Friday, 30 September 2011

Jail Break

Oscar took part in a Jailbreak at the weekend, thankfully involving Scouts not police and prison officers. The idea is that they get dropped off at Point A and then have 24 hours to get to Point B without getting "caught".

He walked about 28 miles, 
didn't really eat, slept in a ditch and ..... had a fantastic time. I, on the other hand, walked round the house, went out for dinner, didn't sleep much and .... am glad he had a fantastic time.

I was a bit hacked off that he didn't eat the Pot Noodle that I had emptied through a sieve (to get rid of the seasoning) and had picked through to make sure there were no mushrooms and onions in. I also stole from the local wine bar (mind you now it could be borrowed as I could give them back) three sachets of tomato ketchup {
it's OK I did confess and I do know the owner} for his meal so the fact that they didn't eat was annoying but then more fool me for sifting and stealing I suppose.

It was a bloomin' long way and I'm very proud of how nonchalantly he goes off and does these things. Archie would like to do it next year and I almost {only almost} feel I may as well go with them as I'll definitely not sleep at all if they are both out in the dark wandering around the countryside evading capture and sleeping in ditches! {This thought will soon pass ... as I would be far too worried about the loo arrangements to go hiking with a load of scouts!}

Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Where do I start? On Friday I went to Origin the Contemporary Craft Fair which was just amazing. So many fantastic designers that it seems harsh to single out a few but here are my top ten favourites.

1. Glass Cathedrals happened to be right at the very beginning of our visit and it was great to stand and have a chat with Lisa about her life in San Francisco and her gorgeous, gorgeous boxes. They just tickle me and I'm so pleased that a friend of mine is buying one :)

Small whole artwork

2. Funnily enough my next favourite also included tiny little figures but in a completely different way. I can't decide if I loved the Helen Noakes swimming pieces or the nuns the best but I know that I would really like to own one. Again Helen was just charming to talk to and we had a great time on her stand looking and trying on everything trying to decide which was our favourite.

3. Cissy Cook Designs were just simple beauty and I fell in love with the box of dots.

Box of butterflies

4. Anna Wales - my favourite things were the rings, with tiny balls of felt that looked like an expensive jewel.

Bud Studs

5. Uoldbag - as I said to the designer I'd love to have a reason to own one of these and as she quite rightly pointed out to me, they are practical, beautiful to look at and a piece of art!

6. Ella Robinson had some amazing pieces displayed but my favourite (no photo but she told me there would be soon on her website) was a collection of plastic junk displayed by colour - OK sounds horrible but was actually amazing.

7. Jennifer Collier is so very clever and her pieces are unbelievably detailed.

8. Linda Bloomfield stand looked so pretty and I loved the colours of her porcelain.

Dimpled cup

9. Abbott and Ellwood had another very pretty stand. Seeing all the pieces together they look wonderful. 

Woman with flower (h 60cm)

10. I loved Lilana Guerreiro pieces but, as they didn't speak very good English and my Portuguese is non-existent, I can't tell you much about them and I can't find the rings I loved on the website ... oh well that's some money saved then!

So that's my top ten but there were loads of other talented people we stood and chatted to whilst admiring their work. In fact by the end you feel exhausted because it is sensory overload (in a good way!).

Monday, 26 September 2011

Personalised Gift Tags

Ok, ok I know you don't want to know about Christmas yet but someone has already ordered one of my personalised Happy Christmas bunting. Yes already, in fact it was last week. How organised is that customer?

In anticipation of the fact that some customers are way more organised than is natural or right I've finally uploaded my personalised gift tags. It took a long time to work out how to get the personalisation ordering bit right so I hope {fingers crossed} that I've made it logical and simple to order?

Red Tag

I'm stupidly rather proud of these and I hope that lots of people will like them. A friend also suggested I should do some with a picture on the front and personalisation on the back so I will be adding them soon.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Quince & Apple Stall

Have since dropped our prices as we decided it was a bit ambitious.

