Friday, 26 October 2012

Fabulous Friday

Hello lovely readers,

Whew what a week it has been.  I'm sure you'll join me in raising a glass to the forthcoming weekend.


I was away at a lovely crafting weekend last weekend.  I was very industrious and managed to completed 5 scrapbooking layouts and a Christmas card! If only you know what a procrastinator I was, then you'd be very impressed by this statement!

It was great to catch up with some really good friends, and also have the time and space to be able to scrap away to my heart's content.  Chez Peapods is so tiny that I have real difficulty in being able to leave my crafting goodies spread out anywhere, so it was a real treat to be able to do so and know that it wasn't going to have bags and coats dumped on it, or stolen by a mad animal.  I'll share some pics of the layouts in another post as my beloved camera appears to need resuscitating.

It's bitingly cold out there this evening. The chooks are bedded down with extra straw and some warm porridge - spoilt things!  They've gone 'off-lay' for the last week or so, and are moulting all over the place.  They're also off their food - oddly enough for veloceraptors.  I'm told that this all goes hand in hand with the moulting process but I do worry about them.  There's only two of them now after Betty's demise a couple of weeks ago.

Wrap up warm now and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Card-making Tuesday

Hello lovelies,

I've been signed off work for a while with my stupidly painful back so today I decided to use my time productively and begin making some c-word cards.  I'm beyond rubbish at being a crafter!  Any self-respecting card-maker would have a stash of beautifully presented seasonal cards by now having begun their endeavours in July.  As usual though, despite having best intentions, I've put it off and moved bits of paper from one end of the table and back again for weeks now without actually sticking anything to something else!

So, here we go then.  I decided on a festive floral theme and punched out some simple flower shapes from red card.

Then with my little ...erm... dibber tool (technical crafting term!) rolled the cut outs
to give them some shape.

Stuck two flower shapes together,

then punched out a stamen shape from black card

Once the stamen was stuck onto the card, I added a little 'Stickles' glitter to give it a little festive glamour!

Next, I punched out two christmas tree shapes from green cardstock;

And gave it a bit of a trim!

Next up,  I gently scored some vein like lines - 

and stuck them on to the back of the flower shapes.

Next job was to find some suitable backing papers.  These were freebie ones from a Scrapbook Inspirations mag that have been in my stash for  ages - I think they're by Bo Bunny.  I covered the join in the paper with some coordinating ribbon.

Next, I stamped a Christmas greeting using a stamp and some black ink, and  punched out the greeting with a large square stamp, before matting it up on some green cardstock.

And finally - the finished product!  Ta-dahhh!!

Card making in its simplest form!  Not a bad  effort really - now stop looking cos this one might be yours!!

See you soon!!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

A Homely Day


We've had a homely day here at the 'Pod'.  Man has doing manly things of a tree cutting nature, whilst I have been swanning around the kitchen in a domestic goddess manner, creating The Hairy Bikers' Mum Knows Best Coffee & Walnut cake.

Tis yur :-

Man professes it to be lovely and moist but not very "coffee-ey".  We've tried this recipe a couple of times and it's a good one - but we really need to try it with 'Camp' coffee and chicory essence rather than just strong instant coffee.  I think that will make  a huge difference.  Ah well.  I'm sure it won't last long - cake never does in this house!!

As I'm on a very strict diet regime (yawn), I'm not allowed cake in its usual form, so I baked myself this:

This is a  "1/2 syn" (if you're on the Slimming World plan)  roulade, which contains simply 4 eggs, 1/2 a tub of quark, sweetener, almond essence and, a teaspoon of baking powder.  No flour, no fat, no sugar.  It was baked in a swiss roll tin, allowed to cool and then spread with the other pot of quark, duly sweetened and combined with half a cherry fat free yoghurt, then rolled up like a swiss roll.  Et voila - a sweet but guilt free treat. This had a cherry bakewell kind of flavour, but  in the past I've replaced the almond essence with lemon, and spread with one of the new fat free greek style lemon yoghurts.  Or vanilla essence and strawberry yoghurt.    Any port in a dieting storm I say!

Remember the long running saga of us taking up the lawn in the summer and replacing it with the freebie slabs we were lucky enough to inherit?  Well I think we are finally (finally!!!) on the home straight.  This pic was taken this evening. Not the best I'm afraid as the light was fading and it hadn't quite dried out but you'll get the general idea.

We just have a couple of edging boards to paint, and the very top bit to sort out and I think we'll be there.  Mum planted up my pots with some cyclamen, heather and pansies this afternoon so they'll bring a welcome splash of colour for the next couple of months at least.

Out in the fields, the farmer has been making the most of the dry spell to plough and till the soil ready for the next crop.  He's a miserable old git and destroys the footpaths every single year until the walkers reclaim them by exercising their right to roam.  It's a public right of way and has been for very many years but he seems to pay no heed - I think he just likes being difficult!

See you soon!

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Sunny Saturday

Hasn't it been an absolute belter of a day?!   I hope your Saturday has been a sunny one.  It's been beautifully warm here today with stunning golden sunlight, the quality of which can only be witnessed at this time of year.  It's been such a welcome change from the dreariness and torrential downpours of the preceding week.  It certainly makes the heart feel lighter - well that and having your hair done!

S'cuse me  for a minute- I need to have a private conversation with Mr Cro of  fame.    **waves**. 

I've tracked down the stripey pears that you admired from yesterday's post.  They're delightfully called "Humbug" (Pysanka) and they originated in the Ukraine.  Very sweet and juicy apparently and even the young shoots are stripey!  I'm sure you'll be able to track one down!!

This has been a public service announcement for pear lovers of the world!

