Monday, 12 December 2011

Granny's Attic Sylko Haul

Last week I went to one of my favourite shops, Granny's Attic. It's a house clearance shop in a little market town near me, and is run by a really sweet lady who likes to stop and chat. The shop is tiny, but crammed full of all sorts of lovely things (and some not so lovely, but that's the fun of the thrift/charity/house clearance experience).
I'm going to share a secret. Under one of the shelves, hidden away, is a big plastic toybox. I'm sure that the shop owner and I are the only ones who know about this box, because it contains a whole host of delights.

Sylko thread (original wooden reels), vintage mending/darning cotton in a rainbow of colours, fixings, poppers, hooks and eyes, zips, the list goes on. The best part? 39p each, and if you buy a few (as I always do), lovely shop lady will round the total price down.

With new reels of cotton costing at least £1.20 in my local fabric and sewing shop, this would be a bargain if I were just buying it for the thread. But obviously I'm not.

Hmm. Spot the plastic reel. And the Tesco one.

Those amazing jewel-like shades. Be still my beating heart.

The names of the shades are also amazing.

D. 417 - Gay Kingfisher
D. 45 - Turkey Red Shade
D. 206 - Pomegranate
D. 110 - Sevres Blue
D. 43 - Lt. Scarlet
D. 103 - Lt. Old Gold

I also have to confess that I bought two wooden reels with no cotton on them. Would it be too tragic to wind some new coats cotton onto them just for display purposes?


Sunday, 11 December 2011

Food Glorious Food

At this time of year, all I want to do is eat. Warm, comforting stews, vibrant autumn colours, and long evenings snuggled under blankets with a plate full of crunchy crudites and creamy dip. Here's a little snapshot of some of the dishes that have been gracing my table over the past few days.

First up, it was our 5 year anniversary (since we met, no ring on this finger), and we went for some supper at Pizza Express. I had an amazing prawn and cajun pizza (I almost always have the giardiniera but was pleased with this foray into the menu) and James had the chicken pasta. Then he was sensible and had an espresso, and I was greedy and had a pudding as well.

A few nights ago we settled down to watch Salt (which incidentally is a fantastic film, if a little violent). We wanted snacks but not crisps or nuts or popcorn or any of the other classic cinema foods. We wanted crunchy but not too filling. We wanted tasty but not too unhealthy (after the Pizza Express incident). I chopped up a load of veg that was sitting in the fridge, ripped open some sour cream and chive dip, and congratulated myself on a job well done.

I made bruschetta. I watched Julie and Julia for the umpteenth time the other day, and my mouth was watering at the part where Julie makes this for her husband. I used roasted peppers from a jar, some tiger bread shallow fried in olive oil, and some plump red tomatoes. We had it for Saturday brunch with a pot of tea.

(I also made a REALLY tasty (if I do say so myself) bakewell slice with apricot jam instead of raspberry because that's what I had. It didn't last long enough to take a photo.)

Does anybody have any good ideas for meals at this time of year? I'm all about the one pot meals (no dishwasher), and feel like I'm making the same things all the time (rotation of curry, risotto, pasta bake-type thing, jacket potatoes, stir fry, and round we go again).

One last thought, although I love the festive season, a big part of me (mainly my stomach) can't wait for summer to roll around again so that I can make things like this.


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Cath Kidston Bookmarks

A few months ago, I set up a book club in my village. Alongside the chosen book each month, the club also has a 'book exchange' where everyone brings a book, wrapped up, and everyone takes home a mystery book. This obviously means that in any one month I have two books to read for the book club, plus various craft books and other bits and pieces that take my fancy.

I have always been a 'dog-earer', folding over the corner of the page to mark my place. BUT, I can't really do that to other people's books now can I?

So, after several nights of rummaging around in the bedside cabinet for a makeshift bookmark (receipts, record cards and scraps of newspaper yes, coins, paperclips, hairgrip, no (they rip the pages, oops.), I decided to make some of my own. I remember doing this way back in primary school, and I thought I'd use the same basic idea. I went to Cath's website, and downloaded some of the lovely desktop wallpapers. I printed these out onto thin card, trimmed them to 9cm x 11cm rectangles, folded in half lengthways, rounded the corners, laminated, rounded the corners again, and voila! Four gorgeous new fit-for-purpose bookmarks.

Sidetracking, I also had some really delicious viennese whirls the other day, they were 79p for 6 from Aldi. Yum.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Christmas Cake Baking

I've had a while away, and I've only gone and got myself a job! I start in January, so I'm making the most of my time off. Today I baked a Christmas cake, and despite having a power cut about half an hour after I'd put it in the oven, it looks to be doing well (still in the oven, I had no idea they took so long to cook!)

On the plus side, although I haven't been blogging, I have been reading, and reading and reading blogs, and appreciating the time and effort others (other than slovenly me that is) put in.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Autumn Sun

I went for a little wander today, over the fields and far away...

Thought I should make the most of the autumn sun seeing as it rained ALL day yesterday.

