Saturday, 30 November 2013

The last day of November...

is it too late to share one last likkle pumpkin ... ??
or even 2 or 3 ??  I was just attempting to tidy up a teensy area in the Quiet Room among my stash ... have to make room for possible 'incomings' ;) hehehe  I found a lovely piece of white suede fabric that I thought would wrinkle perfectly to make a soft squishy pumpkin, and then I found two remaining tin tartlets that just cried out for pumpkin pies :)  I've made a few of the woolly ones with safety pins and bells for gifts and thought why not have one for me too! :) I've only been able to Oooh over them for a day or so as now they are getting ready to be packed away for another year, but I'm glad I took the time to make them  ... maybe I actually suffer from Pumpkin fever as opposed to Pumpkin Lovin ...hahaha
 
Its been a busy couple of weeks, not much sewing happening as life has taken over a tad... just the usual goings on, fortunately no drama. Although I was miserable and out of action for a couple of days with a broken filling in a back tooth, when I broke it it didn't actually hurt at all, no pain, but I didn't hang around for it to brew and it was soon fixed with a speedy dental appointment. It was after the appointment and new filling that the pain and discomfort started! Its settling down a bit now so I'm hoping I can start to pick up a needle again. Funny how tooth pain can drive you up the wall and stop you functioning properly.
 
Sooooooo I've neeeeeeeded comforting ...hehehe...do you know what's coming? ....Oooh yeah ...confession time!
A little collection of Winter goodies, 'winnings' and 'buyings' :)  The Santa's were bargains! haha The firkin bucket was just meant to be ... can't you just see a super-duper sweet prim Christmas tree in it? The Snowmen were practically freeeeee from TKMaxx and the small broom was an almost magical find! .. it just suddenly appeared on the computer screen and said take me home! ...lol I blame Pintrest ... I honestly don't quite get it, but I like looking :) All are welcome additions to my Christmas and Snowman decor ... soon to be out! :))
 
I was also lucky enough to be taken out for a treat one day with Hubby. We popped over to  our favourite haunt, Harrogate. Hubs got to wander around The RHS garden Harlow Carr and I got to wander around a conveniently, on at the same time, 'Knit & Stitch Show'! ;) No forward planning there, well not tooooo much ...  hehehe    I was in two minds when I got to the show and the  ticket stand and realised that entry was £15 !! That's more than I paid for the Festival of Quilts in the summer. I was stood debating what to do when a lady came up to me and offered me one of her group tickets for £10 ... I ummmed and ahhhed, still not sure, but the thoughts of a spare £5 won out and I believe I was successfully 'touted' .. I was sooo scared walking the all of 5 yards to the entrance and handing in my ticket, so much so that the security guard had to tell me twice to walk on in! (All touting transactions had been carried out in full view of the security guard  and he told me afterwards that the 'touting' lady had been OK'd to offer her spare group ticket to another person, still not so sure money should have exchanged hands though!) I just walked on as quickly as possible and tried very unsuccessfully to not look toooo guilty! Lol   The Show was HUGE ... it covered several halls and was jam packed with shoppers of the knitting persuasion. I didn't find tooo many stalls that I was tempted by and I certainly got whacked by several bulky but thankfully soft bags full of knitting wools and yarns .... some ladies must knit alot! haha
I managed to find a small Irish wool/tweed stall and was happily tempted  :) {I had to , she'd travelled all the way from Ireland!!} Also I found one stall that sold some of the cross stitch designs I like  ...
She had a nice selection of Blackbird Designs but no Country Stitches or Plum Street Samplers etc..  I picked up some threads and ribbon too with some  28ct  Cashel Even weave fabric. That was all I could find. I was quite pleased that I'd got in a bit cheaper as I was ready to leave after about 1 1/2 hours ... think I'll stick to the quilt shows! :)
 
I do have a lovely surprise to share, and it really made my day and me feel soooo special!
I received the most lovely package ....
Michelle from Goos Nest sent me a lovely box full of her most gorgeous wool applique patterns! I have to tell you it was the most wonderful surprise ever and the little note she enclosed touched my heart so very deeply. I even didn't know that Michelle read my ramblings about life and the Angels. To find out that someone cares enough about our little happenings to take the time  to not only send a beautiful gift but write such lovely words, my heart was overwhelmed.  Michelle, I will always be grateful for the hand of friendship and love and support that you stretched out ...even across oceans ..lol! Thank you are two words that do not convey enough the feelings of my heart. Oooh that could be almost poetic hehehe :))
 
