Thursday, 14 February 2019

Cosy Catwalk

Lovely ladies welcome to the Shortbread & Ginger tea cosy catwalk show!  Cue music - "Everything stops for tea", as we welcome to the catwalk this winter's must have accessory - a warm knitted tea cosy!

First to appear is Rusty - cute in beige and warm red, Rusty would be a wonderful addition to any teapot and keep your second cuppa warm while you drink your first.

Next on the catwalk we have Bluey, in blue and grey midtones - an unusual combination that seems to work well.

Bluey and Rusty have joined together to create this stunning creation, which I suppose should be called Busty, but then again, perhaps not!

Cue music - "Tea For Two". 
Adding a touch of class to our show are Lord and Lady Grey, distant cousins of that name synonymous with special tea, the Earl.  Lady Grey is wearing a delicate shade of pink, while his Lordship is right on trend with a modern deep yellow mix.

And finally, to close our show we don't have a bride tea cosy (note to self - might be a good idea to try), but instead we have a gorgeous groom in all shades of grey.  He will add a touch of glamour to any teapot, no matter how homely.  He is a bit two-faced, but the different pattern on each of his sides just adds to his appeal.

This catwalk show would not be complete without an introduction to our wonderful model, Blanche, isn't she beautiful!

Ladies, I hope you have enjoyed the Shortbread & Ginger catwalk show.

Perhaps this blog post should have come with a pom-pom overload warning!
Love, Liz

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Kitchen finished!

Yipee!  I have my kitchen back!  It is all white and I love it!

After three weeks of the makeshift kitchen (kettle, toaster and microwave), I can now do laundry and cooking - all appliances are back in place.  My hard work then commenced - working out where to put everything I had taken out of cupboards, and of course it all had to be washed before it could be put away.  I'm shattered, but happy.

Rest of house now has to be put to rights - I'm sure I'll be finding bits and pieces of kitchen "stuff" all over the place, but I've loads of cupboard space now.  I've gone very modern - well, for me.  The Welsh dresser will find a new home in the dining room and I'm going to have much less clutter around the worktops.  Well, that's the theory anyway - we'll see if I stick to that one!

While I couldn't cook I discovered that it was the simple things that I craved - a boiled egg, or cheese on toast all hot and bubbly as it came from under the grill.  My first meal cooked in the new kitchen on Friday was a tasty chicken pot pie with ... well it was supposed to be with mash, but I couldn't locate my masher!  It didn't matter, the pie was yummy and so were the ordinary spuds!

Thanks for all your lovely comments on my recent posts - it is so good to hear from you and I appreciate them all.
Love, Liz

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

I blame my Granny!

I adore vintage china!  My collection started with a few pieces of my Granny's china which no one else wanted after she died.  I took them to display on my Welsh dresser and of course to remind me of her.  But there were gaps on the dresser and they needed to be filled!  Visiting charity shops soon opened my eyes to the wonderful assortment of vintage china available.  In those days, around 2011, whole tea sets could be bought for two or three pounds.  I don’t remember there being any vintage tea rooms or cafes around in this area, and certainly nowhere offering traditional afternoon tea (although without the added Prosecco that is popular now).  So, I was able to indulge my passion without having to spend too much money.

Royal Albert Greenwood Tree
Before I knew it, I needed more storage!  What better than a vintage china cabinet like my Granny used to have – perfect for showing off my growing collection.  I bought one for about five pounds and set about painting it white to make it a bit more acceptable.  Then I had the joyous task of arranging my lovely tea sets to their best advantage in the cabinet.  The addition of gorgeous little fairy lights made it perfect, well in my eyes anyway.  Needless to say, a few years later, I had to buy another cabinet to show off my later bargains. 

It is almost impossible for me to say what my favourites are.  The great thing is that I can look back at my blog and see when and where I bought each piece.  Some are more special because, once friends and relatives knew that I was collecting china, I was offered sets that they did not want.  These mean something to me.

Royal Cauldon
Tea tastes extra special when drunk from a gorgeous cup.  Some are just so pretty – the soft colours and interesting patterns make each of them special in different ways.  I love to mix and match the patterns, putting cups with different saucers.  Cake most definitely looks better on a vintage plate.

Tea break!
Of course over the years there have been a few mishaps.  One evening I heard a terrific crash which sounded as if it came from the dining room.  One of the glass shelves in my china cabinet had mysteriously tilted, shuffling all the china to one end.  Miraculously nothing had broken, but my heart was in my mouth as I carefully extracted each piece trying my best not to make the whole thing collapse!

