Sunday 19 February 2012

I ♥ Pie...(and Scotland)

 If a holiday could be judged by weight gain alone this one would be right up there....6lbs in 7 days - impressed?

The house in the hills did not disappoint, and neither did the scenery. Despite having lived in Edinburgh for a while, The Borders are unfamiliar territory for us.
We stayed near West Linton, a pretty little conservation village in Peebleshire, about half an hour south of Edinburgh.

It has some interesting architecture and enough shops to save traveling any further afield.

Our house was literally in the middle of nowhere - just how we like it. There was tons of space inside (the boys were delighted to find a game cube) and acres outside.

....with the most amazing views

There was also a stream in the valley within the gardens - where a den was built...natch. 
Not many pictures from me - I was too busy with the hooks!
The balcony would be a wonderful spot to read a book in the warmer months - for us it served as a launch pad for a paper plane competition:
Cleggy won...he loaded his plane with gravel.

...and was also a good spot for a family photo - here's me and my mum (right) with our respective little sisters!
Unfortunately there was NO SNOW - but it didn't stop us making use of the sledge...
(G Kisby and Granny, you might want to look away NOW)

te he - she loved it!

Of course we LOVED having our favourite girl Mabel with us - she is getting more entertaining by the day!

We didn't visit Edinburgh this time but did have a lovely day out in Peebles. It's worth a trip if you're in the area - nice independent shops to mooch around.
 We had a great day when the Edinburgh cousins 
joined our holiday

And had a story telling evening on our last night. Everyone took part in writing - there were no rules except that it should be no more than 500 words. 

We sat around the fire with the lights off while Cleggy read each story out without identifying the author. Great fun, and a now a new tradition! (I'm already thinking about my next one!)

We took a trip to Ayr on 'the way' home to visit the West Coast rellies (great to see you all and meet baby Poppy!)

Finally - Nelly and G Kisby discovered a service station to rival our long time favourite, Tebay! 
This place (The Rheged Discovery centre) is amazing - a few minutes from j40 on the M6 near Penrith,if you're passing!

Yes...Alfie DID wear that hoody every day for a week....
It has a great outdoor play area, a deli type food hall, wonderful cafes, some brilliant shops (independent toys shops and clothes such as Joules/Noa Noa/Seasalt) an exhibition area (currently the story of wool - if only we'd had more time....the whole centre was decorated in wool bunting etc) a 3D cinema and a craft area for kids.  What more could you ask for on a journey stop?!

ALL service stations should look like this.
Yes...I did suggest Cleggy hook that Airstream up to the Volvo and we just get off....

 Holiday roundup over - apart from to show and tell the one purchase we made (other than haggis and pie):
a HUGE new clock from a lovely shop called Time and Tide in Peebles. It's given us the push we need to paint the lounge (following my disastrous attempt to 'wipe' the walls!) fact I can spy some paint out already....
fee x

Friday 10 February 2012

Family Show And Tell

Two posts in a week - I'm surpassing myself.         This week I had a lovely commission...from this point on I'm all over Ladybird blocks. Vintage Tospy and Tim is where it's at! (just kidding lovely people at Ladybird..there's room for both!) 
Jo over at French Knots asked me to make something using a beautiful old circus book for her brother who is soon to turn 40 (just FYI, I'm all over the 30's too...40 is where it's at!)
The paper was a pleasure to work with - already aged and such adorable familiar images. I hope he likes them as much as I do...
Meanwhile I've been working on some new baby blocks. The little images are also really cute (don't tell anyone...but one block features Noddy! The kindly people from Chorion might send P.C Plod over!)
I also found myself without any blocks for a couple of days so took to making my first perpetual calendar (why not?) 
...and mod podged up a birdhouse that's been calling me for a few months. It's now part of a display in Amanda's beautiful salon (more next post when I have some good photos to do her justice)
Now, around this time last year my lovely Mum (The Granny) moved into our basement. 

Don't misunderstand...a lengthy conversion took place first! Her gorgeous little 'garden cottage' deserves a large posting all of it's own, but here's a sneaky look at what we've been working on together. 

My Mum has never fulfilled her creative potential (I can hear her laughing as she reads this)....but recently she has unleashed the flair we always knew she had!

This old chair was rescued from a  a school Cleggy was visiting - it was heading to a skip. The wood was stained dark and the fabric was obligatory staffroom colours (orange tweed!). Granny has given it a lick of antique white paint, made some cushions out of a blind sample, and created this thing of beauty. Shame we don't have a picture of how it looked before!
I made my first cushion cover (of course that's a huge exaggeration...I make a rectangle of granny squares and Granny made it into a cushion with that lovely trim on the back!)

I also made a couple of jam jar covers (still obsessed!) to match, with beautiful wool from here - thank you Stocki.
Sorry about rubbish photo!
Here it is in all it's cosy gorgeousness. We have started the best bit of her new home - the finishing touches. I will do the big ta daaaa when the first room is finished...
It's no secret that I would have loved a few girls around these parts (in addition to the boys you understand) 
so imagine my delight when #1 appeared with THIS cushion from his design and technology lesson:
Better still he made it for his little nephews Sonny and Luca - it's coming your way boys!

