Our blog is dedicated to seasonal living: cooking with local produce (sometimes our own), sewing for the home and searching out vintage bargains.

We believe that most of the pleasure is in the journey - in the making and creating, even if in a simple way.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Christmas Door Ring

You need some florists' wire and a wire ring (from the garden centre). Collect some moss from your garden, or buy some also from the garden centre. Use greenery and holly, preferably with berries. Use some ting-ting and ribbon for decoration. Collect some pine cones, and if you like, spray them with gold paint. Working in a clockwise direction, wire in the moss. Cover this with the greenery, again working in a clockwise direction and wiring in to secure. Add pieces of holly and wire in some pine cones. Finish by adding a loop of wire or ribbon to hang, some ting-ting and a ribbon bow at the bottom. Easy and homemade!

Saturday, 15 October 2011


Margaret and I have been remiss lately - but we are back. One of the things we have been busily involved in was (and still is) harvest - both at home and also helping with decorating the church. Harvest in the countryside is full of colour, bounty and

- hopefully - gratitude for what we have.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Flower Festival

In addition to well-dressings, another local summer tradition is the flower festival. This is a great opportunity to get creative. One of my favourites, this year, was in nearby Flash (some say the highest village in England). Their theme was: "Books" - a clue, perhaps as to why I liked it.
Meerbrook's theme this year was: "Saints."
Our only problem was the weather. On the Sunday, it rained hard, having an impact on visitor numbers. It

was beautiful, though

Sunday, 24 July 2011


It is so long since Margaret and I have done any blogging. OK, back now. Earlier in the summer we had a trip to Tideswell, in Derbyshire. There we found some excellent examples of the wonderful tradition (not to mention skill) of Well-Dressing. This is just such intricate and painstaking work -those who are involved deserve credit.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Hanging Baskets

There is still time to make a hanging basket. Indeed, in this part of Britain, you wouldn't be wise to put a basket out before June. Line a wire basket with sphagnum moss. I put an opened out cellophane bag (say a freezer bag) over the moss. Make some holes in the bag. Almost fill the basket with compost. Now comes the fun bit...add your own choice of plants. I usually choose plants such as geranium, bacopa, surfinia and verbena. We'll have another look at it when there is some colour to show you.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Growing some ourselves

Foxgloves have seeded everywhere in the garden, but I still like them so most are allowed to stay. It's just a shame that the majority are plain old pink.
Now Les has built some staging I can lift the planter of tumbler tomatoes off the ground...I think there's two red ones and a yellow. Can't wait till we're picking these.
The salad leaves recovered since Milly decided to scramble in them...so we do have just a little bit of pick your own.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Orange and Marmalade Cake

8oz, 225g self-raising flour
6oz, 175g butter
6oz, 175g demerara sugar
juico of half an orange
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon marmalade
Prepare a 6/7" round tin
Mix al the ingredients well.
Put in the tin and bake for 50 minutes - to an hour.
If you wish, ice with a little icing made from some icing sugar and the remaining orange juice
Very nice with a cup of tea

Friday, 27 May 2011

Project...stage 4

Well. it's up and running at last...and stuffed so full there's only just room to stand in one spot. Some glass came with the greenhouse, but most Les was able to cut from pieces he's been given or we'd already got. A lot of it was all green and covered with gunge...such a fun job cleaning that off!

I've rigged up a makeshift bench on a couple of old trestles so I could start potting up but eventually, we'll have some proper staging. This weekend I'm moving most of the pots outside so there'll be loads more room for the tomato plants.

One problem with having stuff on the floor is from that little Milly (see previous post)...she had a great time digging in the trays of salad leaves. I guess some will survive the onslaught!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


It doesn't take a genius to work out what Milly is thinking here.

Come on...fed up of waiting!

She's only with us for three weeks while her owners are on holiday...but she seems to be enjoying herself, don't you think?

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Granny Blankets!

Have you noticed that one of the things that is enjoying a revival - and you would never have expected it - is the old fashioned knitted or crochet square blanket/cushion covers. Well, after a busy day this just about suits my level of expertise and concentration

, and it's a great way of getting rid of bits and pieces of wool.

