Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Exciting Post Day!

As yesterday was a Bank Holiday and there was no post delivery everything I had been waiting for arrived today! I love getting post so so much!! 

The Keepers at Home magazines that I won on eBay arrived from America. I have been waiting so (im)patiently for these to arrive! I found the magazine quite a while ago and have been buying odd back issues here and there as they appear on eBay. They almost never seem to be sold and even less often by a seller willing to post to England. This time I saw 4 magazines for sale and bought them. 

I happened to mention in an email to the seller that I really liked the magazine and have been trying to build up a collection. She said that she had years and years worth of them and was planning to sell them! Such exciting news! My collection has more than tripled now and I have enough reading to last right through Winter!! 

I like the covers and think they always match perfectly with the season they represent. It is interesting to see how the covers have changed right back to the issues from 1994. As it is a Mennonite publication it has lots of topics on subjects like faith, home making, child raising and crafts! I can't wait to sit down and read them!

My pumpkin candle holder arrived today too! It is just the cutest pumpkin ever!! The perfect start to my collection of Autumnal decorations. I just need to get pumpkin scented tea lights to go in it and I am all set. 

I can't wait to see it all lit up and flickering! A lovely warm glow plus the delicious scent of pumpkin. 



Monday, 29 August 2011

Random Post - Monday 29th August.

The weather has been changeable today. When I first woke up this morning there was brilliant sunshine outside and gradually throughout the day it has become colder and duller. It has been windy too, on and off. I don't think the weather can decide if it is Summer or Autumn! 

I bought the Little Women sound track on CD and so far I love it! I am so glad that I do as I had such high expectations for it. Amazingly it was cheaper for me to buy from an American seller and have it posted here than it would have been to buy it from England!

I am burning a candle called Warm Apple Pie and you can smell it all over the house. I do love candles! I want to decorate for Autumn this year but I also want to make most of the decorations myself so it might end up being next Autumn! 

Watching The Waltons too (season 3, episode 13 if you were wondering!) and it is such a sweet show. Anyone and everyone could watch it without issue and that is a rare thing indeed. 

I have had such a clear out this weekend! I thought that as it was a Bank Holiday weekend it would be a good opportunity to not only sort out my room but also my craft collection and all my books. I will never be a minimalist though - I love pretty things too much and am far too sentimental! 

I am also thinking of going through my DVD collection. I have some films that are .... well, not bad but certainly not a really good influence. I keep thinking that if a film isn't teaching me something or setting a good example do I really need to watch it? 

Now that all my craft stuff is tidy and arranged by type I can see everything that I have! I have about a hundred projects in mind on top of those in the future craft projects thread. I found some felt in many colours so now I want to make an Autumnal wreath maybe with felt owls and a Christmas wreath with holly leaves and silver bells! I don't want to get too over excited though as I can't spend all of my time crafting! 

I have so many blog posts floating around in my head, I just need to sit down and write them! Sometimes I feel like I could post ten times a day. Looking back through the posts I have made it is all pretty random. I keep thinking that I need a proper theme so there is less jumping about but really this blog is just where I post whatever is on my mind. I don't think I would like to restrict myself to a set few topics! 



Saturday, 27 August 2011

Raindrops on Roses.

I think it is a bad sign that I noticed it was raining and my first thought was to grab my camera and head into the garden! No shoes .... no time for that!

The beauty of raindrops catching the sunlight is hard to beat in my opinion. It is like nature adding a little glitter to the garden. A hint to slow down and notice the beauty all around is sometimes needed and raindrops provide just that. 



Monday, 22 August 2011

Future Craft Projects.

I always have a long list of projects in all areas of my life! Here is my current pile .... well most of it any way. I went to a craft shop recently and they were having the most amazing sale! I managed to buy much more than I had thought and I stayed within my budget.  

I love these tablecloth kits. I am just starting with embroidery and decided that taking baby steps was the way for me. I can cross stitch already and really enjoy that. 

I love the colours of the sunflowers and lavender in this one. It has a sort of late Summer feel to it. 

The tablecloths have a printed pattern on them and a key to show which stitches and colours to use where. All the threads are provided too so it is a total kit! Once all the sewing has been completed, you simply wash the tablecloth and the printed pattern washes away. 

I thought that this hedgehog one was just adorable. I have the table cloth and the runner size in this design. So Autumnal!! Perfect too as I want to start decorating according to the seasons. 

I thought these lily of the valley designs would make pretty gifts, as would the cross stitch bookmark kits that I purchased. 

I love cross stitch and I love Margaret Sherry designs so I just could not resist this special magazine! I want to do pretty much every design in it! The festive mice are especially cute. 

Look at this sweet kitty! So cheerful and the animals seem to have such personality. There are a lot of ideas for handmade gifts in here so I just need to find the time to complete them all now! 

