Saturday, 30 March 2013

As Happy as a Pig in Mud (cake)

Hello dear readers!

Firstly, a big thank you for your feedback regarding leaving comments.  I am very grateful to anyone who takes time out of their day to read my blog and whether you have the time or inclination to comment or not, it matters not as long as you've enjoyed your visit!

Ok - so moving on ...Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate.  And Happy Chocolate Weekend to those of you who don't!  I'm just happy having a few days away from the dark and gloomy place  I've tagged Thursday and Tuesday on to the bank holiday weekend to extend it into a good long break and cunningly only having to use up 2 annual leave days which is a bonus!

My poor daughter has been so ill for the past couple of days which has marred the start of the break really.  She's had raging tonsilitis and is only starting to feel better today after a couple of days' worth of antibiotics.  Her poor throat was absolutely covered in white spots - and so swollen that she was having difficulty turning her neck or, indeed, talking.  Thankfully she's on the mend now but after having had the norovirus last week - this was the last thing she needed. Hopefully this is the last of her winter illnesses and she can start to get her immune system back on track.   I guess that's what working with teenies does to you!!

In other news (!)  Y'know we're a bit mad here at 'Pods?  Well our Easter Cake was always going to be a bit different wasn't it?!  

We made a cake today!!   Some of you may have seen the 'pigs in mud' cake which seems to have gone viral over the interweb thingie over the last couple of months.  I thought it was hilarious so we made our own version as we're having a family lunch tomorrow and as usual it's my job to provide dessert!

First of all I made a chocolate fudge cake (which was a couple of cheapie cake mixes from Aldi to which I only had to add oil and water).  I made a very easy ganache by bringing 300ml of double cream to the boil then pouring it over 300g of decent quality chocolate and stirring until the choc melted and the mixture thickened.  Next stage was to sandwich together the cake (I guess a Vicky Sponge would do the job just as well), and then adhere lots of kit-kats around the circumference of the cake.  This is a bit messy and its better to 'lean' the kit-kats slightly until the ganache begins to set a little.  Once you have assembled them, catch them all up with a bit of a ribbon  'belt' so they're tightened against the cake.  Once this has done then you can pour the rest of the ganache on to the top of the cake.  We made some little pink piggies from some fondant icing sugar, a tiny amount of water and some pink food colouring.  Man made the piggies - and I was in charge of the bottoms.  Hum.  I have no idea why I got this job! 

Anyway - here it is in all its glory..... Pigs in Mud!  

Um.... sorry I don't do bows!! 

Tee hee.... do our bottoms look big in this??  

My fave bit is the little snout and ears popping out of the mud!

See you soon!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Ice Man Cometh ...

Oh the drama! 

Ty turned into Wolverine.  (Albeit a cool version!)

Zara feared for her life .....

The dog lost his legs -

 Oh no, hang on there they are ...

Zara lost her wellies .....

The shedcicles are back!

And the only things growing in the garden are the snowcaps!!

Guess it must be Spring then! 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Simple Woman's Daybook - March edition

Where its at!   <~~~ click here to see what I'm talking about.


Outside my window... its bloomin' freezing.  As it's after midnight here in the UK, its also very dark. The moon is waxing and is a little way over half full.  The skies are very clear.

I am thinking... that I should go to bed really and forget about blogging!  

I am thankful... that today is Wednesday, the hump of the week, and once we're over that then its down the rollercoaster towards the weekend.  I'm not wishing my life away, honestly!

In the a mountain of freshly washed and dried towels that I need to transport upstairs.

I am wearing... black.  Black everything.  It suits my mood! :D

I am creating... nothing right now, although I have many plans and perhaps another foray into canvas collage tomorrow. 

I am going... to be so in denial about getting up in the morning!

I am wondering... why I don't get many comments on my blog.  On average I get around 150 views each day but rarely more than a 3 or 4 comments.  I do wonder why. 

I am reading... a book about Art Journalling, a trashy chick-lit novel and another called Two Caravans.  I still haven't finished Rural Dreams Urban Realities (hmm thinking about it that might be the other way around!!).  I'm also reading several magazines  which I forgot I had and have been retrieved from under the bed.  Oh.  And random purchase, the Paul McKenna book about how he can give me a hypnotic gastric band. (!)

