Wednesday, 30 November 2011

moving day?

All a bit weary here. So thought I would share a photo from mum's albums. Here we are meeting Father Christmas in Shark Bay, Western Australia. We were brought up on a sheep station in the far north of WA. You may have seen this pic before but I haven't anything new at the mo!

Mum made our costumes. I am the slinky flapper. With a cigarette and long, glamorous holder. I remember wanting to have sparkly shoes to go with my finery but had to make do with navy clarks.

We are waiting forever for our house to exchange. Deadlines seem to come and go. And now looking to exchange and complete on the same day - this Friday. A bit fraught here. The day off school with strikes didn't help. But they do have my support. We went to the zoo instead, then Gus couldn't throw himself off the piles of boxes all day.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

school photos

How they have changesd! I remember our school photos - very posed and in our attractive brown and yellow uniform. My brother always seemed to be dressed in a yellow polo necked jumper.

The boys had their's done at school and I have ordered a few for Christmas presents for the grandparents and aunts. I don't know how they managed to get these lovely smiles from H. He is known for his cheeky-teeth clenched grin whenever the camera comes close.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Here is Freddie - kite-flyer. And it was so beautiful on Sunday, we popped to Dunstable Downs for an hour or so. Just magic.

Gus had his first proper outdoor walk (not counting when he raced off after school one day and donked his nose on the tarmac - with all the mums watching.)

And Harry. Well he is just mad - Harry. See my face. 'Let's just get a nice photo, Harry...'

The house is full of half-packed boxes. And washing hanging everywhere. Does anyone else really struggle to get everything packed into boxes that aren't too heavy but have to be full for strength??? and the amount of books we have!!?

Monday, 14 November 2011


I have swapped a few bits in the past. It is great fun...

Here is a decoration which is about to posted to New Zealand.

I finished it off while I had a stall at the St Albans Flea Market. A really nice way to spend the day, I must admit.

And the Market has so many great things... lots of new stalls with truly unique things to buy. The next one there is 11 December. So drop in if you are local.

I sold a few wheatbags and a couple of my lovely linen satchels. Not my busiest day, but worth doing. (not the least as it gave me a moment to breath amidst the packing!)

Thursday, 10 November 2011


we are moving in two (ahhh) weeks. while this has been planned for a while, i think i have been in denial. there is so much to do! see the the picture above : this house (previously a pub!) is chock full of our stuff. it has only been 10 years....

and we will be leaving our beautiful house and our much-loved village. not too far, though. just to the next village. onwards and upwards!

we have a garage sale Saturday to hopefully clear some of the bits and pieces... but there will be still so much to pack over the next couple of weeks. what to do now? how do i make it easier as we get closer to the time? should we live amongst the boxes for two weeks?? any advice?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Not in the bath.. but visiting the beautiful city of Bath. We have had really lovely sunshine on our holiday. And tried some of Sally Nunn's 'famous' buns here in the oldest house in Bath.

And staying in a wonderful farmhouse in Faulkland. I need to grab a picture for the blog, and will do tomorrow.

We enjoyed NT Stourhead and are really appreciating the scenery.

I need to cut out and make up some popp brooches for selling.. but the fresh air means I am done-in by 10pm.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

poppy appeal

I have blogged about my grandfather, my 'Poppy' in the past. He was a really loving and fun man, and known for his bravery during World War ll. He was also the inspiration for the poppyart name.

Inspired by

I have made up some fundraising poppy kits for the appeal. £2 each, they have everything except a needle and cotton to sew your own lasting poppy. And all of the £2 will go straight to the appeal.

I have used vintage buttons that I was given a couple of years ago, scraps of dotty and floral fabric. And some beautiful red wool my mum was given by her friend Kate.

Looking good on my (F&F!) wax jacket, I think. And the act of making up the kits and sewing the brooch has allowed me to re-visit some lovely memories of my Poppy.