Monday, 2 May 2011


We had a fun time on Friday for the royal wedding. I fastened up some hastily sewn bunting while Les constructed the new BBQ. All done just in time to enjoy the excitement of the big day.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Project...stage 3

At last the greenhouse is almost together. A friend built the bricks round for the base (thanks Pete!) and we've started putting some glass in place. Who needs glass? Started using it already!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Easy Texas Beer Bread

This is a very easy bread recipe that I adapted from a recipe in an American countryside magazine. You can add cheese, oregano or thyme, if you like, with the flour, salt and sugar, to put your own spin on the bread
3 cups self-raising flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Bottle or can of beer, at room temperature
Quarter cup of butter
Grease a 1lb loaf tin. Mix the flour, sugar and salt. Add the beer. Mix. Put in the tin and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. Pour the melted butter over the top and return to the oven for an extra 10-15 minutes.

Sunday, 17 April 2011


Our unique little town - not particulary touristy, only picturesque when you take the time to look, has succumbed to the supermarket plague. Not satisfied with taking the 30 pieces of silver, the council have decided to further despoil, by removing the attractive roundabout - and plan to replace it with traffic lights. Little, by little old England's charm is falling at the feet of Mammon.

But a lot of people do not like the idea, and good on them, took to the streets and protested. A piper stood in the middle of the roundabout and played a lament. People joined hands. It was a dignified protest and felt powerful. "But will it make any difference?" asked a few passing shoppers. We will wait and see

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Lakes

We've been so fortunate with the weather for our weekend in the Lake District...I've not been on the Keswick launch before without need for a jacket (and hat and scarf!)

The views were superb...the fells so clear against blue skies.

 And no mud to speak of...you can see from this photo how dry everywhere looked.

Best of all at this time of year though, a host of golden daffodils.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Vintage and cheap

Anyone who looks at this blog will be well aware that Margaret and I love a bargain. The cushion cover was a pound from a charity shop and the wool for the tea-cosy was also cheap - in fact I think there is probably enough wool for a couple.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

More make do and mend

Does spring make you want to spruce things up a bit?  Must be all that light streaming through the windows (well, it would to if I cleaned them!) making everything look a bit tired.  I've been on the search for fabric, and decided now is the time to get creative and actually sew some things.

First cushion I made from a bargain find...a child's Ikea duvet cover...using the decorative border and adding a couple of hearts of my own.

Then some flowery ones using a couple of remnants that seemed to complement each other.

And another felted cardigan bag...the best part of this is choosing a fabric for the lining and some matching buttons.  Think I'm on a roll now!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Too busy yesterday...

to wish a Happy Mother's Day but hope you had a lovely time.  We had quite a few visitors bearing gifts...including a sweet floral heart, made of wood shavings!  And a beautiful planter...this will brighten up our paving and distract me from the mess we have at the moment.

I did have time for a bit of baking - chocolate cake - and a fruit loaf...will post the recipe for this soon as it's so simple, but very delicious.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Easy Bread

This is me on my hobby horse - so much shop bought bread is dire. It is not difficult to make - just seems that way. Irish soda bread is probably the easiest of the lot. However, this is also pretty easy and very delicious - actually a bit too nice. I've eaten far too much of it. It is also a great stress-reliever- kneading some dough. Try it

2 lbs mixed flour (I used a mix of white, wholemeal and seeded, roughly the same amounts of each, but it doesn't matter)
1oz fresh yeast.
About a pint of mixed milk and water, warmed.
teaspoon salt

Mix the yeast with some of the milk/water in a small bowl. Put all the flours and the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture. Gradually add in enough of the milk/water to make a sticky dough. You may need a little extra flour as you work the dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes. Cover the bowl and leave to rise for 1 hour in a warm place. Knock all the dough back and knead again for 2 minutes. Form into 2 rounds, or cobs. Sprinkle a little flour on top. Put on a greased baking tray. Cover with a clean tea-towel. leave to rise for 30 minutes. Bake in a moderate - hot oven for about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire tray.

Monday, 28 March 2011

A project...stage 2

We had a busy weekend for this part of the project...demolishing the old greenhouse that Les made a long time ago.  I was very fond of it, but it had gone completely rotten.  It won't be wasted though as the timber will be cut up and burnt on our fire.