So, we have packed our sledges (really!) and are off to (very) rural Scotland - with family Bryce-Kisby and the Granny too, for half term.
We use any long journey as an opportunity for a musical education! Last time was Michael Jackson past and present (not that present, obviously!) which went down very well with all boys. At some point we'll introduce Radiohead and The Smiths - but it just doesn't lend itself to the jolly hols vibe!!!

This time, with Granny in the car, we're going for The Beatles. So, think of us, skidding around on the ice, singing Yellow Submarine. Again! 
Heading here:

How bad can it be?!
fee x
(thank you Helen from 26 minutes past and Stocki for your generous award - I'll be following the rules and posting my 'interesting' facts on return from the hols...when hopefully I will have thought of some!)

Saturday 4 February 2012


Where did January go? 

No time for blues around here - thank goodness. Chipper Nelly love blocks have been flying off the virtual shelf, and there must be worse ways of making a living (I'm still feeling extremely grateful!)

 The 'I Love You More Than Cake' option came with the offer to substitute 'cake' for a word of your choice. I've made a good few 'I Love You More Than Chocolate' options as well as a pizza, snow, buns and custard tarts!


I also had some nice commissions - this big block was for my friend Janice as a gift for friends celebrating a silver wedding anniversary. I love working with silver leaf, but it's tricky, so I keep putting off making it an official product in the shop!

Our favourite girl Mabel also celebrated her first birthday last month! Can't believe it's been a year - Nelly and G Kisby have made fabulous parents and Mabel is adorable - we all love her very much.                              I didn't get many photos of the party afternoon - hopefully Nelly did (and will work out how to share them in her next post!)
I made Mabel some vintage style blocks as part of her gift - the images are really wonderful and free to download (here) from a great blog called Rook No.17, bursting full of inspiration. 

Unfortunately they are only for personal use - so they won't be finding themselves in my shop either!

We caught up with an old friend Joanna, who has recently moved to Switzerland. I met Jo when we found ourselves working in Monsoon Manchester 20 years ago, after finishing Uni...both waiting for 'real'jobs!She went on to get said job, I continued to work for the company for the next 17 years! 
 Incidentally, in those days we were 'given' an allowance to spend in the shop - free clothes that we DIDN'T WANT! It was a struggle to find something...really! How things have changed!
(lovely to see you Joanna!)
I made her a block for her new home - think a version of which might be finding itself in the shop since I'm still addicted to the old dictionary!

 We also visited the vintage market (Treacle) in Macclesfield last month along with Jane and her boys. It was a great way to spend a (very cold) Sunday morning, warmed by some hot spiced cider!

We even managed to sneak off for half an hour, boy free, for a little ooohing and ahhhing by ourselves (including a few 'we should be doing this' followed by some 'lets do some more research'!!)
It's a food and drink market too - worth a visit if you're anywhere local. There were some great photo opportunities - here are my favourite three:


Speaking of photographs (seamless!) Cleggy and I worked together this month as Bloomsbury commissioned me to take the photos for his latest book. It's called '50 fantastic things to do with paint'....or as it appears in my documents '50 things I'll never ever want to do again, with paint'!

Due to Cleggys workload we had but one morning to achieve said photographs, and of course it was the wettest, darkest day of the month. I can't believe I EVER thought I could be a teacher.  

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of kids (especially the naughty ones!) but trying to get a bunch of 4 year olds to do what I wanted was hard going. It didn't help that we got the exciting activity out, took some photos, then whipped it away again. Harsh!
Anyway - we got what we needed and look forward to the next assignment - 50 fantastic things I won't want to do with squidgy stuff! 
(Note to self: next time don't wear best boots!)

Here are some other WIP's filling my head space this week

First mothers day product

Some new 'Girl Blocks'
 And my current favourite, teeny tiny alphabet blocks. Ever since I made these chunky ones for a friend I've been trying to think of a way to make them viable and affordable as I love a set of blocks that can say words and phrases. These might just be the answer. Unfortunately they are fiddly to make, but the blocks are cheaper to buy in the first place...may well be available in the shop before too long...

 And finally - I decided about a year ago that I needed a new short haircut. It's been long for years and all I ever did was wear it in a (messy) ponytail. When I saw that one of my blogging pals had opened a salon nearby I decided it was a sign (?) and duly told her to do what she wanted with my hair.
Amanda's salon is a thing of beauty - right up my street 
(and probably yours too!) 

She also has a little pop up cafe and craft section - it's the dream hairdressers. I'll do a homage in my next post - as she is also stocking a small range of Chipper products - how exciting!
Meanwhile - here is cheesy grinning old me with new hair
(and my lovely Mum!)
fee x

I lo♥e my hair Amanda!