Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Garden Creatures

I found this rather interesting looking creature in the polytunnel today - it is a lovely pink & green colour & I have identified it as an Elephant Hawk-Moth. After taking it's photo I gently evicted it as I don't want it laying eggs on my veg! Apparently they enjoy the nectar of honeysuckles which is probably what attracted it as we have a large old honeysuckle by the back door.

As for this creature ....he was caught red-pawed stealing strawberries!!

If you click on the photo to enlarge it you can just see the strawberry between his teeth!

Monday, 28 June 2010

Home Sweet Home

Our house has been in need of a fresh coat of paint & in the last few weeks it has had a lovely spruce up in Cornish Cream & Duck Egg Blue, so I had to post a few photos to show you our 1930's farm cottage in all her simple glory - she is not a pretty chocolate box cottage but she is ours!

She started off life as a 3 bedroom cottage but was extended about 30 years ago so is about twice her original size & a nice family home. We bought the house 8 years ago & this is the second time we've had to paint the exterior.

The older part of the house still has some original features such as picture rails & panelled doors with bakelite handles. Sadly the old leaded windows were rotten so we had to replace them all when we bought the house, as well as the kitchen, bathrooms, carpets, floors etc etc as everything had been neglected, but we are in a wonderful position at the end of a lane which doesn't go anywhere & backing onto the farm that she used to belong to & with only 5 houses down here it is quiet & peaceful. Plus the rooms are spacious & plentiful so we overlooked her problems & bought her anyway!

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Shop Update

I haven't updated my shop in a while & thought it was about time I added some new goodies before my house bursts at the seams!

The cruet set above (in Kitchenalia) is just adorable with it's 50's polka dots!

I've added quite a few things in Kitchenalia including this set of shell shaped jelly or ice cream spoons (as seen in Homes & Antiques magazine!)

A ginger kitty string holder.....

A glass bunny jelly mould...

A set of "Harlequin" tea or coffee spoons....

Linen & Textiles has this fabulous tablecloth & napkins set.

Snap up this "tweet" set of two birds in Bits & Bobs

This games compendium in Second Childhood is just the thing for lazy summer days.

Hope you'll pop in for a browse!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Elderflower Cordial

As the hedge is bursting with frothy elderflower heads I decided it was time to make some elderflower cordial - my very favourite summer drink.
If you'd like to have a go I'll tell you how - it's very easy & delicious!

First of all, pick about 10 elderflower heads (or, if you are me, get Tamzin & Jack to do it!)

Bring 600ml of water to the boil in a stainless steel saucepan.

Add 900g white sugar (sounds a lot but as it's diluted later it isn't too bad)

Stir until dissolved & then remove from heat & leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Now add the grated zest & juice of one lemon.

And 45g citric acid

Now add the elderflowers & stir

Cover & leave to stand overnight to infuse the flavours

Next day, strain the mixture (I use a jelly making bag) & pour into sterilised bottles.
It turns out a lovely light green colour.
As it is quite concentrated you only need a small amount, then dilute with still or sparking water.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

My First Strawberry

The first strawberry from my giant strawberry plants! Deeeeelicious!

You will notice that the splint is OFF my finger! I still have to wear it at night for another 6 weeks & can't lift anything heavy or ride yet. It is very stiff but that should improve with physio. Can you believe I broke it in January? The hand doctor said that it takes much longer for the tendon to re-attach than it takes for the bone to heal.

It actually feels quite weird without it on, but I'm happy!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Toby Is Four

Little known facts about Toby.....

1: Four years ago today little Toby was born. He had a rather traumatic start in life as his mummy died. He & his brothers & sisters were taken in by the Bath Cats & Dogs Home & were hand reared which is obviously why he loves people so much. Both his parents were Jack Russells & the rest of the litter were black & white but he has a more unusual brindle coat.
Luckily for us the home decided that we were the perfect new family for an orphan puppy. The photo above was taken at the home the first time we met - who could resist that worried little face? He was known there as "Clinton" but we changed his name.

2: Toby is short for Toblerone, not Tobias!

3: His big sister is Lucy who had been an only dog for 6 years, but as she has a kind nature she welcomed the new addition & even let him snuggle up & share her basket so he wouldn't miss his sisters & brothers.

4: Toby dreams of being an agility dog - look at him fly!

5: His hobbies include sleeping....

...warming his bum on the Aga....

....going for country walks....

.......and sleeping!

6: He is in love with Pippa the cat!

7: He is an accomplished pickpocket who could give The Artful Dodger a run for his money.
His loot is usually tissues!

8: His favourite foods include bacon, carrots & chocolate which he will do his best to get hold of, so we have to keep it well out of his way as we all know that chocolate isn't good for dogs.

Happy Birthday Toby!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Cosy Cushions

Just a little plug for Tamzin - she has popped a few of her cushions onto her blog for sale - I can assure you that they are extremely well made & very well priced!
All are made using vintage fabrics with brand new cushion pads inside.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

With a lot of hard work!

Here are the baby vegetable plants that I nurtured in my kitchen during the cold "spring" months which eventually could be potted up & moved into the polytunnel to grown on a bit.

Here they are today - almost ready!

Today Tamzin & I were out in the garden nice & early & worked out there all day except for an hour of "Active Fitball" at the Leisure Centre (I'm going to be stiff tomorrow) & a quick bite of lunch.

The patio was swept, the weeds removed & the pots filled up with compost. The terracotta pot on the wirework stand are awaiting some colourful geraniums.

This is my old peg basket which now has a hole underneath so I'm going to reinvent it as a hanging basket - I'll have to show you what it looks like planted up later.

Some of my galvanised bath tubs which I use as planters.

Of course no gardening session is complete without a break for a drink served from a vintage jug with an African beadwork cover.....

Note the "vintage" 80's leopard print scarf which was mine way back then...

Come back on and back to work.....

It took us quite some time to construct this "cage" to keep the birds off of the strawberries!Yes, they really are that big - they've done so well this year.

The polytunnel had become a dumping ground & hidey hole for homeless spiders over the winter, so all the junk had to be removed, the long grass pulled up & spiders & snails evicted.
With the addition of homemade compost in the beds it's ready for vegetable plants - the cucumbers were the first to go in.

After all that it was time to stop & smell the roses....

The feathery girls on the other hand weren't too impressed with the heat so retreated into the shade for a siesta!

From left to right....Tinkerbell, Hermione, Nutmeg & Henrietta.

I think we are going to sleep well tonight!