Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween

It's the end of October and also the end of Blogtoberfest 2014, I've enjoyed blogging every day. Now it's time for a few days break, so have a Happy Halloween. 

Vic x

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Busy getting ready for Halloween

It's been a very busy day as today we went to get all the shopping ready for our Halloween lunch and I needed some extras for the Treat bags I was making. The treat bags look brilliant as we've made a bag full of "ghost poo, bat droppings and pumpkin teeth" or really mini white marshmallows, chocolate covered raisins and candy corn. The candy corn came from a shop in Barnstaple and we had a couple of prices each just to check it was okay of course and it was tasty.

The kids carved the pumpkin we grew, usually I carve one and then they have a pumpkin each but this year I was out of time and let them at the only pumpkin. The Lad made a nice face on one side and was going to do a spider on the other side but got really frustrated. So Girlie took over and finished the spider but that meant abandoning sorting out or Halloween decs so I had to tip toe through them to make a start on the cupcakes.  But fist I had to sit and take a screwdriver to our screaming animated ghoul lady as she would scream but her head wasn't moving. I spent at least twenty minutes sorting her out and she's sort of moving her head now.

I'm not making any pumpkin pie this year, my Mum is most upset as we always take her and Dad  a slice each, I'll have to give her some of the not so red velvet cakes instead. And that was a bit of disappointment I used a different food colouring this time hoping the cupcakes would be more red especially as I was using a bake-stable colouring but no they are a slightly pinky brown.

So tomorrow the plan is to make two lots of frosting and pipe them onto the cakes, clean the house get the kids to help and get hubby sorting out the mess in the porch so we can decorate it. Then get ready for lunch of spiced pumpkin soup, sausages, pizza, crisps, eyeballs (grapes) and cakes. And then later before we go out get the hanging pod decorations made and hung up on the trees by the gate and in the porch. Then while the girlie and the lad are getting in their costumes I will try to sneak the lads Star Trek communicator into my pocket so I can keep it for myself, but he can keep his phaser though.

Vic x

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

My Old Home - Iford

As I mentioned in my last blog we moved to Iford, Bournemouth, when I was about five. The house we moved into was called Sheepwash. It was an old coach house or stables that was converted into two houses sometime in the late 1930's or early 1940's. I know a lot of the history of this house as we lived there for a long time and my Dad also lived in the area as a child and had a lot of stories plus what his parents had also told him.

The house as I said was a coach house or stables for the local big house which was called Iford House, I believe it may have been called Iford Manor earlier in its history. The house became the property of the council and was eventually demolished to make way for housing and a parade of shops. these are now know and Iford Parade and Bridle Crescent.

Iford house
Iford House, Bournemouth.

My Gran managed to have a peek through the windows of Iford House and remembered seeing large chandeliers. Behind Iford house, where Bridle crescent is now, some of the houses still have either  the wine cellars or garden buildings as part of their house. We still had the old wall that separated Iford House from the stables as part of our drive and that wall is still there. 
If you look in the picture below you can see on the left behind the four trees the wall and just behind that you can see what was our home.

Iford Bournemouth
Iford House, Bournemouth.

The picture below shows more of an aerial view of Iford Parade and Bridal Crescent, Sheepwash is nestled in between the trees in the middle of the picture. I like the picture below as it is interesting to see how much has changed, there aren't many houses along Castle lane East, and obviously no roundabout. 

Bridle Crescent Bournemouth
Iford Parade and Bridle Crescent.

Dad has told me lots about Sheepwash and one was that behind our house where the woods are now there used to be an icehouse, and there were also tunnels that went under the road to the kitchen gardens. The tunnels were blocked up and the gardens were also built on and became known as Iford Gardens. 
We also found out while living there that Sheepwash had been used as a temporary morgue during the second world war. It was used for the Canadian Soldiers that were sadly killed during a bombing raid on Bournemouth Town centre. 
Sheepwash was haunted and I often saw something out of the corner of my eye, or you would hear the front door open but go to check and it was closed. Mum eventually hung a string of bells from the ceiling that the door would hit if you opened it so we would know if was it spooky door or not. 