Monday, 17 October 2011


I have had such a busy time! Here is one of the new products : a liberty bird which is 'captured' in a machine stitched cage. The backing is green velvet and it is filled with organic lavender.

I hosted a shopping evening at home with a table full of poppyart things. And a house full of 'lovebumble' things. I met a great girl, Anna, who has a small business selling handbags, jewellery and scarves. She has a great eye and somehow manages to keep her prices low. You can find her on facebook.

Anyway, I had a few plates of nibbles plus (quite a lot) of wine on hand. Keith was OUTSTANDING. He sorted the boys, topped drinks and... mingled. While he is very sociable, I was really surprised how he pottered around happily. He did say it was no hardship as the ladies were all lovely. I would have to agree.

Anyway, for an evening of sales it was fantastic! Two times better than anything I have done before. I took lots of orders for aprons to be named in time for Christmas. And the wheatbags and fabric buckets went down a treat.

And Anna's business offers the hostess 15% of her sales to be spent on the great lovebumble range. I did very well.

Thank you to all my visitors.

Monday, 10 October 2011


Here are two custom aprons... those creases are showing up on the linen aren't they?!? I really should have got the iron out...

And also a bit of a labour of love for my beautiful niece Isabella. She is only two but the apron will look lovely hanging somewhere for a year or so! I hand-stitched her name onto the apron and she is a girl who seeems to love her pinks and purples.

These aprons are fantastic. When I visited my sister in Hong Kong a couple of years ago, I visited a manufacturer and designed and ordered children's aprons, adults aprons, doorstops and a couple of other items... all made from really good quality linen. Ready to embellish. And I'm afraid I haven't used that many! A few featured at fairs last year, but I have 200 of each! If you would like to order any, let me know. The aprons have a pocket, a cute key attachment (we use ours for a t-towel) and my red poppyart tag.

Friday, 7 October 2011


We celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary earlier in the year. And of course, we have the three lovely boys. To mark these two moments, I have this beautiful eternity ring. We visited Stephen Einhorn in Islington in London, the jeweller who made our wedding rings and my engagement ring. What a magic everyday reminder of the most important parts of my life. Keith, Freddie, Harry and Gus. x

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

new book!

Keith very kindly picked up a sewing book for me from a commercial shop supply shop.... it was a great (detailed) guide to pattern cutting for children. To be honest, I looked at it and was quite terrified. He was happy to return it and I picked up this from Amazon, instead. Fabulous, straightforward trousers and tshirts for boys. I love making trousers as they are so quick... and this gives me a bit more of a guide. From a great blogger - check out

Friday, 30 September 2011

some scones

A quick recipe -

4 cups self-raising flour

300ml cream

375ml can lemonade

Pre-heat oven 200 degrees. Sift flour into bowl before adding other ingredients and stir gently to combine. Pat into a circular shape on a floured surface before cutting out scones. Place on a floured tray, close together. Bake for 12- 15 mins.

How easy! They are going up to school for the Macmillan fundraiser today.

I have seen another recipe with a similar theme - use ginger beer and add 1 cup of chopped dates. MMM. Yum. Not tried yet.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

chilli bucket

Thank you to Dawn for a lovely chilli plant to put inside one of my favourite fabric buckets... just a lining of plastic bag and you are all set.

The present was one of a few special things I was given for my birthday last week. And lots of food - 4 meals were enjoyed out over the last few days.

I'm half watching a Shirley Bassey drama. Keith is out. But at least I have finished a batch of (packet) cupcakes for tomorrow's Macmillan stall. Do you ever feel like you aren't really achieving anything? I have had one of those disjointed days.

And now I can't seem to retrieve the photos I wanted to add from facebook. An old pic from the file and off to bed, then. UPDATED : fabric bucket with chilli plant. yay!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


And just to prove how much we love Judith Kerr books here , Gus is getting in a spot of reading.

He is an absolute joy. He motors around the couch and looks out of the window. A lot.

