Wednesday, 15 December 2010

I've been a Louse!

Sorry Charlies. I've been so busy & then this week I've been doing endless laundry because we're going home to South Carolina for Christmas!!!!

I survived the seasonal craft fairs! I celebrated our second wedding anniversary! I baked a 4 layer American Chocolate Fudge Cake for my bro in law's birthday.
I've been at the market Thursdays through Saturdays and attending my business planning meetings and trying to squeeze Christmas shopping in there too - I didn't think far enough ahead to make presents. Maybe I'll be that organised next year!

So yeah. Pretty busy.

But it'll all be worth it because I am spending my first Christmas home in 5 years and I can hardly wait! It is my favorite time of year and I have found the last few Christmases quite....depressing. My family has traditions and it's just hard when you're far away at special times. But THIS year all of the family is going to be there!!!! Every single one! I'm going to see my nieces open presents on Christmas morning for the first time! Then it's back to my mom's house for a HUGE meal. AND THEN as some friends who don't live locally anymore are getting together on boxing day! It's going to be wooooonderful! eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
I'm already in vacation mode. Not bothered about working, I just wanna get this house clean and the last few tins of chocolate bought.

I've finally sent off for my provisional license {like a learning permit}. I am excited about that too!
The search is on for a cute & safe car with great gas mileage!

So there ya have it folks! I need to get back to laundry and a few other little jobs before I head back to the ole market tomorrow!!!
Bye bye for now!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

my mad week.

Uuuugh. I feel rubbish. I was fighting a cold & the cold won, big time. I've allowed myself to abandon the market stall and have today off. It's been non-stop since last Thursday. Busy day and night!
I slept until 12:30 today! And boy did I have some crazy dreams.
Lets just say I spent an awful lot of time with Ewan McGregor between 6am and 12:30 this afternoon. Oh my. More Moulin Rouge McGregor, not Trainspotting McGregor.
I never knew he had a tattoo!
Aaanyway. I spent yesterday in a business planning workshop. It was excellent! The speaker was very good....and Scottish.....I'm beginning to understand my dream.
Subconscious debrief!

I attended my workshop at the Chester Enterprise Centre in Hoole.
Upon checking Facebook I found out that the Enterprise Centre burned down over night!
The Centre was home to small businesses and Blue Orchid which is the business start up advisers that have been helping me.
One of the tenants has set up a facebook group as a meeting place for those affected.
The fire alarm actually went off during our workshop but turned out to be a test. My heart goes out to those businesses who have lost everything. I'm sure there will be something set up to help them. When I find out I'll post the info.

I've got so much to do. I just can't seem to get started's like I can only sit around and think about how much I have to do.

It's my brother in-law's birthday today and he is cooking a meal for the whole family including his new German lady (who is over visiting). I am making the cake. I'm almost done....but I just want to take a nap!
It's an American Chocolate Fudge Cake using "only Cadburys" chocolate per the birthday boy's request. I am decorating the top with as many Cadbury chocolate  bars as I can fit including Freddos, Curly Wurlys and fudge bars.

 That ought to satisfy his Cadburys cravings.

I have to finish a couple of bags and charm bracelets. I have the Kelsall Primary PTA Christmas Fair tomorrow night and I'm having my own mini Christmas Fair here at home on Sunday night! But first I have to make it though an all family + new girlfriend meal while feeling very poorly!

I guess I'd better get myself down to the chemist and pick up some cold medicine! Any recommendations?

Monday, 22 November 2010

The British Homefront

As you know, the women of the 1940s are a true inspiration to me. I am fascinated by the way British women ran their homes during the war, under extreme rationing and hardship.
I'm in awe of the incredible ingenuity and creativity from the WWII homefront.

First please allow me to share this from the home sweet homefront website.

With the scarcity of so many everyday items during World War Two, Britons were encouraged to become much more self-sufficient and make greater use of the materials they had.

The phrase most associated with this British wartime drive for self-sufficiency was 'MAKE DO and MEND'.

