Monday, 22 December 2008


..that's what you all are...Angels.

I can't begin to tell you how lovely your messages and e-mails have been.The absolute kindness of strangers.. you aren't really strangers, but you know what I mean..visual strangers if you like. You have made us feel like we have received a big hug..and it was really nice of you..thankyou. (I always worry whether I should share some of my woes on my blog..but that's just me and our life is far from a fairytale!)
I'm a bit behind on my replies, especially the ones that you can't reply to through your inbox, so I do apologise, I just wanted to tell you all how appreciated every single one was...I must admit yesterday was the turning point, hearing The Pogues on the radio singing 'Fairy tale of New york', I found myself actually feeling Christmassy..there definately was a twinge of anticipation in the air! (either that or I needed the loo!)
A relative sent a lovely gift to us on Saturday..totally out the blue, which enabled us to do a 'big' shop at the supermarket with treats and nice things in the trolley for a change and thanks to the people who purchased some of my vintage items and Christmassy toadstools, I have been able to get the boys a few more bits and bobs..whether they arrive before Christmas is another thing but that's the deal with Internet shopping!We are now going up to Northumberland on Boxing day..I can't favourite place in the world with my favourite people..I'll even get to see my Mum and Dad who are coming over from France. The neighbour is chicken and cat sitting for us and The dog will be coming with us too ..all those lovely chilly walks along the river Tyne gossiping with my big sister and putting the world to rights..a couple of days where I know we can forget about bills and worries and I know we will have a wonderful!So there you go, there is a light at the end of the tunnel..sometimes its a bit dim, sometimes only a flicker..but it's there. We must always remain positive,no matter how bad things can have to hold onto the hope.
I wanted to finish my blog on a cheerier note before Christmas, In a few days time I will have been blogging for a whole year, I never thought I would find the things to talk about or if anyone would even want to read them..but a year later here I still am.

I would like to wish you the happiest, most lovely and wonderful time..whoever you spend it with,whatever your circumstances and wherever you are .. Happy Christmas x

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Christmas wishes (updated*)

Do you think if I hide under the bed, right under the bed with the suitcases waiting to go in the roof and the boxes of 'things' with no home that loiter there, Christmas will come and go and we wont notice it?
I love Christmas, really love it,but this year it's all going to be different.
We hit rock bottom yesterday.. a letter arrived in the post telling Pete to prepare himself for a very likely redundancy.He should find out today, his fate.
We have no insurance.We have no savings.We do however have an extremely large overdraft.
Scary times. Very ,very scary times.The boys have been primed that there will be no filled stockings, just a couple of things under the tree. I really hope they don't think I'm teasing like I used to when they were little, just to see their faces fill with glee at the unexpected presents that Santa Claus left for them in the night. I really hope they understand..
I couldn't even face decorating the tree this year, a tree that a nice Polish man let me have at a reduced price because I was a few quid short in my purse.Harry decorated it..he's such a good boy, it does look sweet..robins and toadstools, mooses and berries. We did have some spotty ribbon to go on it, but that can wait til next year. He's doing his best to make it all ok in a way that only a 15 year old boy knows how to.Quietly helping, doing the little things that mean a lot.
Gosh I sound a right miserable old tart don't I?.
I'm wired up to a blood pressure monitor at the moment,just coming to the end of its 24 hour stint..what a vile instrument that thing is! Needless to say I didn't get much sleep last night with the cuff round my arm suddenly inflating at hourly intervals and worrying about one thing or I'm probably grumpier than usual.
The dog had a seizure and peed all over the floor, the boiler has packed in and I've had bronchitis..the recent operation I had hasn't worked it's magic yet so I'm still waiting with baited breath. I look in the mirror and see a stranger..a pasty looking person with dark rings round her eyes and no smile. I've lost the person I used to be and I'd really like her to come back for a bit.Every year we've lit a candle on Christmas eve and made a wish before bedtime. It's going to be a bit of a big one this year..I do hope he's listening!

