Monday, 30 August 2010

Finally - Time to Relax, at Least till Tomorrow!

What a hectic weekend...

went to the antiques and bric a brac market at Tynemouth, (stopping off at Just Harley's for Dave to get some more useless useful bits for his bike).
Not a lot of bargains this time, but I did get more pillowcases - think I might just have enough now! and the book "Deadly Durham" by Terry Deary
Then back home to add the heading tape to the curtains I have made for Flic's room and to sand and prime the chest of drawers ready to paint.

The finished articles.

Car booting at Hexham.
A much needed bed guard for when little one comes to stay - BNIB and only £3.
A 1945 Bakelite fruit bowl - £5.
A pink gingham duvet cover - 50p. This will be cut up to make cushions.
A Disney Princess Duvet Cover and Pillowcase - 50p. Dear granddaughter has been asking for a Disney Princess Quilt for her bed at home which is a toddler bed, so needs a half size quilt. I have already halved an old quilt for use on her bed along with altering a duvet cover to fit, but I have been on the look out for a Disney Princess one to alter, so was well pleased to get one at this price!

Then home  to add a coat of Farrow & Ball to the chest of drawers & make Pasta Chicken Enchiladas for tea - recipe on this fantastic blog full of Slimming World recipes.

Then evening spent altering said duvet cover and adding  a final coat of paint to the drawers.


First coat of Danish Oil on top of the drawers.

Delivered altered Disney Princess Quilt then ... to B & Q for screws to put handles on the chest, but none in the right size so back in the car and off to Homebase, where we bought the last packet.

Chose and purchased new carpet for little one's room.

Filled up on fuel.

Back home, helped dear hubby clear junk out of the room so he could fit the carpet and put the handles on the drawers.

Sanded and primed an old dining chair that will also go in little one's room.

Dear son turned up - he hadn't realised it was a bank holiday and so the shop in our village is closed - he has nothing in the house - can I just run him into the next village for supplies?

Back home - prepare and cook Roast Lamb dinner including Yorkshire puds.

Second coat of Danish Oil on top of the drawers.

Make bread.

Iron two large vintage cotton double bed sheets and four pillowcases then change bedding.

Finally - so shattered can't think straight and my old bones and muscles aching and groaning, dragged myself into a blissful warm soothing shower.

Now I'm beginning to relax I've also treated myself to some of the Elderflower Champagne I made back in June.

I'll leave you with the picture that my other half has set as wallpaper on the PCs desktop to remind me of our holidays and help me to relax - Ahhh!

Ring of Brodgar - Orkney

Friday, 27 August 2010

Scarecrows and Hexham

My lovely eldest daughter Ellie had a much deserved day off work today so we had what is now an all too rare day out together. At this time of year the villages in Weardale each host an annual agricultural show. This weekend it will be the turn of a village called St John's Chapel. Part of this particular show is a scarecrow competition, where residents of the village and the surrounding villages are asked to make a scarecrow and display it within their village. Each year Ellie has taken photographs of the scarecrows and as this would be her only opportunity this year we drove up the valley to the villages where the scarecrows are displayed so she could get her photographs.

Below are just some of the scarecrows from previous years:

We then drove off to Hexham, a lovely Northumberland Market Town, where we had lunch at their most excellent Cantonese Restaurant and trawled the charity shops - well you have to don't you ; )

Ellie got an excellent bargain (though terribly expensive for a charity shop). A brand new with tags Raven dress, original price ticket of £59.99 still attached, for £15. Raven is one of the leading clothing brands from the gothic scene so Ellie was well pleased and it did look stunning on her. I didn't do so well with finds today, though I did get a Next top for £4 for work and a vintage pillowcase for 25p.

The White Monk Tea Rooms

We drove home via Blanchland and popped into the White Monk Tea Rooms for tea/coffee and cake, and most delicious it was too. All in all a lovely day spent with my beautiful daughter. xxx

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Charity Shopping & Bread Experiments

Back in June I posted the recipe for my everyday bread, a simple easy no knead recipe. It has to be said however that I always felt this recipe was limited in that it produces a very soft dough so I have only ever cooked it in a loaf tin - that is - until now...

I decided to try putting half the mixture into bun shaped "blobs" of the dough onto a baking sheet, allowing them to rise and then baking them. They did turn out rather well, though the next time I do this I think I'll make the blobs higher as they did spread out more than I wanted. I also used the other half spread out into a pizza tin, again leaving it to rise in the tin and then baking without topping. I topped it later and have to say that although the base came out looking a bit knobbly the pizza was delicious.


I've also been charity shopping and got ...

