Wednesday, 17 December 2008

ho, ho, ho, the festive spirit kicks in.............

Good evening everybody, is the festive spirit upon you yet? It's well and truly arrived in this house. The tree is up, decorated to within an inch of it's life, the stairs are swathed in fairy lights and garlands, the candles are lit, as is the fire, Nigella's on the telly expanding our waistlines just by watching, the advent calendars have only 5 doors left to open and I've still a humongous pile of presents to wrap and Christmas cards to send.

So this will be a post of many pictures and very few words, apologies to all. However, I must mention the button maker since so many of you have asked where it came from. So I will let you in on my little secret because I'm kind like that. I bought it at Dunelm Mill for the princely sum of less than £2, the buttons themselves are about £2ish as well. I've also seen them at "The Range" - see, I go to all the best places don't I!! Of course whilst I was out and about scouting round the cheapo shops I felt it would be churlish of me not to throw another one in my basket along with a pack of buttons, so I have one to give away to one of you lucky ladies (or men). Just do the usual, leave me any comment before Christmas Day, doesn't have to be funny or anything, a simple hello is enough, and this little gadget will be winging it's way to the lucky winner. As Miss Sew'n'Sew will vouch I am the slowest parcel posting lady so I will not promise it before Christmas Day but it'll brighten up those post Christmas blues and give you something to do on those long dark nights.

So, are you ready, pictures galore to follow...........

...............let's start at the front door with my trusty old wreath. As tempted as I was with the truly delicious eucalyptus "White Company" one I was a goody two shoes and let it go. There is a limit as to how many a person can have and at the last count I had nine! have a nose through the window, go on tell me you do it too! I just love dusk at this time of year, it provides the ultimate nosing opportunity, curtains still open and lamps on. Does that make me sound weird, back me up here ladies!

.................the fire's roaring so come on in out of the cold.

....................Christmas tree by night (bloody hard to photograph it was too!)
..............................and by day.

.................we have our own little carol singers,

.................vintage baubles,

............................little sparkly snowmen,

The baby blanket will not be finished in time, surprise, surprise. It is coming along a treat, the Rowan yarn is a dream to crochet with, the colours are sublime. I've (sort of) followed a brilliant tutorial for granny squares with built in flowers kindly given by Rosehip, and I'm thrilled with the results. Give me another 6 months and we may have something resembling a blanket.

The only thing left to say is have a lovely, peaceful, joyous Christmas, and see you in the New year!

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

For some reason my latest post is below the last one, if you get my drift. Scroll down below "show and tell, part 2" and there it is, can't work out how to move it, so there it'll stay!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

show and tell part 2.............

In trying to fit in all the house cleaning, Christmas shopping and sewing duties before I start work on Sunday blogging has taken a bit of a back seat (again).

I promised details of our trip down to London to the Country Living fair. However, pictures are a bit thin on the ground. After hauling the camera round in my bag all day and being too embarrassed to take any photos in the fair itself, we spotted this fab restaurant in a red double decker but after one very blurry photo the battery died!

We had a fab day out, met the lovely Kathy on her gorgeous stall and managed to snap up a few treats. We also visited Spitalfields and the market and then got totally lost on the way home, being totally unused to driving in a big city. So that's our London fix over until March and very enjoyable it was too.

I've also been indulging in a bit of retail therapy closer to home. A local wool stockist is closing down and everything is down 50% so needless to say I was there, big bag in hand, ready to fight off the grey haired old ladies to get to the Rowan cotton yarn - totally unnecessary, they preferred the pale blue and pink baby wool it seems! Now Rowan is a revelation, a total dream to crochet with and I've set myself the task of making my baby niece a blanket for Christmas (gulp), not being the fastest hooker in the west, it may be a tall order. Anyway, she's only 8 months, she doesn't know Christmas falls in December!

Look at those colours....................

Talking of colours, I couldn't resist these cyclamen to try and brighten up our post armageddon front garden.................

and finally, I had to take a photo of this scrumptious pea soup in a cup, easy to drink and sew at the same time!

Back soon...........

how many books?....................

We have a problem in this house which no amount of shelving, storage or de-cluttering can resolve. All of us love books, no one more so than Jack. And, none of us can bear to part with them, even if they're outgrown, re-read 20 times, or not particularly good, we hang onto them. Wherever the children are in the house you can guarantee that there'll be a pile of books somewhere nearby. Which means that I spend an inordinate amount of time piling them on and then carting them back up the stairs. Every now and then I attempt a book cull but before I get chance to surreptitiously remove the bag from house to car and then charity shop I get caught and have to bring them all back in again. What's a mother to do??

