Wednesday, 22 September 2010

This blog post is soft, strong.. and very very long!!!

Bright Mabon Blessings to you all today.

This was the view which greeted me when I opened my curtains this morning - Equinox sunshine over ‘my’ beloved field. Would you look at the way the light is painting the tips of the leaves on the tree behind the shed?

It’s been a perfect Autumnal day in the Midlands, very befitting for Autumn Equinox I feel - although it did go a little dark and moody around teatime. A bit like me really when I got home from work and had to unload the biddy washing machine, wash up the detritus of my son’s various meals/drinks (whilst he lies pale and wan on the sofa nursing earache so I can‘t shout at him for being a lazy bum!), and then cook tea. My good mood did wobble for a little while back there but hey - don’t’ sweat the small stuff eh?!

Have a look at these little beauties!

How yummy do they look?

Cost? Nothing! Nada! Zilch! Zero! Nowt!

When I leave work at five I have to walk along the high street to the bus stop. Just by the side of the stop is a little fruit and veg shop. I actually went there at lunch time today and stocked up on some fruit and veg so was pretty loaded down with two heavy bags already. The owner of the shop had put loads of punnets out in front of his closed shutters - free for the taking. People were just walking past them! Why?!! I appropriated four of the boxes and offered a grateful thanks to the free food angels. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them apart from the odd one in each box which is going over a little. They’ll need using up very quickly but the kids have already eaten some for pud and the rest will be turned in to strawberry jam quick smart before they have time to go off. He’s left bananas out before now - almost perfect save for a couple of brown marks- and for some reason I’ve walked right past them cos I was bit embarrassed about picking them up. I really don’t know why - they would have been perfect for nana muffins and bread. I shall certainly be keeping an eye out in future and see what the kind man puts out. I may pop in tomorrow and just check that it really is ok just to take them. I’m sure it is as they’re just left in a pile in front of his shutter door but the scaredy cat part of me needs to check just in case I’ve been caught on cctv and I’m arrested for wanton strawberry theft !!!

Changing the subject now, what do you think of these gorgeous little things?

 The boxes were from my best friend, the clock from my kids and the cushion from my Mum and Dad, all for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. I’m saving them up for when I re-decorate my lounge in a few weeks time. I do love the Union Jack design as you may have guessed!!

So…. Would you like to see some of the things I made over the weekend?

You would?

Ok….here goes then- in no particular order cos I’m not that organised!!!

I’ve never been a card maker. I never really ‘got’ the fact that you could spend much time, effort and product to make a card when you could buy a pretty enough one for pence in the local Card Warehouse shop. (blimey I can hear the boo hisses from here!! Bear with me!! Lol) The weekend totally changed my mind and I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed the card making classes. The brilliant (and absolutely barmy but lovely!) Zoe Pierson taught her scrummy butterfly card class and this was the result:-

This fairly innocuous looking card opens up to reveal…….

This! How cute!!  Zoe has posted all about the weekend too - you can check out Zoe's blog here but be warned - there are gratuitous graphic images of chocolate awaiting you!!

I also attended a couple of Jane Gill’s classes. You can check out more of her gorgeous work on her blog here   Wow was I ever impressed and totally hooked on making these little babies!!

How amazing that these flowers are made from punched sunburst shapes - and from plain old photocopy paper too! - before being chalked, fiddled with and assembled to make these ultra cute little flowers. Once I get hold of the starburst punch I feel lots of these coming on!!! It was very therapeutic making them too! I purchased all the tools from Cardinal Colours for less than £10.00. Bargaintastic!!

And how about this one?

I really can’t believe that something so gorgeous was actually created by completely cack-handed little old me!! I’m so proud! The poinsettia ‘petals’ started life as Christmas tree punchies!! Impressed aren’t you?!!

I know I was!

The make and takes were equally as fantabulous too!
We made this:- using the Cricut.  A Cricut may have just fallen into my shopping basket recently - watch this space - oh... sorry about the delightfully decorous background - I've only just noticed!!

