling because it means more snuggling time on the sofa with my lovely hubby, cuddling under a knitted blanket while we watch a favourite movie.

the fire is roaring, the candles are lit and the lamps put on low. a steaming mug of hot chocolate is on the coffee table with a plate of home made biscuits of course, and we settle down to enjoy some quiet time away from the trials and tribulations of work and all the demands made on us during  the day.

if the kids have time from their busy social life - remember of course that they are teenagers! - they join us to watch a family movie, usually something totally silly like 'Elf' - and yes i'm still chuckling at the scene where Elf thinks the gum stuck on the sidewalk is free candy for him to eat!

as well as cuddling up to my hubby, my little dog Monty likes to snuggle as well.  as i stroke him and enjoy the evening with my family i appreciate how blessed i am to have such a lovely life.  i appreciate the warmth, safety and love that i have, because of course dear reader i don't have to tell you of all the awful things that go on in the world - you only have to watch 10 minutes of the news to know that all is not well.  so i count my blessings and try each day to make a difference where i can, whether it be recycling an unwanted sweater into a scarf, giving outgrown clothes to the local thrift store, only using the car if i really have to, or something simple like making my family their favourite meal that evening.

always look on the bright side of life.

i'm a firm believer that everybody no matter how small the action, can make a difference to their life or somebody else's.

i believe in appreciating the little things in life, whether it's a log fire, a country walk, a chat with a dear friend, sewing on my machine or even using my favourite vintage china.

i enjoy my life and live everyday to the full and appreciate what i have.  

my mantra for each day is 'this is a day for throwing bonnets over windmills!'  which basically means enjoy life.  it's a quote taken from my favourite book Double Wedding Ring by Patricia Wendorf and that's how i try to live my life each day.

of course,some days are harder than others dear reader, but if they weren't, i wouldn't be human would i? 

Monday, 24 October 2011

Scrumptious Ginger Biscuits

Scrumptious Ginger Biscuits

many years ago i found an old farmhouse recipe for ginger biscuits which has become a firm favourite with my family.  so much so when i make them i usually times the ingredients quantities by three!  this fills 2 large tins which last all of 2 days so you have been warned!!!

it's a really easy recipe and uses relatively cheap ingredients and i guarantee that you're family will love you for making them!

the ingredients are:-

8oz sugar
4oz golden syrup
4oz butter
12oz self-raising flour
2 teaspoons ginger
1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 beaten egg

i just use supermarket brand ingredients - they will taste absolutely yummy!  and don't forget i usually triple the amount because they won't last long.

don't worry that they will be too gingery (is that a word!?!) - they won't.

here's how to make them (its a doddle!):-

put sugar, syrup and butter in a pan on a low heat - you don't want to burn the sugar - and melt

in a seperate bowl put the flour, ginger, bicarb and egg

pour the melted ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix to a paste

roll teaspoons of the mixture into little balls and place them well apart on a greased baking tray - i usually fit 12 to a tray

bake at 190c for about 10mins - they want to be golden but still be a little bit 'bendy' when you take them off the tray - that's when you know they are cooked to perfection!

my family like to eat them when they're still warm.  let me know what you think!

when your last batch is done put the kettle on and have a nice cup of tea with a homemade biscuit or two.  enjoy!!

P.S.  if you make these when your kids/hubby have had a hard day at school/work, they will be eternally grateful!!!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Living the Dream - Finally!!


Hooray! my tea-cup design has arrived!

at long last, after months of research and planning dear readers, i received samples of my design for a tea-cup & saucer and mug.

my journey started last year in July when i made my very first tea-cup.  i supplied a local shop with my different designs but my tea-cups were purely decorative.

each time i made one, i thought how lovely they would be if you could actually use them as a functional work of art.

after months of searching the internet i found a factory who straight away knew what i wanted to do.

i made a slightly different design that would work well on a china tea-cup and as soon as it was approved i ordered samples of my design which were finally delivered last week.

as i opened my parcel i couldn't contain my excitement - i did a little dance around the kitchen and for once i was totally speechless as i saw my finished design for the first time.

i am so pleased with how its turned out and i still have to pinch myself because i have wanted to mass produce a design of mine for a long time and now my time has finally come!

its fantastic to have my design looking so professional - the design is copright protected, i've got my own 'backstamp' with my logo that i use on all my web pages, and the icing on the cake for me is that the china is dishwasher safe!

i've been on cloud nine ever since!

i have placed an order with the factory so my tea-cups and mugs will be available on-line very soon and i will keep you posted as to which shops will be stocking them. 

you may wonder dear reader why i'm beside myself with joy.  it's because having coped with the different things life has thrown at me, i am finally seeing my ideas come to fruition after a very, very long time of waiting.  i am 41 now, and i have wanted to run my own business and see my designs in shops since i was 18.

now don't get me wrong dear reader, i love being a mum and housewife but now that my kids are teenagers i feel that now it is my time to shine and the first step on this journey has been starting my business in february this year. it has gone from strength to strength so i feel very blessed especially in this current recession.

it just goes to show that it might take a little longer than you expected but if you stay true to your dreams you can achieve them! 

