Sunday, 24 August 2014

Blog En Vacation

Hi All just to let you know I have not abandoned blogging but just off on holiday. No blogs for roughly 15 days!

Friday, 22 August 2014

The Six "B"s

1) Blackberries

OK we are rubbish gardeners and have left this bramble grow like mad in the back garden BUT the consequences has been masses of blackberries to pick. In fact I did a little research into blackberries and found out all sorts of facts. Click here to find out more if you are interested.

As you can see I am getting to the point where I have picked most of them. But just look inside my freezer - plenty of these little jewels for the winter.

2) Baking

Been getting ready for going on our jollies in a few days time. In the oven as I write is a cherry and almond cake cooking.

Have also made two rich fruit cakes. Hopefully this will keep Mr P happy whilst camping in France.

3) Busy House

This week has also seen a lot of visitors. Monday night was the usual gathering of the craft group. Wednesday night some friends came around to watch the Great British Bake off. This week the competition was based around making bread and my guests rose to the challenge:

And some garlic bread.

Then Thursday night(last night) Mr P invited around 20 people from church for a barbecue. All this has been happening on a week that has been extremely busy for me at work and getting things ready for holiday! No time for crafting! But friends are more important than even crafts!

4) Before and After

Now the house we live in belongs to the Methodist circuit and they have been wanting to get the front of our garden sorted for ages but due to various gardeners doing a runner nothing has happened until Wednesday of this week. Outside were these humongous conifers. I reckoned there could have been a dead body in there as it was sooo thick.

 Path from our front door to the pavement!

This was the path from the pavement to our front door! Needless to say no one ever tried to use it!

Below shows you the width of the trees.

Five men and several hours later this is the view.

It now feels as if we own a huge car park and several people have suggested we start a "park and ride" scheme!!!!!!!!!!  Not sure what is going to happen to this space. Think the Methodists are going to have to decide as it is such a large area. There is talk of a beech hedge or some sort of low fencing but this will not happen until the autumn. Meanwhile Mr P and I feels as if we are living in a fish bowl! But the outside looks much better.

5) Beans

We have started to enjoy eating the beans. Only trouble is having let them grow sooo tall I need the step ladders to pick them!

I was reading in a book that you can make wine from the pods like you do with pea pods! But I have not got time for that this year, maybe another year I'll try.

The chilli plant is doing well.

They look so pretty and who would think that one of these could burn your mouth!

6)  Baby Rowan

Having shown you some pictures of the twins recently thought it was time for some of Rowan. Oh I am missing him -  not seen him for a few weeks. Here's one taken today, that my daughter posted on facebook. He's just started to learn to feed himself with a spoon.

Guess mummy and daddy forgot the bib!

Oh he always looks soo very happy. Won't see him for another three weeks :( Then I'll get to see him as we shall all be travelling up to Leeds to celebrate the twins first birthday. Time for some wine and a soak in the bath.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Leeds / Twins

Saturday morning started with something I really hate doing and that is a trip to the dentist. He has now started working on Saturday morning so that makes it easier than having to create time to go in the working week. But being such a big baby I have to have the first appointment of the day so that I do not have to hang around waiting. So 8.30am sounds reasonable until you realise the dentist is a good 2 hour drive away, in Leeds. This meant getting up at 5.15am and leaving at 6am! Urgh! Why go to Leeds well it's all part of me and my fear. I find it easier to go to the same dentist than moving to someone more local and eventually when we retire to Northumberland Leeds will be 2 hours south so there you go! I also have very good teeth that have only once required me to visit the dentist in between the six monthly check ups. Anyway I was a good girl and went and my teeth passed with flying colours and because of my insistence of drinking strong tea they always have to be cleaned up. But they do look nice afterwards.

Then it was time to have fun. No 2 child lives in Leeds with his wife and adorable identical twin girls - so that's where we went next. Have not seen the girlies since the end of June and of course they have changed lots.I'm sorry but I've just got to show you some pictures.