I hope to blog more about Iford and the surrounding area over time, as it would be a shame to lose these stories. 

Vic x

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

My Old Home

I recently joined a facebook group call Memories of old Bournemouth and Poole, and it has been nice seeing pictures of where I used to live and it got me thinking of blogging about my memories of Bournemouth and those of my parents especially of the Iford area and the history of our old house there. But first I thought I would share about the house I first remember

Alberta House was a big edwardian / victorian house that I think belonged to the council and had been divided up into three flats and we lived in the ground floor. It was in the Kings Park area and to the right of the picture used to be a large car park, a small play area and behind was the home of AFC Bournemouth, Dean Park.

kings park bournemouth

My sister and me used to play on the sweeping staircase that would've gone to the first floor except for the wall that separated it from our upstairs neighbours. There was no understairs cupboard but the door to the cellar that used to terrify me as it was so dark down there and seemed very huge to my 3 - 4 year old self.  The picture below was taken from the car park beside the house, the ground floor window you can see was my bedroom which I shared with my sister.

kings park bournemouth.

 It was while living in this house we got our Jack Russell dog, Shandy, I remember Dad bringing him into the kitchen and him running around. Shandy was a real character lovely to us but would happily take a chunk out of anyone who came to visit unannounced or even the hoover. But my favourite memory is being sat on the floor eating a chinese takeaway and watching Dr Who. It was an episode that featured a giant rat, Chinatown in London and maybe Tom Baker was the Doctor.

We moved to Iford when I was about five and after a few years the council sold Alberta House and the buyer restored it to a single residence. Unfortunately it is no longer there as it was eventually knocked down to build some high end apartments. 

Vic x

Monday, 27 October 2014

Strictly Monday Week 5

It's been an interesting week though I'm feeling a bit underwhelmed again. But next week is Halloween theme week which should be fabulous darling. I must also remark on the costumes this week, I always watch Strictly It Takes Two, during the week especially on Thursdays when Vicky Gill shows a sneaky peek of the costumes. I was very interested to see Iveta's dress as I knew it was all beaded fringing and was fairly heavy, but it looked fab. The other costumes like Suentra's, Caroline's and even Marks were beautiful but the best was the stunning red dress Frankie wore, the skirt was wow. 

This week the boys have improved lots Steve danced a lovely waltz, Simon was also great with the Viennese Waltz. But for me the best male celeb this week was Mark, after being in the dance off last  weekend he came out fighting. His Samba was very good and for me the best Samba I've seen so far in the competition. 

Suentra was again like one of those old movies stars while dancing the Viennese Waltz. I missed Alison's Tango as I was making tea, but my girlie said she was good but agreed with the judges she needed more attack. Frankie again danced a great foxtrot which was great fun. For me the best female celeb was Caroline with her Passo. I'm still trying to work out how Pixie scored more than Caroline and Mark as I thought her Samba wasn't as good as Mark's or even Caroline's Passo. 

So to the Dance Off and again what a shocker two of the middle ranked dancers were in the bottom two. This is happening more and earlier than other years, the public vote for their favourites not who dance the best but its always been like that. The middle of the board will always be in danger mainly as its thought they will be safe so no one votes or maybe the way the judges score the dances needs to change as well. 

The two dancers in the dance off were:

Tom and Iveta, Tom danced better again but I thought he didn't have his heart in it or maybe that was me. 
Simon and Kristina again they danced better and beautifully you can tell Simon really enjoyed this dance. 

The judges were split with who danced best so it was a tie but as Len Goodman has the casting vote so he saved Simon and Kristina. I think it was time that the way the judges vote off a dancer needs to change there either needs to be a fifth judge or in the case of a tie like last night perhaps it should be who has the lower public vote has to leave. 

I wonder what will happen this weekend, and will it be another shocker, well of course its Halloween. 

