Thursday, 24 December 2009

Wishing you all a very jolly ...and a very merry....
Hope you have tons of fun and all you have wished for!!
Sairer xxxx

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

stuff and nonsense

I've been doing something to keep my brain activated and to stop it thinking about that other stomach-flipping horrid stuff. I can't really say it's relaxing though, as it generally gives me a headache,hurts my neck, strains my eyes and my thimble-less finger. It's rather time consuming, so I have to fit it in after work, putting the ducks to bed and making the tea but I have to say, it was quite good to be doing it when I didn't want to watch the nasty, eating bits in 'I'm a celebrity' on the TV.
No money in the entire world would make me eat that vile nonsense...although Pete did say he would in fact eat a poo sandwich for half a million quid..cheapskate. (He's going to kill me for sharing that, such intelligent conversations we have between us here at Shabby Towers)
Anyway, changing the subject quickly, this is what I have been doing of late, patchworky stuff. Patchwork is one of those things I have wanted to do for absolutely ages and ages and could never be bothered. It looked too fiddly and time consuming but all the inspiration on flickr and those clever, crafty people out there doing it on a whim has made me finally give it a go. I'm what you would call an impatient seamstress, so don't look too closely as my hexagons weren't too perfect. I normally want anything I make finished there and then but for some reason I have managed to beaver away with my hexagons and faff about with pretty fabrics for the past week or so. Here's a little peek of the ones I've already stitched together...It's eventually going to be a cushion cover, I dont think for a minute I could manage something bigger than that! I'll show you when it's finished.

One of my sisters brought this round today ...woopy-do! a proper Christmas tree with a proper Christmassy smell and sheddy needles..hooray.
Please can somebody tell me why cut trees are so expensive in Malvern (£40+) and so cheap in Gloucestershire (£8!) ? I was beginning to think I might have to decorate a house plant this year and my sister, Nikki has saved me with a present of a tree.
Then there was this surprise box of goodies posted from my other sister up northSo now the tree can do it's job properly and guard a present or two, it would have looked rather bare around the bottom otherwise! I bought these felty toadstools several weeks ago from the shop I work in. I knew they were destined to hang from our tree the minute I saw them, along with some teeny polka dot glass baubles. They're from Germany and I think they are fab!Harry decorated the tree again this year, it helps that he's at least a foot taller than me, as it's a HUUUUGE 8 foot one this year. Job well done stinky boy..Random baubles and a bit of madness thrown in for good measure, very 'us'...well, who else would think of having a plastic giraffe sitting in the branches of their Christmas tree?

Our other news is that Pete has obtained some work with an agency, it's odd days, poorly paid,very early starts and almost verging on part-time compared to his last job, but it's work and work pays bills.
I keep telling him to stop moping around with a face that looks like a slapped backside and think of it as time off to do much needed jobs like clearing out the guttering and painting rooms that so desperately need doing, as well as filling in application forms. I'm a bit of a slave driver but I think he would slip into a deep depression and become addicted to daytime TV if I didn't poke him with a stick now and again. We are trying our hardest to stay positive and think of it as something other than a horrid and worrying time. It's pretty demorolising having to borrow money off your kids for food but to be honest I'm past caring now!

Before I sign off for another week or two, I promised this lady I would tell you about her fab blankets. For those of us who aren't crocheters, she will make one for you if you'd like her to.She made all of mine and she made some of the gorgeous ones for the VW campers for hire on Do drop her a line if your interested, she's lovely!

Cheerio for now xx

Monday, 23 November 2009

things I'm liking at work today...

Thankyou so much for all your encouraging words and emails,it's really scary for us at the forget about it all for a minute and then your tummy flips over like you have driven over a hump-backed bridge and reality creeps back in, yuk.. but I'm sure things will work out ok...they have to. It's the law and I wont have it any other way, but yes, thankyou you lovely bunch, it means ever such a lot, it really does. xx

Anyway I thought you may like to see some nice jolly things that have come in at work recently. It 's great to unpack parcels when they are filled with lovely exciting things like these and it is currently filling the void of my (now banned) eBay obsession!
You can buy some of these things online too as the gift shop I work in for two days a week has now got a little website, this is just a bit of stuff..there's tons more!

We sell goodies for;

Cath fans...This is one of the best hand creams I have ever tried! (and that's something coming from a gardener with hands as rough as a badgers backside!)MASSIVE mugs of prettiness.

