Friday find

I picked up this little lovely today for the princely sum of £2.

She needs a bit of tlc - if you look around the edges then someone's obviously robbed her of her frame, but I thought she'd fit right in around here. I now have an extra project on my hands in the form of learning how to clean up oil paintings (do I dare?!) I also have a second picture that I bought quite recently... I can't really tell you why I liked it, but I really loved the soft muted colours, and decided it could have a home with me too... I'm quite hospitable like that

I just love the fact that I've got two completely unique pieces of artwork for next to nothing...I find it mad to think that so many people are happy to opt for the safe option and adorn their walls with run of the mill high-street store prints, when there are little beauties like these lurking in charity and junk shops. Each to their own I guess...I'd be a sad world if we all liked the same thing... and on the bright side, it means all the more treasures for me to uncover!


dream kitchen

It's that time of the week when I get kitchen envy

I love, love, love everything about Nigel Slater's kitchen. So simple and understated.

One day such a kitchen will be mine

And I wouldn't mind eating simple suppers for dinner every day either!



I'm gradually building up a bit of a stash of all supplies, but I think it would be fair to say that sometimes the spontaneity of me being able to create and come up with new ideas is slightly hampered by the fact that if i want to make anything, I firstly have to go out and buy all of the constituent parts. As a result, I'm always on the look out for inexpensive ways of adding to my crafting store cupboard. I recently stumbled upon an ebay shop selling huge bundles of buttons and was really quite amazed at both the quantity, quality and variety that I was able to buy. Now they're all neatly organised by colour. I'm a bit - ok a lot - obsessive about that kind of thing (I also arrange my books by colour, much to the bemusement and infuriation of the Frenchman) I'm not generally inclined to hoarding tendencies, however they look like such lovely jars of jewels, that I'm really quite loathed to use them!


I am hugely guilty of having completely neglected my blog for longer than I care to remember now. It's been a pretty hectic few weeks really - I had a quick jaunt to Sweden last week and then we had a long weekend visiting family, so having been out of the country and then county, I think I'll let myself off this once. The house is also looking decidedly unfestive so far, so I've resigned myself to waiting until the weekend to put up our decorations... the big debate really is tree or no tree...we are at home this year, so it'd certainly make the place look all cosy and Chrismassy, but of course the question would be how long it'd stay upright with an 18 month old in the house! My advent calendar efforts lasted all of 2 days before sneaky jaunts to sitting room, soon followed by furtive parcel opening rustles put paid to that plan! Anyway, as another thing that I'm guilty of is my sewing room looking like my fabric cupboard has exploded, I'm off to have a bit of a blitz on my room.... oh to be a tidy worker!



So it's December, and the countdown to Christmas has begun - eek!
The snow has finally decided to visit our part of the world, and the Boy seems to have decided to hibernate

I can't say I blame him ...
perhaps we shouldn't read the hungry caterpillar again for a while though.


advent calendar

I had great ambitions of making the boy an advent calendar this year - one that we'd be able to bring out year after year. I had a plan of what I was going to make, bought all of the materials, but somehow found myself with two days to go, christmas orders to make up, and the realisation suddenly hit that it just wasn't going to happen this year. I wasn't quite prepared to completely admit defeat, so I've just downsized my plans a little... some brown paper and a stationery cupboard raid later I've come up with (I think) a pretty acceptable back-up plan

I don't know if he'll be able to resist raiding the parcels once he realises what the contents are, but I guess the beauty of throwing it together so quickly, is that I won't feel too precious about sticking everything up a bit higher with tape!

And I'll plan to start making next year's calendar in January!


friday find

I'm in the market to find a picture frame this weekend. That's because I recently bought this lovely print from cupcakes and cards on Folksy

I'm really not sure how I forgot to post about it before, because I completely love it!

I'm super-lucky to be having a long weekend off work - hooray! We don't have a huge amount planned; a birthday party tomorrow, and I'm also hoping maybe to get along to this, which looks pretty interesting (and if I do manage to make it, it'll be with a view to seeing if it's something I could do myself next year) aside from that, I think I'll be mainly trying to get a little bit of sewing done, trying to spend as much quality time together with my boys as possible, and generally just trying to keep warm! We're lucky (or unlucky, depending on how you feel about it) not to have been visited by the snow fairy here yet, but it's still super cold - brr!

