Thursday, 30 October 2014

Just a Quickie............ share a few things with you.

Firstly this yummy Apple Cinnamon Cake recipe that my daughter made a few days ago. 

She found the recipe on line but, typically, we now can't find it so I'm sorry I can't credit the recipe source, but thank you whoever you are for this recipe as it is delicious!

Apple Cinnamon Cake

50g brown sugar
80g caster sugar
120g butter
2 eggs
220g plain flour
120ml milk
2tsp cinnamon
1 granny smith apple, peeled & chopped chunky
2tsp vanilla extract
1.5tsp baking powder

Start off by making a brown sugar topping by mixing the brown sugar with the cinnamon in a bowl and placing to one side.

Cream the butter and sugar together until fully combined then start to add in all of the other wet ingredients, such as the eggs, vanilla extract and milk. Once mixed together add the dry ingredients – the baking powder and flour, again stir until well combined.

Into a greased tin pour half the batter, then push in half an apple that has been peeled, cored and cut into chunks, make sure they are spread out, then sprinkle on some of the brown sugar topping. Repeat this step with the remaining batter, apples and cinnamon.

Bake for 30mins or until a skewer comes out clean at 190c (or 170c fan).

* * *

We've been making the most of the few warm sunny days by getting out for long walks, but on the wetter days I've been spending what spare time I have on making more Christmas Fair items.

more French vintage ephemera coasters..........

some hand stitched shabby hearts, ideal for hanging from the tree 

a few more little vintage fabric pin cushions

and some little ticking bird tree hangers

On the crochet front, I've crocheted together the four ribbed squares that I crocheted a few weeks ago here and which I now need to crochet a back for so I can make a cushion.

And I made another cloche hat using the same pattern as before from Ravelry, a brown tweedy one from the Sirdar Chunky yarn I bought a few weeks back.

And apart from having developed an addiction (whilst I'm sewing production line style) to the White Chocolate and Cranberry cookies that our little village shop sell, I think that's about it from here!

Thank you for all your comments on my last few posts.
I hope you are all enjoying a good half term week!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

October Bits and Bobs

On this wet and blustery October morning I snapped a few photos of a beautiful rose that my daughter gave me for Mother's Day this year, and which, I'm ashamed to say, sat in its pot until late summer this year.

It is only just flowering now ( as I deprived it of a comfortable bed for so long ) but it was worth waiting for, especially as I hadn't expected it to flower this year, but the mild weather has obviously encouraged it to bloom.

It is a very delicate pale peachy pink, so pretty. It wasn't a named variety so I don't know what it's called as it was just labelled a pink floribunda. It is delicately scented too, and I've planted by the entrance to the drive so in a few years time I hope it will make a good show as you come in.

The pale pink tiny flowered fushia is still going strong

and even this self-seeded marigold is thriving in a crack by the house!

In the back garden the fuschia on the patio is also still blooming away, as are all the summer geraniums, some of which are from last summer which continued flowering on and off over last years mild but wet winter.

And spurred on by mamamercantiles recent post on getting the garden set for winter, I went out yesterday, bought some pretty tulips ( a lovely plummy one, Purple Dream, and a smaller variety Little Beauty, a lovely cerise with purple centre with an RHS award of garden merit), a bag of bulb compost and two new pots (just seen above either side of back door )and actually went straight out into the garden and planted them up!  Usually I have two out of the three elements needed and the bulbs never get planted as I have either pots or compost but not both, and as there is little free space in the borders, and I never seem to be organised enough to plant under trees or in the lawn as an alternative, they sadly and wastefully just get forgotten. 

Any suggestions as to what I could plant in the top of the pots or should I leave well alone? I thought of poking some classic forget-me-nots around them in the Spring, but maybe I should put some cyclamen in for now? Or winter pansies? What do you think? All suggestions gratefully received!  

I tend to do better with pansies than with cyclamen, which I have tried many times to introduce to the garden when  I see them in the garden centres, but they just seem to disappear after a while, never to return! Pansies and violas seem to thrive though.

