Thursday, 30 June 2011

I've got a new job...


As a barmaid that's what.

Now I know I've got the tackle for it, and yes they've been the bane of my life, however use them to your advantage LL.

So here goes...
those of you who sometimes read my blog will know, that you have no idea what's coming next?

I've decided to open a pub.
Yesterday saw me in Royal Tunbridge Wells, a beautiful spa town which I honestly think should be the County town of Kent, however that accolade goes to Maidstone.  A singularly uninspiring town if ever there was one.
I was off to get the vital supplies required by any self-respecting landlady.
Beer, not Pimms, nor yet Gin, or even whiskey.

Don't get me wrong, the clientele I was after attracting were decidedly down market.  The sort you would expect to see, no not sitting on a park bench but cowering underneath.

Yes you've guessed it...

I have pleasure in officially pronouncing this

Slug Pub - Open!

Watch this space...

I will return!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Am I missing something here...

because whenever I post a blog with an element of contention, nobody comes back at me.

I perhaps wrongly thought that blogging was a means to air ideas, hopes and dreams.
Not just to agree and slap each other on the back, wallowing in how wonderful we all are!

I know I should have learnt from a slapped wrist I got, leaving a light hearted comment on a blog which didn't go down at all well.  Was it because I hadn't been one of the many and various adoring followers, saying absolutely NOTHING, just how wonderful that person was?

If you look back through my blog you will see I don't always do gooey-wooey.  Sometimes I'll post something, then get cold feet and spike it.  I do in the main, try to be brave and stick with my original thoughts.  Isn't this what blogging is all about?  Letting your thoughts float free, getting dialogue going.

I've always said I'm doing this for me and I am.

I feel better now for that, so I'm off over to my 'studio'.


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Sitting in the dappled shade of the magnolia tree...

I got to thinking...
Is it only me, that thinks that these days of retro, vintage and navel gazing of yore is...

For yonks I've been saying that looking fondly backwards, will have its day.

The demise of Habitat has made me brave enough to voice these opinions here.

I know I am of the age that remembers the 'Aaaah stuff' first time round and yes even in me there is an element of romantic fondness.

However let's get a grip here...
celebrate today, look forward, encourage today's young designers, live in the present.

This constantly looking back is an old persons' trick.  Don't do it!

If you do, you are in danger of missing out on all the good things that are of the NOW.

All this misty-eyed love of the faded and worn doesn't seem to apply to the ageing process that catches up with all of us.
Please I beg you to look at the laughter-lines, wrinkles, saggy bits with the same affection you look at an old eiderdown.


Saturday, 25 June 2011

It is good growing weather and what am I doing..

I'm sat up here in my eyrie that's what!

The mercury blasting out of the top of the thermometer hasn't happened, although it is muggy. 

I should be out in the garden, planting up my slug deterrent plants, which after the half-time score of:-

Slugs - 5
LL    -  2 

sees me very dejected, just about to throw in the towel.

But wait!  I'm not going to let those slimy critters outwit me.
So quids poorer, I shoot home from the local garden centre armed with the second wave of attack.

Trouble is I've lost the fire in my belly and can't really be bothered to engage in another all- out assault.  
'Wouldn't it be better LL, to lay down and act dead or tie a white hankie on a stick and
Bloody GIVE IN?'

'No it blooming wouldn't, even though I am having difficulty drawing on my well over-drawn reserves!'

Hubs is up at our local fete, pretending to be a bobby on point duty (car park attendant to you and me).

I've shot up the hill, blown all spending money, tottered back with booty, quite spent in every which way.

And now the thought crosses my mind -
'What to do for the best!'
'I'm bored!'
A refrain that often echoes around the Weald of Kent.
Because as regular readers of my blog will know I'm an ageing
Violet Elizabeth.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Sewing and Slimming Tuesdays...

Tuesdays I love...
Because I spend the day doing sensible sewing

in the sweat shop 
simply super slimming at

I've a bit to go yet to get to this!

2 stone gone by my Leo birthday, that's my target.
Wish me luck!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A crafty post - as I seem to have...

turned off my many page viewers with talk of slug baiting.

At this rate I'll have the Slug Appreciation Society headed by that poo-fancier
Chris Packham on my case and that just wouldn't do!

So I've decided to be very refined and act my age.

Those that know me will testify, that I see the world from a different perspective to my contemporaries.

