Thursday 29 September 2011

Goodbye Gladys

Autumn by lucia and mapp
So, where was I? Ah yes.
Cleggy was an unusually long time putting the ladies away, turns out he couldn't find Gladys. There was no sign of a fox, no feathers, no chicken legs in the we went to bed perplexed. The next morning he's straight back down there to hunt some more - but alas, still no sign.

Until....he spies tail feathers peeping out the duck pond. Yep, Gladys, bottom of the pecking order, therefore chief duck worrier, had fallen fowl(!)of her own antics! She had chased the poor ducks once too often and fallen in (or was pushed!) and drowned.

Tis fair to say that she had a hard life as a battery hen, then a much nicer life once our posh ladies had learned to tolerate her and her plain feathers. Here's a new before and after picture in memory of our last beautiful rescue chicken:

We'll miss her - not least because she was the only decent layer. The Orpington Ladies are very pretty but they don't pay their way!

The demise of Gladys means we're down to 3 chickens and 4 ducks - enough for any suburban home farm.....I have a feeling Cleggy feels otherwise.

Now, I must apologise to all my blogging pals (and my real life friends for that matter!) as I've been unbelievably busy recently and haven't visited my usual blog haunts. I'm hoping for a good old read over the weekend.

Until then here are some more makes 
(as if to prove how busy I've been!)

A big treasure box for Keeley (hope it helps Jenni...)

Some blocks for a friend of Cleggys who has just 
emigrated to Australia
Some blocks for a special pal

Some friendship boxes

And finally, another friend asked if I could make her some alphabet blocks - 15 of them, so she could make various words and phrases. 
I was delighted (until I realised that meant 90 letters - and since I draw them it became a long job!). Anyway - they worked really nicely - and I had too much fun playing with different ideas...(need to get out more)
I love the clarity of the hand drawn letters but am going to have to look into large letter stamps or finally getting a vinyl cutter.
This next one was for my mantelpiece - anyone watch the latest episode of (Cleggy house fave) Modern Family??? Lots of v annoying knowing looks around here during the episode where Claire (my hero) is right.
I just know how much pleasure he'll have in the fact that the 'S' is upside down....ahhh, the irony.
fee x

Sunday 25 September 2011


My (poor) family will testify that this is pretty much all that's come out of my mouth today. I have a bad case of the SHhhhh tourettes. Largely due to excess consumption of food and alcohol the previous evening. 

Now I'm having a mild case of the Sunday night blues because I know I have wasted a day. 

The cause of excess consumption? G Kisby's birthday. And a wonderful evening out it was, so at least it was worth it!

We also got some family time with Mabel - which we all love... Here she is with The Granny.

Other than that it's work, work, work around these parts. After a glorious summer off Cleggy and I are both playing catch up while we re stock the coffers.

I have some really interesting commissions on the go - including these blocks made for Sarah. Her OH is a policeman, celebrating his 40th next month. Inspired by my recent offering of ladybird blocks she looked out her vintage copy of 'The Policeman', which, as always was a treat to read - all about catching robbers, returning lost handbags and helping children cross the road! 
Like all good ladybird books it was full of beautiful familiar pictures - making a great set of blocks (with a personal message on the back)
I've loved making these and hope Mr Policeman likes them too 
(and doesn't miss his book too much!)

These next ones are 2 sets of 'you are loved' blocks...I'm hoping they inspire beautiful bedrooms in your new home Cathie
(fingers crossed)
And finally just some more ideas for future products - these are in the production stage (!) but I'm loving the colours

Before I go I must add that my brother's boys Sonny and Luca LOVE their new garden - and has promised some pictures of them enjoying it soon.

And feel I should explain the reasons behind my pledge to not buy any clothes for a year. I know Dottie Angel encouraged a similar thing but I wasn't blogging in those days and missed all that. Mine was made in typical bold, over excited, over ambitious fashion last year - you know the type of occasion. I probably had an audience and thought it was a clever thing to say. Everyone doubted me, and within minutes I wondered why I'd said it at all. I wanted to learn how to sew and thought the two would go hand in hand!