Lovely cute things for babies...

I so love this little velvety soft owl .He looks like someone has just pinched his bottom!

For girlies...

you can't beat a bit of posh soap! oooh which is my favourite?
This one?
or this one?
polka dots?

hmmmm... eeny meeny miny mo

I'll decide whilst I'm soaking in a bath of these..
For that weekend away...

I love this quirky bag, (just need the weekend away now..ooh and Bruce Willis to whisk me away there!)

For ladies that need to save their pennies

err-hum moving swiftly along...

for stinky boys....

Fab cartoon mugs for hot chocolate...

nail through the finger joke? or maybe a fly in an ice cube..boys, now you can get back at that annoying auntie who always wants a kiss at Christmas

then she can get you back at a game of cards!

For playing tricks on grandma...

ok she may have her own inbuilt whoopee cushion but it's still highly amusing..

Hope you liked this little selection of jolly stuff, there's always new things being added to the website (or we could add it especially if you ask nicely!)

Friday, 20 November 2009

tits up

It's all gone a bit tits up here I'm afraid.
Pete and I went away to Northumberland recently all by ourselves for the first time in 13 years (no stinky boys or creatures) BLISS I tell you... antique fairs, girlie shopping time with my sister,silliness with my mad nieces who really make me laugh, Fantastic fireworks,visits to RE (I LOVE that place and it's just down the road from my sisters house!) walks in the misty woods to visit secret tucked away(immaculate) alloments, too many biscuits and copious amounts of tea..or in Pete's case, pear cider, it was a really lovely five days away..only thing is when we came back to normality we came back with an almighty bump.

Pete has just been made redundant.
Is it me or our life getting a bit like Groundhog day? crikey that film bugs me..watching the same thing happen over and over again. It doesn't seem five minutes since we were worrying about the same thing last year.

Good job we are both optimists and believe in things happening for a reason. Hopefully there is something better out there,waiting to be discovered.
I saw a beautiful rainbow yesterday and it made me think of Josie. I wore my dragonfly bracelet to work so that her wise words were with me all day. Strength, courage and happiness.
It made me think things could be a lot, lot worse.

I made this little flower brooch the other evening too..a bit of whimsy and prettiness in between the ranting and raving and rather blue language beginning with b.
Back soon... hopefully with some jolly stuff! x

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

20 quid

You don't seem to able to get a whole lot for twenty quid these days but never the less, that was my budget for the massive flea market held not far from us.
I do begrudge paying an entrance fee to enter what is basically, a car boot sale without the cars, but alas,we've had no time for boot sales this year and no time for charity shops either , so Pete and I thought we would give it a go.
Off we went, scouring for objects and trinkets and pretties.
First potential purchase I found was a lovely spotty topped stool (I do love my polka dots as you know) but lately I have been questioning my purchases as to;

A. Whether I really need the item
B. Whether I really love the item and it's on my 'wishlist' or whether its just because I've seen it on a blog or in a book that has convinced me I really need it.(hmmmm that's the hardest one)
C. whether it really is worth the money asked.

Some things I would pay a lot of money for if I know I really, really can't live my life without it, I'll probably never see one again and I'll regret it forever if I dont get it but other times I just think, no, that's my limit..walk away.

Even though it looked like the traders had stripped the place bare at dawn like a swarm of locusts, there were still a few treasures to be found....
I won't bore you with the prices of everything but £20 was my budget and I still bought home some change even after the £5 to get in and a cup of tea (or 2)...

So,the spotty stool... lovely? yes. Cheap? yes. Place for it? no...I have to admit, I walked away.There are only so many stools you can cram into a little house with a teeny kitchen.

The very first purchase was this vintage enamel splashback stamped to look like metro tiles in a rather lovely shade of blue, you know the one,just like the colour of CornishwareSlightly shabby and The PERFECT size to sit above our range cooker! ( more pasta sauce splashes on the white walls, yes it's a need/never find again..only thing is though, this will have to wait for the proper kitchen as the temporary plug sockets are in the way..arggh!

second thing.. the large paper oriental lampshade you have seen already (check..on the wish list..was planning on pink but I'm so glad now I found a yellow) perfect to hang above the computer table.(turned down the other two as I didn't believe the 'they'll dry out' . Will that 'drying out' mend the large tear in the paper then? hmm no, didn't think so!)

