Saturday, 17 August 2013

What a day!!

Hello everyone!
Well what an exciting day it has been for me today.
As mentioned in my earlier blogs, today it was the Annual Village Show.
Now I know that to some it is not a big deal, but I think we should always support the area we live in.
The show has been going in the village for 70 years, and is run by the local Gardeners Association.
Independent judges visit to judge the work, and everything has to conform to the schedule.

There are classes for fruit & veg, flowers & plants, floral arrangements, cookery, preserves, wine, handicrafts, art & photography, as well as classes for children.

This year I didn't enter any fruit and veg, as it just wasn't ready. My daughter Beckie did, however, enter her lemon cucumber, which, it has to be said, looked a little out of place with the long green varieties!
I don't know if anyone has ever seen one before (I certainly didn't know they existed before she planted them), but they look like little hairy melons, and grow to tennis ball size.

Unfortunately she didn't win, but apparently they taste delicious.

Well, how did I do?
To my absolute amazement, my quilt won first prize, and also best exhibit in the handicraft catagory. (5 Classes). I was thrilled to receive the Diamond Jubilee trophy.
My knitted baby cardigan got a Highly Commended award, although my cross stitch card didn't place. (The other entries were fantastic, so I wasn't surprised).
Here is a picture of my winnings!

I also took first place with my poem, and my second poem received Highly Commended.
This year the theme was Richard the Third. (For all my overseas readers, Richard the Thirds remains were discovered under a council car park in Leicester, about 2 miles from where we live, so it was quite topical).
This poem was very hard to do, and involved me researching him a lot.

So all in all, a good afternoon!
Here I am receiving the trophy for the poetry section. There are no cash prizes, but that doesn't bother me at all. I won, and that is all that matters!

 Here is a picture of the baby cardigan:

My trophies, and my poems:

Last, but not least, my winning "Bountiful Harvest" quilt.
Every block uses different fruit & vegetable fabrics.
Now just got to decide what to do with it..........!
Here is the poem I wrote about Richard the Third:

Oh it’s amazing, you must have heard,
They’ve found the remains of Richard the third.
In a council car park that once was a church,
Finally after a 500 year search.

Married to Anne, he had only one son,
Whose life was over before his teens had begun.
Did Richard believe he would rise to power,
When he had the two princes sent to the Tower?

When he came to the throne, and was crowned King,
Little did he know what the future would bring,
His son Edward died, and then his wife too,
But was he the killer, or was this untrue?

It goes without saying Richard’s had bad press,
Was he the baddy? Well that’s anyone’s guess.
He’s been portrayed as a tyrant, a murdering man,
(Meanwhile Henry Tudor was hatching a plan).

At the Battle of Bosworth it came to a head,
The Plantagenet forces, to battle were led,
On the 22nd of August,1485
He fell from his horse, no longer alive.

But where was he buried? Nobody was sure,
There was speculation it was the River Soar,
But Greyfriars Friary was the last resting place,
Hastily buried without pomp and grace.

And there Richard lay, after Greyfriars was dissolved,
Stories and legends about him were told.
But now that they’ve found him, a new battle rages,
One that in theory, could go on for ages.

He should stay in Leicester, he has been here so long,
To send him to York, well that would be wrong.
Leicester Cathedral should be his last resting place,
To take him away would be a disgrace.

Thanks for letting me share my exciting day with you.
Bye for now! x

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Needle felting.

Hi everyone!
Well I thought you might like to know what I've been up to recently.
Well, I have been doing a bit of needle felting!
Now I confess, this is a new craft to me, so I may not be doing it perfectly. However, there are are loads of videos on Youtube, if you are interested.

When I "retired" last year, I had a voucher for quite a lot of money for a local craft shop. I had just seen Kirsty Allsop trying it out on one of her television programmes, so treated myself to the essential bits and bobs.
These are:
The "wool"


The felting needle & dense foam.

That is pretty much all you need. You can use a multi needle but they are very expensive. You can also use a type of brush thing instead of the foam, but I just got the cheapest stuff, until I get better!

So. I watched a few videos on Youtube, and then decided to use a cookie cutter to help me achieve the shapes I wanted.

I decided to make a flower, so using green "wool" and a larger cutter I set to work.
Just one word of warning! The needles are VERY sharp, so you learn pretty quickly to keep your fingers out of the way! I stabbed myself a couple of times, and it HURT!.

This is how it looked, (the flower, not my finger)!

When you have 'matted' the felt together, lift gently from the foam, otherwise it gets welded to it. Then do a bit more 'needling'. (Don't think this is the correct term, but hey ho).

Then I made a different colour flower, using a slightly smaller cutter.

Then I 'needled' them both together.

Quite pleased with the effect.

Here is another one I have made. I added beads and a brooch pin on the back.
I think it would be quite nice to wear for Remembrance Sunday.
(I always buy poppies and lose them, so this way I could still buy a poppy, but would still have something to wear if I lost it).

