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Saturday 31 August 2013


Hi everyone

Isn't this weather absolutely gorgeous?  The first day of September and more sunshine is forecast - long may summer last.  It will certainly help keep the heating bills low!

My first week of 'our holiday' has been busy.  Lots of gardening, lots of housework (de-cluttering really), some crafting, lots of planning and booking into another pre-Christmas event.  It is one I have done before, is very well organised and a great group of crafters are involved.

Time in the garden has been spent re-shaping beds, removing weeds (never-ending) and taking cuttings for
next season.  We have what I refer to as our front front garden: it is on the other side of the boundary brick wall and used to be tatty, scruffy untidy grass.  Many years ago we dug up the grass and planted lots of bulbs and a few other plants.  The problem is the soil is incredibly dry and because of where it is, we do forget to tend it and often it is a trouble-shooting visit: remove weeds, trim other things, stick a few more donated and dug-up plants in.

However, we have decided that we really must do something long-term and have decided to take lots of cuttings from our existing plants and hopefully in spring we will be able to more or less cover the space.  Cuttings this week have been taken from our Rosemary, Euonymus, Hebe and Spirea plants.

Spirea, which grows very well at the back of our pond

I also took cuttings of lovely Mrs Popple, a really hardy fuchsia that has survived many freezing winters

Our lovely green and white Euonymous

We also have lots of naturally seeded Aquilegia and will sprinkle the seeds from those over the patch.  I have done this before and the problem is I forget, see the seedlings and think they are weeds and out comes the hoe!  As I said, we tend to treat this patch in a trouble-shooting frame of mind.  The plan is that next season our front front garden will be as full and well-tended as our front and back gardens - fingers crossed because I am great and the planning stage!

Crafting this week, or the limited amount has been spent on the jute bags I am decorating.  This is a work-in-progress one which has the hearts and flowers will be added during the coming week:

The jute bags I buy are lined and I need to find a way of removing the creases.  I don't think ironing is a good idea as the lining might melt.  I am looking for problem-solving ideas, suggestions please?

Once our holiday is over, I will be back on the 26-hour, 8 day a week crafting life.  I am concerned that from the end of September onwards I have lots of events scheduled and I really want to make sure I have plenty of stock beforehand rather than the usual knee-jerk reaction of making stock hours before the event opens.  I am sure I will be doing some of that, but would like to be well prepared this year.

An early blog post today, but in plenty of time to take part in this week's Handmade Monday.  I may be a little late with my blogging comments this weekend, but I will visit and comment on as many as possible by the middle of the week.  As always, thank you for visiting my blog and especially for the lovely comments left last week on my good news week post.

If you read my post early and you live in Surrey, try to go along to the RSPCA Millbrook, Chobham Open Day.  The Cats Protection branch I volunteer for, Woking, has a stand there so, if you have time, go along and see them and help them support the gorgeous kittens and cats looking for new homes.

Have fun everyone - see you next week.


Wednesday 28 August 2013


Hello everyone

No sunshine here yet, but Jill says it is on its way, just overslept a bit.  The evenings are getting a little chilly now and although I stay outside in the sunshine as long as possible, I am glad to come inside for my tea and a snoozey evening.

I have been helping frogs travel around the garden this week - problem is Jill keeps taking them away and putting them back in the pond!  Doesn't she realise they like to travel?  Perhaps when it is too cold for me to be outside in the winter I could be a travel agent for wildlife?  How about Catford?  Kathmandu?  How exciting - as long as it doesn't turn into a catastrophe!

Jill and Richard have friends coming round for a BBQ this evening - I wonder if you can barbecue Whiskas Chicken?  Could be a whole new flavour range.  I have to help them with the housework today, so best sign off quick so I can disappear.

Don't forget that this coming Sunday (1 September) is The Gala Day at RSPCA Millbrook in Chobham.  If you are in the area, please go to this event and have a look at all of the lovely animals needing new homes and help them raise lots of money.  Even better, visit the Woking Cats Protection stand and find out about all the gorgeous cats and kittens needing new homes.  Jazz was adopted from the RSPCA Millbrook branch and Daisy, Coco, Poppy and I were adopted from the Woking Cats Protection - very special places and people to us.

Housework beckons!  Yeh, as if!!

have a good week everyone - I will be back next Wednesday.


Sunday 25 August 2013


Hi everyone

It looks like it is going to be a beautiful evening after what started out as a soggy grey morning.  'We' are on holiday this week and next week - having a break in Stopathome, which is located in Windowsill Bay.  A lovely place, lots of green fields and good walks around us, the chance to catch up with friends and do some relaxing - have to do some housework though, so not all fun.  Oh, and of course, the 'we' doesn't mean I can stop making things.  It is getting to the time of year when Christmas events are more plentiful than long sunny days so I need to keep on making.  I am determined this year, possibly for the first time in many years, to have plenty of stock ready for the Christmas fairs.