At sewing class a couple of weeks ago a fellow pupil was just about to throw these tapestry pieces away.  I couldn't bear to think of all the hours sewn into the strips being discarded, so I snaffled them.  Back at the ranch I looked at them and thought perhaps I've bitten off more than I can chew here.  Then inspiration struck - I'll make a cushion.  Over the years I've battled with tapestry and am the proud owner of three cushions which have taken me decades to complete.

Now I know it won't be to everyone's taste, however it fits my roughty-toughty style and in these days of thrift it sort of chimes with the current times.

I've added some Viv style embroidery (not a patch on her stylish stitches I hasten to add!)
and my other particular thifting fave - selvages.  Nothing gets wasted in this house (you want to see what I did with last night's harvest of slugs - No LL you weren't going to mention those four letter word little critters?)

In class I will finish it off with zip and pad, showing it off all the while to Theresa, who I'm sure wouldn't want this Salvador Dali type cushion darkening her door.  If she does I'll charge her 20 quid for this once in a lifetime never to be repeated (Thank goodness for that I hear you all cry!) offer of buying back her old cast-offs.

Now down to more serious business.

Kitsch and Stitch

The flyers arrived from the printers yesterday and very good they are -
biased being that I am!

I am now in the process of sending them out to all our exhibitors, a list of which will be on our blog any day soon.

Keep the date free in your diaries girls -

3 September 2011
The Vestry Hall
TN17 3HA
10am - 3pm

The sale of coffee, teas and homemade cakes will be available all day, served by the lovely ladies from Hospice in the Weald.
All proceeds to the Hospice obviously.

This last photo is of me and my lovely mum, who died 40 years ago this year.
And do you know I still miss her.  

I remember the Saturday morning nearly 60 years ago so well.  The blue dress with anchors and a sailor collar. The clear straws bought especially for the occasion of a photographer friend of my father's, coming to take a pictorial record of our family life.
You will see that the photo of me with the orange box pram on the side bar is the same day.  This wonderful pram was made for me by my very eccentric grandfather.

Is it any wonder I'm not your normal old girl, I ask you?

Friday, 17 June 2011

Is this a dagger I see before me...

No!  It's a can of Greene King IPA.

Last night I was at war once again, only this time...
my lovely wildflower meadow turned into killing fields.

What has made me, a girl who can't even step on an ant turn into this serial killer?

This... that's what! 

Last night I snapped when confronted with an army of slugs of all sizes, colours and hues.
I must confess I had my war games organised before I stepped outside.  Hubs had had a can of beer before dinner so... the trap was set.
Carefully I peeled each and every cotton-picking slug off my by now fading fast Nicotianas.  Neatly I posted them through the opening on the top of the can, gave them a quick cha cha cha in the dregs and moved on and on and on.

With hands covered with slime...
and this is the bit I feel awful about...
I then added insult to injury by squirting washing-up liquid into the can and topping up with warm water.

I carefully placed the offending hand grenade on the top of two metal ammunion cases in the garden and retired for the night.

At the kitchen sink the slime on my hands I scrubbed with anti-bacterial hand wash.

"Out damned spot!  Out I say!

Still it clung on.
Imperial Leather... ditto
Pears soap... ditto
By this time I was getting decided scared by my cold hearted killing...
Would it ever go?
Showering with a loofah with aloe shower gel did eventually do the trick.
As I climbed into my murderer's bed with hands as soft as a babies bum three thoughts occurred to me.

1. This slug slime obviously has magic properties because my skin had never felt so soft and smooth.  
2.  Should I when battle commences tonight rub the offending substance on my face in order to iron out the wrinkles?
3.  On a more positive note, I wondered whether I should see if the chemist sells nicotine patches for slugs?


Thursday, 16 June 2011

In the nightie-clad dead of night...

out I slunk, slippers stealing stealthily over the grass.
The torch wound like a coiled spring, like any good warriors we were ready...
Our war cries rattled the weather boarded cottages, near neighbours slumber split asunder.
Under the cover of darkness our enemy was in full spate, quietly, oh so quietly munching.

Not a clear photo I know, the reason being my tear-filled eyes failed to focus.

In the gleam of the beam, fat white slugs were found enjoying a midnight feast...

"Not on my Nicotianas you're NOT!"

Cold blooded warrior I aint, so I carefully picked them off and hurled them over my *ancient hedge
(*ancient because every species in an old hedge represents 100 years and mine has at least five!)

in the vain hope they would land on a sleeping blackbird or thrush, who might be tempted to think this really is a turn left on an aeroplane type service.

