Friday, 18 December 2009

Not A Single Flake!

Hope you are all keeping warm, listening to the wireless most of the country has lots and lots of snow - not a flake here! I tell a lie there were half a dozen drifted gently down, as I was feeding the chickens.
We never get very much here - too near the sea, but we have a lovely view of the Snowdonia Mountains - they of course are soon glistening with the sparkly white stuff!
Hubby P has been 'girding his loins' ready for the big chill. Armed with his thermal long johns, cod liver oil, woolly scarf and bakers cap pulled well down, he's ready for whatever comes his way!
Last night he came home with a van load of wooden pallets - they came his way via Barry the the lorry driver. Apparently pallets are a bit like gold dust, everyone is wanting them as cheap/free firewood. At one time you could pick them up everywhere - it just shows how people are short of money, going back to the old days of thrifting, free firewood an all that.
Last week he found two van loads of wood - someone was having a new roof so he came away with the old timber - lots of nails in the ash, but it burns well enough!
Anyway Hubby P has his pallets so I guess the weekend will be spent sawing them up, they will make the 'posh' expensive logs go a bit further!
Thinking of expenses - and looking at my bank balance! Yikes! I realise - as usual I have gone a bit over the top with Christmas presents and whatnot - well I probably always do - I like to find nice things for my little gang of friends and family.
I feel I have wandered away from my good thrifty intentions - become a bit lazy in my ways - so time for a shake up, get the indulgence of Christmas out of the way, and look at our lives afresh.
Every penny is so hard to earn, I want to make it go as far as possible!
I have been lucky enough to join a friend in ordering from a wholesale, wholefood catalogue - so lots of good wholesome things on their way, nuts and cereals and the like - things that will store well.
And Porridge! We love porridge in the Allsorts household, and its so good for you.

I bought a little bag yesterday to put us on until my big order comes. We all had some for breakfast, the chickens have oats sprinkled in their mash, and the dogs have any leftover porridge mixed in with their food.
When I was younger and working on farms, the shepherds always gave their dogs porridge, they said it did them a world of good - Oats the wonder food!

As I said no snow - but very cold, sunshiney but cold'

All dressed up for the weather - Hubby P says I have more skins than an onion!
I like to be warm! I wear leggings, woolly socks sturdy boots and a long warm skirt - and a coat when I venture outside to do my chores and feed chickens and bunnies.
I took the camera with me today - it was nice and sunshiney!

Remember the old wash tub - well I transplanted one of my Fir trees into it - I have reared this little beauty from a 6" baby, I bought to put in a little Alpine garden I made in an old kitchen sink - that was many years ago. As you can see its grown a bit since then. I will put some spring bulbs around its feet.

These little Honesty seed pods, or Silver Pennies, are standing bravely against the cold and wet. They look so pretty shining in the sun.

Still one or two roses - hanging on.
When we first moved to Wales I was amazed that we still had roses in December, it is so mild here compared to Lancashire from whence we came.
It reminded me of this little verse I found somewhere.
'God gave us Memories
That we may have
Roses in December'
I think that is so sweet!

A splash of colour in the pond!
The fish are not too bothered what the weather throws at them!
You all take care now, this white stuff is okay, but can be a hazard!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Are You Ready? Will He Be Comming To Your House??

Hi Folks!
Are your ready for Christmas? Or more importantly are you ready for the Big Freeze the weather men are promising us! Why is it we always get caught unprepared when it is winter for heavens sake!

Richard brought this lovely wreath home from work today, a friend of his makes them from all the lovely things growing in her garden - its so pretty!
Friday saw the delivery of a load of logs - we will be ready for any cold snap they care to throw at us!
Rich and I stacked them - what a job! Its true what they say about wood warming you twice - once when you cut it (stacking it was enough for me!) and again when you burn it!

At least we wont be cold - mind you the wood man was saying there has been a 40% increase in people buying/using woodburning stoves and its difficult for him to find enough wood for all his customers. No doubt the price will go up!

We stack it up in the inglenook to dry off a bit
, and burn it along side a mixture of free, cheap-y, salvage wood, to make the expensive logs go a bit further.
Little 'ol Christmas tree has been potted up, and a few baubles flung on it - looks quite festive!