Oscar has seen stalls set up by the side of the road in our village and whilst we were out for a walk last Sunday we got talking to a lovely gentlemen taking his wares in for the night. Oscar's ears pricked up when he heard how much could made from selling fruit by the side of the road and decided that he too would like a "piece of the action" and so he's raiding the garden for anything he can sell.

I would describe it as a slow but steady trade but he's taking it very seriously and leaves his younger brother to put the stall out in the morning (will be given 25% of the proceeds) and replenishes and counts the proceeds when he gets home from school.

For my part I'm just glad to see the fruit going to someone who will use it and all those lovely quinces are getting used.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


We've got masses of beautiful quince this year. They are so gorgeous on the tree looking like jewels hanging in the green foliage.

Inspired by The Quince Tree {well who else really} I decided to try making some quince cheese, even though I've tried it before and it was .... ummm ... interesting.

This sounded relatively easy though so how could I go wrong {with my cooking skills - easily}. First I boiled my quince.

Then I all I had to do was make it into a paste, which I thought I'd done OK until I started stirring it and realised it was a bit lumpy - ooops.

So now I have to leave it for a bit.

I'm hoping it will do justice to the quince and be edible?

Monday, 19 September 2011


Tasteful Halloween decorations .... well as tasteful as I think it is possible to be. I'm not a huge fan of Halloween, too American for my taste, but I know some people really get into the the spirit {excuse the pun} so here are my "tasteful" Halloween decorations.

I'm particularly delighted to be able to do bunting that uses orange - love it!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Letterpress One Day Course

What a fantastic day I had on Wednesday.

A few months ago I decided I'd like to try letterpressing and googled it to see if there were any courses. Fortuitously there happened to be one right on my doorstep (well only a 20 min drive away) and I managed to convince my mum she'd like it too so off we both went. 

Typoreteum offer one day and two day courses and I would strongly recommend them.

We arrived at the workshop in Coggeshall to be met by Justin, his wife Cecilia, the joint teacher John (JMG Studio) and other attendee Pat. Then we got started, well I say started we had a lot of information to take in before we got going and it was all a lot more technical than I imagined .... really a lot more technical. After deciding what we would like to do we then started to set out our projects. It was about now that I discovered I can't add up to 66. Then it was lunch time and we sat down to a simply delicious lunch made by Cecilia {worth attending just for the lunch}.

Mum's Block
Then it was back to the workshop to crack on with our projects. A lot more toing and froing to get funny shaped bits of wood, sorry furniture. A lot of strange terms in letterpressing! Then finally we were ready to do the best bit - yes - the printing. Now I can't show you my finished project because I plan to frame it and give it as a Christmas present but here are the other masterpieces ....

It was a wonderful day and fascinating to see a proper letterpress workshop and to chat to Justin and John who were so knowledgeable and willing to share their expertise. It has certainly made me love letterpress even more and coming back to work looking at letters printed out on the computer everything seems far too perfect, far too neat, with no texture. It is a skill that I'm so glad is really getting a resurgence of appreciation.

Oh and how could I forget the gorgeous little visitor to the workshop, baby Jemima and hope that Freya is feeling much better. It was a wonderful day - thank you - just get that course sorted out where I just do the final setting out and printing and I'll be back like a shot ;-)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

September Memories

I'm quite sure that the earliest memory I have is in September, having a picnic lunch, in the Autumn sunshine, with my parents, by the side of a hedge, whilst Dad took a break from ploughing.

What I wonder though is this a real memory or something I've dreamt up? It could be my first memory as it would be before I went to school and those pesky older sisters of mine would've gone back to school. I was probably very glad to get rid of them and after the boisterous summer it was probably a real treat for me to have some undivided attention AND a picnic which is probably why it's etched in my memory.

No trouble remembering what happened to these apples. Lovely apple crumble and I even made lovely proper custard.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Back to School

It doesn't feel like just the boys have gone back to school it feels like I have too. Back to routines and back to doing a full day's work instead of frantically trying to get orders done before going off out somewhere.