We made the tres elegant butterfly card using the Cuttlebug for embossing - and the cutesie Christmas tree using Origami paper folding techniques. It’s easy when you know how - and have a very patient teacher!!!

And the very lovely and fragrant Anita (check out this talented lady's gorgeous scrapbooking layouts on her blog here) was nagged and nagged until she found me a spot at her table so she could show me how to make the following gorgeous little trinkets!!! Can you see what they’re made from?


They look like murano mille fiori beads don‘t they?

Oooooh no. Nothing quite so grand - or expensive….
They’re these little jockeys!!

Yup. Brads!!! Anita you are Queen Clever of the Clever People. I’m so hooked! (HAH!!!!  see what I did then?!)

I only actually did one scrapbook layout as I was so busy with all the make and takes, classes and noseying at other crafter’s work. The Sassafrass Lass Class (try saying that without yer teef in!!) was very full on but when we settled in to our respective grooves the layout came together really well and I'm loving all of the embellies!

Right then - I think that's enough whittering from me for one night!!

See you soon xxx

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!!

Hello there - it’s been a little while hasn’t it? Sorry for the absence - life took over for a while; namely my return to work, clashing with getting the kids sorted for the new term - one to college and one to ‘big’ school - and all of us adjusting to our new regimes. A whole new era is just beginning.

Of course with the new term comes children’s coughy sneezy germy things of a most yuksome nature. My youngest was attacked by a horrible cold virus late last week which has left him with really painful sinuses and earache so far resulting in 3 days off school. Not good really is it? He’s been symptom free all over the summer holidays which only leads me to believe one thing. School is obviously bad for your health!!

I had an absolutely splendiferous weekend. I ran away (with my Mum!) to the seaside to Cardinal Colours Yummy cardstock and scrapbook materials emporium run by a lovely lady!!wonderful Seaside crafting Retreat. (More about the actual Retreat tomorrow with some photographs of the resultant makes! )   I met some lovely people and hugged some old friends and, as a relatively inexperienced crafter by some standards, I learned lots of new techniques which I shall hopefully put to good use in the future.

Eastbourne itself is lovely. Although we didn’t have time to venture into the town we did take a stroll along the prom (prom prom). Didn’t hear any brass bands playing tiddly om pom pom but did hear a very good Abba tribute band playing in the bandstand on the Friday evening! The seafront itself is very impressive and clean with lots of lovely, grand, Victorian era hotels overlooking the sea. A quintessential English seaside town if ever I saw one!

We were so lucky with the weather.  We had lovely golden autumnal sunshine and a millpond sea. I was lucky enough to have a sea view from my room so I’d like to share the sunrise with you. Two very different but equally very beautiful sunrises (is that a word??!) .

Would you look at those clouds!

This was Saturday morning’s display. The photos were taken at around 5.50am.

Gorgeous isn’t it?

And this was Sunday. Taken at a similar time. What a difference a day makes eh?

And our hotel by night.

And of course, I couldn’t resist this shot of our wonderful Union Jack waving proudly above the breakers.

So much Englishness!! Don’t you just love it?!

A well earned cuppa break in the sunshine. 

The moon is almost full this evening. There’s just the tiniest sliver of her missing and she’s shrouded in mist. I’m guessing that she’s waiting to don her full finery for Autumn Equinox and come out in a blaze of glory.

Oh. Just before I go… look what’s sitting on my kitchen table! I know - I shouldn’t have….. But I did!!

Just looking at them makes me smile like a daft thing! They’re all so perfectly squidgible!! I can’t resist tweaking them as I walk past.

Hey don't look at me like that!!  I'm not hurting anyone!! hehee....
See you soon!!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Happy September

"September: it was the most beautiful of words, he’d always felt, evoking orange-flowers, swallows, and regret."

