Monday 23 December 2013

Happy Christmas to you all.

                                          HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL MY READERS!

My blog will start again in the New Year!

Friday 20 December 2013

Busy weekend preparations.

Good morning to you all!

Well its fast approaching the weekend and the final preparations will be under way.

On Christmas Eve this year we are having a meal with our lovely friends (one of them being my Australian friend Jo)  So I have written my menu and my husband has sorted the wine to go with!

Not to give to much away but there will be little fun stockings on the table for us all and crackers and fortune cookies.  The open fire will be lit and the lights twinkling.  I am really really really looking forward to it.

I have wrapped all our presents and my husband will probably have to wrap mine from him as he finishes work today for Christmas, which is wonderful.  We can wander about the shops and on Monday pick up our meats ordered from our butcher and fishmonger order and do our last minute shop for vegetables ...... Christmas Eve day we can then spend at home together and await our guests!!

I hope you all have a peaceful and Happy Christmas and most of all enjoy yourselves thoroughly!!!

The New Year will bring you all my updates and new designs and I look forward to sharing them with you.

Thursday 19 December 2013

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Christmas cake decorating

Hello all!

Today I am going to decorate my Christmas cake and the one I make for my lovely mum!  The theme this year is Polar bears.......

I bought some great edible ones and I am pleased with them, also last weekend we went to Bath for the day and wandered about the Christmas market and I found some edible diamonds so they will go on too!

I really enjoy making my cakes look pretty..... I give my mum hers and half is gone by Christmas Eve!!! we call her Mrs Tiggywinkle (from Beatrice Potter) and she really can not resist cake! 

I will enjoy today making in the kitchen, also I make a lasagne and a cottage pie for the freezer so over the Christmas week I can grab something easy so that we can snuggle up and watch a movie here one evening between Christmas and New Years Eve!

What ever you do today enjoy yourself!!

They are wonderful don't you think?

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Ginger snaps

Good morning all

As Christmas day becomes nearer and I have stopped my sewing (for my business ..... not personal or the prize draw!) I love to bake.  I have a hubby who will eat anything I put in front of him and always says ... well I can't eat that out ever again because yours is amazing!!!  So I knew if I bake goodies he will never let there be waste.

I found this recipe and am going to give it a whirl!! Why not try yourself?

Enjoy the day......

Monday 16 December 2013


Limoncello is traditionally made from the zest of Femminello St Teresa lemons also known as Sorrento lemons.  It is basically lemon vodka. The lemon zest is basically steeped in vodka until the oil is released.  The resulting yellow liquid is the mixed with simple syrup.
You can get lots of different recipes to make some yourself and give as presents or you can buy it in an off licence.
It is lovely to have after a meal to drink or you can pour some over ice-cream for a lovely grown up desert.  I keep some always in the fridge..... It's the Italian in me!!
Have a wonderful day.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Present wrapping!

Hello all

Today I am going to be wrapping presents to put under the tree.  I love wrapping and I really love to make presents look beautiful.

I always put on Christmas carols too and it makes the time fly past happily.

I have found a few ideas for you to look at..........


Saturday 14 December 2013

My beautiful boys!

This is Denis and my grandson Finely, who is nana's apple of her eye!
This little man chatted happily to Santa and when Santa said to him Finley you are a happy little boy today, he replied I am always happy Santa! a few tears fell I confess.

Well the preparation continues for the big bully off....... So please enjoy your day!

Friday 13 December 2013


Good morning

One of the things I love to do this time of year is make gingerbread house and cookies!!  I love to make stain glass from crushed fruit boiled sweets and ice and stick!  Its the child in me I think.

I make cookies to give too, to some neighbours to say thank you for the year.  We are lucky here that we have great neighbours, they pick up your post and water plants when you are on holiday. They lend tools and borrow with each other and lend a helping hand.  So to say thank you and not to embarrass anyone, its nice to just hand over some homemade cookies or chutney to say Thank You!!

Have a wonderful day and enjoy yourself maybe in the kitchen with a little baking or sit and sew.



Thursday 12 December 2013

Feed the birds!

Good morning all

On these frosty cold days I always think about the birds in the garden.  I actually have fairy lights around the bird table as it has a little roof on!! I know I know I am mad as a box of frogs!!

