Thursday, 30 April 2009
Wednesday, 29 April 2009
Tuesday, 28 April 2009
Monday, 27 April 2009
Anyway, a while ago I came across these candy coloured sweeties that so reminded me of the end of typewriter keys that I had to buy them. They were loitering in my desk waiting for me to decide what to do with them when the children got invited to tea with some friends who have also just started school. My little girl and I made some cupcakes and packed them up in a box on which I stamped the alphabet. Perfect, they could learn their ABC whilst ruining their teeth!
Saturday, 25 April 2009
I saw these today on Martha Stewart Craft of the day. I always have a list on the go, and I think these are a nice way of stopping them drifting around the house - also a bit eco chic! I think you could use the sewing machine to do similar, but don't put too many pages in or you will break the needle. (I know this from experience as i make alot of notebooks for my 5 year old daughter - apparantly a girl can never have enough notebooks!!)
Talking of eco chic have a look at a lovely blog called orange and pear. We met Jennifer on a blog e-course we are doing and thought her blog was very stylish and had a lot of tips for being green and chic at the same time!!
Friday, 24 April 2009
About a year ago I discovered this fantastic shop in Cirencester called Lexi Loves. It's totally up my street, selling lovely girly gifts and wonderful ribbons, trimmings, buttons, fabric, sewing books etc, all temptingly displayed. As soon as I walk in the shop I get excited and last week I actually got the opportunity to go in without children in tow. I was like a kid in a sweetie shop and even got talking to Alexia, the lady who owns the shop. She makes handbags and we were discussing how difficult it can be to get hold of nice trimmings etc in haberdashers, which is why she decided to solve the problem by selling these things herself.
I was really pleased to see that she sells Amy Butler fabrics and managed to walk out of the shop with a few fats that I have in mind to make some quirky little purses from. Just look at the attention to detail, each fat (displayed in a huge glass biscuit jar) is rolled and tied with Originals by Alexia ribbon. Inspiring.
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Its been radio silence again from me this week! so sorry everyone. I have been making 100 bags - as above, for a very exciting magazine subscriber giveaway. The lovely people at the English Home Magazine are going to give away a vintage paisley bag to the first 100 subscribers in June/July issue. It is fantastic publicity for my new company - but it has been a little wearing making 100 of them!!
If you have never bought the English Home Magazine, it is very nice and well worth adding to the trolly!!
Tuesday, 21 April 2009
My hands smell amazing! I've spent the morning sorting out dried lavender that I plan to use for confetti at my sister's wedding. More on that to follow, but for the time being I've used a small handful to add to my homemade exfoliating oil! Now that the sun is shinning I'm feeling the pressure to expose the legs in order to bronze them for aforementioned wedding. Not great for the local residents to see my peely wolly legs as I stride to school, but at least with a bit of TLC they may improve by July!
You may be beginning to realise that I like things that are simple to make and this oil is another example. In a jar pour some olive oil, add sea salt and a few drops of lavender oil. I added the dried lavender flowers to make it look more interesting. Use in the shower and hey presto....
Sunday, 19 April 2009
We had a lovely morning pottering about on my mother-in-law's allotment, planting sweet peas and ranuncula and collecting produce. I walked away with armfuls of goodies; more rhubarb, wonderful tulips, anemones, welsh onions, sorrel and chard and inspired to get planting at home.
But for now I'm looking forward to sitting outside with a glass of wine, watching the hot air balloons that are floating over the valley and flicking through the pages of Sarah Raven's Kitchen Garden. We've friends coming for supper tomorrow and I'm hoping to get some inspiration and if not I'll enjoy looking at the fantastic photos and come up with some more over the top ideas for our garden.
Wednesday, 15 April 2009
Tuesday, 14 April 2009
Saturday, 11 April 2009
We're off for a few days over Easter and I've already shown you the sunflower seeds I planted as gifts for the in-laws, and I know I've gone on about how I like to give something other than chocolate at Easter. But I've got to be honest, Easter isn't Easter without chocolate.
And so the children and I made some Easter chocolates, an awful mess, had a lot of fun and probably ate this year's chocolate quota in half an hour.
Friday, 10 April 2009
I was recently given a large bunch of beautiful rhubarb. I think rhubarb is the marmite of the fruit world (perhaps in competition with gooseberries) - you either love it or you hate it. The large shiny green leaves and the beautiful, bright pink stems are wonderful to look at and I really enjoy the sharp flavour. The leaves make really good compost too. I'm one of those who loves it and I'd been waiting for an opportunity to use the rhubarb when Sarah rang to invite us to lunch. With everything else going on this week it had to be another quick pudding. And so I made rhubarb fool the cheat's way (see recipe below).
