Monday, December 24, 2012


Just a quick hello to wish all my friends, family and faithful followers a very Happy Christmas!

See you all very soon.

C x x x 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crafting is bad for your health..


Back again after a long break (from blogging, sorry)! 

Let me start with a little something I treated myself to a couple of weeks ago.  Have long been a fan of Sesame Street, no idea why, but there you go.  In particular, Elmo! So when I saw this on ebay, how could I resist??!

So, onto the Christmas fair!  It was really good and I did very well.  I will not be eating jam for the next 12 months, so that is one of the many positives!

The pictures aren't great, as I used my iphone, but you get the idea!

My chocolate snowmen did really well, just posted 4 off to Denmark! 

 I only made 12 mini Christmas cakes this year and sold them all! Should have made more, but will remember for next year!

 Since I can remember, I would visit a Christmas market every year when seeing my Gran and Family in Germany.  One thing they all have in common is sugared almonds.  Always wrapped in paper cones and always delish!  I stumbled upon a recipe and gave it a twirl.  20 minutes the recipe said.  They lied.  After sweating for 45, not able to leave the pan for fear of burning the sugary almonds, I started stripping off.  Easier said that done, when you have to keep stirring!

Stanley the Rayburn did a good job, but gets so hot!  I ended up in a tshirt and pants, - a nice mental image for you all there, just as the familiar smell hit me! Perfect almonds, cinnamon and vanilla, brought back wonderful memories.  I even found instructions on making the paper cones.

Talking of Stanley, I have sussed out how to use the hob part now.  Pans are no problem, but after 13 months and a couple of over-cooked-but-raw-in-the-middle cakes (and a wonderful vanilla and sultana cake burning as I type) I simply cannot work out the main oven!  It is driving me mad.  Seeing as the Rayburn is on now for the winter, it makes sense to use it for cooking, as well as heating the house, but I can't seem to cook anything in the oven.  The temperature gauge is wrong, so I tweak the controls and guesstimate the cooking times, but it is dreadful!

I have 2 more Christmas puddings, 5 bags of pistachio fudge and 2 jars of sparkly cranberry jam to deliver and then I am done!  Today was spent 'Postman Pat' style sorting out parcels to send.  
These are the wrapped puds, simple, but country.  I like the look. Very me. 

I had to go into Town today.  Ran out of brown parcel paper!  I know, so unlike me.  Anyway, after dodging 3 'could you spare 7 hours to answer a few questions'? type people, I was nearly run down by a clinically obese man in a motorised scooter.  Followed by his huge wife and colossal daughter.  Possibly  a deal at the mobility shop, 3 for 2?  Must be hereditary I thought. Until I saw them blockading McDonalds and the staff in a frenzy!   

People milling around Poundland asking how much is this?? Spending their dole money in Ladbrookes.  I really hate going into Town.  

Now, may I be candid?  Apologies to my Mum who will read this and anyone of a nervous disposition, but I have to get something off my chest.

I went to the Doctors today.  It seems I have a mild kidney/bladder infection, 'probably caused by not drinking enough'.  Apparently, tea doesn't count.  Even though it is 3 weeks and 4 days since my last diet coke, I need to drink more water.  Now, infections of this delicate nature (and bloody pain in my lower back) are not that common in men.  So, my Doctor suggested I visit the local GUM clinic - Google it, I do not wish to go into details here.....

I was given antibiotics and a covering letter which went as follows -

Dear Colleague,

Christian a 38 year old AIRLINE STEWARD, appears to be suffering from duyeyvgagvchjavhcdwcvgvitis (I seriously cannot read it).  Please could you conduct a full screen.

Now, firstly, I am 31 and a few months, cough, and secondly, what has my job got to do with anything??  Would he write 'a 38 year old cashier in Waitrose'???  What exactly is he implying?  I am a flying mattress???

