Monday, 27 April 2009

Rain stopped play!

We've been very busy here in the kitschen household. But the rain caught us out and so this is the new look in the dining room!
The half refurbished garden furniture has taken over until the final colour top-coat has been applied and had time to dry to a lovely weatherproof sheen. Why it found it's way in here and not into the barn is a mystery to me!
It's not a good look but since wonderful mumsie spent nearly a whole day doing a fantastic job of the primer, we'd hate to see it all washed away!
So as we returned to indoor jobs, I received a wonderful surprise parcel to cheer me up! Don't you just love that dear little birdy?Can you guess where it's from? Ooh lucky me!
The lovely Michelle over at Cowboys and Custard saw my iced gem china post and sent me this yummy little jug along with some super duper goodies! What a lucky girl I am!I just love that Kitty card! And as you can see the perfect little jug has settled in happily with the other iced gem pieces!
Which takes me neatly onto sweeties! Do you remember I mentioned a sweetie swap?
I was contacted by lovely Punkinpie to do a retro sweetie swap. Of course I turned to old favourites, Barratts, Swizzels and Maynards for the parcel I was sending to America. The sweetie names of my childhood.
And then we received this wonderful parcel in a pukka stateside grocery bag (I will never understand the lack of handles!)!Of course I had help with the unpacking!
Oooh look at all those lovely packages!I was surprised that there was only one sweetie we knew! Pez. They're the only sweets in the parcel we had heard of before. I really hadn't expected so many surprises!And the next most notable thing? The colours! I mentioned in my iced gem post that the colours were not what they used to be.... well clearly in America they have alternative ingredients - I could frame these beauties for the wall!!
...and I think these were making me giddy before I even considered eating them!
... and look at these! Aren't they just too beautiful to eat? I'm saving them for my next photo session when I need more colourful sweeties! Can you see the American Pez?
These are the English ones!
Wierd hey? So, what were the favourites? Well, the Charleston Chew was heaven but I think one a year would be enough!
This lolly gets a high mark for the laughs!But without a doubt, these delicious peanut caramel chews are my absolute new obsession! Perfectly nutty, chewy and yum! I might have been biased already by the lovely packaging - well who wouldn't be! My granny's favourite sweet treat was a toffee called 'Plain Janes'. Perhaps that they reminded me of her was part of the appeal. There have been lots of memories of my gran this week. We have a very exciting date with a homes journalist next week. The lovely lady has asked me to think of stories behind the things in our home..... Where to begin?! We have a home which is full of sentimental old this and that, much of our furniture and china are hand-me-downs, make do and mend. Even the biscuit tin we use every day, is from my gran's kitchen.
She wouldn't have worried about additives in sweets. Hers was a kitchen where grandchildren were spoiled - if there was a new Angel Delight ,I could eat the whole bowl. If we felt sickly, Coca Cola with a spoonful of sugar in it. Demerara sugar sandwiches were a favourite treat and biscuits. Digestive biscuits topped with a huge heap of Whipped cream and a dollop of jam... hmmm. Happy memories.I shall be busy busy for another week or so. Sorry not to be here chatting. And after the photoshoot I shall also be working on another article for Sew Hip magazine but I won't be spoiling any surprises by telling you about it! It's scheduled for issue 9!
Have a lovely week. t.xx

Friday, 17 April 2009

Holiday's end.

We took our last holiday bike ride today
Down to the river in the crisp early evening. The blackthorn blossom is incredible this year. I love when it starts to drop everywhere like confetti.
The wildlife is looking a bit strange locally - possibly due to genetic engineering you think?
Our boy's dislike of brown chocolate is so well known that many of us bought him white chocolate Milkybar cows this year - he has a find herd of cattle of which he is very proud!
And now some thrifty wondrousness!
This lovely tea cosy was calling to me from across the street! Sitting all neglected on the cheap table outside the store! Want to see the other side?
A few of the squares need to be restitched but otherwise it is in perfect condition and the colours are still so pretty and bright! A close up? Ok....
Every time I look upon this precious treasure I find another little square that makes me squeal with delight!
It has made itself very at home in the kitschen.
The ladies in the store were oohing and aahing over how many secrets it must have kept in it's time. How much gossip it must have shared, how many woes put right with a nice hot cuppa. Then they sold it to me for the princely sum of ..... 50p..... 50p!!!!! I felt so guilty but apparently nobody uses tea cosies anymore... Who cares?! I just want to gaze upon it in wonder and joy!
Have a lovely weekend everyone. t.x

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Sorting and folding and stacking!