So its the 1st of December in the morning ... I'm already and prepared ... I have my commercial tasteful chocolate Advent calenders ... no Peppa Pig this year, lol. This year its just simple Cadbury Stars :) I've also got a new wooden boxed Advent ...we'll see how long that survives in the hand's of two very enthusiastic and excited Angels! ;)  There's also our traditional Scripture Tree Advent and  I  ... wait for it... I even finished an Advent 24 'Cones'  type of hanging that I started several years ago ....
I think the original pattern is from a Tone Finnonanger/Tilda  Christmas book (Sorry I know I haven't spelt her name correctly there!)  I've just realised, looking at the photo that even now I've not quite finished them ... I've forgotten to sew on the rusty bells that are supposed to jingle on the end of each cone. That's what that bag of bells was for!! ...hahaha  Too late now they are hanging along the window frame, they'll have to be jingle-less this year.  Each cone is supposed to jingle and be filled with sweets and treats ...can you see that working with my Angels! :) I'd be just asking for trouble ...hehehe I'm going to use a little Gingerbread man to sit in each cone on the respective day ...possibly a bit over simple but it works for me ... if they are ignored enough I might be brave a slip a treat or two in  ... probably on day 24 .. hahaha :)  I feel quite proud of myself been soooo organised before the beginning of the month ...it must be some sort of unnatural fluke ...possibly cause by the tooth pain ...hehehe
 
Bed is calling my name now, and I'm ready to close my tired eyes, I just have to hope my two Angels are feeling sleepy too :)
See you in December ;)
Hugs Wendy x x x

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The oven is not the only thing hot around here! :)

And we're not hot because the central heating is on either ... Ooh noo, we're hot stuff , or rather I'm hot stuff because I'm just soooo goood ... The Domestic Goddess is back! Oh Yeeeaaah! Round two of the Christmas Cake baking saga is complete and is looking to be an unprecedented success this time :) ...

I'm definitely counting my chickens before the eggs are hatched ...or rather before the Cake it is tasted!  hehehe. The photo makes the cakes look very dark, its a beautiful colour really ...my rubbish old camera :( They do look lovely in real life, lol! The colouring of the cake is darker than I anticipated, but I'm guessing that's down to the black treacle, and the texture is moist but firm ....mmmmmm! Better still, the smell is Heavenly :) I think I'm going to say goodbye to Deliah and helloooo Mary (Deliah Smith and Mary Berry, national baking institutees!) And lookie 2 cakes not 4! And perfectly shaped instead of the  mishapened lumps from before :) I guess I should own up to realising my 'mishap' with the first round ... I didn't add enough eggs ...found one in the fruit bowl the morning after :( I guess one little missed egg can have  big consequences ...lol! I'm soooo pleased with these cakes ...I don't actually care if they don't taste good, they look and smell yummilicious! hahaha

But you'll never guess what I found when I went to store the new cakes away until Christmas ??
Last years Christmas Cake!! Obviously last year Deliah's recipe was a success, that and I obviously remembered to add all the ingredients! :)) I was thinking I'd save this one too, but the munchkins have been at it all ready ...sampling to check its not 'gone off' ... and there's not much left. We are big fruit cake eaters  .. (less of the fruit cake craziness ..hehehe)  I could be tempted to make another Mary cake, but I really don't want to push my luck, so I'm hanging up my apron and oven gloves and not going anywhere near a wooden spoon and mixing bowl until at least next year! Lol!

And I'm further laying claim to my 'hot stuff' reputation because I got the maaahooooooooosive Pumpkin Row  by Primitive Gatherings  completed .... hoooray!
That is a two seater sofa it is sat on, and it completely fills the space! I had a fun time trying to make the pillow insert.... I ended up buying 2 feather bed pillows and with feathers flying everywhere managed to slit open an end seam in each pillow so that I could overlap the openings  and make one BIG pillow... it was a bit of a messy job but I'm happy with the result. I think If I'd just tried to squeeze both pillows in I'd have ended up with a funny kind of dip/bend in the middle where they met. This way, although I have still feathers turning up randomly on the furniture but the completed pillow is nice and smooth and even and very squishable :) And did I mention that no-one is allowed to sit on, lean against or even touch the pumpkin pillow ... it is for visual appreciation only! haha