We had a long discussion about my sex life.  Well, I'll be honest, we talked about the hens, my 'new dog', oh and how cold it was outside, for longer.  The sex life talk was along these lines....

Doctor - 'so, when was the last time you were sexually active'?

Me - 'erm.....'

Doctor - 'Just a rough idea'?

Me - 'I can give you the decade....'

So what exactly am I going to the GUM clinic for??

Not only do I have to live with the shame of having to visit the 'clap clinic' but I need to ask them how Quilting, dog walking and jam making could possibly lead to an STI?

A friend said they deal with people's waterworks as well as 'infections down there'.  Very reassuring.

On to a more festive, and less embarrassing, topic - you see how I give everything to my loyal readers??  Read it now, while you get a chance, I might delete this post tomorrow, when the effects of the pistachio fudge have worn off - I have put up my outside lights at Bramble Cottage!  The neighbours haven't, but I don't care.  I will force the Festive season on all!  They are on a timer, so I can spread Christmas joy when I am away with work.

Tomorrow is operation Christmas.  The house needs a sprinkling of festiveness, so the garlands, baubles and lights will be coming out (and promptly put away if Milo takes a shine to them...

I am seriously behind with my Christmas shopping.  Nearly done, but it is the 11th and I haven't wrapped a single present.  The cards were posted today - one tip, don't put your cards for your neighbours in the pile of cards to be posted.  Yes, I did post cards titled 'Sue and Dudley' and 'Colin and Jo' with no addresses.  Didn't even see the point in asking the postman to give them back when he opened the box. It is against the Holy Postal vow......

Milo has been a joy!  I took him for a really long walk yesterday and he came back every time I whistled!  Progress.  I won't ever stop him chasing rabbits, deer or crows, but that is terriers for you.  I was so proud of him. Gave him extra treats and cuddles!

Today, he bloody well ignored me.

A frosty morning shot - he is just like me and hates having his pictures taken.

I will leave you now but will be back soon!  Back to work on Friday - all day in Frankfurt to visit the Christmas market, then Glasgow for the night and some awful standby and then a couple of weeks off - all over Christmas!!

C x x x

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Wish me luck....

Well, after months of planning, the Christmas fair has arrived!

I set up my stall last night, so just a quick post before I head off, thermos in hand!

If you are in the Weyhill area of Hampshire, look out for the Fairground Craft and Design centre and pop in and visit me!

C x x x

p.s will update blog later with pictures!!

Monday, November 05, 2012

How to look good naked.....or not.

Evening Folks!  It's blog time again!  Part time week is nearly over, so a bit of time before work to get a few random thoughts down.

Oh. My. God.  It is November and I haven't blogged since October the 06th, as many a jab in the ribs email has mentioned!  Sorry, peeps, Christian is busy with Christmas preps and feeling all festive like the mad man you know I am! I'd like to say that I haven't played any Christmas music at all.

That would be a lie.  Bing, Dean and Nat has been crooning, along with Mr Buble, Annie Lennox and a few other choice singers.  It is so darn festive at Bramble Cottage I could burst! 

I am absolutely knackered!  My niece and nephew visited today and wore me out!  A long walk with Milo, pizza, Maltesers and then home and I am shattered!  I did bake them some cheesy feet (puff pastry with cheese in/on then cut out with a foot cookie cutter) this morning, so started early! 

Milo has been to the Hairdressers this week.  I left him and a pig's ear (on the condition that he was nice to everyone) and headed for the supermarket.  On my return, there was no ambulance outside, no groomers covered in plasters and hands wrapped in absorbent gauze.  He was a star apparently.  Now, I know he is lovely, he will cuddle up to me, let me check his paws when something is bothering him and happily nudges my armpit first thing, in an attempt to rouse me from slumber (a seriously brave dog), but sometimes with strangers he can be a bit funny. A pregnant friend who's Pretty Polly tight modelling days are over, will confirm this.  Having said that, in the past few weeks he has transformed in a very sweet boy.  I think he feels at home now and knows I am not going anywhere! 