I dug out the old fairy for atop the tree. She is as old as me, although she has a makeover last year and now looks quite smart. For years she only had one arm - doing our bit for Diversity, and Employment for the Disabled. However due to the wonders of modern prosthetics she now has a nice new arm - although we've misplaced her wand! maybe Father Christmas will bring her a new one.

Much Jollity, and Merry Making over the Weekend - Hubby P's Birthday, just a family bash - but a houseful!

Here's me - nothing changes - height of the evening and still I am caught with a brew in hand! (cup of tea if you're not from the north). I have sort of got out of drinking - although i am partial to a drop of something warming in my tea!

All four lads managed to come, first time for 5 years they have all been in the same room at the same time! This modern life - I don't think it helps family relationships, we seem to be flung far and wide, we talk on the phone, and exchange photo's and whatnot. But its not the same as all being together - having a real good hug and a laugh!

Hubby P had a real good time - he had cake and everything!

Sunday the lads went off to the beach, and brought me back a present!

A lovely bit of driftwood for the garden.
The beach was lovely - just a bit cold!

The tide must have been really heavy to have thrown such large chunks of trees well up the beach.

I liked this last photo - Father and son, they even walk alike!
We had such a nice weekend - its nice to make the effort, to be together, and make memories!

There were people we missed, but they too, were there in our hearts.
xxx Take care now xxx keep warm xxx

Monday, 7 December 2009

What Can A Girl Do - But Make Soup!

Well Hello there folks!
What a wet,wet, wet week - I think we've been almost washed away! And yet again this morning I woke to the sound of yet more of the wet stuff. Hubby P - Bless him, brought me my cup of tea in bed and said 'If I were you I would stop there - its awful wet again!'
For two pins I could have taken him at his word, and hidden under the duvet all day!
But - much to do, and first things first - a big pan of soup to make. I live on the stuff when its cold and wet, its so warming, and I like to make it colourful - cheery!
So its a bit of - its raining - make soup!

Time is marching on - I can no longer pretend Christmas is ages away. We have the boys coming at the weekend, so all Father Christmas's things will have to be wrapped so they can be sent to F Christmas. All the little ones are getting excited!
I saw some cute little trees at the car boot sale, I will only have a tree if they are rooted and small enough to go in a pot. Then I keep them for couple of years bringing them in for Christmas, until they are too big for the pot (then they go in the garden), and I start again looking for a baby tree! Mind you the last couple of years we haven't had a tree - well not in the conventional sense, I think last year I decorated our little bay tree.

Its quite a little cutie -the tree. Just waiting for the rain to stop then I can hunt out a big enough pot and plant it up!
All this cold weather and the chickens are feeling it, its about this time of year that I start doing hot mash for them, I like to think it helps keep them warm and well nourished.

I have an old pan for the job, and each day I boil up all the potato and veg peelings
and any old scraps, when they are cooked through I drain them and give it a mash up adding any old bits of bread, a few oats maybe, old cereal -anything really, to dry it off a bit and make it a bit more interesting. I have found they like rice and noodles, and bits of fruit - apple cores and the like.

I give it to them whilst its warm, and they tuck in! Billy the rabbit is always first at the dish - he likes a bit of mash!
Speaking of the rabbits, we bought two new ones at the weekend.

This is Smokey - Smokey Robinson

And this is Whitney! She's a bit shy at the moment!

Of course you know Dusty - she's doing really well - a happy little soul!
We decided to get some more rabbits because - well I enjoy looking after them, and talking to the Pet Shop man the other day, he said he would be happy to take any babies (he cant find any locally to sell) - so I thought it might be a nice hobby, rearing little families of bunnies for people to have as pets. I think it is important that children get the opportunity to get close to animals, to learn to care for them, be sensitive to their needs and responsible for their pet.
I know having pets was a big part of my childhood, and still I like to share my life with a rabble of odd ball chickens, rabbits, dogs, and one very superior cat!
Not a lot on the Treasure Hunting front. Car boot sales are full of glitzy Christmas stuff!
I did find a few bits, these were thrown in a pile of what I think was old theatre costumes. The lady stall holder sells wonderful Vintage things, usually a bit too expensive for me. I think she was having a bit of a sort out,and heaped all the costumes and whatnot in a corner - the sign said 'All £2' - so I just had to have a rummage!

