Wednesday, 24 December 2008

It was Christmas Eve and all through the house....

.... it is absolute chaos!

After a busy December for Markets & on Etsy (there's a lot of people getting fudge for Christmas this year!) I still have a lot to do before tomorrow! (so why am I sat here? lol)

presents all bought (I hope!)
food all bought
lounge tidied

still to be done -- in no particular order:
dining room to tidy & vacuum
bathroom to clean
best table cloth to iron
best china & cutlery to sort out & clean if necessary
presents to wrap
stuffing to make
alternative christmas pudding to make
christmas tree to erect & decorations to put up
sort out what I am wearing tomorrow --and hope its clean & ironed already!
have a bath & wash my hair

and anything else that occurs to me as the day progresses!

Happy Christmas everyone!

Saturday, 22 November 2008


Prosopagnosia -- an almost unpronouncable word for a condition that makes every day life very difficult for its sufferers. A more descriptive term is "face-blindness" - the inability to recognise faces -- in extreme cases even those of your nearest and dearest. There is no cure, just coping strategies that vary in effectiveness.

It was quite a surprise a year or so ago when my brother announced he had this condition very severely -- none of the family had ever suspected he had this difficulty. Since he sent us various links to articles about the condition we all took the on-line test. My results came back as borderline as having a problem -- I just thought i was bad at remembering people!

Today he has been featured in the Guardian Weekend Magazine with an article on the subject in which he describes his difficulties: I don't recognise my own face . He has also written more about his condition on his website here:

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Out and About at Markets and Fairs

With the Christmas shopping season well under way, here is a list of the markets and fairs I will be attending:

Sunday 23 Nov - Marple
Sat 29 Nov -- Bakewell ( as part of Derbyshire Country Markets)
Thurs 4 Dec -- Buxton
Sun 7 Dec -- Poynton
Sat 13 Dec -- Whaley Bridge
Sat 13 / Sun 14 Dec -- Buxton Winter Wonderland
Sat 20 Dec Bakewell ( with Derbyshire Country Markets)
Sun 21 Dec -- Marple
Mon 22 Dec Buxton

I am hoping to have plenty of Christmas cakes (both plain & iced), Christmas puddings, Mincemeat and Mince pies available at each event

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Messing about with card 2

As one of my crochet necklaces did not sit well on the jewellery display bust i made yesterday, I have adapted the design to make a shorter, wider bust. This has worked well -- and will also add height variations when in use on the crafts stall.

My second "make" for this morning is on a slightly larger scale -- a Christmas Tree for my decorations. Again a very quick and simple make. A large oblong of corrugated card cut in half along the diagonal and then the two halves taped together to form a large triangle. The whole piece then covered in green wrapping paper. An old square christmas card box doubles as a "tub" / support -- and is also usefull to store extra decorations!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Messing about with card

Having had a very busy & successfull weekend at the Great Peak District Fair, I have been catching up on housework and occupying myself on gentle, less tiring tasks yesterday & today.

I found a link to a "how-to" on making gift-boxes so dug out my box of old Christmas cards and made 3 little boxes very quickly:

As they are made from recycled cards they have writing inside the base --but they are fine for using as a decoration on or under the tree at Christmas. For actual use as gift-boxes I will cut some plain card to size for the base -- or use some unwritten cards! The size of the final box depends (naturally!) on the size of the original card -- and the trick is finding cards with good centred images.

The other card make is courtesy of Boojewels -- a simple jewellery display card. It was super-easy to make and looks very effective. This one is my first one, and I will be making more and trying them out at this weekend's markets!

My next task will be to devise an easy & effective display board for my crochet christmas decorations --watch this space!!

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

What better way of spending a sunny autumn afternoon, than taking a walk down an English country lane? Childhood memories of picking blackberries always come flooding back -- along with the scratches and nettle stings! The recent fine weather meant I was able to take a bucket or two on a walk down the lanes. The blackberry crop is a bit scarce this year -- but the hedgerows abound with lots of other berries so I picked quite a variety -- blackberries, elderberries, rosehips, hawthorn berries and rowanberries. With the addition of some apples & sugar they have made some delicious Hedgerow Jelly.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Crochet Necklaces

As always, I took some crochet on holiday with me. This time I took some fine cottons and as well as making some bookmarks I have been experimenting with crochet necklaces. The first was 3 yellow flowers on a green chain. I added some vintage buttons to the centres of the flowers on my return home. The second is in an off-white and is more free-form - it still needs some beads or buttons adding to it yet.

I am pleased with the results and will be making more of these -- particularly the flower one in different colours.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Partial Eclipse

This morning there was a partial eclispe of the sun. I managed to find the eclipse glasses that we bought a few years ago when we saw the total eclipse in Cornwall, so I was all set to look at the eclipse without danger of damaging my eyes.

We had lovely blue sky and sunshine first thing, so I was in high hopes of having a good view. All started well, at about 9.30 I had a look and thought I could just see a little bit out of the sun. But then thick clouds came over so I couldnt see any more for a while. The grey clouds kept coming & going so I was in & out of the house like a yo-yo every time it looked like the sky was brightening! I also tried to take some photos with the not very accurate technique of holding the eclipse glasses over the camera lens -- this is about the best shot I got!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

As good as Rick Stein's!

Last month, another stall-holder at Marple Farmer's Market bought a jar of my Three Fruit Marmalade. She said she loved Rick Stein's version, but could not buy it very often because the postage made it rather expensive. She had tried many other Three Fruit Marmalades but so far none had been a patch on Rick Stein's. Well, today she gave me her verdict -- mine was "as good as Rick Stein's !!" So that is quite a feather in my cap!