He has been thinned out and lost loads of his winter coat (it is still mega thick though, if only mine was) and they even did a some 'manscaping' around his bits.  Brave girls.  

Look at that smile!! 

I forgot to show you close ups of my brooches and key rings.  I managed to get hold of some small boxes, which I think set them off perfectly! 

 Last week I had a call, enquiring about making mini stockings for a B&B in Brighton!  They wanted small red felt stockings to leave for their guests in the run up to Christmas!  I posted a picture on my last blog update of the padded stockings, these will be similar but with the tops open to fill with goodies!  They also wanted some fabric robins that I haven't made for a couple of years, so they are being made too!

I am really busy with Christmas orders now and wish I had another few days off to get into it.  I still have my part time week off at the end of November, but need to start preparing for the Christmas fair and sort out dog care for Milo that weekend.  Mum & Dad are away, so need to find a willing volunteer to dog sit for a few hours over the weekend.  Lots of dog kisses guaranteed. He will even give you his paw.

I rarely watch telly, as you know, but Wartime Farm had me captivated.  I love that going-back-to-olden-days kind of tv!
They were making a quilt in one of the episodes, so you guessed it, I had to make one!  Having searched the house for some fabric, which took 3 seconds as it is everywhere at Bramble Cottage, it was a case of simple pockets filled with wadding and sewn together.  Quite quick to make and I really enjoyed doing it. I have been advised to take it to the Christmas fair and try and sell it.  Thoughts?

Nearly finished......

Not sure what I have done to my back again, but it's playing up today.  Milo are I usually have at least a 5-6 mile walk a day, but with the children today, we only managed a 4 miler!  Think Mum and Dad were relieved too! They will sleep well tonight (so will the children)! I haven't taken pain killers for my back for a few weeks, but something is up.  Kind of cramping, old man syndrome.  Refuse to believe it is OAP pains.  

Whilst out walking today, my niece (6) declared, "I love a good walk".  Bless her and according to my nephew, in his words, I look like 'Gok Wanger'. I kid you not.  Wanger. It's the glasses apparently.  Slightly concerned that he thinks I am half Chinese.  Will be wearing contact lenses from now on and never making cheesy feet for him again. 

The free loaders in the garden are eating well.  Pellets, spinach and chard aplenty.  And not laying.  I had to buy eggs this week damn them! Ok, so two of them are moulting, but the others have just shut down for winter.  Which, ironically, has now hit.  Snow covered the county next to mine this week.  Freak snow that didn't see it's way here (sad face).  

Milo's 'silent' whistle training is continuing.  He is still ignoring it and I was tempted to take him to the vet for a hearing test.  However, if I unwrap a packet of Pilgrim's Choice, he can hear me in the next county and comes running into the kitchen.  Perhaps a walk with Cathedral City next week will be in order?  I have never met a dog so obsessed with cheese. 

 'Any type of Cheddar will do....'

Until next time.....

C x x x

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Welcome to the Post Office...

Sometimes I wish I could stop time.  My inability to sew, walk the dog, read my Kindle, do housework and blog at the same time does get me down.  Work is a major inconvenience, but necessary.  I love writing my blog.  Seriously.  It makes me feel good when I hit 'publish'.  And I love the comments that are left for me.  I appreciate that people are out there, reading my ramblings and taking time to reply.  If I could only have an extra hour or two a day, I'd be a happy bunny.  

Part time week is nearly over and we are full steam ahead, crashing towards Christmas.  Now, you might not like this idea, but it has to be said.  My iphone app tells me exactly how many sleeps I have until Father Christmas comes and plays a jolly carol to boot.  I made the mistake of posting it on Facebook tonight.  The tongue lashing I received wasn't pleasant ;0)  Miserable buggers.

