Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ok, so you wanted pictures......

Hello World!

Firstly, an update on Bramble Cottage. We STILL HAVEN'T EXCHANGED CONTRACTS!! Last week I was at breaking point. All the searches and paperwork have been signed for the sale of Farm Cottage. Everything is ready for the purchase of Bramble Cottage, but our buyer hasn't received her mortgage offer yet! She only applied for it just over a week ago! We are supposed to complete on the 3rd of October, that has been moved to the 7th and she announced that she was going on holiday for 2 weeks! She is due back on the 5th October and hopefully we will exchange whilst she is away. I am not holding my breath.

Starting to panic about winter setting in and me not being prepared. I am a like a squirrel, must have stores in place. Oil for the Rayburn and a decent pile of logs are a must before November. According to the long term weather forecast and a couple of saddo websites I look at, the winter will be far worse this year. Lower temperatures and more snow. All to do with low solar activity and the Gulf stream. As long as I have oil, wood and plenty of food in, I will be happy.

I was really hoping to move on the 3rd as that gave me 8 days off to get settled. Moving on the 7th will be ok, as I am not due back until the 11th, so please keep everything crossed for then!

The garden is looking dreadful. Just haven't had time to get out there and tidy up.....too busy watching GLEE, packing, preparing for the Michaelmas fair and working the odd day. The pear tree lost a couple of branches due to the amount of fruit. I have picked 2 large bowls and there are still 40+ more to pick.

After a terrible week at work, when I was taken off a lovely 3 day trip to Germany, to be replaced with a delayed Moscow and back flight, I finally finished on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday were spent baking and making for the fair at the weekend. It went well, although not as well as previous years, I think people are just not spending money. I can understand why, but it does get you down a bit when you work so hard preparing and people comment on how nice everything looks, then they walk away.

So, pictures I hear you cry!

Using the piano to display my bags.....

I saw these adorable 'business cards' at a friend's house and had to make some for me. The cards I had printed a couple of years ago don't have the website details on them. These are perfect and make great bookmarks!

Saturday was quite busy and I sold a lot, but Sunday was really quiet. It was still well worth me doing the fair though. I have done 3 Michaelmas fairs at the Fairground now and usually take a few Christmas bits with me. This year I decided not to and had so many people asking where my Christmas stock was! You can't win. I promised them all that I would be back at the Christmas Fair at the end of November. I have already got advanced orders of Christmas cakes and stockings! Yay!!

I have plenty of jam available, plus 15 jars of mincemeat. I won't be making anymore this year, although a friend announced yesterday that she has quince bush, so I might do a few jars of quince jelly. The cranberry and orange jelly, with edible glitter went down a storm last year, so will make some more of that and a few people asked about onion jam, so that is planned too.

I really want to get into my new home and set up the craft room asap. I need to get started soon if I am to get everything done in time. Fabric is no problem, I have plenty of that (I keep finding more boxes tucked away, loaded with fabric that I forgot I had *oops*)

I received 2 emails yesterday asking me to attend schools fairs and one today for Sparsholt College. Appleshaw and Shipton Bellinger schools are a dead cert, as long as I can get leave. The Fairground Fair is the last weekend of November and I have booked leave for that, so I think that will do. I don't think I'll have time for anymore - or time to make anything! The plan for next year is to start preparing much earlier (I know I say that every year), but by August, I feel like I am running out of time to get stockings sewn and Christmas puddings made!

After spending 7 hours preparing Damson ketchup, to produce only 7 bottles I was a tad hacked off to say the least. Simmering, straining, chopping onions, spice bags, more straining then pureeing etc etc - 7 measly bottles!!!! They all sold on Saturday!! I jokingly said to Jase that I should charge £11.50 a bottle as they took so long. £3 a bottle and sold with 3 hours. Oh well, I won't be making it again. Well, maybe for me, but definitely not to sell.

I came up with an idea for potted basil. Very pleased with the way they came out. Just an old baked bean can, some craft paper and a daisy punch; simple yet effective.

Cornelia is moulting and as usual looks miserable and not herself. She is the only of my hens who is generally fed up when moulting. The others just get on with it, but she looks so sorry for herself. It must be hard work growing feathers back, but she isn't even interested in mixed corn. She does manage to get enthusiastic when I offer her raspberries though.
Shock, horror, Agnes has started laying again. I didn't think she would until Spring. Her and Elsbeth are laying 2 eggs every day/other day, so I do have some in my egg larder. Pru gave up weeks ago, but I don't think it will be long until they all stop for their Winter break.

No other news to report really. In Madrid now, back tomorrow and then Paris for the night. Home on Thursday and then 11 days off! Yippppeeeee. Only have the shed, garage, loft and kitchen to pack up now.....joy. I know, I know, it will be worth it!

Take care.

C x x x

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A quickie...


