... because life's too short to do anything ALL the time . Creativity and positivity are my "hiraeth"

Tuesday, 31 August 2010


If You Can't Stand the Heat...

... get out of the kitchen, because your probably in my way anyway. I have a LOT to do!

The Christmas Cakes have started. I've done my research, found the recipe I like, and have dispatched my trust husband to retrieve the ingredients. He has an extensive list!

In order to make my cakes, I reckon four at a time I can cook. They'll have cooking times of nearly 5 hours per set of four, there will be four different cooking sessions. I think I'd better schedule in an oven clean after that!


I needed a calculator just to work out the quantities. I must knock off after this to tidy up and make sure I have enough room for the ingredients, before anything else.

13lb Currants
6 1/2 lb Sultanas
6 1/2 lb Raisins
2 lb Glace Cherries
2 lb mixed candied peel
A bottle of rum/sherry, something like that
6 1/2 lb Plain Flour
2 jars of nutmeg
2 jars of ground mixed spice
6 1/2 lb Butter
6 1/2 lb brown sugar
52 eggs
2 lb flaked/chopped almonds
1 tin of black treacle or molasses
13 lemons
13 oranges
1 bag of whole almonds


This is now an urgent appeal. I need cake tins. Not the sort you cook them in, the sort you store them in. Roses tins or biscuit tins, that sort of thing. I had loads after Christmas but they've all been given away as presents. Either that or some good ideas for how else to present them?

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Sniff, Blub, Sob, I'm sorry....sniff!!!

The very thing that I write my blog about has taken up so much of my time of late that I haven't found the time to write my blog. I believe that is called an oxymoron.

Squeaky's bag is finished and it's lovely. My pet teenager (I can't talk about her today without welling up I'm SOOOO Proud) loves it too, so I believe I may have to fashion another one before crimble.

I've finally gotten around to properly varnishing my kitchen woodwork in preparation of this week's excitement, and now, I do believe that the house is finished. 5 years later. Hoorah. Bloomin' good job really as I'd not have had time to do anything of late, and I've now made a right old mess in the kitchen with my Christmas sacks. Putting them together was the quick bit, and, with hindsight, I shouldn't have done that bit first. It would have been a lot quicker to decorate them and then put them together. But isn't that part of it? Making gigantic cock-ups.

I was in "the Works" yesterday with Meg (sniff! swell!) getting her art stuff and there were some new craft books with some beautiful ideas. I had to summon up ALL my will power to not purchase them as, while I guess I could've justified the purchase, but I became increasingly aware that I was more taken in by the loveliness of the book, than the actual project ideas. At the moment, I have so many projects on the go that I do NOT need any further inspiration! But they were sooooo pretty............

Monday, 23 August 2010

Officially a "Z list" Celebrity Now!

Just when I thought having the pleasure of hanging about at the BBC couldn't get any better, I met Mal Pope and Lisa Rogers today. Liza Tarbuck is now out of the "best friend" spot, Lisa is officially in.


...and now Steve's just been approached by Radio 4 to contribute to a programme about the forces. I ADORE, Radio Wales, especially after the welcome and interest in my inane ramblings, but anyone who knows me personally KNOWS how I feel about Radio 4! Woman's Hour is my ultimate goal. If I achieve that, then I may as well die then as my life just won't get any better.

Been doing some crochet today, waiting to put my house back together AGAIN. I'm now officially halfway through Josie's blanket now. Trouble is it gets SOOO warm on your lap as you're adding to it that it makes you sleepy...YAWN!!!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Nerves, Nerves, Nerves.

I am a little nervous, if I'm honest. I don't know why, it's not as if I haven't done it before.

I made the listings for the radio -

and the online Argus ...

I've had a text from a VERY nice lady who want's to join and a phone call from a different lady who can't wait for the next meeting, AND another enquiry! So I'm WELL happy with that.

I must pop off now, been up since half five and I'm shattered...LONG day tomorrow too, and the day after ...

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

No Autographs, thank you!!! Oh, alright then!

Just had a mini photo shoot - for the Argus this time!

I sent a press release out this morning about the WI, and had a telephone interview withing about half an hour. I was stood in my concrete filled kitchen, in my dressing gown, hair chip-pan greasy, and was told the photographer would come around later today. Then I got a phone call to say that they had cancelled some jobs to come and "do" us ... so he'd be there in half an hour.

Did you know it's possible to clean a house in twenty minutes? Well it is!

18 August 2010
Not JUST Jam and Jerusalem

Crumlin’s Women’s Institute members are welcoming their new President, and she’s just 34 years old.

