Saturday, 30 January 2010

weekend reading

when we posted our crochet efforts, lovely tina from the rubie place sent us some photos of a crochet basket she had made from twine. It looks like one of those ever so expensive sisal baskets - which I love. Anyway I am determined to have a go, and am off to find the required materials today!
the pattern for the basket is from orange flower patterns . Go and visit Tina's blog over in Australia for a bit of sunshine.

my other weekend reading for you is a man blogger! (see it is not just the domain of stay at home mummies - comment directed to the husbands of the world who roll their eyes at the time spent blogging!!) Anyway I came across Joels lovely blog while I was timewasting! you know that thing where you click on link after link and can't remember where you started.

Anyhow as you probably know I like blogs that aren't too cluttered, i seem to find them easier to read, Joels blog has a beautiful pared down feel and is very stylish. Incidentally Joel is based in Portland Oregon which seems to me to be a honeypot of creative types.

It is mainly a collection of things he makes for and with his children - I am very envious of this dolls house furniture, it looks straight out of the pages of livingetc!
happy reading and happy weekend

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

a new find

I have to say I was positively salivating when I stumbled across a new and gorgeous read. I look at a lot of blogs and something has to grab me immediately to keep me reading. Its a blog called sunday suppers, The breathtakingly beautiful photography is by Karen Mordechai.
What I love about it is that it gives the reader a real sense of 'food and travel' . blogging has made me a real armchair traveller and this lovely blog is like having a weekend in new york!

Added to that the recipes are really straightforward and look delicious.

have a read and see what you thinkall photography Karen Mordechai.

all photography by Karen Mordechai

Monday, 25 January 2010

valentine garland

Sarah e-mailed me with details of this blog papiervalise which is full of beautiful photos and great ideas including these wonderful garlands made from hole punches.

I've always wanted loads of these hole punches but have never quite been to sure what to do with the bits and as a result I've only ever bought one heart punch. But, with valentines around the corner, I found myself with a great evening project ahead of me.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

happy hooker!

my original inspiration for learning to crochet was this lovely blanket found on ohddedoh (i think originally from yvestown), anyway despite my best efforts i just couldn't get the hang of the technique so I gave up!
it was finding the lovely attic 24 blog that got me started again with crochet. Anyway finding Lucy's lovely blog made me get out the hook again and trot off to Along came Polly in Stroud to buy some wool.

I have to say that now I am totally 'hooked' . I think having a break from it, then starting again was probably quite good for me, as when I tried again I found it much easier to hold the yarn, which had been my problem before - i had been holding it too tight. (you tube is great for how to... video clips).

So I thought i would give you a little look at what I have been making. Lots of granny squares based on the 'look' of the yvestown ones - if i am being totally honest they aren't brilliant because they aren't all quite the same size! But they make me happy!
The picture below is a stripey scarf that I am making.

Anyway for all of you who like crochet here are some links to keep you busy this weekend, all of which have some interesting crochet/knit/craft/design leanings, happy reading and happy weekend.

suffolk puffs

I was sitting by the fire yesterday whilst, yet again, it snowed. Cup of tea in one hand and the latest Boden catalogue in the other when I came across a rather nautical striped cardigan I think I might just have to have for the summer. Then I remembered the boat button in amongst the treasures Sarah gave me and my mind conjured up an image for me to create.

I know it's nothing very technical, I've been thinking about Suffolk puffs for ages but had never actually made one. Now I know how easy they are I've already made a stash to jazz up the children's clothes, decorate bags and (back to the Boden Catalogue) I realised you can even make necklaces out of them. I think I might try and adapt this corsage necklace idea.

Oh and then I decided I wanted to search for more vintage boat buttons online and came across these beautiful handpainted ones. I wish I'd been lucky enough to be browsing through a flea market in Barcelona and discovering such wonderful buttons.

Monday, 18 January 2010

birthday cupcake competition

On 21 February it will be one whole year since Sarah wrote the first post on our blog and to celebrate our birthday we have decided to have a cupcake competition. We would like you to don your aprons and use your creative skills to produce some fantastically beautiful and original fairy cakes.

Please photograph your cakes and send by e-mail to us at or click on the link in our contact details. (Hubby suggested cakes should be sent in and taste-tested by him and Mr H, whilst I'm sure they'd do a very good job, it just makes things complicated!).

There will be three prizes; 2 runners up will win a lovely package of cup cake related delights and THE lucky winner will win a lovely package of cup cake related delights and a Hardaker and Pope parcel of goodies. This is your opportunity to receive a parcel like the one Sarah gave me last week.


Entries will be posted by us on our Hardaker and Pope Cupcakes page on flickr. Please let us know any details or comments you would like to appear on flickr with your photos (including any names/blogs/websites) when you e-mail your images.

Sarah and I will announce the winners on February 21.

We will then contact the winners by e-mail for shipping details so we can send the prizes.

By the way, the picture is my attempt at making some amazing cakes for baby's birthday party. Like crochet, I just don't seem to have the knack so you don't need to worry about me running off with the prize!

Happy Baking.