Once that was removed there were just the brick walls to knock down...needed doing, because guess what, the new greenhouse is a very similar size, but not exactly the same.   Wouldn't you just know!

This is my job.  I so like using a lump hammer...I do have to be a bit careful though...we're saving the bricks as they're lovely Victorian ones, same as our house.

Still had time to admire developments in the garden.  The chaenomeles has just come into flower and is looking especially pretty.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Now for a touch of style...

...not that you need any tips from me.  But I would like to show you a few possible ideas for spring.

 A useful source could be this magazine I bought for a few pence from a charity shop.

First of all of course there's all the equipment needed.

Just follow the instructions and a few hours later you too could be the proud wearer of one of these fab outfits...very 1970s!

The magazine is dated 1973.  Despite that there's loads of useful advice...if I ever decide to take up crochet again, I'll be reading this first.

A few more fun purchases - a couple of remnants of fabric, one Sanderson from 1981, not sure about the other, and loads of buttons.  Noreen gave me some of these...can't wait to use them.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A project...stage 1

Well, I suppose the first stage really was getting all the bits from a friend's garage loft.  And what a lot of bits there are!

Just a few of the million pieces.

Can you tell what it is yet?

After much heated debate (argument) and several hours, it began to take shape, not helped by the fact that there were no written instructions (not that, being male, they would have read them...ha!) 
The Krypton Factor's got nothing on this.

It may be some while before I can reveal stage 2.

So how about some flowers to keep us going. 

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Easy Ginger Nuts

These are not difficult to make and taste so much nicer than the shop bought version
5oz plain flour
1oz brown sugar
2oz butter
3oz golden syrup
half level teaspoon bicarbonate soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger

Heat the oven to Gas Mark 3, 160C, 325F
Butter a baking tray.
Sieve the flour, bicarb and ginger
Melt the butter, syrup and sugar gently until melted. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir.
Roll into small balls with your hands. Place on the baking tray, leaving room for them to spread.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove to a wire tray to become cool and crisp.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Pretty things

Out in the garden there are more developments...tete-a-tete daffodils flowering and some lovely purple hellebores.

But inside a few more pretty things, recent finds...a tapestry picture...and an intriguing black box that opens to reveal...

 a little ballet dancer!

She dances to the theme tune from Dr Zhivago, which just happens to be one of my favourite films.
Very kitsch, don't you think?

Friday, 11 March 2011

Now we know it's spring because...

...Gardener's World's back on TV.  I must admit, I'd almost stopped watching it. I never thought in a million years that I'd get bored with the programme, but to me it seemed to lose its way somehow.

But now yeh! We have Monty Don presenting from his own garden...I can see I'll be hooked again.

And I was quite pleased to see I'm not too late with the potatoes.  These are in the conservatory, chitting nicely.  Maybe I'll have a bit of time for digging this weekend.  Hope yours goes well!

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Rock Cakes

These are easy-peasy and taste surprisingly good.
4oz self-raising flour
4oz wholemeal flour
half teaspoon ground mixed spice
half teaspoon cinnamon
4oz butter
4oz demerara sugar
4oz mixed fruit (raisins/sultanas)
grated rind of a lemon
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
Set oven to 375F/Gas Mark 5. Sift flour and spice. Rub in the butter. Mix in the sugar and fruit. Add the milk and egg. Combine to a into a soft but crumbly dough. Form into 10 or 12 rough heaps and bake for 20 minutes. Cool on a wire tray. Eat when fresh.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Simple recycling

Can you tell what they are yet?  Yes, I know they're bags...but in a previous life?

Yes, that's right, cardies...to be more precise, my poor old shrunken cardies.  In the spririt of make-do and mend, I decided there must be something I could make with them, so I shrank them some more so they were well felted, and cut them up.

The green one still had the original buttons, but I'd already recycled the buttons from the black one, so I raided my button tin for some replacements.  Strips from the sleeves make the handles and I found remnants of cheery fabric for the lining, applique and rosette.

Now, I still have a brown one, oh and a blue, so guess what I'm doing with them!