Thursday, 31 December 2009

New beginnings

Wishing you all a healthy, happy and fun filled 2010 - See you next year!
Debs xx

Thursday, 10 December 2009


Is it really Thursday?! December always gallops along but hec this one is the speediest yet. As usual Christmas is gaining pace on me and sending me into a whirl wind, now is when I start to panic slightly and begin my compulsive list writing.

But forget all the chaos (although I am sure that you are all terribly organised and serene) and help me enjoy my EUREKA moment.

Since our move last year I have been a full time stay at home Mum, which is a privilege. I have been able to settle Mstr B & Miss A after all the upheavel of relocating, be here for all their disasters, all their achievements and all the taxi requirements 8 & 10yr olds need! So finding my creative side has been a real adventure which has had many ups and downs in itself. I am yet to find a great love for my sewing machine but we are now friends, which is a major accomplishment but crochet has been a different matter, my hook and I now share a very special bond.

I have followed blogs avidly finding new things to crochet, new stitches and designs, I have gazed longingly at others talents, their impeccable creations which look so perfect, not a stitch out of place, colours that compliment and speed that I could only dream of.

But my dear friends today was the day that I sat back and looked at one of my creations and thought WOW. The feeling is immense, quite overwhelming and very unexpected. One would think that I have created something gigantic but it is only small and I have only actually finished one, not the two that are needed, yet I am still all unnecessary, twitchy and excitable.

Let me start with the yarn, the colours are delicious, it is a Rowan Kid Classic Yarn, so it feels just lovely to play with. I love standing in the needlecraft shop drinking in the rows of yarn, they look just like sweeties. These colours jumped out and begged to be brought home - so I obliged!

In just a short amount of time yesterday evening, hooking away I made one wrist warmer in this lovely yarn. I know I said my speed was improving too so just to let you all know I also finished a pair for a dear friend but I can't show you those or it will spoil her opening her pressie!

This single wrist warmer has made me soooooo happy, strange isn't it?! The small things really can make a big difference. Thank you so much for allowing me to wallow in my eureka moment, I can't wait for this evening to arrive so I can pick up my hook and finish my project, but for now the other side of a stay at home Mum is needing attention, the ironing is calling, supper must be prepared and the vacuum cleaner is getting such little use that it is trying to get out of the cupboard by itself, not to mention a furry ball of discontentment who is following me around with her nose at my ankles!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Going to a Party......

That's right, tomorrow is party morning. A very dear friend, Rox and the one and only Mrs Bun need to celebrate. Of course I muscled my way in because I simply love birthday parties, they really are the best kind of party.

So with great excitement and enthusiasm this morning saw the start of my party preparations - do you want to see??

Now you mustn't forget that Rose Cottage is rather muddled at the moment so first things first were to clear the decks!

A good rummage through many boxes unearthed muffin pans and cupcake cases.........

To go to a party without sparkle would just be terribly rude - so sparkly sprinkles made an appearance............

And as if by magic - cupcakes!! So now time for a little wrapping, dusting off the party shoes and then I think a cup of tea with a tiniest sample of the offerings might be in order - well it wouldn't do if they hadn't been tested!

Friday, 4 December 2009


Hello! Happy new month to you all! The 1st December, the most exciting first day of the month in the entire year. Mstr B & Miss A were so excited that Miss A found it hard to get to sleep and there are still 24 nights to go!!!! She is so funny, although the not quite so amusing at 6am when she is dancing around our bedroom unable to contain the excitement any longer - when do they grow out of that???

As you can tell December is a big thing for us here, real magic, a wonderful month and it all starts with the advent calendars. One year, some years ago, we got Mstr B a lego advent calendar and can I just offer one small piece of advice to any parent, don't start anything with children that you are not prepared to continue for much longer than you anticipate!! I am not entirely sure he will ever out grow lego, so it has become a ritual. Miss A is never quite so straight forward (!), her fabric calendar that she has had for some years now is looking very tired so I promised I would make her calendar from a jumbled up mish mash of ideas floating around in my head. What a promise to make, my brain resembles a crows nest at the moment, so it was right to the wire creating this Chrismas tree from match boxes and lovingly covered. So to the wire that I couldn't get craft match boxes anywhere so I bumbled into our local Co op and brought 24 boxes of matches - we wont need to buy matches for years!! We got there and Miss A is delighted, her own countdown which gives her, her own Chrismas decoration at the same time - Phew!

Blogland has turned into a place of such busy creativity that I can't keep up, my poor hook is exhausted! Sparkly stars and flurries of snowflakes have been appearing everywhere, my cosy corner is now the messy corner! But I love it, so busy with so many Christmas goodies slowly coming together.

Mr H is concerned that he will be sat quietly watching a film and by the end will be knee high in a snow drift!!! I really should stop but they are so addictive and so many uses, not that I have come up with many yet.....!!

