Monday, 30 April 2012

A WALK TO WORK - a journey in pictures

cherry blossom

just a house I like

After a weekend of near solid rain it was nice to have a sunny walk this morning (even if it was to work)  I got dropped off at the end of one of the roads leading to the sea, on the west side of Ramsgate.
It was usually the beaches on this side of town that we were taken to as very young children (although I do remember the main sands and donkey rides).  

bluebells under a beech hedge

A long promenade with gardens, putting,bowls,and croquet greens leads to sweeping paths to the undercliff and beaches. 
It is lovely to see the shelters some of which had become virtually derelict being restored.

Over to the west stands the last reminder of Richbourgh power station.

Deal pier stretches out into the English Channel and is clearly seen across Pegwell Bay.

Leaving the clifftop behind I walked down one of the paths to the undercliff and the sea.

This is a lovely time of year to walk by the cliffs because so many plants are flowering. In places it is hard to see the chalk at all.

looking back up the cliff face
waves breaking over the paddling pool
A rather grey looking high tide this morning - mostly caused by the chalk.  I can remember seeing the Devon sea for the first time and being amazed how blue it was.

looking out to sea

Sea Holly growing on one of the beaches shows how forgotten they are now a road to the harbour has been built, at times it feels like a private run of beaches.  
It is very sad because my memories take me to beaches that were full of people enjoying themselves.  It used to be such a pleasant area to 
walk with Chalets and cafes, 

The lift down to the beach - now derelict and a home for pigeons.
 I always liked the times we could use the lift when it was time to go home.
To the left of it are the steps leading to Govenment Acre.

just to show the weather hasn't cleared up yet

A cave high in the cliff guarded by pigeons with wallflowers growing under it.

Jacobs Ladder

The last bit of my walk takes me past  Jacobs Ladder, I used to think nothing of walking up and down these steps - now I would do anything to avoid them.

Onwards past the home for Smack Boys and along the inner Harbour wall.  
I love living near such a beautiful harbour, even if I don't see it every day I know it is there.
looking across the inner basin of the harbour

Saturday, 28 April 2012


MY FANTASTIC TALENTED FATHER  or Dad please can you make me a ..........

Though out my life my Father has made me things out of wood.  From the Noah's ark for my Britain's animals when I was a child to the seemingly never ending requests that I made while I was a member of a re-enactment society when I look around my home there is so much that he made me.

His profession was carpenter and builders joiner, always there was a bit of wood in his hands and a penknife whittling (mostly a model ram for which he became famous local folk circles ) 

This is a carving of Enfield's  heraldic beast 'THE ENFIELD' which my Father carved about fifty years ago.  

The items he made for me during my childhood included the Noah's ark mentioned above, which I still have complete with all my animals; a stable block for my Britain's horses and a sewing stool.

Someone told him you could not make a unbroken chain out of a single piece of wood. 

This is my Fathers response a chain carved from wood with a 's' hook and the bowl of a spoon - no joins in the links A beautiful piece of work.

So now you can see why when I needed equipment to look convincing as a Norman gentlewoman it was my father I turned to.  Not once did he say no.

To begin with I was a member of MILITES BE BEC
but I later joined the group CONQUEST. 

I had a lot of fun while travelling the country as a member of both of these groups and I made many good friends.

The first TABLETS he made with a piece of tablet weaving attached.  These are made of plywood could not be used at shows.
And a piece of blue braid made on the inkle loom.

a selection of hand carved spoons

a cup, a comb and shuttles with my box

Distaffs and drop spindle

drop spindle, silk and wool fleece and some spun yarn

I would never been able to afford the essential items that he made for me. PRETTY MUCH IF IT COULD BE MADE OUT OF WOOD AND I ASKED FOR IT MY FATHER MADE IT FOR ME.

 This is just the tip of a glorious wooden iceberg - I look around my home and there is so many items made by him.  And even more that have been packed away safely till I need them again.


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

MAGAZINE IMPORTS - unexpected treasures

On a recent trip to Maidstone, Kent I looked into a small newsagent to see if they had a magazine that I was looking for - they didn't. But they did have some Australian imports.

One on polymer clay

one on ribbon embroidery

one on goldwork and stumpwork

They must have been so pleased to see me as all of them were 2011 magazines and they have had them in stock for six months or so.

I was particularly pleased to see the goldwork one as it is something I am going to try.  The polymer clay magazine I got for my sister who is working with silver clay amongst other things. And the ribbon embroidery just looked interesting, with a beautiful butterfly design to try.

If I find any other magazines from this range I will definitely have a good look at them.

Sunday, 22 April 2012


There was a time not so long ago when craft magazines (although there were not that many) covered a wide range of crafts, articles on the history of various crafts and on crafters.