This is Sophia and she will be one at the beginning of September. The twins are rather laid back and have not long been sitting up on their own. Unlike their cousin Rowan they have decided to take a more leisurely approach to life. Oh they are soo cute and they have such long legs - where from we do not know! Beautiful long eyelashes. These are idyllic babies. They sleep till around 6.30am, lie in their cots gurgling till 7am and then they get up. They happily play whilst mummy or daddy prepares their breakfast, unlike my own who used to scream once they were awake, because there was only one reason to be awake and that was for feeding! After breakfast they have a play and then go back to bed! After another hour or so of sleep they get up for a few hours, have dinner and then it's time for another sleep! Then another few hours of play, followed by tea, bath time, a book and a bottle and off to sleep by 7pm! Wow what organisation!

Here is Karis on grandad's lap. As the girls had not seen us for a month or so they were not too sure of us, but as soon as we started singing they decided that we were kosher! It seems that if they go grumpy they love being sang to. Here grandad is singing and doing the actions to "row row row the boat".

They have started to crawl, but it's a rather unusual style. It looks as if they move around more like a seal does! But their style works hence the gate in the background!

But of course a really good toy is my car keys! Unlike most other babies they would have gone into their mouths but these girls are real ladies and don't put things in their mouths!

Time to head out for lunch. Yes they are wearing jackets because the lovely summer has disappeared over the last few weeks and overnight we went from soaring heat to grumpy wet weather! Golly once they were in the buggy with the same jackets on I found it very difficult to tell them apart.

Waiting for dinner.

Golly I had not quite appreciated what celebrity status twins have. We were standing in a queue waiting for a table when my son is busy chatting away with a lady. I said to his wife was she a friend and she said "no" but this was normal that everywhere they go people treat them as celebrities!

Really unusual but we all chose the same meal - Moroccan chicken tagine, it was a bit dried up but tasty. My mango smoothie was yummy and was soooo filling. Well all very soon our visit had to come to an end and after a cuppa and collecting some clothes that the girls have grown out of to take home we waved goodbye :( I went and had a sneaky look at the girls in their cot. We then headed into Bradford to visit some more friends before returning home to Leicester.

Now the reason for bringing home all those girl clothes is that No 3 in Bristol is expecting a girl in January! So we shall be the proud owners of three grand daughters and one grand son!

Changing the subject completely, well almost completely, to our babies in the garden! Yesterday dad came to dinner and we were bust chatting and eating when we spotted one of the girls flying through the air into the apple tree!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is Miss Moneypenny, looking very pleased with herself. But having got there she was rather confused as to how she was going to get down!

None of the chickens have ever done this before! I've never seen them fly so high, maybe we will have to clip their feathers. Oh well must finish and start on that huge mountain of ironing. Have a good week all.

Friday, 15 August 2014

This and That

1st This and That....
This week on The Great British Bake Off  was biscuit baking session. So in preparation for the programme I decided to have a go at making some Florentines. All seemed to go well until it came to the baking. The mixture just seemed to spread into one big mess!

I got a knife and tried to push the mess back into biscuit shapes and then baked it longer in the oven. The next instruction was once the biscuits were cool to then melt the chocolate and that's was when I realised what I had done wrong! I had not read that before the biscuit mixture went into the oven I should have added some double cream! I thought the cream was going to be used in the chocolate mixture!. Oh well I managed to get some Florentines onto a plate.

They still tasted rather yummy.

2nd This and That.....
Do you ever have one of those moments when you have a brain wave? Well I had one in the shop The Range. As I was browsing around I noticed some fabric dyes and that's when the brain bell rang! In my wardrobe is a white summer dress. But whenever I have worn it Mr P says I am wearing a nightie. So why don't I try dying it red?



I am pleased with the finished result and I know now that I will feel happier wearing it now.

3rd This and That:
My last thoughts for today has been a little sad one - saying farewell to something we probably should have got rid of a while ago. It is our caravan, We had soo many lovely family holidays in it, but have not used it for some years. Mr P rightly suggested we tried selling it on ebay for a few pounds. This week it was sold and today a young family, also with four children, came to collect it. I could not bare to be around to see it go. I was really pleased to know that it had gone to have more happy adventures with a new family.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Spiders Beware

ALL females need to watch out in my house! There are males crawling around looking for mates! Every room I go into there is a spider!