Vic. x

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Just a few days left

Friday will be Halloween and the last day of Blogtoberfest 2014, so just a few days left of me waffling away to the ether. I admit I've surprised myself with posting everyday. I have decided that I will carry on with just blogging about twice a week rather than everyday. I think its too much for me and for you my readers. So after Friday it will be back to the Strictly Monday post and maybe a second post later in the week. 

Vic x

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Cute and Fluffy.

After the sadness of losing Chirpy we had some good news this week. My hubby decided to try some Quail eggs in the incubator again. We have tried before but it hasn't been very successful so we weren't expecting anything to happen. Monday night a chick was trying to get out of its egg and by Tuesday morning we had two tiny little quail chicks.

day old quail chick

So Wednesday they were moved out of the incubator and put in a warm box. I had orders and phone calls from hubby to check on them occasionally and to make sure they had enough food and water.

2 day old quail chick

Checking on them is awkward as Sapphie, our dog, decides to help and wants to lick them. Also they move fast and want to get out of the box. 

2 day old quail chcik

They are really tiny and very very cute and extremely noisy in fact noisier than having baby chicks or ducklings. They have hay in the box and they snuggle up under it so you have to search to find them. 

2 day old quail chick

The Girlie and the Lad adore them were very happy for me to take some photos of them in their hands. I'm waiting for them to give them names but nothing has been decided yet. 

quail chick

Vic x

Friday, 24 October 2014

New Elves

As I mentioned before I have a craft fayre next month, so this week I was busy making some new Cornish Pixie Elves.

cornish Pixie Elves

These are the small sized elves and I decided I would paint a star on the front for a change. I used different coloured metallic paint for the stars and I really like the bronze so I used it on my next elves. 

cornish pixie elf

For these I've used a new style body which is a conical shape. They ended up being painted in my favourite colours with the bronze hearts they look cute.

snowmen cornish pixie elves

As I enjoyed making the lighthouse elves so much I thought I would make some winter scene elves. They just look great and I think I will need to get some more of these elf bodies as I have a few more ideas for these very special style elves. 

Vic x

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Throwback Thursday

For this weeks Throwback Thursday I've gone back in the blog for photos of my first Cloth Art Dolls 

These Green Men were the firstones I made. My Mum has one and I kept the others as Christmas decorations. 

And this was my first big art doll and I called her Tallulah. She also christened my new sewing machine. 

Vic x

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Farewell Godzilla aka Chirpy

You may remember a post in the summer about the Lad's chicken, Godzilla or Chirpy as he became know.

Godzilla aka Chirpy

A few days ago we had to separate him from the rest of the chickens as he looked really poorly. My husband thought he was a bit thin, the other chickens always bullied him so we thought maybe he couldn't get enough to eat. 

We put him in our porch for a couple of days to keep an eye on him.  He was happy eating and drinking, he was still was huddled up at times, but he really perked up by the next day. Sadly Chirpy passed away in his sleep overnight, much to my Lad's sadness.

Chirpy was a real character and very friendly.  And my hubby remembered when he was cleaning out the chicken house, Chirpy ran up his back and perched on his shoulder. It was a shame he didn't grow into a big cockerell but I hope that in his afterlife he is happily scratching away and being a happy chook. He will be fondly remembered.

Vic x

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Christmas Fayre

I'm going to be at this Christmas Fayre and I'm in a panic as I feel that I haven't got a lot of Christmassy or gifty items this year. 

I do have some new items like the Beach Huts, new cornish pixie elves and of course I will be take a few of my Art dolls. Then I remembered I had recently bought some wood shapes and I thought why not paint them and add a ribbon. 

birdcage christmas decorations.

I decided to go with gold and black as it was more striking, though painting them was fiddly. I think they look nice I just need to add some fine ribbon and then decide on a price.  I also need to get some more wood as I fancy making either a winter beach hut or cottage.  But first I need to make a some special elves. 

Vic x

Monday, 20 October 2014

Strictly Monday Week 4

As I was out on Saturday night I had to record this weeks show and watch it yesterday afternoon, so it was glitter overload.

