Wednesday, 18 December 2013


How do you choose a book to read, I wonder?

I know that I am a sucker for an appealing front cover, a point that was brought home to me with one of my last two 'finishes', Tracy Chevalier's 'The Last Runaway'.  As I am away from home at the moment and wanted to write a post, I googled images and found four different front covers.  So would I have selected this book?

Probably not...

Or this?

Perhaps - I like to be helped to imagine 
the main character, 
though she looks a little cold.

Or this?

Definitely - 
I like this cover best of all!

The one I did choose had the cover below, but I have to say, it was bought when I was desperate for something to read and I wasn't overly taken with the cover.  Luckily, I quite enjoyed the story about a Quaker girl who leaves 19th century Dorset for the United States of America, becoming involved in the Underground Railroad.  Although I didn't feel the characters had enough depth, there was enough to keep me reading.  

On my way to my little holiday, I chose three titles to keep me busy (vastly overestimating, as usual, how much I would be able to get through in a shortish space of time).  Once again, covers drew me in.

Image courtesy of

Funny that I never fancied reading The Book Thief when it had this cover...

Image courtesy of Woman and Home

So far I have only managed to finish reading Pomfret Towers which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Set in 1930s Barsetshire, it has a host of likeable characters to root for and it made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions.   I will be looking out for more of Angela Thirkell's books.  Good to know I won't be choosing these based solely on the attractiveness of the covers!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Trawlback Tuesday

Me and my camera have fallen out with each other!  I think maybe the gloom and the shortness of the days has got to the poor little thing...   

Whatever it is, I just can't seem to get any decent photos out of it, so I decided to trawl back through my Picasa web albums and see if I could find something that hopefully I either never put on my blog, or that I posted so long ago that few people will have already seen it.

So here we are!  A useful reminder to me of a technique I haven't used for ages, and a nice thrifty one too, using as it does the tiniest scraps of leftover felt.  

Inspired by this old tea cosy...

I tried my hand at a felt flower collage...

See those tiny little felt discs?
A paper hole punch was used for those!

I'm going to get going on a few of these again very soon!

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Tracks of my Years - 1977

Finally, back to this!

In the news:

The Queen's Silver Jubilee was celebrated in style all over the United Kingdom, and beyond

Classic Album, 'Rumours' by Fleetwood Mac was released

Red Rum won the Grand National for the third time

The Embassy Snooker World Championship moves  The Crucible in Sheffield and was broadcast on television for the first time

My great-granny loved to watch 'snuker' as she called it, all on her black-and-white telly!

Marc Bolan died an untimely death in a car crash  in Barnes

The first budget airline, Freddie Laker's Skytrain, was launched

Shirley Hughes' classic, 'Dogger'was released. 

Elvis Presley died

ELVIS PRESLEY Dies Retro Vintage Newspaper King of Rock n Roll Pop Music Legend

In the UK the average house price was £13,650; a gallon of Petrol  cost £0.79; yearly inflation ran at 15.8%; and the Bank of England Interest Rate was 7.00 %

On TV:

It'll Be Alright on the Night

Citizen Smith

The Krypton Factor

The Professionals

(What a shame this is the only photo I seem able to find to remind people...)

Jesus of Nazareth

At the cinema:

On the radio:

Don't Give Up On Us - David Soul

Don't Cry for Me, Argentina - Julie Covington

Chanson d'Amour - The Manhattan Transfer

Yes Sir, I Can Boogie - Baccara

Black is Black - La Belle Epoque

Rockin' All Over the World - Status Quo

Boogie Nights - Heatwave

Sideshow - Barry Biggs

How Deep is Your Love The Bee Gees

The Shuffle - Van McCoy

Torn Between Two Lovers - Mary MacGregor

Oh Lori - Alessi

The Telephone Man - Meri Wilson

She's Not There - Santana

(My radio was almost permanently at my side in those days, hence rather a long list!)

ABBA Greatest Hits Album

In our household, the most listened to album was this one, the cassette tape version of which was taken on our camping holiday to France and listened to relentlessly.   Hearing 'SOS' or 'Ring, Ring' will always transport me back to that holiday!

I can barely find a single snap from this era.  This is the best I can offer, from that very holiday...

Friday, 6 December 2013

A bunch of fairies

No, I'm not trading insults with some football team or other!  I have been having fun revamping my fairy design.  The year before last I had fun making fairies like these...

...even if the sight in my workroom, as the task was in progress, was somewhat alarming...