I also spent an hour or two in the sunshine sweeping the patio, clearing up the clumps of moss fallen from the roof ( courtesy of the birds), and the many autumn leaves, as well clearing up and re-organising pots and planters, so it now looks a lot tidier


Out and about with a friend yesterday morning, which included the trip to the garden centre for the Tulip bulbs, we pottered in a charity shop and I spotted this lovely Alfred Meakin plate in the "Linden" design, for £2. I find it very hard to spot any pretty china these days so was chuffed to find it, as I am very keen on some of the Alfred Meakin designs of the 1950's and 60's and have a few other plates which I'll share in another post.

Last week I found this useful display shelf in a country furniture shop, not to my taste decor wise as it had been painted in a pale yellow combed effect with patchy peach highlights, and is made in cheap particle board, but the shape is good and it is sturdy. It will be perfect on my stall table for displaying smaller items.


I'm not completely happy with the result yet as the Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue paint that I used came out darker than I expected, especially after putting on the clear wax. It looks light enough in this photo, but it is actually darker and more green in real life, and I wish I'd left the side edges duck egg instead of off-white, so I shall paint over the side trim and see if I like it any better then. If not the whole lot will get re-painted in my favourite Annie Sloan Paris Grey!

I know its still a way off, thankfully, but I'm having to get on with xmassy makings, and have made a 2014 version of the hessian tree hangers I made in previous years as they always seem to be popular.

 and some country style checked stars.

Hope you are not being too battered by the winds today!

P.S. Here's a quick but poor photo of my Blueberry Cowl finished a week or so ago - the colour is lovely and heathery with tiny flecks of turquoise. 

Am pleased with how this one has turned out, and it may, just may, be going to Bella if she can bring herself to wear "something crocheted"!!!

The pattern can be found by clicking on the link on my Ravelry page here

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Making something a little different................

........from the usual sewing.

Decoupage coasters from vintage ephemera.

vintage French ephemera..........

vintage French adverts

.........and old Christmas cards from the US fromVictorian times through to the 1950's.

I have lots of these bought off eBay a few years ago, knowing I would use them for a project at some point.

All these photos show decoupaged coasters at various stages, awaiting the next coat of varnish or drying.

I shall back them in felt and make up bundles tied in ribbon, jute or raffia.

This is fun!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Latest Vintage Finds and Festive Sewing!

Hi everyone and thank you for your comments on my last few crochety posts!

Things are settling back down now into the usual term time rythym when my thoughts turn to getting back on with improving the home (forever ongoing!), more furniture painting, and, with the Festive season only a mere 10 weeks away (eek!) lots and lots of sewing of stock for Xmas Fairs.

Part of the regular term time jaunts include a visit to the local Antique and Flea market, and the photos here show some of the lovely "stuff" I found last week - lots of pretty white embroidered linens, laces and crochet trims, some lovely vintage floral fabric, embroidered traycloths and tablecloths, some tiny monograms, a vintage knitting pattern, and lots more.

The stitching on the following few pieces is so incredibly neat and tiny!

I found this gorgeous embroidered table cloth below with  all four corners embroidered with colourful cottage garden flowers. It's a shame it has a few holes but still lovely enough to use at it is.

This beautiful vintage floral fabric has a few holes too, but there is enough for a cushion cover cutting around the holey bits!

I've also made a start on stitching Christmas hangers as they always seem to go down well at Fairs.

First up this year, as they take the longest to make, are some cross-stitch hearts with a Nordic feel.

I've had great fun designing these little cross-stitch tree and snowflake designs below, but the first snowflake design above was based on a tiny little vintage pin-cushion that I have.

I shall also make some using a vintage natural linen I recently sourced - just started a white embroidered one.

And I shall be making more of the vintage white wool red stitched hearts that usually go down well..............

And more rustic country-style hessian trees (some of these hangers below, left over from last year, are now available in my Etsy shop ).....................

more tea-stained ticking doves...........

and more festive gingham hearts.

Better get on then!