Friday, 15 January 2010

good things come to those who wait.....

it seems it may be true.

It was our first 'stitch & bitch' session of the year we had a lot to catch up on, including the swapping of gifts. I was so excited by this wonderful gift Sarah had put together for me for Christmas. I've written before about how obsessed we are with the way things are packaged and this was a feast for the eyes.

Box 1 contained a rainbow of cotton reels that I shall never have the courage to use for fear of ruining.

Box 2 was a Pandora's Box of goodies including both stationery and sewing delights. Just look at this pile of buttons. And I'd just been complaining about how dull my button box was looking - not any more!

I hope at least some of you readers can appreciate how thrilling it is to receive a box of someone else's fabric scraps, bits of ribbon, threads and paper clips, butterflies and ladybirds. A gift like this can keep me going for weeks. It'll be a long while before I permanently remove everything from the box. I'll keep looking at it, taking the things out gently and then returning them to exactly the same place, refolding the tissue paper around everything. I've shown the children, I've shown hubby; in fact I've shown my little girl again and again (I think she's going to be like me).

And look at Sarah's crocheted flowers. An absolutely fantastic gift as they are far more successful than my own attempt at the same thing (below). We have both used the same instructions from Attic 24. But I've still not got the hang of this crochet lark and I've never been very good a following instructions, I'm far too impatient.

Anyway, I returned home feeling pleased as punch with my gift, to discover that the postman had been for the first time in ages. We had accumulated so much in the form of late birthday presents, Christmas Thank You letters, Amazon orders, seed catalogues etc that I couldn't actually open the front door. In fact as I write I should be at book club but our latest read only arrived in one of today's packages, along with the latest issue of Country Living.

Oh, I've a good weekend of reading and making ahead of me.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

free at last

It has been 10 days since I last ventured any further than the local school, but hubby has borrowed some snow chains and managed to get my car to the main road so that today I was able to break free.

And what did I do with my new found liberation? I headed straight to Hobbycraft. I've had so many creative ideas whizzing inside my head since Christmas and I had put together rather a long list of things I needed. I left with hardly any of the 'needed' things, but lots of other goodies instead including these fabrics. Some by Amy Butler and some by a designer I have not come across before called Tanya Whelan, she also has a blog Grand Revival Designs, full of images of her cheerful designs.

The next problem holding back my creativity is my sewing machine. It broke last weekend and I'm not prepared to carry it the necessary mile to where my car is currently parked in order to take it to the menders. It will just have until the snow has thawed.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

vintage eiderdowns

As you may well have gathered from all the activity on our blog at the moment being snowed in with the internet isn't altogether bad! I've had plenty (but not enough) time to revisit some of my favourite blogs. I was amused by a HenHouse post about vintage presents. I too fell in love with and purchased a vintage eiderdown at the Handmade and Vintage Fair (above) as a birthday present for baby. It came from Country Cottage Chic and most of the time it looks lovely on her bed, though she thinks it's great for making bases out of.

But I don't feel that eiderdowns have to be on beds. I bought this one years ago. Although it's very fragile and full of little moth holes I fell in love with the pattern, particularly liking the very faded blue background with the dark pinky/red. The colours remind me of an old Jane Churchill design that our spare room was decorated in, when I was a child.

It lives oozing out of an old french panier on top of the wardrobe in our bedroom with the sole purpose of looking good. Which makes me realise I'm a true follower of the William Morris philosophy.

cabin fever

...Snow is still falling on us here in Glos, school is closed and we are snowed in again, so in an attempt to stop cabin fever setting in, i thought the children might like a day of making things. I was delighted when this kids winter crafts roundup, popped in to my inbox courtesy of martha stewart. There is plenty here to occupy even the most creatively challenged.
Junk modelling is my other option for today, we have an enormous amount of cardboard boxes as our recycling hasn't been collected for 3 weeks due to snow! It always amazes me how the children are quite happy for an hour with a pot of glue and a tape dispenser, the only difficulty I find is getting whatever enormous creation into the recycling at a later date!!

Monday, 11 January 2010

shades of grey

I always start the new year thinking 'right this year we will decorate, chuck out a skipload of clutter and make our house stunning'..............this obviously never happens and we invariably accumulate more clutter, and our house is never stunning. You see the problem is, I think i have some kind of reverse OCD , i just cannot, chuck out stuff. keep all of the kids drawings (even the really awful 'what is it darling?!' ones) i seem to aquire vintage china like its going out of fashion, and i am totally unable to throw away even the tiniest scrap of fabric, what 's wrong with me?!
anyway, if i had inherited a tidy gene and was able to declutter my life, this is the type of decor i strive for.... courtesy of the lovely sam at sams notebook.
i yearn for that stunning calm, grey scandinavian style.

this is a stunning looking hotel, (mr h, if you are reading, romantic break??)
I love the layering of tomes of cool cream, bone, grey, blue/grey and old washed wood, mixed with burnished metal and crisp linen.
sadly my linen cupboard does not look like this. (although saying that, it does by volume!!) i am unable to resist a vintage french linen sheet, however i am also unable to resist any kind of embroidered traycloth, tablecloth etc, so i don't have the restraint to have all those cool white cloths and napkins, i have a big vintagey hotchpotch which suits all occasions!
These lovely pictures, found while catching up with Sam, have made me think seriously about a chuck out of tat and a lick of paint on floors and furniture, so watch this space, see if i can kiss goodbye to beige acrylic carpet, and embrace some lovely paint library or little green colours.

fair isle knits

* exhibit number 1

I was rootling through my mother's draws a while ago when I came across all these old pattern books. Some are wonderfully dated, just look at this Cover-ups book, ever practical in this cold weather.