This week has been tag and bag week.  More tags - I now have bags of tags (sorry, couldn't resist that) so think I will call a halt to making them.  One of my 'makes' are decorated gift bags and I need to begin making stock because I want to ensure I have plenty of sizes ready for my event season.  I have been looking at decorating the 'bag for life' jute bags and played around with one and the results is this:

I love butterflies and these are a particular gorgeous fuchsia pink.  It looks as though it should be easy-peasy to decorate, but believe me it wasn't!   Lining up the butterflies, gluing and ensuring they are stuck correctly was time-consuming.  I might have a play around with some more during the next week or so (patience permitting) - I would like to have one or two to put out at the Ripley Nurseries Craft & Food Fair on 31 August as a test run to see if there is any interest.

We have a big family get-together here in a couple of weeks time and we are trying to get our garden looking neat and tidy.  Not easy with five cats - no, not what you are thinking!  We have to be very careful with the tools we use as they think everything is a potential toy!.  Hose pipes are snakes to be chased, ladders are to be climbed, as are apple trees; rakes are for chasing (why?) and low plants are for snoozing on, in and under!  However, one plant that has survived well - probably because I moved it into a pot - is one of my Heuchera's.  I love these plants - the colours of their leaves are stunning.  Often it is like having the beautiful colours of autumn all year long.  This is one of my favourites:

It has a mix of gold, brown, red and yellow leaves; its name is Sweet Tea.  Among my 'collection' I have a bright lime green Heuchera called Key Lime Pie and a stunning dark red one called Fire Chief.  The flowers of Heuchera are almost non-existent, their beauty is in the leaves.  My favourite plant?  I think it is pretty close to the top.  What are your favourite plants?

Last week I mentioned about the wood-framed pond we moved from one side of the garden which was a big hit with the Christmas Pie cats.  Here is a picture of Coco dropping in for a pint!

The sun is still shining, so it's back into the garden.  It seems very quiet out there and that means Richard has decided to sit and watch the grass grow rather than cut it.  Have to put a stop to that.

Oh, and the reason for the title of this week's post?  I had the results of my operation this week and was very pleased to be told that the tumour that had been removed was benign!  What a relief!  There are very few times when I have felt like jumping up and down in a hospital, but this was one of them.  A very good news week for me.

Enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend everyone and I hope the weather is good for you, but before you go off to enjoy yourself, don't forget to whiz over to Handmade Monday - would you believe it is week 131?  Lots of lovely blogs to read.

See you next week.


Wednesday 21 August 2013


Hello everyone

I began this week's diary really early, then I got side-tracked!  I had planned to post almost as soon as I had eaten my breakfast, but everywhere outside looked so good that I just forget my diary and rushed out into the garden to play.  Jill has been doing lots of plant moving, so there is lots of lovely soft soil to dig up - even if all I do is dig a hole and walk away from it, it is good fun!

My fellow kittens (and cats of course) are so pleased Jill and Richard moved their wooden pond container because we now have a giant water bowl in the garden - they are so kind to us.  I wonder if any frogs will make their home in this pond??  It does have a lovely lily in the middle, or is that a lovely Milly?

Woking Cats Protection are having a stand at the RSPCA Millbrook Open Day on Sunday, 1 September and Jill will be helping out in the morning.  If you are going to the event, please visit the stand and Jill will be able to tell you how gorgeous I am - oh and she will also tell you about Jazz, Daisy, Coco and Poppy too.  There will be lots of photographs and information about the branch's cats and kittens that are looking for new homes, so please do go along and support them.

The garden is calling me, well the frogs, flies and butterflies are.  I will be back next week.  Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend everyone.


Sunday 18 August 2013


Hi everyone

I am sure we all have days (weeks?) where we wonder what we have done with our time - very little to show for it, but every hour has been jam-packed with work.  I think I mentioned in an earlier email that a friend of mine writes down everything she has carried out each day - she feels it is satisfying to look back at the work she has accomplished rather than as with a To-Do List reviewing what has not been completed.  I think I should do that.

However, despite feeling I don't have a lot of work to show for my week, I have made oodles of gift tags and am really pleased that I will have a large stock for the Ripley Nurseries event this month (31 August).  Now in the craft world (rather as in the fashion world) we know we have to be months ahead of real time and just in case there are any keen early Christmas shoppers at the event, I have made quite a few Christmas tags.

