Thursday, 20 February 2014

Thankyou - and a biscuit!

Here she is!

No - she doesn't need the toilet she's waving to say hello and thank you to all the wonderful creative chums out there who helped her slightly baffled maker decide what to dress her in. 
I must admit I've been quite blown away by the amount of ideas that came rolling in - all of which were fantastic and have certainly got me old grey matter all of a flutter.
I'm approaching my one hundredth post (gulp) soon so will have to try and organise some sort of giveaway type thingy as a thank you for all of your inspiration. 

But for now may I offer you a biscuit?

One of my favourite quick bakes from Mary Berry - I can't find a direct link so here it is

Fork Biscuits

4 ounces (100g) butter 
2 ounces (50g) sugar
5 ounces (150g) self raising flour
(you can substitute a bit of flour with cocoa if you wish - mmmmmmm.....)

Beat butter and sugar together.
Add flour.
Roll into balls and press down lightly with fork to create pretty looking discs (if you keep dipping the fork in water it shouldn't stick)
Place on a greased baking tray and bake at 180 degrees F for about fifteen minutes or until the kitchen smells heavenly and the dog refuses to budge from the oven door.
Leave to cool ( ha - who does that!)


Meanwhile little bunnykins is going to hop on over to Etsy with her new raggy friend - 

(look - she's waving too - it's amazing what you can do with a few pins ;))

Thanks again you lovely lot!



Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Plight of the Naked Bunny

I supposed the title to this post has given it away. You see, I came across a pair of the softest flannel sheets in a charity shop recently and immediately had grand ideas of creating a horde of snuggly creatures to furnish my Etsy shelves. So the other night I sat and I snipped and I stitched and stuffed until - tadah - a bunny was born! 

Stuffed with a little lavender and with a 'not too scary' face I went to sleep dreaming of how many more I could make with the 72 million yards of sheeting I had left.

Not tooooo scary!

When I woke I couldn't wait to take some pictures but in the cold light of day I noticed something. Something more than a little disconcerting. You see my poor old bunny only looked half complete. In fact she looked more than a little NAKED! 

Bless my invisible whiskers!

I immediately headed for my buttons but the tinkers won't lie still on her tummy whilst I try to arrange them. 

Mr K suggested that I cut up one of his old ties and make a mini schoolboy bunny. I toyed with the idea of a Parisian artist type - sporting a beret and a spotty kerchief. I've seen lovely pictures of little bunnies in pretty pinafores but I wanted mine to be a little different. 

At one point I even started to crochet a little jacket 

Oh now what a good idea

but soon realised that with nothing underneath she looked a bit like a naughty flashing bunny. 


Mr K and Little Sis noticed she had more than a passing resemblance to Jar Jar Binks 


and then went on to make some alternative suggestions as to how she could be - er - modified. None of which I wish to repeat here I might add. Bad Mr K. 

So it is to you - my dear creative bloggy buddies - that I turn. What should I do? Can you help? Do you think she should stay au naturel or should she maintain some level of decency? Come on you creative chappies -  can you help a bunny in her plight? Any suggestions would be most gratefully received and I assure you will be far better than any I can think of!

Thanking youuuuuuuuuu in advance!



Friday, 14 February 2014

The Piano

My dad, aunty and uncle, all played the piano. Their dad (my Grandad, although I never knew him as he died tragically early at fifty five) was able to play by ear. Although not classically trained he used to entertain audiences at the local club, whilst my Grandma read music and would quietly pick out classical pieces at home. The front room of their modest terrace was dominated by their shiny black piano. Mum and Dad remember times when they would be invited around for Sunday dinner - when it came to the washing up Mum and Grandma would busy themselves in the kitchen and Grandad would softly play some favourite tunes in the background.Needless to say Dad followed suit, but with the benefit of lessons he achieved first class at advanced senior level. The next step would have taken him to 'cap and gown' but at the age of seventeen the army beckoned and his studies took a different turn. At the age of twenty four he married my mum and they moved in to the house next door to his parents. By some long forgotten turn of events Dad ended up with his Grandmas piano. This was a posh one - it had candlesticks and everything!

A bit like this one!
But in the true spirit of the sixties Dad removed these and plugged the holes with matchsticks for a cleaner effect ( I know!) Worse was to come. After returning from work one day he noticed the room was considerably larger. There was a lovely space just where his piano had been. Mum had seen it as a bit of a dust gatherer and, as you can perhaps understand when space was so limited, sold it to a friend for  (gulp) £5. Now even by today's prices that's very, very cheap! 

So my childhood was piano- less but there must have been some residue of interest in my genes as at a very young age Mum and I would mime grand piano duets on the low 1970's coffee table. Weekly visits to my Aunty Queenie in Liverpool would see my brother playing with my older cousins (usually something based on the war in which - when I was allowed to join in -  I would be shot during the first few minutes and have to lie very quiet and still!), and me retreat to their front room and pick out tunes from the Sound of Music. I could read the right hand but struggled with the left so usually made up the oddest harmonies. I swore to myself that when I grew up my house would have dogs, plants, books and a piano (sorry girls - you weren't a priority at the time!)