A Next knitted jacket for my granddaughter (£2.25)

A Monsoon top for my return to work in September. (£3.49)

An appliqued play quilt (£1.99) - this will be used to make cushions for dear granddaughter's bedroom.

A Mediterranean look bowl (£1)

A silky scarf for me. (£1)

and finally ...
Three Ladybird books (10p each) for my darling Flic.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Another Old Edwardian Bed

Today I have finally finished the actual painting & papering of the spare room which we are turning into a room for our 3 year old granddaughter for when she stays over, and yesterday I won the EBay auction for an Edwardian single bed to go in the room. I debated over buying a pristine new bed for the room, but as you are all well aware my first choice is always to buy something pre loved and with some history. Our house is an Edwardian house and as I mentioned in an earlier post  my own bed  is also Edwardian, so when I saw this bed on EBay it just seemed to be "the right" bed for little Flic's new room.

This is the EBay picture of the bed, I will post pictures of the bed in situ once the room is completed. 

Friday, 20 August 2010

Indian Patchwork - Again!

I'm sure you dear people will remember the Indian patchwork that I told you about a couple of posts back. Yes, that's the one, the one I thought would make a lovely wall hanging only it was at least four times too big!
Well today I used up some more of it - to recover my dining chairs. At this rate I will soon have reduced it to the size I originally needed. The chairs were an EBay buy and only cost £10. The covers were a plain brown rexine type material and although they weren't in too bad a condition one of the chairs had a bit of a sag in the middle which needed attention. I also love ethnic style fabrics and patterns - think eastern bazaar, kilims etc so felt using up some more of my wall hanging would be an excellent idea, what do you think?
(Ignore the horrendous clutter in the background!)



Tuesday, 17 August 2010

More Pillowcases

Today I received a pair of vintage pillowcases that I bought off eBay for only £2.99 plus £2.50 postage.

I absolutely love them, they are a gorgeous creamy colour with really bright colourful applique on the edges.

The colours are much brighter and more vibrant in real life - I just can't wait till I change my bedding and put them on. Who'd have thought I could get so excited over a pair of pillowcases!

Monday, 16 August 2010

A Vintage Start to the Day

I am still on holiday from work until September, but Dave has returned to work and the only daughter still living at home is working, so when I get up in the morning I have the luxury of having the house to myself. Now as you might have guessed I just love collecting bits and pieces of pretty vintage china and housewares, but for me these aren't items to be simply stored away or set out on display to catch the dust, but things I like to use and treasure. This morning I decided to treat myself to a leisurely breakfast - nothing fancy just some wholemeal toast spread with butter and heather honey, but with a nice big cafetiere of real coffee to wash it down with. What better way to make an occasion of breakfast than by setting my vintage tea tray that I bought yesterday with pretty china and a flower from the garden.

This is my idea of luxury - simple I know, but using pretty things from the past that I continue to love and treasure.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Charity Shopping & Crafting Sunday

Well despite today dawning beautifully sunny my other half pointed out (rightly - unfortunately!) there were too many jobs needed doing for us to venture out for the day. I had to content myself with combining a mini food shopping excursion into the next village with a visit to their one and only charity shop, which, lucky for me is open on a Sunday. As it turned out the visit was quite rewarding. I came away with the lovely vintage tray pictured below for only £2.
I also got a floral print Monsoon maxi skirt for £3, a blue tie dye effect Jordash top, which will look great with jeans for £3, an Anokhi for East blue printed quilted jacket with a matching maxi skirt £3.50 for the set and a yellow Red Herring blouse for only 50p which will be ideal for when I return to work in September.

After my shopping trip I decided to finally make the table runner I've been promising to make for ages. A couple of years ago I bought a large Indian patchwork wall hanging - at least when I say wall hanging that is what I bought it as, but when it arrived it was huge. I contemplated using it as a bedspread - it would easily cover a double bed with lots of overhang, but it is very very stiff.

Sooo... it has hung around at the back of a cupboard, waiting till I could decide what to do with it. I would like to end up cutting it down so that some of it can still be used for the wall hanging I originally had in mind, but I needed to find a use for the rest. It was while I was in Newcastle one day, window shopping in some of the fancier - hence pricier shops, that I saw a dining table runner in similar Indian patchwork.  I can't remember exactly how much it was but it was upwards of £30. I promised myself that I'd get around to using some of the wall hanging to make myself a similar runner, but never really got motivated to do so - till today...