 Even after all my endeavours wandering around the garden this morning it still broke my heart.

Trying to garden kindly, kind-of doesn't work!  Even coffee grounds and minced up bits of volcanoes don't pose a problem for the cunning little critters.

These little beauties never get out of the greenhouse

at least not in this form.  Carried down the garden they go, me looking for all the world innocent as the day is long. 
Seriously thinking of joining tomatoholics; never a day goes by without me feasting on the flavoursome little fruits.

My wild 'meadow' boasts just five Oxeye Daisies.  Where am I going wrong I wonder?

My last picture is of the little chair I bought from the Whealden Times Summer Fair, Peter's rabbit and a funny little cushion I made with a tiny bit more of the shoe fabric.

I've had a nice morning of admin. for Kitsch and Stitch, blogging and generally wasting time, now I really have no excuse not to retire to my studio and work...
displacement therapy is what I think it's called!?!

Monday, 13 June 2011

These boots are made for walking...

or are they?

Regular readers will know that I have a bit of a problem around material.
I buy, hoard, cosset, stroke and sniff it, but very rarely USE IT!
This carry-on I decided has to change.
The shoe material I've had quite a long while; I've taken it to my sewing class to ask their opinion as to how best to use it, returning home only to stuff it back in the cupboard where it stays until the next time I've felt the need for a fabric fix.

Today I awoke with a spring in my step, I've sorted the many and various emails for 
I've got me drawers on the line; organised the blooming curtain material for my skirmish in class tomorrow (yes regrettably  Debs was right in her comment on my last post, I am the pupil from Hell).

This is what I've made for my stall at our next K & S on 3rd September (never one to miss a chance to get the message across!)  I've been mulling over the most economical way to use this wonderful material and here is my solution.  I carefully cut out the two pairs of slippers and appliqued them to this wonderful cream linen fabric.

I'm pleased with the result...
there is one small problem...
not many folk get where I'm coming from with my sewing projects...
Do you I wonder? 


Sunday, 12 June 2011

A flavour of my Sundays...

this is where I sit and survey my domain...

the nerve centre of my operations.
The sofa has special Dr. Who powers, once in its grasp I struggle to get away.
Thoughts, ideas, dreams and schemes fill my head.
Transported by cerebral pathways - 
the only way to travel I find, and so very cheap
 in these days of scrimp and scrape.

This  morning bright and early I got up and, mug of tea in hand, wandered over to my studio.  

This is the current project...

my bedroom patchwork curtains...

Why, Oh why can't I just nip out like normal folk and buy a bit of material and run up a pair of curtains, sink back in the sofa and do something more worthwhile, like read?

This is only the first curtain; now I find I've got to blooming repeat the process.
And another thing...

A question for those of you that know about these things...
Should I do those running stitches snaking around to make it look like I know what I'm doing?

The trouble is my head is full of all these madcap ideas which
I don't have the nous to follow through!

I did make a start on the second curtain bright and early.

After breakfast, Lettice's walk.

I marched out with red body warmer (Yes it was blooming freezing)
armed with three-pronged fork, smartly carried over my right shoulder.  I rehearsed the manoeuvres I'd seen on the Trooping of the Colour yesterday. Long-suffering man and dog are used to my rather bizarre behaviour - luckily.  They just pretended I wasn't with them!
No change there.  Pockets full of poo bags and Waitrose carrier bags ready for the scrumped booty this sortie was all about.  I was happy.

The object of my desire was a strange plant I'd seen outside a house that was just in the process of having new tenants.  An ideal time I thought to do a daylight raid.
I held the dog while the mere minion was sent in to grapple with the ground.
Three pieces of aforesaid plant were apprehended and taken back for further interrogation.
Over my shoulder the Triffid-like vegetation went and back we trolled.  Me with the innocent look of...
'Well doesn't everyone take their perennials for a perambulation on a Sunday morning?'

Back home I shot up the garden and planted the prize specimens; coffee freshly brewed I sunk back in the sofa, smug with the thought that it's still only 10.45am.

At this juncture I feel I ought to come clean about another plant I carefully grew...

not knowing of its thuggish characteristics.

Answers on a postcard to...

Friday, 10 June 2011

Today's the very 1st day I'm pleased I have a LARGE bosom...


Because my shipping order from the lovely Viv at hens teeth has arrived.

 HUGE roll of drums please...

for my double D's emblazoned with Viv's wonderful creations.
Aren't they just amazing - 
the BLOOMING badges Silly!