As you can see I found a wonderful vintage ermine collar - now I know its very Un -PC to wear fur these days, but back in the day this would have looked just fabulous!
I will display it on one of my mannequins - in the bedroom where it won't upset any visiting vegetarians or whatever! lol!
I think the Spats are a fairly modern day version, they are made of a soft stretchy fabric - they are something I will wear, and of course the pink scarf - is just so very me!

Much excitement in the Allsorts Household - not only have we just had three family birthdays in the past week, which entailed much dining out and general jolliness.
But the Master of the House (well he can be this week!) - Hubby P has a major Birthday this Thursday - Yes its the big Five O for him!
Not that he wants any fuss, and when asked, NO! - he does not feel - THAT OLD!
Its just the creaky knees, sore arthriticky shoulder, failing eyesight, bad back and generally expanding waistline that give the game away!
But we still love him! Boys are coming over at the weekend ( they live away and all have those inconvenient things like jobs and work during the week!) - so we will have a little merriment on Saturday. Families are just the best thing! don't you agree!!
That all for now folks! xx take care! xx keep warm! xx

Friday, 27 November 2009

Hello there, hope alls well with you!
Just a catch up post, I don't know about you, I seem to be so busy trying to sort out this Christmassy thing! What gifts to find for everyone? I am sure everyone has got far too much of everything as it is!
I've just been outside to see what the 'greenery situation' is - I usually make Christmas wreaths and bits and bobs of decoration from greenery in the garden and local hedgerows.
The Rosemary is putting on a fine show, it is even having a go at flowering!
I espied Charlie cat amongst the plants, he's in Hubby P's bad books at the moment.
On Saturday evening I had taken some steak out of the freezer to defrost for Sundays lunch, I put in a dish and covered it well with a clean teatowel. We returned home from the Car Boot Sale to find the house in uproar as Richard was trying to get all the 'guilty parties' - cat and dogs out of the house so he could clean up the mess. Charlie had been on the kitchen worktop, managed to get at the meat,get the packaging off, and dragged it through the house - dripping blood! Yuk! and was happily sharing it with the dogs when Richard came home!

Hubby P was not amused - he had to have pie for Sunday lunch!

Big decisions were made this week! Due to the digital switchover thingy, we would have had to get a freeveiw box of something similar, so Hubby P started looking on the net at the different types and repeatedly shouted to me (sat in the other room reading)' this one does this, this one does that, do we need it to record?' etc etc! Eventually I was tired of all this rubbish' about things that a) I really don't understand, and b) I really don't care about.
'Look' I said 'for me you could throw the thing out of the window - we don't watch it!'
And so the discussion began - result - no telly!
We treated ourselves to simple record deck so we could sit and listen to our 78's and LP's.
And money saved from paying for the TV licence!

Excitement of the week! Treasure at the local carboot sale!
I bought a chair! Not just any chair! a wonderfully old, comfy,'if only I could speak' chair!
It was an exhilarating, thrilling experience - we -Hubby P and I were stood with the rest of the throng of people waiting for the House Claerance Guy to unload his van. Now usually I stand back - people are pushing and shoving to get near enough to see in the boxes -its a bit mad!
However I espied this chair being carried over the heads of the 'throng' - Wow' - I thought!
So I pushed my way towards the guy with the chair and got hold of one side 'let me help you' I said, he put it down and I rearranged the cushions - I plopped myself down into it, Hubby P was enthusing about it - and it felt really comfortable!
By this time I could see the Dealers inching towards the Seller ready to make an offer - so I shouted (still sat in the chair) 'How Much??' - well he knows me well so he just held up ten fingers -£10! I caught Hubby P's eye and said 'Pay the Man'!
It was all done so quickly - you could see the surprise on the Dealers faces! One of them mumbled to Hubby P 'that's a £100 chair you have there - well done'

As you can see its in good vintage condition, I gave it a good going over with beeswax, and its come up great.