Then came the rise of cardmaking (please don't get me wrong I like making cards) and favourite magazines such as PRACTICAL CRAFTS and POPULAR CRAFTS disappeared.  I still have some old copies of these titles.  PAPERCRAFTING boomed and all other crafts appeared to fall by the wayside (jewellery, knitting and crochet have been sneaking back in).  I have purchased and enjoyed many of vast number of magazines about  Cardmaking, Scrapbooking and Papercraft even though I kinda started to make cards by accident.  Some years ago I promised to send someone something through the post every day.  My life was not so exciting that I had enough stuff to write a letter every day so I made cards.  My early efforts were not very good but years of practise and advice given in the many, many cardmaking magazines Had made quite a lot of improvement to my skill levels.

But now it is really really nice to see a revival of all manner of wonderful crafts and with them the return of POPULAR CRAFTS possibly better than it was before) as well as new publications - SIMPLY HOMEMADE and CRAFTS SELLER All of them taking us out of a cardmaking rut (although I love the way that many of the skills learnt can be used on so many different projects) and back to a wonderful diversity of crafts and ideas.  So much to inspire us

Monday, 16 April 2012

MY GOLDWORK PROJECT - everything ready to begin

My goldwork parcel from arrived last week.  I confess I was slightly disappointed with the size of the piece of leather but overall I was very pleased with the my starter pack.  It gave me all the things I need without telling me what to sew. All I need now is a design. 

I had thought that either a seahorse or dragonfly design would be nice, which is why I was sad about the size of the leather - it narrowed my options. 

Having said that I do think that this starter pack is very good value.

In Maidstone a couple of weeks ago I found some Australian craft magazines, one of which was about goldwork embroidery EMBROIDERY AND CROSS STITCH PRESENT STUMPWORK AND GOLDWORK.  I really enjoy looking at other countries crafting magazines and tend to buy most of the ones I find.  This magazine has a very extensive and user friendly website (which I have bookmarked for future reference)

So on to my design ........  the seahorse not being practical I was left with a dragonfly.  I had a rough idea of what I wanted so I looked through a couple of the design source books from SEARCH PRESS, I think I have the whole range of the design source books.  SEARCH PRESS is one of the best places I have found to get books for crafts - definitely worth a look.


This is the dragonfly I have chosen.  The design is in ART NOUVEAU DESIGNS by Judy Balchin.  

I think that as a starter piece it should work really well.  (I was very tempted by a snail design that was on the next page).

I will let you all know how things progress.

The other parcel I received last week was bargain bags and the sample pack from     I was very impressed with these, I have no idea as yet what I am going to make but the bargain packs had a lovely mix of fabrics.  Some of the pieces are large enough to line the paper mache bags I am making for my ETSY shop,

I didn't get any fabric I didn't like and as for the sample pack of 200 plain and 200 patterned it will be very difficult to choose as they are all beautiful.

The first trip made to Bedgebury was a couple of years ago.  Desperate to look at Autumn colours and not enough time or money to go to the east coast of America or Canada we had to look closer to home.  This is the sort of thing that proves how wonderful the Internet truly is.  Of all the options the search provided BEDGEBURY seemed the most practical and appealing. 


Situated on the Kent/Sussex borders BEDGEBURY is a fantastic collection of all kinds of trees beautifully landscaped.  Wonderfully peaceful, sometimes birdsong is the only sound. 

It is very  easy to believe you are the first person to walk away from the path and find hidden wonders.


We have always found something new to see in every season although we have not been brave enough to make the journey in snowy weather but have seen photos.   

I am fascinated by the different bark textures of the various trees and I like the hollows in tree roots and stumps. I have quite a collection of images now that I want to try and sketch.

(Something else I am trying to cram in to a working day - sketching and painting).

 Surrounding the Pinetum is Bedgebury forest- we have also taken the occasional short walk through part of the forest.  The only thing wrong with Bedgebury is that we do not live close enough to visit more often.



Saturday, 14 April 2012

Craft artist dipping in deeper

I recorded a program from the create and craft channel last weekend about the CRAFT ARTIST program which has reminded me how good it is. So as well as all the other crafts I am trying to squeeze into my days I now want to use CRAFT ARTIST as well. I really have the attention span of a fish at the moment.  All the time my mind is drifting from one craft to another.

ANYWAY THEY WERE DOING DEMONSTRATIONS on using the punch feature and the brush feature and as my clearing up on Monday found the manual for CRAFT ARTIST lets give it a go.

I set my paper size for an eight by eight scrapbooking page then selected a backing paper and a couple of materials.  After adding the backing paper I placed one of the materials on my page,  selected the scissor function on the toolbar and then chose the flower punch.  I saved the flower and discarded the rest of the material then repeated this for a second flower.  I then placed the second piece of material on my backing paper and this time chose the circle punch, I punched two circles - discarding the circles and keeping the background.  I then dragged the flowers into the circles and added two small butterflies.  A large butterfly completes the page ( I reversed this image because it looked nicer). 