Here are some photographs of the newest sets and last week's ones which have now been ribboned and bagged:

We have also spent a lot of time working in the garden.  Pruning, planting, moving and general tidying up.  We have a big family get-together here at the end of the month, so want to make sure everything is looking good.  We moved a wooden-framed pond from one side of the garden to the other - it was empty, thank goodness.  We replanted it and not sure if the move was a good idea as the newest members of our cat family, Coco and Poppy, think it is a new water bowl for them!

We have a bumper crop of apples on our Worcester Pearmain tree this year - it is one of the late ripeners and is usually just right for picking in late October:

We didn't prune it at the end of the last season, something we regret given the very heavy crop.  Interestingly we had very little June drop this year, not sure if it was because of the weather or some other reason.  It is some natural pruning that is always welcome although at the time it happens it seems disappointing.  Nature's way of sorting out the duff apples from the good ones.

Among the many favourite plants in my garden is the Acanthus (Bear's Breeches).  It is a lovely plant and the flower stems are magnificent.  Here is a photograph of one of the flower heads after the white flowers have finished.  I want to split this at the end of the season as I have several other places in the garden where it would look good.

One last photograph, this time of Coco who has spent today dodging the rain and the garden sprayer.  She is relaxing here in the conservatory.  It is a hard life being a cat:

I have just had a quick look at this week's Handmade Monday post.  Wendy has chosen her Digi-Stamp Design Team and I already know that each team member's work is lovely and I am looking forward to seeing more of it.  Wendy has a mid-week paper-craft challenge - certainly looking forward to that too.  So, don't forget to nip over and have a read of this week's post and catch up with the other bloggers taking part.

Have a great week everyone.  Hard to believe it is nearly the last Bank holiday before Christmas, but hot though it may have been at times, it has been a great summer with hopefully lots more sunny days to come.

A friend and I (Lesley (the lovely Mad Dog Woman of Shackleford)) are trying to arrange a Macmillan Coffee Morning to take place on 27 September so watch this space as I hope to have some information about it next Sunday.

See you next week and don't forget to call in here on Wednesday to catch up with Milly's tails.


Wednesday 14 August 2013


Hello everyone

Where has the sun gone?  It's rather grey here and, dare I say it, cold.  I hope summer hasn't gone for good - not that I want it to be too hot because I snooze a lot then, and I do prefer to be playing.

I blotted my copy book (whatever that is) on Sunday.  No, nothing to do with anything flying, hoping or jumping.  I ran in front of a car that was travelling down my road - lucky for me it was going slowly and it stopped outside the house opposite to us.  Normally we all get shut in when Jill and Richard are working in the front garden, because we want to be out there with them.  Jazz likes to walk up the road (often in the middle of it) to see his friends, the rest of us like to wander around to visit near neighbours.  This time, because Jill was only going to do a little weeding, we were not shut in.  Bad decision.  I don't like cars and normally I sit very small  and still when they go by, but this time I wanted to get back home.  Thank goodness it wasn't one of those idiots I wrote about last week.  Have I lost one of those 9 lives cats have?  I may not have, but I think Jill did!

Those of you that have cats know how hard it is to keep us close and in our own garden, but we cats are so incredibly nosey and always want to see what is happening elsewhere.  Jill and Richard keep saying they would like to put a massive great big cage over our garden so that we could never leave it - seems a bit mean, because we do like to investigate.

Still no sunshine, but I think it is time for me to check up on Coco and Poppy - young kittens need a grown up to help them.  Have a good week everyone and don't forget to visit Woking Cats Protection to have a look at the lovely kittens and cats looking for their new home.

See you next week.


Sunday 11 August 2013


Hello everyone

I hope your week has been good.  My post title says it all - this week's Sunday post is a mini one.  As usual a million and one things to do and as usual running to try to keep up.

I completed a wedding card a friend ordered from me, produced a wedding stationery quotation that was requested last week, made some gift tags and sourced materials for decorating bags.  A 'lots done' week, but not lots to show for it really.

For the gift tags I located prints of flowers which I attached to card.  I will punch a small hole in the top and add matching ribbon.  Gift tags always seem to sell well at craft fairs, so I am hoping these will be popular.  Here is a photograph of the tags:

Here also is a photograph of the wedding card I made for a friend:

This wasn't easy to make as the brief was to match the colours of a gift envelope that had been made by someone else.  Er, very difficult because how on earth do you find that out if you don't know who made the envelope?  I managed to find a shade of yellow and pink that were similar to the paper used and added hearts and other trims which also complimented those on the envelope.  A very frilly card.

that's my post-it note sized blog post for this week, I will be back next Sunday with hopefully lots more to write about.  In the meantime have a great week and don't forget to visit my fellow blogging crafters on Handmade Monday.  Milly will of course be back on Wednesday with her cats tails of Christmas Pie.


