Chatsworth House and Cuddly Toys

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On our way to our Girly Weekend retreat we dropped into the Christmas Fair at Chatsworth House, Derbyshire. We didn’t tour the house as we were short of time and such a magnificent residence deserves a lingering, loitering viewing. The fair was located in the stately home grounds around the property. It was VERY busy but free to enter! There were multiple wooden huts selling trinkets, crafts, food, and treats. As ever my penchant for textiles saw me gravitate to the fabric craft stalls.

I admired some gorgeous woollen cushions. There was a lovely Hydrangea Wreath. I loved the choice of Christmas crafts but bought very little. As usual I thought that “I can make that!”. Sadly what I can’t buy is time to complete all the projects that I would like to make. Oh I did buy some yummy fudge! Oh and a lacy scarf ( that did look a bit like a dish cloth.)

The next day whilst rambling around Ashbourne, we came across a tree stump to which someone had fastened lots of “lost” cuddly toys. It was both funny and sad. It certainly caused interest. Speculation as to who had owned them and who on Earth had gone to the trouble of attaching them to the tree stump? Had they been lost or had they been abandoned?

If you have ever lost a cuddly toy it could be hugging  a tree stump somewhere in Ashbourne!

Photos, Pictures and people.

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Our girly week end was a great sucess as expected! Having been away twice a year for sixteen years we have a formula that we know works.

I) We select reasonably high end self catering accommodation.

2) We each have our own tasks eg who drives, who shops for food, who cooks etc and it suits us!

3) We know each personality, likes and dislikes.

4) We plan menus and walks with great precision in advance.

5) We always have a great time!

As I blogged about in my previous blog titled “memories” I had sorted out dozens of photographs from our previous trips away. I took these in a tin and we spent a happy few hours sorting through them. We worked out the locations and approximate dates. We laughed at what we were wearing and marvelled at our dated hair styles. We remembered some restaurants, swimming pools and appalling weather. We discussed changes in ourselves and were amazed at the passage of time.

I purchased a photograph album and spent another couple of hours fixing the pictures into the book. I did manage to label most of them as to where and when, but am sceptical as to the accuracy of the dates! I even bought a luxury pack of felt tip pens with which to label the pictures. I just can’t help myself where stationery is concerned!💃

The next task is to somehow find on my old computer previous pictures from probably the last six years or so. Print them off and add to the collection. We did laugh about the last woman standing ( read living ) inheriting the album of memories but at least those memories are nearly organised!

Watch this blog for more about my Girly week-end away!

Novice Knitting

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At last I am in a position to start my next knitting project. When I won “September Blogger of the Month” for http://www.blacksheepwools.com I was given a gift voucher. I put the money towards some gorgeous, fabulous, extravagant Rowan Mohair Haze yarn. This lush yarn is made from super kid mohair and extra fine merino wool supplied by Rowan at http://www.knitrowan.com.  The colour of the yarn is a lovely, girly shade of green, an unusual shade for me to choose but I enjoy “different”

I decided to use a vintage 1952 pattern found in the book”Knitting in Vogue” which I bought some time ago. The lady at Black Sheep Wools was extremely helpful in converting the yarn used in the 1952 pattern to a yarn available in 2014.

Because the yarn was not as used in the original pattern I had to knit a tension square -well two squares actually. Never before have I done this much pre knit prep but the yarn was expensive and I would so like it to fit when finished.

OK here I go! Let’s knit!!

Memories

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It all started because I am going away with girlfriends this next weekend. We’ve been going away twice a year for the last 16 years. The formula works. We rub along together each with their own tasks be it driving, shopping or washing dishes. We enjoy each other’s company, oh and we enjoy copious amounts of wine and chocolate. For the past many years I have taken photographs, lots of photographs. In my wisdom I decided to gather together all the past pictures of our group and maybe sort them out and have a giggle whilst we’re away. I didn’t realise (naively) how many various locations these pictures were in or how many there are. To get to the point this is why I am surrounded with piles of old pics. They go back to the late 1940s and are a fantastic social history of my family and many are truly vintage.

The big question is what am I to do with them all? I have started by throwing out all those pictures of waterfalls in locations I can’t remember, and unforgettable sunsets that I’ve forgotten about. I’ve sorted a few to pass onto daughter. I am thinking that I might make an album just of my Mum and Dad. I have spent the afternoon what I can only call wallowing in nostalgia! ( and I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg)

The collection for our girly weekend has grown, but sadly the last 5 years or so are all digital images and not prints. I think that this is really sad as how often do you trawl back and enjoy digital pictures? Bring back old fashioned film I say or at the very least print the best off. After all the young generation will not have a biscuit tin full of pics to enjoy on dark evenings in the winter.

I’ve got a couple more days to continue seeking out our “girly weekend” pictures. But I’ve also got to make a Lemon Drizzle cake as a contribution to our afternoon teas, pack, get hair done, clean out my car (urgent) and leave Hubs ready meals in the fridge. ( The last task is a joke!) if you’d like to know we are off to Chatsworth House Christmas Fair -great joy. We are staying in a lovely cottage with a hot tub. There might be one or two photo opportunities!

