Tuesday 24 January 2017

I Blame It On The Elmers (or lack thereof!)

I was really excited about joining up with Di and the others over at the playground with my fantastic crafting idea.

A couple of weeks ago it was so grey and dreary here I thought I should do something to cheer the place up and I decided to make some suncatchers!

I've always got loads of sparkly stuff lying around.  I'm DRAWN to it and somehow it makes it's way into my basket because you never know, ONE day I might just have a use for it!

So I had a rummage around my drawers (no sniggering Parsnip!) and found some pretty glass gems, some table decoration thingies for when you get married (because, well, you NEVER know do you??) and some sequins.

Then I googled 'How to make suncatchers' because I like to do these things properly don'tcha know ...

They all talked about Elmers glue ...

Elmers glue is apparently the like the holy grail to suncatcher - it's like the new Mod Podge of crafting.

Like Mod Podge unfortunately it also seems to be unavailable in the UK!  I wanted some Mod Podge when I decided I was going to make my own coloured glass which you do by mixing a little ink stolen from your daughters art supplies and swirl it around the inside of a glass vase or jam jar or something.

Well, I couldn't get any (although I've since found it in The Range - I LOVE The Range!!! I's my new favourite place!) But before that I read that Mod Podge was only normal PVA glue mixed with water so I made my own.

They LIED!!!  It didn't stick to the glass AT ALL.  I left it for several days, emptied the jar and it all poured out staining my enamel sink and leaving the jar completely clear!

I don't want to make coloured glass any more ...

So, Elmers Glue, well, I READ that it's just like normal PVA glue ... You see where I'm going with this?

So I bought some clear PVA - stole the lid from SD's family sized pot of natural yogurt, tipped a load in.  Got my sparkly stuff and made a pretty pattern in the glue with them.  Shoved a bit more glue on top and left it on he window sill to dry.

Two days later when they said it would be dry I suck my finger into still tacky glue - those things took more than a week to kind of dry!!!

On day eight I'd had enough, I was peeling those sucker out of those lids and sticking them in my window!

I completely trashed two trying to get them out and the two that I DID get out in one piece were really rubbery and kind of ...  FLACCID.  The gems had floated around in the glue too and my pretty sequins that I'd arranged like flowers had sunk and also moved around but I was UNDETERRED!!

After all, only I knew they were supposed to look like flowers right?

The flaccidity (which may or may not be a real word) bothered me a little so I left them for another couple of days on the window sill.  They stayed flaccid ...

And half the gems fell out so it they ended up looking like a bit of flaccid, lacy glue ...

I took loads of photos to add to my post though because you can't SEE flaccidity can you?  Then my phone DIED - I mean PROPER died and I had to get a new one (which actually I was pretty happy about because it meant that I could upgrade to one with a 13 mega pixel camera and laser focus).  But anyway, not all of my photos were on the SD card, I must have somehow saved some to the phone so they are LOST forever!

All of which means I can't give you a proper snippets post although, to be honest, it's not like it was a great success anyway was it?

I did take one photo after sticking this one to every window in the house trying to find some sun to shine through it just to prove that I did actually make the bloody thing.

Anyway, I don't really want to make suncatchers any more ...

But I DID take a lovely photo of a cow feeding her calf at the farm at the weekend with my new phone so all is not lost.

Hopefully my next snippet will be slightly more successful and slightly less stressful!

Monday 16 January 2017

I Am Officially GREAT!!!

And it's all thanks to this little bundle of joy:

Well, with a little help from her Mum (my niece) and her husband.

Little Maia my great niece was born at 39 weeks on the 13 January 2017 at  10.08 weighing in at 8lb 1oz.

Now all I have to do is wait until March when they all come back to the UK from New Zeland so I can have my first cuddle.


Wednesday 11 January 2017

Established 1832

County Stores in Taunton:

That could be me sitting on the bench outside couldn't it?

This was going to be a post about the history of one of the oldest established shops in Taunton, certainly one of the longest still running shops that, until recent times, was entirely family owned.

County stores was due for closure this month.  Then It was given a reprieve until the end of March and yesterday it was announced that 'due to overwhelming local support it will remain open for the foreseeable future'.

Just what that foreseeable future will be remains to be seen.  I suspect it will only be until they find a new owner for the premises but hopefully that will take a while.

So I thought I'd write  post about this iconic shop, a place where, if you can't find it anywhere else, you will almost certainly find it at County Stores.

A place where you can buy handmade chocolates, handmade ON the premises.  A place where they not only have their own bakery making bespoke cakes for all occasions but they've also had the same baker making them for over 30 years!  A place where you can take afternoon tea, buy exclusive and often locally sourced gifts in the gift shop, chocolate olivers, little paper packets of herbs and spices, dried fruit for your Christmas cake sold by the lb and so much more.

But that's a post for another time because this morning I read this post by my bloggy friend K about a trip to the Birmingham Christmas markets with her daughter.

K and I have daughters of a similar age and every time she write about her it touches my heart because we share so many of the same fears and joys as we watch our girls grow up and form their own lives.

I'm going to be honest (because I always TRY to be honest here), there are times as a parent when it's been HARD.  Only fleeting moments and usually because of silly things like not being able to go to the loo on my own for several years.  There have been times where I've longed for just a few minutes to myself.  Times where I haven't wanted to have to think of them first before making any plans.  Times when I've just wanted to be ME.

But they were very fleeting moments and the more time I have these days to do just that the more I miss being the centre of their lives so I cherish each and every second they choose to spend with me.

Last week, believing that County Stores was due to close in the next few days I asked Miss Mac if she would like to have afternoon tea with me.