I have to share a story about my gorgeous bookwormish boy. Jack is not what some people would call the bravest child. He doesn't like to take risks, can't swim, has only just learned to ride his bike, is terrified of dogs and cats and likes to be at home more than anywhere else. He also has a significant stammer. When the school held a talent show last year we assumed that he would not want to perform. How wrong we were. Our beautiful son wrote his own song, stood in front of the whole class with his best friend and sung and acted out the entire thing. To his disgust he lost to "Greased Lightning"! In our eyes he is the bravest, kindest little boy and we were so proud of him on that and every day.

On an entirely different subject, thank you so much for all your good luck wishes for my new job. I'm two days in and I think I can safely say that standing at a door shouting "Hello" at every customer is possibly not what I want to do for the rest of my life, but the girls who I'm working with are lovely, as are most of the customers, so I think I can stand it for six weeks! Needless to say I've spent (in my head) my wages six times over, and I've got my eye on a half price wreath at the moment, oh , and the napkin rings, cowl neck dress, rose print nightie etc, etc.........

Lastly, just had to show you my new gadget, a button maker. It's super quick and highly addictive, just what I need on these long winters' nights!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

show and tell part one............

So...........where to start? I think it'll have to be the Vintage and Handmade fair last Saturday. What a day, it was fantastic from beginning to end. Plenty of others have blogged about it already and have the pictures to go with it. Needless to say, flump that I am, I forgot the camera so I'll have to leave it to Michele, Jayne and Hen to show you the loveliness of it all.

Michele and Jayne did the most wonderful job at creating a fantastic atmosphere, they had put in so much time and effort and it really showed. The stalls were the nicest I have seen, there were so many reasonably priced goodies that I had to reign myself in. However I did manage a few little purchases.......
...........first up, a truly gorgeous lampshade from Frances. It caught my eye the minute I walked into the hall and I bought it even before the doors opened, a serious advantage of being tea lady and therefore present a little earlier than most! It casts the most gorgeous glow when lit and I can't help myself gazing at it at regular intervals during the night. It makes me happy, bit sad I know, but I love it so who cares!

I also bought this pegboard and picnic basket from Frances. Of course it didn't help that her stall was on the way to the tearoom so I had to pass it on regular intervals, each time spying something too delicious to pass up. I can however assuage some of the guilt ; the picnic basket is a present, phew!

Next up came a few stocking fillers for Kits. The doll came from Michele (more on that later), the peg doll from Hesta, and the cute hanger and picture from the lovely Lucy.

..............also from Lucy is the tiny picture which fits perfectly on my printers tray in the kitchen.

Last but by no means least, Michele and Jayne presented me with a bag of treasures as a thank-you for being on tea duty. Totally unexpected and overwhelming, I was actually lost for words! All the goodies below, and the wooden doll were mine, all mine. Thank you so much ladies, I really didn't expect it, the pleasure was all mine, and Jayne's lovely daughter Tamzin kept me in order very nicely!
I also met up with the other stallholders whose blogs I've been following, namely Carol, Emma, Lynn, Jo, Ginny and Alice, Sal, Sue, Nicky and Annie. All of them lovely and very, very talented ladies. I also came across the whole mollycupcakes clan meandering amongst the goodies.
I can't praise the whole event highly enough and if you didn't make it this time you MUST (that's an order!) make the May event, come hell or high water. I'll be there without a doubt, kettle at the ready!

Monday, 24 November 2008

drawing breath...............

Hello again all. I'm back in blogland again, hurrah! There's so much to catch you all up on, not least the FANTASTIC Vintage and Handmade fair, but more of that later in the week.

Last Thursday saw the VH household in a complete state of disarray. When I have a fair coming up housework is normally the last thing on the list, however when the fair is in your house you have no choice but to clean it, at least the rooms where people may visit. Not only was the entire house covered in a carpet of white threads, the toilet smelling particularly wee-ish and the living room coated in soot from the fire, our (absent) builder decided to turn up and angle grind the entire front garden AND leave the front door open - aaarghh!

(.............see that washing on the line, aren't I the eternal optimist!)

After being up until 2am the night before because as usual I'd left everything 'til the last minute, I only just managed to avoid falling into a deep panic. Thanks to the help of Andrea it all came together just in time. Here's a few pics to show just a taster of the goodies on offer...................

