Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful time xx

Monday, 21 December 2009

Midwinter's Day

Ever since I was a child, Midwinter's day has been a special day. Once reached, we know that the days once again, slowly begin to get longer, although it doesn't always seem that way. It was even better for me today, as I wasn't at work, unlike the last couple of years. So Mick and I were able to pull on our walking boots, open the front door and walk down the lane and on to the canalside.

It was a beautiful, bright but very cold day. Much of the canal was still frozen, but it was so beautiful. We didn't see a soul.....

I think everyone must have been shopping, rather them than me!
But the wildlife were having a ball. It's as if they know the significance of today. There was so much birdsong in the air, it was truly wonderful.
The swans were basking in the winter sun too....

One of them had a tricky moment though, deciding to make his way across the ice to see if we had anything for him to eat......

But I'm sure that he'd done this before, as he calmly decended into the water, after a few creaks and cracks of breaking ice!

His beautiful plumage glistening in the sunlight, like pearls.
Even the trees looked their naked best in the winter sunshine....

Then after a few miles walk, it was home to a bowl of home made leek and potato soup. What more could anyone ask? Maybe a couple of these....

Well I did do all my ironing afterwards, and a few other jobs too!
It has been a wonderful winters day. I know they all won't be like this, but this Midwinter's Day was perfect!
Bye for now, Linda

Friday, 4 December 2009

Catching up!!!!

Well, what a long time it's been since my last post. The last three months have been chaotic and traumatic at times, but we've come through it and that's the most important thing.
We had a lovely time with our daughter, husband and baby in September and the time just flew, as always. Our gorgeous little Mary-Ann is growing so quickly.

At the end of the month we managed to get away for a few days in the wonderful Peak District. Plenty of fresh air and walking, it was wonderful.
We even managed to eat most of our lunch when we stopped at Caudwells Mill.

The very next week, when we were back at work, Mick fell quite ill, and within a few days ended up in hospital having a major operation. Luckily he now has a clean bill of health but won't be back at work until the New Year. He's getting to the figity stage now, and wants to get back to work as well as get cracking with all the things we need to do in the back garden. But he'll just have to wait a few more weeks, and so will the garden!
For the last two weeks I've had the dreaded flu virus and have been in a totally useless state. I always think of myself as lucky, as I don't really suffer with coughs and colds, but this came right out of the blue and quickly. I took the five day Tamiflu course. Did it help? I don't really know, because "experts" say, that after about seven days, the virus burns itself out anyway. I do know one thing though, I really don't want that virus again.
I did make my Christmas cards, (luckily) before I was ill. Here's a few.....

the pictures are a bit grainy, I'm really out of practise with my camera!!!

I'm sure the recipients will love them.....

Now all I have to do is finish off the last few cards, all the elements are done they just have to be put together. Then I can concentrate on other Christmas things, like baking and the tree.
Fingers crossed, everything is back to normal now!
Bye for now, enjoy your weekend, Linda

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Inspiration and Imagination

Well, we're almost at the end of August and the last Bank Holiday of the summer months is upon us. I really can't see where this year has gone, but then I'm not alone in thinking that am I?
I'm always trying to pack in as much as I can in any one day, sometimes I don't seem to have any time at all, especially when I've been at work. But I'd rather feel like this than have nothing to do. In fact I can honestly say, that I never get bored as I have so many interests and hobbies.
The other morning I was on the way to work on the bus with a friend, she wasn't feeling too happy. She retires at the end of September and hasn't got a clue as to what she will do with her time. She has no hobbies or interests, there is nothing she can think of, that she would like to do. Had I any ideas, she asked.
It's about a 30 to 40 minute journey for me on the bus to the city centre, and I could have talked for hours, but I told her she just needed some inspiration, ideas or imagination. "But where from?" was the reply....

I get my inspiration and ideas from everywhere, I told her.
I may take a picture.....
or see an image from my collection of ephemera...

or I might see a pattern or shape (depending on what I'm looking for of course).....

It could be a person....

It's a difficult question to answer as I think inspiration is all around us, don't you?
I wish there was a way to have a "time transference", if people had too much time on their hands they could pass it to someone else who could fill the time easily. Wouldn't that be great, stretching a 24 hour day to 48, imagine the possibilities?
I really did try hard to summon up some enthusiasm in her about trying something new, but it was my turn to get off the bus, and I would have been late for work. I haven't seen her since, but I do hope she's come up with something to fill her days!
We've been working on the back garden over the last couple of weeks. A lot of shrubbery has been taken out and it's really opened up the garden. We have new fencing going in, and then the exciting part can begin, the plants.There's still plenty of wildlife in the garden though.......


I haven't really had much time for any card making, but I do have a couple of birthdays coming up and will have to get them sorted. I've also been thinking about my Christmas cards.......

I always end up making them in November, but this year I'm going to get started early,(hopefully in the next couple of days). I've sorted out my favourite rubber stamps, but I've also just bought a couple of the "Create-a-Scene" stamp sets, Village....

and Train.....