Some of the ingenious ways of how people got by included;

i.   making wartime JEWELLERY from old beer bottle tops, cup hooks and corks
ii.  supplementing a shortage of CLEANING MATERIALS by crushing egg shells for use as a scouring compound and cutting squares out of old stockings for use as dishcloths

iii. using the dregs of cold tea to clean WOODWORK

iv. varnishing the soles of CHILDREN'S SHOES to prolong the foot-wears life and
v.  cutting up old Mackintoshes to make BIBS for babies.
 Just look at this brooch! It was made from a button and electrical wire! Isn't it brilliant!?! 

Nothing wasted.
Kitchen scraps were all saved and recycled to feed pigs, goats and chickens which could be used for milk, meat and eggs. People created Pig Clubs to keep pigs which would later become meat and be shared by the members of the club.
Keeping rabbits was popular during the war...but not as pets! Eek!

Phil Bryne writes:

Households were asked to wash their recyclables before putting them out in tied bundles. Waste was segregated for the following uses:

- Tins and metal were collected for use in aircraft, tanks and weapons
- Boiled bones were used to make glue for aircraft, ground up to make fertiliser or made into glycerine for explosives.
- Kitchen waste provided feed for pigs, chickens and goats and people would bring their scraps to communal bins.
- Paper for munitions - newspapers were printed on low quality paper
- Rubber was collected to make tires

Man oh man, we've got it good. So good.
We're recycling for different reasons now, but I would love to be as committed to making do and reusing as people of the WWII homefront. I have a loooong way to go to change the way I view waste and what's still "good".

I'd love to hear some of your recycling and making do tricks. Or what you like or don't like about the home front during any of the wars.

Bye for now!

I've got a lot of jewellery to finish for this week!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Crafty Tattoos

I know tattoos aren't everybody's thing. I can totally appreciate that. But I happen to like them, the good ones. My Dad had "Joker" tattooed on his forearm from his time in the Navy I suppose. He was always ashamed of it, but to me it was just part of him. My brothers are covered in tattoos! My mom HATES them!!! Especially on me.

I have 4 tattoos. One of my best friends and I have a tradition of getting tattoos together. She and I drove to Savannah, GA a few times for tattoos when it was still illegal in SC. Last time I was home each got a small tattoo on our day out.

South Carolina Palmetto Moon :)
We've been talking about a repeat of our tattoo day out. Jestine's Kitchen & Holy City Tattoo.
I've been giving some thought to what small tattoo I'd like this time. I got the Palmetto Moon which is the emblem from my state flag to remind me of home last time I was there.
I've seen a trend in craft tattoos recently. Maybe just because I've only started looking. Some are rubbish, but some are cute & fun!
I totally love this one!
The Dainty Squid 

I'll be giving it some thought....
but right now I have a serious craving for shrimp & grits!

Do you have any tattoos?

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Pumpkin Pie of My Dreams!

So living in the UK is wonderful, but there are a few disadvantages like finding canned pumpkin is hard work. And then it's expensive when you do find it.

I'm a pumpkin lovah. I couldn't wait for the pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks every year {esp in a red cup!}.
But alas. Starbucks UK does not do the most wonderful Pumpkin Spice Latte :(
I have found a copycat recipe but I haven't tried it know the whole lack for canned pumpkin thing.

I like pumpkin bread & pumpkin cupcakes & most of all pumpkin pie! Truth be told I could probably eat the pumpkin pie filling out of the can! I'm serious about pumpkin.

So can you imagine my delight when one of our American friend in the village said I could have her left over pumpkins!?!

But then I thought..."now what?"

As I am all about starting from scratch I got on my little kitchen laptop and looked for a pumpkin pie recipe for fresh pumpkins. And I found one that looked really easy. Everything goes in the blender! Look what it made!

i couldn't wait to take the photo....i ate it.
and it was really, really good!
I won't go back to canned pumpkin. I'm not kidding! Are you ready for the recipe that will transform your pumpkin pies???