If you are interested in having a go, watch some of the videos on youtube, and then pay a visit to your local craft shop.
Oh, and remember the alpacas our friends Jane & Gary have? (The photos are in an earlier blog).
Well, Jane has promised me some fleece when they are next clipped. It is really soft, so I am looking forward to having a go with that.
So that's all for now.
The village show is on Saturday, so I will let you know how I get on.
(By the way, my plums are still embarrassingly small and under ripe, and my tomatoes are only just turning red, so no entries in the fruit & veg classes). Boo!
Bye for now!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Vintage Maps

Hello everyone!
Just a quick blog tonight.

Recently I thought that my cork pinboard in the kitchen, was looking a little worse for wear.
I pin all sorts of useful stuff on it, so at least I know where to find things!

I read a home style magazine, which often uses maps for decoration, so I decided to look out for a map in good condition to cover the board. (Not as easy as you think)!

Some maps have been well used, and have splits & tears, others have very bland landscape features on them, so they are not interesting to look at.

Eventually I found this second hand Ordnance Survey map which was made prior to 1975 (I know this because it shows roads that are due to open in 1975 on it), for 50p at a car boot sale.


It is in really good condition, so I measured carefully and cut it to size.
With a bit of help from some double sided tape to hold it in position, I fixed it in place.
I am really pleased with the result.

It is a map of Southampton, and I can look at the cruise terminals at the port, and dream of going on another cruise!

Anyway, here is a pic of it. Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Friendships, and village show progress.

Hello everyone.

I had a phone call today from an old friend that I hadn't heard from for ages. We chatted like we had met only yesterday, and it got me thinking about friends.

A very dear friend of mine gave me a coaster which has a lovely quote on it: "Friends are like stars, you don't have to see them to know they are there."
That is so true.

This week I will be catching up with two friends who I haven't seen for a few weeks. As they work in a school, the only time we get a chance to chat is during the holidays.
I really look forward to catching up with the news (and gossip of course)!!
We always have lovely cakes, and the time flies by.

I try and take a few flowers when I go to visit someone. Doesn't have to be an expensive bouquet, but I have a philosophy that it is better to take flowers to people when they are alive, than to send flowers when they are no longer with us.

Each of my friends have different lifestyles, jobs and families, but I always like hearing what they have been up to.

Well, what else is there to tell you?

Tonight I have finished my cross stitch 'Congratulations' card, so all my entries are now finally completed for the village show.

This year I will be entering three craft classes, my quilt, my card & a knitted baby cardigan. I will also be entering the poetry class, in an effort to retain my trophy from last year.
I usually enter some of the fruit & vegetable classes, but due to the weather this year I don't think any will be ready.

The plums are tiny and green, the tomatoes haven't shown a sign of going red, and the apples are small and a bit misshapen! Oh, and the huge raspberry canes are all plant & no fruit!

Oh dear............

It is only a couple of weeks away now, so I will let you know how I get on.

That's all for now. Be back soon,

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Cakes & Quilts!

Hello everyone!
Goodness me it is August already. The year has raced by so quickly!
Well the big news today is.......I HAVE FINISHED THE "BOUNTIFUL HARVEST" QUILT!
This is the quilt I have making to enter in the handicrafts section at the village show later this month. I don't expect it will be in the top three, as there are usually some AMAZING entries.
It never ceases to amaze me what a lot of talented people there are out there.
I will post pics after the show.
I designed a leaf pattern for the quilting. In theory this should have been quite simple, but in practice it was difficult to do as the quilt was bigger than I had originally planned, so there was a lot of bulk to maneuver through the machine.
A great tip I have found to help guide the quilt through was to use a pair of cotton riding gloves!
(All quilters out there are probably groaning & saying, "yes we know"). They have "pimples" that grip the fabric and are cool as they are cotton. I use them all the time.
They only cost about £3.00, and are so useful.


I have always loved baking, and am never without a cake or two in the house. My daughter Bloss's friends all love my Victoria Sandwich, so I was asked to do a mini tutorial.(I make two of these a week, and they disappear very quickly)!
Apologies if you are a master baker, but this is such an easy cake to make & lovely for a summers day.

So, here we go:

You will need the following ingredients to make a good sized sandwich cake.
I use,
6 oz (170g)  Self Raising flour
6oz (170g)   Caster sugar
6oz (170g)   Soft baking margarine (Such as Stork)
3 Eggs. (I always like to use free range).

Gather everything together before you start........
 Sieve the flour and sugar into a mixing bowl, then add the margarine & eggs.
I use an electric hand mixer to wizz it all together.
When it is well mixed, and light & fluffy, it is ready to put into two well greased sandwich tins.

Then pop them into an oven at 180 degrees C, for about 20 mins.

The cakes should have shrunk very slightly from the edge of the tin, and when a skewer is inserted in the middle, it should come out clean. Leave in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.
When the cakes are almost cold, spread one with jam, and then put the other one on top.
Leave to cool fully.
You can either sprinkle sugar over the top, or ice it with glace icing.

Glace icing is simply icing sugar mixed with water.
I like to mix it with boiling water as it sets quicker.
I just put enough icing sugar in until I think I have enough.
I spread it over the top with a wet knife.
Then you can decorate it how you like!!

This is my finished one. Yummmmmmm.
Here is a selection of goodies you can use to decorate it with.

So there you have it. My baking blog. Hope it was useful.
Off to eat the cake now......................................!