Royal Winton
I no longer collect.  A few years ago, at the height of the vintage tea room trend, the price of vintage china rose dramatically which  was great for charity shops of course, but not so good for me.  I’ve also run out of room!  At the moment many of my treasures are packed away as we redo some of the rooms in our house.  But I have plans!  They’ll be back!

Granny, those hours spent helping you clean out your china cabinet when I was a little girl, made a big impression!

Love, Liz

Monday, 4 February 2019

Sunbonnet Girls

I got this book at the weekend because I wanted to try something different now that I've (mostly) finished off the projects which were lying around waiting for some TLC!  It is a book of vintage hand embroidery patterns "More Sunbonnet Girls" by Vicki Becker.

I wanted to try my hand at embroidery and learn some new stitches.  I love cross stitch, but wanted a challenge.  Think the patterns in this book fit the bill.

They are so pretty and each pattern comes in three sizes so that you can adapt it to whatever project you are doing.  There are instructions for transferring the pattern to fabric and the simple stitches required for this embroidery and I think that this would also be great for applique.  It also gives instructions for putting together several small projects.  I'm looking forward to starting one of these little sunbonnet girls - the difficulty will be deciding which one to do first!  They are all so cute.

Reminded me of a lovely vintage embroidered tablecloth and teapot I have - except they have a crinoline lady on them ... slightly similar?!?!  See more of these here.

Love, Liz

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Will they grow?

Can't believe we are into February - doesn't time fly!
I've been so distracted by new kitchen installation and knitting, that I failed to notice my poor houseplant in the corner had dramatically seeded or is this its flower?!  This plant is 5' high and about 30 years old!

I usually cut these seed thingies off the minute I realise that they are not new leaves, but apart from watering the poor thing, it and it's daughter plant in the next room, have really been neglected recently.  So, it has a pletora of what I presume are seeds?!

Can any of you lovely fellow bloggers please enlighten me?  What is this plant called (I call it the palm plant thingy)?  Are these seeds?  Will they grow if I plant them?  Should I cut them off when I see that they are not new leaves?  What can I do to hide the long stem?

So many questions!

Love, Liz

Monday, 28 January 2019

A tumble of tea cosies

I don't know what the collective noun for tea cosies is, but tumble seemed appropriate in this case!

I emptied out my work bag to see what else was needing to be completed from last year and all of these tea cosy pieces fell out!  I can't believe I put them away without sewing them up.  (Actually I hate sewing up the bits and pieces I've knitted or crocheted.)

So, that will be my job for the rest of the afternoon - putting these blinking things together!  I can't believe that there are even a couple of pom poms in there.

The completed grey and pink tea cosy is one I knit last week while staying at my Son's flat in Glasgow.  It just needs a pom pom and it is complete, at least it is sewn up.

Ah well, once they are done I can start a new project.
Love, Liz

Sunday, 27 January 2019

My temporary kitchen

So, this is my former dining room - now my temporary kitchen.  Dining room table with tea essentials - can't do without my cuppa!  Last Monday work started on my kitchen refit.  Everything was pulled out! 

I have to admit, dear reader, that I "escaped" last Sunday and went to stay with my younger son in Glasgow for the week, leaving Hubby with a freezer full of microwave meals and having to cope with a house full of workmen and deliveries of materials.  He's quite enjoyed himself (probably because I wasn't there).  Not sure how my Son feels, but I had a lovely time with him.  He was out at work all day, so I had his flat to myself and spent some time in Glasgow, as he's just a short bus journey from the city centre.  I even cooked for him - he asked me to make two of his favourite meals while I was there.  It was strange cooking with gas - my cooker is electric.  But I managed fine!

This is how the kitchen looks today.  There's been no water in kitchen for a week - washing machine, fridge, cooker and dishwasher are all in the dining room.  Only the fridge is working.  (The blue is just a protective cover on the units.)

My vintage treasures are all safely packed away and the bunnies have found temporary accommodation in the dining room among the pine cones!

I thought this whole process would be very traumatic and stressful - especially as I am participating in Dry January!!!!!!  But in actual fact, when there is nothing you can do about the situation, it is just a case of getting on and making the best of it!  Of course it helps when you get away for part of it!  Thanks for putting up with me, Son!

Love, Liz

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Scotland on TV

Many films and TV shows have been filmed in Scotland and there's a great locations guide which has been produced by Visit Scotland.

This  Visit Scotland booklet gives lots of information about TV programmes, both past and present, and their Scottish locations.  Again you can get all the information here from the Visit Scotland website.