Hot Stuff Mama even had enough time to finish some more woolly goodness ...
I started 'Frosty Mugs' by Threads that Bind earlier this year, (another 'put down' and in the basket) I managed to finish appliqueing the last few random snowflakes yesterday and added the backing .  I had bought a woolly kit and my Mum as a surprise had also bought me a woolly kit too ... two woolly kits ...lol! So I thought it would be fun to make one for me and one for my Mum. Mum's is complete and the second one is progressing. Mum wanted hers slightly narrower without the wool backing, so I backed hers with the red homespun and I'm quite liking it. I'll complete mine with the full woolly backing because I'm a true wool lover and need to drool and stroke  ..hehehe  If I'm lucky we could both be hanging our Frosties up this year :)

I've also picked up another Country Stitches Cross Stitch design that I started last year and put to one side ...
"Merry Christmas To Ewe", for some reason I completed Santa's hat and then just stopped. So I've dug him out off the basket and I've been slipping the odd stitch each night in the hopes that frequent small stitching's will get him finished :) 
 
It's a Happy Birthday today to my gorgeous Angel Esther ... Sweet 16! We are having a quiet family day at home, with a family birthday tea later with cake and ice cream and goodies. I have to be honest and own up to feeling a little bit bittersweet :(  Ooooh I do love my Angel soooo much but this birthday just feels a bit sad. I've made a conscious effort not to dwell and think about things this last week or so, but other people quite unintentionally keep reminding me that my Angel although turning 16 is not like other 16 year olds :(  I guess everyone says the same thing  "sweet 16, kissing the boys and first loves"  It's not said maliciously or in any way unkindly but its just that, when that's all thats said, by anyone and everyone, it becomes a bigger reminder of what Angel Esther will never get to experience. She'll never know her first kiss, never have a first love. And I guess birthdays are just a more poignant reminder of that. The trick is not to think tooo hard ;) So I've been naughty and avoided Church and people today. I want to focus of making the day special for Esther, doing the things she loves, even if it is threading chunky beads, watching silly films and peeling and sticking stickers in her colouring books :) We have pass the parcel planned (you should reeeeeaally play pass the parcel with two little Special Needs Angels who have NO understanding of passing and sharing ...lol!) musical cushions ... chairs are too easy to fall off and lots of music and dancing :) We'll be partying all afternoon!

Happy Birthday Hugs from my Angel :) ... and the odd dribbley kiss and hand flap slap! ...hehehe

Love Wendy x x

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Ups and Downs ...

That's a little bit of how my week has been so far, nothing bad, the 'Ups' have been good and the 'Downs', well whilst they haven't exactly been bad ...  they've just not been very good ..lol!
On the 'Up' side I  successfully  tracked down the perfect winter coats for my Angels and managed to pay less than I'd budgeted for :) It probably doesn't sound too impressive an accomplishment but I have quite high standards in what I expect from a winter coat ...hehehe  And within budget ...that's got to be a big 'UP' :)  So we are all ready for the winter weather to do its worst ... my Angels will be snug and warm in their new bright pink coats ...  OK I didn't quite get the colour I wanted but on a plus side I won't loose them, when it snows they'll be easy to spot,  my Angels will be the ones that look like pink marshmallows! Lol!

I'm also happy to report on the 'Up' side of life that I finally finished the applique on my 'Pumpkin Row' mahoooosive pillow ...
I'm quietly pleased with myself, because I knew that if I was going to waiver and end up with another unfinished project it would be because all those berries had got the better of me. But, I focused and 'got em dun' ...  all 56 berries! Now the final hurdle is to actually complete it as a pillow ... its on my action plan for tomorrow when I have a whole free day!!!  Fingers crossed I don't get distracted ;)
 
Another 'Up' .... My book came early ...
I was panicking a teensy bit after ordering this on impulse ...well coercion really, it was a ' only 1 left in stock' after all ...how much more encouragement do you need  ? ;) hehehe.  I was panicking because I hadn't check the sagging bookcase first in case I already had the book ...Ooooo but, happy dance, I don't have it! I would remember if I had all this yumminess ... I want to do everything! It is a truly scrummdiddiliucious book ... really, I can't call this book a temptation ... its necessary to my very living being  :)  I have been good though, I didn't drool toooo much, and I've put it in the 'wrap it up for Christmas box' ... only so I can't be accused of unnecessary splurging ... me never! ;))
 
More 'Up' ...
 