- Alexander Theroux, 1981

Hmm, not so sure about the 'regret' part of that quotation but I certainly concur with the rest of it. 

So my dears, September has sashayed in, in a blaze of golden sunshine and warm delicious breezes.  Long may it continue!

I'm having a quiet evening just wandering around the garden, dead-heading the geraniums and enjoying the fact that the house is quiet.  My daughter is out celebrating exam results and college enrollment day with her friends at the local Balti house and my son is spending some time with his Dad.  Although I do enjoy the peace for a short time at least, in no time at all I find myself craving their banter and the sounds of bickering, loud music and silly giggling as they tease each other relentlessly. 

The garden is still splashed with colour, particularly as the dahlias are now popping into bloom. I love the colour of this one. 

The geraniums and bizzy lizzies are still flowering their little heads off and, thanks I think to a trim a few weeks ago, my lavenders are displaying an unexpected new flush of flowers.  I'm so pleased that I can continue to enjoy them for a good few weeks longer. I was going to share some more garden photographs with you but Blogger appears to be having a bit of a stress-out!

I'm off to find my craft bag I think and see if I can remember how to crochet!!  It's been months since I last picked up my hooky wand! 

September Blessings to you all - and thank you for dropping by.   

This is for you!!  

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Meet the Pod-Pets!

Hello there! Hope your day has been wonderful. Thanks for dropping in to see me again.

Mine has been so-so. It was back to work for the first time in twelve weeks today for me. I was absolutely dreading walking into the office but as is usually the case, it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. I only worked until lunchtime but it was actually ok to get back in the swing of things. I shall reserve judgment for a while yet though!

Anyway - yesterday I promised you an introduction to the Peapods Pets didn't I?

We currently have three cats and a guinea pig. Here they are - in no particular order!!

"If I pretend to be asleep she'll go away...."
This is Minstrel, aka Minnie, Minnie-moodle or Min-pin. She’s a sassy lassy with a swagger which is the envy of all the other lady cats in the neighbourhood. She has the cutest pink snub-nose, long dark eyelashes which give the impression that she’s wearing eyeliner - and if a cat ever had a pout - then she has one!! Her cute little face belies the fact that she is in fact a ruthless huntress. It’s a regular occurrence to see her stalking down the garden path with either a long tail swishing from her jaws indicating the demise of some small rodent- or fluttery wings flapping on either side of her nose which confirms that she has caught yet another butterfly!
Excuse me!! Those 'were' my ornamental grasses!!
She has the loudest mew for a cat so small and woe betide anyone who ignores her demands for food the second she clatters through the cat flap first thing in the morning, and again not a minute past 10pm in the evening if you please!
"Mum.... Muuuuum!  I was here first!!"

This is her brother, Charlie. Aka Charlie-Mouse, Mouse-ling or, I regret to admit it, more often that not he‘s addressed as…”you little git! He’s a little imp - no foodstuff is safe from his scrutiny; he’s forever jumping up on the work tops and on top of the cooker to try to snaffle things from the grill pan.

Charlie is the most timid cat I’ve ever known. He’s scared of his own shadow - and, would you believe it - mice! Really! He leaps away from the poor dazed creatures that Minnie deposits in front of him like he’s been scalded!

He has the longest whiskers and the softest fur - and hardly any voice at all! It’s almost like his voice broke in his prepubescent years - and stayed that way! On the rare occasion he decides to become vocal about something the only sound you can hear is a rather ineffectual “me-eh”. Poor little man! I think Minnie got his share of the voice box!

Now then. Let me introduce you to Cassie. Cassie is unrelated to the others and was actually my brother’s cat. When she was about 12 months old we had cause to foster her for “just a couple of weeks please Kim”.
Evil Edna!!!