Anyway, I have pretty much stuck to it (I had quickly pointed out that it didn't include underwear or shoes) and have only relented on the cardy front as I couldn't make one (yet!)
I did make a dress (see here) and am half way through at least 2 more - got stuck on zips and lost interest - but will come back to it!

Now I only have three months to go I am most certainly going to stick to it. If nothing else it has shown me how little I need and I know I've saved lots of money. Cleggy has also spent less because he feels the unspoken pressure my raised eyebrows bring whenever he walks in with a bag!!!

Finally - we have lost another of out rescue hens. I need to give her the proper blog treatment she deserves so I'll save the story for next time. Ooooh, what a cliffhanger eh?
Fee x

Thursday 22 September 2011

making, making, making...

Things have finally settled down a bit around here...big and little have settled into their respective new schools and middle is loving year 6. Meanwhile I'm resigned to the serious lack of an Indian summer (ever hopeful) and have dug out some winter woolys (?), always happy to cover up as much flesh as possible! I started a little internet shop yesterday til I remembered I am only 9 months in to my pledge to NOT BUY ANY CLOTHES for a year - what a stupid pledge that was....(what was I thinking???)

Anyway, nothing to report other than some makes....
Halloween blocks, 
or, as always, get in touch directly for a little blogging discount!

...and a sign for a wee flat
(hope you like it Jackie!)

...and lastly a treasure box I made for my very special Mum (The Granny) which I'd never got around to photographing

 That's it!
fee x

Thursday 15 September 2011

My making mojo returns....(thank goodness)

thank you lovely friend!
I don't know where this week has gone - although I seem to have spent a large proportion of it in the Volvo garage...

Now that's not something I ever thought I'd write 
(nothing wrong with a Volvo you understand....don't wish to offend!).

Anyway, in between times I'm glad to say I've rekindled my love of making and been inspired. I'm not sure why I'd lost my making mojo - possibly because the retail pixie was sitting on one shoulder telling me I ought to be making Christmas products. 

Obviously, as is my nature, my obstinate side refused to entertain such high direction. The creative pixie laughed in the face of such an idea. Fortunately I found a compromise and made something that would make a good Christmas present for men, without having to start stamping 
'Ho flamin' Ho' x 1000.    (actually, that might work. Hmmmmm)

So - I set to finding vintage images for mens blocks. This is always a challenge. Of course it is - otherwise we would have no problem thinking of something to buy for the men in our lives.

I decided that vintage Ladybird books were the answer - and I give you 'football': (never thought I'd say that either)
Then, as is also my nature, I got carried away and decided I had to have some Peter and Jane blocks
which I am loving!

 All available here - but, as always, feel free to contact me directly for a little bloggers reduction!

Now, I must mention another little project I've loved doing this week. My good friend Sandra is a woman and a half. She has three busy boys, runs her own business and is always the first to help out at school or do you a favour. When the rest of us are slumped on the sofa of an evening Sandra goes for a run, or swims in a lake, or takes herself off on a 50 mile bike ride! (why? I often hear myself saying!)

Now, earlier this year she accomplished something fantastic - she was part of a swimming team who broke 3 records - 2 British and 1 European. Just amazing (She celebrated with a kebab. Class!)

When she showed me her shiny medals, knowing her as I do, I feared they would end up at the back of a random drawer, never to be seen again - so offered to make some frames with which she could display them proudly - and here they are:

SO proud of you my friend!

And finally - when I woke up to Radio 4 this morning I heard the man say that eating dark chocolate did the same things to your muscles as jogging. Obviously, I presumed I was still dreaming...but no, it was true!
Since my heart beats a little faster at the very thought of Green and Blacks Maya Gold I reckon that eating a bar must be tantamount to exercise. Result!
fee x
(Looking forward to a wee visit to Slattery's Chocolatier tomorrow!)