“The Women’s Institute is just as relevant now as it ever was, for women of all ages” says Bethan Brunell who has been in post since May 2010. “The organisation is one of the most powerful non-political organisations in the UK and our collective voices shout loudly.”

Climate change, social issues, leadership and learning are just some of the focuses of this organisation that is now enjoying the success of W.I.’s being set up in pubs, universities and work places, as the next generation find the organisation rationally linked with blue rinses and home made preserves.

Mrs Brunell, 34, a Carer, is encouraging ladies of all ages to come join her in Crumlin.

“We engage in a variety of activities, causes and courses and everyone would enjoy the social aspect. Ladies looking to make new friends and find new interests - look no further!” says Bethan, eager to shake off the old fashioned image.

Should be in the South Wales Argus tonight... I shall be buying ALL the copies :)

Sunday, 15 August 2010

UTTER Resourcefulness :)

Well as usual I've forgotten to do a before and after shot, but this is the after! Said chocolate faux suede style former curtains are now a fully fitted and upholstered removable, washable, perfectly fitting sofa bed cover and i'm REALLY pleased with his one as I wasn't absolutely sure I was going to pull it off. But it's actually turned out really good. If I saw this sofa bed in a shop now, I would really want it, so that can't be a bad thing. I even made two little matching cushions, and I still have one curtain left! So the good quality but unused, incredibly cheap curtains have now become a fabulous cover AND a set of window dressings. Now THAT's resourcefulness!

So today, now that I've got all of my big jobs done for the secret event, I can spend today putting my house back together. I've not paid it any attention for days so it needs some tlc. I need to pick up a small tin of creamy/magnolia paint to undo a little painting mishap of Meg's, clean some glass (my favourite bit) and does anyone know where I can get a sort of three foot square piece of clear perspex?

Friday, 13 August 2010

the chaotic price of creativity!.jpg

Feels VERY Weird Making Christmas Stuff in August

These 'ere are my newest creation. I was making them last night while waiting for the meteors to start. What a display they put on for us! Fabulous! So I had some lovely sort of tweedy fabric given to me, really rustic looking and I was determined to make something out of it but was at a loss as to what. Christmas tree decorations for all. Aren't they pretty? I'm going through my buttons at a rate of knots so I've just had to ebay some more but I'm really pleased with them.

And this below, is the first Christmas present sack. The photo does NOT do it justice at all. It's a beautiful rich pinky red velvet with gold netting on the inside of the opening to add a magical twist. The gold stars were rescued from a skip by the Mumatron - any more hanging about there?!

So, my free window dressings as promised. I NEVER waste a good piece of fabric as you know so I was rather befuddled about what to do with the lining from the curtains I took down from the living room. They're a nice chocolate faux suede and I paid £5 per massive curtain in Shaws years ago. So I took them down and then had the brainwave to use them to make a cover for my sofa bed which we keep in the living room for extra seating and extra sleeping capacity. But I needed to pull the linings out to make the covers (which I haven't done yet) leaving me with yards and yards of lovely pale cream cotton. What to do with it. And I needed something to break up the clean lines of the windows, but without a different curtain because we never use them. So I split each curtain into three, hemmed the edges with my machine and sewed three together, end to end. I then spent AGES draping the lengths right around the existing curtain poles. They actually look rather pleasing.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Day Tripper

Well, as usual, I've not managed to fulfill my promise of a blog. I will tell you about my free window dressings, just as soon as I get five minutes! Yesterday, we had some friends come visit all day so I had no chance, I went straight to work in the evening, straight to bed when I got home and now I'm on a coach on the way to Salisbury for a day trip with a different W.I. That's the thing about being a President, you have obligations. I'd really rather not be on this particular trip given my extreme deadlines, but I said I would before hand so here I am. On the plus side, I'm now a third of the way through my "God" daughter's blanket. I'm dreading having to keep it for Christmas, once it's finished I'll want her to have it immediately. It's so pretty. I'm thinking about making it a double layer one, that'll make it SO warm and comfy. I feel a bit rude getting my crochet out on the bus, but hey, needs must. I need a cup of tea. I can't wait to stop at the services already - we're only on the Severn bridge!

Friday, 6 August 2010

(Cue "Chariots of Fire Music") THE RACE IS ON!


I'm so rubbish at keeping secrets!!! That's all I can say!!!

So, my bedroom, the recipient of the goods purchased during my slight offence.

The old boudoir was looking really rather tired and unexciting, so I was thrilled when my lovely Step Mother bought me a hand printed Indian throw for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. It's the tree of life, printed with beautiful bold colours and it really is gorgeous. My favourite colour in there is the blue of the birds and the flowers, so, inspired by that, I chucked a bit of blue paint on the wall behind the bed and the wall in front.

