Saturday, 28 February 2009

angry chicken

As our desire to a blog was spurred on by enjoying so many others I was going to write about some of the blogs I love too. Amy Karol's angry chicken was one of the first blogs I came across that made me need to go off and create so I rushed off and bought her book 'bend-the-rules sewing' and ended up making this little Gingerbread Man set as a gift for a friend's little boy (apron based on the Swing Swing Smock).

As I've been scrolling through my favourites I've been sidetracked. I find it hard to control myself as I jump from one blog to another and I realise how many great blogs there are. I'm going to have to spend a happy few hours looking at them all and maybe I'll be able to refine my list.

weekend baking


my friend claire called this morning to ask for a recipe for rosemary focaccia, I thought it might make a nice weekend baking post. We make this a lot at home, its great for picnics, barbeques or with soup in the winter, it is also delicious filled with your favourite sandwich fillings. However served warm, slathered in green olive oil, close your eyes and dream that you are sitting in the sun in Liguria.

I use my breadmaker for this on pizza dough setting, if you don't have that setting then use the standard dough setting or make it by hand (ps. i am not delia - even though I'd like to be so my recipes aren't foolproof!!) then let it rise in the airing cupboard.

1/2 teaspoon dried yeast
300g bread flour (strong white)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
200ml water

put the ingredients in your breadmaker in the order that the machine prefers(some machines specify water first, mine says the above order)
set to dough or pizza.
when the machine has done its job take out the dough. I spread mine on baking tray covered with a teflon liner (available in sainsburys or cookshops) I also scatter a sprinkle of fine semolina on the tray before putting the dough on. Both of these are not essential, I am. a) lazy, hence the liner, and b)greedy, hence the semolina which makes a nice coat for olive oil to stick to!!

flatten the dough out with your hand so it is about an inch thick, it doesn't matter what shape it is you are aiming for rustic simplicity, not factory!!
poke some dents in with your fingertips, rub gently and generously with olive oil, scatter with fresh rosemary and leave to rise somewhere warm.

when it is nicely puffed up (1-2hrs) drizzle with a little more olive oil and sprinkle generously with seasalt (not the coarse rock type).

Bake in preheated hot oven till golden and smelling delicious.
Remove from the oven and dribble over some really good olive oil which will sink in to the top and make it heavenly.

I make loads of variations of this, you can replace the Rosemary with cherry tomatoes, cubes of feta sprigs of thyme and a scatter of olives. Or you can put an olive in each indentation before you leave it to rise.
Either way enjoy and pretend you are sitting here!

Friday, 27 February 2009

happy weekend

well its been a busy week, with website launch, birthday party, blogging, PR meetings. I shall be glad of a little R&R this weekend. Something to make you smile over the weekend - In my dreams I am an English Martha Stewart, a sort of Delia, Nigella, Cath Kidston and Blue Peter all rolled in to one. I had a reality check this morning. Whilst having a PR meeting wth the lovely Sally this morning I noticed a stray sausage from yesterdays party lodged under the leg of my newly -upholstered-for-photoshoot chair. If Sally noticed she was too polite to say, however I don't think Martha would ever allow stray sausages to lurk under her furniture.....................have a good weekend!

a 'me' morning

It's been a long week for me but this morning the spring sun was peeking out again and I decided to have some 'me' time. There is a stall in Stroud run by a couple of ladies who do house clearances and sell on various goodies at bargain prices. It's a great joke between Sarah and me because I don't 'do' charity shops. I have always had a thing about the smell and I'm not to sure how clean things are (I used to have a problem with library books too, but thankfully I've grown out of it). However, because this stall is out in the fresh air I don't need to worry quite so much and today I found some bits and pieces to make a little present for Sarah as a congratulations for her first sales through her website.

After a quiet coffee, gifts hanging off the pushchair in an assortment of plastic bags while I gazed at the eclectic mix of characters that could only be in a queue in a Stroud coffee shop, I stumbled across this book of fab Cath Kidston stickers in another shop. I deliberated for ages, thinking I can make my own stickers and labels, what do I need them for. In the end I decided I do need them, they are just so irresistible.

cheeky chimp party

a fun filled time was had by all in our house yesterday, when our littlest turned 2. He loves monkeys so we chose a cheeky chimp theme. Unfortunately due to my big workload this week with the website going live, I didn't get to make the monkey bunting that I was planing! However I was rather pleased with my party bags. I have an aversion to party bag tat which parents feel obliged to spend a small fortune on. I always find I am trying to remove bits of a plastic hooter or suchlike from the inner workings of my vacuum cleaner 2 days after a party. So with this in mind all of the children went home with a helium balloon with a packet of 'monkey munch' tied to the ribbon to act as a weight. we had cupcakes decorated with strawberries and banana chips instead of a big cake, which were much easier for little hands.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