Yeah right. That was five years ago!! She arrived in style in her posh cat travelling cage - and made for the most demanding house guest ever. For weeks she was a hissing, spitting ball of fury. A growly, furry harridan who detested the other two cats with a passion they could only have dreamt about. She hasn’t changed much! Five years on and she still barely tolerates Minnie and Charlie, never missing an opportunity to whack them around the back of the head as they pass her by. She loves a cuddle (when the other cats aren’t watching), but it has to be on her terms. She has a purr louder than the engine of a small Harley Davidson.and, despite her feisty temperament, actually purrs on a very regular basis.

Her favourite activities are sleeping. And… erm… sleeping. She wakes occasionally to growl in a threatening manner at the other two if she senses that they’re daring to venture too close. Or us humans, in fact!!   She snuffles like a hedgehog when she eats. She leans against you when she requires your most urgent attention and can break the land speed record for running from the window ledge outside the kitchen to the window ledge outside the lounge if there is a remote possibility that you are about to let her in. You always know when she’s … (er, performed her ablutions shall we say) as she scats around like a mad thing for about five minutes afterwards!

I could go on at length about this firesome, fearsome red head but there’s someone else who needs an introduction.

"What's going on out here then?"

Say hello to Daisy! Isn’t she the cutest? Her stage name is Daisy Rainbow and she was my son’s birthday present some 4 years ago!

She’s such a little sweetie and is very vocal. She burbles away in that lovely liquid guinea pig squeaky speak as soon as she can hear that you’re around. She adores dandelion leaves and eats them at a rate of knots. I do worry about her though. She’s a good age for a guinea pig and although she’s fit and well, I have to admit to holding my breath every morning when I remove her cage cover, until she squeaks her greeting and I know that she’s ok.

Little Bright Eyes!

Well that’s our little pet family for the present time at least.

Very shortly (hopefully within the next couple of months or so) we shall be looking to obtain three or four chickens - and I’m hankering soooo much for a little doggie of my own. Another case of watch this space I feel!!

See you soon I hope


Kim xx

Monday, 30 August 2010

Bank Holiday Whitterings - and a Puzzle!

Hello lovely people. How has your day been?

It’s been a gorgeous one here in the Black Country, beginning with absolutely crystal clear, cloudless blue skies very early on. We sat in the garden with our coffee, revelling in the gentle early morning warmth of a very autumnal sunshine.

Work continued apace on the raised bed and by mid-morning it was all in place and we were able to treat the wood.

Here it is in all it’s glory - up on some blocks at the moment to dry out and awaiting a bottom layer of gravel for drainage, compost and eventually the top soil. Whoop whoop!!


Is it sad to be so excited about a few planks of wood?! Yup. Thought so!! Our next project will be to build a chicken coop in readiness for some new feathery lodgers!

Moving swiftly on…

Now then. I was given two tomato plants a couple of months ago. One of them is producing clusters of lovely cherry -sized plum tomatoes which are ripening by the day. The other, which I was advised was a fruit with an unusual deep purple colour - isn‘t doing quite so well.

Oh it’s all big and green and bushy and tall and healthy and all that … but it’s behaving a very un-tomato like manner

For a start, its flowers look like this:-

And now…. It’s doing this:-

They almost look like green Chinese lanterns don’t they?

In fact - I don’t think it’s a tomato plant at all. It doesn’t smell remotely tomatoe-y, it’s leaves don’t look tomatoe-y . So what is it? Answers on a post card please - or failing that… on a blog comment!! All suggestions very gratefully received!

In other news, food gifts received yesterday comprised:-

A bag full of cooking apples from DDBF’s tree ….


A selection of allotment produce (apart from the carrots!)  from my parent’s lotty!

Nice eh?!

This afternoon we popped to pick some Victoria plums at a local fruit farm. The trees have been kept at shoulder height to enable easy picking. There was certainly a bumper harvest! The little trees were absolutely LOADED with fruit. So much so that the boughs were actually breaking from the weight. It was heartbreaking to see so much produce going to waste. Pounds and pounds of perfectly good fruit lay at the base of the trees just waiting to rot away - I just wanted to gather it all up and squirrel it away! Trouble is - I’d already picked a carrier bag full and could not really warrant actually buying any more.