One thing I am enjoying is other people's excitement, I love reading your happy blogs with pretty pictures and seeing what everyone else is getting up to.
This year I'm having Christmas through your eyes and it's all lovely..thankyou for that, for sharing it...for sharing the happiness with a grumpy old trout like me. x

*updated 17th December
Pete spent 7 hours awaiting his fate.Watching his work colleagues and good friends being called into a room, one after another and coming out with no job, no compensation, nothing but a look of sadness and dread on their faces.
Pete and only 2 of his colleagues still have their jobs.. for now, but they dont know how long they can keep them for.
He said it was awful, really awful ..waiting for your name to be called and knowing there's a family at home counting on you, depending on you.
Although he's pleased he has a job, I think he feels very guilty at the same time.
I can see it in his eyes.Those bright turquoise blue eyes I noticed 19 years ago are now tired and bloodshot.
One of the lads wives had just had their first baby and now today he has no job.
It's certainly become scary times we live in, very scary indeed.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


Yesterday was the day I was dreading.

The day I found out about the biopsy and whether they had found any cancerous cells.

Yesterday was cold and pouring with rain as I stood at the bus stop wondering how I would feel today.

Yesterday as I came home from the hospital in the afternoon, the sun shone through the bus window and I noticed everything..people, dogs, birds,pretty houses tucked behind hedges I'd never noticed before, roads I hadn't seen before and wondered where they went.

An hour alone on a bus in silence is a good time to notice things.
Little things.Everyday things.

Yesterday I came home, lit a fire, made a cup of tea and breathed a sigh of relief.

They didn't find any cancerous cells.

I still have problems, other problems and will have to be monitored and poked and prodded and operated on again..but that's another day.
Thankyou for all your kind messages yesterday, it really did mean alot.

Yesterday I made these little felt toadstools, sewing away at midnight (I'm a bit slow when it comes to hand sewing) and just know,thinking about nothing in particular but also everything.
I thought they would be quite nice hanging from the tree,we are going to have a winter woodland theme..birds and deers and the like. Harry is pestering me like crazy to get the tree.He loves the smell of Christmas, the process of decorating and the new bauble we get each year to remember it by.He has to find me some pine cones first ..that's the deal..

If you would like some little felt toadstools too, let me I've added them to my shop and tomorrow I'll make some more...x

Monday, 1 December 2008

Pretty...pretty lavender hearts this is a blatant, unashamed plug!

In between moping about feeling sorry for myself (thanks you lovely lot for your messages by the way, I really did appreciate them.. x) I have actually been making something involving buttons, ribbon, pretty fabrics and some lovely French lavender which winged it's way over from France, courtesy of my mum. They sell it on the local market sometimes in a big barrel like loose herbs! how lovely..and how very French!mmmmm smells wonderful, although I think once the room fills with the delicious smell of lavender (and the dog starts sneezing)we become a bit immune to it here, shame really.

If you wish to, you can find them here in my little shop (two of the above ones have already sold but there are still some others to choose from)
I've also added onto eBay,a large gingham lampshade and a couple of appliqued cushions from The White company that I think look very much like Greengate very Cath Kidston colours...very pretty indeedy..Links are in the side bar if you happen to need them!!

Monday, 24 November 2008

prizes,new life and stormy weather

I've been a lucky girl of late,winning some beautiful gifts from Hen's giveaway that arrived in a beautifully packed parcel of pink this morning.They are even more gorgeous in the flesh..stitching so tiny and perfect it looks like pixies have sewn it all...she's a talented girl that Hen.
Then I had a parcel of Christmassy pay it forwards from Twiggypeasticks, that have scented my room with some yummy spices for mulled wine and pretty little handmade decorations for the tree, another talented girlie, I will have to pass that pay it forward on at some point.
Anyway, thankyou for all your recent messages, I have put the 14 names that were kind enough to ask a question into a hat and pestered a stinky boy to pull one out, in this case Harry, so having tipped them all out of the hat accidentally not once but twice,(clumsy oaf!) he eventually managed to pull Stephs name out amidst some teenage muttering and, lovely Steph at Curlew country, a little something will be winging (that's your clue!) its way to you at some point,once you let me know your address.