The next stall to mine was Penny from The Jolly Brewer . She did very good trade, and I treated my husband to a bottle of her Taid's Garden Ale, while I had Lucinda's Lager. Both were most delicious and much enjoyed with our late lunch on my return home. I will definitely be buying more next time! Anyone from the North Wales & Cheshire area should look out for her products!

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Muffin Dish

Here is my latest ebay purchase -- a muffin dish by our favourite china company Plant /Tuscan. The design is one that most antique dealers call "exotic birds" but we call "Aunty Amy's" because Peter's Great-aunt Amy gave us a tea-set of this design as a wedding present. She had been given this tea-set by her employers when she got married in the 1920's and comprised 12 place-settings of cup, saucer and two sizes of square plate, along with cake-plates and sugar bowl. The milk jug had got broken at some time in the 1930's during transit when all the family pitched in with china and other help for a family wedding. Looking for a replacement milk jug was the start of a great collection of Tuscan china as along the way we found many lovely designs by this little-known company. When we did eventually find a milk jug in this pattern it came with another 9 place settings and also a coffee pot & hot water jug ! Other additions to the set means we could (in theory anyway!) have a tea-party with matching china for over 25 guests! One day we mean to set the table for such a party and photograph the set in all its glory!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Get Folksy!

I have now signed up for the new UK-based site for hand-made craft items, Folksy. It is only a few days old as yet so there are still many bugs and glitches to be ironed out but the people who run it are quick to answer any queries that may arise. When it is up and running properly it will be great to be able to sell my items in pounds sterling - something my UK friends cannot understand about Etsy is the need for me to list in dollars.

I did cause confusion by asking them if I can sell my foodstuffs, and for the moment the answer is "no" while they consider all the legal implications and come up with a well-thought out decision. So in the meantime I am just putting some of my crafts on there. I have only got a couple up so far but will be adding more over the next few days. Check out my shop here.

I haven't got any markets this week so am taking the opportunity to get stocked up on preserves -- yesterday I made over 60 lb of marmalade ( 3 different varieties of seville). As my lavender is about ready for picking, I think today I will get some lemons to make Lemon & Lavender Marmalade -- and possibly some apples for Apple & Lavender Jelly too.

Today is St Swithen's Day --and by tradition if it rains today it will rain for the next 40 days & nights! So far it is fine and reasonably sunny so fingers crossed we have a good summer! Apparently he got to be patron saint of the weather because his burial in Winchester Cathedral was delayed by extensive rain.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Time I Blogged Again!

Am surprised to find its over a month since my last post!
What has been happening in that time?
Over on Etsy we had a secret swap --lots of lovely items have been excnanged --see here :

I got these from Pippindesigns :

A lovely felt purse, a leaf brooch and a Marmalady badge. I really like the badge and have worn it at the Farmers Market.

It was Poynton Farmers Market again today. It started off slowly but in the end sales were reasonable. Once again I tried out some new items --some like my Apple & Date Tea-Loaf and Cheese & Walnut Loaf are resurrected from things I have made in the past, others like Bara Brith are totally new. I also made some Strawberry Shortcake -- looked spectacular and attracted some good comments. I sold 2 out of the 3 I made so we had one left for tea!

Sunday, 1 June 2008

June 1st

Today I was at Poynton Farmer's Market, which attracted a good crowd despite the rain. Best sellers today were my Lemon Curd and Chocolate Crunch. An added attraction to the market was a colourfull display of dance by Poynton Jemmers, the local ladies North-West Morris side.
Coming up this week is the regular Buxton Farmer's Market on Thursday and on Sunday we are once again attending the popular Edale Country Day.

I have been trying out a few new recipes recently-- some of which have worked better than others! My Nanaimo bars (another Canadian recipe from a friend) were a total write-off -- the base was far too dry and just crumbled as I cut it. Once I have got the balance of ingredients right, it should be a good addition to my range. I had better success with Moo's Choc-chip cookies --though they spread alarmingly on the tray when cooking! Mega-cookies anyone?
One for trying out this week is a Carribean Fruit Cake. The recipe has fruit soaked in brandy but I will probably substitute rum for a more authentic Carribean touch

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Marmalady the Super-hero!!

On checking my emails at bedtime last night, I had a Google-alert to this fantastic cartoon image!

I love the picture and as I had just finished making 40 lb of marmalade it felt very apt! It often feels like I am collecting all the jam-jars in the world (I certainly have a garage-full and frequently find bags of them left in my front porch!)
On poking around the site, it turns out that the artist is another Etsian : .
He does screen-printed T-shirts, so maybe I will commision a T-shirt of the picture to wear at my Markets
Super-hero Marmalady (and many other super-heroes) can be found here:

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

April -- the fool returns!

I have finally got around to returning to my poor neglected blog! I hope I will keep up with it better than before but who knows?

Yesterday I started a diet, but disappointingly the scales hadn't changed this morning! I am determined to lose at least a stone by the end of the month, so when I go to Tesco's this morning will be stocking up on fruit, veg, salads and such-like healthy stuff!

What else has been happening since I last blogged? Not much --my life does not alter very much!

Etsy sales of my baking continue to do well -- I have now been on Etsy for a year and have made over 200 sales --which works out at an average of 4 a week.

I have also opened a separate shop for my crafts --I felt they were overlooked amongst the baking , particularly by international people who only saw I did not ship baking overseas. So far I have only made 1 sale - to a fellow UK'er --but its a start!