All customised to my very specific requirements:-

The Kitsch one
Kitsch & Stitch
All the fun of the Fair
Peter Prim

What a girl!

If you only get one thing in blogland - buy it from Viv...
You will not be disappointed.

AND another thing - 

Alan Bennett had better watch out cos his top spot for my affections is seriously threatened by Viv's 'suavey-do' Peter Prim Esquire - 
cop a load of this -
isn't he just adorable with his wonky button heart?

There's only one small problem - 

He has a wife and two kids!

Unlike my unrequited pash for A.B.
I will at the very least be able to have P.P.
pinned close to my heaving heart.


Monday, 6 June 2011

Did I have a fabulous day yesterday or...

did I have an absolutely fabulous day?

Armed with a red top Sunday paper (a luxury I don't usually indulge in!!!)   Last train times carefully written out on a scrap of paper by Hubs, ferried to the station with the unspoken words of... 
"Make sure you don't throw away your old girls railcard like you did last time!!!"

The reason for this expedition was this lovely lady

the much loved and sadly missed Claire Rayner.

Back in 1992 I had the pleasure in meeting Claire on numerous occasions in the 'wings' of Good morning with Anne and Nick on BBC daytime television.
 Me being the new girl on the block of live telly, she showed me kindness and encouragement which I never forgot.  When an article appeared in the Observer by Jay Rayner her son, about last night's memorial concert, I knew I had to be there.


Hubs who like me, is a stickler for being on time, suggested I catch the 6 am train!?!
Could this be a wicked plan to ensure a quiet Sunday I wonder?

Armed with camera (which never left my bag!) and brolly (which did!)
I set off on my big adventure.  

Now don't get me wrong, I'm in danger of becoming a recluse, why, because I love my home, studio, garden, dog and man so much that I never want to go anywhere.  Even on the train I thought, I don't really want to be doing this?

I got to London at 1 o clock, strolled up Regents Street which had a very buzzy carnival atmosphere due to the whole Promote Spain party that had closed off one end to t'other.
I was aiming for Libertys, the store that gets all my artistical juices going.  Where I just had to have a glass of a very creditable English fizz and a bowl of olives, just to sustain me before tea you understand.

John Lewis next, then wait for it...
the sardine-experience - the tube.
Hubs had told me where to go, which line, where to change, you get my drift...
an innocent abroad.
Did as instructed... problem was, I travelled the wrong way...
Regents Park, he didn't say anything about a trip to the zoo!?!
Re-entrained backwards (once more for those who weren't watching the first time!)
Up the escalator falling into the welcoming arms of WSD who like her dad is just as lovely and caring.
"You look like you've been around the course an few times!"
Well I have but that's another story.

Table booked here for 3.30 pm

What a super idea, a shop and cafe bar selling EVERYTHING, vintage bits and bobs, sewing stuff, new designer craft wares, you name they've got it.

Afternoon tea with a kick was ordered and a glorious couple of hours melted away.

 I was posted off on the right train by Belinda, feeling for all the world like minced pork being fed into a sausage machine.


What a day this was turning into.

The concert was fantastic, full of fun and truly what a memorial concert ought be like.
A celebration of the persons' life.  And what a life the Rayner family had.  I know it sounds smoozy but the theatre was filled with love, it enveloped you like dry ice.
The Criterion Theatre couldn't be bettered for a cosy and homely venue.

Over £30,000 was made for

Claire was involved with over 60 charities and worked tirelessly for those 'pushed to the margins of society'.

What a woman.

The evening's concert finished with the cast and every man, woman and child singing

I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter
And make believe it came from you

I'm gonna write words, oh so sweet
They're gonna knock me off my feet,
A lotta kisses on  the bottom,
I'll be glad I got 'em

I'm gonna smile and say:
"I hope your'e feeling better."
And close "with love" the way you do.
I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter
I'm gonna make believe it came from you.

 What a finale sung with gusto to one helluva wonderful woman.

Tipping with rain outside, I floated to the station.
I didn't want to dispel the moment by going to the party,
even though it was held at Oliver Peyton's Massimo.

I felt the Rayners had shared enough of their wife and mum with us and I for one didn't want to intrude any further.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

I'm out on the razz today...

so I thought I'd better leave you with this...

Debs and I are already 'in the crafting zone'
enjoying every minute, minute of organising our second fair.

Watch this space together with 
and Debs at
for the latest hot off the press info.

In case you missed the first one - it was a 
success, so don't dawdle and delay this time.