When Mr K and I married a piano was the obvious choice for a gift. Mum and Dad bought us a lovely old metal framed one and I promised myself that one day I would play. Then along came family life. My pregnancy with Big Sis started as a rocky one and I had romantic visions of playing Mozart quietly to my bump in order to calm the constant whirling and churning - but I ended up feeling way too sick. Then Little Sis came along and life was far too busy. I did find the odd pocket of time to sit and experiment, I even got quite good at Clair de Lune, but was always dragged away by some other distraction. We moved house a couple of times and the piano came with us, providing us with a lovely surface for family pictures and the odd plant. 

To the girls the piano was just another piece of furniture and occasionally they would show a bit of interest and pick out a tune, or they would sit with their Grandma who would teach them little ditties. When Big Sis was about five a new neighbour arrived and asked who could play. Of course all the excuses and 'one days' came tumbling out and she immediately offered to give some lessons. In return for the odd chore (and the magic of Fanny Waterman) she was happy to teach Big Sis the basics of the keyboard.

 From that point on there was no looking back. Big Sis took to it like a duck to water and went on to transfer her interest to all manner of musical endeavours - culminating in her forming her own band when she was sixteen (now defunct I might add!) Little Sis followed suit. For me to have live music being played in your house is such a gift. When Big Sis would turn up with her mates for an impromptu jamming session the house felt alive. When she left for university the house slowly quietened. Little Sis would occasionally pick out a piece but always had more pressing things to be getting on with. Then recently she came across the most beautiful piece of music in a game she was playing. She was able to print it out and is currently working her way through until it is note perfect.

Press here for full version Ib: Memory

The next part is quite difficult to put in to words. To both Big and Little Sis this probably won't mean much at all. But for someone who always dreamed of being able to play I couldn't have imagined what a joy it would be for my children to have such a love of music. I know mum and dad feel the same. Dad's arthritis mean that his fingers won't quite let him tackle the same old flourishes that they used to, so to hear his grandchildren play is such a treat. I haven't given up on learning  - never say never - but when we were given that piano twenty odd years ago I couldn't have imagined what pleasure it would bring, and what wonderful memories it would make.

Little Sis playing Ib


Valentine Val

I found this beauty in a box of cards at an old book shop several years ago. The camera struggles to pick up the depth of the red but I fell in love with it immediately.

The sentiment on the back sealed the deal and is one that I'm sure the sender and recipient wouldn't mind me sharing with you.

So for all of you sweethearts - but particularly for those who find their valentines a little thin on the ground this year - some warm and heartfelt wishes for a wonderful day.

and Valentine Val.


Sunday, 9 February 2014

A little bit of cheer

I'm supposed to be marking. 

I'm supposed to be planning lessons. 

I'm supposed to be doing so many other things at the moment. 

It's cold and grey outside and I'm tucked up indoors by the fire. I need a little bit of cheeriness. My vase of freesias is eminating the most delicate scent and just that is reminding me that Spring can't be far away.

Cheeriness achieved.

I hope you are all managing to keep safe and dry in this bizarre weather we are having. Heart felt wishes to those of you affected.


Wednesday, 5 February 2014


January is always one of those months. Time to reflect, restore and regroup. Expectations are simple - keep warm, keep healthy and keep the washing pile ticking over. However once you turn the calendar page to February there is suddenly no excuse for leaving the Christmas lights on the weeping cherry outside, and by the time you do bring them in you realise the wooden front door has swollen so much in the bad weather that you can't retrieve the last bit of cable from the lower corner. This is why we now have a beautifully illuminated shoe rack. 
I'll give them another month. 

I'd refused to return Christmas to it's snoozing place this year until it had been thoroughly 'sorted out'. Our hidey hole is in the attic which has for many years now been a no go area. The only time it is ventured into is a) Christmas - put arm in, grab necessary boxes, retrieve and replace as necessary, and b) Summer - repeat operation with garden recliners. This means that the only movement has been around the door and the further reaches have remained blissfully dormant. No longer! After several dust laden hours of pulling, hauling and some rather choice language we managed to rid ourselves of two car loads of - ahem - rubbish and upturn some long forgotten treasures.

First up was this gorgeous little clock.

 We bought it for Big Sis when she was but a tot but she never liked the sound of it. In her words - 'I no like the tickety tock'. So into the attic it went. Sadly it was over wound so we need to get it seen to as the little pixies look so sweet going up and down on the see-saw as the clock tickety tocks away.

Then came this box. 

In typical fashion rather than just open it we stared at it for quite some time trying to figure out what it might be inside.Was the W. a monogram? What did Walter keep in his box? We remembered an old reel projector that we once had with old newsreels of a zoo and (oddly) the Hindenburg disaster. Eventually it was opened and I whooped at what was inside. A gorgeous Remington typewriter.

 Was W. a writer? A journalist? Had this been an essential part of his kit as he visited newsworthy places? It still works and makes a heartening nostalgic click with each letter pressed (although it feels very odd not being able to alter size or style of font!) 

So what do I do with it? Keep it safe in it's box and bring it out for special occasions, or find somewhere to display it in all it's glory (although the dusting of all those little parts doesn't thrill me)? Who do you think W. might have been? Do you know when it might date from (if it's any help it's been in the attic for twenty years so it's not from this century ;))?

So, although there's still more work to do  (we didn't make it into the furthest corners stuffed with baby clothes and Mr K's paintings) our first little foray was roundly rewarded. However I don't think we'll be needing those garden recliners anytime soon!