Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Turkey's Last Stand

Christmas Day - already just a memory, but what a lovely memory.

We were so lucky to have my middle daughter and granddaughter spending Christmas with us this year, so Santa called at our house to deliver presents for our princess, and we proud grandparents got to witness the present opening. It brought back such happy memories of her mum and sisters when they were young.

And the last of the turkey has finally been dealt with. The carcass has given up the last of it's goodness and been transformed into broth. 
Five cartons for the freezer as well as a hearty bowlful each served with home made bread.

And talking of bread - I made this ...

using the instructions in one of my favourite pressies ( the one on the right).

The method given in this book involves making up a batch of no knead dough then storing it in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, simply taking off a portion as needed, shaping it, resting it then baking - simples!

A final mention of Christmas - I promise!!!

Just a couple more of my favourite pressies...

Hand knitted gloves with cuffs made from recycled saris.

and the most gorgeous sewing box.

Christmas is a difficult time of year for me, but this year has seemed much easier and I can honestly say that I have had a lovely Christmas - I hope you have too.

Here' s to a happy and prosperous new year.

Monday, 27 December 2010

The Ice Man Cometh - (Well actually I think he's well and truly here)

Boxing Day Walks

Yesterday Dave and I went on a couple of walks to blow away the cobwebs. I think you will all agree that  Jack Frost has truly been working his magic.

First up some photographs of the old quarry workings at Bollihope Burn.


Then a drive over the moors to Bowlees Picnic Area in Teesdale.

One of the lower frozen waterfalls...

...then a little further on, just around the corner...

Sumerhill force literally "frozen" in flow.

Behind the waterfall...

The ice was so stunning that it inspired Dave to take no less than 168 photographs but I have only bored you with shown you a small sample.

When he had finally exhausted his creative bent, we retired home to a warm fire, hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream and homemade shortbread - bliss ;oD


Saturday, 25 December 2010

Thank You (Secret) Santa

I opened my Secret Santa parcel today and have to say a huge thank you to my Secret Santa for the most fabulous set of gifts. I absolutely love everything, it is obvious that a lot of thought has gone into selecting just the right gifts for me.

I opened the box...

...lavender & snowflakes on snow white tissue paper,

and underneath.

A gorgeous vintage style tree bauble.

A beautiful twiggy heart topped with a lovely checked bow...

...and more parcels to unwrap.

A beautiful vintage china cup and saucer beautifully cradled in a vintage crochet doily. 
Aren't they gorgeous!!.

Some oh so pretty pink crochet bunting made especially for Flic's room.
It looks lovely hanging from her Peter Rabbit Shelf.

The most wonderfully lavender scented pincushion, I wish you could smell this it scented the whole room, and is just so, so pretty, this will become a treasured well used item in my toolkit.

A beautifully crocheted tea cosy, I've been lusting after tea cosies similar to this for a while and had one on my wish list. This one is perfect in every way, I think Santa must have read my mind!

Then last but certainly not least there was this pretty retro tin with a bow attached...

...and inside were more gorgeous goodies, a pretty dotty heart, a lovely rose printed fabric heart embellished with a cream rose and a scrap of "with love" printed ribbon and an absolutely amazing purple organza flower brooch and...

...a lovely handcrafted felt ring.

How lucky am I to receive such fabulous gifts?

Heartfelt thanks to my Secret Santa, I hope your Christmas has been as lovely as mine.


Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas

Just thought I'd pop in and wish everyone a very merry Christmas and leave you with a picture of a very frozen river Wear taken yesterday at Durham. xxx

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A Solstice Sunrise

It has become a tradition for my dear husband and myself to rise early on the morning of the winter Solstice and to go to find a high quiet vantage point from where we can watch and greet the Solstice sunrise.

So on this beautiful morning we head across the moorlands of the north Pennines.

Found our vantage point ... and waited.

You might have to enlarge to see the change!