I have big plans for these and hope to get cracking on them a.s.a.p! The images are by Sheena Douglass. Watching her on the telly demonstrating, she is quite an inspiration and I love her enthusiasm. It's a refreshing change from seeing the "pull apart and stick on" type of card making that seems to flood the airwaves when I switch on, which isn't very often thank goodness!
Over the years I have been collecting cookery books, some from the 40's/50's and I do have an old Victorian one, which is not easily readable. Some were my mothers which I cherish and use a lot. But I do like to experiment especially in cake recipes.
Last weekend I made a chocolate and beetroot cake, which turned out lovely, but I think I can improve it even more. The recipe used butter, but I shall experiment with oil instead as I think it will make it even more moist. I was going to take a picture and put the recipe on here, but once it's been tweaked and it's had the thumbs up from the family, I shall do so. The first one didn't last long enough to take a picture of, so it must have been okay!
We have our daughter, her husband and daughter coming to stay with us at the end of next week. Mary-Ann is now nine weeks old......
how the time flies. We can't wait to see them all. They'll be no time for any card making of any kind when they all arrive, but it won't matter a bit as there's be so much to catch up on.
Enjoy your holiday weekend, Linda

Friday, 7 August 2009

Holidays, weather and roses.

Well a lot has happened in the last few weeks. We've had two lovely weeks in Dorset in July. Luckily we only had two days of rain. Since we've been back home there's been rain almost every day. Hopefully we'll get some more sunshine before long!
Dorset is one of my favourite places, and to be honest I would love to live there, but that just isn't possible. This wonderful county has everything, spectacular countryside and beautiful beaches. We spent a lot of time walking the coastal paths, and with views like these, who would want to go anywhere else?

I would really love to be sitting here ...

.....but work beckons once more.
Hubby and I are celebrating our 33rd wedding anniversary this week and we took a trip out to David Austin Roses in Wolverhampton. I know that these wonderful roses can be bought from many garden centres, but we ( or should I say me) had been hankering to pay a visit for a while. So last Friday we went.
I have to admit to being like a child in a sweet shop. We were there for ages and we didn't have enough time to see everything. We did buy three roses, an anniversary gift to ourselves. William Shakespeare, a dark red Old English hybrid, Jubilee Celebration, a pink award winning rose and Pat Austin, a sumptuous copper and yellow rose. The latter two being Leander hybrids.
As the back garden is going through a "regeneration" of sorts, we still have a lots of moving of plants and shrubs to do, but over the next couple of weeks we're hoping to crack on with it and get everything in place. hopefully it will be a cottage style garden filled with roses, lavender, honeysuckle and complemented with herbaceous perennials and clematis. Most of these things are already in the garden, it was just the layout that wasn't working, but then again a garden is always a work in progress!
Whilst I was off shift for a few days and the rain was falling, I've been sorting out my crafting space. It certainly looks a lot clearer now. Hopefully I'll keep it tidy, for a while at least.
I haven't really had time to do any sewing or paper craft this last couple of weeks, but I'm hoping to get back to my list of projects shortly, but whilst the weather is fine (fingers crossed) it's all hands to the garden, and lets hope we have some warm sunshine so we can enjoy lots of these....

Bye for now, Linda

Friday, 3 July 2009

Well the weather is so different to yesterday. There was a dreadful thunderstorm early this morning with very little rain. But the rain came afterwards and now almost four hours later it's still raining. The garden's looking refreshed but I think it's still quite humid.
Speaking of the garden, we still have a lot to do in the back garden and as it's been so hot nothing major has been done, but we have been otherwise engaged over the last couple of weeks!
We did buy some new plants for the front garden, and they've really changed the shape and dimension.
we bought another David Austen rose, this one is Port Sunlight. It's a very sweet scented rose and the colour is just divine....

I have my eye on a few others but at the moment I can't quite make my mind up which to choose.
On the crafting front, I've managed to get all my cards and gifts made. Here are a couple of things I've done....

They are now with their respective recipients....
apart from one card and one gift.....

... which will be winging their way through the post this afternoon.
I shall have to put the card making and scrap booking on hold for a while as we are going to be out and about for the next couple of weeks. I shan't be idle in my "leisure" time though. I have some small needlework projects to take with me. Hopefully doing these now will help me later on in the year, ( I'm not going to say the word, but I think you know what I mean!)
I've also got some other paper projects lined up. I've been playing with kaleidoscopes and making them more dimensional.....

...but again this is a work in progress so they are all filed at the moment...

I now feel more confident with my new camera. I've took some lovely shots (well I'm happy with them) and I'm learning all the time..

and I'm have so much fun....

....just like our grandson yesterday on his trampoline!
I try to have my camera with me all the time, because you may just get that one brilliant shot. This one I'm very pleased with..

and this one.....

I always keep a notebook and pencil in my bag too, because ideas and inspirations hit me all the time, and if I don't make a note I'd forget. I think that's an age thing isn't it?
Whatever you this weekend, enjoy!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Our new arrival.

Here is our gorgeous new grand daughter.......

