Monday, 11 January 2010


Have read my first book for this challenge from my list - THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS (Book 4 of the Plantagenet Series) by Jean PLAIDY.

The more that I read of this series, my interest is awakened even further in historical fiction. The Royal Reviews blog is a good site to check out

This book follows on with the death of Richard, the Lionheart, and his brother John takes over the throne. Not a popular choice of some of the barons at the time, and especially John's nephew, Arthur, who wants the crown.
Because John realises that there is a great threat with Arthur, he ultimately lures him into his presence and murders him, throwing Arthur's body from the castle in France where they had arranged the meeting. This is John's secret as he enlists the aid of a deaf mute to dispose of the body.

John's reign is one of evil - he has a terrible temper, like his father.
Their sexual appetites are similar, in that John arranges to divorce his first wife, so that he can marry Isabella, a 12 year old girl, who was betrothed to another French noble. Isabella is very knowing for her age, and for some years they appear to have a happy marriage, eventhough John takes other women,(young girls and even one of his Baron's wives).
The story ends in 1216 with the death of John.
You are left pondering whether he may have been poisoned after visiting the Abbey of Swinehead. As usual John's eyes dwelt on one of the nuns, and he had it in mind to return to the Abbey and have his way with her.
While resting at Swineshead for the night, one of the monks gives John some peaches on a platter - these he ate hungrily and almost immediately afterwards he was seized by violent pains.


We have been frustrated for sometime with not being able to keep the water clean in our fish pond. No doubt the pump size is inadequate for the area.
So after much pondering, my husband Michael came up with this idea. It works a treat and is basically a plastic crate that has 3 layers of foam inside, and an extra hose, which feeds from the pump- through the foam, and then comes out clear water.
Each week, all that is necessary is for the foam pieces to be removed, hosed clean and put back in the crate.

The fish are happy and so are we.


Another 2 projects to add to the tick list and quite pleased with the outcome.

The shoulder bag is a first for me, in saying this I mean that I have never sewn a bag with a lining before, and the tutorial from tiny happy site was very good, especially having the photos to follow. The tutorial is called Shoulder Bag tutorial and here are photos of my bag.
Used an old earring for the button as I did not have the right size button in my stash

The table runner was started last year and got put on the back burner.
The centrepiece is done on my embroidery machine, and wouldn't you know it, as soon as it was finished and I placed it on the table, my black cat Taliesin had to lay on it.

Now what I am going to try next?

Thursday, 7 January 2010


I had started sewing this Shopping Canvas Tote with the machine embroidery quite a few months back, and when I came to sew on the webbing, realised that there wasn't enough. Had used some of it to mend a strap on Michael's golf bag.
As we needed to go to the shops for a few things, the opportunity arose to visit the Craft Warehouse. Lucky enough to get a lovely red colour in the width that I needed, and surprised to see other colours as well.
Once home I got stuck into the sewing and finished the bag.
The idea is from the site - Advanced Embroidery Designs in their projects section.
Called Shopping Canvas Totes with Applique Embroidery.

Whilst going through my fabric stash, found a piece of material that I either bought at an Op. Shop for $5-00 (a metre piece) or got from the give away table at our Craft Group. Anyway it is good heavyweight material and decided to sew another shopping tote. Found this patter as a tutorial - Summer Sewing - Classic Tote Tutorial on the site Sew.Mama.Sew

Very pleased with this one as well and liked the idea of the outside pocket. Perfect for my glasses and sunglasses.

Have just found another good piece of material that this patter would suit, so will be making this one again.


I have a good excuse for staying indoors at the moment and catching up with my sewing. RAIN and how wonderful it is to see the garden come back to life, and the trees reviving. The grass is growing by the day and once the sun comes out, then the mowers will be out in force.

Here are a few aprons that I made (in a day actually) - and got enthusiastic about this after reading a few posts on one of the blogs that I follow - Down to Earth.
A good time was had searching on the net for patterns and this is what I came up with.

First one is an apron you can make from a Vintage Pillowcase. I had just a plain one that I decided to embellish. The details are from a Blog called Whoopsie Daisies Days

The embellishments for the pockets are canvas bags that I purchased rolled oats and SR Flour in. Added the braid from my stash at the hem.

Next creation is another Pillowcase Apron, with a pocket and this is from a blog called Lipstick and Laundry

Last one is from a site that had a tutorial called Apron in an hour tutorial by Jona Giammalva. Good pattern as it only requires one fat quarter for the main apron and 1/2 yard of fabric for the waistband and ties.

I hope this inspires you to get out the sewing machine. Quite enjoy wearing an apron now, as it certainly saves the clothes a bit and you can use up some of your stash - tea towels, pillowcases etc.

Friday, 1 January 2010


I was in the mood for bread making yesterday, especially after browsing through my recipe books - so loaded up the pan in the bread maker, hit the settings, pressed the Start Button, and the screen showed a time of 58 minutes.
Something wrong here, so turned off the machine, hoping that it would reset itself.

After sometime, restarted the machine and let it go. Still showing the time of 58 minutes, so let it run through the cycle.
After it had finished, took out the dough - which had cooked mind you, and stared at the machine in disgust.
Checked back through my paperwork, and bought the machine in June 2008 - and of course, the 12 month warranty has passed - isn't that the way.
Left with no choice but to make my bread rolls by hand.

The recipe I chose was from the Simple Green Frugal Blog - the article being Successfully Soft Hamburger Buns.

Success with this recipe and they cooked in my gas oven in less than the time quoted, but what the heck. Had one each with our dinner last night and very nice and tasty. The others I have packed into bags in the freezer.

Another good site for bread recipes in on All Recipes where I have found quite a few to try, starting with Amish White Bread