So, the craft fair at the end of September was a disaster.  I would have made more money at the local car boot sale.  And that is saying something.  (I went once - someone was selling one shoe and an electric toothbrush amongst other things).  The weather was amazing on the Saturday and I wish I had sun cream for sale as I would have made a killing.  By Sunday, Noah clearly had the right idea, and the heavens opened.  

The jam mountain ready to go -

I took Milo along and had his basket ready, a bag of crispy pigs ears and chews to keep him entertained. All was set.

Then a clown bought a live rabbit into the shop and all hell broke loose.

I say 'clown' but he informed me, he wasn't a clown.  He was a 'Performer'.  My mistake.  The huge shoes, wig, baggy trousers and braces confused me.  Needless to say, we had a psychotic terrier trying to kill said rabbit, howling like a wolf and pulling the table over.  Not a good start to the day.

A little bit of Christmas, just to get the seed planted for the next fair.

 Not forgetting my hot water bottles, I am so chuffed with these.  Someone at the fair was too as they nicked one!  I know, outrageous.

Now, don't get me wrong, all 'crafters' work differently, but there was some serious shite for sale. See, it has even made me swears on my blog! *shock*

Sock monkeys?  What exactly is the deal there?  I find them creepy beyond belief.  Not quite 'Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' creepy, but still scary. (I still can't watch that film - "Lollipops, I smell children" - Shudder).  However, a sock, turned into a monkey, given soulless button eyes and a cape and sold for £7! Please.  They looked like they had been made my a blind person, with no arms or legs, knitting with their teeth.  Sorry, don't shoot me down, but really????

Anyway, the hog roast man was there, so I was happy.  Even happier when he had a whole pig left on the Sunday and was selling the meat off cheap.  When a strange man offers you a warm bag and says "£4 mate" with sadness in his eyes, you kind of just do it, don't you?  I have never bought a carrier bag full of pork before, but there is a first time for everything.  One tip though - if you have crackling the size of a piece of A4 paper, don't eat it all in one go!  It will make you ill.  Just saying.

Oatie biscuits, not Hobnobs.  I repeat, NOT Hobnobs (copyright - don't want McVities banging on my door) were once a regular feature in my kitchen.  Obviously. Look at them -

I have been trying to stop myself baking things like this for a while as my waist line is slowly going down and my stomach no longer wobbles when I drive over a speed bump.  How I hate speed bumps.  My niece requested her 'special biscuits' so I dutifully made them for her and popped them in a box for her to pick up from the fair when she visited with my Brother and Sister in law.  The rain stopped her coming (is she made of sugar?) so I gave the box to a friend and ate the remaining 23 of them.   *Mental note to avoid all speed bumps for the foreseeable future*

I took this picture in Frankfurt a few weeks ago.  We are staying in Wiesbaden now, a lovely old Town with cobbled streets and too many craft shops.  I saw this display of wool felt and went weak at the knees.  Some people are into cars, I like felt, ok?  Don't judge me! It is normal in my world.

I started training Milo this week.  Having seen a 'silent dog whistle' in Pets at home (which isn't silent, work that one out?) I purchased it, along with lots of other dog related stuff that just happened to fall into my basket.  

After 3 days, it was going well, until I started trusting him.  Huge mistake.  It appears that he doesn't really respond to the whistle.  Or the treats he gets when he does come back, simply aren't good enough.  A small piece of cheese or tiny meaty bone no longer does the trick.  I know he wants frankfurters, I can see it in his eyes.  Herta frankfurters.  Not those cheap Lidl ones.  I have turned my poor wee rescue terrier from Ireland into a food snob. 

I still laugh when I get the 'stop blowing that damn whistle' look from him.  Bless him.  

We visited Grant the vet on Thursday to get Milo his passport.  Mum and Dad want to take him to Germany with them in December, so off we went, worried that the last time he saw Grant, he had his 'bits' taken away.   My biggest concerned wasn't the vet losing a finger to terrier teeth though.  It was Milo's picture for his passport.....