For a long time, I've dreamed of having a bed canopy. To tell the truth, I'd really rather like a four poster, but the room's far too small for that. Having "cooked" the idea for a couple of days, I took down the incredibly long white muslin curtains that I did have at the window (the window looks out onto a hillside, nothing else, so we NEVER close the curtains) and the damask cotton curtain I had up dressing it, and I gave them a good long soak in some bio washing powder. I cut a 3/4 inch diameter dowelling rod in half and had hubby attach a pine door knob to each end, then I Bri Waxed it in a dark tone and left it to dry. I then measured up the wall behind and ceiling above the bed, and screwed in some cup hooks to the ceiling and wall. When the rods were dry, I hung the muslin on one rod and hung it from the ceiling hooks. I then took the other rod in front of the drapes, and lifted the weight of it, hooking the rod onto the wall. The result - a rather attractive and romantic lightweight bed canopy for no money, adding instant height to the room. God, I'm good.

Then the three mirrors came into play, to reflect the drapes, the colour and the light as it's not a huge room. Add in the lanterns hung from the ceiling and it looks lovely in the day, but by night it's magical.

The same day that I was putting all this together, I went to visit my good friend down the road. She had a rather badly painted but lovely pine mirror ready to be thrown out. Bizarrely, as usual for me, the corners of the mirror had detail that EXACTLY matched the bedroom colours, so after a day of paint removal and wire wool treatment, when I finally waxed the mirror in the same shade as the rods, it finished the room fantastically. I should add that my rather clever Husband rescued and renovated the fabulous chest of drawers that the mirror lives on from our garage. It was there when we moved in, all old and unloved and I quite liked the look of it. Isn't it fantastic? He is clever!

So, in the last day, I've been working on Squeaky's combined Birthday/Christmas present. Rather unusual as her Birthday is in July. But, if she will decide to swan off to the other side of the world (Spain) with her chums, then I'm not going to see her for her 21st Birthday (sniff!), so she'll have to have one big pressie. I love making things for her because she's such a big fan of all things homemade. Myself, Meg and her fab friend Chloe spent most of yesterday drawing squares on to denim remnants and cutting them out to make said present. I decided to make her a bag (what girl in the world has enough bags!?) and I have been saving denim off cuts to make it. It now looks rather like a flattened cube, all the pieces are attached and I'm just waiting on the delivery of my heavy duty thread so that I can machine it all together. It's well nice, if I do say so myself. I'm now saving denim again because I want one too. I'm thinking weekend bag for me as I don't really have anything for that purpose so I could really use it. There's not a lot else I can do for that at the moment, so it's on to the next thing. Christmas sacks for the little ones. I'm just about to start on that now.

It's my Friday day off, so, once I've taken and uploaded the photos to go on, then it's cutting, sewing and creating. Oh and coffee. A LOT of coffee.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Keep On Keeping On

It's funny, I just logged in to share the latest and I've had a little sign.

I've been waiting on some news today that was going to signify whether or not I continued with my year of anti-consumerism. I've fallen off the wagon in so many areas of my life over the last couple of weeks and I really did consider packing the whole thing in and I saw the outcome of the news as being the decision I would make. Well, I'm here and I'm blogging. But when I logged in, I Kandee the make up artist, who's blog I also follow, has been having the exact same dilemma. So I've taken that as a sign.

I don't know if I can share the decision making news yet! I'll clarify, and get back to you!

So, yes, I've fallen off the wagon. My weight loss, my year long madness, it's all gone a bit Pete Tong. I put on weight in the last couple of weeks, and, after emulsioning my bedroom, I bought some hanging lanterns and space creating mirrors. I didn't spend much, but it's not about that, is it?

While out to get these same mirrors, in the shop I got them, there was a massive sale. In fairness, that's a fairly regular occurrence - there are usually massive sales in there. You can pick up loads of stuff for very little money. For the very first time since starting this year I had a bit of a sulk. For the first time, I thought "this sucks. It's no fun at all." It took a hell of a lot of will power to turn around and walk out of the shop with just the mirrors. Especially when I saw the retro looking denim shirt, and the little denim skirts, and all the accessories that were virtually free...I could go on but I think you get the idea.

So now, given that the decision has been made for me, AND I've had a further sign, I'm back, on the wagon and ready to kick some home-made-butt. Tomorrow I'll tell you about my bedroom makeover because I'm rather proud of that, even if I did spend a couple of quid.

And given that news, boy, am I going to be busy over the next couple of weeks.

Tomorrow's job is to make a "get well" card for our good friend who sadly had an accident a few days ago. Get well Frazey, we hope to have the old you back really soon xxx