Monthly Archives: January 2010

Riding the Rails

It is bitterly cold here. The sun is shining today, as it was yesterday when we were out, although that Mr. Old Sun, didn’t seem to make much of a difference to the temperature outside.

There was ice everywhere and a very hard frost on the ground. We were in multiple layers, but still the cold just managed to wriggle in through your clothes and we stayed in a constant state of freezing, even some of the stores didn’t put their heat on! That was just mean!

On our way home from a very frosty day out grocery shopping and running errands (I found heart shaped silicone cupcake holders–yeah) we jumped on the train and had a little (or not so little) train passenger riding along with us! It made me HAPPY!!

It was like having a big teddy bear in our compartment! I am sure she was warm with all that lovely fur!

1st Valentine’s Candy of the Season

Last night while at the grocery store, I got my 1st bit of Valentine’s candy. These little jellybeans just jumped right into my basket, they must be jumping beans, instead of jellybeans.

They tasted like the good Easter jellybeans, you know what I mean?… YUMMY!  So, last night while sitting on the couch with my sweetie and watching an episode of “Rescue Me” we munched away on Valentine’s happiness! I have to go back for more, these would be adorable on top of cupcakes or pressed into a sugar cookie…the possibilities!!


P.S. speaking of hopping, those little bunnies hopped right into their box and hopefully by now are safely in the hands of the lovely Penelope.

Making Me Smile

It is bitterly cold here tonight. My cutie pie picked me up from yoga and walked me home so I wasn’t walking on my own in the dark.  Our breath came billowing out in front of us as we strolled, illuminated by the headlights of a car approaching behind us.

We were bundled up, but still shivering and as he kissed my forehead he told me this was true love — freezing to death so he could walk me home….and for me, it is.  I know that, that simple act of kindness (coming to get me) was one of his many ways to say ” I Love YOU!”

We had homemade Italian Wedding soup tonight and after doing the dishes, I plopped down on the couch (my first break today) for a little internet window shopping, and this is what brought a smile to my face on such a frosty frosty evening:

Sugar Pie

It won’t be too long before Valentine’s Day arrives and I have been busy thinking about what I can make for my Sugar Pie (also the title of one of my favorite Subdudes songs)! I won’t say too much because he does read this blog, but something handmade and embroidered might be coming his way…

I like to make heart shaped items for the day. Last year I kept it simple and baked heart shaped sugar cookies in a variety of sizes, and sprinkled them with pink and red sugar crystals.  They were festive and tasted delicious with a cup of hot chocolate and heart shaped marshmallows. Hmm, can you tell I like to have a theme going here?

I was looking at the gorgeous Serena’s website today and saw her “Sweetie Pie” recipe.  These look too good not to try! When I am making a pie or anything else with pastry whether it be shortcrust or puff I always use my leftovers.  My Nana taught me to not be a wasteful cook!

She would roll out her left over dough into a rectangle, brush it with butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, roll them up in a log and slice, like a mini cinnamon bread pastry (great with a cup of coffee).  I do that or depending on my mood I will make small turnovers with whatever jam or jams we have going in the house at the moment.

So, this recipe has given me the idea of cutting out shapes the next time I have leftover dough to use, you just know they will taste that much sweeter because you are popping a little heart of love into your mouth!  Click here to be linked to the Farm Chicks website and this sweet recipe.

sweetie pies

(All Images copyright The Farm Chicks, embellished by Jennifer Michie)

100th Post!

I can’t believe it! Today I am writing my 100th post! We have done a little work in the flowerpots this morning, cutting back and sweeping things up.

We had to make a milk run this a.m. and my grocery store surprise was 3 brightly colored primroses.  So they are now happily nestled into their new homes and will bring a smile to my face every time I come into our cottage door.

I still can’t get rid of the last remnants of Christmas.  With the weather still being so icy here, my Christmas wreath is still living merrily on my front door. So, off came the bow I had made for it and on went a heart hung in the middle for Valentine’s Day.  I am going to keep enjoying this little wintry wreath as long as I can.

I am still hard at work on crafting my little bears, a personalized pink colored bear has been added on to my order.  So, that will be my last bear to complete, along with 3 little bunnies that need to be stuffed.

They have just had their fluffy little tails sewn on and are more than ready to be filled with marshmallowy fluff and be sewn up, so they can hop on into their wee traveling box to be posted on their way to RosaBlue.

(Image of the Cake Invitation & Sweets from the BabyGardener, embellished by Jennifer Michie)

Bears, Bears, Everywhere!

I have been busy sewing away the past few days, amongst other things and still have a bit more work ahead to finish up these little bears for RosaBlue.

So our house is filled with colorful bears (and bunnies too–but they haven’t been put together yet), they seem to be everywhere. They even ended up in the bed last night! It is tiring work being sewn and stuffed together and so some of them needed to take a nap.

Well, I am off to do more work, those little pockets won’t stitch themselves and I have some bears who have been patiently waiting to be put together.  It is so cold here at the moment, I might need to make them scarfs for their journey to the shop…

Fairy Mushrooms

While doing a little research for vintage cotton-spun mushrooms, I came across this tutorial for paperclay mushrooms on The Fabled Needle Blog.  I know it is an older post but they were just too cute not to share with you.