I've been reading about the bloggers vintage and homemade fair,that took place on Saturday.What a lot of hard work was put into that, it all looked wonderful.I would have loved to have gone..The bags under my eyes would have been so handy for all those lovely treasures! Well done Michele and Jane and all the other ladies who worked so hard to bring it to fruition.
This month is usually a mad one,visiting my sister up north for Bonfire night and then seeing my mum and other sister too..Like a lot of my family,they both live abroad but have recently been over here.Unfortunately neither happened, with me going into hospital and Jac has been busy with the Dragonfly charity and doing some press interviews,whilst my mum was looking after little Charlie,her son,it made it all a bit difficult really.
My 'little' brother and his wife (that's them in the wedding photo above) had a baby girl on Thursday..9lbs 8oz..what a whopper!..eek! it makes your eyes water!..I hope that one day I'll be able to meet the new baby-with-no-name along with her gorgeous big brother Jake who thinks his Auntie lives in a box called 'pooter' on the other side of the ocean...I shall be sending them the lovely pink new baby card that Krafty Keely made for me a while back.

The stormy weather arrived here this weekend, and with it some bad news, my euphoria when the taxman gave us some pennies to play with(and recent online spending spree..oops) was very short lived, Pete who works 72 hours a week just so we can survive the bills looks like he may have his hours cut by quite a would almost half his salary if they did..the credit crunch will be biting us very hard, so many people will be in the same boat this year it's quite frightening..Brown robs the rich to pay for the poor but what about the people in the middle? the ones not on benefits who work every hour they can just to keep their heads above water, who own their own house and will loose it in a shot if they can't pay for it..but can't sell it either..who cancelled their insurance as it was too expensive (arrrggh) what about them? It's not Mr. Browns fault, I know.I hate politics but I needed a moan.
So I am trying to find a job, any job so I can help out, Christmas is a case of 'if and when'..The stinky boys have been warned they may have a gas bill instead this year.I'm sure they will be thrilled with it.This week I have to feed a family of four, five cats and a dog on £38.50..It can be done, I've done it have to plan ahead, stick rigidly to your shopping list and get used to the cats being sick because they don't like the cheaper alternative..sorry pussies.Thank goodness we get free eggs.Less in the winter when the hens egg production slows down, but enough to make a stupendously good quiche.

I am feeling incredibly guilty. I'm also feeling sick.

Next Tuesday (2nd) I should get the results of a biopsy.The C word has been mentioned and I'm not talking Christmas here, but only in passing conversation..funny how it's the one word you remember out of all the medical blurb..funnily,I'm not in the slightest bit worried about it, what I don't like is the messed up hormones that caused all the trouble in the first about these for just some of the side affects of the drugs I'm on..
  • weight gain (ooh goody..some more!)
  • spots (yay we love those, whiling away the hours infront of the mirror)
  • mood swings (hoorah, boo, scream)
  • depression (groan, sob)
  • bloatedness (parp)
hang on a minute these sound very's another puberty..I'm going to be a teenager again!!! heaven forbid!!!
So my lovely blogging ladies, I'm going to sign off for a while.I'm sure you want to read about lovely things really and as you can see, I'm a bit stuck for those at the mo, I will however,be adding some things to my shop along the way, including some vintage eiderdowns (the one above has been reserved but I will be adding some more) and pretty stuff that you may just like to take a peek at..or if you are in the same boat as me...a sigh at..

Sunday, 16 November 2008

and the answer to the question is...

I didn't realise there were quite so many questions left for me to answer on that other post! Thankyou so much for all your lovely comments on 'silver linings'..I do hope you didn't think I was fishing for sympathy..this is just my life and how it is and how I tell it (giving too much information away sometimes if you caught a glimpse of that last post before it was edited...what was I thinking?!!!)