When we arrived chez Hardaker the smell of slow roast lamb pervaded the house this was served up with roast potatoes, miniature carrots, french beans with toasted almonds, and a delicious Spring salad. The sun was shining (though the wind was cold) and the children enjoyed an egg hunt in the garden. A perfect Spring lunch and a great way to start the holidays
I must mention the Sticky Toffee Pudding cake that Sarah produced - to die for. I hope she will share the recipe with us all some time! It deserves a post of it's own.
Cheat's rhubarb fool:
In a saucepan with a lid stew approx 200g of rhubarb with 50g caster sugar and a teaspoon of ground ginger. Then leave to cool
Drain off any excess juices then mix with a tub of shop bought custard and chill in the fridge
Serve with shortbread, a ginger snap or langue de chat and if you want to add some colour drizzle some of the leftover juice over it.
apologies first for the silence on my part. Somebody bored through a cable at Olympic Village at the weekend and apparently that has meant no broadband for me in rural gloucestershire!!!! something to do with the service provider, anyway very frustrating. I have got a weeks worth of things to post so there will be plenty for you over the Easter weekend!
This is something i have been working on as part of a birthday present for the daughter of a good friend. She is having a gardening themed birthday party, so this is going to be a little gardening apron, with pretty plant pots as pockets and applique flowers and leaves. I am posting it as a WIP (work in progress) so you can see how I make things. Because I do this kind of thing for a living it didn't really occur to me that people don't always know 'how to do it' till the other day when Jo said 'aahh that's how you do that' (i was putting an inserted ric rac trim in a cushion!!). Anyway here are a few tricks of the trade from me to you.
1. the joy of bondaweb - it is basically like iron on hemming tape in a sheet with paper on 1 side, you can iron it to the reverse of a piece of fabric (or fairly much anything else) draw a shape on the paper side, cut it out and iron it on another bit of fabric. I then usually stitch it on too for a bit of decoration and some extra strength.
2. spring loaded embroidery hoops. these are great for impatient people like me! they hold the fabric tight and still while you do a bit of creative free stitch.
3.free stitch - on most sewing machines you can drop the feed (they are those little teeth that stick up under the needle plate.) if you drop them you can effectively draw with the sewing machine - i does take practice and you need a hoop.
i will post the finished gift for you to see later
Thursday, 9 April 2009
And then there is the wedding in Spain.....
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
I love family traditions and one of the nice things about having your own children is not only continuing the traditions you grew up with but also the opportunity to start new ones. I love the idea of Easter Trees and so for the last 5 years we have duly been out for a walk, picked some budding branches and then adorned them with decorations. At first we only had a few items from hubby's childhood, but we've added to the collection and made some of our own. Now we have a tree that is so full of life that it looks something from Enid Blyton.
The great thing about an Easter Tree is that it is small enough for young children to decorate on their own. What you can't see in this picture is that most of the pink decorations are on one side, mixed colours on the other. That is brother and sister working as a team! They are so proud of their decorating skills they are showing it to everyone (including the postman).
Monday, 6 April 2009
what you can't see in this photo is that all the blossoms are made from little origami flowers. Although this is probably quite a time consuming project which will require some patience, i think it will probably have the same soothing satitsfaction as crochet or knitting. (Although hopefully if Jo and I have a go at this our results will be more aesthetically pleasing than the results of our teach yourself crochet experiment!)
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Thursday, 2 April 2009
And after blowing those quails eggs I couldn't just throw away the yolk and whites and so I decided that the girls could have minature scrambled eggs on toast for lunch today. We had great fun laying the table with the toy tea sets and cutting the toast up with cookie cutters. Then the girls sat in the sun and ate their gourmet lunch.
It's been a busy week helping Boy prepare for all the Easter fun at school but I have found some time to make my Easter wreath. Using the feathers we picked up at the weekend and after blowing the quails eggs (the ones I just had to have!) I created this to welcome any visitors we have over the Easter period.
Somebody recently asked my mother how to blow an egg and I decided that a short post on this gave me the excuse I needed to use this photo. Ever since I saw the front cover of the March edition of Waitrose Food Illustrated I've wanted some quail's eggs! Just beware, if you choose to blow a quail's egg - they are very delicate.
To blow an egg: Using a needle carefully pierce a hole in the top and bottom of the egg. Blow quite hard through the top hole and the yolk and white should come out the other hole.
I am working on a special order to day for a friend of mine. she wants a cushion or a wall canvas with a pirate theme for a little boy. I am thinking nice nautical blues and reds with a creamy linen and his name either on the flag or the pirate ship. i think i might do something similar for either not on the high street or our planned (but as yet not set up!!) hardaker and pope etsy shop!!
we are having a flower and produce show in the village as part of our village fete in june. i did this flyer today to put in school book bags in the hope that it will get the children planting seeds over the easter hols. if you live in the stroud valleys and want to join in we would love to have you. (we'd still love you to join in even if you live further afield!!) does anyone have any suggestions for other interesting show classes?!