This year, I decided to make a few more - they seem popular as presents - but I wanted to simplify the body design and use a bit of colour.  All those upper and lower arms and legs were a lot fiddly, and though I liked the pose-ability, I wasn't quite convinced.  So this time, arms and legs were one-piece and skinny.  And instead of white-with-touches-of-pastel, I decided to use velvet ribbon and Liberty Tana lawns, or faded vintage prints. Oh, and I ditched the beaded wings and crowns in favour of salvaged lace.

So here are some of my new bunch...

Liberty 'Tatum' lawn in red

Liberty 'Capel' lawn 

Liberty 'Tatum' lawn in turquoise

This Paisly print feels like Tana lawn but I have no idea  whether it is or not as it is a remnant that appeared in my workroom from I know not where!

Vintage fabric rescued from an old bed cover, gloriously faded

I am rather pleased with how they turned out, but won't be having one on top of our tree, which is always crowned with the cardboard angel made by Miss U-t-B when she was just a tiny thing.

What do you have on top of your Christmas tree?

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Scary breakfasts and desperate measures

I have not long returned from a super day out, a meet-up with people I would never have known if it were not for blogs!  I met up with Penny of 'The Hen House' and Ann of Johnny Jumps Up, along with Penny's lovely daughter Jess.   We travelled to Winchester for a visit to the Christmas Market, which I have to say was a little disappointing.  Just as well that the company and conversation more than made up for it!  Hopefully we will get together again soon!

As I have to go out again shortly, this has to be a super-fast post.  So I will share with you the tortured faces of my breakfast...

This was what I was met with every morning recently, from a particular batch of bananas!  I'm glad to say that just as I was reaching the point where I could no longer face such gloom-laden visages, a new bunch of bananas landed in the fruit bowl,  and my breakfast have since been guilt-free!

And the note recently left on our kitchen worktop by some house-elves...

PS The house-elves say you may copy this notice if it is of any use to you and you are not fortunate enough to have your own elves to put such a thing up...

Wednesday, 4 December 2013


At the start of the year I decided to try and read more books this year.  And I think I have managed quite successfully!  The late summer/autumn pile of books is sitting by the front dor awaiting a decision on what to do with them, and here it is...

I think when I last blogged about fiction, I was predicting more weeping (after 'Daughters of Mars' and 'Me Before You') with 'This Is How It Ends'.  And so it turned out!  I quite liked the book, though I remember feeling, as tear-jerkers go, that it wasn't as good as 'Me Before You'.  Both had the same level of 'I-know-what's-going-to-happen' but I warmed more to the characters in Jojo Moyes's story.

That leaves another nine books to write about, which seems like a tall order, especially as I am trying to make blogging achievable again by spending no more than an hour at the keyboard .  So I will simply rank them, in reverse order, with a tiny bit about them.

9.  The Great Gatsby - I read this because I always felt I had missed out by not reading it when all my friends were doing it for A level way-back-when, and because Miss U-t-B was raving about the film and I felt I should know what it was all about.  

I was charmed by the Barbier front cover, but not, alas, by the tale...Oops!  What a philistine!

8.The Glassblower of Murano - I began reading this many months ago, wanting to escape to Venice in my imagination, but soon gave up, so had to start all over again.  I still found it a bit of a chore but persevered as I had nothing else to read at the time!  Rather predictable, I thought. And it didn't make up for the fact that I have never been to Venice!

7.Tigers in Red Weather - Loved the front cover, disappointed by the tale. Dysfunctional, privileged family with a bit of 'whodunnit' thrown in, if I remember rightly. Which I may not...

6. The Moment - Based on the premise that one moment can change your life I found this one a very strange mix of tedious and page-turning. 

5. State of the Union - I have had this on my bookshelf for years and finally got round to reading it.  I found it slow to get into, but once it had hooked me it was a real page-turner.  

4.Instructions for a Heatwave - Another that took a while to get into, but once I did I really enjoyed it. Another story of a retired man who goes missing (I've done three of those this year!), I found the characters quite realistic.

3.In Her Shadow - A psychological drama, I found this gripping, even if rather unbelievable in the end.

2.Heartbreak Hotel - written by the author of 'Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' this was light and fluffy, but fun !

1.Wonder - A children's book, this is meant to be, but it was recommended to me by the lady in our local Waterstones.   The Observer described it as 'Incredibly charming, brutal and brilliant' and I would agree!  One of my top three of the nearly completed year!