And is so pleased with the tub of 2nd hand blocks I picked up from the NCT Nearly New Sale on Saturday. The sale happens twice a year - a mammoth but well-organised event in Harpenden. I always sell and help out. Around 500 people through the door and an amazing £16 500 taken at tills - 30% raised for NCT. Wow.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


Can you see a striped ticking theme going on here? I do love a bit of ticking.

I am making a whole pile of fabric buckets in preparation for a couple of small (but special) events. I am having a poppyart/ bumble shopping evening here at home. Bumble is a great small business which sells a variety of really lovely gifts - at fairs and online. Anna's facebook page is here

And I have finally set up my own poppyart facebook page. Go here!/pages/Poppyart/156375641117081

I'm sorry, I know I need to imbed the addresses but Gus is calling for me. Squealing is probably the better word.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

zippered pouch

I have found the light! Look at this fantastic tutorial (anyone... do it!) and you too will be able to whip up a zippered purse/ pouch/ makeup bag.

Here is mine. For a special order. I am obscenely proud of myself. You can just see the pink dotty lining, I love it.

Monday, 12 September 2011

easy chicken wings

One of the boys' favourite meals is chicken wings. Super delicious, I remember Mum making them from the Woman's Weekly Chinese Cookbook. The first time, I think was for 'Entertaining'. You know the sort of thing - they were done in a very posh way, too. All the flesh was pushed down to one end to make clean bone-handles to eat from!

These is my 'throw-it-all-together' version. Key ingredients are soy sauce, honey and garlic. In various meals, I have included any or all of these things too : fish sauce, sweet chilli sauce (this could be used alone! yum.), tomato sauce, brown sugar, grated ginger, Chinese or ordinary vinegar.

Take the wings from their tray and split into portions - I do this with my big kitchen knife and chop straight through the bones - leaving me with one mini-drum and a second boney bit. The third wing tip is just skin really so I ditch it. The kind butcher at Asda had already taken that bit away.

Put your marinade in a bowl - whatever combo you fancy. Toss in wing bits and mix well before marinading for a couple of hours or overnight. Cook for around 45 mins 175 degrees. Keep an eye on the wings and if they are burning on top, cover with foil - the sugar/ honey will colour too quickly if the oven is too hot.

Freddie's friend came over for tea... and here they are demolishing the bowl full. (You can see my sewing projects piled up at the end of the table! Ha. Waiting for that spare 20 minutes... and I don't think Harry is picking his nose??!!)


We took part in the giant Monopoly in St Albans yesterday. It was brilliant! A board gave us a route of around 2.5 kms to follow (a 4km one was available too) and we visited historic spots on a special trail.

What a fabulous idea! The family was able to see quite a bit of St Albans and even gain access to the jail under the courthouse in the Town Hall. We were a bit tight on time, so didn't get around everything - there were activities, too. One stop by the Cathedral featured a gentleman who had made (yes, made!) 20 or so wooden games and puzzles to encourage problem solving. We were there for AGES. Had to tear Keith away, too.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

dunstable downs.

Even though the rain is pretty solid today, we have had a good week weather-wise. Gardening time and this lovely day on the downs. Beautiful.

And we entered the Village Show - me a carrot cake and fabric bucket. Freddie made a (far too delicious) tray bake and Harry the most excellent real Mr Potato Head. I'm afraid only Harry came away with a 2nd place. I tried not to be too jealous. I do love living in our village.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Easy trousers

Inspired by this example I whipped up a pair of easy trousers this morning. Well... easy but not faultless!

Cute they surely are, but a little wide and short in the leg and a little short in the crotch. I really should have taken the time to print off the pattern! Oh well. I will adapt a bit for the second pair I have cut out ready to go. Love the oval knee patches, though.

The debris surrounding the trousers is the result of me bribing/ twisting arms/ moaning to get the boys to complete an art project - that is , splash a bit of paint onto some clay bits they made. Phew - you WILL have fun, boys.