I also bought these fabric fat quarters! I  am planning some sort of beach themed mini quilt. 

How sweet are these little beach huts? I haven't decided exactly what to do with the fabric but I just had to have it. It was one of those times when I knew that, if I didn't buy it while it was such good value, I would be wishing I had! 

Do you have a huge list of craft projects to do? I do hope I am not the only one! I struggle to keep all my craft stuff organised especially as I can't decide on just one craft to focus on! 



Saturday, 20 August 2011

Lemon Cake.

Today I made a lemon cake. Well, mine was technically lemon and lime! It was a recipe that I hadn't tried before but, as I am trying to get better at baking, I thought I would give it a go. Nice and simple!


175g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
225g self raising flour
2tbsp milk
6tbsp lemon juice (or 3 of lemon and 3 of lime)
Optional zest of a lemon (I was unprepared!)

Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 and lightly butter and flour a 900g loaf pan. I used a silicone pan so I also put it on a baking tray to keep it level. 


Cream the butter and sugar together until they are evenly blended and light in colour. This takes quite a while if you get the butter straight from the fridge like I did! 

The mixture should be light and fluffy. 

Whisk in the eggs a little bit at a time. If the mixture starts to separate add a little of the flour to the mix and keep stirring!

I found it pretty easy with a hand whisk. It really didn't take long at all so I didn't think it was worth getting the electric mixer out. Plus I tend to over mix using the electric one! 

Sift the remaining flour to remove any lumps and then fold this in to the mixture a little at a time with a metal spoon. Then add the milk and lemon (and lime!) juice and make sure that it is all evenly mixed in. 

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan, making sure that you get it right into the corners, and level off the top. 

Bake for one hour or until a baking skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. 

Mine went a little wrong as you can see! For some reason the middle of the cake lifted up like a volcano! 

It did taste lovely though in spite of appearances! It was light and sweet with just a little tang from the lemon. 



Monday, 15 August 2011

Looking Forward to Autumn.

Already!! I know .... crazy isn't it?! We haven't had all that much of a Summer so far. There have been odd days of sunshine but there have been a lot of chilly days too. Even now in August! Last week there was some scary weather here, right out of the blue. A proper storm! With sheets of rain, lightening and thunder so loud you could feel it! 

I am sat right now with a Yankee Candle tart burning away. It is Frosted Pumpkin and smells lovely plus I love the way the candle light flickers and casts shadows around the room. I also have my Autumn Victoria magazines out and am enjoying flicking through them. At the same time though I think perhaps it is a little early to be wishing the Summer away. The scariest thing is that I am already thinking about and planing for Christmas! I want to do lots of crafty stuff this year and make presents and decorations so I need to start early. I have a few cross stitch projects in mind but I am so slow they will probably be done by next Christmas! I am so hoping that I get quicker!! I am already picturing festive mice and cross stitched stockings.

I am so excited also for the change is seasons as it is a fantastic opportunity to take photographs of the changing leaves and the sort of start beauty of Winter. 

I am looking around for little decorating items that represent each season too. I love the way some people decorate their homes for the seasons as well as Christmas. I could get so carried away though! I must be strict with myself - limited storage you see! The same issue that I have with my crafting or more my inability to choose just one craft to focus on.

Which is your favourite season?



Monday, 1 August 2011

Conversational Charm in a Capsule.

Here is a round-up of rules to keep in mind when speaking with anyone:

Do cultivate a well modulated, relaxed speaking voice
Do use pleasant, appropriate facial expressions
Do use a descriptive, varied vocabulary
Do be as well informed as possible
Do ask intelligent questions
Do adopt a friendly manner
Do make the other person feel important
Do listen attentively when another person speaks
Do stick to subjects of mutual interest
Do strive to put others at ease

Don't constantly complain
Don't criticise
Don't lecture
Don't boast
Don't argue
Don't ask the price
Don't put "I" before "you"
Don't offer unsolicited advice
Don't belittle
Don't contradict flatly
Don't make sweeping statements
Don't repeat yourself
Don't repeat unpleasant gossip
Don't ask highly personal questions
Don't divulge highly personal matters
Don't use poor grammar, slang, trite expressions
Don't speak in a monotone
Don't speak too rapidly
Don't force a subject others are not interested in
Don't leave anyone out of the conversation

From Secrets of Poise, Personality and Model Beauty by JR Powers. This book was published in 1961 and is so adorable with useful topics, quaint instructions and pretty pictures. It is a little outside my favourite time period but it was such a good find.  This section that I have posted here is a summary of the Charm in Voice and Conversation chapter. 

It seems like such a long list! I do think that much of it is just basic good manners and the rules will be followed naturally. It is interesting to see a list like this where the other person is put first and their comfort is a priority especially as, in the modern world, it is all about me, me, me and my wants, my needs and my interests.