Just a micro-update!

The Michaelmas fair is on Saturday, so I started baking today. Gingerbread men and hearts, plus hundreds of oat biscuits!

Fingers crossed that I will exchange contracts on Bramble Cottage tomorrow, for completion on the 7th of October. Not holding my breath, but hoping for then.

Not much else to report really. Busy sorting paperwork, signing things, sewing and baking, so not much different to usual!

Will write more after the fair and post some pictures.

C x x x

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Miss Marple...?

Evening All!

Another hectic week off for me.

It started with Mum, Dad, Brother and lovely Matt the carpenter visiting Bramble Cottage. Brother was there to look at the bathroom, (he is a plumber) and Matt was there with a very thick pad to look at the garden and measure up for the chicken run. Not forgetting, replacing the bathroom windows, sorting out the draughty back door, somehow building a kitchen, installing worktops, shelving in the larder and a built in cupboard in the spare room. I swear his eyes had pound signs in them!! I have asked for individual quotes for each job, so that I can get them done as and when finances allow.

Mum and Dad loved the house. They asked where the stairs were? - Behind the cute cupboard door! I have always wanted stairs in a cupboard!! So excited!!

Popped into Town yesterday. Never a good idea to go on a Saturday. Honestly, a bar of soap wouldn't go a miss with some of the people out and about. Managed to get hold of a new magazine - the sole purpose of going - called Craft Seller! Ideal for all those who sell their crafty things. I love it. Really appropriate for what I do, packed with great ideas! It even included a 'How to' by one of my favourite crafters Laura Clempson over at Cupcakes for Clara A cute little blue bird!

I even found myself in a sports shop. *Picks himself off the floor*. I needed some jogging bottoms - not for jogging, but for lazy evenings in the winter. Plus a new pair of jogging shorts and trainers for when I begrudgingly go to the gym at work.

2 pairs of jeans which are slightly buttock enhancing, were also purchased! An expensive 'quick pop into Town for a magazine'!

The weather has been dreadful, so perfect for staying in and packing, ready for the move. I have given at least 100 books to charity, pictures and clothes too. I still have another 2 bin bags full of clothes that no longer fit (yay) to take tomorrow. This weight loss lark is an expensive business.

I have to say, one of the funniest comments on my blog, was left by Alison last week - see here I actually laughed out loud when I read it! I am still waiting for the thick leather bound dossier to arrive, but I am sure that Alison is doing her best......several cups of tea and slices of cake, in pursuit of the answers about the Hungerford chef.

Thought it would be a good idea to keep a few boxes spare, to fill with things that I no longer want, but don't want to just give away. I heard about a car boot sale not far from here in Picket Piece, so went along to check it out. *remember brolly next time* It was really good and quite busy until the heavens opened, but I managed to find shelter under the doughnut stand. A cinnamon 'donut' and cup of PG later, I was ready to elbow the good people of Andover out of the way for something I wanted.

I didn't intend on buying anything. That is like me going into McDonalds for a bottle of water and not coming out with a cheeseburger, Filet-o-fish, small fries and a strawberry milkshake. Impossible, or maybe that's just me? I did find an old suitcase from the 40's/50's. A bargain at £6, plus a handful of embroidery silks for 50p. A good day's shopping.

The house move is going to be delayed I think. The lady buying our house hasn't got her mortgage through yet. Not surprising really as she still hadn't applied for it up until 3 days ago. Did I mention that we were all working towards completing on the 3rd of October? No? Well, that was the plan. Who knows when it will be now? It would have been great to move on the 3rd as I had another 8 days off afterwards, to get settled in and maybe even do some decorating. I will be calling my solicitor tomorrow to have a quiet word....

Agnes and Cornelia are dropping feathers everywhere. Corny always looks so miserable when she is moulting, barely eats anything, and generally looks unhappy. It does take a lot out of them, but I have added a tonic to their water and some spice to their food to perk them up a bit. I have discovered they will do anything for raspberries! My autumn fruiting rasps are giving me a handful or so every day. Any that are a bit soft, i throw into the chicken area, resulting in a mad scramble! I make sure that Cornelia gets a couple extra.
Pru has stopped laying, which leaves good old Elsbeth as always. 5 eggs a week for the next few weeks I hope. I think when the chicken run is ready and I have settled into Bramble Cottage, I might get a couple of hybrids to provide me with eggs through the winter.

Sorry I haven't got any pictures this week. The light has been grey and nothing came out very well. :0( I will take some of the fair which is in 2 weeks' time. Looking forward to that and have organised everything in boxes today. Just some oatie biscuits to bake the day before and maybe some gingerbread men if I have the time?

Better get a wiggle on. Need to light a candle for the tenth anniversary of September the 11th. The TV is off - after watching United 93 on the telly last night, I don't want to see anymore.

Be safe.

C x x x