Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Tulips and Gingham

Hello ladies, I hope you all had a great weekend. I did. Friday night/Saturday morning we had a bit of storm blowing through here, very windy Friday all night, it woke me up and that's pretty unusual. On Saturday morning, we went over to visit my other half's parents, yes they live in France too, about 20 mins by car. My sister-in-law was over for a quick weekend visit so we went to see her, which is always great. She's single, lives and works in the London, so a totally different lifestyle and it's great to hear what she's been up to. On Saturday afternoon it's Holly's dance class, and she was meant to be having a friend to play afterwards, but as the weather was so awful we cancelled until this week. Well it was blowing a gale and snowing at the time.

In the evening we went out for our Burns Night Supper. There were six of us and I'd never been to one before. It was great fun, we were piped into dinner (by CD) and there were toasts and poetry readings (in very dodgy scotts/indian! accents), haggis, the most delicious chocolate pudding, dancing and plenty to drink. We went to bed at 3.30am and having over indulged I was feeling a little delicate on Sunday. I was quite happy to crash in front of the TV and watch Larkrise to Candleford in the evening.

Yesterday I got the urge and had a good clean around in the morning, even hoovered under the bed. After lunch my other half wanted to go up to the sports shop at Carrefour (supermarket/out of town shops). There is quite a large fabric shop there with a good range of fabrics, ribbons and lots of crafty bits and pieces. I needed to see if I could get a new light bulb for my ancient sewing machine. I'm very attached to my sewing machine, it was second hand when I was given it as a present when my eldest was born, he's now 18. Success, they had one, and while I was there I bought a couple of lengths of red and lilac gingham. Always good to have in the basket.

In Carrefour itself there is a paper shop where they have a small shelf of english magazines. Guess what I bought, the February issue of Country Living, HOORAY!! so that made my day. I sat in the car on the way home with it on my lap so it wouldn't get creased.

I've started joining my crochet squares together, I wanted to see what they'd look like and couldn't wait until I had enough for a whole blanket. This may turn into a large cushion for Holly, maybe a blanket for my first crochet project was a little adventurous. I thought maybe I could back it with some pretty fabric, buy one of those large french cushion pads and she could use it as a floor cushion. What do you think? I'm pleased with what I've done, but the squares vary in size slightly so were not that easy to join together.

Here is Holly, Sunday I went outside and she was tidying! My other half had pulled out a lilac tree that was at the front of the barn, which left a muddy hole so Holly decided she'd tidy it up - bless her. She loves to be outside whatever the weather.
Enjoy your week.

Friday, 23 January 2009

This week, valentine bear and other stuff!!

Well girls this week has been a bit dreary in more ways than one. We have had soooo much rain I'm starting to think I may have to build an ark! It poured all night and this morning it was like a monsoon with high winds too. The river has burst it's banks on the way into town I notice so we'd better go down to the Mill (this is a holiday home owned by some friends which is at the end of the road which runs down the side of our place....hope you followed that!) to see if all's well as being on the river sometimes it can come up into the garden a fair ways.

I've managed to make the little bear above 'valentine bear' I've called him and have started a heart and crocheted a few more squares for that blanket. It's been one of those weeks where it's been hard to apply myself, I think it may be because it was the anniversay of my dad's death last Friday and is the anniversary of his funeral on Sunday and I think it's sort of in the back of my mind. You don't want to dwell on these things but sometimes they just pop in your head. A friend called in on Wednesday, she was over in her holiday home here for a few days as sadly she'd had the funeral of her dad last Saturday. He died from Alzheimers, like my dad.

Anyway enough gloomyness. Yesterday evening I sat down and unpicked a quilted cushion cover I had, one of those large square ones, never had a pad big enough for it and I was thinking of all the things I might be able to do with the fabric. It's a pretty red and cream toile de jouy quilted fabric and the cream and red striped fabric was the back of the cushion.

