Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Polar Bear in Summer

Since discovering Gretel Parker and her wonderful creations a few years back, I've been itching to try out needle felting. I did have an unsupervised go a wee while back and it turned out okay but not great.

So a couple of weeks ago en route down south to a family gathering  I stopped off in Oxfordshire to attend a Gretel Parker workshop. It took the whole day to start to get to grips with the technique, but I had some great support and very gentle tuition. Since then I have spent quite a number of hours finishing off my little bear. And I'm super pleased with the result.

These are all the bears lined up at the end of the workshop. My bear is third in from the left at the back, looking more like a white Alsatian than a bear.  But in my own time I managed to shape him up to my satisfaction. I will put him inside a small glass dome, (when I eventually un-pack it), with some snowy bottle brush trees, I may even make him a hat, or a ruffled collar.

I will leave you with some of Gretel's work, she really is super talented.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Poor Man's Sunday Lunch

I would consider myself to be a person who holds with tradition yet I've never been one to cook a roast every Sunday, that I'm afraid would feel more like routine. Last night the Mr and I had a light supper of cheese, crackers, olives, grapes and a cheeky bottle of red. (Cheeky because it's given me a bit of a head today).

Consequently we were more than a bit peckish come lunchtime. A sandwich was not going to suffice. So I had a rootle around in the freezer and saw we had four of the Black Farmer's bangers and some Yorkshire puds. Not exactly the food of the Gods, but if we had some tatties ready to harvest and some runner beans ready from the garden we could manage a sort of  poor man's Sunday lunch. Luckily we had both.

It was rather good, with some horseradish mustard, and cost a princely sum of  £2.20 for both of us. I've got a few beans and spuds leftover which I'm thinking could be added to a nice tuna nicoise for lunch tomorrow. Nice and thrifty, with no waste, just how I like it.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Joyful Tove Jansson

My love of all things Scandinavian leads me to ponder many an interesting thing. My latest (re)discovery is Tove Jansson. We all know her as the creator of the dear little Moomin characters.

But oh my giddy Aunt, she was so much more. I have to admit a teeny bit of a girl crush on her. What an interesting and extraordinary woman she was, revealed in this BBC documentary.

If you have time, make yourself a cuppa, get comfortable and watch the story of her exemplary life.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Oh Frugality How I do Love Thee

The house hunting continues apace. We have now viewed 23 properties, with another booked for next Tuesday. We have, of course a 'happy home' checklist, and we are slowly reaching the conclusion that something has got to give. Having a detached property has always been one of the top requirements because I'm a little noise phobic, after living on a main road for a number of years. The Tuesday property is semi-detached and I wondered dear bloggers what your opinions might be on the merits of detached and semi ? I think I need a balanced viewpoint on the subject.

This morning the Mr and I popped into Chesterfield, picked up some breakfast and scooted round the flea market. We had a fabulous time. The sun was out, prices were cheap and all the folk were in merry mood. I made a few purchases, all to do with the new business venture I'm working on at the moment. But it struck me as always, that you can buy almost anything secondhand and still buy quality.

I'm being mindful of keeping spending at a minimum just now, which I always try to do anyway, because of the impending house purchase. It just takes a bit of extra thought that's all.

Mother in law gave me a bag of gooseberries, which I mixed with a half price punnet of blueberries, some sugar and a little honey to make a very fancy compote.

I mix it with granola and natural yogurt and also top ice cream with it. I always buy nice quality ice cream with no nasties in it, but only when it is half price. There always seems to be a deal in at least one supermarket. I'm pleased to say that my 'new' local Co op has fantastic reductions on items at certain times of the day and I'm taking full advantage of their generosity.

My bargain of the day though was this very sweet oil painting. About 15 inches square. I've propped it up on the thin mantlepiece above the log burner in the sitting room.

As we're renting we haven't been able to put any of our own paintings up, so this looks super cheery. And the best part? It cost me 50p!

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Staying at Miss. Potter's

The problem with celebrating a birthday in December is that you're usually competing for restaurant/hotel space with all the folk celebrating their Christmas parties. In the past the Mr and I have found ourselves in some great city locations that have been completely overwhelmed by 'happy' revellers.

This December is a 'big' birthday for me, so we have decided to celebrate proper next Summer, but I still wanted to do something nice in December. I didn't really fancy flying anywhere and also didn't want to spend heaps of money, so I've had my thinking cap on for quite a while.

Reading Rosemary's blog post today I had a brainwave. Which has led to us booking Yew Tree Farm cottage, once owned by Beatrix Potter.

image via
The cottage is set amidst the spectacular Lake District landscape and is only a relatively short distance from where we live now. The interiors look amazing and still house some of Beatrix's chattels. Plus we managed to book it for a week for under £500.

My inspirational blogging chums have come up trumps again!