Still I have hung out lots of china teacups with the lard and seed in them and I have other bird feeders about.  Not to forget making sure they have water too, in this frosty weather even puddles are frozen and they get thirsty just like us.  Every morning I go out and chip out the ice in the bird bath and add some fresh warm water for them.

Have a wonderful day to day whatever you are up to!!

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Mocha Turtle Christmas fair today

Good morning all

Today see's me at the Christmas fair in Tuckton in Bournemouth.

I am packing all my bits for my stall and this is my last one of this year.  I only do two as you know.  After today all will be packed away ( what is left that is) and that is it for me this year. After Christmas is my wonderful designing and making samples month!!

Come along today if you are local it will be great.  It starts at 4pm, dress warmly and get down there for a glass of mulled wine and Christmas carols!!

Have a great day and hope to meet some of you.

Tuesday 10 December 2013

15 Sleeps until he gets here!

Good morning all!

Not to panic the masses but it is only fifteen sleeps until Santa arrives!!!

I hope you are all getting organised and not in panic mode.  That's why I love my lists, instead of thinking 'Oh NO!!! I have this to do or that, I can look at my lists and smile at what has a tick beside it!

There is still a little time for stitching a handmade tag for a present or name cards for the table, so I hope you all have a great day whatever you are up too.

Monday 9 December 2013

Friday 6 December 2013

Birthday party prep!

Good morning

Well today is about doing a food shop and getting ready to see my wonderful friends tomorrow.  There will be a buffet and drinkies, music and dancing!! I get my huge cuddle from Jo and my lovely friend Charles will be here too.  There are 14 of us and I am looking forward to seeing my friend Debbie who has been my friend since we were 4 years old!

So its dashing around this morning and hair dresser this afternoon!!

What ever you do today have a good one and have a lovely weekend.

Thursday 5 December 2013


Hello all!

Well my Birthday weekend draws near and there are preparations under way.  Today my lovely friend Joanna arrives from Australia and I will get to see her this weekend.  I am so excited.

Today I thought I would give you some ideas for panettone.  This is a traditional Christmas cake in Italy and being that I have part Italian genes in me, we always have a few in our home this time of year.  They are scrummy to eat as they are with a coffee or tea, but  here a couple more ideas for you.

You can make a bread and butter pudding with some.  Just cut the crust off and lay in a dish. whisk two egg yolks and half a pint of milk together, add a small pot of cream to that and some fresh grated nutmeg and some marsala wine in as well about 2 fluid ounces.  Then pour over the top and make sure the panettone has soaked it all in for half an hour at least ( you can cover it with cling film at this point and pop it in the fridge over night)  then just bake it in the oven until its slightly crispy on top.

I add a little caster sugar on top but do not think it's needed in the panettone it's self.

OR how about making French toast with some.  whisk egg and milk together and nutmeg and cinnamon ( half teaspoon of each) then soak the bread.  You fry in a pan with butter until golden brown.  You can serve it with marscarpone cream cheese ( with one ounce of icing sugar folded in) and a berry compote ...... or orange and Cointreau syrup !!!!!

Hope what ever you are doing today, be it Christmas shopping or some last minute stitching, Enjoy your day.

Wednesday 4 December 2013

Tales of 'The Warm Wijn'

Hello all

Whilst writing my list and ticking what I have already done, I came upon my list for food over the holiday period.  I have done the cranberry sauce and it is in the fridge and was checking cupboards for menus that I have prepared on my list so that I can check ingredients that needs to be bought.  Well on there was warm wijn recipe (mulled wine) and I was checking for the spices and it brought to mind one lovely Christmas Eve when my Mum and Dad came ( they are my husbands parents, but I have adopted them for myself too!!)

So we made a huge batch of warm wijn and my father in law was very partial to it.  We all sat by the open fire, having had our meal and the presents were under the tree and the shops were closed.  What had not been bought was quiet frankly not needed.  We were all talking and laughing and drinking the warm wijn and we drunk the big saucepan full that we had made. 

Deciding then it was best to go to bed, my lovely father in law stood up and wobbled into every door on his way to the stairs and gradually making it to his room....... He had a huge grin on his face!!
We get on very well and he and I always seem to be getting into some trouble or another , usually fuelled by some wine!!!  He has said before I get him into trouble............. but he loves it!!

