Sunday, June 29, 2008

Quick chicky update

A very quick post to tell you that Beryl, Doris, Flossy and Jazz are settling in very well.

They've eaten oodles of layers pellets, drunk their quota of water and poo'd for England!!

Minx now has a chair in their run so that she can sit in comfort whilst chit chatting to the chooks.

Moogsdad has now padlocked their run so that Minx has to ask before going in!!!!

Moogsdad and I have been checking them every ten minutes this evening to see if they've gone to bed yet!!

We may have to give in and actually put them to bed tonight rather than expecting them to do it themselves.

In other news, I took Monster in to town today to spend a gift voucher that was burning a hole in his pocket. Whilst there I siezed the opportunity to visit Lush.

I first used Lush cosmetics way back when they were still known as Cosmetics to Go. As it was payday I treated us to two gorgeous blocks of soap, 2 shampoo bars (equivalent number of hairwashes to 4 bottles of shampoo!) and a couple of bath bombs for the naughty little folk.

Since getting home and reading their catalogue I've found out they are running their Retro lines for short periods - including my all time favourite Ginger perfume. may have had a bit of an accident.........and ordered a few extra bits online......oops!!

Ho hum.

I'm now going to curl up with Bill Bryson and drift off into Lush fragranced dreams :)


p.s. Monster spent the entire time we were in the shop holding his nose!! It was heady in there!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Here come the girls....

I would like to introduce you to Moog's new friends.

From the left - Beryl (mine), Flossy (Minx's), Doris (Moogsdad's) and Jazz (Monster's) - wondering what on earth is happening no doubt!!

Our girls are 18 week old Warrens - a Rhode Island Red hybrid. They should lay their first eggs in about a week and for their first night need to be kept in their sleeping quarters. They'll venture out into their luxury run tomorrow morning.

They seem quite impressed so far with their bespoke accomodation.

Moogsdad chose Doris because she kept pecking his leg and then lay down next to him to be stroked - I seem to remember I ensnared him in a similar fashion ;)

I imagine from henceforth I will never be short of blog fodder!

To prove that small scale craftiness continues I dabbled in a bit of papercraft yesterday.

A while back Bethany posted a link to a great tutorial on making your own books and I finally had a go yesterday.

I used my very favourite Basic Grey paper. I do so wish this was available as a fabric - I'd buy metres of it!!

Of course - I had to use up the whole 12x12 sheet, which resulted in three notebooks. The two smaller ones are made from scrap paper.

I am now going to wander back down the garden to have a chat with the chooks :)

Here's to a lovely weekend xxxxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, June 27, 2008

Life after Potter.... there such a thing?

I did it.

It's taken two weeks of neglected housework, neglected bloggage and reduced verbal communication with Moogsdad and the naughty people.

I have read all seven Harry Potter books back to back.

Last night at 10.57pm I finished book 7 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

That was one roller coaster ride of a book!

So much so that I woke at 3.30 this morning with the whole thing whizzing round in my head - rather like Harry's dreams of He Who Must Not Be Named!!

I now need to readjust to life beyond the book....

......what to do......twiddles thumbs......fidgets a bit.....puts kettle on......twiddles thumbs while kettle boils as nothing to read........sits down to drink tea.......fidget a bit more as drinking tea sans Potter is pretty boring......wanders round a bit.....I know!! Blogging! Back to my pre-Potter reading matter!

Besides Pottermania and work other things have happened in Moogsville this week.

The postman delivered me a very exciting parcel all the way from Jamaica - my toadstool from my lovely Toadstool Swap partner Dyan.

In fact - make that toadstools! Dyan made me two as one looked lonely :)

They are made from the softest velvety fabric in such lovely subtle colours.

Dyan also included a gorgeous selection of tags - some made by herself and others by a favourite etsy seller.

There were also two very pretty bookmarks....... of which has seen me through the end of book 6 and all of book 7. So much nicer than my old shopping list as a means of marking my page :)

Thank you so much Dy - I love my toadstools and the tags and bookmarks are fab! It has also been great to find some more lovely bloggers to play bloggage with!!
As I know Dy has received her swap parcel from me I know it's safe to show what I sent - just to prove that vestiges of craftiness are still hanging on here!!