I finished November's Cross stitch sampler pocket and its up on the wall :)  You have to remember I finished the cross stitching last year, it was adding the woolly backing and lining and bells and such that was waiting ... and is still waiting for another six pockets to be !

So I guess its onto the 'Downs' ... Whilst I've been successful with my sewing needle this week
... I'm having a mighty struggle in the kitchen at the moment! I may not be the Domestic Goddess I've always wanted to be, possibly not even the Mother-in-Zion,  I've definitely been a bit cranky too ... I'm sure its just a momentary failing! ;) haha    Every year I'm always late in making the Christmas cakes, but I do love having a go and baking my own, that and the nagging or rather gentle insistence from my Mum (my Mum is lovely, she'd never nag...lol) to keep the family tradition alive with homemade Christmas Cakes :)   In an effort to fulfil my Motherly duties and meet all the required expectations (or exasperation's in the case of hubby!) ... the kitchen has been fraught with activity...
What can I say ?  I'm not tidy in my sewing room ...I'm hardly likely to be a tidy in the kitchen either am I? The Deliah Smith recipe book came out and  I weighed and measured and stirred and mixed.
I was a teensy bit suspicious when I ended up with ...
4  Cakes !?  The mixture was for 2 ??  Can you feel the 'Down' bit looming :) Now I did set a timer, I carried out regular checks with my skewer ... poking in the middle of the cakes to check for cookedness ... I completely followed the recipe guidelines but even still this is what I ended up with ...
4 burnt and very oddly mis-shaped Christmas cakes! Big Down!! :(  Even the hairdresser who had come to crop Jacobs head of hair laughed out loud when she saw them!  I've no idea what I did wrong ... unless I've under filled the cake tins ...which I must have done to make 4 cakes out of 2!  :)  It could just be a faulty recipe and not my fault at all.. hahaha  We did sample one before we called it a complete disaster and yuuuuuck it was not good :(  I refuse to give up, fortunately I bought enough fruit to make another attempt. And my very helpful hairdresser suggested I try a different recipe by Mary Berry, which she highly recommends as foolproof (not sure what she meant by that! lol) So I currently have all my fruit soaking again in  juices to plump up and I'll try again tomorrow. Wish me luck because if this second mix doesn't work I'll be buying one from the supermarket! (I'll be purchasing in secret of course and I will unwrap it from its commercial packaging and rewrap it in baking paper and definitely attempt to pass it off as my own!! I know no shame! Hehehe)
 
Here's hoping I can have sweet successful baking Christmas cake dreams tonight ... hehehe
Hugs Wendy x x

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Only 1 left in stock ..... !

Famous last words ... gets me every time ;)   WHY   I can't resist a  '1 left in stock', 'last one left',  'order soon to avoid delays' and even more deadly 'bidding is almost over' and 'you're only one bid away from winning' .... I'm sure that they are all lies purposefully directed at my weak character and that if I actually held myself in check I'd more than likely find there was still 1 more left in stock several weeks later .... BUT what if I'm wrong??? What if it is the last one ... Then its a definite bargain .. isn't it? :)   Some days I feel like I've lost myself before I've even found where I'm going ... sigh :))  Back to the 'only 1 left in stock' ... "Primitive Gatherings" by Terry Burkhart & Rozan Meacham only 1 left on Amazon ....HAD to order it!! You know I reeeeeaally need it ... I'm soooo going to make everything out of it!! ;)  Could we count it as an early Christmas giftie if I promise not to drool over it tooo much when it arrives ? (between Mon 11 and Sat 16 Nov) hehehe