Sunday 11 September 2011

Pimp my yard!

My brother and his gorgeous wifey Janet have two little boys, Sonny and Luca...and the 
smallest back yard!

Luckily there are loads of great parks and play centres within a short distance of their house - but we thought it would be nice if they could use their outside space to better effect.
Both the boys had a birthday last month, Sonny turned 2 and Luca 1, so we got together with Nelly/G Kisby and decided to 'pimp their yard' as a joint present. This weekend the family were away with friends, and the forecast was dry (ish) so we set to with gusto!

Now, this was always going to be a challenge....the budget (£100) disappeared fast and the Victorian brickwork did not like the drill. Next doors dog didn't like the drill either. And the weather wasn't as dry as the man on the BBC said. 

HOWEVER...the bacon butties (thanks Granny) and delicious cake (thanks Tracy) kept us going and here's what we did:

As Sonny and Luca are still small we decided to keep all the activities at ground level. The raised border is ripe for making into a larger scale sand/bark pit - maybe next year! So that left us the small rectangle.

Now, Cleggy works in Early Years( so had tons of ideas (that the budget didn't allow!) and was really keen to make plenty of provision for mark making.

 We did 2 boards - one fixed directly onto the wall for chalking on, and one on battons so you can use pegs to attach paper on for painting etc. 
 For extra options we chose magentic blackboard paint (B+Q) - which
actually worked! 
It's best to roller it on for a smoother finish (said Mr Clegg)

Next was an area for imaginative water play. There was an old pulley attached to the wall so we hung a bucket from it - hours of fun! The guttering was cut to size and attached using the clips a builder would use, and placed at angles so the water tumbles down. It could be made higher as the boys grow - and can be used with other things such as different sized balls etc if the boys need to stay dry. The bowls,cups and funnels were all really cheap from Asda.

We brightened the opposite wall up by hanging some old buckets from Casa Clegg. They are filled with herbs that the boys can smell (and M and J can use!)
The little gardening set and mini brush are from B&Q.

We filled some big plastic tubs with some of my boys old toys, dinosaurs, cars etc
and no garden would be complete without a chipper nelly sign!

The boys were a big help:
(no idea where Alfie was!)

and here's the final ta daa

We all hope your new revamped yard gives you hours of fun boys...
and gives your Mum and Dad ten precious minutes peace now and again! 
Fee x
(yes, I know using the word 'pimp' might attract some unwanted blog visits - kind of think it serves them right!)

Wednesday 7 September 2011

...this time it's personal

I decided I couldn't didn't want to focus on creating Christmas products just yet - and even if I start in October it'll be earlier than last year! (so you CAN take the girl out of retail!)

So, I set to with gusto, making a personalised version of my Vintage Nursery blocks. 
Available to buy here but always feel free to contact me directly if you ever fancy something. I'd rather give a discount to my blogging pals than commission to notonthehighstreet!

I also had a play with a home block - thinking it would be a nice little minding for someone with a new home.
more than a card...
but less than a present...

I've had this paper for a while and didn't want to use it because I liked it too much. I'll never be rich!

Now before I go I can confirm (Cuckoo) that Alfie did indeed love his new room, although not enough to keep it tidy! (natch)

Secondly, I'd like to say a massive THANK YOU to lovely Theophanie, who, out of the kindness of her heart (and quite possibly some sympathy for me, a thicko) made me a button for my blog and sent me instructions on how to use it AND make a favicon. When I've learnt those things I'll share them, as I know I'm not the only technical thicko around here....! 

And while I'm here, a worrying thing happened to me today. 
I was unbelievably susceptible to the voice of Soreen.

As I was waiting patiently for the coffee machine to warm up I read these words on the packet:

'Squeeze me. Come on, don't be shy. There. Feel that? '

Makes me wonder how easily I'd join a cult or run off with the gypsies, if I so meekly obey malt loaf.
fee x
(it was squidgy though...)