Much as I love the school holidays I'm rather enjoying just me at home with only the dog and Radio 4 for company. Oh how I've missed Radio 4.

So what have I been working on, well, Christmas things actually. Here is a little taster of what I'm up to.

Advent Calendar Bunting

Christmas Tags

It seems weird to be worrying about Christmas already but I need to get these photographed and finalised really soon. It's already nearly halfway through September, good grief, how did that happen so quickly.

Friday, 9 September 2011


Next week I'm going on a one day letterpress course and I'm really, really looking forward to. To get some inspiration I've "collected" a few sayings but I'd quite like to come up with something of my own and maybe I need a bit more than just a saying?? These are a good start though.

I keep finding more and have put them on my Pinterest board but time is running out for me to think up something original.

I also really like old farm sale posters so perhaps I can try and do something based on something like this.

The possibilities are endless .... how on earth will I decide what to do?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Book Club - August 2011

I have been going to our village book club since it's inception and we have read some great books, some OK books and some I've not even bothered to finish!

I've decided I will start adding my thoughts (very minimal) on our books here on the blog as we go along. I never seem to be able to think of anything very insightful when I'm at the meetings so maybe jotting it down before I go will help .... ?

Our book for August was One Day by David Nichols.

I really enjoyed this, probably in part because the previous month we had read The Children's Book by A S Byatt, well I say "we had read" I never finished it. Too many characters, too convoluted
, too everything. So One Day came along and it was just two characters, a love story, set in an era I remember so it was already looking better than the previous month. I also found the characters engaging and "real".

I normally find this diary format way of writing really annoying and feel it is a bit of a "cop out" but surprisingly this didn't annoy me. Perhaps it was because the reader had to imagine/fill in the past twelve months or because the way it was written it was relatively easy to piece together what had happened in the intervening months?

And there is a film which some of our book club members have already seen, so it will be interesting to hear their review. I've heard that a
pparently tissues are in order as it's a real tear jerker and you have to ignore the accents (or lack of). Think I'll go and see it soon {any excuse to go out & love going to the pictures}.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Summer Holidays - Week 6

Well, that's it, another summer holidays over. We've had a wonderful time though and, although it's gone too quickly, we've had a lot of fun.

We finished with a flourish and went off to Go Ape for the day. I've been waiting for Archie to be old enough for years (you have to be 10) and finally the day had come when we could all go and we loved it :-)

We then had a picnic and went for a walk. Walking along one of the tracks was slightly unnerving though, as it was all a bit spooky. Reminded us of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and we felt like the trees were reflected in mirrors ... weird.

The rest of the week has been Oscar at school hockey practice, last minute visits from/to friends and a visit to Granny. Today we're off the to the beach hut, hope it will be sunny.

We've had a great Summer 2011 but feel ready to get back to routine {bet I won't be thinking that when the alarm goes off

Tomorrow is a big day for Oscar as he starts secondary school and it's the last time Archie will be starting a new school year at primary school. Time moves on .....

Friday, 2 September 2011

France - Part 5

One of the best days out was a visit to Brantome. A very pretty town that you can canoe around. Perfect. The boys got to canoe and Ed and I got to see the town. The only problem was that I kept having to shout "slow down I want to look" so we just went round twice!

We had to canoe over this!

I got told to "stop taking picture of signs" but how can you not take pictures of French signs .... ?

That's it no more posts on our holiday in France I promise. We had a great time and loved every minute and by blogging about it
 for a week I feel I've extended the holiday a bit :-)

Thursday, 1 September 2011

France - Part 4

We had some lovely days out, though the boys were reluctant to leave "home", and even managed to get them to go for a walk. Have to admit we didn't really give them a choice, didn't let on how far it was and did sort of promise a waterfall. But heh it worked they walked down, looked at the rocks and water and walked back without moaning too much!