One or two areas of wear, but that's to be expected, and all adds to the charm!

Whilst Hubby P was cleaning down the sides of the chair - pulling out hair pins, straight pins, loads of fluff and dust, he found these.

I am sure many of you will remember Black Jack sweets from your childhood, only these wrappers seemed a little different. You an see they have little Golliwogs on them - well that's been very un PC for a while now. So Hubby P - being Hubby P! did a bit of research on't 'tinternet!
The only similar label he could find was in the Royal Albert Museum, it is a very early 1920's wrapper produced by Trebour for their sweets - Blackjacks, but with an aniseed flavour ( I remember them as being liquorice). Sooooooooooo have we got something rather rare? Is it worth anything?
Well Hubby P has put it on Ebay - just to see - it would be nice if the labels made just enough to pay for the chair!
Will keep you posted!
xx Take care for now xx

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Only Two Today!

Hello there! Hope you had a good weekend.
Just catching up today, and musing about the change in the garden - this wind and rain has knocked the stuffing out of the few flowers that were hangin' on in there!
The chickens have cotton'ed on to the cold, the wet and the early darkness, fewer eggs - just two today!
But two just fine specimens!
The Chickens are looking well considering the cold and damp, and the fact that they are rather 'old Girls' - you know - not just as spry as they once were - losing their figures a bit - but we love um!

The speckledies always have a lot to say for themselves!

And Missie here, the last of our pretty little white bantams - well! she's hanging on in there! - she must be very old now. But still she puffs up her feathers and gives as good as she gets - no one pushes her around!

So! dippy eggs for lunch!

Just having a quick mooch around the garden between the showers, the sun was out - it was quite pleasant.

I just love these Autumn colours, I grew this little oak tree from seed, it stands in a pot by the door!
As you can see I'm all togged up for the cold! I went into town on Saturday - big expedition for me! I hate big towns, big shops and all that consumerism - the push, push, push for you to buy, buy, and buy some more . All things you didn't think or know that you needed. Anyway, enough of a rant! Hubby P sweetened the trip with lunch, he went hunting the Charity shops whilst I popped to Evans ( a shop - for those of you who don't know - for hhmm shall we say lovely larger ladies!) I whizzed around the shop - jumpers, cardigans - all that is warm and woolly - I had a jolly good look. I am determined to keep warm and cosy this winter. I bought a selection, thin ones and chunky ones - layering is the key to cosiness I think. I found Hubby P - bemoaning the prices of the Charity shops, took his arm and we came home!

So I may look like a Michelin Man but i am warm and cosy!

Onwards around the garden, I found little bright corners -

Pretty red rose hips, with the most gorgeous pale lime-y green leaves.

This is the view from our gate, the horses are back in the field. When they race down the hill it sounds like thunder!

Still lots of jewel like berries on this Pheasants Eye bush, the birds just love these berries, don't imagine they will last much longer, Mrs Blackbird was having a nibble as I took this.

Weekend Finds!
Not too much, but it was nice to get out have a mooch about, have a chat to friends and whatnot. I bought this little lamp - only £1, so how could I not!
I think its probably 1950/60's, I thought it so cute! The shade has a bit of wear and tear - but hey! its Vintage! its going to be a bit shabby! The base is perfect - it just needs re-wiring and that's not a big job. I am sure Hubby P can be persuaded to sort it out, although it something I could do if I got my act together, its not difficult.

Oops - look an escaped Dolph! Must catch him and put him back in the Christmas Basket!

As you an see the base is in excellent order - its just so pretty!
Got to go now, hunt down, and catch that pesky Dolph!
Bye for now xxx take care!

Friday, 13 November 2009

Six Things! and Christmassy Robins!!