What should I share next? ... Muchly needed purchases from the Olde Mill that just begged me to bring them home ...or my quickest finished project ever because  it turned into the bane of my life and that even now if I squint at it in a dimmed room I can just about ignore all the mistakes ...but its Finished!!
OK the finish ...
"Be Thankful" by Country Cottage Needlworks ...  And I must say at the very beginning the pattern and instruction's are all perfectly wonderful ... its me that's at fault :(  I used all the recommended threads and fabric, (Crescent Colours: Bamboo (x2), Roasted Chestnut, Sunflower, Khaki Mocha, Weeks Dye Works: Molasses, Moss.  Fabric: Fat 1/8  of Weeks Dye Works 30ct Cocoa){Impressive...hey!}  But for some reason I just couldn't stitch this one properly. If I unpicked it once I must have unpicked it a dozen times, it literally pushed me over the cross stitch edge ... blaaaaaah... So as soon as the last stitch was finished I was determined to 'get 'er dun' a-s-a-p  (I just know it would have haunted my every waking hour, not to mention my dreams!)  Even then I had problems, I don't know if I have managed in some inconceivable way to stretch the fabric, but somehow its still wonky even though when I count down, every stitch is in its rightful place ....dunno! I decided my best bet was a cushion (for the piano! ... there's a surprise...lol) I picked out a lovely 100% white wool (yes, I had more than enough for backing too!)  But guess what??  100% wool does not sew easily with cross stitch fabric ... it was wiggling and squiggling aaaall over the place. So being the clever thinker that I am ... :)  I decide to stop and 'stabalise' the cross stitch with some thin iron on wonder webbing stuff  (what I usually use to help stiffen bags etc..) What do I get? ...Increased wonkiness !!! Blllllaaaaaahh .. but at least my sewing machine  now enjoys sewing the wool fabric  on better  and with less squiggling. Could it get any worse? How about the cushion filler being 6 inches tooo long???  6 Inches ???  How did I do that???  Well let me tell you that cushion filler was going in! Good job it was a feather one ...I had to squish and squeeze it in cause I wasn't pulling it out and starting again. Eventually I got it in and just about managed to sew the opening closed ...phew! I swear I now look at it perched high up on the piano with my Pumpkins (high because there is no way that sticky little Angel fingers are going to mess it up ...no-way am I washing it!!) .. . I swear its laughing and snickering at me, just waiting for me to let my guard down and then it will evilly pop its stitching and erupt into some feathery monstrosity all over the carpet  ... I can feel its eyes on me! :)

Can you see why I was in such a state that  I succumbed to the enticings of Amazon's "only 1 left in stock" ?? Lol! I was still in a state of delicate imbalance when I went for a nerve calming walk around the Olde Mill. What can I say? ... I'm a vulnerable person ...
You wouldn't have walked away from them either! Does that little case not cry out 'Paddington Bear' to you? Do you not want to put your red wellies on, toggle up your duffel coat and eat marmalade sandwiches ?? :))  I couldn't not bring it home ... it would have been very WRONG! And the tin cup ... filled with Gingers and Greenery and Berries for Christmas ...you can see it can't you ?... And it's mahoooosive, I'm going to have to enlarge the size of my ginger pattern ...lol! The teensy bear was a necessary buy/win from EBay ... Angi of Drakestone Primitives from her 'Attic Bears' collection...  Had to 'win' him! And he perfectly emphasises the enooooooormity of the tin cup and the perfectness of the little case ... it must have been fore-ordained in the stars or something ... He is supposed to be a gift but I think I may struggle to part with him!

If I'm listing my woes for this week (and I do realise that it is only Tuesday!!) I should also share that I am the most woebegone victim of pure unadulterated and uncalled for vandalism....
Someone !!! M-I-M  pulled a stalk out of one of  my iddy-biddy-mini pumpkins! I was most distressed, it had a very nice curl! My grief was almost insurmountable, I was inconsolable for all of 5 seconds! I've had to carry out quite an intensive surgical procedure to return it to a more pleasing state (I super-glued what was left of the stalk back in! Lets see if she can get that one out!!)  But I had to throw the curl away!   sob-sob ;)  Fortunately the whole sorry incident  placed me 'in the zone' ... 'in the Pumpkin making zone'.. and I am currently beavering away on some very soothing new Pumpkin treasures that I'm sure will only aid me in my rehabilitation after such a trauma filled couple of days! :)) I feel quite weary and light-headed now ... I may swoon at any moment...  I should probably go rest and lie down now.  Chocolate in some form may be required to be administered... I'm  not sure if I'm getting myself into a slight 'indigestive' state ...swallowing dictionaries can do that to you ... but you have to admit there's some pretty big words been used tonight ....hahahahaha ;))

Hugs Wendy x x