Saturday, 14 August 2010

Country and Game Fair

Dave and I went to the Game and Country Fair at Raby Castle today.  While there I watched a cookery demonstration about how to prepare and cook rabbit. The dish that was cooked was rabbit in a cider and cream sauce, so a rabbit and some scrumpy cider just had to be bought and the recipe tried for tea. It was easy to make and at only £2.99 for the rabbit it was reasonably cheap (though the rabbit wouldn't have served more than two).Pictures and recipe below.

Rabbit with Cider & Cream Sauce

1 Rabbit jointed
2 tbsp Seasoned flour
About 1/2 pint decent cider
Rapeseed oil for frying
1 Chopped onion - (In the demonstration they used shallot, but I didn't have any)
Chopped or sliced mushrooms
A sprig of fresh thyme - (They used tarragon, but Dave doesn't like the flavour of tarragon so I substituted thyme - they did say in the absence of fresh herbs to use a pinch of dried.)
4 tbsp Cream

Coat the rabbit joints in the seasoned flour and lightly brown them in rapeseed oil, just to seal. Transfer to a saucepan. Add the chopped onion and mushrooms to the frying pan and saute lightly then add the cider and scrape up any tasty bits stuck to the bottom of the pan - add the contents of the frying pan to the rabbit in the saucepan. Add the herbs then bring to the boil and then turn down to a simmer  - continue to cook for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes add the cream and reheat, but do not allow to boil at this stage. Serve.

I served it with boiled new potatoes, steamed carrots and courgettes sauteed with garlic - it was yummy!

It wasn't all about me and food though - Dave was in his element - he got to fire a big musket loaded shotgun, not once but twice! - Boys and their toys ; D

Friday, 13 August 2010

Courgette Rissoles and Monsters

Whilst on our holidays we saw some little monsters in a gift shop similar to the one above, but with an £8 price tag I wasn't going to let "Grandad" buy one for our little granddaughter when I could make her one myself. So that's what I did, and I have to say he was very well received.

The front side is shown in the picture above and below you can see the reverse side.

The fabric was recycled from a patchwork skirt that I bought in a charity shop...

...and now for the courgettes!
I keep getting loads of courgettes in my vegetable bag and with another bag due to be delivered this afternoon I thought it was about time I tried using some up. Having read a few recipes for courgette rissoles recently I thought I'd have a go at making some for my lunch, but as is typical for me I couldn't be bothered to hunt out the recipes I'd seen so decided to make it up as I went along.
I fried a chopped onion with a clove of chopped garlic then put them in a bowl with a grated courgette, about 2oz of grated mature cheddar, a small slice of wholemeal bread grated, an egg and salt and pepper.and mixed it all up. I heated a frying pan with a teaspoon of olive oil in and placed two separate tablespoons of the mixture in and flattened them slightly. Whilst they were cooking I decided a dip of some sort might be nice to go with them. I had a couple of teaspoonfuls of guacamole left over from last night so I mixed them with a tablespoon of mayonnaise, then went to flip my rissoles - Disaster!!! they just broke up into pieces. Not liking to waste things, I popped them onto a plate and still ate them - they tasted okay but a little bland.

Sooo... back to the drawing board, or in this case the mixing bowl - to the mixture still in the bowl I added 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1 tsp tomato puree and 1/2 oz flour and mixed them well in. This time I tried frying just a teaspoon first - success!!!

Recipe: Courgette Rissoles with Chilli and Cheese

1 Small onion - chopped
1 Clove garlic - chopped
1 Largish courgette - grated
2 oz Grated mature cheddar cheese
1 Small slice wholemeal bread - grated into crumbs
1 Med egg
1/2 tsp Chilli powder
1 tsp Tomato puree
1/2 oz Flour
Salt & Pepper
Lightly fry the garlic and onion and add to a bowl with all the other ingredients. Mix well. Shallow fry tablespoons of the mixture on each side till browned and cooked through - serve.
Olive oil for frying.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

I'm Back!

Well we have returned from our trip to Orkney. What a lovely relaxing week. If ever you are up that way try and make time for an evening with  "Peatside Tales" These evenings are run by John and Lynn who offer unique storytelling evenings. You get the opportunity to sit around a peatfire and enjoy Orkney folklore and island legend via music, song and dance. We attended two of these evenings one in the Old Still bar of the Stromness Hotel and another in John and Lynn's studio, both were fantistic with Lynn telling folklore stories with real imagination and feeling. We also booked a guided tour of Stromness with John - it was fantastic to hear the history of the place where we were staying.

Stromness Harbour at Night

At beautiful Rackwick Bay on the Island of Hoy

We stayed in the "Peedie Hoose" (peedie meaning small), it's the second door up in the white building that you can see above.

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