Hello there! All ready for the weekend?
I had a lovely surprise today when I logged on - a nice shiny new Award ! Given to be by Decadent Housewife A lovely lady, one who I have come to think of as a friend, although we've never met (simply an ocean between us!) I think of her most days and look forward to her regular blogs.
Anyway - lovely little Award - with it comes the Six Things - tell six things about yourself that no one knows (or who would really care anyway!)
So here we go -
*I like to have bright colours in my hair, at the moment (as from Wednesday) I have flashed of a Christmassy red amongst my black hair.
*I bite my nails 'something shocking' as they say, but I do so long to have beautiful painted manicured nails!
*As a child I had a pet Fox (rescued as a cub her mother was shot) we called her Popsie, she thought she was a dog, and tried to bark!
*When I was a child my Grandad who was a bit of a dealer, brought home a big wooden box of the old fashioned hard yellow soap. It was summer and we children had an old trestle table - one leg up and one down to form a slide under the hose pipe, which was attached to the washing line, to shower water on to the 'slide'. We used the soap to grease the slide! My mother said she had never had such clean children!
*Another time we went with my Grandad to clear a house. he was often asked to do this by Solicitors and the like when older people had died and there were no known relatives to deal with their affairs. Anyway - as we were removing all the furniture and effects, Grandad was taking the old oilcloth tablecloth from the big old table, as he removed it he found layer upon layer of bank notes. It was obviously where the householder had hidden his savings!
*Standard wear when I was a child was a red balaclava hat and wellies! both myself and my Uncle ( who was only 2yrs older than me and I consider to be more of a brother!) were both kitted out in the red hats - it was so that my mother could see us more easily as we played in the fields surrounding our home! The wellies because we invariably found a stream to play in, although most nights the wellies were full of water, and we had to stuff them with newspaper over night, to try and dry them out!
Not anything wildly exciting I know! Still its all just a part of me!
Now I have to pass this on to six others, then if they choose to, they can keep the ball rolling!
* Josie - wonderful tales of crafting and everyday life!
* Jennie - maker of wonderful ragdolls and the like!
*Juicy Fig a Lancashire lass like me, with tales of knitting and drumming!
* Anna a very talented milliner - just take a look at her wonderful hats!
* Silver Pebble a talented maker of beautiful silver jewelry.
Well - that's taken me longer than I thought! Who'd have thought I had so much to say!
I just wanted to show you what I'd been up to this week.
I was rooting in my cupboards for something and came across these little Christmassy tea towels ( I must have put them away last spring) Well! I thought - about time you came out, it coming up to Christmas an all.

I so liked the little Robins - I thought they would make nice little brooches, so I had a go whilst I sat watching TV.

I simply traced them onto a piece of white felt and embroidered them. Backed them with another piece of felt - stuffed them a little with little waste offcuts of felt. and sewed a pin on the back.

Bright and breezy little chaps to brighten a winter jumper - or bag or whatever!

How do you fill your time these long cold Winter nights? I do find them hard - I'm not a big TV watcher, but its getting too cold to move from the fireside!
Bye for now xx Take care!

Monday, 9 November 2009

Wrapping Paper Giveaway and Weekends Treasure Finds!

Hello there! Yes, its Monday again - the weekends are just not long enough!
I hate Mondays - its cleaning up day from the weekend, I tend to do nothing much in the way of housework Sat and Sunday - so the house is in a real old state by Monday!
And the days seem so short - it gets dark so early - that's enough moaning! Tuesday tomorrow - and Car Boot Sale day!!! Another Treasure hunt Day!
As I promised I put all the names of the people who had commented on the Christmas Wrapping Paper post, in a hat - and the winner is Da Da!!!
Gill from That British Woman
- a great blog, Gill as no doubt you have gathered is a Brit living in Canada - in a wonderful old house that she and her hubby are renovating - go on have a peek!

I have gathered a little selection together, and shall pop it in the post for her.

This weekends finds - not too much, it is so cold, I think anyone who stands deserves a medal!
I found a nice little case, its actually a green colour. Sorry the photos are not up to much, the light is dreadful today! I will use the case to store fabric and sewing -y things.

And some pretty little crotchet gloves - very Bronte sisters!

I think they are so pretty, I bought 3 pairs, unfortunately only one pair really fit me well, so I think the other two may go on ebay - I might just get some pennies back, to go a' Treasure
Hunting again!

Here I am, all set to go off for Afternoon Tea - just need a dashing young Mr Darcy to escort me!! And i do so like cake -'Tis my one weakness!'
xx Take care xx bye for now xx