Wednesday 7 August 2013


Hello everyone

No sunshine in Christmas Pie today, but as it is dry I am outside - well I will be once I have finished this week's diary.  Jill keeps saying 'it looks like summer is over' - I hope not because I love the sunshine and all the lovely butterflies it brings into the garden ;0)

We have a large butterfly bush in our front garden and Coco and Poppy spend a lot of time underneath it!  Jill worries because she prefers us to be in the garden or in the field at the bottom of our garden.  We don't live on a busy road, but everywhere has the idiot who thinks it is fun to drive as fast as possible along a quiet road - usually with their windows open and the radio playing very loudly.  There has been the odd occasion when Jill has had to stand in the middle of the road and put her hand up to slow down an approaching car while Jazz has strolled across the road.  Does she panic?  Yes!  Jazz doesn't have a lot of road sense, in fact before Jill and Richard adopted him he had been involved in a car accident.  He suffered a broken jaw and damage to one of his eyes, one of his long front fangs was also snapped in half.

I haven't caught anything with wings recently - am I grown up now that I am one year old?  However, I was looking over Jill's shoulder yesterday and saw a Tweet from her friend Lesley about one of her chickens being on the loose.  What a good thing I wasn't there!

The sun is trying to come out, so it is time for me to go out too.  Have a good week everyone - I will see you next Wednesday.


Sunday 4 August 2013


Hi everyone

Another sunny day in Christmas Pie.  We have had some rain this week, but the ground is still very dry - I think it is so hard the rain is just bouncing off of it.  We spend so much time chatting about the weather in this country, but it does control so much of what we do or want to do.  For crafters it affects the number of visitors to an event, can I put my gazebo up in gale-force winds, is it too hot to attract visitors?  When we are not crafting, we want it to be dry and sunny for either sitting or working in the garden, or visiting friends and family or strolling in the countryside.  Do we ever achieve a happy medium?

It has been a week of catching up - with work and with friends I haven't seen for a while.  One friend has commissioned a wedding card from me (she wants it to match the papers/card used for a gift envelope she bought from someone else and this is going to be very hard).  Another friend has asked me to repair a necklace of hers - the end piece has broken and I feel it may benefit from a compete re-string rather than repair.

Plans were also discussed and agreed with my fellow Christmas shop friend - the one who makes gorgeous cakes.  We are sharing some events around Christmas and have decided we are going to have a particular themed range of handmade items.  We have moved a few steps further towards this and have decided what we want to sell - we now just have to make it all!

As usual I forgot to photograph the card orders I have completed this week - I think a possible reason is that because (like all workers in the handmade industry) I am working to very tight deadlines and once completed, I want to ensure my customer has their order as soon as possible.  An excuse?  Yes, it is - I am sorry.

However, I do have two photographs of my last pottery class make: a wrap-around jug.  I collected this from the centre this week because I had hoped to continue working on it during the summer break and as the pottery room is being re-fitted, I didn't want to risk it being damaged.  My pottery tutor had warned me that it might have dried out because of the very high temperatures over the last few weeks - sadly it had, so no further decorating, but as I had already added a pattern to it (I rolled it out on wallpaper), I am not too disappointed.  Next term I will biscuit fire it, glaze it and then fire it at 1250 degrees - it is porcelain so it already has a good base colour.  My project next term is to attempt another jug, but in an Art Deco style.

It's a little wonky in places, but hey, I am pleased with it.  I don't want to wish the summer away, but I am looking forward to next term - hope to be making some Christmas tree ornaments as well as my Art Deco jug.

This month's issue of the Craft Focus magazine arrived this week.  I do like this magazine, lots of 'what's happening' news and this issue is mainly concentrating on Christmas.  One thing that really caught my eye was an article about a business for sale in Cornwall as the current owner of Make Do and Mend is retiring.  The sale includes a listed Georgian four-bedroom property and shop, as well as a workshop.  It sounds so lovely and I day-dreamed about how lovely it would be to say 'I am going to go for this because the time is right'.  Good luck to whoever buys it, it sounds wonderful.

Back to reality, card-making, wedding card problem solving and everything else that needs to be done.  Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving great feedback/comments - all very much appreciated.  I hope you all have a lovely week and don't forget to call in on the crafting bloggers taking part in this week's Handmade Monday - lots of great makes, posts and and pics to see.

See you all next Sunday