In Germany, dogs can go everywhere.  Cafes, restaurants and shops allow dogs in, unlike Britain.  I was tempted to get Milo one of those coats that says 'Assistance dog' or 'Customs', but figured that was going a bit far.  Plus those dogs are well trained...

My dilemma was getting Milo into the Post Office photo booth without being seen.  Then the problem of getting him to sit still, facing the camera 'without smiling', as stated in the Passport Photograph Regulations.  Easier said than done.  I was relieved to hear that his microchip was all that was required, so no need for a long Mac and a nonchalant look as I tried to smuggle a terrier into a public building.  Phew.  

C x x x

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Vegetable Thief.

Let me start this blog entry with 2 warnings.  Firstly, you may want to disinfect your computer after reading this, I have had a cold on and off for 2 weeks now and do not want to spread my germs through cyberspace.  

Secondly, I will be using the 'C' word today.  You have been warned.  

I have had 10 days off so far, a few days off sick and the rest my part time week off.  Due back on Sunday and am stunned at how quickly the time has passed.  Got quite a bit done in between walks and jamming sessions (the fruit variety, not music) and feeling confident that I have enough for the Michaelmas fair on the 22nd/23rd September.  Still lots of baking to do a couple of days beforehand, but manageable!  

I have just finished a baby quilt which someone ordered.  Dead chuffed with it! 

With cheery apples on the back!  

The jam mountain is slowly growing.  Just a couple of hundreds fabric toppers to cut out and viola!  Have run out of fruit for the week, but the hedgerows are heavy with the promise of blackberries.  I picked a few yesterday and made banana and blackberry (obviously) loaf, which is lovely.

Brace yourselves for the 'C' word.....

Preps are now underway for the Christmas fair on the 1st/2nd of December!   I have started making hot water bottle covers and posted a picture on Facebook.  Orders came flooding in, so will need to make more!  Sat with one of my favourite films last night 'The Holiday' (I really need to live in Iris' cottage) and made some mini stockings for the tree.  They were popular last year so making lots more!  Quite quick to make, especially when surrounded by festive cheers playing on the laptop! Have cut out another 20 from felt ready to sew when i get a chance.  

A bit of an 'arty' shot using the new app Instagram I have on my phone! 

I discovered a wasps' nest by the back door, so local wasp man Steve came over, fully suited like a Tellytubbie.  Nest sorted, £20 and a medium Christmas pudding and we were both happy! Nice.  Milo wasn't bothered at all which surprised me.  He has been so good with strangers lately.  
I started off the first batch of pudding mixture earlier in the week, ready to make 5 puds on Saturday if I get a chance.  If smells divine not that I sit sniffing it all day.

The log man came this week and delivered a huge pile of logs, which should last the winter.  Oil tank topped up and Stanley the Rayburn serviced, so I am all set!  The trees have a definite autumnal look to them, so it won't be long before the leaves drop and I'll be wrapped up in a woollen scarf taking Milo for a walk.  I like autumn.  

A lady walking past my house stopped and commented how lovely everything was looking.  The sweetpeas by the front door, the gladioli I planted and the mass of flowers from a cosmos that is taking over.  Made me feel warm that she appreciated it.  She then got her Bible out.  "Would you mind if I read you a passage"?  I then realised t wasn't her gardening comments that made me feel warm, it was clearly my satan detector.  
I apologised and said that I respected her views, but my 'lifestyle' wasn't in keeping with her, er, Lord's teachings.......enough said I thought.  Oh no, "We can help you with that problem" she said.  No, you can't love.  It isn't a problem.  Now go, before I release the hound........

Things in the garden are doing well with my pumpkin plant taking over.   It started in the left hand corner of the picture and is creeping across the chicken run at an alarming rate.  I pinched out the growing tip, but it is sending out side shoots everywhere!

I have 6 pumpkins doing well - just hope they ripen soon, as it won't be long before the first frosts.....