On such a cold drizzley morning here in England this brought me a little sunshine happiness.  I can’t wait to try making them myself, the possibilities of their uses are endless.

I am already envisioning plans for these little sparkle layered snow kissed mushrooms sprinkled around my miniature zinc Christmas house in December and maybe worked into a wreath with tiny gnomes for some Christmas kitsch cuteness. Oh, now I am getting carried away…

 

You will find her tutorial here.

(Mushroom Images from The Fabled Needle Blog, Gnomes from Layer Cake, embellished by Jennifer Michie)

Maple Snow

All this snow has made me think of “Little House in the Big Woods”.  I loved reading this books as a child, it was a world I wanted to belong to.

I wanted to be in the sleigh with them as they drove through the snow to their Grandparent’s house, for the sap harvest.  Once, they arrived Pa joined the men folk, trudging off into the snow to help start the sap buckets.  Drilling holes into the thick bark to place a pipe that would drain the sap into the buckets below.

The women worked hard indoors for the party that would come that evening under the starlight. At the party to celebrate the winter harvest, Laura and Mary scoop fresh powdery snow into bowls and their Grandma ladles a stream of hot syrupy sap onto their dishes to make snow candy with. The sap hardened on the snow, thus making a chewy maple candy to enjoy.

“Grandma…poured hot syrup on each plate of snow. It cooled into soft candy, and as fast as it cooled they ate it. They could eat all they wanted, for maple sugar never hurt anybody.”

I always wanted to do this when I was little, I loved reading about Laura’s pioneer girl existence, I wanted to be a pioneer girl myself! I wanted to run through the fields with my hair in braids and my bonnet hanging down my back, the warm sun baking me as I brought Pa his lunch pail.

I found this recipe for “Snow Sugar” on the Laura’s Prairie House website:

I have not tried this particular recipe myself, so I will have to wait for the next snowfall and pull out my glass bottle of syrup and get to work!

{click on the recipe to be taken to a larger version}

Shake! Shake! Shake!

Shake! Shake! Shake! Oh! Shake! Shake! Shake! Shake that snow globe, shake that snow globe!

We awoke this morning to another snowfall, this time it was just a lovely dusting of snow. It is like living in a little snow globe world.

I think I am the only person in the whole of England who is still happy there is snow underfoot!  I watched, over a steaming mug of tea, as big fat flakes gently fell to the cold earth. Winter is such a graceful and hauntingly beautiful woman.

Purl One, Knit One

I am an old soul, there are times when I think I have been born in the wrong time period! I am a nerd amongst my friends and quite happy to be one! I taught myself to knit two years ago and little by little I have been expanding my knitting pattern knowledge. This past year I taught myself to crochet (my Nana had taught me when I was younger, but I definitely needed a refresher!) and when I was at home this Christmas I went yarn hunting with my mom and picked out the colors for the Granny Square blanket I intend to make, with her discerning interior decorator’s eyes at my side!

I have a few stores I buy yarn from here in England, one of my favorite being a little gem on Carnaby Street, or in Kingly Court, I should say.  My yarn tends to come from all over, I go for the feel and the color of it, I am sure I should think about ply and weight first, but right or wrong I go right for the textural and visual side of it.

I have used Lion Brand online as a resource tool when I am stuck on a particular stitch, they also have a wonderful supply of free patterns online too.  I have knitted with their yarn for some projects before and this was the yarn I chose when I was at home. I wanted something colorful, yet rich, warm, yet happy and a reasonable price for a project I was going to be experimenting with; so I selected a variety of colors to work from(an ebony black, a warming charcoal, a rich red, a deep purple, a soft cream and a velvety green-sounds odd, but trust me they all work together).

Sitting in the airport, the Saturday after New Years Day, sad to be leaving my family and watching the snow fall from the window, my adorable husband appeared with a cheering up gift in his hands from the magazine store.  A copy of the January 2010 issue of Martha Stewart. As I flipped through the pages I discovered inside an entire article on Lion Brand yarn (which he had already flipped through and seen and that was his entire reason for buying it, isn’t that thoughtful? What a cutie!), and now I dream of walking in through those doors of the flagship store in New York, sad I know! I love the fact that there is a sampling wall to try out yarn and you can take yarn home with you to try out, there is a place where you can just sit and stitch and play, like a toy store for grown-ups!!

I want to take that lion in the window home with me, I love his twisted yarn mane, he is like a giant yarn made Aslan, guarding the store and all who step over the threshold.  I wanted to share some of the pictures from this article here.  Knitting is like yoga or gardening for me, it is therapeutic and on cold nights here it is something to keep my hands warm. I am looking forward to starting my blanket, this will be my first project that will be able to keep me warm as I go, I can’t wait to get to the stage of it being so big it covers my lap as I work, but now, I am getting ahead of myself….

(All images copyright Martha Stewart Magazine)