It all started with the buttons...
then it was the silks..
and this week, with the purchase of timber, it was time for the piles of fabric ....at last! They look very tidy here- but this doesn't last a moment once I look for a particular print, they all collapse in a heap.
But not anymore! At last I have a way to keep my fabric in neat piles even when I need that perfect shade of pink right at the bottom of the heap! All the awkward bits of this and that are now safely stored and neatly stacked! Hurrah!
It's bliss! I am particularly enjoying this section..
oh and the checks and stripes..
and this shelf has lots of my favourites..I should scan some for you to see, some are almost too precious to use!
But not quite! Now I must turn my attention to the fabrics that don't fit into the shelves! The quilts and blankets and large chintz curtains. Oh dear. I haven't the heart to tell hubby I need more shelving! t.x

Monday, 13 April 2009

Cake for everyone!

I feel awful! I have been neglecting you, my lovely readers. Easter has been such a spin I have not made time to respond to all of your kind comments and I have so enjoyed reading them.
So, here, by popular request, is the recipe:

Easter Marzipan Teabread

6oz marzipan chilled and diced.
5oz butter
8oz plain white flour
4oz soft brown sugar
8oz mixed dried fruit
6 fl oz milk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 tablespoon Marmalade to glaze.
1kg loaf tin with greaseproof liner

Rub together butter and flour to form a breadcrumb texture.
Stir in the sugar and dried fruit.

In a jug, mix together the milk, baking powder and bicarb.

Pour milk mixture into the centre of the dry ingredients and mix well to a soft dropping consistency. Use more milk if required.

Spread 1/3 of mixture into the tin and top with half the marzipan chunks. Repeat. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the cake mixture and level the surface.

Bake for 45-60 mins on the bottom runner of the roasting oven until firm to the touch. Half way through the cooking turn the cake, pop a piece of foil loosely onto the tin and put the cold plain shelf onto the 2nd set of runners.
Turn out and cool on a wire rack.
Warm the marmalade with a little water on the back of the Aga and spread over the teabread whilst still warm.
Cool completely before slicing
Spread with lots of butter, sit down...
and enjoy with a nice hot cup of tea!
t.x

For non-aga bakers try to find a teabread recipe with cooking times you can adapt. It's what I do in reverse with non-aga recipes!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

A Family Easter.

Eggs! Lovely Eggs!
Nests - the final instalment!
Carefully counted out and a little chick in each one.
And how's this for an Easter Bunny?! Hand-picked for a certain little man we know.
And since babies can't eat chocolate, at least we don't think so, this rather large duckling sat cosily in the tiniest nest for the tiniest cousin-
A HUGE nest for daddy, colourful eggs for mummy, and favourite white chocolate for our beautiful boy.
And after a long lazy lunch of Roast Lamb with all the trimmings, time to hunt for more eggs...
Hard work to find every single one!
Then back to the house for a hot cuppa and Easter Marzipan Teabread.......thickly spread with lashings of butter of course! Yum!
Hope you have all had a very Happy Easter. t.x

Friday, 10 April 2009

Whoosh!

A lazy Sunday afternoon a long long time ago!
Today is our 20th Anniversary. Seven of them spent living in a caravan!
Two became three with the long awaited arrival of precious treasure..
My how time flies when you're having fun!
We bought 20 packets of seeds for the garden, and some timber for the house.
We don't really do roses and chocolates - they don't last so long! But since our anniversary falls in the midst of the school holidays, we're hoping to get away later in the year to one of our favourite escapes. Can't wait.
Meanwhile, baking to do today to be ready for family coming to visit for Easter. Have a lovely weekend all. t.x
(the beautiful boy would like it to be noted - old wheels on axels perfect for a go-cart - 40p at Grandma's local jumble sale - Score!).