This program is such a joy to use and rarely have I struggled with it, on the rare occasions when I have it has been because I have not read the instruction properly or I have been impatient. 

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

My first VINTAGE FAIR visit

On Good Friday I visited my first vintage fair.  It was at QUEX HOUSE a local museum.

It was a shame that we got there later than planned because it got so busy and was rather hard to get around and look at stuff.  Quite a lot of very interesting stalls although some of them were not what I would call vintage.  It is possible I could not get close enough to do them Justice.

                       One that was definitely vintage was                          

sorry about picture quality

 A fantastic collection of goodies - from inside to out and beyond.  

I would have loved to have got this knitted jacket but not my size. 
beautiful shoes and matching bag

 There was the proper undies to make a vintage look work as well as beautiful shoes and bags.

For POPPYDRAGON DESIGNS it was worth literally fighting through the crowds.  And I got myself a very nice pair of black court shoes - perfect fit.
my beautiful new shoes

I have her card and will have to contact her to look at her range of gloves (she had sold out of my size at the show).

I picked up several leaflets  about local events from her stall, one of which was for a BURLESQUE workshop in Ramsgate.

I don't know very much about Burlesque but it seems to have a large following.  I have seen articles in the local papers and some magazines.  I will have to look into it more to see if it is right for me. 

Monday, 9 April 2012


Things achieved this weekend - I have found the felting needle that I brought earlier this year and I know where the packs of fleece are; I have nearly finished the BLING BRITANNIA bag that my friend wanted; I have started to finish three cigar boxes with yacht varnish and am really pleased with how they are looking; got some bangles started; I have worked out the design for my business cards.

Things in motion from this weekend - sorting out my craft stuff in an effort to get it all put in my cupboards in a way that I can find it all easily; removing the dried lavender from its stems so it takes up less room (before making lavender bags); continuing cataloguing my rubber stamps so I know exactly what I have.

Things that have eluded me this weekend - I cannot find the pack of business cards I got to go with my Etsy shop; I have yet to find the bag of beautiful leather that I got at Military Odyssey a couple of years ago.  

My sort of Easter Eggs (almond slice recipe)

A couple of recent indulgences not really eggs although eggs will certainly play a large part in their lives.  The top tin is for making brownies - I have a brownie recipe that I love to make but have not had the right size tin - till now (this was from a great shop in Ramsgate HOME BASICS  that carries a very good range of products.  I know I want some more items from this range.  
The bottom tin is one I have wanted from LAKELAND LTD for a very long time and now that I have it ALMOND SLICES to test it was the only thing to do.
 This is a recipe from a school cookery book 
6 ounces shortcrust pastry
2 ounces butter (softened)
2 ounces sugar
2 ounces ground almonds
2 ounces ground rice
1 egg
raspberry jam
1ounce flaked almonds

 Line a prepared 7inch square tin with shortcrust pastry, spread with the jam. Put the butter, sugar, almonds, rice and egg into a bowl and mix well. Spread the cake mix on top of the jam and sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.

bake for 20 to 25 minutes at gas reg 5 / 180 degrees centigrade
My changes to this recipe are. 
3 ounces of ground almonds
1 ounce self  raising flour and because I like this cake to be quite almondy I put in a half teaspoon of almond essence.   

                                                                                                               I am not sure which tin I like best - the heavy duty brownie tin or the loose bottomed tin from lakeland that produced such perfect cakes.                                                                    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Friday, 6 April 2012

cats and their blogs

A friend posted this on facebook, I am sorry I do not know where the credit for it belongs but it made me wonder what sort of blog would a cat write.  BRUCE BOXSITTER the cat who rules our house explains.

First I need to get the hang of the mouse and mousepad - which to be honest are very different to the mice I usually play with.......

Life is good when your people are trained properly.  If you look sad enough you can get away with nearly anything.  For example two years ago when there was heavy snow for a long time and I had nowhere to shelter outside the house I managed to break away a piece of the wooden greenhouse door.  A nice warm place to sleep - was I in trouble for this?  Not at all, everyone was told how clever I was for finding a cozy corner.

They also had a fire installed for me.  It is hard to explain how wonderful being curled up on a chair by a roaring fire and the best chair is one stolen.  

hunting spiders

So for seven years my life has been a mix of sleeping, hunting, playing and serious fuss time.  I am looking forward to many many years of the same. 

Everything should stop when I want attention and mostly it does.

There have been dark moments in my life.  I spent a couple of summers not being able to leave the house in daylight - because of a pair of blackbirds.  Everytime I showed a whisker through the door they appeared and made alarm calls until I gave up and went back inside.  And to anyone who finds this amusing I say that bullies are bullies no matter what their size.