Third thing; pretty, pretty roses on an original Barbola mirror, not on the wish list, as I do have a couple already but just too pretty and too much of a bargain to pass by..five quid and even prettier and far less chipped than mine at home.

Fourth thing, vintage wooden creatures stacked on top of each other..don't ask why I homed in on this but I love cartoon-like graphics and I love animals, I think it's from the 1940's ..maybe earlier, not on the list but a 'never see again'. A bit indulgent really but lovely, lovely drawings.

lastly there was this: I really don't know why these things appeal to me, they just do.
I love old toys.They are scattered about our house in random places for no apparent reason. This was on my wish list, I've seen them on eBay and they seem to go for a fair bit, the first one we encountered at the flea market was £25 so straight away it was a 'walk away'.
The second one was a bit worse for wear, just spotted as the chap was packing away..'a quid to you love'
I'm really not keen on the term 'love' but a quid is a quid and I can put up with being called 'love' for a quid.
I'm easily bought.

Stupidly I didn't take a before photo, but it is pretty amazing what a good clean and little bit of Hammerite paint can do.Half the rust fell off on the way home.. in the car..on my clothes..I even managed to get some on my get the picture, it got just about everywhere.
Now, I wouldn't normally paint something like this,as you know, I do like original and shabby but it really did need doing, I think the rust would have just eaten it away and it would have been gone forever. I luckily managed to match up the silver hammered paint the rest was left in it's original state. When I prized the rusted lock open and the little bell gave a clear 'ding' there was a whole drawer full of vintage play money too, including a ten shilling note-ooh mega bucks pre 1971!And the ones that got away..
A fab 3' high plaster 1980's cartoon Superman torso, probably an old advertising film promo thing. I went back four times to that one and each time the seller dropped it a bit without me even asking but it was just tooooooo much money.
And the biggest regret?
THE most beautiful small patchwork throw. Ginghams, polka dots and decades of florals in the best colours. Greens ,blues,pinks and faded reds all backed with a vintage blanket. It was just too fragile and had lots of holes that I wouldn't have had time to repair. I didn't even ask the price and I now wished I had.
The lady stall holder was lovely..she liked my bag, made from vintage 1950s fabric, not made by me, I hastened to add, but a treat to myself from this lady after spotting one in Country Living..most definitely a one off 'never to be seen again' purchase. We shared a moment of vintage fabric appreciation.I do so love fifties fabrics. I love the 1950's period and bitterly regret selling off most of our stuff from the first house .I've even recently managed to convince the eldest stinky boy to have some 50s stuff in his room and he actually likes it..I sneaked in a fab sci-fi 1950s B movie film poster amongst the Banksy's (I think the half clad gorgeous girlie being carried swung it)and some atomic print cushions hmmm..I'm now wondering how far I can push it..the granny blanket appeared again on his bed and it has stayed in there for one whole week but I'm not holding up much hope, the landing floor will be wearing it sometime soon no doubt..

Anyway, back to the flea fair, the patchwork throw was gorgeous and I now I just can't stop thinking about it. I'm kicking myself.
Never mind, maybe I'll spot it again next fleamarket time and if I don't, then it wasn't meant to be mine.

ps..Claire, does Prince Charles really walk like a runner duck???

Thursday, 29 October 2009


I must be bonkers, I'm a sucker for a creature sob story, especially when it involves 'dispatching ' of the said creature unnecessarily.Which is why these 3 funny young things have taken up residence in our already chaotic home..

Lily, Stanley and Hilda...

Stan is named after Stan Laurel as he's the dopey comedian. Have you ever heard of a duck that's afraid of water?..we have to actually put him in the paddling pool and he then does somersaults and flaps about having a marvelous time making the clean water nice and muddy! Lily is the white Aylesbury and Hilda a mix between the two. They do a little dance when they see each other, bobbing their heads up and down whilst walking sideways and making a noise that sounds like laughing. Stan the man who resembles a walking stick (he's a runner duck, the chappie in the middle) seems to walk an extra 10 steps for the others one which is rather funny to watch...we call it 'timmy tiptoes', something Harry used to do when he was about 3! Luckily we had a house already which is ideal for them to sleep in, the difference between them and the chickens is that you have to tell them to go to bed, the hens go to roost at dusk by themselves..but with these 3 characters we have to say "come on, go to bed now " and in they go making a bit of a song and dance about it.
I dread to think what my lawn is going to look like this winter.They have a plastic apple shaped sandpit for a pond at the moment but more water seems to end up over the sides.
The dog wants to play with them, the rabbit isn't quite sure of them,the hens just follow and stare at them and the cats are rather cautious too, but me.. I'm already in love with these dear funny little ducks...I really must be quackers.

