Tuesday, 31 December 2013

From pallet to pressies...

Now that Christmas is over I can show you a couple of fun things M made for extra gifts. The log crate was dreamt up after spending many trying to track down a vintage log basket for my parents. I did plan a log filled pic next to their fireplace but you know, Christmas got in the way.

We had planned to put a food hamper together for my brother and his wife, using only Lincolnshire products and so a personalised crate seemed the ideal container.

Apologies for this dark photo. It was snapped on the morning we were loading up the caravan with everything; clothes, presents, pets...

The photos don't show the rope handles very well but they were a nice touch and strong too. As luck would have it we already had the large letter stencil that I used to do the lettering.

The children wanted in on the crate action but I will have to show you their 'pieces' once I've managed to photograph them. Oh and for Downton Abbey fans, you will appreciate the item that M made for me out of reclaimed timber, also awaiting photography!

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Happy 13th Birthday!

Happy Birthday Jake!

Probably the last year (hopefully the last year) that he will request a nerf gun for his birthday. He can now fire two foam darts at a time at my backside. Ow.

Typical boy presents; football boots, an aerobie, a cricket t shirt, play station games (handy having an Uncle who works for Sony!)... can't help thinking a brother would have been handy.

Technically I think we are now supposed to be entering the grunt language phase but thankfully we are not quite there yet. J is still his lovely, polite, thoughtful, sensitive self... and it's a good job he doesn't read my blog. He'd blush.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Happy Christmas!

So this is Christmas huh? Loving the wrapping paper hideouts and the plentiful cardboard boxes. It has to be said, I quite like showing off too. Feeling rather full with turkey leftovers so I'm leaving the mousing to the neighbourhood cats. Happy Christmas everyone!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

It's birthday month...

Happy 16th Birthday E!

It seems like yesterday that I took her home from hospital, eyes wide open all the time, watching, listening...and at two the constant stream of babble, none of it resembling English. Fast forward to sixteen and living up to every stereotype of teenagers, but talented, funny and most of all 'ironic'.

That's the favourite word amongst E and her bunch of male and female friends. Ironic. I swear I didn't even know what that meant at her age. I blame the lack of Internet! She absolutely hates One Direction with a passion so being 'ironic' meant her friends bought her a 1D gift pack including the badge you see here in the photo. There were ironic cards too, like the golf one (she plays cricket). At least the ironic pizzas went down well at the 'gathering' we managed to survive last night. Six teenagers who all seem rather tall for their age.

...and next week we celebrate a lovely twelve year old boy turning into a monstrous teenager, thirteen. Oh help.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


I'd really love a white Christmas... that is after we've towed our caravan to Mum's for the duration of the holiday (with enough food to survive being snowed in for a month or two.) Quite frankly I don't know how we'd do Christmas otherwise, apart from the caravan being an extra bedroom (there are eight of us at Christmas) it's also the transportation for all the presents, bags, Wellies, snow boots, dog food, cat food... The actual animals; two dogs, a cat and two hamsters will travel in the car. God help us. Oh and I nearly forgot the children.

I think it is going to be an 'appy' Christmas if you'll pardon the pun. I envisage the children downloading apps galore on their Christmas presents this year (they don't read my blog). Sharing my iPad with them was supposed to be something that only happened when it was for homework but that just doesn't happen. They built a sim city thing last night, whatever that is, and E is particularly taken with Jelly Splash at the moment. It's all rather disrupting my new addiction to online Scrabble.

I have been reading the weather forecasts and it seems that at some stage we will have a period of prolonged snow. Never one to actually be totally prepared (I'm more of a spontaneous type) I actually went ahead and bought some snow boots. This was partly due to all that snow we had in 2010 that seemed to go on forever. I was still doing the primary school run in those days and envied everyone with warm feet inside thickly lined snow boots. There were no snow boots to be had for miles. Of course, now that I've got some it probably won't snow!

Monday, 2 December 2013

Mug of tea anyone?

For some time now I have been collecting hand thrown pottery mugs. No two are alike. My latest additions are the four in the centre of this picture. The pale ones are a beautiful chalky white with a mix of other tones. They are from Woburn Pottery. Most are marked but some only with abstract symbols. I've tried to look up where they are from on the internet but I guess there are an awful lot of small potteries.

When we visit new places in the UK we often call in at potteries but whilst I admire the time and skill and the various processes that go into making a hand thrown mug I'm always a little reluctant to spend a tenner on a mug that will no doubt get chipped or dropped. Some of my charity shop finds have ended up smashed to smithereens.

I favour the more matt glazes but the glossy ones are often too nice to leave behind. One of my favourites (below) has a rather dark and gloomy tree scene but it's a great shape and a good size, it was also the most I've ever paid for one, a whopping £2.

I'm not sticking to certain colours either, though all the more retro designs are in shades of brown, which is possibly why so many end up in charity shops. There is so much choice in terms of colour and pattern these days.

Sometimes the small ones are shoved to the back of a shelf and marked 50p., like this latest one, not exactly a hand thrown mug but sweet nonetheless... It feels familiar somehow. It's from the range 'Granville' by T G Green which is great because it reminds me of David Jason in Open All Hours. It's only espresso size.

This is a close up of my latest find, one of four from Woburn Pottery. It's got a nice generous handle. You can tell when they are hand thrown by the swirls in the bottom of the cup and by the clay they are made from.

It's quite likely that I'm slightly odd to post about my mug collection. I figure that it's a harmless thing to collect because they do actually get used, and every day too. My second largest collection is probably jeans. I do like jeans. There won't be any posts about jeans. I promise.

P.S. The lung model got top marks! Woohoo!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Breathe in...breathe out...

I was up bright and early with a frost still on the ground... which was my cunning plan not to bring back quite as much field on the dogs fronds. Failed miserably and got bonus fox poo with it. Thanks Riley.

Jake played a football match away while I stayed home and did miscellaneous housework. Followed by serious log basket hunting with Mum and Ella at our local antiques/junk centre. Just to give you an idea of what 'serious' means in E's terms; she later told M that we trawled through THREE! buildings and still didn't find a log basket!

We did, however, find a fabulous fake fur coat for E. Just a short one, in black, it looked really cool with her doc martins. Both M and I wished we could get away with outrageous vintage finds like that.

So, by 8ish we were all sitting comfortably when Jake asked if I could help with his model of the human breathing system. Still relaxed at this point I asked when he needed it by. Not thinking for a moment that it would be Monday morning. Oh yes, talented son of mine. Not so talented on the scheduling side of things.

A quick surf of the net for ideas (not helpful) and an even quicker dash to the local Co-op for two bottles of apple scented surface cleaner. 2 for £2 if you happen to need a 3D model of lungs at a quarter to nine on a Sunday evening by the way. We poured the surface cleaner into a jug and soaked off the labels while hashing together a couple of lumps of wood and a piece of dowel for the stand. Jake said he would join the straws together 'because I've got experience of these things', and he did an expert job too. I frayed string in three different colours for the bronchi. Doctors look away now. This model is far from accurate let alone a working model (which wasn't the brief thankfully).

All that is left to do is stick some labels on to the various parts. Let's hope he doesn't label them 'drinking straw trachea', 'Co-op apple scented surface cleaner lungs' and 'frayed string bronchi'. I wouldn't put it past him.

Not bad for a Sunday evening's work eh? (That glue will dry clear). Note to self, always buy cleaning products in pairs to avoid late night trips to the Co-op.