Recently some scenes from the brilliant BBC crime drama series Shetland (staring the gorgeous Douglas Henshall) were filmed in Greenock.  I really enjoy this series and the gorgeous Scottish scenery is just stunning!

The Outlaw King and Mary Queen of Scots are two major films which have recently been released, both about aspects of Scotland's history and many scenes from them were filmed in Scotland.  Click on the links to find out more about their history,

Outlander, the Starz TV series, has been credited with increasing tourism to Scotland with Outlander fans wishing to visit the places they have seen in the series.  I picked up this fabulous A2 poster from the Visit Scotland tourist information shop in Perth (iCentre, Perth),  It gives a detailed map and lots of information about places where Outlander was filmed with lots of lovely photographs.  

You can download one for yourself from the Visit Scotland site (just click on the link).

Historic Scotland also has a great website where you can find out more about the historic places used in many great films and TV series.

If you are planning a short break or holiday in Scotland, both of these websites can give you lots of other information to help plan your trip.  Are you interested in all things Scottish?

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Tunstall cross stitch?

I was looking for another cross stitch project when I remembered that I had more than one vintage china plate with a cross stitch pattern on it.

It is this lovely H & K Tunstall Old English Needlepoint plate which I blogged about way back in 2012!  (Really??? How can it be so long ago!!!)

I'll get Hubby to work on making me a pattern from this lovely vintage plate.

It will be quite different with all the blue lines which make up the bowl in the design.  Think I'll surround it with this lovely border.  Looking forward to getting started on this.

Love, Liz

Sunday, 20 January 2019

So old school

Can you guess what this is?

It is part of a slide rule.  Remember briefly being taught about them in school, but was never all that interested.  Maths was certainly not my thing!  Wasn't much good at science either.  Slide rules were used for calculating ... things.

Could never get the hang of using the slide rule - far too complicated for my brain - even looks complicated, doesn't it?  Thank goodness for modern calculators!  Were you good at maths?

Love, Liz

Saturday, 19 January 2019

They took me a year!

At last some completed knitting projects!  Both, I'm ashamed to say, were started in January 2018 and both were just finished yesterday - a whole year later!

First my pink, grey and black scarf which I started last January to go with a lovely pink winter jacket which had been my Christmas present.  I had hardly done any of it before I abandoned it to the work bag.  However, taking it up again started my renewed pleasure in knitting and I'm glad I got around to finishing it.

The second abandoned project which I found in my knitting bag was half a tea cosy!  Lots of shades of green to used to make this.  Didn't take long to complete the other half.  Have you spotted that it does not yet have a pom-pom?  I've misplaced my pom-pom maker, so may have to go back to the old fashioned way of making pom-poms - two circles cut out of cardboard - remember doing that?

It is very satisfying to complete projects, especially when they have been waiting around for ages to be finished.  Have you got any unfinished work that has been languishing for a while?

Love, Liz

Friday, 18 January 2019

Reading and listening

I decided at the start of the year that I would read more fiction.  I usually enjoy non-fiction books more - especially anything to do with history.  A trawl of the charity shops in search of something I would want to read yielded no results, so drastic action was called for!

Dear reader - I went to the local library!!!!!  It is ages since I was in the library and I wasn't even sure if my card would still work.  But it did and I was, of course, spoiled for choice when it came to reading material - and all for free!  I had noted down the names of a few authors because I had read reviews of their books on other blogs.  Thank you Julie from Julie's Stitchyknitter Journal for recommending Barbara Erskine.  I chose "River of Destiny" and wasn't disappointed - I could hardly put this book down it was so good.

It is set in three different time periods, but it is easy to follow because there is a little picture before each change in time - Anglo Saxon (sword), Victorian (horseshoe) and present day (boat).  It is the story of a place over time and the people who lived there - very atmospheric and exciting.  I loved this book.

I also decided that every now and again I would "rescue" a CD (remember them?) from the back of the cupboard and listen again to the whole thing to remind myself why I purchased it.  My first choice was Beth Neilsen Chapman's "Deeper Still".  Oh gosh!  I had forgotten just how lovely some of the tracks were on this.  My favourite is "Every December Sky".  Some words from this -

How heavy the empty heart
How light the heart that's full

Isn't that so true?  It has been so relaxing listening to this CD while I've been knitting or sewing.

I've another library book to read this weekend and I'm off to raid the cupboard for another CD to rediscover.  Happy reading and listening!  Don't forget your local LIBRARY!

Love, Liz