The hens are well although moulting.  Cornelia is still in moult after several weeks, but has started laying again.  Only a couple of eggs a week, but big dark brown ones!  Agnes is dropping the odd ginger feather, but still laying every day.  Pru and Elsbeth just like to eat and bully the other two.  One egg from Pru this month and none from Elsbeth.  I don't mind, they have laid well for years.

Milo has been enjoying the sunshine and spends many an hour in the garden, resting his eyes.  I need to reread 'How to train your terrier to come back when you call him, as he has a mind of his own', as his recall is getting worse.  I love letting him off the lead and watching him running through the woods, around the copse and fields, but he only comes back when he wants to!  Even with the promise of treats.  Even with small bits of cheese, he is deaf to my calls.  He is a bugger.

He isn't in any danger where I walk him, but I still worry.  He always comes back (when he is good and ready) but that isn't acceptable to me.  More work is needed but not sure where to start?

I think I mentioned before that Milo has taken a liking to my alpine strawberries?  They are tiny little things, but packed with flavour.  Apparently. I wouldn't know,  he has eaten them all.  Will be planted out of terriers reach next year.   He has since started on the tomatoes.  Green, yellow or red, he isn't fussy, although I often find the odd half eaten green tom in the lounge on my rug.  I swear he is eyeing up the spinach and chard bed too!!

It's been a nice few days, shorts on and sun shining.  Have been leaving my window open all night as it gets quite hot in my bedroom.  Last night the mosquitos decided to pay me a visit.  I have several bites on my legs and erm, six pack.  Will have to postpone the underwear photo shoot until the bites have healed.  

Gotta dash, time to put more calamine lotion on my red bits.....

Thanks for reading!

C x x x 

Thursday, August 09, 2012

A special request...

Evening All!

I have my comfy, pre-bed attire on, Milo is chewing on a dried pigs ears (vomit), so it's blog time!

Firstly an update on the garden.  Simon my cucumber plant is going great guns!

He has even had his first babies!

Miniature cucumbers, that are the same thickness as regular ones, but only 4 inches long.  Perfect for a couple of sandwiches!

I'm getting a few peas, but they haven't done well this year.  I planted another row last week and they are starting to come up now.

The spinach and chard bed is overflowing!  I am picking a fair few leaves every day and the hens are loving it! The alpine strawberry plants were producing loads of fruits, but it kept vanishing.  I have since found out a furry faced terrier is partial to alpine strawberries and ever-so-gently eats them as soon as they are ripe.....

The girls are doing well, apart from Cornelia who is into 'extreme moult' mode. Getting her feathers ready for the winter collection is all well and good, but she does look scruffy.

Not to mention the state of the chicken run!  I am picking up handfuls of feathers every day! Egg production has dropped.  1 egg a day from 4 hens if I'm lucky.  Time to get a couple of new girls maybe?  I put two boxes of eggs outside my front door and they were sold in 30 minutes.

I finally managed to print my logo onto fabric, so now have labels for my sewn goods!  Just trying to work out the best way to print them on to the sheets of printer fabric as it isn't cheap stuff.

Mum and Dad are on holiday at the moment, so I have 12 days off work to look after Milo.  He is just such fun to have around.  Stanley the Rayburn was booked in for a service on Tuesday and I was dreading the engineer coming over, due to Milo's slight, erm, stranger issues.  Imagine my horror when he turned up with an apprentice!  Training lead on (Milo, not the apprentice) and Milo was absolutely fine.  He had a sniff and then wandered off.  I offered them both coffee and when I turned away to make it, Milo decided to lie on his back and let the apprentice tickle his tummy!  It would seem the dangerous attack dog is no more.  

Talking of dogs, there appears to have been a scottie dog explosion in my craft room! 

 As Caroline asked for a key ring a few weeks ago, here is one I made earlier!
I have made lots of different colours so far and am waiting for the Tiny Box Company to send me samples of small boxes for me to package them in.  Exciting stuff!  You see Caroline, ask and I will do my best!