Anyway.. here are the answers to the questions as tagged by the lovely Viv at Hens Teeth and asked by the lovely 'you lot'. I have used some photos that you've seen before and I hope you don't get too bored!

Claire and Sharie asked; where do I get my home inspirations from?Well mostly from my 'little Granny's house' that I remember as a child, it was from the same era as ours, 1920s and a lot of my decorating tastes have evolved from my memories of that house. Although I've always loved old things with a history,blogging and seeing real people's fantastic homes,my favourite house magazines and shops also have influenced me a lot.

Sam asked What has been my best vintage/thrift shop purchase?
ooh that's a hard one as I have had a few.
My favourite vintage buy is my 1950s Stockman mannequin that is very tatty and rather curvy,no-one wanted her on eBay so I got her for about £40 including the postage! My best bargain buy has to be the painted Victorian airer in the back kitchen/laundry room..It has been an absolute godsend with all the rain we've had and with the cost of electricity prices currently going through the roof it will be used even more ..a stupendously bargainous 99 pence!! (and yes I did a little dance when got that)

Hen asked about my job as a window dresser, how I got into it,who I worked for,what I loved about it and why I left?I came into it by accident really,straight out of art college, I got a job as a cook for M&S to tie me over(hope I didn't poison too many people!)then moved to Birmingham where I applied at Boots for a catering assistant just to get a job really and they said "why do you want a job as a cook when you failed cookery and you have an A in art..we were going to look for a display person soon do you want the job?" as simple as that.A case of being in the right place at the right time. These were in the days when Boots used props and proper display people, I then went onto work at a place called Living and then onto Beatties (now House of Fraser)This one window won a competition from a prestigious pen company..oo-er!
I really loved the job,it is the best job in the world if you work for the right company.My absolute favourite part was designing and building the Christmas grotto's which we started planning around July-August.We had a Victorian children's bedroom with Peter Pan flying through the window and twinkling stars in the night sky,a castle ..all sorts of really was so much fun finding all the bits and bobs to dress them with. a corner of one of the grottos I hand painted..complete with a papier mache teapot also made by yours truly.(I think the kiddies visiting Santa took all the cakes!)
I like working behind the scenes, being the anonymous person who dismantled the hundreds of Christmas trees on Christmas eve and spent boxing day putting up sale banners! being given a whacking great budget and basically having free reign with it and getting paid to visit prop would LOVE them. why i left is a bit complicated really and there is far more to it but this is the short version.I was headhunted by the Birmingham store and offered the highest wage going for my position in the company group, so it was very tempting to leave my local branch in Worcester where I worked part-time.Unfortunately, what they didn't tell me was that the travelling would be an absolute nightmare and that my little boys were often left at school waiting for their mum to collect them. So I left,and couldn't go back to my old store, I was already doing some gardening on my days off so it became my job more permanently.I do miss it and have to fold things back properly when i pick them up to look at them in shops and Pete practically has to drag me away if I see a display in a shop that 'needs twiddling with!'

Deb asked what was i like at school?Ummm..goody two shoes... best reader,prizes for writing..that is until I hit puberty! My boys tell me I was the 1983 equivalent of an EMO, although I thought I was more Siouxie Soux crossed with Bananarama and David Sylvian from the band Japan.(I had my hair and make-up exactly the same as his!)(I've borrowed those 2 photos from google)
I was far too interested in boys, make -up, dying my hair ridiculous colours and being the class clown to work hard! I did go on to get an A'level and go to college where I studied Art & Design, hoping to be a period wardrobe mistress and costume designer.
And luckily for me and you I don't possess a photo of me in my delightful royal blue crimplene a-line High school pinafore and gingham school shirt! ..sorry Deb!

Krawuggl asked about my ongoing plans for the sitting room..mmmm that's all been put on the back burner,although when we can afford it we will be knocking through the kitchen and dining room,adding a conservatory as an extra sitting room(but with a solid roof) and making the wooden temporary part into a brick built downstairs loo and laundry room.and maybe I'll get to make my Kate Forman curtains after that for the original sitting room! Now where did I put that lottery ticket?

