Friday, 5 August 2011


I am an excited bunny!  I've decided that I need to get my creative juices flowing again.  I need to stretch myself a bit more than just making fabric doodles.  At the moment an idea comes into my head, I sketch it quickly - more to work out how to construct it than anything else - and then I cut it out and sew it together.

One apect I have always loved of all the courses and workshops I've done over the years, is making sketchbooks.  So, I have decided to join in with Gina and her merry band and play along with her colour sketchbook project for the summer.

Kiddie and I are off on a Bongo adventure but I have packed a tool kit with bits and bobs to paint and draw with while we're on our travels.

  I opened my box of paints and inks and pastels this morning and was so excited.  Just the smell alone was fab.  I'm itching to get going.

First off Gina has got us colouring our pages to save us from the terror of PLAIN WHITE PAGES!!!

A wash of runny acrylic onto wet paper then a sheet of cling film laid on top til it dries and 'bobs your uncle'  A lovely textured, delicately coloured double spread all ready to get drawing.

The other sketchbookers are now up to stage 4 so I have some catching up to do.  I'll post photos of my progress while I'm away if possible.  If not, be prepared for a photo-heavy post when I return in 10 days.


Monday, 1 August 2011


We've just returned from the most amazing weekend.  I'll post about that tomorrow when all the photos are uploaded.  In the meantime I thought I'd introduce you to the newest members of the gang.

This is Pebble.  He was a new addition to the household earlier in the year.  The kiddie had wanted a tortoise since we visited Stapeley Water Gardens back in February I think it was.  I knew they were costly little chaps as you can't just shove one in your suitcase and bring it back as a holiday souvenir any more.
But still she was keen so we decided if she could save the money for one she could have one.  To be totally honest I didn't relish the prospect of another pet in the household and I thought after a few weeks of saving she'd have gone off the idea altogether. 
I'll give credit where it's due, she saved for a lot longer than I expected.  But in the end it seemed like a unreachable goal for her, so she asked if she could get a different pet with the money she had saved so far.  Thinking on my feet for the cheapest and easiest pet I suggest a stick insect!!

 Meet Twiggy!
The local pet shop didn't have the common-or-garden stick insects that multiply as quick as blink and eat privet.  Oh no!  They had wood nymph stick insects which only eat bramble leaves and look like a spikey twig.
Twiggy cam home with us on the Saturday afternoon complete with his vivarium and some blackberry twigs.  His tank was a bit on the small side so, it being half term, kiddie and I went in search of a new home.  To Planters Garden Centre and their pet department we trundled.  And there in the corner....

...three little Hermanns tortoises!

I don't know about the kiddie but I was in love.  They are so cute stomping around like little tanks. We retired to the cafe for lunch and a ponder of the whole situation.  A bit of discreet texting to OH later and we had put a deposit down on the smallest tort in the enclosure.  :o)  (We did also buy a bigger viv for the Twig.)
Thus ensued a frantic few days of trying to track down all the missing bits for his enclosure before OH and kiddie went to pick him up the following Saturday.

He is two years old and is now about the size of a small person's fist.  He sleeps indoors at night but in the daytime - weather permitting - he either goes in his own secure enclosure or roams around the garden when we're at home to kep an eye on him.


Thursday, 28 July 2011

Red Alert!!!

Having a bad day?  What do you do?  That was the question I posed on Facebook last night.  I was totally cheesed off.  Having had 2 years of redundancy, temporary jobs and general financial uncertainty we thought OH had finally got a job that would last.  But on Monday night he came home faced with the possibility that his currently employer may well be going 'to the wall'.  And this when I'm trying to set up on my own and therefore no guaranteed income for months.  I'm going to have to look for work again.  Not easy when the only thing I've done in the last 12 years is a bit of teaching (unqualified so unrepeatable) and shop work.

Enough to drive anybody to drink?  People also recommended pizza, chips, ice cream, cups of tea and a good cry.  (I've just realised noone mentioned chocolate...)  Anyway I did none of those things.  Instead I hit another sort of bottle...

...the hair dye bottle.  One thing guaranteed to change my mood is a drastic change to my hair colour.  Below is a 'before' photo from the craft fair a couple of weeks ago just to show the change.

Hee hee hee.  I LOVE it!!!  I managed not to cover the entire bathroom in dye either.  Result!