After reading A Thrifty Mrs blog about what to do with a spare 15 minutes I thought I'd shorten the curtain on the cupboard in the bathroom. I've been meaning to do this job for ages, well since I hung the curtain there in the first place really. Do you know it probably only did take me about 15 mins as well. I felt quite satisfied afterwards as well - another job done. The bathroom is by no means finished yet, we are still very much a work in progress here, as you can see the cupboard isn't finished but I think the curtain prettys it up a bit in the meantime. Again the bit of fabric I cut off the bottom I've put in the basket for a little project.
Finally today, I'd like to say how much I enjoy reading all your blogs, they certainly help to cheer you up on a grey day. Those of my bloggy friends with health problems at the moment, I am sending you lots of positive thoughts and hope you feel better soon.
This last photo is taken out of the bathroom window, which looks down our back garden. The roof you can just see is that of the lean-to which is still on the back of the barn, one day this will be removed to make way for the new kitchen. I'm not sure when that will be, I'm very happy in my very small (cupboard size) temporary kitchen for the time being. It may not be big, no fitted kitchen unit in sight but it works. I'll post a photo to show you if I can get the angle right!
I hope you all enjoy great weekends. We are off to some friends for a Burns Night supper so that should be fun - (I've never been to one before) - I'll let you know what happens.
Take care all.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Pretty Purses, Recycling and Computers!!!!

Well this is what I've been making this afternoon, some little purses. I made one for my sister for Christmas and she keeps her business cards in it. I use mine to keep my fidelity cards in for the supermarket, like your tesco card, forgotton what you call them in the UK.
Sorry if the photos aren't great. I've had one of those difficult moments with the computer. Ours can be so awkward I'm convinced it's got a mind of it's own. I couldn't do a thing with it this morning, it was sooooo slow, I could click on a webpage go and make a cup of tea, wash up, come back and it was still thinking about it. Sooooo frustrating. I know we've had it since before we came to France, so it's at least 6 years old, which I think in computer terms is probably ancient, but it has to keep going for the time being. Does anyone else have the same problem? I really do get so annoyed with it and I like to think I'm a fairly patient person when it comes to the children or sewing or just doing something fiddly, but this - I think it's because I can't reason with it, if it doesn't want to do it, it doesn't and that's it.
Also this afternoon I've been going through some of my fabric, recycling stuff, some of Holly's old tops that I could take the buttons off or any other pretty bits of ribbon or lace and then cutting out the main parts to store away. Quite satisfying once done and gave me a bit more room in my basket to add some more.
Holly doesn't finish school until 5.10 this evening she has extra Maths on a Monday. Then she has to go out again at 6 for her violin lesson. So I'd better think about going I need to get some bits and bobs from the supermarket first.
Hope you've all had a good day, it's been grey and very very wet here - yukkk!
Take care.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Hearts and crochet squares!

I thought I'd give you a quick update on what I've been doing. After being inspired by all the pretty hearts I've seen on blogs lately I thought I'd have a go myself. Here are the results - my first hearts! I used a pretty little piece of vintage fabric I bought on Sunday at the antiques market on the fronts and on the back of one is a small pink/white gingham and on the other a small gold/red provencal print. I've attached the ribbon for hanging and sewn a little felt heart with a button in the middle on top. I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the result.

These are the squares I've crocheted so far towards a little blanket for Holly's bed, I'm quite pleased with these too as I haven't crocheted for years. I've even tried to crochet some little flowers after seeing them on Hen at Henhouse When I finish it I will let you know!

Well I'm off now, I have a mountain of ironing which I've been looking at all week, you can tell how much I enjoy doing it can't you?

Hope you like my hearts. Take care and have a good weekend.


Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Twice in one day!!!!

A view from near us...

Now down to matters in hand. Yesterday I was awarded the Marie Antoinette Award twice (I was chuffed by the way - my first award) and then I was tagged by Rosey at Agapanthas and Goldsworthy.

So this is what I have to do:-

1) Link to the person who tags you
2) Post the rules on your blog
3) Write 6 random things about yourself
4) Tag 6 people at the end of the post and link to them
5) Let each person know they have been tagged.
6 Random things about me....

1) I have a terrible fear of heights, think it will be ok, but then get up there, legs go wobbly, hands start to sweat - yuk....
2) I am a tidy freak, without being obsessive I should add.
3) Really would like to be more enthusiastic about gardening, love the thought... not so keen on the deed
4) I have the intention to get fit always, but never seem to get around to it. Should really start to address this before I seize up....
5) I love to sew, knit (basic stuff) and have just re-discovered crochet, but tend to have 3 things on the go at once and flit between them, a bit of a butterfly...
6) I love that pround feeling you get inside when your child achieves something, whether it be a big thing or a small one.
and finally here are the 6 girls I'm tagging:-

3) Hen at HenHouse
4) Rachel at RubyRed
5) Bex at Bexs Buttons
6) Sara at Flossie and Tom

Take care all


WOW!! my first award

Thanks Mel at Country in the Town
and Beki at ramblings of an everyday mummy for giving me this award on the same day - how lucky am I ... my first award.

Marie Antoinette Award - A real person, A real award.