So now I have a whole afternoon to play.

I can feel some sewing coming on but don't yet know what that will involve ......may need another cup of tea and some more thumb twiddling before I get started.....


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Feeling fruity

Moogsdad was on a mission today.

He wanted to work on the Moogsville Chicken Ritz.

This meant that entertaining the naughty people was down to me.

We decided that a trip to our local Farm Shop to partake in a bit of 'Pick Your Own' was in order.

Minx and Monster thoroughly enjoyed picking the gooseberries, raspberries, strawberries and broad beans and they must have had ten of their 'five a day' within half an hour of getting there!

The strawberries were amazing. Some were almost the size of an apple and incredibly sweet and juicy. It was tempting to keep picking but we bought £10 worth of strawberries as it was!!

We came away with this beautiful hoard.

The result of this harvest was an afternoon spent in the kitchen for yours truly.

A one kilo punnet of these gooseberries:

topped and tailed, brought to the boil with 500ml of water, simmered until soft and 1.5kg of sugar stirred in - then kept at a rolling boil for 10 minutes...

created 7 (various sized!) jars of gorgeous Gooseberry Jam.

Some of the strawberries were shared with my lovely next door neighbour and my equally lovely friend (who was rushed to hospital yesterday with a torn calf muscle - ouch!!).

There were plenty left for us - loads for just eating, plus more for jam.

2lbs strawberries, juice of 1 lemon and 2lbs jam sugar (thanks for the tip Michaela!) and about 10 minutes later....

.....four jars of the most fabulous Strawberry Jam - mmmmmm.

We had a little pot of each jam left over that would not quite fit in a jar, so I made a batch of scones to use it up :)

The broad beans were shelled by Monster and Minx.

Tonight's dinner was farm shop marrow, cut into rings and lightly steamed then stuffed with a tuna and vegetable filling, topped with herby cheesy breadcrumbs (made by Sausage Monster), homegrown swiss chard - wilted in a pan and finished with grated nutmeg and a knob of butter, and farm shop broad beans lightly stir fried in a little olive oil with homegrown mint and lemon juice.

The kids tried the broad beans but decided they weren't keen but they polished off everything else.

I figure they must have had their fruit and veg portions for the day so I didn't force the issue!!!!

I've run out of jam jars so the rest of the gooseberries will be frozen or made into gooseberry crumble and the rest of the strawberries will be eaten as they are, or made into smoothies or Lina's lovely ice lollies. I may have to do some research into Raspberry and White Chocolate muffins to make the most of the raspberries.

Days like today make me feel closer to my Mum. I remember her spending hours in the kitchen making jams and chutneys. She had to as we had two allotments worth of fruit and veg coming into the house at one point!

When Mum died I vowed I'd carry on some of her traditions. One of these was crochet and another was jam making. I want my children to experience the same warm domestic moments that I did and to appreciate that not all food comes in plastic from the supermarket.

I don't want them to be like someone I used to know, who told me she loved carrots so much she could eat them straight out of the tin!

Chicken news update - Moogsdad has worked very hard today and now just has the nest boxes and exit hatch to make on the chicken coop. We may get our girls next weekend - depending on their availability - eeek!!!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

Just a quickie!

It's been one of those whizzing about sort of Saturday's where we haven't stopped since 8am - I'll be glad to sit down this evening and my resolve to abstain from the red wine is weakening rapidly!!!

In a brief gap in the proceedings I did get these finished and they're now stacked on the shelves in my shop. I've thoroughly enjoyed reacquainting myself with my sewing machine and can feel the old craftiness creeping back :)

It's been a pretty miserable day but a wee exploration of the 'grounds' yielded a few treasures.

I love any daisy type flowers but cosmos have to be one of my favourites.

Hiding behind a soggy bamboo I found this little beauty - no scent sadly but very pretty.

Rachel asked me if my bottle brush tree was the same as the one's they have in Australia.

I think so Rachel but don't quote me on it!

It did look lovely after the rain this morning.

The poor thing is flowering like mad this year - probably overheard Moogsdad declaring his desire to get rid of it - and it's housing a blackbird family so who are we to cut it down?!!