I seem to be spending so much money at the moment. Stanley's service, an oil delivery planned for next week, logs being delivered and finally getting my new wooden double glazed bedroom window soon.  It never ends, but at least I will be warm this winter!  The Michaelmas fair is giving me stress and I don't know what to make for it.  

So far I have made - 

10 jars of Persian pickled garlic
14 jars of Fig & Whiskey jam
6 jars of Damson & lemon jam (delish, will def make more) 
Lots of scottie dog brooches and keyrings
1 Shopping bag.....
and very little else!  

I have cut out several mini hot water bottle covers but they are more for the Christmas fair in December.  I am stumped, just don't know what to make that will sell.  Any ideas folks?  What have you seen on my blog that you really liked?  I know the long hearts were popular, so will make more of those, but apart from that I just don't know.  Still in two minds as to doing the fair..

Seeing as Milo seems to be popular with my beloved readers (who can resist his cute little bear face), I'll leave you with this picture tonight! 

C x x x

Monday, July 16, 2012

Can a whale get a tan?

Hello everyone!

I am back from Portugal!  8 days at a friend's villa.  Sunbathing, eating prawns and garlic and doing bugger all.  It was bliss.

My tan started fading the second the aircraft left the runway in Faro.  I still have quite an impressive ultra white little backside, thanks to the speedos I was wearing all week.  Baring in mind the fragile state of the economy in Portugal, I didn't think it wise to go out in public in them. The few tourists there were, would have been frightened home!

I used my annual free ticket and it was touch and go.  I managed to get a seat allocated at the gate, so that was good.  We usually book a full fare ticket and rarely use staff travel, but it was so expensive this year.  Apparently there is some sporting event on or something??

Jase and I got back last night and caught the train from Gatwick to my Parents' house.  A wonderful greeting from Milo, lots of squeaks and bum wagging (him), a proper cup of tea, then back to Bramble Cottage.  Today was washing day.  The worst bit about a holiday. :0(

I took Milo for a walk in the mud, freezing cold and pouring rain.  A different world from Faro, with blue skies and warm days.  Ho hum, back to reality now.

Mum and Dad picked up Milo again, as I am due back to work at 7ish tomorrow. A five day block, starting with Milan for the night tomorrow - nice and warm - and then Edinburgh for the night on Wednesday - not so nice and warm!

Not much else to report really.  The garden is a jungle, so I did a bit of tidying up and tying back of plants.  The hens are laying really well and I came back to 4 boxes of eggs that my next door neighbours had collected whilst I was away.

I have the fire lit now as it is so cold.  Shocked that it is July.  Waiting for summer, hoping that August/September/October will be better.  It can't be any worse.

No pictures I'm afraid as I didn't take my camera with me.  It looked so dodgy with the flights I didn't want to check a bag in, so managed with hand luggage.  Was actually quite impressed at how little I needed.  Speedos and P20 sun tan lotion and I was away!  I did buy 2 kilos of garlic though.  The bulbs are huge and I plan to pickle them for the Michaelmas fair.  I made 10 jars last year and they sold well.  The smell in my trolley bag may take a while to go.

The fire is crackling away now and I think it's time for a last cuppa then bed.  Up early to head to the airport......

Night night all!

C x x x

Saturday, June 16, 2012


Two weeks ago I planned to sit down and write my blog.  Ooops.  After receiving 2 emails today reprimanding me for not doing so, I am sat here with a vegetable cup-a-soup (I know how to live) and will blog away! (Thanks to Hazel and anonymous for the comments)!!

Another Birthday has been and gone and according to my calculations, I am now 38.  Not quite sure if that is possible, but born in '74 means it must be.  I still feel about 15, although the lines of time seem to be stampeding across my face at an alarming rate.

Been a tricky year, bit painful, lonely and well, odd to say the least, but also lots of good stuff has happened.  J and I are still good friends, probably better than ever, Milo is just a dream come true and always makes me smile and Bramble Cottage, my comfort, is a sanctuary.