First Post Nerves

Ever since a really productive morning with Sarah on Monday I've been oozing ideas for our blog but each time I've sat at the computer to write my creative juices have stopped flowing. It's very difficult to know where to start and what to write. Meanwhile Sarah has been blogging away and I need to play catchup or else you'll start to think I don't really exist. So here it is, my first post and hopefully this will have eased the writer's block and enable me to write millions of interesting and inspiring pieces in the future.

another chuckle

Jo my co-blogger, knowing my fondness for vintage papers gave me a wad of lovely bits and pieces on Monday. I was trying (failing miserably!) to tidy my house in preparation for tomorrows cheeky chimp party (more of that later). Anyway I was sidetracked by some very vintage pages from a book about 'looking after baby'. I thought this page was hilarious. who would have thought that soggy old 'blanky' would be such a a 'pernicious fiend'. I think blanky is probably the least of my worries as far as germ filled fiends in my house go at the moment!!!

to make you smile on a cloudy day

has anyone see this blog before? I can't tell you how much it made me roar with laughter.

Elsie must be the coolest granny on the planet. However I just noticed she hasn't posted since December. Let us know that you are ok Elsie.

I hope this gives you a chuckle today. I am now off to make a life size dinosaur out of junk with reception class children!!!!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

website going live

A very exciting day. My new wesite went live last night. I was so excited but it was too late to call anyone!!! Anyway take a look an see what you think

spring swap

lucky dip spring swap

we are inviting the first 20 readers who leave their details, to join in our spring swap. The theme is spring green and primrose. We don't mind where you live in the world, send us and a5 envelope with your swap goodies, jo and i will add some lovely things to every swap, and then send you a lovely lucky dip swap package in the post.
we plan to do some more craft orientated swaps in the future, but this will be a special one as we are adding a little special something to every swap.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

sarah raven again

Sarah Raven is also completely resposible for my love of dahlias as cut flowers.

sunday gardening

As soon as the sun starts to shine, I am itching to get out in the garden and start sowing seeds in the vegetable patch. My broad beans which were doing so well took a battering under nearly a foot of snow, but they seem to have survived.
My favorite gardening inspiration in the wonderful Sarah Raven her wesite is great and is full of articles about what to plant now. She has also written some fabulous books which are available on the site, her cookbook Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook is one of my most used cookbooks.

happy weekend

happy weekend

Saturday, 21 February 2009

lovely fabric

now its time for some shameless self promotion and a huge thank you. Two years ago I had a little dream of creating my own fabric range, and after an enormous amout of effort and a great deal of support from family and friends, it is almost ready for public consumption. I have a website which should go live next week. It is a beautiful website, a stunning website in fact, and it is a website that wouldn't have come about without the creative genius and endless patience of two of the greatest designers on the planet, Russell at Square Banana and Chris at Magbug. I think you will agree when you see the site that they have done an amazing job. Anyway here is a sneak preview of some of the fabrics.

blogs i love

The idea for this little blog came about after I accidentally happened across the lovely decor8 blog written by Holly. There are various blogs which I go back to time and again, here are some of my favourites. decor8 is still one i go back to almost daily, cannelle et vanille for the most fabulous food photography, styling and delicious recipes. lobster and swan has beautiful photography which really captures that cold winter seaside light. creature comforts has all round loveliness and lots of links to other blogs (very useful if you are new to blogging). Lovely design is exactly what it says, (i especially like this one as we have babies exactly the same age and she often blogs about lovely craft activities) and Sharilyn also has a lovely design shop with really lovely paper products.Finally snippet and ink which is really a wedding blog, but Kathryn's wonderful colour mood boards are an inspiration to anyone - also I can get my USA stationary fix there!! Why don't we do stationary like they do in America, wouldn't it be great to have Paper Source here in the UK.


Welcome to our blog, its actually quite difficult to write a first post, especially as you don't know if anyone will ever read it.
Hopefully this will be a place you visit from time to time for design inspiration and creative ideas. We are two designers living in the Cotswolds (UK) who are inspired by all things beautiful and all things creative. We love to make things, we also love old linen, vintage prints, American stationery, china teacups, old postcards and baking. We hope we can inspire you along the way!
Enjoy x