After the Movie night theme this weeks show felt a bit flat to be honest.  Also the judges are now beginning to get a lot more critical at the better celeb dancers. The middle group of dancers are also getting better and snapping at the heels of the better ones.

Frankie and Kevin danced first with the Cha Cha and to be honest it was a bit meh, it certainly wasn't her best dance and the judges certainly gave her a bit of criticism.
Pixie she's a beautiful dancer but she's not a favourite, but I did like her Rumba with Trent, it was sweet and she cried at the end, she also had some criticism from the judges.
Alison as always the minute she started dancing I smiled, the Samba was better than last weeks.
Caroline and Sunetra both danced well and Suentra's pro partner Brendon Cole split his trousers during the dancing so was a bit amusing with Len Goodman commenting on seeing Brendon's bongo.
I must say that Simon, Jake and Mark are great dancers. Thom is finally showing his personality I think he is beginning to enjoy it all.

So to the dance off who were in the bottom two on Sunday evening:-

The first couple to be in the bottom two was Mark Wright and Karen, they were in the top half of the leaderboard and had danced very well so again it was a surprise to see them in the dance off.

And the second couple in the dance off was Tim Wonnacott with Natalie, it was sad to see him in the dance off. We know he can't dance brilliantly but he is such a character, but he still danced better than Scott and Judy.

Well you may guess the result, Mark was saved and unfortunately Tim had his last dance.

Vic x

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Baking Cup Cakes - Part 3.

Today I can finally show you the decorated cupcakes, I couldn't before as I wanted them to be a bit of a surprise for our Book Club get together.
If the cakes had just been for us at home I would've just scooped the frosting on top and swirled it with a palette knife, this time I wanted to pipe it on.

The vanilla cakes had a vanilla frosting with ocean coloured sugar pearls. 

butterfly decorations on cupcakes

And the chocolate cakes had a pale pink raspberry flavoured frosting with white shimmer sugar pearls. 

The Butterflies on the cakes are from a shop called Wicksteads Eat Me on Etsy. I found them while searching for halloween things and  I spotted some fabulous Witch wafer toppers and then I spotted the butterflies. I couldn't resist buying some especially for these cakes just to make them a bit more special. 

Vic x

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Baking Cup Cakes - Part 2

Yesterday I wrote about baking two dozen cakes, the cakes are for a special book club get together this evening. We all are contributing to a meal and I was asked if I could make some cakes, so I decided I would make some cupcakes as they are light to eat and can be made a bit more special with the decorations. 

cupcake cases waiting to be filled

I have a big tub full of pretty cupcake cases, I only used to be able to get pretty ones from the internet but since Bake Off I can now find them in my local supermarket. 

cupcake mix

cupcake mix

I use a mixer all the time for my cakes now as its so much easier and I get more consistent cakes. The real problem I have is getting the mix into the cases without making a mess. I used to add the mix to a jug and then fill up the cases but since then I've found an easier solution. 

scooping the cake mix into the cases

As you can see from the above photo I use an ice cream scoop to fill the cases up. The scoop makes things there are even amounts of mix in each case. 
Tomorrow I can show you the decorated cakes. 

Vic x

Friday, 17 October 2014

Baking Cup Cakes

Today I've baked and decorated two dozen cupcakes, it took most of the morning as I had to wash up the utensils and bowls in between. The reason for all the washing up was I made two flavours of cake, Vanilla & Chocolate, and two flavours of frosting, Vanilla and Raspberry. I wish I had room for a second cake mixer and then it might have been a bit easier but then again it would mean a few more bowls to wash up.

my favourite baking books

I have what seems like a small library of baking books, sprinkled with a few cooking book too. My most used are my three Hummingbird Bakery books. The first one is my favourite to be honest and I'm considering getting a second copy as the pages of mine are getting a bit battered. Girlie and the Lad use that one as much as me and its nice when they grab the book and produce a batch of cupcakes or a pan of brownies.
Tomorrow I'll have more baking photos for you. 