I am hoping... that my lovely dog takes the hint sometime soon that I really do not care for his chewy bone with the two soggy ends to be dropped onto the laptop keyboard seven million times each night. 

I am looking forward to...the weekend.  I'm going to take myself off to the NEC to stroke some craft stash.  Also looking forward to starting my online art journalling workshop on 1st April and to learning some new techniques.  And to a forthcoming two weeks of only having to work three days each week!

I am learning ... that things won't change unless I have faith in myself and do something about it.

Around the house... the usual chaos prevails.  

I am pondering... hmmm....  whether to continue blogging publicly or whether to just use this space as a more personal diary. 

A favorite quote for today... "
Nothing satisfies me more than knowing someone underestimates me. Except the moment they realize they did".

One of my favorite things... ummm right now?   Hot, buttered, thick sliced, granary toast! mmm!!

A few plans for the rest of the week: As above really - work, a bit of crafting and hopefully a trip out on Saturday.

A peek into my day...  Oops - there's no day left!  Tis mostly night!  Have a couple of silly pics instead! 

Monday, 18 March 2013

Monday Smile

Photographic evidence that every cat loves a box to sit in.

Would YOU tell him that its not his?! 

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Made with love ...

...and lots of tears.

I made this canvas with a favourite photograph of Dad, as a gift for my brother

Never a truer word spoken ....

Suede flowers, chipboard scrolls, wooden leaves distressed with Distress Inks and a little
birdhouse button I've had for years.

Gardener's twine, coated with pva glue and fashioned into a heart,
a little wooden tag with a vellum sentiment

Buttons, Buttons, Buttons....... and more twine ...

Another chipboard scroll, these were painted with acrylics and more ink.  The dragonfly
was a die cut - goodness knows where that came from - inked up again. 

Build a little birdhouse in your soul.   This button was very plasticky looking until I  attacked it
with a promarker!  

The finished article.

Hope the universe is treating you kindly this weekend.

Love and crafty blessings.  xx

Friday, 15 March 2013

The (Steampunk) Sun'll come out ... tomorrow?

Hello darlings!

Happy Friday to you all.  Thanks once again for visiting my cosy corner of blogland.  As it's Friday there's a chocolate hob-nob with your name on it in the tin on the shelf! ;)

A hugely warm welcome to my new followers, Tasmanian Minimalist (can you come and sort my clutter out please?!), Victoria and Linda.  I'm so pleased that you have chosen to follow Love from Peapods.

Regular followers will remember that I was doing some 'colouring in' during the week!  The image in question is a digital stamp from Octopode called Steampunk Sun.  I loved this image and was dying to find something to use it on.  As luck would have it I have three friends with birthdays this week and so I was able to use the stamp as a card topper.

Click the images to enlarge.

Firstly with some Promarkers ....

Then with some distress inks diluted with water and painted on ....

And back to Promarkers!  

With lots and lots of Stickles irridescent glitter glue....
And some floriferousness studded with a metal brad...

There you go..... the finished article(s)!

A little bit funky and different.   Just like me! 


See you very soon xxx

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Winner Winner....


Excited much am I!!

I never win ANYTHING.

Until now.

And now.... I've won a fabulous prize from the Kathryn Wheel blog, hosted by the very talented Kate Crane.  It's an online journalling workshop - (See Here)  which has all manner of scrummy things to learn, which for a newbie to art journalling like me is absolutely perfect.  I'm very excited to start and still can't believe my luck!  I guess if you're not into crafting then this little win won't mean much to you but I can assure you it has me dancing me little socks off!

It's been  a funny week this week.  The weather has been really bright with beautiful Spring sunshine and clear blue skies but wow its been very cold; with snow flurries here and there earlier in the week.  It's raining now though and apparently it not supposed to get much better for the weekend.  Booo!  

The internet appears to be sorted for now.  Our IP have put us "on a different channel" according to the man who knows these things.  We're actually being  upgraded to super speedy broadband on Monday anyway so hopefully that will help too.  There's nothing more frustrating than having constant internet outages when you're mid-blog!