.....Her name is Maryann Jane. She was born on 20th June and weighed 8lbs 3ozs.
Mum, baby, and dad are all well and very, very happy and so are we.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Happy days

Well we've had some gorgeous weather of late haven't we? Not that I'm complaining, it's so nice to be able to eat outside in the garden. In fact we've spent quite a bit of time in the garden over these last few days, when we haven't been at work. It's all coming along nicely and the plants we've put in are all thriving, but dare I say it, we do need just a "spot" of rain to keep everything flowing nicely.

We still have a lot to do though, we know it'll take time as it's really a major reorganisation of most of the back garden, but we'll get there, eventually.

On the crafting front I've finished all my baby knits, for now and am just sewing up the last one.

The next thing yarnwise is a surprise gift for our daughters inlaws, a keepsake to celebrate their first grandchild. I made something similar for my cousin and his wife when they became grandparents for the first time. They loved it, but more on that at a later date.
I've just bought some gorgeous pink patterned fabric to make myself a summer dress.

This whole pink theme is still carrying me along, but I did also buy some lavender coloured fabric too. This one being plain, but I intend to do some embroidery on the bodice of the dress once it's made.
It's hubby's birthday on Tuesday and I am already working on his birthday card, and I still have four more to make for other occasions in the next three weeks. So much for my idea of being organised with my card making.
I've just finished two cards, one with an oriental theme and the other had a music theme.

I do try to make cards to suit the recipient, but sometimes this can be difficult if you are making them for someone else.
It seems tomorrow is going to be a wet day, ( more than the spot of rain I was thinking of) so I intend to spend a few hours baking. I like to get a batch done at a time, this way it seems to save on time and energy. I'd much rather fill the whole of my oven than just one shelf. Besides, I do have birthday cakes to make.
Speaking of food, whilst we've been having such glorious weather, everyone seems to have been barbecuing. I have to admit that we don't posses one, it's something which has never appealed as neither of us are keen on barbecued food. But I do have a Remoska, and this is a little "wonder cooker" as far as I'm concerned. We've had ours since last October and it's been a real time and money saver.
We have the standard size, and have both the full and shallow pans for it.
Last week I cooked lemon chicken and it took just 30 minutes. Here's the recipe.

Lemon Chicken
4 chicken joints
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic (optional)
1 large lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon thyme ( fresh or dried I used fresh, chopped)
pinch of groung black pepper.
Put chicken pieces into large dish, slice onion and add. Chop and add garlic at this stage if required. Finely grate lemon rind, sprinkle over chicken, mix together the lemon juice and olive oil and add the thyme and pepper. Pour over chicken, cover and leave in fridge for at least two hours.
Once marinated for required length of time put chicken pieces into Remoska, put lid on and switch on, leave for approximately 25 minutes, check to see if the chicken is cooked, ( juices running clear).
Serve with salad and new potatoes. Enjoy.
Cooking in the Remoska saves me time and money, and there is very little to wash up at the end.
If you're not sure what a Remoska is email me or you can find information at
I shall be posting more of my recipes on here, sweet and savoury in future posts.
Now I'd better get back to my card making.
Have a good weekend, Linda

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Pink and precious!

Well this week I've been finishing off my pink knitting projects and decided to do all the making up together. It seems to be working so far, but some nights when I get home from work, I have to confess I don't do as much as I hoped I would. So I try to catch up the next day, or evening.
As you can see, my pink knitting has turned out wonderfully, now all we have to do is wait for about five more weeks to see how they fit!

However,this won't be the end of my knitting adventures, I've already sorted through my multitude of patterns to begin again. This time I shall be knitting in cream and white, well we don't know if the expected baby is a boy or girl (or even both) yet, but I may just find some other gorgeous colours whilst I'm in the wool shop.
Last Sunday was our grand daughter's first birthday.

How this last year has flown. It only seems like yesterday when she was born, and now she's toddling about following her big brother.
The birthday cake was beautiful, it must have been so hard to actually put a knife to the cake, just look at this....

The original photo was done in sepia, I think it's a wonderful photograph, and cake.
I've been sorting through my sewing patterns this last week, and have now found a couple of dress patterns which I'm really taken with. So next week I'm off to find some gorgeous summer fabric. We don't have much choice of fabric shops here, so I'm wondering if I should wait until next weekend when we go to visit our daughter and her husband, who live in Wiltshire, it won't hurt to look and I wouldn't want to miss a bargain.
Whilst I'd been searching in my huge button collection for pink and white baby sized buttons, I came across another tin of goodies, which to be honest I'd forgotten about. I found some lovely vintage buttons and buckles.

This started my mind racing with all sorts of ideas, and now I've added a few more things to my list of projects.
The great thing is, all or most these haberdashery items have been handed down to me from my mum, and grandmother, and a lot I've collected too. I know they are quality items which we made to last, not like a lot of the throw away rubbish which can can be bought in many places today and doesn't last five minutes.
I always knew my hoarding and collecting would pay off, it always has and always will. Trends and fashion come and go, but being thrifty is alway in the forefront as far as I'm concerned.

Enjoy your weekend, Linda