Vic x

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Halloween Giveaway

As I mentioned yesterday I would be giving away the Witch Halloween Brooch. All you need to do is leave a comment here on my blog. You have until Thursday 22nd October 2014 to enter and I will close it at 6pm (GMT) and I will draw a name out of the hat and email / message the winner for their address. I will also be running this on my Facebook Page so if you comment on there you will get your name in the hat twice. 

To recap you will need to:
  • comment on this giveaway blog post
  • or comment on the giveaway Facebook page post
  • enter by 6pm (GMT) on Thursday 22nd October 2014.
  • I will announce the winner on here and on my Facebook Page after the draw. 
  • if the winner doesn't claim the brooch or provide their address I will redraw. 
Good Luck
Vic x

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Halloween Brooches

As I really enjoyed making the Mummy and Zombie Art Doll heads the other week and I wondered if they would go smaller. So I used my own pattern to make two heads,  I did need to make a new pattern piece for the back of the head as it needed to be flat.

art doll brooch

The mummy again worked out well, I had to keep reblending the eye colour as I wanted it to pop like the other Mummy. 

mummy art doll brooch

Sewing the brooch back on was a bit more challenging, I do have a few needles that have bent a bit and I used one of those.

art doll brooch

The Mummy Brooch is available now in my Etsy shop. 

As to the other one I turned that into a Witch and she will part of a Halloween giveaway which I will tell you about tomorrow. 

Vic x

Tuesday, 14 October 2014


I admit today I was struggling with what to write about, a friend suggested I show my fabric stash which is a good idea and then I had that light bulb moment and thought Buttons!!!

jar of Buttons

I have a lot of buttons, the picture above shows on pot of them. I also have another bigger jar of black buttons and a square storage tub full of bagged tiny buttons. But thats not all I have a few extras in my sewing box and a bag of large brown buttons somewhere. 

collection of buttons

The glass jar pictured contains an assortment of buttons from wooden to plastic of all different sizes and colours. 

I use the buttons on lots of  things from the Cornish Pixie Elves and they are perfect for joints on the Art Dolls. They have also been used to decorate a mirror for girlie and some christmas wreaths / garlands and I have also made them into jewellery. 

Vintage and mixed buttons

Most of the buttons have been bought, though I do have some that my gran collected over the years including vintage mother of pearl buttons. I recently used some of the vintage buttons on Catalina the Day of the Dead Art Doll

buttons including vintage wooden button

My husband also had a button box when I moved in so I sorted them out and found the square button in the picture above.

I do love buttons they are pretty, tactile and you can make so much with them. 

Vic x

Monday, 13 October 2014

Strictly Monday Week 3

This weekend on Strictly it was theme night and as usual the first theme is the Movies. I do like the themes but I do have to admit that the Halloween night is my favourite. Mainly because the costumes and makeup are even more amazing.
Also this week we had a guest judge in Donny Osman, he's nice but for me it didn't work with him as a judge. To be honest I don't think Strictly needs a quest judge I think it skewed the scores a bit and how will that work for the dance off, well we will see later how it worked. I'm also finding the start of the show with the judges dancing in a bit cringe worthy but I expect I will get used to it by the end of the series.

So as to who we liked this week, well out of all the boys for me the front runner is Jake his waltz was dark mean and moody in keeping with his movie, The Godfather. Thom danced better this week and he's not bad but to me there is something missing compared to the others. Steve, Simon and Mark also danced ok this week. As for the girls well Frankie was brilliant dancing the Paso doble to 'America' from West Side Story. Sunetra danced a beautiful American Smooth to 'The Way you look tonight' from Swing Time. Caroline and Alison also danced very well as did Pixie who seems to be coming the judges favourite.

So the two couples who ended up in the dance off were:

Simon and Kristina, this was surprising as he's a good dancer but then he danced the Rumba. I think it is tough dance especially for a male dancer and for us as viewers, I've noticed over the years a few celebs seem to end up in the dance off more with this dance.