What else have we been doing over the last few days?  Well a mass clearout and tidy up is in full swing.  Kiddie wants to make some spending money for Disney in October and I want her bedroom sorting out before she starts 'big school' so she can do homework up there.  So, black bin bags are multiplying, not just in her room, but all around the house.  I've joined in with a throw out of unworn clothes, jewellery and anything else that's not been worn, read or used in the last few months.
Next Wednesay is D-Day or rather CB-Day.  We're doing a car boot sale to flog it all so fingers crossed for dry weather.
I'm going to sort through everything first and some will be listed on ebay, which I'll link to from here when it's up and running.

I've also been 'doing a Nigella' with a spot of Domestic Goddess style baking.  Jane Brocket's  book The Gentle Art of Domesticity is a favourite book of mine.  I bought it 'cause the pictures are so gorgeous, but I actually use it quite a lot.  A sort of modern-day Mrs Beeton.
These little dollops of scrumptiousness are her Vanilla Oaty Biscuits.  Sooooo easy to make I can do 'em and they never go wrong.  I made double quantities as I knew they wouldn't last.

The book is a fab mix of quilting and cooking and knitting and pictures and sewing and just general OOOH.

And I don't know why I've tagged a picture of this chap on the end of the post.  I just like him and he hasn't made an appearance anywhere yet but already he has been rehomed.  He now lives with my sister-in-law.  Belated Happy Birthday S.  x x x

Have a great day wherever you are and whatever you're doing.  I'm off job hunting.  Wish me luck.


Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Follow you, follow me...

No sooner said than done.  A 'Follower' button as requested :)

(Great isn't it?  I'm having trouble leaving comments on my own blog - hence this post).


Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Water, water everywhere...

Alrewas Canal and Music Festival

On Saturday I took the kiddie back home.  Alrewas (pronounced Olreewoss - 'Al' as in alder, 're' as in remember and 'was' as in wash) is the lovely village where I grew up.  It's name comes from it's location on the banks on the river Trent and the Trent and Mersey canal, and the alder trees that flourish in these damp conditions. 

Many a happy hour was spent paddling, dipping nets or just walking along the banks of these waterway.  Maybe that's what triggered my yearning to live by water (that or the fact that my maiden name was Bywater!!).

So, with OH away on a dive trip I decided kiddie and I should take a trip down memory lane and I could bore her with tales of my childhood.  :)  This is the festival site from the opposite bank of the canal as the first of many narrowboats approached the lock.  Kiddie loved helping to open and close the locks and she spent quite a while helping push and pull the big back and white gates.

(I have to say the festival was a tad disappointing.  I had a lovely burger from Coates' Butchers, there were a few nice craft stalls but I was driving so avoided the real ale tent, and kiddie was too tall for the bouncy castle so we went for a walk instead).

What a coincidence!  We hadn't got far when we bumped into my mum and her friend Pauline who had also come to see what was going on, and make the most of the fantastic weather.

With the amount of "clutter" I possess my OH finds it absolutely hilarious that I would love a narrow boat.  That and the fact that he is 6' tall make him rather unenthusiastic about the idea.  I'm determined to get him on one for the day this summer.

What's not to love?  Peace and tranquility, beautiful countryside, wildlife everywhere and a totally different viewpoint.

We reached Bagnalls Lock on the outskirts of the village and mum and Pauline decided that kiddie shouldn't have all the fun opening and closing locks.  They wanted to prove that they still had it in them.

It did take two of them and these gates were much smaller...  I think kiddie's still the lock champ!!

Just around the bend we nipped through the alley and into the open spaces of Walkfield playing fields.  It's weird but this was actually much BIGGER than I remembered.  Usually things get smaller with age.  Kiddie turned cartwheels and then popped up into a bridge.  She's still so bend and flexible.  I wish...

Not to be outdone mum went twirling over the top of this bar at the entrance to the next alleyway.  Not bad for a pensioner!  lol 

We ended up at the amazing new shop that has opened - The Village Rainbow.  Sadly it doesn't have a website or even a Facebook page to link to but it is gorgeous.  They stock lots of lovely gifts and goodies from companies such as Snapdragon, Lubber bags, magical fairies, Rapp watches and scrummy ice cream from a farm a few miles away.  I will be back - DEFINITELY.

As soon as we got back home the small kiddie crashed in the sunny corner of the garden with a cushion, a quilt and her best cuddly.  These youngesters just can't take the pace! 

Hope you liked the little tour of the village.  Join me again to see where our next travels take us.