Amazing Christmas Craft Fair

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Saturday saw the village annual craft fair. I had a stall selling hand poured candles in china cups. I was delighted with the presentation of my stall and it was a very successful day. Choosing to perfume the soy wax definately made a difference. I used a blend called “Tranquility” and one called “Baby Lavender”. Perfuming was a big improvement on past years as I had noticed that everyone picks up the candles and smells them to see if they will buy them. I hadn’t perfumed in the past as my interest was more in the fact that I use Eco friendly Soy Wax. Lessons learnt!

At these events you do meet some lovely craft workers. I also did some serious networking, bought some gifts for Christmas and treated myself to a lovely silk scarf. One lady I met is in the process of opening a craft workshop locally. This sounds like a very exciting project so. I will be blogging more about this shortly. The website for this project is http://www.coachhousecaerwys@gmail.com

A small selection of the contributors who’s pictures appear above are:

SusieQ Crafts at Susan.mcclenahan@btinternet.com

Bags to Your Liking by Phil May

Lovingly Made by Lyn at lulu2405@icloud.com

Creative Willow by http://www.creativewillow.co.uk

Small Furniture Maker on 01352 734094

My other BIG news is that Im going to be invited to a Blogging event held by a national company in January. More about that when I get the invite! Oh my!

Crafts and Candles

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Candles with a DifferenceCraft Fayre Poster

This  week has been very busy, candle making, working, and just living! Tomorrow we have the annual Christmas Fayre ( why is it spelt this way?) here in our village. I have a stall selling candles. I have tried to be a little different and seek more unusual containers as you can see from the picture. Some of the candle are perfumed with “Baby Lavender” and some with an oil blend called “Tranquility”. The fine china cups and saucers that I usually look out for have become much harder to find, and often far too expensive. I try hard to keep the final price as low as possible.  This is a hobby not a real business I just need to cover costs. I don’t expect to sell out tomorrow, although I would like to sell as many as possible, as Hubs complains about candles taking over the cottage!

Next week I intend to front load my Etsy shop with remaining candles- well some of them! So visit noddfa.crafts@etsy.com

Oh and by the way pop along to the Fayre (fair) in Cilcain village tomorrow!

American Sour Dough Bread (attempt)

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Risen dough

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Fresh from the oven

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Sliced Bread

A friend gave me an American sour dough culture last week. I have nurtured this “living being” with much love and great care. I have fed it with specially purchased bread flour and stirred it carefully as instructed. Yesterday was THE day and I made the loaf. I left it to prove overnight when it rose so much it nearly took over the kitchen! OK I am prone to a little exaggeration!

Today a kneeded the thing again and left it to prove for a second time. Now at this point I should have been worried as it didn’t re-rise. I eventually put it into the oven at the correct temperature, I think. In due course I removed the baked loaf and it looked lovely if a little flat…..

The real problem started when I tried to cut the beast. I needed a hacksaw! I did taste it but was in fear of expensive dental treatment. It would make a great frisbee, or a weight for excercising, or a stone for my rock garden but not such a great sandwich. Ah well! I tried! Oops! I’ve just blocked the drain with the remaining culture! Help!!!!

Remember,remember the fifth of November

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“Remember,remember the 5th of November, gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason why gunpowder, plot and treason, should ever be forgot.”

Last  night was Bonfire night in the UK. This date commemorates the attempt to blow up the Houses Of Parliament in 1606 by Guy Fawkes and his comrades. Children have always made a guy from old clothes and straw and burnt the effigy on a bonfire. This gruesome tradition now provides a reason to celebrate with  a fire and fireworks.

Here in North Wales, the Young Farmers organise a community bonfire and fireworks in our village. The firework display was AMAZING. It cost £2500 but was enjoyed by all including my grandson. The evening was helped by a cold and clear night, with evocative smells of fireworks and smoke. Treacle toffee and toffee apples are traditional treats but sadly I now have to think about the health of my teeth! Ah well. Happy memories!

Vintage Cup Candles

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imageimageimageI have started work making candles in vintage cups ready for a craft fair in a couple of weeks. I collect, hunt down or otherwise acquire vintage china cups all year round. Each year at this time I fill them with perfumed wax in readyness for Christmas fairs. Over the years the cups have got harder to find at reasonable prices. I suspect that this is because the charity shops have got more savvy on prices and vintage china is more in vogue. Still, it gives me something to hunt for!

I always use Soy wax as it burns with a delightful creamy colour, no soot and a clear bright flame. As well as being Eco friendly. The candle making is time consuming but good to do. This batch I have perfumed with Baby Lavender and my house smells delicious. I will also put some in my Etsy shop over the next few days. Pay me a visit at noddfa.crafts on http://www.etsy.com

I just love the sign in the first picture which I bought for Hubs last Christmas and is so true!  ” The more people I meet the more I love my dog”. I also love the bottle of Schnapps next to it which is a raffle prize to give away!

Scary Moments and Winter Dusks

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Halloween saw witches

image and ghouls, pumpkins and broomsticksimage all over the village as it went dark. I was an alternative witch with pink hair ( I don’t have a black wig) but joined my local coven for a feast of Bloody Mary’s, Pumpkin Pie and good fun. We were visited by the local Axe man who succeeded in scaring us out of our wits whilst we were gathered around our table/ sorry, cauldron!

Sunday saw a cool, crisp day which was the opportunity to drive to the coast. It was a beautiful winter scene and blew all the Halloween cobwebs away.