Others are a bit more inspiring. I don't think I'll ever have the time or patience to smock. Luckily my girls have many of the dresses I wore as a girl.

All of these were beautifully smocked by my mother on lovely Liberty Tana Lawn fabrics that look all the better for 30 years of fading.

But I set my heart on the Fair Isle selection. Knowing my knitting skills are even worse than my crochet skills I decided that searching through the world wide web was bound to throw up the goods. But I was unsuccessful so I headed back to mum and very nicely asked if she would like to have a go...

She has just finished exhibit number 1*. I love the sludgy colours of this beret she made for our little girl and a similar one has been requested for baby!

Sunday, 10 January 2010


Hubby and Boy trekked through the snow to our local supermarket yesterday for basic supplies. On their return 2 1/2 hours later Boy announced he wasn't going again in a hurry. As a result I've been rummaging through the kitchen cupboards where, lurking at the back I came across a packet of seaweed.
Now I know making sushi isn't a typical winter past time but having been housebound for 6 days we're looking for new ways of entertaining ourselves. The seaweed presented the perfect opportunity. It's actually very simple to make and whilst I know a lot of people are put off by the idea of raw fish and seaweed it is delicous. On our rare cosmopolitan trips to the big Smoke Yo Sushi is one of our favourite places to take the children. They love the food, the bright coloured bowls of food travelling past on their very own train track and your own personal water tap (the height of luxury in the kid's eyes!).

Anyway, I digress. We didn't really have any of the other proper ingredients for making sushi so we improvised slightly, with normal, unsticky rice and mayo instead of wasabi.

It may not have been up to Yo Sushi's standards but it kept the children happy for an hour or so and provided us with lunch to boot.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

let it snow

We are still snowed in here. I found these lovely images on the Martha Stewart website - always a good source of inspiration. If you are out having fun in the snow today, you could try giving your snowman rosy cheeks with a spritz of red/pink food colouring in a spray bottle of water, how about making an extra long snowball caterpillar. have fun in the snow!!

Friday, 8 January 2010

happy new year

hello lovely readers. i am finding it quite hard to write this, as its been so long, its a bit like writing that first agonising post all over again! Anyway I am back, I have finally surfaced from the dark hole of bag/cushion making!! I am so sorry i wasn't around for the christmas festivities, but its nice to be back with you all again, and i am so grateful to Jo for doing all posting on her own for the whole of december! I am starting the new year with a resolution or two (most unusual for me as I live life in a generally more haphazard way!!) firstly I am going to back up all photos/documents etc frequently. this resolution comes about after I lost my hard drive in December with every photo document etc unbacked - up. DEVASTATING!! all the photos of 6 years of children gone in an instant, all my blog favourite links gone too. Secondly I am going to try to be tidier (please stop laughing all who know me!) my lovely man tidied both my studios as a little surprise gift, and oh the joy of working in such a lovely space........long may it continue...............
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teddy bears picnic

Baby was 2 on Sunday and somehow in the post Christmas and New Year week I managed to organise her a party. I had to come up with a theme that was easy to sort out last minute and that would be appropriate for little ones - hence the teddy bears picnic. Although it was indoors it was cut short due to the sudden arrival of a lot of snow! Something most of you are probably very familiar with at the moment.

At the demand of the older siblings we tried a few party games, including pass the parcel but they were best entertained by the arrival of the picnic rug (a rather large red & white checked table cloth). Firstly we threw loads of teddy bears on top, took the sides of the cloth and bounced the teddies around, to much hilarity. Then they got bored of that and all crawled underneath the rug and played around in that for a while before the picnic hamper arrived with their lunch. I had made individual bags, stamped with a red bear, containing teddy bear crisps and teddy shaped sandwiches wrapped in baking paper and string.

Then it was back to the old party bag issue. Whilst I knew the younger ones wouldn't know any better I had to meet the older ones expectations too. I bought a bumper pack of crayons, divided them up and tied them together with red gingham.

Quickly machine sewed some pieces of paper together to make little drawing pads.

Then put some party biscuits in a clear bag with some paper doyley (I have to confess I was really chuffed with the way these came out).

These were all put into a white paper bags which were stitched together with a little name tag.

As always, I totally forgot to give out the balloons as everyone left. I hate that I always do this and end up with 15 part shrivelled balloons lying around the house for days on end. But what I did discover was that it is possible to use rubber stamps on them (before inflating). So, for what it's worth I did have teddy bear balloons too.