I have also been busy making these lovely wrist warmers that came from a brief visit to the Attic.

Now as many of you will know there is still no kitchen here at Rose Cottage and cooking is one of my great loves. Baking has seen me through many a stressful time and I am really feeling the lack of a kitchen as we approach Christmas and as for stress........we'll talk of that another time.

So maybe you could cast your mind back to the autumn, full of wonderful sunlight for photos of autumnal colour. I spent many a day with Bumble gathering sloes and rose hips. Much rose hip syrup has been guzzled and the joy of straining our first jar of sloes was so exciting. Never before made so the first sip was divine. As the excitement changed into a mellow mood sat by the fire my thoughts drifted to the huge pile of sloes, somewhat drunken, not like me, sat in a colander - what do you do with those??? Throwing them in the bin seemed such a waste so I googled my dilemma and the results are yummy!

Sloes have a rather annoying stone in their middle so I sat with small paring knife, wet wipes for sticky fingers and a couple of bowls, one for fruit and one for stones. The fire was roaring and with The Good Life and Tom & Barbara with all their smallholding antics keeping me company I removed the fruit from the blessed stones - it is a slow, boring and tedious job, but the end result is worth it.

The next job is to melt plenty of dark, cocoa rich, chocolate, then dip each fruit into the chocolate and leave to set - delicious and well worth the effort. Also particularly good for Christmas gifts along with some home made truffles (I got the recipe for the truffles from Country Living's December issue) decorated with some gold leaf.

Then you have the perfect excuse to sit and play with paper! Making your own boxes so that you have a reason for buying these...

OOOOOhh I love December! xxx

Monday, 16 November 2009


While I was flying around blogland a couple of weeks ago I stopped by at the Fairyglade and found the most beautiful crocheted poppies. Remembrance Day for me is always special. I was always part of a Remberance Parade as a child with Brownies then as a Guide and it is also the date of my late, much loved, Gramp's birthday.

So with Dev's call to pick up our hooks, I made a cup of tea at high speed while rummaging through my yarn stash to find a good red yarn.

It was lovely to sit hooking while allowing my mind to drift through the memories of years past, the traditions and rituals, my pride in being the flag bearer, the inevitable goose bumps from hearing the last post and the chill as the roll call is read, mingled with the delight of sitting with my Gramps, eating winkles from a brown paper bag and traumatising my cousins with talk of rabbit stew, his huge hands which in a hug could make you feel so safe, his glass of scrumpy and polly-just a walking stick.........simply remembering.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Speedy update!

Such a long time since my last post so I thought I would bring you up to date through a few pictures of what happened in October!

We used lots of these

consumed masses of these......feeling much better now

when the sun shone we made very good use of these.....

Bumble got a new toy after Mstr B & Miss A went
exploring in Grandma and Pop's attic....

My hook got some exercise.......

Party time took up lots of time!

But the most exciting part of October was getting a sink and taps

oooooohhhh, they are the most lovely taps over the most
fabulous sink you have ever seen
and they work, yes, really they do, water inside Rose Cotage
(we wont mention the pain that Mr H went through, still going through, trying to move the
stone worksurface, but we will mention the fabulous friend who
helped move the ******* stone worksurface when Mr H could hardly
stand up straight - thank you!)

You see October was quietly busy!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Cosy Corner

I thought I would share my corner with you today, Rose Cottage is so full of muddles, mess and dust that cosy corner is worth soooo much to me at the moment. This is where I enjoy the silence during the school day, where I crochet and knit, where I write my blog, where I sit and read stories with Miss A after school, where Mstr H tells me of his day and where Mr H and I curl up when the day is nearly done - a very important little corner of our cottage!

I have my eye on a corner that I plan to make my own one day when there is no plasterboard littering the hall and when the unpacked boxes find a home, but that is a long way off just now so this little corner has to be many things. Today it's a special corner because the sun has just sunk low enough to bathe my spot in lovely light and warmth, perfect for sitting here typing and occasionally sharing!

I did promise to share some yarn with you last week and very yummy yarn it is too. It's a pure luxury merino, very soft and lovely to work with. Now I can't show you exactly what I am doing yet because this yummy yarn is being made into a birthday present for a dear friend who is celebrating a rather special birthday this month! So you can only see little teeny tiny snippets of what's happening until the special day. If you look closely at my cosy corner you will see some hooking well underway! The colours are Mulberry, Flint and Slate - they sound very autumnal and look fantastic together. I think more will be needed as I am sure it is time to hook something for myself!

I will pop back later with the rosehip syrup recipe as my batch is underway as I type, so I will infuse, boil and bottle and bring you some pictures later!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Berries and Stone

Phew it's been a busy week! I have been enjoying the dry fine weather and spent much of Monday and Tuesday gleaning the hedgerows of their bounty. Very well we did too! Sloe gin is now hidden away under the stairs working it's magic, alongside a generous jar of blackberry brandy - just the tonic for a cold night in around the fire. Then it was time for some slightly more vitamin packed syrups so I busied myself stripping elderberries from their stems and gathering rose hips. I gathered rather more than just rose hips during my outing and spent an evening removing thorns from my fingers, nature does find some fantastic ways of preventing you from stealing all her goodies.