Jennifer and Tristan, unfortunately not a surprise as she is a complete novice dancer and as some of the other celebs are fairly good this shows more.

Both couples danced better again but as expected the judges voted for Simon and Kristina. It's a real shame to see Jennifer leave the show as I would have liked to see how she would've improved.

Vic x

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The return of Twin Peaks

On hearing the news this week that Twin Peaks is going to return to our tv screens in 2016, I was surprised and I admit a tiny bit excited.

 I loved watching the first two series but don't ask me what was going on as I still haven't got a clue even after watching the prequel film Fire Walk With Me.
It was all delightfully bonkers probably why I liked it, will it be as good or as bonkers and will we see Kyle MacLachlan back as Agent Coop I do hope so.

Vic x

Saturday, 11 October 2014

My Working day

On the days I'm working its a bit like this:

  • Wake up and realise its 7 am and rush to get dressed and then spend the next hour trying to get  the children up and ready to catch the school bus. Usually while I'm drinking a coffee or two and letting the dog out.
  • While getting the children ready I'm also relisting an item in my Etsy shop, tweeting and pinning the listing. Then a quick post on facebook page, facebook will then have a hissy fit as I've used the browser instead of the app on my tablet.
  • Breathe a sigh of relief and get breakfast and my second or third coffee while I then speak to my mum on our daily phone call.
  • Yeah 9 am or later if I'm having a good chat on the phone and I'm working either creating something like painting elves, sewing dolls or on the laptop blogging, or photographing new stock and then adding them to the the etsy shop.
  • Let Sapphie out again and then wait for her to decided if she will come in.
  • Get annoyed with Sapph as she's wanted to go out but then just stands by the door looking at me.
  • Find the dog treat tin and grab a small biscuit so sapphie will come back in.
  • Repeat the two above a few more times during the day until Sapph stops or I ignore her.
  • Eat lunch, check emails, twitter, forums, etsy stats, facebook etc.
  • On a creating day, during lunch post work in progress photos to Tumblr and facebook remembering to use the app on the tablet this time. 
  • get back to working as I realise the time is now nearly three and the children will be back soon.
  • Depending on the work pack up at 4 when the children are back. 
  • If I'm working on a doll I will keep working until I come to a natural break and then realise its nearly 6pm and the coffee hubby made when he got home from work is now cold and I need to get our evening meal sorted. 
  • During the evening I check emails, twitter, facebook etc, retweeting and posting.
  • Go to bed after relaxing in front of the tv or reading a book.

Sorry I couldn't resist putting a photo up of Sapph at the end of that as shes cute and dippy. My working days would be very boring without her. Even though she's snoring loudly or wanting to go outside and bark at the people who are walking past the gate.

Vic x

Friday, 10 October 2014

Halloween ideas

This year I'm planning my Halloween theme as usually I leave it to the last minute and end up having to make do with what we have to hand. Last year the only thing we planned was the scarecrow but again it was using items we had to hand except for the pumpkin head.

Luckily I have made a Happy Halloween board on Pinterest to join the Halloween Inspiration board. And I found this great idea on there and I think it will look brilliant hanging from either my porch or near our gate I may even make a big spider and have it nearby. 

The sweets are ready and we found some Candy Corn and white mini marshmallows. I will bag both up in small parcels possibly with some chocolate raisins with a tag saying Ghost Poo, Pumpkin Teeth and Bat Droppings. 

The toffee apples, in the photo above, look really good almost like a poisoned apple which would've been fun to make but unfortunately my girlie has just had a brace fitted so no toffee apples for a while. 

Vic x

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Throwback Thursday

Its throwback Thursday today and I've had quick look back through my photos to find something to share with you. 

cornish pixie elves
Punk Elves

These Punk Elves were my first limited edition elves and the first ones without hats. I remember having trouble with the hair as I originally bought some spiky silicone beads to use but they wouldn't stick so I used felt instead.

Punk Elves
Sid and Viv

Sid and Viv are still available but they are due to retire soon.

Vic x