Now I'm snuggled up watching television and knitting my latest project (more of that soon)


Saturday, 8 October 2011

And then we went walking...

I'm sorry I've been MIA for the last few weeks, busy with new job and busy enjoying the gorgeous weather that we had last week.
I went out for a walk with my Mum recently, and we both took our cameras (she has a new Olympus after years of an old Kodak circa 2001). This is a walk around the fields surrounding the village where we live, and we do it often. But this is the first time I've taken pictures, and looking back at them I'm appreciating the beauty of the area all over again.

Off we went, past King John's Hunting Lodge. We didn't stop off for tea today, because it's definitely a 'treat' kind of tearoom. (For those Frome locals, this is run by Margaret Vaughan who used to own The Settle there).

We wandered around the churchyard, and I remembered walking around it as a child, being scared of the tombstones and rusty ironwork. Now I think it's beautiful.

(Didn't have the preview screen on here, turned out a bit lop-sided!)

Next up was the ford, the fields and the river...

This was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, and I was glad we went. It was getting a little windy by the time we got home, so we had hot chocolates in the kitchen.

Autumn is truly here, leaves are falling and skies are grey. My favourite season, blankets on the bed and warm wooly scarves, the smell of woodsmoke and the crunch of leaves underfoot.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Bath Vintage and Antiques Market, and a trip to Lacock Abbey

Well, what a busy few days! First up was the Bath Vintage and Antiques market on the Sunday of Bank Holiday Weekend. It was pretty quiet, but we had a good day and met lots of lovely people. For anyone who's ever sold at markets, you'll know what hard work it is and so we are branching into the internet trade. We should have a website all set up and ready to go by the end of the month. If anybody wants to know more about this then we have a special e-mail address ( for the business stuff.

We're also doing a monthly e-mail newsletter with local craft and vintage events, new items for sale, and (if I get my act together) free craft patterns to download. Sales talk over, here are some pictures of us at the market, and some of the lovely things we had on offer.

At the weekend, James and I took advantage of our free Tenant National Trust membership, and went on a jaunt to the Abbey.
When we were looking for a house, a flat in this building (which is attached to the side of the Abbey) was available, but it had no garden so it wasn't a winner.

We drank Fentiman's Ginger Beer. Check out the Abbey framed in my arm. While I'm on the topic of delicious drinks, lots of shops local to us now sell Fentiman's Rose Lemonade. This is the tastiest and girliest (and possibly priciest) summer drink EVER. Perfect for the sunny weather we haven't had.

We played croquet (James called it crochet).

I wore my Laura Ashley dress and my new bag. You can't see it here but it has a panther on the clasp. Slightly eccentric but I was drawn to it.

Hope everyone else has had a lovely week and those with children aren't too stressed out by the return to school!


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Busy Bee

Well I for one have certainly been a busy bee over the last couple of weeks, explaining the lack of posting and commenting going on.

All of a sudden all of the plums and courgettes and beans and carrots and raspberries and pretty much everything else are ready and not just waiting, but demanding to be picked and eaten/cooked/preserved.

So I've been trotting back and forth to the garden and allotment with basketfuls of produce, being eyed suspiciously by people in the street. First up were the courgettes, which I made into delicious soup, with some parmesan and stock.

Next was the mammoth and seemingly never ending task of picking plums. James' parents have four plum trees but no time to do anything with them. So we have been picking and jam-making and selling them. Incidentally I one first prize in the jam class at the village show, which was hilarious as it was pretty much the first time I had made jam on my own, and there were about 10 other entries from the local doyennes (is that the right word?) of preserving.

We are also in plentiful supply of other vegetables, and are eating them roasted with herbs
from the garden and plenty of oil almost every day.

I had a brief but unsuccessful foray into cordial making. I had seen a recipe for lavender cordial here and thought I'd try it out. I ended up not with the glossy, orange nectar that the photo shows, but some grey-purple liquid (not syrupy) that tasted like lavender, but not like cordial. BUT this was all me and not the recipe, because I left it in the pan once it had boiled because I didn't have a bottle on hand. So I think it ended up stewing and going yucky. Must do better.

As mentioned previously, I have also been super busy getting things together for our stall at the Bath Vintage and Antiques fair this Sunday (Green Park Station if anyone is in the area). I will do a post about all the beauties I have found and things I have made separately because I think people reading this will lose the will to live otherwise. Anyway, I had been fabric shopping to Phasepatch and bought some lovely fabric. (Their website only shows their patchwork fabric but they sell a lot of other cottons and things as well in the shop, and the couple who own the shop are the nicest people ever, and I just love it!) Totally should have ironed these fabrics before I took the pictures but hey ho.

Last but not least I went to watch James and his friend Matt play cricket in Bathampton. It was a lovely afternoon, I took my camera (but not my knitting, definitely would have if I knew how long the game was going to go on) and took a few pictures. I was a long way away so they're a little blurry.

All in all a lovely couple of weeks!