So anyway try some for yourselves, it is lovely and warming ..... take heed though its potent too!!

Tuesday 3 December 2013

Day to tidy and to do some hand stitching

Good morning all

Well today I am going to be busy about the house and I have scheduled myself to sit and stitch by 2-30!! now if my bones stop aching maybe I can wiz about and get to that a bit quicker!!

I really would like to get The little house sampler to the framer.  Because of the change of date to do the drawer, this little lovely has taken a slight back seat, plus with not feeling my best it has sat neglected slightly....... don't worry my lovely readers it will be there for you.....

Anyway whatever you are doing today make it a good one.

Ahhhhh this is better!

Sunday 1 December 2013

First Day of Christmas!

Christmas is on it's way!!!  I am happy to say I am having Christmas this year with some very special friends. 

The Christmas card writing and parcel wrapping begins!!  My making for this year is over and I can concentrate on the festive season and my precious designing months!!

No one panic I will be sharing recipes with you and little quick sewing projects to add to presents etc.

How about stitching some little tags for that special gift or place names for the table?
Enjoy and happy stitching!

Friday 29 November 2013

Ballards School Christmas Fayre

Good morning all

Today is the day.  Packed and double checked.

So wish me luck and I hope whatever you are doing today it's a good day.

For those of you who are sewing today ..... Enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend and keep warm :)))

Thursday 28 November 2013

Packing up for tomorrow

Good morning all

Well today is about packing up for tomorrow and making sure everything I need it there.

I have bought some beautiful chocolates to display on my little bon bon plates and I have remembered the cloth for the table!!

I am still fighting a cold but at the moment I am winning!!!! yippeeee

Plenty of warm drinks!  and I will dress warmly.

My stand will have some Christmas stockings, handmade ribbons, some Christmas journals and china.

So wish me luck today and hope that I remember to pack everything!!!

Have a wonderful day.

Thanks Giving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers.  I hope you have a wonderful day with your family and friends.

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Christmas recipe!

Good morning all

I thought I would share a recipe for Cranberry sauce with you.  You can make it now and put it in a air tight jar and it will be perfect for all of Christmas and will be good for a good six weeks after that!   If it lasts that long.

I punnet of fresh cranberries
half a cup of orange juice
A good slug of red port .... :)))
two ounces of sugar.
five orange segments chopped. Pith removed.

Put all ingredients into pan and cook on a medium heat until all the berries have popped and the mixture has thickened.  Let it cool slightly and decant into  air tight and sterilised jars.

Believe me it's good and a tick off your Christmas list that is sat happily in the fridge.


Tuesday 26 November 2013

Chasing a my tail!

Good morning

These next few weeks are very busy for me.  I am finished making stock but I must finish the prize picture!!!!
I have a Christmas Fayre on Friday and I have a cold that's slowing my every move.  It's not so much the blowing of the nose, it is the aching bones and the sore throat!! I am so cross with it.

I have my Birthday coming up and friends coming and of course Christmas.  Cleaning, cooking, present buying and wrapping and guest beds to make up!!

All I really want to do is cuddle up somewhere warm.........

I am just slower at the moment, thing is not to panic.

So dear readers wish me luck in my quest over the next few weeks.

Have a wonderful day.

Friday 22 November 2013

Hares and bunnies!

Good morning

I have been doing a cross stitch sampler for myself for about six months now!! Its just time that is holding up finishing it.  I have so much else to do and if I am sitting at night hand sewing, at the moment it is for the prize draw...... other wise I would feel guilty!!

The cross stitch sampler I am doing has rabbits on with a beautiful alphabet and lots of antique mother of pearl carved buttons............... ladies and gents it is divine!!  I hope to finish it soon.

I love rabbits and hares and it is a symbol of gentleness and purity and is said to be good luck in your home.

I have done some vintage fabric pictures with hares but will be designing new ones for next year.

Whatever you do today have a great one.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Christmas hamper idea

Morning all

Is there any panic out there as to what to buy for someone this year..... How about a hamper?

Get a basket and fill it with either homemade gifts or bits and bobs you buy.

The foodie basket .............