It was a superb evening, it surpassed all of our expectations and gave me a healthy profit which I managed to spend the very next day at the Boden sale in town. I know, I know, far too middle England but I can't help it, I just love their children's clothes and I always sell them on later on Ebay.

The last few weeks have passed in a blur, but I will endeavour to post a couple more times this week about the CL fair and V&H fair. It's count down time now, only 2 weeks until I start work - yikes, I won't know what's hit me!

See you later in the week......................

Friday, 14 November 2008

crochet, country living and all things vintage.............

With keen anticipation four of us set off for our first crochet lesson at No.9 this Tuesday.We had two lovely tutors, Kristina and Julie who were very patient and set us off on our first crochet flower mission, so with help from Lucy we're now set to become crochet experts. Sadly poor old Anna was struck down with the dreaded lurgy but all her planning paid off and we had a fab time. Liz and I even managed to scoff a bacon sarnie at the same time as crocheting, marvellous! We're all looking forward to the next session. If you ever have a chance you really must visit No.9, it's a perfect cafe in every way.

This weekend is our annual November jaunt to London, on Sunday we will be leaving at some unearthly hour to make our way down to Islington for the Country Living fair - hurrah! No children, men or other distractions, plenty of shopping and laughs guaranteed! We'll be popping along to see Kathy and we're also planning a quick trip over to Spitalfields after the show. Can't wait.

Next week, of course, is the Vintage and Handmade fair over at Rangeworthy. I will be there in a tea making capacity, I'm far too cowardly to actually have a stall there. Michele and Jane have done such a fantastic job at organising this fair, it will be such a treat to see all those fellow bloggers and put faces to the cyber personalities. Of course the promise of all those handmade goodies is also a major bonus, no doubt a few Christmas presents will be snapped up. Hope to see you there.
Blogging will be a bit hit and miss over the next couple of weeks. Next Thursday evening will be our Christmas sale here in the VH household, which I'm madly sewing for. Andrea will be here along with a couple of friends selling their handmade brooches and pictures. If any of you are nearby please feel free to join us, there will be mulled wine aplenty!

Have a lovely weekend all..................

Sunday, 9 November 2008

It's been a quiet weekend here in the VH household. A trip to the theatre for Kit, a cinema visit and sleepover for a (very) belated birthday treat for Jack, "Nanny McPhee" by the fire...............

a few leftover fireworks and sparklers, with a helping hand from Daddy................

yet more late night crochet and wine.............

a few favourite foods..................

a marathon monopoly session in which the boys seemed to take a little bit too much delight in bankrupting me..............

and a lot of mess on the kitchen table.

Plans for walks and swimming went completely awry and we hardly left the house and actually it was rather nice.

Crochet class at the lovely Anna's cafe begins Tuesday, can't wait, I shall endeavour to take the camera and keep you all updated...............

Monday, 3 November 2008

How come you're always left with the Bounty's when the trick or treaters have all gone??

Lots of news to catch you up on but I'll make it quick because it's nearly 9.30pm and I haven't eaten yet. Half term has been upon us and we've squeezed in a quick trip up to Scotland during which I discovered that I can crochet in the car without throwing up - yippeee, made the 8 hour journey so much more pleasant! We then went to stay with my folks for a few days, which involved a bit of nursing on my part because poor Mum has pneumonia, but is hopefully on the mend now.

We had a great Halloween weekend, visited a few neighbours, ate a few sausages, and threw a party here on the Saturday night with fireworks, chilli and a bit too much alcohol!

This is my attempt at the Country Living pumpkin fest, bit difficult to achieve with a kitchen knife and a screwdriver, funnily enough I didn't have a lino cutter to hand!

Today has been a nice restful one, a friend round for coffee and cake, fire lit and tonight a very quiet house because Ian is in London having dinner at the Houses of Parliament - how the other half live eh!

Last but not least, my most exciting little update.................drum roll please...........I appear to have got myself a job! I know, I know, most of the people who know me had to scrape themselves up off the floor when they heard! For 6 weeks, over Christmas I will be helping the well-to-do offload some of their spondoolies in The White Company. It fits in with school hours and it will be nice to earn some of my own money for a while. Of course, the staff discount had no bearing on my decision...............although there is a rather nice rosebud nightdress I've got my eye on!

I'll finish with a couple of housey shots. At breakfast I looked over at these gorgeous flowers given to me by a friend and had to take a photo, I know they're probably out of season, sorry Lucy, but you have to admit they are fab.

..............and this tree outside our kitchen doors is a real treat too....

Have a lovely week all...............