Being truly my daughter she jumped at the chance!

We ate cake:

Both of us had our eye on the last piece of cherry cheesecake so of course I let her have it and I settled for a slice of chocolate and ginger torte which was delicious.

I took her photo so we would always remember this special moment.

Got her to behave long enough to take a 'proper' photo.

Caught her unawares with this one in the gift shop.

And proved without question that she is indeed my daughter!

And found this - jelly with GLITTER which made us both so happy.

I'm going to miss County Stores SO much when it finally closes it doors and I will write a proper post so I can share the wonder that it is before that happens.

But right now, well, right now I'm just revelling in the wonder that is my beautiful, funny, lovable Miss Mac.

Wednesday 4 January 2017

It's That Time of Year Again

A time for reflection.  A time for introspection. A time to take stock, to make plans, set goals, turn the page and open a new book etc.

And a time to ponder ...


I confess, I was flummoxed (I have taken on board your lament for lost words BP and have resolved to incorporate the odd one here and there over the next year starting with flummoxed)

Flummoxed verb: To confuse someone so much that they do not know what to do.

What the hell ARE these things I hear you ask.


I confess, I had no idea either.  I'd been ripping open packages and parcels with gay abandon (yes, BP, I AM old enough to say that) and these floppy rubbery things fell into my hot, sticky, chocolate smeared hands at 8:07am on Christmas morning stopping me in my tracks.

I flapped them at Miss Mac.

'Oi, whatisit' I mumbled through a mouthful of Malteasers.

'Dunno' she muttered back attacking a particularly well wrapped present with her teeth. 'Things you stick on the window?'

I licked the middle bit and attempted to slap them on to the laptop screen but they just fell off.

'Bloody useless window stickers' I grumbled and put them to one side until my eyes could focus enough to actually read the label.

There's always that ONE gift isn't there.  You know the one.  For men it's usually a car cleaning kit picked up at the petrol station or a miniature multi-tool that snaps as soon as you try to pry out the teeny, tiny screwdriver.

For women it's a box set of floral bubble bath with matching talc or an oven glove (although I actually NEED a new oven glove because mine got shut in the oven door the other day and it's got a big burnt patch on it now).

Don't get me wrong, I am not UNGRATEFUL, I'm always happy that someone has thought of me and to be honest, I've bought my share of car cleaning kits and smelly box sets over the years too but sometimes I just can't get my head around how someone links me to a particular item.

Take THESE for example:

Yes, these were last years perplexing present, the FOUR wise monkeys ...

I confess to a little hysterical laughter when I opened them.

They actually sat on the shelf in my front room all year because SD said I was incredibly ungrateful when I suggested offering them to his Dad to light the log burner.

I have TRIED to love them, I really have but I was so pleased when Christmas rolled around again and I could legitimately hide them in the drawer to make room for the Christmas cards.

I asked SD if he had any idea what my floppy rubber flowers were for so he actually read the label.

They are NOT window stickers!!

Apparently they are drink covers. SD says the present giver obviously got wind of my middle classed pretensions and thought I might like them for placing over my glass of wine or Pimms when I'm sitting in the garden on a summers evening.

Well, I'm not really much of a wine drinker to be honest (although I DO like a glass of red every now and then) and I find a thumb over the top of my bottle of beer keeps the bugs out pretty well and I tend not to drink Pimms since that time I spent the afternoon quaffing the stuff with Nicolette in HER garden not realising that she's laced it with Vodka and when I left I walked out of her house and fell straight over her garden wall onto the pavement.

So I've decided that rather than ungratefully hide these in the drawer I'm going to sew them to a bikini top and wear them at the annual Beach Buggy get together in Swanage!

There was ONE other odd gift I (or rather Gus) received this year.

I had just got back from the annual Christmas Eve pub crawl and was eyeing up the mountain of veg waiting to be prepared when there was a loud banging on the door.

I opened it to find nobody there until ...

Looking down I saw Sue (she who declared she was a demented woodpecker at the Macmillan coffee morning.  She who hunts for snails under the table at our committee meeting.  She who insists that our Noble Secretary must return the eye of toad stolen from Ladram Bay and she who gave her goldfish mouth to mouth through a drinking straw killing 5 of them with her nicotine laden breath ...) on all fours rummaging through one of those large zip up laundry bags with multi coloured stripes.

She glanced up, fag in mouth.

'Sorry about the cigarette she croaked as I watched in horror while a trail of smoke drifted down my hallway.

'It's in here somewhere she muttered pulling out an empty butter container, a copy of the Independent and four large plastic roses.


'Ah HA' she said triumphantly handing me a foil packet.  'Half before the walk, half after - you have to dangle the carrot you know!'

I looked at the packet with it's odd orange coloured stick like things depicted on the front and what I am assuming was Polish writing.

'Ummm, thank you' I said (having no bloody idea what it was I was thanking her for).

'They aren't ALL for you!  She shouted. 'Open it up, go on, OPEN it!!!'

I pulled at the foil packet, nothing.  I tried to tear it length ways, I looked to see if there was a tear strip.  Nothing.

'USE YOUR TEETH' she bellowed, I haven't got all day!

I ripped it open with my teeth and immediately wished I hadn't as I fought the urge not to throw up in her still open laundry bag as the disgusting smell hit me.

'Tripe sausages' she announced with some satisfaction - 'For Gus, half before his walk and half after!.

So yes, I am reflecting, pondering and attempting to be less ungrateful for the gifts these (genuinely) kind and thoughtful people bestow on me and my dog.

Happy New Year everyone.