Recipe by Canarygirl

Ingredients (for 2 pies):
2 pounds (1 kilo) fresh pumpkin, halved
2 pie crusts (use your favorite recipe, or cheat and buy pre-made ;) )
1 can (16 ounce/410 grams) evaporated milk
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1-2 teaspoons vanilla
cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice to taste…I like a spicier pie, so I add quite a bit (2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon cloves and 1/2 teaspoon allspice *approximately*)

Heat oven to 390ºF/200ºC.
Line a baking sheet with foil and place pumpkin cut side down on sheet.
Bake about 30 minutes or until tender.

*this next step is the most important!!! You've got to remove as much liquid as you can!*
Line a sieve with a tea towel, and place pumpkin in sieve over a bowl, covered.
Allow to drain in fridge 24 hours, or, if you’re in more of a hurry, just twist the tea towel and squeeze out excess liquid.

You should have about 2-2/12 cups pumpkin after draining.

Heat oven to 390ºF/200ºC.

Prepare pie plates with crust, poking with a fork.

Puree all ingredients in a large bowl or blender.

Divide mixture between the two pie plates.

Bake at 390ºF/200ºC for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375ºF/175ºC.
Bake about an hour to an hour and a half, checking center of pie until no longer “jiggly”.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Serve with fresh whipped cream.
Chill any leftovers (if you’re lucky enough to have them) in the refrigerator.

Seriously just try to have left overs!

Next time I'll share with you the first recipe I've written myself!
Pumpkin & Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing!

We're still eating them...and when I say we I mean me.


Monday, 1 November 2010

Thanks Bono Baby!

I just want to say that I got a sweet surprise in the post from the most gorgeous little man, Bono Baby.  
Little Heartbreaker! 
Look what arrived for me as a gift for participating in a project on Bono's Mom's blog
Bono Baby know I love the Wizard of Oz! 

pretty packing tape! 
what a wonderful treasure to remind me of the hanger collage I made! 
Thank you Bono Baby! I love it!
add a glass of red and you've got perfection! 
Isn't he just the sweetest little man! 


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Small Woodland Creatures

I am really into woodland pretties. I'm doing a woodland stuff research as I'm planning on painting some wooden discs to make some rings and things.
I've come across some wonderful things in my world wide web travels! I just have to share!
Little Hoot 

The Forest Party
Wee Three Gnomes
Pocket Mushroom
Bambi Coin Purse

The Tiniest Owl Family Locket - Vintage 

Ok! I've got to stop myself NOW otherwise I'm going to get completely out of control! The acorns and hedgehogs and rabbits and squirrels.....I've just gotta stop or it'll be cuteness overload {That gnome! I mean come on!}!!!
It's a very cold & yucky day so I'm going to grab my little pad of paper and pencil and get under the duvet and keep on sketching. 

What's your favorite small furry woodland creature? Real or fantastic :)



Monday, 18 October 2010

Mondays Are For Admin.

Ok. I admit it. I'm one of those people who actually enjoy administrative jobs. I love organising. I love filling in paperwork. It's ok, I've come to terms with the fact that I'm a total weirdo!

Today has been non-stop admin stuff. Paying bills, emailing website guys, researching vintage goodies for my stall, booking our train tickets for our trip home in Dec. and a new trick Electronic System for Travel Authorisation. My sweet Hus can't just come on in to the US of A without this new thing.I feel like I haven't left this computer all day....I haven't actually!


Wanna see some pics of my stall?

I'm already looking forward to Thursday when I get to go back! I am surprised by the fact that the majority of my customers are little grannies. Normally my audience is made up of teenage girls, so this is a real switch! I so enjoy the conversations and unsolicited advice! Grandmothers, especially mine, give the best advice.
When I spoke to my Grandmother before my trip to Kenya she gave me the most wonderful advice I had or ever have received. I'll share it with you now:

"You're going to see lots of wild animals out there. Maybe even a lion. You're going to want to touch them. Don't. Don't touch the lions. They're very dangerous."

PLEASE share with us what the best advice you've ever been give has been. Solicited or not ;)
It doesn't have to be good sound advice mind you! 

By the way the photographer is my cute Hus. He ain't just a pretty face y'all! :)
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