Rules of the Award are:
1) Please put the logo on your blog
2) Place a link to the person from whom you received the award
3) Nominate 7 or more blogs
4) Put the link to those blogs on yours
5) Leave a message to tell them

I would like to give the award to:-
Hen at HenHouse
Lou at Ludabelle
Rachel at RubyRed
Bex at Bexsbuttons
Rosey at Agapanthas and Goldsworthy
Sairer at Vintage, Pretty and Shabby
Sara at Flossie and Tom

Take care

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The Antiques Market

Lucky me, it was the monthly antiques market up in the city at the weekend, so we went along for a look. We usually go really early, but as we had been out (dancing) until 1.30am we had an extra hour in bed. It was very cold, but there were lots of interesting stalls to look at. All the stallholders were wrapped up in hats, scarves and thick winter coats trying to keep warm. There are food stalls too, so you get the aroma of cooking onions and french saucissons as you walk around - very tempting on a cold frosty morning. It's outside in the streets which is much nicer than being in a hall, I think. I love rummaging through, it's great fun and I managed to buy some pretty things too. Holly spotted the little door plaques (small proud moment). We went to our usual little warming up point, a café near the cathedral where we all have hot chocolate and Holly had a pain au raisin (plus we use the loo - warm, clean and uk style!). Then we're rejuvinated to have one last wander round before going home for lunch.

Friday, 9 January 2009

I've been shopping......

Well I've been shopping this morning. Thought I'd go and see what was in the sales. I didn't go into the city today though, just to Carrefour which is on the outskirts. Its one of those typical large french supermarkets inside a mini indoor shopping centre.

First purchase was the little blue flowery china beaker which I thought would be ideal next to the computer to put my pens in. Then I bought the balls of wool, this is because I'm busily crocheting squares at the moment, the plan is to make Holly a pretty blanket for her bed. The little pink mug is to replace my pink spotty one I broke the other day, just love pink ... can't help it.... just do. The cushion I was quite pleased with - I'm sitting on it - I've put it on the chair at the computer. I found this in a lovely interiors shop with lots of lovely, very expensive, country style things. This was half price, so I was chuffed - couldn't afford anything else in there though. Finally, the little jug - just because I thought it was sooooo sweet and only €1,75. You can never have too many jugs can you? I also bought a pair of jeans and a little grey top, was extra pleased with this purchase as they were the first pair I tried on, usually try on 20 pairs and never find 1 that fits properly.

Well I'd better go to "The Pigsty" ..... I'm off out there as I'm trying to defrost the washing machine..... second time this week ...... -7 last night (I know it's very cold in England too at the moment). I have great admiration for my washing machine she's a tough old thing - staying out there in all weathers and still serving me loyally, with only the occasional defrosting taking place.

Speak to you again soon.


Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Girls - can you help?????

Girls I could do with picking your brains. I desperately need some new slippers and thought I'd have a go at making some. Just something simple - maybe ballet style. I wondered if any of you clever girls had seen any patterns or could give me some advice.

We are in 'phone a friend' stage. This is what Holly's doing as I write this, her friend has just rang and they are having a long discussion about Pokemon and books. It's quite amusing to listen to her babbling away in french. Most evenings she gets in from school and someone rings who she has been with all day - I'd forgotton what it was like. I think it must be a girl thing, I don't remember it so much with the eldest.

I do enjoy reading all your blogs, a little peep into your lovely homes and what you've been making has really cheered me up today. I'm not really grumpy today !!!!.........

Yesterday I just felt like I didn't achieve anything, spent the afternoon hanging around for the car only to get back to the garage and be told they hadn't been able to do all they had to and I have to take it back tomorrow afternoon. In the morning I had to go and see someone, no appointment system so had to wait for an hour for the person in front of me to finish only to be told when i finally did see her to go back this morning with some more bits of paper. It's very true what they say about french bureaucracy, they love bits of paper.

Anyway I promise not to moan anymore am going to go and apply myself to something constructive .............

Hope you have some good ideas about the slippers.


Monday, 5 January 2009

Monday, Monday......

Back to school this morning. Was vaguely aware of my eldest going into the bathroom at 6.30am (he catches the bus at 7.20) - rather him than me. Then dozed off and got up at 7.30. Holly was up already playing playmobile. Did the school run, very cold this morning about -4 although not as bad as yesterday. My sister, her husband and my niece (not forgetting their very cute dog, Harry) came over for coffee yesterday morning and she told me it was -8. (Enough of the weather report). We drank tea and ate biscuits and chatted. My niece was going back to the UK yesterday evening so it was nice to see her again before she left.