After 12 weeks sick leave, I’m going back to work tomorrow for the first time. I don’t mind telling you that I’m dreading it. I’m off to think happy thoughts and gaze at these gorgeous cloud photos I took yesterday evening.

Tomorrow I’m going to introduce you to our little menagerie. You can’t wait can you?!

See you soon!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Of Autumnal Offerings and Vagabonds ...

Hello my Pretties

Thanks for dropping by. How has the weather been in your neck of the woods? Today we had a bit of a respite from all the rain and the sun made an, albeit brief, appearance before being mugged by a marauding pack of rain clouds earlier this evening.

Our day was spent quietly; just pottering around in the garden and making a start on the raised beds. We’re* making them out of used scaffolding planks which are very sturdy and highly unlikely to rot for a good long time - and of course doing our bit for recycling resources and all! One large green point to Peapods!!


*When I say “we” I do actually mean ‘he who is handy with power tools and bits of wood”. I do of course provide invaluable and highly important assistance by way of passing the occasional screw to ’he who is handy with power tools and bits of wood” and making helpful and encouraging comments.

Although it’s a little late in the season for planting much, then at least we can get them ready and filled in time for early next year. I already have some compost which has been rotting down for a good while now and to my delight has turned into the ‘black gold’ that even Monty Don would be proud of!! I shall share some photographs of the work in progress with you very shortly.

My daughter and her boyfriend picked these   <<~~~~    for me today to add to the ones in my freezer. I hadn’t ‘quite’ enough to make a decent quantity of bramble jelly, but these should add to the stockpile quite nicely! Thank you both!

There is a chill-some tang in the air - can you feel it? Autumn is well and truly on its way and I’m sooo looking forward to greeting it with open arms. The late afternoon sunshine is taking on a more golden glow, it seems, and it’s heat is not quite so fierce. I’m waiting with baited breath to see if we have the Indian Summer we sometimes get in September.

I’ve always felt a huge affinity with Autumn. Both my son and I were born in September so it’s a celebratory time all ‘round, but for me it’s also tinged with a sense of something - hmmm… intangible is the only way I can describe it!!

When I was younger (well - y’know - younger than I am now which actually isn’t THAT old. Not really. Not if you say it really quickly!), each Christmas I would receive a copy of “The Fireside Book of David Hope”. This was a little hardback annual of poetry which contained a mixture of old favourites and also lesser known poems. The lovely thing about it was that it was beautifully illustrated with specially commissioned paintings which complimented the poetry perfectly. (There is a reason for this digression - bear with me!)

One of the poems which has stayed with me for all of those years and featured in one of those little books, was ”A Vagabond Song” written by Bliss Carman, an American Poet.

I’m not sure what it was that drew me to it, but it always made me feel a little wistful and put me in mind of a train of traditional gypsy vardos winding their way down a country lane, wisps of grey wood smoke curling upwards in the distance. I shall admit to always having had a daft romantic notion that I had some gypsy blood in me somewhere in my heritage, and this was the reason that I felt a little unsettled at this time of the year.

This is the poem - and although it makes reference to the month of October, I still feel that odd, slightly wistful feeling when I read it, even now ….

A Vagabond Song
Bliss Carman

THERE is something in the autumn that is native to my blood— Touch of manner, hint of mood;

And my heart is like a rhyme,

With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry

Of bugles going by.

And my lonely spirit thrills

To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;

We must rise and follow her,

When from every hill of flame

She calls and calls each vagabond by name.

Well my asters aren’t frosty as yet (!) but it’s an evocative poem don’t you think? The siren song of Autumn which stirs something deep within.  Or maybe I'm just a vagabond...

Goodnight Blogging Friends. xx


Working from home

I've taken a precious day of annual leave today.  I've really struggled this week with feeling so yuk and I needed the restorative ...