Friday, 14 October 2011

Delivery of goodies to cardiff!

cardiff castle
yesterday, after months of saying that i would make time to see the shop i supply in cardiff, me and my long-suffering hubby finally visited.

i didn't realise that cardiff was so big and that there were so many fantastic shops!

A fantastic window display of old sewing machines!
we took another parcel of stock to the shop i supply that is situated in the royal arcade

tea cup & saucer, coasters, brooches and cushion
the shop is called Kay's Eclectic Vintage (you'll find it on facebook)and is run by Bryn, a lovely lady who is always happy with the products i send her which is great! Her shop is situated above another shop called Joie De Vivre which is run by Belinda who i met for the first time yesterday. she was very friendly and helpful and very complimentary about my work which is always lovely to hear.

cushions from my children's range and my oval baby shoes hand embroidered pictures
i took some photos of my work in situ and i was very pleased with how everything looked.

Some of my cushions and an oval lady of mine

A few of my greetings cards

my hubby is an absolute gem - he followed me round all the shops that he had absolutely no interest in, while i'm very animatedly saying how fantabulous everything is - that's my hybrid of fantastic and fabulous. i use it when something is super super fabulous!

needless to say i also did rather a lot of shopping while i was at cardiff (hence the long-suffering hubby at the start of my blog!)
i admired all the gorgeous vintagey finds that were just waiting for me to rescue them from the shelves and i took a few home.

we had a lovely lunch to recharge our batteries, for by this time we were starting to flag so after another look round we drove home, my hubby breathing a sigh of relief while my mind was working overtime thinking of all the things i was going to make with the different vintage fabrics i had bought.

all in all a most fantabulous day!!!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Red Hat and No Knickers!

Red Hat and No Knickers!

just like you dear reader, i am a typical example of today's woman.  that is to say i juggle being a housewife and mum with work.

i think of it as wearing 'different hats' for the different things i do each day.

the two hats i wear most regularly (metaphorically speaking) are what i call my 'boring beret' and my 'flamboyant feathery fluff.'

as you have probably guessed dear reader i wear my boring beret when i have to be in housewife and mum mode.  and of course i don't have to tell you that it involves exciting things like 'where's my football boots?'  'have you seen the car keys?' and really exciting things like 'what's for tea?'

my little escapism from this each day is to take my dog monty for his daily sniff and search around the park.  as we're walking along, monty trotting with his tail looking like a flag, and me in an assortment of petticoats, colours and handmade attire, i let my imagination soar high in the sky and i'm instantly wearing my 'flamboyant feathery fluff.'

this extravagent headpiece is decorated with rare exotic feathers, encrusted with priceless jewels and made out of gorgeous red velvet - for don't forget dear reader this is a hat of my imagination where there are no limits and no recession!

as i walk along wearing this gorgeous hat (think of something similar to the hats worn in Downton Abbey and you get the idea) my work mode starts to kick in.  i call it work but really i should call it play.  as you know i am an artist running my own business but i don't really think of it as work because i absolutely love what i do.  that is to say, each day i let my imagination loose and create art and homewares out of fabrics, photos and lots of vintage finds.  how can i really call it work when i feel its how i live and breathe each day?

with each step i take i get new ideas for things i can make when i get back home and into my studio.  shall i do some sewing? or make a collage? or sort out my hundreds of vintage photos and postcards into some kind of order?  who knows what i shall feel like when i back home.

as i get through the door, wipe the dirt off little monty's feet and put the kettle on, i start to get little doubts creeping into my head and suddenly my 'flamboyant feathery fluff' has disappeared and the 'boring beret' is back in place.

i have been rather busy making more stock for the shops i supply.i could do some sewing but really j edgar hoover should visit the downstairs rooms.  i could sort out my vintage lace ready to trim a cushion i have already made but really the bathroom needs cleaning.

then it suddenly dawns on me.  for the last few days the dirty laundry pile has slowly crept higher and higher until it is overflowing out of the basket and i know from getting dressed this morning that the underwear situation has got to the critical stage. i must be sensible and keep wearing my 'boring beret' and get the washing done, because if i don't and i wear my 'flamboyant fleathery fluff' made of red velvet, i really will be known as the lady with a 'Red Hat and No Knickers!'