Viv asked 'question?'what are my 3 pet hates?
in a very Beyonce manner..I couldn't stop singing that tune all day Viv after you said that! well..

1.'pda's' or public displays of affection. Most of all pdas in the you really need to have a snog by the cheese counter and walk with your arms wrapped round each other pushing the trolley? ..stop it immediately and MOVE OUT THE WAY or you will feel the wrath of my trolley rage.

2.I absolutely freak out if anyone touches my face with their bare hands.I hate it ,don't know why but I think it's a germ thing.. you know, people not washing their hands after the loo and all that.My kids now know it's my weakness and they use it!

3.Men that talk to your chest.
Yes i am a lady in possession of larger boobies and one of these days I'll just flash those puppies right at them totally out the blue, maybe that will get their attention that my eyes are up HERE.

Sian asked.Why don't I sew more of my pretties?basically because I'm very lazy when it comes to sewing,unorganised and easily distracted!! I do intend to update my blog shop with some new items before Christmas though.

Steph asked if I could recommend a pretty old fashioned hardy perennial for summer long colour
well, Campanula Lactiflora 'Blue Cross'(sold in aid of the charity of the same name) or the one called 'Pritchards variety' which is slightly darker it also comes in a soft pink called 'Loddon Anna'.
'Blue cross' is one of my favourites,flowering from early summer to late autumn. a 4' tall bushy plant that will need staking with some canes and string or a hoop.
It is the most gorgeous shade of pale purple that looks fantastic with pink or apricot roses and hardy geraniums..a good bushy pink rose by the way is Bonica 82.....mine is still covered in blooms in November. Don't forget when the flowers are over on your Campanula,to cut it back by half and feed it with some miracle grow and you'll get another flush! Then cut the stems right down in winter.

Emma asked what would be the one item I would rescue is my house was on fire apart from loved ones?
Oh,I cant imagine anything worse, I think I would be frantically throwing all I could grab out the windows, I'm very sentimental so I think it would be my box of old photographs.

Niki asked where I got my sense of humor from and who are my favourite comedians?
I was always in trouble at school for being silly,so I'm more silly than funny I think.My sense of humor hasn't changed since I was about 5! I used to mimic family members and do different accents, humor got me into trouble but it also got me out of it a few times! I love a good comedian,I like visual comedians like Harold Lloyd and Norman Wisdom and I like to watch the stand up comedy show on a Friday night (Chanel 4 ,10.30pm), Lee Mack was really funny last week.

Mel asked how many 'Stanleys' do I have in my house?

I only have one official Cath Kidston Stanleyand one felt one that I made, but I have a few Stanley lookalikes which are wire-haired fox or Airdale terriers as opposed to a Lakeland terrier like Stanley..
So there's this from my lovely pal Lynn (gigibird)..He's waiting to be made into a very special cushion, I really love him..This little vintage needlepoint one...
This one..who I think must have lived most of his life up a chimney..
This hand carved tiny wooden one... these two... this chap ...these fellows...
and these two..who you have already met..Red even has Stanleys on his lead they are all known as 'Mums Stanleys' though....even Buster!..
ummm quite a few Mel!!

Jane asked when I feel like a bit of retail therapy to cheer myself up which online shop do I hit first?
thoroughly boring, but it's good old eBay...every time! Followed by,Berry red, Not on the high street, Lily blue,Cath Kidston,Lark, cox & cox...I could go on..and on...!!

and lastly Clare..who sent the craziest question of many ears do I have? lol!!

errrrr one big rabbit shaped one that looks like that crazy blue bird thing that SJP wore on her head for her wedding in sex and the city.I'm presuming that was because of the 'whooshing in my one ear' comment I had made!!! you nutter Clare!

If you've got this far..give yourself a slap on the back and have a cup of tea!
I have entered you all into my giveaway,thankyou, It's taken me forever but it was such fun doing this and I'll announce the winner in my next post.

Now everybody.. its your turn... !
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