The elderberry syrup that I made is great for coughs, colds and sore throats, it's very yummy and should the lack of alcohol disappoint it really is quite delicious topped up with champagne! An autumnal Kir Royale!!!

It's very easy to make you just need to strip elderberries from their stems (I had a kilo), put them in a large saucepan with a few chunks of fresh ginger and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 25/30mins until the berries are soft. Strain the liquid through a plastic sieve, squeezing/pressing the berries to get as much as you can. At this point remember that whatever this liquid touches it will stain, it's very purple! Then add 1lb of sugar and 10 cloves for every pint of liquid. Bring this to the boil, stiring to disolve the sugar and boil hard for 10mins. Remove from the heat and remove the cloves. Your syrup is ready to bottle and can be enjoyed in hot or cold water as you would a cordial - yum!

I will post the rosehip syrup recipe over the weekend.

Wednesday was the day I was most looking forward to as I was to meet two great friends in Tetbury, much tea, cake and chatter had been planned, alas many plans do not quite go as planned and Wednesday was no exception. We have been waiting for wooden floor boards for our bathroom and some work surface for our utility room to be delivered - it has taken weeks and weeks so of course a phone call Tuesday confirmed that they would deliver on Wednesday - ARRRRAAGGGHHH, I couldn't say no so, tea, cake and chatter disappeared and I sat and waited and waited and finally they arrived...........

The floor boards were as expected - wooden! But the worksurface WOW, I am sooooo very excited. We have planned the utility to look rather rustic with the stone trough as the sink, so we found a salvage yard who would cut some HUGE pieces of york stone for the work surface, this will sit on some red brick piers - ambitious I agree but if it works it will be just fab. To finally see the work top was like the missing piece of the puzzle I could finally visualise our room -now it was time for Mr H to work some magic and get them in situe......this could take a little while so watch this space!

Mstr B and Miss A decided that they make the perfect outside workspace for all their autumn collections.

Of course this was all too much excitement for Bumble, who dug a perfect Bumble shaped hole and snuggled down in it, a perfect spot for a tummy rub....!

Thursday brought with it my dose of tea, cake and chatter, just one special friend could make this outing so there is still one to be planned! Exploring Tetbury is always fun and on this day the yarn shop was open! Oh it was fantastic, I confess that I did not leave empty handed but you will have to wait to see my goodies, they are already being admired, bundled up and snuggled, the ideas are running wild, once I have tamed them slightly I promise to share!

Have a wonderful weekend xxx

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Silence & Sinks!

Our summer has been full of unsilence! Rose Cottage turned into a vibrant hub of activity, the school holidays has, as always raced past in a blink. The two young dependent children I started the holidays with have grown so much in so many ways, shooting skywards (not surprising judging by the volume of food consumed - I was seriously worried at points that their jaws would need oiling because of over use). Our new village has given them wings, they are able to tentatively explore independence, playing at the park without me sitting on the park bench. They take Bumble for walks across the fields and cycle to the post box, small steps that left me pacing around like a cat on a hot tin roof to begin with and now they feel suprisingly normal.

Mr H has spent hours sawing, drilling, hammering and cursing as the utility room and little loo is well underway. Laying a reclaimed clay tile floor in the utility room was such a huge step forward although it's so effective that to the untrained eye it looks like we really need to replace the floor!!!! Mr H spent some father and son time sulking around the reclamation yard to return home with the most perfect sink imaginable. So now this old stone trough has become the centre of the design. Easy to achieve it has not been, but we are edging closer.........

And me, what have I achieved, well thankfully I haven't grown too much! Order is appearing in tiny corners of our cottage, hooks and yarn have been unpacked and a few crocheted cloths are appearing. I have a new love of string, the texture it creates when you crochet with it is incredible, I love it and can't wait to do more with it, but the creative brain needs some time to find it's voice, it's been quiet most of the summer and now it needs some silence to find strength and allow the ideas to flow.

School is back and the cottage is changing. The light is different, sloes are ripening, hedgerows groaning with their delicious bounty and there is that autumnal feel to the morning air as we scurry to school.

I love the change of summer to autumn, the colours that I am using to crochet with have changed, my clothes are changing, layering with cosy wraps and sweaters, snuggly socks, wellies and boots are making an appearance and soon so soon the crackle of the logs in the hearth - well that is if I ever find a chimney sweep, they are like hens teeth!

So with school back I have my silence, after a summer of noise and excitement I find the silence comforting, restoring, a wonderful place to allow my mind to speak. Time then to make a brew and sit in the slowly sinking sun light and hope that something comes to mind.......