I mentioned the Malvern show in yesterday's post.  I was very frugal whilst I was there and although I could have cheerfully spent hundreds of pounds on trinkets and gorgeous stuff, I was a good girl and just observed, gasped, cooed, stroked, appreciated much stuff of a beauteous nature and cried quietly into my scarf.  

One of the stalls I couldn't get away from, was one which showcased lots of carved wooden treasures.  I have a bit of a 'thing' for owls, and my lovely Mum treated me to this gorgeous fella!

The blurb stages that "each owl is individually carved ..." and "set in a Jempenis log with its original bark still intact".  It is then treated with teak oil to protect it from the elements.  He looks very at home on the shed I reckon and is keeping a watchful eye on any potential garden shenanigans.

I also have a bit of a 'thing' for sculptures of hares and really want to get a moon gazing hare statue for the garden (on our new patio don't cha know - ooh that's finally finished!  Will do a tadahh post tomorrow hopefully).  Next to the owls on the same stand, was a veritable drove of carved wooden hares of all shapes and sizes and all very beautiful.  One in particular called to me.  I don't know what it was but I found myself stroking his nose!  (yes I know I'm very odd and don't mind admitting it!!).  

As I'm a very spoilt brat, and to my complete surprise, that very hare found his way home in the same bag as my little owlet!  Man justified this frivolous purchase having apparently 'done a deal for the two'.   I was very
 cross with him for about 2.1 seconds, but then I found myself stroking his nose again  (the hare, not the Man) and all crossness was forgotten.

The full Harvest Moon was out in all its glory last Saturday night, so, as fitting as this was, I took the hare outside and let him gaze......(as this rather rubbish photograph details!).

See you tomorrow, men in white coats permitting .......

ooh  p.s. - if you share my love of carved wood, check out the website .  I am in  no way associated/affiliated blah blah blah to this company however they really do have some wonderful items which would be perfect for Yule gifts.

Friday, 5 October 2012

The Malvern Show

Firstly I would like to thank my lovely followers from the bottom of my heart for your very kind words after my "Post of Woe" yesterday.  I'm fed up with feeling sad.  Normal service will be resumed forthwith!

Last Saturday we were very decisive (if you knew us personally you'd understand what a momentous occasion this was.  We usually lie in bed umming and ahhing over what to do that day with plenty of "I don't mind - what do YOU want to do"s with any decision as to outings eventually being decided by the toss of a coin!! )

We got up relatively early and took ourselves out to the Malvern Show for the day.  The train from Stourbridge to Malvern doesn't take more than an hour (with one station change) and we arrived at Great Malvern (such a gorgeous little Victorian station) in time to grab a quick coffee before the free shuttle bus arrived to whisk us away to the show.  The Malverns looked stunning in the autumn sunshine.

The rest of post will be very photo heavy as I'll let the pictures do the talking.  We had a lovely day.  It was one of those perfect, golden autumn days and I'm so glad we made the decision to go.  

Enjoy the pics :)

I need to grow some of these in my garden next year - they were so pretty.  Particularly when the sun caught them.

Apples galore

Gorgeous colours!

The spectacular Malvern Seven Sisters (well three of them in this particular shot!)

Painstakingly perfect displays of autumn bounty

I love the way they displayed these caulis!

This display of tomatoes was almost too perfect!

Gorgeous gourds!

I hate 'Keep Out' signs - that just made me want to snip the rope and walk in!!  

How beautiful is this colour combination?  

Love these stonework arches - I couldn't fit one in my pocket, sadly.

oh!! Hello Cowboy!! ;)

Loved the way the sunlight filtered through these Agapanthus

Wonderful floral displays - reading some of the comments cards left by the judges, though - sheesh - how perfect do they need to be?!!

This was my favourite.  

Lettuce trees and mushroom .. erm.. fungi!  Inspired!

Isn't it a sign of the times that this sweet little floral pram display was chained to the drainpipe?!

We missed out SO much of the show - six hours simply wasn't enough to see everything.  I think we'll plan a little better for the next one so we're there early doors.  

Have a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, 4 October 2012

Can the rest of 2012 ......

.... kindly naff orff!

I'm usually a really cheerful person with a very positive outlook on life, but sometimes, just sometimes I just want to curl up in a corner and hide under the duvet until the world buggers off.

In the past 3 months, I've lost my beloved Dad, I've been diagnosed with degenerative arthritis in my spine, one of my favourite chickens had to be put down, my daughter and her boyfriend were involved in a road traffic accident whereupon he lost control of his car in atrocious weather conditions, hit the kerb and flipped upside down into a field.  Thank my Goddess that they were both relatively unscathed apart from minor aches, pains and scratches - but it was certainly one of those telephone calls a Mum dreads.

And to put the topper on it all, this evening I had a knock on the door from a neighbour to tell me that I needed to go and look at our cat as 'she didn't look very well'.   This was a bit of an understatement. I think she died just as I was crossing the road to get to her.  Our beautiful little Minnie-cat, she of the permanently pursed lips and the air of disdain, the whippy tail and the predilection for catching butterflies, mice, voles, shrews and birds has gone.  I can't work out whether she was hit by a car as there was no outward sign of damage or she had some underlying condition.  She hadn't shown any sign of illness and was eating really well ( as usual).  Her little body was still warm as I cuddled her to me but it was clear that she'd left us.  Poor little soul.

Rest in Peace Minstrel Minnie Mouse.  

I'm sorry this post is a bit "woe is me" but hope that it goes some way to explain my lack of blogging recently.

I do have some lovely pictures and nicer stuff to share with you and shall attempt to get this done very soon.

Thanks for bearing with me. 

Positivity will return very shortly.

Wishes and kisses xxxx

Working from home

I've taken a precious day of annual leave today.  I've really struggled this week with feeling so yuk and I needed the restorative ...