I had to run some errands in town this morning. Went to the garage to try and sort the car out - my french didn't come easily this morning, I think my brain was cold. Then I had to go into the eldest's school to sort something out there, luckily it was very warm in there and the old brain had thawed a bit. It is weird how it goes with the language - somedays you can chat away and others it's like being struck dumb, the words, grammar all seems to go out of the window and you resort to hand signals.

I spent some of the afternoon blogging and taking some photos ready to put on. Ironing joy of joys .... never has been my most favourite past-time, but very satisfying when you see the neat pile at the end. Oh by the way, the washing machine froze yesterday, I should explain that I have a very small 'temporary' kitchen at the moment until the 'real' one is built on the back of the barn, so the washing machine is in what we affectionately call the pigsty, natural stone shed, no doors, and is surrounded with insulation and blankets to keep it warm in the winter, the washing machine that is - not the pigsty!! Happily it defrosted today though so was able to use it.
Picked Holly up from school at 4.30 and back home to have something to eat before her violin lesson. Other half took her for that so I could get our meal ready, curried chicken with spicy veg and lentils tonight.
It's just after 8pm here now and I'm going to tuck Holly in and then I'm going to crash out on the sofa with, yes you've guessed, a cup of tea and maybe one of those fancy chocolates still left from Christmas. Well someone has to eat them!!
Hope you all have a good evening.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Yesterday afternoon!

Yesterday afternoon my dear other half took Holly to the library, so after I'd finished hoovering I settled down in front of the TV with a cup of tea and finished my latest 'woolly cat'. Hope you like her.
Take care.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

What a day!!

Yesterday morning we had to be up bright and breezy to go and collect our eldest (he's 18 now) from the airport. He'd spent New Year's week in England. I always find the longer the children are off school, the more comfy my bed seems in the mornings.

He's well trained don't you think, look what he brought me home, Country Living magazine and a bar of chocolate - bless him!! The little tealight holder he bought me for Christmas which I was very pleased with. You can't see in the photo but it's like a chocolate brown ceramic pebble.

Did bits around the house, got lunch and planned to leave at 1.45 to take some rubbish to the skip, drop Holly at her friend's house to play and take the eldest to his girlfriend's. BUT, I didn't get there. About 15 mins out of town in the country, suddenly there was a funny noise, I said "what's that funny noise, is it a bird, is it a plane - we stopped and pulled over - no IT'S A FLAT TYRE". Why do these things always happen when I'm driving? We emptied the rubbish out of the boot (as we hadn't been to the skip) and proceeded to try and find the jack and the spare wheel. Got the instruction book out of the glove box. Did as it said, but the spare wheel which is held in a sort of basket under the back of the car wouldn't drop down as it should. Olly (the eldest) was under the car and I was turning the thingy but nothing was happening. Could this get any worse - oh yes!!

Lovely spot to be stranded don't you think? After about 20mins decided it would be best to ring home and ask himself for some manly advice. To make a long story slightly shorter, we still had no success and had to ring a friend to collect himself and bring him to us - himself being very practical in these matters. He arrived, studied the situation and the car. He couldn't release the basket thing either, (breathed a slight sigh of relief - it wasn't just me!) and asked friend and I to go back into town to see if the garage was open. It's a Renault and the Renault garage in town were the last to do something with the spare wheel thing, we think it must have been overtightened so the thread had gone - something like that anyway - don't want to bore you too much with detail. Renault garage closed, Friday after New Year, obviously taking opportunity for a long weekend. French do New Year's Eve in a big way, don't get me wrong they do Christmas in a big way too, but the 31st is an all night feast.

So we were now stuck, tyre flat as a pancake, Renault garage closed, couldn't get the spare out to replace it. Oh and did I mention, it was absolutely freezing yesterday. So next step, I went back to town with friend to buy a hacksaw so himself could cut through offending bolt and release the basket thing. He managed after lying on his back under the car for I don't know how long to cut through it. The actual changing of the tyre took ooh all of five minutes.

Three hours later, with the rubbish and a flat tyre in the car, as well as Holly, it was too late to go to her friend's, we arrived home, without Olly, we had dropped him at his girlfriend's on the way. Just thought I would add this photo of eldest in his yellow jacket, obligatory in France now to have a yellow jacket and a warning triangle in the car for just such an occasion.

When I finally got home I rang Holly's friend to explain and made a cup of tea. We sat in front of the fire with a box of Shortbread biscuits. That made us feel better.