A very quick chicken shed update - getting there - roof going on shortly and we may go browsing here for suitable ladies tomorrow. Not to bring any home just yet you understand....the shed must be worthy of our feathery lovelies first.

I'm now off again to fetch Minx from her friend's 'sparkly party' - she'll be glammed up with hair, nails, make-up - the lot! Oh, what it is to be 7.....


Friday, June 20, 2008

I must be coming down with something..... I decided to spend most of my day off (today) spring cleaning the living room!

I know!!!

What on earth has got into me?

I sorted out our groaning bookshelves and have sorted two carrier bags of books to go to the charity shop and four crates of books to go up into the loft. I even cleaned behind and under all the furniture!!!!

I had an ulterior motive of course - I needed to find somewhere to put all my lovely craft books. Moogsdad and I share a bit of a book buying habit and over the years have amassed a rather eclectic collection to say the least!

If you want a book on the history of Wales or England or Scotland or India or Russia.....or want to learn how to speak Japanese, French, Spanish or German.....or want to brush up on particle physics or Bridge or hillwalking or windsurfing...or Celtic Art ...or even knot tying.......or maybe you're a nature lover and yearn to discover more about trees, wildflowers, birds, hedgehogs or bats....or maybe just fancy a bit of chick lit or fantasy fiction...or even a few classics.........or want to delve into the human psyche or the building regulations of the UK........or have a desire to learn how to cope with sulky people...then we can probably furnish you with an appropriate text!!

Having looked at the spines of many of these books for the past 10 years but never having actually read them I took drastic action and packaged them up and hoiked them up to the loft.

I now have some rather gorgeous shelves of rather gorgeous craft books to peruse at my leisure........once I've finished the Harry Potters of course!

Harry Potter update - now onto page one hundred and something of book 6 (Half Blood Prince) and have borrowed the Deathly Hallows from the library.

My blogland absence this week has been entirely due to my current fixation with HP.

I may rewatch the movies this weekend!! may be under the impression that this was once a craft blog, right?

Ok then.

I give in.

I've taken the sewing machine out of mothballs.

Today (after the 'big clean') I made a present for Minx's friend who is having a very girly birthday party tomorrow at a local beauty salon - she's 7!!

A bag...

...with a matching purse.

I also finished off this purse for my shop and have a few others in the pipeline.

I loved making this as I got the wool fabric from Monda's etsy shop and Syko sent me the gorgeous floral fabric with her fab mini-quilt. It was so good to make something with such lovely reminders of two of my favourite bloggers.

I am now going to take my leave and play catch up with your blog posts....I may be some time......

Hope you have a relaxing weekend.


p.s. blackbirds still with us and very busy collecting yummy grubs and chicken accomodation coming on nicely.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Coming up for air

I'm taking a few minutes respite between book 4 and book 5.

As a result of a busy weekend tearing round after my naughty little folk, visiting my Dad in Birmingham and prolonged bouts of Harry Potter fever I have nothing crafty to report - unless you count a crocheted head, of course.

I had a few minutes to bimble in the garden though and thought I'd share it with you. My garden is the horticultural equivalent of Jodie's studio, so don't be fooled into thinking it all looks this lovely!

Moogsdad is making progress on our new chicken palace. Fingers crossed he may have even built them a nice snug house by the end of this week.

Minx's windowbox - the inside of the Wendy House looks less lovely, having seen some mud pie action this summer!

My tomato plants have gone wild - and I'll reveal my secret later.....

Spuds growing in sacks - not sure when they'll be done but looking good so far.....

.....our little veg patch coming along nicely.....


Now, onto my tomato growing secret.

As you may or may not know tomato plants are greedy b**gers and require lots of feeding. Taking tips from here I've been making my own tomato feed this year and they seem to love it!

So if you have a comfrey plant handy.....

...and you want to make a superb free plant food that smells like the worst ever stinky farmyard...only worse... here is how you do it.

Pick half a bucket of comfrey leaves - good idea to wear gloves as comfrey can irritate your skin...

....cover the leaves with water and leave for about a week or so.

You will be left with a dark brown, incredibly foul smelling liquid fertiliser to add to your watering can (1 part fertiliser to 5-20 parts water).