See how big this spider is? Guarding the stairs for any stray women! Actually this could be a woman as they are bigger than the men!

This might be a man as apparently they have longer, more agile legs.

Spiders that live outside only live for about a year but these spiders are likely to live for several years. If I do not vacuum them up(shock, horror) - and I do not disturb them then they can live for up to seven years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I reckon there are some old spiders behind my radiators!

So there is a lot of dating going on in my home as they look for mates. By late autumn the females will be laying an egg sac and it may contain up to 50 eggs. The egg will be in the tip of the web and protected by the female. The spiderlings will hatch in early to mid April! Now I understand why I am seeing sooooo many spiders! Why don't you go spider hunting!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Pilgrimage To The NEC Quilt Show - Typos Amended Version!

Writing this blog is so difficult because I took 400 pictures at this show! Mrs A and I have made three trips to the quilt show and it never disappoints us. In fact this year we were over whelmed by the vastness of the show. Some people go to the show for three days and I used to laugh about this but I am beginning to understand why now. We struggled to get to see everything in one day. It opens at 10am and closes at 5.30pm and believe you me they have to kick us out! We stopped only for a quick picnic lunch and one stop in the middle of the afternoon for a cuppa! That was it we walked ALL day! I am not convinced we saw everything and certainly we were skipping around some of the quilts.

The morning starts with a cuppa and toast before the show opens, a loo stop of course and then we join the masses and pile into the show.

The halls are full of masses of stalls - not quite sure why there is a wool stand, think there were only a couple of them. Not that I object to wool. There must be hundreds (literally) of stalls selling absolutely everything you could ever want to quilt with. Then there are about 1000 handmade quilts - which are entered into various competitions. If you have time then there are demonstration classes and lectures in the theatre. Also there are professional quilters with their stalls and displays. It is WONDERFUL!

Last week I had a conversation with my No 1 daughter and she said she thinks foxes are becoming the new "IT". I think she is right there were soooo many foxes about.  Goodbye "owls", "camper vans," "Scandinavian style" and "cup cakes". Keeping chickens doesn't make me feel as if I am going to get excited about foxes!

The lady on the left is Janet Clare and she has published some lovely books and also the pattern for this artisan apron. Here is her website. I bought the pattern for the apron and have just finished making it, but am now at the fun stage of embellishing it. So later on this week there will be a ta dah moment!

I do not know which quilts to show you - too many to choose from. But I think if I put all my pictures up you would go mad at me. Quilts come in all sizes from tiny tiny to so big they I cannot get all of it in one picture. Sometimes they are one complete piece of fabric and others made in panels etc etc.

Initially when you look at them you think "oh that's nice" and then you look more closely and realise just how much work has gone into just one panel.

Then there are quilts that have so much humour or designed for children. This next quilt was made especially for a little boy who does not like vegetables, to encourage him to enjoy them.

The vegetables have been made so that they can be taken out of their pouches! Such fun!

Next is a picture of Amy Butler. She is a creative designer from the United States, specialising in fabric designs and patterns.

Such clever use of colour.

Girls having fun!

Below - even a knitted quilt made the show!

 I really enjoy the way that quilts don't just have to be square and in one piece.

Even a quilted grandfather clock!

Even the sides are full of quilted objects!

Thought of my son's fiancee's sister with her designing company would approve of this coat.

Duxbury Designs.

This face is made up with thousands of tiny squares. How the heck do you go about doing this and getting the colours right? Truly amazing.

I love beach huts - again the details in each panel were gorgeous.

The next quilt is the winner of the show. Hard to get a good picture because of the size and also because so many people standing to admire the quilt.

But there comes a time when we have to go home.

Ladies are laden down with their buys, the lights are dimming, announcements calling us to leave.

All is closing up. We had a wonderful day and what did we buy?

Pattern and instructions for my artisan apron.

Some lovely tweedy fat quarters from Magee. Oh I sooo want to go to Donegal and visit them.

Two beautiful books from Quiltmania. They are translated into English.

Finally some fabric to make the apron. Has to be washed first before it can be used. Next year mmmmmm I'm not sure I want to do the show in one day?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe I shall think about going for two days!