Have a good weekend


two little birds

have been doodling lots of little birds lately

just for a change!


mmm mmm massaman

We have a huge love of Thai food in our household. The Frenchman and I went to Thailand for our honeymoon, and were lucky enough to spend a day learning how to prepare a few of the thai dishes that we love so much. Ever since, the freezer has been well stocked with galangal, and thai basil, we even have a kaffir lime plant growing in the kitchen windowsil, just to make sure that we can get regular curry fix! One of the things we learnt to cook was massaman curry - I hadn't tried , or even heard of it before, but it's really quite delicious; a little bit milder than red or green curry, but still really fragrant and quite creamy... I guess a thai equivalent to korma, but a lot less sickly (to my tastes anyway) and with maybe a litte bit more of a kick. We do follow the recipe we learnt there, but a while ago, I also found a Good Food magazine recipe that mixed massaman flavours with a roast ... we've had it a few times, although I'm surprised we haven't had it more, as I'm always amazed by quite how simple and delicious it is, so I thought I'd share.

Massaman curry roast chicken

Whole chicken, about 1.8gk/4lb
two thumb-sized pieces root ginger (or galangal if you can get hold of it)
1 stick lemongrass, bashed with a rolling pin
1 lime, cut into quarters
70g Massaman curry paste*
1 tbsp oil
450g baby new potatoes, any larger ones halved
400ml can coconut milk
1tsp brown sugar, any type (or palm sugar if you have it)
200g/8oz green beans trimmed
1 tsp fish sauce
2 tbsp unsalted peanuts, crushed

1) put the chicken in a roasting tin or large casserole. Roughly chop half the ginger and put into the cavity of the chicken with the lemongrass and half the lime, then tie the legs together with string. Mix 1 tsp of the curry paste with oil, rub it all over the chicken, then season with salt and pepper. Heat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6, cover the chicken loosely with foil, then put it in to roast. After 35 mins, take the foil off the bird. Add the potatoes to the tin, then stir them around in any juices. Roast for another 40 mins until the chicken is cooked through and golden and the potatoes are tender
2) Take the chicken out of the tin and leave to rest, loosely covered. Put the tin on the hob and add the remaining curry paste. Grate in the remaining ginger then fry for 2 mins until fragrant. Stir in the coconut milk and sugar, then boil for about 5 mins until the sauce is slightly thickened.
3) Tip in the beans, simmer for 4 more miins (or until tender) then splash in the fish sauce, any resting juices and squeeze over the remaining lime. Scatter with the peanuts for the authentic Massaman flavour. Carve the chicken and serve with the potatoes (the recipe says rice too, but we never do)

* I have found that if you want to buy it, massaman paste can be quite difficult to get hold of, but if you can't rind it in the supermarket, have a look on ebay (this is also where I bought our lime tree seedling too, which a year and a half later is still going strong) Alternatively, if you're looking for all of the authentic ingredients, here is where I get our thai ingredients I would also really recommend their kiwi knives, which are amazingly good quality, but really affordable.



last year for Christmas one of the items on my wish list which santa decided to bring (I'm reliably informed that santa thought I already own too many) was one of these lovely tweed joules jackets

While deep down I knew that the Frenchman, I mean santa was probably right, I still kind of wanted one really. So earlier in the year I decided to have a go at making one myself. I thrifted a tweed jacket, for the princely sum of £4. I then took off all of the original buttons and replaced them with a mixture of vintage buttons from my stash, and a few blank buttons covered in Cath Kidston fabric. I liked this so much, that I added a few more elsewhere on the jacket for good measure. And here's the result...

Tah dah!

I haven't really worn it much (so maybe he might have just had a point) but yesterday when I woke up and threw open the wardrobe doors, I felt thoroughly uninspired by the navy, grey and black suits staring back at me (yes, I have one of those jobs) So I thought I'd have a change and give this a bit of an outing. I was absolutely astounded by the number of people who asked where I'd bought it. I'm almost tempted to try making a few more to sell!


getting out of a rut

I've been finding it difficult to find anything to blog about lately. Our house has been one of colds, and chest infections, and lots of teething, and somehow in the mix, I just seem to have lost the enthusiasm to do anything creative really... which is just as well, because I wouldn't have had the time anyway.

However I had a bit of an on-line shopping (mini)spree yesterday (I say mini, as I was quite restrained ... really) for new fabrics and buttons and ribbon... I don't really have anything in particular lined up to make yet, but I'm really looking forward to arriving home from work to find some parcels waiting for me... and then working out what to make from them. Here's hoping for inspiration to strike again, for colds and infections to clear, and to never, ever, ever have another week when 5 teeth come through at once!


a culinary vintage treat

I recently found a new ladybird book to add to the collection. I usually gravitate toward the older illustrated books, but this one really made me chuckle

It's jam-packed with pictures of bad jumpers, fab crockery

and such culinary delights as meatballs in oxtail soup, icecream made from dream topping and cheese and pineapple hedgehogs.

All made with lashings and lashings of food colouring and glace cherries (well, maybe not the meatballs).
Everything to prepare you for the perfect party...that's christmas preparations for me sorted!