You may then get some of these:

To end on a really exciting note....whilst pottering and pootling about the garden today I realised we have a pair of blackbirds nesting just outside the conservatory window, inside my bottlebrush plant. I've now got my fingers crossed they don't get got by the nasty magpies - the silly things have not exactly hidden very well and I can see the female's head when she's sitting on the nest - twit!!!

I'll keep you posted!


p.s. just thought - I can now justify time spent out in the conservatory reading HP as I'm on magpie patrol!!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm so 'on trend' - even if I do get there later than everyone else!

....but first I must show you this week's crafty doings.

You may recall I posted about this fab yarn last Friday. It came with a free pattern for a cute little purse and has proved to be the perfect little project to satisfy my crafty urges this week.

This yarn is quite hard work and it really made my thumb ache to crochet with it!!

The finished result was worth the pain and I now have a lovely little purse to carry a few essentials.

I couldn't bear to waste any of the yarn so I decided to make a crocheted flower. As this turned out somewhat rigid I added a hanging thread and it's now hanging in my window. I also adapted the purse pattern to make a cute little pouch for my MP3 player.

Now then - let it not be said that I don't keep up with the trends. It's just that sometimes - most of the time - I keep up with them a bit later than everyone else!

Mostly 'cos I'm utterly contrary and don't like being told what I must or most not do/like etc.

This little series of books came out that everyone was raving about. Hah - some people even camped outside bookshops to get hold of them! Some have even been made into films!

I've seen all the films several times and have enjoyed them all. I even borrowed and read the first two books some time ago before giving up a short way into the third.

However, with two children who are becoming gradually more confident in their reading I decided, with the help of four bargain charity shop purchases, to start to collect the series.

I bought two others from Mr Amazon himself and now have just the final book to buy.

I'm holding out for either another charity shop find or the imminent paperback release before I complete the collection.

So, in between working, crocheting and finishing up some swap goodies to be posted tomorrow - this week I are mostly been readin' 'Arry Potter (imagine Jesse's voice here if you will :) ).

Progress so far is good - verging on the obsessive - if you count reading outside the school gates, whilst boiling the kettle, whilst drying my hair and whilst bathing the Minx.

As a result I've almost finished book three - and so far the best - The Prisoner of Azkaban.

After this one it's on to the big boys and they may take a bit more reading......just as well really as Deathly Hallows isn't out in paperback until 5th July!!!

I'm in celebratory mood tonight as I have tomorrow off!!!

My first proper day off all to myself since I started work 7 weeks ago! (Weekends and school holiday not included as I get even less time to myself at such times!)

Mwah ha ha ha haaaaa - it's mine all mine I tell you!!!!

After a quick whizz to the post office and the hairdresser tomorrow morning I will do loads of housework, cooking and laundry curl up on the sofa with my books and a cuppa :)

Going reading may have to be neglected as I only have 80 pages to go........


Monday, June 9, 2008

The non-chihuahua......

We ran away from the housework and chores yesterday.

It was a gorgeous day so we decided to visit Hinton Ampner - a National Trust property not far from here.

The house was gutted by fire in 1960 and subsequently renovated by it's owner. Few of the rooms are open to view but those that are are full of beautiful and very ornate furnishings, ornaments and pictures.

The gardens are stunning and a real tribute to the last owner who made it his life's work to relandscape them.

There's also a very lovely little church within the grounds, with some beautiful stained glass windows.

Moogsdad is rather partial to a bit of topiary so this was right up his street.

The roses were in full bloom and the scent from them was heavenly.

We will be going there again. It will be a lovely place to take a picnic in the summer holidays according to Monster and Minx :)

Onto something crafty then.

More amigurumi.

A very cute chihuahua pattern from here. I couldn't resist him with his little chihuahua nose and his cute little bandana.

It was lovely to crochet.

However, things went awry in the making up and he made a bit of an ass of himself.

Not a chihuahua as it turns out.

No - most definately not.

Baby donkey it is then!!!!

I'm not quite sure what went wrong but once his ears and eyes were on and his head was attached I felt that he still wouldn't be a chihuahua even if I gave him a doggy mouth!

A more donkey-like visage was thus created.

Still, he does make a cute little ass :)