p.s..thanks for putting up with my stupid face for so long...I think some of you must have very dirty computer screens after those nice comments you left!! lol

Thursday, 15 October 2009


Hooray it's raining, I know I shouldn't be pleased about it..but I get to play at home today, or rather waste some time at home when I have 5 million jobs to do..Harry has already told me off for being 'immature' today which I found hilarious..bums to being 40 and sensible I say!! I want to be known as the daft one forever.Anyway, before small children start crying and the birdies emigrate early at the sight of my ugly mug...where was I? ah the number 10
I do like the number ten, I do think I'm drawn to that number, nice and even..
Maybe it's my lucky number.

My favourite childhood house was a number ten, an old Edwardian, shabby but homely house, forever being renovated, full of animals and other people's kids, the one before, number 55 (5+5= 10) and the one we live in now is also a 10 (although they mostly use house names on our little lane)
So anyway, it may come of no surprise that our 9 feathered ladies have now become a nice and even 10.

'Nine, ten a big fat hen' as the nursery rhyme goes...

This is Elsie #2. A young blue Orpington, complete with frilly pants of the finest, fluffiest ,softest grey feathers. A gentle soul with a nice nature and a friendly face.
The other Orpies, Betty , Bess and Dolly have just accepted her presence but those hooligan chickens from the rough estate and who've spent some time in chicken prison getting beat up and terrorised, haven't.
What bullies they've become. They's right chaarvs they is (that was in a Malvern accent incase you were wondering about my grammar)
Little madams.
I find my fluffy purple duster on a stick breaks up the squabbles and the comedy Benny Hill style chases around the garden.(Imagine the boys as chickens if you click the pink link) I also find that placing the said fluffy purple duster on a stick in the garden at strategic points stops them going anyway near my most precious plants or jumping on my 'early morning cup of tea table' and pooping.I Don't think those ladies like purple much (me neither if I'm honest)

Elsie came from the Malvern Autumn show, Pete and I went a couple of weekends ago (free tickets again..yay!) to drool over yet more vintage caravans (oooh they were very lovely indeedy) and for me to hold that beautiful Bengal Eagle owl again and stroke cute donkeys and doggies and chickens and shop for another garden obelisk from the cheapest obelisk making man on earth. Bliss.
Thing is though,like a numpty, I forgot my camera to show you it all. Oops, sorry about that.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

mad dogs and Englishmen

Hmmm, maybe that should read 'mad Englishmen and a few dogs'
George and I went down to Newnham on Severn several weekends ago (infact it must be nearly a month ago I wrote this post...crikey!) to watch my mad brother-in -law attempt to ride the Severn Bore for Josies charity. We stayed in my sisters old farmhouse with five insane dogs and 18 other people including my eldest sister and her family from Northumberland and my other sister who lives in Thailand, all to witness the big event. Madness I tell you...but a good sort of madness...

The Severn bore was meant to be the biggest it has been in twenty years.(photos from google)
We could spot Jim quite easily from high up on the river bank amoungst the serious surfers and canoeists in their black wetsuits, after all, it's not often you see a large built man in a Spiderman costume in a bright yellow rubber dingy with his equally well built policeman companion in a Captain America suit.

It was quite strange to see this wave suddenly come rushing the wrong way down the river , turning the flow of the water and making the river rise several metres.Something to do with full moons apparently .
I think the wave forgot it was meant to be the biggest in 20 years.More of a fast flowing 'ripple' if you ask me...

It was mightily entertaining chasing them along the river from pub to pub with the hoards of other people who turned out on a sunny Saturday to witness this strange phenomenon.

Until they disappeared that is.
We waited. And waited.Still no Spidey came past...

A couple of hours later and a few miles down river, two very wet and exhausted superheroes finally appeared to much cheering.

They raised quite a few quid .Over a thousand pounds in the end.

nice 'muscles' spiderman

Spidey told us later that the 'little wave' looked pretty big when it rushes towards you at a speed of 20 knots. Ok we'll believe him. He is, after all a 'superhero'.
Spiderman poses for the bemused kids
(we think he had been eating lots of pies since he made his last movie.)

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