We had a visit from a neighbour on Sunday who advised us that our dotty neighbour next door appears to have it in for us (although goodness knows why - quiet, unassuming souls that we are!).  She is convinced that my craft pod is cover for something more sinister and has been asking people up and down the street if they know what I'm doing in there!  Odd that she can't ask me really isn't it?!!   Even more odd that when we took delivery of the shed she asked LM what it was for and he told her that it was a Christmas present for me to do my crafting in.  She's been complaining about other trivialities which I won't bore you with but I've  actually got so cross with the ridiculous situation she's created of late I've written to the Council to pre-empt any ridiculous complaint made by her about us.   She appears to have nothing else better to do than to keep tabs on our every movement.  She watches us from her bedroom window constantly if we are in the garden.  She has to know everything we're doing and has no shame in asking!   This is the woman who every four weeks without fail, removes the gravel from her borders, sieves it, and puts it back again.  I kid you not!  This is the woman who complained constantly that leaves from our magnolia tree blew onto her pristine grey block paved drive.  We actually cut it down because we were sick of her moaning about it.  Leaves fall.  Leaves blow around.  I have no control over Mama Nature!  This is the woman (she is 73) who cleared the drive of snow on several occasions in order that her lazy article of a son (who still lives with her at aged 48) could get his car on and off the drive. Yup.  Really.

I could go on at length but it only serves to wind me up to distraction.  We have been nothing but respectful to her in the 13 years we have lived in this house.  I'm guessing that her increasingly infuriating behaviour is something to do with her age.

I hate having uncharitable thoughts about people but Oooooooh!!!  She do make me MAD!!

Ah that's better!!

And breathe.

Don't know whether this better resembles me or her!

See you soon!!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

WOYWW - 13 March 2013

Hello lovely people!

Welcome back to my little corner of blog-land.  If you've taken the trouble to stop by, why not leave a comment to say hello so that I can return the favour?  I'd love to hear from you.

 My internet has been on and off like a tart's frock this week and has made it extremely frustrating and nigh on impossible to blog properly.   Methinks a few strong words with our IP tomorrow may not go amiss.

Well I may just scrape into WOYWW by the skin of my teeth this week. If you would like to know what I'm whittering on about, then take a look HERE to see what's going on.

This is my desk this week.  The Promarkers are out, as are a couple of bottles of Stickles glittery glue.  I've been making a birthday card for a lovely friend but I've put it out of shot in case she sees it!  I've been colouring in some Octopode Factory digistamps this evening - such a great therapy after a stressful day at the dark and gloomy place.

So that's where my glasses went to!

My cushion-cuddling catty crafting companions 
See you next time!

Love love!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Life ...

Today another innocent young life was needlessly taken.  A 16 year old girl on her way to school on the number 9 bus was the victim of a random knife attack and was pronounced dead at the scene.

I travelled on this bus every day for years. My daughter travelled on it recently at a similar time of day to get to a job interview.  There but for the grace of  the universe and all that.  Its just too close for comfort really.

My heart breaks for her family.  How on earth do you ever get over something like that?

No more words.

Just a candle lit.

Lots of love xx

Wednesday, 6 March 2013


Hello lovelies!

Nice to see you here again and I hope that the week is being good to you.

Regular follows will know that I take part in a crafty blogging phenomenon known as "What's on your Workdesk Wednesday" each week.  The lovely Ms Dunnit is our hostess with the mostest (although looking at some of the other participants' desks I reckon there's strong competition for who has 'the mostest' in crafty stash terms!)  If you would like to know more about it then please check out THIS LINK

This is my (appallingly untidy) desk this week.

Oh the shame!!

Can you bear to take a closer look at the debris?!  I got ALLLL of those bliddy buttons out  to use as flower centres, then decided on some fabric covered brads instead.  

I've been working on a Mothers Day card, roughly following an example from one of the recent crafting magazines. 

This was the finished product!  

And yes I did tidy up afterwards!  Two cats and around three hundred loose buttons aren't a particularly good combination!

See you soon! xx

Monday, 4 March 2013

A Monday Meander

Another gorgeous spring-like day here in the Black Country.  After a rather lazy start to the day we decided to take Harvey on a yomp over the fields and have lunch at a local dog-friendly pub.  We had called before hand to see whether they were serving lunches and to see whether we were okay to take Harvey into the beer garden; we were assured that the pub was indeed open and that the dog would be welcome in the pub too.

It was beautifully mild in the sunshine but goodness me, in the shadowy dips of the field, the icy breeze nearly took your face off!

Just a few pics to share with you.  Note to self:  constantly gazing upwards and swooning at shots of tree tops and blue skies whilst walking over uneven ground is not one of your better ideas. 


