Saturday, 28 December 2013

Christmas tree, my cards,local craft fair and er...belly dancing!

28th December 2013.

So, how was it for you?? All that preparation: planning, gift-buying and wrapping, travelling, cooking, ... well, it was a strange one for me this year as we had a death in the family the week before which made a huge difference but I won't go into that here. Above you can see some of the crochet snowflakes I've been busy making. Below is my tree. I was relieved to find my salt dough decorations had survived another year in a box in the garage..they hadn't gone mouldy or got chewed by mice thank goodness.The peg doll fairy with paper doilie dress was fine too, phew...

I always make my own cards. This year I decided to go with a silver theme.. a slightly stylised dove of peace. I applied the silver effects in three ways : I stamped a simple crackly background using a silver stamp pad, then I embossed and tore some paper in a rough square shape to put on top; finally I used flitter glue and foil flakes to make the dove symbol.. not too shabby I hope and each one came out a little bit different, which I like... 

It was my birthday recently, which tied in with a Christmas craft fair at Plas Newydd, our local stately home. it was a lovely sunny day and we made the most of the sunshine by having a walk round the grounds daughter even spotted a red squirrel but I wasn't quick enough to photograph it sadly.

There was a good mixture of local crafts and food specialists dotted around the house.. a lovely setting in a special house.

One of my daughters dragged me along to watch a belly-dancing show in Llanfairfechan. I'm not a great fan but it was interesting. The best part was seeing a group of women enjoying themselves and you could see it was actually quite hard work and good exercise. The most interesting thing for me however was the costumes... 

This woman is actually in her seventies. She was full of energy..possible proof of how good the dancing is for you??

Well, after such terrible storms this week..winds of 109 mph here in North Wales.. I can only wish you all a peaceful, quiet and dry weekend. xx

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Cakes, chutney, Chester..and braving stormy weather in pursuit of textile art!

14th November 2013

So, we went to "scout out" the cake shop with the fabulous chocolate shoes..turns out it was a shop for very special occasions such as weddings and big birthdays. All the cakes, as you can see, were works of art but the prices were also stunning...average price £550!! I can't possibly approve of such indulgence apart from the fact that it is providing employment for some very creative people and well, if you're the sort of people who want a fantasy wedding then they will definitely be able to sort you out a cake! 


I drove through "hell and high water" (i.e. gales, torrential rain and lightning) to Rhos On Sea a few miles up the coast,such is my devotion to textile arts, ha, to see a special exhibition by North Wales Embroiderers' Guild. There was all sorts of embroidery,felting,etc.,both traditional and free-style..all of it a very good standard. Sadly my camera was playing up so I only managed a few pics..

I watched a demonstration on a felting machine..I have fancied having one of these for a couple of years but they are quite expensive. Hopefully one day someone will bring out felting attachments for normal sewing machines. I do sometimes do a little bit of hand-felting...and drawn blood for my pains...but a machine opens up a lot more possibilities, albeit working on the flat (whereas hand-felting can produce 3-D work too).

                                                   Other types of work on display...

When the big storm was forecast the other week I spent an hour knocking apples off my Bramley trees before any gales might send them flying like missiles onto my greenhouse glass.(As it happened the winds in north Wales weren't so bad.) There were windfalls too to use up, some bruised and with the odd peck from hungry blackbirds, so there was an urgency to use up these damaged apples. There are only so many apple cakes and puddings you feel like eating in quick succession so I decided to make chutney. It took hours to produce the chutney, all that peeling...but it will be so lovely to eat at Christmas.

                                            It felt like I was peeling apples for hours!

                                           This jam funnel from Lakeland is SO useful..


Spooky thing was I guessed the exact number of jars needed, down to the last spoonful! Another one of my pointless skills, like being able to throw a screwed-up ball of paper into the rubbish bin from across the living room...why can't I be good at something useful like writing a bestseller?!

I managed to fit in a trip to Chester last week before the Christmas shoppers start to make it unbearably crowded.It's such a lovely place.. 

                         ...and so full of temptation. LOVED these beautiful food-mixers...

                                                Also loved these mugs...MOOMINS!

                                          Lovely rainbow to end a lovely day. Ciao .xx

Sunday, 20 October 2013

A trip to Betws y coed, sweetcorn fritters, ballet & chocolate shoes...

19th October, 2013.
I was feeling a bit gloomy with these shorter days setting in so decided to embrace autumn properly and make the most of it..a few hours in Betws y coed was just what I needed.It's a few miles inland from here but a total change of scene from my life on Anglesey. A short trip through the Ogwen Valley and here we were, an hour later. It was started to rain..but today there was nowhere else I wanted to be..sheltering underneath the dense trees, crunching acorns and crisp leaves underfoot, eating a tray of piping hot chips and watching the rushing water..thrilling!! (I am such a cheap date!)

This tiny house on the left of the terrace (on the town's main street) always makes me pause and wonder... about its past, the lives lived there, how they managed in such a tiny doll's house. I hope it's as cosy as it looks. 

We walked through the town,going into this shop and that and then had a warming coffee and hot the interesting Alpine Coffee Shop & Gallery by the station.. 

                                ...and outside I noticed these interesting sculptures..

Back home next, where annoyingly it turned out that the sun had been shining most of the day.Ha! Next time look at the local weather forecast Carol!

I've discovered that frozen sweetcorn is MUCH cheaper than the tinned variety so I bought a huge bag and to make the most of this sudden abundance  I thought I'd have a go at making fritters. Well, who knew how easy they'd be to make and how delicious they'd be! Honestly, all you do is make a thick batter from an egg, a cup of milk and a cup of flour (either self-raising or add a bit of baking powder if it's plain flour)..adjust milk amount adding more if necessary until it's a thick pancake consistency..add sweetcorn and fry in a shallow pan. Despite my daughter saying the uncooked fritters looked like pools of vomit with sweetcorn in (she has had too many late nights out in Bangor!) they turned out well and everyone liked them. Will definitely make them again.

Our local theatre is being rebuilt so I've not been out so much recently but I decided to treat my daughters and myself to an evening out at the ballet in Llandudno. A Midsummer Night's Dream is my favourite play but I had never seen it done as a ballet.(I have seen it several times in outdoor theatre events in the garden of Plas Newydd and also have seen the film many times..the one with Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania and Kevin Kline as Bottom) I was so entranced by the ballet that I forgot to take any photos and just managed to grab this blurred shot  during the final bows. So lovely to see live ballet.

Something funny happened the other day..I was having my hair cut and mentioned I'd just driven past a new shoe shop in our local town with some beautiful shoes in the window. The hairdresser asked if I'd seen the new patissier and chocolatier shop which had also opened this, two new glam shops in our tiny town. Of course it was me making a fool of myself (nothing new there)...I had in fact seen CHOCOLATE SHOES and the "shoe shop" was in fact the new patissier! Do you think they look real too? I know..but I was driving in busy traffic at the time!!

I picked the last of my tomatoes this week.The dark ones are called Black Cherry (new to me this year) and taste lovely..almost as if they have had a little sprinkle of salt. The little orange ones are Sungold..the sweetest of tomatoes and my favourites.I always grow these. Sad to see the end of the season. It's been a good one.  

The shorter days have meant some pleasure..not the least being the fact that dawn is now late enough for me to be up and about! I captured this gorgeous sunrise at 7.30 one morning this week. Happy weekend everyone. xx