Solstice greetings and bright blessings to you all.


Monday, 20 December 2010

Vintage Tips for the Home

Some vintage (and frugal) "recipes" to lighten the load.

Now some of you may know that I have a "thing" about vintage bed linen, but what I don't like is ironing it. I do iron it as there is nothing to beat that lovely feeling of sliding between freshly laundered and ironed sheets when I have just changed the bed, but anything to make it easier is appreciated, which is why I use spray starch as it makes ironing cotton so much easier. 

It isn't cheap though and I can go through quite a bit when ironing a full set of sheets and pillowcases for a double bed, so when I found a recipe online for making your own spray starch I just had to give it a go. It worked brilliantly and best of all it costs pennies - do give it a go.

Home Made Spray Starch
200 ml cold water
1 teaspoon cornflour
20 drops lavender essential oil
Mix everything together in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use.

My second discovery happened this evening. I host a family dinner every solstice, which is tomorrow and mentioned to my daughter that due to my clumsiness I didn't have enough wine glasses. She remembered a set of silver plated wine goblets that she bought for herself in a charity shop over a year ago and said I could use them. Unfortunately when she unearthed them from her cupboard they had become badly tarnished and we were out of metal polish. I remembered then that I had seen a tip on t' interweb some time ago, something to do with hot water and tin foil - so Google to the rescue. I have to admit we were sceptical at first but we duly lined the washing up bowl with tin foil, added hot water, two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda and two tablespoons of salt. We tentatively placed one of the goblets in the dish and waited about a minute then fished it out. It was AMAZING the tarnish had all gone and following a quick buff dry from a soft cloth it was positively gleaming.

I've also ended up doing some silver plated forks I bought at a flea market - they've never looked so good!

What old style vintage household recipes have you tried and tested?

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Announcing the Winner

 Fill one bowl with folded entries...

...add one three year old grandchild 


Congratulations mad about bags. If you'd like to let me know your postal address I'll get the goodies out to you as soon as possible.

I'd like to thank everyone who took part, and if it were possible I'd present you all with a prize. I love it that so many of you read my blog and really appreciate all of your lovely supportive comments.


Saturday, 18 December 2010

There's Still Time to Enter

Just a reminder, there is still time to enter my giveaway.

It will officially close at noon tomorrow. (19th December).

Friday, 17 December 2010

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

Today was the funeral of our friend.

As funerals go it was quite an uplifting event.

There was an excellent turnout, with standing room only - in fact some people were unable to fit into the chapel. 

The hearse was a suitable conveyance for a biker...

..and was followed by many of his friends and family on their bikes.

Instead of a minutes contemplative silence, the congregation gave a round of applause and three rousing cheers.

The song played was specially selected by Maz himself and was so typical of him...

Eric Idle's Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.

He will be sadly missed.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Keeping Busy

We received some sad news this weekend, a dear friend of my husband lost his battle with cancer. It is only six months since his wife also lost her battle with cancer, so I have been trying to keep busy, because to be honest if I give myself time to think too much  I just might start to cry.

So what have I been busying myself with?

I went for a walk to gather greenery to make the place look more festive.

I added some to the dining room mantelshelf

and to the one in the sitting room.

Then I baked some chocolate nut brownies from this recipe on the Stonesoup blog. If you want quick and simple recipes I really recommend that you pay a visit to this blog.

I then made a rather lovely (if I do say so myself!) tea for dear hubby and myself. We each had an 8oz rump steak served with crispy onion rings, mashed carrots, mashed swede and dauphinoise potatoes. We followed this with some of the chocolate brownies and cream. (Ohh my poor waistline, still I think comfort food was called for!)

Finally I have finished making a necklace as a Christmas present for eldest daughter Ellie. It is themed on the Edgar Alan Poe Poem "The Raven"

A close up of the picture charm which I made earlier in the week

and of the clasp.

Hope she likes it!

PS Don't forget to enter my giveaway.
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