Tea drinkers....... or coffee!
Pamper yourself hamper.
You can do any hamper you like.  Find a basket in a charity shop or buy one.  Your imagination is your limit only.  Think about what that person or a couple love and make up a little hamper.
For a couple who love films, Look for a DVD and pop in packet of popcorn, sweets and a bottle of wine.......  It will be appreciated in January when the weather is horrid generally and the excitement of Christmas is packed up.  They can snuggle up and have a duvet evening!!
Any ideas from readers........?? Come on lads, your opinion counts too!!

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Christmas idea

Morning to all

I must show you all what I found! The most amazing pin cushions!!

These are wonderful and I am afraid I do not know who made them but I think that they are useful and beautiful, I gift that I would not mind receiving.

Anyone out there who reads my blog, do you have any ideas to share with people for stitching makes?  Please feel free and also a picture if you have one.

Happy Stitching Day!

Tuesday 19 November 2013

Little House Sampler ..... New date for draw.

Good morning all

Well it seems some people are having trouble getting to my blog.  My blog has to be categorized in some way.  If people have a family and have tightened the security so that they can not get onto unsuitable sites, then this is where the trouble begins.

We here have been trying for days to sort this out but have thus failed in our attempts.  So with this in mind and having to get my poor husband to find time to get this problem sorted and giving people more time, the blog joining competition will be held in January instead.  Sorry to anyone hoping to be lucky enough to try and win before Christmas!  Also in an email from a lady in Australia she pointed out that posting such a lovely thing at the height of the Christmas rush might not be very wise with so much post that goes missing and is damaged that time of year! and after careful thought I have to agree with her.  I apologise to you all and hope you will understand.

So this in mind the draw for the Little House Sampler will be held in January on the 20th.

This also helps my framer who is so busy at the moment and has announced to me he is retiring!! I nearly had kittens when I was told, he is so good at his job and now I have to trust his replacement. 

I will continue to work on the picture and will put a picture up of the finished article and when the draw has taken place and I send the picture to the winner I hope they will send me a photo so that I may pop that on here too.

At the moment I am sewing the path to the door of the little house...... :))  I would still like it finished on my schedule time so that I know its at the framers. 

I hope today whatever you are doing that you have a wonderful day.


Monday 18 November 2013

Jane Austen clothing ........ smocking

Good Morning

As you all know my love of embroidery and hand stitching is boundless!  I will be doing some courses next year to improve my skills and learn more stitches.

The love of history goes hand in hand with what I do, as my love of vintage shows you.  Times gone by produced beautiful fabrics and workmanship that today has been sadly dying out, except I believe is making a revival....... The young people who love vintage because it is in vogue want to learn how to do things!! 

Jane Austen era (Regency) I adore the ladies clothing.  It was flattering and was more free than fashions before.  The stitch work on the fabrics was stunning. One being smocking, which does take skill.

Smocking has several stitches and with that produces different patterns.  It makes the garment stretchy ( before elastic) and it also makes it beautiful.

The stitches used are:-

1.   Cable stitch

2.   Stem stitch

3.   Outline stitch

4.   Cable flowerette

5.   Wave Stitch

6.   Honeycomb stitch

7.   Surface honeycomb stitch

8.   Trellis stitch

9.   Vandyke stitch

10.  Bullion stitch

Smocking refers to work done before a garment is made up.  Traditional hand smocking begins with marking dots in a grid pattern on the wrong side of the fabric and gathering it with temporary running stitch. These stitches are anchored on each end in a manner that facilitates later removal and are basting stitches.  Then a row of cable stitching stabilizes the top and bottom of the smocking.

Jane Austen 1775 - 1817
Although not a lot of smocking on this, it is beautiful.
Example of honeycomb stitch on a 18thC gown.
Quote of the day.
Her needlework both plain and ornamental was excellent, and she might have put a sewing machine to shame!
James Edward Austen-Leigh .... about Jane Austen.

Sunday 17 November 2013

Wedding favours

Good morning

I had an order for jam pot covers made from fabric for a lady in America.  She wanted 50 of them to put on jams she had made and they were wedding favours!

What a lovely idea.  She put on what jam she had made and a tag with the date and names of bride and groom.

It's a lovely idea for anyone getting married next year.

Happy Stitching!