Even though I have a Kindle, the greatest invention of the modern age, I am still a sucker for a good book.  It is fantastic for work, holidays (once a year, as love being at home) but nothing beats the feel of paper and stunning pictures.  I saw this book last year and refused to spend £16 on it.  Well, I can sniff out a bargain at 50 paces and saw it on offer at £4.  Rude not to buy it.

I finally got around to ordering gravel for the back and courtyard gardens.  Jewson said they could deliver by the Ton bag, so paid up and waited in the next day.  Decided to walk Milo, so left a note on the door for them to contact my next door neighbour who would explain where to drop the bag off.  An hour later, I turned into the road to see a bag of gravel at the top of the lane; I live at the bottom!  They couldn't get the lorry down.  Bugger.  Luckily the lovely Dudley from next door (who must be late 60's) grabbed his wheel barrow and a shovel and helped me shift it all! Back breaking, but now the back garden is finished and I am so chuffed with it.  Admittedly, not the best picture, but it has been raining here since 2008 - well it feels like it anyway.  

I have also had my first harvest from the Bramble Cottage veggie garden!  Not very exciting, but home grown none the less!

The really big news is that I now have a logo for my little craft business!  I contacted the adorable Laura from Cupcakes for Clara and she agreed to design a logo for me.  Her first email contained 4 'sketches' as a rough draft and I loved them all, but decided on this one! I love it!  
I already have an Etsy shop which is empty at the moment, but plans are afoot to fill it with lots of lovely things.  Watch this space, as soon as it goes 'live'  I will post about it and include discounts for my faithful blog readers! ;0) 

Been busy using felt this week.  I love proper wool felt, not that synthetic stuff that sets your teeth on edge.  Scotties were very popular last year at the craft fair and I even made a few custom orders!  I found a wonderful craft shop in Frankfurt and they sell every colour of wool felt you can imagine.  It took a lot of restraint, well, some, but I picked up this stunning sage green and pale lilac.

After a bit of cutting, sewing, stuffing and tinkering, the brooches are done -

How cute?

I just have to work out how to print my logo onto fabric and then I can start sewing shopping bags and hot water bottle covers.  I have already made labels for the paper bags (just need to make products to put in the bags) and have ordered the most amazing stickers from Moo! which look fantastic.  It is all coming together nicely now.  

I have decided to do the Michaelmas Fair in September and will be in Studio 12 (Maggie's) for both days (not in the main hall this time).   Better get my backside in gear and I have nothing to sell yet! Started my making some damson & lemon jam today.  The kitchen smells lovely.  

The 'front' garden that is on the lane has had a makeover.  Lots of weeding, digging in compost, muck and planting & it starting to look nice.  The local family-run garden centre is great for cottage plants, so tried to stick to those. Money is a bit tight, so was horrified spending £70 there this week, but needs must.  It is nice when people walk past and comment on how good it is looking.  A few more weeks and things will start to fill out and flower.  

Pru had a few lady problems this week and was put in the hospital bay (a box in the shed) for a bit of TLC.  She was still quiet the following day, but is now fine.  Cornelia then refused to walk and when I nudged her, she was limping badly.  I gave her arnica pillules for a couple of days and she is now fine. Must have been a sprain.  She even laid a lovely dark brown egg! (Her first since April, the little madam)!  

I have another week off now, as Mum and Dad are away, so I have Milo sitting duties.  I love it.  We go out walking 3 times a day (his rules, not mine) and I have a saddo app on my iphone that tracks the walks.  We are averaging 5 miles a day!  No wonder I am losing/maintaining my weight.  I am due back on the 24th, so Jase will be dog sitting overnight.  I am sure Milo will keep him entertained.  

I will leave you with a thought for the day -

Sorry I have been away for so long.  I will be back soon, I promise.  

C x x x