A very hazy Wollescote

Wild Garlic beginning to peep through the leaf mould

Dappled sunlight though the trees

Hobbit holes


More fungi
The "funnest guy" ever!! (tee hee)

My ex sister-in-law. 

Our luncheon destination - and why not?! 

A very Happy Harvey who was extremely well behaved throughout lunch and dined upon bits of cucumber and tomato
with the odd morsel of steak if he was lucky! 

 Lunch comprised of coffee..... (as you would imagine because we cannot go for more than an hour without one!), Mr had a chilli burger with cheesy chips ( urghh!!) and Moddom (that's me that is) had a steak and onion baguette with chips.  This was the first time we had eaten at this lovely little pub.  The owner is very welcoming and treated us like regulars.  The coffee was good - although it was served in china teacups and to mug-preferring stalwarts of the coffee world it just wasn't right!   The large chunks of  steak on my baguette was beautifully cooked and flavoursome - none of your stringy, sinewy leather-like cheap cuts here.  I asked for it to be medium done and it was perfect, with just the right amount of onions on a fresh baguette. Accompanied with 'proper' home-made, hand cut chips and a simple side salad it was a really great meal for less than a fiver.  Man advised that his burger was good and was topped with 'proper' chilli.   The heart-attack cheesy chips were good too, apparently.

The pub is, by all accounts, 100 years old.  Here's a link to the WHY NOT?! website.

After another coffee which, we were very impressed to learn was 'on the house' (don't know why and didn't ask! we were just gracious and accepted such kindness!) we wended our way back through the woods and over the fields.  The sun had now cut through the haziness of earlier on and we could see Clent Hills clearly in the the distance.

It really is so very refreshing to look up into blue skies - the photograph doesn't show it very well but the little pussy willow buds on this tree were glowing in the sunlight.

And finally home. To where Dad's daffies are positively glowing with yellowyness next to his picture.  Aww!

Hope your Monday was a good one too.

Love and light. x

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The First Mild Day of March ....

"It is the first mild day of March:
Each minute sweeter than before
The redbreast sings from the tall larch
That stands beside our door.
There is a blessing in the air,
Which seems a sense of joy to yield
To the bare trees, and mountains bare,
And grass in the green field.
My sister! ('tis a wish of mine)
Now that our morning meal is done,
Make haste, your morning task resign;
Come forth and feel the sun.
Edward will come with you, -- and, pray,
Put on with speed your woodland dress;
And bring no book: for this one day
We 'll give to idleness... "

From 'To My Sister' - William Wordsworth

Happy Saturday lovely people.

Some of my Valentine flowers are still going strong!  I've 'weeded' out the lilies and roses as these were past their best, and have added some lovely red tulips to the mix to prolong the prettyfulness on my kitchen window sill.  There are some daffies too, in another vase, but they're in tight bud  at the moment.  I'm sure it won't take long for them to open though.

I hope you've all had lovely weather today.  Its been bright sunshine and blue skies here and although cool in the shade, the day has been relatively mild after the sub zero temps of late.  A line of washing has all but dried outside today which is a bonus!

In the slow cooker you can see in the background bubbles a home made chicken, sweet potato and spinach dopazia curry which we are due to scoff with some sticky basmati rice and a shared naan bread.  Go on - scratch the screen and see if scratch and sniff works.  If this were smell-a-blog you'd be drooling on your keyboards now!!

The poem is quite serendipitous really as not only is it, indeed, the first mild(ish) day of March but there is also mention of a dress!

In the Craft Pod today, I have taken inspiration from the amazing Gabrielle Pollacco and by following her  tutorial  Vintage Dress Tutorial I have enjoyed creating my take on her creation. If you click on the pictures they should enlarge slightly.   Its great to take inspiration from a project and then make it your own.  I loved having to hunt amongst my stash to find alternative products to use.

a fancy little Mei Flower closure rather than flowers on the waistband

A chipboard swirl covered in acrylic paint and some music
script rather than book text

Cut out hearts with black ink doodles and a clear sticker sentiment as
I didn't have any suitable rub-ons

Some scrunchy crepe paper for the dress underskirt rather than lace

I didn't have any faux chicken wire but I did have some plasterer's scrim so
used that instead!

Thanks for the inspiration Gabrielle.  I think that many more of these canvases will be popping up for  gifts in the future.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone


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 ...