Friday, 26 August 2011

bethnal green

We took the trip into London to visit the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. It is a fantastic, interactive museum with lots to do with children. It was a real treck to be honest... we arrived there around 3pm after completing some of those really annoying jobs that need doing. (Harry's glasses repaired, trainers returned, football photos done... you know the ones - loading and unloading children, parking blah).

It was really heartwarming to see the boys lead Gus around the bits he would like - the sensory section in particular. And lots of time was spent in Mog's basket! There was a great exhibit on Judith Kerr - a bit of a favourite in this house.

Have a look at this interview with the lovely author and artist And here is the book to buy .

Thursday, 7 July 2011

bandana bibs

These are selling quickly to my buddies and facebook network. The bandana bibs work really well to catch teething dribbles and whatever food happens to drop! Plus they have nifty popper tape to snap on. £5 each plus £1 postage for the UK.

A selection for girls.

And boys.

Looking at these, I should have moved the groovy red hippo print - it distracts from everything else.

Thursday, 9 June 2011


We stayed at the Beaumont Hotel, visited Windsor and had a whole day at Legoland last weekend. What great fun! After lots of warm days, it was unexpectedly drizzly and I was misguided enough to wear shorts. mmmm.

But so much to do, the day wasn't spoilt. It was really tempting to go for the year long pass, but we still want the day out to be a treat. The kids get so much nowdays (I sound like someone's Great Uncle...)We are already lucky enough to have passes to the zoo and National Trust. This way, it will be a real occasion when we go.

My favourite - miniland. Little rude things happening around Amsterdam!


I have made bibs in the past, using fabulous cotton prints, towelling backing and giant vintage buttons. They always sold pretty well on my craft stalls. Now I have the 'bib bug' again, as I wanted a couple of new ones for Gus.

Using my stash plus some great popper tape, here are some bandana bibs. They borrow from a recent idea... and have fleece or towelling on the reverse. Nothing overly girly at the moment. I need to do another batch.

Quite a few have been snapped up on my facebook page - ahh the marvels of modern media. But let me know if you are interested. £5 each, plus £1 postage.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


It has been a while, once again.

It hasn't been a great month for us. Keith had major back trouble - culminating in surgery a week or so ago. But is is onwards and upwards now. He is doing so well. Although lost a bit more weight ... it must be his body re-generating itself. Amazing.

Here are the boys at our local fantastic park - Stockwood. And this is the beautiful Isabella, my niece. The park is just fantastic, but operates winter opening hours - closing a fpm. Bugger!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


Our craft day was hugely successful... and as the camera still hasn't appeared, we are without photos. I have left my lovely husband to trawl through the user guide of the new Lumix!

I hope to take some photos of Freddie's and Harry's versions for you.

This is what we did :

  • clay hearts (white, self-hardening clay which we cut out and dried in advance, cosidering the ages of the children). Me and Harry pressed lace and buttons into the hearts for texture and poked holes for threading.

  • pre-cut paper dolls from Hobbycraft, and lots of fabric dresses and decorations cut from my scraps.

  • sweetie rings - using pipecleaners and wrapped toffees and glue. Just a bit of twisting and you are there!

  • biscuit hearts to decorate (made by Michelle) using this recipe Which is fab (I'd forgotten that they do puff up a bit).

  • valentine's cards using beautiful origami hearts and scraps and posting stamp kit from my sister.

I really hope to post some photos of the boys' work soon.

But here's the gorgeous Gus.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

St Valentine's Day Craft

I am sponsoring the craft at a special afternoon for the Harpenden and District National Childbirth Trust. I have all sorts of heart - themed goodies (don't want to give away the surprise!) There will be three active craft tables plus a homemade biscuit decorating table.

It will be held in the Lourdes Hall, Southdown Road, Harpenden. Monday 2.30-4.30.

With tea and coffee, and cupcakes for sale for the adults.
Plus afternoon tea for the children. And only £3 per family ticket. I would love to insert a sneak photo of the craft... if only the **** camera had turned up! Instead, a pair of hearts from a couple of years ago.