There are also lots of culinary tips - I particularly like this one:


It's absolutely freezing here today. And misty too. Definitely a day to stay wrapped up warm... preferably indoors by the woodburner. Although venturing outside has given me an idea to work on while the boy is asleep.


friday find

And oh my, what a find it is this Friday!

The Frenchman is away mountain biking and (rather insanely if you ask me) camping this weekend. As camping trip in November was something that I most definitely was not interested in participating in, the Boy and I are staying with my parents near Bristol. Mum and I had a little stroll to the local shops this afternoon; I always like to do this when we go to stay, as they are really quite spoilt when it comes to charity shops. And just look at what I found...

a beautiful beautiful sewing box. Which looks a little bit like a handbag.

I'm not quite sure what the wood is, and it needs a little bit of a clean-up but I love it!

Keep warm and dry and have a great weekend. I'm off to admire my sewing box...


two little words that everyone wants to hear

I had a letter at the weekend, containing those two little words that everyone likes to hear...

tax rebate

Admittedly that's because I earned hardly anything last year because I was on maternity leave. But I'm not complaining. No siree.

I went out shopping. And I did not buy anything for the Boy, or the Frenchman, or the house. I treated myself to a lovely cardi.

Yes, I could have done that embellishment work myself. Quite easily now that I look at it.

But just sometimes, it's nice to have a treat.

By the way, I never did hear back from the original winner of my giveaway, so I decided to redraw.. and the new winner is Elli Moody - if you could pop your details to I'll pop it in the post for you



or more specifically how much fun it is to jump in them..

Not that he can actually jump, more stamp, but that didn't stop him. This made for a very long but very fun walk.. and a very good nights sleep.


autumn leaves

I've been amazed by how beautiful the trees are looking this autumn. I don't know whether the trees are looking even more spectacular than normal, or if I'm just noticing more because I'm keeping an eye open for inspiration for the autumn leaves swap I'm taking part in. Anyway, when I saw this post on Lovely Design I decided the Boy and I would have our own little try at creating an autumn tree. We did some painting last Saturday afternoon, which I cut into leaf shapes, then earlier when we went to the park, we found a twig that looked kind of tree shaped (I guess all twigs look a bit tree shaped really, being that they're trees and all) anyway, I stuck the leaves on to our twig with some sticky tape and here are the results...

I really love it, and really love it as a way of displaying his artwork, which often is consigned to a drawer in his room ... in fact I think we'll do a spring and summer one too - not so sure what we'll do for winter apart from just a twig! Maybe make some snowflakes to hang on it.. although that might have to wait for a few years until the Boy can be entrusted with scissors.


friday find

I recently stumbled upon the clothkits website. I have to admit, that I had a certain image of Clothkits in my mind, which wasn't necessarily very positive, and furthermore I've had to completely re-examine. There is an amazing selection of prints from designers such as Rob Ryan and Jane Foster, and lots of beautiful sewing accessories. Here is just a small selection of their beautiful haberdashery items...

See? I told you. I particularly like the fact that a lot of the ribbons and tapes are supplied on those fantastic wooden bobbins... which is enough of a marketing ploy to have me well and truely hooked!


work in progress

I've been working on a few more phone cover designs..

I am reliably informed that these fit iphones ... or I guess most smart phones for that matter (sadly I'm not an owner of one, so had to send the Frenchman to the shops to test display models for size!)

I am going to add these to my newly opened Etsy shop soon - there isn't much stock in there yet, but please do call in to have a look! Speaking of shops, if you hadn't noticed there is also a shop tab on my blog now, so you can also buy directly. I'll start building a small collection of stock in. If there's something that you'd like which isn't in there at the moment, please leave a comment to let me know! Sorry, I'm in danger of turning into a sales pitch here ... but that's only because I'm feeling a bit guiltily slack on the marketing front lately!

Right, off for some more work in progress... got a custom stationery order to get finished!


a tidy up

I'm not quite sure how I managed to let things get into such a mess, but I spent a lot of the Boy's nap time this morning just tidying up my work room. But it was worth it, as everything is - for the time being - back to some kind of order..

...ribbons were rolled...

...buttons were sorted...

...drawers were tided...
and all before setting to work on some new phone covers...

Very industrious!


happy halloween

we've just come home from an afternoon of spooky fun. While I cheated an bought a costume for the boy, I spent this morning on the machine, quickly adorning our clothes in scary spiders

However, it became clear almost immediately that the Boy was not happy to particitpate in any kind of fancy we went with face paints instead

apparently what I'd overlooked, is that while he was no longer willing to wear the bat costume that he chose yesterday, he would have been perfectly content to wear a witches costume... so much so that he stole a little girls hat and broom!

well, I know what to get next year!

Happy Halloween.

PS I'm putting a last call out for Bev to claim your giveaway gift!